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the two boys played at a very curious and uncommon game, which was performed in this way :—The merry old gentleman, placing a snuff. box in one pocket of his trousers, a note-case in the other, and a watch in his waistcoat-pocket, with a guard-chain round his neck, and sticking a mock diamond pin in his shirt, buttoned his coat tight round him, and, putting his and handkerchief in the pockets, trotted up and down the room with a stick, in imitation of the manner in which old gentlemen walk about the streets every hour in the day. Sometimes he stopped at the fire-place, and sometimes at the door, making belief that he was staring with all his might into shop-windows. At such times he would look constantly round for fear of thieves, and keep slapping all his pockets in turn, to see that he hadn't lost anything, in such a very funny and natural manner, that Oliver laughed till the tears ran down his face. All this time the two boys followed him closely about, getting out of his sight so nimbly every time he turned round, that it was impossible to follow their motions. At last the Dodger trod upon his toes, or ran upon his boot accidentally, while Charley Bates stumbled up against him behind; and in that one mo. ment they took from him with the most extraordinary rapidity, snuff. box, note-case, watch-guard, chain, shirt-pin, pockel handkerchief, even the spectacle-case. If the old gentleman felt a hand in any one of his pockets, he cried out where it was, and then the game began all over again.

When this game had been played a great many times, a couple of young ladies came to see the young gentlemen, one of whom was called Bet and the other Nancy. They wore a good deal of hair not very neatly turned up behind, and were rather untidy about the shoes and stochings. They were not exactly pretty, perhaps; but they had a great deal of colour in their faces, and looked quite stout and hearty. Being remarkably free and agreeable in their manners, Oliver though them very nice girls indeed, as there is no doubt they were.

These visiters stopped a long time. Spirits were produced, in con. sequence of one of the young ladies complaining of a coldness in her inside, and the conversation took a very convivial and improving turn. At length Charley Bates expressed his opinion that it was time to pad the hoof, which it occurred to Oliver must be French for going out ; for directly afterwards the Dodger, and Charley, and the two young ladies went away together, having been kindly furnished with money to spend, by the amiable old Jew.

“There, my dear," said Fagin, “that's a pleasant life, isn't it? They have gone out for the day."

"Have they done work, sir ?" inquired Oliver.

“ Yes,” said the Jew; "that is, unless they should unexpectedly come across any when they are out; and they won't neglect it if they do, my dear, depend upon it."

• Make 'em your models, my dear, make 'em your models,” said the Jew, tapping the fire-shovel on the hearth to add force to his words : "do everything they bid you, and take their advice in all matters, especial. ly the Dodger's, my dear. He'll be a great man himself, and make you one too, if you take patern by him. Is my handkerchief hanging out of my pocket, my dear ?" said the Jew stopping short.

“Yes, sir," said Oliver,

"See if you can take it out, without my feeling it, as you saw them do when they were at play this morning":

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Oliver held up the bottom of the pocket with one hand as he had seen the Dodger do, and drew the handkerchief lighly out of it with the other. " Is it gone?" cried the Jew.

Here it is, sir," said Oliver, showing it in his hand. " You're a clever boy, my dear," said the playful old gentleman, patting Oliver on the head approvingly; “I never saw a sharper lad. Here's a shilling for yon. If you go on in this way, you'll be the greatest man of the time. And now come here, and I'll show you how to take the marks out of the handkerchiefs.

Oliver wondered what picking the old gentleman's pocket in play had to do with his chances of being a great man; but thinking that the Jew, being so much his senior, must know best, followed him quietly to the table, and was soon deeply involved in his new study.




For eight or ten days Oliver remained in the Jew's room, picking the marks out of the pocket-handkerchiefs

, (of which a great number were brought home,) and sometimes taking part in the game already described, which the two boys and the Jew played regularly every day. At length he began to languish for the fresh air, and took many occasions of earnestly entreating the old gentleman to allow him to go out to work with his two companions.

Oliver was rendered the more anxious to be actively employed by what he had seen of the stern morality of the old gentleman's character. Whenever the Dodger or Charley Bates came home at night empty-handed. he would expatiate with great vehemence on the misery of idle and lazy habits, and enforce upon them the necessity of an active life by sending them supperless to bed: upon one occasion he even went so far as to knock them both down a flight of stairs; but his was carrying out his virtuous precepts to an unusal extent.

At length one morning Oliver obtained the permission he had so eagerly sought. There had been no handkerchiefs to work upon, for two or three days, and the dinners had been rather meagre. Perhaps these were reasons for the old gentleman's giving his assent; but, whether they were or no, he told Oliver he might go, and place him under the joint guardianship of Charley Bates and his friend the Dodger.

The three boys sallied out, the Dodger with his coat-sleeves tucked up and his hat cocked as usual, Master Bates sauntering along with his hands in his pockets, and Oliver between them, wondering where they were going, and what branch of manufacture he would be instructed in first.

The pace at which they went was such a very lazy, ill-looking saunter, that Oliver soon began to think his companions were going to deceive the old gentleman, by not going to work at all. The Dodger had a vicious propensity, too, of pulling the caps from the heads of small boys and tossing them down areas; while Charley Bates exhibited


This was all done in a mmules space: and the very instar Oliver began to run, the old gentleman, putting his hand to his } and missing his handkerchief, turned sharp round. Seeing th:

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