Come, said Mr. Brownlow, these are not the characteristics of young Oliver Twist; so needn't excite your wrath.
They are not, replied Mr. Grimwig. He may have worse.
Here, Mr. Brownlow coughed impatiently; which appeared to afford Mr. Grimwig the most exquisite delight.
He may have worse, I say, repeated Mr. Grimwig. Where does he come from? Who is he? What is he? He has had a fever. What of that? Fevers are not peculiar to good people; are they? Bad people have fevers sometimes; haven't they, eh? I knew a man who was hung in Jamaica for murdering his master. He had had a fever six times; he wasn't recommended to mercy on that account. Pooh! nonsense!
Now, the fact was, that in the inmost recesses of his own heart, Mr. Grimwig was strongly disposed to admit that Oliver's appearance and manner were unusually prepossessing; but he had a strong appetite for contradiction, sharpened on this occasion by the finding of the orange-peel; and, inwardly determining that no man should dictate to him whether a boy was well-looking or not, he had resolved, from the first, to oppose his friend. When Mr. Brownlow admitted that on no one point of inquiry could he yet return a satisfactory answer; and that he had postponed any investigation into Oliver's previous history until he thought the boy was strong enough to bear it; Mr. Grimwig chuckled maliciously. And he demanded, with a sneer, whether the housekeeper was in the habit of counting the plate at night; because, if she didn't find a table-spoon or two missing some sunshiny morning, why, he would be content to and so forth.
All this, Mr. Brownlow, although himself somewhat of an impetuous gentleman: knowing his friend's peculiarities, bore with great good humour; as Mr. Grimwig, at tea, was graciously pleased to express his entire approval of the muffins, matters went on very smoothly; and Oliver, who made one of the party, began to feel more at his ease than he had yet done in the fierce old gentleman's presence.
And when are you going to hear a full, true, and particular account of the life and adventures of Oliver Twist? asked Grimwig of Mr. Brownlow, at the conclusion of the meal: looking sideways at Oliver, as he resumed the subject.
To-morrow morning, replied Mr. Brownlow. I would rather he was alone with me at the time. Come up to me to-morrow morning at ten o'clock, my dear.
Yes, sir, replied Oliver. He answered with some hesitation, because he was confused by Mr. Grimwig's looking so hard at him.
I'll tell you what, whispered that gentleman to Mr. Brownlow; he won't come up to you to-morrow morning. I saw him hesitate. He is deceiving you, my good friend.
I'll swear he is not, replied Mr. Brownlow, warmly.
If he is not, said Mr. Grimwig, I'll and down went the stick.
I'll answer for that boy's truth with my life! said Mr. Brownlow, knocking the table.
And I for his falsehood with my head! rejoined Mr. Grimwig, knocking the table also.
We shall see, said Mr. Brownlow, checking his rising anger.
We will, replied Mr. Grimwig, with a provoking smile; we will.
As fate would have it, Mrs. Bedwin chanced to bring in, at this moment, a small parcel of books, which Mr. Brownlow had that morning purchased of the identical bookstall-keeper, who has already figured in this history; having laid them on the table, she prepared to leave the room.
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