But she doesn’t understand it very well.
“Chime tine keen veal well rill dial chime,” she replies, and her words are a piping octave, her voice a hand on uneven floorboards: what might, elsewhere, be called a marimba.
The man has stopped bleeding. “You can count, then,” he says. “Good.”
Millicent traces a lemniscate around Cosette’s ankles. Cosette picks the kitten up and watches the man’s hand, which is holding a short and brutal tailed whip.
“Don’t ever forget how to count,” he grunts.
“Marrow callow hollow minnow?”
“Count the stars if you have to. Just make sure you don’t finish.”