The Burial of the Rats
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The Burial of the Rats

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ght for it; and so we waited. I had, I felt, gained an advantage in the last few seconds, for I knew my danger and understood the situation. Now, I thought, is the test of my courage-the enduring test: the fighting test may come later!The old woman raised her head and said to me in a satisfied kind of way:

“A very fine ring, indeed-a beautiful ring! Oh, me! I once had such rings, plenty of them, and bracelets and earrings! Oh! for in those fine days I led the town a dance! But they’ve forgotten me now! They’ve forgotten me! They? Why they never heard of me! Perhaps their grandfathers remember me, some of them!” and she laughed a harsh, croaking laugh. And then I am bound to say that she astonished me, for she handed me back the ring with a certain suggestion of old-fashioned grace which was not without its pathos.

The old man eyed her with a sort of sudden ferocity, half rising from his stool, and said to me suddenly and hoarsely:

“Let me see!”

I was about to hand the ring

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