The boy murmured a reply of intelligence: and hurried downstairsafter his companions.。， As fate would have it, Mrs. Bedwin chanced to bring in, at thismoment, a small parcel of books, which Mr. Brownlow had thatmorning purchased of the identical bookstall-keeper, who hasalready figured in this history; having laid them on the table,she prepared to leave the room.
。， At this moment, there walked into the room: supporting himselfby a thick stick: a stout old gentleman, rather lame in one leg,who was dressed in a blue coat, striped waistcoat, nankeenbreeches and gaiters, and a broad-brimmed white hat, with thesides turned up with green. A very small-plaited shirt frillstuck out from his waistcoat; and a very long steel watch-chain,with nothing but a key at the end, dangled loosely below it. Theends of his white neckerchief were twisted into a ball about thesize of an orange; the variety of shapes into which hiscountenance was twisted, defy description. He had a manner ofscrewing his head on one side when he spoke; and of looking outof the corners of his eyes at the same time: which irresistiblyreminded the beholder of a parrot. In this attitude, he fixedhimself, the moment he made his appearance; and, holding out asmall piece of orange-peel at arm's length, exclaimed, in agrowling, discontented voice.
Oliver soon recovering from the fainting-fit into which Mr.Brownlow's abrupt exclamation had thrown him, the subject of thepicture was carefully avoided, both by the old gentleman and Mrs.Bedwin, in the conversation that ensued: which indeed bore noreference to Oliver's history or prospects, but was confined tosuch topics as might amuse without exciting him. He was stilltoo weak to get up to breakfast; but, when he came down into thehousekeeper's room next day, his first act was to cast an eagerglance at the wall, in the hope of again looking on the face ofthe beautiful lady. His expectations were disappointed, however,for the picture had been removed.。，
Oliver did as the old lady bade him; and, although she lamentedgrievously, meanwhile, that there was not even time to crimp thelittle frill that bordered his shirt-collar; he looked sodelicate and handsome, despite that important personal advantage,that she went so far as to say: looking at him with greatcomplacency from head to foot, that she really didn't think itwould have been possible, on the longest notice, to have mademuch difference in him for the better.。，
'We must know where he is, my dears; he must be found,' said theJew greatly excited. 'Charley, do nothing but skulk about, tillyou bring home some news of him! Nancy, my dear, I must have himfound. I trust to you, my dear,--to you and the Artful foreverything! Stay, stay,' added the Jew, unlocking a drawer witha shaking hand; 'there's money, my dears. I shall shut up thisshop to-night. You'll know where to find me! Don't stop here aminute. Not an instant, my dears!'。， 'No,' replied Mr. Brownlow, 'I would rather you remained here.'