Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 3.djvu/316

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

of them die,—and joked too, because they died with prayers upon their lips. With what a rattling noise the drop went down; and how suddenly they changed from strong and vigorous men to dangling heaps of clothes!

Some of them might have inhabited that very cell—sat upon that very spot. It was very dark; why didn't they bring a light? The cell had been built for many years—scores of men must have passed their last hours there—it was like sitting in a vault strewn with dead bodies—the cap, the noose, the pinioned arms—the faces that he knew even beneath that hideous veil—Light, light!

At length when his hands were raw with beating against the heavy door and walls, two men appeared, one bearing a candle which he thrust into an iron candlestick fixed against the wall, and the other dragging in a mattress on which to pass the night, for the prisoner was to be left alone no more.

Then came night—dark, dismal, silent night. Other watchers are glad to hear the church-clocks strike, for they tell of life and coming