'But even if he has been wicked,' pursued Rose, 'think how younghe is; think that he may never have known a mother's love, or thecomfort of a home; that ill-usage and blows, or the want ofbread, may have driven him to herd with men who have forced himto guilt. Aunt, dear aunt, for mercy's sake, think of this,before you let them drag this sick child to a prison, which inany case must be the grave of all his chances of amendment. Oh!as you love me, and know that I have never felt the want ofparents in your goodness and affection, but that I might havedone so, and might have been equally helpless and unprotectedwith this poor child, have pity upon him before it is too late!'。， 'The more I think of it,' said the doctor, 'the more I see thatit will occasion endless trouble and difficulty if we put thesemen in possession of the boy's real story. I am certain it willnot be believed; and even if they can do nothing to him in theend, still the dragging it forward, and giving publicity to allthe doubts that will be cast upon it, must interfere, materially,with your benevolent plan of rescuing him from misery.'
'Brittles is right,' said Mr. Giles, nodding his head,approvingly; 'from a woman, nothing else was to be expected. We,being men, took a dark lantern that was standing on Brittle'shob, and groped our way downstairs in the pitch dark,--as itmight be so.'。，
'Very good,' retorted the doctor; 'then so much the more reasonfor acceding to my proposition.'。， The doctor, who was universally considered one of thebest-tempered creatures on earth, made this demand in such adreadful tone of anger, that Giles and Brittles, who wereconsiderably muddled by ale and excitement, stared at each otherin a state of stupefaction.
'Well,' said the doctor, laughing heartily, 'that is no verydifficult matter. But to return to this boy. The great point ofour agreement is yet to come. He will wake in an hour or so, Idare say; and although I have told that thick-headedconstable-fellow downstairs that he musn't be moved or spoken to,on peril of his life, I think we may converse with him withoutdanger. Now I make this stipulation--that I shall examine him inyour presence, and that, if, from what he says, we judge, and Ican show to the satisfaction of your cool reason, that he is areal and thorough bad one (which is more than possible), he shallbe left to his fate, without any farther interference on my part,at all events.'。，
There was a pause, during which, Rose, who had covered her facewith one hand, gave free vent to her tears. Harry still retainedthe other.。， 'That's well,' said the doctor. 'Seeing you here, reminds me,Mr. Giles, that on the day before that on which I was called awayso hurriedly, I executed, at the request of your good mistress, asmall commission in your favour. Just step into this corner amoment, will you?'
'The trouble!' cried Oliver. 'Oh! dear lady, if I could but workfor you; if I could only give you pleasure by watering yourflowers, or watching your birds, or running up and down the wholeday long, to make you happy; what would I give to do it!'。， 'How then?' urged the young man. 'She has formed no otherattachment?'
。， Here he paused, and looked about for the inn. There were a whitebank, and a red brewery, and a yellow town-hall; and in onecorner there was a large house, with all the wood about itpainted green: before which was the sign of 'The George.' Tothis he hastened, as soon as it caught his eye.
。， In a handsome room: though its furniture had rather the air ofold-fashioned comfort, than of modern elegance: there sat twoladies at a well-spread breakfast-table. Mr. Giles, dressed withscrupulous care in a full suit of black, was in attendance uponthem. He had taken his station some half-way between theside-board and the breakfast-table; and, with his body drawn upto its full height, his head thrown back, and inclined the meresttrifle on one side, his left leg advanced, and his right handthrust into his waist-coat, while his left hung down by his side,grasping a waiter, looked like one who laboured under a veryagreeable sense of his own merits and importance.
'Well, master,' said Blathers, entering the room followed by hiscolleague, and making the door fast, before he said any more.'This warn't a put-up thing.'。， 'I hope,' said Oliver, when Mrs. Maylie returned, 'that nothingis the matter? She don't look well to-night, but--'
。， The two gentlemen watched Oliver's earnest face, as he spoke, andlooking from him to each other, seemed to fell satisfied of theaccuracy of what he said. Still, in no direction were there anyappearances of the trampling of men in hurried flight. The grasswas long; but it was trodden down nowhere, save where their ownfeet had crushed it. The sides and brinks of the ditches were ofdamp clay; but in no one place could they discern the print ofmen's shoes, or the slightest mark which would indicate that anyfeet had pressed the ground for hours before.
The man who had knocked at the door, was a stout personage ofmiddle height, aged about fifty: with shiny black hair, croppedpretty close; half-whiskers, a round face, and sharp eyes. Theother was a red-headed, bony man, in top-boots; with a ratherill-favoured countenance, and a turned-up sinister-looking nose.。，
Sending the plate, which had so excited Fagin's cupidity, to thebanker's; and leaving Giles and another servant in care of thehouse, they departed to a cottage at some distance in thecountry, and took Oliver with them.。，