Of course it is, replied Mr. Bolter. What do yer talk about such things for?
Only to show you my meaning clearly, said the Jew, raising his eyebrows. To be able to do that, you depend upon me. To keep my little business all snug, I depend upon you. The first is your number one, the second my number one. The more you value your number one, the more careful you must be of mine; so we come at last to what I told you at first that a regard for number one holds us all together, and must do so, unless we would all go to pieces in company.
That's true, rejoined Mr. Bolter, thoughtfully. Oh! yer a cunning old codger!
Mr. Fagin saw, with delight, that this tribute to his powers were no mere compliment, but that he had really impressed his recruit with a sense of his wily genius, which it was most important that he should entertain in the outset of their acquaintance. To strengthen an impression so desirable and useful, he followed up the blow by acquainting him, in some detail, with the magnitude and extent of his operations; blending truth and fiction together, as best served his purpose; and bringing both to bear, with so much art, that Mr. Bolter's respect visibly increased, and became tempered, at the same time, with a degree of wholesome fear, which it was highly desirable to awaken.
It's this mutual trust we have in each other that consoles me under heavy losses, said Fagin. My best hand was taken from me, yesterday morning.
You don't mean to say he died? cried Mr. Bolter.
No, no, replied Fagin, not so bad as that. Not quite so bad.
What, I suppose he was
Wanted, interposed Fagin. Yes, he was wanted.
Very particular? inquired Mr. Bolter.
No, replied Fagin, not very. He was charged with attempting to pick a pocket, and they found a silver snuffbox on him, his own, my dear, his own, for he took snuff himself, and was very fond of it. They remanded him till to-day, for they thought they knew the owner. Ah! he was worth fifty boxes, and I'd give the price of as many to have him back. You should have known the Dodger, my dear; you should have known the Dodger.
Well, but I shall know him, I hope; don't yer think so? said Mr. Bolter.
I'm doubtful about it, replied Fagin, with a sigh. If they don't get any fresh evidence, it'll only be a summary conviction, and we shall have him back again after six weeks or so; but, if they do, it's a case of lagging. They know what a clever lad he is; he'll be a lifer. They'll make the Artful nothing less than a lifer.
What do yer mean by lagging and a lifer? demanded Mr. Bolter. What's the good of talking in that way to me; why don't yer speak so as I can understand yer?
Fagin was about to translate these mysterious expressions into the vulgar tongue; and, being interpreted, Mr. Bolter would have been informed that they represented that combination of words, transportation for life, when the dialogue was cut short by the entry of Master Bates, with his hands in his breeches- pockets, and his face twisted into a look of semi-comical woe.
It's all up, Fagin, said Charley, when he and his new companion had been made known to each other.
What do you mean?
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