Upon the night when Nancy, having lulled Mr. Sikes to sleep, hurried on her self-imposed mission to Rose Maylie, there advanced towards London, by the Great North Road, two persons, upon whom it is expedient that this history should bestow some attention.
to declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true
This was indeed the case; but as it was not Mr. Claypole's habit to repose a blind and foolish confidence in anybody, it should be observed, in justice to that gentleman, that he had trusted Charlotte to this extent, in order that, if they were pursued, the money might be found on her: which would leave him an opportunity of asserting his innocence of any theft, and would greatly facilitate his chances of escape.
the state of being indistinct or indefinite for lack of adequate illumination
The given definition focuses on the physical nature of obscurity, but another meaning of "obscurity" is "the quality of being unclear and hard to understand." This double meaning could also apply to the phrase "intricate and dirty ways"--which describes both the physical streets and the nature of the dealings in that part of town.
Just pausing to observe which appeared the most crowded streets, and consequently the most to be avoided, he crossed into Saint John's Road, and was soon deep in the obscurity of the intricate and dirty ways, which, lying between Gray's Inn Lane and Smithfield, render that part of the town one of the lowest and worst that improvement has left in the midst of London.
Noah Claypole's mind might have been at ease after this assurance, but his body certainly was not; for he shuffled and writhed about, into various uncouth positions: eyeing his new friend meanwhile with mingled fear and suspicion.
(law) a formal objection to an opponent's pleadings
"Majesty" ("impressiveness in scale or proportion") and "mandate" ("a document giving an official instruction or command"), along with "demur", are used to give a mocking impression of a formal court of law. In actuality, Noah is simply ordering Charlotte to take the packages upstairs, so that he can talk about illegal matters with Fagin.
This mandate, which had been delivered with great majesty, was obeyed without the slightest demur; and Charlotte made the best of her way off with the packages while Noah held the door open and watched her out.
Mr. Fagin saw, with delight, that this tribute to his powers were no mere compliment, but that he had really impressed his recruit with a sense of his wily genius, which it was most important that he should entertain in the outset of their acquaintance.
While a feeling of chagrin is embarrassment that can be overcome, a feeling of despondency would be harder to shake: Master Bates is embarrassed for his friend the Artful Dodger for getting caught stealing a cheap snuffbox and he is feeling "downcast, disheartened and hopeless" that his friend will be going to an overseas jail for the rest of his life for that instead of for a more glorious crime.
With this expression of feeling for his unfortunate friend, Master Bates sat himself on the nearest chair with an aspect of chagrin and despondency.
Thus equipped, he was to saunter into the office, as some country fellow from Covent Garden market might be supposed to do for the gratification of his curiosity; and as he was as awkward, ungainly, and raw-boned a fellow as need be, Mr. Fagin had no fear but that he would look the part to perfection.
Noah Claypole, or Morris Bolter as the reader pleases, punctually followed the directions he had received, which--Master Bates being pretty well acquainted with the locality--were so exact that he was enabled to gain the magisterial presence without asking any question, or meeting with any interruption by the way.
moral perversion; impairment of virtue and moral principles
There was an old smoky bust over the mantel-shelf, and a dusty clock above the dock--the only thing present, that seemed to go on as it ought; for depravity, or poverty, or an habitual acquaintance with both, had left a taint on all the animate matter, hardly less unpleasant than the thick greasy scum on every inanimate object that frowned upon it.
Nancy is adept ("having or showing knowledge and skill and aptitude") in two arts that are both about deception. Although "cunning" can also mean "showing inventiveness and skill" without using any deception, that would not fit the description of a girl who's used to a life of crime.
Adept as she was, in all the arts of cunning and dissimulation, the girl Nancy could not wholly conceal the effect which the knowledge of the step she had taken wrought upon her mind.
a bottomless gulf or pit; any unfathomable (or apparently unfathomable) cavity or chasm or void extending below (often used figuratively)
Vile as those schemes were, desperate as were their originators, and bitter as were her feelings towards Fagin, who had led her, step by step, deeper and deeper down into an abyss of crime and misery, whence was no escape; still, there were times when, even towards him, she felt some relenting, lest her disclosure should bring him within the iron grasp he had so long eluded, and he should fall at last--richly as he merited such a fate--by her hand.
specify as a condition or requirement in a contract or agreement; make an express demand or provision in an agreement
Her fears for Sikes would have been more powerful inducements to recoil while there was yet time; but she had stipulated that her secret should be rigidly kept, she had dropped no clue which could lead to his discovery, she had refused, even for his sake, a refuge from all the guilt and wretchedness that encompassed her--and what more could she do!
Sikes looked on, for a minute, watching his opportunity, and suddenly pinioning her hands dragged her, struggling and wrestling with him by the way, into a small room adjoining, where he sat himself on a bench, and thrusting her into a chair, held her down by force.
Her altered manner, her repeated absences from home alone, her comparative indifference to the interests of the gang for which she had once been so zealous, and, added to these, her desperate impatience to leave home that night at a particular hour, all favoured the supposition, and rendered it, to him at least, almost matter of certainty.
Their appearance was not calculated to attract the importunate regards of such of London's destitute population, as chanced to take their way over the bridge that night in search of some cold arch or doorless hovel wherein to lay their heads; they stood there in silence: neither speaking nor spoken to, by any one who passed.
But he did not take his eyes off the robber, for an instant, during this action; and now that they sat over against each other, face to face, he looked fixedly at him, with his lips quivering so violently, and his face so altered by the emotions which had mastered him, that the housebreaker involuntarily drew back his chair, and surveyed him with a look of real affright.
He acted upon this impulse without delay, and choosing the least frequented roads began his journey back, resolved to lie concealed within a short distance of the metropolis, and, entering it at dusk by a circuitous route, to proceed straight to that part of it which he had fixed on for his destination.
lightening a penalty or excusing from a chore by judges or parents or teachers
I will appeal to the law too; but when you have gone too far to recede, do not sue to me for leniency, when the power will have passed into other hands; and do not say I plunged you down the gulf into which you rushed, yourself."
I know that of the wretched marriage, into which family pride, and the most sordid and narrowest of all ambition, forced your unhappy father when a mere boy, you were the sole and most unnatural issue."
affected by blight; anything that mars or prevents growth or prosperity
"When they had been separated for some time," returned Mr. Brownlow, "and your mother, wholly given up to continental frivolities, had utterly forgotten the young husband ten good years her junior, who, with prospects blighted, lingered on at home, he fell among new friends.
humble in spirit or manner; suggesting retiring mildness or even cowed submissiveness
"Especially, when the exclusive young man has got a friend stopping with him, that's arrived sooner than was expected from foreign parts, and is too modest to want to be presented to the Judges on his return," added Mr. Kags.
The crowd had been hushed during these few moments, watching his motions and doubtful of his purpose, but the instant they perceived it and knew it was defeated, they raised a cry of triumphant execration to which all their previous shouting had been whispers.
a longing for something better than the present situation
She didn't quite rely, however, on their discontent and poverty for the child's unhappiness, but told the history of the sister's shame, with such alterations as suited her; bade them take good heed of the child, for she came of bad blood; and told them she was illegitimate, and sure to go wrong at one time or other.
There was nobody there, to speak to him; but, as he passed, the prisoners fell back to render him more visible to the people who were clinging to the bars: and they assailed him with opprobrious names, and screeched and hissed.
It is a standing and very favourite joke, for Mr. Brownlow to rally him on his old prophecy concerning Oliver, and to remind him of the night on which they sat with the watch between them, waiting his return; but Mr. Grimwig contends that he was right in the main, and, in proof thereof, remarks that Oliver did not come back, after all; which always calls forth a laugh on his side, and increases his good humour.
But, if the spirits of the Dead ever come back to earth, to visit spots hallowed by the love--the love beyond the grave--of those whom they knew in life, I believe that the shade of Agnes sometimes hovers round that solemn nook.