'It's dreadful to think of!' said the lady, shuddering.。， And now, hosts of bewildering and confused ideas came crowding onhis mind. He seemed to be still walking between Sikes andCrackit, who were angrily disputing--for the very words theysaid, sounded in his ears; and when he caught his own attention,as it were, by making some violent effort to save himself fromfalling, he found that he was talking to them. Then, he was alonewith Sikes, plodding on as on the previous day; and as shadowypeople passed them, he felt the robber's grasp upon his wrist.Suddenly, he started back at the report of firearms; there roseinto the air, loud cries and shouts; lights gleamed before hiseyes; all was noise and tumult, as some unseen hand bore himhurriedly away. Through all these rapid visions, there ran anundefined, uneasy conscious of pain, which wearied and tormentedhim incessantly.
。， 'No, no,' said the Jew, hastily; as though, however desirous hemight be to see the person in question, he was neverthelessrelieved by his absence. 'Tell him I came here to see him; andthat he must come to me to-night. No, say to-morrow. As he isnot here, to-morrow will be time enough.'
'The boy grew so like his mother,' said the woman, rambling on,and not heeding the question, 'that I could never forget it whenI saw his face. Poor girl! poor girl! She was so young, too!Such a gentle lamb! Wait; there's more to tell. I have not toldyou all, have I?'。， 'Oh, yes!' rejoined the matron with enthusiasm; 'so fond of theirhome too, that it's quite a pleasure, I'm sure.'
The two old crones, chiming in together, began pouring out manypiteous lamentations that the poor dear was too far gone to knowher best friends; and were uttering sundry protestations thatthey would never leave her, when the superior pushed them fromthe room, closed the door, and returned to the bedside. On beingexcluded, the old ladies changed their tone, and cried throughthe keyhole that old Sally was drunk; which, indeed, was notunlikely; since, in addition to a moderate dose of opiumprescribed by the apothecary, she was labouring under the effectsof a final taste of gin-and-water which had been privilyadministered, in the openness of their hearts, by the worthy oldladies themselves.。，
Now, Mr. and Mrs. Sowerberry having gone out to tea and supper:and Noah Claypole not being at any time disposed to take uponhimself a greater amount of physical exertion than is necessaryto a convenient performance of the two functions of eating anddrinking, the shop was not closed, although it was past the usualhour of shutting-up. Mr. Bumble tapped with his cane on thecounter several times; but, attracting no attention, andbeholding a light shining through the glass-window of the littleparlour at the back of the shop, he made bold to peep in and seewhat was going forward; and when he saw what was going forward,he was not a little surprised.。， 'All right!' replied Toby, stowing them away. 'The persuaders?'
'Drat the pot!' said the worthy matron, setting it down veryhastily on the hob; 'a little stupid thing, that only holds acouple of cups! What use is it of, to anybody! Except,' saidMrs. Corney, pausing, 'except to a poor desolate creature likeme. Oh dear!'。，
。， Mr. Bumble had re-counted the teaspoons, re-weighed thesugar-tongs, made a closer inspection of the milk-pot, andascertained to a nicety the exact condition of the furniture,down to the very horse-hair seats of the chairs; and had repeatedeach process full half a dozen times; before he began to thinkthat it was time for Mrs. Corney to return. Thinking begetsthinking; as there were no sounds of Mrs. Corney's approach, itoccured to Mr. Bumble that it would be an innocent and virtuousway of spending the time, if he were further to allay hiscuriousity by a cursory glance at the interior of Mrs. Corney'schest of drawers.
。， The speaker appeared to throw a boot-jack, or some such article,at the person he addressed, to rouse him from his slumbers: forthe noise of a wooden body, falling violently, was heard; andthen an indistinct muttering, as of a man between sleep andawake.
'Yes, the other gentleman's paid,' replied the girl.。， It was a little lattice window, about five feet and a half abovethe ground, at the back of the house: which belonged to ascullery, or small brewing-place, at the end of the passage. Theaperture was so small, that the inmates had probably not thoughtit worth while to defend it more securely; but it was largeenough to admit a boy of Oliver's size, nevertheless. A verybrief exercise of Mr. Sike's art, sufficed to overcome thefastening of the lattice; and it soon stood wide open also.
， 'Sweet? Mr. Bumble?' inquired the matron, taking up thesugar-basin.。， 'They had better not!' said Mr. Bumble, clenching his fist. 'Letme see any man, porochial or extra-porochial, as would presume todo it; and I can tell him that he wouldn't do it a second time!'