'Gabriel started up, and stood rooted to the spot with astonishment and terror; for his eyes rested on a form that made his blood run cold.
'Seated on an upright tombstone, close to him, was a strange, unearthly figure, whom Gabriel felt at once, was no being of this world.
'Gabriel Grub was paralysed, and could make no reply.
'"I came to dig a grave, Sir," stammered Gabriel Grub.
'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!
'The goblin grinned a broader grin than before, as he said, "Well, Gabriel, what do you say to this?"
'"What do you think of this, Gabriel?" said the goblin, kicking up his feet in the air on either side of the tombstone, and looking at the turned-up points with as much complacency as if he had been contemplating the most fashionable pair of Wellingtons in all Bond Street.
'Again the mysterious voices replied, "Gabriel Grub!
'"I am afraid my friends want you, Gabriel," said the goblin, thrusting his tongue farther into his cheek than ever--and a most astonishing tongue it was--"I'm afraid my friends want you, Gabriel," said the goblin.
'"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.
'Gabriel murmured out something about its being very pretty, and looked somewhat ashamed, as the goblin bent his fiery eyes upon him.