on the table with the piece of chalk which had served him in lieu of counters; whistling, meantime, with peculiar shrillness.
How precious dull you are, Tommy! said the Dodger, stopping short when there had been a long silence; and addressing Mr. Chitling. What do you think he's thinking of, Fagin?
How should I know, my dear? replied the Jew, looking round as he plied the bellows. About his losses, maybe; or the little retirement in the country that he's just left, eh? Ha! ha! Is that it, my dear?
Not a bit of it, replied the Dodger, stopping the subject of discourse as Mr. Chitling was about to reply. What do you say, Charley?
I should say, replied Master Bates, with a grin, that he was uncommon sweet upon Betsy. See how he's a-blushing! Oh, my eye! here's a merry-go-rounder! Tommy Chitling's in love! Oh, Fagin, Fagin! what a spree!
Thoroughly overpowered with the notion of Mr. Chitling being the victim of the tender passion, Master Bates threw himself back in his chair with such violence, that he lost his balance, and pitched over upon the floor; where (the accident abating nothing of his merriment) he lay at full length until his laugh was over, when he resumed his former position, and began another laugh.
Never mind him, my dear, said the Jew, winking at Mr. Dawkins, and giving Master Bates a reproving tap with the nozzle of the bellows. Betsy's a fine girl. Stick up to her, Tom. Stick up to her.
What I mean to say, Fagin, replied Mr. Chitling, very red in the face, is, that that isn't anything to anybody here.
No more it is, replied the Jew; Charley will talk. Don't mind him, my dear; don't mind him. Betsy's a fine girl. Do as she bids you, Tom, and you will make your fortune.
So I do do as she bids me, replied Mr. Chitling; I shouldn't have been milled, if it hadn't been for her advice. But it turned out a good job for you; didn't it, Fagin! And what's six weeks of it? It must come, some time or another, and why not in the winter time when you don't want to go out a-walking so much; eh, Fagin?
Ah, to be sure, my dear, replied the Jew.
You wouldn't mind it again, Tom, would you, asked the Dodger, winking upon Charley and the Jew, if Bet was all right?
I mean to say that I shouldn't, replied Tom, angrily. There, now. Ah! Who'll say as much as that, I should like to know; eh,Fagin?
Nobody, my dear, replied the Jew; not a soul, Tom. I don't know one of 'em that would do it besides you; not one of 'em, my dear.
I might have got clear off, if I'd split upon her; mightn't I, Fagin? angrily pursued the poor half-witted dupe. A word from me would have done it; wouldn't it, Fagin?
To be sure it would, my dear, replied the Jew.
But I didn't blab it; did I, Fagin? demanded Tom, pouring question upon question with great volubility.
No, no, to be sure, replied the Jew; you were too stout-hearted for that. A deal too stout, my dear!
Perhaps I was, rejoined Tom, looking round; and if I was, what's to laugh at, in that; eh, Fagin?
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