Page:Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Volume 2.djvu/234

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policeman kept near them, saying it wasn't safe to go far there alone.

Vice, poverty, dirt, and suffering reigned supreme within a stone's throw of one of the great thoroughfares, and made Alsatia dangerous ground for respectable feet. Here, too, they saw familiar phantoms: poor Jo, perpetually moving on; and little Oliver, led by Nancy, with a shawl over her head and a black eye; Bill Sykes, lounging in a doorway, looking more ruffianly than ever; and the Artful Dodger, who kept his eye on them as two hopeful "plants" with profitable pockets ready for him.

They soon had enough of this, and hurried on along High Holborn, till they came to Kingsgate street, so like the description that I am sure Dickens must have been there and taken notes. They knew the house in a moment: there were the two dingy windows over the bird-shop; the checked curtains were drawn, but of course the bottomless bandboxes, the wooden pippins, green umbrella, and portrait of Miss Harris were all behind them. It seemed so real that they quite expected to see a red, snuffy old face appear, and to hear a drowsy voice exclaim: "Drat that bell: I'm a coming. Don't tell me