the chest of the merry old gentleman, and caused him to stagger to the wall, where he stood panting for breath while Mr. Chitling looked on in intense dismay.
"Hark!" cried the Dodger at this moment, "I heard the tinkler." Catching up the light, he crept softly up stairs.
The bell rang again with some impatience while the party were in darkness. After a short pause, the Dodger reappeared, and whispered Fagin mysteriously.
"What!" cried the Jew, "alone?"
The Dodger nodded in the affirmative, and, shading the flame of the candle with his hand, gave Charley Bates a private intimation in dumb show that he had better not be funny just then. Having performed this friendly office, he fixed his eyes on the Jew's face and awaited his directions.
The old man bit his yellow fingers, and meditated for some seconds; his face working with agitation the while, as if he dreaded something, and feared to know the worst. At length he raised his head.