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Chapter 9

  • It was late next morning when Oliver awoke, from a sound, long sleep. Ther_as no other person in the room but the old Jew, who was boiling some coffe_n a saucepan for breakfast, and whistling softly to himself as he stirred i_ound and round, with an iron spoon. He would stop every now and then t_isten when there was the least noise below: and when he had satistifie_imself, he would go on whistling and stirring again, as before.
  • Although Oliver had roused himself from sleep, he was not thoroughly awake.
  • There is a drowsy state, between sleeping and waking, when you dream more i_ive minutes with your eyes half open, and yourself half conscious o_verything that is passing around you, than you would in five nights with you_yes fast closed, and your senses wrapt in perfect unconsciousness. At suc_ime, a mortal knows just enough of what his mind is doing, to form som_limmering conception of its mighty powers, its bounding from earth an_purning time and space, when freed from the restraint of its corporea_ssociate.
  • Oliver was precisely in this condition. He saw the Jew with his half-close_yes; heard his low whistling; and recognised the sound of the spoon gratin_gainst the saucepan's sides: and yet the self-same senses were mentall_ngaged, at the same time, in busy action with almost everybody he had eve_nown.
  • When the coffee was done, the Jew drew the saucepan to the hob. Standing, the_n an irresolute attitude for a few minutes, as if he did not well know how t_mploy himself, he turned round and looked at Oliver, and called him by hi_ame. He did not answer, and was to all appearances asleep.
  • After satisfying himself upon this head, the Jew stepped gently to the door: which he fastened. He then drew forth: as it seemed to Oliver, from some tra_n the floor: a small box, which he placed carefully on the table. His eye_listened as he raised the lid, and looked in. Dragging an old chair to th_able, he sat down; and took from it a magnificent gold watch, sparkling wit_ewels.
  • 'Aha!' said the Jew, shrugging up his shoulders, and distorting every featur_ith a hideous grin. 'Clever dogs! Clever dogs! Staunch to the last! Neve_old the old parson where they were. Never poached upon old Fagin! And wh_hould they? It wouldn't have loosened the knot, or kept the drop up, a minut_onger. No, no, no! Fine fellows! Fine fellows!'
  • With these, and other muttered reflections of the like nature, the Jew onc_ore deposited the watch in its place of safety. At least half a dozen mor_ere severally drawn forth from the same box, and surveyed with equa_leasure; besides rings, brooches, bracelets, and other articles of jewellery, of such magnificent materials, and costly workmanship, that Oliver had n_dea, even of their names.
  • Having replaced these trinkets, the Jew took out another: so small that it la_n the palm of his hand. There seemed to be some very minute inscription o_t; for the Jew laid it flat upon the table, and shading it with his hand, pored over it, long and earnestly. At length he put it down, as if despairin_f success; and, leaning back in his chair, muttered:
  • 'What a fine thing capital punishment is! Dead men never repent; dead me_ever bring awkward stories to light. Ah, it's a fine thing for the trade!
  • Five of 'em strung up in a row, and none left to play booty, or turn white- livered!'
  • As the Jew uttered these words, his bright dark eyes, which had been starin_acantly before him, fell on Oliver's face; the boy's eyes were fixed on hi_n mute curiousity; and although the recognition was only for an instant—fo_he briefest space of time that can possibly be conceived—it was enough t_how the old man that he had been observed.
  • He closed the lid of the box with a loud crash; and, laying his hand on _read knife which was on the table, started furiously up. He trembled ver_uch though; for, even in his terror, Oliver could see that the knife quivere_n the air.
  • 'What's that?' said the Jew. 'What do you watch me for? Why are you awake?
  • What have you seen? Speak out, boy! Quick—quick! for your life.
  • 'I wasn't able to sleep any longer, sir,' replied Oliver, meekly. 'I am ver_orry if I have disturbed you, sir.'
  • 'You were not awake an hour ago?' said the Jew, scowling fiercely on the boy.
  • 'No! No, indeed!' replied Oliver.
  • 'Are you sure?' cried the Jew: with a still fiercer look than before: and _hreatening attitude.
  • 'Upon my word I was not, sir,' replied Oliver, earnestly. 'I was not, indeed, sir.'
  • 'Tush, tush, my dear!' said the Jew, abruptly resuming his old manner, an_laying with the knife a little, before he laid it down; as if to induce th_elief that he had caught it up, in mere sport. 'Of course I know that, m_ear. I only tried to frighten you. You're a brave boy. Ha! ha! you're a brav_oy, Oliver.' The Jew rubbed his hands with a chuckle, but glanced uneasily a_he box, notwithstanding.
  • 'Did you see any of these pretty things, my dear?' said the Jew, laying hi_and upon it after a short pause.
  • 'Yes, sir,' replied Oliver.
  • 'Ah!' said the Jew, turning rather pale. 'They—they're mine, Oliver; my littl_roperty. All I have to live upon, in my old age. The folks call me a miser, my dear. Only a miser; that's all.'
  • Oliver thought the old gentleman must be a decided miser to live in such _irty place, with so many watches; but, thinking that perhaps his fondness fo_he Dodger and the other boys, cost him a good deal of money, he only cast _eferential look at the Jew, and asked if he might get up.
  • 'Certainly, my dear, certainly,' replied the old gentleman. 'Stay. There's _itcher of water in the corner by the door. Bring it here; and I'll give you _asin to wash in, my dear.'
  • Oliver got up; walked across the room; and stooped for an instant to raise th_itcher. When he turned his head, the box was gone.
  • He had scarcely washed himself, and made everything tidy, by emptying th_asin out of the window, agreeably to the Jew's directions, when the Dodge_eturned: accompanied by a very sprightly young friend, whom Oliver had see_moking on the previous night, and who was now formally introduced to him a_harley Bates. The four sat down, to breakfast, on the coffee, and some ho_olls and ham which the Dodger had brought home in the crown of his hat.
  • 'Well,' said the Jew, glancing slyly at Oliver, and addressing himself to th_odger, 'I hope you've been at work this morning, my dears?'
  • 'Hard,' replied the Dodger.
  • 'As nails,' added Charley Bates.
  • 'Good boys, good boys!' said the Jew. 'What have you got, Dodger?'
  • 'A couple of pocket-books,' replied that young gentlman.
  • 'Lined?' inquired the Jew, with eagerness.
  • 'Pretty well,' replied the Dodger, producing two pocket-books; one green, an_he other red.
  • 'Not so heavy as they might be,' said the Jew, after looking at the inside_arefully; 'but very neat and nicely made. Ingenious workman, ain't he, Oliver?'
  • 'Very indeed, sir,' said Oliver. At which Mr. Charles Bates laughe_proariously; very much to the amazement of Oliver, who saw nothing to laug_t, in anything that had passed.
  • 'And what have you got, my dear?' said Fagin to Charley Bates.
  • 'Wipes,' replied Master Bates; at the same time producing four pocket- handkerchiefs.
  • 'Well,' said the Jew, inspecting them closely; 'they're very good ones, very.
  • You haven't marked them well, though, Charley; so the marks shall be picke_ut with a needle, and we'll teach Oliver how to do it. Shall us, Oliver, eh?
  • Ha! ha! ha!'
  • 'If you please, sir,' said Oliver.
  • 'You'd like to be able to make pocket-handkerchiefs as easy as Charley Bates, wouldn't you, my dear?' said the Jew.
  • 'Very much, indeed, if you'll teach me, sir,' replied Oliver.
  • Master Bates saw something so exquisitely ludicrous in this reply, that h_urst into another laugh; which laugh, meeting the coffee he was drinking, an_arrying it down some wrong channel, very nearly terminated in his prematur_uffocation.
  • 'He is so jolly green!' said Charley when he recovered, as an apology to th_ompany for his unpolite behaviour.
  • The Dodger said nothing, but he smoothed Oliver's hair over his eyes, and sai_e'd know better, by and by; upon which the old gentleman, observing Oliver'_olour mounting, changed the subject by asking whether there had been much o_ crowd at the execution that morning? This made him wonder more and more; fo_t was plain from the replies of the two boys that they had both been there; and Oliver naturally wondered how they could possibly have found time to be s_ery industrious.
  • When the breakfast was cleared away; the merry old gentlman and the two boy_layed at a very curious and uncommon game, which was performed in this way.
  • The merry old gentleman, placing a snuff-box in one pocket of his trousers, _ote-case in the other, and a watch in his waistcoat pocket, with a guard- chain round his neck, and sticking a mock diamond pin in his shirt: buttone_is coat tight round him, and putting his spectacle-case and handkerchief i_is pockets, trotted up and down the room with a stick, in imitation of th_anner in which old gentlemen walk about the streets any hour in the day.
  • Sometimes he stopped at the fire-place, and sometimes at the door, makin_elieve that he was staring with all his might into shop-windows. At suc_imes, he would look constantly round him, for fear of thieves, and would kee_lapping all his pockets in turn, to see that he hadn't lost anything, in suc_ very funny and natural manner, that Oliver laughed till the tears ran dow_is face. All this time, the two boys followed him closely about: getting ou_f his sight, so nimbly, every time he turned round, that it was impossible t_ollow their motions. At last, the Dodger trod upon his toes, or ran upon hi_oot accidently, while Charley Bates stumbled up against him behind; and i_hat one moment they took from him, with the most extraordinary rapidity, snuff-box, note-case, watch-guard, chain, shirt-pin, pocket-handkerchief, eve_he spectacle-case. If the old gentlman felt a hand in any one of his pockets, he cried out where it was; and then the game began all over again.
  • When this game had been played a great many times, a couple of young ladie_alled to see the young gentleman; one of whom was named Bet, and the othe_ancy. They wore a good deal of hair, not very neatly turned up behind, an_ere rather untidy about the shoes and stockings. They were not exactl_retty, perhaps; but they had a great deal of colour in their faces, an_ooked quite stout and hearty. Being remarkably free and agreeable in thei_anners, Oliver thought them very nice girls indeed. As there is no doubt the_ere.
  • The visitors stopped a long time. Spirits were produced, in consequence of on_f the young ladies complaining of a coldness in her inside; and th_onversation took a very convivial and improving turn. At length, Charle_ates expressed his opinion that it was time to pad the hoof. This, i_ccurred to Oliver, must be French for going out; for directly afterwards, th_odger, and Charley, and the two young ladies, went away together, having bee_indly furnished by the amiable old Jew with money to spend.
  • 'There, my dear,' said Fagin. 'That's a pleasant life, isn't it? They hav_one out for the day.'
  • 'Have they done work, sir?' inquired Oliver.
  • 'Yes,' said the Jew; 'that is, unless they should unexpectedly come acros_ny, when they are out; and they won't neglect it, if they do, my dear, depen_pon it. Make 'em your models, my dear. Make 'em your models,' tapping th_ire-shovel on the hearth to add force to his words; 'do everything they bi_ou, and take their advice in all matters—especially the Dodger's, my dear.
  • He'll be a great man himself, and will make you one too, if you take patter_y him.—Is my handkerchief hanging out of my pocket, my dear?' said the Jew, stopping short.
  • 'Yes, sir,' said Oliver.
  • 'See if you can take it out, without my feeling it; as you saw them do, whe_e were at play this morning.'
  • Oliver held up the bottom of the pocket with one hand, as he had seen th_odger hold it, and drew the handkerchief lightly out of it with the other.
  • 'Is it gone?' cried the Jew.
  • 'Here it is, sir,' said Oliver, showing it in his hand.
  • 'You're a clever boy, my dear,' said the playful old gentleman, patting Olive_n the head approvingly. 'I never saw a sharper lad. Here's a shilling fo_ou. If you go on, in this way, you'll be the greatest man of the time. An_ow come here, and I'll show you how to take the marks out of th_andkerchiefs.'
  • Oliver wondered what picking the old gentleman's pocket in play, had to d_ith his chances of being a great man. But, thinking that the Jew, being s_uch his senior, must know best, he followed him quietly to the table, and wa_oon deeply involved in his new study.