came up. Seeing Hounslow written on it, he asked the driver with as much civility as he could assume, if he would give them a lift as far as Isleworth.
Jump up, said the man. Is that your boy?
Yes; he's my boy, replied Sikes, looking hard at Oliver, and putting his hand abstractedly into the pocket where the pistol was.
Your father walks rather too quick for you, don't he, my man? inquired the driver: seeing that Oliver was out of breath.
Not a bit of it, replied Sikes, interposing. He's used to it. Here, take hold of my hand, Ned. In with you!
Thus addressing Oliver, he helped him into the cart; and the driver, pointing to a heap of sacks, told him to lie down there, and rest himself.
As they passed the different mile-stones, Oliver wondered, more and more, where his companion meant to take him. Kensington, Hammersmith, Chiswick, Kew Bridge, Brentford, were all passed; and yet they went on as steadily as if they had only just begun their journey. At length, they came to a public-house called the Coach and Horses: a little way beyond which, another road appeared to turn off. And here, the cart stopped.
Sikes dismounted with great precipitation, holding Oliver by the hand all the while; and lifting him down directly, bestowed a furious look upon him, and rapped the side-pocket with his fist, in a significant manner.
Good-bye, boy, said the man.
He's sulky, replied Sikes, giving him a shake; he's sulky. A young dog! Don't mind him.
Not I! rejoined the other, getting into his cart. It's a fine day, after all. And he drove away.
Sikes waited until he had fairly gone; and then, telling Oliver he might look about him if he wanted, once again led him onward on his journey.
They turned round to the left, a short way past the publichouse; and then, taking a right-hand road, walked on for a long time: passing many large gardens and gentlemen's houses on both sides of the way, and stopping for nothing but a little beer, until they reached a town. Here against the wall of a house, Oliver saw written up in pretty large letters, Hampton. They lingered about, in the fields, for some hours. At length, they came back into the town; and, turning into an old public-house with a defaced sign-board, ordered some dinner by the kitchen fire.
The kitchen was an old, low-roofed room; with a great beam across the middle of the ceiling, and benches, with high backs to them, by the fire; on which were seated several rough men in smock-frocks, drinking and smoking. They took no notice of Oliver; and very little of Sikes; and, as Sikes took very little notice of them, he and his young comrade sat in a corner by themselves, without being much troubled by their company.
They had some cold meat for dinner, and sat so long after it, while Mr. Sikes indulged himself with three or four pipes, that Oliver began to feel quite certain they were not going any further. Being much tired with the walk, and getting up so early, he dosed a little at first; then, quite overpowered by fatigue and the fumes of the tobacco, fell asleep.
It was quite dark when he was awakened by a push from Sikes. Rousing himself sufficiently to sit up and look about him, he found that worthy in close fellowship and communication with a labouring man, over a pint of ale.
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