Now, said Sikes, as he resumed his seat, if you'll give us something to eat and drink while we're waiting, you'll put some heart in us; or in me, at all events. Sit down by the fire, younker, and rest yourself; for you'll have to go out with us again to-night, though not very far off.
Oliver looked at Sikes, in mute and timid wonder; and drawing a stool to the fire, sat with his aching head upon his hands, scarcely knowing where he was, or what was passing around him.
Here, said Toby, as the young Jew placed some fragments of food, and a bottle upon the table, Success to the crack! He rose to honour the toast; and, carefully depositing his empty pipe in a corner, advanced to the table, filled a glass with spirits, and drank off its contents. Mr. Sikes did the same.
A drain for the boy, said Toby, half-filling a wine glass. Down with it, innocence.
Indeed, said Oliver, looking piteously up into the man's face; indeed, I
Down with it! echoed Toby. Do you think I don't know what's good for you? Tell him to drink it, Bill.
He had better! said Sikes, clapping his hand upon his pocket. Burn my body, if he isn't more trouble than a whole family of Dodgers. Drink it, you perwerse imp; drink it!
Frightened by the menacing gestures of the two men, Oliver hastily swallowed the contents of the glass, and immediately fell into a violent fit of coughing: which delighted Toby Crackit and Barney, and even drew a smile from the surly Mr. Sikes.
This done, and Sikes having satisfied his appetite (Oliver could eat nothing but a small crust of bread which they made him swallow), the two men laid themselves down on chairs for a short nap. Oliver retained his stool by the fire; Barney, wrapped in a blanket, stretched himself on the floor: close outside the fender.
They slept, or appeared to sleep, for some time; nobody stirring but Barney, who rose once or twice to throw coals upon the fire. Oliver fell into a heavy doze: imagining himself straying along the gloomy lanes, or wandering about the dark churchyard, or retracing some one or other of the scenes of the past day: when he was roused by Toby Crackit jumping up and declaring it was half-past one.
In an instant, the other two were on their legs, and all were actively engaged in busy preparation. Sikes and his companion enveloped their necks and chins in large dark shawls, and drew on their great-coats; Barney, opening a cupboard, brought forth several articles, which he hastily crammed into the pockets.
Barkers for me, Barney, said Toby Crackit.
Here they are, replied Barney, producing a pair of pistols. You loaded them yourself.
All right! replied Toby, stowing them away. The persuaders?
I've got 'em, replied Sikes.
Crape, keys, centre-bits, darkies nothing forgotten? inquired Toby: fastening a small crowbar to a loop inside the skirt of his coat.
All right, rejoined his companion. Bring them bits of timber, Barney. That's the time of day.
With these words, he took a thick stick from Barney's hands, who, having delivered another to Toby, busied himself in fastening on Oliver's cape.
Now then! said Sikes, holding out his hand.
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