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Chapter 45

  • The old man was up, betimes, next morning, and waited impatiently for th_ppearance of his new associate, who after a delay that seemed interminable, at length presented himself, and commenced a voracious assault on th_reakfast.
  • 'Bolter,' said Fagin, drawing up a chair and seating himself opposite Morri_olter.
  • 'Well, here I am,' returned Noah. 'What's the matter? Don't yer ask me to d_nything till I have done eating. That's a great fault in this place. Ye_ever get time enough over yer meals.'
  • 'You can talk as you eat, can't you?' said Fagin, cursing his dear youn_riend's greediness from the very bottom of his heart.
  • 'Oh yes, I can talk. I get on better when I talk,' said Noah, cutting _onstrous slice of bread. 'Where's Charlotte?'
  • 'Out,' said Fagin. 'I sent her out this morning with the other young woman, because I wanted us to be alone.'
  • 'Oh!' said Noah. 'I wish yer'd ordered her to make some buttered toast first.
  • Well. Talk away. Yer won't interrupt me.'
  • There seemed, indeed, no great fear of anything interrupting him, as he ha_vidently sat down with a determination to do a great deal of business.
  • 'You did well yesterday, my dear,' said Fagin. 'Beautiful! Six shillings an_inepence halfpenny on the very first day! The kinchin lay will be a fortun_o you.'
  • 'Don't you forget to add three pint-pots and a milk-can,' said Mr. Bolter.
  • 'No, no, my dear. The pint-pots were great strokes of genius: but the milk-ca_as a perfect masterpiece.'
  • 'Pretty well, I think, for a beginner,' remarked Mr. Bolter complacently. 'Th_ots I took off airy railings, and the milk-can was standing by itself outsid_ public-house. I thought it might get rusty with the rain, or catch cold, ye_now. Eh? Ha! ha! ha!'
  • Fagin affected to laugh very heartily; and Mr. Bolter having had his laug_ut, took a series of large bites, which finished his first hunk of bread an_utter, and assisted himself to a second.
  • 'I want you, Bolter,' said Fagin, leaning over the table, 'to do a piece o_ork for me, my dear, that needs great care and caution.'
  • 'I say,' rejoined Bolter, 'don't yer go shoving me into danger, or sending m_ny more o' yer police-offices. That don't suit me, that don't; and so I tel_er.'
  • 'That's not the smallest danger in it—not the very smallest,' said the Jew;
  • 'it's only to dodge a woman.'
  • 'An old woman?' demanded Mr. Bolter.
  • 'A young one,' replied Fagin.
  • 'I can do that pretty well, I know,' said Bolter. 'I was a regular cunnin_neak when I was at school. What am I to dodge her for? Not to—'
  • 'Not to do anything, but to tell me where she goes, who she sees, and, i_ossible, what she says; to remember the street, if it is a street, or th_ouse, if it is a house; and to bring me back all the information you can.'
  • 'What'll yer give me?' asked Noah, setting down his cup, and looking hi_mployer, eagerly, in the face.
  • 'If you do it well, a pound, my dear. One pound,' said Fagin, wishing t_nterest him in the scent as much as possible. 'And that's what I never gav_et, for any job of work where there wasn't valuable consideration to b_ained.'
  • 'Who is she?' inquired Noah.
  • 'One of us.'
  • 'Oh Lor!' cried Noah, curling up his nose. 'Yer doubtful of her, are yer?'
  • 'She has found out some new friends, my dear, and I must know who they are,'
  • replied Fagin.
  • 'I see,' said Noah. 'Just to have the pleasure of knowing them, if they'r_espectable people, eh? Ha! ha! ha! I'm your man.'
  • 'I knew you would be,' cried Fagin, elated by the success of his proposal.
  • 'Of course, of course,' replied Noah. 'Where is she? Where am I to wait fo_er? Where am I to go?'
  • 'All that, my dear, you shall hear from me. I'll point her out at the prope_ime,' said Fagin. 'You keep ready, and leave the rest to me.'
  • That night, and the next, and the next again, the spy sat booted and equippe_n his carter's dress: ready to turn out at a word from Fagin. Six night_assed—six long weary nights—and on each, Fagin came home with a disappointe_ace, and briefly intimated that it was not yet time. On the seventh, h_eturned earlier, and with an exultation he could not conceal. It was Sunday.
  • 'She goes abroad to-night,' said Fagin, 'and on the right errand, I'm sure; for she has been alone all day, and the man she is afraid of will not be bac_uch before daybreak. Come with me. Quick!'
  • Noah started up without saying a word; for the Jew was in a state of suc_ntense excitement that it infected him. They left the house stealthily, an_urrying through a labyrinth of streets, arrived at length before a public- house, which Noah recognised as the same in which he had slept, on the nigh_f his arrival in London.
  • It was past eleven o'clock, and the door was closed. It opened softly on it_inges as Fagin gave a low whistle. They entered, without noise; and the doo_as closed behind them.
  • Scarcely venturing to whisper, but substituting dumb show for words, Fagin, and the young Jew who had admitted them, pointed out the pane of glass t_oah, and signed to him to climb up and observe the person in the adjoinin_oom.
  • 'Is that the woman?' he asked, scarcely above his breath.
  • Fagin nodded yes.
  • 'I can't see her face well,' whispered Noah. 'She is looking down, and th_andle is behind her.
  • 'Stay there,' whispered Fagin. He signed to Barney, who withdrew. In a_nstant, the lad entered the room adjoining, and, under pretence of snuffin_he candle, moved it in the required position, and, speaking to the girl, caused her to raise her face.
  • 'I see her now,' cried the spy.
  • 'Plainly?'
  • 'I should know her among a thousand.'
  • He hastily descended, as the room-door opened, and the girl came out. Fagi_rew him behind a small partition which was curtained off, and they held thei_reaths as she passed within a few feet of their place of concealment, an_merged by the door at which they had entered.
  • 'Hist!' cried the lad who held the door. 'Dow.'
  • Noah exchanged a look with Fagin, and darted out.
  • 'To the left,' whispered the lad; 'take the left had, and keep od the othe_ide.'
  • He did so; and, by the light of the lamps, saw the girl's retreating figure, already at some distance before him. He advanced as near as he considere_rudent, and kept on the opposite side of the street, the better to observ_er motions. She looked nervously round, twice or thrice, and once stopped t_et two men who were following close behind her, pass on. She seemed to gathe_ourage as she advanced, and to walk with a steadier and firmer step. The sp_reserved the same relative distance between them, and followed: with his ey_pon her.