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Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many
reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to
which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently
common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and
in this workhouse was born; on a day and date which I need not
trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible
consequence to the reader, in this stage of the business at all
events; the item of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head
of this chapter.
For a long time after it was ushered into this world of sorrow
and trouble, by the parish surgeon, it remained a matter of
considerable doubt whether the child would survive to bear any
name at all; in which case it is somewhat more than probable that
these memoirs would never have appeared; or, if they had, that
being comprised within a couple of pages, they would have
possessed the inestimable merit of being the most concise and
faithful specimen of biography, extant in the literature of any
age or country.
Although I am not disposed to maintain that the being born in a
workhouse, is in itself the most fortunate and enviable
circumstance that can possibly befall a human being, I do mean to
say that in this particular instance, it was the best thing for
Oliver Twist that could by possibility have occurred. The fact
is, that there was considerable difficulty in inducing Oliver to
take upon himself the office of respiration,--a troublesome
practice, but one which custom has rendered necessary to our easy
existence; and for some time he lay gasping on a little flock
mattress, rather unequally poised between this world and the
next: the balance being decidedly in favour of the latter. Now,
if, during this brief period, Oliver had been surrounded by

careful grandmothers, anxious aunts, experienced nurses, and
doctors of profound wisdom, he would most inevitably and
indubitably have been killed in no time. There being nobody by,
however, but a pauper old woman, who was rendered rather misty by
an unwonted allowance of beer; and a parish surgeon who did such
matters by contract; Oliver and Nature fought out the point
between them. The result was, that, after a few struggles,
Oliver breathed, sneezed, and proceeded to advertise to the
inmates of the workhouse the fact of a new burden having been
imposed upon the parish, by setting up as loud a cry as could
reasonably have been expected from a male infant who had not been
possessed of that very useful appendage, a voice, for a much
longer space of time than three minutes and a quarter.
As Oliver gave this first proof of the free and proper action of
his lungs, the patchwork coverlet which was carelessly flung over
the iron bedstead, rustled; the pale face of a young woman was
raised feebly from the pillow; and a faint voice imperfectly
articulated the words, 'Let me see the child, and die.'
The surgeon had been sitting with his face turned towards the
fire: giving the palms of his hands a warm and a rub
alternately. As the young woman spoke, he rose, and advancing to
the bed's head, said, with more kindness than might have been
expected of him:
'Oh, you must not talk about dying yet.'
'Lor bless her dear heart, no!' interposed the nurse, hastily
depositing in her pocket a green glass bottle, the contents of
which she had been tasting in a corner with evident satisfaction.
'Lor bless her dear heart, when she has lived as long as I have,
sir, and had thirteen children of her own, and all on 'em dead
except two, and them in the wurkus with me, she'll know better
than to take on in that way, bless her dear heart! Think what it
is to be a mother, there's a dear young lamb do.'
Apparently this consolatory perspective of a mother's prospects
failed in producing its due effect. The patient shook her head,
and stretched out her hand towards the child.
The surgeon deposited it in her arms. She imprinted her cold
white lips passionately on its forehead; passed her hands over
her face; gazed wildly round; shuddered; fell back--and died.
They chafed her breast, hands, and temples; but the blood had
stopped forever. They talked of hope and comfort. They had been
strangers too long.

'It's all over, Mrs. Thingummy!' said the surgeon at last.
'Ah, poor dear, so it is!' said the nurse, picking up the cork of
the green bottle, which had fallen out on the pillow, as she
stooped to take up the child. 'Poor dear!'
'You needn't mind sending up to me, if the child cries, nurse,'
said the surgeon, putting on his gloves with great deliberation.
'It's very likely it _will_ be troublesome. Give it a little gruel
if it is.' He put on his hat, and, pausing by the bed-side on
his way to the door, added, 'She was a good-looking girl, too;
where did she come from?'
'She was brought here last night,' replied the old woman, 'by the
overseer's order. She was found lying in the street. She had
walked some distance, for her shoes were worn to pieces; but
where she came from, or where she was going to, nobody knows.'
The surgeon leaned over the body, and raised the left hand. 'The
old story,' he said, shaking his head: 'no wedding-ring, I see.
Ah! Good-night!'
The medical gentleman walked away to dinner; and the nurse,
having once more applied herself to the green bottle, sat down on
a low chair before the fire, and proceeded to dress the infant.
What an excellent example of the power of dress, young Oliver
Twist was! Wrapped in the blanket which had hitherto formed his
only covering, he might have been the child of a nobleman or a
beggar; it would have been hard for the haughtiest stranger to
have assigned him his proper station in society. But now that he
was enveloped in the old calico robes which had grown yellow in
the same service, he was badged and ticketed, and fell into his
place at once--a parish child--the orphan of a workhouse--the
humble, half-starved drudge--to be cuffed and buffeted through
the world--despised by all, and pitied by none.
Oliver cried lustily. If he could have known that he was an
orphan, left to the tender mercies of church-wardens and
overseers, perhaps he would have cried the louder.


For the next eight or ten months, Oliver was the victim of a
systematic course of treachery and deception. He was brought up
by hand. The hungry and destitute situation of the infant orphan
was duly reported by the workhouse authorities to the parish
authorities. The parish authorities inquired with dignity of the
workhouse authorities, whether there was no female then domiciled
in 'the house' who was in a situation to impart to Oliver Twist,
the consolation and nourishment of which he stood in need. The
workhouse authorities replied with humility, that there was not.
Upon this, the parish authorities magnanimously and humanely
resolved, that Oliver should be 'farmed,' or, in other words,
that he should be dispatched to a branch-workhouse some three
miles off, where twenty or thirty other juvenile offenders
against the poor-laws, rolled about the floor all day, without
the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing, under
the parental superintendence of an elderly female, who received
the culprits at and for the consideration of sevenpence-halfpenny
per small head per week. Sevenpence-halfpenny's worth per week
is a good round diet for a child; a great deal may be got for
sevenpence-halfpenny, quite enough to overload its stomach, and
make it uncomfortable. The elderly female was a woman of wisdom
and experience; she knew what was good for children; and she had
a very accurate perception of what was good for herself. So, she
appropriated the greater part of the weekly stipend to her own
use, and consigned the rising parochial generation to even a
shorter allowance than was originally provided for them. Thereby
finding in the lowest depth a deeper still; and proving herself a
very great experimental philosopher.
Everybody knows the story of another experimental philosopher who
had a great theory about a horse being able to live without
eating, and who demonstrated it so well, that he had got his own
horse down to a straw a day, and would unquestionably have
rendered him a very spirited and rampacious animal on nothing at
all, if he had not died, four-and-twenty hours before he was to
have had his first comfortable bait of air. Unfortunately for,
the experimental philosophy of the female to whose protecting care
Oliver Twist was delivered over, a similar result usually
attended the operation of _her_ system; for at the very moment when
the child had contrived to exist upon the smallest possible
portion of the weakest possible food, it did perversely happen in
eight and a half cases out of ten, either that it sickened from
want and cold, or fell into the fire from neglect, or got
half-smothered by accident; in any one of which cases, the
miserable little being was usually summoned into another world,
and there gathered to the fathers it had never known in this.

Occasionally, when there was some more than usually interesting
inquest upon a parish child who had been overlooked in turning up
a bedstead, or inadvertently scalded to death when there happened
to be a washing--though the latter accident was very scarce,
anything approaching to a washing being of rare occurrence in the
farm--the jury would take it into their heads to ask troublesome
questions, or the parishioners would rebelliously affix their
signatures to a remonstrance. But these impertinences were
speedily checked by the evidence of the surgeon, and the
testimony of the beadle; the former of whom had always opened the
body and found nothing inside (which was very probable indeed),
and the latter of whom invariably swore whatever the parish
wanted; which was very self-devotional. Besides, the board made
periodical pilgrimages to the farm, and always sent the beadle
the day before, to say they were going. The children were neat
and clean to behold, when _they_ went; and what more would the
people have!
It cannot be expected that this system of farming would produce
any very extraordinary or luxuriant crop. Oliver Twist's ninth
birthday found him a pale thin child, somewhat diminutive in
stature, and decidedly small in circumference. But nature or
inheritance had implanted a good sturdy spirit in Oliver's
breast. It had had plenty of room to expand, thanks to the spare
diet of the establishment; and perhaps to this circumstance may
be attributed his having any ninth birth-day at all. Be this as
it may, however, it was his ninth birthday; and he was keeping it
in the coal-cellar with a select party of two other young
gentleman, who, after participating with him in a sound
thrashing, had been locked up for atrociously presuming to be
hungry, when Mrs. Mann, the good lady of the house, was
unexpectedly startled by the apparition of Mr. Bumble, the
beadle, striving to undo the wicket of the garden-gate.
'Goodness gracious! Is that you, Mr. Bumble, sir?' said Mrs.
Mann, thrusting her head out of the window in well-affected
ecstasies of joy. '(Susan, take Oliver and them two brats
upstairs, and wash 'em directly.)--My heart alive! Mr. Bumble,
how glad I am to see you, sure-ly!'
Now, Mr. Bumble was a fat man, and a choleric; so, instead of
responding to this open-hearted salutation in a kindred spirit,
he gave the little wicket a tremendous shake, and then bestowed
upon it a kick which could have emanated from no leg but a
'Lor, only think,' said Mrs. Mann, running out,--for the three
boys had been removed by this time,--'only think of that! That I

should have forgotten that the gate was bolted on the inside, on
account of them dear children! Walk in sir; walk in, pray, Mr.
Bumble, do, sir.'
Although this invitation was accompanied with a curtsey that
might have softened the heart of a church-warden, it by no means
mollified the beadle.
'Do you think this respectful or proper conduct, Mrs. Mann,'
inquired Mr. Bumble, grasping his cane, 'to keep the parish
officers a waiting at your garden-gate, when they come here upon
porochial business with the porochial orphans? Are you aweer,
Mrs. Mann, that you are, as I may say, a porochial delegate, and
a stipendiary?'
'I'm sure Mr. Bumble, that I was only a telling one or two of the
dear children as is so fond of you, that it was you a coming,'
replied Mrs. Mann with great humility.
Mr. Bumble had a great idea of his oratorical powers and his
importance. He had displayed the one, and vindicated the other.
He relaxed.
'Well, well, Mrs. Mann,' he replied in a calmer tone; 'it may be
as you say; it may be. Lead the way in, Mrs. Mann, for I come on
business, and have something to say.'
Mrs. Mann ushered the beadle into a small parlour with a brick
floor; placed a seat for him; and officiously deposited his
cocked hat and cane on the table before him. Mr. Bumble wiped
from his forehead the perspiration which his walk had engendered,
glanced complacently at the cocked hat, and smiled. Yes, he
smiled. Beadles are but men: and Mr. Bumble smiled.
'Now don't you be offended at what I'm a going to say,' observed
Mrs. Mann, with captivating sweetness. 'You've had a long walk,
you know, or I wouldn't mention it. Now, will you take a little
drop of somethink, Mr. Bumble?'
'Not a drop. Nor a drop,' said Mr. Bumble, waving his right hand
in a dignified, but placid manner.
'I think you will,' said Mrs. Mann, who had noticed the tone of
the refusal, and the gesture that had accompanied it. 'Just a
leetle drop, with a little cold water, and a lump of sugar.'
Mr. Bumble coughed.

'Now, just a leetle drop,' said Mrs. Mann persuasively.
'What is it?' inquired the beadle.
'Why, it's what I'm obliged to keep a little of in the house, to
put into the blessed infants' Daffy, when they ain't well, Mr.
Bumble,' replied Mrs. Mann as she opened a corner cupboard, and
took down a bottle and glass. 'It's gin. I'll not deceive you,
Mr. B. It's gin.'
'Do you give the children Daffy, Mrs. Mann?' inquired Bumble,
following with his eyes the interesting process of mixing.
'Ah, bless 'em, that I do, dear as it is,' replied the nurse. 'I
couldn't see 'em suffer before my very eyes, you know sir.'
'No'; said Mr. Bumble approvingly; 'no, you could not. You are a
humane woman, Mrs. Mann.' (Here she set down the glass.) 'I
shall take a early opportunity of mentioning it to the board,
Mrs. Mann.' (He drew it towards him.) 'You feel as a mother,
Mrs. Mann.' (He stirred the gin-and-water.) 'I--I drink your
health with cheerfulness, Mrs. Mann'; and he swallowed half of
'And now about business,' said the beadle, taking out a leathern
pocket-book. 'The child that was half-baptized Oliver Twist, is
nine year old to-day.'
'Bless him!' interposed Mrs. Mann, inflaming her left eye with
the corner of her apron.
'And notwithstanding a offered reward of ten pound, which was
afterwards increased to twenty pound. Notwithstanding the most
superlative, and, I may say, supernat'ral exertions on the part
of this parish,' said Bumble, 'we have never been able to
discover who is his father, or what was his mother's settlement,
name, or con--dition.'
Mrs. Mann raised her hands in astonishment; but added, after a
moment's reflection, 'How comes he to have any name at all,
The beadle drew himself up with great pride, and said, 'I
inwented it.'
'You, Mr. Bumble!'
'I, Mrs. Mann. We name our fondlings in alphabetical order. The

The next one comes will be Unwin. 'Oliver being now too old to remain here. 'No.--Twist. in a majestic voice. Oliver made a bow. sir!' said Mrs. having had by this time as much of the outer coat of dirt which encrusted his face and hands. Mann. and what Oliver wanted a great deal more. Bumble. Young as he was. less he should seem too hungry when he got to the 9 . who had got behind the beadle's chair.' said the beadle. she can't. Oliver. I have got names ready made to the end of the alphabet. Mann. I have come out myself to take him there. when.' This was no very great consolation to the child. Mann. Mann. Mrs. as could be scrubbed off in one washing. when we come to Z.' said Mrs.' 'I'll fetch him directly. and added. was led into the room by his benevolent protectress. 'perhaps I may be. and was shaking her fist at him with a furious countenance.' 'Why. I named him. and the cocked hat on the table. for the fist had been too often impressed upon his body not to be deeply impressed upon his recollection. Perhaps I may be. He took the hint at once. the board have determined to have him back into the house. he had sense enough to make a feint of feeling great regret at going away. Oliver. So let me see him at once. Bumble. well. evidently gratified with the compliment. he caught sight of Mrs. It was no very difficult matter for the boy to call tears into his eyes. 'But she'll come and see you sometimes. glancing upward. leaving the room for that purpose. Oliver?' said Mr. and the next Vilkins. and Oliver cried very naturally indeed. 'Will you go along with me.' replied Mr. a piece of bread and butter.' He finished the gin-and-water.--Swubble. which was divided between the beadle on the chair. I named _him_. 'Make a bow to the gentleman. Mrs. Mann. This was a T. and all the way through it again. however. 'Will she go with me?' inquired poor Oliver.last was a S. Hunger and recent ill-usage are great assistants if you want to cry. Mann gave him a thousand embraces. removed.' said Mrs. you're quite a literary character. 'Well. Oliver was about to say that he would go along with anybody with great readiness.

Bumble gave him a tap on the head. when Mr. and putting him quite at his ease. as the cottage-gate closed after him. trotted beside him. Oliver was then led away by Mr. whereupon a gentleman in a white waistcoat said he was a fool. conducted him into a large white-washed room. seated in an arm-chair rather higher than the rest.' To these interrogations Mr. and he was once again a beadle. Oliver brushed away two or three tears that were lingering in his eyes. where eight or ten fat gentlemen were sitting round a table. with his cane. Oliver was frightened at the sight of so many gentlemen. and had scarcely completed the demolition of a second slice of bread. and was not quite certain whether he ought to laugh or cry. Wretched as were the little companions in misery he was leaving behind. red face. He had no time to think about the matter. fortunately bowed to that. At the top of the table. inquiring at the end of every quarter of a mile whether they were 'nearly there. little Oliver. firmly grasping his gold-laced cuff. which made him cry. Bumble. was a particularly fat gentleman with a very round. Which was a capital way of raising his spirits. who had handed him over to the care of an old woman. which made him tremble: and the beadle gave him another tap behind. and a sense of his loneliness in the great wide world. for the temporary blandness which gin-and-water awakens in some bosoms had by this time evaporated. Bumble from the wretched home where one kind word or look had never lighted the gloom of his infant years. sank into the child's heart for the first time. And yet he burst into an agony of childish grief. Bumble returned very brief and snappish replies. 'What's your name. informed him that the board had said he was to appear before it forthwith.' said Bumble.workhouse. returned. however. Not having a very clearly defined notion of what a live board was. for Mr. to wake him up: and another on the back to make him lively: and bidding him to follow. Bumble walked on with long strides. telling him it was a board night. With the slice of bread in his hand. and seeing no board but the table. boy?' said the gentleman in the high chair. Mr. Oliver was rather astounded by this intelligence. and. Oliver had not been within the walls of the workhouse a quarter of an hour. 10 . These two causes made him answer in a very low and hesitating voice. they were the only friends he had ever known. and the little brown-cloth parish cap on his head. 'Bow to the board.

that the board had that very day arrived at a decision which would exercise the most material influence over all his future fortunes. 'So you'll begin to pick oakum to-morrow morning at six o'clock. The gentleman who spoke last was unconsciously right.' 'Yes. But he hadn't. and a marvellously good Christian too. on a rough. sir. 'The boy _is_ a fool--I thought he was. And this was it: 11 . he sobbed himself to sleep.' said another gentleman in a gruff voice. What _could_ the boy be crying for? 'I hope you say your prayers every night.'Boy. don't you?' 'Yes.' replied Oliver. I suppose?' 'What's that. sir?' inquired poor Oliver.' said the gentleman in the high chair. 'and pray for the people who feed you. and take care of you--like a Christian. But they had. You know you're an orphan. What a novel illustration of the tender laws of England! They let the paupers go to sleep! Poor Oliver! He little thought. 'listen to me. and taught a useful trade.' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. For the combination of both these blessings in the one simple process of picking oakum. if Oliver had prayed for the people who fed and took care of _him_. and was then hurried away to a large ward. because nobody had taught him. It would have been very like a Christian. 'Hush!' said the gentleman who had spoken first. sir. 'You know you've got no father or mother. where. 'Well! You have come here to be educated. as he lay sleeping in happy unconsciousness of all around him.' stammered the boy. hard bed. 'What are you crying for?' inquired the gentleman in the white waistcoat. Oliver bowed low by the direction of the beadle. And to be sure it was very extraordinary.' added the surly one in the white waistcoat.' said the red-faced gentleman in the high chair. and that you were brought up by the parish. weeping bitterly.

and issued three meals of thin gruel a day. when he had two ounces and a quarter of bread besides. took his family away from him. a brick and mortar elysium. after a week or two's gruel. where it was all play and no work. It was rather expensive at first. tea. 'Oho!' said the board. in consequence of the increase in the undertaker's bill. and the board were in ecstasies. we'll stop it all. instead of compelling a man to support his family. of being starved by a gradual process in the house. and when they had performed this operation (which never took very long. and half a roll of Sundays. the system was in full operation. ladled the gruel at mealtimes. might have started up in all classes of society. which fluttered loosely on their wasted. that all poor people should have the alternative (for they would compel nobody. With this view. in no time. a public breakfast. what ordinary folks would never have discovered--the poor people liked it! It was a regular place of public entertainment for the poorer classes.' So. dressed in an apron for the purpose. and the necessity of taking in the clothes of all the paupers. philosophical men. For the first six months after Oliver Twist was removed. and had provided for this difficulty. under these last two heads. they found out at once. was a large stone hall. The relief was inseparable from the workhouse and the gruel. with a copper at one end: out of which the master. looking very knowing. but the board were long-headed men. and. which it is not necessary to repeat. They made a great many other wise and humane regulations. and supper all the year round. kindly undertook to divorce poor married people. and assisted by one or two women. and no more--except on occasions of great public rejoicing. they established the rule. a tavern where there was nothing to pay. with an onion twice a week. they contracted with the water-works to lay on an unlimited supply of water. shrunken forms. Of this festive composition each boy had one porringer. they would sit staring at the 12 . and when they came to turn their attention to the workhouse. in consequence of the great expense of a suit in Doctors' Commons. and that frightened people. having reference to the ladies. 'we are the fellows to set this to rights. dinner. if it had not been coupled with the workhouse. deep. not they). The boys polished them with their spoons till they shone again. The bowls never wanted washing. and with a corn-factor to supply periodically small quantities of oatmeal. and made him a bachelor! There is no saying how many applicants for relief. as they had theretofore done.The members of this board were very sage. the spoons being nearly as large as the bowls). But the number of workhouse inmates got thin as well as the paupers. or by a quick one out of it. The room in which the boys were fed.

He had a wild. and they implicitly believed him. He rose from the table. who was tall for his age. sir. Oliver Twist and his companions suffered the tortures of slow starvation for three months: at last they got so voracious and wild with hunger. and it fell to Oliver Twist. healthy man. the boys whispered each other. 'I want some more. basin and spoon in hand. The board were sitting in solemn conclave. and shrieked aloud for the beadle. said: somewhat alarmed at his own temerity: 'Please. The gruel disappeared. the boys with fear. that unless he had another basin of gruel per diem. He gazed in stupefied astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds.' The master was a fat. and winked at Oliver. The master. employing themselves. in a faint voice. hinted darkly to his companions. he was afraid he might some night happen to eat the boy who slept next him. A council was held. Boys have generally excellent appetites. Limbkins. sir. meanwhile. his pauper assistants ranged themselves behind him. the boys took their places.' replied Oliver. 'What!' said the master at length. I want some more. Bumble rushed into the room in great excitement. The assistants were paralysed with wonder. pinioned him in his arm. and hadn't been used to that sort of thing (for his father had kept a small cook-shop). and ask for more. while his next neighbors nudged him. that one boy. and then clung for support to the copper. 'Mr. in sucking their fingers most assiduously. and a long grace was said over the short commons. stationed himself at the copper. sir! Oliver Twist has asked for more!' 13 . he was desperate with hunger. who happened to be a weakly youth of tender age.copper. but he turned very pale. hungry eye.' The master aimed a blow at Oliver's head with the ladle. when Mr. as if they could have devoured the very bricks of which it was composed. with the view of catching up any stray splashes of gruel that might have been cast thereon. said. lots were cast who should walk up to the master after supper that evening. The evening arrived. and advancing to the master. I beg your pardon. and reckless with misery. with such eager eyes. 'Please. the gruel was served out. Child as he was. and addressing the gentleman in the high chair. in his cook's uniform.

five pounds and Oliver Twist were offered to any man or woman who wanted an apprentice to any trade. offering a reward of five pounds to anybody who would take Oliver Twist off the hands of the parish. It appears. CHAPTER III RELATES HOW OLIVER TWIST WAS VERY NEAR GETTING A PLACE WHICH WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A SINECURE For a week after the commission of the impious and profane offence of asking for more.' replied Bumble. if he had entertained a becoming feeling of respect for the prediction of the gentleman in the white waistcoat. Horror was depicted on every countenance. business. and answer me distinctly. that. if I ventured to hint just yet. An animated discussion took place. 'I never was more convinced of anything in my life. Bumble. at first sight not unreasonable to suppose. sir. whether the life of Oliver Twist had this violent termination or no.There was a general start. I should perhaps mar the interest of this narrative (supposing it to possess any at all). he would have established that sage individual's prophetic character. 'For _more_!' said Mr.' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. and a bill was next morning pasted on the outside of the gate. Oliver remained a close prisoner in the dark and solitary room to which he had been consigned by the wisdom and mercy of the board.' As I purpose to show in the sequel whether the white waistcoated gentleman was right or not. than I am that that boy will come to be hung. In other words. 'I know that boy will be hung. 'That boy will be hung. Oliver was ordered into instant confinement. 'Compose yourself. or calling. Do I understand that he asked for more. by tying one end of his 14 . after he had eaten the supper allotted by the dietary?' 'He did.' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. once and for ever. Limbkins. as he knocked at the gate and read the bill next morning: 'I never was more convinced of anything in my life.' Nobody controverted the prophetic gentleman's opinion.

as if to feel even its cold hard surface were a protection in the gloom and loneliness which surrounded him.' that. his eyes encountered the bill on the gate. it was nice cold weather. in a stone yard. that pocket-handkerchiefs being decided articles of luxury. that Mr. Bumble. dismal night came on. Gamfield. As for society. As for exercise. tried to sleep: ever and anon waking with a start and tremble. or the advantages of religious consolation. and console his mind with. and. Gamfield's most sanguine estimate of his finances could not raise them within full five pounds of the desired amount. To the performance of this feat. the pleasure of society. deeply cogitating in his mind his ways and means of paying certain arrears of rent. virtuous. contented. chimney-sweep. And so for from being denied the advantages of religious consolation. for all future times and ages. he was kicked into the same apartment every evening at prayer-time. and drawing himself closer and closer to the wall. while Oliver's affairs were in this auspicious and comfortable state. and an article direct from the manufactory of the very Devil himself. in which they entreated to be made good. for which his landlord had become rather pressing. Oliver was denied the benefit of exercise. went his way down the High Street. It chanced one morning. when passing the workhouse. and crouching in the corner.pocket-handkerchief to a hook in the wall. and there permitted to listen to. there was one obstacle: namely. and there sociably flogged as a public warning and example. spread his little hands before his eyes to shut out the darkness. he was alternately cudgelling his brains and his donkey. by repeated applications of the cane. containing a special clause. He only cried bitterly all day. and caused a tingling sensation to pervade his frame. he was carried every other day into the hall where the boys dined. however. Mr. a general supplication of the boys. and. 15 . during the period of his solitary incarceration. and attaching himself to the other. had been. There was a still greater obstacle in Oliver's youth and childishness. in council assembled: solemnly given and pronounced under their hands and seals. and to be guarded from the sins and vices of Oliver Twist: whom the supplication distinctly set forth to be under the exclusive patronage and protection of the powers of wickedness. in the presence of Mr. therein inserted by authority of the board. when the long. removed from the noses of paupers by the express order of the board. in a species of arthimetical desperation. and obedient. and he was allowed to perform his ablutions every morning under the pump. Let it not be supposed by the enemies of 'the system. who prevented his catching cold.

my man. catching hold of the bridle. Mr. but more particularly on his eyes. running after him. The gentleman with the white waistcoat was standing at the gate with his hands behind him. and I am ready to take him. after having delivered himself of some profound sentiments in the board-room. knowing what the dietary of the workhouse was. Gamfield. 'Ay. Mr. Then. he spelt the bill through again.' said Mr. so. and then. Gamfield. 'What of him?' 'If the parish vould like him to learn a right pleasant trade. he gave his jaw a sharp wrench. as he perused the document. without noticing the word of command. for he saw at once that Mr. So. Gamfield growled a fierce imprecation on the donkey generally. Gamfield.' 'Walk in. He then gave him another blow on the head. accosted the gentleman in the white waistcoat. he walked up to the gate.' said Mr. touching his fur cap in token of humility. just to stun him till he came back again. and by these means turned him round. Gamfield smiled. by way of gentle reminder that he was not his own master. Gamfield having lingered behind. just the very thing for register stoves. whether he was destined to be regaled with a cabbage-stalk or two when he had disposed of the two sacks of soot with which the little cart was laden. too. and. followed the gentleman with the white waistcoat into the room where Oliver had first seen him. Having witnessed the little dispute between Mr. 16 . in a good 'spectable chimbley-sweepin' bisness. Mr. sir. for five pounds was just the sum he had been wishing for. as to the boy with which it was encumbered. which would inevitably have beaten in any skull but a donkey's. with a condescending smile. 'I wants a 'prentis. and. he jogged onward. wot the parish wants to 'prentis.' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. well knew he would be a nice small pattern. and another wrench of the jaw. Gamfield to the donkey. Mr. he smiled joyously when that person came up to read the bill.'Wo--o!' said Mr. to give the donkey another blow on the head. Gamfield was exactly the sort of master Oliver Twist wanted. probably. Having completed these arrangements. to read the bill. from beginning to end.' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. Gamfield and the donkey. 'This here boy. as a caution not to run away in his absence. The donkey was in a state of profound abstraction: wondering. bestowed a blow on his head.

but still. Limbkins. and there's nothink like a good hot blaze to make 'em come down vith a run. and walked slowly from the table. even if they've stuck in the chimbley. indeed. 'That's acause they damped the straw afore they lit it in the chimbley to make 'em come down again. as he had no particular wish to revive the rumour.' were alone audible. roasting their feet makes 'em struggle to hextricate theirselves. having resumed their seats and their solemnity. As Mr. and no blaze. acause. These only chanced to be heard.' said Mr. It was very unlike their general mode of doing business. vereas smoke ain't o' no use at all in making a boy come down. Gen'l'men. Limbkins said: 'We have considered your proposition.'It's a nasty trade.' 'have a printed report published.' said Gamfield. and we don't approve of it. 'Decidedly not. 'So you won't let me have him. 'Young boys have been smothered in chimneys before now. Boys is wery obstinit.' 'looked well in the accounts. gen'l'men?' said Mr. he twisted his cap in his hands. and the members of the board. for it only sinds him to sleep. Gamfield did happen to labour under the slight imputation of having bruised three or four boys to death already. Limbkins. The board then proceeded to converse among themselves for a few minutes. It's humane too. 17 . but in so low a tone.' 'Not at all. and wery lazy. gen'l'men. if they had. Gamfield. 'that's all smoke. in some unaccountable freak. when Gamfield had again stated his wish. perhaps.' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. and that's wot he likes.' The gentleman in the white waistcoat appeared very much amused by this explanation.' added the other members. that the words 'saving of expenditure. or account of their being very frequently repeated with great emphasis.' said another gentleman. At length the whispering ceased. taken it into their heads that this extraneous circumstance ought to influence their proceedings. but his mirth was speedily checked by a look from Mr. Mr. it occurred to him that the board had.

as it's a nasty business.' Mr. and you've got rid of him for good and all. He wants the stick. Say four pound. 'No. Limbkins.' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat.' said Gamfield. The bargain was made. and. 'Come! I'll split the diff'erence. now and then: it'll do him good. he returned to the table. as. when Mr.' 'Not a farthing more.pausing near the door. and ordered to put himself into a clean shirt. and said.' said Mr. In pursuance of this determination. firmly. little Oliver. gen'l'men. Mr. with a quick step. we think you ought to take something less than the premium we offered. Bumble brought him. gen'l'men? Come! Don't be too hard on a poor man. Limbkins.' replied Mr. with 18 . 'say four pound. three pound ten was plenty. for he hasn't been overfed since he was born. 'Ten shillings too much. gen'l'men. Limbkins. gen'l'men.' was the firm reply of Mr. 'What'll you give.' repeated Mr. There!' 'Three pound ten. and his board needn't come very expensive. was released from bondage. He had hardly achieved this very unusual gymnastic performance. wavering. Take him. Bumble. gradually broke into a smile himself. Limbkins. you silly fellow! He's just the boy for you. 'He'd be cheap with nothing at all. Ha! ha! ha!' Mr. observing a smile on all of them. Gamfield gave an arch look at the faces round the table. 'Three pound fifteen. 'at least. 'Come!' said Gamfield. What'll you give?' 'I should say. 'Pooh! pooh! nonsense!' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. Gamfield's countenance brightened. as a premium. that very afternoon. 'You're desperate hard upon me. for signature and approval.' urged Gamfield. to his excessive astonishment. was at once instructed that Oliver Twist and his indentures were to be conveyed before the magistrate.

for it was gratifying to his feelings to observe the effect his eloquence had produced. in a tone of impressive pomposity. and he sobbed bitterly.' As Mr. Bumble threw in a gentle hint. unadorned with the cocked hat.' said Mr. somewhat less pompously. sir!' said the child. On their way to the magistrate. or they never would have begun to fatten him up in that way. and make a man of you: although the expense to the parish is three pound ten!--three pound ten. There the boy remained. Mr. a basin of gruel. for there was quite enough water in it already. At the expiration of which time Mr. that he should like it very much indeed. come to the gentleman. 'Come. Bumble. 'Don't make your eyes red. when you have none of your own: are a going to 'prentice' you: and to set you up in life.' 'A prentice.' said Mr. the tears rolled down the poor child's face. he put on a grim and threatening look.' As Mr. and said aloud: 'Now. but eat your food and be thankful. would be to look very happy. that's a very foolish action. and say. in a 19 . 'Come. Bumble. after delivering this address in an awful voice. not unnaturally. At this tremendous sight. that the board must have determined to kill him for some useful purpose. Bumble instructed Oliver that all he would have to do. Oliver. that if he failed in either particular. Oliver.' said Mr. Bumble to stay there. 'The kind and blessed gentleman which is so many parents to you. 'Yes. Oliver. and admonished by Mr. when the gentleman asked him if he wanted to be apprenticed. When they arrived at the office. and the holiday allowance of two ounces and a quarter of bread.his own hands. Bumble said this. Oliver. and added. Bumble thrust in his head. Oliver. for half an hour. until he came back to fetch him. trembling. with a palpitating heart. he was shut up in a little room by himself. Oliver! Wipe your eyes with the cuffs of your jacket.' It certainly was. and don't cry into your gruel. Bumble paused to take breath. 'You're a going to be made a 'prentice of. Oliver!--seventy shillins--one hundred and forty sixpences!--and all for a naughty orphan which nobody can't love. Oliver began to cry very piteously: thinking. Oliver. there was no telling what would be done to him. my dear. both of which injunctions Oliver promised to obey: the rather as Mr. Bumble.

your worship. Mr. 'And he _will_ be a sweep.' replied Bumble. but that gentleman prevented his offering any remark thereupon. were lounging about. with a great window. while two or three bluff-looking men. 'This is him. your worship. and pulled the other old gentleman by the sleeve. is this the boy?' said the old gentleman. 'Well.' replied Bumble. the last-mentioned old gentleman woke up. will you?' said the old gentleman. while the other was perusing. in top-boots. Bumble.low voice. sir. will he?' inquired the old gentleman. Behind a desk. Gamfield. after Oliver had been stationed by Mr. and feed him. Bumble's face at this somewhat contradictory style of address. to intimate that he had better not say he didn't. 'If we was to bind him to any other trade to-morrow. It was a large room. and there was a short pause. The old gentleman with the spectacles gradually dozed off. 'This is the boy. 'I suppose he's fond of chimney-sweeping?' 'He doats on it. my dear. with a partially washed face. Bumble. by leading him at once into an adjoining room: the door of which was open.' Oliver roused himself. and Mr. your worship. and were boards from thenceforth on that account. whether all boards were born with that white stuff on their heads. a small piece of parchment which lay before him. 'And this man that's to be his master--you. over the little bit of parchment. with his eyes fixed on the magistrates' powder. The old gentleman who was reading the newspaper raised his head for a moment. 20 . He had been wondering. and do all that sort of thing. 'Mind what I told you. giving Oliver a sly pinch. whereupon. you young rascal!' Oliver stared innocently in Mr. 'Oh.' replied Mr. sir--you'll treat him well. he'd run away simultaneous. 'Bow to the magistrate. and made his best obeisance.' said the old gentleman. with the aid of a pair of tortoise-shell spectacles.' said Mr. sat two old gentleman with powdered heads: one of whom was reading the newspaper. Bumble in front of the desk. on the other. Limbkins was standing in front of the desk on one side.

despite all the admonitory looks and pinches of Bumble.' said Mr. 'My boy!' said the old gentleman. 'Now. so he couldn't reasonably be expected to discern what other people did. open-hearted man. Gamfield.' Oliver fell on his knees. as it chanced to be immediately under his nose. my friend. it followed. 'you look pale and alarmed. who attempted to take snuff with a cheerful and unconcerned aspect.' replied Mr. I means I will. he would have dipped his pen into it. The old gentleman stopped. 21 . Limbkins. but you look an honest. with a mingled expression of horror and fear. But. and leaning forward with an expression of interest. and clasping his hands together. that he looked all over his desk for it. boy. 'I have no doubt you are. without finding it. 'I hope I am. If the inkstand had been where the old gentleman thought it was. and looked from Oliver to Mr. was regarding the repulsive countenance of his future master. and signed the indentures.'When I says I will. Beadle. and happening in the course of his search to look straight before him. with an ugly leer. laid down his pen. as a matter of course.' said the old gentleman: turning his spectacles in the direction of the candidate for Oliver's premium. tell us what's the matter: don't be afraid. his gaze encountered the pale and terrified face of Oliver Twist: who. and Oliver would have been straightway hurried off. my friend. even by a half-blind magistrate.' said the other magistrate: laying aside the paper. It was the critical moment of Oliver's fate. sir. 'You're a rough speaker. But the magistrate was half blind and half childish. and looking about him for the inkstand. Gamfield doggedly. too palpable to be mistaken. prayed that they would order him back to the dark room--that they would starve him--beat him--kill him if they pleased--rather than send him away with that dreadful man. What is the matter?' 'Stand a little away from him.' replied the old gentleman: fixing his spectacles more firmly on his nose. whose villainous countenance was a regular stamped receipt for cruelty.

when Mr. 'I beg your worship's pardon. Limbkins: 'I hope the magistrates will not form the opinion that the authorities have been guilty of any improper conduct.' stammered Mr. would seem to be a wish of a totally opposite description. he nodded significantly. The next morning. Mr. He seems to want it. which.' said Mr. Bumble. Beadle. raising his hands and eyes with most impressive solemnity.'Well!' said Mr. 'I hope. Bumble was stupefied with astonishment.' 'Hold your tongue. Gamfield replied. Hold your tongue. CHAPTER IV 22 . Bumble had given vent to this compound adjective. Bumble shook his head with gloomy mystery.' said the old gentleman: tossing aside the piece of parchment as he spoke. you are one of the most bare-facedest.' said the second old gentleman sharply. and that five pounds would be paid to anybody who would take possession of him. the public were once informed that Oliver Twist was again To Let. A beadle ordered to hold his tongue! A moral revolution! The old gentleman in the tortoise-shell spectacles looked at his companion. on the unsupported testimony of a child. 'We refuse to sanction these indentures. whereunto Mr. and said he wished he might come to good. Bumble.' Mr. that he wished he might come to him. and treat him kindly.' That same evening. 'Well! of all the artful and designing orphans that ever I see. not only that Oliver would be hung. the gentleman in the white waistcoat most positively and decidedly affirmed. incredulous of having heard aright.' said the second old gentleman.' 'The magistrates are not called upon to pronounce any opinion on the matter. 'Did your worship speak to me?' 'Yes. although he agreed with the beadle in most matters. Oliver. but that he would be drawn and quartered into the bargain. 'Take the boy back to the workhouse.

the parochial undertaker. BEING OFFERED ANOTHER PLACE. and was returning to the workhouse to communicate the result of his mission. attired in a suit of threadbare black.OLIVER. Mr. as he thrust his thumb and forefinger into the proffered snuff-box of the undertaker: which was an ingenious little model of a patent coffin. with the view of finding out some captain or other who wanted a cabin-boy without any friends. and shoes to answer. Bumble.' said the undertaker. or would knock his brains out with an iron bar. Sowerberry was a tall gaunt. 'I have taken the measure of the two women that died last night. as he advanced to Mr. Sowerberry. as is pretty generally known. and his face betokened inward pleasantry. either in possession. Bumble. but he was in general rather given to professional jocosity. with his cane. when an advantageous place cannot be obtained. 'I say you'll make your fortune. 'Think so?' said the undertaker in a tone which half admitted and half disputed the probability of the event. the more manifold the advantages of the step appeared. 'The prices allowed 23 . Sowerberry. Mr.' repeated Mr. with darned cotton stockings of the same colour. and shook him cordially by the hand.' said the beadle. so. tapping the undertaker on the shoulder. they came to the conclusion that the only way of providing for Oliver effectually. very favourite and common recreations among gentleman of that class. for the young man who is growing up. took counsel together on the expediency of shipping off Oliver Twist. Mr. was to send him to sea without delay. when he encountered at the gate. in some small trading vessel bound to a good unhealthy port. in this point of view. reversion. Mr. in imitation of so wise and salutary an example. This suggested itself as the very best thing that could possibly be done with him: the probability being. or expectancy. Bumble had been despatched to make various preliminary inquiries. Bumble. in a playful mood. His features were not naturally intended to wear a smiling aspect. 'You'll make your fortune. Sowerberry. remainder. Mr. that the skipper would flog him to death. some day after dinner. in a friendly manner. both pastimes being. it is a very general custom to send him to sea. The more the case presented itself to the board. His step was elastic. MAKES HIS FIRST ENTRY INTO PUBLIC LIFE In great families. The board. large-jointed man. no less a person than Mr.

by the board are very small, Mr. Bumble.'
'So are the coffins,' replied the beadle: with precisely as near
an approach to a laugh as a great official ought to indulge in.
Mr. Sowerberry was much tickled at this: as of course he ought
to be; and laughed a long time without cessation. 'Well, well,
Mr. Bumble,' he said at length, 'there's no denying that, since
the new system of feeding has come in, the coffins are something
narrower and more shallow than they used to be; but we must have
some profit, Mr. Bumble. Well-seasoned timber is an expensive
article, sir; and all the iron handles come, by canal, from
'Well, well,' said Mr. Bumble, 'every trade has its drawbacks. A
fair profit is, of course, allowable.'
'Of course, of course,' replied the undertaker; 'and if I don't
get a profit upon this or that particular article, why, I make it
up in the long-run, you see--he! he! he!'
'Just so,' said Mr. Bumble.
'Though I must say,' continued the undertaker, resuming the
current of observations which the beadle had interrupted: 'though
I must say, Mr. Bumble, that I have to contend against one very
great disadvantage: which is, that all the stout people go off
the quickest. The people who have been better off, and have paid
rates for many years, are the first to sink when they come into
the house; and let me tell you, Mr. Bumble, that three or four
inches over one's calculation makes a great hole in one's
profits: especially when one has a family to provide for, sir.'
As Mr. Sowerberry said this, with the becoming indignation of an
ill-used man; and as Mr. Bumble felt that it rather tended to
convey a reflection on the honour of the parish; the latter
gentleman thought it advisable to change the subject. Oliver
Twist being uppermost in his mind, he made him his theme.
'By the bye,' said Mr. Bumble, 'you don't know anybody who wants
a boy, do you? A porochial 'prentis, who is at present a
dead-weight; a millstone, as I may say, round the porochial
throat? Liberal terms, Mr. Sowerberry, liberal terms?' As Mr.
Bumble spoke, he raised his cane to the bill above him, and gave
three distinct raps upon the words 'five pounds': which were
printed thereon in Roman capitals of gigantic size.
'Gadso!' said the undertaker: taking Mr. Bumble by the

gilt-edged lappel of his official coat; 'that's just the very
thing I wanted to speak to you about. You know--dear me, what a
very elegant button this is, Mr. Bumble! I never noticed it
'Yes, I think it rather pretty,' said the beadle, glancing
proudly downwards at the large brass buttons which embellished
his coat. 'The die is the same as the porochial seal--the Good
Samaritan healing the sick and bruised man. The board presented
it to me on Newyear's morning, Mr. Sowerberry. I put it on, I
remember, for the first time, to attend the inquest on that
reduced tradesman, who died in a doorway at midnight.'
'I recollect,' said the undertaker. 'The jury brought it in,
"Died from exposure to the cold, and want of the common
necessaries of life," didn't they?'
Mr. Bumble nodded.
'And they made it a special verdict, I think,' said the
undertaker, 'by adding some words to the effect, that if the
relieving officer had--'
'Tush! Foolery!' interposed the beadle. 'If the board attended
to all the nonsense that ignorant jurymen talk, they'd have
enough to do.'
'Very true,' said the undertaker; 'they would indeed.'
'Juries,' said Mr. Bumble, grasping his cane tightly, as was his
wont when working into a passion: 'juries is ineddicated,
vulgar, grovelling wretches.'
'So they are,' said the undertaker.
'They haven't no more philosophy nor political economy about 'em
than that,' said the beadle, snapping his fingers contemptuously.
'No more they have,' acquiesced the undertaker.
'I despise 'em,' said the beadle, growing very red in the face.
'So do I,' rejoined the undertaker.
'And I only wish we'd a jury of the independent sort, in the
house for a week or two,' said the beadle; 'the rules and
regulations of the board would soon bring their spirit down for

'Let 'em alone for that,' replied the undertaker. So saying, he
smiled, approvingly: to calm the rising wrath of the indignant
parish officer.
Mr Bumble lifted off his cocked hat; took a handkerchief from the
inside of the crown; wiped from his forehead the perspiration
which his rage had engendered; fixed the cocked hat on again;
and, turning to the undertaker, said in a calmer voice:
'Well; what about the boy?'
'Oh!' replied the undertaker; 'why, you know, Mr. Bumble, I pay a
good deal towards the poor's rates.'
'Hem!' said Mr. Bumble. 'Well?'
'Well,' replied the undertaker, 'I was thinking that if I pay so
much towards 'em, I've a right to get as much out of 'em as I
can, Mr. Bumble; and so--I think I'll take the boy myself.'
Mr. Bumble grasped the undertaker by the arm, and led him into
the building. Mr. Sowerberry was closeted with the board for
five minutes; and it was arranged that Oliver should go to him
that evening 'upon liking'--a phrase which means, in the case of
a parish apprentice, that if the master find, upon a short trial,
that he can get enough work out of a boy without putting too much
food into him, he shall have him for a term of years, to do what
he likes with.
When little Oliver was taken before 'the gentlemen' that evening;
and informed that he was to go, that night, as general house-lad
to a coffin-maker's; and that if he complained of his situation,
or ever came back to the parish again, he would be sent to sea,
there to be drowned, or knocked on the head, as the case might
be, he evinced so little emotion, that they by common consent
pronounced him a hardened young rascal, and ordered Mr. Bumble to
remove him forthwith.
Now, although it was very natural that the board, of all people
in the world, should feel in a great state of virtuous
astonishment and horror at the smallest tokens of want of feeling
on the part of anybody, they were rather out, in this particular
instance. The simple fact was, that Oliver, instead of
possessing too little feeling, possessed rather too much; and was
in a fair way of being reduced, for life, to a state of brutal
stupidity and sullenness by the ill usage he had received. He
heard the news of his destination, in perfect silence; and,

having had his luggage put into his hand--which was not very
difficult to carry, inasmuch as it was all comprised within the
limits of a brown paper parcel, about half a foot square by three
inches deep--he pulled his cap over his eyes; and once more
attaching himself to Mr. Bumble's coat cuff, was led away by that
dignitary to a new scene of suffering.
For some time, Mr. Bumble drew Oliver along, without notice or
remark; for the beadle carried his head very erect, as a beadle
always should: and, it being a windy day, little Oliver was
completely enshrouded by the skirts of Mr. Bumble's coat as they
blew open, and disclosed to great advantage his flapped waistcoat
and drab plush knee-breeches. As they drew near to their
destination, however, Mr. Bumble thought it expedient to look
down, and see that the boy was in good order for inspection by
his new master: which he accordingly did, with a fit and
becoming air of gracious patronage.
'Oliver!' said Mr. Bumble.
'Yes, sir,' replied Oliver, in a low, tremulous voice.
'Pull that cap off your eyes, and hold up your head, sir.'
Although Oliver did as he was desired, at once; and passed the
back of his unoccupied hand briskly across his eyes, he left a
tear in them when he looked up at his conductor. As Mr. Bumble
gazed sternly upon him, it rolled down his cheek. It was followed
by another, and another. The child made a strong effort, but it
was an unsuccessful one. Withdrawing his other hand from Mr.
Bumble's he covered his face with both; and wept until the tears
sprung out from between his chin and bony fingers.
'Well!' exclaimed Mr. Bumble, stopping short, and darting at his
little charge a look of intense malignity. 'Well! Of _all_ the
ungratefullest, and worst-disposed boys as ever I see, Oliver,
you are the--'
'No, no, sir,' sobbed Oliver, clinging to the hand which held the
well-known cane; 'no, no, sir; I will be good indeed; indeed,
indeed I will, sir! I am a very little boy, sir; and it is
'So what?' inquired Mr. Bumble in amazement.
'So lonely, sir! So very lonely!' cried the child. 'Everybody
hates me. Oh! sir, don't, don't pray be cross to me!' The child
beat his hand upon his heart; and looked in his companion's face,

with tears of real agony.
Mr. Bumble regarded Oliver's piteous and helpless look, with some
astonishment, for a few seconds; hemmed three or four times in a
husky manner; and after muttering something about 'that
troublesome cough,' bade Oliver dry his eyes and be a good boy.
Then once more taking his hand, he walked on with him in silence.
The undertaker, who had just putup the shutters of his shop, was
making some entries in his day-book by the light of a most
appropriate dismal candle, when Mr. Bumble entered.
'Aha!' said the undertaker; looking up from the book, and pausing
in the middle of a word; 'is that you, Bumble?'
'No one else, Mr. Sowerberry,' replied the beadle. 'Here! I've
brought the boy.' Oliver made a bow.
'Oh! that's the boy, is it?' said the undertaker: raising the
candle above his head, to get a better view of Oliver. 'Mrs.
Sowerberry, will you have the goodness to come here a moment, my
Mrs. Sowerberry emerged from a little room behind the shop, and
presented the form of a short, then, squeezed-up woman, with a
vixenish countenance.
'My dear,' said Mr. Sowerberry, deferentially, 'this is the boy
from the workhouse that I told you of.' Oliver bowed again.
'Dear me!' said the undertaker's wife, 'he's very small.'
'Why, he _is_ rather small,' replied Mr. Bumble: looking at Oliver
as if it were his fault that he was no bigger; 'he is small.
There's no denying it. But he'll grow, Mrs. Sowerberry--he'll
'Ah! I dare say he will,' replied the lady pettishly, 'on our
victuals and our drink. I see no saving in parish children, not
I; for they always cost more to keep, than they're worth.
However, men always think they know best. There! Get downstairs,
little bag o' bones.' With this, the undertaker's wife opened a
side door, and pushed Oliver down a steep flight of stairs into a
stone cell, damp and dark: forming the ante-room to the
coal-cellar, and denominated 'kitchen'; wherein sat a slatternly
girl, in shoes down at heel, and blue worsted stockings very much
out of repair.

'Here, Charlotte,' said Mr. Sowerberry, who had followed Oliver
down, 'give this boy some of the cold bits that were put by for
Trip. He hasn't come home since the morning, so he may go
without 'em. I dare say the boy isn't too dainty to eat 'em--are
you, boy?'
Oliver, whose eyes had glistened at the mention of meat, and who
was trembling with eagerness to devour it, replied in the
negative; and a plateful of coarse broken victuals was set before
I wish some well-fed philosopher, whose meat and drink turn to
gall within him; whose blood is ice, whose heart is iron; could
have seen Oliver Twist clutching at the dainty viands that the
dog had neglected. I wish he could have witnessed the horrible
avidity with which Oliver tore the bits asunder with all the
ferocity of famine. There is only one thing I should like
better; and that would be to see the Philosopher making the same
sort of meal himself, with the same relish.
'Well,' said the undertaker's wife, when Oliver had finished his
supper: which she had regarded in silent horror, and with
fearful auguries of his future appetite: 'have you done?'
There being nothing eatable within his reach, Oliver replied in
the affirmative.
'Then come with me,' said Mrs. Sowerberry: taking up a dim and
dirty lamp, and leading the way upstairs; 'your bed's under the
counter. You don't mind sleeping among the coffins, I suppose?
But it doesn't much matter whether you do or don't, for you can't
sleep anywhere else. Come; don't keep me here all night!'
Oliver lingered no longer, but meekly followed his new mistress.

Oliver, being left to himself in the undertaker's shop, set the
lamp down on a workman's bench, and gazed timidly about him with
a feeling of awe and dread, which many people a good deal older
than he will be at no loss to understand. An unfinished coffin

on black tressels, which stood in the middle of the shop, looked
so gloomy and death-like that a cold tremble came over him, every
time his eyes wandered in the direction of the dismal object:
from which he almost expected to see some frightful form slowly
rear its head, to drive him mad with terror. Against the wall
were ranged, in regular array, a long row of elm boards cut in
the same shape: looking in the dim light, like high-shouldered
ghosts with their hands in their breeches pockets.
Coffin-plates, elm-chips, bright-headed nails, and shreds of
black cloth, lay scattered on the floor; and the wall behind the
counter was ornamented with a lively representation of two mutes
in very stiff neckcloths, on duty at a large private door, with a
hearse drawn by four black steeds, approaching in the distance.
The shop was close and hot. The atmosphere seemed tainted with
the smell of coffins. The recess beneath the counter in which
his flock mattress was thrust, looked like a grave.
Nor were these the only dismal feelings which depressed Oliver.
He was alone in a strange place; and we all know how chilled and
desolate the best of us will sometimes feel in such a situation.
The boy had no friends to care for, or to care for him. The
regret of no recent separation was fresh in his mind; the absence
of no loved and well-remembered face sank heavily into his heart.
But his heart was heavy, notwithstanding; and he wished, as he
crept into his narrow bed, that that were his coffin, and that he
could be lain in a calm and lasting sleep in the churchyard
ground, with the tall grass waving gently above his head, and the
sound of the old deep bell to soothe him in his sleep.
Oliver was awakened in the morning, by a loud kicking at the
outside of the shop-door: which, before he could huddle on his
clothes, was repeated, in an angry and impetuous manner, about
twenty-five times. When he began to undo the chain, the legs
desisted, and a voice began.
'Open the door, will yer?' cried the voice which belonged to the
legs which had kicked at the door.
'I will, directly, sir,' replied Oliver: undoing the chain, and
turning the key.
'I suppose yer the new boy, ain't yer?' said the voice through
the key-hole.
'Yes, sir,' replied Oliver.
'How old are yer?' inquired the voice.

'Ten, sir,' replied Oliver.
'Then I'll whop yer when I get in,' said the voice; 'you just see
if I don't, that's all, my work'us brat!' and having made this
obliging promise, the voice began to whistle.
Oliver had been too often subjected to the process to which the
very expressive monosyllable just recorded bears reference, to
entertain the smallest doubt that the owner of the voice, whoever
he might be, would redeem his pledge, most honourably. He drew
back the bolts with a trembling hand, and opened the door.
For a second or two, Oliver glanced up the street, and down the
street, and over the way: impressed with the belief that the
unknown, who had addressed him through the key-hole, had walked a
few paces off, to warm himself; for nobody did he see but a big
charity-boy, sitting on a post in front of the house, eating a
slice of bread and butter: which he cut into wedges, the size of
his mouth, with a clasp-knife, and then consumed with great
'I beg your pardon, sir,' said Oliver at length: seeing that no
other visitor made his appearance; 'did you knock?'
'I kicked,' replied the charity-boy.
'Did you want a coffin, sir?' inquired Oliver, innocently.
At this, the charity-boy looked monstrous fierce; and said that
Oliver would want one before long, if he cut jokes with his
superiors in that way.
'Yer don't know who I am, I suppose, Work'us?' said the
charity-boy, in continuation: descending from the top of the
post, meanwhile, with edifying gravity.
'No, sir,' rejoined Oliver.
'I'm Mister Noah Claypole,' said the charity-boy, 'and you're
under me. Take down the shutters, yer idle young ruffian!' With
this, Mr. Claypole administered a kick to Oliver, and entered the
shop with a dignified air, which did him great credit. It is
difficult for a large-headed, small-eyed youth, of lumbering make
and heavy countenance, to look dignified under any circumstances;
but it is more especially so, when superadded to these personal
attractions are a red nose and yellow smalls.

'I saved a nice little bit of bacon for you from master's breakfast. Mr. bursting into a hearty laugh. and his father a drunken soldier. Neither his father nor his mother will ever interfere with him.' and the like. as he sat shivering on the box in the coldest corner of the room. No chance-child was he. take it away to that box. and take them bits that I've put out on the cover of the bread-pan.Oliver. for he could trace his genealogy all the way back to his parents. Charlotte? He! he! he!' 'Oh.' said Charlotte. But. Eh. It shows us what a beautiful thing human nature may be made to be. and Noah had bourne them without reply. Work'us?' said Noah Claypole. 'Lor. This affords charming food for contemplation. All his relations let him have his own way pretty well. having taken down the shutters. Shortly afterwards. for the matter of that. and a diurnal pension of twopence-halfpenny and an unstateable fraction.' 'charity. and broken a pane of glass in his effort to stagger away beneath the weight of the first one to a small court at the side of the house in which they were kept during the day. Sowerberry appeared. now that fortune had cast in his way a nameless orphan. after which they both looked scornfully at poor Oliver Twist. Noah was a charity-boy. shut that door at Mister Noah's back. was graciously assisted by Noah: who having consoled him with the assurance that 'he'd catch it.' condescended to help him. There's your tea. and ate the stale pieces which had been specially reserved for him. with the ignominious epithets of 'leathers. and make haste. Oliver having 'caught it. his mother being a washerwoman. discharged with a wooden leg. Oliver. you queer soul!' said Charlotte. and drink it there. followed that young gentleman down the stairs to breakfast. in which she was joined by Noah. Mrs. Noah!' said Charlotte. 'what a rum creature you are! Why don't you let the boy alone?' 'Let him alone!' said Noah.' in fulfilment of Noah's prediction. at whom even the meanest could point the finger of scorn. but not a workhouse orphan. Sowerberry came down soon after. Noah. and how impartially the same amiable qualities are developed in the finest lord and the dirtiest charity-boy. for they'll want you to mind the shop. The shop-boys in the neighbourhood had long been in the habit of branding Noah in the public streets. 'Why everybody lets him alone enough. D'ye hear?' 'D'ye hear. he retorted on him with interest. who lived hard by. 32 . 'Come near the fire.

in an affecting manner: 'ask somebody else's. Sowerberry.' 'He need be. _I_ don't want to intrude upon your secrets. Sowerberry. when Mr. she gave an hysterical laugh. which is often very effective. Sowerberry remarked it and.Oliver had been sojourning at the undertaker's some three weeks or a month. and Mrs. my dear. proceeded. which frightened Mr. 'But. This is a very common and much-approved matrimonial course of treatment. sharply.' said Mr.' resumed Mr. don't tell me what you were going to say. Sowerberry. he stopped short. Sowerberry to begging. 'I am nobody. pray. Mr. Sowerberry. Sowerberry. the permission was most graciously conceded. my dear. nothing. 'which is very interesting. my dear. Sowerberry. my dear.' said Mrs. my dear. Sowerberry said this. Sowerberry. Mr. 'A very good-looking boy. He would make a delightful mute. Sowerberry humbly.' said Sowerberry. 'Nothing. Sowerberry looked up with an expression of considerable wonderment. 'Ugh. don't consult me. Sowerberry was most curious to hear. 'Well. that.' said Mr. 33 . my dear. It at once reduced Mr. to be allowed to say what Mrs. which threatened violent consequences. you brute!' said Mrs. 'It's only about young Twist. 'I thought you didn't want to hear. there was another hysterical laugh. my love.' Here. I was only going to say--' 'Oh.' observed the lady. Sowerberry. after several deferential glances at his wife.' Mrs. 'I want to ask your advice.' replied Mrs. for he eats enough.' interposed Mrs. 'My dear--' He was going to say more. my dear. but. said. without allowing time for any observation on the good lady's part. Mrs.' As Mrs. Sowerberry--the shop being shut up--were taking their supper in the little back-parlour. 'Not at all. with a peculiarly unpropitious aspect. 'There's an expression of melancholy in his face. no.' said Mr. Sowerberry looking up. don't ask mine. After a short duration. Sowerberry very much.' 'No. as a special favour.

that's too much. 'Bayton. and. sir. that Oliver should be at once initiated into the mysteries of the trade.' said the undertaker. that he should accompany his master on the very next occasion of his services being required. 'Come. I'm afraid.' replied the beadle. with much sharpness. very obstinate. 'I never heard the name before. then. my dear. therefore.' Mrs. 'an order for a coffin.'I don't mean a regular mute to attend grown-up people. who had a good deal of taste in the undertaking way. looking from the scrap of paper to Mr. but. it's sickening. Proud. 'Obstinate people. it would have a superb effect. was much struck by the novelty of this idea.' 'Proud. which he handed over to Sowerberry. Mr. was very corpulent. Bumble. as he replied. 'We only heard of the family the night before last. The occasion was not long in coming. Sowerberry. only a woman who lodges in the same house made an application to 34 . as an acquiescence in his proposition. Sowerberry with a sneer. Bumble. Half an hour after breakfast next morning. my dear. Mr. it was speedily determined. as it would have been compromising her dignity to have said so. Sowerberry!' 'So it is. and supporting his cane against the counter.' asquiesced the undertaker. 'Antimonial. You may depend upon it. glancing over it with a lively countenance. but only for children's practice. Sowerberry.' replied Mr. with this view. 'and we shouldn't have known anything about them. like himself. under existing circumstances. eh?' exclaimed Mr.' Bumble shook his head. Mr. fastening the strap of the leathern pocket-book: which. Sowerberry rightly construed this. why such an obvious suggestion had not presented itself to her husband's mind before? Mr. too. and a porochial funeral afterwards.' said the beadle. 'Aha!' said the undertaker.' 'Oh. she merely inquired. It would be very new to have a mute in proportion. Bumble entered the shop. drew forth his large leathern pocket-book: from which he selected a small scrap of paper. eh?' 'For a coffin first.

Mr.' said the undertaker. and the sooner it's done. Sowerberry. looking after the beadle as he strode down the street. and that's the direction. nor nobody never did. 'But what's the consequence. in a fever of parochial excitement. thought that now the undertaker had got Oliver upon trial the subject was better avoided. Bumble put on his cocked hat wrong side first. the better.' said Mr. 'the sooner this 35 . sir!' As the atrocity presented itself to Mr. sir. and all danger of his being returned upon the hands of the parish should be thus effectually and legally overcome. until such time as he should be firmly bound for seven years. there's promptness. 'Promptness. Bumble's voice. sir! Good. during the interview.the porochial committee for them to send the porochial surgeon to see a woman as was very bad. we've got to bury her. sir? Why. but now she's dead. 'Yes. and so she shan't take it--says she shan't take it. the husband sends back word that the medicine won't suit his wife's complaint. Bumble's glance.' Thus saying.' 'Ah. Bumble's mind in full force. offhand. 'I ne--ver--did--' 'Never did. and became flushed with indignation. who had carefully kept himself out of sight. however. strong. 'No. Oliver. wholesome medicine. as was given with great success to two Irish labourers and a coal-heaver. only a week before--sent 'em for nothing.' replied Oliver. 'Why. and who was shaking from head to foot at the mere recollection of the sound of Mr.' said the undertaker. 'Well. Sowerberry. taking up his hat. with a blackin'-bottle in.--and he sends back word that she shan't take it. He needn't haven taken the trouble to shrink from Mr. but his 'prentice (which is a very clever lad) sent 'em some medicine in a blacking-bottle. He had gone out to dinner. on whom the prediction of the gentleman in the white waistcoat had made a very strong impression. indeed!' replied the beadle. for that functionary. he was so angry. what's the ungrateful behaviour of these rebels. 'Well. sir!' ejaculated the beadle. that he forgot even to ask after you!' said Mr. and flounced out of the shop. he struck the counter sharply with his cane.

only the upper rooms being inhabited. There were some ragged children in another corner. and crept involuntarily closer to his master. and bidding Oliver keep close to him and not be afraid the undertaker mounted to the top of the first flight of stairs. through the most crowded and densely inhabited part of the town. to know it was the apartment to which he had been directed. occasionally skulked along. The kennel was stagnant and filthy. and was sitting beside him. and in a small recess. by huge beams of wood reared against the walls. over the empty stove. and followed his master on his professional mission. Oliver shuddered as he cast his eyes toward the place. without the concurrent testimony afforded by the squalid looks of the few men and women who. There was no fire in the room. The houses on either side were high and large. and mouldering away. for some time. too. There was neither knocker nor bell-handle at the open door where Oliver and his master stopped. They walked on. something covered with an old blanket. were hideous with famine. but very old. to afford an aperture wide enough for the passage of a human body. An old woman. he rapped at it with his knuckles. Stumbling against a door on the landing. for though it was covered up.job is done. with folded arms and bodies half doubled. but a man was crouching. Oliver followed him. were wrenched from their positions. had drawn a low stool to the cold hearth. but these were fast closed. Noah. 36 . but even these crazy dens seemed to have been selected as the nightly haunts of some houseless wretches. were prevented from falling into the street.' Oliver obeyed. and firmly planted in the road. so. groping his way cautiously through the dark passage. The very rats. there lay upon the ground. paused to look for the house which was the object of their search. for many of the rough boards which supplied the place of door and window. and tenanted by people of the poorest class: as their neglected appearance would have sufficiently denoted. opposite the door. the better. A great many of the tenements had shop-fronts. and come with me. mechanically. Oliver. and then. put on your cap. The undertaker at once saw enough of what the room contained. Some houses which had become insecure from age and decay. It was opened by a young girl of thirteen or fourteen. the boy felt that it was a corpse. which here and there lay putrefying in its rottenness. look after the shop. He stepped in. striking down a narrow street more dirty and miserable than any they had yet passed through.

if you've a life to lose!' 'Nonsense.' said the undertaker. who had hitherto remained as quiet as if she had been wholly deaf to all that passed. though we heard her gasping out their names.' said the man.' said the man: clenching his hands. and then her bones were starting through the skin. who was pretty well used to misery in all its shapes. and her eyes were bright and piercing. kneel down --kneel round her. Oliver was afraid to look at either her or the man. my good man. They seemed so like the rats he had seen outside. The worms would worry her--not eat her--she is so worn away. nodding her head in the direction of the corpse. Having unloosened the cravat of the man who still remained extended on the ground. keep back. but producing a tape from his pocket. 'Nobody shall go near her. she died in the dark--in the dark! She couldn't even see her children's faces. his eyes were bloodshot. till the fever came upon her. she tottered towards the undertaker. his hair and beard were grizzly. 'Keep back! Damn you. more ghastly than even the presence of death in such a place. rolled grovelling upon the floor: his eyes fixed. menaced them into silence. 'Nonsense!' 'I tell you. for they starved her to death. and. her two remaining teeth protruded over her under lip.' said the old woman. The terrified children cried bitterly. starting fiercely up. The old woman's face was wrinkled. I begged for her in the streets: and they sent me to prison. and all the blood in my heart has dried up. I swear it before the God that saw it! They starved her!' He twined his hands in his hair.' The undertaker offered no reply to this raving. she was dying. with a loud scream. and speaking with an idiotic leer. as the undertaker approached the recess. every one of you. and stamping furiously on the floor. and sinking on his knees at the feet of the dead woman. 37 . 'Ah!' said the man: bursting into tears. When I came back.The man's face was thin and very pale. knelt down for a moment by the side of the body. She couldn't rest there. but the old woman. 'She was my daughter. and the foam covering his lips. 'kneel down. and mark my words! I say she was starved to death.--'I tell you I won't have her put into the ground. There was neither fire nor candle. I never knew how bad she was.

and the clerk. old lady!' whispered Sowerberry in the old woman's ear.'Lord. dear?' she said eagerly: catching at the undertaker's coat. it _is_ strange that I who gave birth to her. seemed to think it by no means improbable that it might be an hour or so. or next day. ran by the side. Lord!--to think of it. to keep the clergyman waiting. 'Will she be buried to-morrow. too. for when they reached the obscure corner of the churchyard in which the nettles grew. 'Stop. and the two mourners kept as near them. Shall we have some bread. 'Yes. 'Now. as they could. and she lying there: so cold and stiff! Lord. and the bare coffin having been screwed down. So. accompanied by four men from the workhouse. left with them by Mr. Mr. my men. before we go! Never mind.--as quick as you like!' Thus directed. drawing Oliver after him. Send me a large cloak: a good warm one: for it is bitter cold. and was a woman then.) Oliver and his master returned to the miserable abode. yes. the bearers trotted on under their light burden. as he once more moved towards the door.' said the undertaker. 'we are rather late. send some bread--only a loaf of bread and a cup of water. Anything you like!' He disengaged himself from the old woman's grasp. An old black cloak had been thrown over the rags of the old woman and the man. and Oliver. or to-night? I laid her out. you must put your best leg foremost. and 38 . was hoisted on the shoulders of the bearers. Bumble had already arrived. We should have cake and wine. the clergyman had not arrived. Sowerberry had anticipated. should be alive and merry now. stop!' said the old woman in a loud whisper. however. There was not so great a necessity for hurrying as Mr. who was sitting by the vestry-room fire. it's as good as a play--as good as a play!' As the wretched creature mumbled and chuckled in her hideous merriment. Bumble himself. the undertaker turned to go away. The next day. and carried into the street. Lord! Well. and. where Mr. whose legs were not so long as his master's. Bumble and Sowerberry walked at a good smart pace in front. (the family having been meanwhile relieved with a half-quartern loaf and a piece of cheese. you know.'of course. and it won't do. hurried away. and where the parish graves were made. they put the bier on the brink of the grave. Move on. who were to act as bearers. and I must walk. before he came.

and walked off. were seen running towards the grave. Mr. to keep up appearances. my good fellow!' said Bumble.' said Sowerberry. and Sowerberry. Oliver. followed by the boys. to pay him any attention. Oliver. The crazy old woman was too much occupied in bewailing the loss of her cloak (which the undertaker had taken off). raised his head. having read as much of the burial service as could be compressed into four minutes. walked forward for a few paces. sir. with a cold rain drizzling down.the two mourners waited patiently in the damp clay. sat by the fire with him. Sowerberry and Bumble. stamped it loosely down with his feet: shouldered his spade. locked the gate. The grave-digger shovelled in the earth. and walked away again. stared at the person who had addressed him.' 39 . tapping the man on the back. with considerable hesitation. Bumble. 'Now. 'how do you like it?' 'Pretty well. my boy. Bumble then thrashed a boy or two. and when he came to. 'They want to shut up the yard. saw him safely out of the churchyard. and read the paper. 'Well. Mr. 'Fill up!' It was no very difficult task. Mr. so they threw a can of cold water over him. who murmured very loud complaints at the fun being over so soon. thank you. the clergyman appeared: putting on his surplice as he came along. after a lapse of something more than an hour.' 'Ah. started. that the uppermost coffin was within a few feet of the surface. 'Not very much. 'Nothing when you _are_ used to it. sir' replied Oliver. and departed on their different ways. since he had taken his station by the grave side. or varied their amusements by jumping backwards and forwards over the coffin. as they walked home. At length. you'll get used to it in time. being personal friends of the clerk. Bill!' said Sowerberry to the grave-digger. and fell down in a swoon.' said Sowerberry. and the reverend gentleman. for the grave was so full.' The man who had never once moved. and the clerk. while the ragged boys whom the spectacle had attracted into the churchyard played a noisy game at hide-and-seek among the tombstones. 'Come. gave his surplice to the clerk. Immediately afterwards.

Sowerberry's ingenious speculation. and walked back to the shop: thinking over all he had seen and heard. who had been perfectly inconsolable during the previous illness. coffins were looking up. in a hat-band reaching down to his knees. 40 . to the indescribable admiration and emotion of all the mothers in the town. Husbands. and. For instance. too. he had many opportunities of observing the beautiful resignation and fortitude with which some strong-minded people bear their trials and losses. that ladies and gentlemen who were in passions of anguish during the ceremony of interment.Oliver wondered. Oliver was formally apprenticed. in order that he might acquire that equanimity of demeanour and full command of nerve which was essential to a finished undertaker. Oliver acquired a great deal of experience. CHAPTER VI OLIVER. BEING GOADED BY THE TAUNTS OF NOAH. and many were the mournful processions which little Oliver headed. in his own mind. they would be as happy among themselves as need be--quite cheerful and contented--conversing together with as much freedom and gaiety. As Oliver accompanied his master in most of his adult expeditions too. bore the loss of their wives with the most heroic calmness. and became quite composed before the tea-drinking was over. or so fatal to infant existence. who was surrounded by a great number of nephews and nieces. The oldest inhabitants recollected no period at which measles had been so prevalent. put on weeds for their husbands. as if nothing whatever had happened to disturb them. in the course of a few weeks. But he thought it better not to ask the question. when Sowerberry had an order for the burial of some rich old lady or gentleman. It was a nice sickly season just at this time. In commercial phrase. again. ROUSES INTO ACTION. too. and whose grief had been wholly irrepressible even on the most public occasions. All this was very pleasant and improving to see. The success of Mr. as if. and Oliver beheld it with great admiration. recovered almost as soon as they reached home. Wives. whether it had taken a very long time to get Mr. so far from grieving in the garb of sorrow. they had made up their minds to render it as becoming and attractive as possible. exceeded even his most sanguine hopes. Sowerberry used to it. It was observable. AND RATHER ASTONISHES HIM The month's trial over.

now that his jealousy was roused by seeing the new boy promoted to the black stick and hatband. being hungry and vicious. Under this impression he returned to the charge. that for many months he continued meekly to submit to the domination and ill-treatment of Noah Claypole: who used him far worse than before. Noah attempted to be more facetious still. 41 . between these three on one side. whenever that desirable event should take place. did what many sometimes do to this day. Oliver and Noah had descended into the kitchen at the usual dinner-hour. he breathed quickly. and pulled Oliver's hair. and a glut of funerals on the other. although I am his biographer.' replied Oliver. but I can most distinctly say. so. which Mr. because Mr. But. in the grain department of a brewery. considered he could not possibly devote to a worthier purpose than aggravating and tantalising young Oliver Twist. He got rather personal. the old one.That Oliver Twist was moved to resignation by the example of these good people. Intent upon this innocent amusement. 'how's your mother?' 'She's dead. Claypole thought must be the immediate precursor of a violent fit of crying. One day. Oliver was not altogether as comfortable as the hungry pig was. remained stationary in the muffin-cap and leathers. when they want to be funny. undertake to affirm with any degree of confidence. to banquet upon a small joint of mutton--a pound and a half of the worst end of the neck--when Charlotte being called out of the way. and furthermore announced his intention of coming to see him hanged. making Oliver cry. for I have to record an act. but which indirectly produced a material change in all his future prospects and proceedings. and in his attempt. Sowerberry was his decided enemy. when he was shut up. and Mrs. which Noah Claypole. and there was a curious working of the mouth and nostrils. like a malicious and ill-conditioned charity-boy as he was. Sowerberry was disposed to be his friend. 'Work'us. by mistake. Noah put his feet on the table-cloth. and entered upon various topics of petty annoyance. slight and unimportant perhaps in appearance. And now. 'don't you say anything about her to me!' Oliver's colour rose as he said this. while he. because Noah did. there ensued a brief interval of time. Charlotte treated him ill. and twitched his ears.' said Noah. and expressed his opinion that he was a 'sneak'. I cannot. I come to a very important passage in Oliver's history.

' replied Noah. too! She was a nice 'un she was. and I'm sure we all are. Oh. Work'us. seized Noah by the throat. and speaking in a jeering tone of affected pity: of all tones the most annoying: 'Yer know. 'Well! Better not! Work'us. which is more likely than either. or transported.' continued Noah. 'What's set you a snivelling now?' 'Not _you_. But his spirit was roused at last. sharply. the cruel insult to his dead mother had set his blood on fire. _Your_ mother.' 'What did you say?' inquired Oliver. 'A regular right-down bad 'un. as a tear rolled down Oliver's cheek. isn't it?' Crimson with fury. his whole person changed. looking up very quickly. 'I think I know what it must be to die of that!' 'Tol de rol lol lol. right fol lairy. that she died when she did. than answering Noah. don't be impudent.' said Noah. Don't say anything more to me about her. shook him. Work'us. Work'us. it can't be helped now. his eye bright and vivid. till his teeth chattered in his head. emboldened by Oliver's silence. that's enough. or else she'd have been hard labouring in Bridewell. Work'us. coolly. 42 . mild. the boy had looked the quiet child. as he stood glaring over the cowardly tormentor who now lay crouching at his feet. some of our old nurses told me. in the violence of his rage. His breast heaved. Work'us?' said Noah. A minute ago. Oliver started up. and collecting his whole force into one heavy blow. and curled up as much of his small red nose as muscular action could collect together. 'Yer know. Work'us. Work'us. you'd better not!' 'Better not!' exclaimed Noah. and I am very sorry for it. 'There. Lor!' And here.'What did she die of.' replied Oliver: more as if he were talking to himself.' replied Oliver. yer mother was a regular right-down bad 'un. 'And it's a great deal better. dejected creature that harsh treatment had made him. felled him to the ground. for the occasion. and pity yer very much. Noah nodded his head expressively. his attitude was erect. and of course yer couldn't help it then. and defied him with an energy he had never known before. But yer must know. overthrew the chair and table. or hung. 'Of a broken heart.

Sowerberry. 'Oh. and pommelled him behind. into the dust-cellar. This was rather too violent exercise to last long. and a louder from Mrs. In this favourable position of affairs. which was about equal to that of a moderately strong man in particularly good training. 'Oh! Charlotte. 'Oh.' was the reply. struggling and shouting. what a mercy we have not all been murdered in our beds!' 'Ah! mercy indeed. 'A glass of water. Noah. they dragged Oliver. but nothing daunted. 'Bless her. ma'am. Sowerberry: looking piteously on the charity-boy. while the latter paused on the staircase till she was quite certain that it was consistent with the preservation of human life. Charlotte's fist was by no means a light one. and there locked him up. and assisted to hold him with one hand. Make haste!' 'Oh! Charlotte. hor-rid villain!' And between every syllable. dear. Sowerberry: speaking as well as she could. Sowerberry sunk into a chair. but. for the benefit of society. When they were all wearied out.' said Mrs. lest it should not be effectual in calming Oliver's wrath. you little un-grate-ful. Poor Noah! He was all but killed. she's going off!' said Charlotte. Mrs.' 'Poor fellow!' said Mrs. while she scratched his face with the other. Mrs. ma'am. Noah rose from the ground. Noah. and a sufficiency of cold water. Sowerberry plunged into the kitchen. you little wretch!' screamed Charlotte: seizing Oliver with her utmost force.'He'll murder me!' blubbered Noah. when I come in. and burst into tears. mur-de-rous. whose top waistcoat-button might have been somewhere on a 43 . and could tear and beat no longer. 'Charlotte! missis! Here's the new boy a murdering of me! Help! help! Oliver's gone mad! Char--lotte!' Noah's shouts were responded to. that are born to be murderers and robbers from their very cradle. to come further down. I only hope this'll teach master not to have any more of these dreadful creatures. through a deficiency of breath. which Noah had poured over her head and shoulders. This being done. by a loud scream from Charlotte. Charlotte gave Oliver a blow with all her might: accompanying it with a scream. the former of whom rushed into the kitchen by a side-door.

'No. who happened to be hard by.' Oliver's vigorous plunges against the bit of timber in question. Noah. Bumble!' cried Noah. there's not a man in the house. as you run along. and performed some affecting tears and sniffs.' Noah stopped to make no reply. until he reached the workhouse-gate. dear! I don't know. what's the matter with the boy!' said the old pauper. Having rested here. Bumble. rubbed his eyes with the inside of his wrists while this commiseration was bestowed upon him. It'll keep the swelling down. that they not only caught the ear of Mr. 'Your master's not at home. he knocked loudly at the wicket. who saw nothing but rueful faces about him at the best of times. never mind your cap! Make haste! You can hold a knife to that black eye. and a clasp-knife at his eye. to see a charity-boy tearing through the streets pell-mell. ma'am. and tell him to come here directly. and not to lose a minute. and very much it astonished the people who were out walking. and paused not once for breath. 'Run to Mr. with no cap on his head. that even he.' said Charlotte. started back in astonishment. to collect a good burst of sobs and an imposing show of tears and terror.' suggested Mr. Bumble himself. Sowerberry. rendered this occurance highly probable.' 'Or the millingtary. and presented such a rueful face to the aged pauper who opened it. but started off at his fullest speed. CHAPTER VII OLIVER CONTINUES REFRACTORY Noah Claypole ran along the streets at his swiftest pace. and he'll kick that door down in ten minutes. 'Why. with well-affected dismay: and in tones so loud and agitated.level with the crown of Oliver's head. Sowerberry: bethinking herself of Oliver's old friend. 'Dear. no. 'unless we send for the police-officers. Bumble! Mr. but alarmed him so much that he rushed into the yard without his 44 . Claypole. for a minute or so. 'What's to be done!' exclaimed Mrs. 'Mr.' said Mrs.

The gentleman's notice was very soon attracted. 'Oh.cocked hat. Oh! what dreadful pain it is! Such agony. Noah?' 'No. Bumble: with a gleam of pleasure in his metallic eyes. of the gentleman aforesaid. Bumble. 'who has been nearly murdered--all but murdered. from the violent and sanguinary onset of Oliver Twist. 'Not run away. and then he tried to murder Charlotte. sir. Mr. an involuntary process? 'It's a poor boy from the free-school. Bumble.--which is a very curious and remarkable circumstance: as showing that even a beadle. that that audacious young savage would come to be hung!' 'He has likewise attempted. acted upon a sudden and powerful impulse.--Oliver has--' 'What? What?' interposed Mr. to murder the female servant. 'He tried to murder me. sir. Noah writhed and twisted his body into an extensive variety of eel-like positions. but he's turned wicious. Bumble to understand that. may be afflicted with a momentary visitation of loss of self-possession. sir. and why Mr. no.' replied Mr. he hasn't run away. Bumble. stopping short. and forgetfulness of personal dignity.' said Mr. and when he observed a gentleman in a white waistcoat crossing the yard. and inquired what that young cur was howling for. he imparted additional effect thereunto. When Noah saw that the intelligence he communicated perfectly paralysed Mr. 45 . please. sir. Bumble did not favour him with something which would render the series of vocular exclamations so designated. for he had not walked three paces. when he turned angrily round. from which he was at that moment suffering the acutest torture. Not run away. sir. sir.--by young Twist. sir!' said Noah: 'Oliver. thereby giving Mr. he was more tragic in his lamentations than ever: rightly conceiving it highly expedient to attract the notice.' 'By Jove!' exclaimed the gentleman in the white waistcoat. and then missis. Bumble. he had sustained severe internal injury and damage. has he. sir!' And here. 'I knew it! I felt a strange presentiment from the very first. and rouse the indignation.' replied Noah. sir. with a face of ashy paleness. by bewailing his dreadful wounds ten times louder than before.

I will not. sir. Bumble. Sowerberry and Charlotte. sir. Oliver?' said Mr. with undiminished vigour. sir. And the cocked hat and cane having been. sir? Ain't you a-trembling while I speak. and flog him--'cause master's out.' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat: smiling benignly. I think you said. directly. Bumble judged it prudent to parley. With this view he gave a kick at the outside. adjusted to their owner's satisfaction. 'Yes.' replied the beadle. Bumble. my boy?' inquired the gentleman in the white waistcoat. sir?' said Mr. and. that Mr. applying his mouth to the keyhole. and patting Noah's head. Bumble can spare time to step up there. then. were of so startling a nature. Here's a penny for you. 46 . Don't spare him. from the inside. before opening the door. Bumble. Bumble.' 'No. 'Do you know this here voice. at the cellar-door. in a deep and impressive tone: 'Oliver!' 'Come. Here the position of affairs had not at all improved. 'Ain't you afraid of it. did he. Bumble and Noah Claypole betook themselves with all speed to the undertaker's shop.' 'Certainly. by this time. Claypole. 'No!' replied Oliver. just step up to Sowerberry's with your cane. 'Yes. by way of prelude. Noah?' added Mr. The accounts of his ferocity as related by Mrs. said. Mr. and see what's best to be done. which was about three inches higher than his own.'And his missis. 'And his master. Bumble.' interposed Mr. too. or he would have murdered him. boldly. Sowerberry had not yet returned. certainly. 'You're a good boy--a very good boy. you let me out!' replied Oliver. and Oliver continued to kick. 'And please.' replied Noah. my boy.' replied Noah. 'He said he wanted to. missis wants to know whether Mr.' replied Oliver. 'No! he's out.' 'Ah! Said he wanted to.

she was wholly innocent. who are practical philosophers.' 'It's not Madness. is to leave him in the cellar for a day or so. and was in the habit of receiving. Sowerberry. Bumble's heavy accusation. in thought. Oliver's 47 . after a few moments of deep meditation. Sowerberry. dear!' ejaculated Mrs. 'Oh. Oliver. Mrs. when the lady brought her eyes down to earth again. ma'am. ma'am. weeks before. He comes of a bad family. Mr. He stepped back from the keyhole. against difficulties and pain that would have killed any well-disposed woman.' 'What?' exclaimed Mrs. drew himself up to his full height. just hearing enough to know that some allusion was being made to his mother. staggered Mr. Sowerberry to Oliver. till he's a little starved down.' At this point of Mr. recommenced kicking. had consisted of a profuse bestowal upon him of all the dirty odds and ends which nobody else would eat.' replied Bumble.' said Mrs. Of which. and looked from one to another of the three bystanders. Sowerberry. Excitable natures. 'Meat. piously raising her eyes to the kitchen ceiling: 'this comes of being liberal!' The liberality of Mrs. or deed. and then to take him out. and keep him on gruel all through the apprenticeship. will tell you. Bumble. Sowerberry returned at this juncture. ma'am unbecoming a person of his condition: as the board. You've raised a artificial soul and spirit in him. Bumble. Sowerberry! Both the nurse and doctor said.' replied Mr. meat. to do her justice. What have paupers to do with soul or spirit? It's quite enough that we let 'em have live bodies. Sowerberry. Mrs. Bumble not a little. that I know of. he must be mad. in mute astonishment. ma'am. Bumble. ma'am. 'It's Meat.' 'Dear. 'Ah!' said Mr. with stern emphasis. If you had kept the boy on gruel. 'You've over-fed him. with a violence that rendered every other sound inaudible. that that mother of his made her way here. you know. 'the only thing that can be done now.An answer so different from the one he had expected to elicit. this would never have happened. word. so there was a great deal of meekness and self-devotion in her voluntarily remaining under Mr. Bumble's discourse. 'No boy in half his senses could venture to speak so to you.

he unlocked the cellar-door in a twinkling. Sowerberry no alternative. 'Now. an insulting creature. and when he was pulled out of his prison. by the collar. however. giving Oliver a shake. an unnatural husband. The flood of tears. after making various remarks outside the door. and a box on the ear. If he had hesitated for one instant to punish Oliver most severely. Sowerberry. Sowerberry. left him no resource. perhaps. it must be quite clear to every experienced reader that he would have been. 'She did. Sowerberry herself. For the rest of the day. perhaps. because it was his interest to be so. Sowerberry burst into a flood of tears. Bumble's subsequent application of the parochial cane.offence having been explained to him. 'Well. 'He called my mother names. you little ungrateful wretch?' said Mrs. with such exaggerations as the ladies thought best calculated to rouse his ire. and looked quite undismayed. amidst the jeers and pointings of Noah and Charlotte. ain't you?' said Sowerberry. his face was bruised and scratched.' 'She didn't' said Oliver. according to all precedents in disputes of matrimony established. he was shut up in the back kitchen. a base imitation of a man. which satisfied even Mrs. looked into the room. Mrs. he scowled boldly on Noah. and. and what if he did. The angry flush had not disappeared. as far as his power went--it was not very extensive--kindly disposed towards the boy. 'It's a lie!' said Oliver. and his hair scattered over his forehead. however. ordered him upstairs to his dismal bed. 'She deserved what he said. and worse. and at night. a brute. by no means complimentary to the memory of his mother. This flood of tears left Mr. and dragged his rebellious apprentice out. and rendered Mr. rather unnecessary. because his wife disliked him. in company with a pump and a slice of bread. 48 . he was. so he at once gave him a drubbing.' replied Oliver. Sowerberry. Mrs. you are a nice young fellow. and various other agreeable characters too numerous for recital within the limits of this chapter. To do him justice.' said Mrs. Oliver's clothes had been torn in the beating he had received.

There was no appearance of its inmates 49 . He remembered to have seen the waggons. He reached the house. His way lay directly in front of the cottage. But now. that Oliver gave way to the feelings which the day's treatment may be supposed likely to have awakened in a mere child. so he walked on. it was so early that there was very little fear of his being seen. to wait for morning. he had borne the lash without a cry: for he felt that pride swelling in his heart which would have kept down a shriek to the last. when there were none to see or hear him. Oliver well-remembered he had trotted beside Mr.It was not until he was left alone in the silence and stillness of the gloomy workshop of the undertaker. toiling up the hill. Bumble. Besides. and listened intently. and the sombre shadows thrown by the trees upon the ground. and looked abroad. Having gazed cautiously round him. and. farther from the earth than he had ever seen them before. God send for the credit of our nature. though they had roasted him alive. looked sepulchral and death-like. to the boy's eyes. as they went out. The candle was burning low in the socket when he rose to his feet. He took the same route. His heart beat quickly when he bethought himself of this. and was in the open street. One timid look around--one moment's pause of hesitation--he had closed it behind him. He softly reclosed the door. He had come a long way though. and should lose a great deal of time by doing so. when he first carried him to the workhouse from the farm. He had listened to their taunts with a look of contempt. struck into it. He looked to the right and to the left. dark night. Along this same footpath. few so young may ever have cause to pour out before him! For a long time. and he half resolved to turn back. uncertain whither to fly. wept such tears as. led out again into the road. Oliver arose. after some distance. It was a cold. he fell upon his knees on the floor. and walked quickly on. Oliver remained motionless in this attitude. With the first ray of light that struggled through the crevices in the shutters. from being so still. and again unbarred the door. sat himself down upon a bench. hiding his face in his hands. and arriving at a footpath across the fields: which he knew. Having availed himself of the expiring light of the candle to tie up in a handkerchief the few articles of wearing apparel he had. The stars seemed. there was no wind. he gently undid the fastenings of the door.

yes. and through the struggles and sufferings. Dick!' said Oliver. some long way off. 'I am very glad to see you. I know the doctor must be right. CHAPTER VIII OLIVER WALKS TO LONDON. and once more gained the high-road. 'You musn't say you saw me. 'Hush. Dick. Dick. and flinging his little arms round Oliver's neck. 'Is any one up?' 'Nobody but me. A child was weeding one of the little beds. I don't know where. 'After I am dead. but it was the first that Oliver had ever heard invoked upon his head. but don't stop. Oliver stopped. Oliver felt glad to see him.' replied the child.' replied Oliver. Dick. and starved. Though 50 . to say good-b'ye to you. I will. Oliver. and I am going to seek my fortune. for. he never once forgot it. They had been beaten. dear. and kind faces that I never see when I am awake. before he went. I know I shall! You will be well and happy!' 'I hope so. as the boy ran to the gate.' said Oliver. dear! God bless you!' The blessing was from a young child's lips. 'Good-b'ye.' said the child. many and many a time.stirring at that early hour. They beat and ill-use me. though younger than himself. he raised his pale face and disclosed the features of one of his former companions. and Angels. 'I am running away. and troubles and changes.' replied the child.' replied the child with a faint smile. How pale you are!' 'I heard the doctor tell them I was dying. he had been his little friend and playmate. climbing up the low gate. because I dream so much of Heaven. but not before. and thrust his thin arm between the rails to greet him. 'I shall see you again. HE ENCOUNTERS ON THE ROAD A STRANGE SORT OF YOUNG GENTLEMAN Oliver reached the stile at which the by-path terminated. Kiss me. and peeped into the garden. of his after life. as he stopped. don't stop!' 'Yes. and shut up together. It was eight o'clock now.

where he had better go and try to live. and a few draughts of water. The name awakened a new train of ideas in the boy's mind. he turned into a meadow. Then he sat down to rest by the side of the milestone. As these things passed through his thoughts. till morning. 'A clean shirt. a coarse shirt. and so is a penny. and began to think. but they are small helps to a sixty-five miles' walk in winter time. too. for the wind moaned dismally over the empty fields: and he was cold and hungry. The stone by which he was seated. he jumped upon his feet. London!--that great place!--nobody--not even Mr. creeping close under a hay-rick. 'is a very comfortable thing. bore. before he recollected how much he must undergo ere he could hope to reach his place of destination. Bumble--could ever find him there! He had often heard the old men in the workhouse.he was nearly five miles away from the town. in large characters. although they were extremely ready and active to point out his difficulties. which those who had been bred up in country parts had no idea of. determined to lie there. and again walked forward. however. like those of most other people. which he begged at the cottage-doors by the road-side. Being very tired with his walk. When the night came. in his bundle. he soon fell asleep and forgot his troubles. by turns. till noon: fearing that he might be pursued and overtaken. he slackened his pace a little. he ran. who must die in the streets unless some one helped him. say that no lad of spirit need want in London.' But Oliver's thoughts. Oliver walked twenty miles that day. and two pairs of stockings. and all that time tasted nothing but the crust of dry bread. He had a crust of bread. As this consideration forced itself upon him. He felt frightened at first. so.' thought Oliver. and more alone than he had ever felt before. he changed his little bundle over to the other shoulder. and so 51 . and meditated upon his means of getting there. after a good deal of thinking to no particular purpose. and hid behind the hedges. He had diminished the distance between himself and London by full four miles more. for the first time. an intimation that it was just seventy miles from that spot to London. and that there were ways of living in that vast city. and trudged on. when he got up next morning. He had a penny too--a gift of Sowerberry's after some funeral in which he had acquitted himself more than ordinarily well--in his pocket. and so are two pairs of darned stockings. were wholly at a loss to suggest any feasible mode of surmounting them. and. It was the very place for a homeless boy. He felt cold and stiff.

Oliver limped slowly into the little town of Barnet. But the turnpike-man gave him a meal of bread and cheese. and such tears of sympathy and compassion. but there were very few who took any notice of him: and even those told him to wait till they got to the top of the hill. that they would be sent to jail. and a benevolent old lady. for many hours together. and then let them see how far he could run for a halfpenny. took pity upon the poor orphan. and made him glad to get out of those villages with all possible expedition. ten to one but they threatened to set the dog on him.--very often the only thing he had there. the street was empty. than all the sufferings he had ever undergone. they talked about the beadle--which brought Oliver's heart into his mouth. He had walked no more than twelve miles. large painted boards were fixed up: warning all persons who begged within the district. and look mournfully at every one who passed: a proceeding which generally terminated in the landlady's ordering one of the post-boys who were lounging about. for she was sure he had come to steal something. He waited at the bottom of a steep hill till a stage-coach came up. not a soul had 52 . and when he showed his nose in a shop. His feet were sore. This frightened Oliver very much. Oliver's troubles would have been shortened by the very same process which had put an end to his mother's. Poor Oliver tried to keep up with the coach a little way. by reason of his fatigue and sore feet. he would most assuredly have fallen dead upon the king's highway. and the coach rattled away and left only a cloud of dust behind. if it had not been for a good-hearted turnpike-man. and didn't deserve anything. Another night passed in the bleak damp air. in other words. and gave him what little she could afford--and more--with such kind and gentle words. he would stand about the inn-yards. In some villages. that they sank deeper into Oliver's soul. who had a shipwrecked grandson wandering barefoot in some distant part of the earth. The window-shutters were closed. When the outsides saw this. but was unable to do it. made him worse. and the old lady. Early on the seventh morning after he had left his native place. when he set forward on his journey next morning he could hardly crawl along. they put their halfpence back into their pockets again. and then begged of the outside passengers.hungry that he was obliged to exchange the penny for a small loaf. In others. when night closed in again. In fact. declaring that he was an idle young dog. If he begged at a farmer's house. in the very first village through which he passed. and his legs so weak that they trembled beneath him. to drive that strange boy out of the place.

in the bluchers. gazing listlessly at the coaches as they passed through. with ease. for there he kept them. Some few stopped to gaze at Oliver for a moment or two. and people began passing to and fro. 53 . His hat was stuck on the top of his head so lightly. had returned. or troubled themselves to inquire how he came there. the shutters were opened. By degrees. to get his hands out of the sleeves: apparently with the ultimate view of thrusting them into the pockets of his corduroy trousers. flat-browed. but the boy remained in the same attitude of close observation so long. upon a door-step. He had turned the cuffs back. He was short of his age: with rather bow-legs. if the wearer had not had a knack of every now and then giving his head a sudden twitch. my covey! What's the row?' The boy who addressed this inquiry to the young wayfarer. in a few hours. He was a snub-nosed. and as dirty a juvenile as one would wish to see. He wore a man's coat. very often.awakened to the business of the day. but the light only served to show the boy his own lonesomeness and desolation. but none relieved him. He had been crouching on the step for some time: wondering at the great number of public-houses (every other house in Barnet was a tavern. which reached nearly to his heels. sharp. the boy crossed over. common-faced boy enough. ugly eyes. The sun was rising in all its splendid beauty. my covey! What's the row?' said this strange young gentleman to Oliver. and thinking how strange it seemed that they could do. who had passed him carelessly some minutes before. He had no heart to beg. as roystering and swaggering a young gentleman as ever stood four feet six. as he sat. which brought it back to its old place again. altogether. or something less. large or small). said. was about his own age: but one of the queerest looking boys that Oliver had even seen. or turned round to stare at him as they hurried by. what it had taken him a whole week of courage and determination beyond his years to accomplish: when he was roused by observing that a boy. that Oliver raised his head. 'Hullo. Upon this. And there he sat. the window-blinds were drawn up. and little. He was. half-way up his arm. 'Hullo. and walking close up to Oliver. and returned his steady look. that it threatened to fall off every moment--and would have done so. and was now surveying him most earnestly from the opposite side of the way. but he had about him all the airs and manners of a man. He took little heed of this at first. with bleeding feet and covered with dust.

where he purchased a sufficiency of ready-dressed ham and a half-quartern loaf. 'you want grub. and niver a coming down agin. I'll fork out and stump. 'Yes. by direction of the mysterious youth. a pot of beer was brought in. 'What mill! Why.' 54 . during the progress of which the strange boy eyed him from time to time with great attention. as he himself expressed it. and always goes better when the wind's low with people. it's not straight forerd. Up with you on your pins. Here. acos then they can't get workmen. the young gentleman took him to an adjacent chandler's shop. and Oliver. a beak's a madgst'rate. when Oliver had at length concluded. Was you never on the mill?' 'What mill?' inquired Oliver. but always agoing up. Beak's order. 'Oh. or. 'I have walked a long way. 'I suppose you don't know what a beak is. 'Going to London?' said the strange boy. made a long and hearty meal. I see. noticing Oliver's look of surprise. I have been walking these seven days.' he added. There! Now then! 'Morrice!' Assisting Oliver to rise. and led the way to a tap-room in the rear of the premises. I'm at low-water-mark myself--only one bob and a magpie. the young gentlman turned into a small public-house. my flash com-pan-i-on.'I am very hungry and tired. by the ingenious expedient of making a hole in the loaf by pulling out a portion of the crumb. that he had always heard a bird's mouth described by the term in question. than when it's high. 'a fourpenny bran!' the ham being kept clean and preserved from dust. _the_ mill--the mill as takes up so little room that it'll work inside a Stone Jug.' Oliver mildly replied. and when you walk by a beak's order.' replied Oliver: the tears standing in his eyes as he spoke. falling to. Taking the bread under his arm. but. and stuffing it therein. as far as it goes.' said the young gentleman.' 'Walking for sivin days!' said the young gentleman. 'My eyes. But come. 'Why. eh? But. at his new friend's bidding. and you shall have it. how green!' exclaimed the young gentleman.

This led to a more friendly and confidential dialogue. indeed.' answered Oliver. I do. he secretly resolved to cultivate the good opinion of the old gentleman as 55 . from which Oliver discovered that his friend's name was Jack Dawkins. 'I've got to be in London to-night. if any genelman he knows interduces you. don't you?' 'I do.' replied the boy. This unexpected offer of shelter was too tempting to be resisted. And don't he know me? Oh. 'Do you live in London?' inquired Oliver. and never ask for the change--that is. as he had a rather flightly and dissolute mode of conversing. wot'll give you lodgings for nothink. Under this impression. and that he was a peculiar pet and protege of the elderly gentleman before mentioned. and furthermore avowed that among his intimate friends he was better known by the sobriquet of 'The Artful Dodger. by the assurance that the old gentleman referred to.' The strange boy whistled. as far as the big coat-sleeves would let them go. the moral precepts of his benefactor had hitherto been thrown away upon him.' 'Don't fret your eyelids on that score. would doubtless provide Oliver with a comfortable place. Certainly not!' The young gentleman smiled. without loss of time.' said the young gentleman. and put his arms into his pockets. no! Not in the least! By no means. Mr.' 'Money?' 'No. when I'm at home. but. being of a dissipated and careless turn. 'I have not slept under a roof since I left the country. as if to intimate that the latter fragments of discourse were playfully ironical.'Got any lodgings?' 'No. 'Yes.' Oliver concluded that. Dawkin's appearance did not say a vast deal in favour of the comforts which his patron's interest obtained for those whom he took under his protection. and I know a 'spectable old gentleman as lives there. 'I suppose you want some place to sleep in to-night. especially as it was immediately followed up. and finished the beer as he did so.

directing Oliver to follow close at his heels. thence into Little Saffron Hill. There were a good many small shops. and the air was impregnated with filthy odours. 'Plummy and slam!' was the reply. A dirtier or more wretched place he had never seen. 'Now. the lowest orders of Irish were wrangling with might and main. His conductor. and from several of the door-ways. in reply to a whistle from the Dodger. disclosed little knots of houses. Covered ways and yards. This seemed to be some watchword or signal that all was right. and a man's face peeped out. where drunken men and women were positively wallowing in filth. struck down the small street which terminates at Sadler's Wells Theatre. closed it behind them. it was nearly eleven o'clock when they reached the turnpike at Islington. great ill-looking fellows were cautiously emerging. to decline the honour of his farther acquaintance. on no very well-disposed or harmless errands. when they reached the bottom of the hill.quickly as possible. and drawing him into the passage. if he found the Dodger incorrigible. were the public-houses. Oliver was just considering whether he hadn't better run away. to all appearance. who. down the little court by the side of the workhouse. As John Dawkins objected to their entering London before nightfall. which here and there diverged from the main street. and in them. then!' cried a voice from below. as he more than half suspected he should. even at that time of night. from 56 . and. They crossed from the Angel into St. he could not help bestowing a few hasty glances on either side of the way. and so into Saffron Hill the Great: along which the Dodger scudded at a rapid pace. for the light of a feeble candle gleamed on the wall at the remote end of the passage. but the only stock in trade appeared to be heaps of children. or screaming from the inside. bound. were crawling in and out at the doors. John's Road. pushed open the door of a house near Field Lane. The street was very narrow and muddy. The sole places that seemed to prosper amid the general blight of the place. through Exmouth Street and Coppice Row. across the classic ground which once bore the name of Hockley-in-the-Hole. catching him by the arm. Although Oliver had enough to occupy his attention in keeping sight of his leader. as he passed along.

and standing over them. whose villainous-looking and repulsive face was obscured by a quantity of matted red hair. took him 57 . he's a sortin' the wipes. stuck in a ginger-beer bottle. and which was secured to the mantelshelf by a string.' replied Jack Dawkins. were huddled side by side on the floor. There was a deal table before the fire: upon which were a candle. He threw open the door of a back-room. These all crowded about their associate as he whispered a few words to the Jew. ascended with much difficulty the dark and broken stairs: which his conductor mounted with an ease and expedition that showed he was well acquainted with them. and the face disappeared. which was on the fire. In a frying-pan. Fagin. pulling Oliver forward. 'This is him.'my friend Oliver Twist. and a plate. over which a great number of silk handkerchiefs were hanging. was a very old shrivelled Jew.' said the man.' The Jew grinned. none older than the Dodger. a loaf and butter. smoking long clay pipes.where a balustrade of the old kitchen staircase had been broken away. and seemed to be dividing his attention between the frying-pan and the clothes-horse. The walls and ceiling of the room were perfectly black with age and dirt. He was dressed in a greasy flannel gown. and then turned round and grinned at Oliver. Is Fagin upstairs?' 'Yes. So did the Jew himself. 'Who's the t'other one?' 'A new pal. groping his way with one hand. and. with his throat bare.' said Jack Dawkins. and drinking spirits with the air of middle-aged men. and shielding his eyes with his hand. Up with you!' The candle was drawn back. some sausages were cooking. and having the other firmly grasped by his companion. 'There's two on you. 'Where did he come from?' 'Greenland. toasting-fork in hand. and drew Oliver in after him. with a toasting-fork in his hand. making a low obeisance to Oliver. thrusting the candle farther out. Seated round the table were four or five boys. two or three pewter pots. Several rough beds made of old sacks. Oliver.

in order that. Upon this. and whistling softly to himself as he stirred it round and round. and hoped he should have the honour of his intimate acquaintance. that's all. 'We are very glad to see you. One young gentleman was very anxious to hang up his cap for him. Oliver ate his share. 'Dodger. There is a drowsy state. himself. and another was so obliging as to put his hands in his pockets. He would stop every now and then to listen when there was the least noise below: and when he had satistified himself. Oliver. with an iron spoon. Immediately afterwards he felt himself gently lifted on to one of the sacks. and then he sunk into a deep sleep. he was not thoroughly awake. ain't there? We've just looked 'em out. ready for the wash. from a sound. AND HIS HOPEFUL PUPILS It was late next morning when Oliver awoke. Oliver did as he was desired. he might not have the trouble of emptying them. when he went to bed. and shook both his hands very hard--especially the one in which he held his little bundle. There are a good many of 'em. he would go on whistling and stirring again. who was boiling some coffee in a saucepan for breakfast. and the Jew then mixed him a glass of hot gin-and-water: telling him he must drink it off directly.' said the Jew. because another gentleman wanted the tumbler. CHAPTER IX CONTAINING FURTHER PARTICULARS CONCERNING THE PLEASANT OLD GENTLEMAN. as before. Ha! ha! ha!' The latter part of this speech. take off the sausages. Ah. Oliver. In the midst of which they went to supper. very. was hailed by a boisterous shout from all the hopeful pupils of the merry old gentleman. that's all. you're a-staring at the pocket-handkerchiefs! eh. my dear. There was no other person in the room but the old Jew. but for a liberal exercise of the Jew's toasting-fork on the heads and shoulders of the affectionate youths who offered them. between sleeping and 58 . the young gentleman with the pipes came round him. and draw a tub near the fire for Oliver. as he was very tired. These civilities would probably be extended much farther. Although Oliver had roused himself from sleep. long sleep.by the hand.

and costly workmanship. he turned round and looked at Oliver. and distorting every feature with a hideous grin. and was to all appearances asleep. long and 59 . and shading it with his hand. besides rings. 'Clever dogs! Clever dogs! Staunch to the last! Never told the old parson where they were. Having replaced these trinkets. heard his low whistling. no! Fine fellows! Fine fellows!' With these. at the same time. When the coffee was done. and looked in. the Jew drew the saucepan to the hob. and surveyed with equal pleasure. its bounding from earth and spurning time and space. At least half a dozen more were severally drawn forth from the same box. a minute longer. Dragging an old chair to the table. brooches. even of their names. At such time. the Jew stepped gently to the door: which he fastened. There seemed to be some very minute inscription on it. in busy action with almost everybody he had ever known. 'Aha!' said the Jew. Oliver was precisely in this condition. and your senses wrapt in perfect unconsciousness. He did not answer. the Jew once more deposited the watch in its place of safety. and took from it a magnificent gold watch. to form some glimmering conception of its mighty powers. then in an irresolute attitude for a few minutes. bracelets. when you dream more in five minutes with your eyes half open. when freed from the restraint of its corporeal associate.waking. He then drew forth: as it seemed to Oliver. which he placed carefully on the table. After satisfying himself upon this head. for the Jew laid it flat upon the table. than you would in five nights with your eyes fast closed. shrugging up his shoulders. as if he did not well know how to employ himself. and recognised the sound of the spoon grating against the saucepan's sides: and yet the self-same senses were mentally engaged. He saw the Jew with his half-closed eyes. His eyes glistened as he raised the lid. and yourself half conscious of everything that is passing around you. or kept the drop up. the Jew took out another: so small that it lay in the palm of his hand. sparkling with jewels. and other articles of jewellery. a mortal knows just enough of what his mind is doing. and other muttered reflections of the like nature. Never poached upon old Fagin! And why should they? It wouldn't have loosened the knot. that Oliver had no idea. of such magnificent materials. pored over it. Standing. and called him by his name. No. no. from some trap in the floor: a small box. he sat down.

sir. 'Did you see any of these pretty things. laying his hand upon it after a short pause. 60 .earnestly.' replied Oliver. Oliver. tush. before he laid it down. and although the recognition was only for an instant--for the briefest space of time that can possibly be conceived--it was enough to show the old man that he had been observed. in mere sport. his bright dark eyes. At length he put it down. abruptly resuming his old manner. which had been staring vacantly before him. the boy's eyes were fixed on his in mute curiousity. earnestly. He closed the lid of the box with a loud crash. Ha! ha! you're a brave boy. 'Upon my word I was not. sir. for. my dear. as if to induce the belief that he had caught it up. I only tried to frighten you. 'Of course I know that. 'What do you watch me for? Why are you awake? What have you seen? Speak out. and. my dear!' said the Jew.' The Jew rubbed his hands with a chuckle.' replied Oliver. He trembled very much though. even in his terror. dead men never bring awkward stories to light. muttered: 'What a fine thing capital punishment is! Dead men never repent. meekly. leaning back in his chair. 'I am very sorry if I have disturbed you. 'I was not. 'No! No. You're a brave boy. and. fell on Oliver's face.' 'You were not awake an hour ago?' said the Jew. my dear?' said the Jew.' 'Tush. it's a fine thing for the trade! Five of 'em strung up in a row. but glanced uneasily at the box. and playing with the knife a little. as if despairing of success. scowling fiercely on the boy. indeed. indeed!' replied Oliver. 'What's that?' said the Jew. laying his hand on a bread knife which was on the table. 'Are you sure?' cried the Jew: with a still fiercer look than before: and a threatening attitude. sir. or turn white-livered!' As the Jew uttered these words. 'I wasn't able to sleep any longer. sir. Ah. notwithstanding. and none left to play booty. started furiously up. Oliver could see that the knife quivered in the air. boy! Quick--quick! for your life.

Oliver.' replied that young gentlman. with so many watches. walked across the room. 'Pretty well.' replied the Dodger. 'Ah!' said the Jew. but. the box was gone.' Oliver got up. The folks call me a miser. with eagerness. agreeably to the Jew's directions. 61 . on the coffee. when the Dodger returned: accompanied by a very sprightly young friend. glancing slyly at Oliver. turning rather pale. by emptying the basin out of the window.' said the Jew. and some hot rolls and ham which the Dodger had brought home in the crown of his hat. He had scarcely washed himself. 'Certainly. whom Oliver had seen smoking on the previous night. 'I hope you've been at work this morning. cost him a good deal of money. When he turned his head. and I'll give you a basin to wash in. my dear. The four sat down. 'Good boys. and stooped for an instant to raise the pitcher.' replied the Dodger. Dodger?' 'A couple of pocket-books. in my old age.' Oliver thought the old gentleman must be a decided miser to live in such a dirty place. and who was now formally introduced to him as Charley Bates. and the other red. that's all. one green. 'As nails. 'Lined?' inquired the Jew. to breakfast.' replied the old gentleman. 'What have you got. my dear.' added Charley Bates. he only cast a deferential look at the Jew. and asked if he might get up. producing two pocket-books.' replied Oliver. good boys!' said the Jew. my dears?' 'Hard. 'Stay. 'Well. my little property. certainly. my dear. All I have to live upon.'Yes. 'They--they're mine. There's a pitcher of water in the corner by the door. Only a miser. and made everything tidy. Bring it here. thinking that perhaps his fondness for the Dodger and the other boys. and addressing himself to the Dodger. sir.

' said the Jew. very. very much to the amazement of Oliver. ain't he.' said Oliver. and Oliver naturally wondered how they could possibly have found time to be so very industrious.' said the Jew. Oliver?' 'Very indeed. eh? Ha! ha! ha!' 'If you please.' replied Master Bates. placing a snuff-box in one pocket of his trousers. meeting the coffee he was drinking. by and by. after looking at the insides carefully. Charles Bates laughed uproariously. 'Wipes. so the marks shall be picked out with a needle. 'He is so jolly green!' said Charley when he recovered. 'they're very good ones. which was performed in this way. the merry old gentlman and the two boys played at a very curious and uncommon game. Master Bates saw something so exquisitely ludicrous in this reply. 'You'd like to be able to make pocket-handkerchiefs as easy as Charley Bates. my dear?' said the Jew. and said he'd know better. sir. At which Mr. at the same time producing four pocket-handkerchiefs. very nearly terminated in his premature suffocation. The Dodger said nothing. Shall us. for it was plain from the replies of the two boys that they had both been there. a note-case in the other. 'Well. and a watch in his waistcoat pocket. in anything that had passed. upon which the old gentleman. You haven't marked them well. Ingenious workman. and we'll teach Oliver how to do it. 'but very neat and nicely made. changed the subject by asking whether there had been much of a crowd at the execution that morning? This made him wonder more and more. 'And what have you got. that he burst into another laugh. my dear?' said Fagin to Charley Bates. with a guard-chain round his neck. observing Oliver's colour mounting. When the breakfast was cleared away. inspecting them closely. Charley. 'Very much. but he smoothed Oliver's hair over his eyes. who saw nothing to laugh at. wouldn't you. indeed. sir. and carrying it down some wrong channel.' replied Oliver. though.' said Oliver. which laugh. as an apology to the company for his unpolite behaviour. and sticking a mock diamond pin in his shirt: 62 . if you'll teach me. Oliver. The merry old gentleman.'Not so heavy as they might be. sir.

' 'Have they done work. and Charley. Charley Bates expressed his opinion that it was time to pad the hoof. and the two young ladies. note-case. shirt-pin. having been kindly furnished by the amiable old Jew with money to spend. for fear of thieves. 'Yes. he cried out where it was. making believe that he was staring with all his might into shop-windows. when they are out. and the conversation took a very convivial and improving turn.' said Fagin. 'that is. in consequence of one of the young ladies complaining of a coldness in her inside. the Dodger. Spirits were produced. isn't it? They have gone out for the day. for directly afterwards. and putting his spectacle-case and handkerchief in his pockets. All this time. not very neatly turned up behind. but they had a great deal of colour in their faces.buttoned his coat tight round him. Oliver thought them very nice girls indeed. Being remarkably free and agreeable in their manners. to see that he hadn't lost anything. pocket-handkerchief. At such times. my dear. watch-guard. As there is no doubt they were. one of whom was named Bet. if 63 . 'There. chain. in imitation of the manner in which old gentlemen walk about the streets any hour in the day. even the spectacle-case. every time he turned round. sir?' inquired Oliver. it occurred to Oliver. that Oliver laughed till the tears ran down his face. perhaps. At last. The visitors stopped a long time. with the most extraordinary rapidity. 'That's a pleasant life. They were not exactly pretty. This. trotted up and down the room with a stick. and the other Nancy. he would look constantly round him. snuff-box. When this game had been played a great many times. or ran upon his boot accidently.' said the Jew. that it was impossible to follow their motions. and were rather untidy about the shoes and stockings. and would keep slapping all his pockets in turn. went away together. and sometimes at the door. and looked quite stout and hearty. and in that one moment they took from him. Sometimes he stopped at the fire-place. and then the game began all over again. At length. and they won't neglect it. a couple of young ladies called to see the young gentleman. If the old gentlman felt a hand in any one of his pockets. unless they should unexpectedly come across any. They wore a good deal of hair. the two boys followed him closely about: getting out of his sight. while Charley Bates stumbled up against him behind. in such a very funny and natural manner. so nimbly. must be French for going out. the Dodger trod upon his toes.

'I never saw a sharper lad. my dear?' said the Jew. 'do everything they bid you. 'Yes. as he had seen the Dodger hold it. he began to languish for fresh air. and take their advice in all matters--especially the Dodger's. depend upon it. Oliver remained in the Jew's room. showing it in his hand. being so much his senior.' said the playful old gentleman. and will make you one too. and took many occasions of earnestly entreating the old gentleman to 64 . stopping short. 'See if you can take it out. 'Is it gone?' cried the Jew. AND PURCHASES EXPERIENCE AT A HIGH PRICE. thinking that the Jew. Here's a shilling for you. 'Here it is. regularly. BEING A SHORT. and I'll show you how to take the marks out of the handkerchiefs. picking the marks out of the pocket-handkerchief. you'll be the greatest man of the time. He'll be a great man himself. If you go on. (of which a great number were brought home. when we were at play this morning. Make 'em your models. my dear. Make 'em your models. sir. 'You're a clever boy. without my feeling it.' Oliver wondered what picking the old gentleman's pocket in play.they do. And now come here. BUT VERY IMPORTANT CHAPTER. had to do with his chances of being a great man.--Is my handkerchief hanging out of my pocket. But. if you take pattern by him. as you saw them do. my dear. and drew the handkerchief lightly out of it with the other. sir. patting Oliver on the head approvingly.' said Oliver. my dear. IN THIS HISTORY For many days. must know best.) and sometimes taking part in the game already described: which the two boys and the Jew played.' tapping the fire-shovel on the hearth to add force to his words. CHAPTER X OLIVER BECOMES BETTER ACQUAINTED WITH THE CHARACTERS OF HIS NEW ASSOCIATES. in this way. and was soon deeply involved in his new study.' said Oliver. my dear.' Oliver held up the bottom of the pocket with one hand. he followed him quietly to the table. every morning. At length.

Master Bates sauntering along with his hands in his pockets. Whenever the Dodger or Charley Bates came home at night. wondering where they were going. laying his finger on his lip. The Dodger had a vicious propensity. ill-looking saunter. 'The Green': when the Dodger made a sudden stop. and his hat cocked. The three boys sallied out. that Oliver soon began to think his companions were going to deceive the old gentleman. At length. and thrusting them into pockets which were so surprisingly capacious. by pilfering divers apples and onions from the stalls at the kennel sides.allow him to go out to work with his two companions. too. by some strange perversion of terms. 65 . On one occasion. by a very mysterious change of behaviour on the part of the Dodger. indeed. by not going to work at all. 'What's the matter?' demanded Oliver. and. that Oliver was on the point of declaring his intention of seeking his way back. he even went so far as to knock them both down a flight of stairs. and placed him under the joint guardianship of Charley Bates. was such a very lazy. for two or three days. the Dodger with his coat-sleeves tucked up. and Oliver between them. he told Oliver he might go. he would expatiate with great vehemence on the misery of idle and lazy habits. and would enforce upon them the necessity of an active life. when his thoughts were suddenly directed into another channel. These things looked so bad. Perhaps these were reasons for the old gentleman's giving his assent. but. and his friend the Dodger. that they seemed to undermine his whole suit of clothes in every direction. in the best way he could. There had been no handkerchiefs to work upon. and the dinners had been rather meagre. of pulling the caps from the heads of small boys and tossing them down areas. by sending them supperless to bed. empty-handed. and what branch of manufacture he would be instructed in. Oliver obtained the permission he had so eagerly sought. as usual. first. by what he had seen of the stern morality of the old gentleman's character. The pace at which they went. which is yet called. whether they were or no. while Charley Bates exhibited some very loose notions concerning the rights of property. one morning. but this was carrying out his virtuous precepts to an unusual extent. Oliver was rendered the more anxious to be actively employed. drew his companions back again. They were just emerging from a narrow court not far from the open square in Clerkenwell. with the greatest caution and circumspection.

for a moment. and the watches. for the two boys walked stealthily across the road. and. reading away. as hard as if he were in his elbow-chair. confused and frightened. both running away round the corner at full speed! In an instant the whole mystery of the hankerchiefs. and draw from thence a handkerchief! To see him hand the same to Charley Bates. to see the Dodger plunge his hand into the old gentleman's pocket. In the very instant when 66 . in his own study. from his abstraction. 'Do you see that old cove at the book-stall?' 'The old gentleman over the way?' said Oliver. with the greatest interest and eagerness. rushed upon the boy's mind. This was all done in a minute's space. anything but the book itself: which he was reading straight through: turning over the leaf when he got to the bottom of a page. in short. and there he stood. I see him. He stood.'Hush!' replied the Dodger. with the blood so tingling through all his veins from terror. with a powdered head and gold spectacles. he took to his heels. that he saw not the book-stall. Oliver walked a few paces after them. not knowing whether to advance or retire. and the jewels.' said the Doger. nor the street. made off as fast as he could lay his feet to the ground. nor the boys. The old gentleman was a very respectable-looking personage. and slunk close behind the old gentleman towards whom his attention had been directed.' observed Master Charley Bates. but he was not permitted to make any inquiries. and. He was dressed in a bottle-green coat with a black velvet collar. and going regularly on. not knowing what he did. then. It is very possible that he fancied himself there. 'A prime plant. He had taken up a book from the stall. What was Oliver's horror and alarm as he stood a few paces off. with the greatest surprise. Oliver looked from one to the other. that he felt as if he were in a burning fire. and carried a smart bamboo cane under his arm. for it was plain. and the Jew. wore white trousers. beginning at the top line of the next one. stood looking on in silent amazement. 'Yes.' 'He'll do. looking on with his eyelids as wide open as they would possibly go. indeed. nor. and finally to behold them.

Away they fly. they issued forth with great promptitude. Although Oliver had been brought up by philosophers. splashing through the mud. the old gentleman. yelling. and as they follow on his track. shouting 'Stop thief!' too. 'Stop thief! Stop thief!' The cry is taken up by a hundred voices. and gain upon him every instant. the baker his basket.Oliver began to run. joining the rushing throng. a whole audience desert Punch in the very thickest of the plot. and the crowd accumulate at every turning. it alarmed him the more. joined in the pursuit like good citizens. The Dodger and Master Bates. unwilling to attract public attention by running down the open street. 'Stop thief! Stop thief!' There is a magic in the sound. made off after him. perhaps he would have been prepared for this. so away he went like the wind. helter-skelter. Seeing the boy scudding away at such a rapid pace. If he had been. putting his hand to his pocket. with the old gentleman and the two boys roaring and shouting behind him. turned sharp round. and the car-man his waggon. agony in his eyes. slap-dash: tearing. guessing exactly how the matter stood. 'Stop thief! Stop thief!' 'Stop thief! Stop thief!' There is a passion FOR _hunting_ _something_ deeply implanted in the human breast. large drops of perspiration streaming down his face. rousing up the dogs. and missing his handkerchief. pell-mell. panting with exhaustion. Not being prepared. the paviour his pickaxe. screaming. had merely retired into the very first doorway round the corner. The tradesman leaves his counter. onward bear the mob. and. the errand-boy his parcels. and courts. and astonishing the fowls: and streets. strains every nerve to make head upon his pursuers. the child his battledore. swell the shout. he very naturally concluded him to be the depredator. book in hand. however. and shouting 'Stop thief!' with all his might. they hail his decreasing strength with joy. he was not theoretically acquainted with the beautiful axiom that self-preservation is the first law of nature. out run the people. re-echo with the sound. and. But the old gentleman was not the only person who raised the hue-and-cry. knocking down the passengers as they turn the corners. squares. and rattling along the pavements: up go the windows. terror in his looks. and lend fresh vigour to the cry. than. Away they run. the school-boy his marbles. 'Stop thief!' Ay. 67 . the butcher throws down his tray. the milkman his pail. They no sooner heard the cry. One wretched breathless child. and saw Oliver running.

and bleeding from the mouth.' said the man.stop him for God's sake. sir. 'They are here somewhere. He is down upon the pavement. 68 .' 'Make room there for the gentleman!' 'Is this the boy. but it was true besides. and the crowd eagerly gather round him: each new comer. get up!' 'Don't hurt him. had not a police officer (who is generally the last person to arrive in such cases) at that moment made his way through the crowd. I stopped him. He meant this to be ironical.' 'Oh no. the old gentleman. sir!' 'Yes. jostling and struggling with the others to catch a glimpse. indeed. they ain't.' said a great lubberly fellow. sir. sir. and looking round. 'and preciously I cut my knuckle agin' his mouth.' '_I_ did that. but. covered with mud and dust.' Oliver lay. look anxiously round.' said Oliver. expecting something for his pains. 'Come. looking wildly round upon the heap of faces that surrounded him. eyeing him with an expression of dislike. Indeed. 'Stand aside!' 'Give him a little air!' 'Nonsense! he don't deserve it. coming down the street. roughly. and thus have afforded another chase. and seized Oliver by the collar.' said the old gentleman.' said the officer. 'Come. 'I am afraid it is the boy.' 'Afraid!' murmured the crowd.' The follow touched his hat with a grin. clasping his hands passionately. it was two other boys. when the old gentleman was officiously dragged and pushed into the circle by the foremost of the pursuers. stepping forward.' said the gentleman. 'Yes. compassionately. were it only in mercy! Stopped at last! A clever blow. 'he has hurt himself. 'It wasn't me indeed. as if he contemplated running away himself: which it is very possible he might have attempted to do. for the Dodger and Charley Bates had filed off down the first convenient court they came to. get up.' 'Where's the gentleman?' 'Here his is. 'That's a good 'un!' 'Poor fellow!' said the gentleman.

young gallows!' This was an invitation for Oliver to enter through a door which he unlocked as he spoke. Here he was searched. and on they went. sir?' inquired the man with the keys. it won't do. when he was led beneath a low archway. 69 . into this dispensary of summary justice. made a shift to raise himself on his feet. It was a small paved yard into which they turned. who could hardly stand. 'but I am not sure that this boy actually took the handkerchief. and down a place called Mutton Hill. you young devil?' Oliver. Will you stand upon your legs.' replied the old gentleman. 'A young fogle-hunter. I--I would rather not press the case. The boys shouted in triumph.'Oh no. CHAPTER XI TREATS OF MR. tearing his jacket half off his back. 'Are you the party that's been robbed. by the back way. 'Yes. The crowd had only the satisfaction of accompanying Oliver through two or three streets. and nothing being found upon him. and up a dirty court. 'What's the matter now?' said the man carelessly. 'Come. The gentleman walked on with them by the officer's side. got a little ahead. I know you.' replied the officer. and which led into a stone cell. locked up. 'His worship will be disengaged in half a minute. and was at once lugged along the streets by the jacket-collar. at a rapid pace.' replied the man. and here they encountered a stout man with a bunch of whiskers on his face. and a bunch of keys in his hand. and as many of the crowd as could achieve the feat.' 'Must go before the magistrate now. a very notorious metropolitan police office.' replied the man who had Oliver in charge. FANG THE POLICE MAGISTRATE. AND FURNISHES A SLIGHT SPECIMEN OF HIS MODE OF ADMINISTERING JUSTICE The offence had been committed within the district. and indeed in the immediate neighborhood of. in proof thereof. and stared back at Oliver from time to time. sir. Now. I am. I won't hurt him.

there were the faces of young and blooming girls that were now old women. happily for himself. and it was not easy to replace the shroud that had so long concealed them. 'something that touches and interests me. halting very abruptly. retiring into a corner. superior to its power. men and women are every night confined on the most trivial charges--the word is worth noting--in dungeons. It was most intolerably dirty. _Can_ he be innocent? He looked like--Bye the bye.' said the old gentleman to himself as he walked slowly away. tapping his chin with the cover of the book. 'Bless my soul!--where have I seen something like that look before?' After musing for some minutes. shaking his head.' exclaimed the old gentleman. But the old gentleman could recall no one countenance of which Oliver's features bore a trace. but which the mind.' said the old gentleman. found guilty. He had called them into view. 'No. to shed a soft and gentle glow upon the path to Heaven.This cell was in shape and size something like an area cellar. elsewhere. and taken from earth only to be set up as a light. there were faces that the grave had changed and closed upon. tried. he heaved a sigh over the recollections he awakened. In our station-houses. and there. only not so light. So. with the same meditative face. called up before his mind's eye a vast amphitheatre of faces over which a dusky curtain had hung for many years. changed but to be heightened. those in Newgate. since Saturday night. occupied by the most atrocious felons. 'There is something in that boy's face. and foes. He turned with a sigh to the book. He wandered over them again. and being. and under sentence of death. There were the faces of friends. the brightness of the smile. and whispering of beauty beyond the tomb. and of many that had been almost strangers peering intrusively from the crowd. in a thoughtful manner. are palaces. calling back the lustre of the eyes. the beaming of the soul through its mask of clay. compare the two. still dressed in their old freshness and beauty. who had been locked up. the old gentleman walked. into a back anteroom opening from the yard. 'it must be imagination. Let any one who doubts this. The old gentleman looked almost as rueful as Oliver when the key grated in the lock. which had been the innocent cause of all this disturbance. compared with which. for it was Monday morning. and staring up into the sky. But this is little. an 70 . and it had been tenanted by six drunken people.

stiff-necked. tossing the card contemptuously away with the newspaper. 'Who is this fellow?' 'My name. Mr. He closed his book hastily. for the three hundred and fiftieth time. middle-sized man. and much flushed. suiting the action to the word.' said the old gentleman. The old gentleman pointed. he might have brought action against his countenance for libel.' He then withdrew a pace or two. The old gentleman bowed respectfully. and a request from the man with the keys to follow him into the office. with a panelled wall. and have recovered heavy damages. and on one side the door was a sort of wooden pen in which poor little Oliver was already deposited. Fang. Mr. buried them again in the pages of the musty book. 'Officer!' said Mr. at the upper end. and commending him. with some surprise. trembling very much at the awfulness of the scene. waited to be questioned. Brownlow looked around the office as if in search of some person who would afford him the required information.' Saying this. Fang. is Brownlow. it so happened that Mr. growing on the back and sides of his head. with no great quantity of hair. long-backed. 'Who are you?' said Mr. and was at once ushered into the imposing presence of the renowned Mr. Fang was at that moment perusing a leading article in a newspaper of the morning. with another polite and gentlemanly inclination of the head. and what he had.absent old gentleman. speaking _like_ a gentleman. sir. Fang. The office was a front parlour. Fang sat behind a bar. Permit me to inquire the name of the magistrate who offers a gratuitous and unprovoked insult to a respectable person. to his card. His face was stern. adverting to some recent decision of his. Now. Mr. sir. He was roused by a touch on the shoulder. 'my name. and he looked up with an angry scowl. If he were really not in the habit of drinking rather more than was exactly good for him. to the special and particular notice of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. under the protection of the bench. and advancing to the magistrate's desk. 71 . 'That is my name and address. said. sir. He was out of temper. and. Fang was a lean.

' Mr. Brownlow contemptuously from head to foot. and found nothing on his person. 'Swear this person!' said Fang to the clerk. policeman. and a safe one. 'Hold your tongue. with becoming humility. but it was a good annoyance. sir!' said Mr.' His worship knew this perfectly well. but reflecting perhaps. Fang.' said Mr. Fang. Fang. sir?' 'I was standing at a bookstall--' Mr. does he?' said Mr. 'and that is. related how he had taken the charge. Fang. and how that was all he knew about it. that I really never. 72 . 'what's the charge against this boy? What have you got to say. Brownlow began. Fang. 'Now. How dare you bully a magistrate!' 'What!' exclaimed the old gentleman. Brownlow.' replied the officer. surveying Mr. how he had searched Oliver. Now. could have believed--' 'Hold your tongue. reddening. 'I will not. that he might only injure the boy by giving vent to it. he suppressed his feelings and submitted to be sworn at once. 'what's this fellow charged with?' 'He's not charged at all. or I'll have you turned out of the office!' said Mr. 'You're an insolent impertinent fellow. Brownlow's indignation was greatly roused. throwing the paper on one side. I must beg to say one word. Fang. 'He appears against this boy.'Officer!' said Mr. swear this policeman. Swear him. 'I'll not hear another word.' said Mr.' said Fang. 'Policeman! Where's the policeman? Here. 'Hold your tongue this instant. 'Are there any witnesses?' inquired Mr. 'Swear him!' 'Before I am sworn. 'Appears against the boy. sir!' replied the old gentleman. your worship. sir. without actual experience. what is this?' The policeman. your worship. peremptorily.

Fang sat silent for some minutes. refusing to give evidence. and the whole place seemed turning round and round. you young vagabond. by--' By what. none of your tricks here. with a sneer. He was deadly pale. Brownlow contrived to state his case. I'll punish you for disrespect to the bench. although not actually the thief. and the former dropped a heavy book upon the floor. 'He has been hurt already.' he added. and add to the severity of his sentence. he would deal as leniently with him as justice would allow. your worship. what's his name?' This was addressed to a bluff old fellow. 'Do you mean to state what your complaint against this boy is. 'I really fear that he is ill. who was standing by the bar. What's your name?' Oliver tried to reply but his tongue failed him. 'He says his name's Tom White. nobody knows. he hazarded a guess.'None. and knowing that his not replying would only infuriate the magistrate the more.' replied the policeman.' said the kind-hearted thief-taker. thus preventing the word from being heard--accidently. With many interruptions. 73 . I dare say!' said Mr. man. Fang. just at the right moment. or by whom.' 'Oh! yes. of course. 'And I fear. to be connected with the thieves. your worship. if you stand there. He bent over Oliver. you hardened scoundrel?' demanded Mr. 'Officer. he had run after the boy because he had saw him running away. 'What's your name. and then. and repeated the inquiry. 'Come. Mr. but finding him really incapable of understanding the question. observing that. and repeated insults. Now. Fang. with great energy. looking towards the bar. said in a towering passion. or do you not? You have been sworn. Mr.' said the old gentleman in conclusion. turning round to the prosecutor. for the clerk and jailor coughed very loud. and expressing his hope that. if the magistrate should believe him. in the surprise of the moment. they won't do. in a striped waistcoat. I will.

your worship. Oliver raised his head. 'Take care of him. Fang. The men in the office looked at each other.' replied the officer.' replied the officer: hazarding the usual reply. Where does he live?' 'Where he can. clad in an old suit of black. officer. he won't speak out. Fang. Clear the office.' replied Mr. 74 . again pretending to receive Oliver's answer.' 'I think he really is ill. and a couple of men were preparing to carry the insensible boy to his cell. sir?' inquired the clerk in a low voice. and advanced towards the bench. 'I know better.' remonstrated the officer. At this point of the inquiry. as if this were incontestable proof of the fact. 'He says they died in his infancy.'Oh. your worship. your worship.' The door was opened for this purpose. and.' Oliver availed himself of the kind permission. 'Stuff and nonsense!' said Mr. 'Summarily. when an elderly man of decent but poor appearance.' said Mr.' said Fang. 'He stands committed for three months--hard labour of course.' cried Fang. 'Has he any parents?' inquired Mr. raising his hands instinctively.' said the old gentleman. 'let him.' 'Stand away. Fang. but no one dared to stir. 'Let him lie there. and fell to the floor in a fainting fit. very well. rushed hastily into the office. looking round with imploring eyes. he'll soon be tired of that. 'I knew he was shamming.' 'How do you propose to deal with the case. won't he?' said Fang. Fang: 'don't try to make a fool of me. murmured a feeble prayer for a draught of water. 'Very well. officer. 'he'll fall down. if he likes.

' growled Mr.' replied the man. when this gentleman was reading. I saw it done.[Footnote: Or were virtually. I saw it all. I could get nobody till five minutes ago. Fang was consequently not a little indignant to see an unbidden guest enter in such irreverent disorder. I demand to be sworn. exercise a summary and arbitrary power over the liberties. sir.' cried the man. I will not be put down. what have you got to say?' 'This. I keep the book-stall.] Mr. after another pause. 'The very book he has in his hand. Fang. within such walls. 'I will not be turned out. 'Swear the man. with a very ill grace. 'I _will_ speak. and I've run here all the way. stop! don't take him away! For Heaven's sake stop a moment!' cried the new comer.' replied the man. Clear the office!' cried Mr. that book. 'Everybody who could have helped me.' The man was right. you must hear me. The robbery was committed by another boy.' 'Oh.' said the man: 'I saw three boys: two others and the prisoner here: loitering on the opposite side of the way. Fang. the good name. in a more coherent manner the exact circumstances of the robbery. enough fantastic tricks are daily played to make the angels blind with weeping. Fang. breathless with haste.' 'The prosecutor was reading. You must not refuse. the worthy book-stall keeper proceeded to relate. save through the medium of the daily press. 'Yes. had joined in the pursuit. 'I hadn't a soul to mind the shop. 'What is this? Who is this? Turn this man out. was he?' inquired Fang. they are closed to the public.' Having by this time recovered a little breath. 'Why didn't you come here before?' said Fang. 'Now. Mr. Although the presiding Genii in such an office as this. the character.'Stop. of Her Majesty's subjects. man. and although. after a pause. almost the lives. and I saw that this boy was perfectly amazed and stupified by it. 'Is it paid for?' 75 . and the matter was growing rather too serious to be hushed up. eh?' said Fang. then. His manner was determined. expecially of the poorer class.

Poor fellow! There's no time to lose. and a cold tremble convulsing his whole frame. sir. and his temples bathed with water. 'Dear me. and you may think yourself very fortunate that the owner of the property declines to prosecute.' The book-stall keeper got into the coach. 'Bless me. poor boy!' said Mr. and away they drove. CHAPTER XII IN WHICH OLIVER IS TAKEN BETTER CARE OF THAN HE EVER WAS BEFORE. Clear the office!' 'D--n me!' cried the old gentleman. with a comical effort to look humane. dear! I have this unhappy book still! Jump in. somebody. 'd--n me! I'll--' 'Clear the office!' said the magistrate. yes. and Oliver having been carefully laid on the seat. AND IN WHICH THE NARRATIVE REVERTS TO THE MERRY OLD GENTLEMAN AND 76 . and the indignant Mr. Brownlow.' said Mr. bursting out with the rage he had kept down so long. and the bamboo cane in the other: in a perfect phrenzy of rage and defiance. and his passion vanished in a moment. Let this be a lesson to you. 'May I accompany you?' said the book-stall keeper. 'I forgot you. 'I consider. Dear. Directly!' A coach was obtained. with his shirt unbuttoned. the old gentleman got in and sat himself on the other. his face a deadly white. pray. The boy is discharged. 'Poor boy. that you have obtained possession of that book. 'Call a coach. under very suspicious and disreputable circumstances. Little Oliver Twist lay on his back on the pavement. do you hear? Clear the office!' The mandate was obeyed. it is not. I forgot all about it!' exclaimed the absent old gentleman. my man. with the book in one hand. Brownlow quickly. looking in. He reached the yard.'No. 'A nice person to prefer a charge against a poor boy!' said Fang.' replied the man. with a smile. Brownlow was conveyed out. 'Officers. my dear sir. or the law will overtake you yet. innocently. bending over him.

Oliver remained insensible to all the goodness of his new friends. Pretty creetur! What would his mother feel if she had sat by him as I have. Weak. 'What room is this? Where have I been brought to?' said Oliver. folding his hands 77 . with tears in her eyes. and many times after that. pretty nigh. in which she had been sitting at needle-work. being very faint and weak. there's a dear!' With those words. in which Mr. rose as she undrew it. or you will be ill again. and pallid. and drawing it round his neck. he looked anxiously around. a bed was prepared. 'This is not the place I went to sleep in.--as bad as bad could be. 'What a grateful little dear it is.HIS YOUTHFUL FRIENDS. and could see him now!' 'Perhaps she does see me. and a motherly old lady. with his head resting on his trembling arm. stopped at length before a neat house. and here. 'Save us!' said the old lady. Brownlow saw his young charge carefully and comfortably deposited. but they were overheard at once. from an arm-chair close by. for many days. and still the boy lay stretched on his uneasy bed. he awoke at last from what seemed to have been a long and troubled dream. The worm does not work more surely on the dead body. that he could not help placing his little withered hand in hers. in a quiet shady street near Pentonville. and you have been very bad. my dear.' said the old lady softly. and thin. over nearly the same ground as that which Oliver had traversed when he first entered London in company with the Dodger. than does this slow creeping fire upon the living frame. The curtain at the bed's head was hastily drawn back. very neatly and precisely dressed. and rose and sank again. and. Feebly raising himself in the bed.' whispered Oliver. dwindling away beneath the dry and wasting heat of fever. he was tended with a kindness and solicitude that knew no bounds. Lie down again. smoothing back his hair from his forehead.' He uttered these words in a feeble voice. But. 'You must be very quiet. the old lady very gently placed Oliver's head upon the pillow. and. looked so kindly and loving in his face. Here. The sun rose and sank. The coach rattled away. 'Hush. without loss of time. turning a different way when it reached the Angel at Islington.

'If she had seen me hurt. showed him a gentleman with a very large and loud-ticking gold watch in his hand. from which he was awakened by the light of a candle: which.' added Oliver after a moment's silence. my dear?' said the doctor. being brought near the bed. Bedwin. told him he must lie very quiet. 'No. But if she knew I was ill. my dear.' replied Oliver. to come down to the bedside of a poor boy. 'Hem!' said the gentleman. Oliver kept very still. and they are too happy there. and partly. are you not.' replied Oliver.' said the gentleman: 'You're hungry too. 78 . she must have pitied me. sir. an't you?' 'No. it would have made her sorrowful. and her face has always looked sweet and happy. even there. 'because heaven is a long way off.' answered Oliver. and then. brought some cool stuff for Oliver to drink. to tell the truth. when I have dreamed of her. who felt his pulse. She can't know anything about me though. sir.' said the old lady mildly. as if they were part and parcel of those features. 'Yes.' said the gentleman: looking very wise. 'I suppose it was. 'perhaps she has sat by me. He soon fell into a gentle doze. 'Yes. So. my dear?' said the gentleman. The old lady made a respectful inclination of the head. 'You feel sleepy. or he would be ill again. which lay on the counterpane. don't you. Mrs. for she was very ill herself before she died. and said he was a great deal better.together. which seemed to say that she thought the doctor was a very clever man. I know you are. but wiping her eyes first.' The old lady made no reply to this. afterwards. and her spectacles.' 'That was the fever. I know you're not. thank you. partly because he was anxious to obey the kind old lady in all things. 'You _are_ a great deal better. I almost feel as if she had. patting him on the cheek. The doctor appeared much of the same opinion himself. because he was completely exhausted with what he had already said. He is not hungry.

'No. in a little bundle. and left him in charge of a fat old woman who had just come: bringing with her. and then fall asleep again. Gradually.' said the doctor.' said the doctor. after telling Oliver that she had come to sit up with him. 'No. sir. counting the little circles of light which the reflection of the rushlight-shade threw upon the ceiling. Nor thirsty. Oliver lay awake for some time. 'It's very natural that he should be thirsty. and expressing a qualified approval of it. and might yet fill it with the gloom and dread of his awful presence. sir. after tasting the cool stuff. its anxieties for the future. The doctor. with a very shrewd and satisfied look. Putting the latter on her head and the former on the table. These. drew her chair close to the fire and went off into a series of short naps. would be roused again to all the struggles and turmoils of life. or tracing with his languid eyes the intricate pattern of the paper on the wall. And thus the night crept slowly on. You may give him a little tea. its weary recollections of the past! 79 . to all its cares for the present. The old lady tenderly bade him good-night shortly afterwards. Are you?' 'Yes. hurried away: his boots creaking in a very important and wealthy manner as he went downstairs. for many days and nights.' replied Oliver. will you have the goodness?' The old lady dropped a curtsey. Who. as they brought into the boy's mind the thought that death had been hovering there. had no worse effect than causing her to rub her nose very hard. 'You're not sleepy. ma'am. chequered at frequent intervals with sundry tumblings forward. a small Prayer Book and a large nightcap. Bedwin. he turned his face upon the pillow. Mrs. Don't keep him too warm. when he awoke. ma'am. it was nearly twelve o'clock. and fervently prayed to Heaven. 'Just as I expected.' answered Oliver. but be careful that you don't let him be too cold. if this were death. rather thirsty. Oliver dozed off again. however. and some dry toast without any butter. the old woman. The darkness and the deep stillness of the room were very solemn. soon after this. that calm and peaceful rest which it is pain to wake from. he fell into that deep tranquil sleep which ease from recent suffering alone imparts. and divers moans and chokings. more than all.

ma'am?' said Oliver. mild face that lady's is!' 'Ah!' said the old lady. here. a basin full of broth: strong enough. for the doctor says Mr.' 'You're very. Bedwin had him carried downstairs into the little housekeeper's room. in a little saucepan.' said the old lady. 'that's got nothing to do with your broth. laughing very heartily at her own acuteness.' said the old lady. and. the more he'll be pleased. 'I'm only having a regular good cry. being in a state of considerable delight at seeing him so much better. 'Yes.' And with this. most intently. seeing that Oliver had fixed his eyes. it's a deal too honest. child. to furnish an ample dinner. 'that's a portrait.' 80 . In three days' time he was able to sit in an easy-chair. Having him set. He belonged to the world again. very kind to me. There.' said the old lady. or they wouldn't get any custom. and we must get up our best looks. and it's full time you had it.It had been bright day. by the fire-side. The man that invented the machine for taking likenesses might have known that would never succeed. dear?' inquired the old lady. without taking his eyes from the canvas. 'Are you fond of pictures. for three hundred and fifty paupers. A deal. and I'm quite comfortable. 'Is--is that a likeness. my dear. for hours. What a beautiful. when Oliver opened his eyes. my dear. forthwith began to cry most violently. which belonged to her. 'Well. ma'am. when reduced to the regulation strength. 'Never mind me.' said the old lady. Oliver thought. never you mind that. Brownlow may come in to see you this morning. Mrs. at the lowest computation. looking up for a moment from the broth. on a portrait which hung against the wall. well propped up with pillows. ma'am. 'I don't quite know. he felt cheerful and happy.' said Oliver. as he was still too weak to walk. The crisis of the disease was safely past. and. the good old lady sat herself down too. 'I have seen so few that I hardly know. 'painters always make ladies out prettier than they are.' said Oliver. just opposite his chair. because the better we look. the old lady applied herself to warming up. it's all over now.

There!' said the old lady. 'It's not a likeness of anybody that you or I know. 'Oh no.' 'Lord save us!' exclaimed the old lady. but. they seem fixed upon me. and made an ineffectual attempt to stand up. if the truth must be told. starting. 'you don't see it now. dear. when there came a soft rap at the door.' returned Oliver quickly. forced a supply of tears into his eyes.'Whose. Brownlow. and the fact is. and where I sit. It makes my heart beat. It seems to strike your fancy. and wanted to speak to me. Oliver got through it with extraordinary expedition. Let me wheel your chair round to the other side. 'don't talk in that way. Mrs.' said the old lady. child. and Mrs. with all the bustle befitting so solemn a preparation. really. than his countenance underwent a very great variety of odd contortions. he had no sooner raised his spectacles on his forehead. which terminated in his sinking back into the chair again. but couldn't. Bedwin. my dear. the look of awe with which the child regarded the painting. I don't know. and thrust his hands behind the skirts of his dressing-gown to take a good long look at Oliver. You're weak and nervous after your illness. no.' Oliver _did_ see it in his mind's eye as distinctly as if he had not altered his position. poor boy!' said Mr. 'Poor boy. Bedwin. 'as if it was alive. 'Come in. Now. so he smiled gently when she looked at him. suiting the action to the word. salted and broke bits of toasted bread into the broth. I'm afraid I have 81 . 'but the eyes look so sorrowful. at all events. I expect. 'Why. He had scarcely swallowed the last spoonful. by some hydraulic process which we are not sufficiently philosophical to be in a condition to explain.' added Oliver in a low voice.' 'It is so pretty. being large enough for any six ordinary old gentlemen of humane disposition. and then you won't see it. out of respect to his benefactor. satisfied that he felt more comfortable. 'Why. 'I'm rather hoarse this morning. ma'am?' asked Oliver. that Mr. Brownlow. sure you're not afraid of it?' said the old lady: observing in great surprise.' replied Oliver. the old gentleman came in as brisk as need be. Brownlow's heart. and in walked Mr. Oliver looked very worn and shadowy from sickness. but he thought it better not to worry the kind old lady. clearing his throat.' answered the old lady in a good-humoured manner.

sir.' said Mr. Brownlow. eh?' 'No.' said Mr. But.' 'I hope not.' said Mr. How do you feel. 'And very grateful indeed.' 'Good by. the old idea of the resemblance between his features and some familiar face came upon him so strongly.' replied Mrs. It was impossible to doubt him.' 'Queer name!' said the old gentleman. This sounded so like a falsehood. eh?' 'My name is Oliver. 'Oliver.' said Mr. sir. for your goodness to me. Brownlow. with a slight shudder. sir?' said Oliver. sir. there existed no affinity or connection whatsoever. Brownlow. my dear?' 'Very happy.' returned Oliver in amazement. 'Ugh!' said Mr.caught cold.' replied Oliver. sir. Tom White. Twist. I don't know. that the old gentleman looked somewhat sternly in Oliver's face. but never mind that. stoutly. has been well aired. Bedwin? Any slops. Wouldn't they. Brownlow. 'Everything you have had. 'Some mistake. sir. there was truth in every one of its thin and sharpened lineaments. although his motive for looking steadily at Oliver no longer existed. 'Have you given him any nourishment. Bedwin: drawing herself up slightly. sir.' 'I don't know.' replied the little invalid: with a look of great astonishment. that he could not withdraw his gaze. 'What made you tell the magistrate your name was White?' 'I never told him so. 'Oliver what? Oliver White. and laying strong emphasis on the last word: to intimate that between slops. Brownlow. 'a couple of glasses of port wine would have done him a great deal more good.' said Mrs. Oliver Twist. Bedwin. and broth will compounded. 'I hope you are not angry with me. eh?' 'He has just had a basin of beautiful strong broth. raising his 82 . sir. 'I rather think I had a damp napkin at dinner-time yesterday. sir. Bedwin.

so precisely alike. Although I do not mean to assert that it is 83 . in almost as great a degree as this strong proof of their anxiety for their own preservation and safety goes to corroborate and confirm the little code of laws which certain profound and sound-judging philosophers have laid down as the main-springs of all Nature's deeds and actions: the said philosophers very wisely reducing the good lady's proceedings to matters of maxim and theory: and.eyes beseechingly. by a very neat and pretty compliment to her exalted wisdom and understanding. The eyes. 'Why! what's this? Bedwin. that this action should tend to exalt them in the opinion of all public and patriotic men. or generous impulse and feeling. I need hardly beg the reader to observe. which affords the narrative an opportunity of relieving the reader from suspense. the head. There was its living copy. If I wanted any further proof of the strictly philosophical nature of the conduct of these young gentlemen in their very delicate predicament. he fainted away. I should at once find it in the fact (also recorded in a foregoing part of this narrative). they were actuated by a very laudable and becoming regard for themselves. when the general attention was fixed upon Oliver. For. the mouth. putting entirely out of sight any considerations of heart. in consequence of their executing an illegal conveyance of Mr. 'No. not being strong enough to bear the start it gave him.' replied the old gentleman. as has been already described. look there!' As he spoke. of their quitting the pursuit. so. joined in the hue-and-cry which was raised at Oliver's heels. no. he pointed hastily to the picture over Oliver's head. and then to the boy's face. that the minutest line seemed copied with startling accuracy! Oliver knew not the cause of this sudden exclamation. Brownlow's personal property. and forasmuch as the freedom of the subject and the liberty of the individual are among the first and proudest boasts of a true-hearted Englishman. for the instant. in behalf of the two young pupils of the Merry Old Gentleman. for. and of recording-That when the Dodger. these are matters totally beneath a female who is acknowledged by universal admission to be far above the numerous little foibles and weaknesses of her sex. every feature was the same. A weakness on his part. and making immediately for their home by the shortest possible cut. The expression was. and his accomplished friend Master Bates.

It was not until the two boys had scoured. Master Bates uttered an exclamation of amusement and delight. and rolled thereon in a transport of mirth. flung himself upon a doorstep.' remonstrated the Dodger. the amount of the right. and starting on again as if he was made of iron as well as them.' said Charley. and knocking up again' the posts. like unto those in which drunken men under the pressure of a too mighty flow of ideas. 'Hold your noise. and me with the wipe in my pocket. to shorten the road to any great conclusion (their course indeed being rather to lengthen the distance. and you may take any means which the end to be attained. are prone to indulge). being left entirely to the philosopher concerned. stupid?' 'I can't help it. 'What'll Fagin say?' inquired the Dodger. comprehensive. to be settled and determined by his clear. Thus. I do mean to say. that they ventured to halt beneath a low and dark archway. still. will justify. or indeed the distinction between the two. that it is the invariable practice of many mighty philosophers. in carrying out their theories. and cutting round the corners.usually the practice of renowned and learned sages. Having remained silent here. looking cautiously round. taking advantage of the next interval of breathlessness on the part of his friend to propound the question. just long enough to recover breath to speak. bursting into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. by various circumlocutions and discursive staggerings. 'What's the matter?' inquired the Dodger. 'I can't help it! To see him splitting away at that pace. or the amount of the wrong. you may do a little wrong. 'Ha! ha! ha!' roared Charley Bates. with great rapidity. singing out arter him--oh. and do say distinctly. and. As he arrived at this apostrophe. to evince great wisdom and foresight in providing against every possible contingency which can be supposed at all likely to affect themselves. and laughed louder than before. 84 . my eye!' The vivid imagination of Master Bates presented the scene before him in too strong colours. he again rolled upon the door-step. 'What?' repeated Charley Bates. and impartial view of his own particular case. through a most intricate maze of narrow streets and courts. to do a great right. 'Do you want to be grabbed.

and turning on his heel. slunk down the court. slapped the bridge of his nose some half-dozen times in a familiar but expressive manner. with a thoughtful countenance. The door was slowly opened. 'Why. and looking sharply out from under his thick red eyebrows. gammon and spinnage. closing it behind them. but putting his hat on again. and high cockolorum. for the Dodger's manner was impressive. a pocket-knife in his right. 'only two of 'em? Where's the third? They can't have got into trouble. taking off his hat. how's this?' muttered the Jew: changing countenance. 'What should he say?' Mr. 85 . CONNECTED WITH WHOM VARIOUS PLEASANT MATTERS ARE RELATED. thrust his tongue into his cheek. This was explanatory.' said the Dodger: with a slight sneer on his intellectual countenance. bent his ear towards the door. 'Toor rul lol loo. but not satisfactory. what?' said the Dodger. Dawkins whistled for a couple of minutes. The noise of footsteps on the creaking stairs. CHAPTER XIII SOME NEW ACQUAINTANCES ARE INTRODUCED TO THE INTELLIGENT READER. scratched his head. and nodded thrice. a few minutes after the occurrence of this conversation. Hark!' The footsteps approached nearer. There was a rascally smile on his white face as he turned round. and the Dodger and Charley Bates entered. and again said. 'Why. Master Bates followed. they reached the landing. 'What do you mean?' said Charley. then.'Ah. and gathering the skirts of his long-tailed coat under his arm. what should he say?' inquired Charley: stopping rather suddenly in his merriment. Master Bates felt it so. the frog he wouldn't. and listened. 'What do you mean?' The Dodger made no reply. and a pewter pot on the trivet. roused the merry old gentleman as he sat over the fire with a saveloy and a small loaf in his hand.

'Speak out. and. at one jerk. would have let a little more merriment out than could have been easily replaced. Fagin looked so very much in earnest. rich. rising with a menacing look. 'Who pitched that 'ere at me? It's well it's the beer. But they made no reply. the traps have got him. and made a pass at the merry old gentleman's waistcoat. wot are you stopping outside for. as nobody but an infernal. the Dodger snatched up the toasting fork. plundering. seizing the Dodger tightly by the collar. with more agility than could have been anticipated in a man of his apparent decrepitude. or I'll throttle you!' Mr. 'Where's the boy?' The young thieves eyed their preceptor as if they were alarmed at his violence. unless he done the River Company every quarter. and not the pot. sullenly. let go o' me. 'Will you speak?' thundered the Jew: shaking the Dodger so much that his keeping in the big coat at all. what the blazes is in the wind now!' growled a deep voice. who deemed it prudent in all cases to be on the safe side. clean out of the big coat. 'Why. or I'd have settled somebody. as if you was ashamed of your master! Come in!' 86 . that Charley Bates. Fagin? D--me. as hit me. well-sustained.' said the Dodger. seizing up the pot. will you!' And. The Jew stepped back in this emergency. you sneaking warmint. calling his attention by a perfectly terrific howl. and raised a loud.APPERTAINING TO THIS HISTORY 'Where's Oliver?' said the Jew. and looked uneasily at each other. which he left in the Jew's hands. at this moment. thundering old Jew could afford to throw away any drink but water--and not that. seemed perfectly miraculous. 'Come. and continuous roar--something between a mad bull and a speaking trumpet. if my neck-handkercher an't lined with beer! Come in. and who conceived it by no means improbable that it might be his turn to be throttled second. But Charley Bates. and that's all about it. I might have know'd. 'What's become of the boy?' said the Jew. 'Why. Wot's it all about. if it had taken effect. he suddenly altered its destination. swinging himself. and flung it full at that young gentleman. prepared to hurl it at his assailant's head. dropped upon his knees. and threatening him with horrid imprecations. which.

' 87 . and a dirty belcher handkerchief round his neck: with the long frayed ends of which he smeared the beer from his face as he spoke. 'You seem out of humour. I'd have done it long ago. and grey cotton stockings which inclosed a bulky pair of legs. and two scowling eyes.--the kind of legs. 'I wonder they don't murder you! I would if I was them. 'Why didn't you come in afore?' said the man.' said the Jew. you covetous. then--Bill Sikes.The man who growled out these words. in a black velveteen coat. I couldn't have sold you afterwards. however. avaricious.' replied the ruffian.' 'Well. appeared to occupy himself in taking a survey of the apartment. trembling. and winking his very ill-looking eyes twenty times in a minute. and--no. Sikes. for he coiled himself up in a corner very quietly.' said the Jew. skulked into the room. was a stoutly-built fellow of about five-and-thirty. without uttering a sound. when he had done so. 'you always mean mischief when you come that. one of which displayed various parti-coloured symptoms of having been recently damaged by a blow. Bill. in-sa-ti-a-ble old fence?' said the man. You know my name: out with it! I shan't disgrace it when the time comes. He appeared well used to it. d'ye hear?' growled this engaging ruffian. If I'd been your 'prentice. for you're fit for nothing but keeping as a curiousity of ugliness in a glass bottle. always look in an unfinished and incomplete state without a set of fetters to garnish them. well.' 'Hush! hush! Mr. lace-up half boots. which sent the animal to the other end of the room. with his face scratched and torn in twenty different places. and I suppose they don't blow glass bottles large enough. are you? Lie down!' This command was accompanied with a kick. A white shaggy dog. with large swelling calves. which in such costume. He had a brown hat on his head. 'What are you up to? Ill-treating the boys. very soiled drab breeches. 'Come in. 'don't speak so loud!' 'None of your mistering. a broad heavy countenance with a beard of three days' growth. seating himself deliberately. He disclosed. 'You're getting too proud to own me afore company. with abject humility.

but if the speaker could have seen the evil leer with which the Jew bit his pale lip as he turned round to the cupboard. 'I'm afraid. as to the Dodger appeared most advisable under the circumstances. my dear. and pointing towards the boys. if the game was up with us. or the wish (at all events) to improve upon the distiller's ingenuity not very far from the old gentleman's merry heart.'Perhaps I am. Mr.' The man started. laying his hat upon the table.' said the Jew. Mr. in which the cause and manner of Oliver's capture were circumstantially detailed. speaking as if he had not noticed the interruption. but which would be quite unintelligible if they were recorded here. as you do when you blab and--' 'Are you mad?' said the Jew. Sikes condescended to take some notice of the young gentlemen. in cant terms. and turned round upon the Jew. it might be up with a good many more. Sikes. Fagin.' replied Sikes. This was said in jest.' 'And I'm afraid.--'I'm afraid that. you see. with which his whole conversation was plentifully besprinkled.' 'That's very likely. 'You're blowed upon. which gracious act led to a conversation. and his eyes were vacantly staring on the opposite wall. 'I should think you was rather out of sorts too. and regarding the other closely as he did so. After swallowing two of three glasses of spirits. But the old gentleman's shoulders were shrugged up to his ears. and jerking his head over on the right shoulder. with such alterations and improvements on the truth. 88 . He then.' returned Sikes with a malicious grin. 'And mind you don't poison it. catching the man by the sleeve. and that it would come out rather worse for you than it would for me. unless you mean as little harm when you throw pewter pots about. a piece of dumb show which the Jew appeared to understand perfectly.' said Mr. he might have thought the caution not wholly unnecessary. Sikes contented himself with tying an imaginary knot under his left ear. demanded a glass of liquor.' added the Jew. 'that he may say something which will get us into trouble.

for the sudden entrance of the two young ladies whom Oliver had seen on a former occasion. there's no fear till he comes out again.' said Mr. Sikes in a much lower tone than he had taken since he came in. This was. but. It is due to the young lady to say that she did not positively affirm that she would not. 'The very thing!' said the Jew. to entertain a violent and deeply-rooted antipathy to going near a police-office on any ground or pretext whatever. He turned from this young lady.' said Mr. You must get hold of him somehow.' Again the Jew nodded. 'Bet will go. The Jew nodded assent. happened. but that she merely expressed an emphatic and earnest desire to be 'blessed' if she would. William Sikes. Every member of the respectable coterie appeared plunged in his own reflections. unfortunately. 'and then he must be taken care on. in a state of uncertainty not the most pleasant of its kind. who 89 . and Fagin. How long they might have sat and looked at each other. who by a certain malicious licking of his lips seemed to be meditating an attack upon the legs of the first gentleman or lady he might encounter in the streets when he went out. The prudence of this line of action. It is not necessary to make any guesses on the subject. was obvious. which shows the young lady to have been possessed of that natural good breeding which cannot bear to inflict upon a fellow-creature. there was one very strong objection to its being adopted. 'Somebody must find out wot's been done at the office. and Charley Bates. Sikes. caused the conversation to flow afresh.' said the Jew coaxingly. a polite and delicate evasion of the request. 'If he hasn't peached. and Mr. won't you. however. my dear. that the Dodger. and is committed. it is difficult to guess. my dear?' 'Wheres?' inquired the young lady. one and all. not excepting the dog.There was a long pause. The Jew's countenance fell. 'Only just up to the office. the pain of a direct and pointed refusal. indeed.

--both articles of dress being provided from the Jew's inexhaustible stock. and her curl-papers tucked up under a straw bonnet. Fagin.' said the Jew.' said Nancy. and yellow curl-papers. 'What do you mean by that?' said Mr. 'it's rather more no than yes with me.' replied the lady collectedly. my dear. Fagin. neither. Fagin. you're just the very person for it. a little covered basket.' said Sikes.' said Sikes. 'Carry that in one hand. producing. 'Why. Bill. my dear. hanging a large 90 . Sikes: 'nobody about here knows anything of you.' replied Nancy in the same composed manner. so it does.' 'Give her a door-key to carry in her t'other one. the lady in question was ultimately prevailed upon to undertake the commission.' 'And as I don't want 'em to. for. 'what do YOU say?' 'That it won't do. my dear. Sikes. indeed. looking up in a surly manner. Sikes was right. withheld by the same considerations as her agreeable friend. and bribes.' said the Jew in a soothing manner. 'Nancy. It looks more respectable. 'Stop a minute.--Miss Nancy prepared to issue forth on her errand. Bill. not to say gorgeously attired. she won't. having recently removed into the neighborhood of Field Lane from the remote but genteel suburb of Ratcliffe. By dint of alternate threats. 'it looks real and genivine like. she will. she was not under the same apprehension of being recognised by any of her numerous acquaintances. And Mr. with a clean white apron tied over her gown.' said the Jew. Fagin.' said Sikes. my dear. 'Yes.' 'Yes.' reasoned Mr. promises. 'No. 'What I say. green boots. so it's no use a-trying it on. in a red gown. She was not. yes. Accordingly. to the other female.' 'She'll go.was gaily.' replied Nancy. Fagin.

and tell me what's been done with the dear boy. the offence against society having been clearly proved. 'Nolly. 'There. dear?' murmured Nancy in a gentle voice.' said Mr. do. and who. nodded smilingly round. my dear!' said the Jew. Still there was no reply: so she spoke. He made no answer: being occupied mentally bewailing the loss of the flute. dear. and many other encomiums. do have pity. it would be more wholesomely expended on the treadmill than in a musical instrument. innocent little brother!' exclaimed Nancy. if you please. 'Nolly?' There was nobody inside but a miserable shoeless criminal. had been very properly committed by Mr. gentlemen. 'Here's her health. Entering by the back way. who had been taken up for playing the flute. Fang to the House of Correction for one month. which had been confiscated for the use of the county: so Nancy passed 91 . and listened. winked to the company. and smiting the table with his enormous fist. notwithstanding a little natural timidity consequent upon walking through the streets alone and unprotected. my brother! My poor. bursting into tears. she tapped softly with the key at one of the cell-doors. There was no sound within: so she coughed and listened again. turning round to his young friends. 'She's a honour to her sex. she arrived in perfect safety shortly afterwards. and shaking his head gravely. 'Ah. Sikes.' said the Jew. 'What has become of him! Where have they taken him to! Oh.street-door key on the forefinger of the young lady's right hand. with the appropriate and amusing remark that since he had so much breath to spare. that young lady made the best of her way to the police-office. gentlemen. my dears. 'Oh. sweet. she's a clever girl. filling his glass. very good! Very good indeed. rubbing his hands. were being passed on the accomplished Nancy. as if in mute admonition to them to follow the bright example they had just beheld. gentlemen!' Having uttered those words in a most lamentable and heart-broken tone: to the immeasurable delight of her hearers: Miss Nancy paused. and wishing they was all like her!' While these. and disappeared. whither. and wringing the little basket and the street-door key in an agony of distress.

my dear. returned by the most devious and complicated route she could think of. 'Is there a little boy here?' inquired Nancy. that it was somewhere in Pentonville. thereby doing something for his living. and knocked there. In the next cell was another man. demanded her own dear brother. and discharged in consequence of a witness having proved the robbery to have been committed by another boy. and that the prosecutor had carried him away. with a preliminary sob. in defiance of the Stamp-office. 'Why. Nancy made straight up to the bluff officer in the striped waistcoat. for begging in the streets. to his own residence: of and concerning which.' said the old man. or knew anything about him. who was going to prison for _not_ playing the flute. in other words. 'Where is he?' screamed Nancy. 'No.' This was a vagrant of sixty-five. and doing nothing for his livelihood. In reply to this incoherent questioning. and with the most piteous wailings and lamentations. gracious heavens! What gentleman?' exclaimed Nancy. In a dreadful state of doubt and uncertainty. 'Well!' cried a faint and feeble voice. 'God forbid. Bill Sikes no sooner heard the account of the expedition 92 . or. 'What gentleman! Oh. But.' replied the voice. the agonised young woman staggered to the gate. not in custody. to the domicile of the Jew. exchanging her faltering walk for a swift run. the old man informed the deeply affected sister that Oliver had been taken ill in the office. rendered more piteous by a prompt and efficient use of the street-door key and the little basket.on to the next cell. in an insensible condition. and then.' replied the officer. Mr. in a distracted manner. who was going to the same prison for hawking tin saucepans without license. all the informant knew was. 'I haven't got him. the gentleman's got him. as neither of these criminals answered to the name of Oliver. he having heard that word mentioned in the directions to the coachman.

'Me!' replied the voice of the Dodger.' said the Jew greatly excited. my dear. I shall shut up this shop to-night. Then. I trust to you. 'He has not peached so far. 'If he means to blab us among his new friends. BROWNLOW'S. 'wherever she lays hands on him. and. putting on his hat. that's all. than he very hastily called up the white dog.' replied the Jew. I must have him found. 'Who's there?' he cried in a shrill tone. expeditiously departed: without devoting any time to the formality of wishing the company good-morning. 'Charley. through the key-hole.--to you and the Artful for everything! Stay. Nancy says?' inquired the Dodger. WHEN HE WENT OUT ON AN ERRAND 93 . drew from its place of concealment the box which he had unintentionally disclosed to Oliver. stay.' added the Jew.delivered. unlocking a drawer with a shaking hand. 'We must know where he is. I shall know what to do next. find him out. never fear. WITH THE REMARKABLE PREDICTION WHICH ONE MR. he pushed them from the room: and carefully double-locking and barring the door behind them. till you bring home some news of him! Nancy. 'What now?' cried the Jew impatiently.' CHAPTER XIV COMPRISING FURTHER PARTICULARS OF OLIVER'S STAY AT MR. 'Is he to be kidnapped to the other ken. my dears!' With these words. GRIMWIG UTTERED CONCERNING HIM.' The boy murmured a reply of intelligence: and hurried downstairs after his companions. my dears.' said the Jew as he pursued his occupation. my dear. we may stop his mouth yet. A rap at the door startled him in this occupation. Find him. 'Yes. my dears. he must be found. do nothing but skulk about. Not an instant. he hastily proceeded to dispose the watches and jewellery beneath his clothing. 'there's money. You'll know where to find me! Don't stop here a minute.

because Mr. When the old lady had expatiated. that as it seemed to worry you. 'you get well as fast as ever you can. I quite loved it. but was confined to such topics as might amuse without exciting him. that it brought the tears into her eyes to talk about them. about an amiable and handsome daughter of hers. 'It is gone.' replied Oliver. and wrote such dutiful letters home four times a-year. for the picture had been removed.' said Oliver. a long time. 'Why have they taken it away?' 'It has been taken down. when he came down into the housekeeper's room next day. but.' 'I see it is ma'am. 'Ah!' said the housekeeper. let us talk about something else. both by the old gentleman and Mrs. and lived in the country. and 94 . well!' said the old lady. His expectations were disappointed. good-humouredly. however. It didn't worry me. and it shall be hung up again. 'I liked to see it. Brownlow said. indeed. dear. There! I promise you that! Now. who had been dead and gone. perhaps it might prevent your getting well.' rejoined the old lady. you see. until it was time for the invalid to have some warm wine and water. and about a son. who was married to an amiable and handsome man. watching the direction of Oliver's eyes.' 'Well. the subject of the picture was carefully avoided. poor dear soul! just six-and-twenty years. he endeavoured to think no more of the subject just then. it was time to have tea. such a good young man. Bedwin.' This was all the information Oliver could obtain about the picture at that time. no. and who was. child. his first act was to cast an eager glance at the wall. who was clerk to a merchant in the West Indies.Oliver soon recovering from the fainting-fit into which Mr. He was still too weak to get up to breakfast. so he listened attentively to a great many stories she told him. also. After tea she began to teach Oliver cribbage: which he learnt as quickly as she could teach: and at which game they played. on the excellences of her children. 'Oh. ma'am. you know. and the merits of her kind good husband besides. in the hope of again looking on the face of the beautiful lady. Brownlow's abrupt exclamation had thrown him. As the old lady had been so kind to him in his illness. with a slice of dry toast. in the conversation that ensued: which indeed bore no reference to Oliver's history or prospects. with great interest and gravity.

and talk to him a little while. looking into some pleasant little gardens. One evening. and. he looked so delicate and handsome. it seemed like Heaven itself.' said Mrs. and sit down. They were happy days. about a week after the affair of the picture. although she lamented grievously. When he saw Oliver. Brownlow was seated reading. and keep the money for herself. and a new pair of shoes. and neat.then to go cosily to bed. meanwhile. to have made much difference in him for the better. he pushed the book away from him. that if Oliver Twist felt pretty well. everybody so kind and gentle. and told him to come near the table. and a new cap. he gave them to a servant who had been very kind to him. Bedwin. and asked her to sell them to a Jew. and save us! Wash your hands. with a window. 'Dear heart alive! If we had known he would have asked for you. and saw the Jew roll them up in his bag and walk away. despite that important personal advantage. to tell the truth. properly. Brownlow. he felt quite delighted to think that they were safely gone. to be provided for him. he should like to see him in his study. and. at which Mr. They were sad rags. that after the noise and turbulence in the midst of which he had always lived. Brownlow caused a complete new suit. that she really didn't think it would have been possible. Bedwin. marvelling where the people could be found to read such a great number of books as 95 . those of Oliver's recovery. as he was sitting talking to Mrs. Brownlow calling to him to come in. and made you as smart as sixpence!' Oliver did as the old lady bade him. that she went so far as to say: looking at him with great complacency from head to foot. on the longest notice. that there was not even time to crimp the little frill that bordered his shirt-collar. Everything was so quiet. 'Bless us. He was no sooner strong enough to put his clothes on. This she very readily did. There was a table drawn up before the window. he found himself in a little back room. As Oliver was told that he might do what he liked with the old clothes. and that there was now no possible danger of his ever being able to wear them again. and Oliver had never had a new suit before. than Mr. Thus encouraged. and orderly. as Oliver looked out of the parlour window. Oliver complied. quite full of books. we would have put you a clean collar on. On Mr. and let me part your hair nicely for you. Oliver tapped at the study door. child. there came a message down from Mr.

every day of their lives.' said the old gentleman. to what I am going to say.' said Mr. sir. sir. or brick-making to turn to. pointing to some large quartos.' 'I suppose they are those heavy ones. I shall talk to you without any 96 . 'A great number. though of a much smaller size.seemed to be written to make the world wiser. 'I want you to pay great attention. Brownlow. 'Not always those. upon which the old gentleman laughed heartily. observing the curiosity with which Oliver surveyed the shelves that reached from the floor to the ceiling. Which is still a marvel to more experienced people than Oliver Twist. well.' replied Oliver. 'and you will like that.--that is. 'I never saw so many. and declared he had said a very good thing. eh?' 'I think I would rather read them. Which Oliver felt glad to have done. paid no very great attention to.' 'Thank you. sir. 'Don't be afraid! We won't make an author of you. though he by no means knew what it was. my boy. if you behave well. and at last said. 'There are a good many books. he should think it would be a much better thing to be a book-seller. How should you like to grow up a clever man. 'Now. my boy?' said Mr. because there are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts. speaking if possible in a kinder.' said Oliver.' replied Oliver. and smiling as he did so. composing his features.' said the old gentleman kindly. 'Well. sir. Oliver considered a little while. 'What! wouldn't you like to be a book-writer?' said the old gentleman. 'there are other equally heavy ones. which Oliver. and write books. while there's an honest trade to be learnt. and said something about a curious instinct. some cases. not understanding. with a good deal of gilding about the binding. patting Oliver on the head. Brownlow. but at the same time in a much more serious manner. the old gentleman laughed again. than Oliver had ever known him assume yet.' said the old gentleman. better than looking at the outsides. At the earnest manner of his reply.' 'You shall read them.' said Oliver. are there not.

'I do not think you ever will. and you shall not be friendless while I live.' said the old gentleman.reserve.' Oliver's sobs checked his utterance for some minutes. perhaps. 'I only say this. I have been deceived. 97 . not to wound me again. sir. in the objects whom I have endeavoured to benefit. and I am more interested in your behalf than I can well account for. a peculiarly impatient little double-knock was heard at the street-door: and the servant. where you come from. Let me stay here. running upstairs. 'you need not be afraid of my deserting you. because you have a young heart. Have mercy upon a poor boy. alarmed at the serious tone of the old gentleman's commencement! 'Don't turn me out of doors to wander in the streets again.' interposed Oliver. pray!' exclaimed Oliver. moved by the warmth of Oliver's sudden appeal. nevertheless. lie deep in their graves. although the happiness and delight of my life lie buried there too. Bumble. 'I hope not. 'Well. and knowing that I have suffered great pain and sorrow. in a more cheerful tone. sir. never will. and sealed it up. even to myself. when he was on the point of beginning to relate how he had been brought up at the farm. unless you give me cause. and be a servant. without a friend in the world. and how you got into the company in which I found you. don't tell you are going to send me away. announced Mr. you will be more careful.' 'Oh.' 'I never. The persons on whom I have bestowed my dearest love. You say you are an orphan.' rejoined the old gentleman. forever. on my best affections. who brought you up. Grimwig. and carried to the workhouse by Mr. but I feel strongly disposed to trust you. Deep affliction has but strengthened and refined them. Don't send me back to the wretched place I came from. confirm the statement. Speak the truth. before. all the inquiries I have been able to make. but. because I am sure you are well able to understand me. sir!' 'My dear child. well!' said the old gentleman at length. Let me hear your story.' As the old gentleman said this in a low voice: more to himself than to his companion: and as he remained silent for a short time afterwards: Oliver sat quite still. as many older persons would be. I have not made a coffin of my heart.

holding out a small piece of orange-peel at arm's length. exclaimed. In this attitude. for he was a worthy creature at bottom. and. he said he had come to tea. nankeen breeches and gaiters.'Is he coming up?' inquired Mr. 98 . The ends of his white neckerchief were twisted into a ball about the size of an orange. and a broad-brimmed white hat. Grimwig was an old friend of his. discontented voice. Mr. sir. sir!' This was the handsome offer with which Mr. there walked into the room: supporting himself by a thick stick: a stout old gentleman. sir?' inquired Oliver. Brownlow. Grimwig's head was such a particularly large one. or I'll be content to eat my own head. and of looking out of the corners of his eyes at the same time: which irresistibly reminded the beholder of a parrot. Brownlow. and. and a very long steel watch-chain. who was dressed in a blue coat. 'Look here! do you see this! Isn't it a most wonderful and extraordinary thing that I can't call at a man's house but I find a piece of this poor surgeon's friend on the staircase? I've been lamed with orange-peel once.' At this moment. that the most sanguine man alive could hardly entertain a hope of being able to get through it at a sitting--to put entirely out of the question. turning to Oliver.' Mr. even admitting for the sake of argument. 'I would rather you remained here. and I know orange-peel will be my death. and it was the more singular in his case. he fixed himself. 'Yes. said that Mr. the variety of shapes into which his countenance was twisted. in a growling. a very thick coating of powder. the possibility of scientific improvements being brought to that pass which will enable a gentleman to eat his own head in the event of his being so disposed. because.' replied the servant. and. He had a manner of screwing his head on one side when he spoke. 'No. 'Shall I go downstairs. when I told him yes. dangled loosely below it. A very small-plaited shirt frill stuck out from his waistcoat. defy description. with the sides turned up with green. Brownlow smiled. the moment he made his appearance. with nothing but a key at the end. 'He asked if there were any muffins in the house. striped waistcoat.' replied Mr. rather lame in one leg. as he had reason to know. Grimwig backed and confirmed nearly every assertion he made. and he must not mind his being a little rough in his manners.

Brownlow. and I _know_ it's put there by the surgeon's boy at the corner. 'You don't mean to say that's the boy who had the fever.' replied Mr. sir. which." I called out of the window. striking his stick upon the ground. boy?' said Mr. and fell against my garden-railings. losing all dread of the fever in his triumph at the discovery. 'That's the boy. and bowed again. which he wore attached to a broad black riband. Grimwig. no. Brownlow. and speak to my young friend. 'Wait a minute! Don't speak! Stop--' continued Mr. Then. sir. and his too. Grimwig. took a view of Oliver: who.' replied Oliver. by his friends. I'll eat my head. still keeping his stick in his hand. Mr. "he's an assassin! A man-trap!" So he is. 'How are you. asked Oliver to step downstairs and tell Mrs. opening a double eye-glass. whom we were speaking about. he has not had one. Brownlow. Bedwin they were ready for tea. seeming to apprehend that his singular friend was about to say something disagreeable. recoiling a little more. Grimwig. and threw this bit of peel upon the staircase.' said Mr. 'There's always more or less orange-peel on the pavement in our street. whenever it was not expressed in words.' repeated Mr. 'Come! Put down your hat. is it?' said Mr.' said the irritable old gentleman. and. drawing off his gloves. 'That's the boy. directly she got up I saw her look towards his infernal red lamp with the pantomime-light. sir. abruptly. 'A great deal better. coloured.' said Mr.'I'll eat my head. Oliver bowed. 99 . A young woman stumbled over a bit last night. thank you. to imply the customary offer. Grimwig. Brownlow. who had the orange. "Don't go to him. at length. 'that's the boy who had the orange! If that's not the boy. seeing that he was the object of inspection. 'Hallo! what's that!' looking at Oliver. If he is not--' Here the irascible old gentleman gave a great knock on the ground with his stick. which was always understood. Grimwig.' 'I feel strongly on this subject.' 'No. sir. he sat down. laughing. I hope?' said Mr. 'This is young Oliver Twist. and retreating a pace or two.

I only knew two sort of boys. Grimwig was strongly disposed to admit that Oliver's appearance and manner were unusually prepossessing. pettishly. Brownlow admitted that on no one point of inquiry could he yet return a satisfactory answer. and glaring eyes.' 'And which is Oliver?' 'Mealy. and. but he had a strong appetite for contradiction. with a round head. 'Where does he come from! Who is he? What is he? He has had a fever. 'He may have worse. I know him! The wretch!' 'Come. are they? Bad people have fevers sometimes. Brownlow. I say. 'I don't know. that in the inmost recesses of his own heart. he was very happy to do. I never see any difference in boys. Mr. 'Don't know?' 'No. and red cheeks. 'He may have worse. Grimwig.' replied Mr.' repeated Mr. Mealy boys. Grimwig. And he demanded. Brownlow. they call him. to oppose his friend. I don't know. inwardly determining that no man should dictate to him whether a boy was well-looking or not. He had had a fever six times. I know a friend who has a beef-faced boy. Brownlow coughed impatiently. sharpened on this occasion by the finding of the orange-peel. Pooh! nonsense!' Now. and beef-faced boys.' said Mr. 'He is a nice-looking boy. 'these are not the characteristics of young Oliver Twist. he wasn't recommended to mercy on that account. with a sneer. When Mr. with the voice of a pilot. Grimwig the most exquisite delight. Grimwig chuckled maliciously. he had resolved.' Here. a fine boy. Mr. with a body and limbs that appear to be swelling out of the seams of his blue clothes. whether the 100 .' 'They are not. the fact was. eh? I knew a man who was hung in Jamaica for murdering his master. is he not?' inquired Mr. which appeared to afford Mr. Mr.' replied Mr.as he did not half like the visitor's manner. from the first. and that he had postponed any investigation into Oliver's previous history until he thought the boy was strong enough to hear it. and the appetite of a wolf. haven't they. What of that? Fevers are not peculiar to good people. so he needn't excite your wrath. a horrid boy. Grimwig.

and particular account of the life and adventures of Oliver Twist?' asked Grimwig of Mr. true. checking his rising anger.' replied Mr. knocking the table also. I saw him hesitate. Brownlow. Come up to me to-morrow morning at ten o'clock.' 'Yes. because if she didn't find a table-spoon or two missing some sunshiny morning. who made one of the party. Brownlow had that morning purchased of the identical bookstall-keeper. 'If he is not. All this. 'we will. Grimwig. Brownlow. matters went on very smoothly.' replied Mr. 'And when are you going to hear a full. Grimwig's looking so hard at him. was graciously pleased to express his entire approval of the muffins. Grimwig. Brownlow. Bedwin chanced to bring in. looking sideways at Oliver. who has already figured in this history.' replied Oliver. Brownlow. at the conclusion of the meal. Brownlow. 'I'll tell you what. sir. He answered with some hesitation. Grimwig. Grimwig.' As fate would have it. 101 . began to feel more at his ease than he had yet done in the fierce old gentleman's presence.housekeeper was in the habit of counting the plate at night. 'We will. 'I'll--' and down went the stick. warmly. with a provoking smile.' said Mr. as he resumed his subject. at this moment. Brownlow.' said Mr. why. and Oliver.' replied Mr. bore with great good humour. my good friend. knocking the table. 'To-morrow morning. 'I would rather he was alone with me at the time. as Mr. having laid them on the table. 'I'll answer for that boy's truth with my life!' said Mr. Brownlow. which Mr. my dear. because he was confused by Mr. a small parcel of books. Mrs.' whispered that gentleman to Mr. 'We shall see. he would be content to--and so forth. Mr. at tea.' 'I'll swear he is not. 'he won't come up to you to-morrow morning. although himself somewhat of an impetuous gentleman: knowing his friend's peculiarities. He is deceiving you. 'And I for his falsehood with my head!' rejoined Mr.

she prepared to leave the room.
'Stop the boy, Mrs. Bedwin!' said Mr. Brownlow; 'there is
something to go back.'
'He has gone, sir,' replied Mrs. Bedwin.
'Call after him,' said Mr. Brownlow; 'it's particular. He is a
poor man, and they are not paid for. There are some books to be
taken back, too.'
The street-door was opened. Oliver ran one way; and the girl ran
another; and Mrs. Bedwin stood on the step and screamed for the
boy; but there was no boy in sight. Oliver and the girl
returned, in a breathless state, to report that there were no
tidings of him.
'Dear me, I am very sorry for that,' exclaimed Mr. Brownlow; 'I
particularly wished those books to be returned to-night.'
'Send Oliver with them,' said Mr. Grimwig, with an ironical
smile; 'he will be sure to deliver them safely, you know.'
'Yes; do let me take them, if you please, sir,' said Oliver.
'I'll run all the way, sir.'
The old gentleman was just going to say that Oliver should not go
out on any account; when a most malicious cough from Mr. Grimwig
determined him that he should; and that, by his prompt discharge
of the commission, he should prove to him the injustice of his
suspicions: on this head at least: at once.
'You _shall_ go, my dear,' said the old gentleman. 'The books are
on a chair by my table. Fetch them down.'
Oliver, delighted to be of use, brought down the books under his
arm in a great bustle; and waited, cap in hand, to hear what
message he was to take.
'You are to say,' said Mr. Brownlow, glancing steadily at
Grimwig; 'you are to say that you have brought those books back;
and that you have come to pay the four pound ten I owe him. This
is a five-pound note, so you will have to bring me back, ten
shillings change.'
'I won't be ten minutes, sir,' said Oliver, eagerly. Having
buttoned up the bank-note in his jacket pocket, and placed the
books carefully under his arm, he made a respectful bow, and left

the room. Mrs. Bedwin followed him to the street-door, giving
him many directions about the nearest way, and the name of the
bookseller, and the name of the street: all of which Oliver said
he clearly understood. Having superadded many injunctions to be
sure and not take cold, the old lady at length permitted him to
'Bless his sweet face!' said the old lady, looking after him. 'I
can't bear, somehow, to let him go out of my sight.'
At this moment, Oliver looked gaily round, and nodded before he
turned the corner. The old lady smilingly returned his
salutation, and, closing the door, went back to her own room.
'Let me see; he'll be back in twenty minutes, at the longest,'
said Mr. Brownlow, pulling out his watch, and placing it on the
table. 'It will be dark by that time.'
'Oh! you really expect him to come back, do you?' inquired Mr.
'Don't you?' asked Mr. Brownlow, smiling.
The spirit of contradiction was strong in Mr. Grimwig's breast,
at the moment; and it was rendered stronger by his friend's
confident smile.
'No,' he said, smiting the table with his fist, 'I do not. The
boy has a new suit of clothes on his back, a set of valuable
books under his arm, and a five-pound note in his pocket. He'll
join his old friends the thieves, and laugh at you. If ever that
boy returns to this house, sir, I'll eat my head.'
With these words he drew his chair closer to the table; and there
the two friends sat, in silent expectation, with the watch
between them.
It is worthy of remark, as illustrating the importance we attach
to our own judgments, and the pride with which we put forth our
most rash and hasty conclusions, that, although Mr. Grimwig was
not by any means a bad-hearted man, and though he would have been
unfeignedly sorry to see his respected friend duped and deceived,
he really did most earnestly and strongly hope at that moment,
that Oliver Twist might not come back.
It grew so dark, that the figures on the dial-plate were scarcely
discernible; but there the two old gentlemen continued to sit, in
silence, with the watch between them.

In the obscure parlour of a low public-house, in the filthiest
part of Little Saffron Hill; a dark and gloomy den, where a
flaring gas-light burnt all day in the winter-time; and where no
ray of sun ever shone in the summer: there sat, brooding over a
little pewter measure and a small glass, strongly impregnated
with the smell of liquor, a man in a velveteen coat, drab shorts,
half-boots and stockings, whom even by that dim light no
experienced agent of the police would have hesitated to recognise
as Mr. William Sikes. At his feet, sat a white-coated, red-eyed
dog; who occupied himself, alternately, in winking at his master
with both eyes at the same time; and in licking a large, fresh
cut on one side of his mouth, which appeared to be the result of
some recent conflict.
'Keep quiet, you warmint! Keep quiet!' said Mr. Sikes, suddenly
breaking silence. Whether his meditations were so intense as to
be disturbed by the dog's winking, or whether his feelings were
so wrought upon by his reflections that they required all the
relief derivable from kicking an unoffending animal to allay
them, is matter for argument and consideration. Whatever was the
cause, the effect was a kick and a curse, bestowed upon the dog
Dogs are not generally apt to revenge injuries inflicted upon
them by their masters; but Mr. Sikes's dog, having faults of
temper in common with his owner, and labouring, perhaps, at this
moment, under a powerful sense of injury, made no more ado but at
once fixed his teeth in one of the half-boots. Having given in a
hearty shake, he retired, growling, under a form; just escaping
the pewter measure which Mr. Sikes levelled at his head.
'You would, would you?' said Sikes, seizing the poker in one
hand, and deliberately opening with the other a large
clasp-knife, which he drew from his pocket. 'Come here, you born
devil! Come here! D'ye hear?'
The dog no doubt heard; because Mr. Sikes spoke in the very
harshest key of a very harsh voice; but, appearing to entertain
some unaccountable objection to having his throat cut, he

remained where he was, and growled more fiercely than before: at
the same time grasping the end of the poker between his teeth,
and biting at it like a wild beast.
This resistance only infuriated Mr. Sikes the more; who, dropping
on his knees, began to assail the animal most furiously. The dog
jumped from right to left, and from left to right; snapping,
growling, and barking; the man thrust and swore, and struck and
blasphemed; and the struggle was reaching a most critical point
for one or other; when, the door suddenly opening, the dog darted
out: leaving Bill Sikes with the poker and the clasp-knife in
his hands.
There must always be two parties to a quarrel, says the old
adage. Mr. Sikes, being disappointed of the dog's participation,
at once transferred his share in the quarrel to the new comer.
'What the devil do you come in between me and my dog for?' said
Sikes, with a fierce gesture.
'I didn't know, my dear, I didn't know,' replied Fagin, humbly;
for the Jew was the new comer.
'Didn't know, you white-livered thief!' growled Sikes. 'Couldn't
you hear the noise?'
'Not a sound of it, as I'm a living man, Bill,' replied the Jew.
'Oh no! You hear nothing, you don't,' retorted Sikes with a
fierce sneer. 'Sneaking in and out, so as nobody hears how you
come or go! I wish you had been the dog, Fagin, half a minute
'Why?' inquired the Jew with a forced smile.
'Cause the government, as cares for the lives of such men as you,
as haven't half the pluck of curs, lets a man kill a dog how he
likes,' replied Sikes, shutting up the knife with a very
expressive look; 'that's why.'
The Jew rubbed his hands; and, sitting down at the table,
affected to laugh at the pleasantry of his friend. He was
obviously very ill at ease, however.
'Grin away,' said Sikes, replacing the poker, and surveying him
with savage contempt; 'grin away. You'll never have the laugh at
me, though, unless it's behind a nightcap. I've got the upper
hand over you, Fagin; and, d--me, I'll keep it. There! If I go,

you go; so take care of me.'
'Well, well, my dear,' said the Jew, 'I know all that;
we--we--have a mutual interest, Bill,--a mutual interest.'
'Humph,' said Sikes, as if he thought the interest lay rather more
on the Jew's side than on his. 'Well, what have you got to say
to me?'
'It's all passed safe through the melting-pot,' replied Fagin,
'and this is your share. It's rather more than it ought to be,
my dear; but as I know you'll do me a good turn another time,
'Stow that gammon,' interposed the robber, impatiently. 'Where is
it? Hand over!'
'Yes, yes, Bill; give me time, give me time,' replied the Jew,
soothingly. 'Here it is! All safe!' As he spoke, he drew forth
an old cotton handkerchief from his breast; and untying a large
knot in one corner, produced a small brown-paper packet. Sikes,
snatching it from him, hastily opened it; and proceeded to count
the sovereigns it contained.
'This is all, is it?' inquired Sikes.
'All,' replied the Jew.
'You haven't opened the parcel and swallowed one or two as you
come along, have you?' inquired Sikes, suspiciously. 'Don't put
on an injured look at the question; you've done it many a time.
Jerk the tinkler.'
These words, in plain English, conveyed an injunction to ring the
bell. It was answered by another Jew: younger than Fagin, but
nearly as vile and repulsive in appearance.
Bill Sikes merely pointed to the empty measure. The Jew,
perfectly understanding the hint, retired to fill it: previously
exchanging a remarkable look with Fagin, who raised his eyes for
an instant, as if in expectation of it, and shook his head in
reply; so slightly that the action would have been almost
imperceptible to an observant third person. It was lost upon
Sikes, who was stooping at the moment to tie the boot-lace which
the dog had torn. Possibly, if he had observed the brief
interchange of signals, he might have thought that it boded no
good to him.

'Is anybody here, Barney?' inquired Fagin; speaking, now that
that Sikes was looking on, without raising his eyes from the
'Dot a shoul,' replied Barney; whose words: whether they came
from the heart or not: made their way through the nose.
'Nobody?' inquired Fagin, in a tone of surprise: which perhaps
might mean that Barney was at liberty to tell the truth.
'Dobody but Biss Dadsy,' replied Barney.
'Nancy!' exclaimed Sikes. 'Where? Strike me blind, if I don't
honour that 'ere girl, for her native talents.'
'She's bid havid a plate of boiled beef id the bar,' replied
'Send her here,' said Sikes, pouring out a glass of liquor. 'Send
her here.'
Barney looked timidly at Fagin, as if for permission; the Jew
remaining silent, and not lifting his eyes from the ground, he
retired; and presently returned, ushering in Nancy; who was
decorated with the bonnet, apron, basket, and street-door key,
'You are on the scent, are you, Nancy?' inquired Sikes,
proffering the glass.
'Yes, I am, Bill,' replied the young lady, disposing of its
contents; 'and tired enough of it I am, too. The young brat's
been ill and confined to the crib; and--'
'Ah, Nancy, dear!' said Fagin, looking up.
Now, whether a peculiar contraction of the Jew's red eye-brows,
and a half closing of his deeply-set eyes, warned Miss Nancy that
she was disposed to be too communicative, is not a matter of much
importance. The fact is all we need care for here; and the fact
is, that she suddenly checked herself, and with several gracious
smiles upon Mr. Sikes, turned the conversation to other matters.
In about ten minutes' time, Mr. Fagin was seized with a fit of
coughing; upon which Nancy pulled her shawl over her shoulders,
and declared it was time to go. Mr. Sikes, finding that he was
walking a short part of her way himself, expressed his intention
of accompanying her; they went away together, followed, at a
little distant, by the dog, who slunk out of a back-yard as soon

as his master was out of sight.
The Jew thrust his head out of the room door when Sikes had left
it; looked after him as we walked up the dark passage; shook his
clenched fist; muttered a deep curse; and then, with a horrible
grin, reseated himself at the table; where he was soon deeply
absorbed in the interesting pages of the Hue-and-Cry.
Meanwhile, Oliver Twist, little dreaming that he was within so
very short a distance of the merry old gentleman, was on his way
to the book-stall. When he got into Clerkenwell, he accidently
turned down a by-street which was not exactly in his way; but not
discovering his mistake until he had got half-way down it, and
knowing it must lead in the right direction, he did not think it
worth while to turn back; and so marched on, as quickly as he
could, with the books under his arm.
He was walking along, thinking how happy and contented he ought
to feel; and how much he would give for only one look at poor
little Dick, who, starved and beaten, might be weeping bitterly
at that very moment; when he was startled by a young woman
screaming out very loud. 'Oh, my dear brother!' And he had
hardly looked up, to see what the matter was, when he was stopped
by having a pair of arms thrown tight round his neck.
'Don't,' cried Oliver, struggling. 'Let go of me. Who is it?
What are you stopping me for?'
The only reply to this, was a great number of loud lamentations
from the young woman who had embraced him; and who had a little
basket and a street-door key in her hand.
'Oh my gracious!' said the young woman, 'I have found him! Oh!
Oliver! Oliver! Oh you naughty boy, to make me suffer such
distress on your account! Come home, dear, come. Oh, I've found
him. Thank gracious goodness heavins, I've found him!' With
these incoherent exclamations, the young woman burst into another
fit of crying, and got so dreadfully hysterical, that a couple of
women who came up at the moment asked a butcher's boy with a
shiny head of hair anointed with suet, who was also looking on,
whether he didn't think he had better run for the doctor. To
which, the butcher's boy: who appeared of a lounging, not to say
indolent disposition: replied, that he thought not.
'Oh, no, no, never mind,' said the young woman, grasping Oliver's
hand; 'I'm better now. Come home directly, you cruel boy!

'Oh, ma'am,' replied the young woman, 'he ran away, near a month
ago, from his parents, who are hard-working and respectable
people; and went and joined a set of thieves and bad characters;
and almost broke his mother's heart.'
'Young wretch!' said one woman.
'Go home, do, you little brute,' said the other.
'I am not,' replied Oliver, greatly alarmed. 'I don't know her.
I haven't any sister, or father and mother either. I'm an
orphan; I live at Pentonville.'
'Only hear him, how he braves it out!' cried the young woman.
'Why, it's Nancy!' exclaimed Oliver; who now saw her face for the
first time; and started back, in irrepressible astonishment.
'You see he knows me!' cried Nancy, appealing to the bystanders.
'He can't help himself. Make him come home, there's good people,
or he'll kill his dear mother and father, and break my heart!'
'What the devil's this?' said a man, bursting out of a beer-shop,
with a white dog at his heels; 'young Oliver! Come home to your
poor mother, you young dog! Come home directly.'
'I don't belong to them. I don't know them. Help! help!' cried
Oliver, struggling in the man's powerful grasp.
'Help!' repeated the man. 'Yes; I'll help you, you young rascal!
What books are these? You've been a stealing 'em, have you?
Give 'em here.' With these words, the man tore the volumes from
his grasp, and struck him on the head.
'That's right!' cried a looker-on, from a garret-window. 'That's
the only way of bringing him to his senses!'
'To be sure!' cried a sleepy-faced carpenter, casting an
approving look at the garret-window.
'It'll do him good!' said the two women.
'And he shall have it, too!' rejoined the man, administering
another blow, and seizing Oliver by the collar. 'Come on, you
young villain! Here, Bull's-eye, mind him, boy! Mind him!'
Weak with recent illness; stupified by the blows and the

with the watch between them. seizing Oliver's unoccupied hand. Mrs. resistance was useless. and looked round. what could one poor child do! Darkness had set in. AFTER HE HAD BEEN CLAIMED BY NANCY The narrow streets and courts. that resistance would be of no avail. were pens for beasts. terrified by the fierce growling of the dog. terminated in a large open space. and was forced along them at a pace which rendered the few cries he dared to give utterance to. They were in a dark corner. had they been ever so plain. Bull's-Eye!' 110 . He held out his hand. unintelligible. and the brutality of the man. scattered about which. overpowered by the conviction of the bystanders that he really was the hardened little wretch he was described to be. but too plainly. at length. the servant had run up the street twenty times to see if there were any traces of Oliver. the rapid rate at which they had hitherto walked. 'Give me the other. and other indications of a cattle-market. Oliver saw. 'Do you hear?' growled Sikes.' said Sikes. quite out of the track of passengers. CHAPTER XVI RELATES WHAT BECAME OF OLIVER TWIST. which Nancy clasped tight in hers. in the dark parlour. Sikes slackened his pace when they reached this spot: the girl being quite unable to support any longer. Bedwin was waiting anxiously at the open door. * * * * * * * * * The gas-lamps were lighted. as Oliver hesitated. indeed. 'Here. it was a low neighborhood. It was of little moment. and still the two old gentlemen sat. perseveringly. he roughly commanded him to take hold of Nancy's hand. whether they were intelligible or no. In another moment he was dragged into a labyrinth of dark narrow courts.suddenness of the attack. no help was near. Turning to Oliver. for there was nobody to care for them.

and turned their heads in the direction whence the sound proceeded.The dog looked up. regarding the animal with a kind of grim and ferocious approval. I can hear it. young'un!' Bull's-eye wagged his tail in acknowledgment of this unusually endearing form of speech. rendering the strange place still stranger in Oliver's eyes. The night was dark and foggy. the dog will soon stop that game. boy!' said Sikes. as I couldn't hear the squeaking on. for anything Oliver knew to the contrary. 'Now. his two conductors stopped. 'Eight o' clock. can't I!' replied Sikes. putting his other hand to Oliver's throat. Arter I was locked up for the night. strike me blind if he isn't!' said Sikes. and licking his lips. led the way onward. 'See here. master. although it might have been Grosvenor Square. eyed Oliver as if he were anxious to attach himself to his windpipe without delay. and growled. hold him! D'ye mind!' The dog growled again. and making his uncertainty the more dismal and depressing. you know what you've got to expect.' replied Sikes. when a deep church-bell struck the hour. that I could almost have beat my brains out against the iron plates of the door. They had hurried on a few paces. 'Of course they can. 'It was Bartlemy time when I was shopped. The lights in the shops could scarecely struggle through the heavy mist. 'if he speaks ever so soft a word. 'Oh. Get on. and. such fine young chaps as them!' 111 . and there warn't a penny trumpet in the fair. With its first stroke. when the bell ceased. giving vent to another admonitory growl for the benefit of Oliver. Bill. 'He's as willing as a Christian. who still had her face turned towards the quarter in which the bell had sounded. It was Smithfield that they were crossing. 'I wonder whether THEY can hear it.' said Nancy. 'What's the good of telling me that.' 'Poor fellow!' said Nancy.' said Nancy. Bill. so call away as quick as you like. the row and din outside made the thundering old jail so silent. which thickened every moment and shrouded the streets and houses in gloom.

the house was in a ruinous condition. Sikes. Sikes then seized the terrified boy by the collar with very little ceremony. and don't stand preaching there. while the person who had let them in. They waited. the dog running forward. as if conscious that there was no further occasion for his keeping on guard. told him to step out again. or not walking at all. and. 'All right.' The girl burst into a laugh. and those appearing from their looks to hold much the same position in society as Mr. nearly full of old-clothes shops. intimating that it was to let: which looked as if it had hung there for many years. stopped before the door of a shop that was closed and apparently untenanted. and on the door was nailed a board. A noise. and they walked away. They crossed to the opposite side of the street. by little-frequented and dirty ways. Sikes himself.' With this consolation. that's all you women think of. Sikes appeared to repress a rising tendency to jealousy.' cried Sikes. if the snow was on the ground.'Yes. clasping Oliver's wrist more firmly. Mr. and Oliver heard the sound of a bell. 'Fine young chaps! Well. chained and barred the door. as if a sash window were gently raised. and.' 'And what good would that do?' inquired the unsentimental Mr. At length they turned into a very filthy narrow street. and stood for a few moments under a lamp. But Oliver felt her hand tremble. drew her shawl more closely round her. and soon afterwards the door softly opened. Bill. for a full half-hour: meeting very few people. Nancy stooped below the shutters. and all three were quickly inside the house. 'Unless you could pitch over a file and twenty yards of good stout rope. and I hadn't a shawl to cover me. if it was you that was coming out to be hung. Come on. the next time eight o'clock struck. for all the good it would do me. glancing cautiously about. you might as well be walking fifty mile off. looking up in her face as they passed a gas-lamp. was heard. they're as good as dead. I'd walk round and round the place till I dropped. saw that it had turned a deadly white.' answered Sikes. Mr. They walked on. so it don't much matter. The passage was perfectly dark. 112 . 'Wait a minute!' said the girl: 'I wouldn't hurry by.

my eye. opening the door of a low earthy-smelling room. my wig. rifled Oliver's pockets with steady assiduity.' With this irrepressible ebullition of mirth. advancing to Oliver. Look after your legs if you do!' 'Stand still a moment. taking off his nightcap. which seemed to have been built in a small back-yard. in another minute. from whose lungs the laughter had proceeded: 'here he is! oh. do look at him! I can't bear it. or treading on the dog. seemed familiar to Oliver's ears: but it was impossible to distinguish even the form of the speaker in the darkness. who was of a rather saturnine disposition. but. He bore in his right hand a tallow candle stuck in the end of a cleft stick. 'Yes. They crossed an empty kitchen. 'and precious down in the mouth he has been. here he is! Oh. putting the light so close to his new jacket as nearly to set him on fire. Won't he be glad to see you? Oh. somebody. look at him! Fagin. 113 . Fagin!' said Charley. meantime. The Artful. Master Bates laid himself flat on the floor: and kicked convulsively for five minutes. cry. 'or we shall go breaking our necks. Then jumping to his feet. and seldom gave way to merriment when it interfered with business.' said Sikes. while I laugh it out. The receding footsteps of the speaker were heard. 'Is the old 'un here?' asked the robber. turning away. and the heavy swell cut! Oh. it is such a jolly game. my wig!' cried Master Charles Bates. and. otherwise the Artful Dodger. he snatched the cleft stick from the Dodger. the form of Mr. 'Look at his togs! Superfine cloth. and I'll get you one. while the Jew.' replied the voice. 'Oh.' replied a voice. beckoned the visitors to follow him down a flight of stairs. 'No. I cant' bear it. and. Hold me. John Dawkins. in an ectasy of facetious joy.'Anybody here?' inquired Sikes. 'Let's have a glim. as well as the voice which delivered it. The young gentleman did not stop to bestow any other mark of recognition upon Oliver than a humourous grin. were received with a shout of laughter. no!' The style of this reply. viewed him round and round. and. Fagin. which Oliver thought he had heard before. 'Look at his togs.' replied the voice. appeared. made a great number of low bows to the bewildered boy.

neither. 'and not half enough. You may keep the books. hardly fair. though from a very different cause. Nancy?' inquired the Jew. and tied it in his neckerchief.' said the Jew. You shall have the books. Fagin!' 'Delighted to see you looking so well.' 'If that ain't mine!' said Bill Sikes. will you?' said Sikes. Master Bates roared again: so loud. my dear. 'mine and Nancy's that is. 'Come! Hand over.what a game! And his books. 'The Artful shall give you another suit. I'll take the boy back again.' 'No.' said Sikes. 'This is hardly fair. mine. putting on his hat with a determined air. Mr.' At his. and even the Dodger smiled. or not fair. Bill.' The Jew started. bowing with mock humility. every young boy as gets grabbed through you? Give it here. I tell you! Do you think Nancy and me has got nothing else to do with our precious time but to spend it in scouting arter. if you're fond of reading. sell 'em. for fear you should spoil that Sunday one. 'Mine. 'That's mine. what's that?' inquired Sikes. 'That's for our share of the trouble. Sikes plucked the note from between the Jew's finger and thumb. you avaricious old skeleton. 'hand over. Why didn't you write.' retorted Sikes. for he hoped that the dispute might really end in his being taken back. and looking the old man coolly in the face. stepping forward as the Jew seized the note. Oliver started too. 'Hallo. give it here!' With this gentle remonstrance. no. Fagin. 'Fair. and say you were coming? We'd have got something warm for supper. folded it up small.' said the Jew. that Fagin himself relaxed. my dear. and kidnapping. my dear. but as the Artful drew forth the five-pound note at that instant. too! Nothing but a gentleman. is it. Bill. If you ain't. it is doubtful whether the sally of the discovery awakened his merriment. my dear.' 114 .

I don't care for that. isn't is. Oliver. old gentleman who took me into his house. he jumped suddenly to his feet. who was blessed with a lively sense of the ludicrous.' screamed 115 . Oh. Oh. and closing it. and so get him lagged. if we had chosen our time!' 'Of course it couldn't. Bill!' cried Nancy. struggling to disengage himself from the girl's grasp. 'I know'd that. fell into another ectasy. 'Keep back the dog. which were uttered with all the energy of passionate grief. He's safe enough. Oliver fell upon his knees at the Jew's feet. you're right. with sundry grimaces. send him back the books and money. pray send them back. Ha! ha!' chuckled the Jew. with the books under his arm. 'The boy's right. and beat his hands together. as if he were bewildered. while these words were being spoken. which made the bare old house echo to the roof. Keep me here all my life long. 'Keep back the dog. but when Bill Sikes concluded. do have mercy upon me.' 'Serve him right!' cried Sikes.' 'I don't care for that. they WILL think you have stolen 'em. he'll tear the boy to pieces. fear they should be obliged to prosecute. had been affecting to read one of the volumes in question. in perfect desperation.' said Charley Bates: who. 'They belong to the old gentleman. and send them back!' With these words. Oliver?' At sight of the dismayed look with which Oliver regarded his tormentors.' replied Sikes. pray send them back. or I'll split your head against the wall.' remarked Fagin. 'it couldn't have happened better. springing before the door. directly I see him coming through Clerkenwell.' Oliver had looked from one to the other. and knitting his shaggy eyebrows into a hard knot. and could scarecely understand what passed. when I was near dying of the fever. looking covertly round. and tore wildly from the room: uttering shrieks for help. Bill.'They're very pretty. kind. Master Bates. but pray. wringing his hands. 'Stand off from me. more boisterous than the first. 'You're right. They're soft-hearted psalm-singers. as the Jew and his two pupils darted out in pursuit. 'beautiful writing. rubbing his hands. It's all right enough. the old lady: all of them who were so kind to me: will think I stole them. 'to the good. and they'll ask no questions after him. or they wouldn't have taken him in at all. He'll think I stole them. and had me nursed.' said Oliver.

my young master. speaking very loud. he turned to Oliver. with a threatening look. 116 . 'No. 'the child shan't be torn down by the dog.' cried the girl. I think. 'I'll soon do that. I won't do that. 'I won't stand by and see it done. pale and breathless from the scuffle. looking round.' 'Shan't he!' said Sikes. Fagin was sufficiently well acquainted with the manners and customs of that particular species of humanity to which Nancy belonged. to feel tolerably certain that it would be rather unsafe to prolong any conversation with her. Fagin. wrested it from his hand.' replied Nancy. catching the boy by the arm. 'So you wanted to get away. with a force that brought some of the glowing coals whirling out into the room. my dear. if you don't keep off. did you?' sneered the Jew. did you?' said the Jew.' The housebreaker flung the girl from him to the further end of the room. setting his teeth. neither. 'We'll cure you of that.' The Jew inflicted a smart blow on Oliver's shoulders with the club. 'The girl's gone mad. Fagin. dragging Oliver among them.the girl. unless you kill me first. 'no. she hasn't. She flung it into the fire. savagely.' replied Sikes. taking up a jagged and knotted club which law in a corner of the fireplace.' said Nancy. at present. don't think it. rushing forward. 'No. 'Wanted to get assistance. and was raising it for a second. she hasn't. struggling violently with the man. But he watched the Jew's motions. 'eh?' Oliver made no reply.' 'Then keep quiet. called for the police. when the girl. With the view of diverting the attention of the company. just as the Jew and the two boys returned. 'What's the matter here!' said Fagin. and breathed quickly. will you?' said the Jew. 'Come! What do you think of that?' Mr.

in a soothing tone. yes. the fierce impulses of recklessness and despair.--you're more clever than ever to-night. and so I tell you in good time to keep clear of me. with a poor assumption of indifference. backing the inquiry with a very common imprecation concerning the most beautiful of human features: which. he resorted to more tangible arguments. and what more would you have?--Let him be--let him be--or I shall put that mark on some of you. that will bring me to the gallows before my time. and her hands clenched. and what you are?' 'Oh. Fagin. would render blindness as common a disorder as measles: 'what do you mean by it? Burn my body! Do you know who you are. which few men like to provoke. during which he and Mr. Sikes. and. you are acting beautifully. 'Take care I don't overdo it. if it were heard above. The Jew saw that it would be hopeless to affect any further mistake regarding the reality of Miss Nancy's rage. only once out of every fifty thousand times that it is uttered below. laughing hysterically. looked alternately at the Jew and the other robber: her face quite colourless from the passion of rage into which she had gradually worked herself. Sikes had stared at one another in a disconcerted manner. after a pause. and shaking her head from side to side.' There is something about a roused woman: especially if she add to all her other strong passions. Nancy!' said the Jew.' The girl stamped her foot violently on the floor as she vented this threat. gave utterance to about a couple of score of curses and threats. 'Why.' replied the girl. Mr. half imploring and half cowardly.' 'Am I!' said the girl. however. shrinking involuntarily back a few paces. and possibly feeling his personal pride and influence interested in the immediate reduction of Miss Nancy to reason. the rapid production of which reflected great credit on the fertility of his invention. You will be the worse for it. 'What do you mean by this?' said Sikes. if I do. thus mutely appealed to. 117 . and with her lips compressed. I know all about it. cast a glance. As they produced no visible effect on the object against whom they were discharged. at Sikes: as if to hint that he was the fittest person to pursue the dialogue. Ha! ha! my dear. 'you.'You've got the boy.

before I had lent a hand in bringing him here. but pouring out the words in one continuous and vehement scream. a liar. whose passion was frightful to see. till I die!' 'I shall do you a mischief!' interposed the Jew. I thieved for you when I was a child not half as old as this!' pointing to Oliver. tearing her hair and dress in a transport of passion. and. had not her wrists been seized by Sikes at the right moment. you villain! Yes. you deserve 'em from me. day and night. a devil. keep quiet. Isn't that enough for the old wretch. 'a mischief worse than that. upon which. Bill. goaded by these reproaches. then. 'It is my living. 'I have been in the same trade.' said the Jew appealing to him in a remonstratory tone. 118 . if you say much more!' The girl said nothing more. I am!' cried the girl passionately. with a growl like that he was accustomed to use when addressing his dog. come. 'and I wish I had been struck dead in the street. all that's bad. 'to take up the humane and gen--teel side! A pretty subject for the child. Sikes. darting a hasty look at Sikes. turned her face aside. well. but. 'or I'll quiet you for a good long time to come. it is!' returned the girl. if you have. 'we must have civil words.' added Sikes.' rejoined Sikes. made such a rush at the Jew as would probably have left signal marks of her revenge upon him. He's a thief. civil words. it's your living!' 'Aye. who were eagerly attentive to all that passed. for twelve years since.' The girl laughed again: even less composedly than before. wet. from this night forth. Don't you know it? Speak out! Don't you know it?' 'Well.'Well. and you're the wretch that drove me to them long ago. and the cold. as he surveyed her with a contemptuous air.' replied the Jew. 'Civil words. and in the same service. with an attempt at pacification. and that'll keep me there. and bit her lip till the blood came. 'and. not speaking. as you call him. day and night. and motioning towards the boys. 'You're a nice one.' 'Civil words!' cried the girl. dirty streets are my home. or had changed places with them we passed so near to-night. to make a friend of!' 'God Almighty help me. without blows?' 'Come.

' said the Jew. The noise of Charley's laughter. had been the very first clue received. Master Bates rolling up the new clothes under his arm. 'She's all right now. Charley. and the voice of Miss Betsy. and we can't get on. when she's up in this way. 'It's the worst of having to do with women. 'Put off the smart ones. 'and I'll give 'em to Fagin to take care of. and fainted. CHAPTER XVII 119 . leaving Oliver in the dark. replacing his club. might have kept many people awake under more happy circumstances than those in which Oliver was placed. 'Certainly not. in our line. to Fagin. without 'em. had he?' inquired Charley Bates. he produced the identical old suit of clothes which Oliver had so much congratulated himself upon leaving off at Mr. and locking the door behind him. nor Sikes. and he soon fell sound asleep.' 'I suppose he'd better not wear his best clothes tomorrow. Fagin.' said Sikes. Brownlow's. show Oliver to bed. apparently much delighted with his commission. and the accidental display of which. Master Bates. 'She's uncommon strong in the arms. nor the boys. where there were two or three of the beds on which he had slept before. as if it were a relief to have the disturbance over. reciprocating the grin with which Charley put the question. by the Jew who purchased them. and perform other feminine offices for the promotion of her recovery.she made a few ineffectual struggles.' said Charley.' The Jew wiped his forehead: and smiled. with many uncontrollable bursts of laughter. 'but they're clever. but neither he. seemed to consider it in any other light than a common occurance incidental to business. What fun it is!' Poor Oliver unwillingly complied. took the cleft stick: and led Oliver into an adjacent kitchen. of his whereabout. laying her down in a corner.' replied the Jew. who opportunely arrived to throw water over her friend. But he was sick and weary. departed from the room. nor the dog. and here.

the heroine in the grasp of a proud and ruthless baron: her virtue and her life alike in danger. The hero sinks upon his straw bed. a whistle is heard. in the next scene.OLIVER'S DESTINY CONTINUING UNPROPITIOUS. but they are not so unnatural as they would seem at first sight. and from mourning-weeds to holiday garments. and roam about in company. the reader taking it for granted that there are good and substantial reasons for making the journey. who are free of all sorts of places. are not a whit less startling. The transitions in real life from well-spread boards to death-beds. only. which makes a vast difference. in all good murderous melodramas. where a grey-headed seneschal sings a funny chorus with a funnier body of vassals. drawing forth her dagger to preserve the one at the cost of the other. but are by many considered as the great art of authorship: an author's skill in his craft being. from church vaults to palaces. to present the tragic and the comic scenes. and rapid changes of time and place. If so. BRINGS A GREAT MAN TO LONDON TO INJURE HIS REPUTATION It is the custom on the stage. presented before the eyes of mere spectators. are not only sanctioned in books by long usage. he clutched his cane with the vigorous tenacity of health and power. we are busy actors. his cocked hat and coat were dazzling in the morning sun. there. in as regular alternation. are at once condemned as outrageous and preposterous. carolling perpetually. and walked with portly carriage and commanding steps. weighed down by fetters and misfortunes. The actors in the mimic life of the theatre. with throbbing bosoms. are blind to violent transitions and abrupt impulses of passion or feeling. as the layers of red and white in a side of streaky bacon. Mr. let it be considered a delicate intimation on the part of the historian that he is going back to the town in which Oliver Twist was born. We behold. chiefly estimated with relation to the dilemmas in which he leaves his characters at the end of every chapter: this brief introduction to the present one may perhaps be deemed unnecessary. and we are straightway transported to the great hall of the castle. He was in the full bloom and pride of beadlehood. which. instead of passive lookers-on. by such critics. up the High Street. As sudden shiftings of the scene. and just as our expectations are wrought up to the highest pitch. 120 . Mr. his faithful but unconscious squire regales the audience with a comic song. Such changes appear absurd. or he would not be invited to proceed upon such an expedition. Bumble emerged at early morning from the workhouse-gate.

Bumble stopped not to converse with the small shopkeepers and others who spoke to him.' 'Well. if they had heard it.' Mrs. Mann. which might have warned an observant stranger that thoughts were passing in the beadle's mind. Bumble. 'Mrs. 'If it isn't him at this time in the morning! Lauk. dear me. There was an abstraction in his eye. into the house.' continued Mr. and relaxed not in his dignified pace. not very well knowing what the beadle meant. ma'am. as any common jackanapes would: but letting himself gradually and slowly down into a chair.' 'Ah. 121 . hearing the well-known shaking at the garden-gate.' replied the beadle. until he reached the farm where Mrs. and the exclamations of delight were uttered to Mr. Mr. Mann!' said the beadle. ma'am. Mrs. Mann. sir. only think of its being you! Well. deferentially. with great attention and respect. Mann. And all the infant paupers might have chorussed the rejoinder with great propriety. He merely returned their salutations with a wave of his hand. Mrs. and sighed. an elevation in his air. Mrs. 'A porochial life is not a bed of roses. 'is a life of worrit. but this morning it was higher than usual. with many smiles. and hardihood. Bumble. and vexation. it IS a pleasure. Mann. Bumble: as the good lady unlocked the garden-gate: and showed him. Mann.' said Mr.Bumble always carried his head high.' rejoined the lady. 'A porochial life. sir. Mann. Mann tended the infant paupers with parochial care. as he passed along. but all public characters. too great for utterance.' The first sentence was addressed to Susan. sir!' 'So-so. or dropping himself into a seat. Mr. Bumble. striking the table with his cane. as I may say. and good morning to _you_. this is! Come into the parlour. 'and hoping you find yourself well. Bumble.' replied Mrs. not sitting upon. 'Ah! You may well sigh. 'Drat that beadle!' said Mrs. 'Mrs. good morning. raised her hands with a look of sympathy. that it isn't indeed. must suffer prosecution. please. Mann. Mr.

Mann. Bumble!' cried Mrs. the Clerkinwell Sessions have only themselves to thank. said. and the board has appointed me--me. Bumble. ma'am. Mann. Bumble delivered himself of these words. and he became grave. 122 . 'We put the sick paupers into open carts in the rainy weather. I and two paupers. Mrs. 'They are both in a very low state. Bumble. Ha! ha! ha!' When Mr. At length she said.' said Mrs.' added Mr.' said Mr. Mann--to dispose to the matter before the quarter-sessions at Clerkinwell. Mrs. 'You're going by coach. his eyes again encountered the cocked hat. and we find it would come two pound cheaper to move 'em than to bury 'em--that is. I am going to London. 'by coach. Mrs. sir? I thought it was always usual to send them paupers in carts. and takes them cheap. 'whether the Clerkinwell Sessions will not find themselves in the wrong box before they have done with me. about a settlement. Bumble had laughed a little while. Mr.' resumed the inflexible beadle.' 'Oh! you mustn't be too hard upon them. 'The Clerkinwell Sessions have brought it upon themselves. coaxingly.Finding she had done right. drawing himself up.' 'That's when they're ill. that Mrs.' 'Lauk. 'The opposition coach contracts for these two. Mrs. to prevent their taking cold. Mann sighed again: evidently to the satisfaction of the public character: who. which I think we shall be able to do.' There was so much determination and depth of purpose about the menacing manner in which Mr. Mann appeared quite awed by them.' said the beadle.' replied Mr. ma'am. Bumble. if we can throw 'em upon another parish. 'and if the Clerkinwell Sessions find that they come off rather worse than they expected. 'Mrs. Mann.' 'Oh!' said Mrs. sir. Mann. if they don't die upon the road to spite us. repressing a complacent smile by looking sternly at his cocked hat. 'To London. Mann! A legal action is a coming on. And I very much question. Mann. starting back.

from his pocket-book. The scanty parish dress. and requested a receipt: which Mrs. you obstinate boy?' said Mrs.' Mr. blandly. 'Can't you look at the gentleman. his cheeks were sunken. sir. I'm sure. except the two that died last week.' 'Isn't that boy no better?' inquired Mr. ma'am. 123 . 'but it's formal enough. Mann. you Dick!' After some calling. and dreading even to hear the beadle's voice. The child meekly raised his eyes. Bumble's glance. and encountered those of Mr.' said the beadle. the dears! Of course. the beadle. 'What's the matter with you. The child was pale and thin. Having had his face put under the pump. Bumble produced some silver money rolled up in paper. Mann with emotion. And little Dick.' replied Mrs. I am very much obliged to you.' said Mr. Mann's gown. Mann wrote.' said the farmer of infants. he was led into the awful presence of Mr. 'Where is he?' 'I'll bring him to you in one minute. not daring to lift his eyes from the floor. 'here is your porochial stipend for the month. and dried upon Mrs. like those of an old man. Mann's curtsey. sir. Bumble nodded. 'He's a ill-conditioned. and his eyes large and bright. Mann. bad-disposed porochial child that. 'they're as well as can be.'We are forgetting business. Bumble. Mrs. sir. Dick was discovered. wicious. Mann shook her head. I dare say. Mr. porochial Dick?' inquired Mr. and inquired how the children were. 'It's very much blotted. Such was the little being who stood trembling beneath Mr. Thank you. Bumble. Bumble. Bumble angrily. 'Bless their dear little hearts!' said Mrs. in acknowledgment of Mrs. Bumble. 'Here.' Mr. the livery of his misery. and his young limbs had wasted away. hung loosely on his feeble body.

and to let him know how often I have sat by myself and cried to think of his wandering about in the dark nights with nobody to help him. 'They're all in one story.' Mr. and it would be so much happier if we were both children there together. Bumble surveyed the little speaker. ma'am!' said Mr. 'What do you mean. 'if somebody that can write.' said Mrs. and. from head to foot. perhaps. and speaking with great fervour. after I am laid in the ground. Mann. turning to his companion. Bumble. Mrs. And I should like to tell him. 124 . might forget me. if I had lived to be a man. or be unlike me. 'that I was glad to die when I was very young. Bumble imperiously. 'to leave my dear love to poor Oliver Twist.' replied the child faintly. holding up her hands. what does the boy mean?' exclaimed Mr. Mann. 'Hey-day!' interposed Mr. 'I should think not. 'You want for nothing. 'I suppose you're going to say that you DO want for something.' 'I should like--' faltered the child. who had of course laughed very much at Mr. Mrs. sir. 'This must be stated to the board. I'm sure. with indescribable astonishment. on whom the earnest manner and wan aspect of the child had made some impression: accustomed as he was to such things. That out-dacious Oliver had demogalized them all!' 'I couldn't have believed it. 'Nothing. eh?' 'I should like. Mann. Mrs. sir' said Mrs Mann. with well-timed jocularity. and had grown old.Bumble. and looking malignantly at Dick.' 'Why. Bumble's humour. and fold it up and seal it. now? Why. would put a few words down for me on a piece of paper. sir. 'Like what. Mann. Mann.' faltered the child. stop!' said the beadle. said. and keep it for me. my little sister who is in Heaven. raising his hand with a show of authority.' said the child.' said the child pressing his small hands together. for. you little wretch--' 'Stop. 'I never see such a hardened little wretch!' 'Take him away. sir?' 'I should like.

and complaining of the cold. take him away. Bumble declared.' said Mr. person. in due course of time. and locked up in the coal-cellar. he arrived in London. The very first paragraph upon which Mr. Mr. Brownlow at full length. who persisted in shivering. to prepare for his journey. and encased his person in a blue great-coat with a cape to it: took his place on the outside of the coach.'I hope the gentleman will understand that it isn't my fault.' Dick was immediately taken away. oyster sauce. they shall be acquainted with the true state of the case. than those which originated in the perverse behaviour of the two paupers. and. although he had a great-coat on. for many reasons. named Oliver Twist. I can't bear the sight on him. 125 . At six o'clock next morning. Bumble sat himself down in the house at which the coach stopped. 'FIVE GUINEAS REWARD 'Whereas a young boy. He experienced no other crosses on the way. Having disposed of these evil-minded persons for the night. caused his teeth to chatter in his head. or tend to throw any light upon his previous history. on Thursday evening last. was the following advertisement. Bumble: having exchanged his cocked hat for a round one. whimpering pathetically. sir?' said Mrs. in a manner which. composed himself to read the paper. Mr. and disappearance: with the name and address of Mr. at Pentonville.' And then followed a full description of Oliver's dress. from his home. and porter. appearance. Bumble's eye rested. he drew his chair to the fire. with whom. 'There. absconded. Mann. The above reward will be paid to any person who will give such information as will lead to the discovery of the said Oliver Twist. ma'am. or was enticed. Bumble. Mr. 'They shall understand that. and has not since been heard of. and made him feel quite uncomfortable. warmly interested. accompanied by the criminals whose settlement was disputed. Bumble shortly afterwards took himself off. and took a temperate dinner of steaks. with sundry moral reflections on the too-prevalent sin of discontent and complaining. in which the advertiser is. Mr. Putting a glass of hot gin-and-water on the chimney-piece.

A parish beadle. Poor dear! I knew we should! I was certain of it. Grimwig's manner. Bumble opened his eyes. Bumble no sooner uttered Oliver's name. and seating herself on a sofa. the worthy old lady hurried back into the parlour again. left the glass of hot gin-and-water. in his excitement. hastened into the passage in a breathless state. slowly and carefully. you come in consequence of having seen the advertisement?' 'Yes. so as to obtain an uninterrupted view of the beadle's countenance. Bumble of the girl who opened the door. Bumble sat himself down. 'Take a seat. had run upstairs meanwhile. and in something more than five minutes was on his way to Pentonville: having actually. Brownlow at home?' inquired Mr. where do you come from?' Mr.' rejoined Mr. or I'll eat my head. who had been listening at the parlour door. He was shown into the little back study.' Having heard this.' said Mr. 'And you ARE a beadle.' 'Pray don't interrupt just now. Bumble. will you?' Mr. 'Now. are you not?' inquired Mr. The latter gentleman at once burst into the exclamation: 'A beadle. but rather evasive reply of 'I don't know. Brownlow moved the lamp.Mr. three several times. in explanation of his errand. with a little impatience. 'I am a porochial beadle. Bumble would follow her immediately: which he did. quite confounded by the oddity of Mr. than Mrs. and now returned with a request that Mr. Grimwig. Brownlow and his friend Mr. Bless his heart! I said so all along. and said. 'Is Mr.' said Mr. 'Come in. sir. Mr. burst into tears. with decanters and glasses before them. come in. sir. Grimwig. Brownlow. where sat Mr.' said the old lady: 'I knew we should hear of him. Bumble 126 . To this inquiry the girl returned the not uncommon. gentlemen. Bedwin. untasted. who was not quite so susceptible. The girl. read the advertisement.

he then awaited Mr. from his birth. in as few words as possible.' observed Mr. Mr. Brownlow looked apprehensively at Mr. as it did.proudly. and running away in the night-time from his master's house. and. what DO you know of him?' inquired the old gentleman. Bumble's features. Bumble. looking triumphantly at Mr. after a few moments' reflection. 'I fear it is all too true. Brownlow's observations. 'Well. 'Speak out. That he had terminated his brief career in the place of his birth. do you?' said Mr. 'I knew he was. but the sum and substance of it was. commenced his story. Brownlow gently shook his head to impose silence on his friend. Grimwig aside to his friend. some twenty minutes in the telling. In proof of his really being the person he represented himself. Folding his arms again.' said the old gentleman sorrowfully. Mr. 127 . unbuttoned his coat. What DO you know of him?' 'You don't happen to know any good of him. Brownlow. 'Of course. caustically. by making a sanguinary and cowardly attack on an unoffending lad. Grimwig. and requested him to communicate what he knew regarding Oliver. folded his arms. A beadle all over!' Mr. after an attentive perusal of Mr. and resumed: 'Do you know where this poor boy is now?' 'No more than nobody. Bumble put down his hat. ingratitude. Bumble. displayed no better qualities than treachery. That he had. inclined his head in a retrospective manner. 'You see?' said Mr. born of low and vicious parents. that Oliver was a foundling. catching at the inquiry very quickly. and malice. Grimwig. It would be tedious if given in the beadle's words: occupying. Mr. Bumble's pursed-up countenance. my friend. Bumble laid upon the table the papers he had brought to town. shook his head with portentous solemnity. if you have anything to say.' replied Mr. Mr.

' It is not improbable that if Mr. he might have imparted a very different colouring to his little history. pocketing the five guineas. 'What do you mean by can't be? We have just heard a full account of him from his birth. when she was stopped by Mr. so he shook his head gravely.' 'It can't be. indignantly. Bedwin. Grimwig. Brownlow paced the room to and fro for some minutes. however. Grimwig poked the fire with a flourish. It was too late to do it now. Mr.' said Mr. 'This is not much for your intelligence. Oliver. Bumble had been possessed of this information at an earlier period of the interview. shouldn't say anything about them. sir. I suppose. firmly.' 'I never will believe it. Why didn't you take my advise in the beginning. all his life. and people who can't say the same. At length he stopped.' replied the old lady. and he has been a thorough-paced little villain.' retorted Mrs. Grimwig forbore to vex him further. sir. when the housekeeper appeared. gentle child. Bedwin.' said the old lady energetically. evidently so much disturbed by the beadle's tale. and. and have done these forty years.' growled Mr. Brownlow. wasn't he? Interesting! Bah!' And Mr. and lying story-books. and smoothed down her apron preparatory to another speech. you would if he hadn't had a fever. is an imposter. but I would gladly have given you treble the money.after looking over the papers. 'I tell you he is. 'Never!' 'You old women never believe anything but quack-doctors. eh? He was interesting. and rang the bell violently. who was a bachelor. 'Mrs.' retorted the old gentleman. grateful. sir. withdrew. 'Silence!' said the old gentleman. Brownlow. feigning an anger he was far 128 . 'I knew it all along. That's my opinion!' This was a hard hit at Mr. the old lady tossed her head. As it extorted nothing from that gentleman but a smile. Grimwig. It cannot be. 'I know what children are. sir. 'that boy. 'He was a dear. if it had been favourable to the boy. that even Mr.

Never. of which he clearly demonstrated he had been guilty. he might have perished with hunger. in endeavouring to escape from them after so much trouble and expense had been incurred in his recovery. and.from feeling. proving unworthy of his confidence and evincing a desire to communicate with the police. Fagin did not seek to conceal his share in the catastrophe. expressed his anxious hopes that he might never be obliged to submit Oliver Twist to that unpleasant operation. in wilfully absenting himself from the society of his anxious friends. Mr. but who. in his philanthropy.' There were sad hearts at Mr. Mrs. still more. Mr. it was well for him that he could not know what they had heard. when. on any pretence. as he listened to the Jew's words. and imperfectly comprehended the dark threats conveyed in them. he had succoured under parallel circumstances. Little Oliver's blood ran cold. Mr. when the Dodger and Master Bates had gone out to pursue their customary avocations. 'Never let me hear the boy's name again. but lamented with tears in his eyes that the wrong-headed and treacherous behaviour of the young person in question. had unfortunately come to be hanged at the Old Bailey one morning. to no ordinary extent. Bedwin. Oliver's heart sank within him. Brownlow's that night. Fagin concluded by drawing a rather disagreeable picture of the discomforts of hanging. That it was possible even for justice itself to confound 129 . and. I rang to tell you that. Fagin laid great stress on the fact of his having taken Oliver in. and cherished him. and he related the dismal and affecting history of a young lad whom. without his timely aid. Mr. with great friendliness and politeness of manner. Fagin) and a few select friends. or it might have broken outright. had rendered it necessary that he should become the victim of certain evidence for the crown: which. Never. Fagin took the opportunity of reading Oliver a long lecture on the crying sin of ingratitude. CHAPTER XVIII HOW OLIVER PASSED HIS TIME IN THE IMPROVING SOCIETY OF HIS REPUTABLE FRIENDS About noon next day. when he thought of his good friends. mind! You may leave the room. if it were not precisely true. was indispensably necessary for the safety of him (Mr. Remember! I am in earnest.

After the lapse of a week or so. when it grew dark. taking his hat. had been really devised and carried out by the Jew on more occasions than one. it had belonged to better people. there was neither sight nor sound of any living thing. and applied himself to business. he went out. and sometimes. and he was tired of wandering from room to room. The Jew. he felt that his pale face and trembling limbs were neither unnoticed nor unrelished by that wary old gentleman. he knew already. seeing nobody. the mice would scamper across the floor. which. and said. when he recollected the general nature of the altercations between that gentleman and Mr. Spiders had built their webs in the angles of the walls and ceilings. the mouldering shutters were fast closed: the 130 . Then. to be as near living people as he could. Sikes: which seemed to bear reference to some foregone conspiracy of the kind. patted Oliver on the head. And so Oliver remained all that day. he saw they would be very good friends yet. smiling hideously. As he glanced timidly up. The rooms upstairs had great high wooden chimney-pieces and large doors. Which. and met the Jew's searching look. and he was at liberty to wander about the house. It was a very dirty place.the innocent with the guilty when they were in accidental companionship. With these exceptions. with panelled walls and cornices to the ceiling. although they were black with neglect and dust. before the old Jew was born. and locked the room-door behind him. listening and counting the hours. and for the greater part of many subsequent days. and left during the long hours to commune with his own thoughts. he would crouch in the corner of the passage by the street-door. until the Jew or the boys returned. and would remain there. that if he kept himself quiet. he thought by no means unlikely. and that deeply-laid plans for the destruction of inconveniently knowing or over-communicative persons. In all the rooms. From all of these tokens Oliver concluded that a long time ago. the Jew left the room-door unlocked. and covering himself with an old patched great-coat. were sad indeed. never failing to revert to his kind friends. and often. between early morning and midnight. and the opinion they must long ago have formed of him. were ornamented in various ways. and had perhaps been quite gay and handsome: dismal and dreary as it looked now. and run back terrified to their holes. when Oliver walked softly into a room.

and having his boots cleaned all the time. indeed. he was evidently tinctured. with a thoughtful countenance. foreign to his general nature. and. with a spice of romance and enthusiasm. for a brief space.' The phrase. One afternoon. blackened chimneys. for the nonce. Oliver often gazed with a melancholy face for hours together. and as the window of Oliver's observatory was nailed down. and gable-ends. and half to Master Bates: 131 . So he at once expressed his readiness. half in abstraction. or the prospective misery of putting them on. Oliver was but too glad to make himself useful. There was a back-garret window with rusty bars outside. rendered into plain English. while the Dodger sat upon the table so that he could take his foot in his laps. Whether it was the sense of freedom and independence which a rational animal may be supposed to feel when he sits on a table in an easy attitude smoking a pipe. this was by no means an habitual weakness with him). kneeling on the floor. the only light which was admitted. and filled them with strange shadows. to look upon. and dimmed with the rain and smoke of years. Paul's Cathedral. to disturb his reflections. Dawkins designated as 'japanning his trotter-cases. too desirous to conciliate those about him when he could honestly do so. or whether it was the goodness of the tobacco that soothed the feelings of the Dodger. the first-named young gentleman took it into his head to evince some anxiety regarding the decoration of his person (to do him justice. He looked down on Oliver. or the mildness of the beer that mollified his thoughts. but nothing was to be descried from it but a confused and crowded mass of housetops. as if he had lived inside the ball of St. Sometimes. and out of this. he condescendingly commanded Oliver to assist him in his toilet. it was as much as he could do to make out the forms of the different objects beyond. and then. a grizzly head might be seen. which had no shutter.--which he had as much chance of being. and heaving a gentle sign. raising his head. to throw any objection in the way of this proposal. but it was quickly withdrawn again. however bad. without making any attempt to be seen or heard. signifieth. said. swinging one leg carelessly to and fro. cleaning his boots. peering over the parapet-wall of a distant house. straightway.bars which held them were screwed tight into the wood. too happy to have some faces. stealing its way through round holes at the top: which made the rooms more gloomy. without even the past trouble of having taken them off. and. with this end and aim. the Dodger and Master Bates being engaged out that evening. he applied himself to a process which Mr.

' The Dodger sighed again. 'He wouldn't so much as bark in a witness-box. in silence. 'Well. checking himself. there exist strong and singular points of resemblance. 'Not a bit of it. Don't he look fierce at any strange cove that laughs or sings when he's in company!' pursued the Dodger. for some seconds. when he hears a fiddle playing! And don't he hate other dogs as ain't of his breed! Oh. 'So's Charley. 'he don't know what's good for him. looking up. 'It's a the--. and looked at Master Bates. claiming to be out-and-out Christians. if Master Bates had only known it.' replied Oliver.' said Charley. 'I am. Sikes' dog. down to the dog. and resumed his pipe: as did Charley Bates.' added Charley Bates. not if you tied him up in one. are you not?' inquired Oliver. for fear of committing himself.' said the Dodger. So's Nancy. 'I suppose you don't even know what a prig is?' said the Dodger mournfully.'What a pity it is he isn't a prig!' 'Ah!' said Master Charles Bates. 'Won't he growl at all. but it was an appropriate remark in another sense. you're one.' replied the Doger.' Mr. So's Fagin. So's Sikes. 'I think I know that. 'I am. So's Bet. and left him there without wittles for a fortnight. Dawkins gave his hat a ferocious cock. And he's the downiest one of the lot!' 'And the least given to peaching.' said the Dodger.' observed Charley. no!' 'He's an out-and-out Christian. between whom. This was merely intended as a tribute to the animal's abilities. after delivering this sentiment. 'I'd scorn to be anything else. no. and Mr. recurring to the point from which 132 . So we all are. for there are a good many ladies and gentlemen. as if to denote that he would feel obliged by his saying anything to the contrary. well. 'He's a rum dog. They both smoked.' repeated the Dodger.

and do the gen-teel: as I mean to.' said Charley. wasn't it. 'Go!' exclaimed the Dodger. Oliver?' 'And make your fortun' out of hand?' added the Dodger.' said Oliver with a half smile. 'and let them be punished for what you did. and tossing them into a cupboard. and he might have got into trouble if we hadn't made our lucky.' said Charley Bates.' 'That. and down into his throat: and brought on a fit of coughing and stamping. 'That was all out of consideration for Fagin.' '_I_ couldn't do it. and went on with his boot-cleaning. though. with a grin.' 'And Fagin would RATHER not!' rejoined Charley. Oliver knew this too well. about five minutes long. blow that!' said Master Bates: drawing two or three silk handkerchiefs from his pocket. in the very next leap-year but four that ever comes. 'that's too mean. 'I wish they would let me go. 'I don't like it. that is. and went up into his head. I--I--would rather go. 'Why don't you put yourself under Fagin. that was the move. with a wave of his pipe. and the forty-second Tuesday in Trinity-week. with an air of haughty disgust. but thinking it might be dangerous to express his feelings more openly.they had strayed: with that mindfulness of his profession which influenced all his proceedings. but the recollection of Oliver's flight came so suddenly upon him. Charley?' Master Bates nodded assent. timidly. 'You can leave your friends. 'cause the traps know that we work together. 'This hasn't go anything to do with young Green here. 133 .' said the Dodger. he only sighed.' rejoined the Dodger. where's your spirit?' Don't you take any pride out of yourself? Would you go and be dependent on your friends?' 'Oh. and would have spoken. that the smoke he was inhaling got entangled with a laugh.' 'No more it has. 'Why.' rejoined Oliver. 'And so be able to retire on your property.

'He'll come to be scragged. as the Jew was heard unlocking the door above. As he said it. dropped his head on his shoulder. won't he?' 'I don't know what that means. 'Here's a jolly life! What's the odds where it comes from? Here. 'he don't know what you mean. or you'll be the first he ever had that turned out unprofitable. though.' Master Charley Bates.' replied Oliver. 'You've been brought up bad. 'And always put this in your pipe. Oliver.' said Charley. old feller.' said the Dodger. that scragging and hanging were one and the same thing. 'Something in this way. there's plenty more where they were took from. drawing forth a handful of shillings and halfpence. holding it erect in the air. Master Bates caught up an end of his neckerchief. thereby indicating. and you're only losing time. having laughed heartily again. I know he will.' said the 134 . resumed his pipe with tears in his eyes.'Look here!' said the Dodger. and jerked a curious sound through his teeth. interspersed with a variety of hints to Oliver that the best thing he could do. catch hold. he'll be the death of me.' said Charly. surveying his boots with much satisfaction when Oliver had polished them. 'That's what it means. You'd better begin at once. being exhausted.' 'If you don't take pocket-handkechers and watches. and. Dawkins launched into a glowing description of the numerous pleasures incidental to the life they led. by the means which they themselves had employed to gain it. for you'll come to the trade long before you think of it. would be to secure Fagin's favour without more delay. won't you? Oh. Jack! I never did see such prime company as that 'ere boy. Nolly. Oliver?' inquired Charley Bates. 'Fagin will make something of you. he and his friend Mr. by a lively pantomimic representation. 'if you don't take fogels and tickers--' 'What's the good of talking in that way?' interposed Master Bates. 'Look how he stares.' Master Bates backed this advice with sundry moral admonitions of his own: which.' said the Dodger. ain't it. You won't. you precious flat!' 'It's naughty.

but he excused himself to the company by stating that his 'time' was only out an hour before. in truth.Dodger. now made his appearance. with a grin. so that the coves that lose 'em will be all the worse. Mr. having lingered on the stairs to exchange a few gallantries with the lady. 'some other cove will. too.' The old man rubbed his hands gleefully together. and that. and a gentleman whom Oliver had never seen before. and an apron. Mr. and a pock-marked face. as he corroborated the Dodger's reasoning in these terms. a dark corduroy jacket. except the chaps wot gets them--and you've just as good a right to them as they have. reducing his conversation to the level of Oliver's capacity. He had small twinkling eyes. that the new way of fumigating clothes up yonder was infernal unconstitutional. and nobody half a ha'p'orth the better. and you'll be all the worse. to be sure!' said the Jew. wore a fur cap. Chitling wound up his observations by stating that he had not touched a drop of anything for forty-two moral long hard-working days. Chitling was older in years than the Dodger: having perhaps numbered eighteen winters. 'It all lies in a nutshell my dear. The same remark he considered to apply to the regulation mode of cutting the hair: which he held to be decidedly unlawful.' 'Where do you think the gentleman has come from. but who was accosted by the Dodger as Tom Chitling. Mr. 135 . as the other boys put a bottle of spirits on the table. for the Jew had returned home accompanied by Miss Betsy. in a nutshell. greasy fustian trousers. and that he 'wished he might be busted if he warn't as dry as a lime-basket. and there was no remedy against the County. in consequence of having worn the regimentals for six weeks past. he had not been able to bestow any attention on his private clothes. Ha! ha! ha! He understands the catechism of his trade. take the Dodger's word for it. who had entered unseen by Oliver. His wardrobe was. and who. with strong marks of irritation. and chuckled with delight at his pupil's proficiency. for it burnt holes in them. Chitling added.' 'To be sure. but there was a degree of deference in his deportment towards that young gentleman which seemed to indicate that he felt himself conscious of a slight inferiority in point of genius and professional aquirements. Oliver?' inquired the Jew. The conversation proceeded no farther at this time. rather out of repair.

In short. but was placed in almost constant communication with the two boys. After some words apart between the last comer and Fagin. CHAPTER XIX IN WHICH A NOTABLE PLAN IS DISCUSSED AND DETERMINED ON 136 . the wily old Jew had the boy in his toils. I'll bet a crown!' At this sally.' said the young man. my dear. then. the boys laughed. Having prepared his mind. 'Who's that?' inquired Tom Chitling. the amiability of Charley Bates. At length these subjects displayed signs of being thoroughly exhausted. that Oliver could not help laughing heartily. young 'un. 'Never mind where I came from. and withdrew. they drew their chairs towards the fire. Chitling did the same: for the house of correction becomes fatiguing after a week or two. sir. and Mr.' replied the Jew. and the liberality of the Jew himself. Fagin best knew. you'll find your way there. and change its hue for ever. led the conversation to the topics most calculated to interest his hearers. to prefer any society to the companionship of his own sad thoughts in such a dreary place. Mr. and showing that he was amused in spite of all his better feelings. Oliver was seldom left alone. he was now slowly instilling into his soul the poison which he hoped would blacken it. At other times the old man would tell them stories of robberies he had committed in his younger days: mixed up with so much that was droll and curious. After some more jokes on the same subject. who played the old game with the Jew every day: whether for their own improvement or Oliver's. the great advantages of the trade.' replied Oliver. and left the party to their repose. casting a contemptuous look at Oliver. with a meaning look at Fagin. the proficiency of the Dodger. they exchanged a few short whispers with Fagin. by solitude and gloom. 'He's in luck. These were. 'A young friend of mine. telling Oliver to come and sit by him. soon enough. From this day.'I--I--don't know. Miss Betsy accordingly withdrew. and the Jew.

by night. and a man's voice demanded who was there. the hideous old man seemed like some loathsome reptile. the rain fell sluggishly down. A dog growled as he touched the handle of a room-door. he soon became involved in a maze of the mean and dirty streets which abound in that close and densely-populated quarter. either by the darkness of the night. As he glided stealthily along. It seemed just the night when it befitted such a being as the Jew to be abroad. The mud lay thick upon the stones. windy night. Fagin's outer garment. engendered in the slime and darkness through which he moved: crawling forth. or the intricacies of the way.' said Sikes. glancing suspiciously round. the dog had been somewhat deceived by Mr. turning suddenly off to the left. you stupid brute! Don't you know the devil when he's got a great-coat on?' Apparently. and everything felt cold and clammy to the touch. and a black mist hung over the streets. and until their retreating footsteps were no longer audible. and having listened while the boys made all secure.' said the Jew looking in. and struck off in the direction of the Spitalfields. and at length turned into one. in search of some rich offal for a meal. and pulling the collar up over his ears so as completely to obscure the lower part of his face: emerged from his den. then. lighted only by a single lamp at the farther end. He paused on the step as the door was locked and chained behind him. 'Bring in your body then. 'Lie down. Bill. and. only me. my dear.It was a chill. for as the Jew unbuttoned it. through many winding and narrow ways. until he reached Bethnal Green. The Jew was evidently too familiar with the ground he traversed to be at all bewildered. The house to which Oliver had been conveyed. he walked upstairs. The Jew stopped for an instant at the corner of the street. slunk down the street as quickly as he could. damp. He kept on his course. 'Only me. and threw it over 137 . At the door of a house in this street. he knocked. creeping beneath the shelter of the walls and doorways. He hurried through several alleys and streets. when the Jew: buttoning his great-coat tight round his shrivelled body. having exchanged a few muttered words with the person who opened it. crossed the road. was in the neighborhood of Whitechapel.

Sikes seized the glass. with nothing but the contents of the closet to induce the belief that its occupier was 138 . All doubts upon the subject.the back of a chair. and threw the remainder of its contents into the ashes: as a preparatory ceremony to filling it again for himself: which he did at once. 'Quite enough. 'It is cold. to see his lean old carcase shivering in that way. make haste! It's enough to turn a man ill. to judge from the diversity of their appearance. 'It seems to go right through one.' Nancy quickly brought a bottle from a cupboard. It was a meanly furnished apartment.' The latter recognition was uttered with just enough of embarrassment to imply a doubt of its reception. if it finds its way through your heart. he retired to the corner from which he had risen: wagging his tail as he went. and bade Fagin draw up his. 'What! You're afraid of our getting the better of you. in which there were many: which.--'Ah! Nancy. The Jew glanced round the room. pushed back her chair.' said Mr. quite. my dear. were speedily removed by the young lady's behaviour. Nancy.' replied the Jew. Mr. were filled with several kinds of liquids. as his companion tossed down the second glassful.' added the old man. putting down the glass after just setting his lips to it. Sikes. 'Ugh!' With a hoarse grunt of contempt. if he had any. are you?' inquired Sikes. fixing his eyes on the Jew. bade the Jew drink it off. but in a restless and suspicious manner habitual to him. Burn my body. for he had seen it often before. Bill. She took her feet off the fender. 'Well!' said Sikes. Fagin and his young friend had not met. and no mistake. as he warmed his skinny hands over the fire. thankye. since she had interfered in behalf of Oliver. not in curiousity. 'Well.' replied the Jew. 'Give him something to drink. Sikes pouring out a glass of brandy. touching his side. Nancy dear. without saying more about it: for it was a cold night. 'It must be a piercer. for Mr. to show that he was as well satisfied as it was in his nature to be.' said the Jew. like a ugly ghost just rose from the grave.

my dear.' But as Mr. Bill.' replied Sikes. 'It was only my caution. nothing more. and grew calmer. winking and blinking. and speaking in a very low voice. 'I don't care. Now.anything but a working man. and that's the same thing. such plate!' said the Jew: rubbing his hands. 'so say what you've got to say. Wot about it?' inquired Sikes.' 139 . smacking his lips.' said the Jew.' said the Jew. my dear. on reflection. Sikes.' replied Sikes coldly. eh? When is it to be done? Such plate. Wot d'ye mean?' 'Hush. as if you warn't the very first that thought about the robbery. 'Not at all. about that crib at Chertsey. he don't.' 'For business?' inquired the Jew. 'Now I'm ready. who had in vain attempted to stop this burst of indignation. and talking to me in hints. Sikes DID care. 'He knows what I mean.' said Sikes. my dear. and with no more suspicious articles displayed to view than two or three heavy bludgeons which stood in a corner. not at all. Nancy. 'Ah! you know what I mean. don't he?' 'No. he dropped his voice as he said the words.' rejoined Sikes. coaxingly. and elevating his eyebrows in a rapture of anticipation. 'Not to be done at all!' echoed the Jew. and a 'life-preserver' that hung over the chimney-piece. when is it to be done.' 'About the crib at Chertsey. 'Or he won't.' 'Let 'em hear!' said Sikes. and call things by their right names. 'At least it can't be a put-up job. Somebody will hear us. as we expected. drawing his chair forward. hush!' said the Jew. Bill?' said the Jew. 'For business. 'Yes. my dear. Speak out. 'There. Bill. 'There. leaning back in his chair. don't sit there. 'No. there. 'somebody will hear us.' sneered Mr.

'Then it hasn't been properly gone about. 'and they warn't of no more use than the other plant. Sikes. 'Don't tell me!' 'But I will tell you. turning pale with anger. 'Who are you that's not to be told? I tell you that Toby Crackit has been hanging about the place for a fortnight. 'that the women can't be got over?' 'Not a bit of it. with his face wrinkled into an expression of villainy 140 . 'Worse luck!' A long silence ensued. with a deep sigh.' 'Do you mean to tell me. 'And yet.' remonstrated the Jew. and a canary waistcoat.' replied Sikes. my dear. 'He says he's worn sham whiskers. dropping his hands on his knees.' said the Jew. that if flash Toby Crackit reported aright.' 'He should have tried mustachios and a pair of military trousers. they wouldn't be in it. he feared the game was up.' 'So it is. during which the Jew was plunged in deep thought. not even by flash Toby Crackit. and he can't get one of the servants in line.' rejoined Sikes.' said the Jew.' 'But do you mean to say. 'it's a sad thing. I do mean to tell you so. 'The old lady has had 'em these twenty years. to lose so much when we had set our hearts upon it. 'Not by flash Toby Crackit?' said the Jew incredulously. the whole blessed time he's been loitering down there.' 'No. my dear.' said the old man. and if you were to give 'em five hundred pound.' retorted Sikes. After ruminating for some minutes with his chin sunk on his breast. Bill. my dear.' The Jew looked blank at this information. and it's all of no use. 'So he did. 'Think what women are.' replied Sikes. he raised his head and said.' said the Jew: softening as the other grew heated: 'that neither of the two men in the house can be got over?' 'Yes.' said Mr. Bill.' replied Sikes.

my dear. and pointed for an instant to the Jew's face. You can't do it without me. Nancy. with some disdain.' 'A boy!' exclaimed the Jew.' said Sikes.' whispered Sikes. 'Is there no help wanted. as suddenly rousing himself. as the girl. Toby and me were over the garden-wall the night afore last.' 'Which is that. Bill?' asked the Jew eagerly. but it's best to be on the safe side when one deals with you. and let him out by the job.' said Sikes. Lord!' said Mr.perfectly demoniacal. sat with her eyes fixed upon the fire. apparently fearful of irritating the housebreaker. looked suddenly round. 'Fagin. 'Then. stopping short. Sikes eyed him furtively from time to time. his eyes glistening. 'let it come off as soon as you like. the second you must find us. my dear. and every muscle in his face working. The crib's barred up at night like a jail. abruptly breaking the stillness that prevailed. and he musn't be a big 'un.' 'As you like. with the excitement that the inquiry had awakened. 'is it worth fifty shiners extra. as you like' replied the Jew. eh?' 'Never mind wot it is!' replied Sikes. sounding the panels of the door and shutters. 'Yes. 'Oh! then it's a panel.' rejoined the Jew. Sikes. 'Why. 'if I'd only got that young boy of Ned. with his eyes almost starting out of it. 'as you cross the lawn--' 'Yes?' said the Jew. 'Is it a bargain?' inquired Sikes. 'Cept a centre-bit and a boy.' said the Jew. 'Umph!' cried Sikes. reflectively. but yours and Toby's?' 'None. But the 141 . as if she had been deaf to all that passed. yes. bending his head forward. The first we've both got. but there's one part we can crack. safe and softly. if it's safely done from the outside?' 'Yes. 'Never mind which part it is.' said Sikes. the chimbley-sweeper's! He kept him small on purpose. I know. thrusting aside the Jew's hand. 'I want a boy. scarcely moving her head.

who was still gazing at the fire. 'You don't want any beer. my dear. you don't mind the old girl. or the Devil's in it. teaches him to read and write.) we shouldn't have half a dozen boys left in the whole trade. 'Why. 142 . my dear. his wrath rising with the recollection of his wrongs.' The Jew still hesitated. 'Go on.father gets lagged. as if he thought the precaution unnecessary. who had been considering during this speech. 'I didn't know whether she mightn't p'r'aps be out of sorts. and. 'No. do you. but complied. folding her arms. nevertheless. and retaining her seat very composedly.' said the Jew.' 'No more we should. if they'd got money enough (which it's a Providence they haven't. and takes the boy away from a trade where he was earning money. he needn't mind me. and putting her elbows upon it.' replied the Jew. Fagin. Are you Nancy?' '_I_ should think not!' replied the young lady: drawing her chair up to the table.' acquiesced the Jew. no. 'so they go on. I know you're not. as she was the other night. Bill. Fagin?' he asked at length. and had only caught the last sentence. Sikes shrugged his shoulders impatiently. The Jew nodded his head towards Nancy. that he would have her told to leave the room.' said Mr.' said Nancy. and intimated. Sikes looked from one to the other in some surprise. She ain't one to blab. 'but--' and again the old man paused.' rejoined the girl coolly. you know. in a year or two. by requesting Miss Nancy to fetch him a jug of beer. 'Bill!' 'What now?' inquired Sikes. and then the Juvenile Delinquent Society comes. 'I tell you I do!' replied Sikes. 'But wot?' inquired Sikes. by a sign. I know what he's going to say. 'You've known her long enough to trust her. 'Nonsense. Sikes. and in time makes a 'prentice of him. And so they go on.

and grinning frightfully. if you frighten him enough.' 'I know he is. Bill!' said Nancy. once fill his mind with the idea that he 143 . mind you. as any of the others. Fagin. close--close.' said the Jew with energy.' interposed the Jew. 'Have him. 'Tell Bill at once. 'he can't help himself. in for a penny. my dear.' said Mr. 'Now. Miss Nancy burst into a loud laugh. 'And will do everything you want. If there's anything queer about him when we once get into the work. 'It WAS about Oliver I was going to speak.' said Nancy with a laugh. laying his finger on the side of his nose. Ha! ha! ha!' 'What about him?' demanded Sikes. 'I've--I've had my eye upon him. in for a pound.At this confession. poising a crowbar. Sikes likewise. 'He's the boy for you. He mayn't be so much up. 'I would. Bill. 'He's been in good training these last few weeks. shook her head with an air of defiance. and resumed his seat: as did Mr. Sikes. Once let him feel that he is one of us. for the Jew nodded his head with a satisfied air. which he had drawn from under the bedstead. if he's only to open a door for you. swallowing a glass of brandy. Bill.' 'Well. patting her on the neck. and burst into sundry exclamations of 'Keep the game a-going!' 'Never say die!' and the like. Sikes. Think of that.' rejoined Fagin.' replied the Jew in a hoarse whisper. he is just the size I want. Fagin. about Oliver!' 'Ha! you're a clever one. Mark my words!' said the robber. my dear: the sharpest girl I ever saw!' said the Jew. sure enough. Besides.' 'Frighten him!' echoed Sikes. the others are all too big. That is. and. and it's time he began to work for his bread. if I was in your place. You won't see him alive again. These seemed to have the effect of re-assuring both gentlemen. but that's not what you want. my dear. ruminating. my dears. Depend upon it he's a safe one. before you send him. 'I've thought of it all. 'It'll be no sham frightening. 'He!' exclaimed.

With this boy. and. my dear. 'Yours. 'Ah. and I lose 'em all. 'he has us now if he could only give us leg-bail again. than being obliged to put the poor leetle boy out of the way--which would be dangerous. it's quite enough for my power over him that he was in a robbery.' 'And wot. drawing his head and shoulders into a heap. Bill?' 'I planned with Toby.' rejoined Sikes. and he must be in the same boat with us. to be sure. 'there's no moon. I could do what I couldn't with twenty of them. Their looks convict 'em when they get into trouble. 'It's all arranged about bringing off the swag. you mean.' said the Jew. 'Mine. scowling fiercely on his agreeable friend. the night arter to-morrow. and we should lose by it besides. if you like. Sikes nodded. as you might pick and choose from?' 'Because they're of no use to me. how much better this is. 144 .' said the Jew.' 'Perhaps I do.' 'When is it to be done?' asked Nancy. Oho! It couldn't have come about better! The old man crossed his arms upon his breast. 'wot makes you take so much pains about one chalk-faced kid. my dear. that's all I want.' said the Jew. recovering his self-possession. is it?' asked the Jew.' 'No. Now. with a shrill chuckle. with some confusion. stopping some turbulent exclamation on the part of Mr. Bill. my dears. 'Ours!' said Sikes. 'when is it to be done. Besides. when you know there are fifty boys snoozing about Common Garden every night. ah.has been a thief.' 'Good. 'not worth the taking. interrupting him.' rejoined Sikes. it's all planned. Never mind how he came there.' rejoined Sikes in a surly voice. 'if he heerd nothing from me to the contrairy.' said Sikes.' said the Jew. expressive of the disgust with which he received Fagin's affectation of humanity. properly managed. Sikes. literally hugged himself for joy.' replied the Jew. 'And about--' 'Oh. and he's ours! Ours for his life.

it was decided that Nancy should repair to the Jew's next evening when the night had set in. and opened for the purpose of explaining the nature and properties of the various implements it contained. most unmusical snatches of song. 'Good-night. Sikes on his return should be required to be confirmed and corroborated. She was as true and earnest in the matter as Toby Crackit himself could be. and to flourish the crowbar in an alarming manner. at the same time. he would be more willing to accompany the girl who had so recently interfered in his behalf. and that's all you'll have to do. that the said Sikes should deal with him as he thought fit. that. Fagin craftily observing. Sikes proceeded to drink brandy at a furious rate. mingled with wild execrations. and further. narrowly. any representations made by Mr. I shall get off the stone an hour arter daybreak.' After some discussion. You'd better bring the boy here to-morrow night. for the purposes of the contemplated expedition. It was also solemnly arranged that poor Oliver should. and the Jew scrutinised her. groped downstairs. There was no flinching about the girl. in which all three took an active part. and keep the melting-pot ready. Sikes while her back was turned. At length. The Jew again bade her good-night. and the peculiar beauties of their construction. and went to sleep where he fell. and should not be held responsible by the Jew for any mischance or evil that might be necessary to visit him: it being understood that. muffling himself up as before. yelling forth. than he fell over the box upon the floor. Mr. These preliminaries adjusted. the best of 145 . to render the compact in this respect binding. than anybody else.' Their eyes met. in a fit of professional enthusiasm. that a very little thing serves to call up some long-forgotten feeling. 'The worst of these women is. Then you hold your tongue. in all important particulars. 'Good-night. William Sikes. he insisted upon producing his box of housebreaking tools: which he had no sooner stumbled in with. and. and bring Oliver away with her. Nancy. be unreservedly consigned to the care and custody of Mr. 'Always the way!' muttered the Jew to himself as he turned homeward. if he evinced any disinclination to the task. by the testimony of flash Toby Crackit. and. bestowing a sly kick upon the prostrate form of Mr.'Never mind particulars.' said the Jew.

impatiently awaiting his return. Fagin wended his way.' was his first remark as they descended the stairs. and the gross air of the world has not had time to breathe upon the changing dust it hallowed. that he was to be taken to the residence of Bill Sikes that night. so pale with anxiety. Oliver. fled to Heaven. to his gloomy abode: where the Dodger was sitting up. you shall come back to us again. but an instant. in a tone and manner which increased his alarm. 'No. WILLIAM SIKES When Oliver awoke in the morning. 'We shouldn't like to lose you.' replied the Jew. 'Hours ago. 'Is Oliver a-bed? I want to speak to him. my dear. with strong thick soles. no.' said the Jew. but such thoughts were quickly dispelled. 'To--to--stop there. Don't be afraid. my dear. and the closeness of his prison. through mud and mire. sir?' asked Oliver. for a bag of gold!' Beguiling the time with these pleasant reflections. he was a good deal surprised to find that a new pair of shoes. he was pleased with the discovery: hoping that it might be the forerunner of his release.' CHAPTER XX WHEREIN OLVER IS DELIVERED OVER TO MR. To-morrow. At first. fast asleep. had been placed at his bedside. Oh no. 'To-morrow. Ha! ha! ha! We won't be so cruel as to send you away.' replied the Dodger. 'Here he is!' The boy was lying. anxiously. that it never lasts. who told him. 'Not now. turning softly away. that he looked like death. Not to stop there. not death as it shows in shroud and coffin. but in the guise it wears when life has just departed. no!' 146 .them is. when a young and gentle spirit has. and sadness. on a rude bed upon the floor. Mr. on his sitting down to breakfast along with the Jew. Ha! ha! The man against the child. throwing open a door. and that his old shoes had been removed.

He did so. he suffered his features gradually to resolve themselves into a ghastly grin. he did want to know. parrying the question. Oliver looked up. 'Wait till Bill tells you. 'Indeed I don't know. putting one upon the table. The Jew walked to the door: looking over his shoulder at the boy as he went. Mind!' Placing a strong emphasis on the last word. 'I suppose.' replied Oliver. Yes. my dear?' Oliver coloured. and. saw that the Jew was gazing fixedly at him. 'you want to know what you're going to Bill's for---eh. do you think?' inquired Fagin. He had no other opportunity: for the Jew remained very surly and silent till night: when he prepared to go abroad. and. 'And here's a book for you to read. nodding 147 . pointing to the candle. and thinks nothing of blood when his own is up. but boldly said. but the truth is. as he placed the candlestick upon the table.' said the Jew. say nothing. 'Bah!' said the Jew. Suddenly stopping. turning away with a disappointed countenance from a close perusal of the boy's face. looked round as he bantered Oliver thus. Oliver! take heed!' said the old man. and do what he bids you. he called him by his name. to make any further inquiries just then. he was too much confused by the earnest cunning of Fagin's looks. shaking his right hand before him in a warning manner. that. and his own speculations. till they come to fetch you. Whatever falls out. 'He's a rough man. motioned him to light it. softly. then. 'You may burn a candle. with lowering and contracted brows. who was stooping over the fire toasting a piece of bread. although Oliver felt very anxious. Good-night!' 'Good-night!' replied Oliver. and chuckled as if to show that he knew he would still be very glad to get away if he could.' The Jew seemed much vexed by Oliver's not expressing any greater curiosity on the subject. fixing his eyes on Oliver. sir. 'Why.The old man. the Jew. to find that the old thief had been reading his thoughts.' said the Jew. involuntarily. 'Take heed. from the dark end of the room.

that in their horror they had confessed their guilt. but had yielded them up at last. he read of men who. but. lighting on a passage which attracted his attention. and the limbs quail. By degrees. lying in their beds at dead of night. he grew more calm. and. by the spirits of the dead. than be reserved for crimes. of secret murders that had been committed by the lonely wayside. desolate and deserted. to such dreadful bloodshed as it made the flesh creep. and so maddened the murderers with the sight. Carelessly at first. had been tempted (so they said) and led on. in a low and broken voice. In a paroxysm of fear. and after meditating for a long time. with a heavy sigh. with a trembling heart. He was too well accustomed to suffering. when. and yelled for the gibbet to end their agony.his head. and besought. which would not be equally well answered by his remaining with Fagin. began to read. the more he was at a loss to divine its real purpose and meaning. to be sounded in his ears. he prayed Heaven to spare him from such deeds. the boy closed the book. too. The terrible descriptions were so real and vivid. and then. that he might be rescued from his present dangers. to bewail the prospect of change very severely. left the room. and rather to will that he should die at once. he soon became intent upon the volume. He could think of no bad object to be attained by sending him to Sikes. and thrust it from him. and the words upon them. better suited for his purpose could be engaged. The more he thought of the Jew's admonition. on the words he had just heard. so fearful and appalling. to think of. he stood alone in the midst of wickedness and guilt. that the sallow pages seemed to turn red with gore. deep as they were. He turned over the leaves. snuffed the candle. as if they were whispered. and pondered. by their own bad thoughts. Then. It was a history of the lives and trials of great criminals. of bodies hidden from the eye of man in deep pits and wells: which would not keep them down. in hollow murmurs. He remained lost in thought for some minutes. taking up the book which the Jew had left with him. Here. and had suffered too much where he was. 148 . he read of dreadful crimes that made the blood run cold. falling upon his knees. and the pages were soiled and thumbed with use. concluded that he had been selected to perform some ordinary menial offices for the housebreaker. Oliver leaned his head upon his hand when the old man disappeared. it might come to him now. after many years. until another boy. and that if any aid were to be raised up for a poor outcast boy who had never known the love of friends or kindred. Here.

' replied a tremulous voice. recoiling. and her feet upon the ground. and looked round. 'I don't know what comes over me sometimes. Oliver raised the candle above his head: and looked towards the door. I have come from Bill. dear. The girl threw herself into a chair. but still remained with his head buried in his hands. Now. starting up. 'Who's there?' 'Me. and gently inquired if she were ill. Oliver stirred the fire. 'Can I help you? I will if I can. drew her shawl close round her: and shivered with cold.He had concluded his prayer. gasped for breath. suddenly stopping.' replied the girl. It was Nancy.' said she. uttering a gurgling sound. Only me.' She rocked herself to and fro. and. turning away her head. 'I never thought of this. with her back towards him: and wrung her hands. 149 . caught her throat. without speaking. 'it's this damp dirty room. 'What's that!' he cried. 'Yes. 'What is it?' The girl beat her hands upon her knees. Nolly. for a little time. I will. Drawing her chair close to it.' 'Has anything happened?' asked Oliver.' said the girl. I think. but at length she raised her head. and. 'God forgive me!' she cried after a while. 'Nancy!' cried Oliver.' 'What for?' asked Oliver.' Oliver saw that she was very pale. 'Put down the light. 'It hurts my eyes. and catching sight of a figure standing by the door. are you ready?' 'Am I to go with you?' asked Oliver. affecting to busy herself in arranging her dress. but made no reply. indeed. 'You are to go with me. she sat there. when a rustling noise aroused him.

the moment they encountered the boy's face. and cast upon him a look of intelligence which sufficiently showed that she guessed what had been passing in his thoughts. raising her eyes. Neither his brief consideration. and I will again. if you are not. this is not the time. the thought darted across his mind that it was barely eleven o'clock. If ever you are to get loose from here.'What for?' echoed the girl. 'I have saved you from being ill-used once. I have promised for your being quiet and silent. with great rapidity: 'Remember this! And don't let me suffer more for you. She seemed to speak the truth. Oliver looked up in her face with great surprise. But. As the reflection occured to him. for an instant. I would. You are hedged round and round. See here! I have borne all this for you already. They 150 . and averting them again. then.' Oliver could see that he had some power over the girl's better feelings.' continued the girl aloud. he stepped forward: and said. you will only do harm to yourself and me too. 'For no good. just now. She eyed him narrowly.' Struck by the energy of her manner. and perhaps be my death. and pointing to the door as she looked cautiously round. If I could help you.' rejoined the girl. thought of appealing to her compassion for his helpless state. while he spoke. but all to no purpose. and. and she trembled with very earnestness. her countenance was white and agitated. hastily. if I had not. 'Oh! For no harm. and continued. to some livid bruises on her neck and arms. stooping over him. affecting to laugh. and I do now. that he was ready. 'for those who would have fetched you. I have tried hard for you. would have been far more rough than me. nor its purport. but I have not the power.' 'I don't believe it. 'Have it your own way.' She pointed. 'Hush!' said the girl. then.' said Oliver: who had watched her closely. 'You can't help yourself. somewhat hastily. and that many people were still in the streets: of whom surely some might be found to give credence to his tale. as true as God sees me show it. was lost on his companion.

drew him after her up the stairs. and continued to pour into his ear. The girl still held Oliver fast by the hand. the girl pulled him in with her. 'Oh! That's the time of day.' said Sikes when they had all reached the room: closing the door as he spoke. A hackney-cabriolet was in waiting. 'Bill!' 'Hallo!' replied Sikes: appearing at the head of the stairs. beseeching him in such tones of agony to remember her. as he lighted them up. Hush! Every word from you is a blow for me. appearing much gratified thereby. he was already in the house. Oliver cast a hurried glance along the empty street.don't mean to harm you. 'He'd have been in the way. While he hesitated. Give me your hand. Nancy. All was so quick and hurried. here he is.' observed Sikes. is no fault of yours. and was as quickly closed. with the same vehemence which she had exhibited in addressing Oliver. the warnings and assurances she had already imparted. releasing her hold for the first time. 'So you've got the kid. without the delay of an instant. whatever they make you do. an uncommonly hearty welcome. or how he came there. by some one shrouded in the darkness. saluted him cordially. but lashed his horse into full speed. quickly.' rejoined Nancy. The driver wanted no directions. that he had scarcely time to recollect where he was. from a person of Mr. with a candle.' replied Nancy. 'Yes. when the carriage stopped at the house to which the Jew's steps had been directed on the previous evening. Sikes' temperament. and drew the curtains close. blowing out the light. For one brief moment. and. Make haste! Your hand!' She caught the hand which Oliver instinctively placed in hers. The door was opened. Come on!' This was a very strong expression of approbation. and a cry for help hung upon his lips. and the door was shut. 'This way. that he had not the heart to utter it. when they had passed out. the opportunity was gone. But the girl's voice was in his ear. 151 .' 'That's right.' said the girl. 'Bull's-eye's gone home with Tom.

sir. when he had finished. looking grimly at Oliver. Mr. and Mr. so I needn't take this devil-and-all of trouble to explain matters to you. and let me read you a lectur'. if it warn't for your own good. except when I speak to you. I see it is. Come here. then. that loading will be in your head without notice. 'As near as I know.' said the robber. 'Now it's loaded. at which moment the boy could not repress a start. 'Well. Sikes pulled off Oliver's cap and threw it into a corner. taking him by the shoulder. 'I'm glad to hear it. 'Like a lamb. that 'ere's a bullet. taking up a pocket-pistol which lay on the table. 'if you speak a word when you're out o'doors with me. So. and slightly frowning at Oliver as if to bespeak his serious attention to her words: 'is. 'Yes. if you _do_ make up your mind to speak without leave. and this is a little bit of a old hat for waddin'. with great nicety and deliberation. say your prayers first.' rejoined Nancy. 'Now. if you _was_ disposed of.'Did he come quiet?' inquired Sikes.' Thus addressing his new pupil. and putting the barrel so close to his temple that they touched. Sikes continued. young 'un.' said Nancy: speaking very emphatically.' said Mr. Sikes proceeded to load the pistol. Mr. Sikes. that if you're 152 . and stood the boy in front of him. first: do you know wot this is?' inquired Sikes. which is as well got over at once. sat himself down by the table.' Oliver murmured his comprehension of the different bodies referred to. look here. Oliver replied in the affirmative. to increase its effect. 'Well. 'for the sake of his young carcase: as would otherways have suffered for it. 'This is powder. grasping Oliver's wrist. D'ye hear me?' 'The short and the long of what you mean.' replied Oliver.' continued Sikes.' Having bestowed a scowl upon the object of this warning.' said Sikes. there isn't anybody as would be asking very partickler arter you. and then.

'half-past 153 . it may be here remarked. in readiness to rouse them at the appointed time. and the girl. Oliver stretched himself in his clothes. Weary with watching and anxiety. and the sky looked black and cloudy. by command of the same authority. common to them. sat before it. 'women can always put things in fewest words. stimulated perhaps by the immediate prospect of being on active service. the worthy gentleman. for the candle was still burning. mending the fire. then!' growled Sikes. thinking it not impossible that Nancy might seek that opportunity of whispering some further advice. with many imprecations in case of failure. on a rough calculation. A sharp rain. too. founded upon the singular coincidence of 'jemmies' being a can name. let's have some supper. When he awoke. Supper being ended--it may be easily conceived that Oliver had no great appetite for it--Mr.' 'That's it!' observed Mr. every month of your life. Sikes disposed of a couple of glasses of spirits and water. that he humourously drank all the beer at a draught. and then they lengthens it out. And now that he's thoroughly up to it. was in great spirits and good humour. Sikes. as Oliver started up.crossed by him in this job you have on hand. Nancy quickly laid the cloth. save now and then to trim the light. and get a snooze before starting. more than four-score oaths during the whole progress of the meal. and did not utter. and also to an ingenious implement much used in his profession. he at length fell asleep. approvingly.' In pursuance of this request. For a long time Oliver lay awake. It was not yet daylight. and threw himself on the bed. the table was covered with tea-things. Sikes. she presently returned with a pot of porter and a dish of sheep's heads: which gave occasion to several pleasant witticisms on the part of Mr. and will take your chance of swinging for it. on a mattress upon the floor. you'll prevent his ever telling tales afterwards. 'Now. and it was quite dark outside. in proof whereof. without moving. Indeed. as you do for a great many other things in the way of business. and Sikes was thrusting various articles into the pockets of his great-coat. by shooting him through the head. disappearing for a few minutes. was beating against the window-panes.--Except when it's blowing up. Nancy was busily engaged in preparing breakfast. to call him at five precisely. which hung over the back of a chair. ordering Nancy. but the girl sat brooding over the fire.

But she had resumed her old seat in front of the fire. as he passed. perfectly motionless before it. now and then. The night had been very wet: large pools of water had collected in the road: and the kennels were overflowing.five! Look sharp. having taken some breakfast. the windows of the houses were all closely shut. threw him a handkerchief to tie round his throat. 154 . and dreary streets. and the clouds looking dull and stormy. without shedding any warmer or brighter tints upon the wet house-tops. in the hope of meeting a look from the girl. rattled briskly by: the driver bestowing. By the time they had turned into the Bethnal Green Road. and sat. Sikes gave him a large rough cape to button over his shoulders. had endangered his arriving at the office. Thus attired. CHAPTER XXI THE EXPEDITION It was a cheerless morning when they got into the street. Many of the lamps were already extinguished. There appeared to be nobody stirring in that quarter of the town. and admonitory lash upon the heavy waggoner who. by keeping on the wrong side of the road. by saying that he was quite ready. when they reached the door. he gave his hand to the robber. for an instant. led him away. a quarter of a minute after his time. The public-houses. were noiseless and empty. or you'll get no breakfast. Oliver turned. who. the day had fairly begun to break. covered with mud. he replied to a surly inquiry from Sikes. a few country waggons were slowly toiling on. scarcely looking at the boy. Nancy.' Oliver was not long in making his toilet. clasped it firmly in his. for it's late as it is. a stage-coach. but it rather aggravated than relieved the gloom of the scene: the sombre light only serving to pale that which the street lamps afforded. blowing and raining hard. towards London. exchanging a farewell with Nancy. merely pausing to show him with a menacing gesture that he had that same pistol in a side-pocket of his great-coat. and. and the streets through which they passed. There was a faint glimmering of the coming day in the sky.

till night came on again. The ground was covered. beating. the ringing of bells and roar of voices. He nodded. As they approached the City. and the unwashed. with filth and mire. and the busy morning of half the London population had begun. the cries of hawkers. hawkers. pushing. and as many temporary pens as could be crowded into the vacant space. the bellowing and plunging of the oxen. idlers. and had made their way 155 . whooping and yelling. and vagabonds of every low grade. tied up to posts by the gutter side were long lines of beasts and oxen. that issued from every public-house. butchers. boys. were already open. and crossing Finsbury square.with gas-lights burning inside. hung heavily above. All the pens in the centre of the large area. trudging out with various supplies to the eastern suburbs of the town. squalid. donkey-carts laden with vegetables. three or four deep. were mingled together in a mass. from which latter place arose a tumult of discordant sounds that filled Oliver Twist with amazement. Mr. the barking dogs. By degrees. into Barbican: thence into Long Lane. chaise-carts filled with live-stock or whole carcasses of meat. the crowding. rendered it a stunning and bewildering scene. Then. and so into Smithfield. resisting as many invitations to take a morning dram. drovers. and dirty figures constantly running to and fro. the grunting and squeaking of pigs. elbowed his way through the thickest of the crowd. came straggling groups of labourers going to their work. an unbroken concourse of people. and mingling with the fog. and bestowed very little attention on the numerous sights and sounds. milk-women with pails. It was market-morning. other shops began to be unclosed. It was as light as it was likely to be. twice or thrice. thieves. unshaven. men and women with fish-baskets on their heads. nearly ankle-deep. Turning down Sun Street and Crown Street. when they threaded the streets between Shoreditch and Smithfield. Countrymen. Sikes struck. which quite confounded the senses. were filled with sheep. and bursting in and out of the throng. perpetually rising from the reeking bodies of the cattle. the whistling of drovers. a thick steam. the hideous and discordant dim that resounded from every corner of the market. to a passing friend. Mr. the bleating of sheep. oaths. by way of Chiswell Street. which so astonished the boy. and. and a few scattered people were met with. the noise and traffic gradually increased. the shouts. it had swelled into a roar of sound and bustle. driving. which seemed to rest upon the chimney-tops. pressed steadily onward. and quarrelling on all sides. dragging Oliver after him. then. Sikes. until they were clear of the turmoil.

looking up at the clock of St. 'Not a bit of it. looking hard at Oliver.' replied Sikes. my man?' inquired the driver: seeing that Oliver was out of breath. And here. 'Is that your boy?' 'Yes. Chiswick.' replied Sikes. bestowed a furious look upon him. take hold of my hand. In with you!' Thus addressing Oliver. 156 . Sikes dismounted with great precipitation. Seeing 'Hounslow' written on it. Lazy-legs!' Mr. Oliver wondered. came up. As they passed the different mile-stones. Come. in a significant manner. don't lag behind already. At length. 'He's used to it. and lifting him down directly. 'Now. Ned. 'hard upon seven! you must step out. and putting his hand abstractedly into the pocket where the pistol was. pointing to a heap of sacks. more and more. if he would give them a lift as far as Isleworth.' said the man. Here. and the driver. Kew Bridge. until they had passed Hyde Park corner. Hammersmith. another road appeared to run off. and were on their way to Kensington: when Sikes relaxed his pace. told him to lie down there. interposing. the cart stopped. they came to a public-house called the Coach and Horses. They held their course at this rate. holding Oliver by the hand all the while. 'Jump up. Sikes accompanied this speech with a jerk at his little companion's wrist. he helped him into the cart.through Hosier Lane into Holborn. 'Your father walks rather too quick for you. and yet they went on as steadily as if they had only just begun their journey. quickening his pace into a kind of trot between a fast walk and a run. and rapped the side-pocket with his fist. he asked the driver with as much civility as he could assume. don't he. were all passed. a little way beyond which. where his companion meant to take him. until an empty cart which was at some little distance behind. he's my boy. Kensington. Andrew's Church. and rest himself. Oliver. young 'un!' said Sikes. Brentford. kept up with the rapid strides of the house-breaker as well as he could.

taking a right-hand road. after all. that Oliver began to feel quite certain they were not going any further. 'Hampton. once again led him onward on his journey. and. A young dog! Don't mind him. he and his young comrade sat in a corner by themselves. and. giving him a shake. as 157 . Rousing himself sufficiently to sit up and look about him. and getting up so early. by the fire. turning into an old public-house with a defaced sign-board. until they reached a town. They had some cold meat for dinner. and stopping for nothing but a little beer. 'So. Here against the wall of a house. fell asleep. over a pint of ale. he dozed a little at first. Being much tired with the walk.' said the man. with high backs to them.' 'Not I!' rejoined the other. 'It's a fine day. Oliver saw written up in pretty large letters. My horse hasn't got a load behind him going back. 'he's sulky. and sat so long after it. you're going on to Lower Halliford. boy. It was quite dark when he was awakened by a push from Sikes. on which were seated several rough men in smock-frocks. 'He's sulky.'Good-bye. as the case might be--for drinking. walked on for a long time: passing many large gardens and gentlemen's houses on both sides of the way. quite overpowered by fatigue and the fumes of the tobacco.' replied Sikes. At length they came back into the town. who seemed a little the worse--or better.' And he drove away. as Sikes took very little notice of them. getting into his cart. without being much troubled by their company. telling Oliver he might look about him if he wanted. I am. The kitchen was an old. 'Yes.' replied the man. he found that worthy in close fellowship and communication with a labouring man. 'and not slow about it neither. a short way past the public-house. then. and very little of Sikes. with a great beam across the middle of the ceiling. drinking and smoking. and then. while Mr. in the fields.' They lingered about. They took no notice of Oliver. Sikes indulged himself with three or four pipes. and benches. and then. are you?' inquired Sikes. They turned round to the left. Sikes waited until he had fairly gone. ordered some dinner by the kitchen fire. low-roofed room. for some hours.

Then. looking out of the pot.' and to defy the hostler and the world to produce his equal. the girl gathering up the pots and glasses as they did so. 'Are you going to Halliford?' 'Going on to Shepperton.he had coming up in the mornin'. 'that won't do. I can. and rattled out of the town right gallantly. and lounging out to the door. and supporting himself for a short time on his hind-legs. there would have been strong reason to suppose he was. and running into the parlour windows over the way. 'I say!' said the man. and wot's to prevent my standing treat for a pint or so. having lingered for a minute or two 'to bear him up. and 158 . was standing outside: ready harnessed to the cart. Sikes replied. The night was very dark. with her hands full. after performing those feats. 'I'm your man. whose health had been drunk in his absence. he seized Sikes by the hand: and declared he was a real good fellow. with a very profound face. the hostler was told to give the horse his head. they bade the company good-night. in return?' The stranger reflected upon this argument. Ecod! he's a good 'un!' 'Could you give my boy and me a lift as far as there?' demanded Sikes. A damp mist rose from the river. mounted also. Becky?' 'Yes.' replied Sikes. if he had been sober. he started off at great speed. pushing the ale towards his new friend. as far as I go. and. the other gentleman's paid.' 'Why not?' rejoined Sikes.' replied the man. After the exchange of a few more compliments.' replied the other. Oliver and Sikes got in without any further ceremony. 'Is all paid. To which Mr. Here's luck to him. to see the party start. and the man to whom he belonged. he made a very unpleasant use of it: tossing it into the air with great disdain. he was joking. his head being given him. and went out. 'If you're going directly.' replied the girl. with tipsy gravity. having done so. you know. The horse. and he won't be long a-doing of it. 'You're a-going to accommodate us. as.

as the weary boy had expected. The door yielded to the pressure. until they were close upon the bridge. Oliver sat huddled together. and one story above. and spread itself over the dreary fields. as if in some fantastic joy at the desolation of the scene. Sunbury was passed through. 'He has brought me to this lonely place to murder me!' He was about to throw himself on the ground. and raised the latch. in mud and darkness. until they came within sight of the lights of a town at no great distance. whose branches waved grimly to and fro. They turned into no house at Shepperton. Not a word was spoken. uninhabited. in a corner of the cart. Sikes kept straight on. There was a light in the ferry-house window opposite: which streamed across the road. It was piercing cold.the marshy ground about. 'The water!' thought Oliver. and the leaves of the old tree stirred gently in the night wind. too. the clock struck seven. Oliver saw that the water was just below them. Two or three miles more. 159 . but no light was visible. It seemed like quiet music for the repose of the dead. The house was dark. and make one struggle for his young life. turning sick with fear. and Sikes was in no mood to lead him into conversation. and they once again walked on. There was a window on each side of the dilapidated entrance. and they passed in together. Sikes alighted. As they passed Sunbury Church. and the cart stopped. through gloomy lanes and over cold open wastes. There was a dull sound of falling water not far off. took Oliver by the hand. for the driver had grown sleepy. On looking intently forward. and they came again into the lonely road. then turned suddenly down a bank upon the left. when he saw that they stood before a solitary house: all ruinous and decayed. bewildered with alarm and apprehension. and figuring strange objects in the gaunt trees. but still kept walking on. with Oliver's hand still in his. and that they were coming to the foot of a bridge. all was gloomy and black. softly approached the low porch. dismantled: and the all appearance. Sikes. and threw into more sombre shadow a dark yew-tree with graves beneath it.

and drab breeches. shawl-pattern waistcoat. 160 . falling violently. hoarse voice. and officiating as waiter at the public-house on Saffron Hill. if convenient. Are you any fresher now. either upon his head or face. and there issued. with real or counterfeit joy. staring. a table. bolting the door. Sikes pushed Oliver before him. Toby. as this interrogatory was put. across the bare floor of the room. but what he had. and then an indistinct muttering. sir. and nothing stronger. was of a reddish dye. 'There's Bill Sikes in the passage with nobody to do the civil to him. or do you want the iron candlestick to wake you thoroughly?' A pair of slipshod feet shuffled. a feeble candle: and next. with large brass buttons.' Muttering a curse upon his tardiness. and they entered a low dark room with a smoky fire.' The speaker appeared to throw a boot-jack. 'Don't make such a row. at the person he addressed. He was dressed in a smartly-cut snuff-coloured coat. a coarse. wake up first. Barney. Barney.' said Sikes. as if you took laudanum with your meals.' 'Here! you get on first. hastily.CHAPTER XXII THE BURGLARY 'Hallo!' cried a loud. and a very old couch: on which. was heard. cub id. as of a man between sleep and awake. an orange neckerchief. 'Quicker! or I shall tread upon your heels. from a door on the right hand. two or three broken chairs. smoking a long clay pipe.' 'Aha! my pal!' cried the same voice. the form of the same individual who has been heretofore described as labouring under the infirmity of speaking through his nose. 'cub id.' said Sikes. to rouse him from his slumbers: for the noise of a wooden body. Mr. 'A glim. a man was reposing at full length. with his legs much higher than his head. or some such article. first. putting Oliver in front of him. Crackit (for he it was) had no very great quantity of hair. as soon as they set foot in the passage. and tortured into long corkscrew curls. 'Do you hear?' cried the same voice. a glim! Show the gentleman in. and you sleeping there. 'Show a glim. 'Bister Sikes!' exclaimed Barney.

Mr. filled a glass with spirits. half-filling a wine-glass. 'Wot an inwalable boy that'll make. Hallo!' Uttering this exclamation in a tone of great surprise. I was almost afraid you'd given it up: in which case I should have made a personal wentur. Only the boy!' replied Sikes. 'Down with it. and. and drank off its contents. carefully depositing his empty pipe in a corner. sat with his aching head upon his hands. 'if you'll give us something to eat and drink while we're waiting. He was a trifle above the middle size. Crackit laughed immensely. as the young Jew placed some fragments of food. ornamented with large common rings. 'Fagin's. advanced to the table.' said Toby.' said Sikes. for you'll have to go out with us again to-night. as he resumed his seat. 'Bill. Toby Crackit brought himself into a sitting posture. scarecely knowing where he was. you'll put some heart in us. for the old ladies' pockets in chapels! His mug is a fortin' to him. and honoured Oliver with a long stare of astonishment. and stooping over his recumbant friend. 'Success to the crack!' He rose to honour the toast. which he contemplated. younker. in their elevated situation. 'I'm glad to see you.' Oliver looked at Sikes. Sikes did the same. or what was passing around him. 'The boy. and a bottle upon the table. Sit down by the fire. looking at Oliver.' 'There--there's enough of that. and apparently rather weak in the legs. but this circumstance by no means detracted from his own admiration of his top-boots. with lively satisfaction.' said Toby. 'Now. 'A drain for the boy. in mute and timid wonder. drawing a chair towards the fire. he whispered a few words in his ear: at which Mr. as his eyes rested on Oliver.' exclaimed Barney. and drawing a stool to the fire.' interposed Sikes. my boy!' said this figure. and demanded who that was. 'Wud of Bister Fagid's lads. impatiently. though not very far off.' 161 . or in me.through which he occasionally thrust some very dirty fingers. and rest yourself. with a grin. turning his head towards the door. eh!' exclaimed Toby. Mr. 'Here. at all events. innocence.

'Burn my body. 'Here they are. brought forth several articles. and immediately fell into a violent fit of coughing: which delighted Toby Crackit and Barney. and even drew a smile from the surly Mr. if he isn't more trouble than a whole family of Dodgers. which he hastily crammed into the pockets. keys. for some time. the other two were on their legs. nobody stirring but Barney. Oliver hastily swallowed the contents of the glass. stretched himself on the floor: close outside the fender. 'Barkers for me. drink it!' Frightened by the menacing gestures of the two men.' said Oliver.' 'All right!' replied Toby. or wandering about the dark churchyard. They slept. In an instant.' 'He had better!' said Sikes clapping his hand upon his pocket. Oliver retained his stool by the fire. and all were actively engaged in busy preparation. Barney wrapped in a blanket.' replied Sikes. Drink it. 'indeed. producing a pair of pistols.' said Toby Crackit. 'Crape. 162 . Sikes and his companion enveloped their necks and chins in large dark shawls. the two men laid themselves down on chairs for a short nap. and Sikes having satisfied his appetite (Oliver could eat nothing but a small crust of bread which they made him swallow). 'The persuaders?' 'I've got 'em. you perwerse imp. This done. who rose once or twice to throw coals on the fire. Oliver fell into a heavy doze: imagining himself straying along the gloomy lanes. opening a cupboard. 'Do you think I don't know what's good for you? Tell him to drink it. Bill. and drew on their great-coats. I--' 'Down with it!' echoed Toby. or appeared to sleep. looking piteously up into the man's face. Barney. darkies--nothing forgotten?' inquired Toby: fastening a small crowbar to a loop inside the skirt of his coat. stowing them away.' replied Barney. or retracing some one or other of the scenes of the past day: when he was roused by Toby Crackit jumping up and declaring it was half-past one. centre-bits. Barney. Sikes. 'You loaded them yourself.'Indeed.

Oliver's hair and eyebrows. and. Toby. Quickening their pace. Barney.' Toby acquiesced. having made all fast. The two robbers issued forth with Oliver between them. 'Bring them bits of timber.' With these words. holding out his hand. within a few minutes after leaving the house. They had cleared the town. and the drink which had been forced upon him: put his hand mechanically into that which Sikes extended for the purpose. A dim light shone at intervals from some bed-room window. and the hoarse barking of dogs occasionally broke the silence of the night. that. climbed in a twinkling. 'Look out. But there was nobody abroad. they turned up a road upon the left hand. 'The boy next.' rejoined his companion. That's the time of day.' whispered Sikes. 'Now then!' said Sikes. Oliver: who was completely stupified by the unwonted exercise. to see us. although no rain fell. 'Slap through the town.' The man went to the door. and was soon asleep again. 'Hoist him up. It was now intensely dark. Barney. as the church-bell struck two. who. I'll catch hold of him. Toby Crackit. The fog was much heavier than it had been in the early part of the night. they soon arrived at Chertsey. and kept on towards the lights which he had seen before. rolled himself up as before. 'Take his other hand. he took a thick stick from Barney's hands. which at that late hour was wholly deserted.' said Sikes. Barney.' 163 . scarcely pausing to take breath.'All right. and returned to announce that all was quiet. 'there'll be nobody in the way. They were at no great distance off. to-night.' said Toby. and the atmosphere was so damp. as they walked pretty briskly. After walking about a quarter of a mile. and the air. busied himself in fastening on Oliver's cape. they stopped before a detached house surrounded by a wall: to the top of which. had become stiff with the half-frozen moisture that was floating about. They crossed the bridge. and they hurried through the main street of the little town. having delivered another to Toby.

and in three or four seconds he and Toby were lying on the grass on the other side. Sike's art. but it was large enough to admit a boy of Oliver's size. and dragged him to the house. 'Hush!' cried the man. Bill. that the inmates had probably not thought it worth while to defend it more securely. saw that housebreaking and robbery. sufficed to overcome the 164 . his limbs failed him. the cold sweat stood upon his ashy face.' Sikes. Here. never. about five feet and a half above the ground. have mercy upon me!' The man to whom this appeal was made. and drawing the pistol from his pocket. 'Get up!' murmured Sikes. and is quite as certain. if not murder. Oliver. never! Oh! pray have mercy on me. and do not make me steal. He clasped his hands together. Sikes had caught him under the arms.' 'Oh! for God's sake let me go!' cried Oliver. A very brief exercise of Mr. For the love of all the bright Angels that rest in Heaven. And now. at the end of the passage.Before Oliver had time to look round. Sikes followed directly. and I'll do your business myself with a crack on the head. well-nigh mad with grief and terror. when Toby. nevertheless. for the first time. Say another word. I'll engage. on a cold night. The aperture was so small. wrench the shutter open. invoking terrific imprecations upon Fagin's head for sending Oliver on such an errand. but with little noise. and had cocked the pistol. and involuntarily uttered a subdued exclamation of horror. plied the crowbar vigorously. the shutter to which he had referred. and more genteel. After some delay. and some assistance from Toby. at the back of the house: which belonged to a scullery. I've seen older hands of his age took the same way. 'it won't answer here. I will never come near London. striking it from his grasp. And they stole cautiously towards the house. or I'll strew your brains upon the grass. trembling with rage. He's game enough now. That makes no noise. 'let me run away and die in the fields. for a minute or two. and he sank upon his knees. were the objects of the expedition. 'Get up. A mist came before his eyes. placed his hand upon the boy's mouth. It was a little lattice window. or small brewing-place. swore a dreadful oath. swung open on its hinges.

looking into the room. and. Crackit spoke in a scarcely audible whisper.' Sikes. Sikes imperiously commanded him to be silent. than Sikes. drawing a dark lantern from his pocket. 'Stand upon one of the hall chairs. that they always leave it open with a catch. and let us in. then by planting himself firmly with his head against the wall beneath the window.' 'There's a bolt at the top. so that the dog. Toby complied. and placing it on the ground. 'Directly I leave go of you. after peeping in to satisfy himself. in the same low whisper. put Oiver gently through the window with his feet first. 'Now listen. and that if he faltered. 'It's done in a minute. 'Yes. do your work. There are three there.' said Sikes. unfasten it. So neat!' Although Mr. you young limb. by first producing his lantern. briefly advised him to take notice that he was within shot all the way. and along the little hall. and to get to work. Hark!' 'What's that?' whispered the other man. and it soon stood wide open also. so as to make a step of his back.' said Sikes. 'The game of that is.' whispered Sikes. can't you?' replied Sikes. Ha! ha! Barney 'ticed him away to-night.fastening of the lattice. 'The room-door is open. with a jolly large blue unicorn and gold pitchfork on 'em: which is the old lady's arms. Bill. This was no sooner done.' 'Keep quiet. and throwing the glare full on Oliver's face. more dead than alive. go softly up the steps straight afore you. 'You see the stairs afore you?' Oliver.' interposed Toby. They listened intently. may walk up and down the passage when he feels wakeful. is it?' 'Wide. mounting upon him. 'Take this lantern. he would fall dead that instant.' replied Toby. Take this light. and his hands upon his knees. to the street door. and laughed without noise. without leaving hold of his collar. planted him safely on the floor inside. gasped out. 'I'm a going to put you through there. pointing to the street-door with the pistol-barrel. you won't be able to reach. 165 . who's got a bed in here. with a threatening look.

Sikes had disappeared for an instant. whirling 166 . but he was up again. but where he knew not. the noises grew confused in the distance. He fired his own pistol after the men. and a cold deadly feeling crept over the boy's heart. AND SHOWS THAT EVEN A BEADLE MAY BE SUSCEPTIBLE ON SOME POINTS The night was bitter cold. Oliver let his lantern fall. They've hit him. and had him by the collar before the smoke had cleared away. so that only the heaps that had drifted into byways and corners were affected by the sharp wind that howled abroad: which. 'Give me a shawl here. caught it savagely up in clouds. frozen into a hard thick crust.--and he staggered back. CHAPTER XXIII WHICH CONTAINS THE SUBSTANCE OF A PLEASANT CONVERSATION BETWEEN MR. and he saw or heard no more. Filled with this idea. And then. 'Come back!' suddenly cried Sikes aloud. and the sensation of being carried over uneven ground at a rapid pace. 'Back! back!' Scared by the sudden breaking of the dead stillness of the place. Quick! How the boy bleeds!' Then came the loud ringing of a bell. and knew not whether to advance or fly. who were already retreating. 'Now!' In the short time he had had to collect his senses. as if expending increased fury on such prey as it found. and by a loud cry which followed it. and dragged the boy up. The cry was repeated--a light appeared--a vision of two terrified half-dressed men at the top of the stairs swam before his eyes--a flash--a loud noise--a smoke--a crash somewhere. The snow lay on the ground. he would make one effort to dart upstairs from the hall. and alarm the family.'Nothing. but stealthily. as he drew him through the window. the boy had firmly resolved that. BUMBLE AND A LADY.' said Sikes. he advanced at once. and. and the shouts of men. whether he died in the attempt or not. mingled with the noise of fire-arms.' said Sikes. releasing his hold of Oliver. 'Clasp your arm tighter.

starving wretch to lay him down and die. at a small round table: on which stood a tray of corresponding size. 'I'm sure we have all on us a great deal to be grateful for! A great deal. Ah!' Mrs. the matron of the workhouse to which our readers have been already introduced as the birthplace of Oliver Twist.it into a thousand misty eddies. who. and. and the water slightly scalded Mrs. at such times. it was a night for the well-housed and fed to draw round the bright fire and thank God they were at home. the matron dropped into her chair. scattered it in air. The small teapot. thought of her solitary fate. proceeded to make the tea. ran over while Mrs. Corney was about to solace herself with a cup of tea. Corney. Oh dear!' With these words. and glanced. being very small and easily filled.' said Mrs. and she was overpowered. Many hunger-worn outcasts close their eyes in our bare streets. as if deploring the mental blindness of those paupers who did not know it. leaning her elbow on the table. her inward satisfaction evidently increased. As she glanced from the table to the fireplace.--so much so. 'except to a poor desolate creature like me. that only holds a couple of cups! What use is it of. and looking reflectively at the fire. when Mrs. and piercing cold. and thrusting a silver spoon (private property) into the inmost recesses of a two-ounce tin tea-caddy. dark. 'a little stupid thing. pausing. 'Drat the pot!' said the worthy matron. Mrs. furnished with all necessary materials for the most grateful meal that matrons enjoy. can hardly open them in a more bitter world. to anybody! Except. In fact. 'Well!' said the matron. let their crimes have been what they may. Corney was moralising. 167 . How slight a thing will disturb the equanimity of our frail minds! The black teapot. Corney shook her head mournfully. and for the homeless. indeed. that Mrs. Such was the aspect of out-of-doors affairs. Corney (who had not been dead more than five-and-twenty years). Corney's hand. once more resting her elbow on the table. sat herself down before a cheerful fire in her own little room. Bleak. Corney. had awakened in her mind sad recollections of Mr. with no small degree of complacency. where the smallest of all possible kettles was singing a small song in a small voice. setting it down very hastily on the hob. and the single cup. Corney smiled. if we did but know it.

and being very cold himself. ma'am!' rejoined Mr. ma'am. pettishly. Bumble?' said the matron. 'Some of the old women dying. 'is that Mr. is uncertain. this very blessed afternoon. letting the cold air in. for Mrs. Corney. Bumble?' 'At your service.' 'Of course not. lest there should be any impropriety in holding an interview with Mr. Corney looked at it as she spoke. 'Anti-porochial weather this. he says! Coals! What would he do with coals? Toast his cheese with 'em and then come back for 168 . bearing the cocked hat in one hand and a bundle in the other. and to shake the snow off his coat. Mr. 'Shall I shut the door.' said Mr. 'Why here's one man that. Mr. if it's only a pocket handkerchief full. nothing. ma'am?' The lady modestly hesitated to reply. indeed. in a much sweeter tone. who had been stopping outside to rub his shoes clean. in consideration of his wife and large family. eh?' 'Nothing.' replied a man's voice. 'Hard weather. Bumble.' Whether this remark bore reference to the husband. ma'am. full weight. and who now made his appearance. Bumble taking advantage of the hesitation. or the teapot. has a quartern loaf and a good pound of cheese. sipping her tea. ma'am? Is he grateful? Not a copper farthing's worth of it! What does he do. She had just tasted her first cup. ma'am. and took it up afterwards. Don't stand there.' replied the beadle. Is he grateful. with closed doors. sharply. 'I shall never get another--like him.'I shall never get another!' said Mrs. 'Oh. Corney. It might have been the latter. Bumble. don't. shut it without permission. Corney. indeed. 'Hard. I suppose. They always die when I'm at meals. What's amiss now.' said the matron. When would they be. ma'am. Mrs. and yet them paupers are not contented. come in with you!' said Mrs. We have given away. when she was disturbed by a soft tap at the room-door. Bumble. Bumble. ma'am. we have given away a matter of twenty quartern loaves and a cheese and a half. Mr. but ask for a few coals. 'Dear me!' exclaimed the matron. 'When.

'Well. The day afore yesterday. Bumble?' 'Well. That's the way with these people. to give the paupers exactly what they don't want. 'out-of-door relief. 'But don't you think out-of-door relief a very bad thing.' returned Mr. properly managed: properly managed. goes to our overseer's door when he has got company coming to dinner. any way. a man--you have been a married woman. 'that's the great principle. ma'am. Bumble? You're a gentleman of experience. "My heart!" says the ungrateful villain. ma'am: is the porochial safeguard. that is a good one. The great principle of out-of-door relief is. and he _did_ die in the streets. Betwixt you and me. and they'll come back for another. and says. 'I never. Bumble.' 'Mrs. except. however. Mrs.' said the beadle. if you look at any cases that get into them owdacious newspapers. and shocked the company very much. Mr. and then they get tired of coming. But. you won't. as brazen as alabaster. Come. not to be spoken of. smiling as men smile who are conscious of superior information. There's a obstinate pauper for you!' 'It beats anything I could have believed. Corney.more. Corney.' rejoined the beadle. Grannett. the day after to-morrow. "Oh no." "Then I'll die in the streets!" says the vagrant. ma'am. Corney looked at the floor). ma'am. As he wouldn't go away. too!' 'Yes. give 'em a apron full of coals to-day.' observed the matron emphatically.' said the beadle. and the beadle went on. 169 . "you won't get anything else here." says our overseer. he must be relieved." says our overseer. and I may mention it to you--a man.' said Mr. and that's the reason why. Corney. taking 'em away again. 'see anything like the pitch it's got to.' The matron expressed her entire concurrence in this intelligible simile.' 'Dear me!' exclaimed Mrs. Bumble. with hardly a rag upon his back (here Mrs. our overseer sent him out a pound of potatoes and half a pint of oatmeal. wasn't it?' interposed the matron. ma'am. "what's the use of _this_ to me? You might as well give me a pair of iron spectacles!" "Very good. ma'am. 'these are official secrets. 'he went away. and ought to know. That's the rule now. Mr. all over the country. 'Well. Corney.' 'Ha! ha! That was very good! So like Mr. you'll always observe that sick families have been relieved with slices of cheese. stopping to unpack his bundle. Mrs.

Bumble. indeed. 'Sweet? Mr. and shaken it well to test its excellence. and applied herself to the task of making his tea. As he slowly seated himself. varying these amusements. on the contrary. and drew another chair up to the table. preparatory to bidding her good-night. to the beadle. clear as a bell.' The matron looked. Again Mr. and if ever a beadle looked tender. Mr. Bumble. 'It blows. He fixed his eyes on Mrs. her eyes once again encountered those of the gallant beadle. 'enough to cut one's ears off. and took up his hat. she coloured. Bumble instantaneously turned back his collar again. however. and no sediment!' Having held the first bottle up to the light. among the porochial officers. The tea was made. Mr. which. Bumble coughed--louder this time than he had coughed yet. Bumble?' inquired the matron. Bumble placed them both on top of a chest of drawers. taking up the sugar-basin. real. Mr. folded the handkerchief in which they had been wrapped. from the little kettle. As she sat down. genuine port wine. by fetching a deep sigh.as I may say. who was moving towards the door. fresh. and handed in silence.' said the matron. began to eat and drink. Bumble. Mr. such as ourselves. turning up his coat-collar. but. 170 . had no injurious effect upon his appetite. laid his hat and stick upon a chair. She fixed her eyes upon the little teapot. as if to go. ma'am. Bumble was that beadle at that moment. Corney rose to get another cup and saucer from the closet. ma'am. having spread a handkerchief over his knees to prevent the crumbs from sullying the splendour of his shorts. ma'am. occasionally. Mrs. 'Very sweet. that the board ordered for the infirmary. Corney as he said this. and slightly smiled. put it carefully in his pocket.' replied Mr. Bumble. rather seemed to facilitate his operations in the tea and toast department. Mr. 'You'll have a very cold walk. bashfully inquired whether--whether he wouldn't take a cup of tea? Mr. and as the beadle coughed. Bumble coughed again.' replied Mr. he looked at the lady. only out of the cask this forenoon. This is the port wine.

do seem immeasurably beneath the dignity of judges of the land. 'and kittens too. must be a ass. Bumble. ma'am. which proceeding. Bumble!' remonstrated Mrs. place.'You have a cat. Corney and Mr. Bumble. and hitched his chair a very little morsel farther from the fire. ma'am. yes!' rejoined the matron with enthusiasm. It was a round table. and inflicting two open-handed slaps upon his laced waistcoat. 'Hard?' Mr. I'm sure. Bumble. Bumble resigned his cup without another word. with no great space between them. that they are quite companions for me. ma'am.' 'Then you're a cruel man.' said Mr. which however well they may become the lips of the light and thoughtless.' replied Mr. and still keeping at the table. 'They're _so_ happy.' 'Very nice animals. Bumble. ma'am. _so_ frolicsome. that any cat. it will be seen that Mr. Bumble. Bumble. and other great 171 . approvingly. Bumble's part: he being in some sort tempted by time.' 'Hard-hearted. you can't think. I see. in the centre of her family. ministers of state. Bumble. 'so very domestic. Bumble had been sitting opposite each other. and fronting the fire.' said the matron vivaciously. 'I would drown it myself. some prudent readers will doubtless be disposed to admire. and _not_ be fond of its home. members of parliament. Mr. Mr. and as Mrs. Corney. I declare!' 'I am so fond of them. as she held out her hand for the beadle's cup. ma'am. and _so_ cheerful. lord mayors.' 'Oh. gave a mighty sigh. Corney. increased the distance between himself and Mrs. Corney.' said Mr. slowly flourishing the teaspoon with a kind of amorous dignity which made him doubly impressive. ma'am. and to consider an act of great heroism on Mr. that it's quite a pleasure. 'and a very hard-hearted man besides. or kitten. in receding from the fire.' 'Oh. was basking before the fire. 'so fond of their home too. ma'am?' said Mr.' said Mr. slowly. and opportunity. Corney's little finger as she took it.' 'Mrs. to give utterance to certain soft nothings. glancing at one who. 'I mean to say this. 'It's of no use disguising facts. squeezed Mrs.' replied the matron. ma'am. that could live with you. and marking the time with his teaspoon. with pleasure.

moving his chair by little and little. with much agility. 'what a very curious question from a single man. Bumble. the two chairs touched. brought his chair. Bumble. if the matron had moved her chair to the right. 'Hard-hearted. Bumble?' The beadle drank his tea to the last drop. and if to the left. but in a slow and dignified manner. Bumble darted. and when they did so. as has been twice before remarked. however (and no doubt they were of the best): it unfortunately happened. close to that in which the matron was seated. whisked the crumbs off his knees. and handed Mr. that the table was a round one. Bumble made no reply. Bumble another cup of tea. 'Mr. It is worthy of remark. soon began to diminish the distance between himself and the matron. 'are _you_ hard-hearted. in time. for the fright was so great. Corney?' 'Dear me!' exclaimed the matron. and looking up into the matron's face. wiped his lips. Bumble stopped. I shall scream!' Mr. As the lady had stated her intention of screaming. of course she would have screamed at this additional boldness. that she had quite lost her voice. so (being a discreet matron. Mr. Mrs. and began dusting them with great violence: while the matron sharply demanded who was there. but more particularly beneath the stateliness and gravity of a beadle: who (as is well known) should be the sternest and most inflexible among them all. to the wine bottles. What can you want to know for. Bumble!' cried that discreet lady in a whisper. and deliberately kissed the matron. Bumble's arms. she would have been scorched by the fire. 'Mr. finished a piece of toast. Corney?' said Mr. Whatever were Mr. Now. and no doubt foreseeing these consequences at a glance) she remained where she was. Mr. she must have fallen into Mr.public functionaries. but that the exertion was rendered unnecessary by a hasty knocking at the door: which was no sooner heard. Bumble. Indeed. continuing to travel round the outer edge of the circle. Bumble's intentions. stirring his tea. put his arm round the matron's waist. that her voice had quite recovered all its official asperity. as a curious physical instance of the efficacy of a sudden surprise in counteracting the effects of extreme fear. than Mr. 172 . Mrs. consequently Mr. and.

and. closely inspected a silver milk-pot to ascertain that it was of the genuine metal. briefly requested Mr. the worthy Mrs. and. well enough. Bumble to stay till she came back. her face. muffling herself in a thick shawl which she hastily caught up. 173 . But she's troubled in her mind: and when the fits are not on her. who had disturbed the quiet of the matron's room.' At this intelligence. mistress. no.' 'Well. spreading himself before the fire with his back towards it. hideously ugly: putting her head in at the door. she followed her from the room with a very ill grace. little babes and great strong men. mistress. lest anything particular should occur. AND MAY BE FOUND OF IMPORTANCE IN THIS HISTORY It was no unfit messenger of death. what's that to me?' angrily demanded the matron. and I know when death's a-coming. Her body was bent by age.'If you please. distorted into a mumbling leer. Bumble's conduct on being left to himself. Having gone through this very extraordinary performance. seemed to be mentally engaged in taking an exact inventory of the furniture. put on his cocked hat corner-wise. He opened the closet. scolding all the way.--she says she has got something to tell. was rather inexplicable. and danced with much gravity four distinct times round the table.--and that's not often.' replied the old woman. Bidding the messenger walk fast. 'Old Sally is a-going fast. he took off the cocked hat again. Mr. 'I can't keep her alive. and. her limbs trembled with palsy. CHAPTER XXIV TREATS ON A VERY POOR SUBJECT. and not be all night hobbling up the stairs. which you must hear. weighed the sugar-tongs. She'll never die quiet till you come. having satisfied his curiosity on these points. for she is dying very hard. counted the teaspoons.' said a withered old female pauper. mistress. I've seen a many people die. can I?' 'No. 'nobody can. Corney muttered a variety of invectives against old women who couldn't even die without purposely annoying their betters. she's far beyond the reach of help. BUT IS A SHORT ONE.

being at length compelled to pause for breath. and hungerings. 'You should get better coals out of your contractors. Mrs. sir. It was a bare garret-room. so calm. making a toothpick out of a quill. that the troubled clouds pass off. and remained behind to follow as she might: while the more nimble superior made her way to the room where the sick woman lay.' 174 . in her most civil tones. and leave Heaven's surface clear.' replied the mistress. The old crone tottered along the passages. would be to keep us pretty warm: for our places are hard enough.' returned the matron. 'Oh!' said the young mag. and it is only when those passions sleep. and see the Angel even upon earth. 'Very cold. as the matron entered.resembled more the grotesque shaping of some wild pencil. 'The least they could do. 'these are not at all the sort of thing for a cold night. there. and settle into the very look of early life. change them as they change hearts. so peaceful. It is a common thing for the countenances of the dead. 'Cold night. than the work of Nature's hand. as if he had previously quite forgotten the patient. even in that fixed and rigid state. Mrs. There was another old woman watching by the bed. she gave the light into her hand. sir. and up the stairs. with a dim light burning at the farther end. that those who knew them in their happy childhood. to subside into the long-forgotten expression of sleeping infancy. of the world. and sorrows. indeed.' said this young gentleman.' The conversation was here interrupted by a moan from the sick woman. Corney. Alas! How few of Nature's faces are left alone to gladden us with their beauty! The cares.' said the apothecary's deputy.P. breaking a lump on the top of the fire with the rusty poker. and have lost their hold for ever.' 'They're the board's choosing. turning his face towards the bed. Corney. and dropping a curtsey as she spoke. 'it's all U. do they grow again. kneel by the coffin's side in awe. the parish apothecary's apprentice was standing by the fire. muttering some indistinct answers to the chidings of her companion.

' replied the other. 'If she lasts a couple of hours. She won't see it there. if you don't make a row. sir?' asked the matron. she resumed her seat by the side of the other nurse. the two old women rose from the bed. 'She plucked and tore at her arms for a little time. no!' 'Did she drink the hot wine the doctor said she was to have?' demanded the first. planted himself in front of the fire and made good use of it for ten minutes or so: when apparently growing rather dull. in this position. 'Did she say any more. The flame threw a ghastly light on their shrivelled faces. and took himself off on tiptoe. She hasn't much strength in her. with an expression of impatience. I ain't so weak for an old woman. although I am on parish allowance. having done so. and she soon dropped off. and sat at the foot of the bed. to intimate that the woman would not die so easily. The apothecary's apprentice. no.' rejoined the other. I shall be surprised. old lady?' The attendant stooped over the bed. 'Put the light on the floor. wrapped herself in her shawl. so I easily kept her quiet. Anny dear. 'Then perhaps she'll go off in that way. The mistress.'It is. is it.' The attendant did as she was told: shaking her head meanwhile. who had by this time returned. Corney joy of her job.' said the young man. intent upon the toothpick's point. and made their ugliness appear terrible. and crouching over the fire. he wished Mrs.' said the apothecary's apprentice. 'Not a word. but I held her hands. and nodded in the affirmative. while I was gone?' inquired the messenger. to ascertain. as. they began to converse in a low voice. When they had sat in silence for some time. 'I tried to get it down. 'It's a break-up of the system altogether. 'But her teeth 175 . having completed the manufacture of the toothpick. held out their withered hands to catch the heat. Is she dozing.

to ascertain that they were not overheard. and sharply asked how long she was to wait? 'Not long. It's no part of my duty to see all the old women in the house die. many. 'A many.' 'Hold your tongue. for I have helped her. that won't be for long!' 'Long or short. who had turned towards the bed. 'she won't find me here when she does wake. mistress. and was stretching her arms towards 176 .' answered the first woman. the old creature shook them exultingly before her face. I warrant you!' She was bouncing away.' replied the second woman. I'll soon cure you. caused her to look round. While they were thus employed. 'You.' added the second one. looking up into her face. from which she shook a few grains into the outstretched palm of her companion. when a cry from the two women. and chuckled heartily. the matron. My old eyes have seen them--ay. 'But will never be again. brought out an old time-discoloured tin snuff-box. So I drank it. beautiful corpses she laid out. 'that is. take care. you doting idiot!' said the matron sternly. she'll never wake again but once--and mind. patience! He'll be here soon enough for us all. snappishly. both of you. and made rare fun of it afterwards. Patience. and fumbling in her pocket. and she clenched the mug so hard that it was as much as I could do to get it back again. has she been in this way before?' 'Often. and those old hands touched them too. 'she had a merry heart. The patient had raised herself upright. 'We have none of us long to wait for Death. how you worry me again for nothing. and it did me good!' Looking cautiously round. who had been impatiently watching until the dying woman should awaken from her stupor.were tight set.' Stretching forth her trembling fingers as she spoke. you impudent old harridans. the two hags cowered nearer to the fire. as nice and neat as waxwork.' 'Ay. Mind that. and a few more into her own.' said the first speaker.' said the matron. mistress. 'I mind the time. scores of times. and I won't--that's more. 'when she would have done the same.' rejoined the other. joined them by the fire. If you make a fool of me again. that she would. tell me. Martha.

jumping fiercely up: her face flushed. 'Turn them away.' She clutched the matron by the arm. she caught sight of the two old women bending forward in the attitude of eager listeners. in addition to a moderate dose of opium prescribed by the apothecary. in the openness of their hearts. with a gesture as 177 . in a hollow voice. that was brought into the house with her feet cut and bruised with walking. struggling. was about to speak.' said the dying woman aloud. closed the door.' murmured the sick woman. and were uttering sundry protestations that they would never leave her. and returned to the bedside. began pouring out many piteous lamentations that the poor dear was too far gone to know her best friends. and her eyes starting from her head--'I robbed her. and died. relapsing into her former drowsy state. and forcing her into a chair by the bedside. hush!' said one of the women.them. when I stole it!' 'Stole what. drowsily. 'Now listen to me. 'Lie down. 'what about her?' 'Ay. she was labouring under the effects of a final taste of gin-and-water which had been privily administered. for God's sake?' cried the matron. 'In this very room--in this very bed--I once nursed a pretty young creetur'. and cried through the keyhole that old Sally was drunk. 'make haste! make haste!' The two old crones. stooping over her. since. was not unlikely. and all soiled with dust and blood. On being excluded.' said the impatient auditor. when looking round. She gave birth to a boy. when the superior pushed them from the room. 'Who's that?' she cried. the old ladies changed their tone. as if making a great effort to revive one latent spark of energy. indeed. chiming in together. by the worthy old ladies themselves. which. so I did! She wasn't cold--I tell you she wasn't cold. 'what about her?--what about--I know!' she cried. 'Hush. lie down!' 'I'll never lie down again alive!' said the woman.' said the woman. Let me think--what was the year again!' 'Never mind the year. 'I _will_ tell her! Come here! Nearer! Let me whisper in your ear.

' replied the matron. no. Poor girl! poor girl! She was so young. as she once again rose. as they came more faintly from the dying woman. She wanted clothes to keep her warm. have I?' 'No. go on--yes--what of it? Who was the mother? When was it?' 'She charge me to keep it safe.if she would call for help. if they had known it all!' 'Known what?' asked the other. inclining her head to catch the words. abandoned to its mercy!"' 'The boy's name?' demanded the matron.' said the woman.' replied the woman with a groan. but she had kept it safe. too! Such a gentle lamb! Wait. I stole it in my heart when she first showed it me hanging round her neck. when the pains of death first came upon her. laying her hand over the other's mouth. and had it in her bosom. 'The only thing she had. instinctively.' said the woman. and food to eat. yes--what?' cried the other. I tell you! Rich gold. 'Speak!' 'The boy grew so like his mother. rambling on. and thrived. there's more to tell. feebly. or it may be too late!' 'The mother. whispered in my ear that if her baby was born alive. 'the mother. perhaps. 'The gold I stole was--' 'Yes. kind Heaven!" she said. "whether it be boy or girl. and not heeding the question. that might have saved her life!' 'Gold!' echoed the matron.' replied the woman. raise up some friends for it in this troubled world. the day might come when it would not feel so much disgraced to hear its poor young mother named. but drew back. 'They _called_ him Oliver. It was gold. 'Go on. folding her thin hands together. and the child's death. I have not told you all. 'and trusted me as the only woman about her. making a more violent effort than before. and take pity upon a lonely desolate child. "And oh. '_It_!' replied the woman. bending eagerly over the woman as she fell back. She was bending eagerly over the woman to hear her reply. is on me besides! They would have treated him better. 'that I could never forget it when I saw his face. slowly and 178 . 'Be quick.

He also sustained a clay pipe between his teeth. the Dodger wore his hat. but he had fallen into deep thought. on the rusty bars. peculiarly intelligent at all times. It being a cold night. indeed. which stood ready filled with gin-and-water for the accommodation of the company. Master Charles Bates. hurrying in as soon as the door was opened. with which he had apparently been endeavouring to rouse it into more cheerful action. 'And nothing to tell. as occasion served. were left alone. Mr. Fagin sat in the old den--the same from which Oliver had been removed by the girl--brooding over a dull. as. and his chin resting on his thumbs. and fell lifeless on the bed. into a sitting posture. he bestowed a variety of earnest glances: wisely regulating his own play by the result of his observations upon his neighbour's cards. 179 . which he only removed for a brief space when he deemed it necessary to apply for refreshment to a quart pot upon the table. FAGIN AND COMPANY While these things were passing in the country workhouse. was often his custom within doors. smoky fire. fixed his eyes. the Artful taking dummy against Master Bates and Mr. The countenance of the first-named gentleman. clutching the coverlid with both hands. abstractedly. The two crones. acquired great additional interest from his close observance of the game. Chitling's hand. too busily occupied in the preparations for their dreadful duties to make any reply.' rejoined the matron. Chitling. hovering about the body. upon which. walking carelessly away. then. He held a pair of bellows upon his knee. to all appearance. after all. from time to time. CHAPTER XXV WHEREIN THIS HISTORY REVERTS TO MR. muttered some indistinct sounds in her throat. and with his arms folded on them. and Mr. and his attentive perusal of Mr.stiffly. At a table behind him sat the Artful Dodger. * * * * * * * 'Stone dead!' said one of the old women. Chitling: all intent upon a game of whist.

merely requesting his friend to be 'blowed. Jack. to win against the Dodger. 'I wish you had watched the play. Tommy Chitling hasn't won a point.' 'Ay.' Either the master or the manner of this remark.' 'Morning!' said Charley Bates. which sufficiently demonstrated that he was at no loss to understand the reason. and I went partners with him against the Artfull and dumb. 'That's two doubles and the rub. but being of a more excitable nature than his accomplished friend. which was made very ruefully. the Artful. ay!' said the Jew. Charley and I can't make nothing of 'em. with a very long face. 'you must get up very early in the morning. you win everything. and protested that he had never seen such a jolly game in all his born days. Tom. 'you must put your boots on over-night. so far from angering Master Bates.' replied Mr. it was observable that he more frequently applied himself to the gin-and-water.' replied the Jew. Master Bates received in extremely good part. delighted Charley Bates so much. Fagin!' cried Charley. 'Try 'em again. 'I've had enough. and moreover indulged in many jests and irrelevant remarks. if you want to come over him.' 180 . all of which remonstrances. 'Matter. thank 'ee. Fagin. try 'em again. inasmuch as he laughed most uproariously at the end of every deal.' 'No more of it for me. and induced him to inquire what was the matter. presuming upon their close attachment. Indeed. with a grin.Master Bates was also attentive to the play. appeared to afford him the highest amusement. It was remarkable that the latter gentleman and his partner invariably lost. all highly unbecoming a scientific rubber. Even when we've good cards.' 'Ha! ha! my dear. That 'ere Dodger has such a run of luck that there's no standing again' him. 'I never see such a feller as you. that his consequent shout of laughter roused the Jew from his reverie.' said Mr. Chitling. Chitling. or replying with some other neatly-turned witticism of a similar kind. and have a telescope at each eye. as he drew half-a-crown from his waistcoat-pocket. and that the circumstance. more than once took occasion to reason gravely with his companion upon these improprieties.' or to insert his head in a sack. excited considerable admiration in the mind of Mr. and a opera-glass between your shoulders. the happy application of which. Chitling.

' replied the Dodger. Dawkins received these handsome compliments with much philosophy. 'Betsy's a fine girl. But it turned out a good job for you. meantime. that that isn't anything to anybody here. and addressing Mr. Stick up to her. my eye! here's a merry-go-rounder! Tommy Chitling's in love! Oh. looking round as he plied the bellows.' 'What I mean to say.' said the Jew. and offered to cut any gentleman in company. Tom. 'How precious dull you are. Fagin. 'I shouldn't have been milled. and giving Master Bates a reproving tap with the nozzle of the bellows. Tommy!' said the Dodger.' replied Master Bates. with a grin. Tom. Dawkins.' replied Mr. with peculiar shrillness. Fagin?' 'How should I know. 'Charley will talk. Nobody accepting the challenge. stopping short when there had been a long silence. and began another laugh. 'What do _you_ say. Chitling. Master Bates threw himself back in his chair with such violence. Fagin. for the first picture-card. Fagin! what a spree!' Thoroughly overpowered with the notion of Mr. that he lost his balance.' replied Mr. winking at Mr. don't mind him. 'that he was uncommon sweet upon Betsy. my dear. Charley?' '_I_ should say. when he resumed his former position. Betsy's a fine girl. where (the accident abating nothing of his merriment) he lay at full length until his laugh was over. See how he's a-blushing! Oh. 'What do you think he's thinking of. Chitling. Chitling. maybe. and his pipe being by this time smoked out.' replied the Jew. Fagin! And what's six 181 . at a shilling at a time. didn't it.' 'No more it is. my dear?' replied the Jew. 'is. eh? Ha! ha! Is that it. very red in the face. or the little retirement in the country that he's just left. Stick up to her.Mr. whistling. my dear?' 'Not a bit of it. Do as she bids you. 'Never mind him. 'About his losses. and pitched over upon the floor. my dear. if it hadn't been for her advice. stopping the subject of discourse as Mr. Chitling was about to reply. Don't mind him. Chitling being the victim of the tender passion. he proceeded to amuse himself by sketching a ground-plan of Newgate on the table with the piece of chalk which had served him in lieu of counters. and you will make your fortune.' 'So I _do_ do as she bids me.

what's to laugh at. to be sure. 'There. Fagin?' 'To be sure it would. Fagin?' 'Nobody. now. angrily. and to prove the gravity of the company. and chose his time so well that it lighted on the chest of the merry old gentleman. 'No.' 'I might have got clear off.' rejoined Tom. I don't know one of 'em that would do it besides you. did I. 'I heard the tinkler. 'not a soul. my dear. Fagin?' angrily pursued the poor half-witted dupe.' asked the Dodger. unfortunately. I should like to know. A deal too stout. ducked to avoid it. not one of 'em. pouring question upon question with great volubility. 'you were too stout-hearted for that. Fagin?' 'Ah.' replied Tom. Chitling was considerably roused. while Mr. rushed across the room and aimed a blow at the offender. Charley. Ah! Who'll say as much as that. where he stood panting for breath.' replied the Jew. that the abused Mr. Chitling. Tom. winking upon Charley and the Jew. some time or another.' Catching up the light. 'A word from me would have done it. being skilful in evading pursuit. 'Hark!' cried the Dodger at this moment. Chitling looked on in intense dismay. hastened to assure him that nobody was laughing. Tom. 'if Bet was all right?' 'I mean to say that I shouldn't. without any preliminary ceremonies. 182 . 'But I didn't blab it. 'You wouldn't mind it again.' replied the Jew. would you. he crept softly upstairs. perceiving that Mr. and why not in the winter time when you don't want to go out a-walking so much. appealed to Master Bates.' replied the Jew. was unable to prevent the escape of such a violent roar. to be sure. my dear. eh. But. my dear. Fagin?' The Jew. 'and if I was. the principal offender. wouldn't it. if I'd split upon her. no. eh. eh. mightn't I. my dear!' 'Perhaps I was. my dear. in opening his mouth to reply that he was never more serious in his life.' replied the Jew. in that. who. Fagin?' demanded Tom.weeks of it? It must come. looking round. and caused him to stagger to the wall.

unwashed. as if he dreaded something. as if to leave the room. I can't talk about business till I've eat and drank. and feared to know the worst. The old man bit his yellow fingers. after casting a hurried glance round the room. 'alone?' The Dodger nodded in the affirmative. was softly and immediately obeyed. and. 'What!' cried the Jew. There was no sound of their whereabout. 'Yes. pulled off a large wrapper which had concealed the lower portion of his face. he fixed his eyes on the Jew's face. and awaited his directions. who. the Dodger reappeared.The bell was rung again.' he said. answering the mute inquiry. so produce the sustainance.' said the Jew. gave Charley Bates a private intimation. and followed by a man in a coarse smock-frock. Tom! Scarce. 'See there. Hush! Quiet. that he had better not be funny just then. 'Pop that shawl away in my castor. nodding to the Jew. in dumb show. drew a chair to the fire. Faguey?' said this worthy. and whispered Fagin mysteriously. Charley! Gently. not a bubble of blacking. and. Faguey. so that I may know where to find it when I cut. 'Where is he?' he asked. his face working with agitation the while. that's the time of day! You'll be a fine young cracksman afore the old file now. and unshorn: the features of flash Toby Crackit. and made a gesture. and placed his feet upon the hob. The Dodger pointed to the floor above. with some impatience. and let's have a quiet 183 . 'How are you. 'bring him down. scarce!' This brief direction to Charley Bates. Having performed this friendly office. while the party were in darkness. and meditated for some seconds. when the Dodger descended the stairs. Dodger. winding it round his middle. and disclosed: all haggard. and his recent antagonist. At length he raised his head. All in good time. After a short pause. man. by Jove! But don't look at me in that way. pointing disconsolately to his top boots.' With these words he pulled up the smock-frock. 'not a drop of Day and Martin since you know when. shading the flame of the candle with his hand. bearing the light in his hand.

unimpaired. 184 . 'First and foremost. At first. but in vain. 'Why. and composed himself for talking. mixed a glass of spirits and water.' replied the Jew. He looked tired and worn. Faguey. seating himself opposite the housebreaker. It was all of no use. until he could eat no more. Crackit stopped to take a draught of spirits and water. Toby continued to eat with the utmost outward indifference. and to declare that the gin was excellent. 'how's Bill?' 'What!' screamed the Jew. 'Yes. 'Where are they? Sikes and the boy! Where are they? Where have they been? Where are they hiding? Why have they not been here?' 'The crack failed. starting from his seat. you don't mean to say--' began Toby. waited his leisure. then. so as to bring his boots to about the level of his eye. Mr. stamping furiously on the ground. upon the table.' said Toby. then placing his feet against the low mantelpiece. Toby was by no means in a hurry to open the conversation. watched every morsel he put into his mouth.' said the housebreaker.' said Toby faintly. as if to gain from its expression some clue to the intelligence he brought. and. 'What more?' 'They fired and hit the boy. but there was the same complacent repose upon his features that they always wore: and through dirt. in irrepressible excitement. pacing up and down the room.fill-out for the first time these three days!' The Jew motioned to the Dodger to place what eatables there were. Then the Jew. 'First and foremost. drawing up his chair. 'Mean!' cried the Jew. 'I know it. he quietly resumed. the Jew contented himself with patiently watching his countenance. he closed the door. and whisker. in an agony of impatience. yes!' interposed the Jew. ordering the Dodger out. there still shone. and beard. Faguey. the self-satisfied smirk of flash Toby Crackit. To judge from appearances. We cut over the fields at the back. turning pale. meanwhile. tearing a newspaper from his pocket and pointing to it.

Near to the spot on which Snow Hill and Holborn Hill meet. ARE DONE AND PERFORMED The old man had gained the street corner. and scudded like the wind. Confined as the limits of Field Lane are. of all sizes and patterns. in the same wild and disordered manner. and the dogs upon us. rushed from the room. and from the house. opens. as if conscious that he was now in his proper element. every man for himself. It is 185 . In its filthy shops are exposed for sale huge bunches of second-hand silk handkerchiefs. all the main streets. and each from the gallows! We parted company.' The Jew stopped to hear no more. its beer-shop. before he began to recover the effect of Toby Crackit's intelligence. are piled with them. when. He had relaxed nothing of his unusual speed. he fell into his usual shuffling pace. for here reside the traders who purchase them from pick-pockets. when the sudden dashing past of a carriage: and a boisterous cry from the foot passengers. nor did he linger until he had again turned into a court. CHAPTER XXVI IN WHICH A MYSTERIOUS CHARACTER APPEARS UPON THE SCENE. as much as was possible. upon the right hand as you come out of the City. but uttering a loud yell. but was still pressing onward. and skulking only through the by-ways and alleys. his head hung down. leading to Saffron Hill. They were close upon our heels. that's all I know about him. Alive or dead.' 'The boy!' 'Bill had him on his back. AND MANY THINGS. Hundreds of these handkerchiefs hang dangling from pegs outside the windows or flaunting from the door-posts. Damme! the whole country was awake. We stopped to take him between us. and its fried-fish warehouse. and twining his hands in his hair. They gave chase. who saw his danger: drove him back upon the pavement. it has its barber. he at length emerged on Snow Hill. within. and the shelves. a narrow and dismal alley.with him between us--straight as the crow flies--through hedge and ditch. INSEPARABLE FROM THIS HISTORY. Avoiding. and he was cold. and left the youngster lying in a ditch. its coffee-shop. Here he walked even faster than before. and seemed to breathe more freely.

with a disappointed countenance. who traffic in dark back-parlours. for such of them as were on the look-out to buy or sell.' replied the trader. and the rag-merchant. don't you find it so?' Fagin nodded in the affirmative. The Jew nodded. and who go as strangely as they come. and crossing his hands upon his shoulders. there's some half-dozen of 'em gone in. and looking amazingly sly. 'but it soon cools down again. the clothesman. as the lawyers say. who had squeezed as much of his person into a child's chair as the chair would hold. Lively. display their goods. that I knows. 'Have you got anything in my line to-night?' 186 .a commercial colony of itself: the emporium of petty larceny: visited at early morning.' pursued the merchant. as he passed along. 'Yes. but bestowed no closer recognition until he reached the further end of the alley.' 'Sikes is not. Here. I've heerd that complaint of it. Pointing in the direction of Saffron Hill. once or twice before. 'The neighbourhood was a little too hot. the shoe-vamper. would cure the hoptalmy!' said this respectable trader.' said Fagin. 'At the Cripples?' inquired the man. to address a salesman of small stature. familiarly. as sign-boards to the petty thief. rust and rot in the grimy cellars. elevating his eyebrows. reflecting. and heaps of mildewy fragments of woollen-stuff and linen. and was smoking a pipe at his warehouse door. when he stopped. shaking his head. Fagin. in acknowledgment of the Jew's inquiry after his health. he inquired whether any one was up yonder to-night. It was into this place that the Jew turned. He replied to their salutations in the same way. by silent merchants. He was well known to the sallow denizens of the lane. 'Let me see. and setting-in of dusk. here. nodded. 'Why. 'Well.' replied the little man. stores of old iron and bones. the sight of you. I don't think your friend's there. Mr. I suppose?' inquired the Jew. '_Non istwentus_.

a young lady proceeded 187 . looking back. in which doubt and mistrust were plainly mingled. sat a chairman with a hammer of office in his hand. or rather the Cripples. The ceiling was blackened. and his face tied up for the benefit of a toothache. Lively's presence. calling after him. the professional gentleman. waved his hand to intimate that he preferred being alone. for a time. looked anxiously about: shading his eyes with his hand. Fagin walked straight upstairs. as confused as the noises that greeted the ear.' said the Jew. 'Stop! I don't mind if I have a drop there with you!' But as the Jew. running over the keys by way of prelude. an assemblage of heads. again forced himself into the little chair. 'Are you going up to the Cripples. and opening the door of a room. Fagin?' cried the little man. crowded round a long table: at the upper end of which. By degrees. as if in search of some particular person. as some of it cleared away through the open door. which was the sign by which the establishment was familiarly known to its patrons: was the public-house in which Mr. male and female. and softly insinuating himself into the chamber. Sikes and his dog have already figured. the sign of the Cripples was. as the little man could not very easily disengage himself from the chair. which having subsided. The room was illuminated by two gas-lights. moreover. The Three Cripples.'Nothing to-night. the spectator gradually became aware of the presence of a numerous company. while a professional gentleman with a bluish nose. and. might be made out. Lively. By the time he had got upon his legs. turning away. to prevent its colour from being injured by the flaring of the lamps. Merely making a sign to a man at the bar. exchanging a shake of the head with a lady in the opposite shop. occasioned a general cry of order for a song. As Fagin stepped softly in. the Jew had disappeared. that at first it was scarcely possible to discern anything more. from being visible outside. presided at a jingling piano in a remote corner. and closely-drawn curtains of faded red. after ineffectually standing on tiptoe. so Mr. and. and the place was so full of dense tobacco smoke. the glare of which was prevented by the barred shutters. however. bereft of the advantage of Mr. in the hope of catching sight of him. resumed his pipe with a grave demeanour. and as the eye grew more accustomed to the scene.

'And no news of Barney?' inquired Fagin. as loud as he could. but apparently without meeting that of which he was in search. formed the darkest and saddest portion of this dreary picture. were there. as he followed him out to the landing. It was curious to observe some faces which stood out prominently from among the group. between each of which the accompanyist played the melody all through. in their strongest aspect. and none past the prime of life. expressive of almost every vice in almost every grade.to entertain the company with a ballad in four verses. 'What can I do for you. tendered by their more boisterous admirers. and applying themselves. the compliments of the company. and said in a whisper. by their very repulsiveness. who. There was the chairman himself. in catching the eye of the man who occupied the chair. and sang it. and drunkeness in all its stages. (the landlord of the house. 'He won't stir till it's all safe. to a dozen proffered glasses of spirits and water. Fagin. as quietly as he had entered it. and women: some with the last lingering tinge of their early freshness almost fading as you looked: others with every mark and stamp of their sex utterly beaten out. Cunning. ferocity. in turn. 'Won't you join us? They'll be delighted. the professional gentleman on the chairman's right and left volunteered a duet. every one of 'em. with professional indifference. whose countenances. troubled by no grave emotions.' The Jew shook his head impatiently. and. and an ear for everything that was said--and sharp ones. too. seeming to give himself up to joviality. Depend on it. some mere girls. rough. Mr. When this was over. and left the room. they're on the 188 . with great applause. Fagin?' inquired the man. after which. the chairman gave a sentiment. at length. Succeeding.' replied the landlord of the Cripples. irresistibly attracted the attention. others but young women.' replied the man. 'None. Near him were the singers: receiving.) a coarse. heavy built fellow. for it was he. and presenting but one loathsome blank of profligacy and crime. rolled his eyes hither and thither. he beckoned to him slightly. 'Is _he_ here?' 'No. had an eye for everything that was done. while the songs were proceeding. looked eagerly from face to face while these proceedings were in progress.

he called a hack-cabriolet. 'Nothing more?' 'Not a word now. as he knocked at the door.scent down there. I shall have it out of you. He dismissed him within some quarter of a mile of Mr. do you mean?' inquired the landlord.' 'Will _he_ be here to-night?' asked the Jew. 'Yes. looking up. and that if he moved. Barney is. and tell them to lead merry lives--_while they last_. 'Now. As he is not here. drawing a gold watch from his fob. and returned to his guests. looking over the rails. Let him alone for that. that a boy might take him!' 'Ah! But it's not Phil Barker's time. 'Tell him I came here to see him. that Barney's managing properly. than his countenance resumed its former expression of anxiety and thought. he'd blow upon the thing at once.' 'Certain. before we can afford to part with him. 'Hush!' said the Jew. 'what a time this would be for a sell! I've got Phil Barker here: so drunk. He's all right enough. and bade the man drive towards Bethnal Green. 'if there is any deep play here. If you'll wait ten minutes. 'Phil has something more to do. say to-morrow. hesitating. 'I expected him here before now. so go back to the company. Ha! ha! ha!' The landlord reciprocated the old man's laugh.' 'Good!' said the man. Sikes's residence. I'll pound it. as though. hastily. After a brief reflection. and performed the short remainder of the distance.' 189 . and that he must come to me to-night. he'll be--' 'No.' said the Jew.' muttered the Jew. No. and speaking in a hoarse whisper. laying the same emphasis on the pronoun as before. my dear. however desirous he might be to see the person in question.' said the Jew. no. The Jew was no sooner alone. on foot. 'I say. my girl. descending the stairs.' replied the man. else I should have heard of him.' said the Jew. cunning as you are. to-morrow will be time enough. he was nevertheless relieved by his absence. 'Monks.' said the other.

roused the girl. During the silence.' The old man turned to close the door. When it was concluded. 'She has been drinking. in amazement. The sight of him turns me against myself. cooly. scornfully. 'Ay. she sank into her former attitude. my dear?' The girl moaned out some half intelligible reply. and if no harm comes to Bill from it. I hope he lies dead in the ditch and that his young bones may rot there. 'or perhaps she is only miserable. lying with her head upon the table.' thought the Jew. as she inquired to his recital of Toby Crackit's story. 'is better where he is. and once or twice as she feverishly changed her position. the noise thus occasioned. 'And where should you think Bill was now. I do. and entered it without any previous ceremony. shuffled her feet upon the ground. the Jew looked restlessly about the room.' 190 . only think!' 'The child. and to know that the worst is over.' 'Pooh!' said the Jew. She pushed the candle impatiently away. 'I shall be glad to have him away from my eyes. the woman said. and all of you. Apparently satisfied with his inspection.' returned the girl. too. suddenly looking up. and seemed. The girl was alone.' said the Jew.' 'What!' cried the Jew. but the girl heeded him no more than if he had been made of stone. and rubbing his hands together. to be crying. but this was all. I can't bear to have him about me. At length he made another attempt. 'You're drunk. as if to assure himself that there were no appearances of Sikes having covertly returned.She was in her room. 'Poor leetle child! Left in a ditch. 'And the boy. Nance.' said the girl. that she could not tell. but spoke not a word. said. straining his eyes to catch a glimpse of her face. She eyed his crafty face narrowly. from the smothered noise that escaped her. meeting his gaze. and made as many efforts to open a conversation. than among us. in his most conciliatory tone. and her hair straggling over it. he coughed twice or thrice. as he made this reflection. Fagin crept softly upstairs.

then!' responded the girl. 'It's no fault of yours. doesn't it?' 'No!' rejoined the Jew. trembled with the apprehension of having himself disclosed some hidden villainy. it will be too late!' 'What is all this?' cried the girl involuntarily. He appeared somewhat reassured. Listen to me. and changed his whole demeanour. with a laugh. and dead or alive. and when he can't he won't. exasperated beyond all bounds by his companion's unexpected obstinacy.'Am I?' cried the girl bitterly. 'If Bill has not done it this time. furiously. his eyes had dilated. to a born devil that only wants the will. rubbing the palms of his hands nervously together. raising her head languidly. to--' Panting for breath. so no more about that. 'Nancy. murder him yourself if you would have him escape Jack Ketch. if he gets off free. 'Change it!' exclaimed the Jew. 191 . and will do many more when he can. 'It does not. If he comes back. He has done many a good job for you. After a short silence. if I am not! You'd never have me anything else. his clenched hands had grasped the air. can strangle Sikes as surely as if I had his bull's throat between my fingers now. and in that instant checked the torrent of his wrath. on beholding her in the same listless attitude from which he had first roused her.' 'Change it. he will another. or mind me. 'Did you mind me. the old man stammered for a word. And do it the moment he sets foot in this room. my dear?' said the Jew. 'What is it?' pursued Fagin. cowering together. am I to lose what chance threw me in the way of getting safely. mad with rage.--the humour doesn't suit you. except now. if you had your will. through the whims of a drunken gang that I could whistle away the lives of! And me bound. but now. 'I _will_ change it! Listen to me. in his usual voice. and has the power to. and.' 'Regarding this boy. Fagin!' replied the girl. you drab. he ventured to look round at his companion. and leaves the boy behind him. 'When the boy's worth hundreds of pounds to me. fails to restore him to me. dear?' 'Don't worry me now. who with six words. and the vexation of the night. dear!' croaked the Jew. too. and his face grown livid with passion. he shrunk into a chair. A moment before.

for Bill's worth two of Toby any time. and in which. and afterwards into a compound of feelings: under the influence of which she shed tears one minute. that night. as of dust and mud. that she was very far gone indeed. in their tenderer years. that his original impression of her being more than a trifle in liquor. It blew from the right quarter for the Jew. my dear?' observed the Jew. and straight before it he went: trembling. Mr. who had had considerable experience of such matters in his time. first into dullness. and of ascertaining. was not exempt from a failing which was very common among the Jew's female pupils.' 'And about what I was saying. Having eased his mind by this discovery. with great satisfaction. seemed to have cleared them of passengers. with her head upon the table. and a wholesale perfume of Geneva which pervaded the apartment. you had better wait till to-morrow. and shivering. they were rather encouraged than checked. 'and if it is. for few people were abroad. was confirmed. Fagin. The weather being dark. I hope he is dead. and in the next gave utterance to various exclamations of 'Never say die!' and divers calculations as to what might be the amount of the odds so long as a lady or gentleman was happy. 'Your must say it all over again. And if Toby got clear off. she answered them so readily. indeed. hastily. that Sikes had not returned. with his own eyes. It was within an hour of midnight.--that is. and was withal so utterly unmoved by his searching looks. but now I'm stupid again.' rejoined Nancy. after indulging in the temporary display of violence above described.' Fagin put several other questions: all with the same drift of ascertaining whether the girl had profited by his unguarded hints. if Bill comes to no harm. saw. but. and out of harm's way. afforded strong confirmatory evidence of the justice of the Jew's supposition. as every fresh gust drove him 192 . and piercing cold. Nancy. keeping his glistening eye steadily upon her. however. Fagin again turned his face homeward: leaving his young friend asleep. if it's anything you want me to do. 'and I say again. Her disordered appearance. and they were to all appearance hastening fast home. and having accomplished his twofold object of imparting to the girl what he had. she subsided. and out of yours. Bill's pretty sure to be safe.' interrupted Nancy.'The boy must take his chance with the rest. The sharp wind that scoured the streets. Mr. he had no great temptation to loiter. and when. heard. You put me up for a minute.

my dear. he unlocked the door.' said the man. 'Nothing bad. while he got a light. and requested him to close it softly. but his companion repeating his request in a peremptory manner. 'Fagin!' whispered a voice close to his ear. 'Well. and slackening his pace as he spoke. interrupting him. 'I have been lingering here these two hours.' 'Oh. groping forward a few steps. before which they had by this time arrived: remarking. or it shut of its own accord: one or the other. 'Make haste!' 'Shut the door. that he had better say what he had got to say. when a dark figure emerged from a projecting entrance which lay in deep shadow. 'That wasn't my doing. and turning a startled look on his companion. glided up to him unperceived. indeed. it closed with a loud noise. feeling his way. turning quickly round.rudely on his way. 'Ah!' said the Jew. crossing the road. As he spoke. or I shall knock my brains out against something in this confounded hole. 'The wind blew it to. and the wind blew through him.' whispered Fagin from the end of the passage. glancing uneasily at his companion. Fagin looked as if he could have willingly excused himself from taking home a visitor at that unseasonable hour. 'It's as dark as the grave. Where the devil have you been?' 'On your business. and was already fumbling in his pocket for the door-key. stopping short. I hope?' said the stranger. and.' 193 .' replied the Jew. when the stranger.' said the other man. motioned to the house. He had reached the corner of his own street. and what's come of it?' 'Nothing good. Look sharp with the light. muttered something about having no fire. and. 'On your business all night. The Jew shook his head.' said the Jew. 'is that--' 'Yes!' interrupted the stranger. and was about to reply. with a sneer. under cover: for his blood was chilled with standing about so long. of course!' said the stranger.

and the candle outside. shrugging his shoulders. scores of times? If you had had patience for a twelvemonth. throwing open a door on the first floor. a listener might easily have perceived that Fagin appeared to be defending himself against some remarks of the stranger. he returned with a lighted candle. do you mean to say you couldn't have done it. and the intelligence that Toby Crackit was asleep in the back room below. 'I tell you again. and that the boys were in the front one. which stood behind the door. and that the latter was in a state of considerable irritation. Beckoning the man to follow him. and made a sneaking. which was destitute of all movables save a broken arm-chair. They might have been talking. my dear. 'Haven't you done it. They conversed for some time in whispers. sternly. 194 . at most. it was badly planned. and we never show lights to our neighbours. Why not have kept him here among the rest. snivelling pickpocket of him at once?' 'Only hear him!' exclaimed the Jew. placed the candle on an upper flight of stairs. Though nothing of the conversation was distinguishable beyond a few disjointed words here and there. 'Why.Fagin stealthily descended the kitchen stairs. perhaps for life?' 'Whose turn would that have served. thus. and the Jew. stooping down. couldn't you have got him convicted. he led the way upstairs. raising his voice a little. he led the way into the apartment. and sent safely out of the kingdom. if you had chosen?' demanded Monks. and an old couch or sofa without covering. the Jew. This done. drawing up the arm-chair opposite. 'and as there are holes in the shutters. 'We can say the few words we've got to say in here. the door was partially open. they sat face to face. my dear?' inquired the Jew humbly. It was not quite dark. for a quarter of an hour or more. we'll set the candle on the stairs. There!' With those words. exactly opposite to the room door. threw a feeble reflection on the opposite wall.' said the Jew. the stranger sat himself with the air of a weary man. After a short absence. with other boys. Upon this piece of furniture. when Monks--by which name the Jew had designated the strange man several times in the course of their colloquy--said.

Anything but his death.' replied the Jew. I know what these girls are. and then _she_ begins to favour him. If he is alive. with a look of terror. I won't shed blood. 'I saw it was not easy to train him to the business. or we labour in vain. 'But not mine. 'No.'Mine. or. submissively. 'Why. she'll care no more for him. Monks. I might be glad to have it done. my dear. I told you from the first. 'Mind that. When there are two parties to a bargain. If they shot him 195 .--but if the worst comes to the worst. and. you might never have clapped eyes on the boy to notice him. is it. I can make him one from this time. which we always must have in the beginning.' 'Throttle the girl!' said Monks. drawing nearer to the other. anxiously watching the countenance of his companion. Well! I got him back for you by means of the girl. and haunts a man besides.' 'Curse him. I had nothing to frighten him with. no!' muttered the man.' pursued the Jew. smiling. mind. and clasping the Jew's arm with trembling hands. 'His hand was not in. impatiently. 'He might have become of use to me. than for a block of wood. 'And I don't quarrel with it now. 'or he would have been a thief. my good friend?' 'What then?' demanded Monks. it is only reasonable that the interests of both should be consulted.' replied the Jew. one of these days. we can't afford to do that just now. and so led to the discovery that it was him you were looking for. Fagin! I had no hand in it. if--if--' said the Jew. What could I do? Send him out with the Dodger and Charley? We had enough of that. well. my dear!' renewed the Jew.--'it's not likely. that sort of thing is not in our way. no.' said the Jew. long ago. 'he was not like other boys in the same circumstances. my dear. You want him made a thief.' 'I had no hold upon him to make him worse. at first. I trembled for us all. if it had never happened. and he is dead--' 'It's no fault of mine if he is!' interposed the other man. As soon as the boy begins to harden. besides. 'and.' '_That_ was not my doing. because.' replied Monks. it's always found out.' observed Monks.

'The shadow! I saw the shadow of a woman. and explained. 'It was bending forward when I saw it first. trembling. but all was still as death. he had locked them in. Monks. if he pleased. and. 'Besides ourselves. however. and they're safe enough. as he sprung to his feet. taking up the light and turning to his companion. His protestations had gradually become less and less vehement as they proceeded in their search without making any discovery. now. and thence into the cellars below. was standing where it had been placed. there's not a creature in the house except Toby and the boys. 'What do you think now?' said the Jew. and empty. and. ascended the stairs. They looked into all the rooms. It showed them only the empty staircase. 'I'll swear I saw it!' replied Monks. pass along the wainscot like a breath!' The Jew released his hold. I was not the cause.dead. with both arms. and their own white faces.' The Jew glanced contemptuously at the pale face of his associate. They descended into the passage. do you hear me? Fire this infernal den! What's that?' 'What!' cried the Jew. 196 .' said the Jew. and confessed it could only have been his excited imagination. He declined any renewal of the conversation. he gave vent to several very grim laughs. The candle. and they rushed tumultuously from the room. 'It's your fancy. 'Where?' 'Yonder! replied the man. the Jew drew forth two keys from his pocket. They listened intently: a profound silence reigned throughout the house. grasping the coward round the body. telling him he could follow. it darted away. to prevent any intrusion on the conference. bare. The green damp hung upon the low walls. wasted by the draught. that when he first went downstairs. in a cloak and bonnet. the tracks of the snail and slug glistened in the light of the candle. when they had regained the passage. glaring at the opposite wall. and when I spoke. And so the amiable couple parted. they were cold. This accumulated testimony effectually staggered Mr. See here!' As a proof of the fact. for that night: suddenly remembering that it was past one o'clock.

and in whose ear he had whispered sweet words. or court-of-law beadles. lay the remotest sustainable claim. on the arrival of which. in this place. and ascertained to a nicety the exact condition of the furniture. Thinking begets thinking. he had purposed to introduce.CHAPTER XXVII ATONES FOR THE UNPOLITENESS OF A FORMER CHAPTER. down to the very horse-hair seats of the chairs. by want of time and space. to postpone to some more convenient and fitting opportunity. and had repeated each process full half a dozen times. and (by consequence) great virtues. imperatively claim at his hands. and they in a very lowly and inferior degree). indeed. a parochial beadle. Bumble had re-counted the teaspoons. and the skirts of his coat gathered up under his arms. WHICH DESERTED A LADY. as there were no sounds of Mrs. or even chapel-of-ease beadles (save the last. can mere companies' beadles. and to treat them with all that duteous ceremony which their exalted rank. it occured to Mr. attached to a parochail workhouse. Towards this end. might well thrill the bosom of maid or matron of whatsoever degree. by no means. in right and virtue of his office. the historian whose pen traces these words--trusting that he knows his place. with his back to the fire. MOST UNCEREMONIOUSLY As it would be. which. before he began to think that it was time for Mrs. Bumble that it would be an innocent and virtuous way of spending the time. re-weighed the sugar-tongs. and elucidative of the position. and attending in his official capacity the parochial church: is. until such time as it might suit his pleasure to relieve him. and that to none of those excellences. a dissertation touching the divine right of beadles. Mr. if he were further to allay his 197 . he will be prepared to show. that a beadle properly constituted: that is to say. Corney's approach. or his gallantry to involve in the same neglect a lady on whom that beadle had looked with an eye of tenderness and affection. and as it would still less become his station. coming from such a quarter. seemly in a humble author to keep so mighty a personage as a beadle waiting. possessed of all the excellences and best qualities of humanity. and that he entertains a becoming reverence for those upon earth to whom high and important authority is delegated--hastens to pay them that respect which their position demands. that a beadle can do no wrong: which could not fail to have been both pleasurable and profitable to the right-minded reader but which he is unfortunately compelled. made a closer inspection of the milk-pot. Corney to return.

being filled with various garments of good fashion and texture.' 'Oh. said. 'who has dared to--? I know!' said Mr. ma'am? Has anything happened. ma'am. Bumble. ma'am? Pray answer me: I'm on--on--' Mr. Bumble soothingly. and covering her eyes with one hand. and. 'Mrs. Bumble.--oh! The 198 . 'I can't help it. to assure himself that nobody was approaching the chamber. 'I have been so dreadfully put out!' 'Put out.' said Mr. with a grave and determined air. Bumble. and gasped for breath. which. shuddering.' so he said 'broken bottles. 'Then take something. on a chair by the fireside. checking himself. 'I'll do it!' He followed up this remarkable declaration. Bumble!' cried the lady. Corney. ma'am!' exclaimed Mr. with much seeming pleasure and interest. threw herself. at the right-hand corner drawer (in which was the key).' rejoined Mr. gave forth a pleasant sound. 'this is them wicious paupers!' 'It's dreadful to think of!' said the lady. when Mrs. in his alarm. Corney's chest of drawers. in course of time.' whimpered the lady. ma'am. as though he were remonstrating with himself for being such a pleasant dog. he took a view of his legs in profile. with native majesty. Corney. Mr. by shaking his head in a waggish manner for ten minutes. Mr. Bumble. and beholding therein a small padlocked box. Mr. being shaken. resuming his old attitude. Bumble returned with a stately walk to the fireplace. Bumble. He was still placidly engaged in this latter survey. Having listened at the keyhole. 'what is this. hurrying into the room. carefully preserved between two layers of old newspapers.' said Mr. beginning at the bottom.curiousity by a cursory glance at the interior of Mrs. Corney. 'A little of the wine?' 'Not for the world!' replied Mrs. in a breathless state. stooping over the matron. and then. placed the other over her heart. as of the chinking of coin. speckled with dried lavender: seemed to yield him exceeding satisfaction. Arriving. 'Then _don't_ think of it. could not immediately think of the word 'tenterhooks. 'I couldn't. Bumble. proceeded to make himself acquainted with the contents of the three long drawers: which.

where it had previously rested. Bumble. Bumble had illustrated the position by removing his left arm from the back of Mrs. round which it gradually became entwined. Nothing was said on either side. 'So we are. 'Peppermint. and tenderly inquired what had happened to distress her. 'I'm better now.' said Mrs. distractedly. Mr.' retorted Mr. 'We are all weak creeturs. Corney's chair. and underwent a convulsion from internal spasms. Bumble rushed to the closet. to the cupboard. ma'am. and. in a faint voice. Corney. ma'am. smacked his lips. filled a tea-cup with its contents. weak creetur. and put the cup down empty. and held it to the lady's lips. after drinking half of it. Mr. for a minute or two afterwards. Mr. Corney. smiling gently on the beadle as she spoke. took another taste. 'Very much so indeed.' said the beadle. 'Try it! There's a little--a little something else in it.' exclaimed Mrs. Corney. Bumble tasted the medicine with a doubtful look. 199 .' said Mrs. laying down a general principle.' 'Not weak. Corney. Mrs. excitable. drawing his chair a little closer.top shelf in the right-hand corner--oh!' Uttering these words. 'Are you a weak creetur. Corney?' 'We are all weak creeturs.' said Mr. to Mrs. and. Mrs. Corney's apron-string. By the expiration of that time. Corney. the good lady pointed. 'I am a foolish. falling back. lifted it to his nose. As he spoke.' replied Mrs.' said Mrs.' said the beadle. 'Nothing. 'It's very comforting.' Mr. Bumble. Bumble raised his eyes piously to the ceiling in thankfulness. Corney sighed. snatching a pint green-glass bottle from the shelf thus incoherently indicated. he drew a chair beside the matron. bringing them down again to the brim of the cup.

Mrs. Mrs. 'Such porochial perfection!' exclaimed Mr. slightly returning the pressure.' said Mr. 'Oh. Mrs. 'Coals.' replied Mrs. Corney?' inquired the beadle. 'I can't help it. Bumble. little word.' said Mr. 'The one little. 'Another room. Corney drooped her head. Corney?' Mrs. Corney. the beadle drooped his. bashfully.' said Mr. the doctor says. Mrs. when the beadle said this. what an Angel you are!' The lady was not proof against this burst of feeling. 'He can't live a week. Corney. And she sighed again.' rejoined Mr. don't they. my fascinator?' 'Yes. rapturously. Bumble. Corney sobbed. Corney. candles. in soft accents. 'Eh. and house-rent free. Oh. Bumble.' said Mrs. Bumble. Corney. and that gentleman in his agitation. and released her hand to get at her pocket-handkerchief. She sank into Mr. Mrs.' replied Mrs. Slout is worse to-night.'Don't sigh. ma'am. Corney's face.' pursued Mr. Bumble's arms. affectionately pressing her hand. that wacancy must be filled up. and this. 'The little word?' said Mr. 'He is the master of this establishment. Bumble. Corney. Corney. 'You know that Mr. 'But not for two. to get a view of Mrs. what a prospect this opens! What a opportunity for a jining of hearts and housekeepings!' Mrs. bending over the bashful beauty. imprinted a passionate kiss upon her chaste nose. 'This is a very comfortable room. would be a complete thing. ma'am. but insensibly replaced it in that of Mr. Bumble looking round. with great propriety.' 'It would be too much for one. turned her head away. little. Corney. Bumble. 'The board allows you coals. Bumble. 'And candles. ma'am.' murmured the lady. my blessed Corney?' 200 . Mrs. his death will cause a wacancy.

'I'll call at Sowerberry's as I go home. Corney twice essayed to speak: and twice failed. Bumble. but. sipping his peppermint. as would presume to do it. 'If I thought it was. 'compose your darling feelings for only one more. love. hastily. Bumble. clenching his fist. and that he was 'a irresistible duck. dear. 'Won't you tell your own B.' said that gentleman.'Ye--ye--yes!' sighed out the matron. this might have seemed no very high compliment to the lady's charms.' rejoined the lady.' 'After we're married!' exclaimed Mr. 'It must have been something.' responded the lady.' Matters being thus amicably and satisfactorily arranged. no.?' 'Not now. 'It wasn't any impudence from any of them male paupers as--' 'No.' said the lady evasively. she threw her arms around Mr.' urged Mr. and tell him to send to-morrow morning. and I can tell him that he wouldn't do it a second time!' Unembellished by any violence of gesticulation. and said. After we're married. At length summoning up courage. 'Let me see any man. Bumble. love!' interposed the lady. 'One more.' pursued the beadle. 'if I thought as any one of 'em had dared to lift his wulgar eyes to that lovely countenance--' 'They wouldn't have dared to do it. Bumble's neck. the contract was solemnly ratified in another teacupful of the peppermint mixture. it might be as soon as ever he pleased. 'one of these days. she was 201 . dear. Bumble accompanied the threat with many warlike gestures. by the flutter and agitation of the lady's spirits. she acquainted Mr. Was it that as frightened you. Bumble.' continued Mr. which was rendered the more necessary. as Mr. love. 'They had better not!' said Mr. Bumble with the old woman's decease. 'Very good. porochial or extra-porochial. While it was being disposed of. When is it to come off?' Mrs. love?' 'It wasn't anything particular.

in cases of internal fever. these symptoms were confirmed by the intense relish with which he took his oysters. do. Noah. Mr. in the male paupers' ward. with great admiration. A more than ordinary redness in the region of the young gentleman's nose. Now. opening oysters from a barrel: which Mr. Claypole condescended to swallow. Claypole. denoted that he was in a slight degree intoxicated. 'What a pity it is. 'Here's a delicious fat one. he was not a little surprised. a number of 'em should ever make you feel uncomfortable. Noah Claypole lolled negligently in an easy-chair. At the upper end of the table. The cloth was laid for supper. that he was indeed a dove. for a few minutes. only this one. Mr. The dove then turned up his coat-collar. to abuse them a little. once again braved the cold wind of the night: merely pausing. but. and a kind of fixed wink in his right eye. with his legs thrown over one of the arms: an open clasp-knife in one hand. 'try him. Bumble tapped with his cane on the counter several times. Charlotte?' 202 . and a mass of buttered bread in the other.' 'What a delicious thing is a oyster!' remarked Mr. with the view of satisfying himself that he could fill the office of workhouse-master with needful acerbity. Bumble left the building with a light heart. and. Close beside him stood Charlotte. the shop was not closed. having exchanged a long and affectionate embrace with his future partner. plates and glasses. Sowerberry having gone out to tea and supper: and Noah Claypole not being at any time disposed to take upon himself a greater amount of physical exertion than is necessary to a convenient performance of the two functions of eating and drinking. after he had swallowed it. isn't it. and beholding a light shining through the glass-window of the little parlour at the back of the shop. Assured of his qualifications. and put on his cocked hat. the table was covered with bread and butter. and when he saw what was going forward. Mr. although it was past the usual hour of shutting-up. could have sufficiently accounted. he made bold to peep in and see what was going forward. dear!' said Charlotte. and bright visions of his future promotion: which served to occupy his mind until he reached the shop of the undertaker. Mr. a porter-pot and a wine-bottle. attracting no attention. and protested. with remarkable avidity. for which nothing but a strong appreciation of their cooling properties. and Mrs.much touched with this proof of his devotion.

reflectively. blubbering. delicate beard!' 'I can't manage any more. 'Yer are. 'She's always a-doin' of it.' said Charlotte. Claypole. 'I'm very sorry. 'Take yourself downstairs.' said Noah. 'An't yer fond of oysters?' 'Not overmuch. at your peril. 'Here's one with such a beautiful. Noah. Bumble. owdacious fellow!' said Mr. and makes all manner of love!' 'Silence!' cried Mr.' replied Charlotte. and the character of the peasantry gone for ever!' With these words. 'The sin and wickedness of the lower orders in this porochial district is frightful! If Parliament don't take their abominable courses under consideration. Do you hear sir? Kissing!' cried Mr. the beadle strode. you wile. gazed at the beadle in drunken terror.' Charlotte uttered a scream.' 'Oh. Noah dear. or not.' 'Lor!' said Noah. with a lofty and gloomy air. Bumble. 'So it is. and I'll kiss yer. without making any further change in his position than suffering his legs to reach the ground. and hid her face in her apron. Noah. ma'am. and. Bumble. bursting into the room.' said Charlotte. sternly. say another word till your master comes home. holding up his hands. 203 . better than eating 'em myself.'It's quite a cruelty. 'how queer!' 'Have another.' cried Charlotte. Come here. reproachfully. sir. you shut up the shop. 'Faugh!' 'I didn't mean to do it!' said Noah. you insolent minx? Kiss her!' exclaimed Mr. 'I like to see you eat 'em. 'Say it again. when he does come home.' 'What!' said Mr. 'Say that again. from the undertaker's premises. this country's ruined. tell him that Mr. please. Mr. Bumble. whether I like it. 'How dare you mention such a thing. Bumble. Bumble. sir. sir? And how dare you encourage him.' acquiesced Mr. she chucks me under the chin. 'She's always a-kissing of me. Claypole. Charlotte. in strong indignation. Mr. Bumble said he was to send a old woman's shell after breakfast to-morrow morning. sir. yer know yer are!' retorted Noah.

and have made all necessary preparations for the old woman's funeral. again looking round.' At this moment the noise grew louder. 'Don't play booty with me. Sikes.And now that we have accompanied him so far on his road home. and turned his head. could discern that the men who had given chase were 204 . and the barking of the neighbouring dogs. with the most desperate ferocity that his desperate nature was capable of. 'Come back!' Toby made a show of returning. resounded in every direction. broken for want of breath. CHAPTER XXVIII LOOKS AFTER OLIVER. 'Stop. making the best use of his long legs. AND PROCEEDS WITH HIS ADVENTURES 'Wolves tear your throats!' muttered Sikes. was already ahead. roused by the sound of the alarm bell.' As Sikes growled forth this imprecation. and ascertain whether he be still lying in the ditch where Toby Crackit left him. he rested the body of the wounded boy across his bended knee. There was little to be made out. 'Stop!' The repetition of the word. but the loud shouting of men vibrated through the air. 'Quicker!' cried Sikes. in a low voice. who. 'I wish I was among some of you. 'Bear a hand with the boy. beckoning furiously to his confederate. shouting after Toby Crackit. you'd howl the hoarser for it. brought Toby to a dead stand-still. laying the boy in a dry ditch at his feet. grinding his teeth. and drawing a pistol from his pocket.' cried Sikes. for an instant. to intimate considerable reluctance as he came slowly along. but ventured. let us set on foot a few inquires after young Oliver Twist. in the mist and darkness. you white-livered hound!' cried the robber. and Sikes was in no mood to be played with. For he was not quite satisfied that he was beyond the range of pistol-shot. to look back at his pursuers.

before another hedge which met it at right angles. 'Pincher! Neptune! Come here.' replied the shorter man. ho. the little man _did_ seem to know his situation. and was gone. who had by this time advanced some distance into the field. Crackit. there!' cried a tremulous voice in the rear. for a second. 205 . Giles ought to know.' 'Certainly. and very polite: as frightened men frequently are. 'Ho. 'It's all up. and that a couple of dogs were some paces in advance of them. is.' With this parting advice.' To tell the truth. Giles says. Three men. paused. 'that we 'mediately go home again.' said the fattest man of the party. took one look around. fairly turned tail. 'and whatever Mr. to the certainty of being taken by his enemies.already climbing the gate of the field in which he stood. or. my _orders_. 'My advice.' said Giles. Giles. gentlemen. Brittles. 'I shouldn't wish to appear ill-mannered. and show 'em your heels. no. I know my sitiwation! Thank my stars. cleared it at a bound. the cape in which he had been hurriedly muffled. 'You are afraid. and whirling his pistol high into the air. and who was very pale in the face. preferring the chance of being shot by his friend. leastways. for his teeth chattered in his head as he spoke. 'Mr. Mr. 'I an't. Giles.' said the third. and to know perfectly well that it was by no means a desirable one. ran along the front of the hedge. it isn't our place to contradict him. as if to distract the attention of those behind.' said Mr. I know my sitiwation. Sikes clenched his teeth. stopped to take counsel together. who. and darted off at full speed. who had called the dogs back. Bill!' cried Toby. in common with their masters. come here!' The dogs. 'You are. threw over the prostrate form of Oliver.' said a shorter man. 'drop the kid. No. from the spot where the boy lay. who was by no means of a slim figure. I should say. readily answered to the command. seemed to have no particular relish for the sport in which they were engaged.' 'I am agreeable to anything which is agreeable to Mr.' said Brittles.

Now. as I was climbing over it. 'But it's wonderful. like his. most philosophically. imposed upon himself under cover of a compliment. upon which. Mr. Brittles. Giles. under such circumstances. 'we're all afraid. 'I know what it was.' exclaimed Brittles. Giles. 'So I do. catching at the idea.' said Brittles.' 'I shouldn't wonder if it was.' 206 .' said Mr.' said Giles. 'You're a lie.' said Mr. Giles (who had the shortest wind of the party. I should have committed murder--I know I should--if we'd caught one of them rascals. and Mr. and ran back again with the completest unanimity. these four retorts arose from Mr. who at once owned that _he_ was afraid.' As the other two were impressed with a similar presentiment. Giles.' said Mr. who was the palest of the party. and as their blood. sir. 'that that gate stopped the flow of the excitement. 'only there's no call to tell a man he is.'You're a falsehood. so bounceably.' These frank admissions softened Mr.' said Mr. 'You may depend upon it. The third man brought the dispute to a close. Giles.' said Brittles. to make an apology for his hastiness of speech. Giles's taunt had arisen from his indignation at having the responsibility of going home again. until Mr.' replied the man. 'what a man will do. 'I'll tell you what it is. 'it was the gate. I am.' 'Speak for yourself. I felt all mine suddenly going away.' said he. they all three faced about. as was encumbered with a pitchfork) most handsomely insisted on stopping. gentlemen.' 'So am I. when his blood is up. Giles. had all gone down again. some speculation ensued upon the cause of this sudden change in their temperament. Giles. when he had explained. Giles's taunt. 'It's natural and proper to be afraid.

that it was the gate.By a remarkable coincidence. and pattered noisily among the leafless bushes. The air grew colder. as its first dull hue--the death of night. and the mist rolled along the ground like a dense cloud of smoke. Morning drew on apace. like some exhalation of the damp and gloomy atmosphere through which it was swiftly borne. the pathways. were all mire and water. was treated as a promising young boy still. having entered her service a mere child. the damp breath of an unwholesome wind went languidly by. together with his two mongrel curs. and a travelling tinker who had been sleeping in an outhouse. lest its light should inform the thieves in what direction to fire. keeping very close together. the boy awoke. rather than the birth of day--glimmered faintly in the sky. The air become more sharp and piercing. and looking apprehensively round. Still. Catching up the light. the light might have been seen twinkling and dancing in the distance. helpless and unconscious. The objects which had looked dim and terrible in the darkness. Brittles was a lad of all-work: who. Mr. on his bed of clay. hung heavy and useless at his side. Oliver felt it not. The grass was wet. It was quite obvious. and long after their dusky forms had ceased to be discernible. therefore. But. rudely bandaged in a shawl. the three men hurried back to a tree. though he was something past thirty. at a good round trot. This dialogue was held between the two men who had surprised the burglars. thick and fast. especially as there was no doubt regarding the time at which the change had taken place. His left arm. for he still lay stretched. as it beat against him. and gradually resolved into their familiar shapes. whenever a fresh gust rattled through the boughs. Encouraging each other with such converse as this. as day came slowly on. Oliver lay motionless and insensible on the spot where Sikes had left him. and low places. a low cry of pain broke the stillness that prevailed. and who had been roused. but. because all three remembered that they had come in sight of the robbers at the instant of its occurance. behind which they had left their lantern. The rain came down. they made the best of their way home. Giles acted in the double capacity of butler and steward to the old lady of the mansion. At length. and uttering it. to join in the pursuit. the other two had been visited with the same unpleasant sensation at that precise moment. grew more and more defined. with a hollow moaning. the bandage was 207 . notwithstanding.

all was noise and tumult. he knew not whither. he made an effort to stand upright. that he could scarcely raise himself into a sitting posture. than in the lonely open fields. but the shape and aspect of the building seemed familiar to him. Then. he thought. nevertheless. with his head drooping languidly on his breast. and when he caught his own attention. and essayed to walk. he looked feebly round for help. sounded in his ears. He remembered nothing of its details. hosts of bewildering and confused ideas came crowding on his mind. His head was dizzy. Suddenly. After a short return of the stupor in which he had been so long plunged. and as shadowy people passed them. he started back at the report of firearms. he must surely die: got upon his feet. to die near human beings. Trembling in every joint. fell prostrate on the ground. and groaned with pain. and saw that at no great distance there was a house. lights gleamed before his eyes. and bent his faltering steps towards it. there ran an undefined. he had fallen on his knees last night. creeping. who were angrily disputing--for the very words they said. Oliver: urged by a creeping sickness at his heart. which seemed to warn him that if he lay there. but. until he reached a road. Through all these rapid visions. as it were. He looked about. when he had done so. as some unseen hand bore him hurriedly away. Pitying his condition. He was so weak. he was alone with Sikes.saturated with blood. Here the rain began to fall so heavily. uneasy consciousness of pain. But he kept up. He summoned up all his strength for one last trial. Thus he staggered on. As he drew nearer to this house. and. he found that he was talking to them. between the bars of gates. And now. there rose into the air. He seemed to be still walking between Sikes and Crackit. went stumbling onward. almost mechanically. by making some violent effort to save himself from falling. that it roused him. loud cries and shouts. from cold and exhaustion. It was the 208 . which wearied and tormented him incessantly. and prayed the two men's mercy. he felt the robber's grasp upon his wrist. it would be better. plodding on as on the previous day. a feeling come over him that he had seen it before. or through hedge-gaps as they came in his way. they might have compassion on him. That garden wall! On the grass inside. and if they did not. and he staggered to and fro like a drunken man. shuddering from head to foot. which perhaps he could reach.

Oliver felt such fear come over him when he recognised the place. he illustrated a circumstantial and minute account of the robbery. while. Not that it was Mr. that. and asked the housemaid to shut the door: who asked Brittles. after the fatigues and terrors of the night. "This is illusion". and swung open on its hinges. But.' 'What sort of a noise?' asked the cook. when I woke up. he forgot the agony of his wound.' 209 . 'More like the noise of powdering a iron bar on a nutmeg-grater. and thought only of flight. who were of the party) listened with breathless interest. with his right. at first. which. Giles sat with his legs stretched out before the kitchen fender. Giles. and pulled the corner of the table-cloth over him to imitate bed-clothes. his whole strength failing him. climbed the steps. and. in the kitchen.' replied Mr. knocked faintly at the door.' continued Mr. 'A kind of a busting noise. who pretended not to hear. and the tinker. Flight! He could scarcely stand: and if he were in full possession of all the best powers of his slight and youthful frame. Giles. with tea and sundries. (here Mr. leaning his left arm on the table. distinct. fires. Mr. turning round in my bed. Giles turned round in his chair.very house they had attempted to rob. as it might be so. it was unlocked. Brittles. while it gratified. 'It was about half-past two. so Mr. and was composing myself off to sleep.) I fancied I heerd a noise. sunk down against one of the pillars of the little portico. were recruiting themselves. and burglary. He tottered across the lawn. for the instant. It happened that about this time. when I heerd the noise again. whither could he fly? He pushed against the garden-gate. Giles's habit to admit to too great familiarity the humbler servants: towards whom it was rather his wont to deport himself with a lofty affability.' At this point of the narrative the cook turned pale. to which his bearers (but especially the cook and housemaid. could not fail to remind them of his superior position in society. Giles. looking round him. '--Heerd a noise. 'I says. and. make all men equals. who asked the tinker. 'or I wouldn't swear that it mightn't have been a little nearer three. death. Giles.' said Mr.

' said Giles. 'It was. sir. when I had woke him. rolling back the table-cloth. I think. 'Brittles is right."' '_Was_ he frightened?' asked the cook. '"but don't be frightened. drew on a pair of--' 'Ladies present. what's to be done? I'll call up that poor lad. when _you_ heerd it. and looking very hard at the cook and housemaid. who fixed his upon the speaker. "Brittles.' resumed Mr.' murmured the tinker. Giles. I turned down the clothes'. and walked on tiptoes to his room. "don't be frightened!"' 'So you did. Giles. and stared at him. 'I heerd it now.' observed Brittles. Giles. '"We're dead men. plucking up a little. 'but. without his ever knowing it. Giles. 'got softly out of bed. and his face expressive of the most unmitigated horror. Mr. with his mouth wide open. quite apparent. or his throat. "is forcing of a door. and listened. if it had been me. 210 ." I says. 'You're a woman.' replied Mr. or window.' retorted Brittles.' The cook and housemaid simultaneously ejaculated 'Lor!' and drew their chairs closer together. all eyes were turned upon Brittles.' said Giles. Brittles. turning upon him." I says. nodding his head. at this time. Giles. continued Giles.' observed the housemaid. '"Somebody." I says." I says. Brittles.' 'I should have died at once. 'He was as firm--ah! pretty near as firm as I was. 'I tossed off the clothes. sir. "may be cut from his right ear to his left. and save him from being murdered in his bed. throwing away the table-cloth. 'sat up in bed.' rejoined Mr. it had a busting sound.' continued Giles.suggested Brittles.' said Mr. and laying great emphasis on the word. in a low voice."' Here. 'seized the loaded pistol that always goes upstairs with the plate-basket. 'Not a bit of it. '--Of _shoes_. I'm sure.

'from a woman. 'It was a knock. being naturally modest. as he pleasantly 211 . Giles. as he spoke. that they were strong in numbers. but that young man. Giles directed an appealing glance at the tinker. to make them bark savagely. and hurried back to his chair. being men. they all talked very loud. Brittles capitulated on these terms. Giles. a knock coming at such a time in the morning. brought up the rear. and so held that the inquiry could not have any application to him. originating in the brain of the same ingenious gentleman. These precautions having been taken. assuming perfect serenity. The two women. in common with the rest of the company. in the presence of witnesses. Giles. looked at Brittles. somebody.' Mr. to warn any evil-disposed person outside. as suddenly as he had fallen asleep. at all events. he tendered no reply. and taken two steps with his eyes shut.--as it might be so. but he had suddenly fallen asleep.' said Mr. took their way upstairs. Giles. with the dogs in front. 'It seems a strange sort of a thing. after a short silence. the dogs' tails were well pinched. We. The cook and housemaid screamed. to accompany his description with appropriate action. waking up. and groped our way downstairs in the pitch dark. and looking very blank himself. Mr. and the party being somewhat re-assured by the discovery (made on throwing open the shutters) that it was now broad day.' 'So am I. The women were out of the question.' said the tinker. took a dark lantern that was standing on Brittle's hob. in the hall. surveying the pale faces which surrounded him. Mr.approvingly. 'Open the door. nothing else was to be expected. probably considered himself nobody.' said Mr. 'but the door must be opened. when he started violently. Giles. By the advice of Mr. Do you hear.' Nobody moved. Giles had risen from his seat. and by a master-stoke of policy. 'I am ready to make one. Giles held on fast by the tinker's arm (to prevent his running away. somebody?' Mr. 'If Brittles would rather open the door.' said Mr. who were afraid to stay below.

and Brittles held the light. 'you frighten my aunt as much as the thieves did. and gave the word of command to open the door. miss! I shot him. so that his voice might travel the better. the group.' bawled Brittles. Giles. miss.' '--In a lantern.said). in the same manner as before. miss! Wounded. Giles had captured a robber. The two women-servants ran upstairs to carry the intelligence that Mr. miss.' 'Hush!' replied the young lady. 'Wouldn't you like to come and look at him. Brittles obeyed. than he uttered a loud cry. with indescribable complacency. calling in a state of great excitement. 'I'm here. no sooner saw Oliver.' replied Mr. seizing the boy by one leg and one arm (fortunately not the broken limb) lugged him straight into the hall. up the staircase. miss. which quelled it in an instant.' replied Giles. 'He looks as if he was a-going. Giles. and mutely solicited their compassion. miss. beheld no more formidable object than poor little Oliver Twist. there was heard a sweet female voice. In the midst of all this noise and commotion. 'Wait 212 . lest he should die before he could be hanged. miss! I was soon too many for him. miss. miss. and deposited him at full length on the floor thereof. Is the poor creature much hurt?' 'Wounded desperate. Giles. 'Giles!' whispered the voice from the stair-head. 'here's one of the thieves. I ain't much injured. ma'am! Here's a thief. Mr. He didn't make a very desperate resistance. 'Don't be frightened. 'A boy!' exclaimed Mr.' cried Brittles. pushing the tinker into the background. 'What's the matter with the--eh?--Why--Brittles--look here--don't you know?' Brittles. pray. who raised his heavy eyes. there's a good man!' rejoined the lady. who had got behind the door to open it. peeping timorously over each other's shoulders. speechless and exhausted. and the tinker busied himself in endeavouring to restore Oliver. in case he should?' 'Hush. applying one hand to the side of his mouth. 'Here he is!' bawled Giles. valiantly. miss.

Giles. dressed with scrupulous care in a full suit of black. that he had skilfully brought down. than of modern elegance: there sat two ladies at a well-spread breakfast-table. the speaker tripped away. grasping a waiter. his left leg advanced. but the high-backed oaken chair in which she sat. with his body drawn up to its full height. and his right hand thrust into his waist-coat. bending over Oliver. a constable and doctor. was not more upright than she.' replied the young lady. he was to despatch. he helped to carry him upstairs. she sat. Giles for my sake!' The old servant looked up at the speaker. with all speed. with the direction that the wounded person was to be carried. carefully. while I speak to aunt. and. with the care and solicitude of a woman. Giles. while his left hung down by his side.quietly only one instant. with as much pride as if Oliver were some bird of rare plumage. TO WHICH OLIVER RESORTED In a handsome room: though its furniture had rather the air of old-fashioned comfort. and that Brittles was to saddle the pony and betake himself instantly to Chertsey: from which place. miss?' asked Mr. upstairs to Mr. looked like one who laboured under a very agreeable sense of his own merits and importance. and inclined the merest trifle on one side. first. CHAPTER XXIX HAS AN INTRODUCTORY ACCOUNT OF THE INMATES OF THE HOUSE. 'Not one little peep. Of the two ladies. 'But won't you take one look at him. with some slight concessions to the prevailing taste. Dressed with the utmost nicety and precision. Giles's room. He had taken his station some half-way between the side-board and the breakfast-table. his head thrown back. in a quaint mixture of by-gone costume. in a stately 213 . which rather served to point the old style pleasantly than to impair its effect. Mr. was in attendance upon them. 'Poor fellow! Oh! treat him kindly. one was well advanced in years. Then. She soon returned. for the world. as she turned away. miss?' 'Not now.' With a footstep as soft and gentle as the voice. with a glance as proud and admiring as if she had been his own child.

and fireside peace and happiness. She was not past seventeen. and left no shadow there. She was busily engaged in the little offices of the table.' said the young lady. ma'am. and threw into her beaming look. and was stamped upon her noble head. at that age. The younger lady was in the lovely bloom and spring-time of womanhood.' replied the attendant. I think. the cheerful. or of the world.' remarked the old lady. 'And Brittles has been gone upwards of an hour. supposed to abide in such as hers. if ever angels be for God's good purposes enthroned in mortal forms. there appeared no great probability of his ever being a fast one. such an expression of affection and artless loveliness. Cast in so slight and exquisite a mould. happy smile. Giles. they may be. were made for Home. which he drew forth by a black ribbon. 'Brittles always was a slow boy. seemed scarcely of her age. who ran 214 . has he?' asked the old lady. when a gig drove up to the garden-gate: out of which there jumped a fat gentleman. Giles was apparently considering the propriety of indulging in a respectful smile himself. referring to a silver watch. the smile. with her hands folded on the table before her. ma'am. that blessed spirits might have smiled to look upon her. so mild and gentle.' said the elder lady. 'It is very inexcusable in him if he stops to play with any other boys. smiling.' replied Mr. And seeing. that earth seemed not her element. nor its rough creatures her fit companions. Chancing to raise her eyes as the elder lady was regarding her. Mr. and yet the changing expression of sweetness and good humour. when. the thousand lights that played about the face. above all. 'He gets worse instead of better. 'An hour and twelve minutes. 'He is always slow. that Brittles had been a slow boy for upwards of thirty years. which was simply braided on her forehead. she playfully put back her hair. without impiety. by the bye. The very intelligence that shone in her deep blue eye.manner. so pure and beautiful. Her eyes (and age had dimmed but little of their brightness) were attentively upon her young companion. after a pause.

'so there is. that's true!' said the doctor.' said the doctor. as if it were the established custom of gentlemen in the housebreaking way to transact business at noon. and nearly overturned Mr. inquired how they found themselves. the fat gentleman shook hands with both ladies. as to hit your man at twelve paces. Maylie--bless my soul--in the silence of the night. whom aunt wishes you to see. getting quickly into the house by some mysterious process. 'You ought to be dead.' said Rose. 'And you. That was your handiwork. indeed. dear! So unexpected! In the silence of the night. I understand. answered respectfully. interrupting him. Giles. by post. and attempted in the night-time. turning to the young lady.' 'Ah! to be sure. and to make an appointment. Giles. too!' The doctor seemed expecially troubled by the fact of the robbery having been unexpected. and said that he had had that honour.straight up to the door: and who. positively dead with the fright. perhaps it's as honourable to hit a thief in a back kitchen.' replied the doctor. under such circumstances. 'I--' 'Oh! very much so. 'Where is he? Show me the 215 . and drawing up a chair. Giles and the breakfast-table together.' Mr. 'I never heard of such a thing!' exclaimed the fat gentleman. Fancy that he fired in the air. I'm sure. 'Why didn't you send? Bless me. too--I _never_ heard of such a thing!' With these expressions of condolence.' Mr. and my assistant would have been delighted. that it was not for the like of him to judge about that. blushed very red. 'Gad. who had been feverishly putting the tea-cups to rights. or anybody. Dear. 'Honour. Miss Rose. eh?' said the doctor. burst into the room. 'My dear Mrs. but he rather thought it was no joke to the opposite party. Giles. 'well. and you've fought a duel. and so would I. I don't know. my man should have come in a minute. a day or two previous. Giles. 'but there is a poor creature upstairs. who thought this light treatment of the matter an unjust attempt at diminishing his glory.' said the fat gentleman.

Such commendations had been bestowed upon his bravery.' replied the doctor. looked very mysterious. ma'am. and while he is going upstairs. known through a circuit of ten miles round as 'the doctor. carefully. Mrs. 'but I was going to tell you about him when Doctor Losberne came in. interposed Mr. Maylie. more from good-humour than from good living: and was as kind and hearty. Maylie.' rejoined the old lady. and closed the door. that he could not. the reader may be informed. a surgeon in the neighbourhood. for the life of him. I couldn't have believed it!' Talking all the way. he followed Mr. eh? Well. Giles had not. under the circumstances. that would _not_ be an extraordinary thing. The doctor was absent. and in reply to an anxious inquiry after his patient.' had grown fat. 'He is not in danger. Have you seen the thief?' 'No. Losberne. from which tokens it was justly concluded that something important was going on above. that he had only shot a boy. That's the little window that he got in at. help postponing the explanation for a few delicious minutes. 'This is a very extraordinary thing. I'll look in again. much longer than either he or the ladies had anticipated.' 'I beg your pardon. and withal as eccentric an old bachelor. standing with his back to the door. as I come down. 'but I wouldn't hear of it. 'Nor heard anything about him?' 'No. that Mr. in the very zenith of a brief reputation for undaunted courage. Mrs. at first.' 216 .way. been able to bring his mind to the avowal. that Mr. I hope?' said the old lady. 'Rose wished to see the man. A large flat box was fetched out of the gig. Giles. Giles upstairs. as will be found in five times that space.' The fact was. as if to keep it shut. 'Why. At length he returned. Maylie. and the servants ran up and down stairs perpetually.' said Mrs. 'though I don't think he is. during which he had flourished.' said the doctor. and a bedroom bell was rung very often. by any explorer alive.

will you permit me? Not the slightest fear. 'Now. he looked into the room. his head reclined upon the other arm. there lay a mere child: worn with pain and exhaustion.' said the doctor. The honest gentleman held the curtain in his hand. As she stooped over him. though! Let me first see that he is in visiting order. which was half hidden by his long hair. the younger lady glided softly past. Stop. her tears fell upon his forehead. 'let us hear what you think of him. led them. bound and splintered up. Whilst he was watching the patient thus. and gently drew back the curtains of the bed.' said the doctor. as he softly turned the handle of a bedroom-door. He is perfectly quiet and comfortable now. and looked on. as it streamed over the pillow. I am quite sure that you would deeply regret not having done so. I pledge you my honour!' CHAPTER XXX RELATES WHAT OLIVER'S NEW VISITORS THOUGHT OF HIM With many loquacious assurances that they would be agreeably surprised in the aspect of the criminal. upstairs. Upon it. gathered Oliver's hair from his face. for a minute or so. 217 . black-visaged ruffian they had expected to behold. with much ceremony and stateliness.' 'Then I think it is necessary. and seating herself in a chair by the bedside. 'certainly not.' replied the old lady.'Humph!' rejoined the doctor. but he don't look at all ferocious notwithstanding.' Stepping before them. if you postponed it. Maylie. was crossed upon his breast. and sunk into a deep sleep. His wounded arm. He has not been shaved very recently. in silence. 'at all events. in lieu of the dogged. he closed the door when they had entered. the doctor drew the young lady's arm through one of his. and offering his disengaged hand to Mrs. 'There is nothing very alarming in his appearance. Motioning them to advance. Have you any objection to see him in my presence?' 'If it be necessary. in a whisper. Allow me--Miss Rose.

dear aunt. led the way into an adjoining apartment. 'My dear young lady. which some brief memory of a happier existence. and know that I have never felt the want of parents in your goodness and affection. may have driven him to herd with men who have forced him to guilt. The youngest and fairest are too often its chosen victims. a strain of gentle music.' said the surgeon. in this life. as she folded the weeping girl to her bosom. that ill-usage and blows. in a manner which intimated that he feared it was very possible. can you--oh! can you really believe that this delicate boy has been the voluntary associate of the worst outcasts of society?' said Rose. The surgeon shook his head.The boy stirred. mournfully shaking his head. or the rippling of water in a silent place. or the mention of a familiar word. 'do you think I would harm a hair of his head?' 218 . Thus. replacing the curtain. like death. as though these marks of pity and compassion had awakened some pleasant dream of a love and affection he had never known. think that he may never have known a mother's love. 'think how young he is. have pity upon him before it is too late!' 'My dear love. will sometimes call up sudden dim remembrances of scenes that never were. 'But even if he has been wicked.' pursued Rose. 'What can this mean?' exclaimed the elder lady. or the odour of a flower. before you let them drag this sick child to a prison. which in any case must be the grave of all his chances of amendment. for mercy's sake. but that I might have done so. Aunt. and might have been equally helpless and unprotected with this poor child. long gone by. Oh! as you love me. and who can say that a fair outside shell not enshrine her?' 'But at so early an age!' urged Rose.' rejoined the surgeon. 'crime. or the want of bread. or the comfort of a home. 'takes up her abode in many temples. 'This poor child can never have been the pupil of robbers!' 'Vice. which vanish like a breath. and observing that they might disturb the patient. would seem to have awakened.' 'But. think of this. and smiled in his sleep.' said the elder lady. which no voluntary exertion of the mind can ever recall. is not confined to the old and withered alone.

no!' replied Rose. Miss Rose.' 'Then my aunt invests you with full power.' returned Rose. and although I have told that thick-headed 219 . 'There is no other. The great point of our agreement is yet to come. that you may be found in as vulnerable and soft-hearted a mood by the first eligible young fellow who appeals to your compassion. Maylie. But to return to this boy.' said the doctor. of such a favourable opportunity for doing so. After various exclamations of 'I've got it now' and 'no. 'No other. blushing. I know. I haven't. 'that everybody is disposed to be hard-hearted to-day.' replied Mrs. 'that is no very difficult matter.' said the old lady. and took several turns up and down the room.' 'You are as great a boy as poor Brittles himself. 'but pray don't be harder upon the poor fellows than is indispensably necessary. smiling through her tears. laughing heartily. ma'am.' said the doctor. and spoke as follows: 'I think if you give me a full and unlimited commission to bully Giles.' retorted the doctor. You don't object to that?' 'Unless there is some other way of preserving the child. 'Well. often stopping. and reward him for being such a good shot besides. Losberne thrust his hands into his pockets. and frowning frightfully. Giles is a faithful fellow and an old servant. sir?' 'Let me think. but you can make it up to him in a thousand ways. for the sake of the rising male sex generally.' said the doctor.' Mr. surely. 'let me think. take my word for it. and that little boy. as the present. and balancing himself on his toes. eagerly. He will wake in an hour or so. that I might avail myself. he at length made a dead halt. and I wish I were a young fellow. except yourself. I dare say. I can manage it.'Oh.' said Rose. I only hope. 'No. on the spot. 'my days are drawing to their close: and may mercy be shown to me as I show it to others! What can I do to save him.' 'You seem to think.' and as many renewals of the walking and frowning. Brittles.

the suffering. than to insist upon his remaining quiet until next morning: which he should otherwise have done. and no pride shut out.' Finally the treaty was entered into. like dense and heavy clouds. and weak from the loss of blood. to hear. aunt!' entreated Rose. the deep testimony of dead men's voices. on peril of his life. to pour their after-vengeance on our heads. in the darkened room. The boy was very ill. that each day's life brings with it! 220 . 'Is is a bargain?' 'He cannot be hardened in vice. cruelty. Oliver told them all his simple history. if we heard but one instant. without any farther interference on my part. he shall be left to his fate. where would be the injury and injustice. that he was at length sufficiently restored to be spoken to. The patience of the two ladies was destined to undergo a longer trial than Mr. at all events. and that. which. 'It is impossible. and still Oliver slumbered heavily. and wrong.' retorted the doctor. The conference was a long one.' said Rose. we judge. indeed. Now I make this stipulation--that I shall examine him in your presence. if. until Oliver should awake. Oh! if when we oppress and grind our fellow-creatures. the feeble voice of the sick child recounting a weary catalogue of evils and calamities which hard men had brought upon him. that he deemed it better to give him the opportunity. I think we may converse with him without danger. to Heaven. misery. he said. and was often compelled to stop. before the kind-hearted doctor brought them the intelligence. It was evening. 'Oh yes. by pain and want of strength. which no power can stifle. in imagination.constable-fellow downstairs that he musn't be moved or spoken to. and I can show to the satisfaction of your cool reason. for hour after hour passed on. from what he says. we bestowed but one thought on the dark evidences of human error. but not less surely. that he is a real and thorough bad one (which is more than possible). 'then so much the more reason for acceding to my proposition. Losberne had led them to expect. and the parties thereunto sat down to wait. but his mind was so troubled with anxiety to disclose something. slowly it is true. It was a solemn thing. with some impatience.' 'Oh no. are rising. aunt!' said the doctor.' 'Very good.

The latter gentleman had a large staff. I should never be happy again. in that lower house of the domestic parliament. Giles's condescension. And finding nobody about the parlours. betook himself downstairs to open upon Mr. with a mug of ale in his hand. large features. waving his hand. The adventures of the previous night were still under discussion. than the doctor. in consideration of his services). so into the kitchen he went. sir?' asked Giles. sir. and loveliness and virtue watched him as he slept. The momentous interview was no sooner concluded. 'Misses wished some ale to be given out. trembling. as much as to say that so long as they behaved properly. 'How is the patient to-night. Giles.' 'I hope you don't mean to say. 'Thank you. the women-servants. 'So-so'. that he could perhaps originate the proceedings with better effect in the kitchen. returned the doctor. and large half-boots. 'I am afraid you have got yourself into a scrape there. by which the ladies and gentlemen generally were understood to express the gratification they derived from Mr. and he looked as if he had been taking a proportionate allowance of ale--as indeed he had. the tinker (who had received a special invitation to regale himself for the remainder of the day. and the constable. and Oliver composed to rest again. before his superior said it. he would never desert them. He felt calm and happy. Giles. Mr. sir.' said Mr.' 221 . There were assembled. and was disposed for company. when the doctor entered. Mr. Mr. I am taking mine among 'em here. and could have died without a murmur. was corroborating everything. Giles. Giles. If I thought it. a large head. it occurred to him. Mr. sir. and as I felt no ways inclined for my own little room. Brittles. Mr. not even Brittles here. after wiping his eyes. for Mr. 'that he's going to die. 'Sit still!' said the doctor. Brittles. sir. I wouldn't cut a boy off: no. Giles was expatiating upon his presence of mind. said Mr. Giles. not for all the plate in the county. and condemning them for being weak all at once. Giles looked round with a patronising air.Oliver's pillow was smoothed by gentle hands that night.' Brittles headed a low murmur. sir.

'It's a simple question of identity. and in all the distraction of alarm and darkness. coughing with great violence. 'Pay attention to the reply. 'and a couple of men catch one moment's glimpse of a boy.' said the doctor. Here's a boy comes to that very same house. stared at each other in a state of stupefaction. 'Mr. and tapping the bridge of his nose with it.' The constable looked as wise as he could. Giles. mysteriously. 'I'm the same as Mr. who was universally considered one of the best-tempered creatures on earth. 'And what are _you_. are you a Protestant?' 'Yes.' 'Then tell me this. made this demand in such a dreadful tone of anger. boy?' said the doctor. the 222 . you will observe. and some of it had gone the wrong way. shaking his forefinger with great solemnity of manner. 'Lord bless me. and took up his staff of office: which had been reclining indolently in the chimney-corner. sir. constable. that Giles and Brittles.'That's not the point. Giles. Now. sir. 'Something may come of this before long. Giles. for he had finished his ale in a hurry. in the midst of gunpowder smoke. 'both of you. will you?' said the doctor. who were considerably muddled by ale and excitement. that that boy upstairs is the boy that was put through the little window last night? Out with it! Come! We are prepared for you!' The doctor. sir!' replied Brittles. to bespeak the exercise of that worthy's utmost acuteness. they place his life in great danger--and swear he is the thief.' said the doctor.' replied the constable. both of you! Are you going to take upon yourselves to swear.' said the doctor. and because he happens to have his arm tied up. turning sharply upon Brittles. 'Here's the house broken into. I hope so. these men lay violent hands upon him--by doing which. sir. 'That's what it is. next morning. who had turned very pale.' said the doctor. starting violently.' faltered Mr.

'The Bow Street officers.' 'You did. whether these men are justified by the fact. Mr. He said. when a ring was heard at the gate. Brittles opened the door to its full width. 'It's the runners!' cried Brittles. to catch the reply.' said the doctor. Giles. 'Yes. 'The what?' exclaimed the doctor. who 223 . to all appearance much relieved. that's all. 'me and Mr. 'I ask you again.' replied Brittles. Giles sent for 'em this morning. 'I sent a message up by the coachman. on your solemn oaths.' replied Brittles. CHAPTER XXXI INVOLVES A CRITICAL POSITION 'Who's that?' inquired Brittles.' replied a man outside. the doctor glanced keenly round. 'are you. if that wasn't law. opening the door a little way.' Much comforted by this assurance. shading the candle with his hand.question is. with the chain up. in what situation do they place themselves?' The constable nodded profoundly. aghast in his turn. did you? Then confound your--slow coaches down here. walking away. Giles looked doubtfully at Brittles. sir.' thundered the doctor. and at the same moment. the sound of wheels. and confronted a portly man in a great-coat. and I only wonder they weren't here before. and peeping out. he would be glad to know what was. able to identify that boy?' Brittles looked doubtfully at Mr. sir. 'it's the officers from Bow Street. as was sent to to-day. if not. the constable put his hand behind his ear. taking up a candle. 'Open the door. the two women and the tinker leaned forward to listen.' 'What?' cried the doctor.

Losberne. recounted them at great length. master. as coolly as if he lived there. and occasionally exchanged a nod. in top-boots. The man who had knocked at the door. The other was a red-headed. 'Oh! Good-evening. Losberne. 'This is the lady of the house. and showed like what they were. with some embarrassment. Messrs. a round face. young man?' said the officer. cropped pretty close. was a stout personage of middle height. and pointing out the building. took off their great-coats and hats. Maylie. a-minding the prad. who did not appear quite so much accustomed to good society. half-whiskers. Can I have a word or two with you in private. and a turned-up sinister-looking nose. Blathers and Duff looked very knowing meanwhile. master. This done. 'he's in the gig. and shut the door. will you. with regard to this here robbery. will you?' said the stouter man. 'What are the circumstances?' Mr. if you please?' This was addressed to Mr. being shown into a parlour. and sharp eyes. for five or ten minutes?' Brittles replying in the affirmative. Blathers made a bow. brought in the two ladies. and taking a chair. with a rather ill-favoured countenance. Being desired to sit down. Have you got a coach 'us here. 'Now. in a state of great admiration. and wiped his shoes on the mat.' said Mr. that gentleman. smoothing down his hair. after undergoing several muscular affections of the limbs. 'Just send somebody out to relieve my mate. who now made his appearance. and. 224 . and laying a pair of handcuffs on the table. he put his hat on the floor. Losberne.' said Blathers. or quite so much at his ease in it--one of the two--seated himself. bony man. without saying anything more. motioned to Duff to do the same. they returned to the house. motioning Brittles to retire. The latter gentleman. and the head of his stick into his mouth. 'Tell your governor that Blathers and Duff is here. and helped his companion to put up the gig: while Brittles lighted them. Mr. motioning towards Mrs. that you could put it up in. aged about fifty: with shiny black hair. the portly man stepped back to the garden-gate. who appeared desirous of gaining time.walked in. and with much circumlocution.

'This is all about the robbery. master. translating the word yokel for the benefit of the ladies. eh. 'Nothing at all. 'Now. had a candle handed out to inspect the shutter with. 'I know his whole history: but we can talk about that presently. attended by the native constable. about this here boy that the servants are a-talking on?' said Blathers. and Messrs. 'What he says is quite correct. I suppose?' 'Certainly. that this attempt was not made by a countryman?' said Mr. to see the place where the thieves made their attempt. 'Who is the boy? What account does he give of himself? Where did he come from? He didn't drop out of the clouds. 'but my opinion at once is.' Lights were then procured. and everybody else in short. and after that. and afterwards went round by way of the lawn. Blathers. 'We had better inspect the premises first.' replied the doctor.' replied Duff.--I don't mind committing myself to that extent.' observed Blathers. You would like. Losberne.' rejoined Mr. Blathers and Duff. but it's nonsense: sheer absurdity. did he. I apprehend your meaning to be.' said Blathers. and examine the servants afterwards. Brittles.--that this wasn't done by a yokel. that he had something to do with this attempt to break into the house. of course. first. with a nervous glance at the two ladies. Duff?' 'Certainly not. and playing carelessly with the handcuffs. is it?' 'All.'I can't say.' replied the doctor. 'And. master?' 'Of course not.' replied Blathers. went into the little room at the end of the passage and looked out at the window. 'One of the frightened servants chose to take it into his head. till I see the work. what is this. and after 225 . Giles.' 'Wery easy disposed of. and looked in at the window. if it is. 'That's it.' replied the doctor. with a smile. That's the usual way of doing business. for certain. nodding his head in a confirmatory way. as if they were a pair of castanets.' remarked Duff.

viewed with their eyes. Blathers and Duff cleared the room. either with them. 'but I don't think it is exactly the tale for a practical police-officer. to a place which he cannot describe or point out. he can only prove the parts that look ill. and in not more than a dozen the last. the first time.' 'Why not?' demanded Rose. after all. faithfully repeated to these men. Judged by mere worldly considerations and probabilities. This done. and held a long council together.' said the doctor. in not more than one important respect.that. my dear young lady. 'Upon my word. Confound the fellows. and after that. 'I don't think it would exonerate him. would be mere child's play. my pretty cross-examiner. a pitchfork to poke the bushes with. Maylie and Rose looked on. they _will_ have the why and the wherefore. making a halt.' said Rose. Giles and Brittles were put through a melodramatic representation of their share in the previous night's adventures: which they performed some six times over: contradicting each other. for secrecy and solemnity. shaking his head. there are many ugly points about it. you see. and will take nothing for granted. he has been the companion of thieves for some time past. strange as it is. 'the poor child's story. he has been taken away. the doctor walked up and down the next room in a very uneasy state.' replied the doctor: 'because. This consummation being arrived at.' he said. a lantern to trace the footsteps with. compared with which. they would say? A runaway. and Mrs. and none of those that look well. a consultation of great doctors on the knottiest point in medicine. his story is a very doubtful one. from that gentleman's house. On his own showing. he has been carried to a police-officer. 'Because. and perhaps I may be an old fool for doing so. surely?' interrupted Rose.' 'I doubt it. after a great number of very rapid turns. and of the situation of which he has not 226 . will be sufficient to exonerate him. on a charge of picking a gentleman's pocket. they came in again. amidst the breathless interest of all beholders. forcibly. What is he. '_I_ believe it.' rejoined the doctor. and Mr. Meanwhile. 'I hardly know what to do. or with legal functionaries of a higher grade.' 'Surely.' 'You believe it. nevertheless. with anxious faces.

' said Blathers.' replied the doctor. 'This warn't a put-up thing. and if bad be the best. whether for good or bad. and even if they can do nothing to him in the end. to criminate the poor child. and shoots him! As if on purpose to prevent his doing any good for himself! Don't you see all this?' 'I see it. Maylie. dear! why did they send for these people?' 'Why.' 'Oh! what is to be done?' cried Rose. before he said any more. and giving publicity to all the doubts that will be cast upon it.' 'No.' said Mr. more than one side of any question.' Having given vent to this result of experience. for the world.' said the doctor. by men who seem to have taken a violent fancy to him. Come in!' 'Well. The boy has strong symptoms of fever upon him. 'The more I think of it. there rushes into the way. that's one comfort.the remotest idea. must interfere. master. We must make the best of it. just at the very moment when he is going to alarm the inmates. and that is. and then. smiling at the doctor's impetuosity. of course. and is put through a window to rob a house. and making the door fast. and so do the very thing that would set him all to rights.' 227 . entering the room followed by his colleague. and is in no condition to be talked to any more. at last: sitting down with a kind of desperate calmness. whether he will or no. the one which first presents itself to them. 'I would not have had them here. the doctor put his hands into his pockets. 'that we must try and carry it off with a bold face. 'Dear. with your benevolent plan of rescuing him from misery. 'the more I see that it will occasion endless trouble and difficulty if we put these men in possession of the boy's real story. I am certain it will not be believed.' 'All I know is. it is no fault of ours. materially. indeed!' exclaimed Mrs. 'but still I do not see anything in it. He is brought down to Chertsey. 'of course not! Bless the bright eyes of your sex! They never see. and that must be our excuse. a blundering dog of a half-bred butler.' replied Rose. Losberne. always. still the dragging it forward. The object is a good one. and walked up and down the room with even greater rapidity than before.

' replied Blathers. thank you. but had a contempt for the doctor's. We'll see this lad that you've got upstairs at once. miss!' said Blathers. 'Ah!' said Mr.' 'Nobody suspected them. as if some new thought had occurred to him. drawing his coat-sleeve across his mouth. 'but they might have been in it.'And what the devil's a put-up thing?' demanded the doctor. turning to them. following the young lady to the sideboard. 'We find it was a town hand. if it's all the same. 'Wery likely not. as if he pitied their ignorance. Maylie?' said the doctor: his face brightening.' said Duff. 'We call it a put-up robbery. 'You shall have it immediately. if you will. While it was being conveyed to her. 'A little drop of spirits. continuing his report. for all that. eagerly.' said Mrs. 'and they had a boy with 'em. 'when the servants is in it. 'it's dry work.' said Blathers. master.' 'Why. Blathers: not holding his wine-glass by the stem.' 'Wery pretty indeed it is. this sort of duty. Anythink that's handy. ma'am.' remarked Duff. Maylie. and I always find that spirits comes home warmer to the feelings. 'for the style of work is first-rate. 228 .' 'What shall it be?' asked the doctor. in an undertone. miss. Maylie. in this case.' said Blathers. who received it very graciously. 'There was two of 'em in it. 'It's a cold ride from London. Mrs. if you please.' 'Perhaps they will take something to drink first. don't put yourself out of the way. ladies. that's plain from the size of the window.' 'More likely on that wery account. on our accounts.' replied Blathers. ma'am. impatiently. 'Oh! to be sure!' exclaimed Rose.' continued Blathers. the doctor slipped out of the room. That's all to be said at present.' This interesting communication was addressed to Mrs.

miss.' 'You always gave that to him' replied Duff. he had made off with the blunt. don't she?' demanded Mr. Blathers. and. consequently. and that. and when they came to look about 'em. found that Conkey had hit the robber. and roused the neighbourhood. in my time. 'It was a robbery. and there they lost 'em. though? What a start that was! Better than any novel-book _I_ ever see!' 'What was that?' inquired Rose: anxious to encourage any symptoms of good-humour in the unwelcome visitors.' 'Get out!' retorted Mr. Blathers. He warn't one of the family. for he fired a blunderbuss arter him. for I've seen 'em off'en. and I don't know what all. Blathers.' 'That crack down in the back lane at Edmonton. I tell you. and a wery intellectual manner the sports was conducted in. was got up for the poor man. directly. and all manner of benefits and subscriptions. 'Always interrupting. at that time. 'I have seen a good many pieces of business like this. that hardly anybody would have been down upon. miss. Blathers. by a tall man with a black patch over his eye.but grasping the bottom between the thumb and forefinger of his left hand: and placing it in front of his chest.' said Mr. that was stole out of his bedroom in the dead of night.' interposed Duff.' said Blathers. ladies. you are. the name of Mr. too. and one night he was robbed of three hundred and twenty-seven guineas in a canvas bag. partner! This here Conkey Chickweed. ma'am. They set up a hue-and-cry. who was in a wery low state of mind about 229 . jumped slap out of window: which was only a story high. warn't it?' rejoined Mr. Duff. and badger-drawing. who had concealed himself under the bed. where a good many young lords went to see cock-fighting. Do you mind that time when Conkey was robbed of his money. However. Conkey hadn't any more to do with it than I had. 'that was done by Conkey Chickweed. He was wery quick about it. for there was traces of blood. and he had a cellar. 'I know better. But Conkey was quick. 'Of course the lady knows that. assisting his colleague's memory. appeared in the Gazette among the other bankrupts. 'This here Conkey Chickweed--' 'Conkey means Nosey. 'It was the Family Pet. all the way to some palings a good distance off. 'That was something in this way. that was. Chickweed. and after committing the robbery. kept a public-house over Battlebridge way. licensed witler.

and away he goes. late at night. 'Jem Spyers. "Here he is! Stop thief! Murder!" Jem Spyers dashes out. which showed he understood his business. "but we're sure to have him. after a deal of talk. and the other half. the man's lost again! This was done. to ease 'em a minute. for between ten and eleven o'clock at night he passed again. sees a little crowd. and orders Jem Spyers in (Jem was a active officer). Spyers took his old place. and went up and down the streets.his loss. Away goes Spyers. that poor Mr. and tells him to go and assist Mr. One day he came up to the office." "Have you?" said 230 . and looked out. everybody roars out. round turns the people. all the time. from behind the curtain. in case he should have to stop a day or two. who was playing tricks with him arterwards. and taking out his snuffbox. I've found out who done this here robbery. Chickweed had gone mad with grief. Chickweed had been robbed by the devil. than he put some clean linen and a comb. till his own two eyes ached again. he hears Chickweed a-roaring out. all ready to bolt out. once or twice more. Spyers." said Chickweed." "Why didn't you up. Chickweed in apprehending the man as robbed his house. At last.' resumed the officer. "Thieves!" and Chickweed himself keeps on shouting. all in a hurry. "Here he is!" Off he starts once more. rings the bell. that you might have fractured my skull with a toothpick. shoots round. a-tearing down the street full cry.' 'What did Jem Spyers say?' inquired the doctor. "I was so struck all of a heap. and sets himself down at one of the public-house windows behind the little red curtain. 'for a long time said nothing at all. and collar him!" says Spyers. on goes Chickweed. with his hat on. and listened to everything without seeming to." Spyers no sooner heard this. but he warn't to be seen nowhere. But. till one-half the neighbours gave out that Mr. so they went back to the public-house. who had returned to the room shortly after the commencement of the story. he couldn't help shutting 'em. who. for a tall man with a black patch over his eye. for three or four days. He was smoking his pipe here. at a moment's notice. one morning. when all of a sudden Chickweed roars out. a pulling his hair off in such a desperate manner that many people was afraid he might be going to make away with himself." says the poor man. "Which is the man?" "D--me!" says Chickweed. with Chickweed half-way down the street ahead of him. he walked into the bar. "I see him. like mad. says "Chickweed. Spyers loses sight of him a minute as he turns a corner. and there he sees Chickweed. and the very moment he did so. and had a private interview with the magistrate. "pass my house yesterday morning. dives in. in his pocket. and after twice as long a run as the yesterday's one. Next morning. "I've lost him again!" It was a remarkable occurrence.

but with great vehemence notwithstanding. sir. 'This. the two officers ascended to Oliver's bedroom. and nobody would never have found it out. 'They--they certainly had a boy. sir. I am not of an inhuman disposition. sir!' replied Giles. Giles preceding the party. Being assisted by the doctor. if you please. comes to the house for assistance this morning. Mr. "Oh. where is the villain!" "Come!" said Spyers. 'Now. and is immediately laid hold of and maltreated. he managed to sit up in bed for a minute or so. "none of that gammon! You did it yourself. Oliver had been dozing. 'I am sure I thought it was the boy. as he was thus recommended to their notice. and clinking the handcuffs together.' Messrs. 'You don't mean to deny that. indeed. speaking softly. 'this is the lad.Chickweed. only let me have wengeance. you can walk upstairs. laying Oliver gently down again.' 231 . being accidently wounded by a spring-gun in some boyish trespass on Mr. putting down his wine-glass. Blathers. What-d' ye-call-him's grounds. and I shall die contented! Oh. and a good bit of money he had made by it. Losberne. 'The housebreaker's boy.' answered Giles. or what had been passing. my dear Spyers. 'It was all done for the--for the best. offering him a pinch of snuff. Losberne. with a lighted candle. Blathers. sir. or I wouldn't have meddled with him. my dear Spyers.' 'If _you_ please.' observed the doctor. Giles. at the back here. Losberne. I suppose?' said the doctor. with a most ludicrous mixture of fear and perplexity. by that ingenious gentleman with the candle in his hand: who has placed his life in considerable danger. and was more feverish than he had appeared yet. as I can professionally certify. Closely following Mr. too. who. and looked at the strangers without at all understanding what was going forward--in fact. Blathers and Duff looked at Mr.' said Mr." So he had. 'Very curious. without seeming to recollect where he was.' 'Thought it was what boy?' inquired the senior officer. but looked worse. The bewildered butler gazed from them towards Oliver.' returned Mr. if he hadn't been so precious anxious to keep up appearances!' said Mr. and from Oliver towards Mr.

Mr. Losberne had been feeling the patient's pulse during this short dialogue. Giles had said he was. 'I don't think it is the boy. that if the officers had any doubts upon the subject. now?' replied Giles. 'What a precious muddle-headed chap you are!' said Duff. impatiently. addressing Mr. whether Mr. five minutes previously.' replied poor Giles. 'I couldn't swear to him. I'm almost certain that it isn't. admitted in the kitchen. Giles. indeed. they adjourned to a neighbouring apartment. if he were put before him that instant. Stupid-head?' rejoined Blathers. Blathers. they would perhaps like to step into the next room. as tended to throw no particular light on anything. indeed. and remarked. but the fact of his own strong mystification. looking vacantly at his questioner. 'I don't know. that he began to be very much afraid he had been a little too hasty.'Well? Do you think so now?' inquired Blathers. where Mr. that he had only taken Oliver to be he. and have Brittles before them. but he now rose from the chair by the bedside. his declarations that he shouldn't know the real boy. and that Mr. involved himself and his respected superior in such a wonderful maze of fresh contradictions and impossibilities. Giles had. Among other ingenious surmises.' 'Has this man been a-drinking. Giles had really hit anybody. except.' said Giles. 232 . Brittles. sir?' inquired Blathers. because Mr. it turned out to have no more destructive loading than gunpowder and brown paper: a discovery which made a considerable impression on everybody but the doctor. 'Think it's the same boy. with a rueful countenance. being called in. I really don't know. 'Think what. Acting upon this suggestion. turning to the doctor. You know it can't be. 'I don't know what to think. with supreme contempt. who had drawn the ball about ten minutes before. the question was then raised. and upon examination of the fellow pistol to that which he had fired.' 'What do you think?' asked Mr.

and a great deal more conversation. have committed burglary accompanied with violence. for some hours. and took up their rest for that night in the town. Giles himself. Meanwhile. held to be no satisfactory proof. however. returned to town with divided opinions on the subject of their expedition: the latter gentleman on a mature consideration of all the circumstances. and is. be heard in heaven--and if they be not. Losberne. Conkey Chickweed. Rose. Finally. and Blathers and Duff. that they had been discovered sleeping under a haystack. resolving themselves. into the one fact. under the fear of having mortally wounded a fellow-creature. although a great crime. after labouring. who. gushing from hearts overcharged with gratitude. In short. and have therefore rendered themselves liable to the punishment of death. which. and its comprehensive love of all the King's subjects. Maylie.Upon no one. did it make a greater impression than on Mr. and to Kingston Messrs. promising to return the next morning. and the former being equally disposed to concede the full merit of it to the great Mr. on investigation. inclining to the belief that the burglarious attempt had originated with the Family Pet. With the next morning. The suspicious circumstances. Blathers and Duff came back again. eagerly caught at this new idea. without troubling themselves very much about Oliver. left the Chertsey constable in the house. diffusing peace and happiness. or sleepers. in the absence of all other evidence. in the merciful eye of the English law. as wise as they went. Maylie and Mr. after some more examination. who had been apprehended over night under suspicious circumstances. is only punishable by imprisonment. a neighbouring magistrate was readily induced to take the joint bail of Mrs. and favoured it to the utmost. and the kind-hearted Mr. however. there came a rumour. that two men and a boy were in the cage at Kingston. Blathers and Duff journeyed accordingly. sunk into their souls. the officers. Losberne for Oliver's appearance if he should ever be called upon. that the sleeper. being rewarded with a couple of guineas. Oliver gradually throve and prospered under the united care of Mrs. what prayers are!--the blessings which the orphan child called down upon them. If fervent prayers. CHAPTER XXXII 233 . Messrs.

as I told you before. would be an unspeakable pleasure to me. would delight me. to get better. you will make me very happy indeed. however slight. or death. 'Oh yes. but that the poor boy whom their charity had rescued from misery. in consequence. Do you understand me?' she inquired. more than you can well imagine. 'Oh! dear lady. 'but I was thinking 234 . smiling. and all the pleasure and beauties of spring. and reduced him sadly. something. 'To think that my dear good aunt should have been the means of rescuing any one from such sad misery as you have described to us.' 'The trouble!' cried Oliver.OF THE HAPPY LIFE OLIVER BEGAN TO LEAD WITH HIS KIND FRIENDS Oliver's ailings were neither slight nor few. or running up and down the whole day long. 'how kind of you to say so!' 'You will make me happier than I can tell you. at length. The quiet place. when you can bear the trouble. which would prove to them that their gentle kindness had not been cast away. if I could but work for you. we shall employ you in a hundred ways. We will employ you in a hundred ways. 'Poor fellow!' said Rose. ma'am. his exposure to the wet and cold had brought on fever and ague: which hung about him for many weeks. to make you happy. if I could only give you pleasure by watering your flowers. that you promise now. But. was eager to serve them with his whole heart and soul. We are going into the country. how deeply he felt the goodness of the two sweet ladies. only something.' said Miss Maylie. 'for.' 'Happy. ma'am!' cried Oliver. watching Oliver's thoughtful face.' replied the young lady. and to be able to say sometimes. and how ardently he hoped that when he grew strong and well again. what would I give to do it!' 'You shall give nothing at all. or watching your birds. in a few tearful words. he began. and my aunt intends that you shall accompany us. when Oliver had been one day feebly endeavouring to utter the words of thankfulness that rose to his pale lips. 'you shall have many opportunities of serving us. which would let them see the love and duty with which his breast was full. he could do something to show his gratitude. will restore you in a few days. by slow degrees. In addition to the pain and delay attendant on a broken limb. the pure air. yes!' replied Oliver eagerly. and if you only take half the trouble to please us. but to know that the object of her goodness and compassion was sincerely grateful and attached. if you will.

who took so much care of me before. and the dear old nurse.' 'I am sure they would. I am sure. from the very impetus of his last kick.' 'To whom?' inquired the young lady. 'Do you see anything--hear anything--feel anything--eh?' 'That. pointing out of the carriage window. 'What's the matter here?' 'Matter!' exclaimed the other. 'What's the matter with the boy?' cried the doctor. before the coachman could dismount from his box. running down to the deserted tenement. there! let me out!' But. what of it? Stop coachman. collaring him. 'I don't know what I shall do for joy when I see their kind faces once again!' In a short time Oliver was sufficiently recovered to undergo the fatigue of this expedition.' cried Oliver. without a moment's 235 . 'The devil it is!' cried the doctor. by some means or other. 'If they knew how happy I am. ma'am?' cried Oliver. 'Hallo. When they came to Chertsey Bridge. and uttered a loud exclamation. 'and Mr. eh?' 'The thieves--the house they took me to!' whispered Oliver. Oliver turned very pale. they would be pleased. well. 'To the kind gentleman. he had tumbled out of the coach. Maylie. he will carry you to see them. began kicking at the door like a madman. as usual. his face brightening with pleasure. 'Halloa?' said a little ugly hump-backed man: opening the door so suddenly. all in a bustle. Pull up here. my man.' rejoined Oliver. 'What of the house. Losberne set out. accordingly.' 'Has he. sir. One morning he and Mr.' rejoined Oliver's benefactress. that the doctor. in a little carriage which belonged to Mrs. 'That house!' 'Yes. nearly fell forward into the passage. and.' cried the doctor.that I am ungrateful now. Losberne has already been kind enough to promise that when you are well enough to bear the journey.

the mis-shapen little demon set up a yell. Do you hear me?' 'I hear you. 'A good deal. you thief?' The hump-backed man stared. or to murder me? Which is it?' 'Did you ever know a man come out to do either. before I do you a mischief? Curse you!' 'As soon as I think proper. 'I shall find you out. that's it. which. animate or inanimate. however. looking into the other parlour. 'If you ever want me. my friend. you shall pay for this. the doctor had passed into the parlour. I haven't lived here mad and all alone. growled forth a volley of horrid oaths. for five-and-twenty years. dexterously. Robbery is the matter. this.' 'Will you?' sneered the ill-favoured cripple. 'what do you mean by coming into my house. not a vestige of anything. 'Where's--confound the fellow. 'Will you take yourself off. then.' said the doctor.' 'There'll be Murder the matter. to be scared by you.reflection. what's his rascally name--Sikes. then?' demanded the hunchback.' replied the hump-backed man. who had watched him keenly. not an article of furniture. 'What do you want. giving his captive a hearty shake.' muttered the doctor to himself. Before he could shut the door. uttering the wildest 236 . without a word of parley.' With these words he flung the hunchback a piece of money. too. Where's Sikes. in a chariot and pair. coolly. Losberne. like the first. answered Oliver's description! 'Now!' said the hump-backed man. You shall pay for this. not even the position of the cupboards. some day. 'Stupid enough. as if wild with rage.' And so saying. from the doctor's grasp. in this violent way? Do you want to rob me. The man followed to the chariot door. 'the boy must have made a mistake. Here! Put that in your pocket. and retired into the house. 'if you don't take your hands off.' said Mr. and returned to the carriage. and danced upon the ground. and shut yourself up again. you ridiculous old vampire?' said the irritable doctor. I'm here. He looked anxiously round. as if in excess of amazement and indignation. bore no resemblance whatever to Oliver's account of it. twisting himself.

until the driver had resumed his seat. he looked into the carriage. and when they were once more on their way.' said the doctor again. 237 .' Now. When the coach turned into it. from that time forth. It might have done me good. the fact was that the excellent doctor had never acted upon anything but impulse all through his life. by acting on impulse. as they had ever been. Brownlow resided. he could not forget it for months afterwards. at being disappointed in procuring corroborative evidence of Oliver's story on the very first occasion on which he had a chance of obtaining any. and it was no bad compliment to the nature of the impulses which governed him. however. and still delivered with as much apparent sincerity and truth. I am always involving myself in some scrape or other. that so far from being involved in any peculiar troubles or misfortunes. If the truth must be told. Oliver?' 'No.' 'An ass. after a further silence of some minutes. I see no good that I should have done. they were enabled to drive straight thither. after a long silence.imprecations and curses all the way. what could I have done. He continued to utter the most fearful imprecations. and the right fellows had been there. they could see him some distance behind: beating his feet upon the ground.' 'Then don't forget it another time. for a minute or two. he was a little out of temper. he made up his mind to attach full credence to them. and tearing his hair. He soon came round again. except leading to my own exposure. 'I am an ass!' said the doctor. As Oliver knew the name of the street in which Mr. Losberne turned to speak to the driver. 'Even if it had been the right place. 'Did you know that before. that he could scarcely draw his breath. he had the warmest respect and esteem of all who knew him. in transports of real or pretended rage. sir. but as Mr. waking or sleeping. and an unavoidable statement of the manner in which I have hushed up this business. and finding that Oliver's replies to his questions. single-handed? And if I had had assistance. That would have served me right. his heart beat so violently. were still as straightforward and consistent. and eyed Oliver for an instant with a glance so sharp and fierce and at the same time so furious and vindictive. though. that.

sir?' said Oliver.' 'Come. 'They were so good to me. 'Yes. but would go and inquire. this is disappointment enough for one day. till you get out of this confounded London!' 'The book-stall keeper. Brownlow's. Losberne to the driver. very good to me. 'The old gentleman. 'To Let. the next door. that Mr.' The coach rolled on. Brownlow had sold off his goods. with tears of happy expectation coursing down his face.' cried Mr. pointing eagerly out of the window. 'Quite enough for both of us. all went together. Oliver looked up at the windows. after a moment's pause. that was the wrong house. She presently returned. we shall certainly find that he is dead.' said the doctor. or run away. or has set his house on fire. and a gentleman who was a friend of Mr. Losberne. and they will be overjoyed to find you safe and well. It went on a few paces. replied the servant. No. See him. and said. and there was a bill in the window.' 'Then turn towards home again.'Now.' said Mr. and sank feebly backward. 'The white house. It stopped. sir'. patting him on the shoulder. 'What has become of Mr. 'Has his housekeeper gone too?' inquired Mr. come!' said the good doctor. and stopped again. do you know?' The servant did not know. which house is it?' inquired Mr. and gone to the West Indies. Losberne. my boy. 'You will see them directly. Oh! make haste! Pray make haste! I feel as if I should die: it makes me tremble so. six weeks before. Losberne. 'That! That!' replied Oliver. sir! Do see him!' 'My poor boy. Alas! the white house was empty.' 'Knock at the next door. Brownlow. pray. so very.' 'Oh! I hope so!' cried Oliver. home again 238 . the housekeeper. who used to live in the adjoining house. If we go to the book-stall keeper's. No. taking Oliver's arm in his. 'I know the way there. Oliver clasped his hands. 'and don't stop to bait the horses.

and every tree and flower was putting forth its young leaves and rich blossoms. as peacefully as the sun whose setting they watched from their lonely chamber window but a few hours before. they departed to a cottage at some distance in the country. have seemed to pass at once into a new state of being. even they. Crawling forth. deep into their jaded hearts! Men who have lived in crowded. faded 239 . and glistening water. had buoyed him up. and who have come almost to love each brick and stone that formed the narrow boundaries of their daily walks. and. Bedwin would say to him: and what delight it would be to tell them how many long days and nights he had passed in reflecting on what they had done for him. and carry their own freshness. for some months. and took Oliver with them.straight!' And in obedience to the doctor's impulse. however. of an inland village! Who can tell how scenes of peace and quietude sink into the minds of pain-worn dwellers in close and noisy places. which had so excited Fagin's cupidity. and carried with them the belief that he was an impostor and a robber--a belief which might remain uncontradicted to his dying day--was almost more than he could bear. to the banker's. and they have sunk into their tombs. After another fortnight. and explaining how he had been forced away. in the behaviour of his benefactors. they have had such memories wakened up within them by the sight of the sky. The hope of eventually clearing himself with them. pent-up streets. Brownlow and Mrs. under many of his recent trials. men. the peace of mind and soft tranquillity. and who have never wished for change. and among the green hills and rich woods. The circumstance occasioned no alteration. Who can describe the pleasure and delight. Sending the plate. carried far from the scenes of their old pains and pleasures. they made preparations for quitting the house at Chertsey. This bitter disappointment caused Oliver much sorrow and grief. the sickly boy felt in the balmy air. have been known to yearn at last for one short glimpse of Nature's face. from day to day. and in bewailing his cruel separation from them. to whom custom has indeed been second nature. too. and sustained him. when the fine warm weather had fairly begun. with the hand of death upon them. through lives of toil. that a foretaste of heaven itself has soothed their quick decline. and hill and plain. home they went. many times during his illness. and leaving Giles and another servant in care of the house. and now. the idea that they should have gone so far. with thinking of all that Mr. to some green sunny spot. for he had pleased himself. even in the midst of his happiness.

and. covered with fresh turf and moss: beneath which. Every morning he went to a white-headed old gentleman. would sometimes sit him down and sob unseen. and 240 . some old song which it pleased her aunt to hear. When it became quite dark. when the ladies would walk out again. and hear them talk of books. he would work hard. It was a lovely spot to which they repaired. but full of humble mounds. and would weep for her. It was a happy time. The days were peaceful and serene. Hard by. in a low and gentle voice. There would be no candles lighted at such times as these. there lingers. seemed to enter on a new existence there. in the least reflective mind. the ivy crept round the trunks of the trees. who lived near the little church: who taught him to read better. he had his own lesson for the next day to prepare. or associating with wretched men. are not of this world. sadly. he would cease to think of her as lying in the ground. but without pain. or perhaps sit near them. was a little churchyard. nor of its thoughts and hopes. and bear down before it old enmity and hatred. Then. until it grew too dark to see the letters. a vague and half-formed consciousness of having held such feelings long before. when he raised his eyes to the deep sky overhead. whose days had been spent among squalid crowds. thinking of the wretched grave in which his mother lay. nothing but pleasant and happy thoughts. and they returned home. and took such pains. but beneath all this. till evening came slowly on. and bends down pride and worldliness beneath it. but. and listen whilst the young lady read: which he could have done. and to write: and who spoke so kindly. the young lady would sit down to the piano. he would walk with Mrs. Then. that Oliver could never try enough to please him. which calls up solemn thoughts of distant times to come. the nights brought with them neither fear nor care. the old people of the village lay at rest. Their gentle influence may teach us how to weave fresh garlands for the graves of those we loved: may purify our thoughts. and in the midst of noise and brawling. not crowded with tall unsightly gravestones. or had forgotten anything he could run to fetch: that he could never be quick enough about it. Maylie and Rose. Oliver often wandered here. and at this. no languishing in a wretched prison. or sing. and play some pleasant air. in some shady place. Oliver. in some remote and distant time. in a little room which looked into the garden. and the garden-flowers perfumed the air with delicious odours. The rose and honeysuckle clung to the cottage walls.from their dim and feeble sight! The memories which peaceful country scenes call up. and he with them: listening with such pleasure to all they said: and so happy if they wanted a flower that he could climb to reach.

by the end of that short time. 241 . their assembling there together. or about the plants. for Miss Maylie's birds. and knelt so reverently in prayer. listening to the sweet music. or. Then. in the most approved taste. warmest. in a perfect rapture. and many calls at the clean houses of the labouring men. who had been studying the subject under the able tuition of the village clerk. There was fresh groundsel. roaming the fields. and which it took great care and consideration to arrange. and that the fervent attachment of his young and sensitive heart. for nosegays of wild flowers. which he had been studying all the week. failing that. and which. it is no wonder that. like all the other days in that most happy time! There was the little church. When the birds were made all spruce and smart for the day. with which he would return laden. Oliver Twist had become completely domesticated with the old lady and her niece. So three months glided away. was repaid by their pride in. soul-felt gratitude on the other. and the truest. and attachment to. far and wide. and at night. there was always something to do in the garden. on the green. might have been unmingled happiness. to which Oliver (who had studied this science also. in the life of the most blessed and favoured of mortals. with which Oliver. sometimes. With the purest and most amiable generosity on one side.) applied himself with hearty good-will. not a tedious duty. for the embellishment of the breakfast-table. to the best advantage. himself. there was rare cricket-playing. home. that it seemed a pleasure. in the morning. and in the performance of which duty he felt more proud and pleased. In the morning. with the green leaves fluttering at the windows: the birds singing without: and the sweet-smelling air stealing in at the low porch. in Oliver's were true felicity. under the same master. it was real. Oliver read a chapter or two from the Bible. and filling the homely building with its fragrance. until Miss Rose made her appearance: when there were a thousand commendations to be bestowed on all he had done. how differently the day was spent. would decorate the cages. who was a gardener by trade.Oliver would sit by one of the windows. there was usually some little commission of charity to execute in the village. and sounded more musical (to Oliver's ears at least) than any he had ever heard in church before. And when Sunday came. failing that. or. The poor people were so neat and clean. Oliver would be a-foot by six o'clock. than if he had been the clergyman himself. too. and plundering the hedges. and though the singing might be rude. there were the walks as usual. from any way in which he had ever spent it yet! and how happily too. three months which.

and a light wind had sprung up. converted open and naked spots into choice nooks. and they had walked on. Rose had been in high spirits. too. but health or sickness made no difference in his warm feelings of a great many people. which was unusually refreshing. It was the prime and vigour of the year. and as she played it. and there was a brilliant moon. Maylie. Maylie being fatigued. and comfort on those who tended him. The earth had donned her mantle of brightest green. they returned more slowly home. and bending 242 . but played a little quicker. the same quiet life went on at the little cottage. where was a deep and pleasant shade from which to look upon the wide prospect. affectionate creature that he had been when pain and suffering had wasted his strength. had now burst into strong life and health. Rose made no reply.CHAPTER XXXIII WHEREIN THE HAPPINESS OF OLIVER AND HIS FRIENDS. and the same cheerful serenity prevailed among its inmates. which had looked shrunken and bare in the earlier months. Mrs. He was still the same gentle. they heard a sound as if she were weeping. my love!' cried Mrs. EXPERIENCES A SUDDEN CHECK Spring flew swiftly by. If the village had been beautiful at first it was now in the full glow and luxuriance of its richness. which lay stretched beyond. sat down to the piano as usual. she fell into a low and very solemn air. my dear!' said the elder lady. The young lady merely throwing off her simple bonnet. attached. as though the words had roused her from some painful thoughts. After running abstractedly over the keys for a few minutes. in merry conversation. 'Rose. until they had far exceeded their ordinary bounds. and when he was dependent for every slight attention. The great trees. and summer came. One beautiful night. rising hastily. and stretching forth their green arms over the thirsty ground. all things were glad and flourishing. and shed her richest perfumes abroad. 'Rose. when they had taken a longer walk than was customary with them: for the day had been unusually warm. steeped in sunshine. Still. Oliver had long since grown stout and healthy.

my love?' interposed Mrs. folding her arms about her. for. but her fingers dropped powerless over the keys. 'No.over her. observed that she was alarmed by these appearances. Again this disappeared. indeed. but seeing that she affected to make light of them. which it had never worn before. and she was once more deadly pale. making an effort to recover her cheerfulness. aunt. Covering her face with her hands. strove to play some livelier tune. what distresses you?' 'Nothing. I fear I _am_ ill. he endeavoured to do the same. Oliver. nothing. she sank upon a sofa. 243 . The young lady. remained silent for some time. the hue of her countenance had changed to a marble whiteness. but it was changed. who watched the old lady anxiously. and so in truth. they saw that in the very short time which had elapsed since their return home. while she spoke. she was in better spirits. Close the window. 'I never saw you so before. when Mrs. 'that nothing is the matter? She don't look well to-night. but--' The old lady motioned to him not to speak. Maylie. not ill!' replied Rose: shuddering as though some deadly chillness were passing over her. and gave vent to the tears which she was now unable to repress.' replied the young lady. and sitting herself down in a dark corner of the room.' She was. like the shadow thrown by a passing cloud. aunt. 'I shall be better presently. quite well. Another minute. 'I don't know what it is. and it was suffused with a crimson flush: and a heavy wildness came over the soft blue eye.' rejoined Rose. that when Rose was persuaded by her aunt to retire for the night. but I feel--' 'Not ill. and cannot help this. Maylie returned. I can't describe it. and appeared even in better health: assuring them that she felt certain she should rise in the morning. and there was an anxious haggard look about the gentle face. pray!' Oliver hastened to comply with her request. and they so far succeeded.' said Oliver. no! Oh. 'but indeed I have tried very hard.' 'I would not alarm you if I could avoid it. when candles were brought. Its expression had lost nothing of its beauty. 'I hope. was he. 'What is this? In tears! My dear child. 'My child!' said the elderly lady.

'And consider. my child!' said the old lady. for your sake. and for the sake of all she makes so happy. perhaps.At length. as the tears forced themselves into his eyes. for Heaven is just.' 'She is very ill now. Maylie. but this should give us comfort in our sorrow. I am sure. and such things teach us. and to beg. earnestly. and He knows how well!' 244 . 'Oh! consider how young and good she is. Heaven will never let her die so young. despite of his efforts to the contrary. 'The heavy blow. God's will be done! I love her. suppressing his own emotion.' rejoined Mrs. 'Amen to that.' said Oliver. ma'am. in a trembling voice: 'I hope not. 'of losing the dear girl who has so long been my comfort and happiness. I am sure--certain--quite certain--that. I have been very happy with her for some years: too happy. wringing her hands. laying her hand on Oliver's head. that. My dear. dear Rose! Oh. but I hope it is not this. too. ventured to remonstrate with her.' 'What?' inquired Oliver. and what pleasure and comfort she gives to all about her. for I am old. she would be more calm. that there is a brighter world than this. notwithstanding.' said the old lady. It may be time that I should meet with some misfortune. 'Surely there is no danger of anything so dreadful?' said Oliver. and for her own. I had forgotten it for a moment. 'You think like a child. to know that it is not always the youngest and best who are spared to those that love them. Oliver. what shall I do without her!' She gave way to such great grief. and that the passage to it is speedy. Oliver. But you teach me my duty. hastily. but I hope I may be pardoned. Maylies. I have seen enough. poor boy. for the sake of the dear young lady herself. she said.' 'Hush!' said Mrs. 'and will be worse. who are so good yourself. she will not die.' 'Oh! God forbid!' exclaimed Oliver. that Oliver. impressively. and have seen enough of illness and death to know the agony of separation from the objects of our love. she was quite well. 'Two hours ago.

and saw that it was directed to Harry Maylie. 'I think not. by the footpath across the field: and thence dispatched. Esquire. Mrs. 245 . 'No. and holding out his trembling hand for the letter. even cheerfully. impatiently. Losberne. 'Here is another letter.' With these words. Maylie.' said Mrs. When morning came. ma'am?' inquired Oliver. looking up. and. with all possible expedition. giving it to him mechanically. to Mr. I scarcely know. laying her finger on her lip. But he was young. The people at the inn will undertake to do this: and I can trust to you to see it done. he could not make out. 'We must be active. How should he. Maylie. Oliver glanced at it. 'but whether to send it now. under all the care and watching which ensued. at some great lord's house in the country. Maylie was every ready and collected: performing all the duties which had devolved upon her. she gave Oliver her purse. Maylie said these words. taking it back. He was still more astonished to find that this firmness lasted. I know. and he started off. under trying circumstances. by an express on horseback. and did not know what strong minds are capable of.' Oliver could make no reply. 'Shall it go. 'this letter must be sent. Maylie's predictions were but too well verified. unless I feared the worst. became composed and firm. and that. ma'am?' asked Oliver. where. but looked his anxiety to be gone at once. steadily. Mrs. It must be carried to the market-town: which is not more than four miles off. and not give way to useless grief.' said Mrs.' replied Mrs. as she looked steadily into his face. impatient to execute his commission. pausing to reflect. straight to Chertsey. 'I will wait until to-morrow. too. Rose was in the first stage of a high and dangerous fever.Oliver was surprised to see that as Mrs. and drawing herself up as she spoke. Maylie.' replied the old lady. to all external appearances. she checked her lamentations as though by one effort. I would not forward it. Oliver. when their possessors so seldom know themselves? An anxious night ensued.' 'Is it for Chertsey. or wait until I see how Rose goes on.

in a great heat. a horse had to be saddled. fixing his eyes on Oliver. the man set spurs to his horse. that he felt as if he could have jumped upon the horse himself. sir. for a few seconds. a white hat.without more delay. was out of the town. and covered with dust. Swiftly he ran across the fields. He was turning out of the gateway when he accidently stumbled against a tall man wrapped in a cloak. which took up ten good minutes more. and boots with tops to match. and rattling over the uneven paving of the market-place. with a somewhat lighter heart. and the little parcel having been handed up. 'Hah!' cried the man. and who. full tear. who was at that moment coming out of the inn door. and galloping along the turnpike-road. This gentleman walked with much deliberation into the bar to make out the bill: which took a long time making out: and after it was ready. Here he paused. and a red brewery. to recover breath. and now emerging on an open field. to the next stage. with many injunctions and entreaties for its speedy delivery. 'What the devil's this?' 'I beg your pardon. referred him to the ostler. and down the little lanes which sometimes divided them: now almost hidden by the high corn on either side. picking his teeth with a silver toothpick. who was a tall gentleman in a blue neckcloth. who after hearing all he had to say again. drab breeches. At length. As it was something to feel certain that assistance was sent for. and that no time had been lost.' To this he hastened. and paid. leaning against a pump by the stable-door.' said Oliver. He spoke to a postboy who was dozing under the gateway. at the greatest speed he could muster. as soon as it caught his eye. 'I was in a great hurry to get home. and a yellow town-hall. and suddenly recoiling. and in one corner there was a large house. in a couple of minutes. and looked about for the inn. all was ready. referred him to the landlord. Meanwhile Oliver was in such a desperate state of impatience and anxiety. There were a white bank. Oliver hurried up the inn-yard. with all the wood about it painted green: before which was the sign of 'The George. after hearing what he wanted. and galloped away. where the mowers and haymakers were busy at their work: nor did he stop once.' 246 . and a man to be dressed. and didn't see you were coming. on the little market-place of the market-town. save now and then. until he came.

and pronounced her disorder to be one of a most alarming nature. 'In fact. Maylie aside. I might have been free of you in a night. The circumstance did not dwell in his recollection long. A medical practitioner. and after first seeing the patient. 'I hope I have not hurt you!' 'Rot you!' murmured the man. who resided on the spot. Having seen him safely carried into the hotel. 'it would be little short of a miracle. Rose Maylie had rapidly grown worse. 'Who would have thought it! Grind him to ashes! He'd start up from a stone coffin. in the agony and passion of his supplication for the life and health of the gentle creature. running as fast as he could. the extraordinary behaviour of the person from whom he had just parted. who was tottering on the deep grave's verge! 247 . in a fit. if she recovered. he turned his face homewards. confused by the strange man's wild look. and cold drops of terror start upon his brow. He advanced towards Oliver. between his clenched teeth. to the staircase. and then darted into the house for help. listen for the slightest sound from the sick chamber! How often did a tremble shake his frame. compared with those he poured forth. when a sudden trampling of feet caused him to fear that something too dreadful to think of.' How often did Oliver start from his bed that night. and stealing out. Curses on your head. and to drive all considerations of self completely from his memory. had even then occurred! And what had been the fervency of all the prayers he had ever muttered. to come in my way!' 'I am sorry. with noiseless footstep. 'if I had only had the courage to say the word. however: for when he reached the cottage. as if with the intention of aiming a blow at him. you imp! What are you doing here?' The man shook his fist.' he said.'Death!' muttered the man to himself. but fell violently on the ground: writhing and foaming. now.' stammered Oliver. he had taken Mrs. Oliver gazed. for a moment. before mid-night she was delirious. and black death on your heart. in a horrible passion. to make up for lost time: and recalling with a great deal of astonishment and some fear. as he uttered these words incoherently. glaring at the boy with his large dark eyes. there was enough to occupy his mind. was in constant attendance upon her. at the struggles of the madman (for such he supposed him to be).

in silence. A group of humble mourners entered the gate: wearing 248 . and that they never wrapped the young and graceful form in their ghastly folds. with every leaf and flower in full bloom about her. which the sad remembrance of our helplessness produces. but there is very little hope. the thought instinctively occurred to him. which we have no power to alleviate. women and children went away in tears. that graves were for cold and cheerless winter: not for sunlight and fragrance. and the little cottage was lonely and still. and make the heart beat violently. the fearful. and.' Another morning. anxious faces appeared at the gate. such freedom in the rapid flight of the rook. and sounds and sights of joy. looking as if death lay stretched inside. There was such peace and beauty in the scene. or lessen the danger. turning away as he spoke. All the livelong day. the desparate anxiety _to be doing something_ to relieve the pain.Oh! the suspense. that. allay them! Morning came. so much beloved. what reflections or endeavours can. is trembling in the balance! Oh! the racking thoughts that crowd upon the mind. wasting fast. careering overhead. by the force of the images they conjure up before it. so much of brightness and mirth in the sunny landscape. People spoke in whispers. as brightly as if it looked upon no misery or care. raising his eyes every instant to the sick chamber. 'so young. such blithesome music in the songs of the summer birds. A knell from the church bell broke harshly on these youthful thoughts. that this was not a time for death. when the boy raised his aching eyes. and for hours after it had grown dark. with life. He almost thought that shrouds were for the old and shrunken. wept and prayed for her. 'It is hard. in the full tide and fever of the time. Mr. Oliver paced softly up and down the garden. the sinking of soul and spirit. acute suspense. and health. Another! Again! It was tolling for the funeral service.' said the good doctor. surrounding her on every side: the fair young creature lay. and sitting down on one of the green mounds. and shuddering to see the darkened window. so much of life and joyousness in all. and the breath come thick. what tortures can equal these. Late that night. Losberne arrived. Oliver crept away to the old churchyard. and looked about. that Rose could surely never die when humbler things were all so glad and gay. of standing idly by while the life of one we dearly love. The sun shone brightly. from time to time.

thoughts of so much omitted. Oliver turned homeward. 'As He is good and merciful. passionately. at length. He had no cause for self-reproach on the score of neglect. 'What of Rose?' cried the old lady. they watched the sun as he sank lower and lower. tell me! in the name of Heaven!' 'You must compose yourself.white favours. and the birds sang on. The untasted meal was removed. in God's name! My dear child! She is dead! She is dying!' 'No!' cried the doctor. But the sun shone brightly.' said the doctor supporting her. 'Be calm. Oliver's heart sank at sight of her. listening. 'Tell me at once! I can bear it. and. and wishing that the time could come again. and so many more which might have been repaired! There is no remorse so deep as that which is unavailing. with looks which showed that their thoughts were elsewhere. They both involuntarily darted to the door. They stood uncovered by a grave. thinking on the many kindnesses he had received from the young lady. when every death carries to some small circle of survivors. as Mr. or to bid them farewell. and so little done--of so many things forgotten. cast over sky and earth those brilliant hues which herald his departure. for the corpse was young. and he trembled to think what change could have driven her away. and there was a mother--a mother once--among the weeping train. and die. in time. for hours. if we would be spared its tortures. from which she would waken. He learnt that she had fallen into a deep sleep. When he reached home Mrs. Maylie was sitting in the little parlour. either to recovery and life. for years to come. We need be careful how we deal with those about us. Their quick ears caught the sound of an approaching footstep. pray. or want of thought.' 'Let me go. let us remember this. for he had been devoted to her service.' The lady fell upon her knees. Losberne entered. and tried to fold her hands 249 . and more earnest. she will live to bless us all. my dear ma'am. on which he fancied he might have been more zealous. and afraid to speak. and yet a hundred little occasions rose up before him. and wished he had been. They sat. anything but suspense! Oh. that he might never cease showing her how grateful and attached he was. for she had never left the bedside of her niece.

'Here!' cried the voice. the nightcap once again appeared: and the same voice called Oliver by his name. Oliver felt stunned and stupefied by the unexpected intelligence. As it dashed on. after a long ramble in the quiet evening air. although his view was so brief that he could not identify the person. driven at great speed. until. he could not weep. he heard behind him. As he walked briskly along the road. 'Oliver. AND A NEW ADVENTURE WHICH HAPPENED TO OLIVER It was almost too much happiness to bear. or rest. and she sank into the friendly arms which were extended to receive her. Oliver caught a glimpse of a man in a white nightcap. Then. and who eagerly demanded 250 . he saw that it was a post-chaise. fled up to Heaven with her first thanksgiving. the nightcap was thrust out of the chaise-window. and a stentorian voice bellowed to the driver to stop: which he did. to a full sense of the joyful change that had occurred. The night was fast closing in. as soon as he could pull up his horses. all at once. what's the news? Miss Rose! Master O-li-ver!' 'Is is you. or speak. and he seemed to awaken. but the energy which had supported her so long. approaching at a furious pace. Giles?' cried Oliver.together. and as the horses were galloping. whose face seemed familiar to him. when he was suddenly pulled back by a young gentleman who occupied the other corner of the chaise. Giles popped out his nightcap again. for the adornment of the sick chamber. when he returned homeward: laden with flowers which he had culled. and the almost insupportable load of anguish which had been taken from his breast. with peculiar care. preparatory to making some reply. In another second or two. the noise of some vehicle. running up to the chaise-door. and the road was narrow. He had scarcely the power of understanding anything that had passed. Looking round. a burst of tears came to his relief. he stood leaning against a gate until it should have passed him. CHAPTER XXXIV CONTAINS SOME INTRODUCTORY PARTICULARS RELATIVE TO A YOUNG GENTLEMAN WHO NOW ARRIVES UPON THE SCENE.

supporting an elbow on each knee. sir. 'but if you would leave the postboy to say that. 'Better or worse?' 'Better--much better!' replied Oliver.' said Giles: giving a final polish to his ruffled countenance with the handkerchief. more than once.' said he. Mr. 'Do not deceive me.' The gentleman said not another word. 'In a word!' cried the gentleman. Harry. I heard him say so. is there?' demanded the gentleman in a tremulous voice. but. and Mr. sir. Mr. and remained silent. Giles. for some minutes. Oliver thought he heard him sob. when he turned round and addressed him.what was the news. 'You are quite certain? There is no possibility of any mistake on your part. and the gentleman turned his face away. 'Indeed you may believe me. Mr. Losberne's words were. 'You are sure?' 'Quite. led him aside.' 'I would not for the world. You can say I am coming. Giles. that all danger is at an end. had been sitting on the steps of the chaise. hastily. by awakening hopes that are not to be fulfilled. It wouldn't be proper for the maids to see me in 251 . so as to gain a little time before I see her.' replied Oliver. and taking Oliver hurriedly by the arm. feigning to be occupied with his nosegay. and wiping his eyes with a blue cotton pocket-handkerchief dotted with white spots. Losberne says. 'I would rather walk slowly on. 'I think you had better go on to my mother's in the chaise. I should be very much obliged to you.' replied Oliver. leaped out.' The tears stood in Oliver's eyes as he recalled the scene which was the beginning of so much happiness. All this time. with the white nightcap on.' 'I beg your pardon. 'The change took place only a few hours ago. opening the chaise-door. That the honest fellow had not been feigning emotion. 'Thank Heaven!' exclaimed the gentleman. my boy. but he feared to interrupt him by any fresh remark--for he could well guess what his feelings were--and so stood apart. was abundantly demonstrated by the very red eyes with which he regarded the young gentleman. that she would live to bless us all for many years to come.

and substituted a hat.' rejoined Harry Maylie. snatched off and pocketed his nightcap.' Mr. 'why did you not write before?' 'I did. which he took out of the chaise. a day sooner or a day later. or we shall be taken for madmen. I should never have any more authority with them if they did. Mrs. He seemed about five-and-twenty years of age. if he had not already spoken of her as his mother. if you wish it. followed at their leisure. and Oliver. Maylie. reminded of his unbecoming costume.' 'But why. he bore so strong a likeness to the old lady.' 'Well. would have been of very. 'I fear your happiness would have been effectually blighted. that Oliver would have had no great difficulty in imagining their relationship. Maylie. his countenance was frank and handsome.' said Mrs. Losberne's opinion. and do you follow with us. 'why run the chance of that occurring which so nearly happened? If Rose had--I cannot utter that word now--if this illness had terminated differently. Mr. 'Mother!' whispered the young man. As they walked along. 'you can do as you like. 'but. Let him go on with the luggage.' 'And who can wonder if it be so. Notwithstanding the difference between youth and age. how could you ever have forgiven yourself! How could I ever have know happiness again!' 'If that _had_ been the case. Harry. smiling. and that your arrival here. sir. 'or why should I say. This done. I determined to keep back the letter until I had heard Mr. Only first exchange that nightcap for some more appropriate covering. and was of the middle height.' said the young man. mother?' rejoined the young man. and his demeanor easy and prepossessing.this state. of grave and sober shape. Giles. Maylie. The meeting did not take place without great emotion on both sides. Oliver glanced from time to time with much interest and curiosity at the new comer. Giles. on reflection.' replied Mrs. Maylie was anxiously waiting to receive her son when he reached the cottage. _if_?--It is--it is--you know it. very little import. the postboy drove off. mother--you must know it!' 252 .

'he would be a selfish brute. beyond her.' returned Mrs. gentle girl! my heart is set. no hope in life. 253 . on this matter. 'that youth has many generous impulses which do not last. I should not feel my task so difficult of performance. and cast them to the wind. though it originate in no fault of hers. and mistaking the impulses of my own soul?' 'I think. and more than enough. as you well know. that I would spare them from being wounded. no view. and do not disregard the happiness of which you seem to think so little. one day repent of the connection he formed in early life. you take my peace and happiness in your hands. On Rose. and made the subject of sneers against him: he may. 'that if an enthusiastic. But we have said enough. is not one of yesterday. and that among them are some. who acted thus. become only the more fleeting. no matter how generous and good his nature. which. my dear son. but one that shall be deep and lasting. Harry. wrings from me the avowal to you of a passion which.' said the young man. which. sweet. fixing her eyes on her son's face. 'I know that the devotion and affection of her nature require no ordinary return. when I take what seems to me to be the strict line of duty. Mother. think better of this. laying her hand upon his shoulder. being gratified. as firmly as ever heart of man was set on woman. ardent. Maylie. impatiently. besides. and of me.' 'Harry. Maylie. And she may have the pain of knowing that he does so. that a changed behaviour in one she loved would break her heart.' said Harry. nor one I have lightly formed. mother. 'Do you still suppose that I am a boy ignorant of my own mind. I think' said the lady. unworthy alike of the name of man and of the woman you describe.'I know that she deserves the best and purest love the heart of man can offer. 'And ever will!' said the young man.' said Mrs. If I did not feel this. I have no thought. or have to encounter so many struggles in my own bosom.' 'You think so now. be cast in his teeth. may be visited by cold and sordid people upon her. during the last two days. and know.' 'Mother. 'The mental agony I have suffered. in exact proportion to his success in the world.' 'This is unkind. and ambitious man marry a wife on whose name there is a stain.' replied his mother. Above all. Maylie.' said Mrs. and if you oppose me in this great stake. 'it is because I think so much of warm and sensitive hearts. and upon his children also: and.

eagerly. 'is this. years and years.' 'Let it rest with Rose. I have considered. God bless you!' 'I shall see you again to-night?' said the young man. 'Not coldly. before you suffer yourself to be carried to the highest point of hope.' interposed Harry. in all matters. 'By and by.' 'How then?' urged the young man. 'You will not press these overstrained opinions of yours.' said Mrs. 'I must go back to her.' resumed the old lady. Rose shall hear me.' replied his mother. my dear child. with all the intensity of her noble mind. great or trifling. on Rose's history.' 'She shall. I have considered. 'There is something in your manner. has always been her characteristic. Maylie.just now.' 'What do you mean?' 'That I leave you to discover. which can be productive of no earthly good? No! Before I leave this place. 'far from it. so far. as they ever will.' replied the lady. stopping her son as he was about to speak. 'but I would have you consider--' 'I _have_ considered!' was the impatient reply. indeed.' rejoined Mrs.' said the young man.' rejoined the old lady. Maylie.' replied Mrs. 'when I leave Rose. or I mistake. 'Mother. 'you have. ever since I have been capable of serious reflection. What I would say. mother. 'She has formed no other attachment?' 'No. then. as to throw any obstacle in my way?' 'I will not. and with that perfect sacrifice of self which. and consider what effect the knowledge of her doubtful birth may have on her decision: devoted as she is to us. reflect for a few moments. My feelings remain unchanged. Before you stake your all on this chance. too strong a hold on her affections already. and why should I suffer the pain of a delay in giving them vent. which would almost imply that she will hear me coldly.' 254 . Maylie.

'I will tell her all. Mr. sir. Giles walked into the corner with much importance. and hearty salutations were exchanged between them. Just step into this corner a moment. Mr. The doctor then communicated. a small commission in your favour. listened with greedy ears. he made a great many 255 . 'Have you shot anything particular.'You will tell her I am here?' said Harry.' said the old lady. how is Brittles?' 'The boy is very well.' replied Mr. Giles?' inquired the doctor. Pray. as Oliver's statement had encouraged him to hope. and some wonder. 'I am sorry to hear it. in reply to multifarious questions from his young friend. nor identifying any house-breakers?' said the doctor. recovering his usual tone of patronage. a precise account of his patient's situation.' replied Mr. sir. on the termination of which. 'None at all.' said the doctor. The former now held out his hand to Harry Maylie. 'Nor catching any thieves. 'Seeing you here. when he had concluded. who affected to be busy about the luggage. mother?' 'No. she hastened from the room. and was honoured with a short whispering conference with the doctor. which was quite as consolatory and full of promise.' said Mr. Maylie.' replied Mrs. and how I long to see her. and to the whole of which. sir. Giles.' And pressing her son's hand.' 'That's well. Giles. You will not refuse to do this. lately. 'And say how anxious I have been. that on the day before that on which I was called away so hurriedly.' said the doctor. 'Nothing particular. 'Of course. I executed. affectionately. sir. reminds me. will you?' Mr. Giles. because you do that sort of thing admirably. 'and sends his respectful duty. 'Well. with much gravity. Giles. Mr. and how much I have suffered. at the request of your good mistress. Giles. colouring up to the eyes. Losberne and Oliver had remained at another end of the apartment while this hurried conversation was proceeding.

exercise. The real hues are delicate. 256 . to the evident satisfaction of the doctor.bows. with more hope and pleasure than he had known for many days. after the doubt and suspense they had recently undergone. the two women-servants lifted up their hands and eyes. Such is the influence which the condition of our own thoughts. was dispelled by magic. the remainder of the evening passed cheerfully away. the sum of five-and-twenty pounds. and the sky itself to look more blue and bright. which displayed itself in a great variety of sallies and professional recollections. Oliver rose next morning. and their fellow-men. he would thank them to tell him so. in the local savings-bank. Giles. are in the right. and caused him to laugh proportionately. for Mr. The subject matter of this conference was not disclosed in the parlour. and the sweetest wild flowers that could be found. who laughed immoderately at himself. by the very force of sympathy. and however fatigued or thoughtful Harry Maylie might have been at first. and that if they observed that he was at all haughty to his inferiors. announced. 'No. with light and thankful hearts. And then he made a great many other remarks. and were. no less illustrative of his humility. in their old places. The birds were once more hung out. replied. as original and as much to the purpose. which struck Oliver as being the drollest things he had ever heard. which was highly effective. for the doctor was in high spirits. beautiful as all were. and made Harry laugh almost as heartily. The dew seemed to sparkle more brightly on the green leaves. that it had pleased his mistress. Above stairs. no'. and retired with steps of unusual stateliness. for days past. even over the appearance of external objects. Giles walked straight thither. and supposed that Mr. Men who look on nature. they could well have been. for his sole use and benefit. and need a clearer vision. and an abundance of small jokes. they were as pleasant a party as. The melancholy which had seemed to the sad eyes of the anxious boy to hang. as the remarks of great men commonly are. but the kitchen was speedily enlightened concerning it. and cry that all is dark and gloomy. to take that rest of which. pulling out his shirt-frill. So. to sing. over every object. he was not proof against the worthy gentleman's good humour. under the circumstances. they stood much in need. and it was late before they retired. which were received with equal favour and applause. with an air of majesty. were once more gathered to gladden Rose with their beauty. At this. but the sombre colours are reflections from their own jaundiced eyes and hearts. in consideration of his gallant behaviour on the occasion of that attempted robbery. and having called for a mug of ale. the air to rustle among them with a sweeter music. and went about his usual occupations. in better heart. to deposit. withal.

that gradually and by slow degrees. that crept over the casement. he knew where the best were to be found. Oliver sat at this window. after the very first morning when he met Oliver coming laden home. and nodded his head most expressively. in that direction. It was quite a cottage-room. although the young lady had not yet left her chamber. Harry Maylie. and Rose was rapidly recovering. just inside the lattice. intent upon his books. when busy at his books. with Mrs. save now and then. was on the ground-floor. and displayed such a taste in their arrangement. with redoubled assiduity. One beautiful evening. It looked into a garden. for she loved to feel the rich summer air stream in. The window of the young lady's chamber was opened now. 257 . Oliver could not help noticing that the withered flowers were never thrown away. and revive her with its freshness. Pending these observations. and filled the place with their delicious perfume. He had been poring over them for some time. every morning. was seized with such a passion for flowers. Nor did Oliver's time hang heavy on his hands. and he had exerted himself a great deal. that whenever the doctor came into the garden. and laboured so hard that his quick progress surprised even himself. although the little vase was regularly replenished. as left his young companion far behind. and morning after morning they scoured the country together. whence a wicket-gate opened into a small paddock. he invariably cast his eyes up to that particular corner. and brought home the fairest that blossomed. when the first shades of twilight were beginning to settle upon the earth. he fell asleep. the days were flying by. and there were no evening walks. to say. It was while he was engaged in this pursuit. for a short distance. as the day had been uncommonly sultry. to the instructions of the white-headed old gentleman. nor. which was made up with great care. could he help observing. at the back of the house. and the prospect it commanded was very extensive. but there always stood in water.It is worthy of remark. whoever they may have been. that his morning expeditions were no longer made alone. one particular little bunch. and Oliver did not fail to note it at the time. was fine meadow-land and wood. If Oliver were behindhand in these respects. that he was greatly startled and distressed by a most unexpected occurrence. The little room in which he was accustomed to sit. as he set forth on his morning's walk. There was no other dwelling near. all beyond. it is no disparagement to the authors. Maylie. with a lattice-window: around which were clusters of jessamine and honeysuckle. He applied himself. and.

while it holds the body prisoner. a prostration of strength. perfectly well. who sat beside him. accommodate themselves with surprising readiness to our visions. there is something that would tell me how to point him out. And yet he was asleep. 'it is he. in his accustomed corner. and started up. which. that although our senses of touch and sight be for the time dead. Suddenly. and whispering to another man. think you? If a crowd of ghosts were to put themselves into his exact shape. sure enough. and meeting his: there stood the 258 . does not free the mind from a sense of things about it. Nor is this. this is it. 'Hush. which may not have been near us when we closed our eyes: and of whose vicinity we have had no waking consciousness. yet our sleeping thoughts. I fancy I should know. and an utter inability to control our thoughts or power of motion. 'could I mistake him. we have a consciousness of all that is going on about us. and he thought. and. that he could have almost touched him before he started back: with his eyes peering into the room. or sounds which really exist at the moment. the scene changed.' 'He!' the other man seemed to answer. and of power to move! There--there--at the window--close before him--so close. can be called sleep. if there wasn't a mark above it. the most striking phenomenon incidental to such a state. if we dream at such a time. with his face averted. the air became close and confined. Good Heaven! what was that. that the sweet air was stirring among the creeping plants outside. that he lay buried there?' The man seemed to say this. which sent the blood tingling to his heart. that his books were lying on the table before him. my dear!' he thought he heard the Jew say. with such dreadful hatred. words which are really spoken. with a glow of terror. that he was in the Jew's house again. by the _mere silent presence_ of some external object. that he was in his own little room. that Oliver awoke with the fear. and the visionary scenes that pass before us. and took me across his grave. If you buried him fifty feet deep. and he stood amongst them. It is an undoubted fact.There is a kind of sleep that steals upon us sometimes. Come away. pointing at him. until reality and imagination become so strangely blended that it is afterwards almost matter of impossibility to separate the two. and deprived him of his voice. will be influenced and materially influenced. and enable it to ramble at its pleasure. There sat the hideous old man. So far as an overpowering heaviness. and yet. Oliver knew.

who had been out walking. catching up a heavy stick which was standing in a corner. and scarcely able to articulate the words. a flash. Losberne. and who had heard Oliver's history from his mother. he sprang over the hedge. and darted off with a speed which rendered it matter of exceeding difficulty for the others to keep near him. He stood transfixed for a moment.' replied Oliver. before his eyes. 'That. as if it had been deeply carved in stone. Giles was at a loss to comprehend what this outcry meant. they are in the ditch!' said Harry. 'The Jew! the Jew!' Mr. and just then returned. pale and agitated. most prodigiously. It was but an instant. 259 . tumbled over the hedge after them. Mr. were the scowling features of the man who had accosted him in the inn-yard. they found him. and he them. shouting all the while. attracted by Oliver's cries. 'I missed them in an instant. struck into the same course at no contemptible speed. understood it at once. hurried to the spot from which they proceeded. whose perceptions were something quicker. pointing out the course the man had taken. called loudly for help.' 'Then. to know what was the matter. 'Follow! And keep as near me. and set before him from his birth. white with rage or fear. and their look was as firmly impressed upon his memory. but Harry Maylie.Jew! And beside him. then. pointing in the direction of the meadows behind the house. AND A CONVERSATION OF SOME IMPORTANCE BETWEEN HARRY MAYLIE AND ROSE When the inmates of the house. and in the course of a minute or two. But they had recognised him. or both. CHAPTER XXXV CONTAINING THE UNSATISFACTORY RESULT OF OLIVER'S ADVENTURE. Giles followed as well as he could. a glance. as you can. and they were gone. 'What direction did he take?' he asked. leaping from the window into the garden. and picking himself up with more agility than he could have been supposed to possess. and Oliver followed too.' So saying.

shuddering at the very recollection of the old wretch's countenance. I saw them both. striking off into an angle of the field indicated by Oliver. There was the village in the hollow on the left. in no direction were there any appearances of the trampling of men in hurried flight. as he spoke. to the hedge which divided the cottage-garden from the meadow.' said Harry Maylie. and the Jew. The grass was long.' 'Who was the other?' inquired Harry and Mr.On they all went. which it was impossible they could have accomplished in so short a time.' said Oliver. which afforded time for the remainder of the party to come up.' The two gentlemen watched Oliver's earnest face. sir. but in no one place could they discern the print of men's shoes. crept through that gap. but they could not have gained that covert for the same reason. The search was all in vain. The sides and brinks of the ditches were of damp clay. and looking from him to each other. until the leader. or the slightest mark which would indicate that any feet had pressed the ground for hours before. 'Oh no.' replied Oliver. They stood now. together. and for Oliver to communicate to Mr. 'The very same man I told you of. save where their own feet had crushed it. 'We had our eyes fixed full upon each other. There were not even the traces of recent footsteps. the men must have made a circuit of open ground. narrowly. seemed to feel satisfied of the accuracy of what he said.' replied Oliver. just there. commanding the open fields in every direction for three or four miles.' 'They took this way?' demanded Harry: 'are you sure?' 'As I am that the men were at the window. indeed. A thick wood skirted the meadow-land in another direction. nor stopped they once to breathe. Still. but. on the summit of a little hill. 260 . Losberne. 'The tall man leaped over. Losberne the circumstances that had led to so vigorous a pursuit. and I could swear to him. 'I saw him too plainly for that. to be seen. as plainly as I see you now. pointing down. in order to gain that. as he spoke. the ditch and hedge adjoining. running a few paces to the right. but it was trodden down nowhere. 'It must have been a dream. after pursuing the track Oliver had pointed out. began to search. who came so suddenly upon me at the inn. Oliver.

carried joy into the hearts of all. and of somebody else besides. After Mr. furnished with the best description Oliver could give of the appearance and dress of the strangers. supposing he had been seen drinking. when wonder. drawing his chair towards her. although this happy change had a visible effect on the little circle. they did not desist until the coming on of night rendered its further prosecution hopeless. but Giles returned without any intelligence. calculated to dispel or lessen the mystery. having no fresh food to support it. there was at times. an unwonted restraint upon some there: even upon Rose herself: which Oliver could not fail to remark.'This is strange!' said Harry. Meanwhile. Harry Maylie entered. fresh search was made. 'A few--a very few--will suffice. begged permission to speak with her for a few moments. But. At length. themselves. 'Blathers and Duff. and mixing once more with the family. On the next day. and even then. After a few days. On the day following. and it became evident that something was in progress which affected the peace of the young lady. when Rose was alone in the breakfast-parlour.' said the young man. Giles was dispatched to the different ale-houses in the village. 'Strange?' echoed the doctor. or loitering about. Losberne had fixed a day for his departure to Chertsey. with some hesitation. as most affairs are. Of these. and although cheerful voices and merry laughter were once more heard in the cottage. but with no better success. 'What I shall have to say. Mrs. and more than once Rose appeared with traces of tears upon her face. Maylie repaired to the market-town.' Notwithstanding the evidently useless nature of their search. could make nothing of it. they gave it up with reluctance. has 261 . Rose. the affair began to be forgotten. in the hope of seeing or hearing something of the men there. but this effort was equally fruitless. and the inquiries renewed. sufficiently remarkable to be remembered. the Jew was. and. She had left her room: was able to go out. one morning. at all events. Maylie and her son were often closeted together for a long time. Oliver and Mr. Rose was rapidly recovering. dies away of itself. these symptoms increased.

when the distant world to which she was akin. and glistened brightly in its cup.' said Harry. and with them. their pure spirits insensibly turn towards their bright home of lasting rest. 'You should. waited in silence for him to proceed. and bending over some plants that stood near. and apprehensions. we know. with the loveliest things in nature. We know that when the young. by day and night. 'A creature. and yet to pray. indeed. claimed kindred naturally. some drop of health came 262 . Day by day. it seemed as though the outpouring of her fresh young heart. 'the fear of losing the one dear being on whom my every wish and hope are fixed. but I wish you had. 'Forgive me for saying so. You had been dying. 'a creature as fair and innocent of guile as one of God's own angels. to have no hope that you would be spared to those who linger here. that she would return to the sorrow and calamity of this! Rose. 'I--I--ought to have left here. passionately. lest you should die.' replied Rose. She merely bowed. and never know how devotedly I loved you. to feel that you belonged to that bright sphere whither so many of the fairest and the best have winged their early flight. You recovered. Rose. amid all these consolations. and selfish regrets. making it more beautiful. too often fade in blooming.' Rose had been very pale from the moment of his entrance. came such a rushing torrent of fears. before.' There were tears in the eyes of the gentle girl. casts upon the earth. trembling between earth and heaven. by the most dreadful and agonising of all apprehensions. are visited with sickness. the most cherished hopes of my heart are not unknown to you. as these words were spoken. as almost bore down sense and reason in its course. which a light from above. Oh! who could hope. and when one fell upon the flower over which she bent. that you might be restored to those who loved you--these were distractions almost too great to bear. the beautiful. They were mine.' said the young man. though from my lips you have not heard them stated. fluttered between life and death. hardly to know a reason why you should be. and good. but that might have been the effect of her recent illness. Heaven help us! that the best and fairest of our kind.' continued the young man. and almost hour by hour.already presented itself to your mind. to know that you were passing away like some soft shadow.' 'I was brought here. half opened to her view.

thinking. if you will.' said Rose. to life. in a low voice. mastering the emotions by which she was agitated. but here. Rose. as in redemption of some old mute contract that had been sealed between us! That time has not arrived. 'As you believe that I am not insensible or ungrateful. It is a duty that I must 263 . and claim your hand. and most faithful friend you have. as the object of your love. to pursuits well worthy of you. that I may endeavour to deserve you. weeping. of the many silent tokens I had given of a boy's attachment. in my daydreams. that you might have turned to high and noble pursuits again.' 'Your behaviour has ever been kind and noble. and stake my all upon the words with which you greet the offer. Confide some other passion to me. Do not tell me that you wish I had lost this. think how many hearts you would be proud to gain. dear Rose?' 'It is. 'that you must endeavour to forget me. it is. how I would remind you. who had covered her face with one hand. Rose.' 'There is no pursuit more worthy of me: more worthy of the highest nature that exists: than the struggle to win such a heart as yours. Harry still retained the other. and no young vision realised. gave free vent to her tears. at length. my own dear Rose! For years--for years--I have loved you. with eyes that turned blind with their eagerness and deep affection. I have watched you change almost from death. and mingling with the spent and feeble stream of life which circulated languidly within you. but. 'You can say nothing to alter my resolution. so hear my answer. during which. not as your old and dearly-attached companion.' said the young man. with not fame won. taking her hand.' 'I did not mean that. I offer you the heart so long your own. for that would wound me deeply. 'I only wish you had left here.' rejoined Rose.' replied Rose.' he said.' There was a pause. are there. and then come proudly home and tell you it had been pursued only for you to share. warmest. I will be the truest.' 'It is. hoping to win my way to fame. in that happy moment. swelled it again to a high and rushing tide. Look into the world. for it has softened my heart to all mankind. 'your reasons for this decision?' 'You have a right to know them.' said Rose. 'Rose. 'And your reasons.back.

dear Rose. are in store for you. From your own lips. and fastened myself. this great obstacle to your progress in the world. and to myself. portionless. cheer and prosper you!' 'Another word. 'Do not conceal that from me. Harry! As we have met to-day. 'They do not. in the warmth of your generous nature. 'Your reason in your own words. and may every blessing that the prayers of a true and earnest heart can call down from the source of all truth and sincerity. Rose. I owe it. disengaging her hand. and soften the bitterness of this hard disappointment!' 'If I could have done so. and every triumph you achieve in life will animate me with new fortitude and firmness. say but that. I owe it to you and yours. a clog. that I. firmly. 'Say but that. at least.perform.' 'If your inclinations chime with your sense of duty--' Harry began. 'is a brilliant one. Harry. notwithstanding.' said Rose. a friendless. 'Stay!' she added. and I will neither mingle with such as may hold in scorn the mother who gave me life. girl. I owe it to myself. without doing heavy wrong to him I loved. and yet productive of lasting happiness. Rose.' 'I could. 'Then you return my love?' said Harry.' answered Rose. let me hear it!' 'The prospect before you. nor bring disgrace or failure on the son of her who has so well supplied 264 . on all your hopes and projects. All the honours to which great talents and powerful connections can help men in public life. 'I could have--' 'Have received this declaration very differently?' said Harry. should not give your friends reason to suspect that I had sordidly yielded to your first passion.' 'To yourself?' 'Yes. to prevent you from opposing. but in other relations than those in which this conversation have placed us. we meet no more.' replied Rose.' said Harry. Farewell. we may be long and happily entwined. colouring deeply. with a blight upon my name.' rejoined Rose. But those connections are proud. 'why should we prolong this painful interview? Most painful to me. for it _will_ be happiness to know that I once held the high place in your regard which I now occupy. alike to others.

given this scruple birth?' 'Do not press me to reply. almost unkind.' 'Not to press me to alter my right determination. while making this avowal. for the last time. and all you doom me to undergo. sick. very happy. 'The question does not arise.' Busy recollections of old hopes. turning away. helpless--would you have turned from me then? Or has my probable advancement to riches and honour. as her temporary firmness forsook her. and they relieved her. 'I must leave you now. in the name of all I have suffered for you. the world would call it--if some obscure and peaceful life had been my destiny--if I had been poor. but they brought tears with them. which the world visits on innocent heads. 'I cannot help this weakness. indeed. I own I should have been happier. and it makes my purpose stronger. 'it will be useless. I should have been spared this trial.' said Rose. and light the path before me.' rejoined Rose. long ago.--I may speak to you again on this subject. Rose: in the name of my ardent and enduring attachment.' 'One word more. by the utterance of a few brief words. now.--say within a year. but it may be much sooner.' 265 . I have every reason to be happy. and the reproach shall rest alone on me. I will carry it into no blood but my own.' answered Rose. Oh. if I could have been a help and comfort to you in any humble scene of peace and retirement. cherished as a girl. and only once more. 'there is a stain upon my name. and not a blot and drawback in ambitious and distinguished crowds. 'Once.that mother's place. above me. Dearest Rose! one more!' cried Harry. if your lot had been differently cast. for one who loves you beyond all else. 'it will shed a gleam of happiness upon my lonely way. answer me this one question!' 'Then. 'if you had been even a little. In a word. as old hopes will when they come back withered. 'If I had been less--less fortunate.' said the young lady. Rose. crowded into the mind of Rose. to urge it. and never will. It is unfair.' 'I ask one promise.' 'If your answer be what I almost dare to hope it is. with a melancholy smile. but then.' retorted Harry. It is not an idle thing to do so much. extending her hand.' replied Rose. throwing himself before her.' said Harry. but not so far. Harry.

hurried from the room. whatever of station of fortune I may possess. But yesterday morning you had made up your mind.' She extended her hand again. Oliver?' 'I should have been very sorry not to have been at home when you and Mr. to stay here. that young Oliver here is pinned down to his breakfast when he ought to be ranging the meadows after botanical phenomena of all kinds. to start before the ladies are stirring. 'That's a fine fellow. sir. AND MAY APPEAR OF NO GREAT IMPORTANCE IN ITS PLACE. has any communication from the great nobs produced this sudden anxiety on your part to be gone?' 266 . and by that time I may be enabled to bear it better. AS A SEQUEL TO THE LAST.' said the doctor. and imprinting one kiss on her beautiful forehead. Maylie went away. 'to hear you repeat it. to the sea-side. as Harry Maylie joined him and Oliver at the breakfast-table. will not seek. if you will--finally repeat it! I will lay at your feet. Before noon. 'though I confess I don't think I shall. 'it is but one pang the more. you urge me. But.' replied Mr. you announce that you are going to do me the honour of accompanying me as far as I go. eh?' said the doctor. by word or act. Losberne. Too bad. BUT IT SHOULD BE READ NOTWITHSTANDING.' rejoined Rose. like a dutiful son. and to accompany your mother. CHAPTER XXXVI IS A VERY SHORT ONE.' 'Then let it be so. Harry. AND A KEY TO ONE THAT WILL FOLLOW WHEN ITS TIME ARRIVES 'And so you are resolved to be my travelling companion this morning. in a great hurry.' said Harry.' rejoined Oliver. to speak seriously. And at night. you are not in the same mind or intention two half-hours together!' 'You will tell me a different tale one of these days. on your road to London. But the young man caught her to his bosom.' said Harry. isn't it. 'I hope I may have good cause to do so. the consequence of which is. 'you shall come and see me when you return. colouring without any perceptible reason. and if you still adhere to your present resolution. 'Why. with great mystery. to change it.'No.

is it likely that anything would occur to render necessary my immediate attendance among them. 'I hope so. I presume. in a low voice. sir. There's something in that. I wish you would write to me--say once a fort-night: every alternate Monday: to the General Post Office in London. The post-chaise drove up to the door shortly afterwards. nor. sir.' said the doctor. sir. 'I should like to know how--how my mother and Miss Maylie are. and whether she--they. but he contented himself with saying. since I have been here. 'I would rather you did not mention it to them.' Oliver walked into the window-recess to which Mr. 'under which designation. cup. at this time of the year. quite. laying his hand upon his arm. or sweepstakes. 267 . to see it packed. and these sudden shiftings and changes are no bad preparation for political life. 'and you can fill up a sheet by telling me what walks you take. the good doctor bustled out.' replied Harry. 'let me speak a word with you. and what you talk about. which his whole behaviour displayed.' exclaimed Oliver.' said the young man. you include my most stately uncle.' said Harry Maylie.' replied Oliver. I shall be proud to do it. 'We shall see. greatly delighted with the commission. whether the race be for place. You understand me?' 'Oh! quite.' replied Oliver. have not communicated with me at all.' and pursued the subject no farther. perhaps for some time.'The great nobs. 'Oliver.' 'Well. 'I shall not be at home again. But of course they will get you into parliament at the election before Christmas.' Harry Maylie looked as if he could have followed up this short dialogue by one or two remarks that would have staggered the doctor not a little. 'you are a queer fellow.' said Harry. Good training is always desirable. and Giles coming in for the luggage. Maylie beckoned him. much surprised at the mixture of sadness and boisterous spirits. I mean--seem happy and quite well. Will you?' 'Oh! certainly. 'You can write well now?' said Harry.

268 . Giles (who. and now becoming visible again. almost hidden in a cloud of dust: now wholly disappearing. till distance rendered its noise inaudible. It was not until even the dusty cloud was no longer to be seen. who remained with eyes fixed upon the spot where the carriage had disappeared. Harry cast one slight glance at the latticed window. Do you hear?' Jingling and clattering. looking on. Maylie took leave of him. 'I feared for a time he might be otherwise.' Oliver. as intervening objects. should be left behind) held the door open in his hand. I am very. and its rapid progress only perceptible to the eye. The doctor was in the chaise. the vehicle wound its way along the road. Let it be a secret between you and me. but those which coursed down Rose's face. to-day. with many assurances of his regard and protection. as she sat pensively at the window. behind the white curtain which had shrouded her from view when Harry raised his eyes towards the window. Mr. letting down the front glass in a great hurry. permitted. 'He seems in high spirits and happy. and mind you tell me everything! I depend upon you. I was mistaken. and it is a trouble and worry to her. long after it was many miles away. faithfully promised to be secret and explicit in his communications. And there was one looker-on. 'hard. quite elated and honoured by a sense of his importance. it had been arranged. and jumped into the carriage. and shouting to the postillion. still gazing in the same direction.' she said.hurrying over his words. and the women-servants were in the garden. very glad. or the intricacies of the way. for. that the gazers dispersed. fast. 'something very short of flying will keep pace with _me_. seemed to tell more of sorrow than of joy. 'because it might make my mother anxious to write to me oftener. sat Rose herself. full gallop! Nothing short of flying will keep pace with me.' Tears are signs of gladness as well as grief. at length.' 'Halloa!' cried the doctor. 'Drive on!' he cried.

a counsellor his silk gown. 'And to-morrow two months it was done!' said Mr. and dark cotton stockings on his nether limbs. Bumble had married Mrs. which announced that a great change had taken place in the position of his affairs.' Mr. Corney. On him the cocked hat. it might be that the insects brought to mind. which were sent back from its cold and shining surface. Mere men. Bumble would heave a deep sigh. whence. than the reflection of certain sickly rays of the sun. are more questions of coat and waistcoat than some people imagine. as it was summer time. Bumble. Bumble sat in the workhouse parlour. while a more gloomy shadow overspread his countenance. a beadle his cocked hat. no brighter gleam proceeded. require peculiar value and dignity from the coats and waistcoats connected with them. Bumble was no longer a beadle. which. Mr. a bishop his silk apron. what are they? Men. independent of the more substantial rewards they offer. Dignity. There are some promotions in life. Mr. but they were not _the_ breeches. and. NOT UNCOMMON IN MATRIMONIAL CASES Mr. There were not wanting other appearances. Mr. Strip the bishop of his apron. Bumble might have meant that he had concentrated a whole 269 . with his eyes moodily fixed on the cheerless grate. A paper fly-cage dangled from the ceiling. and was master of the workhouse. had all three descended. 'It seems a age. Bumble's gloom the only thing calculated to awaken a pleasing melancholy in the bosom of a spectator. to which he occasionally raised his eyes in gloomy thought. but. or the beadle of his hat and lace. and even holiness too. with a sigh. and in that respect like _the_ coat. The coat was wide-skirted. The laced coat. some painful passage in his own past life. as the heedless insects hovered round the gaudy net-work. Nor was Mr. Another beadle had come into power.CHAPTER XXXVII IN WHICH THE READER MAY PERCEIVE A CONTRAST. gold-laced coat. oh how different! The mighty cocked hat was replaced by a modest round one. Mr. and the cocked hat. where were they? He still wore knee-breeches. sometimes. and staff. A field-marshal has his uniform. Bumble was meditating. and those closely connected with his own person.

(If she stands such a eye as that. He then relapsed into his former state. Bumble. ma'am. treated it with great disdain. Mr. being lightly fed. had hazarded the foregoing remark at a venture. and a milk-pot. Bumble's ear: 'you would have been dear at any price. 'Are you going to sit snoring there. with a small quantity of second-hand furniture. Lord above knows that!' Mr. is. I went very reasonable. Bumble. that the matron was in no way overpowered by Mr. Bumble's scowl. Bumble. ma'am!' said Mr. my power is gone. which sounded as though it were genuine. fixing his eyes upon her. who. and even raised a laugh thereat. with a sentimental sternness. but. 'Mrs.' said Mr. 'Well!' cried the lady. as long as I think proper. a pair of sugar-tongs. or whether the late Mrs. Corney was particularly proof against eagle glances. The matter of fact. first incredulous. on the contrary. and twenty pound in money. and encountered the face of his interesting consort.' said Mr.' said Mr. I shall 270 . Bumble. Bumble looked. Bumble. 'Have the goodness to look at me. but the sigh--there was a vast deal of meaning in the sigh. Bumble to himself. Bumble. 'for six teaspoons.' rejoined Mr. On hearing this most unexpected sound.existence of happiness into the short space of eight weeks. 'she can stand anything. are in no very high condition. and afterwards amazed. Cheap. all day?' inquired Mrs.') Whether an exceedingly small expansion of eye be sufficient to quell paupers. 'and although I was _not_ snoring. It is a eye I never knew to fail with paupers. 'I sold myself. If it fails with her. nor did he rouse himself until his attention was again awakened by the voice of his partner. dirt cheap!' 'Cheap!' cried a shrill voice in Mr. are matters of opinion. and dear enough I paid for you. pursuing the same train of relection. who. 'I am going to sit here. Bumble turned. imperfectly comprehending the few words she had overheard of his complaint.

ma'am. sneeze. The first proof he experienced of the fact. Bumble was not long in discovering. because they were less troublesome than a manual assault. that she should cry her hardest: the exercise being looked upon. with ineffable contempt. and that a blow struck for the mastership on one side or other. which. or cry. being tokens of weakness.' said Mr. and putting it on. But. 'Your late unfortunate husband should have taught it you. rather rakishly. pleased and exalted him. and begged. Bumble. 'So cry away. such being my prerogative. Bumble took his hat from a peg. perhaps.' '_Your_ prerogative!' sneered Mrs. washes the countenance. thrust his hands into his pockets. as Mr. she was quite prepared to make trial of the latter mode of proceeding. than she dropped into a chair. tears were not the things to find their way to Mr. laugh. as strongly conducive to health. who felt he had asserted his superiority in a becoming manner. his nerves were rendered stouter and more vigorous. Corney that was. was conveyed in a 271 . his heart was waterproof. and sauntered towards the door.snore.' As he discharged himself of this pleasantry. 'It opens the lungs. in an encouraging manner. on one side.' said Mr. Bumble. and with a loud scream that Mr. 'To obey.' thundered Mr. Bumble. Like washable beaver hats that improve with rain. with much ease and waggishness depicted in his whole appearance. Bumble. Bumble. must necessarily be final and conclusive. that the decisive moment had now arrived. gape. and so far tacit admissions of his own power. by showers of tears. I wish he was. no sooner heard this allusion to the dead and gone. exercises the eyes. as the humour strikes me. but. Bumble was a hard-hearted brute. He eyed his good lady with looks of great satisfaction. Corney deceased. Bumble's soul. by the faculty. 'I said the word. and softens down the temper. fell into a paroxysm of tears. and then. Mr. seeing at a glance.' 'And what's the prerogative of a woman. he might have been alive now. poor man!' Mrs. as a man might. Mrs. ma'am. had tried the tears. Now. 'The prerogative of a man is to command. in the name of Goodness?' cried the relict of Mr.

The remark is made. Picking up his hat. that the poor-laws really were too hard on people. 'And take yourself away from here. This is by no means a disparagement to his character. Mrs. by this time. certainly. and. without bestowing another thought on his unfinished sentence: leaving the late Mrs. for the first time. 'I didn't intend to--I'm going. my dear. rather in his favour than otherwise. inflicted a shower of blows (dealt with singular vigour and dexterity) upon it with the other. she pushed him over a chair. Bumble rose with a very rueful countenance: wondering much what something desperate might be. This done. unless you want me to do something desperate. consequently. After making a tour of the house. the measure of his degradation was not yet full.hollow sound. Bumble was fairly taken by surprise. he looked towards the door. my dear! You are so very violent. Mr. which had been kicked up in the scuffle. But.' Mr. the expert lady. leaving them chargeable to the parish. and fairly beaten. ought. having. clasping him tightly round the throat with one hand. and tearing his hair. are the victims of similar infirmities. in justice to be visited with no punishment at all. 'Are you going?' demanded Mrs. Mr. indeed. and with a view of impressing the reader with a just sense of his qualifications for office. and that men who ran away from their wives. that really I--' At this instant. she created a little variety by scratching his face. for many official personages.' rejoined Mr. and thinking. but rather rewarded as meritorious individuals who had 272 . Bumble. Corney in full possession of the field. in a voice of command. and. He had a decided propensity for bullying: derived no inconsiderable pleasure from the exercise of petty cruelty. Bumble. Bumble stepped hastily forward to replace the carpet. This preliminary proceeding laying bare his head. who are held in high respect and admiration. 'Certainly. was (it is needless to say) a coward. making a quicker motion towards the door. Bumble. immediately succeeded by the sudden flying off of his hat to the opposite end of the room. which was luckily well situated for the purpose: and defied him to talk about his prerogative again. 'Get up!' said Mrs. Bumble immediately darted out of the room. inflicted as much punishment as she deemed necessary for the offence. if he dared.

suffered much; Mr. Bumble came to a room where some of the female
paupers were usually employed in washing the parish linen: when
the sound of voices in conversation, now proceeded.
'Hem!' said Mr. Bumble, summoning up all his native dignity.
'These women at least shall continue to respect the prerogative.
Hallo! hallo there! What do you mean by this noise, you
With these words, Mr. Bumble opened the door, and walked in with
a very fierce and angry manner: which was at once exchanged for
a most humiliated and cowering air, as his eyes unexpectedly
rested on the form of his lady wife.
'My dear,' said Mr. Bumble, 'I didn't know you were here.'
'Didn't know I was here!' repeated Mrs. Bumble. 'What do _you_ do
'I thought they were talking rather too much to be doing their
work properly, my dear,' replied Mr. Bumble: glancing
distractedly at a couple of old women at the wash-tub, who were
comparing notes of admiration at the workhouse-master's humility.
'_You_ thought they were talking too much?' said Mrs. Bumble. 'What
business is it of yours?'
'Why, my dear--' urged Mr. Bumble submissively.
'What business is it of yours?' demanded Mrs. Bumble, again.
'It's very true, you're matron here, my dear,' submitted Mr.
Bumble; 'but I thought you mightn't be in the way just then.'
'I'll tell you what, Mr. Bumble,' returned his lady. 'We don't
want any of your interference. You're a great deal too fond of
poking your nose into things that don't concern you, making
everybody in the house laugh, the moment your back is turned, and
making yourself look like a fool every hour in the day. Be off;
Mr. Bumble, seeing with excruciating feelings, the delight of the
two old paupers, who were tittering together most rapturously,
hesitated for an instant. Mrs. Bumble, whose patience brooked no
delay, caught up a bowl of soap-suds, and motioning him towards
the door, ordered him instantly to depart, on pain of receiving
the contents upon his portly person.

What could Mr. Bumble do? He looked dejectedly round, and slunk
away; and, as he reached the door, the titterings of the paupers
broke into a shrill chuckle of irrepressible delight. It wanted
but this. He was degraded in their eyes; he had lost caste and
station before the very paupers; he had fallen from all the
height and pomp of beadleship, to the lowest depth of the most
snubbed hen-peckery.
'All in two months!' said Mr. Bumble, filled with dismal
thoughts. 'Two months! No more than two months ago, I was not
only my own master, but everybody else's, so far as the porochial
workhouse was concerned, and now!--'
It was too much. Mr. Bumble boxed the ears of the boy who opened
the gate for him (for he had reached the portal in his reverie);
and walked, distractedly, into the street.
He walked up one street, and down another, until exercise had
abated the first passion of his grief; and then the revulsion of
feeling made him thirsty. He passed a great many public-houses;
but, at length paused before one in a by-way, whose parlour, as
he gathered from a hasty peep over the blinds, was deserted, save
by one solitary customer. It began to rain, heavily, at the
moment. This determined him. Mr. Bumble stepped in; and
ordering something to drink, as he passed the bar, entered the
apartment into which he had looked from the street.
The man who was seated there, was tall and dark, and wore a large
cloak. He had the air of a stranger; and seemed, by a certain
haggardness in his look, as well as by the dusty soils on his
dress, to have travelled some distance. He eyed Bumble askance,
as he entered, but scarcely deigned to nod his head in
acknowledgment of his salutation.
Mr. Bumble had quite dignity enough for two; supposing even that
the stranger had been more familiar: so he drank his
gin-and-water in silence, and read the paper with great show of
pomp and circumstance.
It so happened, however: as it will happen very often, when men
fall into company under such circumstances: that Mr. Bumble
felt, every now and then, a powerful inducement, which he could
not resist, to steal a look at the stranger: and that whenever
he did so, he withdrew his eyes, in some confusion, to find that
the stranger was at that moment stealing a look at him. Mr.
Bumble's awkwardness was enhanced by the very remarkable
expression of the stranger's eye, which was keen and bright, but
shadowed by a scowl of distrust and suspicion, unlike anything he

had ever observed before, and repulsive to behold.
When they had encountered each other's glance several times in
this way, the stranger, in a harsh, deep voice, broke silence.
'Were you looking for me,' he said, 'when you peered in at the
'Not that I am aware of, unless you're Mr. --' Here Mr. Bumble
stopped short; for he was curious to know the stranger's name,
and thought in his impatience, he might supply the blank.
'I see you were not,' said the stranger; an expression of quiet
sarcasm playing about his mouth; 'or you have known my name. You
don't know it. I would recommend you not to ask for it.'
'I meant no harm, young man,' observed Mr. Bumble, majestically.
'And have done none,' said the stranger.
Another silence succeeded this short dialogue: which was again
broken by the stranger.
'I have seen you before, I think?' said he. 'You were
differently dressed at that time, and I only passed you in the
street, but I should know you again. You were beadle here, once;
were you not?'
'I was,' said Mr. Bumble, in some surprise; 'porochial beadle.'
'Just so,' rejoined the other, nodding his head. 'It was in that
character I saw you. What are you now?'
'Master of the workhouse,' rejoined Mr. Bumble, slowly and
impressively, to check any undue familiarity the stranger might
otherwise assume. 'Master of the workhouse, young man!'
'You have the same eye to your own interest, that you always had,
I doubt not?' resumed the stranger, looking keenly into Mr.
Bumble's eyes, as he raised them in astonishment at the question.
'Don't scruple to answer freely, man. I know you pretty well,
you see.'
'I suppose, a married man,' replied Mr. Bumble, shading his eyes
with his hand, and surveying the stranger, from head to foot, in
evident perplexity, 'is not more averse to turning an honest
penny when he can, than a single one. Porochial officers are not

so well paid that they can afford to refuse any little extra fee,
when it comes to them in a civil and proper manner.'
The stranger smiled, and nodded his head again: as much to say,
he had not mistaken his man; then rang the bell.
'Fill this glass again,' he said, handing Mr. Bumble's empty
tumbler to the landlord. 'Let it be strong and hot. You like it
so, I suppose?'
'Not too strong,' replied Mr. Bumble, with a delicate cough.
'You understand what that means, landlord!' said the stranger,
The host smiled, disappeared, and shortly afterwards returned
with a steaming jorum: of which, the first gulp brought the water
into Mr. Bumble's eyes.
'Now listen to me,' said the stranger, after closing the door and
window. 'I came down to this place, to-day, to find you out;
and, by one of those chances which the devil throws in the way of
his friends sometimes, you walked into the very room I was
sitting in, while you were uppermost in my mind. I want some
information from you. I don't ask you to give it for nothing,
slight as it is. Put up that, to begin with.'
As he spoke, he pushed a couple of sovereigns across the table to
his companion, carefully, as though unwilling that the chinking
of money should be heard without. When Mr. Bumble had
scrupulously examined the coins, to see that they were genuine,
and had put them up, with much satisfaction, in his
waistcoat-pocket, he went on:
'Carry your memory back--let me see--twelve years, last winter.'
'It's a long time,' said Mr. Bumble. 'Very good. I've done it.'
'The scene, the workhouse.'
'And the time, night.'
'And the place, the crazy hole, wherever it was, in which
miserable drabs brought forth the life and health so often denied

to themselves--gave birth to puling children for the parish to
rear; and hid their shame, rot 'em in the grave!'
'The lying-in room, I suppose?' said Mr. Bumble, not quite
following the stranger's excited description.
'Yes,' said the stranger. 'A boy was born there.'
'A many boys,' observed Mr. Bumble, shaking his head,
'A murrain on the young devils!' cried the stranger; 'I speak of
one; a meek-looking, pale-faced boy, who was apprenticed down
here, to a coffin-maker--I wish he had made his coffin, and
screwed his body in it--and who afterwards ran away to London, as
it was supposed.
'Why, you mean Oliver! Young Twist!' said Mr. Bumble; 'I
remember him, of course. There wasn't a obstinater young
'It's not of him I want to hear; I've heard enough of him,' said
the stranger, stopping Mr. Bumble in the outset of a tirade on
the subject of poor Oliver's vices. 'It's of a woman; the hag
that nursed his mother. Where is she?'
'Where is she?' said Mr. Bumble, whom the gin-and-water had
rendered facetious. 'It would be hard to tell. There's no
midwifery there, whichever place she's gone to; so I suppose
she's out of employment, anyway.'
'What do you mean?' demanded the stranger, sternly.
'That she died last winter,' rejoined Mr. Bumble.
The man looked fixedly at him when he had given this information,
and although he did not withdraw his eyes for some time
afterwards, his gaze gradually became vacant and abstracted, and
he seemed lost in thought. For some time, he appeared doubtful
whether he ought to be relieved or disappointed by the
intelligence; but at length he breathed more freely; and
withdrawing his eyes, observed that it was no great matter.
With that he rose, as if to depart.
But Mr. Bumble was cunning enough; and he at once saw that an
opportunity was opened, for the lucrative disposal of some secret
in the possession of his better half. He well remembered the
night of old Sally's death, which the occurrences of that day had

given him good reason to recollect, as the occasion on which he
had proposed to Mrs. Corney; and although that lady had never
confided to him the disclosure of which she had been the solitary
witness, he had heard enough to know that it related to something
that had occurred in the old woman's attendance, as workhouse
nurse, upon the young mother of Oliver Twist. Hastily calling
this circumstance to mind, he informed the stranger, with an air
of mystery, that one woman had been closeted with the old
harridan shortly before she died; and that she could, as he had
reason to believe, throw some light on the subject of his
'How can I find her?' said the stranger, thrown off his guard;
and plainly showing that all his fears (whatever they were) were
aroused afresh by the intelligence.
'Only through me,' rejoined Mr. Bumble.
'When?' cried the stranger, hastily.
'To-morrow,' rejoined Bumble.
'At nine in the evening,' said the stranger, producing a scrap of
paper, and writing down upon it, an obscure address by the
water-side, in characters that betrayed his agitation; 'at nine
in the evening, bring her to me there. I needn't tell you to be
secret. It's your interest.'
With these words, he led the way to the door, after stopping to
pay for the liquor that had been drunk. Shortly remarking that
their roads were different, he departed, without more ceremony
than an emphatic repetition of the hour of appointment for the
following night.
On glancing at the address, the parochial functionary observed
that it contained no name. The stranger had not gone far, so he
made after him to ask it.
'What do you want?' cried the man, turning quickly round, as
Bumble touched him on the arm. 'Following me?'
'Only to ask a question,' said the other, pointing to the scrap
of paper. 'What name am I to ask for?'
'Monks!' rejoined the man; and strode hastily, away.


It was a dull, close, overcast summer evening. The clouds, which
had been threatening all day, spread out in a dense and sluggish
mass of vapour, already yielded large drops of rain, and seemed
to presage a violent thunder-storm, when Mr. and Mrs. Bumble,
turning out of the main street of the town, directed their course
towards a scattered little colony of ruinous houses, distant from
it some mile and a-half, or thereabouts, and erected on a low
unwholesome swamp, bordering upon the river.
They were both wrapped in old and shabby outer garments, which
might, perhaps, serve the double purpose of protecting their
persons from the rain, and sheltering them from observation. The
husband carried a lantern, from which, however, no light yet
shone; and trudged on, a few paces in front, as though--the way
being dirty--to give his wife the benefit of treading in his
heavy footprints. They went on, in profound silence; every now
and then, Mr. Bumble relaxed his pace, and turned his head as if
to make sure that his helpmate was following; then, discovering
that she was close at his heels, he mended his rate of walking,
and proceeded, at a considerable increase of speed, towards their
place of destination.
This was far from being a place of doubtful character; for it had
long been known as the residence of none but low ruffians, who,
under various pretences of living by their labour, subsisted
chiefly on plunder and crime. It was a collection of mere
hovels: some, hastily built with loose bricks: others, of old
worm-eaten ship-timber: jumbled together without any attempt at
order or arrangement, and planted, for the most part, within a
few feet of the river's bank. A few leaky boats drawn up on the
mud, and made fast to the dwarf wall which skirted it: and here
and there an oar or coil of rope: appeared, at first, to
indicate that the inhabitants of these miserable cottages pursued
some avocation on the river; but a glance at the shattered and
useless condition of the articles thus displayed, would have led
a passer-by, without much difficulty, to the conjecture that they
were disposed there, rather for the preservation of appearances,
than with any view to their being actually employed.
In the heart of this cluster of huts; and skirting the river,
which its upper stories overhung; stood a large building,
formerly used as a manufactory of some kind. It had, in its day,

probably furnished employment to the inhabitants of the
surrounding tenements. But it had long since gone to ruin. The
rat, the worm, and the action of the damp, had weakened and
rotted the piles on which it stood; and a considerable portion of
the building had already sunk down into the water; while the
remainder, tottering and bending over the dark stream, seemed to
wait a favourable opportunity of following its old companion, and
involving itself in the same fate.
It was before this ruinous building that the worthy couple
paused, as the first peal of distant thunder reverberated in the
air, and the rain commenced pouring violently down.
'The place should be somewhere here,' said Bumble, consulting a
scrap of paper he held in his hand.
'Halloa there!' cried a voice from above.
Following the sound, Mr. Bumble raised his head and descried a
man looking out of a door, breast-high, on the second story.
'Stand still, a minute,' cried the voice; 'I'll be with you
directly.' With which the head disappeared, and the door closed.
'Is that the man?' asked Mr. Bumble's good lady.
Mr. Bumble nodded in the affirmative.
'Then, mind what I told you,' said the matron: 'and be careful to
say as little as you can, or you'll betray us at once.'
Mr. Bumble, who had eyed the building with very rueful looks, was
apparently about to express some doubts relative to the
advisability of proceeding any further with the enterprise just
then, when he was prevented by the appearance of Monks: who
opened a small door, near which they stood, and beckoned them
'Come in!' he cried impatiently, stamping his foot upon the
ground. 'Don't keep me here!'
The woman, who had hesitated at first, walked boldly in, without
any other invitation. Mr. Bumble, who was ashamed or afraid to
lag behind, followed: obviously very ill at ease and with
scarcely any of that remarkable dignity which was usually his
chief characteristic.
'What the devil made you stand lingering there, in the wet?' said

is it?' demanded Monks.' rejoined the matron. mindful of his wife's caution. by the same rule. if a woman's a party to a secret that might hang or transport her. and addressing Bumble.' said Monks. leading to another floor of warehouses above: when a bright flash of lightning streamed down the aperture.' replied Mr. interposing. 'The loss of their own good name.Monks. after he had bolted the door behind them. 'You think women never can keep secrets. and a peal of thunder followed.' replied Monks. which was of considerable extent. 'I know they will always keep _one_ till it's found out. and returning. and turn them towards the ground. I'm not afraid of her telling it to anybody. Bumble. and bent his gaze upon her. till even she. 'This is the woman. 'How should you?' Bestowing something half-way between a smile and a frown upon his two companions. 'We--we were only cooling ourselves. turning round. He was preparing to ascend a steep staircase. but low in the roof. or rather ladder. don't think it!' With this agreeable speech. who was not easily cowed. will put as much of hell's fire out. 'Cooling yourselves!' retorted Monks. looking apprehensively about him. the searching look of Monks. or ever will fall. the man hastened across the apartment. slightly colouring as she spoke. mistress?' 'No. 'Hem! That is the woman. 'And what may that be?' asked the matron.' stammered Bumble. which shook the crazy building to its centre. was fain to withdraw her eyes. 'Of course you don't!' said Monks. You won't cool yourself so easily. Monks turned short upon the matron. 281 . not I! Do you understand. as a man can carry about with him. I suppose?' said the matron. 'Not all the rain that ever fell. as she spoke. and again beckoning them to follow him. 'So.

as her yoke-fellow could abundantly testify. it's all over for this once.' said Monks. but his wife anticipated the reply. I am persuaded. observing his alarm. The woman know what it is. showed. 'That's the second. the better for all. that it was much distorted and discoloured. by intimating that she was perfectly acquainted with it. 'The first is. Bumble.' observed the woman with much deliberation. 'Nobody better than you. when they had all three seated themselves. 'the sooner we come to our business. 'He is right in saying that you were with this hag the night she died. 'and thunder sometimes brings them on. lowered a lantern which hung at the end of a rope and pulley passed through one of the heavy beams in the ceiling: and which cast a dim light upon an old table and three chairs that were placed beneath it. of what nature was her communication?' said Monks. 'Humph!' said Monks significantly. he led the way up the ladder. to the unspeakable discomposure of Mr. shrinking back. and that she told you something--' 'About the mother of the boy you named. and hastily closing the window-shutter of the room into which it led.'Hear it!' he cried. without knowing of what kind it is?' asked Monks. what may the communication be worth?' 'Who the devil can tell that.' said Monks. 'Hear it! Rolling and crashing on as if it echoed through a thousand caverns where the devils were hiding from it. 'Yes. and then.' 'The first question is.' replied the matron interrupting him. now and then. I hate the sound!' He remained silent for a few moments. Don't mind me now. 'Now. removing his hands suddenly from his face. 'These fits come over me.' answered Mrs. does she?' The question was addressed to Bumble. and with a look of eager 282 . Bumble: who did not want for spirit.' Thus speaking.

that may be nothing when it's told!' cried Monks impatiently. 'As to lying dead. either. often double their value in course of time. by turns. for anything you or I know. who will tell strange tales at last!' 'What if I pay it for nothing?' asked Monks.' was the composed reply. 'and which has been lying dead for twelve years past or more!' 'Such matters keep well. hesitating. alone here.' replied the matron. if possible. give me five-and-twenty pounds in gold.' 'Add five pounds to the sum you have named. who had not yet been admitted by his better half into any greater share of the secret than he had originally possessed. and.' 'Not a large sum for a paltry secret. Not before.' said Monks. still preserving the resolute indifference she had assumed. in undisguised astonishment. 'I spoke as plainly as I could. and let me know which.' answered the matron. drawing back.inquiry.' Mr.' 283 . Bumble. 'Something that she wore. listened to this dialogue with outstretched neck and distended eyes: which he directed towards his wife and Monks. Bumble. 'I have heard enough.' 'Five-and-twenty pounds!' exclaimed Monks. 'Speak out. increased. 'I am but a woman. 'there may be money's worth to get. already. 'It's not a large sum. as collectedly as before. and unprotected.' replied Monks.' replied Mrs. to assure me that you are the man I ought to talk to. what sum was required for the disclosure.' interrupted Mrs. Something that--' 'You had better bid. like good wine. 'It may be nothing. it may be twenty pounds. there are those who will lie dead for twelve thousand years to come. Bumble. 'Something that was taken from her. 'What's it worth to you?' asked the woman.' said the woman. 'and I'll tell you all I know. when the latter sternly demanded. or twelve million. eh?' 'Perhaps there may. 'You can easily take it away again.

my dear. Monks is aware that I am not a young man. indeed. as the two men leant over the small table in their eagerness to hear. I have less hesitation in dealing with two people. Monks is too much of a gentleman to attempt any violence on porochial persons. when I find that there's only one will between them. 'and had better hold your tongue. I'm in earnest. Bumble. and when this cursed peal of thunder. with very uncommon strength. my dear. Monks.'Not alone. prior to making any very warlike demonstration: unless. and not a little. parrying the question. and pushed them over to the woman. 'So! He's your husband. 'Now.' said Mrs. when you came in. having subsided. 'I thought as much. bu he has heerd: I say I have no doubt Mr. bent forward to listen to what the woman should say.' As Mr. if he can't speak in a lower tone. in reply.' submitted Mr. 'gather them up. before he came.' said Monks. or other person or persons trained down for the purpose. 'So much the better. The faces of the three nearly touched. that he _did_ want a little rousing. and also that I am a little run to seed. and plainly showed.' said Mr. against paupers. marking the angry glance which the lady darted at her spouse as she spoke. Monks has heerd. See here!' He thrust his hand into a side-pocket.' he said. I only want a little rousing. raising his face from the table. nor unprotected. and producing a canvas bag. which I feel is coming up to break over the house-top. 'Mr. eh?' 'He my husband!' tittered the matron. 'You are a fool. and to shiver and break almost over their heads. told out twenty-five sovereigns on the table. Bumble. Mr. my dear: that I am a very determined officer. in a voice tremulous with fear: '_I_ am here. Bumble. as I may say. grimly. if I'm once roused. is gone.' 'He had better have cut it out. Bumble spoke. and the woman also leant forward to render her whisper audible. And besides. let's hear your story. his teeth chattering as he spoke. which seemed in fact much nearer. neither. that's all. he made a melancholy feint of grasping his lantern with fierce determination. The 284 .' The thunder.' rejoined Monks. by the alarmed expression of every feature. my dear.

' 'She didn't utter another word. from its very suppression. with quivering lip. 'did she sell it? Where? When? To whom? How long before?' 'As she told me. seemed only the more furious. but in the same bed.' resumed the matron. aggravated the paleness and anxiety of their countenances: which.' cried Monks.' the matron began. I'll tear the life out of you both. _I_ stood alone beside the body when death came over it. nodding carelessly towards her husband. 'When this woman. when it had hardly turned to one.' 'Ay?' said Monks. encircled by the deepest gloom and darkness. to all appearance unmoved (as Mr.' said the matron. 'she fell back and died. 'No sick wretch or idiot in some other bed? No one who could hear. 'It's a lie! I'll not be played with. not merely in the same room. 'who had brought a child into the world some years before. 'In death. in a voice which. 'we were alone. to keep for the infant's sake.' replied the woman. died.' 'In life?' asked Monks. in which she then lay dying.sickly rays of the suspended lantern falling directly upon them.' 'Was there no one by?' asked Monks. that we called old Sally. that which the dead mother had prayed her. that she had done this. regarding her attentively. with desperate eagerness.' 'She sold it.' said the matron. and might. Bumble was very far from being) by the 285 .' 'Good. She said more. 'Blood! How things come about!' 'The child was the one you named to him last night. understand?' 'Not a soul. 'Go on.' 'Without saying more?' cried Monks. by possibility. 'She stole from the corpse.' replied the woman. looked ghastly in the extreme. and glancing over his shoulder.' said the woman.' said Monks. with great difficulty. with her last breath. with something like a shudder. 'the mother this nurse had robbed.' 'She spoke of a young creature. in the same hollow whisper. 'she and I were alone. but I'll know what it was.

I found out that. in her hand. And. 'There is a blank left for the surname. and had saved or scraped together money to pay the pawnbroker's interest year by year. during the whole of the previous dialogue.strange man's violence. unchecked. and no mention made of taking the five-and-twenty pounds back again. and then had pawned it.' replied the woman. after a short silence. Bumble drew a long breath. as if glad to be relieved of it. which was partly closed. 'and I want to 286 . 'Nothing. and when I saw that she was dead.' said the woman. and so redeemed the pledge. she hastily threw upon the table a small kid bag scarcely large enough for a French watch. in the hope of turning it to better account. she died with the scrap of paper. 'I know nothing of the story. 'I judge that she had kept the trinket.' 'Where is it now?' asked Monks quickly. and a plain gold wedding-ring. beyond what I can guess at. all worn and tattered. for some time.' replied the woman. 'It has the word "Agnes" engraved on the inside. and prevent its running out. with one hand. as I tell you. which Monks pouncing upon. as if he were glad to find that the story was over.' 'And this is all?' said Monks.' replied the woman. and so removed the hand by force. and now he took courage to wipe the perspiration which had been trickling over his nose. Mr. and then follows the date. stretching forward. It contained a little gold locket: in which were two locks of hair. after a close and eager scrutiny of the contents of the little packet. tore open with trembling hands.' 'Which contained--' interposed Monks.' said the woman. which is within a year before the child was born. 'but she clutched my gown.' 'For what?' demanded Monks. violently. 'All. I found it clasped a scrap of dirty paper. '_There_. and. 'In good time I'll tell you. The time was out in two days. Nothing had come of it. I thought something might one day come of it too. so that if anything came of it.' said his wife addressing Monks. 'it was a pawnbroker's duplicate. it could still be redeemed.

'It is. and all other sounds were lost in the noise of its plashing and eddying against the green and slimy piles. for it's safer not. he suddenly wheeled the table aside. Bumble himself. The turbid water.' replied Monks.' observed Mr. See here! But don't move a step forward. and pulling an iron ring in the boarding. where he had hurriedly thrust it. 'Twelve miles down the river. and caused that gentleman to retire several paces backward. the matron drew near to the brink. 'Don't fear me. which had 287 . and cut to pieces besides. 'Look down.' Thus encouraged. Bumble's feet. There had once been a water-mill beneath. Monks drew the little packet from his breast. with great precipitation. the tide foaming and chafing round the few rotten stakes. when you were seated over it. ventured to do the same. But I may ask you two questions. 'nor against me either. and even Mr.' replied Bumble. when freed from the obstacles which had unavailingly attempted to stem its headlong course. 'Is that what you expected to get from me?' demanded the matron. or your life is not worth a bulrush. with some show of surprise. recoiling at the thought. quietly enough. swinging the lantern to and fro in the dark well. Bumble. lowering the lantern into the gulf.know nothing. essaying a stroke of facetiousness. and fragments of machinery that yet remained. impelled by curiousity. 'If you flung a man's body down there. I could have let you down.' '--Which makes three.' With these words. and tying it to a leaden weight. was rushing rapidly on below.' said Monks. with a new impulse. 'but whether I answer or not is another question.' rejoined Monks. threw back a large trap-door which opened close at Mr. seemed to dart onward. where would it be to-morrow morning?' said Monks. if that had been my game. may I?' 'You may ask.' said Monks. swollen by the heavy rain. 'The other question?' 'What do you propose to do with it? Can it be used against me?' 'Never.

who appeared to entertain an invincible repugnance to being left alone. Mr. on my own. you know.' 'By all means. and with caution. as books say it will. will you?' said Monks. merely exchanging a nod with their mysterious acquaintance. holding his lantern a foot above the ground. and now carried in his hand. and true as a die. and was lying on the floor. Bumble.' answered Mr. called to a boy who 288 .' remarked Monks. 'There!' said Monks.' observed Mr.' 'I am glad. or Mr. They were no sooner gone. The three looking into each other's faces. 'On everybody's account. closing the trap-door. it will keep its gold and silver to itself.formed a part of some pulley. than Monks. We have nothing more to say. and that trash among it. dropped it into the stream. for your sake. young man. It fell straight. He lighted his lantern from that which Monks had detached from the rope. Bumble. Monks. for Monks started at every shadow. and was gone. The gate at which they had entered. 'I am not afraid of your wife. Bumble. They traversed the lower room. Bumble. and making no effort to prolong the discourse. and Mr. bowing himself gradually towards the ladder. 'You'll keep a quiet tongue in your head. followed by his wife. seemed to breathe more freely. clove the water with a scarcely audible splash. with excessive politeness. slowly. who had bowed himself to within six inches of the ladder. was softly unfastened and opened by Monks. young man. to hear it. 'If the sea ever gives up its dead. after pausing on the steps to satisfy himself that there were no other sounds to be heard than the beating of the rain without. and may break up our pleasant party. and the rushing of the water. would infallibly have pitched headlong into the room below. with great alacrity. 'Light your lantern! And get away from here as fast as you can. but with a marvellously light step for a gentleman of his figure: looking nervously about him for hidden trap-doors. Monks brought up the rear. which fell heavily back into its former position. the married couple emerged into the wet and darkness outside.' It was fortunate that the conversation terminated at this point.' 'You may depend upon me. walked not only with remarkable care. descended in silence. with a threatening look.

attracted his attention. The dog sat at the bedside: now eyeing his master with a wistful look. AND SHOWS HOW MONKS AND THE JEW LAID THEIR WORTHY HEADS TOGETHER On the evening following that upon which the three worthies mentioned in the last chapter. that there would have been considerable difficulty in recognising her as the same Nancy who has already figured in this tale. wrapped in his white great-coat. busily engaged in patching an old waistcoat which formed a portion of the robber's ordinary dress. and total absence of comfort. Sikes propounded this question. together with the disappearance of all such small moveables as spare clothes and linen. or in the lower part of the house. although it was in the same quarter of the town. was a female: so pale and reduced with watching and privation. in appearance.had been hidden somewhere below. of very limited size. Bidding him go first. CHAPTER XXXIX INTRODUCES SOME RESPECTABLE CHARACTERS WITH WHOM THE READER IS ALREADY ACQUAINTED. Mr. William Sikes. Sikes's question. by way of dressing-gown. bespoke a state of extreme poverty. and a stiff. Nor were there wanting other indications of the good gentleman's having gone down in the world of late: for a great scarcity of furniture. while the meagre and attenuated condition of Mr. and now pricking his ears. but for the voice in which she replied to Mr. and abutting on a close and dirty lane. 289 . he returned to the chamber he had just quitted. drowsily growled forth an inquiry what time of night it was. lighted only by one small window in the shelving roof. awakening from a nap. and displaying a set of features in no degree improved by the cadaverous hue of illness. The room in which Mr. black beard of a week's growth. previous to the Chertsey expedition. Seated by the window. so desirable a habitation as his old quarters: being a mean and badly-furnished apartment. disposed of their little matter of business as therein narrated. was not one of those he had tenanted. if they had stood in any need of corroboration. It was not. and was situated at no great distance from his former lodgings. and uttering a low growl as some noise in the street. The housebreaker was lying on the bed. and the addition of a soiled nightcap. Sikes himself would have fully confirmed these symptoms. and bear the light.

the girls's whining again!' 'It's nothing. 'I wouldn't. 'Here.' rejoined Mr. 'How do you feel to-night. now. nursing and caring for you. with an imprecation on his eyes and limbs. Sikes in a savage voice. throwing herself into a chair. D'ye hear me?' 'I hear you. you wouldn't have served me as you did just now. even to her voice: 'such a number of nights as I've been patient with you. dropped her head over the back 290 .' replied the girl. marking the tear which trembled in her eye.' At any other time. damme.' 'What'll be over?' demanded Mr. you'd be hard upon me to-night.'Not long gone seven. If you can't do anything better than that. and the tone in which it was delivered. again? Get up and bustle about. would have had the desired effect.' said the girl. 'Come! Don't stand snivelling there. Why. lend us a hand. Bill?' 'As weak as water. and struck her. Sikes. he muttered various curses on her awkwardness. laying her hand upon his shoulder.' replied Mr. 'Don't you seem to mind me. It'll soon be over. but the girl being really weak and exhausted.' 'Well.' Illness had not improved Mr.' said the girl. Sikes's temper. 'What fancy have you got in your head now?' 'Oh! you've thought better of it. as if you had been a child: and this the first that I've seen you like yourself. 'What foolery are you up to. say you wouldn't.' said the girl. now. and don't come over me with your woman's nonsense.' 'Why. if you'd thought of that. turning her face aside. as the girl raised him up and led him to a chair. Sikes. cut off altogether. 'Whining are you?' said Sikes. Sikes. come. would you? Come. and forcing a laugh. have you?' growled Sikes. you have. you don't mean to say. which communicated something like sweetness of tone. 'Why not?' 'Such a number of nights. 'All the better for you. 'No!' cried Mr. and let me get off this thundering bed anyhow. then. for. this remonstrance. with a touch of woman's tenderness. Bill.' said the girl.

while Mr. and formed of an old table-cloth. on similar occasions.' In compliance with Mr. what to do. Fagin hastened to the girl's assistance. for Miss Nancy's hysterics were usually of that violent kind which the patient fights and struggles out of. The girl gradually recovered her senses. without much assistance. and fainted. that you'll be glad to see. 'Lend a hand to the girl. can't you?' replied Sikes impatiently. who had followed his venerable friend into the room. while Bill undoes the petticuts. and I've brought something good with me. 291 . to prevent mistakes. very well. Fagin. 'No evil wind at all. my dear?' said Fagin. staggering to a chair by the bedside. he was accustomed to garnish his threats. called for assistance. the Artful untied this bundle. uncorked it in a twinkling with his teeth. and handed the articles it contained. 'What's the matter here. for evil winds blow nobody any good. Dawkins. Fagin's request. Sikes to confront the new comers. in some astonishment at their unlooked-for appearance. and snatching a bottle from the grasp of Master Charles Bates who came close at his heels. this morning. hastily deposited on the floor a bundle with which he was laden. what evil wind has blowed you here?' he asked Fagin. a piece of unexampled pleasantry: were not long in producing the desired effect. John Dawkins (otherwise the Artful Dodger). in this uncommon emergency. looking in. administered with great energy: especially that department consigned to Master Bates. Charley. 'and you slap her hands. with various encomiums on their rarity and excellence.' said Mr. 'Why. Dodger. who appeared to consider his share in the proceedings. 'Give her a whiff of fresh air with the bellows. my dear. to Charley Bates: who placed them on the table. and poured a portion of its contents down the patient's throat: previously taking a taste. before Mr.of the chair. which was of large size. hid her face upon the pillow: leaving Mr. Mr. and. Sikes tried a little blasphemy: and finding that mode of treatment wholly ineffectual. one by one. Not knowing. 'Don't stand chattering and grinning at me!' With an exclamation of surprise.' These united restoratives. himself. Sikes could get out a few of the appropriate oaths with which. and give Bill the little trifles that we spent all our money on. my dear. open the bundle.

'What have you got to say for yourself.' 'Hold your din.' 'Do!' exclaimed Mr.' replied the Jew. piece of double Glo'ster. What do you mean by leaving a man in this state. a pound and a half of moist sugar that the niggers didn't work at all at. 292 .'Sitch a rabbit pie. Bill. disclosing to view a huge pasty.' exclaimed that young gentleman. Dawkins. Sikes: a little soothed as he glanced over the table.' cried Master Bates.--oh no! Two half-quartern brans. as the dog retreated under the bed: still growling angrily. Bill. and rewive the drayma besides. twenty times over. a week and more.' 'The things is well enough in their way. my dear. with sitch tender limbs. than if I was that 'ere dog.' observed Mr. 'sitch delicate creeturs. and everything else. blunt. 'And us come to bring him all these beau-ti-ful things. 'I might have been done for. 'Ah!' said Fagin. afore they got it up to sitch a pitch of goodness. at the same instant. you withered old fence. 'Smelling the grub like a old lady a going to market! He'd make his fortun' on the stage that dog would. why you should leave me here. to wind up all. half a pound of seven and six-penny green. on a plant. 'but what have you got to say for yourself. Master Bates produced. afore you'd have done anything to help me. and take no more notice of me. carefully corked. from one of his extensive pockets. some of the richest sort you ever lushed!' Uttering this last panegyric. Charley!' 'I never see such a jolly dog as that. Sikes. shrugging his shoulders. and.' cried Sikes. three weeks and more. and there's no occasion to pick 'em. 'You'll do. health. down in the mouth. doing as he was desired. boys!' said Fagin.--Drive him down. you false-hearted wagabond?' 'Only hear him. you'll do now. it'll go nigh to blow the lid of the tea-pot off. so precious strong that if you mix it with biling water. poured out a wine-glassful of raw spirits from the bottle he carried: which the invalid tossed down his throat without a moment's hesitation. while Mr. pound of best fresh. Bill. that the wery bones melt in your mouth. a full-sized wine-bottle. rubbing his hands with great satisfaction. all this mortal time. eh?' 'I was away from London.

'It's all very well. with a bitter grin. I can't go into a long explanation before company. 'Then you've got lots at home. and Bill was to do that. gradually brought Mr. Bill. upon my honour.' 'There now. 'and I must have some from there. submissively. let him be. as soon as he got well: and was quite poor enough for your work. coming hastily forward.' 'Upon your what?' growled Sikes. Bill.' remonstrated Fagin. for the boys. holding up is hands. however. to take the taste of that out of my mouth. while Fagin. assuming an unusual flow of spirits. he condescended to make. never once. 'What about the other fortnight that you've left me lying here.' Nancy's appearance gave a new turn to the conversation.' 'Lots!' cried Fagin.' 'No! I'll pound it that you han't. or it'll choke me dead. Sikes into a better temper. but I couldn't help it. eagerly catching at the word. 'I haven't so much as 293 . receiving a sly wink from the wary old Jew. 'You've been scheming and plotting away. one of you boys. after repeated applications to the spirit-bottle.' replied Sikes. 'Here! Cut me off a piece of that pie. 'I have never forgot you. like a sick rat in his hole?' 'I couldn't help it. and. by laughing very heartily at one or two rough jokes. Bill. 'but I must have some blunt from you to-night. every hour that I have laid shivering and burning here.' 'Don't be out of temper.' 'I haven't a piece of coin about me. Sikes. 'Let him be. dirt cheap. she took very sparingly.' retorted Sikes. and Bill was to do it all. began to ply her with liquor: of which.' replied the Jew. which. my dear. I might have died. moreover. with excessive disgust. 'If it hadn't been for the girl! Who but poor ould Fagin was the means of your having such a handy girl about you?' 'He says true enough there!' said Nancy. If it hadn't been for the girl.' said Mr. and Bill was to do this.'And what about the other fortnight?' demanded Sikes.' urged Fagin. by affecting to regard his threats as a little pleasant banter.

well. they arrived at Fagin's abode.' 'You won't do nothing of the kind. Sikes. Toby 294 . where they found Toby Crackit and Mr. if I hadn't had the good natur' to amuse this youngster. as fast as Newgate. his fifteenth and last sixpence: much to the amusement of his young friends. or get dodged by traps and so be perwented. and should have gone to sleep. flinging himself on the bed. 'The Artful's a deal too artful. with a sigh. pulling up his collar. as it would take a pretty long time to count it. if you put him up to it. Chitling intent upon their fifteenth game at cribbage. I'm as flat as a juryman. Toby?' asked Fagin. and composing himself to sleep away the time until the young lady's return. Fagin. Nancy shall go to the ken and fetch it.' answered Mr. Horrid dull. Sikes sullenly remarking that if he couldn't get any more he must accompany him home. which it is scarcely necessary to say the latter gentleman lost. Fagin beat down the amount of the required advance from five pounds to three pounds four and sixpence: protesting with many solemn asseverations that that would only leave him eighteen-pence to keep house with. or anything for an excuse.' said Fagin. I'm blessed if I an't!' With these and other ejaculations of the same kind. and would forget to come. and inquiring after Sikes. to recompense me for keeping house so long.' said Sikes. taking leave of his affectionate friend. and I'll lie down and have a snooze while she's gone. took up his hat to go. 'Not a living leg. yawned. and with it. Crackit. 'I'll send the Artful round presently.' 'Well. and I dare say you hardly know yourself. attended by Nancy and the boys: Mr. and that's flat. The Jew then. 'but I must have some to-night. 'Has nobody been.' After a great deal of haggling and squabbling. with the Dodger and Master Bates put the eatables in the cupboard. meanwhile. or lose his way. to make all sure. Sikes.would--' 'I don't know how much you've got. apparently somewhat ashamed at being found relaxing himself with a gentleman so much his inferior in station and mental endowments. 'it's been as dull as swipes. Mr. You ought to stand something handsome. returned homeward. Mr. Mr. Crackit. In due course. Damme.' rejoined Mr.

when I like. Tom!' said Master Bates. triumphantly. 'And Mr. Tom. my dear. an't it. because he won't give it to them. the Dodger and his vivacious friend indulging. They're only jealous. Crackit is a heavy swell. patting him on the shoulder. can't I. 'that's where it is! He has cleaned me out. and left the room. Chitling.' 'And it is a creditable thing to have his acquaintance. 'Wot a rum chap you are. Fagin?' asked Tom. so make up your loss at once. took up their hats. the boys.' 'Ah!' cried Tom. this done. and nothing done yet. Chitling. with so much elegance and gentility. Tom. 'Very much so. my dear. an't he. Fagin?' 'A very clever fellow. and don't lose any more time. as though such small pieces of silver were wholly beneath the consideration of a man of his figure. Come! It's near ten.' replied Mr. and crammed them into his waistcoat pocket with a haughty air. that Mr. who pay a much higher price than Mr. Chitling. indeed. But I can go and earn some more. Dodger! Charley! It's time you were on the lay. my dear. he swaggered out of the room. nodding to Nancy.' In obedience to this hint. in whose conduct. 'Am I. in many witticisms at the expense of Mr. and that he didn't value his losses the snap of his little finger. Chitling for being seen in good society: and a great number of fine gentlemen (composing the good society aforesaid) who established their reputation upon very much the same footing as flash Toby Crackit. there was nothing very conspicuous or peculiar: inasmuch as there are a great number of spirited young bloods upon town. bestowing numerous admiring glances on his legs and boots till they were out of sight.Crackit swept up his winnings. and winking to his other pupils. highly amused by this declaration. Fagin?' 'To be sure you can. as they went. and the sooner you go the better. Fagin?' pursued Tom. 295 . assured the company that he considered his acquaintance cheap at fifteen sixpences an interview. 'Not a bit of it. 'No doubt at all of that.' said Fagin. it is but justice to say.

for I've got none to lock up. 'Any news?' inquired Fagin. my dear. she stole another look. came or went: until the murmur of a man's voice reached her ears.'Now. who was sitting at the table with her arms folded. with the extreme haste and violence of this action: which. 'Don't move. 'I'll go and get you that cash. he's coming downstairs. she muttered a complaint of the heat: in a tone of languor that contrasted. Not a word about the money while he's here. I bear it all. was close upon the girl before he observed her.' Laying his skinny forefinger upon his lip. but I'm fond of seeing the young people about me. who had his back towards her at the time. the Jew carried a candle to the door. I never lock up my money. and full of purpose. appeared in no way interested in the arrival: or to care whether the person. whoever he was. coming hastily into the room. and thrust them under the table. when they had left the room. 'it's the man I expected before. 'Great. on beholding a stranger. observing that Monks drew back. my dear. he could hardly have believed the two looks to have proceeded from the same person. very remarkably. and no thanks. He reached it. and glancing at Monks with an air of careless levity.' said Fagin. This is only the key of a little cupboard where I keep a few odd things the boys get. who. as a man's step was heard upon the stairs without. hastily concealing the key in his breast. as though nettled by the interruption. The instant she caught the sound. but as he turned towards Fagin. 'Bah!' he whispered. however. withdrew her eyes. at the same moment as the visitor. Not ten minutes. Nancy. 'Only one of my young people.' 296 . she tore off her bonnet and shawl. turning round immediately afterwards. The Jew. Nance. with the rapidity of lightning. It was Monks. and I bear it all. that if there had been any bystander to observe the change. Nancy. He won't stop long. my dear--ha! ha! ha!--none to lock up. so keen and searching. It's a poor trade. had been unobserved by Fagin. Hush!' he said. Nancy. 'who's that? Listen!' The girl.' said Fagin.' The girl drew closer to the table.

the girl was adjusting her shawl and bonnet. When he returned. Fagin told the amount into her hand. 'Not bad. except sitting in this close place for I don't know how long and all. and was lost in the gloom above. Fagin laughed. listening with breathless interest. ascended the stairs with incredible softness and silence. and the Jew crawled upstairs again for the money. she glided from the room.' The girl drew closer to the table. stood at the door. merely interchanging a 'good-night.' replied Monks with a smile. 'Why. The Jew: perhaps fearing she might say something aloud about the money. What have you been doing to yourself?' 'Nothing that I know of. as if preparing to be gone. They parted without more conversation. that's a dear. starting back as he put down the candle.' replied the girl carelessly. immediately afterwards. by the creaking of the boards. the girl had slipped off her shoes. and took Monks out of the room. 'Quite horrible. shading her eyes with her hands. she sat down upon a 297 . as if to look steadily at him. Let me have a word with you.' When the girl got into the open street. if he endeavoured to get rid of her: pointed upward. 'Not that infernal hole we were in before. the two men were heard descending. 'Come! Let me get back. hesitating as though he feared to vex the other man by being too sanguine.' With a sigh for every piece of money. 'how pale you are!' 'Pale!' echoed the girl. and drawing her gown loosely over her head. seemed. The moment the noise ceased. Before the sound of their footsteps had ceased to echo through the house. Monks went at once into the street.'And--and--good?' asked Fagin. and made no offer to leave the room. and making some reply which did not reach her. although she could see that Monks was pointing to her. and.' she could hear the man say as they went upstairs. to lead his companion to the second story. the girl glided back with the same unearthly tread. any way. Nance!' exclaimed the Jew. 'I have been prompt enough this time. The room remained deserted for a quarter of an hour or more. and muffling her arms in it.

watching until the housebreaker should drink himself asleep. but she turned back. he uttered a growl of satisfaction. which it has required no common struggle to resolve upon. If she betrayed any agitation. and she sat by. the girl's excitement increased. he did not observe it. It was fortunate for her that the possession of money occasioned him so much employment next day in the way of eating and drinking. and being. that even Sikes observed with astonishment. it would have been very unlikely to have awakened his suspicions. That she had all the abstracted and nervous manner of one who is on the eve of some bold and hazardous step. and receiving a reply in the affirmative. that. and seemed. and hurrying on. As that day closed in. would have been obvious to the lynx-eyed Fagin. After completely exhausting herself. for merely inquiring if she had brought the money. was lying in bed. but Mr. and. and burst into tears. wrung her hands. resumed the slumbers which her arrival had interrupted. and being troubled with no more subtle misgivings than those which resolve themselves into a dogged roughness of behaviour towards everybody. It might be that her tears relieved her.doorstep. she stopped to take breath: and. troubled himself so little about her. and hurrying with nearly as great rapidity in the contrary direction. Sikes lacking the niceties of discrimination. Suddenly she arose. as if suddenly recollecting herself. had her agitation been far more perceptible than it was. and indeed. when she presented herself to Mr. until it gradually resolved into a violent run. for a few moments. who would most probably have taken the alarm at once. that he had neither time nor inclination to be very critical upon her behaviour and deportment. furthermore. wholly bewildered and unable to pursue her way. there was an unusual paleness in her cheek. taking hot 298 . and a fire in her eye. quickened her pace. partly to recover lost time. Sikes. and deploring her inability to do something she was bent upon. Mr. and replacing his head upon the pillow. as has been already observed. in an unusually amiable condition. or that she felt the full hopelessness of her condition. and partly to keep pace with the violent current of her own thoughts: soon reached the dwelling where she had left the housebreaker. saw nothing unusual in her demeanor. in a direction quite opposite to that in which Sikes was awaiting her returned. when night came on. and withal had so beneficial an effect in smoothing down the asperities of his temper. Sikes being weak from the fever.

with many grumbling oaths.' Fortifying himself with this assurance.' said Sikes. now. What do you look at me so hard for?' 'What foolery is this?' demanded Sikes. Bill. and then. poured it quickly out. closed once more. damme! you wouldn't do that!' 'Do what?' asked the girl. while he drank off the contents. when these symptoms first struck him. and something dangerous too. raising himself on his hands as he stared the girl in the face. 'There ain't. or I'll alter it so. 'But. fixing his eyes upon her. No. 'Why. and had pushed his glass towards Nancy to be replenished for the third or fourth time. Lord! What odds in that?' The tone of forced gaiety in which the last words were spoken. there's something more than usual in the wind. The girl jumped up. He shifted his position 299 . 'Now. shivering. pressing her hands upon her eyes. and muttering the words to himself. with great alacrity. seemed to produce a deeper impression on Sikes than the wild and rigid look which had preceded them.' said Sikes. 'Nothing. You're not a-going to--. grasping her by the arm. that's it. or I'd have cut her throat three months ago. Sikes drained the glass to the bottom. and got it comin' on. but with her back towards him. and shaking her roughly. and as she did so.' replied the girl. called for his physic. She's got the fever coming on. burn my body!' said the man. They closed. that you won't know it agin when you do want it. 'if you haven't caught the fever. opened again. 'You look like a corpse come to life again. 'there ain't a stauncher-hearted gal going. again opened. and held the vessel to his lips. and put on your own face. 'What is it? What do you mean? What are you thinking of?' 'Of many things. What's the matter?' 'Matter!' replied the girl. 'come and sit aside of me.' said the robber. locking her hand in his.water with his gin to render it less inflammatory. fell back upon the pillow: turning his eyes upon her face. Sikes.' The girl obeyed. 'I tell you wot it is.

and a few made head upon her. She tore along the narrow pavement: elbowing the passengers from side to side. from time to time. down a dark passage through which she had to pass. hurried from the house. as though to see whither she was hastening at such an unusual rate. Many of the shops were already closing in the back lanes and avenues through which she tracked her way. and gazing vacantly about him. into a deep and heavy sleep. The grasp of his hand relaxed. was suddenly stricken. as she rose from the bedside. and he lay like one in a profound trance. crossed crowded streets. she expected every moment to feel the pressure of Sikes's heavy hand upon her shoulder. where clusters of persons were eagerly watching their opportunity to do the like. increasing her impatience. 'I may be too late. in making from Spitalfields towards the West-End of London. and as often springing up with a look of terror. and then opening and closing the room-door with noiseless touch. and gliding rapidly down the street. 'The laudanum has taken effect at last.restlessly. and darting almost under the horses' heads. surprised at her 300 . while in the very attitude of rising. despite the sleeping draught. even now.' She hastily dressed herself in her bonnet and shawl: looking fearfully round.' said the man: raising his lantern to her face. as if.' murmured the girl. and looked back. and again. Some quickened their pace behind. the upraised arm fell languidly by his side. and. 'And I cannot get there in less than an hour or more. after dozing again.' muttered Nancy: brushing swiftly past him. 'Has it long gone the half-hour?' asked the girl. then. turning to look after her as she rushed away. When she reached the more wealthy quarter of the town. the streets were comparatively deserted. 'It'll strike the hour in another quarter. as it were. The clock struck ten. stooping softly over the bed. she kissed the robber's lips. for two or three minutes. A watchman was crying half-past nine. and here her headlong progress excited a still greater curiosity in the stragglers whom she hurried past. in gaining the main thoroughfare. 'The woman is mad!' said the people.

' 'Come!' said the man. 'and I can make that a job that two of you won't like to do. 'Now. she was alone. 'No. 'What name am I to say?' asked the waiter. As the brilliant light of the lamp which burnt before its door. young woman!' said a smartly-dressed female.' 'I shall be carried out if I go!' said the girl violently. but they fell off one by one. and she stepped into the hall. and when she neared her place of destination. noted her appearance. Joe. but the sound determined her. 'Nor business?' said the man. 'that will see a simple message carried for a poor wretch like me?' This appeal produced an effect on a good-tempered-faced man-cook. 'Take it up for her. can't you?' said this person. replied only by a look of virtuous disdain. Take yourself off. accompanied with a scornful look. nor that neither. guided her to the spot. Nancy repeated her request. pushing her towards the door. 'I must see the lady. and summoned a man to answer her. 'A lady!' was the reply. Isn't there anybody here.undiminished speed.' replied Nancy. and making up her mind to advance. It was a family hotel in a quiet but handsome street near Hyde Park. She had loitered for a few paces as though irresolute. who with some of the other servants was looking on. 'It's of no use saying any.' rejoined the girl. and advanced towards the stairs. who had by this time. the clock struck eleven. 'who do you want here?' 'A lady who is stopping in this house.' said Nancy. 301 . looking out from a door behind her. 'None of this. 'What lady?' 'Miss Maylie. The porter's seat was vacant. She looked round with an air of incertitude. The young woman. To him.' answered the girl.' she said. and who stepped forward to interfere. looking round.

Here he left her.' The soft-hearted cook added his intercession. she will know whether to hear her business. lighted by a lamp from the ceiling. who remarked. with trembling limbs. listening with quivering lip to the very audible expressions of scorn. The third contented herself with wondering 'what ladies was made of'. 302 . 'you're coming it strong!' 'You give the message. and the result was that the man who had first appeared undertook its delivery. turning to the men again. with great fervour.'What's the good?' replied the man. raised a vast quantity of chaste wrath in the bosoms of four housemaids. and I ask you to give this message for God Almighty's sake.' said the second. with one foot on the stairs. 'What's it to be?' said the man. 'Brass can do better than the gold what has stood the fire. and of which they became still more so. that the creature was a disgrace to her sex.' said the girl firmly. do you?' This allusion to Nancy's doubtful character. and the fourth took the first in a quartette of 'Shameful!' with which the Dianas concluded.' The man ran upstairs. Regardless of all this: for she had weightier matters at heart: Nancy followed the man. and strongly advocated her being thrown. into the kennel. to a small ante-chamber. of which the chaste housemaids were very prolific. and said the young woman was to walk upstairs. or to have her turned out of doors as an impostor.' said the man. 'and let me hear the answer. pale and almost breathless. 'That a young woman earnestly asks to speak to Miss Maylie alone. 'and that if the lady will only hear the first word she has to say. 'It's no good being proper in this world. ruthlessly. when the man returned. Nancy remained. and retired.' said the first housemaid.' 'I say.' said the girl.' said Nancy. 'Do what you like with me. 'You don't suppose the young lady will see such as her. 'but do what I ask you first.

of which her wasting life had obliterated so many. she tossed her head with affected carelessness as she said: 'It's a hard matter to get to see you. the sweet voice. But struggling with these better feelings was pride.' replied Rose. and among the most noisome of the stews and dens of London.--even this degraded being felt too proud to betray a feeble gleam of the womanly feeling which she thought a weakness. I am the person you inquired for. and when she heard a light step approaching the door opposite to that by which she had entered. but which alone connected her with that humanity. and not without reason either. If I had taken offence. bending them on the ground. WHICH IS A SEQUEL TO THE LAST CHAMBER The girl's life had been squandered in the streets. 'if there was more like you. 'Oh. took the girl completely by surprise. the gentle manner. lady!' she said. the fallen outcast of low haunts. clasping her hands passionately before her face.' The kind tone of this answer. and she burst into tears. but there was something of the woman's original nature left in her still. many traces when a very child. The miserable companion of thieves and ruffians. living within the shadow of the gallows itself. she felt burdened with the sense of her own deep shame. lady. 'Do not think of that. Tell me why you wished to see me. the absence of any accent of haughtiness or displeasure. as many would have done. and shrunk as though she could scarcely bear the presence of her with whom she had sought this interview. the associate of the scourings of the jails and hulks.CHAPTER XL A STRANGE INTERVIEW. lady. and gone away. there would be 303 . She raised her eyes sufficiently to observe that the figure which presented itself was that of a slight and beautiful girl. you'd have been sorry for it one day. then.' 'I am very sorry if any one has behaved harshly to you. and thought of the wide contrast which the small room would in another moment contain.--the vice of the lowest and most debased creatures no less than of the high and self-assured.

Is--is--that door shut?' 'Yes. as if to be nearer assistance in case she should require it.' said the girl. 'Thank Heaven upon your knees. lady. 'It wrings my heart to hear you!' 'Heaven bless you for your goodness!' rejoined the girl. 'that you had friends to care for and keep you in your childhood. I am younger than you would think. But I have stolen away from those who would surely murder me.' cried the girl. 'and do not speak to me so kindly till you know me better. and riot and drunkenness. It is growing late. Do you know a man named Monks?' 304 . but I am well used to it. Sit down. as they will be my deathbed.' said the girl. 'I am about to put my life and the lives of others in your hands. to tell you what I have overheard. 'I. lady!' replied the girl. if they knew I had been here. 'If you are in poverty or affliction I shall be truly glad to relieve you if I can. to look at me. you would pity me. as I make my way along the crowded pavement.--there would--there would!' 'Sit down.' 'I pity you!' said Rose. dear lady. earnestly. 'If you knew what I am sometimes. so help me God! Do not mind shrinking openly from me.--I shall indeed. in a broken voice.' said Rose. The poorest women fall back.fewer like me.' 'What dreadful things are these!' said Rose. involuntarily falling from her strange companion. indeed. still weeping. that lives among the thieves. and--and--something worse than all--as I have been from my cradle. I am the girl that dragged little Oliver back to old Fagin's on the night he went out from the house in Pentonville. and that never from the first moment I can recollect my eyes and senses opening on London streets have known any better life.' 'Let me stand. 'I am the infamous creature you have heard of. lady. 'Why?' 'Because.' 'You!' said Rose Maylie. or kinder words than they have given me. and that you were never in the midst of cold and hunger.' said Rose. for the alley and the gutter were mine. I may use the word. recoiling a few steps.

'He caught sight of my shadow on the wall as I listened. he'd rather have had it the other way.' rejoined the girl.' pursued the girl. for.'No. 'I understand. But I did.' said the girl. talking on about the boy. 'Then he goes by some other amongst us. from what I heard. for it was by hearing him tell the place that I found you out. 'which I more than thought before. that Monks--the man I asked you about.' said Rose. and then hauling him up for some capital felony which Fagin could easily manage. and Monks.' 'And what occurred then?' 'I'll tell you. after having made a good profit of him besides.' 'I never heard the name. and I saw him no more till last night. and getting very wild. A bargain was struck with Fagin. what a game it would have been to have brought down the boast of the father's will.' 'For what purpose?' asked Rose. and had known him directly to be the same child that he was watching for. 'and there are not many people besides me that could have got out of their way in time to escape discovery. Some time ago.' 305 ." They laughed. 'and knew you were here. 'He knows you. you know--' 'Yes. I--suspecting this man--listened to a conversation held between him and Fagin in the dark. though I couldn't make out why. 'had seen him accidently with two of our boys on the day we first lost him. that if Oliver was got back he should have a certain sum. again listened at the door. which this Monks wanted for some purpose of his own. lady.' said Rose. and he was to have more for making him a thief.' '--That Monks. wrapping myself up so that my shadow would not betray me. I found out. said that though he had got the young devil's money safely now. and the old hag that received them from the mother is rotting in her coffin. and soon after Oliver was put into your house on the night of the robbery. Last night he came again. and talked of his success in doing this. The first words I heard Monks say were these: "So the only proofs of the boy's identity lie at the bottom of the river.' said Rose. in the hope of finding out.' replied the girl. Again they went upstairs. by driving him through every jail in town. and I.

shaking her head. there is one: the most desperate among them all. as he couldn't. though it comes from my lips. turning very pale. with oaths common enough in my ears. you never laid such snares as I'll contrive for my young brother. and if he took advantage of his birth and history.' 306 . than to that Monks once. he might harm him yet. 'And more. if you had them. "Jew as you are. or the devil. When he spoke of you and the other lady. 'To what use can I turn this communication without you? Back! Why do you wish to return to companions you paint in such terrible colors? If you repeat this information to a gentleman whom I can summon in an instant from the next room. because--how can I tell such things to an innocent lady like you?--because among the men I have told you of.' said Rose. 'He is an earnest man when his hatred is up.' 'I wish to go back." he says. he said. if a man ever did. but I'd rather listen to them all a dozen times. Fagin. I must get back quickly. 'to tell me that this was said in earnest?' 'He spoke in hard and angry earnest. and I have to reach home without suspicion of having been on such an errand as this. 'The truth. you can be consigned to some place of safety without half an hour's delay. he'd be upon the watch to meet him at every turn in life. "In short.' 'But what can I do?' said Rose. and said it seemed contrived by Heaven. against him."' 'His brother!' exclaimed Rose. 'I must go back. for a vision of Sikes haunted her perpetually. that I can't leave: no. that Oliver should come into your hands.' said the girl. since she began to speak. 'Those were his words. that if he could gratify his hatred by taking the boy's life without bringing his own neck in danger.' replied the girl. 'Then.' said Nancy. It is growing late. lady. he laughed. and said there was some comfort in that too.' replied the girl. he would. I know many who do worse things. for how many thousands and hundreds of thousands of pounds would you not give. but.'What is all this!' said Rose. as she had scarcely ceased to do. to know who your two-legged spaniel was. glancing uneasily round. but strange to yours. Oliver. not even to be saved from the life I am leading now.' 'You do not mean.

but with hundreds of others as bad and wretched as myself. and I should be. I must go back. writhing in agony of her mind. I do not know. 'I only know that it is so. 'Nothing could save him. and the certainty of immediate rescue? It is madness. you can resign every future hope. and led to their being taken. and let me save you yet.' 'Lady. 'You will not stop my going because I have trusted in your goodness.' cried the girl.' said Rose. your evident contrition. 'do not turn a deaf ear to the entreaties of one of your own sex. but I am drawn back to him through every suffering and ill usage. and if I had heard them years ago. sinking on her knees. and sense of shame. angel lady. 'that for such a man as this. rising.' 'It is. and has been so cruel!' 'Is it possible. but it is too late.' 'Why should you be?' asked Rose. He is the boldest.'Your having interfered in this dear boy's behalf before. 'for penitence and atonement.' answered the girl. your manner. if I knew that I was to die by his hand at last. at so great a risk. sweet.' 'Of what use.' cried the girl.' 'You should. and I know you will.' 'I don't know what it is. Do hear my words. folding her hands as the tears coursed down her face.' cried Rose. for better things. 'If I told others what I have told you. it is too late!' 'It is never too late. and not with me alone. 'dear. all lead me to believe that you might yet be reclaimed. 'your coming here. you _are_ the first that ever blessed me with such words as these.' said Rose. then. the first--the first.' rejoined the girl. as I might have done. which convinces me of the truth of what you say. who ever appealed to you in the voice of pity and compassion. Whether it is God's wrath for the wrong I have done. I do believe.' cried the girl. 'I cannot leave him now! I could not be his death. Oh!' said the earnest girl. lady. is the communication you have made?' said 307 . to tell me what you have heard. I believe. 'I should not let you depart from me thus. he would be sure to die. and forced no promise from you.' 'What am I to do?' said Rose. they might have turned me from a life of sin and sorrow.

but as a woman lost almost beyond redemption. and let him fill the place that has been a blank through all our wretched lives. after a pause. which may enable you to live without dishonesty--at all events until we meet again?' 308 . or how will its disclosure to me. You have a claim on me: not only as the voluntary bearer of this intelligence.' said Rose. and no friend in sickness or death but the hospital nurse. 'But where can I find you again when it is necessary?' asked Rose. as the girl moved hurriedly towards the door. and advise you what to do. who have no certain roof but the coffinlid. into a new means of violence and suffering. but where will you be walking or passing at any settled period from this time?' 'Will you promise me that you will have my secret strictly kept. or with the only other person that knows it. and for having that turned. love will carry you all lengths--even such as you. Will you return to this gang of robbers. 'Every Sunday night. 'take some money from me. other admirers. whom you are anxious to serve?' 'You must have some kind gentleman about you that will hear it as a secret. and that I shall not be watched or followed?' asked the girl. who can hope to cure us? Pity us. and the opportunity you have of escaping from it.' rejoined the girl. when a word can save you? What fascination is it that can take you back.' said the girl without hesitation. lady--pity us for having only one feeling of the woman left. by a heavy judgment. who have home. 'give away your hearts. friends. 'I will walk on London Bridge if I am alive.' 'You will.Rose. 'This mystery must be investigated. and beautiful as you are. and make you cling to wickedness and misery? Oh! is there no chord in your heart that I can touch! Is there nothing left.' answered Rose. and come alone. 'I do not seek to know where these dreadful people live. from eleven until the clock strikes twelve.' 'Stay another moment. to which I can appeal against this terrible infatuation!' 'When ladies as young. everything. and good. from a comfort and a pride.' replied the girl steadily. set our rotten hearts on any man. benefit Oliver. When such as I. to fill them. 'Think once again on your own condition.' interposed Rose. 'I promise you solemnly. and to this man.

which had more the semblance of a rapid dream than an actual occurrence. had reposed in her. They purposed remaining in London only three days. Losberne was with them. and. was her fond wish to win the outcast back to repentance and hope. SELDOM COME ALONE Her situation was. AND SHOWING THAT SUPRISES. God bless you. stepping gently forward. than I ever did before. to trust him with the secret. and it would be something not to die in the hell in which I have lived. indeed. to-night. the unhappy creature turned away. Her words and manner had touched Rose Maylie's heart. lady. wringing her hands. one of no common trial and difficulty. It was now midnight of the first day. 'I wish to serve you indeed. overpowered by this extraordinary interview. sank into a chair. sweet lady. waving her hand. but Rose was too well acquainted with the excellent gentleman's impetuosity. prior to departing for some weeks to a distant part of the coast. which could be adopted in eight-and-forty hours? Or how could she postpone the journey without exciting suspicion? Mr. in the first explosion of his indignation. as a young and guileless girl. While she felt the most eager and burning desire to penetrate the mystery in which Oliver's history was enveloped.' said Rose. 309 .' replied the girl. 'if you could take my life at once. and foresaw too clearly the wrath with which. and would be for the next two days. for I have felt more grief to think of what I am. mingled with her love for her young charge. and sobbing aloud. LIKE MISFORTUNES. while Rose Maylie.'Not a penny.' replied the girl. CHAPTER XLI CONTAINING FRESH DISCOVERIES. What course of action could she determine upon. he would regard the instrument of Oliver's recapture. and endeavoured to collect her wandering thoughts. she could not but hold sacred the confidence which the miserable woman with whom she had just conversed. 'Do not close your heart against all my efforts to help you. and send as much happiness on your head as I have brought shame on mine!' Thus speaking. and scarcely less intense in its truth and fervour.' 'You would serve me best.

and to be happier away. After more communing with herself next day. 'But what is this?--of whom do you speak?' 'I have seen the gentleman. and again recoiling from all. Giles for a body-guard. it was scarcely to be thought of.' 310 .when her representations in the girl's behalf could be seconded by no experienced person. and laid it down again fifty times. and it seemed unworthy of her to call him back. Disturbed by these different reflections. that we have so often talked about. and studiously abstain from meeting me--he did when he went away. whose first impulse would infallibly be to hold a conference with the worthy doctor on the subject. 'Oh dear! To think that I should see him at last. entered the room in such breathless haste and violent agitation. soothing him. and had considered and reconsidered the first line of her letter without writing the first word. she arrived at the desperate conclusion of consulting Harry. for the same reason.' replied Oliver. even if she had known how to do so. 'I hardly know how. Rose passed a sleepless and anxious night. who had been walking in the streets.' she thought. how painful it will be to me! But perhaps he will not come. inclining now to one course and then to another. he may write. 'to come back here. Maylie. She had taken up the same pen. I feel as if I should be choked.' replied the boy. and you should be able to know that I have told you the truth!' 'I never thought you had told us anything but the truth. I hardly thought he would. or he may come himself. scarcely able to articulate. advancing to meet him. As to resorting to any legal adviser. 'What makes you look so flurried?' asked Rose. with Mr. when Oliver. 'the gentleman who was so good to me--Mr. and turned away. Once the thought occurred to her of seeking assistance from Harry.' And here Rose dropped the pen. but this awakened the recollection of their last parting. Brownlow. These were all reasons for the greatest caution and most circumspect behaviour in communicating it to Mrs. as seemed to betoken some new cause of alarm.' said Rose. as though the very paper which was to be her messenger should not see her weep. as each successive consideration presented itself to her mind. when--the tears rose to her eyes as she pursued this train of reflection--he might have by this time learnt to forget her. but it was better for us both. 'If it be painful to him.

' said the old gentleman. At no great distance from whom. and who was sitting with his hands clasped on the top of a thick stick. But Giles asked. Grimwig. When they arrived there. She very soon determined upon turning the discovery to account. 'Getting out of a coach. I will take you there directly. in the bottle-green coat. who did not look particularly benevolent. which was Craven Street. 'here it is. dear me! What shall I do when I come to see him and hear him speak again!' With her attention not a little distracted by these and a great many other incoherent exclamations of joy. 'Quick!' she said. 'That is my name. Miss Maylie was presented to an elderly gentleman of benevolent appearance. without a minute's loss of time. glancing from the other gentleman to the one who had spoken. in a bottle-green coat. and be ready to go with me. pray. in nankeen breeches and gaiters. Brownlow. Mr.' replied Oliver. in the Strand. and they said he did. and be ready as soon as you are. 'and going into a house. hastily rising with great politeness.' interposed Miss Maylie. to beg that she would walk upstairs. Grimwig. here's where he lives--I'm going there directly! Oh. 'Tell them to fetch a hackney-coach.' said the gentleman. for me. and sending up her card by the servant. and I trembled so. Rose left Oliver in the coach. I believe.' Oliver needed no prompting to despatch. Be seated. Rose read the address. for he didn't see me. 'that at this period of our 311 . dear me. and following him into an upper room. was seated another old gentleman. young lady--I imagined it was some importunate person who--I beg you will excuse me. and his chin propped thereupon. shedding tears of delight.'Where?' asked Rose. I will only tell my aunt that we are going out for an hour. requested to see Mr. 'Dear me. sir?' said Rose. opening a scrap of paper. Look here. that I was not able to go up to him. Brownlow on very pressing business. 'This is my friend.' said Oliver. under pretence of preparing the old gentleman to receive him. whether he lived there. The servant soon returned. will you leave us for a few minutes?' 'I believe.' 'Mr. 'I beg your pardon. I didn't speak to him--I couldn't speak to him. and in little more than five minutes they were on their way to Craven Street.

Mr. 'and that Power which has thought fit to try him beyond his years.' 'Indeed!' said Mr. by a convulsion into his former attitude. I need not give that gentleman the trouble of going away. He drew his chair nearer to Miss Maylie's. then. Brownlow. Brownlow inclined his head. Grimwig. as it were. 'He is a child of a noble nature and a warm heart. 'but you once showed great benevolence and goodness to a very dear young friend of mine. and I am sure you will take an interest in hearing of him again. and looking out straight before him emitted a long deep whistle. although his astonishment was not expressed in the same eccentric manner. in Heaven's name put me in possession of it.' replied Rose. and dropped into it again.' 312 . 'Oliver Twist you knew him as. than Mr. not to be discharged on empty air. which seemed. to leave entirely out of the question that goodness and benevolence of which you speak. made another very stiff bow. who had been affecting to dip into a large book that lay on the table. The words no sooner escaped her lips. colouring. at last. If I am correctly informed. as if ashamed of having betrayed so much emotion. my dear young lady.' said Rose. and falling back in his chair. naturally embarrassed. 'I shall surprise you very much. without moving a muscle of his face. 'Do me the favour. and of which nobody else knows anything. discharged from his features every expression but one of unmitigated wonder. has planted in his breast affections and feelings which would do honour to many who have numbered his days six times over. speaking by some ventriloquial power. I have no doubt. Browlow was no less surprised.interview. and indulged in a prolonged and vacant stare. Grimwig. and risen from his chair. and if you have it in your power to produce any evidence which will alter the unfavourable opinion I was once induced to entertain of that poor child. Grimwig. and said.' said Rose. he jerked himself.' 'A bad one! I'll eat my head if he is not a bad one. Mr.' growled Mr. who had made one very stiff bow. upset it with a great crash. he is cognizant of the business on which I wish to speak to you. but to die away in the innermost recesses of his stomach.' Mr.

'At this door!' cried the old gentleman. 'to return to the subject in which your humanity is so much interested.' said Mr. had been not being able to meet with his former benefactor and friend.--but why not have brought him?' 'He is waiting in a coach at the door.' said Mr. Brownlow. with the same rigid face. Brownlow. if he does. Grimwig.' Rose.'I'm only sixty-one. 'And he'd uncommonly like to see any man offer to do it.' 'Yes. 'Thank God!' said the old gentleman. 'he does not mean what he says. You must pardon my finding fault with you. has been considerably shaken. Grimwig. my first impression that he had imposed upon me. all that had befallen Oliver since he left Mr. Miss Maylie. at once related. and that since I have been absent from this country. Grimwig.' growled Mr. Brownlow. But you have not told me where he is now. Miss Maylie. the two old gentlemen severally took snuff. as the devil's in it if this Oliver is not twelve years old at least. Brownlow's house. I don't see the application of that remark. according to their invariable custom. Brownlow.' said Mr.' said Mr.' growled Mr. 'And. great happiness. 'This is great happiness to me. 'Now. reserving Nancy's information for that gentleman's private ear.' 'Do not heed my friend. and afterwards shook hands. knocking his stick upon the floor. in a few natural words. 'He'll eat his head. obviously rising in wrath as he spoke. who had had time to collect her thoughts. if he doesn't. Grimwig. and had been persuaded by his former associates to rob me.' replied Rose. Miss Maylie. for some months past. he does not. Having gone thus far.' said Mr. Will you let me know what intelligence you have of this poor child: allowing me to promise that I exhausted every means in my power of discovering him. he does. 'No.' responded Mr. and concluding with the assurance that his only sorrow. 'He would deserve to have it knocked off. With which he hurried 313 .

Brownlow. he sprang into her arms. Brownlow returned. don't improve with age. whom Mr. Bedwin. holding 314 . 'God be good to me!' cried the old lady. sir. and see if you can't find out what you were wanted for. Mr. 'it is my innocent boy!' 'My dear old nurse!' cried Oliver. if you please. and if the gratification of that moment had been the only reward for all her anxiety and care in Oliver's behalf. When the room-door closed behind him. 'Send Mrs. kissed her without the slightest preface. After performing this evolution. ringing the bell. 'Well. waited for orders. that I do. by the bye. Brownlow. But Oliver's patience was not proof against this new trial. 'He would come back--I knew he would. and dropping a curtsey at the door. 'Why. described three distinct circles with the assistance of his stick and the table.' said Mr. 'Hush!' he said. 'People's eyes.' said the old lady. he rose and limped as fast as he could up and down the room at least a dozen times.' The old housekeeper answered the summons with all dispatch. without another word. Grimwig lifted up his head. I'm old enough to be your grandfather. Mr.out of the room.' rejoined Mr. I like you. rather testily. as the young lady rose in some alarm at this unusual proceeding.' replied the old lady. at my time of life. as he threw himself at one dexterous dive into his former seat. up the coachsteps.' said Mr. embracing him. and then stopping suddenly before Rose. and into the coach. accompanied by Oliver. and converting one of the hind legs of his chair into a pivot. and yielding to his first impulse.' 'I could have told you that. you get blinder every day. Brownlow. Grimwig received very graciously. You're a sweet girl. 'There is somebody else who should not be forgotten. down the stairs. Rose Maylie would have been well repaid. sir. Here they are!' In fact. sitting in it all the time. 'but put on your glasses. Bedwin here. 'Don't be afraid. will you?' The old lady began to rummage in her pocket for her spectacles.

male and female. Brownlow. and beg them to accept a hundred pounds. he would. who was himself of an irascible temperament. Brownlow. by corresponding violence on the side of Mr. dead and gone since I was a lightsome young creature. and how like a gentleman's son he is dressed again! Where have you been. To afford him an early opportunity for the execution of this design. and now holding Oliver from her to mark how he had grown. I have never forgotten them or his quiet smile. and party by such arguments and representations as seemed best calculated to dissuade him from his hotbrained purpose. long while? Ah! the same sweet face.him in her arms. in part. doubtless. and actually put on his hat preparatory to sallying forth to obtain the assistance of those worthies. Maylie should be cautiously informed of all that had occurred. have carried the intention into effect without a moment's consideration of the consequences. Rose had by no means overrated the measure of the good doctor's wrath. than he poured forth a shower of mingled threats and execrations.' 315 . Rose also explained her reasons for not confiding in her friend Mr. heard from Rose a full narration of her interview with Nancy. and there. as a trifling mark of our esteem. in this first outbreak. Rose and Oliver returned home.' Running on thus. this long. The old gentleman considered that she had acted prudently. Mr. 'How well he looks. if he had not been restrained. but not so sad. Blathers and Duff. side by side with those of my own dear children. Brownlow led the way into another room. which occasioned him no little surprise and perplexity. the same soft eye. 'but we must proceed gently and with great care. 'Then what the devil is to be done?' said the impetuous doctor. apiece. Losberne in the first instance. or so. and readily undertook to hold solemn conference with the worthy doctor himself. but not so pale. and some slight acknowledgment of their kindness to Oliver?' 'Not exactly that. threatened to make her the first victim of the combined ingenuity of Messrs. Nancy's history was no sooner unfolded to him. 'Are we to pass a vote of thanks to all these vagabonds.' rejoined Mr. and that in the meantime Mrs. Leaving her and Oliver to compare notes at leisure. laughing. now clasping him to her and passing her fingers fondly through his hair. And. but have seen them every day. when they had rejoined the two ladies. These preliminaries adjusted. the good soul laughed and wept upon his neck by turns. it was arranged that he should call at the hotel at eight o'clock that evening.

in direct opposition to our own interest--or at least to Oliver's. smiling.'Gentleness and care.' exclaimed the doctor.' 'How?' inquired the doctor. if this story be true. If he were not discharged. and supposing it were possible to bring these scoundrels to justice without compromising her safety. and by catching him when he is not surrounded by these people. 'placing this poor girl entirely out of the question.' suggested the doctor. 'and transporting the rest.' 'What object?' asked the doctor.' pursued Mr.' 'You see. which is the same thing. That can only be done by stratagem.' 'Ah!' said Mr. Brownlow. upon his knees. It is quite clear that we shall have extreme difficulty in getting to the bottom of this mystery. Brownlow. unless we can bring this man. it seems to me that we shall be performing a very Quixotic act. He is not even (so far as we know.' interposed Mr. Losberne. 'But reflect whether sending them anywhere is likely to attain the object we have in view. Monks.' replied Mr. for our purposes. Brownlow. and if we step in to forestall them.' 'Very good. and an idiot.' said the doctor impetuously. or as the facts appear to us) concerned with the gang in any of their robberies. whether you think it reasonable that this promise to the girl 316 . dumb. 'but no doubt they will bring that about for themselves in the fulness of time. we have no proof against him.' 'Then. 'Thus. he has been fraudulently deprived. the discovery of Oliver's parentage. what good should we bring about?' 'Hanging a few of them at least. and of course ever afterwards his mouth would be so obstinately closed that he might as well. 'I almost forgot that. and regaining for him the inheritance of which. 'Simply. cooling himself with his pocket-handkerchief. 'I put it to you again. blind. suppose he were apprehended. it is very unlikely that he could receive any further punishment than being committed to prison as a rogue and vagabond. in all probability. be deaf. 'I'd send them one and all to--' 'Never mind where. For.

interfere with our proceedings. on the understanding that he is to be dealt with by us. interrupting Rose as she was about to speak.' replied Mr. and concluding with an expressive glance at her niece.' said Mrs. a promise made with the best and kindest intentions. and might prove of material assistance to us. She cannot be seen until next Sunday night. Brownlow. but really--' 'Do not discuss the point.' said the doctor. and this young lady's--very old friend. but she did not make any audible objection to this motion (possibly she felt in a hopeless minority). and Harry Maylie and Mr. in the slightest degree.' said Mr.should be considered binding. to procure from her such an account of his haunts and description of his person. of course.' said the doctor. 'I should like. as will enable us to identify him. or.' he said. He is a strange creature. before we can resolve upon any precise course of action.' 'I have no objection to your calling in your friend if I may call in mine. that gentleman's proposition was carried unanimously. to ascertain from her whether she will point out this Monks. Rose blushed deeply. I should say that he was bred a lawyer. we remain perfectly quiet. But. though whether that is recommendation or not. if she will not. 'We must put it to the vote. 'to call in the aid of my friend Grimwig. you must determine for yourselves.' Although Mr. or cannot do that. motioning towards Mrs. pray. he was fain to admit that no better course occurred to him just then. 'We stay in town. Grimwig were accordingly added to the committee. and not by the law. but a shrewd one. Losberne received with many wry faces a proposal involving a delay of five whole days. Maylie. and quitted the Bar in disgust because he had only one brief and a motion of course. Brownlow. 'The promise shall be kept. Brownlow. and keep these matters secret even from Oliver himself. and as both Rose and Mrs. Maylie sided very strongly with Mr. 'who may he be?' 'That lady's son. I don't think it will. I would suggest that in the meantime. it will be necessary to see the girl. in twenty years. 'while there remains the slightest prospect of prosecuting this inquiry with a 317 . Maylie. this is Tuesday. my dear young lady.

a disposition to inquire how it happened that I was not in the way to corroborate Oliver's tale. CHAPTER XLII AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE OF OLIVER'S. Mr. Sikes to sleep. that we have wearied of his company. bony people. BECOMES A PUBLIC CHARACTER IN THE METROPOLIS Upon the night when Nancy. to whom it is difficult to assign any precise age. Maylie. and had so suddenly left the kingdom. effectually broken up. and when they are almost men.' 'Good!' rejoined Mr. knock-kneed. I will spare neither trouble nor expense in behalf of the object in which we are all so deeply interested. They were a man and woman. let me stipulate that I shall be asked no questions until such time as I may deem it expedient to forestall them by telling my own story. and only increase difficulties and disappointments already quite numerous enough. the old gentleman gave his hand to Mrs. like overgrown boys. for I might otherwise excite hopes destined never to be realised. who is all alone in the next room. when they are yet boys. if it be for twelve months. two persons.--looking as they do. as she need have been to bear the weight of the heavy bundle which was strapped to her back. for the present. Losberne followed. there advanced towards London. shambling. and the council was. like undergrown men. a small parcel wrapped 318 . and escorted her into the supper-room.chance of success. but of a robust and hardy make. as there merely dangled from a stick which he carried over his shoulder. will have begun to think. Believe me. so long as you assure me that any hope remains. Brownlow. leading Rose. and entered into some dark conspiracy to thrust him forth upon the world. 'And as I see on the faces about me. hurried on her self-imposed mission to Rose Maylie. I make this request with good reason.' With these words. Her companion was not encumbered with much luggage. and I am content to remain here. or perhaps they would be better described as a male and female: for the former was one of those long-limbed. upon whom it is expedient that this history should bestow some attention. The woman was young. by the Great North Road. having lulled Mr. EXHIBITING DECIDED MARKS OF GENIUS. Come! Supper has been announced. and young Oliver. by this time.

I don't know what is!' 'Is it much farther?' asked the woman. taking little heed of any object within sight. I can tell you.' said the woman despondingly. This circumstance. at least.' As Noah's red nose grew redder with anger. 'Much farther! Yer as good as there. as if fully prepared to put his threat into execution. added to the length of his legs.' said the long-legged tramper.in a common handkerchief. 'Where do you mean to stop for the night. almost breathless with fatigue. if yer ain't enough to tire anybody's patience out. Thus. coming up. and as he crossed the road while speaking. 'Heavy! What are yer talking about? What are yer made for?' rejoined the male traveller. and trudged onward by his side. there yer are. to the other shoulder. until they passed through Highgate archway. 'but get up and come on. which were of unusual extent.' 'They're a good two mile off. 'Come on. enabled him with much ease to keep some half-dozen paces in advance of his companion. changing his own little bundle as he spoke. when the foremost traveller stopped and called impatiently to his companion. 319 . resting again! Well. or I'll kick yer.' said the female. to whom he occasionally turned with an impatient jerk of the head: as if reproaching her tardiness. resting herself against a bank. and apparently light enough. for he it was.' said Noah Claypole. and looking up with the perspiration streaming from her face. and urging her to greater exertion. after they had walked a few hundred yards. 'Never mind whether they're two mile off.' 'It's a heavy load. Charlotte. save when they stepped aside to allow a wider passage for the mail-coaches which were whirling out of town. pointing out before him. 'Look there! Those are the lights of London. can't yer? What a lazybones yer are. 'Oh. Noah?' she asked. they had toiled along the dusty road. and so I give yer notice. the woman rose without any further remark. or twenty.

' said Charlotte. 'No. the wrong road a purpose.' 'Yer took the money from the till. at first.' said the lady. and come back across country. Claypole. Claypole. yer know yer did. whose temper had been considerably impaired by walking. and have us taken back in a cart with handcuffs on. 'Cod.' replied Mr. I hope. 'No! I shall go and lose myself among the narrowest streets I can find. any way. 'A pretty thing it would be. chucking him under the chin. and say I should have been locked up.' 'Why not?' 'When I tell yer that I don't mean to do a thing. you trusted in me. the money might be found on her: which would leave him an 320 . but as it was not Mr. 'There! Not near. 'No. yer'd have been locked up hard and fast a week ago.'How should I know?' replied Noah. my lady.' said Mr.' rejoined Charlotte.' replied Charlotte.' replied Mr. so don't think it. yer may thanks yer stars I've got a head. if they were pursued. This was indeed the case. And serve yer right for being a fool. 'Near. You would have been if I had been. without any why or because either.' 'I know I ain't as cunning as you are. 'but don't put all the blame on me. Claypole. Claypole's habit to repose a blind and foolish confidence in anybody. Noah. in order that. Claypole in a jeering tone. if he come up after us.' said Mr. that he had trusted Charlotte to this extent. that's enough. you needn't be so cross. not near. and not stop till we come to the very out-of-the-wayest house I can set eyes on. might poke in his old nose. 'Did I keep it?' asked Mr. and drawing her arm through his. Claypole with dignity. for if we hadn't gone. it should be observed. 'I took it for you. so that Sowerberry. dear. and let me carry it like a dear. in justice to that gentleman. and so you are. 'Well. wouldn't it to go and stop at the very first public-house outside the town.' said his companion.

except when yer spoke to. At length.' repeated Noah. and would greatly facilitate his chances of escape. Through these streets. lying between Gray's Inn Lane and Smithfield. there might have been some reason for the Jew opening his eyes so wide. Just pausing to observe which appeared the most crowded streets. followed by his companion. and was soon deep in the obscurity of the intricate and dirty ways. then! Keep close at my heels. and they walked on very lovingly together. as some fancied appearance induced him to believe it too public for his purpose. There was nobody in the bar but a young Jew. If Noah had been attired in his charity-boy's dress.' With these injunctions. In pursuance of this cautious plan. and slinging it over his own. Claypole went on. 321 .' said Charlotte. that London began in earnest. from the crowd of passengers and numbers of vehicles. but as he had discarded the coat and badge. without halting. Noah Claypole walked. graciously announced his intention of putting up there. where he wisely judged. 'So give us the bundle. render that part of the town one of the lowest and worst that improvement has left in the midst of London. 'and don't yer speak. now jogging on again. and entered the house. more humble in appearance and more dirty than any he had yet seen. he stopped in front of one. and come along. 'Three Cripples. he crossed into Saint John's Road. having crossed over and surveyed it from the opposite pavement. he entered at this juncture. dragging Charlotte after him. 'and a very good sign too. unstrapping it from the woman's shoulders. was reading a dirty newspaper. until he arrived at the Angel at Islington.' said Noah. Of course. with his two elbows on the counter. now stepping into the kennel to embrace at a glance the whole external character of some small public-house. into no explanation of his motives. What's the name of the house--t-h-r--three what?' 'Cripples. and wore a short smock-frock over his leathers. which. and Noah stared very hard at him. there seemed no particular reason for his appearance exciting so much attention in a public-house. for the night. Mr. He stared very hard at Noah. and consequently the most to be avoided. he pushed the rattling door with his shoulder.opportunity of asserting his innocence of any theft. and. who. Now.

or I'b bistaked. recommended us here. their subject of conversation. and left the amiable couple to their refreshment. 'A gentleman we met on the road. and perhaps to warn her to betray no surprise. could not only look down upon any guests in the back-room without any great hazard of being observed (the glass being in a dark angle of the wall. from which secret post he could see Mr. so that any person connected with the house. 'Ah! Ad rub uds too. 'We want to sleep here to-night. The landlord of the house had not withdrawn his eye from this place of espial for five minutes. 'but I'll idquire.' Fagin appeared to receive this communication with great interest. 'That is the dabe of this 'ouse.' said Noah. Claypole taking 322 . in the course of his evening's business. nudging Charlotte. but could. perhaps to call her attention to this most ingenious device for attracting respect. between which and a large upright beam the observer had to thrust himself). undrawing a small curtain which concealed a single pane of glass fixed in the wall of the last-named apartment. and some steps lower. Mounting a stool. Barney complied by ushering them into a small back-room.'Is this the Three Cripples?' asked Noah.' 'Strangers!' repeated the old man in a whisper. having done which.' 'Show us the tap. by applying his ear to the partition. this back-room was immediately behind the bar.' said Barney. 'Hush!' said Barney: 'stradegers id the next roob. when Fagin. who was the attendant sprite. but subthig in your way. came into the bar to inquire after some of his young pupils. and give us a bit of cold meat and a drop of beer while yer inquiring. coming up from the country.' replied the Jew.' 'I'b dot certaid you cad.' added Barney. he informed the travellers that they could be lodged that night. will yer?' said Noah. 'Frob the cuttry. about five feet from its flooring. ascertain with tolerable distinctness. he cautiously applied his eye to the pane of glass. and Barney had only just returned from making the communication above related. and setting the required viands before them. Now.

' replied Noah.cold beef from the dish. eating and drinking at his pleasure. and continuing a conversation. 'I should like to be the captain of some band.--especially 323 .' said Charlotte.' said Noah. dear.' 'What do you mean?' asked his companion. Claypole. 'But you can't do all that. disengaging himself with great gravity. 'Aha!' he whispered. 'there's more things besides tills to be emptied. Don't make as much noise as a mouse. Claypole. if there was good profit. I never see such a precious sly and deceitful creetur as yer can be when I let yer. he knows how to train the girl already. that might have appertained to some old goblin. and if we could only get in with some gentleman of this sort. rising with the porter. and have the whopping of 'em. 'I shall look out to get into company with them as can. in case I'm cross with yer. dear. imprinting a kiss upon his ugly face.' He again applied his eye to the glass. mail-coaches.' 'Tills be blowed!' said Mr. and turning his ear to the partition. listened attentively: with a subtle and eager look upon his face. looking round to Barney. 'They'll be able to make us useful some way or another. if yer like. He'd be of use to us. how nice it is to hear yer say so!' exclaimed Charlotte.' 'Lor. my dear. That would suit me. that'll do: don't yer be too affectionate. 'There. you yourself are worth fifty women. houses. Claypole.' said Mr. banks!' said Mr.' 'I should like that well enough. kicking out his legs. the commencement of which Fagin had arrived too late to hear. Charlotte. unbeknown to themselves. and administering homeopathic doses of both to Charlotte.' replied Charlotte. 'I like that fellow's looks. 'but tills ain't to be emptied every day. and follering 'em about. and let me hear 'em talk--let me hear 'em. I say it would be cheap at that twenty-pound note you've got. women's ridicules. Why. but a gentleman's life for me: and. 'So I mean to be a gentleman. 'No more jolly old coffins. yer shall be a lady. and porter from the pot. who sat patiently by. 'Pockets. and people to get clear off after it.

in consequence of his own nose not being large enough for the purpose. and a very low bow he made. and took a draught.' said Fagin. 'Good stuff that. but cool for the time of year. smacking his lips. 'A pleasant night. pointing from Noah's shoes to those of his companion.' observed Mr. interrupted him. or a woman's reticule. He was meditating another. 'Yer a sharp feller. I see. and from them to the two bundles. and the appearance of a stranger. my dear. 'A man need be always emptying a till.' replied the Jew. And very amiable he looked. wherewith he appeared greatly refreshed. Fagin. or a house. or a pocket. one need be sharp in this town. and looked from the Jew to Charlotte with a countenance of ashy paleness and excessive terror.' After expressing this opinion. when the sudden opening of the door. or a bank. and setting himself down at the nearest table. sir. 'We have not so much dust as that in London.' Fagin followed up this remark by striking the side of his nose with his right forefinger. Mr. Mr. if he drinks it regularly. as he advanced. in a very friendly manner. 'and that's the truth. and having well shaken its contents. Fagin seemed to interpret the endeavour as expressing a perfect coincidence with his opinion. sir?' 'How do yer see that?' asked Noah Claypole. and put about the liquor which Barney reappeared with. ordered something to drink of the grinning Barney. Claypole looked into the porter-pot with an aspect of deep wisdom. Claypole.' said Noah. 'From the country.--a gesture which Noah attempted to imitate. However. or a mail-coach.' replied Fagin. sinking his voice to a confidential whisper.as we don't very well know how to get rid of it ourselves. though not with complete success.' Mr. 'Ha! ha! only hear that. 324 . Claypole no sooner heard this extract from his own remarks than he fell back in his chair. nodded condescendingly to Charlotte. Charlotte!' 'Why. The stranger was Mr. rubbing his hands. 'Dear!' said Fagin.

was obeyed without the slightest demur. and put you in the right way. 'She'll take the luggage upstairs the while. 'In that way of business. and are as safe here as you could be. It was very lucky it was only me. shrugging his shoulders. and I like you for it. and be taught all the others. nevertheless.' replied Fagin.' 'I didn't take it. but his body certainly was not. for he shuffled and writhed about. glancing. You've hit the right nail upon the head. drawing his chair closer. 'it was all her doing. 'Ha! ha! it was lucky it was only me that heard you by chance. getting his legs by gradual degrees abroad again. and you may make your minds easy.' said Fagin. Charlotte. which had been delivered with great majesty. after he had reassured the girl. 'Here! Let me have a word with you outside. yer've got it now. 'and so are the people of the house. with a hawk's eye at the girl and the two bundles. a little recovering.' 'Yer speak as if yer were in earnest.' stammered Noah.' This mandate. my dear.'Don't mind me.' said Noah. see to them bundles. that is. but coiling them up as well as he could under his chair. and Charlotte made the best of her way off with the packages while Noah held the door open 325 . no longer stretching out his legs like an independent gentleman.' 'No matter who's got it. my dear. or who did it. so I've said the word. 'I'm in that way myself. Claypole.' Noah Claypole's mind might have been at ease after this assurance.' 'In what way?' asked Mr.' replied Noah.' said Fagin. 'I'll tell you more. 'What advantage would it be to me to be anything else?' inquired Fagin. And I have taken a fancy to you and the young woman. There is not a safer place in all this town than is the Cripples.' 'There's no occasion to trouble ourselves to move. by dint of friendly nods and muttered encouragements. 'I have got a friend that I think can gratify your darling wish. yer know yer have. where you can take whatever department of the business you think will suit you best at first. when I like to make it so. Charlotte. into various uncouth positions: eyeing his new friend meanwhile with mingled fear and suspicion.' rejoined Fagin.

my dear. 'Number and date taken.' replied Fagin. though--it's a lot of money!' 'Not when it's in a note you can't get rid of. winking one of his little eyes. she'll be back if yer lose time. 'To-morrow morning. 'You're a genius.' rejoined Fagin. 'But. in a most decided manner. It'll have to go abroad.' 'Where?' 'Here. 'She's kept tolerably well under. I say. that's where it is!' responded Noah.' 'Now. I shouldn't be here.' 'When could I see him?' asked Noah doubtfully. 'Not a countryman among 'em. 'If you was to like my friend. 'It couldn't possibly be done without. could you do better than join him?' 'Is he in a good way of business. ain't she?' he asked as he resumed his seat: in the tone of a keeper who had tamed some wild animal. slapping his breeches-pocket. 'Twenty pound. if he didn't run rather short of assistants just now. and he couldn't sell it for a great deal in the market. clapping him on the shoulder. has the very best society in the profession.' 'Why. Claypole.' replied Noah. 'Should I have to hand over?' said Noah.and watched her out. even on my recommendation.' replied Fagin. what do you think?' said Fagin. I suppose if I wasn't.' retorted Fagin. I suppose? Payment stopped at the Bank? Ah! It's not worth much to him.' 'Regular town-maders?' asked Mr.' 326 . employs a power of hands. and I don't think he'd take you. 'The top of the tree. 'Quite perfect.

and I shouldn't mind turning my hand to it sometimes. 'but it wouldn't pay by itself. you know. and scratch sometimes?' asked Noah. would have acceded even to these glowing terms. in the event of his refusal. yer see. he gradually relented. 'But. my dear. 'Ah! something of that sort. it might not. and not very dangerous. 'What do you think would suit me now? Something not too trying for the strength.' 'A little fancy work?' suggested Fagin. pipes and spirits free--half of all you earn.' rejoined Mr. but as he recollected that. laying his hand on Noah's knee.' replied Noah. 'as she will be able to do a good deal.' replied Mr. 'My friend wants somebody who would do that well. 'What's the wages?' 'Live like a gentleman--board and lodging.' observed Noah. it was in the power of his new acquaintance to give him up to justice immediately (and more unlikely things had come to pass).' said Fagin. 'There's a good deal of money made in snatching their bags and parcels. Ain't there any other line open?' 'Stop!' said Fagin. very much. Claypole slowly. Fagin. and not much more risk than being at home. Whether Noah Claypole. had he been a perfectly free agent. and half of all the young woman earns. and said he thought that would suit him.' 'That's true!' observed the Jew. shaking his head. 'I don't think that would answer my purpose.' 327 .' 'Don't they holler out a good deal. and running round the corner. whose rapacity was none of the least comprehensive. ruminating or pretending to ruminate.'Um!' said Noah. anxiously regarding him. where it was pretty sure work. you know.' 'What do you think of the old ladies?' asked Fagin. is very doubtful. then?' asked Noah. 'Something in the sneaking way. 'No. I should like to take something very light.' 'What do you think. 'The kinchin lay.' 'Why. I did mention that. That's the sort of thing!' 'I heard you talk of something in the spy way upon the others.

Noah. 'is the young children that's sent on errands by their mothers.' replied Fagin. late Claypole. I understand--perfectly. that's the very thing!' 'To be sure it is. where they're always going errands. Charlotte?' thundered Mr. as a sort of fond way of talking. and they joined in a burst of laughter both long and loud. This is Mrs. Ha! ha! ha!' 'Ha! ha!' roared Mr. Claypole nodded assent. who had prepared himself for such emergency. 'and you can have a few good beats chalked out in Camden Town. 'The kinchins. turning to Fagin. and walk off very slow. Bolter's humble servant.' said Fagin. Bolter. 'Well. and Battle Bridge. kicking up his legs in an ecstasy.' said Mr. Fagin poked Mr. bowing with grotesque politeness. Claypole. as Mr. Noah Claypole.'What's that?' demanded Mr. 'She calls me Noah. Ha! ha! ha!' With this. any hour in the day. Morris Bolter. and you can upset as many kinchins as you want. adding. extending her hand. Claypole in the side. bespeaking his good lady's attention. Mr. and neighborhoods like that. Fagin went his way. with sixpences and shillings. my dear. 'I hope I shall know her better very shortly. 'What name shall I tell my good friend.' said Fagin. 'Mr. proceeded to 328 . Bolter. dear!' replied Mrs.' 'Do you hear the gentleman. Claypole. 'Good-night! Good-night!' With many adieus and good wishes. telling the truth for once. Bolter. 'What time to-morrow shall we say?' 'Will ten do?' asked Fagin. 'Yes.' replied Noah. 'Lord. when he had recovered himself. that's all right!' said Noah. and Charlotte had returned. 'You understand?' 'Oh yes.' 'Mrs. Morris Bolter. Claypole.' replied Fagin. and the lay is just to take their money away--they've always got it ready in their hands.' 'Mr. as if there were nothing else the matter but a child fallen down and hurt itself.--then knock 'em into the kennel.

Bolter. Bolter. 'That stands to reason. assuming the air of a man of the world. yer know.' said Fagin.' pursued Fagin. with all that haughtiness and air of superiority. 'Some people are nobody's enemies but their own. he had removed next day to Fagin's house. Bolter. 'He hasn't as good a one as himself anywhere. 'When a man's his own enemy.' replied Mr. ''Cod. my friend.' replied Fagin. otherwise Bolter. and identified in our 329 . my dear.' 'Except sometimes. in London and its vicinity. if there is. 'Ha! ha!' cried Mr.enlighten her relative to the arrangement he had made. it's only because he's too much his own friend.' 'There oughn't to be. without considering me too as the same. 'we have a general number one.' replied Morris Bolter. with his most insinuating grin.' 'Oh. and all the other young people. who felt it necessary to qualify this position. CHAPTER XLIII WHEREIN IS SHOWN HOW THE ARTFUL DODGER GOT INTO TROUBLE 'And so it was you that was your own friend. I thought as much last night!' 'Every man's his own friend. It's neither. 'Number one for ever. It's number one. by virtue of the compact entered into between them. when. not because he's careful for everybody but himself. Claypole. Some conjurers say that number three is the magic number.' 'Don't believe that.' said Fagin. and some say number seven. Pooh! pooh! There ain't such a thing in nature. not only a member of the sterner sex. 'we are so mixed up together. was it?' asked Mr. my dear. but a gentleman who appreciated the dignity of a special appointment on the kinchin lay.' 'In a little community like ours. neither. the devil!' exclaimed Mr. affecting to disregard this interruption. 'You see. becoming.

' said Mr. so we come at last to what I told you at first--that a regard for number one holds us all together. the halter!' Mr. and what I love you for doing.' said Fagin.' continued Fagin. and I'm very fond of yer. 'Oh! yer a 330 . To keep in the easy road. The first is your number one. who was largely endowed with the quality of selfishness. you mean. Bolter. 'No. but we ain't quite so thick together. and must do so. my dear. 'Yer about right there. is object number one with you. as if he felt it inconveniently tight. 'I'm of the same importance to you. Bolter. Bolter. You've done what's a very pretty thing. is an ugly finger-post. qualified in tone but not in substance. without taking care of me. 'The gallows.' 'Number two. thoughtfully. I depend upon you. 'What do yer talk about such things for?' 'Only to show you my meaning clearly. the second my number one. that it must be so. as all that comes to. Bolter put his hand to his neckerchief.' 'Only think. unless we would all go to pieces in company. it's your object to take care of number one--meaning yourself. 'To be able to do that.' 'Certainly.' replied Mr. Bolter. which points out a very short and sharp turning that has stopped many a bold fellow's career on the broad highway. Bolter. and murmured an assent. To keep my little business all snug.' said the Jew. the more careful you must be of mine.' 'That's true. I don't!' retorted Fagin. raising his eyebrows.' rejoined Mr. but what at the same time would put the cravat round your throat. you depend upon me. as you are to yourself. shrugging his shoulders. that's so very easily tied and so very difficult to unloose--in plain English. number one.' 'I say.' 'Well! You can't take care of yourself. 'the gallows. 'only consider. For instance. The more you value your number one.' replied Mr.' interrupted Mr. and stretching out his hands. number one. 'yer a very nice man. and keep it at a distance.interests.' 'Of course it is.

'not so bad as that. with delight.cunning old codger!' Mr.' replied Fagin. for they thought they knew the owner. 'not very. my dear. and was very fond of it. 'It's this mutual trust we have in each other that consoles me under heavy losses. 'What's the good of talking in that way to me. he'll be a lifer.' replied Fagin. Bolter. you should have known the Dodger. that this tribute to his powers was no mere compliment. They'll make the Artful nothing less than a lifer. To strengthen an impression so desirable and useful. if they do.' replied Fagin. why don't yer 331 . but I shall know him. They know what a clever lad he is.' 'What. 'I'm doubtful about it.' said Fagin. 'Yes. 'No. Bolter's respect visibly increased.' interposed Fagin. Not quite so bad.' 'Well. 'No. his own. don't yer think so?' said Mr. that Mr. which it was highly desirable to awaken.' 'What do you mean by lagging and a lifer?' demanded Mr. They remanded him till to-day. I suppose he was--' 'Wanted. and we shall have him back again after six weeks or so. for he took snuff himself. Bolter. with a degree of wholesome fear. which it was most important that he should entertain in the outset of their acquaintance. blending truth and fiction together. in some detail. and became tempered.--his own. he was wanted. it's a case of lagging. my dear. He was charged with attempting to pick a pocket. You should have known the Dodger. with a sigh. and bringing both to bear. Bolter. as best served his purpose. Ah! he was worth fifty boxes. but that he had really impressed his recruit with a sense of his wily genius. 'My best hand was taken from me. with so much art. he followed up the blow by acquainting him. Bolter. but. Fagin saw. and I'd give the price of as many to have him back. 'If they don't get any fresh evidence.' 'Very particular?' inquired Mr. and they found a silver snuff-box on him. yesterday morning. it'll only be a summary conviction. no. at the same time. with the magnitude and extent of his operations. I hope.' 'You don't mean to say he died?' cried Mr.

Bolter would have been informed that they represented that combination of words. in a voice rendered husky by regret. 'not one. 'cause nobody will never know half of what he was. wot a blow it is!' 332 .' replied Master Bates. being interpreted. and not like a common prig. at the lowest. afore he sets out upon his travels. with his hands in his breeches-pockets. 'What do you mean?' 'They've found the gentleman as owns the box. Oh. 'It's all up. Fagin. is it?' said Charley. 'Wasn't he always the top-sawyer among you all! Is there one of you that could touch him or come near him on any scent! Eh?' 'Not one. and the Artful's booked for a passage out. and seals. why didn't he rob some rich old gentleman of all his walables. Fagin. Master Bates sat himself on the nearest chair with an aspect of chagrin and despondency. to wisit him in. 'I must have a full suit of mourning.' replied Master Bates.speak so as I can understand yer?' Fagin was about to translate these mysterious expressions into the vulgar tongue. and. darting an angry look at his pupil. How will he stand in the Newgate Calendar? P'raps not be there at all. when he and his new companion had been made known to each other. and go out as a gentleman. chain. chafed into perfect defiance of his venerable friend by the current of his regrets. my eye. without no honour nor glory!' With this expression of feeling for his unfortunate friend. and a hatband. and his face twisted into a look of semi-comical woe.' when the dialogue was cut short by the entry of Master Bates. two or three more's a coming to 'dentify him. Mr. Oh. my eye. ''cause it can't come out in the 'dictment. 'what are you blubbering for?' ''Cause it isn't on the rec-ord.' 'Then what do you talk of?' replied Fagin angrily. 'transportation for life.' said Charley. 'What do you talk about his having neither honour nor glory for!' exclaimed Fagin. To think of Jack Dawkins--lummy Jack--the Dodger--the Artful Dodger--going abroad for a common twopenny-halfpenny sneeze-box! I never thought he'd a done it under a gold watch.

and we'll read it all in the papers--"Artful Dodger--shrieks of laughter--here the court was convulsed"--eh. 'He shall have all he wants. 'what a lark that would be. Bolter in a fit of chuckling which shook him as though he had the palsy. stepped up to that young gentleman and patted him on the shoulder.' cried Charley Bates. it is a honour that is!' said Charley. Like a gentleman! With his beer every day. 'So do I. I see it all afore me. 'Never mind. Charley. Charley. shall he though?' cried Charley Bates. rubbing his hands. extending his right hand. 'Ha! ha! ha! so do I. to be lagged at his time of life!' 'Well. Charley: one that's got the greatest gift of the gab: to carry on his defence. that he shall. They'll all know what a clever fellow he was. Bolter nodded assent.' said Fagin soothingly. 'He shall be kept in the Stone Jug. Ain't it beautiful?' Mr. if he likes. 'and we'll have a big-wig. 'it'll come out. it'll be sure to come out. Charley.' cried the Jew. and money in his pocket to pitch and toss with. to be sure. wouldn't it. so he will.'Ha! ha!' cried Fagin. 'Ay. like a gentleman.' replied Fagin. my dear. and he shall make a speech for himself too. 'see what a pride they take in their profession.' continued the Jew.' repeated Charley. and Jack Dawkins addressing of 'em as intimate and comfortable as if he 333 . and Fagin. Think how young he is too! What a distinction. bending his eyes upon his pupil. if he can't spend it. a little consoled. 'He shall--he will!' 'Ah. What a game! What a regular game! All the big-wigs trying to look solemn. eh?' 'Ha! ha!' laughed Master Bates. Fagin? I say. Fagin. and turning to Mr. 'I think I see him now. and not disgrace his old pals and teachers. Charley.' 'No. upon my soul I do. after contemplating the grief of Charley Bates for some seconds with evident satisfaction. how the Artful would bother 'em wouldn't he?' 'Would!' cried Fagin. he'll show it himself.

Mr. or yer'll find yerself in the wrong shop.' replied Fagin shaking his head. that you'd walk into the very place where--No. no. backing towards the door.' 'You don't mean to go yourself. It's not in my department. 'Let me think. and shaking his head with a kind of sober alarm. that ain't. my dear. by some handy means or other. 'That wouldn't quite fit. 'Mind!' interposed Charley. and felt quite impatient for the arrival of the time when his old companion should have so favourable an opportunity of displaying his abilities.' 'Why. Bolter.' observed Noah. laying his hand on Noah's arm.' retorted Mr. who had at first been disposed to consider the imprisoned Dodger rather in the light of a victim. now looked upon him as the chief actor in a scene of most uncommon and exquisite humour. Fagin?' inquired Master Bates. 'Then why don't you send this new cove?' asked Master Bates. 'and don't yer take liberties with yer superiors.' replied Fagin. 'Are you mad. is that his branch?' 'Never mind. surveying Noah's lank form with much disgust.' 334 .' said Fagin. Fagin had so well humoured his young friend's eccentric disposition. yer know. I suppose?' said Charley with a humorous leer. 'really nothing.' 'Shall I go?' asked Charley. no--none of that.' 'Wot department has he got.' 'Oh. turning to Mr. One is enough to lose at a time. 'The cutting away when there's anything wrong. I dare say about that. Bolter. 'Not for the world. 'What should he have to mind?' 'Really nothing. 'No. and the eating all the wittles when there's everything right. that Master Bates. stark mad. 'We must know how he gets on to-day. 'Nobody knows him. Charley. little boy.' said Fagin.was the judge's own son making a speech arter dinner--ha! ha! ha!' In fact. if he didn't mind--' observed Fagin. my dear.

Persuaded. Noah Claypole. at the upper end of which was a raised platform railed off from the rest. and leather leggings: all of which articles the Jew had at hand. and raw-boned a fellow as need be. he was to saunter into the office. velveteen breeches. by these representations. Thus equipped. 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. and accompanied it with copious directions how he was to walk straight up the passage. a box for the witnesses in the middle. Fagin had no fear but that he would look the part to perfection. or meeting with any interruption by the way. and that. that it was some time before Fagin could interpose. ungainly. punctually followed the directions he had received. He found himself jostled among a crowd of people. Bolter that he incurred no possible danger in visiting the police-office. who were huddled together in a dirty frowsy room. to undertake the expedition. had yet been forwarded to the metropolis. if he were properly disguised. with a dock for the prisoners on the left hand against the wall. of all places. Bolter at length consented. it was very probable that he was not even suspected of having resorted to it for shelter. inasmuch as it would be. Charley Bates bade him hurry on alone. with a very bad grace. in part. and as he was as awkward. and represent to Mr. These arrangements completed. the very last. and a carter's whip. and promised to bide his return on the spot of their parting. and a desk for the magistrates 335 . a waggoner's frock. or Morris Bolter as the reader pleases. but overborne in a much greater degree by his fear of Fagin. and was conveyed by Master Bates through dark and winding ways to within a very short distance of Bow Street. He was likewise furnished with a felt hat well garnished with turnpike tickets.Master Bates laughed so vehemently at this magnificent threat. Mr. inasmuch as no account of the little affair in which he had engaged. By Fagin's directions. Having described the precise situation of the office. and when he got into the side. he immediately substituted for his own attire. that. Mr. and pull off his hat as he went into the room. as some country fellow from Covent Garden market might be supposed to do for the gratification of his curiousity. chiefly women. nor any description of his person. it would be as safe a spot for him to visit as any in London. he was informed of the necessary signs and tokens by which to recognise the Artful Dodger. to which he could be supposed likely to resort of his own free will.

There were only a couple of women in the dock. and the ceiling blackened. while the clerk read some depositions to a couple of policemen and a man in plain clothes who leant over the table. and a dusty clock above the dock--the only thing present. There was an old smoky bust over the mantel-shelf. ain't I?' rejoined the Dodger. 'I'm an Englishman. being screened off by a partition which concealed the bench from the common gaze.on the right.' retorted the jailer. or poverty. that seemed to go on as it ought. taking his place in the dock. but although there were several women who would have done very well for that distinguished character's mother or sister. and. He waited in a state of much suspense and uncertainty until the women. Dawkins. nobody at all answering the description given him of Mr. hardly less unpleasant than the thick greasy scum on every inamimate object that frowned upon it. except when he repressed an undue tendency to conversation among the idlers. half-smothered in the mother's shawl. who were nodding to their admiring friends. and then was quickly relieved by the appearance of another prisoner who he felt at once could be no other than the object of his visit. or looked sternly up to bid some woman 'Take that baby out. will you?' said the jailer. Dawkins was to be seen.' 336 . preceded the jailer. the awful locality last named. shuffling into the office with the big coat sleeves tucked up as usual. The room smelt close and unwholesome. for depravity. A jailer stood reclining against the dock-rail.' when the gravity of justice was disturbed by feeble cries. from some meagre infant. 'Hold your tongue. 'Where are my priwileges?' 'You'll get your privileges soon enough. or an habitual acquaintance with both. had left a taint on all the animate matter. his left hand in his pocket. and his hat in his right hand. Noah looked eagerly about him for the Dodger. went flaunting out. the walls were dirt-discoloured. and left the vulgar to imagine (if they could) the full majesty of justice. by proclaiming silence. and more than one man who might be supposed to bear a strong resemblance to his father. requested in an audible voice to know what he was placed in that 'ere disgraceful sitivation for. tapping his nose listlessly with a large key. with a rolling gait altogether indescribable. being committed for trial. It was indeed Mr. who. 'and pepper with 'em.

had upon his person a silver 337 .'We'll see wot the Secretary of State for the Home Affairs has got to say to the beaks.' Here there was another laugh.' Which so tickled the spectators. certainly not!' At this point.' added the Dodger. the Dodger. and as I am a man of my word and wery punctual in business matters. any way. 'Silence there!' cried the jailer. 'Now then. Dawkins. 'What is this?' inquired one of the magistrates. and not to keep me while they read the paper. 'Ah! that's right. he took the Dodger into custody as soon as he could get near him. for I've got an appointment with a genelman in the City. 'He has been pretty well everywhere else. 'Where are they? I should like to see 'em.' 'Has the boy ever been here before?' 'He ought to have been. desired the jailer to communicate 'the names of them two files as was on the bench. making a note of the statement.' replied Mr.' replied the jailer. do you?' cried the Artful. and indeed take a handkerchief therefrom. 'Now then! Wot is this here business? I shall thank the madg'strates to dispose of this here little affair.' 'Oh! you know me. a many times. after trying it on his own countenance. for a policeman stepped forward who had seen the prisoner attempt the pocket of an unknown gentleman in a crowd. where are the witnesses?' said the clerk. and another cry of silence. if I don't. and then pr'aps ther won't be an action for damage against them as kep me away. he deliberately put back again.' This wish was immediately gratified. he'll go away if I ain't there to my time. being a very old one. For this reason. your worship. That's a case of deformation of character. Oh no. and the said Dodger. being searched. with a show of being very particular with a view to proceedings to be had thereafter. which. _I_ know him well. 'Wery good. 'A pick-pocketing case. that they laughed almost as heartily as Master Bates could have done if he had heard the request. your worship.

if you was to fall down on your knees and ask me. 'I beg your pardon. or that they'd got their footmen to hang 'em up to their own hat-pegs. swore that the snuff-box was his. you young shaver?' 'No. This gentleman had been discovered on reference to the Court Guide. 'Did you redress yourself to me. 'Ah! (to the Bench) it's no use your looking frightened.' replied the Dodger.' 'Come on. 'Have you anything to say at all?' 'Do you hear his worship ask if you've anything to say?' inquired the jailer. my attorney is a-breakfasting this morning with the Wice President of the House of Commons. looking up with an air of abstraction. and being then and there present. boy?' said the magistrate. _You'll_ pay for this. now.snuff-box. and so will a wery numerous and 'spectable circle of acquaintance as'll make them beaks wish they'd never been born. not a ha'porth of it. particularly active in making his way about.' replied the Dodger. 'Oh ah! I'll come on. I won't show you no mercy.' said the jailer. but I shall have something to say elsewhere. for this ain't the shop for justice: besides which. and that he had missed it on the previous day. He had also remarked a young gentleman in the throng. and so will he. I'll--' 'There! He's fully committed!' interposed the clerk. 'Do you mean to say anything. 'I wouldn't abase myself by descending to hold no conversation with him. and that young gentleman was the prisoner before him. your worship. 'Have you anything to ask this witness. brushing his hat with the palm of his hand. my man?' 'I never see such an out-and-out young wagabond. nudging the silent Dodger with his elbow. 'Take him away. with the owner's name engraved upon the lid.' observed the officer with a grin. I wouldn't be you for something! I wouldn't go free. Here. afore they let 'em come out this morning to try it on upon me.' replied the Dodger. 'not here. my fine fellers. the moment he had disengaged himself from the crowd before referred to. carry me off to prison! Take me away!' 338 .' said the Dodger.

but she had stipulated that her secret should be rigidly kept. and bitter as were her feelings towards Fagin. whence was no escape. even towards him. Adept as she was. the girl Nancy could not wholly conceal the effect which the knowledge of the step she had taken. these were the mere wanderings of a mind unable wholly to detach itself from old companions and associations. deeper and deeper down into an abyss of crime and misery. After waiting here some time. Noah made the best of his way back to where he had left Master Bates. Her fears for Sikes would have been more powerful inducements to recoil while there was yet time. Having seen him locked up by himself in a little cell. though enabled to fix itself steadily on one object. and resolved not to be turned aside by any consideration. desperate as were their originators. till he got into the yard. wrought upon her mind. she had dropped no clue which could lead to his discovery. and establishing for himself a glorious reputation. who had led her. to make a parliamentary business of it. the Dodger suffered himself to be led off by the collar. still. in all the arts of cunning and dissimulation. she felt some relenting. The two hastened back together. and then grinning in the officer's face. Vile as those schemes were. step by step. she had 339 . he was joined by that young gentleman. CHAPTER XLIV THE TIME ARRIVES FOR NANCY TO REDEEM HER PLEDGE TO ROSE MAYLIE. She remembered that both the crafty Jew and the brutal Sikes had confided to her schemes.With these last words. with great glee and self-approval. there were times when. threatening. lest her disclosure should bring him within the iron grasp he had so long eluded. Fagin the animating news that the Dodger was doing full justice to his bringing-up. But. and ascertained that his new friend had not been followed by any impertinent person. and he should fall at last--richly as he merited such a fate--by her hand. to bear to Mr. SHE FAILS. who had prudently abstained from showing himself until he had looked carefully abroad from a snug retreat. which had been hidden from all others: in the full confidence that she was trustworthy and beyond the reach of their suspicion.

but they paused to listen. 'You're like yourself to-night.' said Sikes.' said Sikes. 'It is a pity. my dear. 'Well. A good night for business this. 'An hour this side of midnight. 'It does me good to hear you.' replied Sikes gruffly. while the very effort by which she roused herself. Quite like yourself.' replied Fagin.' 'Does you good. and was noisy without a moment afterwards--she sat silent and dejected. The girl looked up from the low seat on which she crouched.' 'Ha! ha! ha!' laughed Fagin. casting off the Jew's 340 . for I'm in the humour too.' said Sikes. or no part in conversations where once. She grew pale and thin. Bill. even within a few days. and listened too. Though all her mental struggles terminated in this conclusion. a refuge from all the guilt and wretchedness that encompasses her--and what more could she do! She was resolved. 'We must make up for lost time when we've got things into a good train. Bill. 'What a pity. It was Sunday night. venturing to pat him on the shoulder. she took no heed of what was passing before her.refused. raising the blind to look out and returning to his seat.' Fagin sighed. again and again. she laughed without merriment. that she was ill at ease. and shook his head despondingly. Sikes and the Jew were talking.' 'You're right for once. told. so be it. even for his sake. At times.' 'Ah!' replied Fagin.' 'I don't feel like myself when you lay that withered old claw on my shoulder. and that her thoughts were occupied with matters very different and distant from those in the course of discussion by her companions. 'Dark and heavy it is too. 'That's the way to talk. At other times. does it!' cried Sikes. brooding with her head upon her hands. she would have been the loudest. they forced themselves upon her. that there's none quite ready to be done. more forcibly than even these indications. and left their traces too. as if he were relieved by even this concession. That's all I know. my dear. so take it away. and the bell of the nearest church struck the hour. Eleven.

'Do you hear me?' 'I don't know where. 'Nance.' replied Sikes. 'I want a breath of air.' said Sikes. Bill? Do you know what you're doing?' 'Know what I'm--Oh!' cried Sikes. 'What do you mean. which I shouldn't wonder at. took the key out. will you?' 'It's not such a matter as a bonnet would keep me.' said the girl turning very pale. 'Hallo!' cried Sikes. I told you that before. unless you came straight from the old 'un without any father at all betwixt you. turning to Fagin.hand.' 'Then you won't have it. and I suppose _he_ is singeing his grizzled red beard by this time. 'It make you nervous.' replied Sikes.' 'I'm not well. more in the spirit of obstinacy than because he had any real objection to the girl going where she listed. 'There. pulling Sikes by the sleeve. 'Then I do. 'There never was another man with such a face as yours.' Fagin offered no reply to this compliment: but. pointed his finger towards Nancy. 'Nowhere. 'she's out of 341 . determined not to be offended. who had taken advantage of the foregoing conversation to put on her bonnet. 'I want it in the street. 'There's not enough there.' 'Put your head out of the winder. 'Now stop quietly where you are.--reminds you of being nabbed.' said the girl. locked the door. a bit.' 'What answer's that?' retorted Sikes. flung it up to the top of an old press.' returned Sikes.' replied the girl. Where's the gal going to at this time of night?' 'Not far. With which assurance he rose. unless it was your father.' rejoined the girl. Bill. does it?' said Fagin. Sit down. and was now leaving the room. 'Reminds me of being nabbed by the devil. and pulling her bonnet from her head.' said the robber.

will you. or she daren't talk to me in that way. 'Aye! And if I hear you for half a minute longer. for a minute. as though to keep down by force some violent outbreak.' said the girl with great earnestness. 'Bill. You don't. you don't know what you are doing. seizing her roughly by the arm.' replied Fagin thoughtfully. Bill. Sikes left her to recover at leisure and rejoined Fagin. and then. Do you hear me?' cried Nancy stamping her foot upon the ground.' 'No!' said Sikes. 'Whew!' said the housebreaker wiping the perspiration from his face. ceased to contest the point any further. He had better. For only one hour--do--do!' 'Cut my limbs off one by one!' cried Sikes.' 'Wot did she take it into her head to go out to-night for. held her down by force. wearied and exhausted. she said.' muttered the girl placing both hands upon her breast. struggling and wrestling with him by the way.' 'You'll drive me on the something desperate.--this minute--this instant. then sitting herself down on the floor. 'You may say that. indeed. where he sat himself on a bench. Get up. watching his opportunity. let me go. you know. into a small room adjoining. backed by many oaths. and thrusting her into a chair. Sikes looked on. She struggled and implored by turns until twelve o'clock had struck. It'll be better for him.her senses. Wot has come over you. Fagin. do you think?' asked Sikes. you jade! Wot is it?' 'Let me go. 'Tell him to let me go. 'Come. 342 . 'If I don't think the gal's stark raving mad. 'Hear you!' repeated Sikes turning round in his chair to confront her. 'Let me go.' 'Not till you let me go--not till you let me go--Never--never!' screamed the girl. to make no more efforts to go out that night. and suddenly pinioning her hands dragged her. you should know her better than me. With a caution. 'Wot a precious strange gal that is!' 'You may say that. the dog shall have such a grip on your throat as'll tear some of that screaming voice out. before the door.

without troubling the doctor.' 'I'll let her a little blood. Fagin nodded an expressive approval of this mode of treatment.Wot does it mean?' 'Obstinacy. 'She was hanging about me all day. I suppose. she rocked herself to and fro. after a little time. 'Light him down. asked if somebody would light him down the dark stairs. 'I think she's got a touch of that fever in her blood yet. and you. 'I never knew her like this. I suppose it is. but she's as bad as ever. who was filling his pipe.' growled Sikes.' said Sikes. 'Hush!' As he uttered these words. the girl herself appeared and resumed her former seat. all the time. and I think.' 'Nor I. and that being shut up here so long has made her restless--eh?' 'That's it. my dear.' 'Worse. 'We was poor too. 'It's a pity he should break his neck himself. one way or other. Whispering Sikes that there was no fear of her relapsing. kept yourself aloof. and disappoint the sight-seers. 'Why. if she's took that way again. 'I thought I had tamed her. tossed her head. Her eyes were swollen and red. Fagin took up his hat and bade him good-night. Fagin nodded to him to take no further notice just then. for such a little cause. and it won't come out--eh?' 'Like enough. my dear. turning a look of excessive surprise on his companion. and.' replied the Jew in a whisper. and.' said Sikes. and looking round. and night too. when I was stretched on my back. He paused when he reached the room-door.' 343 .' said Fagin thoughtfully.' said Sikes. woman's obstinacy. like a blackhearted wolf as you are. burst out laughing.' said Sikes. Show him a light. it's worried and fretted her. the girl subsided into her accustomed demeanour. now she's on the other tack!' exclaimed Sikes. in a few minutes.' 'Well.

'What is it. all favoured the supposition. added to these. as Fagin offered to lay his hand on hers. he laid his finger on his lip. dear?' 'What do you mean?' replied the girl. I say. I have the means at hand. and. for he humours him sometimes--come to me. He is the mere hound of a day. in the same tone. and a darker object. and. Nance. her repeated absences from home alone. said. in a steady voice. quiet and close. You have a friend in me. without manifesting the least emotion. 'The reason of all this. 'Good-night. He would be a valuable acquisition with such an assistant as Nancy. come to me.' She shrank back. If you want revenge on those that treat you like a dog--like a dog! worse than his dog. to him at least. well. had conceived an attachment for some new friend. to be gained. as Fagin paused. but you know me of old. with his mouth almost touching her ear. and rendered it. a brute-beast). and his eyes looking into hers.' 'I know you well. and his ruffian taunts had not galled Fagin the less. that 344 . We'll talk of this again.' replied the girl. 'If _he_'--he pointed with his skinny fore-finger up the stairs--'is so hard with you (he's a brute. wearied of the housebreaker's brutality. intent upon the thoughts that were working within his brain. with a candle. but said good-night again. Nance. a staunch friend. Fagin walked towards his home. closed the door between them. There was another. He had conceived the idea--not from what had just passed though that had tended to confirm him. Sikes knew too much. in a whisper.' replied Fagin.Nancy followed the old man downstairs. The object of this new liking was not among his myrmidons. why don't you--' 'Well?' said the girl. almost matter of certainty. Nance. and must (thus Fagin argued) be secured without delay. Her altered manner. The girl must know. Nancy. answering his parting look with a nod of intelligence. her desperate impatience to leave home that night at a particular hour. When they reached the passage. but slowly and by degrees--that Nancy. because the wounds were hidden. her comparative indifference to the interests of the gang for which she had once been so zealous. and drawing close to the girl. 'No matter just now.

without extracting a confession from herself. another secured in his place. If.' said Fagin. 'what more likely than that she would consent to poison him? Women have done such things. or perhaps the loss of life--on the object of her more recent fancy. There was no expression of surprise. discovered the object of her altered regard. not for her life! I have it all. But perhaps she would recoil from a plot to take the life of Sikes. which he wrenched tightly in his grasp.if she shook him off. in the housebreaker's room. could he not secure her compliance? 'I can. and my influence over the girl. 'With a little persuasion. The girl clearly comprehended it. and that it would be surely wreaked--to the maiming of limbs.' These things passed through the mind of Fagin. as though there were a hated enemy crushed with every motion of his fingers. of sounding the girl in the broken hints he threw out at parting. he had taken the opportunity afterwards afforded him.' thought Fagin. with a knowledge of this crime to back it. he laid a watch. and threatened to reveal the whole history to Sikes (of whom she stood in no common fear) unless she entered into his designs. unlimited. almost aloud. as he crept homeward. and that was one of the chief ends to be attained. and a threatening motion of the hand. I shall have you yet!' He cast back a dark look. to secure the same object before now. and with them uppermost in his thoughts. and shall be set to work. 'can I increase my influence with her? What new power can I acquire?' Such brains are fertile in expedients. Not for her life. no assumption of an inability to understand his meaning. 'She durst not refuse me then. and worse. towards the spot where he had left the bolder villain. during the short time he sat alone.' thought Fagin. and went on his way: busying his bony hands in the folds of his tattered garment. There would be the dangerous villain: the man I hate: gone. she could never be safe from his fury. The means are ready. 'How. Her glance at parting showed _that_. CHAPTER XLV NOAH CLAYPOLE IS EMPLOYED BY FAGIN ON A SECRET MISSION 345 .

' 'You can talk as you eat. 'I wish yer'd ordered her to make some buttered toast first. Bolter having had his laugh out. at length presented himself. 'Where's Charlotte?' 'Out. Eh? Ha! ha! ha!' Fagin affected to laugh very heartily.The old man was up. 'No. yer know. or catch cold.' remarked Mr. Bolter. Yer won't interrupt me.' There seemed.' 'Pretty well. and commenced a voracious assault on the breakfast. Well.' said Fagin. I thought it might get rusty with the rain. my dear.' 'Don't you forget to add three pint-pots and a milk-can. 'Well. and assisted himself to a second. because I wanted us to be alone. I think. indeed. Yer never get time enough over yer meals. That's a great fault in this place. took a series of large bites. 'Bolter.' said Mr. cutting a monstrous slice of bread. 'The pots I took off airy railings. which finished his first hunk of bread and butter. and Mr. betimes. can't you?' said Fagin. 'Oh yes. and waited impatiently for the appearance of his new associate. I get on better when I talk. next morning. 'What's the matter? Don't yer ask me to do anything till I have done eating. 346 . The pint-pots were great strokes of genius: but the milk-can was a perfect masterpiece. as he had evidently sat down with a determination to do a great deal of business. and the milk-can was standing by itself outside a public-house. drawing up a chair and seating himself opposite Morris Bolter.' returned Noah. Talk away. Bolter complacently. I can talk.' said Noah. here I am. 'You did well yesterday. 'Beautiful! Six shillings and ninepence halfpenny on the very first day! The kinchin lay will be a fortune to you.' said Fagin.' 'Oh!' said Noah. cursing his dear young friend's greediness from the very bottom of his heart. no. my dear. no great fear of anything interrupting him. for a beginner. 'I sent her out this morning with the other young woman. who after a delay that seemed interminable.' said Fagin.

elated by the success of his proposal.' 'What'll yer give me?' asked Noah. are yer?' 'She has found out some new friends.' said the Jew.' said Fagin.' 'I say. That don't suit me. or sending me any more o' yer police-offices. but to tell me where she goes. 'A young one. for any job of work where there wasn't valuable consideration to be gained. or the house.' said Bolter. 'One of us. curling up his nose. who she sees. my dear. I know.' 'Who is she?' inquired Noah. if it is a house. and. 'don't yer go shoving me into danger. eh? Ha! ha! ha! I'm your man. eagerly. a pound. 'If you do it well. 'to do a piece of work for me. Bolter. 'I see. if they're respectable people.' rejoined Bolter.' 'An old woman?' demanded Mr. 'And that's what I never gave yet.' said Fagin. 347 . and to bring me back all the information you can. 'I was a regular cunning sneak when I was at school. that don't. One pound. 'Yer doubtful of her.' 'I knew you would be. my dear.' 'That's not the smallest danger in it--not the very smallest. if possible. 'it's only to dodge a woman. if it is a street. Bolter. what she says. and looking his employer.'I want you.' cried Fagin. 'Just to have the pleasure of knowing them. my dear. setting down his cup. wishing to interest him in the scent as much as possible. leaning over the table. 'I can do that pretty well. and so I tell yer. What am I to dodge her for? Not to--' 'Not to do anything.' replied Fagin. to remember the street.' replied Fagin.' 'Oh Lor!' cried Noah. in the face. and I must know who they are. that needs great care and caution.' said Noah.

Six nights passed--six long weary nights--and on each. and hurrying through a labyrinth of streets.' whispered Fagin. 'Is that the woman?' he asked. and with an exultation he could not conceal. Come with me.'Of course. he returned earlier. you shall hear from me. and briefly intimated that it was not yet time. pointed out the pane of glass to Noah. 'You keep ready. and signed to him to climb up and observe the person in the adjoining room.' said Fagin. and the door was closed. It was past eleven o'clock. Fagin nodded yes. which Noah recognised as the same in which he had slept. and leave the rest to me. who withdrew. It opened softly on its hinges as Fagin gave a low whistle.' whispered Noah. They entered. of course. They left the house stealthily. 'and on the right errand. 348 . under pretence of snuffing the candle. and the young Jew who had admitted them. moved it in the required position. caused her to raise her face. and the next. the spy sat booted and equipped in his carter's dress: ready to turn out at a word from Fagin. and the candle is behind her. I'm sure. for the Jew was in a state of such intense excitement that it infected him. my dear. but substituting dumb show for words. and the man she is afraid of will not be back much before daybreak. and. He signed to Barney. 'Where is she? Where am I to wait for her? Where am I to go?' 'All that. without noise. Quick!' Noah started up without saying a word. 'I can't see her face well. Fagin came home with a disappointed face. 'Stay there. 'She goes abroad to-night.' replied Noah. and the next again. In an instant. Fagin. and the door was closed behind them. Scarcely venturing to whisper. 'She is looking down. I'll point her out at the proper time. and. arrived at length before a public-house. It was Sunday. the lad entered the room adjoining. scarcely above his breath.' said Fagin.' That night. speaking to the girl. for she has been alone all day. on the night of his arrival in London. On the seventh.

apparently disappointed in her anxious scrutiny of the foot-passengers. 'Hist!' cried the lad who held the door. The spy preserved the same relative distance between them. and. was that of a woman who looked eagerly about her as though in quest of some expected object. creeping stealthily on: but never allowing himself. but he 349 . Thus. twice or thrice. the other figure was that of a man. One. and to walk with a steadier and firmer step. and kept on the opposite side of the street. who slunk along in the deepest shadow he could find. turned back. The movement was sudden. accommodated his pace to hers: stopping when she stopped: and as she moved again. by the light of the lamps.'I see her now. and they held their breaths as she passed within a few feet of their place of concealment. and followed: with his eye upon her. in the ardour of his pursuit. at some distance. He advanced as near as he considered prudent. which advanced with a swift and rapid step. when the woman. and. they crossed the bridge. and once stopped to let two men who were following close behind her. and keep od the other side. and darted out. from the Middlesex to the Surrey shore.' He did so.' Noah exchanged a look with Fagin.' He hastily descended. 'Plainly?' 'I should know her among a thousand. and emerged by the door at which they had entered. saw the girl's retreating figure. 'Dow. to gain upon her footsteps. She looked nervously round. Fagin drew him behind a small partition which was curtained off. already at some distance before him. as two figures emerged on London Bridge. pass on. She seemed to gather courage as she advanced. and the girl came out. the better to observe her motions. 'take the left had. CHAPTER XLVI THE APPOINTMENT KEPT The church clocks chimed three quarters past eleven.' whispered the lad.' cried the spy. 'To the left. as the room-door opened.

the night-cellar. At nearly the centre of the bridge. and leaning over the parapet the better to conceal his figure. having dismissed the vehicle. alighted from a hackney-carriage within a short distance of the bridge. Their appearance was not calculated to attract the importunate regards of such of London's destitute population. she stopped. 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. of health and sickness. looking about them with the air of persons 350 . A mist hung over the river. They had scarcely set foot upon its pavement.who watched her. they stood there in silence: neither speaking nor spoken to. Such as there were. were nearly all hidden from sight. The tower of old Saint Saviour's Church. Paul's tolled for the death of another day. but certainly without noticing. and immediately made towards them. when a young lady. The girl had taken a few restless turns to and fro--closely watched meanwhile by her hidden observer--when the heavy bell of St. and the spire of Saint Magnus. either the woman. and. walked straight towards it. the rigid face of the corpse and the calm sleep of the child: midnight was upon them all. he slipped quietly down. The day had been unfavourable. for. rose heavy and dull from the dense mass of roofs and gables. was not thrown off his guard by it. It was a very dark night. The hour had not struck two minutes. and followed her again. shrinking into one of the recesses which surmount the piers of the bridge. The old smoke-stained storehouses on either side. but the forest of shipping below bridge. hurried quickly past: very possibly without seeing. accompanied by a grey-haired gentleman. The palace. he suffered her to pass on the opposite pavement. were visible in the gloom. When she was about the same distance in advance as she had been before. They walked onward. Midnight had come upon the crowded city. when the girl started. by any one who passed. the jail. the madhouse: the chambers of birth and death. or the man who kept her in view. and at that hour and place there were few people stirring. The man stopped too. and frowned sternly upon water too black to reflect even their lumbering shapes. and rendering darker and more indistinct the murky buildings on the banks. so long the giant-warders of the ancient bridge. deepening the red glare of the fires that burnt upon the small craft moored off the different wharfs. and the thickly scattered spires of churches above.

The countryman looked hastily round. listened attentively. the man bearing the appearance of a countryman. indeed--at that precise moment. and roughly asking what they took up the whole pavement for. the tide being out. on the Surrey bank. and that even if he could not hear what was said. he could follow them again. passed on. These stairs are a part of the bridge. 'Not here. when he heard the sound of footsteps. with safety. 'I am afraid to speak to you here. that he more than once gave the matter up for lost. when he reached this point. or had resorted to some entirely different spot to hold their mysterious conversation. At this point the lower steps widen: so that a person turning that angle of the wall. To this spot. and. he began to descend. Come away--out of the public road--down the steps yonder!' As she uttered these words. going down. hastened unobserved. the direction in which she wished them to proceed. and there waited: pretty certain that they would come no lower. there was plenty of room. scarcely breathing. either that they had stopped far above. and so eager was the spy to penetrate the motives of an interview so different from what he had been led to expect. They halted with an exclamation of surprise. and persuaded himself. and on the same side of the bridge as Saint Saviour's Church. and directly afterwards of voices almost close at his ear. The steps to which the girl had pointed. 351 . but suppressed it immediately. if only a step. So tardily stole the time in this lonely place. and regaining the road above. and indicated.' said Nancy hurriedly. He was on the point of emerging from his hiding-place. they consist of three flights. were those which. he slipped aside. with his back to the pilaster. He drew himself straight upright against the wall.who entertained some very slight expectation which had little chance of being realised. the stone wall on the left terminates in an ornamental pilaster facing towards the Thames. Just below the end of the second. for a man in the garments of a countryman came close up--brushed against them. is necessarily unseen by any others on the stairs who chance to be above him. and as there seemed no better place of concealment. and after a moment's survey of the place. and. the countryman looked round. form a landing-stairs from the river. with her hand. when they were suddenly joined by this new associate.

' '_Real ones_. soothing her.' said the young lady to her companion. and a fear that has made me burn as if I was on fire.' 'Why. 'I scarcely know of what. 'I will not suffer the young lady to go any farther. 'No imagination. 'but I have such a fear and dread upon me to-night that I can hardly stand. 'I wish I did. 'that I was afraid to speak to you there. which was evidently that of the gentleman. To humour me! Well.' said the gentleman.' said the gentleman in a kinder tone.' 'To humour me!' cried the voice of the girl whom he had followed. for what. 'Speak to her kindly.' said a voice. 'for what purpose can you have brought us to this strange place? Why not have let me speak to you.' replied the girl. who seemed to pity her. to wile the time away. and the blood chilled within him. where it is light. and there is something stirring. well.--aye.' There was something so uncommon in her manner.' replied the girl in a hoarse voice. I don't know why it is.' 'Imagination.' rejoined the girl. Many people would have distrusted you too much to have come even so far. it's no matter. and shrouds with blood upon them. in the streets to-night.' replied Nancy.'This is far enough. and the same things came into the print. indeed.' said the gentleman. sir.' said the girl. that the flesh of the concealed listener crept as he heard the girl utter these words. but you see I am willing to humour you. have been upon me all day. 'They have passed me often. and they carried one close to me. instead of bringing us to this dark and dismal hole?' 'I told you before. 'I'll swear I saw "coffin" written in every page of the book in large black letters. He had never experienced a greater relief than in hearing the sweet voice of the young lady as she begged her to be calm. and not allow herself to become the prey of such fearful fancies. 'You're considerate.' 'There is nothing unusual in that. shuddering. I was reading a book to-night. 352 . 'This was not.' 'A fear of what?' asked the gentleman. above there. Horrible thoughts of death.

when he says his prayers. I hope?' asked the old gentleman. commend me to the first!' These words appeared to be addressed to the young lady.' the gentleman began.' replied the girl. 'A Turk turns his face. 'No. 'You were not here last Sunday night. shaking her head. The gentleman. 'No. to the East.' replied the girl.'Poor creature! She seems to need it. 'It's not very easy for me to leave him unless he knows why. 'This young lady. as he paused for a moment. shortly afterwards. Between the Mussulman and the Pharisee. turn with no less regularity.' said the gentleman. what you told her nearly a fortnight since. having youth. addressed himself to her. why ar'n't those who claim to be God's own folks as gentle and as kind to us poor wretches as you.' he said.' 'Did he awake before you returned?' inquired the gentleman.' cried the girl.' 'Good. after giving their faces such a rub against the World as to take the smiles off.' 'Your haughty religious people would have held their heads up to see me as I am to-night. who. to the darkest side of Heaven. and neither he nor any of them suspect me. after washing it well. I confess to you that I had 353 . 'I couldn't come. dear lady. these good people.' 'By whom?' 'Him that I told the young lady of before. 'Oh.' 'You were not suspected of holding any communication with anybody on the subject which has brought us here to-night. I couldn't give him a drink of laudanum before I came away. and were perhaps uttered with the view of affording Nancy time to recover herself. and beauty. and to some other friends who can be safely trusted.' replied Nancy. and preached of flames and vengeance. 'has communicated to me. might be a little proud instead of so much humbler?' 'Ah!' said the gentleman. and all that they have lost. 'Now listen to me. 'I was kept by force.' 'I am ready.

' 'And if it is not?' suggested the girl. 'I repeat that I firmly believe it. 'he cannot be secured. who seemed fully prepared for this answer. and leave him to me to deal with.' 'Then. and worse than devil as he has been to me.' 'I am. there the matter will rest.' said the girl earnestly.' 'What if he turns against the others?' 'I promise you that in that case. who might--any of them--have turned upon me. there must be circumstances in Oliver's little history which it would be painful to drag before the public eye. at first. 'That man must be delivered up by you. bad as they are.' rejoined the girl firmly.' 'You will not?' said the gentleman.doubts. besides. there are many of us who have kept the same courses together. and I'll not turn upon them. that we propose to extort the secret. I know she will. from the fear of this man Monks. if the truth is forced from him. that. quickly.' 'Fagin. I will never do that. To prove to you that I am disposed to trust you. 'I will not do it! I will never do it!' replied the girl. whatever it may be.' cried the girl. 'for one reason. bad life as he has led. I have led a bad life too. they shall go scot free. 354 . if secured. recoiling. 'Never!' returned the girl. but didn't. I tell you without reserve. whether you were to be implicitly relied upon. cannot be acted upon as we wish. 'put Monks into my hands. as if this had been the point he had been aiming to attain.' said the gentleman. 'Tell me why?' 'For one reason. for I have her promise: and for this other reason. but now I firmly believe you are. 'Devil that he is. that the lady knows and will stand by me in. or.' said the gentleman. and if the truth is once elicited. you must deliver up the Jew. But if--if--' said the gentleman.

that you might almost tell him by that alone. 'He is tall. first on one side. although he can't be more than six or eight and twenty. withered and haggard. for his eyes are sunk in his head so much deeper than any other man's. 'You have. for the purpose of recalling his features and appearances more forcibly to her recollection. 'The intelligence should be brought to bear upon him. From the manner in which she occasionally paused. that he could never even guess. and as he walks. and among liars from a little child. to describe. His face is dark. she proceeded in a voice so low that it was often difficult for the listener to discover even the purport of what she said. he has a lurking walk. constantly looks over his shoulder. and the night and hour on which Monks was most in the habit of frequenting it. like his hair and eyes. 'but I will take your words. 'and a strongly made man. by name and situation. and begged her to proceed. When she had thoroughly explained the localities of the place.' said the girl after another interval of silence. for he has desperate fits. the public-house whence she had been followed that night. The gentleman replied. and then on the other.' replied the gentleman.' replied Rose. but not stout. which would induce you to yield it. 'My true and faithful pledge. the best position from which to watch it without exciting observation.' After receiving an assurance from both. and.' 'Have I the lady's promise for that?' asked the girl. stopping suddenly. after a short pause. she seemed to consider for a few moments.' 'Monks would never learn how you knew what you do?' said the girl.' 'I have been a liar. 355 .'Then. His lips are often discoloured and disfigured with the marks of teeth. 'this Fagin shall not be brought to justice without your consent. that she might safely do so. and sometimes even bites his hands and covers them with wounds--why did you start?' said the girl. that he was not conscious of having done so. it appeared as if the gentleman were making some hasty notes of the information she communicated. Don't forget that.' pursued the gentleman. I think. In such a case I could show you reasons. 'Never.' said the girl. in a hurried manner.

for that must come as you seek it. 'You can do nothing to help me. either in England. 'The past has been a dreary waste with you. like a burn or scald?' cried the gentleman. 'How's this?' said the girl. I do not say that it is in our power to offer you peace of heart and mind. We shall see.' 'Nothing. I think that's all I can give you to know him by.' rejoined the girl.' As he expressed himself to this effect. sir. 'I have drawn out from other people at the house I tell you of. 'It must be he!' 'Now.' 'You put yourself beyond its pale. weeping. 'You will not persist in saying that. of youthful energies mis-spent. with a voice and emphasis of kindness that might have touched a much harder and more obdurate heart. and both times he was covered up in a large cloak. and for a few moments they were so still that the listener could distinctly hear them breathe. or. breaking silence. 'You know him!' The young lady uttered a cry of surprise. 'Upon his throat: so high that you can see a part of it below his neckerchief when he turns his face: there is--' 'A broad red mark. Before the dawn of morning.' said the girl.' said the gentleman. if you fear to remain here.'Part of this. but a quiet asylum. but. Many people are singularly like each other. and I wish you to be the better for it.' said the gentleman. 'I think I do. Stay though. It may not be the same. for the future. indeed. for I have only seen him twice. as the Creator bestows but once and never grants again. 'Think now. as the latter could tell from the distinctness with which he heard him mutter. you may hope. What can I do to serve you?' 'Nothing. Tell me. I am past all hope. young woman. 'you have given us most valuable assistance.' he said. 'I should by your description. it is not only within the compass of our ability but our most anxious wish to secure you. in some foreign country.' she added. before this river wakes to the first glimpse of 356 . he took a step or two nearer the concealed spy.' replied Nancy. with assumed carelessness. returning: so it seemed by the sound: to the spot where he had stood before.' rejoined the gentleman. and such priceless treasures lavished.

pray. and leave no living thing. Let us part. after a short struggle. 'I am chained to my old life. 'To such a home as I have raised for myself with the work of my whole life.' returned the young lady. or take one look at any old haunt. lady. How many times do you read of such as I who spring into the tide. It may be years hence. while there is time and opportunity!' 'She will be persuaded now. I must go home. I shall be watched or seen. I loathe and hate it now. 'She hesitates. I must have gone too far to turn back. or bewail them. 'No sir. looking hastily round.' 'Yes. 'Home. with great stress upon the word. as if you were to disappear from the earth this moment. 'You have. yes.' urged the girl. But. Quit them all. 'this fear comes over me again.' 'Do not speak thus. 'Look before you. you shall be placed as entirely beyond the reach of your former associates.--and yet I don't know. 'Good-night. for if you had spoken to me so. sobbing. and leave as utter an absence of all trace behind you. 'can be the end of this poor creature's life!' 'What!' repeated the girl.' cried the young lady. Go! Go! If I have done you any service all I ask is. by staying here. my dear. and God forbid such horrors should!' replied the girl.' 'It is useless. I am sure.' 'I fear not. We may have detained her longer than she expected already. but I cannot leave it.' 'What. to care for. some time ago.' 'Home!' repeated the young lady.' said the gentleman. good-night!' 357 . with a sigh. lady. I do not. or it may be only months. Come! I would not have you go back to exchange one word with any old companion. 'We compromise her safety. or breathe the very air which is pestilence and death to you. I should have laughed it off. Look at that dark water. dear lady. that you leave me.' said the gentleman. perhaps.' rejoined the girl.' she said. 'It will never reach your ears. and let me go my way alone.' replied the girl.' cried the young lady.day-light. but I shall come to that at last.

' 'No!' replied the girl. And yet--give me something that you have worn: I should like to have something--no. Bless you! God bless you. 'Take it for my sake. 'Hark!' cried the young lady. the girl sunk down nearly at her full length upon one of the stone stairs. and made for the Jew's house as fast as his legs would carry him. 358 .' replied Mr. with gentle force. The sound of retreating footsteps were audible and the voices ceased. that you may have some resource in an hour of need and trouble. They stopped at the summit of the stairs. but the old gentleman drew her arm through his. and the apprehension of some discovery which would subject her to ill-usage and violence.' 'No. seemed to determine the gentleman to leave her. The astonished listener remained motionless on his post for some minutes afterwards. more than once. The two figures of the young lady and her companion soon afterwards appeared upon the bridge. and led her. and with feeble and tottering steps ascended the street. not a ring--your gloves or handkerchief--anything that I can keep. as having belonged to you. away.' Rose Maylie lingered. with many cautious glances round him. crept slowly from his hiding-place. Noah Claypole darted away at his utmost speed. 'She has not moved. Peeping out. my love. stealthily and in the shade of the wall. when he reached the top. good-night!' The violent agitation of the girl. no. Brownlow. to make sure that he was unobserved. looking sadly back. 'I have not done this for money. 'This purse. listening.The gentleman turned away. Good-night. that he was again alone. and having ascertained.' cried the young lady. sweet lady. After a time she arose. in the same manner as he had descended. Let me have that to think of. As they disappeared. as she requested. 'Did she call! I thought I heard her voice. and vented the anguish of her heart in bitter tears. and returned. and will not till we are gone. There.

and ruin. and as. it was at this still and silent hour.CHAPTER XLVII FATAL CONSEQUENCES It was nearly two hours before day-break. as every evil thought and blackest purpose lay working at his heart. wiping his dry and fevered mouth. that he looked less like a man. Towards him the old man sometimes directed his eyes for an instant. He crept upstairs to the door. and utter distrust of the sincerity of her refusal to yield him up. or appearing to take the smallest heed of time. and a fierce and deadly rage kindled by all. may be truly called the dead of night.' he muttered. the fear of detection. and hot grease falling down in clots upon the table. and death. which with a long-burnt wick drooping almost double. lay Noah Claypole. 'At last!' The bell rang gently as he spoke. these were the passionate considerations which. and then brought them back again to the candle. wrapped in an old torn coverlet. His right hand was raised to his lips. bitter disappointment at the loss of his revenge on Sikes. 359 . shot through the brain of Fagin. with face so distorted and pale. when the streets are silent and deserted. absorbed in thought. he disclosed among his toothless gums a few such fangs as should have been a dog's or rat's. and eyes so red and blood-shot. and profligacy and riot have staggered home to dream. and worried by an evil spirit. Stretched upon a mattress on the floor. Indeed they were. hatred of the girl who had dared to palter with strangers. 'At last. Mortification at the overthrow of his notable scheme. fast asleep. plainly showed that his thoughts were busy elsewhere. until his quick ear seemed to be attracted by a footstep in the street. He sat crouching over a cold hearth. He sat without changing his attitude in the least. moist from the grave. when even sounds appear to slumber. that Fagin sat watching in his old lair. following close upon each other with rapid and ceaseless whirl. he hit his long black nails. than like some hideous phantom. with his face turned towards a wasting candle that stood upon a table by his side. that time which in the autumn of the year.

and shook his trembling forefinger in the air. haven't you?' said Sikes. I must look to myself here. and locking it in the cupboard. 'Wot do you look at a man so for?' Fagin raised his right hand. I thought I should have been here. 'It's not--you're not the person. I've no--no fault to find with you. Bill. who carried a bundle under one arm. but his passion was so great. three hours ago. 'That's lucky--for one of us. and surveyed him with a look of real affright. 'Wot now?' cried Sikes. 'Damme!' said Sikes. and do the most you can with it.' 'Lost!' cried Fagin. and his face so altered by the emotions which had mastered him. and now that they sat over against each other. don't matter. Sitting down and throwing back his outer coat. the man displayed the burly frame of Sikes. that the power of speech was for the moment gone. that the housebreaker involuntarily drew back his chair. already. and reading no satisfactory explanation of the riddle there.' 'Aye?' returned the robber with an incredulous air.' Sikes looked with an aspect of great perplexity into the Jew's face. during this action. It's been trouble enough to get. 'There!' he said. he looked fixedly at him. in her own mind. feeling in his breast with a look of alarm.' Fagin laid his hand upon the bundle. face to face. laying the bundle on the table. Bill.and presently returned accompanied by a man muffled to the chin.' 'Oh. looking sternly at him. finding his voice. 360 .' rejoined Fagin. clenched his coat collar in his huge hand and shook him soundly.' 'No. you haven't. Which one that is. 'will make you worse than me.' 'I've got that to tell you. with his lips quivering so violently. drawing his chair nearer. But he did not take his eyes off the robber. 'She has pretty well settled that. or Nance will think I'm lost. 'Tell away! Look sharp. for an instant. sat down again without speaking.' said Fagin. and ostentatiously passing a pistol into a more convenient pocket. 'Take care of that. no. 'He's gone mad.

or--' 'I don't care who. his eyes flashing with rage. 'I'd do something in the jail that 'ud get me put in irons. I'd fall upon you with them in the open court. you thundering old cur. clenching his teeth and turning white at the mere suggestion. I'd serve them the same. stealing out at nights to find those most interested against us. will you!' he said. Out with it. more or less--of his own fancy. to please his own taste.'Speak. 361 . 'I. Open your mouth and say wot you've got to say in plain words. motioning him to be silent. 'Try me. or Bet. and could hang so many besides myself!' 'I don't know. and the crib where we might be most easily taken. and beat your brains out afore the people. Sikes turned round to where Noah was sleeping. and then having a meeting with 'em in the street to paint our likenesses. 'If he was left alive till I came. not grabbed. 'Whoever it was. trapped.' Fagin looked hard at the robber.' 'What if I did it!' cried Fagin almost in a yell. earwigged by the parson and brought to it on bread and water. Do you hear me?' cried the Jew.--but of his own fancy. 'Suppose he did all this. out with it!' 'Suppose that lad that's laying there--' Fagin began. it shall be for want of breath. and peaching to them. resuming his former position. 'that I could smash your head as if a loaded waggon had gone over it. and besides to blow upon a plant we've all been in. I'd grind his skull under the iron heel of my boot into as many grains as there are hairs upon his head. describe every mark that they might know us by.' 'You would?' 'Would I!' said the housebreaker. 'Well!' he said.' muttered the robber. or the Dodger. as if he had not previously observed him. poising his brawny arm. I should have such strength. Suppose he was to do all this. that knows so much. what then?' 'What then!' replied Sikes. with a tremendous oath. 'was to peach--to blow upon us all--first seeking out the right folks for the purpose.' 'If it was Charley. 'or if you don't. tried.' replied Sikes.' pursued Fagin. and. 'Suppose that lad. and if I was tried along with you.' replied Sikes impatiently.

and shook the sleeper to rouse him. and go to. who asked her to give up all her pals. Noah rubbed his eyes. which she did--and where it could be best watched from. hauled him into a sitting posture. 'He's tired--tired with watching for her so long. shaking himself pettishly. looking up with an expression of devilish anticipation. and. as if to prevent his leaving the house before he had heard enough. 'That's just what it was!' 362 . which she did--and what time the people went there.stooped over the bed upon the floor. half mad with fury. 'All right. clutching Sikes by the wrist. 'Tell me that again--once again.' 'Where she met two people. Sikes leant forward in his chair: looking on with his hands upon his knees. and speaking slowly and with marked emphasis.' 'Wot d'ye mean?' asked Sikes. drawing back. 'That about-. but bending over the sleeper again. She did all this. and Monks first. 'Tell yer what?' asked the sleepy Noah. pointing to Sikes as he spoke.' 'A gentleman and a lady that she had gone to of her own accord before. without a murmur--she did--did she not?' cried Fagin.--watching for _her_._Nancy_. which she did--and to describe him. as if wondering much what all this questioning and preparation was to end in. which she did. 'Bolter. When his assumed name had been repeated several times. which she did--and to tell her what house it was that we meet at.' said Fagin.' 'So she did. just for him to hear. She told it all every word without a threat. Bolter! Poor lad!' said Fagin. 'You followed her?' 'Yes.' replied Noah. looked sleepily about him.' 'To London Bridge?' 'Yes. Fagin made no answer. Bill. giving a heavy yawn. scratching his head.' said the Jew.

tell him that. as the foam flew from his lips. seemed to have a dawning perception who Sikes was. last Sunday. about last Sunday?' 'About last Sunday!' replied Noah. wildly and furiously. as she promised. that she couldn't very easily get out of doors unless he knew where she was going to.' 'Again.'What did they say. breaking fiercely from the Jew. following him hastily.' replied the other. but that the housebreaker was unable to open the door: on which he was expending fruitless oaths and violence. 'Bill. She said she couldn't. I say!' 'Hear me speak a word. when the Jew came panting up. the man she had told them of before. and brandishing his other hand aloft. that it did--she gave him a drink of laudanum. he rushed from the room.' said Noah. 'Why I told yer that before. 'they asked her why she didn't come. 363 . 'and so the first time she went to see the lady. Tell it again!' cried Fagin. as he grew more wakeful.' rejoined Fagin.' 'Hell's fire!' cried Sikes. who. and darted. up the stairs. tightening his grasp on Sikes.' said Noah. 'What more of him?' cried Fagin. it's not safe. considering. laying his hand upon the lock. 'What more of the man she had told them of before? Tell him that. Only a word. 'Don't speak to me.' 'Why.' 'Why--why? Tell him that. Let me out.' 'Because she was forcibly kept at home by Bill. 'You won't be--' 'Well. Bill!' cried Fagin.' The word would not have been exchanged. 'They asked her.' said Sikes. 'Let me out. 'A word.' replied Noah. she--ha! ha! ha! it made me laugh when she said it. 'Let me go!' Flinging the old man from him.

'You won't be--too--violent. or moment's consideration. and lifting a heavy table against it. in the low voice of alarm. 'There's enough light for wot I've got to do. but. showing that he felt all disguise was now useless.' said Sikes. the robber held on his headlong course. Without one pause.' said Fagin. and hurled it under the grate. 'Get up!' said the man. until he reached his own door. Bill. 'why do you look like that at me!' The robber sat regarding her. thrusting his hand before her. Bill!' said the girl. pulling open the door. which could not be mistaken. or lowering them to the ground. 'It is. nor muttered a word. He had roused her from her sleep. 'not too violent for safety.' There was a candle burning.' said the girl. dashed into the silent streets. without once turning his head to the right or left. but looking straight before him with savage resolution: his teeth so tightly compressed that the strained jaw seemed starting through his skin. softly. double-locked the door. with an expression of pleasure at his return. for she raised herself with a hurried and startled look. or raising his eyes to the sky. 'Let it be. half-dressed. grasping her by the head and throat. of which Fagin had turned the lock. with a key. and there was light enough for the men to see each other's faces. He opened it.' 'Bill. and not too bold. strode lightly up the stairs. with dilated nostrils and heaving breast. Be crafty. The girl was lying. Seeing the faint light of early day without. there was a fire in the eyes of both. and entering his own room. 'Get up. the girl rose to undraw the curtain. nor relaxed a muscle. and then. but the man hastily drew it from the candlestick. They exchanged one brief glance. upon it. Bill?' The day was breaking. 'It is you. drew back the curtain of the bed. dragged her into the middle of the room. for a few seconds.' was the reply. and looking 364 . 'I mean.' Sikes made no reply.

every word you said was heard. with difficulty. Bill. as I spared yours. for your own. upon the upturned face that almost touched his own. stop before you spill my blood! I have been true to you. on her knees. 'Bill.' 'Then spare my life for the love of Heaven. It is never too late to repent. and beg them. only this one night. wrestling with the strength of mortal fear. in her folded hands. She staggered and fell: nearly blinded with the blood that rained down from a deep gash in her forehead. I will not loose my hold. on my knees. It was a ghastly figure to look upon. and save yourself this crime. flashed across his mind even in the midst of his fury.' rejoined the girl. You _shall_ have time to think. striving to lay her head upon his breast. 'You were watched to-night.' cried the girl. suppressing his breath.once towards the door. The certainty of immediate detection if he fired. to show the same mercy and goodness to you. The murderer staggering backward to the wall. for dear God's sake. drew from her bosom a white handkerchief--Rose Maylie's own--and holding it up. as high towards Heaven as her feeble strength would allow. he could not tear them away. but those of the girl were clasped round his. 'Bill. Bill. placed his heavy hand upon her mouth. and never see each other more. little time!' The housebreaker freed one arm. and let us both leave this dreadful place. for you. They told me so--I feel it now--but we must have time--a little. 'Bill. but raising herself. and forget how we have lived. and shutting out the sight with his hand. you she devil!' returned the robber. 'the gentleman and that dear lady. Let me see them again. and grasped his pistol. Bill!' gasped the girl. breathed one prayer for mercy to her Maker. told me to-night of a home in some foreign country where I could end my days in solitude and peace. and far apart lead better lives. and tear her as he would. Oh! think of all I have given up. for mine. clinging to him. and he beat it twice with all the force he could summon. dear Bill. 365 . except in prayers.--'I--I won't scream or cry--not once--hear me--speak to me--tell me what I have done!' 'You know. to release his arms. you cannot have the heart to kill me. upon my guilty soul I have!' The man struggled violently. you cannot throw me off.

under cover of the darkness. How those stains were dispersed about the room! The very feet of the dog were bloody. Such preparations completed. not light alone. He tried to shut it out. Even that frightened him. turned his back upon the corpse. and freshness to man--burst upon the crowded city in clear and radiant glory. lest he should soil his feet anew and carry out new evidence of the crime into the streets. and so much blood! He struck a light. locked it. but he cut the pieces out. and thrust the club into it. Once he threw a rug over it. and rubbed his clothes. than to see them glaring upward. It did. but it would stream in. sturdy as he was. backward. what was it. He washed himself. kindled a fire. that was the worst. that brings back. Through costly-coloured glass and paper-mended window. and imagine them moving towards him. and hope. There had been a moan and motion of the hand. that was the foulest and most cruel. It lighted up the room where the murdered woman lay. as if watching the reflection of the pool of gore that quivered and danced in the sunlight on the ceiling. towards the door: dragging the dog with him. he had been afraid to stir. never once. he moved. which blazed and shrunk into a light cinder. 366 . in all that brilliant light! He had not moved. but new life. no. with terror added to rage. And there was the body--mere flesh and blood. no more--but such flesh. through cathedral dome and rotten crevice. it shed its equal ray. The sun--the bright sun. All this time he had. and then piled it on the coals to burn away.seized a heavy club and struck her down. had been committed within wide London's bounds since night hung over it. there were spots that would not be removed. He had plucked it off again. now. He shut the door softly. not for a moment. and burnt them. Of all the horrors that rose with an ill scent upon the morning air. whirled up the chimney. CHAPTER XLVIII THE FLIGHT OF SIKES Of all bad deeds that. he had struck and struck again. and. but he held the weapon till it broke. If the sight had been a ghastly one in the dull morning. There was hair upon the end. caught by the air. and smoulder into ashes. but it was worse to fancy the eyes. and.

which she would have opened to admit the light she never saw again. he mounted the opposite bank.--running sometimes. to get some meat and drink? Hendon. and left the house. almost as soon as he began to descend it. That was a good place. all the people he met--the very children at the doors--seemed to view him with suspicion. and taking the foot-path across the fields. though he had tasted no food for many hours. uncertain where to go. in one of which he laid himself down under a hedge. and up and down. loitering at a snail's pace. It lay nearly under there. and away. made along the remaining portion of the heath to the fields at North End. or stopping altogether and idly breaking the hedges with a stick. and do the same. and shaped his course for Hatfield. and out of most people's way. and sometimes.--not far into the country. There was the curtain still drawn. and round and round. and the day was on the wane. and still he rambled to and fro. and still lingered about the same spot. with a strange perversity. struck off to the right again. and glanced up at the window. and crossing the road which joins the villages of Hampstead and Highgate. unsteady of purpose. but back towards London by the high-road--then back again--then over another part of the same ground as he already traversed--then wandering up and down in fields.took the key. Thither he directed his steps. 367 . not far off. Traversing the hollow by the Vale of Heath. strode up the hill at Highgate on which stands the stone in honour of Whittington. Back he turned again. and so came on Hampstead Heath. and walked rapidly away. At last he got away. He whistled on the dog. Where could he go. and slept. skirted Caen Wood. turned down to Highgate Hill. and lying on ditches' brinks to rest. But when he got there. _He_ knew that. Morning and noon had passed. and still came back to the old place. to be sure that nothing was visible from the outside. that was near and not too public. He wandered over miles and miles of ground. It was a relief to have got free of the room. without the courage to purchase bit or drop. and once more he lingered on the Heath. and uncertain where to go. and starting up to make for some other spot. He went through Islington. God. and ramble on again. He crossed over. how the sun poured down upon the very spot! The glance was instantaneous. Soon he was up again.

spot. who travelled about the country on foot to vend hones. and the old men present declaring him to have been quite young--not older. when the man. pitch-stains. or excite alarm in this. limping and lame from the unaccustomed exercise. satin. There was a fire in the tap-room. cheap perfumery. crept into a small public-house. washballs. razors. beer-stains. cosmetics. and farmers. and the dog. any stains. turned upon the neighbouring land. which he carried in a case slung to his back. mildew. or woollen stuff. pointing to some composition-cakes in one corner. If a lady stains her honour. producing one. fruit-stains. The robber. muslin. stuff. all come out at one rub with the infallible and invaluable composition. and opened his box of treasures. upon the age of some old man who had been buried on the previous Sunday.It was nine o'clock at night. quite tired out. water-stains. when he was half wakened by the noisy entrance of a new comer. crape. she has only need to swallow one cake and she's cured at once--for it's poison. and had almost dropped asleep. This was an antic fellow. cambric. if he had taken care. and plodding along the little street. They made room for the stranger. and such-like wares. harness-paste. which slackened not until he had made his supper. speck. 'And what be that stoof? Good to eat. and when those topics were exhausted. after paying his reckoning. merino. than he was--with ten or fifteen year of life in him at least--if he had taken care. but he sat down in the furthest corner. bombazeen. whose scanty light had guided them to the spot. rust. paint-stains. or spatter. he has only need to bolt one little square. If a gentleman wants to prove this. from silk. half pedlar and half mountebank. sat silent and unnoticed in his corner. cloth. dirt. when he ingeniously contrived to unite business with amusement. carpet. and ate and drank alone. and some country-labourers were drinking before it. the young men present considering him very old. Harry?' asked a grinning countryman. 'This. spick. linen. 'this is the infallible and invaluable composition for removing all sorts of stain. The conversation of the men assembled here. His entrance was the signal for various homely jokes with the countrymen. one white-haired grandfather said. or rather with his dog: to whom he cast a morsel of food from time to time. strops. turned down the hill by the church of the quiet village. medicine for dogs and horses. and he has put it beyond question--for 368 . There was nothing to attract attention.' said the fellow. Wine-stains.

' 'Hah!' cried Sikes starting up. and saw that it was standing at the little post-office. six steam-engines. Gentlemen all. consequently the more credit in taking it. observe the dark stain upon this gentleman's hat. and a galvanic battery.it's quite as satisfactory as a pistol-bullet. and they can't make it fast enough. paint-stain. despite himself. One penny a square.' 'I'll take it clean out. and the widows is pensioned directly. 'Give that back. The guard was standing at the door. fruit-stains. sir. pitch-stain. that I'll take clean out. winking to the company. dressed like a game-keeper. one penny a square!' There were two buyers directly. One penny a square! Two half-pence is all the same. always a-working upon it. and more of the listeners plainly hesitated. He almost knew what was to come. 369 . burst out of the house. when he recognised the mail from London. and that they most probably considered him some drunken sullen fellow. and four farthings is received with joy. the murderer. though the men work so hard that they die off. The vendor observing this. finding that he was not followed.' said the fellow. water-stains. A man. but he crossed over. before he can order me a pint of ale. One penny a square! Wine-stains. 'before you can come across the room to get it. with twenty pound a-year for each of the children. waiting for the letter-bag. all day. With the same perversity of feeling and irresolution that had fastened upon him. 'It's all bought up as fast as it can be made. fruit-stain. but thicker than a half-crown. pitch-stains. was walking past. blood-stains! Here is a stain upon the hat of a gentleman in company. and listened. paint-stains. or blood-stain--' The man got no further. and tearing the hat from him. mud-stains. for Sikes with a hideous imprecation overthrew the table. and getting out of the glare of the lamps of a stage-coach that was standing in the street. With all these virtues. came up at the moment. and he handed him a basket which lay ready on the pavement. mud-stain. water-stain. 'There are fourteen water-mills. beer-stain. and a great deal nastier in the flavour. and a premium of fifty for twins. Whether it is a wine-stain. beer-stains. increased in loquacity.' replied the man. turned back up the town. no wider than a shilling.

down Spitalfields way. 'No.' growled the guard.' said the guard. Sikes remained standing in the street. who was looking out of the window. 'And a dreadful murder it was. 'Man or woman. that's quite true. touching his hat. sir?' rejoined the guard. He went on doggedly.'That's for your people.' 'Was it. and plunged into the solitude and darkness of the road.' replied the coachman impatiently. If he stopped it did the same. 'Now. sir?' 'A woman. look alive in there.' replied the gentleman. He could hear its garments rustling in the leaves. but I don't reckon much upon it. this won't do. 'It is supposed--' 'Now. running out. you know!' 'Anything new up in town. Here. and so's the young 'ooman of property that's going to take a fancy to me. substance or shadow. it warn't ready night afore last. but these fears were nothing compared to the sense that haunted him of that morning's ghastly figure following at his heels. I heerd talk of a murder. give hold.' 'Oh. 'Damn that 'ere bag. drawing back to the window-shutters. Damn that 'ere bag. still or moving. 'Coming. Ben?' asked the game-keeper. pulling on his gloves. nothing that I knows on. and note how stiff and solemn it seemed to stalk along. and the coach was gone. 'Ah. apparently unmoved by what he had just heard. Ben. At length he went back again. and agitated by no stronger feeling than a doubt where to go.' replied the man. took the semblance of some fearful thing. but as he left the town behind him.' said the guard. but I don't know when. 'are you gone to sleep in there?' 'Coming!' cried the office keeper. Albans. he felt a dread and awe creeping upon him which shook him to the core. and every breath of wind came laden with that last low cry. If 370 . supply the smallest item of the outline. All ri--ight!' The horn sounded a few cheerful notes. the better to admire the horses. too. 'Corn's up a little. pray. He could trace its shadow in the gloom. will you.' said a gentleman inside. Every object before him. and took the road which leads from Hatfield to St.

and rushed into the field without. there came the room with every well-known object--some. erect. Those widely staring eyes. trembling in every limb. with desperate determination. for it had turned with him and was behind him then. as constant and more terrible than that from which he had escaped. when suddenly there arose upon the night-wind the noise of distant shouting. indeed. that he would have forgotten.he ran. Any sound of men in that lonely place. and still--a living grave-stone. and the cold sweat starting from every pore. he turned. He leaned his back against a bank. He got up. At times. that he had better borne to see them than think upon them. visibly out against the cold night-sky. it followed--not running too: that would have been a relief: but like a corpse endowed with the mere machinery of life. so lustreless and so glassy. At his head it stood. if he had gone over its contents from memory--each in its accustomed place. silent. and the roar of voices mingled in alarm and wonder. The figure was behind him. but they were everywhere. and borne on one slow melancholy wind that never rose or fell. even though it conveyed a real cause of alarm. If he shut out the sight. and felt that it stood above him. The body was in _its_ place. and here he stretched himself close to the wall--to undergo new torture. appeared in the midst of the darkness: light in themselves. a vision came before him. Before the door. There were twenty score of violent deaths in one long minute of that agony of fear. He re-entered the shed. resolved to beat this phantom off. but the hair rose on his head. till daylight came again. There was a shed in a field he passed. For now. He regained his strength and energy at the prospect of personal 371 . but it was behind now--always. were three tall poplar trees. And here he remained in such terror as none but he can know. but giving light to nothing. and the wind moaned through them with a dismal wail. before he had laid himself along. There were but two. and shrunk down once more. that offered shelter for the night. Let no man talk of murderers escaping justice. though it should look him dead. He threw himself upon the road--on his back upon the road. and its eyes were as he saw them when he stole away. He had kept it before him that morning. The eyes were there. and hint that Providence must sleep. with its epitaph in blood. and his blood stood still. was something to him. which made it very dark within. He _could not_ walk on.

and men encouraged each other with noisy shouts and cheers. were sheets of flame. stealthily. upon the roofs of buildings. It was like new life to him. who 372 . The shouts grew louder as new voices swelled the roar. the dreadful consciousness of his crime. walls rocked and crumbled into the burning well. and the tumbling down of red-hot beams. and others coming laden from the burning pile. white hot. and the crackling of flames as they twined round some new obstacle. and driving clouds of smoke in the direction where he stood. There were people there--men and women--light. upon the ground. in every part of that great fire was he. heard the firemen. and springing to his feet. The clanking of the engine-pumps. and now hurrying through the smoke and flame. and shot aloft as though refreshed by food. The apertures. plunged into the thickest of the throng. He shouted. bustle. amidst a shower of falling sparks. others driving the cattle from the yard and out-houses. there returned. and as he drank a draught of beer. the fall of heavy bodies. He passed near an engine where some men were seated.danger. who careered with loud and sounding bark before him. and had neither scratch nor bruise. lighting the atmosphere for miles round. and flying from memory and himself. with ten-fold force. The dog obeyed the significant beck of his finger. Up and down the ladders. under the lee of falling bricks and stones. and he feared to be the subject of their talk. disclosed a mass of raging fire. where doors and windows stood an hour ago. but he bore a charmed life. nor weariness nor thought. Rising into the air with showers of sparks. over floors that quaked and trembled with his weight. till he was hoarse. the molten lead and iron poured down. and only smoke and blackened ruins remained. and leaping gate and fence as madly as his dog. added to the tremendous roar. for the men were conversing in groups. some endeavouring to drag the frightened horses from the stables. and the spirting and hissing of the water as it fell upon the blazing wood. He looked suspiciously about him. till morning dawned again. together. and he could hear the cry of Fire! mingled with the ringing of an alarm-bell. too. There were half-dressed figures tearing to and fro. He took some bread and meat. The noise increased as he looked. and rolling one above the other. This mad excitement over. Women and children shrieked. Hither and thither he dived that night: now working at the pumps. but never ceasing to engage himself wherever noise and men were thickest. He darted onward--straight. headlong--dashing through brier and brake. rushed into the open air. and they drew off. and they called to him to share in their refreshment. The broad sky seemed on fire. He came upon the spot.

When his master halted at the brink of a pool. and had a long. he uttered a low growl and started back. then lay down in a lane. looking about for a pond: picking up a heavy stone and tying it to his handkerchief as he went. He resolved to drown him. and walked on. The dog. 'Do you hear me call? Come here!' cried Sikes. 'Come back!' said the robber. he skulked a little farther in the rear than usual. The animal came up from the very force of habit. though. he took the desperate resolution to going back to London. If any description of him were out. and choosing the least frequented roads began his journey back. and had probably gone with him. and cowered as he came more slowly along. This might lead to his apprehension as he passed along the streets. or the robber's sidelong look at him was sterner than ordinary. I'll risk it. after this country scent.' He hurried off. it would not be forgotten that the dog was missing. too. irresolute and undecided.' said one: 'but they'll have him yet. and oppressed with the fear of another solitary night. He wandered on again. but as Sikes stooped to attach the handkerchief to his throat.were from London. 'He has gone to Birmingham. they say. and looked round to call him. whether his instinct apprehended something of their purpose. get abroad to France? Damme. forcing blunt from Fagin. and by to-morrow night there'll be a cry all through the country. he stopped outright.' he thought. and. The animal looked up into his master's face while these preparations were making. Why can't I lie by for a week or so. They'll never expect to nab me there. to proceed straight to that part of it which he had fixed on for his destination.' He acted upon this impulse without delay. for the scouts are out. at all event. Suddenly. 'A good hiding-place. entering it at dusk by a circuitous route. resolved to lie concealed within a short distance of the metropolis. but broken and uneasy sleep. 373 . and. 'There's somebody to speak to there. talking about the murder. and walked till he almost dropped upon the ground.

your blood be upon your own head!' 374 . and stood upon the other side.The dog wagged his tail. by all I hold most solemn and most sacred.' said Mr. Browlow. dismounted too. who had been seated on the box. young man?' replied Mr.' 'How dare you say this of me?' asked Monks. If you are determined to be the same. 'He knows the alternative. AND THE INTELLIGENCE THAT INTERRUPTS IT The twilight was beginning to close in. confronting him with a steady look. CHAPTER XLIX MONKS AND MR. call for the aid of the police. Brownlow. I am resolute and immoveable. stopped. BROWNLOW AT LENGTH MEET. led the way into a back-room. drag him into the street. but moved not. The man whistled again and again. and Mr. while another man. There. At a sign from Mr. a sturdy man got out of the coach and stationed himself on one side of the steps. retreated. But no dog appeared. and impeach him as a felon in my name. hurried him into the house. paused an instant. sir. But I warn you. preceding them. and we to follow. and taking him between them. and sat down and waited in the expectation that he would return. that instant will have you apprehended on a charge of fraud and robbery. when Mr. Brownlow alighted from a hackney-coach at his own door. Monks. The door being opened. At the door of this apartment. 'How dare you urge me to it. and scoured away at his hardest speed. THEIR CONVERSATION. they helped out a third man. Sikes made a running noose and called him again. who had ascended with evident reluctance. 'Are you mad enough to leave this house? Unhand him. The two men looked at the old gentleman as if for instructions. Brownlow. The dog advanced. 'If he hesitates or moves a finger but as you bid him. You are free to go. and knocked softly. They walked in the same manner up the stairs without speaking. Brownlow. This man was Monks. and at length he resumed his journey.

'By mine. walked into the room. but. Brownlow. do not sue to me for leniency. 'I have not the inclination to parley. yourself. shrugging his shoulders. although I can. looking from one to the other of the men who stood beside him. and. 'Lock the door on the outside. in that chair. once more.' said Mr. sat down. I say. and brought here by these dogs?' asked Monks.'By what authority am I kidnapped in the street. Brownlow. 'Those persons are indemnified by me. I have not the right. Brownlow.' said Mr. 'If you wish me to prefer my charges publicly. reading in his countenance nothing but severity and determination. Brownlow. throw yourself for protection on the law. without a word. when the power will have passed into other hands. If not. and the mercy of those you have deeply injured. 'You will decide quickly. If you complain of being deprived of your liberty--you had power and opportunity to retrieve it as you came along. and consign you to a punishment the extent of which.' 'Is there--' demanded Monks with a faltering tongue. but when you have gone too far to recede. He hesitated. I will appeal to the law too. 'A word from me. 'You will be prompt. and do not say I plunged you down the gulf into which you rushed. and alarmed besides. for you know the way.' said Mr.' Monks was plainly disconcerted. with perfect firmness and composure. and you appeal to my forbearance. as I advocate the dearest interests of others. seat yourself.' replied Mr.' said Mr. I cannot control. but wavered still.' Still the man hesitated. but you deemed it advisable to remain quiet--I say again.' Monks looked at the old gentleman.' Monks muttered some unintelligible words. It has waited for you two whole days. 'and.--'is there--no middle course?' 'None. with an anxious eye. foresee. Brownlow to the 375 . and the alternative has gone for ever. with a shudder.

Brownlow.' replied Mr.' 'Attend to what I do know. 'What is the name to me?' 'Nothing.' said Monks (to retain his assumed designation) after a long silence. after contemplating. and even the sight of you brings with it old thoughts of him. Brownlow.' replied Monks. even now--and blush for your unworthiness who bear the name.attendants. on the morning that would--but Heaven willed otherwise--have made her my young wife.' 'I have no brother. throwing down his hat and cloak. in itself.' said Monks. and you may not. 'But what do you want with me?' 'You have a brother. the agitation of his companion. 'I shall interest you by and by.' The men obeyed.' 'This is all mighty fine. 'it is because the hopes and wishes of young and happy years were bound up with him. during which he had jerked himself in sullen defiance to and fro. was. Brownlow. shading his face with his hand. an old man. Brownlow.' returned Mr. 'This is pretty treatment.' said Mr. from that time forth. in wonder and alarm. But it was _hers_. young man. it is because my seared heart clung to him. it is because old recollections and associations filled my heart. I know that of the wretched 376 . 'and come when I ring. almost enough to make you accompany me hither. I am very glad you have changed it--very--very. 'You know I was an only child. and that fair creature of his blood and kindred who rejoined her God in youth. lonely man: it is because he knelt with me beside his only sisters' death-bed when he was yet a boy. only to hear it repeated by a stranger. through all his trials and errors. rousing himself: 'a brother. it is because of all these things that I am moved to treat you gently now--yes. and Mr. as well as I. Why do you talk to me of brothers? You know that. and the two were left alone together. the glow and thrill which I once felt. 'nothing to you. and left me here a solitary. and even at this distance of time brings back to me. till he died. Brownlow had sat.' said Mr. and half in dogged wonder.' 'What has the name to do with it?' asked the other. sir. Edward Leeford. half in silence.' 'It is because I was your father's oldest friend. the whisper of whose name in your ear when I came behind you in the street. 'from my father's oldest friend.

' said Monks. and disclose to me the truth?' 'I have nothing to disclose. I know how cold formalities were succeeded by open taunts. I repeat. Brownlow.' 'These new friends. 'You must talk on if you will. at least. with prospects blighted. This circumstance. 'and what of that?' 'When they had been separated for some time. lingered on at home.' rejoined Monks. and the most sordid and narrowest of all ambition.' said Monks. had utterly forgotten the young husband ten good years her junior. of which nothing but death could break the rivets. Your mother succeeded. as a man who is determined to deny everything. when _his_ father ordered him to marry. or will you spare it. 'the misery. 'I speak of fifteen years ago. assures me that you have never forgotten it. into which family pride. wholly given up to continental frivolities. whose wife had died some half-a-year before. to hide it in new society beneath the gayest looks they could assume. and your father but one-and-thirty--for he was. when you were not more than eleven years old. Brownlow. how indifference gave place to dislike. Must I go back to events which cast a shade upon the memory of your parent. the slow torture. then. and left him with two children--there had 377 .' pursued the old gentleman. they were separated. But it rusted and cankered at your father's heart for years. until at last they wrenched the clanking bond asunder.' 'But I also know. turning away his eyes and beating his foot upon the ground.' said Mr. the protracted anguish of that ill-assorted union. who. I know how listlessly and wearily each of that wretched pair dragged on their heavy chain through a world that was poisoned to them both. 'and your mother. and hate to loathing.' interrupted Monks with a jeering laugh. 'were a naval officer retired from active service.' 'I don't care for hard names. carried each a galling fragment. dislike to hate. 'Not I.' returned Mr. forced your unhappy father when a mere boy. and retiring a wide space apart. a boy. he fell among new friends. and that's enough for me. she forgot it soon.' 'Well. Brownlow.' returned Mr. or ceased to think of it with bitterness.' 'Not I. you were the sole and most unnatural issue.' 'Your manner. no less than your actions.marriage. 'You know the fact. you know already.

Monks was biting his lips.' said Mr. 'They resided. I would that it had ended there. he immediately resumed: 'The end of a year found him contracted. Brownlow. if it were one of unmixed joy and happiness. the object of the first. and listened with a face of intense eagerness. and wiped his hot face and hands.' returned Mr. left him his panacea for all griefs--Money. He had his sister's soul and person. and sorrow. without seeming to hear the interruption. though his eyes were not directed towards the speaker. and to repair the misery he had been instrumental in occasioning. Brownlow paused.' The old gentleman paused. slowly. with his eyes fixed upon the floor. to that daughter. whither this man had sped for health. 'in a part of the country to which your father in his wandering had repaired. 'It is a true tale of grief and trial. and as he passed through London on his way. he grew to love him. 'Before he went abroad. by your mother who carried you with her. As the old officer knew him more and more. fast followed on each other. It was necessary that he should immediately repair to Rome. he changed his position with the air of one who has experienced a sudden relief. 'and such tales usually are. true. and the other a mere child of two or three years old. one a beautiful creature of nineteen. friendship.' 'Your tale is of the longest.' observed Monks. solemnly contracted. ardent. seeing this. As Mr. was followed. and where he had died. He went.' said Mr. happily but two survived. and where he had taken up his abode.' 'What's this to me?' asked Monks. as others are often--it is no uncommon case--died. only passion of a guileless girl. and fixing his eyes upon the 378 .been more. They were both daughters. young man. Brownlow. leaving no will--_no will_ --so that the whole property fell to her and you. it would be very brief. the moment the intelligence reached Paris. Acquaintance.' At this part of the recital Monks held his breath. he died the day after her arrival. leaving his affairs in great confusion. was seized with mortal illness there. Your father was gifted as few men are. of all their family. but. moving restlessly in his chair. Brownlow. His daughter did the same. intimacy. At length one of those rich relations to strengthen whose interest and importance your father had been sacrificed.

and left the place by night. among some other things.' said Mr. whose strong attachment had taken root in the earth that covered one most dear to both--even from me he withheld any more particular confession. and I never saw him more. When he was rescued by me. at any loss. 'He came to me. a picture--a portrait painted by himself--a likeness of this poor girl--which he did not wish to leave behind. to fly the country--I guessed too well he would not fly alone--and never see it more. or whither. talked in a wild. drawing nearer to the other's chair. 'When your brother: a feeble. and looked round with a smile of triumph. they had called in such trifling debts as were outstanding.' 'I never heard of that. Brownlow. and. and after that to see me once again. The family had left that part a week before. 'When your brother. I say by me--I see that your cunning associate suppressed my name. and rescued by me from a life of vice and infamy--' 'What?' cried Monks. when all was over. Even from me. for worldly harshness or favour are now alike to him--of his guilty love. Even 379 .' Monks drew his breath yet more freely. 'I went. Why. although for ought he knew.' 'I went. 'he came to me. Brownlow. and lay recovering from sickness in my house. resolved that if my fears were realised that erring child should find one heart and home to shelter and compassionate her. for the last time on earth. and left with me. discharged them. to the scene of his--I will use the term the world would freely use. of ruin and dishonour worked by himself. none can tell. I had no letter. confided to me his intention to convert his whole property. and could not carry forward on his hasty journey. promising to write and tell me all. after a short pause. neglected child: was cast in my way by a stronger hand than chance. distracted way. into money. then. Alas! _That_ was the last time. struck me with astonishment. 'By me.' interrupted MOnks in a tone intended to appear incredulous. ragged. Brownlow. his old and early friend. his strong resemblance to this picture I have spoken of.' said Mr.' said Mr. having settled on his wife and you a portion of his recent acquisition. 'I told you I should interest you before long. but savouring more of disagreeable surprise. it would be quite strange to your ears.other's face. He was worn by anxiety and remorse almost to a shadow.

'what then? Fraud and robbery are high-sounding words--justified. and as when I had last heard of you you were on your own estate in the West Indies--whither. rising boldly. 'I lost the boy. Brownlow. which child was born.' replied Mr. It contained a reference to some child likely to be the result of this sad connection. You had left it.when I first saw him in all his dirt and misery. 'but within the last fortnight I have learnt it all.' replied Mr. and him.' 'You--you--can't prove anything against me.' returned the old gentleman with a searching glance. There was a will. as strangely as you had ever done: sometimes for days together and sometimes not for months: keeping to all appearance the same low haunts and mingling with the same infamous herd who had been your associates when a fierce ungovernable boy. you don't even know that. I paced the streets by night and day. 'Because you know it well. you retired upon your mother's death to escape the consequences of vicious courses here--I made the voyage. which your mother destroyed. when your suspicions were first awakened by 380 . Brownlow. but until two hours ago. by a fancied resemblance in some young imp to an idle daub of a dead man's Brother! You don't even know that a child was born of this maudlin pair. but no one could tell where. you think. they said.' 'And now you do see me. and accidentally encountered by you.' 'I!' 'Denial to me is vain. You have a brother. and were supposed to be in London. as you well know. and I never saw you for an instant. all my efforts were fruitless. leaving the secret and the gain to you at her own death. you know it. and no efforts of mine could recover him.' said Monks. You came and went. 'I shall show you that I know more than that. months before.' stammered Monks. I returned. 'I defy you to do it!' 'We shall see. Your mother being dead. Your agents had no clue to your residence.' 'I _did not_. I need not tell you he was snared away before I knew his history--' 'Why not?' asked Monks hastily. rising too. there was a lingering expression in his face that came upon me like a glimpse of some old friend flashing on one in a vivid dream. I wearied them with new applications. I knew that you alone could solve the mystery if anybody could.

' 'It was the partial disclosure of your secrets. and the old hag that received them from the mother is rotting in her coffin_. and profligacy. until such a document is drawn up. overwhelmed by these accumulated charges. no. Brownlow. and brought them to my ear.' said Mr.--you. Edward Leeford.--you. no!' returned the coward. for the purpose of attesting it?' 'If you insist upon that. whose plots and wiles have brought a violent death upon the head of one worth millions such as you. liar. Brownlow. Shadows on the wall have caught your whispers. 'every word that has passed between you and this detested villain. do you still brave me!' 'No.' interposed Monks. till they found a vent in a hideous disease which had made your face an index even to your mind--you. to which you were morally if not really a party. Those proofs were destroyed by you. 'I--I knew nothing of that. There existed proofs--proofs long suppressed--of his birth and parentage. and now. and in whom all evil passions. is known to me.' 'Set your hand to a statement of truth and facts. I was going to inquire the truth of the story when you overtook me. no. 381 .' 'No. who from your cradle were gall and bitterness to your own father's heart. festered. 'You must do more than that. 'Every word!' cried the gentleman. I'll do that also.his resemblance to your father.' 'Remain quietly here. Murder has been done.' replied Monks. I thought it was a common quarrel. 'Make restitution to an innocent and unoffending child.--you. and repeat it before witnesses?' 'That I promise too. for such he is." Unworthy son. in your own words to your accomplice the Jew. I will.' replied Mr. who hold your councils with thieves and murderers in dark rooms at night. I didn't know the cause. coward. vice. and given it the courage and almost the attributes of virtue. 'Will you disclose the whole?' 'Yes. "_the only proofs of the boy's identity lie at the bottom of the river. the sight of the persecuted child has turned vice itself. and proceed with me to such a place as I may deem most advisable. You repaired to the place of his birth.

'Yes.' 'Fagin. Maylie?' 'Harry? As soon as he had seen your friend here. 'He will be taken to-night!' 'The murderer?' asked Mr. there. Brownlow. It is your only hope of safety. or will be.' said Mr.although the offspring of a guilty and most miserable love. and the door was again locked.' replied the other. meditating with dark and evil looks on this proposal and the possibilities of evading it: torn by his fears on the one hand and his hatred on the other: the door was hurriedly unlocked. 'and proclaim it with my own lips upon the spot. or is. 'You--you--will be secret with me?' 'I will. Losberne) entered the room in violent agitation. and there seems little doubt that his master either is.' They left the room.' 'I will give fifty more. Brownlow. in a low voice.' said Mr. 'What have you done?' asked the doctor in a whisper.' While Monks was pacing up and down. and a gentleman (Mr. Remain here till I return. by this time. 'His dog has been seen lurking about some old haunt.' replied the doctor. Carry them into execution so far as your brother is concerned. I have spoken to the men who are charged with his capture. he hurried off to where he heard this. A reward of a hundred pounds is proclaimed by Government to-night. Brownlow. 'and mounting his horse sallied forth to join the first party at some place in the outskirts agreed upon between them. he had not been taken.' 'Have you made up your mind?' asked Mr. yes.' he cried. Brownlow. and they tell me he cannot escape. You have not forgotten the provisions of the will.' he replied. In this world you need meet no more. 'what of him?' 'When I last heard. if I can reach it. of Monks. under cover of the darkness. 'Yes. 'The man will be taken. Where is Mr. safe in a coach with you. 382 . Spies are hovering about in every direction. They're sure of him. but he will be. and then go where you please.

wholly unknown. Arriving. Write and appoint the evening after to-morrow. and stream from the house-parapet and windows. he makes his way with difficulty along. Which way have they taken?' 'Drive straight to the office and you will be in time. but shall require rest: especially the young lady. in streets remoter and less-frequented than those 383 . But my blood boils to avenge this poor murdered creature. and even more. there exists the filthiest. brazen women. and muddy streets. I left him no loophole of escape. and devoted to the traffic they may be supposed to occasion. assailed by offensive sights and smells from the narrow alleys which branch off on the right and left. coal-whippers. and the result of our good friend's inquiries on the spot.'All that I could hope to do. the visitor has to penetrate through a maze of close. Losberne. To reach this place. at seven. and the raff and refuse of the river.' The two gentlemen hastily separated. for the meeting. and laid bare the whole villainy which by these lights became plain as day. the strangest. ragged children. 'I will remain here. the most extraordinary of the many localities that are hidden in London. Jostling with unemployed labourers of the lowest class. where the buildings on the banks are dirtiest and the vessels on the river blackest with the dust of colliers and the smoke of close-built low-roofed houses. a few hours before. narrow. even by name. each in a fever of excitement wholly uncontrollable. The cheapest and least delicate provisions are heaped in the shops. Coupling the poor girl's intelligence with my previous knowledge. CHAPTER L THE PURSUIT AND ESCAPE Near to that part of the Thames on which the church at Rotherhithe abuts. We shall be down there. thronged by the roughest and poorest of waterside people. at length. who _may_ have greater need of firmness than either you or I can quite foresee just now.' replied Mr. ballast-heavers. and deafened by the clash of ponderous waggons that bear great piles of merchandise from the stacks of warehouses that rise from every corner. to the great mass of its inhabitants. the coarsest and commonest articles of wearing apparel dangle at the salesman's door.

surrounded by a muddy ditch. they are broken open. in which to haul the water up. so confined. regarding each other every now and then with looks expressive of 384 . that the air would seem too tainted even for the dirt and squalor which they shelter. chimneys half crushed half hesitating to fall. and entered upon by those who have the courage. every imaginable sign of desolation and neglect. and there they live. every repulsive lineament of poverty. wooden chambers thrusting themselves out above the mud. with poles thrust out. the chimneys are blackened. pails. but they yield no smoke. it was a thriving place. every loathsome indication of filth. windows guarded by rusty iron bars that time and dirt have almost eaten away. The houses have no owners. buckets. on which to dry the linen that is never there. domestic utensils of all kinds. all these ornament the banks of Folly Ditch. broken and patched. but strongly defended at door and window: of which house the back commanded the ditch in manner already described--there were assembled three men. and can always be filled at high water by opening the sluices at the Lead Mills from which it took its old name. and threatening to fall into it--as some have done. the warehouses are roofless and empty. Crazy wooden galleries common to the backs of half a dozen houses. In an upper room of one of these houses--a detached house of fair size. and when his eye is turned from these operations to the houses themselves. At such times. a stranger. who. It is a creek or inlet from the Thames. six or eight feet deep and fifteen or twenty wide when the tide is in. windows. ruinous in other respects. he walks beneath tottering house-fronts projecting over the pavement. or be reduced to a destitute condition indeed. looking from one of the wooden bridges thrown across it at Mill Lane. beyond Dockhead in the Borough of Southwark.through which he has passed. before losses and chancery suits came upon it. the doors are falling into the streets. once called Mill Pond. so filthy. In Jacob's Island. the windows are windows no more. dismantled walls that seem to totter as he passes. stands Jacob's Island. but known in the days of this story as Folly Ditch. dirt-besmeared walls and decaying foundations. with holes from which to look upon the slime beneath. but now it is a desolate island indeed. will see the inhabitants of the houses on either side lowering from their back doors and windows. and garbage. Thirty or forty years ago. In such a neighborhood. They must have powerful motives for a secret residence. who seek a refuge in Jacob's Island. his utmost astonishment will be excited by the scene before him. rot. rooms so small. the walls are crumbling down. and there they die.

' 'Especially. Chitling. This man was a returned transport. Chitling. it's rather a startling thing to have the honour of a wisit from a young gentleman (however respectable and pleasant a person he may be to play cards with at conweniency) circumstanced as you are. I thought you'd have been a little more glad to see me than this.' said Toby. after which Toby Crackit.' replied Chitling. so they put a strait-weskut on her and took her to the hospital--and there she is. sat for some time in profound and gloomy silence. look'e. and beating her head against the boards. my fine feller. Kags. and had not come here. in some old scuffle. with a melancholy air. blunder-head!' said Kags. and Bolter got into the empty water-butt.' 'Why didn't you. his countenance falling more and more. One of these was Toby Crackit. seeming to abandon as hopeless any further effort to maintain his usual devil-may-care swagger. 'I wish. and whose face bore a frightful scar which might probably be traced to the same occasion.perplexity and expectation. Chitling. and his name was Kags. whose nose had been almost beaten in. and is too modest to want to be presented to the Judges on his return. young gentleman. 'When was Fagin took then?' 'Just at dinner-time--two o'clock this afternoon.' 385 .' added Mr. Charley and I made our lucky up the wash-us chimney. There was a short silence. and by that means has a snug house over his head with nobody a prying and smelling about it. 'when a man keeps himself so very ex-clusive as I have done. and the third a robber of fifty years. head downwards.' replied Mr. screaming and raving. when the exclusive young man has got a friend stopping with him. to speak to who it was. 'that you had picked out some other crib when the two old ones got too warm. but his legs were so precious long that they stuck out at the top. 'Well. another Mr. that's arrived sooner than was expected from foreign parts. and so they took him too. 'and went off mad.' said Toby turning to Mr.' 'And Bet?' 'Poor Bet! She went to see the Body. turned to Chitling and said. 'Why.

not to come over here afore dark.' 'This is a smash.' observed Toby. not able to stand upright with the pressing of the mob. for the people at the Cripples are all in custody. They ran to the window. nor was his master to be seen.'Wot's come of young Bates?' demanded Kags. biting his lips. but they made a ring round him. I can see the blood upon his hair and beard. He was down once. stooping down to examine the animal. he has run himself 386 .' said Chitling. 'There's more than one will go with this. like one distracted. who lay panting on the floor. You should have seen how he looked about him.' 'The sessions are on. a pattering noise was heard upon the stairs.' replied Chitling. and draggin him along amongst 'em. and the two men sat by in silence with their eyes fixed upon the floor. I can see the people jumping up. and into the street. and hear the cries with which the women worked themselves into the centre of the crowd at the street corner. one behind another. and fought their way along. I can see 'em now. and with his eyes closed got up and paced violently to and fro.' 'If he was coming here. but he'll be here soon. and Sikes's dog bounded into the room. 'the officers fought like devils. While he was thus engaged. all muddy and bleeding. from what he's said already: they can prove Fagin an accessory before the fact. and snarling with their teeth and making at him.' said Kags: 'if they get the inquest over. he made no attempt to follow them. or they'd have torn him away. and Bolter turns King's evidence: as of course he will. 'Here! Give us some water for him. 'There's nowhere else to go to now. 'He can't be coming here. downstairs. and get the trial on on Friday. and he'll swing in six days from this. by G--!' 'You should have heard the people groan. and swore they'd tear his heart out!' The horror-stricken witness of this scene pressed his hands upon his ears. 'He hung about. he'd have come with the dog. The dog had jumped in at an open window. I--I--hope not. and the bar of the ken--I went up there and see it with my own eyes--is filled with traps. 'What's the meaning of this?' said Toby when they had returned. and clung to them as if they were his dearest friends.' said Kags.

was adopted as the right. The terrible events of the last two days had made a deep impression on all three. it wasn't he. increased by the danger and uncertainty of their own position. They drew their chairs closer together. appearing the most probable one. He never knocked like that. Crackit went to the window. and how comes he here alone without the other!' 'He'--(none of them called the murderer by his old name)--'He can't have made away with himself. But where can he have come from first. and finding them filled with strangers come on here. looking angrily round. starting at every sound. without more notice from anybody.faint. when suddenly was heard a hurried knocking at the door below. 'Young Bates. Toby shook his head.' said Kags. the dog. and were as silent and awe-stricken as if the remains of the murdered woman lay in the next room.' This solution. and a candle lighted and placed upon the table. and ran whining to the door. drew in his head. He must have given him the slip somehow. They spoke little. There was no need to tell them who it was. and that in whispers. to check the fear he felt himself. 'He's been to the other kens of course. The knocking came again. It being now dark.' 'He's drunk it all up. No. his pale face was enough.' said Kags. What do you think?' said Chitling. and shaking all over. I think he's got out of the country. 387 . The dog too was on the alert in an instant. No. some time. 'If he had. They had sat thus. where he's been many a time and often. or he wouldn't be so easy. and left the dog behind.' said Chitling after watching the dog some time in silence. coiled himself up to sleep. 'the dog 'ud want to lead us away to where he did it.' 'Where can he have come from!' exclaimed Toby. the shutter was closed. 'Covered with mud--lame--half blind--he must have come a long way. creeping under a chair. every drop.

but shuddering as he was about to drop into it. it was instantly averted. or to let me lie here till this 388 .' said Sikes. hollow cheeks. turning his face to Crackit. 'Alone.' 'Don't leave us in the dark.' 'To-night's paper says that Fagin's took. beard of three days' growth. or a lie?' 'True. passing his hand across his forehead. He laid his hand upon a chair which stood in the middle of the room. Blanched face. He _must_ come in. 'You that keep this house. 'How came that dog here?' he asked. 'do you mean to sell me. and lighting it. wasted flesh.' They were silent again. He looked from one to another in silence. and another tied over his head under his hat. 'Have you nothing to say to me?' There was an uneasy movement among them. but nobody spoke. taking down a candle from the chimney-piece. He drew them slowly off. and seeming to glance over his shoulder. When his hollow voice broke silence. and returned followed by a man with the lower part of his face buried in a handkerchief. Three hours ago.' said Kags. Crackit went down to the door. short thick breath. taking up the candle. 'Damn you all!' said Sikes.'We must let him in. it was the very ghost of Sikes. Not a word had been exchanged. they all three started. sunken eyes. If an eye were furtively raised and met his. with such a trembling hand that the knocking was twice repeated before he had finished.' he said. 'None. They seemed never to have heard its tones before. 'Isn't there any help for it?' asked the other man in a hoarse voice. Is it true. dragged it back close to the wall--as close as it would go--and ground it against it--and sat down.

'Is--it--the body--is it buried?' They shook their heads. after some hesitation. if you think it safe. 'Witness you three. stepping forward. 'Don't you--don't you know me?' 'Don't come nearer me. Accordingly he nodded. and becoming more and more excited as he spoke. Sikes sat opposite the door. that the wretched man was willing to propitiate even this lad. I will.hunt is over?' 'You may stop here. 'Wot do they keep such ugly things above the ground for?--Who's that knocking?' Crackit intimated. Sikes carried his eyes slowly up the wall behind him: rather trying to turn his head than actually doing it: and said. downstairs?' There had been something so tremendous in the shrinking off of the three. by a motion of his hand as he left the room. Murder! Help! If there's the pluck of a man among you three. and made as though he would shake hands with him.' returned the person addressed. retreating still farther. 'Witness you three--I'm not afraid of him--if they come here after him.' answered the boy. so that the moment the boy entered the room he encountered his figure. and directly came back with Charley Bates behind him. 'Why isn't it!' he retorted with the same glance behind him. upon the murderer's face. you'll help 389 . I'll give him up. 'why didn't you tell me this. 'Let me go into some other room. I'd give him up if he was to be boiled alive.' said the boy falling back. and they looked at each other. or if he dares. and looking.' cried the boy shaking his clenched fist. as Sikes turned his eyes towards him. He may kill me for it if he likes. with horror in his eyes. 'Toby. but Sikes's eyes sunk gradually to the ground. still retreating. 'Charley!' said Sikes. but if I am here I'll give him up. that there was nothing to fear. 'You monster!' The man stopped half-way. I tell you out at once.' said the boy.

The gleam of lights increased. Sikes had him down. thick and heavy. brought him heavily to the ground. the footsteps came more thickly and noisily on. and a loud huzzah burst from the crowd. but louder. now. running to and fro. the former. The three spectators seemed quite stupefied. bolted it. rattled upon the door and lower window-shutters as he ceased to speak.me. Run straight to the room where the light is. when Crackit pulled him back with a look of alarm. giving the listener. One man on horseback seemed to be among the crowd. and dragging the boy. and never ceasing to call for help with all his might.' cried Sikes fiercely. some adequate idea of its immense extent. 'Break down the door!' screamed the boy. There were lights gleaming below. and pointed to the window. for there was the noise of hoofs rattling on the uneven pavement.' cried the voices without. as easily as if he were an empty sack. upon the strong man. and his knee was on his throat. and then a hoarse murmur from such a multitude of angry voices as would have made the boldest quail. single-handed. and the boy and man rolled on the ground together. Break down the door!' Strokes. the boy actually threw himself. the tramp of hurried footsteps--endless they seemed in number--crossing the nearest wooden bridge. Then. heedless of the blows that showered upon him. 'That door. 'Is the downstairs door fast?' 390 . and the hoarse cry arose again. The contest. 'He's here! Break down the door!' 'In the King's name. however. was too unequal to last long. 'Open the door of some place where I can lock this screeching Hell-babe. Murder! Help! Down with him!' Pouring out these cries. for the first time. wrenching his hands tighter and tighter in the garments about the murderer's breast. 'I tell you they'll never open it. and accompanying them with violent gesticulation. They offered no interference. and turned the key. voices in loud and earnest conversation. 'Help!' shrieked the boy in a voice that rent the air. and in the intensity of his energy and the suddenness of his surprise. Quick!' He flung him in. came a loud knocking at the door.

and still came back and roared again. Some called for ladders. none showed such fury as the man on horseback. some for sledge-hammers. 'The panels--are they strong?' 'Lined with sheet-iron. some pressed forward with the ecstasy of madmen. throwing up the sash and menacing the crowd. and the windows. Some shouted to those who were nearest to set the house on fire. and thus impeded the progress of those below. I may drop into the Folly Ditch. a long rope. 'Twenty guineas to the man who brings a ladder!' The nearest voices took up the cry.' The panic-stricken men pointed to where such articles were kept. hurried up to the house-top. hastily selecting the longest and strongest cord. who. who. the murderer. Among them all. as he staggered back into the room. 'The tide. Give me a rope. from this aperture. some spent their breath in impotent curses and execrations. and shut the faces out. with the other two men. 'the tide was in as I came up. in a voice that rose above all others. or I shall do three more murders and kill myself. like a field of corn moved by an angry wind: and joined from time to time in one loud furious roar. some among the boldest attempted to climb up by the water-spout and crevices in the wall.'Double-locked and chained. he had never ceased to call on those without. others roared to the officers to shoot him dead.' replied Crackit. and hundreds echoed it. 391 . throwing himself out of the saddle.' 'Damn you!' cried the desperate ruffian. cried. still remained quite helpless and bewildered. except one small trap in the room where the boy was locked. and all waved to and fro. beneath the window. Give me a rope. But. 'Do your worst! I'll cheat you yet!' Of all the terrific yells that ever fell on mortal ears. and that was too small even for the passage of his body. in the darkness beneath. They're all in front. All the window in the rear of the house had been long ago bricked up. none could exceed the cry of the infuriated throng.' cried the murderer. and bursting through the crowd as if he were parting water.' 'And the windows too?' 'Yes. some ran with torches to and fro as if to seek them. and clear off that way.

and that he who had first called for the ladder had mounted into the room.' There was another roar. cluster upon cluster of people clinging to every house-top. they raised a cry of triumphant execration to which all their previous shouting had been whispers. who immediately began to pour round. so firmly against the door that it must be matter of great difficulty to open it from the inside. 'I will give fifty pounds. in a strong struggling current of angry faces. At this moment the word was passed among the crowd that the door was forced at last. The houses on the opposite side of the ditch had been entered by the mob. I will remain here.to guard the back. The crowd had been hushed during these few moments. 'Hurrah!' The crowd grew light with uncovered heads. On pressed the people from the front--on. Those who were at too great a distance to know its meaning. till he come to ask me for it. Each little bridge (and there were three in sight) bent beneath the weight of the crowd upon it. it echoed and re-echoed. and the ditch a bed of mud. pressing upon each other in an unbroken stream. He planted a board. took up the sound. The stream abruptly turned. looked over the low parapet. and show them out in all their wrath and passion. as this intelligence ran from mouth to mouth. Again and again it rose. The water was out. seeing those upon the bridges pouring back.' cried a man on the nearest bridge. when the murderer emerged at last on the house-top by the door in the roof. with here and there a glaring torch to lighten them up.' cried an old gentleman from the same quarter. watching his motions and doubtful of his purpose. and only for an instant see the wretch. 'They have him now. and the people at the windows. a loud shout proclaimed the fact to those in front. 'to the man who takes him alive. there were tiers and tiers of faces in every window. on. which he had carried up with him for the purpose. and again the shout uprose. Still the current poured on to find some nook or hole from which to vent their shouts. on. and running into 392 . or torn bodily out. quitted their stations. but the instant they perceived it and knew it was defeated. sashes were thrown up. and thus. it seemed as though the whole city had poured its population out to curse him. and creeping over the tiles.

and retain his position) earnestly warned those about him that the man was about to lower himself down--at that very instant the murderer. The man had shrunk down. joined the concourse that now thronged pell-mell to the spot they had left: each man crushing and striving with his neighbor. and there he hung. the immediate attention was distracted from the murderer. The noose was on his neck. fastened one end of the rope tightly and firmly round it. and the unavailing struggles of others to extricate themselves from the mass. At the very instant when he brought the loop over his head previous to slipping it beneath his arm-pits. or trampled down and trodden under foot in the confusion. between the rush of some to regain the space in front of the house. increased. and the impossibility of escape. and all panting with impatience to get near the door. 'The eyes again!' he cried in an unearthly screech. Staggering as if struck by lightning. he lost his balance and tumbled over the parapet. 393 . and look upon the criminal as the officers brought him out. and at this time. and stimulated by the noise within the house which announced that an entrance had really been effected. endeavouring to creep away in the darkness and confusion. thoroughly quelled by the ferocity of the crowd. and with the other made a strong running noose by the aid of his hands and teeth almost in a second. and. It ran up with his weight. with the open knife clenched in his stiffening hand. but seeing this sudden change with no less rapidity than it had occurred. a terrific convulsion of the limbs. He could let himself down by the cord to within a less distance of the ground than his own height. looking behind him on the roof. the narrow ways were completely blocked up. and uttered a yell of terror. and had his knife ready in his hand to cut it then and drop. if possible. at the risk of being stifled. tight as a bow-string. although the universal eagerness for his capture was. There was a sudden jerk. threw his arms above his head. The cries and shrieks of those who were pressed almost to suffocation. and swift as the arrow it speeds. he sprang upon his feet. Roused into new strength and energy. and when the old gentleman before-mentioned (who had clung so tight to the railing of the bridge as to resist the force of the crowd. he set his foot against the stack of chimneys. He fell for five-and-thirty feet. were dreadful.the street. determined to make one last effort for his life by dropping into the ditch.

ran backwards and forwards on the parapet with a dismal howl. called to the people to come and take him out.' So. and Mrs. accompanied by one other person whose name had not been mentioned. Losberne's assistance. and it could not be at a worse. and the good doctor were with him: and Mr. at three o'clock in the afternoon. with Mr. which had lain concealed till now. They had not talked much upon the way. Mrs. Brownlow with the nature of the admissions which had been forced from Monks. AND COMPREHENDING A PROPOSAL OF MARRIAGE WITH NO WORD OF SETTLEMENT OR PIN-MONEY The events narrated in the last chapter were yet but two days old. A dog. Brownlow followed in a post-chaise. when Oliver found himself. and Rose. for Oliver was in a flutter of agitation and uncertainty which deprived him of the power of collecting his thoughts. cautiously stopped all channels of communication through which they could receive intelligence of the dreadful occurrences that so recently taken place. dashed out his brains. The murderer swung lifeless against the wall. and collecting himself for a spring. but it might be at a better time than the present. and striking his head against a stone. turning completely over as he went. 'that they must know them before long. The same kind friend had. he fell into the ditch. He and the two ladies had been very carefully made acquainted by Mr. still the whole matter was enveloped in enough of doubt and mystery to leave them in endurance of the most intense suspense. thrusting aside the dangling body which obscured his view. 'It was quite true. CHAPTER LI AFFORDING AN EXPLANATION OF MORE MYSTERIES THAN ONE.The old chimney quivered with the shock. and although they knew that the object of their present journey was to complete the work which had been so well begun. but stood it bravely. jumped for the dead man's shoulders.' he said. they travelled on in silence: each busied with reflections on the 394 . who shared it. Maylie. and appeared to have scarcely less effect on his companions. in a travelling-carriage rolling fast towards his native town. Missing his aim. and the boy. and almost of speech. Bedwin. for God's sake. in at least an equal degree.

eagerly clasping the hand of Rose.' replied Rose. leading to the old house where I was a little child! Oh Dick. wandering boy.' said Oliver. had remained silent while they journeyed towards his birth-place by a road he had never seen. you did the same with me. there are the hedges I crept behind. and how rich you have grown. Dick. to hear what he can tell. and that in all your happiness you have none so great as the coming back to make him happy too. or a roof to shelter his head. and at length drove through its narrow streets. I know. and pointing out at the carriage window. and show him how I love him for it!' As they approached the town. it became matter of no small difficulty to restrain the boy within reasonable bounds. gently taking his folded hands between her own. and send him to some quiet country place where he may grow strong and well. how the whole current of his recollections ran back to old times. and what a crowd of emotions were wakened up in his breast. yes. But if Oliver. and have him clothed and taught. standing at the old 395 . if I could only see you now!' 'You will see him soon. never mind. there!' cried Oliver.' cried the boy with a burst of affectionate emotion. for fear any one should overtake me and force me back! Yonder is the path across the fields. when they turned into that which he had traversed on foot: a poor houseless. 'It will make you cry. without a friend to help him. only smaller and less imposing in appearance than he remembered it--there were all the well-known shops and houses. under these influences.' 'Yes. There was Sowerberry's the undertaker's just as it used to be. 'See there. 'and I will say "God bless you" now.' for the boy was smiling through such happy tears that she could not speak. He said "God bless you" to me when I ran away. 'You will be kind and good to him.' said Oliver. but never mind.--shall we?' Rose nodded 'yes. and you will smile again--I know that too--to think how changed he is. 'and we'll--we'll take him away from here. for you are to every one. my dear old friend. with almost every one of which he had some slight incident connected--there was Gamfield's cart.object which had brought them together: and no one disposed to give utterance to the thoughts which crowded upon all. it will be all over. the very cart he used to have. 'You shall tell him how happy you are. 'that's the stile I came over.

he could not dissemble. They sat wondering. All these things made Rose and Oliver. for they told him it was his brother. with awe. Brownlow. or. 'This is a painful task. as if he were the grandfather of the whole party. and seen looking in with Fagin at the window of his little room. There was dinner prepared. Grimwig entered the room. and they began to think they were to hear no more that night. which. then laughed again--there were scores of faces at the doors and windows that he knew quite well--there was nearly everything as if he had left it but yesterday. not even when he contradicted a very old postboy about the nearest road to London.' said he. nervous and uncomfortable. not once. spoke in whispers. though he had only come that way once. all smiles and kindness. but remained in a separate room. even then. Mr. and maintained he knew it best. when nine o'clock had come. and that time fast asleep. and the old one too. which 396 . They drove straight to the door of the chief hotel (which Oliver used to stare up at. at the astonished boy. returned with eyes swollen with weeping. earnest. Mrs. and all his recent life had been but a happy dream. walked to a table near which Rose and Oliver were seated. Monks cast a look of hate. but which had somehow fallen off in grandeur and size). Notwithstanding all this. the dreary prison of his youthful days. at sight of whom Oliver involuntarily shrunk back. with its dismal windows frowning on the street--there was the same lean porter standing at the gate. when they got out of the coach. conversed apart. when the hurry of the first half-hour was over. and everything was arranged as if by magic. who had papers in his hand.public-house door--there was the workhouse. Once. and it was the same man he had met at the market-town. and then laughed at himself for being so foolish. who were not in any new secrets. Losberne and Mr. Mr. and not offering to eat his head--no. Grimwig all ready to receive them. then cried. and after being absent for nearly an hour. during the short intervals when they were present. and here was Mr. kissing the young lady. joyful reality. But it was pure. 'but these declarations. The two other gentlemen hurried in and out with anxious faces. and think a mighty palace. the same silence and constraint prevailed that had marked their journey down. and. if they exchanged a few words. and there were bedrooms ready. Brownlow and a man whom Oliver almost shrieked with surprise to see. At length. Brownlow did not join them at dinner. Maylie was called away. and sat down near the door. as if they were afraid to hear the sound of their own voices. followed by Mr. Mr. in silence.

for what I know. and he slumbered on till next day. I think.' said Mr. He knew nothing of us. nor he for her. 'Quick. with a penitent confession. and prayers to God to help her. for she had no great affection for him.' 'The term you use. 'His father being taken ill at Rome.have been signed in London before many gentlemen. must be in substance repeated here. 'is your half-brother.' 'In the workhouse of this town.' said Mr. my mother. turning away his face. looking round upon the listeners. Brownlow. who went from Paris and took me with her--to look after his property. Brownlow. and laying his hand upon his head.' 'Go on.' said Mr. I would have spared you the degradation. One of these papers was a letter to this girl Agnes.' 'This child. 'and enclosed in a few short lines to you. my dear friend Edwin Leeford. the other a will.' said Monks. Don't keep me here. but we must hear them from your own lips before we part. and so 397 . when he died. who died in giving him birth. dated on the night his illness first came on. drawing Oliver to him. Brownlow. sternly.' said the person addressed. 'is a reproach to those long since passed beyond the feeble censure of the world. for his senses were gone. He had palmed a tale on the girl that some secret mystery--to be explained one day--prevented his marrying her just then. scowling at the trembling boy: the beating of whose heart he might have heard. were two. except you who use it. by poor young Agnes Fleming. was joined by his wife. he addressed himself to Mr. It reflects disgrace on no one living. I have almost done enough. 'You have the story there. Among the papers in his desk.' 'Yes. Let that pass. He was born in this town. 'Listen then! You!' returned Monks.' was the sullen reply. 'The letter?--A sheet of paper crossed and crossed again. from whom he had been long separated. Brownlow.' He pointed impatiently to the papers as he spoke.' 'What of the letter?' asked Mr. the illegitimate son of your father. and you know why. directed to yourself'. 'That is the bastard child. Brownlow. with an intimation on the cover of the package that it was not to be forwarded till after he was dead. 'I must have it here. too.

in the same words. from an infant. would he recognise your prior claim upon his purse. then the money was to come to you: for then. and here. Goaded by shame and dishonour he fled with his children into a remote corner of Wales. as Oliver's tears fell fast. speaking for him. vice. or wrong. but that. or think the consequences of their sin would be visited on her or their young child. if it should be born alive.she had gone on. wildly. and not till then. meanness. over and over again. she kept. and prayed her. 'The will. as if he had gone distracted. no great while afterwards. cowardice. repulsed him with coldness and aversion. Brownlow. it was to inherit the money unconditionally. The letter never reached its destination. and lost what none could ever give her back. If it were a girl. in case they ever tried to lie away the blot. He talked of miseries which his wife had brought upon him. I believe he had. as she had done before--and then ran on. and your mother. he said. Monks was silent. and other proofs. and his conviction--only strengthened by approaching death--that the child would share her gentle heart. and noble nature. if he had lived. and a blank left for that which he hoped one day to have bestowed upon her--prayed her yet to keep it. in a louder tone. The bulk of his property he divided into two equal portions--one for Agnes Fleming. 'was in the same spirit as the letter.' 'My mother. each an annuity of eight hundred pounds. changing his very name that his friends might never know of his retreat. until she trusted too far. only on the stipulation that in his minority he should never have stained his name with any public act of dishonour. to hide her shame. but had. not to curse his memory. The girl's father had the truth from her with every aggravation that her violent hate--I love her for it now--could add. he was found dead in his 398 .' said Monks. She burnt this will. and left you. If he were disappointed in this expectation. and wear it next her heart. at that time. when both children were equal. for all the guilt was his. He did this.' said Mr. who had none upon his heart. of the rebellious disposition. Brownlow. and the other for their child. and ever come of age. within a few months of her confinement. who had been trained to hate him. trusting patiently to him. but if a boy. to mark his confidence in the other.' 'The will. 'did what a woman should have done.' said Mr. She was. and premature bad passions of you his only son. He told her all he had meant to do. if he died. He reminded her of the day he had given her the little locket and the ring with her christian name engraved upon it. malice.

and muttered curses on himself in the impotence of baffled malice. on her death-bed. who stole them from the nurse. in the event of his being rescued: and that a dispute on this head had led to their visit to the country house for the purpose of identifying him. to hunt it down. together with her unquenchable and deadly hatred of all whom they involved--though she need not have left me that. Brownlow took up the thread of the narrative. and. They were unavailing for a long time. and the child too. on foot. assured that she had destroyed herself. but for babbling drabs. but was filled with the impression that a male child had been born. and to spit upon the empty vaunt of that insulting will by draggin it. robbed her of jewels and money. Brownlow turned to the terrified group beside him. 'The locket and ring?' said Mr. The girl had left her home. 'You know what became of them. and he went back with her to France. if ever it crossed my path. Mr. who stole them from the corpse. turning to Monks.' answered Monks without raising his eyes.' There was a short silence here.' 'There she died. and explained that the Jew. until Mr. he had searched for her. who had been his old accomplice and confidant. 'this man's--Edward Leeford's--mother came to me. I began well. He came in my way at last. and. to hide her shame and his. gambled. and wished to recover him before she died. if I could.' he said. 'I bought them from the man and woman I told you of. Brownlow. Inquiries were set on foot. in secret. and strict searches made. He had left her. 'Years after this. I swore to her. and fled to London: where for two years he had associated with the lowest outcasts. when only eighteen. never to let it rest. I would have finished as I began!' As the villain folded his arms tight together. she bequeathed these secrets to me. that his old heart broke. some weeks before. to vent upon it the hatred that I deeply felt. had a large reward for keeping Oliver ensnared: of which some part was to be given up. it was on the night when he returned home. but ultimately successful. forged. She would not believe that the girl had destroyed herself.' said Monks. for I had inherited it long before. She was sinking under a painful and incurable disease. 'after a lingering illness. to the very gallows-foot. and was alive. to pursue it with the bitterest and most unrelenting animosity.bed.' 399 . in every town and village near. She was right. squandered.

He inquired.' replied Mrs. sir. with ill-feigned enthusiasm. Bumble. Bumble flatly. who disappearing with great alacrity.' said Mr. Bumble?' remonstrated the workhouse master. 'Nor sold him anything.' replied Mr.' replied the matron. natur.' said Mr. my dear. Bumble. if you know'd how I've been a-grieving for you--' 'Hold your tongue. addressing her spouse. a certain gold locket and ring?' said Mr. perhaps. Brownlow. fool. and dragging her unwilling consort after him. 'Master Oliver. 'Why are we brought here to answer to such nonsense as this?' 400 . 'You never had. Bumble.' This salutation was addressed to Mr. Grimwig. sir? I hope you are very well. 'Perhaps _you_ don't?' said Mr. 'suppress your feelings. you remember the blessed gentleman in the white waistcoat? Ah! he went to heaven last week. 'Isn't natur. shortly returned.' said Mr. perhaps?' 'No. 'Do you know that person?' 'No. Bumble. tartly.' 'I will do my endeavours. Bumble. Bumble. halting for an appropriate comparison.' replied Mrs.' 'Come. Brownlow merely nodded to Mr. Grimwig.' murmured Mrs.Mr. 'Can't I be supposed to feel--_I_ as brought him up porochially--when I see him a-setting here among ladies and gentlemen of the very affablest description! I always loved that boy as if he'd been my--my--my own grandfather. Oliver. 'I never saw him in all my life. 'Certainly not. sir. Mrs. as he pointed to Monks. 'How do you do. 'Do my hi's deceive me!' cried Mr. who had stepped up to within a short distance of the respectable couple. pushing in Mrs. Bumble. Brownlow. in a oak coffin with plated handles. Brownlow. 'or is that little Oliver? Oh O-li-ver.

' urged Mr. looking about him with great ruefulness. no. and they're where you'll never get them. Brownlow. and saw it given you.' 'I hope. Bumble. and think yourself well off besides. raising her shrivelled hand. 'No. 'if he--she pointed to Monks--'has been coward enough to confess. feeling she should never get over it. But not again did he return with a stout man and wife.' added the second. no." We found out that. 'You may make up your mind to that. to die near the grave of the father of the child. and saw you take a paper from her hand.' 'It was all Mrs. 'No. 'Yes. she was on her way.' 'No. and again that gentleman limped away with extraordinary readiness. he led in two palsied women. You may leave the room.' said the other.' 'And we know more than that. What then?' 'Nothing. 'and it was a "locket and gold ring. Brownlow. I have nothing more to say. Grimwig. Grimwig with a motion towards the door. Oh! we were by. long ago. as I see he has.' said the first. that the young mother had told her that.' 'We heard her try to tell you what she'd done. no. Bumble. Bumble. We were by.Again Mr. Brownlow nodded to Mr. and watched you too. next day.' 'Would you like to see the pawnbroker himself?' asked Mr. 'You shut the door the night old Sally died. for this time. nor stop the chinks.' resumed the first.' replied the woman.' said Mr. She _would_ do it. 'but you couldn't shut out the sound.' said the foremost one. I _did_ sell them.' replied Mr. 401 . at the time that she was taken ill.' replied Mr. and you have sounded all these hags till you have found the right ones. looking round her and wagging her toothless jaws. to the pawnbroker's shop. who shook and tottered as they walked. 'for she told us often. 'except that it remains for us to take care that neither of you is employed in a situation of trust again. Grimwig disappeared with the two old women: 'I hope that this unfortunate little circumstance will not deprive me of my porochial office?' 'Indeed it will. as Mr.

first looking round to ascertain that his partner had left the
'That is no excuse,' replied Mr. Brownlow. 'You were present on
the occasion of the destruction of these trinkets, and indeed are
the more guilty of the two, in the eye of the law; for the law
supposes that your wife acts under your direction.'
'If the law supposes that,' said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat
emphatically in both hands, 'the law is a ass--a idiot. If
that's the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I
wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience--by
Laying great stress on the repetition of these two words, Mr.
Bumble fixed his hat on very tight, and putting his hands in his
pockets, followed his helpmate downstairs.
'Young lady,' said Mr. Brownlow, turning to Rose, 'give me your
hand. Do not tremble. You need not fear to hear the few
remaining words we have to say.'
'If they have--I do not know how they can, but if they have--any
reference to me,' said Rose, 'pray let me hear them at some other
time. I have not strength or spirits now.'
'Nay,' returned the old gentlman, drawing her arm through his;
'you have more fortitude than this, I am sure. Do you know this
young lady, sir?'
'Yes,' replied Monks.
'I never saw you before,' said Rose faintly.
'I have seen you often,' returned Monks.
'The father of the unhappy Agnes had _two_ daughters,' said Mr.
Brownlow. 'What was the fate of the other--the child?'
'The child,' replied Monks, 'when her father died in a strange
place, in a strange name, without a letter, book, or scrap of
paper that yielded the faintest clue by which his friends or
relatives could be traced--the child was taken by some wretched
cottagers, who reared it as their own.'
'Go on,' said Mr. Brownlow, signing to Mrs. Maylie to approach.
'Go on!'

'You couldn't find the spot to which these people had repaired,'
said Monks, 'but where friendship fails, hatred will often force
a way. My mother found it, after a year of cunning search--ay,
and found the child.'
'She took it, did she?'
'No. The people were poor and began to sicken--at least the man
did--of their fine humanity; so she left it with them, giving
them a small present of money which would not last long, and
promised more, which she never meant to send. 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. The
circumstances countenanced all this; the people believed it; and
there the child dragged on an existence, miserable enough even to
satisfy us, until a widow lady, residing, then, at Chester, saw
the girl by chance, pitied her, and took her home. There was
some cursed spell, I think, against us; for in spite of all our
efforts she remained there and was happy. I lost sight of her,
two or three years ago, and saw her no more until a few months
'Do you see her now?'
'Yes. Leaning on your arm.'
'But not the less my niece,' cried Mrs. Maylie, folding the
fainting girl in her arms; 'not the less my dearest child. I
would not lose her now, for all the treasures of the world. My
sweet companion, my own dear girl!'
'The only friend I ever had,' cried Rose, clinging to her. 'The
kindest, best of friends. My heart will burst. I cannot bear
all this.'
'You have borne more, and have been, through all, the best and
gentlest creature that ever shed happiness on every one she
knew,' said Mrs. Maylie, embracing her tenderly. 'Come, come, my
love, remember who this is who waits to clasp you in his arms,
poor child! See here--look, look, my dear!'
'Not aunt,' cried Oliver, throwing his arms about her neck; 'I'll
never call her aunt--sister, my own dear sister, that something
taught my heart to love so dearly from the first! Rose, dear,
darling Rose!'

Let the tears which fell, and the broken words which were
exchanged in the long close embrace between the orphans, be
sacred. A father, sister, and mother, were gained, and lost, in
that one moment. Joy and grief were mingled in the cup; but
there were no bitter tears: for even grief itself arose so
softened, and clothed in such sweet and tender recollections,
that it became a solemn pleasure, and lost all character of pain.
They were a long, long time alone. A soft tap at the door, at
length announced that some one was without. Oliver opened it,
glided away, and gave place to Harry Maylie.
'I know it all,' he said, taking a seat beside the lovely girl.
'Dear Rose, I know it all.'
'I am not here by accident,' he added after a lengthened silence;
'nor have I heard all this to-night, for I knew it
yesterday--only yesterday. Do you guess that I have come to
remind you of a promise?'
'Stay,' said Rose. 'You _do_ know all.'
'All. You gave me leave, at any time within a year, to renew the
subject of our last discourse.'
'I did.'
'Not to press you to alter your determination,' pursued the young
man, 'but to hear you repeat it, if you would. I was to lay
whatever of station or fortune I might possess at your feet, and
if you still adhered to your former determination, I pledged
myself, by no word or act, to seek to change it.'
'The same reasons which influenced me then, will influence me
now,' said Rose firmly. 'If I ever owed a strict and rigid duty
to her, whose goodness saved me from a life of indigence and
suffering, when should I ever feel it, as I should to-night? It
is a struggle,' said Rose, 'but one I am proud to make; it is a
pang, but one my heart shall bear.'
'The disclosure of to-night,'--Harry began.
'The disclosure of to-night,' replied Rose softly, 'leaves me in
the same position, with reference to you, as that in which I
stood before.'
'You harden your heart against me, Rose,' urged her lover.

'Oh Harry, Harry,' said the young lady, bursting into tears; 'I
wish I could, and spare myself this pain.'
'Then why inflict it on yourself?' said Harry, taking her hand.
'Think, dear Rose, think what you have heard to-night.'
'And what have I heard! What have I heard!' cried Rose. 'That a
sense of his deep disgrace so worked upon my own father that he
shunned all--there, we have said enough, Harry, we have said
'Not yet, not yet,' said the young man, detaining her as she
rose. 'My hopes, my wishes, prospects, feeling: every thought
in life except my love for you: have undergone a change. I
offer you, now, no distinction among a bustling crowd; no
mingling with a world of malice and detraction, where the blood
is called into honest cheeks by aught but real disgrace and
shame; but a home--a heart and home--yes, dearest Rose, and
those, and those alone, are all I have to offer.'
'What do you mean!' she faltered.
'I mean but this--that when I left you last, I left you with a
firm determination to level all fancied barriers between yourself
and me; resolved that if my world could not be yours, I would
make yours mine; that no pride of birth should curl the lip at
you, for I would turn from it. This I have done. Those who have
shrunk from me because of this, have shrunk from you, and proved
you so far right. Such power and patronage: such relatives of
influence and rank: as smiled upon me then, look coldly now; but
there are smiling fields and waving trees in England's richest
county; and by one village church--mine, Rose, my own!--there
stands a rustic dwelling which you can make me prouder of, than
all the hopes I have renounced, measured a thousandfold. This is
my rank and station now, and here I lay it down!'







'It's a trying thing waiting supper for lovers,' said Mr.
Grimwig, waking up, and pulling his pocket-handkerchief from over
his head.
Truth to tell, the supper had been waiting a most unreasonable
time. Neither Mrs. Maylie, nor Harry, nor Rose (who all came in
together), could offer a word in extenuation.
'I had serious thoughts of eating my head to-night,' said Mr.

Grimwig, 'for I began to think I should get nothing else. I'll
take the liberty, if you'll allow me, of saluting the bride that
is to be.'
Mr. Grimwig lost no time in carrying this notice into effect upon
the blushing girl; and the example, being contagious, was
followed both by the doctor and Mr. Brownlow: some people affirm
that Harry Maylie had been observed to set it, orginally, in a
dark room adjoining; but the best authorities consider this
downright scandal: he being young and a clergyman.
'Oliver, my child,' said Mrs. Maylie, 'where have you been, and
why do you look so sad? There are tears stealing down your face
at this moment. What is the matter?'
It is a world of disappointment: often to the hopes we most
cherish, and hopes that do our nature the greatest honour.
Poor Dick was dead!

The court was paved, from floor to roof, with human faces.
Inquisitive and eager eyes peered from every inch of space. From
the rail before the dock, away into the sharpest angle of the
smallest corner in the galleries, all looks were fixed upon one
man--Fagin. Before him and behind: above, below, on the right
and on the left: he seemed to stand surrounded by a firmament,
all bright with gleaming eyes.
He stood there, in all this glare of living light, with one hand
resting on the wooden slab before him, the other held to his ear,
and his head thrust forward to enable him to catch with greater
distinctness every word that fell from the presiding judge, who
was delivering his charge to the jury. At times, he turned his
eyes sharply upon them to observe the effect of the slightest
featherweight in his favour; and when the points against him were
stated with terrible distinctness, looked towards his counsel, in
mute appeal that he would, even then, urge something in his
behalf. Beyond these manifestations of anxiety, he stirred not
hand or foot. He had scarcely moved since the trial began; and
now that the judge ceased to speak, he still remained in the same
strained attitude of close attention, with his gaze bent on him,

as though he listened still.
A slight bustle in the court, recalled him to himself. Looking
round, he saw that the juryman had turned together, to consider
their verdict. As his eyes wandered to the gallery, he could see
the people rising above each other to see his face: some hastily
applying their glasses to their eyes: and others whispering
their neighbours with looks expressive of abhorrence. A few
there were, who seemed unmindful of him, and looked only to the
jury, in impatient wonder how they could delay. But in no one
face--not even among the women, of whom there were many
there--could he read the faintest sympathy with himself, or any
feeling but one of all-absorbing interest that he should be
As he saw all this in one bewildered glance, the deathlike
stillness came again, and looking back he saw that the jurymen
had turned towards the judge. Hush!
They only sought permission to retire.
He looked, wistfully, into their faces, one by one when they
passed out, as though to see which way the greater number leant;
but that was fruitless. The jailer touched him on the shoulder.
He followed mechanically to the end of the dock, and sat down on
a chair. The man pointed it out, or he would not have seen it.
He looked up into the gallery again. Some of the people were
eating, and some fanning themselves with handkerchiefs; for the
crowded place was very hot. There was one young man sketching
his face in a little note-book. He wondered whether it was like,
and looked on when the artist broke his pencil-point, and made
another with his knife, as any idle spectator might have done.
In the same way, when he turned his eyes towards the judge, his
mind began to busy itself with the fashion of his dress, and what
it cost, and how he put it on. There was an old fat gentleman on
the bench, too, who had gone out, some half an hour before, and
now come back. He wondered within himself whether this man had
been to get his dinner, what he had had, and where he had had it;
and pursued this train of careless thought until some new object
caught his eye and roused another.
Not that, all this time, his mind was, for an instant, free from
one oppressive overwhelming sense of the grave that opened at his
feet; it was ever present to him, but in a vague and general way,
and he could not fix his thoughts upon it. Thus, even while he
trembled, and turned burning hot at the idea of speedy death, he

fell to counting the iron spikes before him, and wondering how
the head of one had been broken off, and whether they would mend
it, or leave it as it was. Then, he thought of all the horrors
of the gallows and the scaffold--and stopped to watch a man
sprinkling the floor to cool it--and then went on to think again.
At length there was a cry of silence, and a breathless look from
all towards the door. The jury returned, and passed him close.
He could glean nothing from their faces; they might as well have
been of stone. Perfect stillness ensued--not a rustle--not a
The building rang with a tremendous shout, and another, and
another, and then it echoed loud groans, that gathered strength
as they swelled out, like angry thunder. It was a peal of joy
from the populace outside, greeting the news that he would die on
The noise subsided, and he was asked if he had anything to say
why sentence of death should not be passed upon him. He had
resumed his listening attitude, and looked intently at his
questioner while the demand was made; but it was twice repeated
before he seemed to hear it, and then he only muttered that he
was an old man--an old man--and so, dropping into a whisper, was
silent again.
The judge assumed the black cap, and the prisoner still stood
with the same air and gesture. A woman in the gallery, uttered
some exclamation, called forth by this dread solemnity; he looked
hastily up as if angry at the interruption, and bent forward yet
more attentively. The address was solemn and impressive; the
sentence fearful to hear. But he stood, like a marble figure,
without the motion of a nerve. His haggard face was still thrust
forward, his under-jaw hanging down, and his eyes staring out
before him, when the jailer put his hand upon his arm, and
beckoned him away. He gazed stupidly about him for an instant,
and obeyed.
They led him through a paved room under the court, where some
prisoners were waiting till their turns came, and others were
talking to their friends, who crowded round a grate which looked
into the open yard. 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. He shook
his fist, and would have spat upon them; but his conductors
hurried him on, through a gloomy passage lighted by a few dim
lamps, into the interior of the prison.

Here, he was searched, that he might not have about him the means
of anticipating the law; this ceremony performed, they led him to
one of the condemned cells, and left him there--alone.
He sat down on a stone bench opposite the door, which served for
seat and bedstead; and casting his blood-shot eyes upon the
ground, tried to collect his thoughts. After awhile, he began to
remember a few disjointed fragments of what the judge had said:
though it had seemed to him, at the time, that he could not hear
a word. These gradually fell into their proper places, and by
degrees suggested more: so that in a little time he had the
whole, almost as it was delivered. To be hanged by the neck,
till he was dead--that was the end. To be hanged by the neck
till he was dead.
As it came on very dark, he began to think of all the men he had
known who had died upon the scaffold; some of them through his
means. They rose up, in such quick succession, that he could
hardly count them. He had seen some of them die,--and had joked
too, because they died with prayers upon their lips. With what a
rattling noise the drop went down; and how suddenly they changed,
from strong and vigorous men to dangling heaps of clothes!
Some of them might have inhabited that very cell--sat upon that
very spot. It was very dark; why didn't they bring a light? The
cell had been built for many years. Scores of men must have
passed their last hours there. It was like sitting in a vault
strewn with dead bodies--the cap, the noose, the pinioned arms,
the faces that he knew, even beneath that hideous veil.--Light,
At length, when his hands were raw with beating against the heavy
door and walls, two men appeared: one bearing a candle, which he
thrust into an iron candlestick fixed against the wall: the
other dragging in a mattress on which to pass the night; for the
prisoner was to be left alone no more.
Then came the night--dark, dismal, silent night. Other watchers
are glad to hear this church-clock strike, for they tell of life
and coming day. To him they brought despair. The boom of every
iron bell came laden with the one, deep, hollow sound--Death.
What availed the noise and bustle of cheerful morning, which
penetrated even there, to him? It was another form of knell,
with mockery added to the warning.
The day passed off. Day? There was no day; it was gone as soon
as come--and night came on again; night so long, and yet so

He grew so terrible. At one time he raved and blasphemed. He had sat there. every minute. He cowered down upon his stone bed. at last. and 410 . he would be the only mourner in his own funeral train. and so the two kept watch together. at eleven-Those dreadful walls of Newgate. made no effort to rouse his attention. the day broke--Sunday. for their parts. The few who lingered as they passed. He had spoken little to either of the two men. and short in its fleeting hours. Venerable men of his own persuasion had come to pray beside him. And as he thought of this. and too long. Eight--nine--then. If it was not a trick to frighten him. which have hidden so much misery and such unspeakable anguish. before the voice of the previous hour had ceased to vibrate.short. and his head was bandaged with a linen cloth. desperate state came in its full intensity upon his blighted soul. who relieved each other in their attendance upon him. It was not until the night of this last awful day. and he beat them off. but dreaming. and they. never held so dread a spectacle as that. where would he be. His red hair hung down upon his bloodless face. he started up. Now. and with gasping mouth and burning skin. that one man could not bear to sit there. and those were the real hours treading on each other's heels. his unwashed flesh crackled with the fever that burnt him up. long in its dreadful silence. hurried to and fro. They renewed their charitable efforts. in such a paroxysm of fear and wrath that even they--used to such sights--recoiled from him with horror. and twisted into knots. From early in the evening until nearly midnight. but that he had never been able to consider more than the dim probability of dying so soon. not only from the eyes. and wondered what the man was doing who was to be hanged to-morrow. He had only one night more to live. eyeing him alone. his eyes shone with a terrible light. when they came round again! Eleven! Another struck. from the thoughts. At eight. if they could have seen him. but. Saturday night. and thought of the past. but he had driven them away with curses. too often. little groups of two and three presented themselves at the lodge-gate. of men. in all the tortures of his evil conscience. awake. He had been wounded with some missiles from the crowd on the day of his capture. and at another howled and tore his hair. would have slept but ill that night. not that he had ever held any defined or positive hope of mercy. that a withering sense of his helpless. his beard was torn.

'It's not a sight for children. By degrees they fell off. for an hour. in the dead of night. and a few strong barriers. There was an open grating above it. turned back to conjure up the scene. through dark and winding ways. and led them on. opposite to that by which they had entered. mingled with the noise of hammering. having entered an open yard. and glancing at Oliver with some curiousity. towards the cells. sir. the turnkey knocked at one of 411 . and came into a passage with a row of strong doors on the left hand. The space before the prison was cleared. Brownlow and Oliver appeared at the wicket. and. whether any reprieve had been received. 'This. There were putting up the scaffold. These being answered in the negative. my friend. I think it as well--even at the cost of some pain and fear--that he should see him now.' said the man. one by one. opened by other turnkeys from the inner side. 'but my business with this man is intimately connected with him. walking with unwilling steps away. and the throwing down of boards. and.' He led them into a stone kitchen. who pointed out to one another the door from which he must come out. the street was left to solitude and darkness. The man touched his hat. They were immediately admitted into the lodge. and as this child has seen him in the full career of his success and villainy.' rejoined Mr. ascended a flight of narrow steps. communicated the welcome intelligence to clusters in the street. with anxious faces. From this place. stopping in a gloomy passage where a couple of workmen were making some preparations in profound silence--'this is the place he passes through. and presented an order of admission to the prisoner. If you step this way. and.inquired. and showed where the scaffold would be built. painted black.' 'It is not indeed. when Mr. fitted with coppers for dressing the prison food. Motioning them to remain where they were. sir?' said the man whose duty it was to conduct them. signed by one of the sheriffs. so as to be inaudible to Oliver.' These few words had been said apart. and pointed to a door. through which came the sound of men's voices. had been already thrown across the road to break the pressure of the expected crowd. opened another gate. 'Is the young gentleman to come too. Brownlow. they passed through several strong gates. you can see the door he goes out at.

His mind was evidently wandering to his old life. 'Steady. rocking himself from side to side. to ask you some questions.' said Mr. Charley--well done--' he mumbled. if you please. and motioned the visitors to follow the jailer into the cell. looking up with a face retaining no human expression but rage and terror. he demanded to know what they wanted there. Saw his head off!' 'Fagin. too. I suppose. 'Take him away to bed!' cried Fagin. whispering him not to be alarmed. 'Strike them all dead! What right have they to butcher me?' As he spoke he caught sight of Oliver and Mr. The condemned criminal was seated on his bed. stretching themselves as if glad of the temporary relief. my Lord. 'That's me!' cried the Jew. still holding him down. They did so. 'Oliver. 'Do you hear me. Quick. falling instantly. Shrinking to the furthest corner of the seat. never mind the girl--Bolter's throat as deep as you can cut. after a little whispering. for he continued to mutter. came out into the passage. old man!' 'Here. Brownlow. some of you? He has been the--the--somehow the cause of all this. Fagin! Are you a man?' 'I shan't be one long. 'An old man. without appearing conscious of their presence otherwise than as a part of his vision. 'which were 412 . looked on without speaking. Bill. 'Now.' said the turnkey. tell him what you want. The two attendants.' said the turnkey. 'Here's somebody wants to see you. into the attitude of listening he had assumed upon his trial. a very old. for he grows worse as the time gets on. with a countenance more like that of a snared beast than the face of a man. ha! ha! ha! Oliver too--quite the gentleman now--quite the--take that boy away to bed!' The jailer took the disengaged hand of Oliver. Brownlow advancing. It's worth the money to bring him up to it--Bolter's throat. and.' he replied. 'Good boy.these with his bunch of keys. Fagin. laying his hand upon his breast to keep him down.' 'You have some papers.' said the jailer. sir.

don't you mind.' 'Outside.' said Fagin. now then!' 'Oh! God forgive this wretched man!' cried the boy with a burst of tears. I want to talk to you. 'Here.placed in your hands. that there is no hope of any further gain. pushing the boy before him towards the door. 'That'll help us on. as he relinquished Mr. If I shake and tremble.' said Oliver in a low voice. now!' 'Have you nothing else to ask him. in a hole a little way up the chimney in the top front-room. You can get me out. 'Let me say a prayer. 'I haven't one--not one.' replied Mr. 'Say I've gone to sleep--they'll believe you. Brownlow's hand.' 'For the love of God.' returned Oliver. shaking his head.' cried Fagin. drawing Oliver towards him. outside. upon the very verge of death.' said Mr. but hurry on. 'If I hoped we could recall him to a sense of his position--' 'Nothing will do that. Brownlow. Say only one. and we will talk till morning. Now. sir?' inquired the turnkey. with me.' replied Fagin. Now then.' The door of the cell opened. 'You had better leave him.' replied Fagin.' 'I am not afraid. 'are in a canvas bag. but tell me where they are. now. here! Let me whisper to you. 413 . I want to talk to you. You know that Sikes is dead. 'No other question. for better security.' replied the man. Brownlow solemnly. yes. and the attendants returned. by a man called Monks. my dear. if you take me so. 'That's right. that Monks has confessed.' said Fagin.' 'It's all a lie together. upon your knees. This door first. 'The papers. and looking vacantly over his head. Do! Let me say one prayer. beckoning to him. 'do not say that now. Where are those papers?' 'Oliver. sir.' 'Yes. as we pass the gallows. that's right.

on the same day they entered into possession of their new and happy home. quarrelling. the crowd were pushing. Mrs. the greatest felicity that age and worth can know--the contemplation of the happiness of those on whom the warmest affections and tenderest cares of a well-spent life. the rope. press on. for an instant. to enjoy. on full and careful investigation. 'Softly. he had not the strength to walk. Maylie took up her abode with her son and daughter-in-law. during the tranquil remainder of her days. the windows were filled with people. is told in few and simple words. held him back. He struggled with the power of desperation. and then sent up cry upon cry that penetrated even those massive walls. It was some time before they left the prison. Oliver would have been entitled to the 414 . and rang in their ears until they reached the open yard. and all the hideous apparatus of death. Day was dawning when they again emerged. but one dark cluster of objects in the centre of all--the black stage. Rose Fleming and Harry Maylie were married in the village church which was henceforth to be the scene of the young clergyman's labours. Before three months had passed. A great multitude had already assembled. and disengaging Oliver from his grasp. Oliver nearly swooned after this frightful scene. The little that remains to their historian to relate. Everything told of life and animation. the cross-beam. CHAPTER LIII AND LAST The fortunes of those who have figured in this tale are nearly closed. it would yield. joking. faster!' The men laid hands upon him.'Press on. and was so weak that for an hour or more. smoking and playing cards to beguile the time. have been unceasingly bestowed. Faster. little more than three thousand pounds. that if the wreck of property remaining in the custody of Monks (which had never prospered either in his hands or in those of his mother) were equally divided between himself and Oliver. It appeared. to each.' cried Fagin. but not so slow. By the provisions of his father's will.

but Mr. Grimwig. and would have turned quite peevish if he had known how. Here he took to gardening. Grimwig a great many times in the course of the year. Brownlow. fishes. he would have been discontented if his temperament had admitted of such a feeling. still bearing that assumed name. after undergoing a long confinement for some fresh act of fraud and knavery. Losberne. he once more fell into his old courses. he had managed to contract a strong friendship for Mr. that his mode is the right one. at length sunk under an attack of his old disorder. Brownlow adopted Oliver as his son. he gratified the only remaining wish of Oliver's warm and earnest heart. Before his removal. and. bereft of the presence of his old friends. On Sundays. having quickly squandered it. and 415 . with great ardour. Mr. the worthy doctor returned to Chertsey. Mr. Monks. took a bachelor's cottage outside the village of which his young friend was pastor. where. but always maintaining with his favourite asseveration. and died in prison. He is accordingly visited by Mr. retired with his portion to a distant part of the New World. what it had been. to which his young charge joyfully acceded. which that eccentric gentleman cordially reciprocated. in strict confidence afterwards. as a most profound authority. and various other pursuits of a similar kind: all undertaken with his characteristic impetuosity. Soon after the marriage of the young people. carpentering. where. and thus linked together a little society. then. to him. On all such occasions. proposed this mode of distribution.whole. For two or three months. doing everything in a very singular and unprecedented manner. and instantaneously recovered. Grimwig plants. he settled his business on his assistant. In each and all he has since become famous throughout the neighborhood. he contented himself with hinting that he feared the air began to disagree with him. he never fails to criticise the sermon to the young clergyman's face: always informing Mr. unwilling to deprive the elder son of the opportunity of retrieving his former vices and pursuing an honest career. that he considers it an excellent performance. whose condition approached as nearly to one of perfect happiness as can ever be known in this changing world. finding that the place really no longer was. planting. died the chief remaining members of his friend Fagin's gang. It is a standing and very favourite joke. where his dear friends resided. and carpenters. for Mr. As far from home. Removing with him and the old housekeeper to within a mile of the parsonage-house. but deems it as well not to say so. fishing. Brownlow to rally him on his old prophecy concerning Oliver.

Giles and Brittles. waiting his return. in which calling he realises a genteel subsistence. and a carrier's lad. he has not even spirits to be thankful for being separated from his wife. Master Charles Bates. to walk out once a week during church time attended by Charlotte in respectable attire. and would weave. His plan is. 416 . having a contented disposition. Mr. remarks that Oliver did not come back after all. for some little time. succeeded in the end. after all. the best. Mr. and Oliver and Mr. He struggled hard. which always calls forth a laugh on his side. and finally became paupers in that very same workhouse in which they had once lorded it over others. but the result is the same. but Mr. but divide their attentions so equally among its inmates. he turned his back upon the scenes of the past. and. and. Losberne. falters. fell into a train of reflection whether an honest life was not. he went into business as an Informer. appalled by Sikes's crime. Sometimes Mr. and the gentleman being accommodated with three-penny worth of brandy to restore her. as it approaches the conclusion of its task. Grimwig contends that he was right in the main. Bumble. After some consideration. The lady faints away at the doors of charitable publicans. and pockets half the penalty. They sleep at the parsonage. for some time. As to Mr. and a good purpose. and increases his good humour. he is now the merriest young grazier in all Northamptonshire. although the former is bald. at a loss for the means of a livelihood. that to this day the villagers have never been able to discover to which establishment they properly belong. the thread of these adventures. Bumble has been heard to say. and Mr. lays an information next day. Noah Claypole: receiving a free pardon from the Crown in consequence of being admitted approver against Fagin: and considering his profession not altogether as safe a one as he could wish: was. and suffered much. for a little longer space. they still remain in their old posts. resolved to amend it in some new sphere of action. deprived of their situations. Claypole faints himself. in proof thereof. the hand that traces these words. that in this reverse and degradation. and the last-named boy quite grey. not burdened with too much work. from being a farmer's drudge. were gradually reduced to great indigence and misery.to remind him of the night on which they sat with the watch between them. Mr. and Mrs. but. Arriving at the conclusion that it certainly was. And now. Brownlow.

if the spirits of the Dead ever come back to earth. once again. I would paint her and her dead sister's child happy in their love for one another. and passing whole hours together in picturing the friends whom they had so sadly lost. as his nature developed itself. happiness can never be attained. and mutual love. and a thousand looks and smiles. Within the altar of the old village church there stands a white marble tablet. filling the mind of his adopted child with stores of knowledge. before another name is placed above it! But. from day to day. tried by adversity. and without strong affection and humanity of heart. I have said that they were truly happy. These. and may it be many. remembered its lessons in mercy to others. and gratitude to that Being whose code is Mercy. I would summon before me. I believe it none the less because that nook is in a Church. and shone into their hearts. I would show Rose Maylie in all the bloom and grace of early womanhood. and she was weak and erring. and share their happiness by endeavouring to depict it. and listen to their merry prattle. more and more. which bears as yet but one word: 'AGNES. melancholy and yet sweet and soothing--how the two orphans. How Mr. and conjure up the sympathising tear that glistened in the soft blue eye. that awakened in his own bosom old remembrances. and fervent thanks to Him who had protected and preserved them--these are all matters which need not to be told. 417 . I would watch her in all her goodness and charity abroad. those joyous little faces that clustered round her knee. and whose great attribute is Benevolence to all things that breathe. and hear the low tones of her sweet voice in the moonlit evening walk. and the smiling untiring discharge of domestic duties at home. I would recall the tones of that clear laugh. that fell on all who trod it with her. and becoming attached to him. and showed the thriving seeds of all he wished him to become--how he traced in him new traits of his early friend. Brownlow went on. I would paint her the life and joy of the fire-side circle and the lively summer group. I would follow her through the sultry fields at noon.I would fain linger yet with a few of those among whom I have so long moved. shedding on her secluded path in life soft and gentle light.' There is no coffin in that tomb. to visit spots hallowed by the love--the love beyond the grave--of those whom they knew in life. and turns of thought and speech--I would fain recall them every one. many years. I believe that the shade of Agnes sometimes hovers round that solemn nook.

418 .

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