'Wait a minute!' said the girl: 'I wouldn't hurry by, if it wasyou that was coming out to be hung, the next time eight o'clockstruck, Bill. I'd walk round and round the place till I dropped,if the snow was on the ground, and I hadn't a shawl to cover me.'。， 'Fair, or not fair,' retorted Sikes, 'hand over, I tell you! Doyou think Nancy and me has got nothing else to do with ourprecious time but to spend it in scouting arter, and kidnapping,every young boy as gets grabbed through you? Give it here, youavaricious old skeleton, give it here!'
'Have it your own way,' rejoined the girl, affecting to laugh.'For no good, then.'。， 'When is it to be done?' asked Nancy, stopping some turbulentexclamation on the part of Mr. Sikes, expressive of the disgustwith which he received Fagin's affectation of humanity.
Mr. Bumble stopped not to converse with the small shopkeepers andothers who spoke to him, deferentially, as he passed along. Hemerely returned their salutations with a wave of his hand, andrelaxed not in his dignified pace, until he reached the farmwhere Mrs. Mann tended the infant paupers with parochial care.。， The dog growled again; and licking his lips, eyed Oliver as if hewere anxious to attach himself to his windpipe without delay.
'He's a rum dog. Don't he look fierce at any strange cove thatlaughs or sings when he's in company!' pursued the Dodger.'Won't he growl at all, when he hears a fiddle playing! Anddon't he hate other dogs as ain't of his breed! Oh, no!'。， 'Of course it couldn't,' replied Sikes; 'I know'd that, directlyI see him coming through Clerkenwell, with the books under hisarm. It's all right enough. They're soft-hearted psalm-singers,or they wouldn't have taken him in at all; and they'll ask noquestions after him, fear they should be obliged to prosecute,and so get him lagged. He's safe enough.'
CHAPTER XXI。， 'Mrs. Mann,' said Mr. Bumble; not sitting upon, or droppinghimself into a seat, as any common jackanapes would: but lettinghimself gradually and slowly down into a chair; 'Mrs. Mann,ma'am, good morning.'
'Delighted to see you looking so well, my dear,' said the Jew,bowing with mock humility. 'The Artful shall give you anothersuit, my dear, for fear you should spoil that Sunday one. Whydidn't you write, my dear, and say you were coming? We'd havegot something warm for supper.'。， In short, the wily old Jew had the boy in his toils. Havingprepared his mind, by solitude and gloom, to prefer any societyto the companionship of his own sad thoughts in such a drearyplace, he was now slowly instilling into his soul the poisonwhich he hoped would blacken it, and change its hue for ever.
。， The noise of Charley's laughter, and the voice of Miss Betsy, whoopportunely arrived to throw water over her friend, and performother feminine offices for the promotion of her recovery, mighthave kept many people awake under more happy circumstances thanthose in which Oliver was placed. But he was sick and weary; andhe soon fell sound asleep.
Mr. Bumble nodded, blandly, in acknowledgment of Mrs. Mann'scurtsey; and inquired how the children were.。， Oliver stirred the fire. Drawing her chair close to it, she satthere, for a little time, without speaking; but at length sheraised her head, and looked round.
'And wot,' said Sikes, scowling fiercely on his agreeable friend,'wot makes you take so much pains about one chalk-faced kid, whenyou know there are fifty boys snoozing about Common Garden everynight, as you might pick and choose from?'。， 'Ah, to be sure,' said the Jew; 'when is it to be done, Bill?'