'"It was the echoes," said Gabriel Grub, raising the bottle to his lips again.
He was sitting perfectly still; his tongue was put out, as if in derision; and he was grinning at Gabriel Grub with such a grin as only a goblin could call up.
'Gabriel Grub was paralysed, and could make no reply.
'"I came to dig a grave, Sir," stammered Gabriel Grub.
'"Gabriel Grub! Gabriel Grub!" screamed a wild chorus of voices that seemed to fill the churchyard.
'"Gabriel Grub! Gabriel Grub!" exclaimed the wild voices again.
'To this inquiry the invisible chorus replied, in a strain that sounded like the voices of many choristers singing to the mighty swell of the old church organ--a strain that seemed borne to the sexton's ears upon a wild wind, and to die away as it passed onward; but the burden of the reply was still the same, "Gabriel Grub! Gabriel Grub!"
'Again the mysterious voices replied, "Gabriel Grub! Gabriel Grub!"
'"Leave us!" said the goblin, "Gabriel Grub going to leave us.
'When Gabriel Grub had had time to fetch his breath, which the rapidity of his descent had for the moment taken away, he found himself in what appeared to be a large cavern, surrounded on all sides by crowds of goblins, ugly and grim; in the centre of the room, on an elevated seat, was stationed his friend of the churchyard; and close behind him stood Gabriel Grub himself, without power of motion.
'At this command, half a dozen officious goblins, with a perpetual smile upon their faces, whom Gabriel Grub imagined to be courtiers, on that account, hastily disappeared, and presently returned with a goblet of liquid fire, which they presented to the king.
'"What do you think of THAT?" said the goblin, turning his large face towards Gabriel Grub.