Nancy quickly brought a bottle from a cupboard, in which there were many: which, to judge from the diversity of their appearance, were filled with several kinds of liquids. Sikes pouring out a glass of brandy, bade the Jew drink it off.
Quite enough, quite, thankye, Bill, replied the Jew, putting down the glass after just setting his lips to it.
What! You're afraid of our getting the better of you, are you? inquired Sikes, fixing his eyes on the Jew. Ugh!
With a hoarse grunt of contempt, Mr. Sikes seized the glass, and threw the remainder of its contents into the ashes: as a preparatory ceremony to filling it again for himself: which he did at once.
The Jew glanced round the room, as his companion tossed down the second glassful; not in curiosity, for he had seen it often before; but in a restless and suspicious manner habitual to him. It was a meanly furnished apartment, with nothing but the contents of the closet to induce the belief that its occupier was anything but a working man; and with no more suspicious articles displayed to view than two or three heavy bludgeons which stood in a corner, and a life-preserver that hung over the chimney-piece.
There, said Sikes, smacking his lips. Now I'm ready.
For business? inquired the Jew.
For business, replied Sikes; so say what you've got to say.
About the crib at Chertsey, Bill? said the Jew, drawing his chair forward, and speaking in a very low voice.
Yes. Wot about it? inquired Sikes.
Ah! you know what I mean, my dear, said the Jew. He knows what I mean, Nancy; don't he?
No, he don't, sneered Mr. Sikes. Or he won't, and that's the same thing. Speak out, and call things by their right names; don't sit there, winking and blinking, and talking to me in hints, as if you warn't the very first that thought about the robbery. Wot d'ye mean?
Hush, Bill, hush! said the Jew, who had in vain attempted to stop this burst of indignation; somebody will hear us, my dear. Somebody will hear us.
Let 'em hear! said Sikes; I don't care. But as Mr. Sikes did care, on reflection, he dropped his voice as he said the words, and grew calmer.
There, there, said the Jew, coaxingly. It was only my caution, nothing more. Now, my dear, about that crib at Chertsey; when is it to be done, Bill, eh? When is it to be done? Such plate, my dear, such plate! said the Jew: rubbing his hands, and elevating his eyebrows in a rapture of anticipation.
Not at all, replied Sikes coldly.
Not to be done at all! echoed the Jew, leaning back in his chair.
No, not at all, rejoined Sikes. At least it can't be a put-up job, as we expected.
Then it hasn't been properly gone about, said the Jew, turning pale with anger. Don't tell me!
But I will tell you, retorted Sikes. Who are you that's not to be told? I tell you that Toby Crackit has been hanging about the place for a fortnight, and he can't get one of the servants into a line.
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