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Oliver Twist.

"To—to— stop there, sir?" asked Oliver, anxiously.

"No, no, my dear, not to stop there," replied the Jew. "We shouldn't like to lose you. Don't be afraid, Oliver, you shall come back to us again. Ha! ha! ha! We won't be so cruel as to send you away, my dear. Oh no, no!"

The old man who was stooping over the fire toasting a piece of bread, looked round as he bantered Oliver thus, and chuckled as if to show that he knew he would still be very glad to get away if he could.

"I suppose," said the Jew, fixing his eyes on Oliver, "you want to know what you're going to Bill's for—eh, my dear?"

Oliver coloured involuntarily to find that the old thief had been reading his thoughts; but boldly said, "Yes, he did want to know."

"Why, do you think?" inquired Fagin, parrying the question.

"Indeed I don't know, sir," replied Oliver.

"Bah!" said the Jew, turning away with a disappointed countenance from a close perusal