sound, and winking his very ill-looking eyes twenty times in a minute, appeared to occupy himself in taking a survey of the apartment.
What are you up to? Ill-treating the boys, you covetous, avaricious, in-sa-ti-a-ble old fence? said the man, seating himself deliberately. I wonder they don't murder you! I would if I was them. If I'd been your 'prentice, I'd have done it long ago, and no, I couldn't have sold you afterwards, for you're fit for nothing but keeping as a curiosity of ugliness in a glass bottle, and I suppose they don't blow glass bottles large enough.
Hush! hush! Mr. Sikes, said the Jew, trembling; don't speak so loud.
None of your mistering, replied the ruffian; you always mean mischief when you come that. You know my name: out with it! I shan't disgrace it when the time comes.
Well, well, then Bill Sikes, said the Jew, with abject humility. You seem out of humour, Bill.
Perhaps I am, replied Sikes; I should think you was rather out of sorts too, unless you mean as little harm when you throw pewter pots about, as you do when you blab and
Are you mad? said the Jew, catching the man by the sleeve, and pointing towards the boys.
Mr. Sikes contented himself with tying an imaginary knot under his left ear, and jerking his head over on the right shoulder; a piece of dumb show which the Jew appeared to understand perfectly. He then, in cant terms, with which his whole conversation was plentifully besprinkled, but which would be quite unintelligible if they were recorded here, demanded a glass of liquor.
And mind you don't poison it, said Mr. Sikes, laying his hat upon the table.
This was said in jest; but if the speaker could have seen the evil leer with which the Jew bit his pale lip as he turned round to the cupboard, he might have thought the caution not wholly unnecessary, or the wish (at all events) to improve upon the distiller's ingenuity not very far from the old gentleman's merry heart.
After swallowing two or three glasses of spirits, Mr. Sikes condescended to take some notice of the young gentlemen; which gracious act led to a conversation, in which the cause and manner of Oliver's capture were circumstantially detailed, with such alterations and improvements on the truth, as to the Dodger appeared most advisable under the circumstances.
I'm afraid, said the Jew, that he may say something which will get us into trouble.
That's very likely, returned Sikes with a malicious grin. You're blowed upon, Fagin.
And I'm afraid, you see, added the Jew, speaking as if he had not noticed the interruption; and regarding the other closely as he did so, I'm afraid that, if the game was up with us, it might be up with a good many more, and that it would come out rather worse for you than it would for me, my dear.
The man started, and turned round upon the Jew. But the old gentleman's shoulders were shrugged up to his ears; and his eyes were vacantly staring on the opposite wall.
There was a long pause. Every member of the respectable coterie appeared plunged in his own reflections; not excepting the dog, who by a certain malicious licking of his lips seemed to be meditating an attack upon the legs of the first gentleman or lady he might encounter in the streets when he went out.
Somebody must find out wot's been done at the office, said Mr. Sikes in a much lower tone than he had taken since he came in.
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