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Oliver Twist

Chapter 31
INVOLVES A CRITICAL POSITION
'Who's that?' inquired Brittles, opening the door a little way, with the chain up, and
peeping out, shading the candle with his hand.
'Open the door,' replied a man outside; 'it's the officers from Bow Street, as was sent to
to-day.'
Much comforted by this assurance, Brittles opened the door to its full width, and
confronted a portly man in a great-coat; who walked in, without saying anything more,
and wiped his shoes on the mat, as coolly as if he lived there.
'Just send somebody out to relieve my mate, will you, young man?' said the officer; 'he's
in the gig, a-minding the prad. Have you got a coach 'us here, that you could put it up in,
for five or ten minutes?'
Brittles replying in the affirmative, and pointing out the building, the portly man stepped
back to the garden-gate, and helped his companion to put up the gig: while Brittles
lighted them, in a state of great admiration. This done, they returned to the house, and,
being shown into a parlour, took off their great-coats and hats, and showed like what they
were.
The man who had knocked at the door, was a stout personage of middle height, aged
about fifty: with shiny black hair, cropped pretty close; half-whiskers, a round face, and
sharp eyes. The other was a red-headed, bony man, in top-boots; with a rather ill-
favoured countenance, and a turned-up sinister-looking nose.
'Tell your governor that Blathers and Duff is here, will you?' said the stouter man,
smoothing down his hair, and laying a pair of handcuffs on the table. 'Oh! Good-evening,
master. Can I have a word or two with you in private, if you please?'
This was addressed to Mr. Losberne, who now made his appearance; that gentleman,
motioning Brittles to retire, brought in the two ladies, and shut the door.
'This is the lady of the house,' said Mr. Losberne, motioning towards Mrs. Maylie.
Mr. Blathers made a bow. Being desired to sit down, he put his hat on the floor, and
taking a chair, motioned to Duff to do the same. The latter gentleman, who did not appear
quite so much accustomed to good society, or quite so much at his ease in it--one of the
two--seated himself, after undergoing several muscular affections of the limbs, and the
head of his stick into his mouth, with some embarrassment.
'Now, with regard to this here robbery, master,' said Blathers. 'What are the
circumstances?'
 
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