Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 3.djvu/12

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OLIVER TWIST.

They were both wrapped in old and shabby outer garments, which might perhaps serve the double purpose of protecting their persons from the rain, and sheltering them from observation; the husband carried a lantern, from which, however, no light yet shone, and trudged on a few paces in front, as though—the way being dirty—to give his wife the benefit of treading in his heavy foot-prints. They went on in profound silence; every now and then Mr. Bumble relaxed his pace, and turned his head round, as if to make sure that his helpmate was following, and, discovering that she was close at his heels, mended his rate of walking, and proceeded at a considerable increase of speed towards their place of destination.

This was far from being a place of doubtful character, for it had long been known as the residence of none but low and desperate ruffians, who, under various pretences of living by their labour, subsisted chiefly on plunder and crime. It was a collection of mere hovels, some hastily built with loose bricks, and others of old worm-eaten ship timber, jumbled together without