She struggles with this conflict and gets paler with each passing day. Sometimes she is preoccupied. She occasionally laughs without reason. At other times, she is depressed and anxious.
Sunday night, Sikes is talking with Fagin. He laments that it is a perfect night for business, and yet there is nothing for them to do just now.
Nancy puts on her bonnet, intending to keep her promise to walk on the London Bridge at the appointed hour. Sikes is interested in where she is going, and he becomes suspicious with her evasive answers. He tells her she isn’t going out. She complains that she is ill and needs fresh air. He tells her to put her head out the window.
Sikes refuses to let her go. Nancy gets hysterical. Sikes threatens to set his dog on her. She remains insistent that she’d be allowed to go out. He drags her into a room and holds her down in a chair until midnight. She is exhausted by her struggles.
Sikes rejoins Fagin in the other room, wondering why she wanted to go out. He thought he had tamed her, but she is worse. He thinks she has the fever. He’ll bleed her if she acts like that again. He thinks being shut in all that time while he was ill affected her.
Nancy reappears, eyes swollen—but she bursts into a fit of laughter as she rocks to and fro. Fagin asks for someone to light the way out. Sikes orders Nancy to do it.
Fagin asks Nancy what is wrong. He thinks Nancy behaves this way because Sikes treats her badly. He assures her that he is her friend and would avenge her of those who abuse her. Nancy is repelled by Fagin but conceals it.
Fagin thinks Nancy has a new friend. He had noticed her mood changes, her lack of interest in activities she had once been part of, and her insistence to leave at a particular hour. He wishes to ascertain this and acquire her for himself.
Fagin knows that if Nancy left, Sikes would maim or wound the object of her affection. He knows too much, and Fagin hopes to use Nancy to eliminate him. Fagin would have more control over Nancy if he induced her to commit the crime.
He wishes to find out who her new friend is so he can use it to blackmail her and get her to do what he wants.