Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 2.djvu/108

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Oliver Twist.

his hand as if in search of some particular person.

The room was illuminated by two gas-lights, the glare of which was prevented by the barred shutters and closely-drawn curtains of faded red, from being visible outside. The ceiling was blackened to prevent its colour being injured by the flaring of the lamps; and the place was so full of dense tobacco-smoke, that at first it was scarcely possible to discern any thing further. By degrees, however, as some of it cleared away through the open door, an assemblage of heads, as confused as the noises that greeted the ear, might be made out; and, as the eye grew more accustomed to the scene, the spectator gradually became aware of the presence of a numerous company, male and female, crowded round a long table, at the upper end of which sat a chairman with a hammer of office in his hand, while a professional gentleman, with a bluish nose and his face tied up for the benefit of a toothache presided at a jingling piano in a remote corner.