Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 3.djvu/21

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"Add five pounds to the sum you have named, give me five-and-twenty pounds in gold," said the woman, "and I'll tell you all I know—not before."

"Five - and - twenty pounds!" exclaimed Monks, drawing back.

"I spoke as plainly as I could," replied Mrs. Bumble, "and it's not a large sum either."

"Not a large sum for a paltry secret, that may be nothing when it's told!" cried Monks impatiently, "and which has been lying dead for twelve years past, or more!"

"Such matters keep well, and, like good wine, often double their value in course of time," answered the matron, still preserving the resolute indifference she had assumed. "As to lying dead, there are those who will lie dead for twelve thousand years to come, or twelve million, for any thing you or I know, who will tell strange tales at last!"

"What if I pay it for nothing?" asked Monks, hesitating.