Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 2.djvu/73

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Oliver Twist.

was, and handed Mr. Bumble another cup of tea.

"Hard-hearted, Mrs. Corney ?" said Mr. Bumble, stirring his tea, and looking up into the matron's face; "are you hard-hearted, Mrs. Corney?"

"Dear me!" exclaimed the matron, "what a very curious question from a single man. What can you want to know for, Mr. Bumble?"

The beadle drank his tea to the last drop, finished a piece of toast, whisked the crumbs off his knees, wiped his lips, and deliberately kissed the matron.

"Mr. Bumble," cried that discreet lady in a whisper, for the fright was so great that she had quite lost her voice, "Mr. Bumble, I shall scream!" Mr. Bumble made no reply, but in a slow and dignified manner put his arm round the matron's waist.

As the lady had stated her intention of screaming, of course she would have screamed at this additional boldness, but that the exertion was rendered unnecessary by a hasty knocking