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By Charles Dickens
Among other public buildings in a certain town, there is a workhouse…and in this workhouse was born the child whose name is fixed to the start of this story. For a long time it remained a matter of considerable doubt whether Oliver would survive to bear any name at all…there being nobody present by but an old woman, who was rendered rather misty by beer…and a Doctor. Oliver and Nature fought out the point between them. The result was, that, after a few struggles… Oliver breathed, sneezed…and set up a loud cry. As Oliver gave this first proof of the proper action of his lungs the patchwork cover which was carelessly flung over the bed rustled, and the pale face of a young woman rose feebly from the pillow…
MOTHER NURSE MOTHER NARRATOR DOCTOR NURSE DOCTOR NURSE
Let me see the child...and die. Lor’ bless her! My child… So saying and pressing her cold white lips passionately on its forehead, the young woman fell back - and died. It's all over, Mrs. Thingummy! Poor dear! She was a good-looking young woman; where did she come from? She was brought here last night...was found lying in the street... walked some distance, for her shoes were worn to pieces...but where she come from, or where she was going to, nobody knows. The old story - no wedding-ring, I see. Good-night!
© BBC 2013
sir? Susan.bbc. where twenty or thirty other juveniles rolled about the floor all day. Bumble. boy! He was keeping it in the coal-cellar with a select party of two other young gentleman. when they ain't well. after participating with him in a sound thrashing. had implanted a good sturdy spirit in Oliver. Mann. striving to undo the garden-gate. perhaps he would have cried all the louder.co. 2 MRS MANN NARRATOR MRS MANN NARRATOR MRS MANN School Radio www. or fell into the fire from neglect or accident. had been locked up for presuming to be hungry when Mrs. Goodness gracious! Is that you. without the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing.uk/schoolradio © BBC 2013 . Bumble? You’ve had a long walk. it's what I'm obliged to keep a little of in the house. was unexpectedly startled by Mr. Mr. to put into the children’s tonic. Susan! Thrash ‘em and throw ‘em in the cellar! It happened in eight and a half cases out of ten either that a child sickened from want and cold. the good lady of the house. Bumble. who. My heart alive! Mr. or inheritance. sure-ly! BUMBLE NARRATOR MRS MANN BUMBLE MRS MANN Mrs Mann! Mr Bumble officiously deposits his hat and cane on the table before him… Now. Mr. will you take a little drop of somethink. under the parental superintendence of an elderly woman. how glad I am to see you. In the cellar with you. take Oliver and them two brats upstairs and wash 'em directly. Bumble. But nature.School Radio NARRATOR If Oliver could have known that he was the orphan of a workhouse – to be cuffed and buffeted through the world – despised by all and pitied by none. Bumble. ******** NARRATOR Oliver was dispatched to a branch-workhouse some three miles off. Mr. What is it? Why.
Sir. sir! Well. The last was a S – Swubble. I have got names ready to the end of the alphabet all the way through to Z! Why. perhaps I may be. Now. Bumble! I. she can't. Mann. then? I inwented it. I drink your health with cheerfulness. Mrs. Susan! Bring the boy. Make a bow to the gentleman. So let me see him at once. is nine year old today. MRS MANN BUMBLE MRS MANN NARRATOR MRS MANN OLIVER BUMBLE OLIVER BUMBLE NARRATOR 3 School Radio www. the workhouse board have determined to have him back. Oh Lor’ what a thirst! The child that was half baptized Oliver Twist. I have come out myself to take him there. You.uk/schoolradio © BBC 2013 . We name our fondlings in alphabetical order. Oliver being too old to remain here. Mann.bbc. Mr. Oliver. Lor’ bless him! But how comes he to have any name at all. well. This was a T – Twist. Will you go along with me. Perhaps I may be. I named him. Mann. Mrs. But she'll come and see you sometimes.School Radio BUMBLE MRS MANN BUMBLE MRS MANN BUMBLE MRS MANN BUMBLE You feel as a mother. Mrs. Oliver was pushed into the room. Oliver? Will she go with me? No. you're quite a literary character.co. Which was very great consolation to the child. I named him.
I want some more. The gruel is eaten The boys whisper and nudge Oliver. The bowls never wanted washing. Desperate with hunger and reckless with misery. as the cottage-gate closed after him. sir. The gruel is served out. What! Please. Fetch Mr Bumble! Fetch Mr Bumble! As the master beats the boy with his ladle. Oliver Twist and his companions suffered the tortures of this slow starvation for three months: at last they got so wild with hunger.uk/schoolradio © BBC 2013 . Oliver approaches the master. ladled the gruel at mealtimes. The boys polished them with their spoons till they shone again and then they would suck their fingers with the view of catching up any stray splashes of gruel that might have been cast thereon. hard bed in the large ward of the workhouse. and taught the useful trade of picking apart old rope for oakum to start that very next morning. I want some more. as he lay on the rough. with a large copper pot at one end: out of which the master. sobbing himself to sleep. basin and spoon in hand… OLIVER MASTER OLIVER MASTER NARRATOR Please. lots were cast who should walk up to the master after supper that evening. a council was held.School Radio NARRATORY And so Oliver went back to the workhouse where he was born. The evening arrived. Though no kind word or look had ever lighted the gloom of his infant years. Throw away the key! 4 School Radio www. and ask for more. ******** NARRATOR The room in which the boys were fed was a large stone hall.bbc. rushes in horror to the workhouse Board. yet Oliver had burst into an agony of childish grief. Mr Bumble. The boys take their places. and where the workhouse Board now decided that he be educated. sir. and it fell to Oliver. The master is stationed at the pot.co. The boy Oliver Twist has asked for more! Throw him in the cellar. at six o'clock.
roasting their feet makes 'em struggle to hextricate their selves before they’ve got themselves smothered. and wery lazy. and from where he is carried every other day into the hall where the boys dine. for boys is wery obstinit.uk/schoolradio © BBC 2013 . Mr Gamfield is taken before the workhouse Board.bbc. the chimney-sweeper. It’s a light and pleasant trade.co. boy. not Mr. five pounds and Oliver Twist will be offered to any man or woman who wants an apprentice to any trade. a bill is pasted on the outside of the workhouse gate. Oh! Mr Bumble…why. the local undertaker? Mr. even if they've stuck in the chimbley. ******** NARRATOR GAMFIELD NARRATOR GAMFIELD The first person to read the notice on the gate is Mr Gamfield. Gen'l'men. Sir. NARRATOR 5 School Radio www. And though they may get stuck. and shoes to match. with darned cotton socks of the same colour. One as could climb up the chimbleys and not get stuck. Gamfield. offering a reward of five pounds to anyone who will take Oliver Twist off the hands of the parish. It's humane too.School Radio NARRATOR While Oliver sits in the dark. BUMBLE OLIVER SOWERB I’ve brought the boy. gen'l'men. and there flogged as a public warning and example. No. where in all probability the skipper would flog him to death in a playful mood. large-jointed man. Five pounds and a boy. Now make a bow. he’s very small. I find there's nothink like a good hot blaze to make 'em come down vith a run. Mr Sowerberry. or calling. some day after dinner? Or perhaps Mr Sowerberry. dressed in a suit of threadbare black. Sowerberry was a tall. Meanwhile Oliver remains a prisoner in the dark and solitary room where he cries bitterly all day. Could the board send him to sea. In other words. acause. business.
sir. he'll grow! ******** NARRATOR Night.uk/schoolradio © BBC 2013 . sleeping among the coffins.co. he is rather small. for his expression of melancholy. will yer? I will. sir. to the admiration of all the mothers in the town. it being a nice sickly season in which measles were prevalent. But he'll grow. Oliver is in his bed beneath the counter. my work'us brat! Yer don't know who I am. to drive him mad with terror… Then the next morning… NOAH OLIVER NOAH OLIVER NOAH OLIVER NOAH Open the door. in a hat-band reaching down to his knees. He almost expects to see some frightful form slowly rear its head from it. A cold tremble comes over Oliver every time his eyes wander in its direction. I suppose. An unfinished coffin is standing on black tressels in the middle of the shop. sir. Mr Noah Claypole. I suppose yer the new boy. There's no denying it. Sowerberry. Take down the shutters. was soon promoted over the large-headed. NOAH 6 School Radio www. you just see if I don't. Yer little sneak. And. many were the mournful processions which little Oliver headed.bbc. and to the envy of Noah. yer idle young ruffian! NARRATOR But Oliver. noted by Mr Sowerberry. Then I'll whop yer when I get in. ain't yer? Yes. Work'us? I'm Mister Noah Claypole. that's all. directly. Mr.School Radio BUMBLE Why. How old are yer? I’m ten now. and you're under me.
yer mother was a regular right-down bad 'un. and at once gives Oliver a drubbing… With the first ray of light Oliver rises and unbars the door. For which he is locked in the cellar by Mrs Sowerberry… Mr Sowerberry returns at last. The stone bears. London! That great place! Nobody could ever find him there! Jumping upon his feet. how's your mother? She's dead.co.School Radio NARRATOR Noah was pulling Oliver's hair and twitching his ears. Work'us. which is more likely than either. Work'us. Noah did what many sometimes do to this day when they want to be funny. He got rather personal. What did you say? And it's a great deal better. in large letters.uk/schoolradio © BBC 2013 . that she died when she did. or else she'd have been hard labouring. Work'us. I think I know what it must be to die of that! Don't you say anything more about her. don't you say anything about her to me! What did she die of. he walks quickly on. an intimation that it is just seventy miles from that spot to London.bbc. not making Oliver cry. Oliver fells Noah to the ground. Work'us? Of a broken heart. as was his usual custom. But. NOAH OLIVER NOAH OLIVER NOAH OLIVER NOAH NARRATOR 7 School Radio www. Oliver sits down to rest by the side of a milestone. they told me. or transported…or hung. One moment of hesitation – and he has closed the door behind him and is in the open street… After nearly five miles of running and hiding under hedges. isn't it? Crimson with fury. you'd better not! Better not! Better not! Well! But yer must know.
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