Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 3.djvu/185

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"Imagination," said the gentleman, soothing her.

"No imagination," replied the girl in a hoarse voice. "I 'll swear I saw 'coffin' written in every page of the book in large black letters,—ay, and they carried one close to me in the streets to-night."

"There is nothing unusual in that," said the gentleman. "They have passed me often."

"Real ones," rejoined the girl. "This was not."

There was something so uncommon in her manner that the flesh of the concealed listener crept as he heard the girl utter these words, and the blood chilled within him. He had never experienced a greater relief than hearing the sweet voice of the young lady as she begged her to be calm, and not allow herself to become the prey of such fearful fancies.

"Speak to her kindly," said the young lady to her companion. "Poor creature! She seems to need it."

"Your haughty religious people would have held their heads up to see me as I am to-night,