Neither his brief consideration, nor its purport, was lost on hiscompanion. She eyed him narrowly, while he spoke; and cast uponhim a look of intelligence which sufficiently showed that sheguessed what had been passing in his thoughts.。， 'Ah! You may well sigh, Mrs. Mann!' said the beadle.
After some discussion, in which all three took an active part, itwas decided that Nancy should repair to the Jew's next eveningwhen the night had set in, and bring Oliver away with her; Fagincraftily observing, that, if he evinced any disinclination to thetask, he would be more willing to accompany the girl who had sorecently interfered in his behalf, than anybody else. It wasalso solemnly arranged that poor Oliver should, for the purposesof the contemplated expedition, be unreservedly consigned to thecare and custody of Mr. William Sikes; and further, that the saidSikes should deal with him as he thought fit; and should not beheld responsible by the Jew for any mischance or evil that mightbe necessary to visit him: it being understood that, to renderthe compact in this respect binding, any representations made byMr. Sikes on his return should be required to be confirmed andcorroborated, in all important particulars, by the testimony offlash Toby Crackit.。， 'Yes, I am,' replied the man, who seemed a little the worse--orbetter, as the case might be--for drinking; 'and not slow aboutit neither. My horse hasn't got a load behind him going back, ashe had coming up in the mornin'; and he won't be long a-doing ofit. Here's luck to him. Ecod! he's a good 'un!'
This was a hard hit at Mr. Grimwig, who was a bachelor. As itextorted nothing from that gentleman but a smile, the old ladytossed her head, and smoothed down her apron preparatory toanother speech, when she was stopped by Mr. Brownlow.。， 'Yes?' said the Jew, bending his head forward, with his eyesalmost starting out of it.
It was Smithfield that they were crossing, although it might havebeen Grosvenor Square, for anything Oliver knew to the contrary.The night was dark and foggy. The lights in the shops couldscarecely struggle through the heavy mist, which thickened everymoment and shrouded the streets and houses in gloom; renderingthe strange place still stranger in Oliver's eyes; and making hisuncertainty the more dismal and depressing.。，
The gas-lamps were lighted; Mrs. Bedwin was waiting anxiously atthe open door; the servant had run up the street twenty times tosee if there were any traces of Oliver; and still the two oldgentlemen sat, perseveringly, in the dark parlour, with the watchbetween them.。， When he awoke, the table was covered with tea-things, and Sikeswas thrusting various articles into the pockets of hisgreat-coat, which hung over the back of a chair. Nancy wasbusily engaged in preparing breakfast. It was not yet daylight;for the candle was still burning, and it was quite dark outside.A sharp rain, too, was beating against the window-panes; and thesky looked black and cloudy.
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.。， This was merely intended as a tribute to the animal's abilities,but it was an appropriate remark in another sense, if MasterBates had only known it; for there are a good many ladies andgentlemen, claiming to be out-and-out Christians, between whom,and Mr. Sikes' dog, there exist strong and singular points ofresemblance.
。， For one brief moment, Oliver cast a hurried glance along theempty street, and a cry for help hung upon his lips. But thegirl's voice was in his ear, beseeching him in such tones ofagony to remember her, that he had not the heart to utter it.While he hesitated, the opportunity was gone; he was already inthe house, and the door was shut.
， 'Yes, I am,' replied the man, who seemed a little the worse--orbetter, as the case might be--for drinking; 'and not slow aboutit neither. My horse hasn't got a load behind him going back, ashe had coming up in the mornin'; and he won't be long a-doing ofit. Here's luck to him. Ecod! he's a good 'un!'。， 'You don't happen to know any good of him, do you?' said Mr.Grimwig, caustically; after an attentive perusal of Mr. Bumble'sfeatures.