Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 3.djvu/48

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the Jew submissively. "I have never forgot you, Bill; never once."

"No, I'll pound it, that you han't," replied Sikes with a bitter grin. "You've been scheming and plotting away every hour that I've laid shivering and burning here; and Bill was to do this, and Bill was to do that, and Bill was to do it all dirt cheap, as soon as he got well, and was quite poor enough for your work. If it hadn't been for the girl, I might have died."

"There now, Bill," remonstrated the Jew, eagerly catching at the word. "If it hadn't been for the girl! Who was the means of your having such a handy girl about you but me?"

"He says true enough there, God knows!" said Nancy, coming hastily forward. "Let him be, let him be."

Nancy's appearance gave a new turn to the conversation, for the boys, receiving a sly wink from the wary old Jew, began to ply her with liquor, of which, however, she partook very sparingly; while Fagin, assuming an unusual flow of spirits, gradually brought Mr. Sikes into a better temper, by affecting to regard his