'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!'。， 'Is Mr. Brownlow at home?' inquired Mr. Bumble of the girl whoopened the door.
Mr. Bumble put down his hat; unbuttoned his coat; folded hisarms; inclined his head in a retrospective manner; and, after afew moments' reflection, commenced his story.。， Oliver looked up; the Jew, pointing to the candle, motioned himto light it. He did so; and, as he placed the candlestick uponthe table, saw that the Jew was gazing fixedly at him, withlowering and contracted brows, from the dark end of the room.
'No, he don't,' sneered Mr. Sikes. 'Or he won't, and that's thesame thing. Speak out, and call things by their right names;don't sit there, winking and blinking, and talking to me inhints, as if you warn't the very first that thought about therobbery. Wot d'ye mean?'。， 'Keep back the dog, Bill!' cried Nancy, springing before thedoor, and closing it, as the Jew and his two pupils darted out inpursuit. 'Keep back the dog; he'll tear the boy to pieces.'
'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?'。， Supper being ended--it may be easily conceived that Oliver had nogreat appetite for it--Mr. Sikes disposed of a couple of glassesof spirits and water, and threw himself on the bed; orderingNancy, with many imprecations in case of failure, to call him atfive precisely. Oliver stretched himself in his clothes, bycommand of the same authority, on a mattress upon the floor; andthe girl, mending the fire, sat before it, in readiness to rousethem at the appointed time.
It was quite dark when he was awakened by a push from Sikes.Rousing himself sufficiently to sit up and look about him, hefound that worthy in close fellowship and communication with alabouring man, over a pint of ale.。，
The girl stamped her foot violently on the floor as she ventedthis threat; and with her lips compressed, and her handsclenched, looked alternately at the Jew and the other robber:her face quite colourless from the passion of rage into which shehad gradually worked herself.。，
。， The Jew was evidently too familiar with the ground he traversedto be at all bewildered, either by the darkness of the night, orthe intricacies of the way. He hurried through several alleysand streets, and at length turned into one, lighted only by asingle lamp at the farther end. At the door of a house in thisstreet, he knocked; having exchanged a few muttered words withthe person who opened it, he walked upstairs.
The child was pale and thin; his cheeks were sunken; and his eyeslarge and bright. The scanty parish dress, the livery of hismisery, hung loosely on his feeble body; and his young limbs hadwasted away, like those of an old man.。，
。， It would be tedious if given in the beadle's words: occupying,as it did, some twenty minutes in the telling; but the sum andsubstance of it was, that Oliver was a foundling, born of low andvicious parents. That he had, from his birth, displayed nobetter qualities than treachery, ingratitude, and malice. Thathe had terminated his brief career in the place of his birth, bymaking a sanguinary and cowardly attack on an unoffending lad,and running away in the night-time from his master's house. Inproof of his really being the person he represented himself, Mr.Bumble laid upon the table the papers he had brought to town.Folding his arms again, he then awaited Mr. Brownlow'sobservations.
'Well, and good morning to YOU, sir,' replied Mrs. Mann, withmany smiles; 'and hoping you find yourself well, sir!'。， The Jew walked to the door: looking over his shoulder at the boyas he went. Suddenly stopping, he called him by his name.
， The Jew nodded his head towards Nancy, who was still gazing atthe fire; and intimated, by a sign, that he would have her toldto leave the room. Sikes shrugged his shoulders impatiently, asif he thought the precaution unnecessary; but complied,nevertheless, by requesting Miss Nancy to fetch him a jug ofbeer.。， A long silence ensued; during which the Jew was plunged in deepthought, with his face wrinkled into an expression of villainyperfectly demoniacal. Sikes eyed him furtively from time totime. Nancy, apparently fearful of irritating the housebreaker,sat with her eyes fixed upon the fire, as if she had been deaf toall that passed.