Nancy followed the old man down stairs with the candle. When they reached the passage he laid his finger on his lip, and drawing close to the girl, said in a whisper.
"What is it, Nancy, dear?"
"What do you mean?" replied the girl in the same tone.
"The reason of all this," replied Fagin. "If he"—he pointed with his skinny fornfinger up the stairs—"is so hard with you, (he 's a brute, Nance, a brute-beast) why don 't you—"
"Well!" said the girl, as Fagin paused, with his mouth almost touching her ear, and his eyes looking into hers.
"No matter just now," said the Jew, "we'll talk of this again. You have a friend in me, Nance; a staunch friend. I have the means at hand, quiet and close. If you want revenge on those that treat you like a dog—like a dog! worse than his dog, for he humours him sometimes—come to me. I say, come to me. He is the mere hound of a day, but you know me of old, Nance—of old."