whether for their own improvemeut or Oliver's, Mr. Fagin best knew. At other times the old man would tell them stories of robberies he had committed in his younger days: mixed up with so much that was droll and curious, that Oliver could not help laughing heartily, and showing that he was amused in spite of all his better feelings.

In short, the wily old Jew had the boy in his toils. Having prepared: his mind, by solitude and gloom, to, prefer any society to the companionship of his own sad thoughts in such a dreary place, he was now slowly instilling, into his soul the poison which he hoped would blacken it, and change its hue for ever.


CHAPTER XIX
In which a notable plan is discussed and determined on

IT was a chill, damp, windy night, when the Jew: buttoning his great-coat tight round his shrivelled body, and pulling the collar up over his cars so as completely to obscure the lower part of his face: emerged from his den. He paused on the step as the door was locked and chained behind him; and having listened while the boys made all secure, and until their retreating footsteps were no longer audible, slunk down the street as quickly as he could.

The house to which Oliver had been conveyed, was in the neighbourhood of Whitechapel. The Jew stopped for an instant at die corner of the street; and, glancing suspidously round, crossed, the road, and struck off in the direction, of Spitalfields.

The mud lay thick upon the stones, and a black mist hung over the streets; the rain fell sluggishly down, and everything felt cold and chammy to the touch. It seemed just the night when it befitted such a being as the Jew to be abroad.

-167-

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