Oliver Twist HTML version

Chapter 20
When Oliver awoke in the morning, he was a good deal surprised to find that a new pair
of shoes, with strong thick soles, had been placed at his bedside; and that his old shoes
had been removed. At first, he was pleased with the discovery: hoping that it might be the
forerunner of his release; but such thoughts were quickly dispelled, on his sitting down to
breakfast along with the Jew, who told him, in a tone and manner which increased his
alarm, that he was to be taken to the residence of Bill Sikes that night.
'To--to--stop there, sir?' asked Oliver, anxiously.
'No, no, my dear. Not to stop there,' replied the Jew. 'We shouldn't like to lose you. Don't
be afraid, Oliver, you shall come back to us again. Ha! ha! ha! We won't be so cruel as to
send you away, my dear. Oh no, no!'
The old man, who was stooping over the fire toasting a piece of bread, looked round as
he bantered Oliver thus; and chuckled as if to show that he knew he would still be very
glad to get away if he could.
'I suppose,' said the Jew, fixing his eyes on Oliver, 'you want to know what you're going
to Bill's for---eh, my dear?'
Oliver coloured, involuntarily, to find that the old thief had been reading his thoughts; but
boldly said, Yes, he did want to know.
'Why, do you think?' inquired Fagin, parrying the question.
'Indeed I don't know, sir,' replied Oliver.
'Bah!' said the Jew, turning away with a disappointed countenance from a close perusal of
the boy's face. 'Wait till Bill tells you, then.'
The Jew seemed much vexed by Oliver's not expressing any greater curiosity on the
subject; but the truth is, that, although Oliver felt very anxious, he was too much
confused by the earnest cunning of Fagin's looks, and his own speculations, to make any
further inquiries just then. He had no other opportunity: for the Jew remained very surly
and silent till night: when he prepared to go abroad.
'You may burn a candle,' said the Jew, putting one upon the table. 'And here's a book for
you to read, till they come to fetch you. Good-night!'
'Good-night!' replied Oliver, softly.