The footsteps approached nearer; they reached the landing, the door was slowly opened, and the Dodger and Charley Bates entered and closed it behind them.
"Where's Oliver?" said the furious Jew, rising with a menacing look: "where 's the boy?"
The young thieves eyed their preceptor as if they were alarmed at his violence, and looked uneasily at each other, but made no reply.
"What's become of the boy?" said the Jew, seizing the Dodger tightly by the collar, and threatening him with horrid imprecations. "Speak out, or I'll throttle you!"
Mr. Fagin looked so very much in earnest, that Charley Bates, who deemed it prudent in all cases to be on the safe side, and conceived it by no means improbable that it might be his turn to be throttled second, dropped upon his knees, and raised a loud, well-sustained, and continuous roar, something between an insane bull and a speaking-trumpet.
"Will you speak?" thundered the Jew, shaking the Dodger so much that his keeping