At a table behind him sat the Artful Dodger, Master CharlesBates, and Mr. Chitling: all intent upon a game of whist; theArtful taking dummy against Master Bates and Mr. Chitling. Thecountenance of the first-named gentleman, peculiarly intelligentat all times, acquired great additional interest from his closeobservance of the game, and his attentive perusal of Mr.Chitling's hand; upon which, from time to time, as occasionserved, he bestowed a variety of earnest glances: wiselyregulating his own play by the result of his observations uponhis neighbour's cards. It being a cold night, the Dodger worehis hat, as, indeed, was often his custom within doors. He alsosustained a clay pipe between his teeth, which he only removedfor a brief space when he deemed it necessary to apply forrefreshment to a quart pot upon the table, which stood readyfilled with gin-and-water for the accommodation of the company.。，
'The boy next,' said Toby. 'Hoist him up; I'll catch hold ofhim.'。， Encouraging each other with such converse as this; but, keepingvery close together, notwithstanding, and looking apprehensivelyround, whenever a fresh gust rattled through the boughs; thethree men hurried back to a tree, behind which they had lefttheir lantern, lest its light should inform the thieves in whatdirection to fire. Catching up the light, they made the best oftheir way home, at a good round trot; and long after their duskyforms had ceased to be discernible, the light might have beenseen twinkling and dancing in the distance, like some exhalationof the damp and gloomy atmosphere through which it was swiftlyborne.
。， Fagin, troubled by no grave emotions, looked eagerly from face toface while these proceedings were in progress; but apparentlywithout meeting that of which he was in search. Succeeding, atlength, in catching the eye of the man who occupied the chair, hebeckoned to him slightly, and left the room, as quietly as he hadentered it.
。， They conversed for some time in whispers. Though nothing of theconversation was distinguishable beyond a few disjointed wordshere and there, a listener might easily have perceived that Faginappeared to be defending himself against some remarks of thestranger; and that the latter was in a state of considerableirritation. They might have been talking, thus, for a quarter ofan hour or more, when Monks--by which name the Jew had designatedthe strange man several times in the course of theircolloquy--said, raising his voice a little,
'You'll have a very cold walk, Mr. Bumble,' said the matron.。， 'You have a cat, ma'am, I see,' said Mr. Bumble, glancing at onewho, in the centre of her family, was basking before the fire;'and kittens too, I declare!'
。， It was no unfit messanger of death, who had disturbed the quietof the matron's room. Her body was bent by age; her limbstrembled with palsy; her face, distorted into a mumbling leer,resembled more the grotesque shaping of some wild pencil, thanthe work of Nature's hand.