Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 2.djvu/327

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Oliver Twist.

"What do you mean?" demanded the stranger sternly.

"That she died last winter," rejoined Mr. Bumble.

The man looked fixedly at him when he had given this information, and although he did not withdraw his eyes, for some time afterwards, his gaze gradually became vacant and abstracted, and he seemed lost in thought. For some time he appeared doubtful whether he ought to be relieved or disappointed by the intelligence, but at length he breathed more freely, and withdrawing his eyes, observed that it was no great matter, and rose as if to depart.

Mr. Bumble was cunning enough, and he at once saw that an opportunity was opened for the lucrative disposal of some secret in the possession of his better half. He well remembered the night of old Sally's death, which the occurrences of that day had given him good reason to recollect as the occasion on which he had proposed to Mrs. Corney, and although that lady had never confided to him the disclosure of which she had been the solitary wit-