Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 2.djvu/251

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Oliver Twist.

the gateway when he accidentally stumbled against a tall man wrapped in a cloak, who was that moment coming out at the inn-door.

"Hah!" cried the man, fixing his eyes on Oliver, and suddenly recoiling. "What the devil's this?"

"I beg your pardon, sir," said Oliver; "I was in a great hurry to get home, and didn't see you were coming."

"Death!" muttered the man to himself, glaring at the boy with his large dark eyes. "Who'd have thought it! Grind him to ashes! he'd start up from a marble coffin to come in my way!"

"I am sorry, sir," stammered Oliver, confused by the strange man's wild look. "I hope I have not hurt you!"

"Rot his bones!" murmured the man in a horrible passion between his clenched teeth, "if I had only had the courage to say the word, I might have been free of him in a night. Curses light upon your head, and black death upon your heart, you imp! What are you doing here?"