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ELECBOOK CLASSICS

OLIVER
TWIST
Charles Dickens

ELECBOOK CLASSICS
ebc0012. Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist
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OLIVER TWIST
Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist
Contents
Click on number to go to chapter
Chapter 1. Treats Of The Place Where Oliver Twist
Was Born; And Of The Circumstances Attending His
Birth...........................................................................
...............................9
Chapter 2. Treats Of Oliver Twist¡¯s Growth,
Education, And Board............................................................
..............13
Chapter 3. Relates How Oliver Twist Was Very Near
Getting A Place, Which Would Not Have Been A
Sinecure. ......................................................................
..........................27
Chapter 4. Oliver, Being Offered Another Place,
Makes His First Entry Into Public Life..........................................
...38
Chapter 5. Oliver Mingles With New Associates¡ª
Going To A Funeral For The First Time, He Forms An
Unfavourable Notion Of His Master¡¯s Business...............................47
Chapter 6. Oliver, Being Goaded By The Taunts Of
Noah, Rouses Into Action, And Rather Astonishes Him. ...............61
Chapter 7. Oliver Continues Refractory. ........................................
.68
Chapter 8. Oliver Walks To London¡ªHe Encounters
On The Road A Strange Sort Of Young Gentleman........................77
Chapter 9. Containing Further Particulars Concerning
The Pleasant Old Gentleman, And His Hopeful Pupils..................88
Chapter 10. Oliver Becomes Better Acquainted With
The Characters Of His New Associates; And Purchases
Experience At A High Price¡ªBeing A Short But Very
Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics

Oliver Twist
Important Chapter In This History...............................................
.....96
Chapter 11. Treats Of Mr. Fang The Police Magistrate;
And Furnishes A Slight Specimen Of His Mode Of
Administering Justice. .........................................................
..............103
Chapter 12. In Which Oliver Is Taken Better Care Of
Than He Ever Was Before¡ªAnd In Which The
Narrative Reverts To The Merry Old Gentleman And
His Youthful Friends............................................................
..............113
Chapter 13. Some New Acquaintances Are Introduced
To The Intelligent Reader, Connected With Whom,
Various Pleasant Matters Are Related, Appertaining To
This History. ..................................................................
......................125
Chapter 14. Comprising Further Particulars Of
Oliver¡¯s Stay At Mr. Brownlow¡¯s, With The Remarkable
Prediction Which One Mr. Grimwig Uttered
Concerning Him, When He Went Out On An Errand...................136
Chapter 15. Showing How Very Fond Of Oliver Twist,
The Merry Old Jew And Miss Nancy Were. ...................................150
Chapter 16. Relates What Became Of Oliver Twist,
After He Had Been Claimed By Nancy...........................................159
Chapter 17. Oliver¡¯s destiny continuing unpropitious,
brings a great man to London to injure his reputation.................172
Chapter 18. How Oliver Passed His Time In The
Improving Society Of His Reputable Friends................................184
Chapter 19. In Which A Notable Plan Is Discussed
And Determined On...............................................................
............195
Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics

Oliver Twist
Chapter 20. Wherein Oliver Is Delivered Over To Mr.
William Sikes...................................................................
....................208
Chapter 21. The Expedition......................................................
.......219
Chapter 22. The Burglary. ......................................................
.........227
Chapter 23. Which Contains The Substance Of A
Pleasant Conversation Between Mr. Bumble And A
Lady; And Shows That Even A Beadle May Be
Susceptible On Some Points......................................................
.......236
Chapter 24. Treats Of A Very Poor Subject¡ªBut Is A
Short One, And May Be Found Of Importance In This
History. .......................................................................
..........................246
Chapter 25. Wherein This History Reverts To Mr.
Fagin And Company...............................................................
............254
Chapter 26. In Which A Mysterious Character Appears
Upon The Scene; And Many Things, Inseparable From
This History, Are Done And Performed..........................................26
2
Chapter 27. Atones For The Unpoliteness Of A Former
Chapter, Which Deserted A Lady Most
Unceremoniously.................................................................
...............278
Chapter 28. Looks After Oliver, And Proceeds With
His Adventures..................................................................
..................288
Chapter 29. Has An Introductory Account Of The
Inmates Of The House, To WhichOliver Resorted.......................301
Chapter 30. Relates What Oliver¡¯s New Visitors
Thought Of Him..................................................................
................306
Chapter 31. Involves A Critical Position........................................
315
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Oliver Twist
Chapter 32. Of The Happy Life Oliver Began To Lead
With His Kind Friends...........................................................
............329
Chapter 33. Wherein The Happiness Of Oliver And His
Friends, Experiences A Sudden Check...........................................34
1
Chapter 34. Contains Some Introductory Particulars
Relative To A Young Gentleman Who Now Arrives
Upon The Scene; And A New Adventure Which
Happened ToOliver...............................................................
............352
Chapter 35. Containing The Unsatisfactory Result Of
Oliver¡¯s Adventure; And A Conversation Of Some
Importance Between Harry Maylie And Rose. ..............................365
Chapter 36. Is a very short one, and may appear of no
great importance in its place; but it should be read
notwithstanding, as a sequel to the last, and a key to
one that will follow when its time arrives. ....................................
..375
Chapter 37. In Which The Reader May Perceive A
Contrast, Not Uncommon In Matrimonial Cases. .........................379
Chapter 38. Containing An Account Of What Passed
Between Mr. And Mrs. Bumble, And Mr. Monks, At
Their Nocturnal Interview. .....................................................
..........392
Chapter 39. Introduces Some Respectable Characters
With Whom The Reader Is Already Acquainted, And
Shows How Monks And The Jew Laid Their Worthy
Heads Together..................................................................
.................405
Chapter 40. A Strange Interview, Which Is A Sequel
To The Last Chapter. ...........................................................
..............424
Chapter 41. Containing Fresh Discoveries, And
Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics

Oliver Twist
Showing That Surprises, Like Misfortunes, Seldom
Come Alone......................................................................
....................433
Chapter 42. An Old Acquaintance Of Oliver¡¯s,
Exhibiting Decided Marks Of Genius, Becomes A
Public Character In The Metropolis..............................................
..446
Chapter 43. Wherein Is Shown How The Artful
Dodger Got Into Trouble.........................................................
..........460
Chapter 44. The Time Arrives For Nancy To Redeem
Her Pledge To Rose Maylie¡ªShe Fails...........................................474
Chapter 45. Noah Claypole Is Employed By Fagin On
A Secret Mission. ..............................................................
..................483
Chapter 46. The Appointment Kept...............................................4
88
Chapter 47. Fatal Consequences..................................................
...501
Chapter 48. The Flight Of Sikes.................................................
.....510
Chapter 49. Monks And Mr. Brownlow At Length
Meet¡ªTheir Conversation, And The Intelligence That
Interrupts It...................................................................
......................522
Chapter 50. The Pursuit And Escape.............................................5
35
Chapter 51. Affording an explanation of more
mysteries than one, and comprehending a proposal of
marriage with no word of settlement or pin-money......................550
Chapter 52. Fagin¡¯s Last Night Alive .............................................5
67
Chapter 53. And Last............................................................
............578
Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics

Oliver Twist
Chapter 1
Treats Of The Place Where Oliver Twist Was Born;
And Of The Circumstances Attending His Birth.
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
Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics

Oliver Twist
there was considerable difficulty in inducing Oliver to take upon
himself the office of respiration¡ªa 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
Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics

and them in the wurkus with me. as she stooped to take up the child.¡± Apparently this consolatory perspective of a mother¡¯s prospects failed in producing its due effect. and had thirteen children of her own.¡± He put on his hat.¡± ¡°Lor bless her dear heart. The surgeon deposited it in her arms. but the blood had stopped for ever. where did she come from?¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Mrs. poor dear. Thingummy!¡± said the surgeon at last. and temples. ¡°It¡¯s very likely it will be troublesome. fell back¡ªand died. They had been strangers too long. when she has lived as long as I have. she¡¯ll know better than to take on in that way. putting on his gloves with great deliberation. bless her dear heart! Think what it is to be a mother. shuddered. pausing by the bedside on his way to the door. ¡°She was a good-looking girl. and. hands. She imprinted her cold white lips passionately on its forehead.¡± said the surgeon.Oliver Twist him: ¡°Oh. Give it a little gruel if it is. if the child cries. The patient shook her head. gazed wildly round. and all on ¡¯em dead except two. there¡¯s a dear young lamb. picking up the cork of the green bottle. no!¡± interposed the nurse. added. do. ¡°It¡¯s all over. ¡°Poor dear!¡± ¡°You needn¡¯t mind sending up to me. They talked of hope and comfort. so it is!¡± said the nurse. sir. which had fallen out on the pillow. you must not talk about dying yet. They chafed her breast. hastily depositing in her pocket a green glass bottle. ¡°Ah. nurse. and stretched out her hand towards the child. the contents of which she had been tasting in a corner with evident satisfaction. ¡°Lor bless her dear heart. passed her hands over her face. too.

Ah! Good-night!¡± The medical gentleman walked away to dinner. and proceeded to dress the infant. having once more applied herself to the green bottle. and fell into his place at once¡ªa parish child¡ªthe orphan of a workhouse¡ªthe humble. but where she came from. She was found lying in the street. ¡°The old story. and the nurse.¡± replied the old woman. or where she was going to. it would have been hard for the haughtiest stranger to have assigned him his proper station in society. shaking his head: ¡°no wedding ring. If he could have known that he was an orphan. he was badged and ticketed. and pitied by none. he might have been the child of a nobleman or a beggar. perhaps he would have cried the louder. half-starved drudge¡ªto be cuffed and buffeted through the world¡ªdespised by all. for her shoes were worn to pieces. What an excellent example of the power of dress young Oliver Twist was I Wrapped in the blanket which had hitherto formed his only covering. nobody knows. left to the tender mercies of church-wardens and overseers.Oliver Twist ¡°She was brought here last night.¡± The surgeon leaned over the body. and raised the left hand. I see. She had walked some distance. But now that he was enveloped in the old calico robes which had grown yellow in the same service. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± he said. Oliver cried lustily. ¡°by the overseer¡¯s order. sat down on a low chair before the fire.

the parish authorities magnanimously and humanely resolved. For the next eight or ten months. and she had a very accurate perception of what was good for Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Upon this. Education. that he should be despatched to a branch workhouse some three miles off. The hungry and destitute situation of the infant orphan was duly reported by the workhouse authorities to the parish authorities. under the parental superintendence of an elderly female. The workhouse authorities replied with humility. that there was not. where twenty or thirty other juvenile offenders against the poor-laws rolled about the floor all day. He was brought up by hand. without the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing.Oliver Twist Chapter 2 Treats Of Oliver Twist¡¯s Growth. she knew what was good for children. And Board. and make it uncomfortable. Sevenpence-halfpenny¡¯s worth per week is a good round diet for a child. 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. Oliver was the victim of a systematic course of treachery and deception. a great deal may be got for sevenpence-halfpenny¡ªquite enough to overload its stomach. who received the culprits at and for the consideration of sevenpence-halfpenny per small head per week. in other words. The elderly female was a woman of wisdom and experience. The parish authorities inquired with dignity of the workhouse authorities. that Oliver should be ¡°farmed¡± or.

or got halfsmothered by accident. Occasionally. So. Everybody knows the story of another experimental philosopher who had a great theory about a horse being able to live without eating. four and twenty hours before he was to have had his first comfortable bait of air. when there was some more than usually interesting inquest upon a parish child who had been overlooked in turning up a bedstead. or fell into the fire from neglect. and who demonstrated it so well. and there gathered to the fathers it had never known in this. or inadvertently scalded to death when there happened to be a washing¡ªthough the latter accident was very scarce. was usually summoned into another world. the miserable little being. a similar result usually attended the operation of her system. in any one of which cases. that he got his own horse down to a straw a day. anything approaching to a washing being of rare occurrence in the farm¡ªthe jury would take it into their heads to ask troublesome questions. Thereby finding in the lowest depth a deeper still. or the parishioners would rebelliously Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . it did perversely happen in eight and a half cases out of ten. 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. either that it sickened from want and cold.Oliver Twist herself. if he had not died. and would most unquestionably have rendered him a very spirited and rampacious animal on nothing at all. Unfortunately for the experimental philosophy of the female to whose protecting care Oliver Twist was delivered over. for at the very moment when a child had contrived to exist upon the smallest possible portion of the weakest possible food. and proving herself a very great experimental philosopher.

Bumble. was unexpectedly startled by the apparition of Mr. had been locked up for atrociously presuming to be hungry. Mann. when Mrs. thanks to the spare diet of the establishment. and always sent the beadle the day before. Mann. Bumble. thrusting her head out of the window in well-affected ecstasies of joy. to say they were going. take Oliver and them two brats upstairs. how glad I am Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . 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. and he was keeping it in the coal-cellar with a select party of two other young gentlemen. the Board made periodical pilgrimages to the farm. But these impertinences were speedily checked by the evidence of the surgeon. it was his ninth birthday.Oliver Twist affix their signatures to a remonstrance. who. striving to undo the wicket of the garden gate. the beadle. after participating with him in a sound thrashing. and the testimony of the beadle. however. and decidedly small in circumference. and perhaps to this circumstance may be attributed his having any ninth birthday at all. when they went. the good lady of the house. Be this as it may. sir?¡± said Mrs. Oliver Twist¡¯s ninth birthday found him a pale. and wash ¡¯em directly. thin child. It had had plenty of room to expand. which was very self-devotional. Besides. The children were neat and clean to behold. But nature or inheritance had implanted a good sturdy spirit in Oliver¡¯s breast. ¡°(Susan. and what more would the people have! It cannot be expected that this system of farming would produce any very extraordinary or luxuriant crop.) My heart alive! Mr. Mr. somewhat diminutive in stature. Bumble. ¡°Goodness gracious! Is that you.

running out¡ªfor the three boys had been removed by this time¡ª¡°only think of that! That I should have forgotten that the gate was bolted on the inside. Mann. sir. that you are.¡± inquired Mr.¡± he replied. ¡°it may be as you say. as I may say. and vindicated the other. when they come here upon porochial business connected with the porochial orphans? Are you aweer. Bumble. Mr. ¡°Lor. Bumble was a fat man. in a calmer tone. with great humility. Mann. that I was only a-telling one or two of the dear children as is so fond of you. well. only think. it may be. Mrs.Oliver Twist to see you.¡± replied Mrs. Lead the way in. he gave the little wicket a tremendous shake. sir. for I come on business. ¡°to keep the parish officers a-waiting at your garden gate. do. Mrs. Bumble. Mr.¡± said Mrs. walk in. Mann. Mann. He relaxed. pray. and a stipendiary?¡± ¡°I¡¯m sure. Mrs. so. Bumble had a great idea of his oratorical powers and his importance. Mr. on account of them dear children! Walk in. a porochial delegate. and have something to say. Bumble. Mrs. Mann.¡± Although this invitation was accompanied with a curtsey that might have softened the heart of a church-warden. Mann. and then bestowed upon it a kick which could have emanated from no leg but a beadle¡¯s. ¡°Well. it by no means mollified the beadle. instead of responding to this open-hearted salutation in a kindred spirit. Mr. and a choleric.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . He had displayed the one. surely!¡± Now. that it was you a-coming. grasping his cane. ¡°Do you think this respectful or proper conduct.

Bumble smiled. Beadles are but men: and Mr.¡± said Mrs.¡± said Mr. It¡¯s gin.¡± observed Mrs. ¡°Ah. Not a drop. you know. and a lump of sugar. when they ain¡¯t well. Mrs.¡± ¡°No. Mann.¡± said Mr.) ¡°I Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . who had noticed the tone of the refusal.¡± ¡°Do you give the children Daffy. glanced complacently at the cocked hat. with captivating sweetness. You are a humane woman.¡± Mr. you could not. Yes. Mann?¡± inquired Bumble. Bumble.¡± replied the nurse. ¡°What is it?¡± inquired the beadle. Bumble wiped from his forehead the perspiration which his walk had engendered. he smiled. as she opened a corner cupboard. just a leetle drop. B. placed a seat for him. Mr. ¡°Now don¡¯t you be offended at what I¡¯m a-going to say. Mann. ¡°no. waving his right hand in a dignified but placid manner.¡± (Here she set down the glass. ¡°You¡¯ve had a long walk. or I wouldn¡¯t mention it. sir. Mr.¡± replied Mrs. Mann ushered the beadle into a small parlour with a brick floor. with a little cold water. Mr. Bumble. Mann persuasively. and officiously deposited his cocked hat and cane on the table before him.¡± said Mrs. Bumble coughed. ¡°I couldn¡¯t see ¡¯em suffer before my very eyes. Mann. Mrs. following with his eyes the interesting process of mixing. Now. you know. ¡°Why. Bumble?¡± ¡°Not a drop. and the gesture that had accompanied it. bless ¡¯em that I do. ¡°I think you will. and took down a bottle and glass. I¡¯ll not deceive you. and smiled.Oliver Twist Mrs. ¡°It¡¯s gin. dear as it is. ¡°Now. Mr. will you take a little drop of something. to put into the blessed infants¡¯ Daffy. it¡¯s what I¡¯m obliged to keep a little of in the house. Mann. ¡°Just a leetle drop. Bumble approvingly.

Oliver Twist shall take an early opportunity of mentioning it to the Board.¡± said the beadle. supernat¡¯ral exertions on the part of this parish. I named him. which was afterwards increased to twenty pound. The last was a S¡ªSwubble. Mann raised her hands in astonishment. you¡¯re quite a literary character. ¡°Well. Mann. Mrs. I have got names ready-made to the end of the alphabet. Mr. ¡°perhaps I may be. Perhaps I may be. Mrs. I may say. then?¡± The beadle drew himself up with great pride.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Mann.¡± Mrs. and said. We name our fondlings in alphabetical order. Mann.) ¡°I¡ªI drink your health with cheerfulness. Oliver Twist. Mrs. Notwithstanding the most superlative. awe have never been able to discover who is his father. sir!¡± said Mrs.¡± said the beadle. name. The next one as comes will be Unwin. ¡°And notwithstanding a offered reward of ten pound. Mrs. and. is nine year old today. ¡°And now about business. inflaming her left eye with the corner of her apron. taking out a leathern pocket-book. ¡°The child that was half-baptised.) ¡°You feel as a mother.¡± ¡°Why. well. or condition. I named him. Mann. ¡°I inwented it. or what was his mother¡¯s settlement.¡± ¡°Bless him!¡± interposed Mrs. Mrs. and all the way through it again. evidently gratified with the compliment. Mann.¡± (He stirred the gin-and-water. Mann.¡± said Bumble.¡± (He drew it towards him. after a moment¡¯s reflection. This was T¡ªTwist. when we come to Z.¡± ¡°You. Bumble!¡± ¡°I. ¡°How comes he to have any name at all. and the next Vilkins. but added.¡± and he swallowed half of it. Mann.

Bumble. Oliver. Oliver?¡± said Mr. Bumble. Mann gave him a thousand embraces. which was divided between the beadle on the chair. Young as he was. Hunger and recent ill-usage are great assistants if you want to cry. and. what Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . having had by this time as much of the outer coat of dirt which incrusted his face and hands removed. the Board have determined to have him back into the house. It was no very difficult matter for the boy to call the tears into his eyes. in a majestic voice.¡± ¡°I¡¯ll fetch him directly. Mrs. I have come out myself to take him there. and was shaking her fist at him with a furious countenance. ¡°but she¡¯ll come and see you sometimes. ¡°No. was led into the room by his benevolent protectress. when. Oliver was about to say that he would go along with anybody with great readiness.¡± replied Mr. Mann. ¡°Oliver being now too old to remain here. and the cocked hat on the table.¡± said Mrs.¡± This was no very great consolation to the child. for the fist had been too often impressed upon his body not to be deeply impressed upon his recollection. as could be scrubbed off in one washing. So let me see him at once. He took the hint at once. leaving the room for that purpose. ¡°Make a bow to the gentleman.¡± said Mrs. and Oliver cried very naturally indeed. and added. he had sense enough to make a feint of feeling great regret at going away. who had got behind the beadle¡¯s chair. Mann. Oliver. Mann. he caught sight of Mrs.Oliver Twist He finished the gin-and-water. she can¡¯t. however. glancing upwards. ¡°Will she go with me?¡± inquired poor Oliver. Oliver made a bow. ¡°Will you go along with me.

Bumble. trotted beside him. and he was once again a beadle. Oliver was then led away by Mr. Bumble from the wretched home where one kind word or look had never lighted the gloom of his infant years. a piece of bread-and-butter.Oliver Twist Oliver wanted a great deal more. Bumble returned very brief and snappish replies. Wretched as were the little companions in misery he was leaving behind. as the cottage gate closed after him.¡± To these interrogations Mr. for the temporary blandness which gin-andwater awakens in some bosoms had by this time evaporated. and was not quite certain whether he ought to laugh or cry. Not having a very clearly defined notion of what a live Board was. firmly grasping his gold-laced cuff. He had no time to think about the matter. inquiring at the end of every quarter of a mile whether they were ¡°nearly there. informed him that the Board had said he was to appear before it forthwith. to wake him up. when Mr. however. who had handed him over to the care of an old woman. Mr. and a sense of his loneliness in the great wide world. and the little brown cloth parish cap on his head. Bumble gave him a tap on the head with his cane. and. Bumble walked on with long strides. sank into the child¡¯s heart for the first time. Oliver was rather astounded by this intelligence. telling him it was a Board night. Oliver had not been within the walls of the workhouse a quarter of an hour. And yet he burst into an agony of childish grief. returned. little Oliver. lest he should seem too hungry when he got to the workhouse. for Mr. and had scarcely completed the demolition of a second slice of bread. and another on the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . With the slice of bread in his hand. they were the only friends he had ever known.

¡°You know you¡¯ve got no father or mother. Oliver was frightened at the sight of so many gentlemen. What could the boy be crying for? ¡°I hope you say your prayers every night. ¡°What¡¯s your name. I suppose?¡± ¡°What¡¯s that. ¡°Boy. weeping bitterly. don¡¯t you?¡± ¡°Yes. which made him tremble. fortunately bowed to that.¡± said Bumble. ¡°Bow to the Board.¡± said the gentleman in the high chair. ¡°The boy is a fool¡ªI thought he was. seated in an arm-chair rather higher than the rest. and putting him quite at his ease. ¡°Hush!¡± said the gentleman who had spoken first. ¡°What are you crying for?¡± inquired the gentleman in the white waistcoat.Oliver Twist back to make him lively.¡± said another gentleman in a gruff voice. ¡°listen to me. and bidding him follow. ¡°and pray for the people who feed you. and that you were brought up by the parish. Oliver brushed away two or three tears that were lingering in his eyes. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . boy?¡± said the gentleman in the high chair. These two causes made him answer in a very low and hesitating voice. sir?¡± inquired poor Oliver. sir. conducted him into a large. was a particularly fat gentleman with a very round. whitewashed room. Which was a capital way of raising his spirits. and the beadle gave him another tap behind. whereupon a gentleman in a white waistcoat said he was a fool. where eight or ten fat gentlemen were sitting round a table. and seeing no board but the table.¡± replied Oliver. At the top of the table. You know you¡¯re an orphan. red face.¡± said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. which made him cry. And to be sure it was very extraordinary.

And this was it:¡ª The members of this Board were very sage. philosophical men. and taught a useful trade. where it was all play and no work. they found out at once. ¡°Oho!¡± said the Board.¡± ¡°Yes. ¡°So you¡¯ll begin to pick oakum tomorrow morning at six o¡¯clock. and supper all the year round. deep. a public breakfast. sir.¡± added the surly one in the white waistcoat.¡± stammered the boy. Oliver bowed low by the direction of the beadle. because nobody had taught him. and when they came to turn their attention to the workhouse. But they had. But he hadn¡¯t. what ordinary folks would never have discovered¡ªthe poor people liked it! It was a regular place of public entertainment for the poorer classes. ¡°Well! You have come here to be educated. What a noble illustration of the tender laws of England! They let the paupers go to sleep! Poor Oliver! He little thought. The gentleman who spoke last was unconsciously right. and was then hurried away to a large ward.Oliver Twist and take care of you¡ªlike a Christian. It would have been very like a Christian. dinner. too.¡± said the red-faced gentleman in the high chair. he sobbed himself to sleep. where. tea. and a marvellously good Christian. as he lay sleeping in a happy unconsciousness of all around him. hard bed. looking Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . if Oliver had prayed for the people who fed and took care of him. that the Board had that very day arrived at a decision which would exercise the most material influence over all his future fortunes. a tavern where there was nothing to pay. on a rough. For the combination of both these blessings in the one simple process of picking oakum.¡ªa brick and mortar elysium.

if it had not been coupled with the workhouse. after a week or two¡¯s gruel. It was rather expensive at first. The relief was inseparable from the workhouse and the gruel. and issued three meals of thin gruel a day. not they). in no time. with an onion twice a week.Oliver Twist very knowing. we¡¯ll stop it all. in consequence of the great expense of a suit in Doctors¡¯ Commons. and with a corn-factor to supply periodically small quantities of oatmeal. which it is not necessary to repeat. But the number of workhouse inmates got thin as well as the paupers. With this view. but the Board were long-headed men. that all the poor people should have the alternative (for they would compel nobody. they contracted with the waterworks to lay on an unlimited supply of water. and the necessity of taking in the clothes of all the paupers.¡± So. and half a roll on Sundays. and made him a bachelor! There is no saying how many applicants for relief under these last two heads. they established the rule. and. in consequence of the increase in the undertaker¡¯s bill. or by a quick one out of it. took his family away from him. with a copper at one end: out of which the master. and that frightened people. and had provided for this difficulty. as they had theretofore done. shrunken forms. ¡°we are the fellows to set this to rights. kindly undertook to divorce poor married people. having reference to the ladies. For the first six months after Oliver Twist was removed. the system was in full operation. and the Board were in ecstasies. The room in which the boys were fed was a large stone hall. dressed in an Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . They made a great many other wise and humane regulations. which fluttered loosely on their wasted. instead of compelling a man to support his family. might have started up in all classes of society. of being starved by a gradual process in the house.

Oliver Twist and his companions suffered the tortures of slow starvation for three months: at last they got so voracious and wild with hunger. the boys took their places. that one boy. the spoons being nearly as large as the bowls). his pauper assistants ranged themselves behind him. meanwhile. lots were cast who should walk up to the master after supper that evening. hungry eye. stationed himself at the copper. in his cook¡¯s uniform. hinted darkly to his companions. employing themselves. the gruel was served out. ladled the gruel at meal-times. and it fell to Oliver Twist. and hadn¡¯t been used to that sort of thing (for his father had kept a small cookshop). they would sit staring at the copper. in sucking their fingers most assiduously. Boys have generally excellent appetites. A council was held. who was tall for his age. and they implicitly believed him. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and winked at Oliver. The boys polished them with their spoons till they shone again. with such eager eyes. the boys whispered each other.Oliver Twist apron for the purpose. The gruel disappeared. The master. when he had two ounces and a quarter of bread besides. he was afraid he might some night happen to eat the boy who slept next him. who happened to be a weakly youth of tender age. and ask for more. Of this festive composition each boy had one porringer. as if they could have devoured the very bricks of which it was composed. and no more¡ªexcept on occasions of great public rejoicing. and assisted by one or two women. that unless he had another basin of gruel per diem. with the view of catching up any stray splashes of gruel that might have been cast thereon. The evening arrived. He had a wild. and a long grace was said over the short commons. and when they had performed this operation (which never took very long. The bowls never wanted washing.

Limbkins. Limbkins. he was desperate with hunger. He gazed in stupefied astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds. sir! Oliver Twist has asked for more!¡± There was a general start.¡± said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. Oliver was ordered into instant confinement. ¡°That boy will be hung. after he had eaten the supper allotted by the dietary?¡± ¡°He did. Horror was depicted on every countenance. and advancing to the master. ¡°For more!¡± said Mr. said: ¡°Mr. ¡°Compose yourself. The Board were sitting in solemn conclave. and reckless with misery. basin and spoon in hand. and then clung for support to the copper. and answer me distinctly.¡± The master was a fat healthy man. the boys with fear.¡± replied Bumble. said. pinioned him in his arms. when Mr. Do I understand that he asked for more. somewhat alarmed at his own temerity: ¡°Please. but he turned very pale.¡± Nobody controverted the prophetic gentleman¡¯s opinion. sir. ¡°I know that boy will be hung. Bumble rushed into the room in great excitement.Oliver Twist while his next neighbours nudged him.¡± replied Oliver. An animated discussion took place.¡± The master aimed a blow at Oliver¡¯s head with the ladle. ¡°What!¡± said the master at length. The assistants were paralysed with wonder. ¡°I want some more. and a bill was next morning pasted on the outside of Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . I beg your pardon. sir. ¡°Please. I want some more. and shrieked aloud for the beadle. Bumble. He rose from the table. in a faint voice. Child as he was. and addressing the gentleman in the high chair. sir.

offering a reward of five pounds to anybody who would take Oliver Twist off the hands of the parish. business. or calling. if I ventured to hint just yet.Oliver Twist the gate. five pounds and Oliver Twist were offered to any man or woman who wanted an apprentice to any trade.¡± said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. whether the life of Oliver Twist had this violent termination or no. I should perhaps mar the interest of this narrative (supposing it to possess any at all). than I am that that boy will come to be hung.¡± As I purpose to show in the sequel whether the whitewaistcoated gentleman was right or not. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°I never was more convinced of anything in my life. as he knocked at the gate and read the bill next morning: ¡°I never was more convinced of anything in my life. In other words.

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. For a week after the commission of the impious and profane offence of asking for more. and attaching himself to the other. To the performance of this feat. namely. and. when the long. he would have established that sage individual¡¯s prophetic character. Which Would Not Have Been A Sinecure. tried to sleep: ever and anon waking with a start and tremble. Let it not be supposed by the enemies of ¡°the system. spread his little hands before his eyes to shut out the darkness. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . had been for all future times and ages. and crouching in the corner. dismal night came on. He only cried bitterly all day. It appears. There was a still greater obstacle in Oliver¡¯s youth and childishness. as if to feel even its cold. once and for ever. in council assembled: solemnly given and pronounced under their hands and seals.Oliver Twist Chapter 3 Relates How Oliver Twist Was Very Near Getting A Place. that pocket handkerchiefs being decided articles of luxury. however. at first sight. if he had entertained a becoming feeling of respect for the prediction of the gentle.¡± that. and drawing himself closer and closer to the wall. hard surface were a protection in the gloom and loneliness which surrounded him. not unreasonable to suppose. that. man in the white waistcoat. removed from the noses of paupers by the express order of the Board. there was one obstacle. by tying one end of his pocket handkerchief to a hook in the wall.

or the advantages of religious consolation. he was alternately cudgelling his brains and his donkey. in a species of arithmetical desperation. It chanced one morning. for which his landlord had become rather pressing. while Oliver¡¯s affairs were in this auspicious and comfortable state. and console his mind with. As for society. and he was allowed to perform his ablutions every morning under the pump. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . deeply cogitating in his mind his ways and means of paying certain arrears of rent.Oliver Twist during the period of his solitary incarceration. who prevented his catching cold. and an article direct from the manufactory of the very devil himself. it was nice cold weather. virtuous. and there sociably flogged as a public warning and example. 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. As for exercise. and caused a tingling sensation to pervade his frame. in a stone yard. Mr. And so far from being denied the advantages of religious consolation. he was carried every other day into the hall where the boys dined. a general supplication of the boys. and obedient. when. contented. was wending his way down the High Street. Gamfield. passing the workhouse. and there permitted to listen to. his eyes encountered the bill on the gate. in the presence of Mr. containing a special clause. and. the pleasure of society. therein inserted by authority of the Board. Bumble. that Mr. Gamfield¡¯s most sanguine estimate of his finances could not raise them within full five pounds of the desired amount. by repeated applications of the cane. Oliver was denied the benefit of exercise. chimneysweep. he was kicked into the same apartment every evening at prayer-time. in which they entreated to be made good.

from beginning to end. so. and then. and by these means turned him round. Mr. but more particularly on his eyes. He then gave him another blow on the head. as the boy with which it was encumbered. So. knowing what the dietary of the workhouse was. by way of gentle reminder that he was not his own master. well knew he would be a nice small pattern. to read the bill The gentleman with the white waistcoat was standing at the gate with his hands behind him. without noticing the word of command. and. bestowed a blow on his head. The donkey was in a state of profound abstraction: wondering. Having witnessed the little dispute between Mr. he smiled joyously when that person came up to read the bill. he gave his jaw a sharp wrench. Gamfield was exactly the sort of master Oliver Twist wanted.Oliver Twist ¡°Wo-o!¡± said Mr. Gamfield. he spelt the bill through again. he walked up to the gate. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . for he saw at once that Mr. he jogged onward. for five pounds was just the sum he had been wishing for. which would inevitably have beaten in any skull but a donkey¡¯s. catching hold of the bridle. Gamfield growled a fierce imprecation on the donkey generally. Then. too. as he perused the document. probably. and. Mr. Having completed these arrangements. Gamfield and the donkey. running after him. Gamfield smiled. Mr. just to stun him till he came back again. touching his fur cap in token of humility. whether he was destined to be regaled with a cabbagestalk or two when he had disposed of the two sacks of soot with which the little cart was laden. Gamfield to the donkey. after having delivered himself of some profound sentiments in the board-room. just the very thing for register stoves. accosted the gentleman in the white waistcoat.

as a caution not to run away in his absence. my man. gen¡¯lmen.¡± said Mr. Limbkins. ¡°It¡¯s a nasty trade. It¡¯s humane too. Gamfield.¡± ¡°Walk in. and there¡¯s nothink like a good hot blaze to make ¡¯em come down vith a run. ¡°Ay. followed the gentleman with the white waistcoat into the room where Oliver had first seen him. ¡°That¡¯s ¡¯cause they damped the straw afore they lit it in the chimbley to make ¡¯em come down agin. vereas smoke ain¡¯t o¡¯ no use at all in making a boy come down. sir. even if they¡¯ve stuck in the chimbley. and no blaze.¡± said the gentleman in the white waistcoat.¡± said another gentleman.Oliver Twist ¡°This here boy. wot the parish wants to ¡¯prentis. acause. and wery lazy. gen¡¯lmen. roasting their feet makes ¡¯em struggle to hextricate theirselves. ¡°I wants a ¡¯prentis. Gamfield. for it only sinds him to sleep.¡± said Gamfield.¡± said Mr. The Board then proceeded to converse among themselves for a few minutes. Boys is wery obstinit. and I am ready to take him. when Gamfield had again stated his wish. ¡°What of him?¡± ¡°If the parish would like him to learn a right pleasant trade.¡± said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. ¡°Young boys have been smothered in chimneys before now. and another wrench of the jaw. with a condescending smile.¡± said Mr. in a good ¡¯spectable chimbley-sweepin¡¯ bisness. but his mirth was speedily checked by a look from Mr. Gamfield having lingered behind. Mr. that the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and that¡¯s wot he likes. but in so low a tone.¡± The gentleman in the white waistcoat appeared very much amused by this explanation. to give the donkey another blow on the head. Limbkins. ¡°that¡¯s all smoke.

perhaps. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°at least. gen¡¯lmen?¡± said Mr. ¡°So you won¡¯t let me have him. taken it into their heads that this extraneous circumstance ought to influence their proceedings. What¡¯ll you give?¡± ¡°I should say. we think you ought to take something less than the premium we offered. he returned to the table. As Mr. if they had. ¡°No. as he had no particular wish to revive the rumour.¡± added the other members. Limbkins. pausing near the door. and we don¡¯t approve of it. on account of their being very frequently repeated with great emphasis. as it¡¯s a nasty business.¡± were alone audible. with a quick step.¡± replied Mr. gen¡¯lmen? Come! Don¡¯t be too hard on a poor man. It was very unlike their general mode of doing business.¡± said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. Mr. Gamfield. in some unaccountable freak. it occurred to him that the Board had. indeed. At length the whispering ceased.¡± said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. three pounds ten was plenty. Gamfield did happen to labour under the slight imputation of having bruised three or four boys to death already.¡± ¡°have a printed report published. he twisted his cap in his hands.¡± ¡°looked well in the accounts.¡± said Mr. ¡°Ten shillings too much. as. and the members of the Board having resumed their seats and their solemnity. and said: ¡°What¡¯ll you give.¡± ¡°Not at all. These only chanced to be heard.Oliver Twist words ¡°saving of expenditure. and walked slowly from the table. but still. Limbkins. Limbkins said: ¡°We have considered your proposition. Gamfield¡¯s countenance brightened. ¡°Decidedly not.¡± Mr.

Bumble brought him. as a premium. wavering. ¡°Come! I¡¯ll split the difference.¡± repeated Mr. and ordered to put himself into a clean shirt. when Mr. was released from bondage. gen¡¯lmen. In pursuance of this determination.Oliver Twist ¡°Come!¡± said Gamfield.¡± ¡°Not a farthing more. Ha! ha! ha!¡± Mr. Take him. and you¡¯ve got rid on him for good and all. that very afternoon. and the holiday allowance of two ounces and a quarter of bread. Bumble was at once instructed that Oliver Twist and his indentures were to be conveyed before the magistrate for signature and approval. Limbkins.¡± said Gamfield. you silly fellow! He¡¯s just the boy for you. There! ¡°Three pound ten. that the Board must have determined to kill him for some useful purpose. with his own hands. ¡°Pooh! pooh! nonsense!¡± said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. Three pound fifteen. gradually broke into a smile himself. gen¡¯lmen. Mr. Say four pound. now and then: it¡¯ll do him good. Oliver began to cry very piteously: thinking. for he hasn¡¯t been overfed since he was born. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . not unnaturally. At this tremendous sight. or they never would have begun to fatten him up in that way. He had hardly achieved this very unusual gymnastic performance. a basin of gruel. He wants the stick. to his excessive astonishment. ¡°He¡¯d be cheap with nothing at all. ¡°say four pound. and his board needn¡¯t come very expensive. Gamfield gave an arch look at the faces round the table.¡± urged Gamfield. observing a smile on all of them. little Oliver. gen¡¯lmen. Limbkins firmly. ¡°You¡¯re desperate hard upon me. and.¡± said the firm reply of Mr. The bargain was made.

When they arrived at the office. for there was quite enough water in it already. ¡°come.¡± As Mr. until he came back to fetch him. and say. Bumble. On their way to the magistrate. in a tone of impressive pomposity. somewhat less pompously. that he should like it very much indeed. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . sir!¡± said the child. both of which injunctions Oliver promised to obey: the rather as Mr. Bumble threw in a gentle hint. are a-going to ¡¯prentice you. Oliver. when you have none of your own. Bumble paused to take breath. ¡°You¡¯re a-going to be made a ¡¯prentice of. the tears rolled down the poor child¡¯s face. and don¡¯t cry into your gruel. Bumble. Oliver!¡ªseventy shillins one hundred and forty sixpences!¡ªand all for a naughty orphan which nobody can¡¯t love. Bumble instructed Oliver that all he would have to do. and admonished by Mr.¡± ¡°A ¡¯prentice. Bumble. for It was gratifying to his feelings to observe the effect his eloquence had produced. although the expense to the parish is three pound ten!¡ªthree pound ten. would be to look very happy.Oliver Twist ¡°Don¡¯t make your eyes red. after delivering this address in an awful voice. but eat your food and be thankful.¡± said Mr. Oliver. when the gentleman asked him if he wanted to be apprenticed. Oliver. there was no telling what would be done to him. ¡°Yes. Oliver! Wipe your eyes with the cuffs of your jacket. ¡°Come. Oliver. Bumble to stay there. trembling. he was shut up in a little room by himself. Oliver.¡± It certainly was.¡± said Mr. that¡¯s a very foolish action. Mr.¡± said Mr. ¡°The kind and blessed gentlemen which is so many parents to you. that if he failed in either particular. and he sobbed bitterly. and to set you up in life. and make a man of you.

your worship. he put on a grim and threatening look. the last-mentioned old gentleman woke up. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . It was a large room. unadorned with the cocked hat. were lounging about. by leading him at once into an adjoining room. after Oliver had been stationed by Mr. in a low voice. ¡°This is the boy. At the expiration of which time Mr. with a palpitating heart. is this the boy?¡± said the old gentleman. Bumble¡¯s face at this somewhat contradictory style of address. the door of which was open. ¡°Mind what I told you. my dear. Gamfield. Bumble said this. Limbkins was standing in front of the desk on one side. Bumble thrust in his head. and said aloud: ¡°Now. while two or three bluff-looking men. while the other was perusing. and there was a short pause.¡± Oliver roused himself.Oliver Twist There the boy remained. come to the gentleman. Mr. ¡°Bow to the magistrate. and pulled the other old gentleman by the sleeve. Bumble in front of the desk. but that gentleman prevented his offering any remark thereupon. He had been wondering. with a partially washed face on the other. The old gentleman with the spectacles gradually dozed off over the little bit of parchment. with the aid of a pair of tortoise-shell spectacles. and added. Bumble. in top-boots.¡± said Mr. for half an hour.¡± replied Mr. The old gentleman who was reading the newspaper raised his head for a moment. whereupon. sir. Bumble. and Mr. a small piece of parchment which lay before him. sat two gentlemen with powdered heads: one of whom was reading the newspaper. with his eyes fixed on the magistrates¡¯ powder. with a great window. Behind a desk. ¡°Oh.¡± As Mr. ¡°This is him. Oliver. and made his best obeisance. my dear. you young rascal!¡± Oliver stared innocently in Mr.

¡°I have no doubt you are. will you?¡± said the old gentleman.¡± said Mr.¡± replied Mr. But. and do all that sort of thing. and looking about him for the ink-stand. sir¡ªyou¡¯ll treat him well. my friend. giving Oliver a sly pinch. ¡°I hope I am. sir.¡± replied the old gentleman.¡± replied Bumble. to intimate that he had better not say he didn¡¯t. open-hearted man. Gamfield doggedly. he¡¯d run away simultaneous. and were Boards from thenceforth on that account. and signed the indentures. so he couldn¡¯t reasonably be expected to discern what other people did. your worship. Gamfield. If the ink-stand had been where the old gentleman thought¡¯ it was. as it chanced to be immediately under his nose. ¡°Well. my friend. your worship. ¡°And he will be a sweep. ¡°You¡¯re a rough speaker.¡± said the old gentleman. But the magistrate was half-blind and half-childish. it followed. with an ugly leer.Oliver Twist whether all Boards were born with that white stuff on their heads. but you look an honest. ¡°I suppose he¡¯s fond of chimney-sweeping?¡± ¡°He dotes on it. and Oliver would have been straightway hurried off.¡± said the old gentleman. It was the critical moment of Oliver¡¯s fate.¡± replied Bumble ¡°And this man that¡¯s to be his master¡ªyou. he would have dipped his pen into it. will he?¡± inquired the old gentleman. ¡°If we was to bind him to any other trade tomorrow. fixing his spectacles more firmly on his nose. turning his spectacles in the direction of the candidate for Oliver¡¯s premium. I means I will. that Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . as a matter of course. ¡°When I says I will. whose villainous countenance was a regular stamped receipt for cruelty. and feed him.

was regarding the repulsive countenance of his future master. even by a half-blind magistrate. prayed that they would order him back to the dark room¡ªthat they would starve him¡ªbeat him¡ªkill him if they pleased¡ªrather than send him away with that dreadful man. boy. leaning over the desk. Oliver. He trembled violently. and looked from Oliver to Mr. ¡°you look pale and alarmed. with a mingled expression of horror and fear.¡± said the second old gentleman. who. laid down his pen. his gaze encountered the pale and terrified face of Oliver Twist. ¡°My boy!¡± said the old gentleman. and clasped his hands together. for the words were kindly said. you are one of the most barefacedest. He might be excused for doing so. raising his hands and eyes with most impressive solemnity. beadle. without finding it. ¡°Now. Bumble. ¡°Well!¡± said Mr.¡± said the other magistrate. Limbkins. Oliver started at the sound. too palpable to be mistaken. and leaning forward with an expression of interest. ¡°Well! of all the artful and designing orphans that ever I see. ¡°My boy!¡± said the old gentleman. despite all the admonitory looks and pinches of Bumble. tell us what¡¯s the matter¡ªdon¡¯t be afraid. The old gentleman stopped.¡± Oliver fell on his knees. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and burst into tears. beadle.Oliver Twist he looked all over his desk for it. and strange sounds frighten one. and happening in the course of his speech to look straight before him. laying aside the paper. who attempted to take snuff with a cheerful and unconcerned aspect. What is the matter?¡± ¡°Stand a little away from him.¡± ¡°Hold your tongue.

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

took counsel together on the expediency of shipping off Oliver Twist. some day after dinner. in a playful mood. as is pretty generally known. in some small trading vessel bound to a good unhealthy port. they come to the conclusion that the only way of providing for Oliver effectually. for the young man who is growing up. Makes His First Entry Into Public Life. which suggested itself as the very best thing that could possibly be done with him: the probability being. Sowerberry. when he encountered at the gate. reversion. that the skipper would flog him to death.Oliver Twist Chapter 4 Oliver. The Board. or would knock his brains out with an iron bar. The more the case presented itself to the Board. in this point of view. in imitation of so wise and salutary an example. very favourite and common recreations among gentlemen of that class. Bumble had been despatched to make various preliminary inquiries. the parochial undertaker. either in possession. both pastimes being. when an advantageous place cannot be obtained. it is a very general custom to send him to sea. no less a person than Mr. the more manifold the advantages of the step appeared. so. and was returning to the workhouse to communicate the result of his mission. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . with the view of finding out some captain or other who wanted a cabin-boy without any friends. In great families. Mr. remainder. or expectancy. Being Offered Another Place. was to send him to sea without delay.

Sowerberry was much tickled at this¡ªas of course he ought to be-and laughed a long time without cessation. 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. large-jointed man. A fair profit is.¡± repeated Mr. Mr. as he advanced to Mr. but he was in general rather given to professional jocosity. Bumble. Mr.¡± ¡°So are the coffins. Sowerberry.¡± he said at length. ¡°The prices allowed by the Board are very small. ¡°every trade has its drawbacks. attired in a suit of threadbare black with darned cotton stockings of the same colour. the coffins are something narrower and more shallow than they used to be. in a tone which half-admitted and half-disputed the probability of the event. with his cane. well. of course. ¡°I say you¡¯ll make your fortune. by canal. Bumble. ¡°I have taken the measure of the two women that died last night. Sowerberry. sir. and all the iron handles come. in a friendly manner. gaunt. and shook him cordially by the hand.¡± said Mr. Mr. ¡°You¡¯ll make your fortune. Mr. from Birmingham. His features were not naturally intended to wear a smiling aspect.¡± said the undertaker.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . with precisely as near the approach to a laugh as a great official ought to indulge in. and shoes to answer.¡± said the beadle. and his face betokened inward pleasantry. allowable. ¡°Think so?¡± said the undertaker. well. Bumble. but we must have some profit. ¡°there¡¯s no denying that.¡± replied the beadle. Bumble. Mr. Bumble.Oliver Twist Mr Sowerberry was a tall. Well-seasoned timber is an expensive article. Bumble.¡± ¡°Well. since the new system of feeding has come in. Mr. ¡°Well. His step was elastic. tapping the undertaker on the shoulder. Mr. Bumble.

Mr. why. Sowerberry said this. Mr. what a very elegant button this is. with the becoming indignation of an ill-used man. You know¡ªdear me. who is at present a dead-weight. Bumble spoke. resuming the current of observations which the beadle had interrupted. Mr. that all the stout people go off the quickest. Sowerberry. as I may say. the latter gentleman thought it advisable to change the subject. Bumble. Bumble! I never noticed it before.¡± replied the undertaker. ¡°that¡¯s just the very thing I wanted to speak to you about. said Mr. Oliver Twist being uppermost in his mind.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°Though I must say. a millstone.¡± continued the undertaker.¡± As Mr. liberal terms!¡± As Mr. and have paid rates for many years. The people who have been better off. that I have to contend against one very great disadvantage: which is. round the porochial throat? Liberal terms. 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. ¡°By the bye. taking Mr. of course. ¡°Gadso!¡± said the undertaker.¡± said Mr. and gave three distinct raps upon the words ¡°five pounds¡±: which were printed thereon in Roman capitals of gigantic size. I make it up in the long run. and let me tell you. Bumble. sir. Bumble felt that it rather tended to convey a reflection on the honour of the parish. ¡°though I must say. you see¡ªhe! he! he!¡± ¡°Just so. Bumble by the giltedged lapel of his official coat. ¡°you don¡¯t know anybody who wants a boy. he raised his cane to the bill above him. Mr. do you? A porochial ¡¯prentis. are the first to sink when they come into the house.Oliver Twist ¡°Of course. and as Mr. ¡°and if I don¡¯t get a profit upon this or that particular article. Bumble. Bumble. he made him his theme.

didn¡¯t they?¡± Mr. Sowerberry. for the first time. Bumble nodded. ¡°They haven¡¯t no more philosophy nor political economy about ¡¯em than that. ¡°And I only wish we¡¯d a jury of the independent sort in the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and want of the common necessaries of life.¡± ¡°Very true. ¡°The die is the same as the porochial seal¡ªthe Good Samaritan healing the sick. ¡°juries is ineddicated. snapping his fingers contemptuously. I think. ¡°So do I.¡± said the undertaker. ¡°And they made it a special verdict.¡± said Mr. to attend the inquest on that reduced tradesman. ¡®Died from exposure to the cold.¡± said the beadle. they¡¯d have enough to do. grovelling wretches. I think it is rather pretty. who died in a doorway at midnight. ¡°by adding some words to the effect. that if the relieving officer had¡ª¡± ¡°Tush! Foolery!¡± interposed the beadle.¡± said the undertaker.¡± ¡°So they are. ¡°If the Board attended to all the nonsense that ignorant jurymen talk. ¡°No more they have. Bumble. vulgar. growing very red in the face.Oliver Twist ¡°Yes. Mr. The Board presented it to me on New Year s morning. ¡°I despise ¡¯em. I put it on. glancing proudly downwards at the large brass buttons which embellished his coat.¡± ¡°Juries. I remember. and bruised man.¡± said the undertaker.¡± acquiesced the undertaker. ¡°they would indeed.¡± ¡°I recollect.¡± said the undertaker.¡± said the beadle.¡± said the beadle. grasping his cane tightly. as was his wont when working into a passion. ¡°The jury brought it in.¡± rejoined the undertaker.

that if the master find.Oliver Twist house for a week or two. I¡¯ve a right to get as much out of ¡¯em as I can. to calm the rising wrath of the indignant parish officer. that night. and so¡ªand so¡ªI think I¡¯ll take the boy myself. that he can get enough work out of a boy without putting too much food into him. as general house-lad to a coffin-maker¡¯s. ¡°the rules and regulations of the Board would soon bring their spirit down for ¡¯em. wiped from his forehead the perspiration which his rage had engendered. he shall have him for a term of years. Bumble lifted off his cocked hat. turning to the undertaker.¡± replied the undertaker. ¡°why. So saying. upon a short trial. and.¡± replied the undertaker. ¡°I was thinking that if I pay so much towards ¡¯em. Mr.¡± ¡°Let ¡¯em alone for that. Mr.¡± ¡°Hem!¡± said Mr. I pay a good deal towards the poor¡¯s rates. Bumble. in the case of a parish apprentice. to do what he likes with. said in a calmer voice: ¡°Well. Bumble. and it was arranged that Oliver should go to him that evening ¡°upon liking¡±¡ªa phrase which means. and led him into the building. Sowerberry was closeted with the Board for five minutes. Mr. or ever came back to the parish again. Bumble grasped the undertaker by the arm. Bumble. and informed that he was to go. When little Oliver was taken before ¡°the gentlemen¡± that evening.¡± Mr. he smiled approvingly. took a handkerchief from the inside of the crown. fixed the cocked hat on again. he would be sent Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and that if he complained of his situation. ¡°Well?¡± ¡°Well.¡± said the beadle. what about the boy?¡± ¡°Oh!¡± replied the undertaker. you know Mr.

they were rather out. to a state of brutal stupidity and sullenness by the ill-usage he had received. for the beadle carried his head very erect. possessed rather too much. instead of possessing too little feeling. Bumble¡¯s coat as they blew open. it being a windy day. about half a foot square by three inches deep¡ªhe pulled his cap over his eyes. Bumble. and. and see that the boy was in good order for inspection by his new master. should feel in a great state of virtuous astonishment and horror at the smallest tokens of want of feeling on the part of anybody.Oliver Twist to sea. without notice or remark. and ordered Mr. however. Bumble drew Oliver along. for life. as the case might be. Bumble¡¯s coat cuff. The simple fact was. Mr. which he accordingly did. ¡°Oliver!¡± said Mr. He heard the news of his destination. he evinced so little emotion. Now. in this particular instance. that Oliver. was led away by that dignitary to a new scene of suffering. Mr. As they drew near to their destination. that they by common consent pronounced him a hardened young rascal. there to be drowned or knocked on the head. For some time. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Bumble thought it expedient to look down. Bumble to remove him forthwith. having had his luggage put into his hand¡ªwhich was not very difficult to carry. of all people in the world. little Oliver was completely enshrouded by the skirts of Mr. with a fit and becoming air of gracious patronage. inasmuch as it was all comprised within the limits of a brown-paper parcel. although it was very natural that the Board. and once more attaching himself to Mr. in perfect silence. and disclosed to great advantage his flapped waistcoat and drab plush knee-breeches. as a beadle always should: and. and was in a fair way of being reduced.

once more taking his hand. who had just put up the shutters of his shop. ¡°Well! Of all the ungratefullest. It was followed by another. ¡°no. don¡¯t pray be cross with me!¡± The child beat his hand upon his heart. I will be good indeed. but it was an unsuccessful one. tremulous voice. As Mr. and. indeed. ¡°Well!¡± exclaimed Mr. sir! So very lonely!¡± cried the child.Oliver Twist ¡°Yes.¡± sobbed Oliver. and looked in his companion¡¯s face. sir! I am a very little boy. hemmed three or four times in a husky manner. stopping short. with some astonishment. no. sir. in a low.¡± bade Oliver dry his eyes and be a good boy.¡± Although Oliver did as he was desired. he walked on with him in silence. ¡°Everybody hates me. Oliver. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and another. Withdrawing his other hand from Mr.¡± replied Oliver. and wept until the tears sprang out from between his chin and bony fingers. it rolled down his cheek. for a few seconds. clinging to the hand which held the well-known cane. ¡°So lonely. he left a tear in them when he looked up at his conductor. he covered his face with both. Bumble regarded Oliver¡¯s piteous and helpless look. Mr. and it is so¡ªso¡ª¡± ¡°So what?¡± inquired Mr. after muttering something about ¡°that troublesome cough. Bumble¡¯s. with tears of real agony. and hold up your head. indeed I will. sir. Bumble in amazement. Bumble. and worst-disposed boys as ever I see. and darting at his little charge a look of intense malignity. The child made a strong effort. no. sir. and passed the back of his unoccupied hand briskly across his eyes. ¡°Pull that cap off your eyes. you are the¡ª¡± ¡°No. sir. sir. at once. The undertaker. Oh! sir. Bumble gazed sternly upon him. don¡¯t. Then.

However. ¡°Aha!¡± said the undertaker. ¡°Mrs.¡± With this. with a vixenish countenance. looking at Oliver as if it were his fault that he was no bigger. Sowerberry! will you have the goodness to come here a moment. not I.¡± said Mr. ¡°on our victuals and our drink. to get a better view of Oliver. But he¡¯ll grow. in shoes down at heel. ¡°Oh! that¡¯s the boy. Mr. damp and dark. Bumble?¡± ¡°No one else.¡± ¡°Ah! I dare say he will. ¡°Here. who had followed Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . looking up from the book and pausing in the middle of a word. I see no saving in parish children. Charlotte. raising the candle above his head. he is rather small. and denominated ¡°kitchen¡±: wherein sat a slatternly girl. ¡°is that you. ¡°My dear.¡± replied Mr.¡± Oliver made a bow. men always think they know best. Sowerberry deferentially. Bumble. squeezed-up woman. Sowerberry. when Mr.¡± Oliver bowed again. ¡°Dear me!¡± said the undertaker¡¯s wife. There¡¯s no denying it. and blue worsted stockings very much out of repair. my dear?¡± Mrs. thin. forming the ante-room to the coal-cellar. is it?¡± said the undertaker.¡± ¡°Why. Sowerberry¡ªhe¡¯ll grow. for they always cost more to keep.¡± replied the lady pettishly.¡± replied the beadle. ¡°he is small. and presented the form of a short. Bumble entered. little bag o¡¯ bones. ¡°this is the boy from the workhouse that I told you of. the undertaker¡¯s wife opened a side door. and pushed Oliver down a steep flight of stairs into a stone cell. Sowerberry emerged from a little room behind the shop.Oliver Twist was making some entries in his day-book by the light of a most appropriate dismal candle. ¡°he¡¯s very small. There! Get downstairs. Mrs. ¡°Here! I¡¯ve brought the boy.¡± said Mrs. Sowerberry. than they¡¯re worth.

Oliver replied in the affirmative. with the same relish. whose eyes had glistened at the mention of meat. ¡°have you done?¡± There being nothing eatable within his reach. don¡¯t keep me here all night!¡± Oliver lingered no longer. could have seen Oliver Twist clutching at the dainty viands that the dog had neglected. and that would be to see the philosopher making the same sort of meal himself. whose meat and drink turn to gall within him. Sowerberry. He hasn¡¯t come home since the morning. There is only one thing I should like better. whose heart is iron. I wish he could have witnessed the horrible avidity with which Oliver tore the bits asunder with all the ferocity of famine. ¡°your bed¡¯s under the counter. replied in the negative. I suppose? But it doesn¡¯t much matter whether you do or don¡¯t. I wish some well-fed philosopher. and who was trembling with eagerness to devour it. for you can¡¯t sleep anywhere else. and a plateful of coarse broken victuals was set before him.¡± said Mrs. Come.Oliver Twist Oliver down. but meekly followed his new mistress. ¡°Then come with me. ¡°give the boy some of the cold bits that were put by for Trip. and with fearful auguries of his future appetite. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . so he may go without ¡¯em. which she had regarded in silent horror. ¡°Well.¡± said the undertaker¡¯s wife. when Oliver had finished his supper. and leading the way upstairs. I dare say the boy isn¡¯t too dainty to eat ¡¯em¡ªare you. taking up a dim and dirty lamp. boy?¡± Oliver. whose blood is ice. You don¡¯t mind sleeping among the coffins.

Against the wall were ranged. O liver. looked like a grave. and the atmosphere seemed tainted with the smell of coffins. every time his eyes wandered in the direction of the dismal object. which stood in the middle of the shop. on duty at a large private door. Nor were these the only dismal feelings which depressed Oliver. being left to himself in the undertaker¡¯s shop. elm chips. looked so gloomy and death-like that a cold tremble came over him. with a hearse drawn by four black steeds. which many people a good deal older than he will be at no loss to understand. lay scattered on the floor. like highshouldered ghosts with their hands in their breeches pockets. Coffin plates. An unfinished coffin on black trestles.Oliver Twist Chapter 5 Oliver Mingles With New Associates¡ªGoing To A Funeral For The First Time. and shreds of black cloth. bright-headed nails. in regular array. and gazed timidly about him with a feeling of awe and dread. He was alone in a strange place. and we all know how Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . He Forms An Unfavourable Notion Of His Master¡¯s Business. The recess beneath the counter in which his flock mattress was thrust. and the wall behind the counter was ornamented with a lively representation of two mutes in very stiff neckcloths. The shop was close and hot. approaching in the distance. from which he almost expected to see some frightful form slowly rear its head. set the lamp down on a workman¡¯s bench. a long row of elm boards cut into the same shape: looking in the dim light. to drive him mad with terror.

and the sound of the old deep bell to soothe him in his sleep. as he crept into his narrow bed. When he began to undo the chain. The boy had no friends to care for. ¡°Open the door. But his heart was heavy. ¡°How old are yer?¡¯ inquired the voice. sir. was repeated. ¡°you just see if I don¡¯t. that¡¯s all. with the tall grass waving gently above his head. Oliver glanced up the street. in an angry and impetuous manner. and that he could be lain in a calm and lasting sleep in the churchyard ground. most honourably. the voice began to whistle. ¡°I will.¡± replied Oliver. and opened the door. He drew back the bolts with a trembling hand. sir. For a second or two. Oliver had been too often subjected to the process to which the very expressive monosyllable just recorded bears reference.Oliver Twist chilled and desolate the best of us will sometimes feel in such a situation. my work¡¯us brat!¡± and having made this obliging promise.¡± replied Oliver. and a voice began. and down the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . the absence of no loved and well-remembered face sank heavily into his heart. about twenty-five times. notwithstanding. whoever he might be. sir. ¡°Then I¡¯ll whop yer when I get in. ¡°Ten. directly. undoing the chain and turning the key. Oliver was awakened in the morning by a loud kicking at the outside of the shop door. before he could huddle on his clothes. and he wished. ¡°Yes. the legs desisted.¡± said the voice. to entertain the smallest doubt that the owner of the voice. or to care for him.¡¯ replied Oliver. which. that that were his coffin. The regret of no recent separation was fresh in his mind. will yer?¡± cried the voice which belonged to the legs which had kicked at the door. would redeem his pledge.

Claypole administered a kick to Oliver. to warm himself. and over the way. sir. of the first one. ¡°Yer don¡¯t know who I am. when superadded to these personal attractions are a red nose and yellow smalls. with a clasp knife. and said that Oliver would want one before long. and broken a pane of glass in his efforts to stagger away beneath the weight. which he cut into wedges. At this the charity-boy looked monstrous fierce. but it is more especially so. ¡°I¡¯m Mister Noah Claypole. ¡°did you knock?¡± ¡°I kicked. yer idle young ruffian!¡± With this. sir. ¡°Did you want a coffin. meanwhile. I suppose. Mr. Work¡¯us?¡± said the charity-boy. eating a slice of bread-and-butter.¡± said the charity-boy. which did him great credit. sitting on a post in front of the house. to look dignified under any circumstances. Oliver. had walked a few paces off. at length.¡± rejoined Oliver. and then consumed with great dexterity. ¡°No. of lumbering make and heavy countenance. ¡°I beg your pardon. to a small court at the side of the house in which they were Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . small-eyed youth. in continuation. ¡°and you¡¯re under me. and entered the shop with a dignified air. sir?¡± inquired Oliver innocently. impressed with the belief that the unknown who had addressed him through the keyhole. for nobody did he see but a big charity-boy. seeing that no other visitor made his appearance. Take down the shutters. the size of his mouth. descending from the top of the post. It is difficult for a large-headed. with edifying gravity.¡± said Oliver.¡± replied the charity-boy. having taken down the shutters.Oliver Twist street. if he cut jokes with his superiors in that way.

having consoled him with the assurance that ¡°he¡¯d catch it. and his father a drunken soldier. and make haste. Sowerberry came down soon after. Sowerberry appeared. All his relations let him have his own way pretty well. for they¡¯ll want you to mind the shop. was graciously assisted by Noah. Mr. shut that door at Mister Noah¡¯s back. and take them bits that I¡¯ve put out on the cover of the bread-pan. you queer soul!¡± said Charlotte. Mrs. but not a workhouse orphan. and ate the stale pieces which had been specially reserved for him.¡± condescended to help him. Shortly afterwards. who lived hard by. as he was shivering on the box in the coldest corner of the room. There¡¯s your tea.¡± in fulfilment of Noah¡¯s prediction. ¡°Why everybody lets him alone enough. bursting into a hearty laugh. D¡¯ye hear?¡± ¡°D¡¯ye hear. in which she was joined by Noah. discharged with a wooden leg and a diurnal pension of twopence-halfpenny and an Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Eh. take it away to that box and drink it there. his mother being a washerwoman.Oliver Twist kept during the day. and Oliver having ¡°caught it. Oliver. No chance¡ªchild was he. ¡°Come near the fire. Noah!¡± said Charlotte. Neither his father nor his mother will ever interfere with him. ¡°what a rum creature you are! Why don¡¯t you let the boy alone?¡± ¡°Let him alone!¡± said Noah. Noah was a charity-boy. for the matter of that. ¡°Lor. for he could trace his genealogy all the way back to his parents. Charlotte? He! he! he!¡± ¡°Oh. after which they both looked scornfully at poor Oliver Twist. who. ¡°I saved a nice little bit of bacon for you from master¡¯s breakfast.¡± said Charlotte. Work¡¯us?¡± said Noah Claypole. followed that young gentleman down the stairs to breakfast. Noah.

This affords charming food for contemplation. and Mrs. ¡°But. don¡¯t ask mine. ¡°I thought you didn¡¯t want to hear. my dear. ¡°I want to ask your advice. and Noah had borne them without reply. with the ignominious epithets of ¡°leathers. now that fortune has cast in his way a nameless orphan. nothing.¡± interposed Mrs. Sowerberry looking up. don¡¯t tell me what you were going to say. in an affecting manner. with a peculiarly unpropitious aspect. Sowerberry said this. Sowerberry humbly. my dear. Sowerberry¡ªthe shop being shut up¡ªwere taking their supper in the little back parlour. at whom even the meanest could point the finger of scorn.¡± Here. my dear. The shop boys in the neighbourhood had long been in the habit of branding Noah. she gave an hysterical laugh. But. I don¡¯t want to intrude upon your secrets. there was another Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°I am nobody.¡± ¡°charity. said: ¡°My dear¡ª¡± He was going to say more. ¡°ask somebody else¡¯s.¡± said Mr. Mr. Sowerberry. Sowerberry. ¡°Ugh. pray. ¡°Well. Sowerberry. Oliver had been sojourning at the undertaker¡¯s some three weeks or a month. my dear.¡± As Mrs. Sowerberry sharply. Sowerberry. in the public streets. he stopped short. ¡°Not at all. which threatened violent consequences. ¡°Nothing. no. don¡¯t consult me.¡± said Mrs. when Mr.¡± said Mr Sowerberry.¡± and the like. and how impartially the same amiable qualities are developed in the finest lord and the dirtiest charity-boy. Sowerberry.Oliver Twist unstateable fraction.¡¯! ¡°No.¡± said Mr. after several deferential glances at his wife.¡± replied Mrs. you brute!¡± said Mrs. It shows us what a beautiful thing human nature may be made to be. Mrs. but. he retorted on him with interest. I was only going to say¡ª¡± ¡°Oh.

Sowerberry to begging. as an acquiescence in his proposition.¡± ¡°He need be. with much sharpness. the permission was most graciously conceded. therefore. You may depend upon it. with this view. my dear. who had a good deal of taste in the undertaking way.¡± resumed Mr. Sowerberry. ¡°which is very interesting. It would be very new to have a mute in proportion. Sowerberry remarked it. was much struck by the novelty of this idea. she merely inquired. Sowerberry.¡± said Mr. my dear. and without allowing time for any observation on the good lady¡¯s part. that Oliver should be at once initiated into the mysteries of the trade. Sowerberry was most curious to hear. but. ¡°There¡¯s an expression of melancholy in his face.Oliver Twist hysterical laugh. which is often very effective. but only for children¡¯s practice. Sowerberry rightly construed this. as a special favour.¡± Mrs. Sowerberry looked up with an expression of considerable wonderment. After a short altercation of less than three-quarters of an hour¡¯s duration. for he eats enough. This is a very common and much-approved matrimonial course of treatment. my dear. ¡°It¡¯s only about young Twist. He would make a delightful mute. which frightened Mr. to be allowed to say what Mrs. my dear. my dear. Sowerberry. as it would have been compromising her dignity to have said so. Mr. ¡°A very good-looking boy. that. and. why such an obvious suggestion had not presented itself to her husband¡¯s mind before? Mr. It at once reduced Mr. Sowerberry very much. ¡°I don¡¯t mean a regular mute to attend grown-up people. proceeded.¡± Mrs. it was speedily determined. it would have a superb effect. under existing circumstances. my love. that Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± observed the lady.

Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . which he handed over to Sowerberry. Sowerberry. eh?¡± ¡°For a coffin first. The occasion was not long in coming. offhand. ¡°Aha!¡± said the undertaker. ¡°and we shouldn¡¯t have known anything about them. Mr. Bumble. Sowerberry!¡± ¡°So it is. and supporting his cane against the counter.¡± ¡°Oh.¡± said the undertaker. ¡°an order for a coffin.¡± ¡°Ah. ¡°I never heard the name before. drew forth his large leathern pocket-book: from which he selected a small scrap of paper. but his ¡¯prentice (which is a very clever lad) sent ¡¯em some medicine in a blacking-bottle. looking from the scrap of paper to Mr.¡± said the undertaker.¡± ¡°Proud. there¡¯s promptness.¡± Bumble shook his head. and a porochial funeral afterwards. with a sneer.¡± replied Mr. as he replied. Mr.¡± said the beadle. ¡°Obstinate people. was very corpulent. that¡¯s too much. fastening the strap of the leathern pocketbook: which. like himself. He had gone out to dinner.¡± acquiesced the undertaker.¡± replied the beadle. only a woman who lodges in the same house made an application to the porochial committee for them to send the porochial surgeon to see a woman as was very bad. ¡°Come. Bumble. then.Oliver Twist he should accompany his master on the very next occasion of his services being required. too. Bumble entered the shop. eh?¡± exclaimed Mr. very obstinate. ¡°Bayton. sir. Proud. it¡¯s sickening. Mr. Half an hour after breakfast next morning. glancing over it with a lively countenance. I¡¯m afraid. Sowerberry. ¡°We only heard of the family the night before last. ¡°Antimonial.

Oliver. sir! Good. who had carefully kept himself out of sight. during the interview.¡± said the undertaker. Bumble¡¯s voice. for that functionary. we¡¯ve got to bury her. sir!¡± ejaculated the beadle. that he forgot even to ask after you!¡± said Mr. the better. the subject was better avoided.Oliver Twist ¡°Promptness. looking after the beadle as he strode down the street. he struck the counter sharply with his cane. Bumble put on his cocked hat wrong side first. he was so angry. Sowerberry. ¡°But what¡¯s the consequence. and the sooner it¡¯s done. ¡°Yes. and so she shan¡¯t take it¡ªsays she shan¡¯t take it. however.¡± Thus saying. with a blackin¡¯-bottle in¡ªand he sends back word that she shan¡¯t take it. strong. sir? Why. ¡°No. ¡°I ne¡ªver¡ªdid¡ª¡± ¡°Never did. until such time as he should be firmly bound for seven years. but. Mr. Bumble¡¯s glance.¡± replied Oliver. ¡°Why. in a fever of parochial excitement. only a week before¡ªsent ¡¯em for nothing. and became flushed with indignation. ¡°Well. and who was shaking from head to foot at the mere recollection of the sound of Mr. the husband sends back word that the medicine won¡¯t suit his wife¡¯s complaint. on whom the prediction of the gentleman in the white waistcoat had made a very strong impression. sir. and all danger of his being Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . indeed!¡± replied the beadle. and that¡¯s the direction. nor anybody never did. as was given with great success to two Irish labourers and a coal-heaver. thought that now the undertaker had got Oliver upon trial. wholesome medicine. now she¡¯s dead. and flounced out of the shop. Bumble¡¯s mind in full force. He needn¡¯t have taken the trouble to shrink from Mr. sir!¡± As the atrocity presented itself to Mr. what¡¯s the ungrateful behaviour of these rebels.

to afford an aperture wide enough for the passage of a human body. but even these crazy dens seemed to have been selected as the nightly haunts of some houseless wretches. A great many of the tenements had shop-fronts. Noah. put on your cap. The very rats. which here and there lay putrefying in its rottenness. with folded arms and bodies half-doubled. but very old. Some houses which had become insecure from age and decay. Sowerberry. paused to look for the house which was the object of their search. They walked on. were prevented from falling into the street by huge beams of wood reared against the walls. and followed his master on his professional mission. the better. and mouldering away. were hideous with famine. but these were fast closed. without the concurrent testimony afforded by the squalid looks of the few men and women who. occasionally skulked along.¡± Oliver obeyed. Oliver. which supplied the place of door and window. There was neither knocker nor bell-handle at the open door Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . through the most crowded and densely inhabited part of the town. striking down a narrow street more dirty and miserable than any they had yet passed through. for some time. only the upper rooms being inhabited. for many of the rough boards.Oliver Twist returned upon the hands of the parish should be thus effectually and legally overcome.¡± said Mr. ¡°Well. ¡°the sooner this job is done. and tenanted by people of the poorest class: as their neglected appearance would have sufficiently denoted. The houses on either side were high and large. The kennel was stagnant and filthy. and come with me. taking up his hat. and then. were wrenched from their positions. look after the shop. and firmly planted in the road.

his eyes were bloodshot. and her eyes were bright and piercing. the boy felt that it was a corpse. ¡°Nobody shall go near her. so. and bidding Oliver keep close to him and not be afraid. he rapped at it with his knuckles. groping his way cautiously through the dark passage. There was no fire in the room. too. and stamping Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . had drawn a low stool to the cold hearth. starting fiercely up. It was opened by a young girl of thirteen or fourteen. The old woman¡¯s face was wrinkled. and in a small recess. to know it was the apartment to which he had been directed. as the undertaker approached the recess. who was pretty well used to misery in all its shapes. Oliver followed him. his hair and beard were grizzly. There were some ragged children in another corner. ¡°Keep back! Damn you. opposite the door. keep back. her two remaining teeth protruded over her under lip. The undertaker at once saw enough of what the room contained. but a man was crouching mechanically over the empty stove. there lay upon the ground. He stepped in. clenching his hands. for though it was covered up. They seemed so like the rats he had seen outside.¡± said the man. Oliver shuddered as he cast his eyes towards the place. and was sitting beside him. the undertaker mounted to the top of the first flight of stairs. Oliver was afraid to look at either her or the man. something covered with an old blanket. The man¡¯s face was thin and very pale. and crept involuntary closer to his master.¡± said the man. ¡°Nonsense!¡± ¡°I tell you.¡± said the undertaker. if you¡¯ve a life to lose!¡± ¡°Nonsense. Stumbling against a door on the landing. An old woman. my good man.Oliver Twist where Oliver and his master stopped.

rolled grovelling upon the floor. for they starved her to death. but. ¡°She was my daughter. it is strange that I who Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics nodding her head with an idiotic leer. and mark my words! I say she was starved to death.¡± The undertaker offered no reply to this raving. producing a tape from his pocket. though we heard her gasping out their names. bursting into tears. There was neither fire nor candle.¡± said the old woman. I never knew how bad she was. but the old woman. and. knelt down for a moment by the side of the body. Lord! Well. his eyes fixed and the foam covering his lips.Oliver Twist furiously on the floor¡ª¡°I tell you I won¡¯t have her put into the ground. I begged for her in the streets. Having unloosed the cravat of the man who still remained extended on the ground. with a loud scream. every one of you. She couldn¡¯t rest there. till the fever came upon her. I swear it before the God that saw it! They starved her!¡± He twined his hands in his hair. she died in the dark¡ªin the dark! She couldn¡¯t even see her children¡¯s faces. and . ¡°Ah!¡± said the man. gave birth to her. When I came back. ¡°kneel down. in such a place. and they sent me to prison. The worms would worry her¡ªnot eat her¡ªshe is so worn away. and sinking on his knees at the feet of the dead woman. menaced them into silence. she was dying. she tottered towards the undertaker. and all the blood in my heart has dried up. kneel down¡ª kneel round her. The terrified children cried bitterly. and speaking more ghastly than even the presence of death ¡°Lord. who had hitherto remained as quiet as if she had been wholly deaf to all that passed. and then her bones were starting through the skin. in the direction of the corpse.

my men¡ª as quick as you like!¡± Thus directed. the bearers trotted on under their light burden. Bumble himself). We should have cake and wine. dear?¡± she said eagerly. too. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . was hoisted on the shoulders of the bearers. Shall we have some bread. in a loud whisper. the undertaker turned to go away. accompanied by four men from the workhouse. ¡°Yes. for it is bitter cold. and she lying there. yes. ¡°Now. drawing Oliver after him. and carried into the street. or tonight? I laid her out. or next day. so cold and stiff! Lord. who were to act as bearers. Move on. stop!¡± said the old woman. ¡°Stop. and the bare coffin having been screwed down. it¡¯s as good as a play¡ªas good as a play!¡± As the wretched creature mumbled and chuckled in her hideous merriment. catching at the undertaker¡¯s coat. Oliver and his master returned to the miserable abode. Bumble had already arrived. hurried away. An old black cloak had been thrown over the rags of the old woman and the man. ¡°Will she be buried tomorrow. you know. should be alive and merry now. where Mr. left with them by Mr.Oliver Twist was a woman then. and it won¡¯t do to keep the clergyman waiting. ¡°we are rather late. and. as he once more moved towards the door. Send me a large cloak¡ªa good warm one. Lord!¡ªto think of it. Anything you like!¡± he disengaged himself from the old woman¡¯s grasp. ¡°of course. you must put your best leg foremost.¡± said the undertaker. old lady!¡± whispered Sowerberry in the old woman¡¯s ear. and I must walk. The next day (the family having been meanwhile relieved with a half-quartern loaf and a piece of cheese. send some bread¡ªonly a loaf of bread and a cup of water. before we go! Never mind.

they put the bier on the brink of the grave. and the reverend gentleman. for the grave was so full. the clergyman appeared. Bumble and Sowerberry walked at a good smart pace in front. Bumble then thrashed a boy or two. putting on his surplice as he came along. and the two mourners waited patiently in the damp clay. There was not so great a necessity for hurrying as Mr. that the uppermost coffin was within a few feet of the surface. ¡°fill up!¡± It was no very difficult task. Mr. Immediately afterwards. sat by the fire with him. Bill!¡± said Sowerberry to the grave-digger. and the clerk. At length. Mr. Bumble. ¡°Now. So. the clergyman had not arrived. and the clerk. Sowerberry had anticipated. while the ragged boys whom the spectacle had attracted into the churchyard played a noisy game at hide-and-seek among the tombstones. or varied their amusements by jumping backwards and forwards over the coffin. however. gave his surplice to the clerk. were seen running towards the grave. Sowerberry and Bumble. for when they reached the obscure corner of the churchyard in which the nettles grew. and read the paper. and where the parish graves were made. and Oliver. ran by the side. and Sowerberry. whose legs were not so long as his master¡¯s. and walked away again. Mr. Mr. stamped it loosely down with his Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . The gravedigger shovelled in the earth.Oliver Twist and the two mourners kept as near them as they could. with a cold rain drizzling down. having read as much of the burial service as could be compressed into four minutes. to keep up appearances. who was sitting by the vestry-room fire. after a lapse of something more than an hour. being personal friends of the clerk. seemed to think it by no means improbable that it might be an hour or so before he came.

The crazy old woman was too much occupied in bewailing the loss of her cloak (which the undertaker had taken off). ¡°Come.¡± said Sowerberry. my good fellow!¡± said Bumble. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°they want to shut up the yard. saw him safely out of the churchyard. who murmured very loud complaints at the fun being over so soon. thinking over all he had seen and heard. Sowerberry used to it. ¡°how do you like it?¡± ¡°Pretty well. shouldered his spade. my boy. sir. But he thought it better not to ask the question. you¡¯ll get used to it in time. raised his head. tapping the man on the back.¡± replied Oliver. and departed on their different ways. with considerable hesitation. ¡°Not very much. Oliver. whether it had taken a very long time to get Mr. Oliver.Oliver Twist feet. so they threw a can of cold water over him.¡± ¡°Ah. sir. since he had taken his station by the grave-side. and when he came to. and walked off. thank you. locked the gate.¡± said Sowerberry.¡± The man who had never once moved. to pay him any attention. started. and fell down in a swoon.¡± Oliver wondered. followed by the boys. stared at the person who had addressed him. and walked back to the shop. walked forward a few paces. ¡°Well. ¡°Nothing when you are used to it. as they walked home. in his own mind.

to the indescribable admiration and emotion of all the mothers in the town.Oliver Twist Chapter 6 Oliver. Rouses Into Action. in the course of a few weeks. In commercial phrase. Sowerberry¡¯s ingenious speculation exceeded even his most sanguine hopes. and. Being Goaded By The Taunts Of Noah. or so fatal to infant existence. Oliver was formally apprenticed. in order that he might acquire that equanimity of demeanour and full command of nerve which are essential to a finished undertaker. he had many opportunities of observing the beautiful resignation and fortitude with which some strongminded people bear their trials and losses. For instance. too. It was a nice sickly season just at this time. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . they would be as happy among themselves as need be¡ªquite cheerful and contented¡ªconversing together with as much freedom and gaiety. As Oliver accompanied his master in most of his adult expeditions. and many were the mournful processions which little Oliver headed. who had been perfectly inconsolable during the previous illness. The month¡¯s trial over. who was surrounded by a great number of nephews and nieces. Oliver acquired a great deal of experience. and whose grief had been wholly irrepressible even on the most public occasions. The oldest inhabitants recollected no period at which measles had been so prevalent. when Sowerberry had an order for the burial of some rich old lady or gentleman. in a hat-band reaching down to his knees. And Rather Astonishes Him. coffins were looking up. The success of Mr.

I come to a very important passage in Oliver¡¯s history. It was observable. the old one. but which indirectly produced a material change in all his future prospects and proceedings. Sowerberry was his decided enemy. that ladies and gentlemen who were in passions of anguish during the ceremony of internment. Husbands. One day. Oliver was not altogether as comfortable as the hungry pig was.Oliver Twist as if nothing whatever had happened to disturb them. because Mr. as if. now that his jealousy was routed by seeing the new boy promoted to the black stick and hat-band. and Mrs. but I can most distinctly say. I cannot. undertake to affirm with any degree of confidence. Charlotte treated him ill. in the grain department of a brewery. put on weeds for their husbands. so far from grieving in the garb of sorrow. and Oliver beheld it with great admiration. when he was shut up. and became quite composed before the teadrinking was over. slight and unimportant perhaps in appearance. too. by mistake. between these three on one side. Wives. because Noah did. and a glut of funerals on the other. while he. remained stationary in the muffin-cap and leathers. although I am his biographer. recovered almost as soon as they reached home. who used him far worse than before. All this was very pleasant and improving to see. again. That Oliver Twist was moved to resignation by the example of these good people. that for many months he continued meekly to submit to the domination and ill-treatment of Noah Claypole. bore the loss of their wives with the most heroic calmness. Oliver and Noah had descended into the kitchen at Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . too. And now. Sowerberry was disposed to be his friend. they had made up their minds to render it as becoming and attractive as possible. so. for I have to record an act.

did what many small wits. and furthermore announced his intention of coming to see him hanged. when they want to be funny he got rather personal. considered he could not possibly devote to a worthier purpose than aggravating and tantalising young Oliver Twist. Noah attempted to be more facetious still. which Mr.¡± said Noah. whenever that desirable event should take place. ¡°What did she die of. as a tear Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and in this attempt. Noah put his feet on the tablecloth. Work¡¯us?¡± said Noah. which Noah Claypole. more as if he were talking to himself. he breathed quickly. and there was a curious working of the mouth and nostrils. and expressed his opinion that he was a ¡°sneak¡±. ¡°don¡¯t you say anything about her to me!¡± Oliver¡¯s colour rose as he said this. there ensued a brief interval of time. and entered upon various other topics of petty annoyance like a malicious and illconditioned charity-boy he was. Work¡¯us. ¡°how¡¯s your mother?¡± ¡°She¡¯s dead. some of our old nurses told me. Under this impression he returned to the charge. Intent upon this innocent amusement. right fol lairy. and pulled Oliver¡¯s hair. none of these taunts producing the desired effect of making Oliver cry. ¡°Work¡¯us. with far greater reputations than Noah.¡± said Noah. being hungry and vicious. ¡°I think I know what it must be to die of that!¡± ¡°Tol de rol lol lol. than answering Noah.¡± replied Oliver. But.¡± replied Oliver. sometimes do to this day. Claypole thought must be the immediate precursor of a violent fit of crying.Oliver Twist the usual dinner hour. and twitched his ears. ¡°Of a broken heart. to banquet upon a small joint of mutton¡ªa pound and a half of the worst end of the neck¡ªwhen Charlotte being called out of the way.

eh!¡± sneered Noah. and I¡¯m sure we all are. don¡¯t be impudent. Work¡¯us. A minute ago. hastily brushing the tear away. too! She was a nice ¡¯un she was. ¡°Yer know.¡± replied Oliver sharply. felled up. yer mother was a regular right-down bad ¡¯un. and collecting his whole him to the ground. and of course yer couldn¡¯t help it then. ¡°There. or else she¡¯d have been hard labouring in Bridewell. But his spirit was roused at last. that¡¯s enough.¡± ¡°What did you say?¡± inquired Oliver. and curled up as much of his small red nose as muscular action could collect together. ¡°Well! Better not! Work¡¯us. seized Noah by the throat. ¡°No. or hung. Noah nodded his head expressively. which is more likely than either. ¡°And it¡¯s a great deal better. Lor!¡± And here. emboldened by Oliver¡¯s silence. or transported.¡± replied Noah coolly. you¡¯d better not!¡± ¡°Better not!¡± exclaimed Noah. the boy had looked the quiet. ¡°A regular right-down bad ¡¯un. it can¡¯t be helped now.¡± continued Noah.¡± replied Oliver. Oliver started table. till his teeth chattered in force into one heavy blow. Your mother. and I¡¯m very sorry for it. looking up very quickly. for the occasion. ¡°Don¡¯t think it. ¡°What¡¯s set you a-snivelling now?¡± ¡°Not you.¡± ¡°Oh. isn¡¯t it?¡± Crimson with fury. that she died when she did. and pity yer very much. Work¡¯us. not you.Oliver Twist rolled down Oliver¡¯s cheek. overthrew the chair and shook him. ¡°Yer know. Oh. But yer must know. in the violence of his his head. not me. Work¡¯us. Work¡¯us. Don¡¯t say anything more to me about her. Work¡¯us. the cruel insult to his dead mother had set his blood Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . dejected creature that harsh treatment had made him. and speaking in a jeering tone of affected pity¡ªof all tones the most annoying. mild. rage.

accompanying it with a scream. Charlotte¡¯s fist was by no means a light one. the former of whom rushed into the kitchen by a side-door. and defied him with an energy he had never known before. Noah rose from the ground. lest it should not be effectual in calming Oliver¡¯s wrath. When they were all wearied out. This was rather too violent exercise to last long. Sowerberry. Charlotte gave Oliver a blow with all her might. which was about equal to that of a moderately strong man in particularly good training. as he stood glaring over the cowardly tormentor who now lay crouching at his feet. and pommelled him behind. Sowerberry plunged into the kitchen. and could tear and beat no longer.Oliver Twist on fire. and there locked him up. struggling and shouting. but. ¡°He¡¯ll murder me!¡¯ blubbered Noah. ¡°Oh. Mrs. hor-rid villain!¡± And between every syllable. for the benefit of society. his attitude was erect. you little ungrateful. his eye bright and vivid. ¡°Oh. mur-de-rous. you little wretch!¡± screamed Charlotte. but nothing daunted. to come farther down. they dragged Oliver. and a louder from Mrs. Mrs. into the dust-cellar. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . while she scratched his face with the other. while the latter paused on the staircase till she was quite certain that it was consistent with the preservation of human life. his whole person changed. In this favourable position of affairs. This being done. and assisted to hold him with one hand. seizing Oliver with her utmost force. His breast heaved. ¡°Charlotte! missis! Here¡¯s the new boy a-murdering of me! Help! help! Oliver¡¯s gone mad! Charlotte!¡± Noah¡¯s shouts were responded to. by a loud scream from Charlotte.

what a mercy we have not all been murdered in our beds!¡± ¡°Ah! mercy indeed. ma¡¯am. Bumble. no. ma¡¯am. ¡°Dear. ¡°unless we send for the police-officers. ¡°What¡¯s to be done!¡± exclaimed Mrs.¡± suggested Mr. and not to lose a minute. Noah. Sowerberry. whose top waistcoat button might have been somewhere on a level with the crown of Oliver¡¯s head. and he¡¯ll kick that door down in ten minutes. dear! I don¡¯t know.¡± said Charlotte. Claypole. rubbed his eyes with the inside of his wrists while this commiseration was bestowed upon him. and performed some affecting tears and sniffs. and a sufficiency of cold water. ¡°Your master¡¯s not at home. there¡¯s not a man in the house. ¡°A glass of water. ¡°Bless her. looking piteously on the charity-boy. bethinking herself of Oliver¡¯s old friend. Noah.¡± Oliver¡¯s vigorous plunges against the bit of timber in question.¡± was the reply. dear. and tell him to come here directly. ¡°I only hope this¡¯ll teach master not to have any more of these dreadful creaturs. speaking as well as she could.¡± said Mrs. when I come in. ¡°Poor fellow!¡± said Mrs. ¡°Oh! Charlotte. she¡¯s going off!¡± said Charlotte. Sowerberry.¡± ¡°Or the millingtary. ¡°No.¡± said Mrs. ¡°Run to Mr. Noah. through a deficiency of breath. never mind your cap! Make Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . which Noah had poured over her head and shoulders. and burst into tears. Sowerberry. that are born to be murderers and robbers from their very cradle. ma¡¯am. rendered this occurrence highly probable. Make haste!¡± ¡°Oh! Charlotte. Poor Noah! He was all but killed.Oliver Twist Sowerberry sank into a chair. Sowerberry.

¡± Noah stopped to make no reply. but started off at speed.Oliver Twist haste! You can hold a knife to that black eye. as you run along. . It¡¯ll keep the swelling down. and very much it astonished the people who walking. to see a charity-boy tearing through the with no cap on his head. and a clasp-knife at his Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics his fullest were out streets pell-mell. eye.

acted upon by a sudden and powerful impulse. to collect a good burst of sobs and an imposing show of tears and terror. Noah?¡± ¡°No. sir!¡± said Noah. ¡°Oliver. as showing that even a beadle. he knocked loudly at the wicket. sir¡ªOliver has¡ª¡± ¡°What? What?¡± interposed Mr.Oliver Twist Chapter 7 Oliver Continues Refractory. and then he tried to murder Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°Oh. ¡°Mr. that they not only caught the ear of Mr. what¡¯s the matter with the boy!¡± said the old pauper. and forgetfulness of personal dignity. no. may be afflicted with a momentary visitation of loss of self-possession. Having rested here. and in tones so loud and agitated. sir. until he reached the workhouse gate. has he. Bumble. Mr. and presented such a rueful face to the aged pauper who opened it. with a gleam of pleasure in his metallic eyes. but he¡¯s turned wicious. sir. ¡°He tried to murder me. Bumble. who happened to be hard by. started back in astonishment. Not run away. that even he. Bumble! Mr. Bumble himself. for a minute or so. who saw nothing but rueful faces about him at the best of times.¡± replied Noah. with well-affected dismay. and paused not once for breath. Bumble!¡± cried Noah. sir. ¡°Why. but alarmed him so much that he rushed into the yard without his cocked hat¡ªwhich is a very curious and remarkable circumstance. he hasn¡¯t run away. ¡°Not run away. Noah Claypole ran along the streets at his swiftest pace.

sir. sir. Bumble. ¡°who has been nearly murdered¡ªall but murdered. for he had not walked three paces.¡± said Mr. sir¡ªby young Twist.¡± ¡°By Jove!¡± exclaimed the gentleman in the white waistcoat. from which he was at that moment suffering the acutest torture. he imparted additional effect thereunto.Oliver Twist Charlotte. Bumble. by bewailing his dreadful wound ten times louder than before. thereby giving Mr.¡± replied Mr. he was more tragic in his lamentations than ever. when he observed a gentleman in a white waistcoat crossing the yard. please. ¡°And his missis. sir!¡± And here. he had sustained severe internal injury and damage. Bumble. The gentleman¡¯s notice was very soon attracted. and. from the violent and sanguinary onset of Oliver Twist. stopping short. and inquired what that young cur was howling for. Bumble to understand that. and then missis. that that audacious young savage would come to be hung!¡± ¡°He has likewise attempted. and rouse the indignation. with a face of ashy paleness. Noah writhed and twisted his body into an extensive variety of eel-like positions. and why Mr. ¡°I knew it! I felt a strange presentiment from the very first.¡± interposed Mr. Oh! what dreadful pain it is! Such agony. When Noah saw that the intelligence he communicated perfectly paralysed Mr. ¡°It¡¯s a poor boy from the free-school. when he turned angrily round. to murder the female servant. rightly conceiving it highly expedient to attract the notice. of the gentleman aforesaid. Claypole. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Bumble did not favour him with something which would render the series of vocular exclamations so designated an involuntary process.

¡± replied Noah. and flog him¡ª¡¯cause master¡¯s out.¡± said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. Mr. that Mr. sir. Bumble judged it prudent to parley. sir. which was about three inches higher than his own. Noah?¡± added Mr. Here¡¯s a penny for you.¡± replied Noah. did he. my boy.Oliver Twist ¡°And his master. with undiminished vigour. were of so startling a nature. smiling benignly. sir. ¡°No! he¡¯s out.¡± ¡°Certainly. adjusted to their owner¡¯s satisfaction. at the cellar door. as related by Mr. I think you say. Bumble.¡± ¡°Ah! Said he wanted to. I will not. and Oliver continued to kick. Sowerberry had not yet returned. just step up to Sowerberry¡¯s with your cane.¡± replied the beadle. sir. The accounts of his ferocity. Bumble and Noah Claypole betook themselves with all speed to the undertaker¡¯s shop. and see what¡¯s best to be done. ¡°He said he wanted to. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± ¡°No. without stripes and bruises. ¡°And please. too. ¡°You¡¯re a good boy¡ªa very good boy. for purposes of parochial flagellation. adjusting the wax-end which was twisted round the bottom of his cane.¡± replied the beadle. and patting Noah¡¯s head. directly. or he would have murdered him.¡± said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. ¡°Tell Sowerberry not to spare him either. Bumble can spare time to step up there. certainly. Here the position of affairs had not at all improved. missis wants to know whether Mr. Don¡¯t spare him. by this time. They¡¯ll never do anything with him. ¡°I¡¯ll take care. my boy?¡± inquired the gentleman in the white waistcoat. ¡°Yes. And the cocked hat and cane having been. Bumble. Bumble. Sowerberry and Charlotte.

Bumble. he must be mad. unbecoming a person of his condition. ¡°Oh. you know.¡± said Mrs. Sowerberry. ¡°Meat. in mute ast onishment.¡± replied Mr. ¡°Do you know this here voice. An answer so different from the one he had expected to elicit. ¡°You¡¯ve overfed him. With this view he gave a kick at the outside. piously raising her Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± ¡°What?¡± exclaimed Mrs. sir?¡± said Mr. you let me out!¡± replied Oliver. dear!¡± ejaculated Mrs. sir? Ain¡¯t you a-trembling while speak. ma¡¯am. ¡°No!¡± replied Oliver boldly. ma¡¯am. in a deep and impressive tone: ¡°Oliver!¡± ¡°Come. Bumble not a little. Mrs. Sowerberry. ¡°Ain¡¯t you afraid of it. Bumble. by way of prelude. What have paupers to do with soul or spirit? It¡¯s quite enough that we let ¡¯em have live bodies. drew himself up to his full height. You¡¯ve raised a artificial soul and spirit in him. after a few moments of deep meditation. then.¡± ¡°Dear. If you had kept the boy on gruel. applying his mouth to the keyhole. ma¡¯am.¡± replied Oliver. ¡°Yes. Mr. with stern emphasis. as the Board. ¡°No boy in half his sense could venture to speak so to you.¡± replied Bumble. this would never have happened. Sowerberry.¡± ¡°It¡¯s not madness. ma¡¯am. ma¡¯am. meat. from the inside. and. staggered Mr. Oliver?¡± said Mr. will tell you. Bumble. who are practical philosophers. Sowerberry. ¡°It¡¯s meat. He stepped back from the keyhole. and was in the habit of receiving.Oliver Twist before opening the door. and looked from one to another of the three bystanders. said. Bumble.

Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . weeks before. by the collar.Oliver Twist eyes to the kitchen ceiling. however. Sowerberry to Oliver had consisted in a profuse bestowal upon him of all the dirty odds and ends which nobody else would eat. against difficulties and pain that would have killed any well-disposed woman. in thought. and when he was pulled out of his prison. so there was a great deal of meekness and self-devotion in her voluntarily remaining under Mr. or deed. Oliver¡¯s clothes had been torn in the beating he had received. he unlocked the cellar-door in a twinkling. just hearing enough to know that some new allusion was being made to his mother. ¡°this comes of being liberal!¡± The liberality of Mrs. Excitable natures. and then to take him out. to do her justice. and his hair scattered over his forehead. Sowerberry! Both the nurse and doctor said. and dragged his rebellious apprentice out. Sowerberry returned at this juncture. of which. Bumble. Oliver. his face was bruised and scratched. that I know of. with a violence that rendered every other sound inaudible. he scowled boldly on Noah. and looked quite undismayed. with such exaggerations as the ladies thought best calculated to rouse his ire. Bumble¡¯s discourse. The angry flush had not disappeared. she was wholly innocent. Mrs.¡± At this point of Mr. till he¡¯s a little starved down. is to leave him in the cellar for a day or so. He comes of a bad family. ¡°Ah!¡± said Mr. and to keep him on gruel all through his apprenticeship. Bumble¡¯s heavy accusation. that that mother of his made her way here. when the lady brought her eyes down to earth again. ¡°the only thing that can be done now. word. Oliver¡¯s offence having been explained to him. recommenced kicking.

¡°He called my mother names. you are a nice young fellow. Sowerberry herself. an unnatural husband. by no means complimentary to the memory of his mother. perhaps. and what if he did.¡± replied Oliver. he was. looked into the room. and rendered Mr. For the rest of the day. ¡°She deserved what he said. Sowerberry. Sowerberry burst into a flood of tears. an insulting creature. ain¡¯t you?¡± said Sowerberry. To do him justice. according to all precedents in disputes of matrimony established. and a box on the ear.Oliver Twist ¡°Now. which satisfied even Mrs. a brute. The flood of tears. however. left him no resource. and worse. Sowerberry. Sowerberry.¡± said Oliver. in company with a pump and a slice of bread. Mrs. ¡°It¡¯s a lie!¡± said Oliver. so he at once gave him a drubbing. you little. amidst the jeers and pointings of Noah and Charlotte. he was shut up in the back kitchen. giving Oliver a shake. and. perhaps. If he had hesitated for one instant to punish Oliver most severely. Bumble¡¯s subsequent application of the parochial cane. because his wife disliked him. Sowerberry no alternative. ¡°Well. it must be quite clear to every experienced reader that he would have been. rather unnecessary. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . as far as his power went¡ªit was not very extensive¡ªkindly disposed towards the boy. and.¡± ¡°She didn¡¯t. after making various remarks outside the door.¡± said Mrs. Mrs. a base imitation of a man. and various other agreeable characters too numerous for recital within the limits of this chapter. This flood of tears left Mr. ordered him upstairs to his dismal bed. because it was his interest to do so. ungrateful wretch?¡± said Mrs. ¡°She did. at night.

He had listened to their taunts with a look of contempt. he fell upon his knees on the floor. when there were none to see or hear him.Oliver Twist It was not until he was left alone in the silence and stillness of the gloomy workshop of the undertaker. But now. looked sepulchral and death-like. Having availed himself of the expiring light of the candle to tie up in a handkerchief the few articles of wearing apparel he had. he gently undid the fastenings of the door. and looked abroad. He softly reclosed the door. he had borne the lash without a cry. to the boy¡¯s eyes. though they had roasted him alive. The candle was burning low in the socket when he rose to his feet. Oliver arose. and again unbarred the door. He looked to the right and to the left. Having gazed curiously round him and listened intently. sat himself down upon a bench. and. It was a cold. for he felt that pride swelling in his heart which would have kept down a shriek to the last. Oliver remained motionless in this attitude. and was in the open street. wept such tears as¡ªGod send for the credit of our nature¡ªfew so young may ever have cause to pour out before Him! For a long time. to wait for morning. uncertain whither to fly. farther from the earth than he had ever seen them before. One timid look around¡ªone moment¡¯s pause of hesitation¡ªhe had closed it behind him. and the sombre shadows thrown by the trees upon the ground. toiling Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . dark night. With the first ray of light that struggled through the crevices in the shutters. from being so still. The stars seemed. that Oliver gave way to the feelings which the day¡¯s treatment may be supposed likely to have awakened in a mere child. hiding his face in his hands. there was no wind. as they went out. He remembered to have seen the wagons.

Oliver stopped. and peeped into the garden. Besides. led out again into the road. after some distance. and thrust his thin arm between the rails to greet him. as the boy ran to the gate. and he half-resolved to turn back.¡± replied the child. ¡°Hush. How pale you are!¡± ¡°I heard the doctor tell them I was dying. and shut up together. but don¡¯t stop. as he stopped.¡± replied the child. with a faint smile. A child was weeding one of the little beds. many and many a time. I don¡¯t know where. His way lay directly in front of the cottage. He reached the house. Along the same footpath. There was no appearance of its inmates stirring at that early hour. Oliver felt glad to see him. and walked quickly on. and should lose a great deal of time by doing so. His heart beat quickly when he bethought himself of this. don¡¯t stop!¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . when he first carried him to the workhouse from the farm. and I am going to seek my fortune. They beat and ill-use me. arriving at a footpath across the fields. Bumble. Dick. ¡°You mustn¡¯t say you saw me. so he walked on. He had come a long way though. he had been his little friend and playmate. though younger than himself. and. ¡°I am very glad to see you. he raised his pale face and disclosed the features of one of his former companions. for. and starved. Dick. dear. They had been beaten. it was so early that there was very little fear of his being seen. before he went.¡± said Oliver. ¡°Is any one up?¡± ¡°Nobody but me. ¡°I am running away. Dick!¡± said Oliver. some long way off. which he knew. Oliver well remembered he had trotted beside Mr. He took the same route.Oliver Twist up the hill. struck into it.

and troubles and changes. of his after life. he never once forgot it.¡± said the child. and flinging his little arms round Oliver¡¯s neck. and through the struggles and sufferings. but it was the first that Oliver had ever heard invoked upon his head. because I dream so much of heaven. ¡°After I am dead. ¡°Good-bye. Kiss me. Oliver. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . but not before. and angels. climbing up the low gate. yes.¡± replied the child.¡± replied Oliver.Oliver Twist ¡°Yes. I know I shall! You will be well and happy!¡± ¡°I hope so. dear! God bless you!¡± The blessing was from a young child¡¯s lips. ¡°I shall see you again. Dick. and kind faces that I never see when I am awake. to say good-bye to you. I will. I know the doctor must be right.

As this consideration forced itself upon him. say that no lad of spirit need want in London. fearing that he might be pursued and overtaken. It was the very place for a homeless boy. he jumped upon his feet. and that there were ways of living in that vast city. and meditated upon his means of getting there. he slackened his pace a little. who must die in the streets unless some one helped him. and began to think. Though he was nearly five miles away from the town.Oliver Twist Chapter 8 Oliver Walks To London¡ªHe Encounters On The Road A Strange Sort Of Young Gentleman. till noon. Bumble¡ªcould ever find him there! He had often heard the old men in the workhouse. and again walked forward. for the first time. The name awakened a new train of ideas in the boy¡¯s mind. and hid behind the hedges. As these things passed through his thoughts. and once more gained the high-road. which those who had been bred up in country parts had no idea of. O liver reached the stile. It was eight o¡¯clock now. before he recollected how much he must undergo ere he could hope to reach his place of destination. he ran. at which the by-path terminated. an intimation that it was just seventy miles from that spot to London. He had diminished the distance between himself and London by full four miles more. The stone by which he was seated. too. by turns. bore. He had a Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . London!¡ªthat great large place!¡ªnobody¡ªnot even Mr. in large characters. Then he sat down to rest by the side of the milestone. where he had better go and try to live.

but they are small helps to a sixty-five miles¡¯ walk in wintertime.Oliver Twist crust of bread. when night closed in again. like those of most other people. and so hungry that he was obliged to exchange the penny for a small loaf. creeping close under a hay-rick. When the night came. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . He had a penny too¡ªa gift of Sowerberry¡¯s after some funeral in which he had acquitted himself more than ordinarily well¡ªin his pocket. He felt cold and stiff. and two pairs of stockings. and all that time tasted nothing but the crust of dry bread. when he got up next morning. he soon fell asleep and forgot his troubles. in his bundle. and. very. made him worse. He felt frightened at first. His feet were sore. Being very tired with his walk. and his legs so weak that they trembled beneath him. after a good deal of thinking to no particular purpose. He had walked no more than twelve miles. damp air. and more alone than he had ever felt before. ¡°A clean shirt. however. in the very first village through which he passed.¡± But Oliver¡¯s thoughts. for the wind moaned dismally over the empty fields. when he set forward on his journey next morning. Oliver walked twenty miles that day. till morning. ¡°is a very comfortable thing. a coarse shirt. and a few draughts of water. and he was cold and hungry. and so is a penny. although they were extremely ready and active to point out his difficulties. so. he changed his little bundle over to the other shoulder. Another night passed in the bleak. and so are two pairs of darned stockings. he turned into a meadow. he could hardly crawl along. and trudged on.¡± thought Oliver. were wholly at a loss to suggest any feasible mode of surmounting them. which he begged at the cottage doors by the roadside. determined to lie there.

In some villages. When the outsiders saw this. declaring that he was an idle young dog. but there were very few who took any notice of him. he would most assuredly have fallen dead upon the king¡¯s pathway. and look mournfully at every one who passed. ten to one but they threatened to set the dog on him. in other words. In fact. and made him glad to get out of those villages with all possible expedition. for many hours together. for she was sure he had come to steal something. by reason of his fatigue and sore feet.Oliver Twist He waited at the bottom of a steep hill till a stage-coach came up. they put their halfpence back into their pockets again. But the turnpike-man gave him a meal of bread and cheese. In others. a proceeding which generally terminated in the landlady¡¯s ordering one of the post-boys who were lounging about. they talked about the beadle¡ªwhich brought Oliver¡¯s heart into his mouth¡ªvery often the only thing he had there. but was unable to do it. Oliver¡¯s troubles would have been shortened by the very same process which had put an end to his mother¡¯s. If he begged at a farmer¡¯s house. and didn¡¯t deserve anything. and even those told him to wait till they got to the top of the hill and then let them see how far he could run for a halfpenny. if it had not been for a good-hearted turnpike-man and a benevolent old lady. Poor Oliver tried to keep up with the coach a little way. and then begged of the outside passengers. to drive that strange boy out of the place. and the ¡®old lady. This frightened Oliver very much. that they would be sent to jail. large painted boards were fixed up warning all persons who begged within the district. he would stand about the inn-yards. who had a shipwrecked grandson Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and when he showed his nose in a shop. and the coach rattled away and left only a cloud of dust behind.

gazing listlessly at the coaches as they passed trough. By degrees. the window-blinds were drawn up. than all the sufferings he had ever undergone. but none relieved him. that they sank deeper into Oliver¡¯s soul. as he sat with bleeding feet and covered with dust. in a few hours. the street was empty. had returned. and such tears of sympathy and compassion. took pity upon the poor orphan and gave him what little she could afford¡ª and more¡ªwith such kind and gentle words. upon a doorstep. after he had left his native place. but the boy remained in the same attitude of close observation so long. and was now surveying him most earnestly from the opposite side of the way. Oliver limped slowly into the little town of Barnet. with ease. And there he sat. large or small).Oliver Twist wandering barefoot in some distant part of the earth. not a soul had awakened to the business of the day. He took little heed of this at first. He had no heart to beg. or turned round to stare at him as they hurried by. wondering at the great number of public houses (every other house in Barnet was a tavern. and people began passing to and fro. who had passed him carelessly some minutes before. Some few stopped to gaze at Oliver for a moment or two. and thinking how strange it seemed that they could do. Early on the seventh morning. He had been crouching on the step for some time. what it had taken him a whole week of courage and determination beyond his years to accomplish. The window shutters were closed. when he was roused by observing that a boy. but the light only served to show the boy his own lonesomeness and desolation. the shutters were opened. The sun was rising in all its splendid beauty. or troubled themselves to inquire how he came there. that Oliver raised his Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .

which brought it back to its old place again. my covey! What¡¯s the row?¡± The boy who addressed this inquiry to the young wayfarer. but one of the queerest-looking boys that Oliver had ever seen. Upon this. as roystering and swaggering a young gentleman as ever stood four feet six. my covey! What¡¯s the row?¡± said this strange young gentleman to Oliver. but he had about him all the airs and manners of a man. ¡°I am very hungry and tired.giving his head a sudden twitch. He was. He was a snub-nosed. said: ¡°Hollo. and.¡± ¡°Walking for sivin days!¡± said the young gentleman. noticing Oliver¡¯s look of surprise. He wore a man¡¯s coat. if the wearer had not had a knack of every now and then . to get his hands out of the sleeves. He was short for his age. the tears standing in his eyes as he spoke. sharp.¡± he added. He had turned the cuffs back. was about his own age. and returned his steady look. for there he kept them. apparently with the ultimate view of thrusting them into the pockets of his corduroy trousers. eh? But. ¡°Hollo. half-way up his arm. altogether. with rather bow-legs. the boy crossed over. that it threatened to fall off every moment¡ªand would have done so.Oliver Twist head. ¡°I have walked a long way. walking close up to Oliver. ¡°Oh. in his bluchers. Beak¡¯s order. I have been walking these seven days. my flash compan-i-on. flat-browed. very often. and little. ugly eyes. ¡°I suppose you don¡¯t know what a beak is. commonfaced boy enough. His hat was stuck on the top of his head so lightly. I see. or something less. which reached nearly to his heels. and as dirty a juvenile as one would wish to see.¡± replied Oliver.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .

the mill¡ªthe mill as takes up so little room that it¡¯ll work inside a stone jug. a beak¡¯s a madgst¡¯rate. when Oliver had at length concluded. during the progress of which. the young gentleman took him to an adjacent chandler¡¯s shop. but. a-cos then they can¡¯t get workmen. and when you walk by beak¡¯s order. and Oliver. Up with you on your pins. and you shall have it. ¡°you want grub. than when it¡¯s high. the young gentleman turned into a small public-house. Taking the bread under his arm. by direction of the mysterious youth. and always goes better when the wind¡¯s low with people. the strange boy eyed him from time to time with great attention. ¡°My eyes. made a long and hearty meal. I¡¯ll fork out and stump. I¡¯m at low-water mark myself¡ªonly one bob and a magpie. falling to. and stuffing it therein. as far as it goes. it¡¯s not straight forerd. ¡°Going to London?¡± said the strange boy. but always a-going up. as he himself expressed it. ¡°What mill! Why.Oliver Twist Oliver mildly replied. Here. how green!¡± exclaimed the young gentleman. at his new friend¡¯s bidding. or. ¡°a fourpenny bran. Was you never on the mill?¡± ¡°What mill?¡± inquired Oliver. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°Why. that he had always heard a bird¡¯s mouth described by the term in question.¡± said the young gentleman. and led the way to a tap-room in the rear of the premises. where he purchased a sufficiency of ready-dressed ham and a half-quartern loaf. a pot of beer was brought in. But come. by the ingenious expedience of making a hole in the loaf by pulling out a portion of the crumb.¡± the ham being kept clean and preserved from dust. and nivir a-coming down agin. There! Now then! Morrice!¡± Assisting Oliver to rise.

¡± The strange boy whistled. from which Oliver discovered that his friend¡¯s name was Jack Dawkins. ¡°I¡¯ve got to be in London tonight. when I¡¯m at home. ¡°I have not slept under a roof since I left the country. indeed. and put his arms into his pockets.Oliver Twist ¡°Yes. and finished the beer as he did so. if any gentleman he knows interduces you. by the assurance that the old gentleman referred to. ¡°Yes.¡± answered Oliver. don¡¯t you?¡± ¡°I do. would doubtless provide Oliver with a comfortable place. without loss of time This led to a more friendly and confidential dialogue.¡± ¡°Money?¡± ¡°No. and that he was a peculiar pet and prot¨¦g¨¦ of the elderly gentleman before mentioned. And don¡¯t he know me? Oh. especially as it was immediately followed up. This unexpected offer of shelter was too tempting to be resisted.¡± replied the boy. as far as the big coat sleeves would let them go. Dawkins¡¯ appearance did not say a vast deal in favour of the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . as if to intimate that the latter fragments of discourse were playfully ironical. wot¡¯ll give you lodgings for nothink. Mr. and never ask for the change¡ªthat is. no! Not in the least! By no means.¡± ¡°Got any lodgings?¡± ¡°No. Certainly not!¡± The young gentleman smiled. I do.¡± ¡°Don¡¯t fret your eyelids on that score. ¡°I suppose you want some place to sleep in tonight.¡± said the young gentleman. ¡°Do you live in London?¡± inquired Oliver. and I know a ¡¯spectable old gentleman as lives there.

but. if he found the Dodger incorrigible. along which the Dodger scudded at a rapid pace. There were a good many small shops. John¡¯s Road. directing Oliver to follow close at his heels. but the only stock in trade appeared to be heaps of children. who. and the air was impregnated with filthy odours. he secretly resolved to cultivate the good opinion of the old gentleman as quickly as possible. it was nearly seven o¡¯clock when they reached the turnpike at Islington. to decline the honour of his further acquaintance. thence into Little Saffron Hill. They crossed from the Angel into St. even at that time of night. and so into Saffron Hill the Great. as he passed along. through Exmouth Street and Coppice Row. Under this impression. or screaming from the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist comforts which his patron¡¯s interest obtained for those whom he took under his protection. A dirtier or more wretched place he had never seen. and furthermore avowed that among his intimate friends he was better known by the sobriquet of ¡°The Artful Dodger. being of a dissipated and careless turn. The street was very narrow and muddy. as he more than half-suspected he should. Although Oliver had enough to occupy his attention in keeping sight of his leader. he could not help bestowing a few hasty glances on either side of the way. were crawling in and out at the doors. across the classic ground which once bore the name of Hockley-in-the-Hole. down the little court by the side of the workhouse.¡± Oliver concluded that. and. as he had a rather flighty and dissolute mode of conversing. the moral precept of his benefactor had hitherto been thrown away upon him. struck down the small street which terminates at Sadler¡¯s Wells Theatre. As John Dawkins objected to their entering London before nightfall.

drawing him into the passage.¡± said the man. the lowest orders of Irish were wrangling with might and main. and from several of the doorways. bound. then!¡± cried a voice from below. thrusting the candle farther out. pushed open the door of a house near Field Lane. pulling Oliver forward. ¡°There¡¯s two on you. to all appearance. for the light of a feeble candle gleamed on the wall at the remote end of the passage. The sole places that seemed to prosper amid the general blight of the place. and in them. from where a balustrade of the old kitchen staircase had been broken away. ¡°Where did he come from?¡± ¡°Greenland. where drunken men and women were positively wallowing in filth. ¡°Now. Covered ways and yards. catching him by the arm. His conductor. ¡°Who¡¯s the t¡¯other one?¡± ¡°A new pal. and. he¡¯s a-sortin¡¯ the wipes. in reply to a whistle from the Dodger. This seemed to be some watchword or signal that all was right. Up with you!¡± The candle was drawn back. Is Fagin upstairs?¡± ¡°Yes. where here and there diverged from the main street. and the face disappeared. ¡°Plummy and slam!¡± was the reply. Oliver. when they reached the bottom of the hill. and having the other Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist inside. and a man¡¯s face peeped out. Oliver was just considering whether he hadn¡¯t better run away. great ill-looking fellows were cautiously emerging. were the public-houses. groping his way with one hand. disclosed little knots of houses. closed it behind them.¡± replied Jack Dawkins. on no very well-disposed or harmless errands. and shading his eyes with his hand.

toasting-fork in hand. Upon this. which was on the fire. and drew Oliver in after him. and. There was a deal table before the fire: upon which were a candle. Oliver Twist. ¡°This is him. The walls and ceiling of the room were perfectly black. shrivelled Jew. Several rough beds made of old sacks. was a very old. So did the Jew himself. and drinking spirits with the air of middle-aged men. He was dressed in a greasy flannel gown. with age and dirt. He threw open the door of a back room. some sausages were cooking. Fagin. took him by the hand. with his throat bare. and standing over them. the young gentlemen with the pipes came round him. These all crowded about their associate as he whispered a few words to the Jew. were huddled side by side on the floor. a loaf and butter. stuck in a ginger-beer bottle. and hoped he should have the honour of his intimate acquaintance. making a low obeisance to Oliver. and shook both his hands very hard¡ª Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist firmly grasped by his companion. and seemed to be dividing his attention between the fryingpan and the clothes-horse. ¡°my friend. smoking long clay pipes. and which was secured to the mantel-shelf by a string. which his conductor mounted with an ease and expedition that showed that he was well acquainted with them.¡± said Jack Dawkins. none older than the Dodger. Seated round the table were four or five boys. ascended with much difficulty the dark and broken stairs. over which a great number of silk handkerchiefs were hanging. whose villainouslooking and repulsive face was obscured by a quantity of matted red hair.¡± The Jew grinned. and then turned round and grinned at Oliver. two or three pewter pots. with a toastingfork in his hand. In a frying-pan. and a plate.

Immediately afterwards he felt himself gently lifted on to one of the sacks. ¡°Dodger. Oliver did as he was desired. ready for the wash. One young gentleman was very anxious to hang up his cap for him.¡± said the Jew. Oliver¡ªvery. that¡¯s all.Oliver Twist especially the one in which he held his little bundle. my dear! There are a good many of ¡¯em. ain¡¯t there? We¡¯ve just looked ¡¯em out. These civilities would probably have been extended much further. himself. he might not have the trouble of emptying them. ¡°We are very glad to see you. Ah. but for a liberal exercise of the Jew¡¯s toasting-fork on the heads and shoulders of the affectionate youths who offered them. and the Jew then mixed him a glass of hot gin-and-water. telling him he must drink it off directly. take off the sausages. as he was very tired. because another gentleman wanted the tumbler. you¡¯re a-staring at the pocket-handkerchiefs! eh. and draw a tub near the fire for Oliver. and then he sank into a deep sleep. Ha! ha! ha!¡± The latter part of this speech was hailed by a boisterous shout from all the hopeful pupils of the merry old gentleman. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . In the midst of which. when he went to bed. in order that. they went to supper. and another was so obliging as to put his hands in his pockets. Oliver ate his share. Oliver. that¡¯s all.

its bounding from earth and spurning time and space. Oliver was precisely in this condition. when you dream more in five minutes with your eyes halfopen. in busy action with almost everybody he had ever known. he was not thoroughly awake. who was boiling some coffee in a saucepan for breakfast. a mortal knows just enough of what his mind is doing. as before. he would go on. with an iron spoon. There is a drowsy state. and yourself half-conscious of everything that is passing around you. At such times. long sleep. at the same time. and when he had satisfied himself.Oliver Twist Chapter 9 Containing Further Particulars Concerning The Pleasant Old Gentleman. to form some glimmering conception of its mighty powers. when freed from the restraint of its corporeal associate. heard his low whistling. the Jew drew the saucepan to the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and whistling softly to himself as he stirred it round and round. from a sound. And His Hopeful Pupils. He saw the Jew with his half-closed eyes. There was no other person in the room but the old Jew. It was late next morning when Oliver awoke. whistling and stirring again. and recognised the sound of the spoon grating against the saucepan¡¯s sides. than you would in five nights with your eyes fast closed. He would stop every now and then to listen when there was the least noise below. Although Oliver had roused himself from sleep. When the coffee was done. and your senses wrapped in perfect unconsciousness. and yet the self-same senses were mentally engaged. between sleeping and waking.

besides rings. which he placed carefully on the table. which he fastened. and. At length he put it down. Dragging an old chair to the table. of such magnificent materials. and costly workmanship. from some trap in the floor. he sat down. as it seemed to Oliver. in an irresolute attitude for a few minutes. He did not answer. There seemed to be some very minute inscription on it. no. brooches. leaning back in his chair. he turned round and looked at Oliver. long and earnestly.Oliver Twist hob. and called him by his name. the Jew took out another. as if he did not well know how to employ himself. a small box. that Oliver had no idea. the Jew stepped gently to the door. and other muttered reflections of the like nature. Having replaced these trinkets. and looked in. and surveyed with equal pleasure. and. and distorting every feature with a hideous grin. a minute longer. and took from it a magnificent gold watch. or kept the drop up. then. ¡°Clever dogs! Clever dogs! Staunch to the last! Never told the old parson where they were. no! Fine fellows! Fine fellows!¡± With these. shrugging up his shoulders. muttered: Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . for the Jew laid it flat upon the table. At least half a dozen more were severally drawn forth from the same box. pored over it. even of their names. as if despairing of success. shading it with his hand. so small that it lay in the palm of his hand. bracelets. His eyes glistened as he raised the lid. After satisfying himself upon this head. He then drew forth. Standing. Never peached upon old Fagin! And why should they? It wouldn¡¯t have loosened the knot. sparkling with jewels. and other articles of jewellery. ¡°Aha!¡± said the Jew. the Jew once more deposited the watch in its place of safety. No. and was to all appearance asleep.

and none left to play booty. Ah. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . my dear!¡± said the Jew. abruptly resuming his old manner. ¡°I was not. it¡¯s a fine thing for the trade! Five of ¡¯em strung up in a row. or turn white-livered!¡± As the Jew uttered these words. sir. sir. fell on Oliver¡¯s face.¡± ¡°Tush. laying his hand on a bread-knife which was on the table. ¡°What¡¯s that?¡± said the Jew. dead men never bring awkward stories to light.Oliver Twist ¡°What a line thing capital punishment is! Dead men never repent. and playing with the knife a little. the boy¡¯s eyes were fixed on his in mute curiosity. which had been staring vacantly before him. in mere sport. started furiously up. before he laid it down. indeed!¡± replied Oliver. as if to induce the belief that he had caught it up. his bright. and although the recognition was only for an instant¡ªfor the briefest space of time that can possibly be conceived¡ªit was enough to show the old man that he had been observed. even in his terror. He trembled very much though. He closed the lid of the box with a loud crash.¡± replied Oliver earnestly. ¡°What do you watch me for? Why are you awake? What have you seen? Speak out. ¡°No! No. sir.¡± ¡°You were not awake an hour ago?¡± said the Jew. and a threatening attitude. ¡°I am very sorry if I have disturbed you. ¡°Upon my word I was not. dark eyes. boy! Quick¡ª quick! for your life!¡± ¡°I wasn¡¯t able to sleep any longer. ¡°Are you sure?¡± cried the Jew. for.¡± replied Oliver meekly. and. sir. with a still fiercer look than before. tush. indeed. Oliver could see that the knife quivered in the air. scowling fiercely on the boy.

on the coffee. Only a miser. with so many watches. The four sat down. Ha! ha! you¡¯re a brave boy. my little property. and stooped for an instant to raise the pitcher. notwithstanding. When he turned his head. thinking that perhaps his fondness for the Dodger and the other boys cost him a good deal of money. when the Dodger returned. ¡°Did you see any of these pretty things. ¡®¡®Ah!¡± said the Jew. and who was now formally introduced to him as Charley Bates. The folks call me a miser. ¡°Stay. my dear. that¡¯s all. and some hot rolls and ham which the Dodger had brought home in the crown of his hat. whom Oliver had seen smoking on the previous night. my dear?¡± said the Jew. my dear. You¡¯re a brave boy. laying his hand upon it after a short pause.Oliver Twist ¡°Of course I know that. Oliver!¡± The Jew rubbed his hands with a chuckle. Oliver. All I have to live upon. by emptying the basin out of the window. but. There¡¯s a pitcher of water in the corner by the door. sir.¡± replied the old gentleman. the box was gone. walked across the room. my dear. and made everything tidy. accompanied by a very sprightly young friend. certainly. to breakfast. He had scarcely washed himself.¡± Oliver thought the old gentleman must be a decided miser to live in such a dirty place. he only cast a deferential look at the Jew.¡± replied Oliver.¡± Oliver got up. ¡°Certainly. I only tried to frighten you. and asked if he might get up. in my old age. ¡°They¡ªthey¡¯re mine. ¡°Yes. turning rather pale. Bring it here: and I¡¯ll give you a basin to wash in. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . but glanced uneasily at the box. agreeable to the Jew¡¯s directions. my dear.

¡± added Charley Bates. Oliver.¡± replied that young gentleman. ¡°You¡¯d like to be able to make pocket-handkerchiefs as easy as Charley Bates. Ingenious workman. with eagerness. ¡°As nails. at the same time producing four pocket-handkerchiefs.¡± said Oliver. good boys!¡± said the Jew. in anything that had passed. who saw nothing to laugh at. ¡°Not so heavy as they might be.¡± said the Jew. eh? Ha! ha! ha!¡± ¡°If you please. inspecting them closely.¡± replied Oliver. ¡°Wipes.¡± replied Master Bates. ¡°Good boys. ¡°I hope you¡¯ve been at work this morning. and the other red. Shall us. ¡°What have you got. sir. ¡°but very neat and nicely made.Oliver Twist ¡°Well. Charles Bates laughed uproariously. and addressing himself to the Dodger.¡± replied the Dodger. one green. ¡°Pretty well. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°they¡¯re very good ones¡ªvery. indeed. ¡°And what have you got.¡± replied the Dodger. You haven¡¯t marked them well. ¡°Very much. wouldn¡¯t you. producing two pocket-books. ¡°Lined?¡± inquired the Jew. sir. after looking at the insides carefully. ¡°Well. glancing slyly at Oliver. At which Mr. though. so the marks shall be picked out with a needle.¡± said Oliver. my dear?¡± said the Jew. sir. my dear?¡± said Fagin to Charley Bates. if you¡¯ll teach me. ain¡¯t he. and we¡¯ll teach Oliver how to do it. Oliver?¡± ¡°Very.¡± said the Jew. very much to the amazement of Oliver. Dodger?¡± ¡°A couple of pocket-books. my dears?¡± ¡°Hard. Charley. indeed.¡± said the Jew.

and said he¡¯d know better. and carrying it down some wrong channel. in such a very funny and natural manner. trotted up and down the room with a stick. At such times. but he smoothed Oliver¡¯s hair over his eyes. ¡°He is so jolly green!¡± said Charley when he recovered. upon which the old gentleman. buttoned his coat tightly round him.Oliver Twist Master Bates saw something so exquisitely ludicrous in this reply. and sticking a mock diamond pin in his shirt. placing a snuff-box in one pocket of his trousers. he would look constantly round him. to see that he hadn¡¯t lost anything. which laugh. observing Oliver¡¯s colour mounting. that he burst into another laugh. with a guard-chain round his neck. The Dodger said nothing. The merry old gentleman. very nearly terminated in his premature suffocation. This made him wonder more and more. and a watch in his waistcoat pocket. changed the subject by asking whether there had been much of a crowd at the execution that morning. When the breakfast was cleared away. for it was plain from the replies of the two boys that they had both been there. in imitation of the manner in which old gentlemen walk about the streets any hour in the day. as an apology to the company for his unpolite behaviour. and putting his spectacle-case and handkerchief in his pockets. the merry old gentleman and the two boys played at a very curious and uncommon game. for fear of thieves. and would keep slapping all his pockets in turn. meeting the coffee he was drinking. and sometimes at the door. a note-case in the other. that Oliver Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Sometimes he stopped at the fireplace. making believe that he was staring with all his might into shop-windows. and Oliver naturally wondered how they could possibly have found time to be so very industrious. which was performed in this way. by and by.

chain. a couple of young ladies called to see the young gentlemen. shirt-pin.Oliver Twist laughed till the tears ran down his face. They wore a good deal of hair. These visitors stopped a long time. went away together. Charley Bates expressed his opinion that it was time to pad the hoof. ¡°That¡¯s a pleasant life. isn¡¯t it? Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . watch-guard. every time he turned round that it was impossible to follow their motions. in consequence of one of the young ladies complaining of a coldness in her inside. note-case. As there is no doubt they were. All this time. Spirits were produced. and in that one moment they took from him. directly afterwards. the Dodger. If the old gentleman felt a hand in any of his pockets. and looked quite stout and hearty. the two boys followed him closely about. while Charley Bates stumbled up against him behind. so nimbly. Being remarkably free and agreeable in their manners. and the other Nancy. and the two young ladies. getting out of his sight. and were rather untidy about the shoes and stockings. for. perhaps. Oliver thought them very nice girls indeed. snuff-box.¡± said Fagin. and Charley. not very neatly turned up behind. the Dodger trod upon his toes. my dear. ¡°There. At length. or ran upon his boot accidentally. he cried out where it was. but they had a great deal of colour in their faces. one of whom was named Bet. and the conversation took a very convivial and improving turn. When this game had been played a great many times. This. and then the game began all over again. They were not exactly pretty. must be French for going out. with the most extraordinary rapidity. pocket-handkerchief¡ªeven the spectacle-case. it occurred to Oliver. having been kindly furnished by the amiable old Jew with money to spend. At last.

sir. He¡¯ll be a great man himself.¡ªIs my handkerchief hanging out of my pocket. my dear. patting Oliver on the head approvingly. if they do. sir. stopping short. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . my dear. and I¡¯ll show you how to take the marks out of the handkerchiefs.¡± tapping the fire-shovel on the hearth to add force to his words. depend upon it. when they are out. and was soon deeply involved in his new study. Here¡¯s a shilling for you. my dear. ¡°See if you can take it out. If you go on.Oliver Twist They have gone out for the day. and will make you one. my dear. ¡°I never saw a sharper lad. ¡°Yes. as you saw them do. too. ¡°Yes. my dear?¡± said the Jew. And now come here. ¡°You¡¯re a clever boy. and take their advice in all manners¡ªespecially the Dodger¡¯s. ¡°that is. ¡°Here it is.¡± Oliver wondered what picking the old gentleman¡¯s pocket in play had to do with his chances of being a great man. thinking that the Jew. as he had seen the Dodger hold it. if you take pattern by him. must know best. Make ¡¯em your models.¡± said the Jew. being so much his senior.¡± said Oliver. ¡°Is it gone?¡± cried the Jew. sir?¡± inquired Oliver. he followed him quietly to the table. ¡°do everything they bid you. unless they should unexpectedly come across any. when we were at play this morning. in this way. Make ¡¯em your models.¡± said Oliver. and drew the handkerchief lightly out of it with the other.¡± said the playful old gentleman. But. showing it in his hand.¡± ¡°Have they done work. you¡¯ll be the greatest man of the time. and they won¡¯t neglect it. without my feeling it.¡± Oliver held up the bottom of the pocket with one hand.

by what he had seen of the stern morality of the old gentleman¡¯s character. he began to languish for fresh air. At length.Oliver Twist Chapter 10 Oliver Becomes Better Acquainted With The Characters Of His New Associates. Whenever the Dodger or Charley Bates came home at night. Perhaps these were reasons for the old gentleman¡¯s giving his Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . empty-handed. for two or three days. picking the marks out of the pocket-handkerchiefs (of which a great number were brought home). and took many occasions of earnestly entreating the old gentleman to allow him to go out to work. regularly. At length. Oliver obtained the permission he had so eagerly sought. On one occasion. and the dinners had been rather meagre. he would expatiate with great vehemence on the misery of idle and lazy habits. Oliver was rendered the more anxious to be actively employed. Oliver remained in the Jew¡¯s room. and would enforce upon them the necessity of an active life. which the two boys and the Jew played. with his two companions. one morning. There had been no handkerchiefs to work upon. by sending them supperless to bed. and sometimes taking part in the game already described. he even went so far as to knock them both down a flight of stairs. every morning. but this was carrying out his virtuous precepts to an unusual extent. indeed. And Purchases Experience At A High Price¡ªBeing A Short But Very Important Chapter In This History For many days.

¡± when the Dodger made a sudden stop. while Charley Bates exhibited some very loose notions concerning the rights of property. by a very mysterious change of behaviour on the part of the Dodger. and his friend the Dodger. ¡°What¡¯s the matter?¡± demanded Oliver. he told Oliver he might go. and placed him under the joint guardianship of Charley Bates. which is yet called. and thrusting them into pockets which were so surprisingly capacious. These things looked so bad. drew his companions back again. and his hat cocked. ill-looking saunter. whether they were or no. by some strange perversion of terms. too. ¡°Do you see that old cove at the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . when his thoughts were suddenly directed into another channel. the Dodger with his coat sleeves tucked up. The pace at which they went. The Dodger had a vicious propensity. ¡°The Green. Master Bates sauntering along with his hands in his pockets. in the best way he could. that Oliver was on the point of declaring his intention of seeking his way back. by not going to work at all. of pulling the caps from the heads of small boys and tossing them down areas. first. by pilfering divers apples and onions from the stalls at the kennel sides. and what branch of manufacture he would be instructed in. was such a very lazy. laying his finger on his lip. but. with the greatest caution and circumspection. and. The three boys sallied out. They were just emerging from a narrow court not far from the open square in Clerkenwell. and Oliver between them. as usual. that Oliver soon began to think his companions were going to deceive the old gentleman. that they seemed to undermine his whole suit of clothes in every direction.Oliver Twist assent. ¡°Hush!¡± replied the Dodger. wondering where they were going.

running away round the corner at full speed! Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± ¡°He¡¯ll do. and carried a smart bamboo cane under his arm. for it was plain. as hard as if he were in his elbow-chair. I see him. nor. that he saw not the bookstall. in short. He had taken up a book from the stall. The old gentleman was a very respectable-looking personage. and. which he was reading straight through. and there he stood. ¡°A prime plant. Oliver walked a few paces after them. both. and finally to behold them. turning over the leaf when he got to the bottom of a page. to see the Dodger plunge his hand into the old gentleman¡¯s pocket. stood looking on in silent amazement. anything but the book itself. but he was not permitted to make any inquiries. ¡°Yes. for the two boys walked stealthily across the road.Oliver Twist book-stall?¡± ¡°The old gentleman over the way?¡± said Oliver. and draw from thence a handkerchief! To see him hand the same to Charley Bates. and going regularly on. beginning at the top line of the next one. indeed. in his own study. and slunk close behind the old gentleman towards whom his attention had been directed. It is very possible that he fancied himself there. with a powdered head and gold spectacles. not knowing whether to advance or retire.¡± observed Master Charley Bates. wore white trousers. reading away. from his abstraction. with the greatest interest and eagerness. nor the boys. What was Oliver¡¯s horror and alarm as he stood a few paces off. nor the street. looking on with his eyelids as wide open as they would possibly go. with the greatest surprise.¡± said the Dodger. He was dressed in a bottle-green coat with a black velvet collar. Oliver looked from one to the other.

Oliver Twist
In an instant the whole mystery of the handkerchiefs, and the
watches, and the jewels, and the Jew, rushed upon the boy¡¯s mind.
He stood, for a moment, with the blood so tingling through all his
veins from terror, that he felt as if he were in a burning fire; then,
confused and frightened, he took to his heels; and, not knowing
what he did, made off as fast as he could lay his feet to the ground.
This was all done in a minute¡¯s space. In the very instant when
Oliver began to run, the old gentleman, putting his hand to his
pocket, and missing his handkerchief, turned sharp round. Seeing
the boy scudding away at such a rapid pace, he very naturally
concluded him to be the depredator; and, shouting ¡°Stop thief!¡±
with all his might, made off after him, book in hand.
But the old gentleman was not the only person who raised the
hue-and-cry. The Dodger and Master Bates, unwilling to attract
public attention by running down the open street, had merely
retired into the very first doorway round the corner. They no
sooner heard the cry, and saw Oliver running, than, guessing
exactly how the matter stood, they issued forth with great
promptitude; and, shouting ¡°Stop thief!¡± too, joined in the pursuit
like good citizens.
Although Oliver had been brought up by philosophers, he was
not theoretically acquainted with the beautiful axiom that selfpreservation is the first law of nature. If he had been, perhaps he
would have been prepared for this. Not being prepared, however,
it alarmed him the more; so away he went like the wind, with the
old gentleman and the two boys roaring and shouting behind him.
¡°Stop thief! Stop thief!¡± There is magic in the sound. The
tradesman leaves his counter, and the carman his wagon; the
butcher throws down his tray; the baker his basket; the milkman
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Oliver Twist 100
his pail; the errand-boy his parcels; the schoolboy his marbles; the
pavior his pickaxe; the child his battledore. Away they run, pellmell, helter-sk
elter, slap-dash; tearing, yelling, screaming,
knocking down the passengers, as they turn the corners, rousing
up the dogs, and astonishing the fowls; and streets, squares, and
courts re-echo with the sound.
¡°Stop thief! Stop thief!¡± The cry is taken up by a hundred
voices, and the crowd accumulate at every turning. Away they fly,
splashing through the mud, and rattling along the pavements; up
go the windows, out run the people, onward bear the mob, a whole
audience desert Punch in the very thickest of the plot, and, joining
the rushing throng, swell the shout, and lend fresh vigour to the
cry, ¡°Stop thief! Stop thief!¡±
¡°Stop thief! Stop thief!¡± There is a passion for hunting
something deeply implanted in the human breast. One wretched
breathless child, panting with exhaustion, terror in his looks,
agony in his eyes, large drops of perspiration streaming down his
face, strains every nerve to make head upon his pursuers; and as
they follow on his track, and gain upon him every instant, they hail
his decreasing strength with still louder shouts, and whoop and
scream for joy. ¡°Stop thief!¡± Ay, stop him for God¡¯s sake, were it
only in mercy!
Stopped at last! A clever blow! He is down upon the pavement;
and the crowd eagerly gather round him: each newcomer, jostling
and struggling with the others to catch a glimpse. ¡°Stand aside!¡±
¡°Give him a little air!¡± ¡°Nonsense! he doesn¡¯t deserve it.¡± ¡°Where¡¯s
the gentleman?¡± ¡°Here he is, coming down the street.¡± ¡°Make
room there for the gentleman!¡± ¡°Is this the boy, sir?¡± ¡°Yes.¡±
Oliver lay, covered with mud and dust, and bleeding from the
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Oliver Twist 101
mouth, looking wildly round the heap of faces that surrounded
him, when the old gentleman was officiously dragged and pushed
into the circle by the foremost of the pursuers.
¡°Yes,¡± said the gentleman, ¡°I am afraid it is the boy.¡±
¡°Afraid!¡± murmured the crowd. ¡°That¡¯s a good ¡¯un!¡±
¡°Poor fellow!¡± said the gentleman, ¡°he has hurt himself.¡±
¡°I did that, sir,¡± said a great, lubberly fellow, stepping forward;
¡°and preciously I cut my knuckle agin¡¯ his mouth. I stopped him,
sir.¡±
The fellow touched his hat with a grin, expecting something for
his pains; but the old gentleman, eyeing him with an expression of
dislike, looked anxiously round, as if he contemplated running
away himself; which it is very possible he might have attempted to
do, and thus have afforded another chase, 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, and seized Oliver by
the collar.
¡°Come, get up,¡± said the man roughly.
¡°It wasn¡¯t me, indeed, sir. Indeed, indeed, it was two other
boys,¡± said Oliver, clasping his hands passionately, and looking
round. ¡°They are here somewhere.¡±
¡°Oh, no, they ain¡¯t,¡± said the officer. He meant this to be
ironical, but it was true besides; for the Dodger and Charley Bates
had filed off down the first convenient court they came to. ¡°Come,
get up!¡±
¡°Don¡¯t hurt him,¡± said the old gentleman compassionately.
¡°Oh, no, I won¡¯t hurt him,¡± replied the officer, tearing his jacket
half off his back, in proof thereof. ¡°Come, I know you; it won¡¯t do.
Will you stand upon your legs, you young devil?¡±
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Oliver Twist 102
Oliver, who could hardly stand, made a shift to raise himself on
his feet, and was at once lugged along the streets by the jacket
collar, at a rapid pace. The gentleman walked on with them by the
officer¡¯s side; and as many of the crowd as could achieve the feat,
got a little ahead, and stared back at Oliver from time to time. The
boys shouted in triumph; and on they went.
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Oliver Twist 103
Chapter 11
Treats Of Mr. 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 neighbourhood of, a very
notorious metropolitan police-office. The crowd had only
the satisfaction of accompanying Oliver through two or three
streets, and down a place called Mutton Hill, when he was led
beneath a low archway, and up a dirty court, into this dispensary
of summary justice, by the back way. It was a small paved yard
into which they turned; and here they encountered a stout man
with a bunch of whiskers on his face, and a bunch of keys in his
hand.
¡°What¡¯s the matter now?¡± said the man carelessly.
¡°A young fogle-hunter,¡± replied the man who had Oliver in
charge.
¡°Are you the party that¡¯s been robbed, sir?¡± inquired the man
with the keys.
¡°Yes, I am,¡± replied the old gentleman; ¡°but I am not sure that
this boy actually took the handkerchief. I¡ªI would rather not
press the case.¡±
¡°Must go before the magistrate now, sir,¡± replied the man. ¡°His
Worship will be disengaged in half a minute. Now, young gallows!¡±
This was an invitation for Oliver to enter through a door which
he unlocked as he spoke, and which led into a stone cell. Here he
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Oliver Twist 104
was searched; and nothing being found upon him, locked up.
This cell was in shape and size something like an area cellar,
only not so light. It was most intolerably dirty; for it was Monday
morning; and it had been tenanted by six drunken people, who
had been locked up, elsewhere, since Saturday night. But this is
little. In our station-houses, men and women are every night
confined on the most trivial charges¡ªthe word is worth noting¡ªin
dungeons, compared with which those in Newgate, occupied by
the most atrocious felons, tried, found guilty, and under sentence
of death, are palaces. Let any one who doubts this, compare the
two.
The old gentleman looked almost as rueful as Oliver when the
key grated in the lock. He turned with a sigh to the book which
had been the innocent cause of all this disturbance.
¡°There is something in that boy¡¯s face,¡± said the old gentleman
to himself as he walked slowly away, tapping his chin with the
cover of the book, in a thoughtful manner; ¡°something that
touches and interests me. Can he be innocent? He looked like¡ªBy
the bye,¡± exclaimed the old gentleman, halting very abruptly, and
staring up into the sky. ¡°Bless my soul! where have I seen
something like that look before?¡±
After musing for some minutes, the old gentleman walked, with
the same meditative face, into a back ante-room opening from the
yard; and there, retiring into a corner, called up before his mind¡¯s
eye a vast amphitheatre of faces over which a dusky curtain had
hung for many years. ¡°No,¡± said the old gentleman, shaking his
head; ¡°it must be imagination.¡±
He wandered over them again. He had called them into view,
and it was not easy to replace the shroud that had so long
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Oliver Twist 105
concealed them. There were the faces of friends, and foes, and of
many that had been almost strangers peering intrusively from the
crowd; there were the faces of young and blooming girls that were
now old women; there were faces that the grave had changed and
closed upon, but which the mind superior to its power, still
dressed in their old freshness and beauty, calling back the lustre of
the eyes, the brightness of the smile, the beaming of the soul
through its mask of clay, and whispering of beauty beyond the
tomb, changed but to be heightened, and taken from earth only to
be sent up as a light, to shed a soft and gentle glow upon the path
to heaven.
But the old gentleman could recall no one countenance of
which Oliver¡¯s features bore a trace. So he heaved a sigh over the
recollections he had awakened; and being, happily for himself, an
absent old gentleman, buried them again in the pages of the musty
book.
He was roused by a touch on the shoulder, and a request from
the man with the keys to follow him into the office. He closed his
book hastily; and was at once ushered into the imposing presence
of the renowned Mr. Fang.
The office was a front parlour, with a panelled wall. Mr. Fang
sat behind a bar, at the upper end; and on one side of the door was
a sort of wooden pen in which poor little Oliver was already
deposited, trembling very much at the awfulness of the scene.
Mr. Fang was a lean, long-backed, stiff-necked, middle-sized
man, with no great quantity of hair, and what he had, growing on
the back and sides of his head. His face was stern and much
flushed. If he were really not in the habit of drinking rather more
than was exactly good for him, he might have brought an action
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Oliver Twist 106
against his countenance for libel, and have recovered heavy
damages.
The old gentleman bowed respectfully; and advancing to the
magistrate¡¯s desk, said, suiting the action to the word, ¡°That is my
name and address, sir.¡± He then withdrew a pace or two; and, with
another polite and gentlemanly inclination of the head, waited to
be questioned.
Now, it so happened that Mr. Fang was at that moment
perusing a leading article in a newspaper of the morning,
adverting to some recent decision of his, and commending him, for
the three hundred and fiftieth time, to the special, and particular
notice of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. He was
out of temper; and he looked up with an angry scowl.
¡°Who are you?¡± said Mr. Fang.
The old gentleman pointed, with some surprise, to his card.
¡°Officer!¡± said Mr. Fang, tossing the card contemptuously away
with¡ªthe newspaper. ¡°Who is this fellow?¡±
¡°My name, sir,¡± said the old gentleman, speaking like a
gentleman, ¡°my name, sir, is Brownlow. Permit me to inquire the
name of the magistrate who offers a gratuitous and unprovoked
insult to a respectable person, under the protection of the bench.¡±
Saying this, Mr. Brownlow looked round the office as if in search
of some person who would afford him the required information.
¡°Officer!¡± said Mr. Fang, throwing the paper on one side,
¡°what¡¯s this fellow charged with?¡±
¡°He¡¯s not charged at all, your Worship,¡± replied the officer. ¡°He
appears against the boy, your Worship.¡±
His Worship knew this perfectly well; but it was a good
annoyance, and a safe one.
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Oliver Twist 107
¡°Appears against the boy, does he?¡± said Fang, surveying Mr.
Brownlow contemptuously from head to foot. ¡°Swear him!¡±
¡°Before I am sworn, I must beg to say one word,¡± said Mr.
Brownlow; ¡°and that is, that I really never, without actual
experience, could have believed¡ª¡±
¡°Hold your tongue, sir!¡± said Mr. Fang peremptorily.
¡°I will not, sir!¡± replied the old gentleman.
¡°Hold your tongue this instant, or I¡¯ll have you turned out of the
office!¡± said Mr. Fang. ¡°You¡¯re an insolent, impertinent fellow.
How dare you bully a magistrate!¡±
¡°What!¡± exclaimed the old gentleman, reddening.
¡°Swear this person!¡± said Fang to the clerk. ¡°I¡¯ll not hear
another word. Swear him.¡±
Mr. Brownlow¡¯s indignation was greatly roused; but reflecting
perhaps, that he might only injure the boy by giving vent to it, he
suppressed his feelings and submitted to be sworn at once ¡°Now,¡±
said Fang, ¡°what¡¯s the charge against this boy? What have you got
to say, sir?¡±
¡°I was standing at a bookstall¡ª¡± Mr. Brownlow began.
¡°Hold your tongue, sir,¡± said Mr. Fang. ¡°Policeman! Where¡¯s
the policeman? Here, swear this policeman. Now, policeman, what
is this?¡±
The policeman, with becoming humility, related how he had
taken the charge; how he had searched Oliver, and found nothing
on his person; and how that was all he knew about it.
¡°Are there any witnesses?¡± inquired Mr. Fang.
¡°None, your Worship,¡± replied the policeman.
Mr. Fang sat silent for some minutes, and then, turning round
to the prosecutor, said in a towering passion:
Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics

Oliver Twist 108
¡°Do you mean to state what your complaint against this boy is,
or do you not? You have been sworn. Now, if you stand there,
refusing to give evidence, I¡¯ll punish you for disrespect to the
bench; I will, by¡ª¡± By what, or by whom, nobody knows, for the
clerk and jailer coughed very loud, just at the right moment; and
the former dropped a heavy book upon the floor, thus preventing
the word from being heard¡ªaccidentally, of course.
With many interruptions, and repeated insults, Mr. Brownlow
contrived to state his case; observing that, in the surprise of the
moment, he had run after the boy because he saw him running
away; and expressing his hope that, if the magistrate should
believe him, although not actually the thief, to be connected with
thieves, he would deal as leniently with him as justice would allow.
¡°He has been hurt already,¡± said the old gentleman in
conclusion. ¡°And I fear,¡± he added, with great energy, looking
towards the bar, ¡°I really fear that he is ill.¡±
¡°Oh! yes, I dare say!¡± said Mr. Fang, with a sneer. ¡°Come, none
of your tricks here, you young vagabond; they won¡¯t do. What¡¯s
your name?¡±
Oliver tried to reply, but his tongue failed him. He was deadly
pale; and the whole place seemed turning round and round.
¡°What¡¯s your name, you hardened scoundrel?¡± demanded Mr.
Fang. ¡°Officer, what¡¯s his name?¡±
This was addressed to a bluff old fellow, in a striped waistcoat,
who was standing by the bar. He bent over Oliver, and repeated
the inquiry; but finding him really incapable of understanding the
question, and knowing that his not replying would only infuriate
the magistrate the more, and add to the severity of his sentence,
he hazarded a guess.
Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics

Oliver Twist 109
¡°He says his name¡¯s Tom White, your Worship,¡± said the kindhearted thief-taker.
¡°Oh, he won¡¯t speak out, won¡¯t he?¡± said Fang. ¡°Very well, very
well. Where does he live?¡±
¡°Where he can, your Worship,¡± replied the officer, again
pretending to receive Oliver¡¯s answer.
¡°Has he any parents?¡± inquired Mr. Fang.
¡°He says they died in his infancy, your Worship,¡± hazarding the
usual reply.
At this point of the inquiry, Oliver raised his head; and, looking
round with imploring eyes, murmured a feeble prayer for a
draught of water.
¡°Stuff and nonsense!¡± said Mr. Fang; ¡°don¡¯t try to make a fool
of me.¡±
¡°I think he really is ill, your Worship,¡± remonstrated the officer.
¡°I know better,¡± said Mr. Fang.
¡°Take care of him, officer,¡± said the old gentleman, raising his
hands instinctively; ¡°he¡¯ll fall down.¡±
¡°Stand away, officer,¡± cried Fang; ¡°let him, if he likes.¡±
Oliver availed himself of the kind permission, and fell to the
floor in a fainting fit. The men in the office looked at each other,
but no one dared to stir.
¡°I knew he was shamming,¡± said Fang, as if this were
incontestable proof of the fact. ¡°Let him lie there; he¡¯ll soon be
tired of that.¡±
¡°How do you propose to deal with the case, sir?¡± inquired the
clerk, in a low voice.
¡°Summarily,¡± replied Mr. Fang. ¡°He stands committed for
three months¡ªhard labour, of course. Clear the office.¡±
Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics

¡± cried the man. ¡°Now. ¡°Stop. Mr. The robbery was committed by another boy. you must hear me. and a couple of men were preparing to carry the insensible boy to his cell. I keep the bookstall. ¡°What is this? Who is this? Turn this man out. especially of the poorer class. ¡°I saw three boys¡ªtwo others and the prisoner here¡ªloitering on the opposite side of the way. and although. I saw it all. of her Majesty¡¯s subjects. I saw it done. Clear the office!¡± cried Mr. sir. Fang was consequently not a little indignant to see an unbidden guest enter in such irreverent disorder. Although the presiding Genii in such an office as this. and the matter was growing rather too serious to be hushed up.¡± said the man. save through the medium of the daily press. what have you got to say?¡± ¡°This. clad in an old suit of black. with a very ill grace.¡± The man was right. when this gentleman was reading. Mr. they are closed to the public. I demand to be sworn. ¡°I will speak. exercise a summary and arbitrary power over the liberties. within such walls. the character. stop! Don¡¯t take him away! For Heaven¡¯s sake stop a moment!¡± cried the newcomer. You must not refuse. ¡°I will not be turned out. and I saw that this boy was perfectly amazed and stupefied by it.Oliver Twist 110 The door was opened for this purpose. when an elderly man of decent but poor appearance. I will not be put down. His manner was determined.¡± Having by this time recovered a little breath. enough fantastic tricks are daily played to make the angels blind with weeping. and advanced towards the bench.¡± growled Mr. the good name. Fang. Fang. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . breathless with haste. almost the lives. ¡°Swear the man. Fang. rushed hastily into the office. man.

¡°The very book he has in his hand.¡± replied the man. and you may think yourself very fortunate that the owner of the property declines to prosecute. ¡°Yes. bursting out with the rage he had kept down so long. ¡°d¡ªn me! I¡¯ll¡ª¡± ¡°Clear the office!¡± said the magistrate.¡± replied the man. ¡°Is it paid for?¡± ¡°No. with his shirt unbuttoned. Clear the office. and the bamboo cane in the other. after a pause. in a perfect frenzy of rage and defiance. or the law will overtake you yet. and Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°Dear me. and I¡¯ve run here all the way. had joined in the pursuit. ¡°I consider. it is not. Brownlow was conveyed out. ¡°Everybody who could have helped me. with a comical effort to look humane. ¡°A nice person to prefer a charge against a poor boy!¡± said Fang.¡± ¡°Oh. under very suspicious and disreputable circumstances. I could get nobody till five minutes ago. I forgot all about it!¡± exclaimed the absentminded old gentleman innocently. with a smile. eh?¡± said Fang. with the book in one hand. that book. Little Oliver Twist lay on his back on the pavement. in a more coherent manner. sir. the exact circumstances of the robbery. ¡°Officers. after another pause. do you hear? Clear the office!¡± The mandate was obeyed. The boy is discharged. Let this be a lesson to you. ¡°I hadn¡¯t a soul to mind the shop. He reached the yard. that you have obtained possession of that book. my man.Oliver Twist 111 the worthy bookstall keeper proceeded to relate.¡± ¡°The prosecutor was reading.¡± ¡°D¡ªn me!¡± cried the old gentleman. was he?¡± inquired Fang. ¡°Why didn¡¯t you come here before?¡± said Fang.¡± replied the man. and his passion vanished for a moment. and the indignant Mr.

Brownlow. pray.Oliver Twist 112 his temples bathed with water. and away they drove. ¡°May I accompany you?¡± said the bookstall keeper. the old gentleman got in and sat himself on the other. dear! I have this unhappy book still! Jump in. and Oliver. A coach was obtained.¡± said Mr. having been carefully laid on one seat. ¡°Bless me. bending over him. ¡°Poor boy. Poor fellow! There¡¯s no time to lose. his face a deadly white. looking in. and a cold tremble convulsing his whole frame. ¡°I forgot you. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Directly!¡± . my dear sir.¡± The bookstall keeper got into the coach. ¡°Call a coach. somebody. Brownlow quickly. poor boy!¡± said Mr. Dear. yes.

Brownlow saw his young charge carefully and comfortably deposited. for many days. and here he was tended with a kindness and solicitude that knew no bounds. and still the boy lay stretched on his uneasy bed. down Mount Pleasant and up Exmouth Street. and rose and sank again. and many times after that. The worm does not his work more surely on the dead body. turning a different way when it reached the Angel at Islington. with his head resting on his trembling arm. he awoke at last from what seemed to have been a long and troubled dream. without loss of time. and. The sun rose and sank. The coach rattled away. Oliver remained insensible to all the goodness of his new friends. shady street near Pentonville. stopped at length before a neat house. over nearly the same ground as that which Oliver had traversed when he first entered London in company with the Dodger. and pallid. ¡°What room is this? Where have I been brought to?¡± said Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . in a quiet. Here a bed was prepared. than does this slow-creeping fire upon the living frame.Oliver Twist 113 Chapter 12 In Which Oliver Is Taken Better Care Of Than He Ever Was Before¡ªAnd In Which The Narrative Reverts To The Merry Old Gentleman And His Youthful Friends. and thin. Feebly raising himself in the bed. Weak. dwindling away beneath the dry and wasting heat of fever. he looked anxiously around. But. in which Mr.

¡± said the old lady softly. looked so kindly and loving in his face. rose as she undrew it. and her face has always looked sweet and happy. and her spectacles. ¡°what a grateful little dear it is.¡± The old lady made no reply to this. ¡°This is not the place I went to sleep in. when I have dreamed of her.¡± added Oliver. folding his hands together. smoothing back his hair from his forehead. that he could not help placing his little withered hand in hers. ¡°Hush. my dear. the old lady very gently placed Oliver¡¯s head upon the pillow. there¡¯s a dear!¡± With those words. pretty nigh. with tears in her eyes. She can¡¯t know anything about me though. being very faint and weak. which lay on the counterpane. afterwards. for she was very ill herself before she died. ¡°If she had seen me hurt. it would have made her sorrowful. from an arm-chair close by. even there. she must have pitied me. or you will be ill again. Lie down again. after a moment¡¯s silence. very neatly and precisely dressed.¡± ¡°That was the fever.¡± He uttered these words in a feeble voice. but they were overheard at once. but wiping her eyes first. and.¡± replied Oliver. as if Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . my dear. and they are too happy there. to come down to the bedside of a poor boy. ¡°I suppose it was.Oliver Twist 114 Oliver. Pretty creetur! What would his mother feel if she had sat by him as I have. for the curtain at the bed¡¯s head was hastily drawn back. and drawing it round his neck.¡± said the old lady mildly. and could see him now!¡± ¡°Perhaps she does see me. I almost feel as if she had. ¡°perhaps she has sat by me. ¡°Save us!¡± said the old lady. ¡°You must be very quiet. ¡°because heaven is a long way off. and a motherly old lady. in which she had been sitting at needlework. But if she knew I was ill. and you have been very bad¡ªas bad as bad could be.¡± whispered Oliver.

¡°It¡¯s very natural that he should be thirsty. sir. and some dry toast without any butter. looking very wise. told him he must lie very quiet. brought some cool stuff for Oliver to drink. with a very shrewd and satisfied look. sir.¡± said the gentleman. and said he was a great deal better. He is not hungry. Oliver kept very still.¡± answered Oliver. my dear?¡± said the doctor. I know you¡¯re not. ma¡¯am. ¡°No. ¡°You¡¯re hungry too. my dear?¡± said the gentleman.¡± replied Oliver. showed him a gentleman with a large and loud-ticking gold watch in his hand. ¡°No. ¡°You¡¯re not sleepy. because he was completely exhausted with what he had already said. and partly. to tell the truth. ¡°No. rather thirsty.¡± said Oliver. sir!¡± answered Oliver. Are you?¡± ¡°Yes. are you not. ¡°You are a great deal better. sir. which. He soon fell in a gentle doze. who felt his pulse. from which he was awakened by the light of a candle. patting him on the cheek.¡± said the doctor.Oliver Twist 115 they were part and parcel of those features. ain¡¯t you?¡± ¡°No. don¡¯t you. Bedwin. thank you.¡± said the gentleman. ¡°Hem!¡± said the gentleman. ¡°Just as I expected. Nor thirsty. Mrs. partly because he was anxious to obey the kind old lady in all things. The old lady made a respectful inclination of the head. The doctor appeared much of the same opinion himself. Bedwin. Don¡¯t keep him too Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . which seemed to say that she thought the doctor was a very clever man. ¡°Yes. So.¡± said the doctor. I know you are. ¡°You feel sleepy. or he would be ill again. Mrs. being brought near the bed. You may give him a little tea. ¡°Yes. and then.

Gradually. a small Prayerbook and a large night-cap. if this were death. And thus the night crept slowly on. and expressing a qualified approval of it. which. Who. Oliver dozed off again. it was nearly twelve o¡¯clock. The darkness and the deep stillness of the room were very solemn. soon after this.Oliver Twist 116 warm. but be careful that you don¡¯t let him be too cold. had no worse effect than causing her to rub her nose very hard. the old woman. and fervently prayed to Heaven. for many days and nights. would be roused Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ma¡¯am. The doctor. after tasting the cool stuff. counting the little circles of light which the reflection of the rushlight-shade threw upon the ceiling. when he awoke. and divers moans and chokings. and went off into a series of short naps. he turned his face upon the pillow. Putting the latter on her head and the former on the table. however. drew her chair close to the fire. as they brought into the boy¡¯s mind the thought that death had been hovering there. and left him in charge of a fat old woman who had just come. his boots creaking in a very important and wealthy manner as he went downstairs. and might yet fill it with the gloom and dread of his awful presence. in a little bundle. tranquil sleep which ease from recent suffering alone imparts. or tracing with his languid eyes the intricate pattern of the paper on the wall. and then fall asleep again. chequered at frequent intervals with sundry tumblings forward. will you have the goodness?¡± The old lady dropped a curtsey. The old lady tenderly bade him good-night shortly afterwards. Oliver lay awake for some time. bringing with her. after telling Oliver that she had come to sit up with him. hurried away. that calm and peaceful rest which it is pain to wake from. he fell into that deep.

which belonged to her. and.¡± said the old lady. in a little saucepan. because the better we look. and it¡¯s full time you had it. very kind to me. In three days¡¯ time he was able to sit in an easy-chair. the good old lady sat herself down too. most intently. and I¡¯m quite comfortable. Bedwin had him carried downstairs into the little housekeeper¡¯s room. my dear. the more he¡¯ll be pleased. its weary recollection of the past! It had been bright day. He belonged to the world again. and when he did so. when reduced to the regulation strength. ¡°I¡¯m only having a regular good cry. to furnish an ample dinner. forthwith began to cry most violently. at the lowest computation. as he was still too weak to walk. when Oliver opened his eyes. and we must get up our best looks. the old lady applied herself to warming up. never you mind that. its anxieties for the future. well propped up with pillows.¡± cried the old lady. seeing that Oliver had fixed his eyes. and. ¡°Are you fond of pictures. ma¡¯am. ¡°Well. just opposite his chair. for three hundred and fifty paupers. on a portrait which hung against the wall. Oliver thought. being in a state of considerable delight at seeing him so much better. dear?¡± inquired the old lady. it¡¯s all over now. a basinful of broth. for hours. here. There. for the doctor says Mr. more than all. ¡°that¡¯s got nothing to do with your broth. Brownlow may come in to see you this morning. to all its cares for the present.¡± And with this. by the fireside.¡± said Oliver. he felt cheerful and happy.Oliver Twist 117 again to all the struggles and turmoils of life. The crisis of the disease was safely past. my dear. Having him set.¡± ¡°You¡¯re very. ¡°Never mind me. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Mrs. strong enough.

or they wouldn¡¯t get any custom. ¡°It is so very pretty. and where I sit. no. the look of awe with which the child regarded the painting. ¡°Yes. ¡°Why. my dear. ma¡¯am?¡± asked Oliver.Oliver Twist 118 ¡°I don¡¯t quite know. I don¡¯t know. The man that invented the machine for taking likenesses might have known that would never succeed.¡± replied Oliver. ¡°you don¡¯t see it now. What a beautiful. in a low voice. You¡¯re weak and nervous after your illness.¡± said the old lady. in great surprise. A deal. ¡°don¡¯t talk in that way. without taking his eyes from the canvas. ma¡¯am. really. Let me wheel your chair round to the other side.¡± returned Oliver quickly.¡± answered the old lady. It seems to strike your fancy.¡± Oliver did see it in his mind¡¯s eye as distinctly as if he had not Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . sure you¡¯re not afraid of it?¡± said the old lady. and then you won¡¯t see it. mild face that lady¡¯s is!¡± ¡°Ah!¡± said the old lady. ma¡¯am?¡± said Oliver. ¡°Why. but couldn¡¯t.¡± said Oliver. dear. child. in a good-humoured manner. ¡°It¡¯s not a likeness of anybody that you or I know. starting.¡± ¡°Lord save us!¡± exclaimed the old lady. It makes my heart beat. at all events. child. laughing very heartily at her own acuteness. ¡°that¡¯s a portrait. they seem fixed upon me. ¡°but the eyes look so sorrowful. ¡°painters always make ladies out prettier than they are. looking up for a moment from the broth. ¡°as if it was alive. ¡°Is¡ªis that a likeness.¡± ¡°Whose. ¡°I have seen so few that I hardly know.¡± added Oliver.¡± said the old lady. and wanted to speak to me. ¡°Oh. suiting the action to the word. it¡¯s a deal too honest. There!¡± said the old lady. observing. I expect. no.

if the truth must be told. He had scarcely swallowed the last spoonful. ¡°Everything you have had. clearing his throat. Brownlow. the old gentleman came in as brisk as need be. but he thought it better not to worry the kind old lady. Now. Brownlow. sir. out of respect to his benefactor. so he smiled gently when she looked at him. but he had no sooner raised his spectacles on his forehead. Bedwin. Mrs. and Mrs. satisfied that he felt more comfortable. Bedwin. and in walked Mr Brownlow. ¡°Come in.¡± ¡°I don¡¯t know. Brownlow¡¯s heart. with all the bustle befitting so solemn a preparation. ¡°I rather think I had a damp napkin at dinner-time yesterday. I don¡¯t know. my dear?¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . by some hydraulic process which we are not sufficiently philosophical to be in a condition to explain. and the fact is. forced a supply of tears into his eyes.Oliver Twist 119 altered his position. Oliver looked very worn and shadowy from sickness. has been well aired.¡± said the old lady. Oliver got through it with extraordinary expedition. Bedwin. being large enough for any six ordinary old gentlemen of humane disposition. Bedwin. that Mr. ¡°I¡¯m rather hoarse this morning. and thrust his hands behind the skirts of his dressing-gown to take a good look at Oliver. salted and broke bits of toasted bread into the broth. but never mind that. How do you feel. poor boy!¡± said Mr. ¡°Poor boy. than his countenance underwent a very great variety of odd contortions.¡± said Mrs. which terminated in his sinking back into the chair again. I¡¯m afraid I have caught cold.¡± ¡°I hope not. when there came a soft tap at the door. and made an ineffectual attempt to stand up.¡± said Mr. sir.

Tom White. ¡°What made you tell the magistrate your name was White?¡± ¡°I never told him so. ¡°No. ¡°Have you given him any nourishment.¡± replied the little invalid. Twist¡ªOliver Twist. there existed no affinity or connection whatsoever. and laying a strong emphasis on the last word.¡± said Mr. in amazement This sounded so like a falsehood. Brownlow stoutly.¡± ¡°Good boy. sir. ¡°Ugh!¡± said Mr. sir?¡± said Oliver. ¡°Why! what¡¯s this? Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Brownlow. that the old gentleman looked somewhat sternly in Oliver¡¯s face. with a slight shudder.¡± replied Oliver.¡± said Mr. But. drawing herself up slightly. that he could not withdraw his gaze. sir. although his motive for looking steadily at Oliver no longer existed.Oliver Twist 120 ¡®¡°Very happy. no. ¡°a couple of glasses of port wine would have done him a great deal more good. to intimate that between slops. sir. ¡°Some mistake. eh?¡± ¡°He had just had a basin of beautiful strong broth.¡± replied Mrs. Bedwin? Any slops. raising his eyes beseechingly. for your goodness to me. and broth well compounded.¡± said Mr. Brownlow. the old idea of the resemblance between his features and some familiar face came upon him so strongly. ¡°Oliver what? Oliver White. ¡°Oliver. sir. eh?¡± ¡°No. with a look of great astonishment. there was truth in every one of its thin and sharpened lineaments. ¡°I hope you are not angry with me. sir.¡± returned Oliver.¡± replied the old gentleman. ¡°And very grateful indeed. sir. Bedwin. It was impossible to doubt him. Wouldn¡¯t they. eh?¡± ¡°My name is Oliver.¡± ¡°Queer name!¡± said the old gentleman. Brownlow.

putting entirely out of sight any considerations of heart. Brownlow¡¯s personal property. and for as much as the freedom of the subject and the liberty of the individual are among the first and proudest boasts of a true-hearted Englishman.Oliver Twist 121 Bedwin. A weakness on his part. and then to the boy¡¯s face. he pointed hastily to the picture above Oliver¡¯s head. for the instant. joined in the hue-and-cry which was raised at Oliver¡¯s heels. the head. the mouth. 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 mainsprings of all Nature¡¯s deeds and actions¡ªthe said philosophers very wisely reducing the good lady¡¯s proceedings to matters of maxim and theory. so I need hardly beg the reader to observe. and his accomplished friend Master Bates. for. The expression was. every feature was the same. they were actuated by a very laudable and becoming regard for themselves. There was its living copy. so precisely alike. by a very neat and pretty compliment to her exalted wisdom and understanding. that this action should tend to exalt them in the opinion of all public and patriotic men in almost as great a degree as this strong proof of their anxiety. that the minutest line seemed copied with startling accuracy! Oliver knew not the cause of this sudden exclamation. not being strong enough to bear the start it gave him. and. or generous Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . look there!¡± As he spoke. and of recording. That when the Dodger. as has been already described. The eyes. which affords the narrative an opportunity of relieving the reader from suspense in behalf of the two young pupils of the merry old gentleman. in consequence of their executing an illegal conveyance of Mr. he fainted away.

and impartial view of his own particular case. I should at once find it in the fact (also recorded in a foregoing part of this narrative). to evince great wisdom and foresight in providing against every possible contingency which can be supposed at all likely to affect themselves. in carrying out their theories. to do a great right. or indeed the distinction between the two. that they ventured to halt beneath a low and dark archway.Oliver Twist 122 impulse and feeling. If I wanted any further proof of the strictly philosophical nature of the conduct of these young gentlemen in their very delicate predicament. and you may take any means which the end to be attained. Having remained silent here. just long enough to recover breath to speak. being left entirely to the philosopher concerned. the amount of the right. still. with great rapidity. will justify. when the general attention was fixed upon Oliver. you may do a little wrong. that it is the invariable practice of many mighty philosophers. through a most intricate maze of narrow streets and courts. of their quitting the pursuit. to be settled and determined by his clear. For 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. It was not until the two boys had scoured. like unto those in which drunken men under the pressure of a too mighty flow of ideas are prone to indulge). and do say distinctly. I do mean to say. Although I do not mean to assert that it is usually the practice of renowned and learned sages to shorten the road to any great conclusion (their course indeed being rather to lengthen the distance. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . or the amount of the wrong. by various circumlocutions and discursive staggerings. Thus. comprehensive. and making immediately for their home by the shortest possible cut.

singing out arter him¡ªoh. scratched his head. ¡°What¡¯s the matter?¡± inquired the Dodger. and. and knocking up again the posts. and cutting round the corners. ¡°Toor rul lol loo. and nodded thrice. looking cautiously round. he again rolled upon the door-step. Master Bates felt it Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . This was explanatory. ¡°I can¡¯t help it! To see him splitting away at that pace. bursting into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. my eye!¡± The vivid imagination of Master Bates presented the scene before him in too strong colours. ¡°What do you mean?¡± said Charley. for the Dodger¡¯s manner was impressive. ¡°What should he say?¡± Mr. the frog he wouldn¡¯t. with a slight sneer on his intellectual countenance. ¡°Ha! ha! ha!¡± roared Charley Bates. ¡°Do you want to be grabbed. flung himself upon a door-step. what should he say?¡± inquired Charley.¡± said Charley. but not satisfactory. gammon and spinnage. and starting on again as if he was made of iron as well as them. and high cockolorum. what?¡± said the Dodger.¡± said the Dodger. ¡°What¡¯ll Fagin say?¡± inquired the Dodger. and me with the wipe in my pocket. taking off his hat. ¡°Hold your noise. and rolled thereon in a transport of mirth.¡± remonstrated the Dodger. stupid?¡± ¡°I can¡¯t help it. stopping rather suddenly in his merriment. ¡°What?¡± repeated Charley Bates. As he arrived at this apostrophe. ¡°Ah. ¡°Why. and laughed louder than before. Dawkins whistled for a couple of minutes. then.Oliver Twist 123 Master Bates uttered an exclamation of amusement and delight. taking advantage of the next interval of breathlessness on the part of his friend to propound the question.

Master Bates followed. bent his ear towards the door and listened. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . roused the merry old gentleman as he sat over the fire with a saveloy and a small loaf in his left hand. The noise of footsteps on the creaking stairs. looking sharply out from under his thick red eyebrows. and turning on his heel. closing it behind them. a few minutes after the occurrence of this conversation. ¡°What do you mean?¡± The Dodger made no reply. and gathering the skirts of his long-tailed coat under his arm. The door was slowly opened. There was a rascally smile on his white face as he turned round. and.¡± muttered the Jew. Hark!¡± The footsteps approached nearer. with a thoughtful countenance. a pocket-knife in his right. and again said. but putting his hat on again.Oliver Twist 124 so. changing countenance. slunk down the court. ¡°Why. thrust his tongue into his cheek. they reached the landing. slapped the bridge of his nose some halfdozen times in a familiar but expressive manner. and a pewter pot on the trivet. and the Dodger and Charley Bates entered. ¡°only two of ¡¯em? Where¡¯s the third? They can¡¯t have got into trouble. how¡¯s this.

and looked uneasily at each other: But they made no reply. ¡°Speak out. and continuous roar¡ªsomething between a mad bull and a speaking-trumpet. at one jerk. the Dodger snatched up the toasting-fork.¡± said the Dodger sullenly. let go o¡¯ me. rising with a menacing look. the traps have got him. clean out of the big coat. which he left in the Jew¡¯s hands. Various Pleasant Matters Are Related. Fagin looked so very much in earnest. that Charley Bates. Appertaining To This History. or I¡¯ll throttle you!¡± Mr. and who conceived it by no means improbable that it might be his turn to be throttled second. ¡°W here¡¯s Oliver?¡± said the Jew. dropped upon his knees. seizing the Dodger tightly by the collar. who deemed it prudent in all cases to be on the safe side. ¡°Will you speak?¡± thundered the Jew.Oliver Twist 125 Chapter 13 Some New Acquaintances Are Introduced To The Intelligent Reader. ¡°What¡¯s become of the boy?¡± said the Jew. and that¡¯s all about it. ¡°Where¡¯s the boy?¡± The young thieves eyed their preceptor as if they were alarmed at his violence. ¡°Why. and threatening him with horrid imprecations. well-sustained. will you!¡± And swinging himself. Connected With Whom. shaking the Dodger so much that his keeping in the big coat at all seemed perfectly miraculous. ¡°Come. and raised a loud. and made Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .

in such costume. ¡°Who pitched that ¡¯ere at me? It¡¯s well it¡¯s the beer. which inclosed a bulky pair of legs. with the long. with more agility than could have been anticipated in a man of his apparent decrepitude. if my neck-handkercher ain¡¯t lined with beer! Come in. what the blazes is in the wind now!¡± growled a deep voice. a broad. when he had done so. and flung it full at that young gentleman. very soiled drab breeches. you sneaking warmint. The Jew stepped back. at this moment. which. was a stoutly-built fellow about five-and-thirty. if it had taken effect.Oliver Twist 126 a pass at the merry old gentleman¡¯s waistcoat. and not the pot. Wot¡¯s it all about. But Charley Bates. with large. wot are you stopping outside for. in a black velveteen coat. He had a brown hat on his head. lace-up half-boots and grey cotton stockings. frayed ends of which he smeared the beer from his face as he spoke. swelling calves¡ªthe kind of legs. would have let a little more merriment out. and a dirty belcher handkerchief round his neck. than could have been easily replaced. thundering old Jew could afford to throw away any drink but water¡ªand not that. seizing up the pot. he suddenly altered its destination. which. I might have know¡¯d. as hit me. unless he done the River Company every quarter. and. plundering. always look in an unfinished and incomplete state without a set of fetters to garnish them. ¡°Why. one of which displayed various parti-coloured Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . prepared to hurl it at his assailant¡¯s head. or I¡¯d have settled somebody. in this emergency. calling his attention by a perfectly terrific howl. Fagin? D¡ªme. as if you was ashamed of your master! Come in!¡± The man who growled out these words. heavy countenance with a beard of three days¡¯ growth. and two scowling eyes. as nobody but an infernal rich. He disclosed.

as you do when you blab and¡ª¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . you covetous. are you? Lie down!¡± This command was accompanied with a kick. Bill. and I suppose they don¡¯t blow glass bottles large enough.Oliver Twist 127 symptoms of having been recently damaged by a blow. for he coiled himself up in a corner very quietly. then¡ªBill Sikes. and. for you¡¯re fit for nothing but keeping as a curiosity of ugliness in a glass bottle. too. which sent the animal to the other end of the room. seating himself deliberately. You know my name: out with it! I shan¡¯t disgrace it when the time comes. Sikes. ¡°What are you up to? Ill-treating the boys. without uttering a sound. ¡°Come in. with his face scratched and torn in twenty different places. If I¡¯d been your ¡¯prentice. skulked into the room.¡± replied Sikes. ¡°I wonder they don¡¯t murder you! I would if I was them. ¡°Why didn¡¯t you come in afore?¡± said the man. unless you mean as little harm when you throw pewter pots about. ¡°you always mean mischief when you come that. ¡°I should think you was rather out of sorts. and¡ª no. I couldn¡¯t have sold you afterwards. however. He appeared well used to it. winking his very ill-looking eyes twenty times in a minute.¡± ¡°Hush! hush! Mr. I¡¯d have done it long ago. appeared to occupy himself in taking a survey of the apartment. avaricious. A white. trembling. in-sa-ti-a-ble old fence?¡± said the man. ¡°You seem out of humour.¡± ¡°Perhaps I am.¡± ¡°Well. ¡°don¡¯t speak so loud.¡± said the Jew. well. ¡°You¡¯re getting too proud to own me afore company.¡± said the Jew. d¡¯ye hear?¡± growled this engaging ruffian.¡± ¡°None of your mistering.¡± replied the ruffian. with abject humility. shaggy dog.

as to the Dodger appeared most advisable under the circumstances. This was said in jest. as plentifully besprinkled. catching the man by the sleeve. Mr. regarding the other closely as he Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . in which the cause and manner of Oliver¡¯s capture were circumstantially detailed.¡± said Mr.¡± added the Jew. Mr. Fagin.Oliver Twist 128 ¡°Are you mad?¡± said the Jew. in cant terms. speaking as if he had not noticed the interruption. a piece of dumb show which the Jew appeared to understand perfectly. or the wish (at all events) to improve upon the distiller¡¯s ingenuity not very far from the old gentleman¡¯s merry heart. ¡°And mind you don¡¯t poison it.¡± returned Sikes. and. you see. Sikes contented himself with tying an imaginary knot under his left ear. with which his whole conversation v. ¡°I¡¯m afraid. ¡°You¡¯re blowed upon.¡± ¡°And I¡¯m afraid. Sikes condescended to take some notice of the young gentlemen. After swallowing two or three glasses of spirits. and jerking his head over on the right shoulder. ¡°that he may say something which will get us into trouble. with a malicious grin. but if the speaker could have seen the evil leer with which the Jew bit his pale lip as he turns round to the cupboard. he might have thought the caution not wholly unnecessary. with such alterations and improvements on the truth. He then. Sikes. but which would be quite unintelligible if they were recorded here. demanded a glass of liquor.¡± ¡°That¡¯s very likely. which gracious act led to a conversation.¡± said the Jew. and pointing towards the boys. laying his hat upon the table.

¡°and then he must be taken care on. and Mr. one and all. The prudence of this line of action. that the Dodger. indeed.¡± The man started. there¡¯s no fear till he comes out again. if the game was up with us. but. ¡°If he hasn¡¯t peached. The Jew nodded assent. and turned round upon the Jew. How long they might have sat and looked at each other. William Sikes. You must get hold of him somehow. in a state of uncertainty not the most pleasant of its kind. there was one very strong objection to it being adopted. Every member of the respectable coterie appeared plunged in his own reflections. it is difficult to guess. for the sudden entrance of the two young ladies whom Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± Again the Jew nodded. my dear. There was a long pause. and Charley Bates. was obvious. in a much lower tone than he had taken since he came in. not excepting the dog. This was.¡± said Mr. Sikes. and his eyes were vacantly staring on the opposite wall. unfortunately. and is committed. ¡°Somebody must find out wot¡¯s been done at the office. happened. to entertain a violent and deeply-rooted antipathy to going near a police-office on any ground or pretext whatever.Oliver Twist 129 did so¡ª¡°I¡¯m afraid that.¡± said Mr. But the old gentleman¡¯s shoulders were shrugged up to his ears. It is not necessary to make any guesses on the subject. 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. it might be up with a good many more and that it would come out rather worse for you than it would for me. Sikes. and Fagin. however.

won¡¯t you. a polite and delicate evasion of the request which shows the young lady to have been possessed of that natural good-breeding which cannot bear to inflict upon a fellow-creature. in a red gown. It is due to the young lady to say that she did not positively affirm that she would not. ¡°Nancy.¡± replied Nancy.¡± replied the lady collectedly.¡± ¡°She¡¯ll go. looking up in a surly manner. so it¡¯s no use a-trying it on.¡± ¡°And as I don¡¯t want ¡¯em to.¡± said the Jew coaxingly. neither. ¡°nobody about here knows anything of you.Oliver Twist 130 Oliver had seen on a former occasion. ¡°Bet will go. my dear. The Jew¡¯s countenance fell. green boots. my dear. to the other female. ¡°The very thing!¡± said the Jew.¡± said Sikes. attired. ¡°what do you say?¡± ¡°That it won¡¯t do. caused the conversation to flow afresh. ¡°What I say. ¡°Only just up to the office. He turned from this young lady.¡± reasoned Mr. but that she merely expressed an emphatic and earnest desire to be ¡°blessed¡± if she would. Bill. the pain of a direct and pointed refusal. my dear?¡± ¡°Wheres?¡± inquired the young lady. ¡°What do you mean by that?¡± said Mr. you¡¯re just the very person for it. ¡°it¡¯s rather more no than yes with me. in the same composed manner. Sikes. Bill. in a soothing manner. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Fagin.¡± replied Nancy. and yellow curl-papers. Fagin. Sikes.¡± said the Jew. ¡°Why. not to say gorgeously. who was gaily.

Fagin. and tell me what¡¯s been done with the dear boy. and bribes. she will.¡± said Sikes. By dint of alternate threats. Sikes was right. ¡°it looks real and genuine like. producing a little covered basket. the lady in question was ultimately prevailed upon to undertake the commission. my dear. rubbing his hands. Fagin.¡± said the Jew.¡± ¡°Yes. innocent little brother!¡± exclaimed Nancy. gentlemen!¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . hanging a large street door key on the forefinger of the young lady¡¯s right hand. my dear. ¡°Oh.¡± said Sikes. do. do have pity. promises. my dear. she was not under the same apprehension of being recognised by any of her numerous acquaintances. my dear!¡± said the Jew. ¡°Yes. withheld by the same considerations as her agreeable friend. for. dear. with a clean white apron tied over her gown. yes. indeed. if you please. and wringing the little basket and the street door key in an agony of distress. bursting into tears.¡± ¡°Give her a door key to carry in her t¡¯other one.Oliver Twist 131 ¡°No. having recently removed into the neighbourhood of Field Lane from the remote but genteel suburb of Ratcliffe. She was not.¡± said Nancy. Fagin. my brother! My poor. It looks more respectable. sweet. gentlemen. And Mr. very good! Very good indeed. and her curl-papers tucked up under a straw bonnet¡ªboth articles of dress being provided from the Jew¡¯s inexhaustible stock¡ªMiss Nancy prepared to issue forth on her errand.¡± said the Jew. Accordingly. ¡°Stop a¡¯ minute. she won¡¯t. ¡°What has become of him! Where have they taken him to! Oh. ¡°There. so it does. ¡°Carry that in one hand. gentlemen.

Sikes. ¡°Here¡¯s her health. the offence against society having been clearly proved. and disappeared. so Nancy passed on Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and listened. ¡°She¡¯s an honour to her sex. had been very properly committed by Mr. my dears. which had been confiscated for the use of the county. ¡°Nolly. ¡°Nolly?¡± There was nobody inside but a miserable. winked to the company. she tapped softly with the key at one of the cell doors. ¡°Ah! she¡¯s a clever girl. Miss Nancy paused. turning round to his young friends. she arrived in perfect safety shortly afterwards. Fang to the house of correction for one month. it would be more wholesomely expended on the treadmill than in a musical instrument. and who. and many other encomiums. to the imm easurable delight of her hearers. with the appropriate and amusing remark that since he had so much breath to spare. and shaking his head gravely. whither.¡± said the Jew.¡± said Mr. being occupied in mentally bewailing the loss of the flute.Oliver Twist 132 Having uttered these words in a most lamentable and heartbroken tone. nodded smilingly round. in a gentle voice. Entering by the back way. and wishing they was all like her!¡± While these. and smiting the table with his enormous fist. There was no sound within. He made no answer. shoeless criminal. filling his glass. Still there was no reply. were being passed on the accomplished Nancy. so she spoke. notwithstanding a little natural timidity consequent upon walking through the streets alone and unprotected. who had been taken up for playing the flute. that young lady made the best of her way to the police-office. so she coughed and listened again. as if in mute admonition to them to follow the bright example they had just beheld. dear¡ª¡± murmured Nancy.

¡°What gentleman? Oh. in a distracted manner. or. rendered more piteous by a prompt and efficient use of the street door key and the little basket. who was going to the same prison for hawking tin saucepans without a licence. But. as neither of these criminals answered to the name of Oliver.¡± This was a vagrant of sixty-five. ¡°God forbid. not in custody. my dear. ¡°Why. and that the prosecutor had carried him away. for begging in the streets. thereby doing something for his living.Oliver Twist 133 to the next cell. to his own residence. In the next cell. and discharged in consequence of a witness having proved the robbery to have been committed by another boy. that it was somewhere at Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and doing nothing for his livelihood. the old man informed the deeply-affected sister that Oliver had been taken ill in the office. gracious heavens! What gentleman?¡± exclaimed Nancy. and knocked there. In reply to this incoherent questioning. in an insensible condition.¡± replied the officer. who was going to prison for not playing the flute.¡± said the old man. ¡°Where is he?¡± screamed Nancy. Nancy made straight up to the bluff officer in the striped waistcoat. or knew anything about him. all the informant knew was. ¡°Is there a little boy here?¡± inquired Nancy. in other words. in defiance of the Stamp-office.¡± replied the voice. and with the most piteous wailings and lamentations. another man. of and concerning which. demanded her own dear brother. ¡°No. ¡°I haven¡¯t got him. with a preliminary sob. ¡°Well!¡± cried a faint and feeble voice. the gentleman¡¯s got him.

¡± said the Jew. unlocking a drawer with a shaking hand. and putting on his hat. Nancy says?¡± inquired Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . without devoting any time to the formality of wishing the company good-morning. till you bring home some news of him! Nancy. ¡°there¡¯s money. I must have him found. I shall shut up his shop tonight. my dears. exchanging her faltering walk for a good. Not an instant.Oliver Twist 134 Pentonville. he must be found. he pushed them from the room: and carefully double-locking and barring the door behind them. drew from its place of concealment the box which he had unintentionally disclosed to Oliver. In a dreadful state of doubt and uncertainty. I trust to you. ¡°What now?¡± cried the Jew impatiently. stay. my dear. returned by the most devious and complicated route she could think of. do nothing but skulk about. ¡°Is he to be kidnapped to the other ken. the agonised young woman staggered to the gate. my dears. Then. through the keyhole. swift. in a shrill tone. he hastily proceeded to dispose the watches and jewellery beneath his clothing.¡± added the Jew. You¡¯ll know where to find me! Don¡¯t stop here a minute. ¡°Me!¡± replied the voice of the Dodger. to the domicile of the Jew. greatly excited. ¡°Who¡¯s there?¡± he cried. A rap at the door startled him in this occupation. steady run. Mr. expeditiously departed. than he very hastily called up the white dog. my dears!¡± With these words. and then. he having heard that word mentioned in the directions to the coachman. my dear¡ªto you and the Artful for everything! Stay. ¡°Charley. ¡°We must know where he is. Bill Sikes no sooner heard the account of the expedition delivered.

and hurried downstairs after his companions. ¡°He has not peached so far. Find him.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . we may stop his mouth yet. ¡°wherever she lays hands on him.¡± replied the Jew. ¡°Yes. that¡¯s all! I shall know what to do next. find him out.Oliver Twist 135 the Dodger.¡± said the Jew as he pursued his occupation. never fear. ¡°If he means to blab us among his new friends.¡± The boy murmured a reply of intelligence.

ma¡¯am. His expectations were disappointed.¡± said Oliver. in the hope of again looking on the face of the beautiful lady. perhaps it might prevent your getting well. you see. because Mr. however. for the picture had been removed. watching the direction of Oliver¡¯s eyes. Brownlow¡¯s abrupt exclamation had thrown him the subject of the picture was carefully avoided. child. you know. indeed. well!¡± said the old lady good-humouredly. ¡°I liked to see it. when he came down into the housekeeper¡¯s room next day. It didn¡¯t worry me. When He Went Out On An Errand. Brownlow¡¯s. I quite loved it. ¡°Why have they taken it away?¡± ¡°It has been taken down.¡± ¡°Well. Bedwin. With The Remarkable Prediction Which One Mr. ¡°Oh. no. ma¡¯am. Brownlow said.¡± rejoined the old lady.Oliver Twist 136 Chapter 14 Comprising Further Particulars Of Oliver¡¯s Stay At Mr.¡± replied Oliver. in the conversation that ensued. ¡°It is gone. but. ¡°you get well Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°Ah!¡± said the housekeeper. Grimwig Uttered Concerning Him.¡± ¡°I see it is. both by the old gentleman and Mrs. his first act was to cast an eager glance at the wall. which indeed bore no reference to Oliver¡¯s history or prospects but was confined to such topics as might amuse without exciting him. that as it seemed to worry you. O liver soon recovering from the fainting fit into which Mr. He was still too weak to get up to breakfast.

that it brought the tears into her eyes to talk about them. and at which game they played. so he listened attentively to a great many stories she told him. and lived in the country. also. As the old lady had been so kind to him in his illness. let us talk about something else. There! I promise you that! Now. such a good young man. than Mr. who was clerk to a merchant in the West Indies. it was time to have tea. properly. and neat. and who was. and the merits of her kind good husband besides. a long time. and it shall be hung up again. he gave them to a servant who had been very kind to him and asked her to sell them to a Jew. dear. with a slice of dry toast. After tea she began to teach Oliver cribbage. that after the noise and turbulence in the midst of which he had always lived. and about a son. Everything was so quiet. As Oliver was told that he might do what he liked with the old clothes. he endeavoured to think no more of the subject just then. who was married to an amiable and handsome man. poor dear soul! just six-and-twenty years. which he learned as quickly as she could teach. and then to go cosily to bed. and keep the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . with great interest and gravity. on the excellences of her children.Oliver Twist 137 as fast as ever you can. and orderly. everybody so kind and gentle. about an amiable and handsome daughter of hers. those of Oliver¡¯s recovery. to be provided for him. and wrote such dutiful letters home four times a year. it seemed like heaven itself. These were happy days. who had been dead and gone.¡± This was all the information Oliver would obtain about the picture at that time. until it was time for the invalid to have some warm wine-and-water. He was no sooner strong enough to put his clothes on. and a new pair of shoes. and a new cap. Brownlow caused a complete new suit. When the old lady had expatiated.

from head to foot. There was a table drawn up before the window. back room. Brownlow. that there was not even time to crimp the little frill. Oliver tapped at the study door. ¡°Bless us. although she lamented grievously. he should like to see him in his study. there came a message down from Mr. he looked so delicate and handsome. about a week after the affair of the picture. and save us! Wash your hands. to tell the truth. child. and saw the Jew roll them up in his bag and walk away he felt quite delighted to think that they were safely gone. as Oliver looked out of the parlour window. looking at him with great complacency. that if Oliver Twist felt pretty well. They were sad rags. ¡°Dear heart alive! If we had known he would have asked for you we would have put you a clean collar on. Bedwin. he pushed the book away from him. at which Mr. and told him to come near the table. that she went so far as to say. and. and sit down. and Oliver had never had a new suit before. quite full of books. he found himself in a little.Oliver Twist 138 money for herself. as he was sitting talking to Mrs. Brownlow was seated reading.¡± said Mrs. Brownlow calling to him to come in. Bedwin. On Mr. and let me part your hair nicely for you. that bordered his shirt collar. and made you as smart as sixpence!¡± Oliver did as the old lady bade him. marvelling where Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . that she really didn¡¯t think it would have been possible. meanwhile. Thus encouraged. on the longest notice. to have made much difference in him for the better. Oliver complied. One evening. When he saw Oliver. looking into some pleasant little gardens. and that there was now no possible danger of his ever being able to wear them again. and talk to him a little while. and. This she very readily did. with a window. despite that important personal advantage.

Oliver considered a little while. in some cases. though of a much smaller size.¡± said the old gentleman kindly. while there¡¯s an Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . though he by no means knew what it was. and write books. ¡°Not always those.¡± ¡°You shall read them. my boy?¡± said Mr. ¡°There are a good many books. Which is still a marvel to more experienced people than Oliver Twist. ¡°What! wouldn¡¯t you like to be a book-writer? said the old gentleman.¡± said the old gentleman. he should think it would be a much better thing to be a book-seller. sir.¡± said the old gentleman. and at last said. if you behave well. better than looking at the outsides¡ªthat is. and declared he had said a very good thing. ¡°and you will like that. with a good deal of gilding about the binding. Which Oliver felt glad to have done. ¡°A great number. How should you like to grow up a clever man. sir.¡± replied Oliver. ¡°there are other equally heavy ones. well. patting Oliver on the head. sir. pointing to some large quartos. ¡°Well. eh?¡± ¡°I think I would rather read them.¡± said Oliver. Brownlow. observing the curiosity with which Oliver surveyed the shelves that reached from the floor to the ceiling. are there not. every day of their lives. and smiling as he did so. upon which the old gentleman laughed heartily.¡± ¡°I suppose they are those heavy ones.¡± replied Oliver. ¡°Don¡¯t be afraid! We won¡¯t make an author of you. composing his features. ¡°I never saw so many. because there are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.Oliver Twist 139 the people could be found to read such a great number of books as seemed to be written to make the world wiser.

but I feel strongly disposed to trust you. speaking if possible in a kinder. Have mercy upon a poor boy. The persons on whom I have bestowed my dearest love.Oliver Twist 140 honest trade to be learned. not understanding.¡± ¡°Thank you. At the earnest manner of his reply. my boy. sir. as many older persons would be. ¡°Don¡¯t turn me out of doors to wander in the streets again. and be a servant. but at the same time in a much more serious manner than Oliver had ever known him assume yet. before. on my best Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± rejoined the old gentleman. nevertheless. I have been deceived. but. alarmed at the serious tone of the old gentleman¡¯s commencement. ¡°I do not think you ever will.¡± ¡°Oh. moved by the warmth of Oliver¡¯s sudden appeal. ¡°Now. for ever.¡± ¡°I never. which Oliver. and I am more interested in your behalf than I can well account for. sir. sir!¡± ¡°My dear child. ¡°I hope not.¡± said the old gentleman. and sealed it up. Don¡¯t send me back to the wretched place I came from. I shall talk to you without any reserve because I am sure you are as well able to understand me. I have not made a coffin of my heart. the old gentleman laughed again.¡± said Oliver. or brick-making to turn to. Brownlow. paid no very great attention to. and said something about a curious instinct. in the objects whom I have endeavoured to benefit.¡± interposed Oliver. to what I am going to say. pray!¡± exclaimed Oliver. unless you give me cause. sir. never will. ¡°I want you to pay great attention. ¡°you need not be afraid of my deserting you. although the happiness and delight of my life lie buried there too.¡± said Mr. don¡¯t tell me you are going to send me away. even to myself. Let me stay here. lie deep in their graves.

all the inquiries I have been able to make. ¡°No. and you shall not be friendless while I live. and.¡± Mr. Speak the truth. more to himself than to his companion. perhaps. sir?¡± inquired Oliver. Grimwig.¡± replied Mr.¡± replied the servant. ¡°I would rather you remained At this moment. when I told him yes. and the servant. without a friend in the world. ¡°Well. turning to Oliver. and carried to the workhouse by Mr. not to wound me again.¡± As the old gentleman said this in a low voice. Grimwig was an old friend of his. Deep affliction has but strengthened and refined them. running upstairs. who brought you up. ¡°Shall I go downstairs. and he must not mind his being a little rough in his manners for he was a worthy creature at bottom. Brownlow. Let me hear your story¡ªwhere you come from. and as he remained silent for a short time afterwards. Brownlow. sir. a peculiarly impatient little double-knock was heard at the street door. You say you are an orphan. and how you got into the company in which I found you. he said he had come to tea. as he had reason to know. and knowing that I have suffered great pain and sorrow. when he was on the point of beginning to relate how he had been brought up at the farm. ¡°Is he coming up?¡± inquired Mr.¡± Oliver¡¯s sobs checked his utterance for some minutes. supporting himself by a Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and. well!¡± said the old gentleman at length. announced Mr. confirm the statement. you will be more careful. Brownlow smiled. there walked into the room. said that Mr. ¡°Yes. ¡°He asked if there were any muffins in the house. because you have a young heart. in a more cheerful tone. Bumble. ¡°I only say this.Oliver Twist 141 affections. Oliver sat quite still.

It will sir. discontented voice: ¡°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. in a growling. Grimwig backed and confirmed nearly every assertion he made. and of looking out of the corners of his eyes at the same time. He had a manner of screwing his head on one side when he spoke. because. or I¡¯ll be content to eat my own head. and I know orange-peel will be my death at last. that the most sanguine man alive could hardly entertain a hope of being able to get through it at a sitting¡ªto put entirely out of the question. the variety of shapes into which his countenance was twisted. dangled loosely below it. orange-peel will be my death. Grimwig¡¯s head was such a particularly large one. and. holding out a small piece of orange-peel at arm¡¯s length. with the sides turned up with green. the moment he made his appearance. and a very long steel watch-chain. even admitting for the sake of argument. which irresistibly reminded the beholder of a parrot. sir!¡± This was the handsome offer with which Mr. and a broad-brimmed white hat. Mr. In this attitude he fixed himself. A very small-plated shirt frill stuck out from his waistcoat. who was dressed in a blue coat. defy description. striped waistcoat nankeen breeches and gaiters. a very thick Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . the possibility of scientific improvements being ever brought to that pass which will enable a gentleman to eat his own head in the event of his being go disposed. The ends of his white neckerchief were twisted into a ball about the size of an orange. rather lame in one leg. a stout old gentleman. with nothing but a key at the end. exclaimed. and it was the more singular in his case.Oliver Twist 142 thick stick.

no. whenever it was not expressed in words. Oliver bowed. who had the orange. ¡°I¡¯ll eat my head.¡± said Mr. and fell against my garden railings. A young woman stumbled over a bit last night. Brownlow. which was always understood. and his too. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . laughing. ¡®Don¡¯t go to him. striking his stick upon the ground. he sat down. I¡¯ll eat my head. ¡°There¡¯s always more or less orange-peel on the pavement in our street. about.¡± repeated Mr. and retreating a pace or two. ¡°Wait a minute! Don¡¯t speak! Stop¡± continued Mr. ¡°that¡¯s the boy who had the orange! If that¡¯s not the boy. abruptly. sir. opening a double eyeglass.¡± said Mr. ¡®he¡¯s an assassin! A mantrap!¡¯ So he is. ¡°This is young Oliver Twist. and.¡± ¡°No. whom we were speaking.¡¯ I called out of the window. sir. Grimwig. ¡°Hallo! what¡¯s that!¡± looking at Oliver. directly she got up I saw her look towards his infernal red lamp with the pantomime-light. which he wore attached to a broad. recoiling a little more. drawing off his gloves. to imply the customary offer. If he is not¡ª¡± Here the irascible old gentleman gave a great knock on the ground with his stick.Oliver Twist 143 coating of powder. losing all dread of the fever in his triumph at the discovery. ¡°Come! Put down your hat. by his friend.¡± ¡°I feel strongly on this subject. still keeping his stick in his hand. Brownlow. sir. he has not had one. Grimwig. Then. Grimwig. I hope?¡± said Mr. and speak to my young friend. 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.¡± said the irritable old gentleman. and threw this bit of peel upon the staircase.

at length. which. ¡°That¡¯s the boy. who.¡± said Mr. Brownlow.¡± ¡°They are not. I never see any difference in boys. Mealy boys. took a view of Oliver. and beef-faced boys. so he needn¡¯t excite your wrath. Grimwig the most exquisite delight. Brownlow. boy?¡± said Mr. and the appetite of a wolf. Grimwig. Brownlow.¡± replied Mr. Brownlow coughed impatiently. ¡°He may have worse. sir. ¡°That is the boy. What of that? Fevers are not peculiar to good people. with the voice of a pilot. with a body and limbs that appear to be swelling out of the seams of his blue clothes. Grimwig pettishly. is it?¡± said Mr. seeing that he was the object of inspection. Brownlow.¡± repeated Mr. is he not?¡± inquired Mr. Bedwin they were ready for tea. ¡°How are you. I say.¡± Here. Grimwig. and bowed again. I know him! The wretch!¡± ¡°Come. I know a friend who has a beef-faced boy. ¡°He may have worse.¡± replied Mr. ¡°Where does he come from? Who is he? What is he? He has had a fever. which appeared to afford Mr.Oliver Twist 144 black riband. Mr.¡± ¡°And which is Oliver?¡± ¡°Mealy. with a round head. they call him. ¡°A great deal better. he was very happy to do. Mr. coloured. Grimwig.¡± replied Oliver. are they? Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . thank you. as he did not half like the visitor¡¯s manner.¡± replied Mr. Grimwig. I only know two sorts of boys. I don¡¯t know. a fine boy. and red cheeks and glaring eyes. seeming to apprehend that his singular friend was about to say something disagreeable. ¡°I don¡¯t know. a horrid boy. ¡°these are not the characteristics of young Oliver Twist. asked Oliver to step downstairs and tell Mrs. ¡°He is a nice-looking boy. ¡°Don¡¯t know?¡± ¡°No.

bore with great good-humour. Mr. was graciously pleased to express his entire approval of the muffins. to oppose his friend. Brownlow admitted that on no one point of inquiry could he yet return a satisfactory answer. at tea. and. although himself somewhat of an impetuous gentleman. and particular account of the life and adventures of Oliver Twist?¡± asked Mr. Grimwig of Mr. haven¡¯t they. inwardly determining that no man should dictate to him whether a boy was well-looking or not. with a sneer. Grimwig. sharpened on this occasion by the finding of the orange-peel. and that he had postponed any investigation into Oliver¡¯s previous history until he thought the boy was strong enough to bear it. he would be content to¡ªand so forth. at the conclusion of the meal. ¡°And when are you going to hear a full. he had resolved. knowing his friend¡¯s peculiarities. All this. if she didn¡¯t find a table-spoon or two missing some sunshiny morning.Oliver Twist 145 Bad people have fevers sometimes. as Mr. and Oliver. from the first. Mr. When Mr. eh? I knew a man who was hung in Jamaica for murdering his master. matters went on very smoothly. Brownlow. Pooh! nonsense!¡± Now. began to feel more at his ease than he had yet done in the fierce old gentleman¡¯s presence. he wasn¡¯t recommended to mercy on that account. why. Grimwig was strongly disposed to admit that Oliver¡¯s appearance and manner were unusually prepossessing. He had had a fever six times. because. that in the inmost recesses of his own heart. the fact was. Mr. but he had a strong appetite for contradiction. true. who made one of the party. Brownlow. looking Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . whether the housekeeper was in the habit of counting the plate at night. And he demanded. Grimwig chuckled maliciously.

Grimwig.¡± replied Oliver. with a provoking smile. ¡°Stop the boy.¡± said Mr. He is a poor man. Bedwin!¡± said Mr. ¡°Call after him. He is deceiving you. ¡°We shall see.¡± As fate would have it. which Mr.¡± ¡°I¡¯ll swear he is not. Come up to me tomorrow morning at ten o¡¯clock. ¡°And I for his falsehood with my head!¡± rejoined Mr. sir.¡± ¡°He has gone. knocking the table. having laid them on the table. ¡°I would rather he was alone with me at the time. ¡°he won¡¯t come up to you tomorrow morning. knocking the table also. Brownlow. a small parcel of books.¡± ¡°Yes. Brownlow. ¡°it¡¯s particular. ¡°We will. ¡°If he is not. Grimwig¡¯s looking so hard at hum. ¡°I¡¯ll¡ª¡± and down went the stick. ¡°Tomorrow morning. sir. Grimwig. ¡°I¡¯ll tell you what. I saw him hesitate.¡± replied Mr. Bedwin. Bedwin chanced to bring in. who has already figured in this history. Brownlow. Brownlow. she prepared to leave the room.¡± replied Mr. Brownlow.¡± whispered that gentleman to Mr. Brownlow warmly. at this moment. and they are not paid for. He answered with some hesitation because he was confused by Mr.¡± said Mr. There are some books to be Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist 146 sideways at Oliver. checking his rising anger. ¡°we will. my good friend. ¡°I¡¯ll answer for that boy¡¯s truth with my life!¡± said Mr.¡± replied Mrs. Mrs.¡± said Mr. ¡°there is something to go back. as he resumed the subject. Brownlow. my dear. Brownlow had that morning purchased of the identical book-stall keeper. Grimwig.¡± replied Mr. Mrs.

¡°You shall go.¡± said Mr. sir. and that you have come to pay the four pound ten I owe him. when a most malicious cough from Mr.¡± replied Oliver eagerly. he should prove to him the injustice of his suspicions¡ªon this head at least¡ªat once. Grimwig determined him that he should. This is a five-pound note so you will have to bring me back ten shillings change.Oliver Twist 147 taken back. he made a respectful bow. do let me take them.¡± said the old gentleman. but there was no boy in sight. and that. too. delighted to be of use. Oliver and the girl returned in a breathless state. cap in hand.¡± Oliver. and Mr. and left Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°he will be sure to deliver them safely. Brownlow. and the girl ran another. ¡°You are to say. sir. you know. I am very sorry for that. ¡°I particularly wished those books to be returned tonight. ¡°The books are on a chair by my table. Oliver ran one way. Grimwig. Fetch them down. Bedwin stood on the step and screamed for the boy. and placed the books carefully under his arm.¡± ¡°I won¡¯t be ten minutes.¡± said Mr. if you please.¡± exclaimed Mr.¡± ¡°Send Oliver with them. brought down the books under his arm in a great bustle. to report that there were no tidings of him.¡± The old gentleman was just going to say that Oliver should not go out on any account. with an ironical smile. sir. ¡°I¡¯ll run all the way. ¡°Dear me. my dear. by his prompt discharge of the commission. and waited.¡± said Oliver. glancing steadily at Grimwig. to hear what message he was to take. ¡°you are to say that you have brought those books back. ¡°Yes. Having buttoned up the bank-note in his jacket pocket. Brownlow.¡± The street door was opened.

to let him go out of my sight. smiling. Oliver looked gaily round. I¡¯ll eat my head. Mrs. The spirit of contradiction was strong in Mr. the old lady at length permitted him to depart. and there the two friends sat. and. Brownlow. and it was rendered stronger by his friend¡¯s confident smile. sir.¡± ¡°Oh! you really expect him to come back.¡± With these words he drew his chair closer to the table. and a five-pound note in his pocket. If ever that boy returns to this house. ¡°No. giving him many directions about the nearest way. ¡°Don¡¯t you?¡± asked Mr. with the watch between them. and the name of the bookseller. pulling out his watch. The boy has a new suit of clothes on his back. ¡°I do not. smiting the table with his fist. Bedwin followed him to the street door. looking after him. went back to her own room. It was worthy of remark. ¡°Let me see. and nodded before he turned the corner.¡± said Mr. He¡¯ll join his old friends the thieves.Oliver Twist 148 the room. at the moment. and laugh at you. he¡¯ll be back in twenty minutes. The old lady smilingly returned his salutation. at the longest. and the name of the street. Brownlow. a set of valuable books under his arm. and having superadded many injunctions to be sure and not take cold. do you?¡± inquired Mr. all of which Oliver said he clearly understood. somehow.¡± At this moment. and placing it on the table ¡°It will be dark by that time. in silent expectation. as illustrating the importance we Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°Bless his sweet face!¡± said the old lady. Grimwig. ¡°I can¡¯t bear.¡± he said. Grimwig¡¯s breast. closing the door.

with the watch between them. although Mr. but there the two old gentlemen continued to sit. he really did most earnestly and strongly hope at that moment. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . It grew so dark.Oliver Twist 149 attach to our own judgments. and the pride with which we put forth our most rash and hasty conclusions. in silence. that the figures on the dial-plate were scarcely discernible. that. and though he would have been unfeignedly sorry to see his respected friend duped and deceived. Grimwig was not by any means a bad-hearted man. that Oliver Twist might not come back.

which appeared to be the result of some recent conflict. where a flaring gas-light burned all day in the wintertime. a man in a velveteen coat. you varmint! Keep quiet!¡± said Mr. William Sikes. Whatever was the cause. and where no ray of sun ever shone in the summer¡ªthere sat. drab shorts. Sikes¡¯s dog. ¡°Keep quiet. the effect was a kick and a curse bestowed upon the dog simultaneously. red-eyed dog. strongly impregnated with the smell of liquor. situated in the filthiest part of Little Saffron Hill¡ªa dark and gloomy den. In the obscure parlour of a low public-house. alternately. suddenly breaking silence. Whether his meditations were so intense as to be disturbed by the dog¡¯s winking. brooding over a little pewter measure and a small glass. Sikes. having faults of temper Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist 150 Chapter 15 Showing How Very Fond Of Oliver Twist. is matter for argument and consideration. and in licking a large. half-boots and stockings. who occupied himself. The Merry Old Jew And Miss Nancy Were. but Mr. fresh cut on one side of his mouth. in winking at his master with both eyes at the same time. Dogs are not generally apt to revenge injuries inflicted upon them by their masters. 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. At his feet sat a white-coated. whom even by that dim light no experienced agent of police would have hesitated to recognise as Mr.

¡°I didn¡¯t know. my dear. dropping on his knees. who. under a powerful sense of injury. thereby just escaping the pewter measure which Mr. would you¡ª?¡± said Sikes. being disappointed of the dog¡¯s participation. growling. which here! would.¡± replied Fagin humbly. Having given it a hearty shake. the man thrust and swore. perhaps. Sikes the more. I didn¡¯t know. you born devil! Come D¡¯ye hear?¡± The dog no doubt heard. but. and barking. under a form. and from left to right¡ª snapping. made no more ado but at once fixed his teeth in one of the half-boots. leaving Bill Sikes with the poker and the claspknife in his hands. ¡°You hand. says the old adage. appearing to entertain some unaccountable objection to having his throat cut. ¡°What the devil do you come in between me and my dog for?¡± said Sikes. Sikes levelled at his head. and biting at it like a wild beast. seizing the poker in one and deliberately opening with the other a large clasp-knife. growling. ¡°Come here. This resistance only infuriated Mr. he drew from his pocket. he retired. when the door suddenly opening. Sikes spoke in the very harshest key of a very harsh voice. and the struggle was reaching a most critical point for one or other. and labouring. with a fierce gesture. at this moment. There must always be two parties to a quarrel. the dog darted out. Mr. and struck and blasphemed. Sikes. he remained where he was and growled more fiercely than before. at the same time grasping the end of the poker between his teeth. because Mr. began to assail the animal most furiously. The dog jumped from right to left. at once transferred his share in the quarrel to the newcomer. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist 151 in common with his owner.

Bill¡ªa mutual interest. however. ¡°Well. as I¡¯m a living man. though. ¡°that¡¯s why.¡± The Jew rubbed his hands. no! You hear nothing. unless it¡¯s behind a night-cap. ¡°and this is your share.¡± ¡°Humph. with a fierce sneer. but as I know you¡¯ll do me a good turn another time. you go.¡± ¡°Well.¡± replied Sikes.Oliver Twist 152 for the Jew was the newcomer. and d me I¡¯ll keep it. ¡°Sneaking in and out. you white-livered thief!¡± growled Sikes.¡± replied Fagin. half a minute ago. I know all that. what have you got to say to me?¡± ¡°It¡¯s all passed safe through the melting-pot.¡± ¡°Why?¡± inquired the Jew. as haven¡¯t half the pluck of curs. There! If I go. ¡°Oh. and. You¡¯ll never have the laugh at me. It¡¯s rather more than it ought to be my dear.¡± ¡°Grin away. as cares for the lives of such men as you. ¡°Didn¡¯t know. so as nobody hears how you come or go! I wish you had been the dog. Fagin. as if he thought the interest lay rather more on the Jew¡¯s side than on his. so take care of me. and surveying him with savage contempt. He was obviously very ill at ease. sitting down at the table. my dear. shutting up the knife with a very expressive look. you don¡¯t.¡± replied the Jew.¡± said the Jew.¡± said Sikes. well. ¡°Couldn¡¯t you hear the noise?¡± ¡°Not a sound of it. Fagin.¡± said Sikes. and¡ª¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . replacing the poker. Bill. I¡¯ve got the upper hand over you. ¡°¡¯Cause the government. ¡°grin away.¡± retorted Sikes. with a forced smile. lets a man kill a dog how he likes. affected to laugh at the pleasantry of his friend. we¡ªwe¡ª have a mutual interest.

perfectly understanding the hint. hastily opened it. Possibly if he had observed the brief interchange of signals. ¡°Is anybody here. who raised his eyes for an instant. ¡°Dot a shoul. It was lost upon Sikes. as if in expectation of it. give me time. previously exchanging a remarkable look with Fagin.¡± replied Barney.¡± interposed the robber impatiently. ¡°All. It was answered by another Jew. produced a small brown paper packet. Jerk the tinkler. he might have thought that it boded no good to him. you¡¯ve done it many a time. and untying a large knot in one corner. who was stooping at the moment to tie the boot-lace which the dog had torn. have you?¡± inquired Sikes suspiciously ¡°Don¡¯t put on an injured look at the question. Sikes. in plain English. so slightly that the action would have been almost imperceptible to an observant third person. Bill Sikes merely pointed to the empty measure. without raising his eyes from the ground. ¡°This is all.¡± These words. The Jew. and shook his head in reply.¡± replied the Jew soothingly ¡°Here it is! All safe!¡± As he spoke he drew forth an old cotton handkerchief from his breast. Bill. Barney?¡± inquired Fagin. retired to fill it. younger than Fagin.Oliver Twist 153 ¡°Stow that gammon. now that Sikes was looking on. give me time. but nearly as vile and repulsive in appearance. whose words. and proceeded to count the sovereigns it contained. yes. ¡°Where is it? Hand over!¡± ¡°Yes. snatching it from him. is it?¡± inquired Sikes. whether they Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . speaking. ¡°You haven¡¯t opened the parcel and swallowed one or two as you come along.¡± replied the Jew. conveyed an injunction to ring the bell.

he retired. ¡°You are on the scent. ¡°Nobody?¡± inquired Fagin. ¡°Yes. and not lifting his eyes from the ground. basket. made their way through the nose. looking up. is not a matter of much importance. ¡°Nancy!¡± exclaimed Sikes. and the fact is.¡± Barney looked timidly at Fagin. and street door key. Sikes. In about ten minutes¡¯ time. ¡°Send her here.¡± ¡°She¡¯s bid havid a plate of boiled beef id the bar. complete.¡± replied the young lady. ¡°Dobody but Biss Dadsy. Now. whether a peculiar contraction of the Jew¡¯s red eyebrows.¡± said Sikes. apron. The fact is all we need care for here. if I don¡¯t honour that ¡¯ere girl. as if for permission. who was decorated with the bonnet. disposing of its contents. Nancy dear!¡± said Fagin.Oliver Twist 154 came from the heart or not. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . I am. and with several gracious smiles upon Mr. ¡°and tired enough of it I am. upon which Nancy pulled her shawl over her shoulders. in a tone of surprise. Fagin was seized with a fit of coughing.¡± replied Barney. Nancy?¡± inquired Sikes. ¡°Where? Strike me blind. ¡°Send her here. are you. turned the conversation to other matters. pouring out a glass of liquor. Mr. that she suddenly checked herself. the Jew remaining silent. for her native talents. and¡ª¡± ¡°Ah. and a half-closing of his deeply-set eyes. The young brat¡¯s been ill and confined to the crib. which perhaps might mean that Barney was at liberty to tell the truth. and presently returned. too. ushering in Nancy.¡± replied Barney. Bill.¡ªwarned Miss Nancy that she was disposed to be too communicative. proffering the glass.

as quickly as he could. expressed his intention of accompanying her. by the dog. who. and who had a Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and knowing it must lead in the right direction. ¡°Don¡¯t. When he got into Clerkenwell.¡± cried Oliver. with a horrible grin. He was walking along. was on his way to the bookstall. he did not think it worth while to turn back. where he was soon deeply absorbed in the interesting pages of the Hue-and-Cry. when he was startled by a young woman screaming out very loud. and how much he would give for only one look at poor little Dick. struggling. and they went away together. Oliver Twist. he accidentally 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. muttered a deep curse. followed. looked after him as he walked up the dark passage. who slunk out of a back-yard as soon as his master was out of sight. thinking how happy and contented he ought to feel. ¡°Oh. reseated himself at the table. at a little distance. when he was stopped by having a pair of arms thrown right round his neck. finding that he was walking a short part of her way himself. shook his clenched fist. Sikes.Oliver Twist 155 and declared it was time to go. little dreaming that he was within so very short a distance of the merry old gentleman. Who is it? What are you stopping me for?¡± The only reply to this. ¡°Let go of me. my dear brother!¡± And he had hardly looked up to see what the matter was. and then. and so marched on. Meanwhile. might be weeping bitterly at that very moment. Mr. was a great number of loud lamentations from the young woman who had embraced him. starved and beaten. with the books under his arm. The Jew thrust his head out of the room door when Sikes had left it.

Oliver Twist 156 little basket and a street door key in her hand. and started back. ¡°I¡¯ve found him! Oh! Oliver! Oliver! Oh. who appeared of a lounging. grasping Oliver¡¯s hand.¡± ¡°Young wretch!¡± said the woman. I¡¯ve found him. whether he didn¡¯t think he had better run for the doctor. Oh. and almost broke his mother¡¯s heart. how he braves it out!¡± cried the young woman. ¡°Go home. it¡¯s Nancy!¡± exclaimed Oliver. come. no. I¡¯ve found him!¡± With these incoherent exclamations. appealing to the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . you naughty boy.¡± said the young woman.¡± said the other. ma¡¯am. you cruel boy! Come!¡± ¡°What¡¯s the matter. Thank gracious goodness heavins. dear. ¡°Why. do. Come home directly. I¡¯m an orphan. or father and mother either. ¡°Oh. ¡°he ran away. who are hard-working and respectable people. ¡°Oh. never mind. ¡°Oh. ¡°I¡¯m better now. greatly alarmed. 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 now saw her face for the first time. ¡°You see he knows me!¡± cried Nancy.¡± ¡°Only hear him. replied that he thought not. my gracious!¡± said the young woman. no. from his parents. I haven¡¯t any sister. I live at Pentonville. in irrepressible astonishment. ¡°I don¡¯t know her. near a month ago. the young woman burst into another fit of crying.¡± replied the young woman. and got so dreadfully hysterical. to make me suffer such distress on your account! Come home. who was also looking on. and went and joined a set of thieves and bad characters. you little brute. not to say indolent disposition. the butcher¡¯s boy. To which.¡± replied Oliver. ma¡¯am?¡± inquired one of the women. ¡°I¡¯m not.

no help was near.¡± ¡°I don¡¯t belong to them. wholly Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . the man tore the volumes from his grasp. Make him come home. bursting out of a beer-shop. I¡¯ll help you. ¡°Come on. you young rascal! What books are these? You¡¯ve been a-stealin¡¯ ¡¯em. there¡¯s good people. In another moment. ¡°It¡¯ll do him good!¡± said the two women. Bull¡¯s-eye. and break my heart!¡± ¡°What the devil¡¯s this?¡± said a man. he was dragged into a labyrinth of dark. with a white dog at his heels. and the brutality of the man. ¡°And he shall have it. mind him. you young villain! Here. ¡°Yes. boy! Mind him!¡± Weak with recent illness. ¡°That¡¯s the only way of bringing him to his senses!¡± ¡°To be sure!¡± cried a sleepy-faced carpenter. or he¡¯ll kill his dear mother and father. terrified by the fierce growling of the dog. and seizing Oliver by the collar. you young dog! Come home directly.¡± With these words. administering another blow. have you? Give ¡¯em here. it was a low neighbourhood. ¡°young Oliver! Come home to your poor mother. ¡°That¡¯s right!¡± cried a looker-on. Help! help!¡± cried Oliver. ¡°He can¡¯t help himself. what could one poor child do! Darkness had set in. from a garret window. overpowered by the conviction of the bystanders that he really was the hardened little wretch he was described to be. and struck him on the head. too!¡± rejoined the man. and was forced along them at a pace which rendered the few cries he dared to give utterance to. casting an approving look at the garret window. struggling in the man¡¯s powerful grasp. stupefied by the blows and the suddenness of the attack. ¡°Help!¡± repeated the man. I don¡¯t know them. narrow courts. resistance was useless.Oliver Twist 157 bystanders.

Oliver Twist 158
unintelligible. It was of little moment, indeed, whether they were
intelligible or no; for there was nobody to care for them, had they
been ever so plain.
*****
The gas-lamps were lighted; Mrs. Bedwin was waiting
anxiously at the open door;¡ªthe servant had run up the street
twenty times to see if there were any traces of Oliver; and still the
two old gentlemen sat, perseveringly, in the dark parlour, with the
watch between them.
Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics

Oliver Twist 159
Chapter 16
Relates What Became Of Oliver Twist, After He Had
Been Claimed By Nancy.
The narrow streets and courts, at length, terminated in a
large open space; scattered about which, were pens for
beasts, and other indications of a cattle-market. Sikes
slackened his pace when they reached this spot, the girl being
quite unable to support any longer the rapid rate at which they
had hitherto walked. Turning to Oliver, he roughly commanded
him to take hold of Nancy¡¯s hand.
¡°Do you hear?¡± growled Sikes, as Oliver hesitated, and looked
round.
They were in a dark corner, quite out of the track of passengers.
Oliver saw, but too plainly, that resistance would be of no avail. He
held out his hand, which Nancy clasped tight in hers.
¡°Give me the other,¡± said Sikes, seizing Oliver¡¯s unoccupied
hand. ¡°Here, Bull¡¯s-Eye!¡±
The dog looked up, and growled.
¡°See here, boy!¡± said Sikes, putting his other hand to Oliver¡¯s
throat; ¡°if he speaks ever so soft a word, hold him! D¡¯ye mind!¡±
The dog growled again; and licking his lips, eyed Oliver as if he
were anxious to attach himself to his windpipe without delay.
¡°He¡¯s as willing as a Christian, strike me blind if he isn¡¯t!¡± said
Sikes, regarding the animal with a kind of grim and ferocious
approval. ¡°Now, you know what you¡¯ve got to expect, master, so
call away as quick as you like; the dog will soon stop that game.
Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics

Oliver Twist 160
Get on, young ¡¯un!¡±
Bull¡¯s-eye wagged his tail in acknowledgement of this unusually
endearing form of speech; and, giving vent to another admonitory
growl for the benefit of Oliver, led the way onward.
It was Smithfield that they were crossing, although it might
have been Grosvenor Square, for anything Oliver knew to the
contrary. The night was dark and foggy. The lights in the shops
could scarcely struggle through the heavy mist, which thickened
every moment and shrouded the streets and houses in gloom;
rendering the strange place still stranger in Oliver¡¯s eyes; and
making his uncertainty the more dismal and depressing.
They had hurried on a few paces, when a deep church-bell
struck the hour. With its first stroke, his two conductors stopped,
and turned their heads in the direction whence the sound
proceeded.
¡°Eight o¡¯clock, Bill,¡± said Nancy, when the bell ceased.
¡°What¡¯s the good of telling me that; I can hear it, can¡¯t I!¡±
replied Sikes.
¡°I wonder whether they can hear it,¡± said Nancy.
¡°Of course they can,¡± replied Sikes. ¡°It was Bartlemy time
when I was shopped; and there warn¡¯t a penny trumpet in the fair,
as I couldn¡¯t hear the squeaking on. Arter I was locked up for the
night, the row and din outside made the thundering old jail so
silent, that I could almost have beat my brains out against the iron
plates of the door.¡±
¡°Poor fellows!¡± said Nancy, who still had her face turned
towards the quarter in which the bell had sounded. ¡°Oh, Bill, such
fine young chaps as them!¡±
¡°Yes; that¡¯s all you women think of,¡± answered Sikes. ¡°Fine
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Oliver Twist 161
young chaps! Well, they¡¯re as good as dead, so it don¡¯t matter
much.¡±
With this consolation, Mr. Sikes appeared to repress a rising
tendency to jealousy? and, clasping Oliver¡¯s wrist more firmly, told
him to step out again.
¡°Wait a minute!¡± said the girl; ¡°I wouldn¡¯t hurry by, if it was
you that was coming out to be hung, the next time eight o¡¯clock
struck, Bill. I¡¯d walk round and round the place till I dropped, if
the snow was on the ground, and I haven¡¯t a shawl to cover me.¡±
¡°And what good would that do?¡± inquired the unsentimental
Mr. Sikes. ¡°Unless you could pitch over a file and twenty yards of
good stout rope, you might as well be walking fifty mile off, or not
walking at all, for all the good it would do me. Come on, and don¡¯t
stand preaching there.¡±
The girl burst into a laugh; drew her shawl more closely round
her; and they walked away. But Oliver felt her hand tremble, and,
looking up in her face as they passed a gas lamp saw that it had
turned a deadly white.
They walked on, by little frequented and dirty ways, for a full
half-hour, meeting very few people, and those appearing from
their looks to hold much the same position in society as Mr. Sikes
himself. At length they turned into a very filthy narrow street,
nearly full of old-clothes shops: the dog running forward, as if
conscious that there was no further occasion for his keeping on
guard, stopped before the door of a shop that was closed and
apparently untenanted. The house was in a ruinous condition, and
on the door was nailed a board, intimating that it was to let, which
looked as if it had hung there for many years.
¡°All right,¡± cried Sikes, glancing cautiously about.
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Oliver Twist 162
Nancy stooped below the shutters; and Oliver heard the sound
of a bell. They crossed to the opposite side of the street and stood
for a few moments under a lamp. A noise, as if a sash-window
were gently raised, was heard; and soon afterwards the door softly
opened. Mr. Sikes then seized the terrified boy by the collar with
very little ceremony; and all three were quickly inside the house.
The passage was perfectly dark. They waited, while the person
who had let him in chained and barred the door.
¡°Anybody here?¡± inquired Sikes.
¡°No,¡± replied a voice, which Oliver thought he had heard
before.
¡°Is the old ¡¯un here?¡± asked the robber.
¡°Yes,¡± replied the voice; ¡°and precious down in the mouth he
has been. Won¡¯t he be glad to see you? Oh, no!¡± The style of this
reply, as well as the voice which delivered it, seemed familiar to
Oliver¡¯s ears; but it was impossible to distinguish even the form of
the speaker in the darkness.
¡°Let¡¯s have a glim,¡± said Sikes, ¡°or we shall go breaking our
necks, or treading on the dog. Look after your legs if you do!
That¡¯s all.¡±
¡°Stand still a moment, and I¡¯ll get you one,¡± replied the voice
The receding footsteps of the speaker were heard; and, in another
minute, the form of Mr. John Dawkins, otherwise the Artful
Dodger, appeared. He bore in his right hand a tallow candle stuck
in the end of a cleft stick.
The young gentleman did not stop to bestow any other mark of
recognition upon Oliver than a humorous grin; but, turning away,
beckoned the visitors to follow him down a flight of stairs. They
crossed an empty kitchen, and, opening the door of a low, earthyCharles Dickens ElecBook Classics

Oliver Twist 163
smelling room, which seemed to have been built in a small backyard were received
with a shout of laughter.
¡°Oh, my wig, my wig!¡± cried Master Charles Bates from whose
lungs the laughter had proceeded; ¡°here he is! oh cry, here he is!
Oh, Fagin, look at him! Fagin do look at him! I can¡¯t bear it; it is
such a jolly game, I can¡¯t bear it. Hold me, somebody, while I laugh
it out.¡±
With this irrepressible ebullition of mirth, Master Bates laid
himself flat on the floor, and kicked convulsively for five minutes,
in an ecstasy of facetious joy. Then jumping to his feet, he
snatched the cleft stick from the Dodger; and, advancing to Oliver,
viewed him round and round; while the Jew, taking off his nightcap, made a great
number of low bows to the bewildered boy. The
Artful, meantime, who was of a rather saturnine disposition, and
seldom gave way to merriment when it interfered with business,
rifled Oliver¡¯s pockets with steady assiduity.
¡°Look at his togs, Fagin!¡± said Charley, putting the light so
close to his new jacket as nearly to set him on fire. ¡°Look at his
togs! Superfine cloth, and the heavy swell cut! Oh, my eye, what a
game! And his books, too! Nothing but a gentleman, Fagin!¡±
¡°Delighted to see you looking so well, my dear,¡± said the Jew,
bowing with mock humility. ¡°The Artful shall give you another
suit, my dear, for fear you should spoil that Sunday one. Why,
didn¡¯t you write, my dear, and say you were coming. We¡¯d have got
something warm for supper.¡±
At this, Master Bates roared again; so loud, that Fagin himself
relaxed, and even the Dodger smiled; but as the Artful drew forth
the five-pound note at that instant, it is doubtful whether the sally
or the discovery awakened his merriment.
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Oliver Twist 164
¡°Hallo! What¡¯s this?¡± inquired Sikes, stepping forward as the
Jew seized the note. ¡°That¡¯s mine, Fagin.¡±
¡°No, no, my dear,¡± said the Jew. ¡°Mine, Bill, mine. You shall
have the books.¡±
¡°If that ain¡¯t mine!¡± said Bill Sikes, putting on his hat with a
determined air; ¡°mine and Nancy¡¯s, that is, I¡¯ll take the boy back
again.¡±
The Jew started. Oliver started too, though from a very
different cause; for he hoped that the dispute might really end in
his being taken back.
¡°Come! Hand over, will you?¡± said Sikes.
¡°This is hardly fair, Bill; hardly fair, is it, Nancy?¡± inquired the
Jew.
¡°Fair, or not fair,¡± retorted Sikes, ¡°hand over, 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, and kidnapping, every
young boy as gets grabbed through you? Give it here, you
avaricious old skeleton; give it here!¡±
With this gentle remonstrance, Mr. Sikes plucked the note from
between the Jew¡¯s finger and thumb; and looking the old man
coolly in the face, folded it up small, and tied it in his neckerchief.
¡°That¡¯s for our share of the trouble,¡± said Sikes; ¡°and not half
enough, neither. You may keep the books, if you¡¯re fond of
reading. If you ain¡¯t, sell ¡¯em.¡±
¡°They¡¯re very pretty,¡± said Charley Bates, who, with sundry
grimaces, had been affecting to read one of the volumes in
question, ¡°beautiful writing, isn¡¯t it, Oliver?¡± At sight of the
dismayed look with which Oliver regarded his tormentors, Master
Bates, who was blessed with a lively sense of the ludicrous, fell
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Oliver Twist 165
into another ecstasy, more boisterous than the first.
¡°They belong to the old gentleman,¡± said Oliver, wringing his
hands; ¡°to the good, kind old gentleman who took me into his
house, and had me nursed, when I was near dying of the fever. Oh,
pray send them back; send him back the books and money. Keep
me here all my life long; but pray, pray send them back. He¡¯ll
think I stole them; the old lady¡ªall of them who were so kind to
me¡ªwill think I stole them. Oh, do have mercy upon me, and send
them back!¡±
With those words, which were uttered with all the energy of
passionate grief, Oliver fell upon his knees at the Jews feet; and
beat his hands together, in perfect desperation.
¡°The boy¡¯s right,¡± remarked Fagin, looking covertly round, and
knitting his shaggy eyebrows into a hard knot. ¡°You¡¯re right,
Oliver, you¡¯re right; they will think you have stolen ¡¯em. Ha! ha!¡±
chuckled the Jew, rubbing his hands; ¡°it couldn¡¯t have happened
better, if we had chosen our time!¡±
¡°Of course it couldn¡¯t,¡± replied Sikes; ¡°I know¡¯d that, directly I
see him coming through Clerkenwell, with the books under his
arm. It¡¯s all right enough. They¡¯re soft-hearted psalm-singers, or
they wouldn¡¯t have taken him in at all; and they¡¯ll ask no questions
after him, fear they should be obliged to prosecute, and so get him
lagged. He¡¯s safe enough.¡±
Oliver had looked from one to the other, while these words
were being spoken, as if he were bewildered, and could scarcely
understand what passed; but when Bill Sikes concluded, he
jumped suddenly to his feet, and tore wildly from the room,
uttering shrieks for help, which made the bare old house echo to
the roof.
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Oliver Twist 166
¡°Keep back the dog, Bill!¡± cried Nancy, springing before the
door, and closing it as the Jew and his two pupils darted out in
pursuit. ¡°Keep back the dog; he¡¯ll tear the boy to pieces.¡±
¡°Serve him right!¡± cried Sikes, struggling to disengage himself
from the girl¡¯s grasp. ¡°Stand off from me, or I¡¯ll split your head
against the wall.¡±
¡°I don¡¯t care for that, Bill, I don¡¯t care for that,¡± screamed the
girl, struggling violently with the man; ¡°the child shan¡¯t be torn
down by the dog, unless you kill me first.¡±
¡°Shan¡¯t he!¡± said Sikes, setting his teeth. ¡°I¡¯ll soon do that if you
don¡¯t keep off.¡±
The housekeeper flung the girl from him to the farther end of
the room, just as the Jew and the two boys returned, dragging
Oliver among them.
¡°What¡¯s the matter here!¡± said Fagin, looking round.
¡°The girl¡¯s gone mad I think,¡± replied Sikes savagely.
¡°No, she hasn¡¯t,¡± said Nancy, pale and breathless from the
scuffle; ¡°no, she hasn¡¯t, Fagin; don¡¯t think it.¡±
¡°Then keep quiet, will you?¡± said the Jew, with a threatening
look.
¡°No, I won¡¯t do that, neither,¡± replied Nancy, speaking very
loud. ¡°Come! What do you think of that?¡±
Mr. 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, at present. With the view of
diverting the attention of the company, he turned to Oliver.
¡°So you wanted to get away, my dear, did you?¡± said the Jew,
taking up a jagged and knotted club which lay in a corner of the
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Oliver Twist 167
fireplace; ¡°eh?¡±
Oliver made no reply. But he watched the Jew¡¯s motions, and
breathed quickly.
¡°Wanted to get assistance; called for the police; did you?¡±
sneered the Jew, catching the boy by the arm. ¡°We¡¯ll cure you of
that, my young master.¡±
The Jew inflicted a smart blow on Oliver¡¯s shoulders with the
club; and was raising it for a second, when the girl, rushing
forward, wrested it from his hand. She flung it into the fire, with a
force that brought some of the glowing coal whirling out into the
room.
¡°I won¡¯t stand by and see it done, Fagin,¡± cried the girl. ¡°You¡¯ve
got the boy, and what more would you have?¡ªLet him be¡ªlet
him be¡ªor I shall put that mark on some of you, that will bring me
to the gallows before my time.¡±
The girl stamped her foot violently on the floor as she vented
this threat; and with her lips compressed, and her hands clenched,
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.
¡°Why, Nancy!¡± said the Jew, in a soothing tone, after a pause,
during which he and Mr. Sikes had stared at one another in a
disconcerted manner; ¡°you¡ªyou¡¯re more clever than ever tonight.
Ha! ha! my dear, you are acting beautifully.¡±
¡°Am I!¡± said the girl. ¡°Take care I don¡¯t overdo it. You will be
the worse for it, Fagin, if I do; and so I tell you in good time to
keep clear of me.¡±
There is something about a roused woman, especially if she add
to all her other strong passions, the fierce impulses of recklessness
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Oliver Twist 168
and despair, which few men like to provoke. The Jew saw that it
would be hopeless to affect any further mistake regarding the
reality of Miss Nancy¡¯s rage; and, shrinking involuntarily back a
few paces, cast a glance, half-imploring and half-cowardly at Sikes,
as if to hint that he was the fittest person to pursue the dialogue.
Mr. Sikes, thus mutely appealed to, and possibly feeling his
personal pride and influence interested in the immediate
reduction of Miss Nancy to reason, gave utterance to about a
couple of score of curses and threats, the rapid production of
which reflected great credit on the fertility of his invention. As
they produced no visible effect on the object against whom they
were discharged, however, he resorted to more tangible
arguments.
¡°What do you mean by this?¡± said Sikes, backing the inquiry
with a very common imprecation concerning the most beautiful of
human features, which, if it were heard above, only once out of
every fifty thousand times that it is uttered below, would render
blindness as common a disorder as measles: ¡°what do you mean
by it? Burn my body! Do you know who you are, and what you
are?¡±
¡°Oh, yes, I know all about it,¡± replied the girl, laughing
hysterically; and shaking her head from side to side, with a poor
assumption of indifference.
¡°Well, then, keep quiet,¡± rejoined Sikes, with a growl like that
he was accustomed to use when addressing his dog, ¡°or I¡¯ll quiet
you for a good long time to come.¡±
The girl laughed again, even less composedly than before; and,
darting a hasty look at Sikes, turned her face aside, and bit her lip
till the blood came.
Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics

¡± added Sikes. ¡°I have been in the same trade. ¡°to take up the humane and genteel side! A pretty subject for the child.Oliver Twist 169 ¡°You¡¯re a nice one.¡± ¡°Civil words!¡± cried the girl. but. appealing to him in a remonstratory tone. 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. and the cold. all that¡¯s bad. come. ¡°and I wish I had been struck dead in the street or had changed places with them we passed so near tonight. ¡°Civil words. you villain! Yes. Sikes. day and night. tearing her hair and dress in a Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . if you say much more!¡± The girl said nothing. dirty streets are my home. and in the same service. Isn¡¯t that enough for the old wretch. I am!¡± cried the girl passionately. well.¡± said the Jew. if you have. as you call him. it¡¯s your living!¡± ¡°Aye. wet. with an attempt at pacification ¡°and. and you¡¯re the wretch that drove me to them long ago. goaded by these reproaches. a devil. Bill. you deserve ¡¯em from me. ¡°a mischief worse than that. from this night forth. and motioning towards the boys. He¡¯s a thief. who were eagerly attentive to all that passed. a liar. to make a friend of!¡± ¡°God Almighty help me. as he surveyed her with a contemptuous air. and that¡¯ll keep me there. whose passion was frightful to see. before I had lent a hand in bringing him here. without blows?¡± ¡°Come.¡± replied the Jew. Don¡¯t you know it? Speak out! Don¡¯t you know it?¡± ¡°Well. day and night. not speaking. for twelve years since. but pouring out the words in one continuous and vehement scream. ¡°It is my living. it is!¡± returned the girl. ¡°we must have civil words¡ª civil words.

¡°Certainly not.¡± said the Jew. ¡°Pull off the smart ones. and led Oliver into an adjacent kitchen. rolling up the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . upon which. with many uncontrollable bursts of laughter. but neither he. had been the very first clue received of his whereabouts. ¡°It¡¯s the worst of having to do with women. Fagin.¡± The Jew wiped his forehead and smiled. apparently much delighted with his commission. Master Bates. and fainted. had he?¡± inquired Charley Bates. ¡°and I¡¯ll give ¡¯em to Fagin to take care of. without ¡¯em.¡± ¡°I suppose he¡¯d better not wear his best clothes tomorrow. he produced the identical old suit of clothes which Oliver had so much congratulated himself upon leaving off at Mr. and here.¡± replied the Jew.Oliver Twist 170 transport of frenzy. as if it were a relief to have the disturbance over.¡± said Sikes. had not her wrists been seized by Sikes at the right moment. Master Bates. replacing his club. ¡°but they¡¯re clever and we can¡¯t get on.¡± said Charles. Brownlow¡¯s. where there were two or three of the beds on which he had slept before. in our line. when she¡¯s up in this way. by the Jew who purchased them. ¡°She¡¯s all right now. she made a few ineffectual struggles. to Fagin. seemed to consider it in any other light than a common occurrence incidental to business. and the accidental display of which. What fun it is!¡± Poor Oliver unwillingly complied. show Oliver to bed. laying her down in a corner. made such a rush at the Jew as would probably have left signal marks of her revenge upon him. nor the boys. reciprocating the grin with which Charley put the question. took the cleft stick. nor Sikes nor the dog. ¡°She¡¯s uncommon strong in the arms. Charley.

The noise of Charley¡¯s laughter. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . leaving Oliver in the dark. But he was sick and weary. and the voice of Miss Betsy. and locking the door behind him.Oliver Twist 171 new clothes under his arm. and perform other feminine offices for the promotion of her recovery. and he soon fell sound asleep. departed from the room. who opportunely arrived to throw water over her friend. might have kept many people awake under more happy circumstances than those in which Oliver was placed.

instead of passive lookers-on. in all good murderous melodramas. and roam about in company. there. her virtue and her life alike in danger. and. and from mourning weeds to holiday garments. We behold. we are busy actors. The hero sinks upon his straw bed. which makes a vast difference. and we are straightway transported to the great hall of the castle. are blind to violent transitions and abrupt impulses of passion or feeling. just as our expectations are wrought up to the highest pitch. which. only. Such changes appear absurd. are not a whit less startling. The transitions in real life from well-spread boards to deathbeds. from church vaults to palaces. It is the custom on the stage. his faithful but unconscious squire regales the audience with a comic song. The actors in the mimic life of the theatre. to present the tragic and the comic scenes in as regular alternation. are at once Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . the heroine in the grasp of a proud and ruthless baron. drawing forth her dagger to preserve the one at the cost of the other.Oliver Twist 172 Chapter 17 Oliver¡¯s destiny continuing unpropitious. where a grey-headed seneschal sings a funny chorus with a funnier body of vassals. a whistle is heard. presented before the eyes of mere spectators. carolling perpetually. who are free of all sorts of places. weighed down by fetters and misfortunes. in the next scene. with throbbing bosoms. but they are not so unnatural as they would seem at first sight. as the layers of red and white in a side of streaky bacon. brings a great man to London to injure his reputation.

chiefly estimated with relation to the dilemmas in which he leaves his characters at the end of every chapter¡ªthis brief introduction to the present one may perhaps be deemed unnecessary. an elevation in his air. but this morning it was higher than usual. until he reached the farm where Mrs. Mr. He was in the full bloom and pride of beadlehood. Mr. too great for utterance. Bumble always carried his head high. He merely returned their salutations with a wave of his hand. the reader taking it for granted that there are good and substantial reasons for making the journey. his cocked hat and coat were dazzling in the morning sun. and walked with portly carriage and commanding steps. Bumble emerged at early morning from the workhouse gate. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . he clutched his cane with the vigorous tenacity of health and power. by such critics. let it be considered a delicate intimation on the part of the historian that he is going back directly to the town in which Oliver Twist was born. are not only sanctioned in books by long usage.Oliver Twist 173 condemned as outrageous and preposterous. and relaxed not in his dignified pace. Mann tended the infant paupers with parochial care. If so. Bumble stopped not to converse with the small shopkeepers and others who spo ke to him. or he would not be invited to proceed upon such an expedition. and rapid changes of time and place. deferentially. which might have warned an observant stranger that thoughts were passing in the beadle¡¯s mind. As sudden shiftings of the scene. Mr. up the High Street. as he passed along. but are by many considered as the great art of authorship¡ªan author¡¯s skill in his craft being. There was an abstraction in his eye.

¡°Mrs. or dropping himself into a seat. and good-morning to you. please. but letting himself gradually and slowly down into a chair. with great attention and respect. but all public characters. And all the infant paupers might have chorused the rejoinder with great propriety. into the house.¡± said Mr. and sighed. and hardihood. ¡°is a life of worrit. and the exclamations of delight were uttered to Mr. Bumble. Bumble. hearing the well-known shaking at the garden gate. Mann. Mann. Mrs. Mr. good-morning.¡± continued Mr. Bumble. and vexation. ma¡¯am.¡± rejoined the lady. Mrs. as any common jackanapes would. must suffer prosecution. raised her hands with a look of sympathy. not sitting upon. evidently to the satisfaction of the public character. only think of its being you! Well.¡± replied the beadle. ¡°and hoping you find yourself well.Oliver Twist 174 ¡°Drat that beadle!¡± said Mrs. Finding she had done right. dear me. sir. Mrs. ma¡¯am. ¡°If it isn¡¯t him at this time in the morning! Lauk. Bumble. and showed him.¡± The first sentence was addressed to Susan. sir. Mann with many smiles.¡± ¡°Ah. if they had heard it. striking the table with his cane. Mann. Mann. ¡°You may well sigh. Mann. repressing a complacent smile by looking sternly at his cocked hat said: Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . not very well knowing what the beadle meant. Mr. Mann!¡± said the beadle. sir!¡± ¡°So¡ªso. Bumble. who. this is! Come into the parlour.¡± Mrs. ¡°A porochial life is not a bed of roses.¡± replied Mrs. that it isn¡¯t indeed. Mann. it is a pleasure. as I may say. as the good lady unlocked the garden gate.¡± ¡°Well. Mrs. Mann sighed again. ¡°A porochial life. ¡°Mrs.

¡± said Mr. ma¡¯am. Mann. Mann.¡± ¡°That¡¯s when they¡¯re ill. Bumble. sir? I thought it was always usual to send them paupers in carts. ¡¤ ¡°We put the sick paupers into open carts in the rainy weather. to prevent their taking cold. ¡°The Clerkinwell Sessions have brought it upon themselves. Mrs. about a settlement. ma¡¯am.Oliver Twist 175 ¡°Mrs. ¡°To London.¡± said Mrs.¡± resumed the inflexible beadle. And I very much question. ¡°and if the Clerkinwell Sessions find that they come off rather worse than they expected. starting back. ¡°whether the Clerkenwell Sessions will not find themselves in the wrong box before they have done with me. if we can throw ¡¯em upon another parish. the Clerkenwell Sessions have only themselves to thank.¡± replied Mr. drawing himself up. Mr. ¡°by coach. Mrs. At length she said: ¡°You¡¯re going by coach. that Mrs. Bumble delivered himself of these words. Mann appeared quite awed by them. sir. Mann! A legal action is a-coming on. Mann¡ªto dispose to the matter before the quarter-sessions at Clerkinwell. I am a-going to London. Mrs. Mann coaxingly. and the Board has appointed me¡ªme.¡± added Mr. Bumble. ¡°The opposition coach contracts for these two.¡± ¡°Oh!¡± said Mrs.¡± ¡°Lauk. and we find it would come two pound cheaper to move ¡¯em than to bury ¡¯em¡ªthat is. Mann.¡± said the beadle. which Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Bumble. Mann. Bumble!¡± cried Mrs. I and two paupers.¡± ¡°Oh! you mustn¡¯t be too hard upon them. ¡°They are both in a very low state. and takes them cheap.¡± There was so much determination and depth of purpose about the menacing manner in which Mr.

sir. in acknowledgement of Mrs.¡± said the beadle. Mann. Bumble had laughed a little while. I¡¯m sure. ¡°He¡¯s a ill-conditioned. blandly. Mr.¡± Mr. Mann. Mann¡¯s gown. and inquired how the children were. Bumble angrily. with emotion. except the two that died last week. bad-disposed porochial child that. Bumble. Thank you. wicious. you Dick!¡± After some calling. the livery of his misery. ¡°We are forgetting business. he was led into the awful presence of Mr. Mann shook her head. ¡°here is your porochial stipend for the month. Bumble. and his eyes large and bright.¡± said Mr. and he became grave. ¡°Where is he?¡± ¡°I¡¯ll bring him to you in one minute. ma¡¯am. the dears! Of course. I dare say. if they don¡¯t die upon the road to spite us. The scanty parish dress. I am very much obliged to you. Bumble nodded. Having had his face put under the pump.¡± Mr. Bumble produced some silver money rolled up in paper. hung loosely on his feeble body. Mrs. ¡°Here. Bumble. his eyes again encountered the cocked hat. and requested a receipt. Mann wrote. from his pocket-book. his cheeks were sunken. and dried upon Mrs. Ha! ha! ha!¡± When Mr. And little Dick. Mann¡¯s curtsey. The child was pale and thin. the beadle.¡± replied Mrs. sir. ¡°It¡¯s very much blotted. Dick was discovered. sir. ¡°they¡¯re as well as can be.¡± said the farmer of infants. ¡°but it¡¯s formal enough.Oliver Twist 176 I think we shall be able to do.¡± ¡°Isn¡¯t that boy no better?¡± inquired Mr. ¡°Bless their dear little hearts!¡± said Mrs. and his young limbs had Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . which Mrs.

not daring to lift his eyes from the floor.¡± said Mrs. Mann. ¡°to leave my dear love to poor Oliver Twist. Mann.¡± ¡°I should like¡ª¡± faltered the child. Bumble. Bumble. stop!¡± said the beadle. accustomed as he was to such things. of course. who had. Bumble¡¯s glance. eh?¡± ¡°I should like. sir. and keep it for me. ¡°What do you mean. ¡°You want for nothing. and dreading even to hear the beadle¡¯s voice. Bumble¡¯s humour. ¡°Nothing. with well-timed jocularity. laughed very much at Mr. ¡°I suppose you¡¯re going to say that you do want for something. sir?¡± ¡°I should like. ¡°Can¡¯t you look at the gentleman. ¡°Like what. Mann. porochial Dick?¡± inquired Mr. and to let him know how often I have sat by myself Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . would put a few words down for me on a piece of paper.¡± ¡°Why. after I am laid in the ground. now? Why.¡± said the child. ¡°I should think not. on whom the earnest manner and wan aspect of the child had made some impression. Bumble. Mann. and fold it up and seal it. sir. I¡¯m sure. and encountered those of Mr.¡± replied the child faintly. ¡°Heyday!¡± interposed Mrs. raising his hand with a show of authority.Oliver Twist 177 wasted away. ¡°What¡¯s the matter with you. Such was the little being who stood trembling beneath Mr.¡± faltered the child. ¡°if somebody that can write. you obstinate boy?¡± said Mrs. Mrs. like those of an old man. you little wretch¡ª ¡± ¡°Stop. The child meekly raised his eyes. what does the boy mean?¡± exclaimed Mr.

Mann.¡± ¡°I hope the gentlemen will understand that it isn¡¯t my fault. Mrs. to prepare for his journey. Mr.¡± said the child. and locked up in the coalcellar. might forget me. And I should like to tell him. Bumble. ¡°I never see such a hardened little wretch!¡± ¡°Take him away. for. Bumble imperiously. Mrs. holding up her hands. ma¡¯am!¡± said Mr. said. and.¡± Dick was immediately taken away. sir!¡± said Mrs. pressing his small hands together.¡± said Mr. and encased his person in a blue greatcoat with a cape to it. Mann. take him away.Oliver Twist 178 and cried to think of his wandering about in the dark nights with nobody to help him. who is in heaven. ¡°This must be stated to the Board. I can¡¯t bear the sight on him. my little sister. and speaking with great fervour. they shall be acquainted with the true state of the case. if I had lived to be a man. and it would be so much happier if we were both children there together. Bumble. ¡°They¡¯re all in one story.¡± Mr. Bumble surveyed the little speaker from head to foot. whimpering pathetically. and had grown old. ¡°They shall understand that. ma¡¯am. turning to his companion. and looking malignantly at Dick. Mann. ¡°that I was glad to die when I was very young. ¡°There. having exchanged his cocked hat for a round one. Bumble shortly afterwards took himself off. Mann. took his place on the outside of the coach. At six o¡¯clock next morning. with indescribable astonishment. or be unlike me. Mr. accompanied by the criminals whose settlement was Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . perhaps. That outdacious Oliver has demogalised them all!¡± ¡°I couldn¡¯t have believed it. sir?¡± said Mrs.

in a manner which. The very first paragraph upon which Mr. 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. named Oliver Twist. and has not since been heard of. Mr. from his home. Bumble¡¯s eye rested. Bumble declared. ¡°FIVE GUINEAS REWARD¡± ¡°Whereas a young boy. warmly interested. or tend to throw any light upon his previous history. oyster sauce. with the name and address of Mr.Oliver Twist 179 disputed. He experienced no other crosses on the way. caused his teeth to chatter in his head. absconded. Having disposed of these evil-minded persons for the night. on Thursday evening last. appearance. with whom. Brownlow at full length. Bumble sat himself down in the house at which the coach stopped. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . than those which originated in the perverse behaviour of the two paupers. was the following advertisement. in which the advertiser is. and took a temperate dinner of steaks. and porter. with sundry moral reflections on the too prevalent sin of discontent and complaining. or was enticed. he drew his chair to the fire. Putting a glass of hot gin-and-water on the chimney-piece. at Pentonville. composed himself to read the paper.¡± And then followed a full description of Oliver¡¯s dress. person. and complaining of the cold. and. Mr. for many reasons. in due course of time. and disappearance. and made him feel quite uncomfortable. who persisted in shivering. he arrived in London. although he had a greatcoat on.

Oliver Twist 180 Mr. had run upstairs meanwhile. left the glass of hot gin-and-water untasted. Mr. than Mrs. Poor dear! I knew we should! I was certain of it. in his excitement. The girl. and in something more than five minutes was on his way to Pentonville. Bumble opened his eyes. The latter gentleman at once burst into the exclamation: ¡°A beadle! A parish beadle. ¡°I knew we should hear of him. To this inquiry the girl returned the not uncommon. will you?¡± Mr. but rather evasive reply of ¡°I don¡¯t know.¡± ¡°Pray don¡¯t interrupt just now. Bumble would follow her immediately. He was shown into the little back study.¡± said the old lady. the worthy old lady hurried back into the parlour again. where sat Mr. hastened into the passage in a breathless state. who was not quite so susceptible. which he did. three several times. and now returned with a request that Mr. so as to obtain an uninterrupted view of the beadle¡¯s countenance. Brownlow. Brownlow at home?¡± inquired Mr.¡± Having said this. and seating herself on a sofa. read the advertisement. or I¡¯ll eat my head. Grimwig¡¯s manner. having actually. Brownlow and his friend Mr. all along. in explanation of his errand. Bumble of the girl who opened the door. where do you come from?¡± Mr. ¡°Come in¡ªcome in. and Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Brownlow moved the lamp. ¡°Take a seat. burst into tears. slowly and carefully. ¡°Is Mr. Bedwin. Bless his heart! I said so. Bumble no sooner uttered Oliver¡¯s name. who had been listening at the parlour door.¡± said Mr. Grimwig. Bumble sat himself down. with decanters and glasses before them. quite confounded by the oddity of Mr.

are you not?¡± inquired Mr. shook his head with portentous solemnity. Brownlow looked apprehensively at Mr. looking triumphantly at Mr. aside to his friend. what do you know of him?¡± inquired the old gentleman. Bumble.¡± replied Mr. Bumble. sir. unbuttoned his coat. and resumed: ¡°Do you know where this poor boy is now?¡± ¡°No more than nobody. Bumble¡¯s pursedup countenance. folded his arms. if you have anything to say. Bumble put down his hat. after a few moments¡¯ reflection. A beadle all over!¡± Mr Brownlow gently shook his head to impose silence on his friend. sir. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Mr. Grimwig. commenced his story. after an attentive perusal of Mr. inclined his head in a retrospective manner. What do you know of him?¡± ¡°You don¡¯t happen to know any good of him. Brownlow. my friend. with a little impatience: ¡°Now. Mr. gentlemen.¡± observed Mr Grimwig. Mr. ¡°I am a porochial beadle. ¡°And you are a beadle. do you?¡± said Mr. Bumble¡¯s features. you come in consequence of having seen the advertisement?¡± ¡°Yes. You see?¡± said Mr. and requested him to communicate what he knew regarding Oliver.Oliver Twist 181 said.¡± rejoined Mr. ¡°Speak out. Bumble proudly. Bumble. ¡°I knew he was. ¡°Well.¡± said Mr. catching at the inquiry very quickly. in as few words as possible. Grimwig. and. ¡°Of course. Grimwig caustically.

withdrew. That he had terminated his brief career in the place of his birth. Bumble had been possessed of this information at an earlier period of the interview. awaited Mr. some twenty minutes in the telling. ¡°This is not much for your intelligence. ¡°that boy. Bumble laid upon the table the papers he had brought to town. and malice. It cannot be. and.¡± It is not improbable that if Mr. Mr. and folding his arms again. born of low and vicious parents.¡± said Mr. if it had been favourable to the boy. but I would gladly have given you treble the money. Brownlow. displayed no better qualities than treachery. however.¡± ¡°It can¡¯t be. he might have imparted a very different colouring to his little history. but the sum and substance of it was. sir.¡± said the old lady energetically.Oliver Twist 182 It would be tedious if given in the beadle¡¯s words. Brownlow paced the room to and fro for some minutes. is an impostor. That Oliver was a foundling. ¡°Mrs. At length he stopped. pocketing the five guineas. and running away in the night-time from his master¡¯s house. and rang the bell violently. from his birth. by making a sanguinary and cowardly attack on an unoffending lad. It was too late to do it now. Mr. Grimwig forbore to vex him further. ingratitude. evidently so much disturbed by the beadle¡¯s tale. that even Mr. Oliver. ¡°What do you mean by can¡¯t be? We have just heard a full account of him from Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± retorted the old gentleman. Bedwin. when the housekeeper appeared. ¡°I tell you he is.¡± said the old gentleman sorrowfully. occupying as it did. That he had. ¡°I fear it is all too true. after looking over the papers. Brownlow¡¯s observations. so he shook his head gravely. In proof of his really being the person he represented himself.

¡± growled Mr. and smoothed down her apron preparatory to another speech. and lying story-books. Bedwin indignantly. the old lady tossed her head.¡± ¡°I never will believe it. ¡°He was a dear. or it might have broken outright. shouldn¡¯t say anything about them.Oliver Twist 183 his birth. Grimwig poked the fire with a flourish. and have done these forty years. Never. it was well for him that he could not know what they had heard. grateful. Brownlow.¡± There were sad hearts at Mr. and he has been a thorough-paced little villain. eh? He was interesting. I suppose.¡± replied the old lady firmly. wasn¡¯t he? Interesting! Bah!¡± And Mr. Grimwig. who was a bachelor. sir. feigning an anger he was far from feeling. mind! You may leave the room. sir. when she was stopped by Mr. ¡°Silence!¡± said the old gentleman. Brownlow¡¯s that night. and people who can¡¯t say the same. you would. Why didn¡¯t you take my advice in the beginning. ¡°I knew it all along. ¡°Never let me hear the boy¡¯s name again. ¡°I know what children are. Oliver¡¯s heart sank within him. As it extorted nothing from that gentleman but a smile. That¡¯s my opinion!¡± This was a hard hit at Mr. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Remember! I am in earnest. when he thought of his good kind friends. if he hadn¡¯t had a fever. Bedwin. sir. Never. ¡°Never!¡± ¡°You old women never believe anything but quack-doctors. I rang to tell you that.¡± retorted Mrs. Grimwig. Mrs. gentle child. on any pretence. all his life.

in endeavouring to escape from them after so much trouble and expense had been incurred in his recovery. he had succoured under parallel circumstances. Fagin) and a few select friends. that the wrong-headed and treacherous behaviour of the young person in question. without his timely aid. and he related the dismal and affecting history of a young lad whom. Mr. About noon next day. with tears in his eyes. but lamented. Fagin concluded by drawing a rather disagreeable picture of the discomforts of hanging. in his philanthropy. Mr. in wilfully absenting himself from the society of his anxious friends. Mr. Fagin did not seek to conceal his share in the catastrophe. still more. had unfortunately come to be hanged at the Old Bailey one morning. when the Dodger and Master Bates had gone out to pursue their customary avocations. and cherished him. Fagin laid great stress on the fact of his having taken Oliver in. when. of which he clearly demonstrated he had been guilty. Mr. proving unworthy of his confidence and evincing a desire to communicate with the police. if it were not precisely true. but who. with great Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . was indispensably necessary for the safety of him (Mr. and. Fagin took the opportunity of reading Oliver a long lecture on the crying sin of ingratitude. to no ordinary extent. he might have perished with hunger. which. had rendered it necessary that he should become the victim of certain evidence for the Crown.Oliver Twist 184 Chapter 18 How Oliver Passed His Time In The Improving Society Of His Reputable Friends. and.

between early morning and midnight. and locked the room door behind him. he thought by no means unlikely. taking his hat. After the lapse of a week or so. As he glanced timidly up. never failing to revert to his kind friends. he felt that his pale face and trembling limbs were neither unnoticed nor unrelished by that wary old gentleman. Then. Little Oliver¡¯s blood ran cold. he saw they would be very good friends yet. and applied himself to business. had been really devised and carried out by the old Jew on more occasions than one. and the opinion they must long ago have formed of him. The Jew smiled hideously. And so Oliver remained all that day.Oliver Twist 185 friendliness and politeness of manner. Sikes: which seemed to bear reference to some foregone conspiracy of the kind. and that deeply-laid plans for the destruction of inconveniently knowing or over-communicative persons. he went out. were sad indeed. and imperfectly comprehended the dark threats conveyed in them. and left during the long hours to commune with his own thoughts: which. when he recollected the general nature of the altercations between that gentleman and Mr. seeing nobody. the Jew left the room door Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . he knew already. that if he kept himself quiet. as he listened to the Jew¡¯s words. and patting Oliver on the head. and covering himself with an old patched greatcoat. expressed his anxious hopes that he might never be obliged to submit Oliver Twist to that unpleasant operation. That it was possible even for justice itself to confound the innocent with the guilty when they were in accidental companionship. said. and for the greater part of many subsequent days. and met the Jew¡¯s searching look.

the mouldering shutters were fast closed. indeed. and run back. dismal and dreary as it looked now. and dimmed with the rain Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . terrified. which made the rooms more gloomy. there was neither sight nor sound of any living thing. although they were black with neglect and dust. he would crouch in the corner of the passage by the street door. the bars which held them were screwed tight into the wood. when it grew dark. the only light which was admitted. before the old Jew was born. and had perhaps been quite gay and handsome. Sometimes. from all of these tokens Oliver concluded that a long time ago. listening and counting the hours. but nothing was to be described from it but a confused and crowded mass of house-tops. and sometimes. a grizzly head might be seen. were ornamented in various ways. and he was tired of wandering from room to room. and would remain there.Oliver Twist 186 unlocked. and gable-ends. stealing its way through round holes at the top. The rooms upstairs had great high wooden chimney-pieces and large doors. to their holes. and filled them with strange shadows. and cornices to the ceilings. With these exceptions. until the Jew or the boys returned In all the rooms. and as the window of Oliver¡¯s observation was nailed down. blackened chimneys. and he was at liberty to wander about the house. with panelled walls. peering over a parapet-wall of a distant house: but it was quickly withdrawn again. when Oliver walked softly into a room. the mice would scamper across the floor. Spiders had built their webs in the angles of the walls and ceilings. it had belonged to better people. and out of this. There was a back-garret window with rusty bars outside which had no shutter. to be as near living people as he could. which. Oliver often gazed with a melancholy face for hours together. and often. It was a very dirty place.

the Dodger and Master Bates being engaged out that evening. to disturb his reflections. straightway. 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. he applied himself to a process which Mr. as if he had lived inside the ball of St. for the nonce. Oliver was but too glad to make himself useful. rendered into plain English. the first-named young gentleman took it into his head to evince some anxiety regarding the decoration of his person (which to do him justice.Oliver Twist 187 and smoke of years. with a spice of romance and Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and too desirous to conciliate those about him. however bad. kneeling on the floor. or the mildness of the beer that mollified his thoughts. with this end and aim. was by no means an habitual weakness with him). and having his boots cleaned all the time. while the Dodger sat upon the table.¡± Which phrase. or the prospective misery of putting them on. without making any attempt to be seen or heard¡ªwhich he had as much chance of being. to look upon. or whether it was the goodness of the tobacco that soothed the feelings of the Dodger. swinging one leg carelessly to and fro. Paul¡¯s Cathedral. too happy to have some faces. without even the past trouble of having taken them off. it was as much as he could do to make out the forms of the different objects beyond. One afternoon. So he at once expressed his readiness. signifieth. he was evidently tinctured. when he could honestly do so. to throw any objection in the way of this proposal. Dawkins designated as ¡°japanning his trotter-cases. cleaning his boots. so that he could take his foot in his lap. and. he condescendingly commanded Oliver to assist him in his toilet. and.

no!¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and heaving a gentle sigh. So¡¯s Bet. He looked down on Oliver. for a brief space.¡± Mr. So¡¯s Fagin. So¡¯s Nancy. no. So¡¯s Sikes. ¡°He wouldn¡¯t so much as bark in a witness-box. Dawkins gave his hat a ferocious cock. ¡°he don¡¯t know what¡¯s good for him. and looked at Master Bates. foreign to his general nature. Don¡¯t he look fierce at any strange cove that laughs or sings when he¡¯s in company!¡± pursued the Dodger. when he hears a fiddle playing! And don¡¯t he hate other dogs as ain¡¯t of his breed! Oh. checking himself. half in abstractions.¡± replied Oliver. So we all are.¡± The Dodger sighed again. ¡°I¡¯d scorn to be anything else.¡± repeated the Dodger. and then. ¡°I think I know that. nor if you tied him up in one. ¡°Not a bit of it. ¡°He¡¯s a rum dog. said.Oliver Twist 188 enthusiasm. ¡°I suppose you don¡¯t even know what a prig is?¡± said the Dodger mournfully. and he¡¯s the downiest one of the lot!¡± ¡°And the least given to preaching. as if to denote that he would feel obliged by his saying anything to the contrary. ¡°So¡¯s Charley. and left him there without wittles for a fortnight. ¡°It¡¯s a th¡ª You¡¯re one. ¡°Won¡¯t he growl at all.¡± replied the Dodger. They both smoked. raising his head. looking up. and half to Mr. for some seconds. and resumed his pipe: as did Charley Bates. in silence. ¡°I am.¡± said the Dodger. are you not?¡± inquired Oliver. Bates: ¡°What a pity it is he isn¡¯t a prig!¡± ¡°Ah!¡± said Master Charles Bates. for fear of committing himself. down to the dog. after delivering this sentiment. ¡°I am. with a thoughtful countenance.¡± added Charley Bates.¡± observed Charley.

if Master Bates had only known it. but it was an appropriate remark in another sense. between whom. ¡°And so be able to retire on your property. ¡°Go!¡± exclaimed the Dodger. ¡°Well.¡± rejoined Oliver timidly. and went on with his boot-cleaning. with that mindfulness of his profession which influenced all his proceedings. where¡¯s your spirit? Don¡¯t you take any pride out of yourself? Would you go and be dependent on your friends?¡± ¡°Oh.¡± ¡°No more it has. ¡°I wish they would let me go. drawing two or three silk Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist 189 ¡°He¡¯s an out-and-out Christian. ¡°I don¡¯t like it. with a grin. This was merely intended as a tribute to the animal¡¯s abilities.¡± said the Dodger. for there are a good many ladies and gentlemen.¡± said Charley Bates. he only sighed. and Mr. in the very next leap-year but four that ever comes. ¡°This hasn¡¯t got anything to do with young Green here. as I mean to. there exist strong and singular points of resemblance. recurring to the point from which they had strayed. claiming to be out-and-out Christians. and do the genteel. ¡°Why don¡¯t you put yourself under Fagin. ¡°Why. well.¡± said Charley. blow that!¡± said Master Bates.¡± said Charley. Oliver knew this too well: but thinking it might be dangerous to express his feelings more openly. Sikes¡¯s dog.¡± ¡°And Fagin would rather not!¡± rejoined Charley. I¡ªI¡ªwould rather go. and the forty-second Tuesday in Trinity-week. Oliver¡ª¡± ¡°And make your fortun¡¯ out of hand?¡± added the Dodger.

catch hold. Master Bates caught up an end of his neckerchief. ¡°here¡¯s a jolly life! What¡¯s the odds where it comes from? Here. ain¡¯t it. thereby indicating. and tossing them into a cupboard. ¡°That¡¯s what it means. Charley?¡± Master Bates nodded assent. ¡°You can leave your friends. by a lively pantomimic representation. that scragging and hanging were one and the same thing. and jerked a curious sound through his teeth.¡± ¡°That. there¡¯s plenty more where they were took from.¡± replied Oliver. with an air of haughty disgust. and. and would have spoken. ¡°Look how he stares.Oliver Twist 190 handkerchiefs from his pocket.¡± said Charley. but the recollection of Oliver¡¯s flight came so suddenly upon him. You won¡¯t. wasn¡¯t it.¡± said Charley. old feller. ¡°He¡¯ll come to be scragged. Oliver?¡± inquired Charley Bates. holding it erect in the air. about five minutes long. though. ¡°and let them be punished for what you did. ¡°Something in this way.¡± said the Dodger.¡± said Oliver. won¡¯t you? Oh. that was the move. that is. with a wave of his pipe¡ª¡°that was all out of consideration for Fagin. As he said it. won¡¯t he?¡± ¡°I don¡¯t know what that means. ¡¯cause the traps know that we work together. you precious flat!¡± ¡°It¡¯s naughty. and he might have got into trouble if we hadn¡¯t made our lucky. ¡°that¡¯s too mean. dropped his head on his shoulder. drawing forth a handful of shillings and halfpence. and went up into his head. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°Look here!¡± said the Dodger. and down into his throat.¡± rejoined the Dodger. with a halfsmile. and brought on a fit of coughing and stamping.¡± ¡°I couldn¡¯t do it. that the smoke he was inhaling got entangled with a laugh.

¡± ¡°If you don¡¯t take pocket-handkerchiefs and watches. and you¡¯ll be all the worse too. in a nutshell. he¡¯ll be the death of me. though.¡± ¡°To be sure. ¡°It all lies in a nutshell. ¡°if you don¡¯t take fogles and tickers¡ª¡± ¡°What¡¯s the good of talking in that way?¡± interposed Master Bates. ¡°You¡¯ve been brought up bad. ¡°some other cove will. except the chaps wot gets them¡ªand you¡¯ve just as good a right to them as they have. he and his friend Mr. reducing his conversation to the level of Oliver¡¯s capacity. which.¡± said the Dodger. and you¡¯re only losing time. as the Jew was heard unlocking the door above. You¡¯d better begin at once. or you¡¯ll be the first he ever had that turned out unprofitable. so that the coves that lose ¡¯em will be all the worse. interspersed with a variety of hints to Oliver that the best thing he could do. I know he will. my dear. would be to secure Fagin¡¯s favour without more delay. for you¡¯ll come to the trade long before you think of it. Dawkins launched into a glowing description of the numerous pleasures incidental to the life they led.¡± said the Dodger. Nolly. having laughed heartily again. resumed his pipe with tears in his eves. ¡°he don¡¯t know what you mean. ¡°And always put this in your pipe.Oliver Twist 191 Jack! I never did see such prime company as that ¡¯ere boy. being exhausted.¡± Master Bates backed this advice with sundry moral admonitions of his own. to be sure!¡± said the Jew. and nobody half a ha¡¯p¡¯orth the better. by the means which they themselves had employed to gain it. who had entered. surveying his boots with much satisfaction when Oliver had polished them. take the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± said the Dodger. unseen by Oliver. Oliver. ¡°Fagin will make something of you.¡± Master Charles Bates.

with strong marks of irritation. wore a fur cap. now made his appearance. for it burned holes in them. Mr. but he excused himself to the company by stating that his ¡°time¡± was only out an hour before. and chuckled with delight at his pupil¡¯s proficiency. but who was accosted by the Dodger as Tom Chitling. Ha! ha! ha! He understands the catechism of his trade. as he corroborated the Dodger¡¯s reasoning in these terms. having perhaps numbered eighteen winters. which he held to be decidedly unlawful. Chitling added. and a gentleman whom Oliver had never seen before. in truth. Mr. and that. and a pock-marked face.Oliver Twist 192 Dodger¡¯s word for it. rather out of repair. Chitling wound up his observations by stating that he had not touched a drop of anything Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . The conversation proceeded no further at this time. Chitling was older in years than the Dodger. that the new way of fumigating clothes up yonder was infernal unconstitutional. for the Jew had returned home accompanied by Miss Betsy. and there was no remedy against the county. Mr. The same remark he considered to apply to the regulation mode of cutting the hair. He had small.¡± The old man rubbed his hands gleefully together. he had not been able to bestow any attention on his private clothes. and an apron. having lingered on the stairs to exchange a few gallantries with the lady. and who. but there was a degree of deference in his deportment towards the young gentleman which seemed to indicate that he felt himself conscious of a slight inferiority in point of genius and professional acquirements. His wardrobe was. greasy fustian trousers. a dark corduroy jacket. in consequence of having worn the regimentals for six weeks past. twinkling eyes.

as the other boys put a bottle of spirits on the table. and left the party to their repose. Oliver was seldom left alone.¡± replied the Jew. with a meaning look at Fagin. they drew their chairs towards the fire: and the Jew. These were. From this day. ¡°I¡ªI¡ªdon¡¯t know. with a grin. the proficiency of the Dodger. led the conversation to the topics most calculated to interest his hearers.¡± said the young man. Mr.¡± replied Oliver. the great advantages of the trade. you¡¯ll find your way there. After some words apart between the last comer and Fagin. I¡¯ll bet a crown!¡± At this sally. Miss Betsy accordingly withdrew. and the liberality of the Jew himself. my dear. soon enough. Fagin best knew. Chitling did the same. ¡°A young friend of mine.¡± ¡°Where do you think the gentleman has come from. At other times the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . sir. At length these subjects displayed signs of being thoroughly exhausted. casting a contemptuous look at Oliver. they exchanged a few short whispers with Fagin. ¡°Who¡¯s that?¡± inquired Tom Chitling. but was placed in almost constant communication with the two boys. telling Oliver to come and sit by him. the boys laughed. Oliver¡±? inquired the Jew. ¡°Never mind where I come from. and Mr.Oliver Twist 193 for forty-two mortal long hard-working days. ¡°He¡¯s in luck. who played the old game with the Jew every day: whether for their own improvement or Oliver¡¯s. and that he ¡°Wished he might be busted if he warn¡¯t as dry as a lime-basket. then. for the house of correction becomes fatiguing after a week or two. After some more jokes on the same subject. and amiability of Charles Bates. and withdrew. young ¡¯un.

Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . the wily old Jew had the boy in his toils.Oliver Twist 194 old man would tell them stories of robberies he had committed in his younger days. and change its hue for ever. mixed up with so much that was droll and curious. by solitude and gloom. that Oliver could not help laughing heartily. was now slowly instilling into his soul the poison which he hoped would blacken it. In short. and showing that he was amused in spite of all his better feelings. and having prepared his mind. to prefer any society to the companionship of his own sad thoughts in such a dreary place.

Oliver Twist 195 Chapter 19 In Which A Notable Plan Is Discussed And Determined On. the rain fell sluggishly down. he soon became involved in a maze of the mean and Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . until he reached Bethnal Green. engendered in the slime and darkness through which he moved. crossed the road. and struck off in the direction of Spitalfields. He kept on his course. glancing suspiciously round. The mud lay thick upon the stones. creeping beneath the shelter of the walls and doorways. and pulling the collar up over his ears so as completely to obscure the lower part of his face. turning suddenly off to the left. when the Jew. He paused on the step as the door was locked and chained behind him. then. in search of some rich offal for a meal. buttoning his greatcoat tight round his shrivelled body. the hideous old man seemed like some loathsome reptile. and everything felt cold and clammy to the touch. through many winding and narrow ways. and having listened while the boys made all secure. crawling forth. The Jew stopped for an instant at the corner of the street. It was a chill. and a black mist hung over the streets. damp. The house to which Oliver had been conveyed. As he glided stealthily along. by night. was in the neighbourhood of Whitechapel. and until their retreating footsteps were no longer audible. windy night. slunk down the street as quickly as he could. emerged from his den. It seemed just the night when it befitted such a being as the Jew to be abroad. and.

only me. She took her feet off the fender. he retired to the corner from which he had risen. and no mistake. or the intricacies of the way. and at length turned into one. The Jew was evidently too familiar with the ground he traversed to be at all bewildered. ¡°Bring in your body then. pushed back her chair. the dog had been somewhat deceived by Mr. He hurried through several alleys and streets. All doubts upon the subject. my dear. wagging his tail as he went. my dear. you stupid brute! Don¡¯t you know the devil when he¡¯s got a greatcoat on?¡± Apparently. since she had interfered in behalf of Oliver. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . At the door of a house in this street. A dog growled as he touched the handle of a room door. for as the Jew unbuttoned it. looking in. he walked upstairs. ¡°Only me. if he had any. without saying more about it.¡± The latter recognition was uttered with just enough of embarrassment to imply a doubt of its reception. and having exchanged a few muttered words with the person who opened it. ¡°Well!¡± said Sikes. ¡°Well.¡± replied the Jew. and bade Fagin draw up his. lighted only by a single lamp at the farther end. and a man¡¯s voice demanded who was there. Bill.¡ª¡°Ah! Nancy. Fagin¡¯s outer garment. for Mr. to show that he was as well satisfied as it was in his nature to be.¡± said the Jew. for it was a cold night. were speedily removed by the young lady¡¯s behaviour. and threw it over the back of a chair. ¡°Lie down. either by the darkness of the night. Fagin and his young friend had not met. he knocked.Oliver Twist 196 dirty streets which abound in that close and densely populated quarter.¡± said Sikes.

¡± said the Jew.¡± ¡°For business?¡± inquired the Jew. are you?¡± inquired Sikes. were filled with several kinds of liquids. ¡°Ugh!¡± With a hoarse grunt of contempt. like a ugly ghost just rose from the grave. fixing his eyes on the Jew. Nancy. putting down the glass after just setting his lips to it.Oliver Twist 197 ¡°It is cold. ¡°Quite enough. ¡°It must be a piercer. pouring out a glass of brandy. as he warmed his skinny hands over the fire. Mr. quite. in which there were many. smacking his lips. Sikes. make haste! It¡¯s enough to turn a man ill.¡± Nancy quickly brought a bottle from a cupboard.¡± added the old man. Bill¡± replied the Jew. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . but in a restless and suspicious manner habitual to him. ¡°What! You¡¯re afraid of our getting the better of you. and with no more suspicious articles displayed to view than two or three heavy bludgeons which stood in a corner and a ¡°life-preserver¡± that hung over the chimney-piece. Sikes seized the glass. touching his side.¡± said Mr. to see his lean old carcass shivering in that way. Sikes. Burn my body. if it finds its way through your heart. ¡°Now I¡¯m ready. not in curiosity. for he had seen it often before. It was a meanly furnished apartment. as his companion tossed down the second glassful. The Jew glanced round the room. which.¡± said Sikes. ¡°There. which he did at once. ¡°It seems to go right through one. bade the Jew drink it off. ¡°Give him something to drink. to judge from the diversity of their appearance. Nancy. and threw the remainder of its contents into the ashes: as a preparatory ceremony to filling it again for himself. thank ye. dear. with nothing but the contents of the closet to induce the belief that its occupier was anything but a working man.

nothing more. and that¡¯s the same thing. ¡°He knows what I mean. ¡°Not to be done at all!¡± echoed the Jew. my dear. and talking to me in hints.Oliver Twist 198 ¡°For business.¡± But as Mr. ¡°so say what you¡¯ve got to say. my dear. my dear. he dropped his voice as he said the words. Now. Bill. who had in vain attempted to stop this burst of indignation. Nancy. leaning back in his chair. when is it to be done.¡± said the Jew. eh? When is it to be done? Such plate.¡± replied Sikes coldly. he don¡¯t. Wot d¡¯ye mean?¡± ¡°Hush. Sikes. as if you warn¡¯t the very first that thought about the robbery. ¡°At least it can¡¯t be a put-up job. there.¡± said the Jew coaxingly. ¡°Yes.¡± said the Jew. ¡°No. my dear. and elevating his eyebrows in a rapture of anticipation. Bill. on reflection. and speaking in a very low voice. ¡°Or he won¡¯t. don¡¯t he?¡± ¡°No. Wot about it?¡± inquired Sikes.¡± sneered Mr. Somebody will hear us.¡± ¡°Let ¡¯em hear!¡± said Sikes. ¡°There. Sikes did care. don¡¯t sit there. ¡°Not at all.¡± rejoined Sikes. ¡°It was only my caution. hush!¡± said the Jew. winking and blinking. such plate!¡± said the Jew. as we expected.¡± replied Sikes. and call things by their right names. Bill?¡± said the Jew. ¡°somebody will hear us.¡± ¡°Then it hasn¡¯t been properly gone about. about that crib at Chertsey. turning pale with anger. not at all. drawing his chair forward. rubbing his hands. ¡°Don¡¯t tell me!¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°I don¡¯t care. Speak out. ¡°Ah! you know what I mean.¡± ¡°About the crib at Chertsey. and grew calmer.

not even by flash Toby Crackit.¡± retorted Sikes. ¡°and they warn¡¯t of no more use than the other plant. ¡°And yet.¡± ¡°Do you mean to tell me. my dear. that if flash Toby Crackit reported aright. and a canary waistcoat. he raised his head.¡± said the old man. they wouldn¡¯t be in it. ¡°So he did. ¡°The old lady has had ¡¯em these twenty year.Oliver Twist 199 ¡°But I will tell you. with a deep sigh. and.¡± ¡°But do you mean to say.¡± replied Sikes. dropping his hands on his knees. ¡°Think what women are. my dear. ¡°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.¡± The Jew looked blank at this information. ¡°Not by flash Toby Crackit?¡± said the Jew incredulously.¡± rejoined Sikes.¡± said the Jew. Bill.¡± replied Sikes.¡± replied Sikes. the whole blessed time he¡¯s been loitering down there. he feared the game was up. and he can¡¯t get one of the servants into a line. After ruminating for some minutes with his chin sunk on his breast. softening as the other grew heated. and it¡¯s all of no use. ait¡¯s a sad thing. ¡°He says he¡¯s worn sham whiskers.¡± ¡°He should have tried moustachios and a pair of military trousers.¡± said the Jew. if you were to give ¡¯em five hundred pound.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°that neither of the two men in the house can be got over?¡± ¡°Yes. I do mean to tell you so.¡± ¡°No. and said.¡± remonstrated the Jew. my dear. Bill. to lose so much when we had set our hearts upon it.

The crib¡¯s barred up at night like a jail.¡± whispered Sikes. Toby and I were over the garden wall the night afore last. safe and softly. and every muscle in his face working. ¡°Fagin. sounding the panels of the door and shutters. I know. stopping short. and pointed for an instant to the Jew¡¯s face. scarcely moving her head. Sikes.¡± said Sikes. as if she had been deaf to all that passed. as suddenly rousing himself. ¡°let it come off as soon as you like. ¡°Why. apparently fearful of irritating the housebreaker. You can¡¯t do it without me.¡± rejoined the Jew. but there¡¯s one part we can crack.¡± ¡°Which is that. but it¡¯s best to be on the safe side when one deals with you. as the girl.¡± said Sikes. abruptly breaking the stillness that prevailed. with the excitement that the inquiry had awakened. ¡°is it worth fifty shiners extra. my dear. ¡°Worse luck!¡± A long silence ensued. Nancy. Bill?¡± asked the Jew eagerly. during which the Jew was plunged in deep thought with his face wrinkled into an expression of villainy perfectly demoniacal. sat with her eyes fixed upon the fire.Oliver Twist 200 ¡°So it is.¡± said the Jew. his eyes glistening.¡± said the Jew. yes. ¡°Umph!¡± cried Sikes. ¡°Then. Sikes eyed him furtively from time to time.¡± said Mr. ¡°Yes. ¡°Never mind what part it is.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . bending his head forward with his eyes almost staring out of it. ¡°Is it a bargain?¡± inquired Sikes.¡± as you cross the lawn¡ª¡± ¡°Yes. thrusting aside the Jew¡¯s hand. if it¡¯s safely done from the outside?¡± ¡°Yes. with some disdain. yes. looked suddenly round.

And so they go on. and let him out by the job. who had been considering during this speech.¡± ¡°A boy!¡± exclaimed the Jew. ¡°if I¡¯d only got that young boy of Ned. The Jew nodded his head towards Nancy. But the father gets lagged.¡± acquiesced the Jew. his wrath rising with the recollection of his wrongs. folding her arms. ¡°¡¯Cept a centre-bit and a boy. as you like. Lord!¡± said Sikes reflectively. that he would have her told to leave the room. and. I know Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°You don¡¯t want any beer.¡± rejoined the girl coolly. ¡°Nonsense. as if he thought the precaution unnecessary. Sikes shrugged his shoulders impatiently. ¡°I want a boy. and had only caught the last sentence. ¡°Is there no help wanted. my dear. by a sign.¡± said Mr. nevertheless. Fagin. but complied.Oliver Twist 201 ¡°As you like. and he mustn¡¯t be a big ¡¯un. and then the Juvenile Delinquent Society comes. ¡°Bill!¡± ¡°What now?¡± inquired Sikes. teaches him to read and write. if they¡¯d got money enough (which it¡¯s a Providence they haven¡¯t). The first we¡¯ve both got. but yours and Toby¡¯s?¡± ¡°None. and in times makes ¡¯prentice of him. and takes the boy away from a trade where he was earning money. Sikes. eh?¡± ¡°Never mind wot it is!¡± replied Sikes.¡± said Nancy. by requesting Miss Nancy to fetch him a jug of beer. and intimated. ¡°Go on.¡± said Sikes. in a year or two.¡± replied the Jew. the second you must find us. and retaining her seat very composedly. ¡°I tell you I do!¡± replied Sikes. ¡°so they go on. we shouldn¡¯t have half a dozen boys left in the whole trade. who was still gazing at the fire. ¡°Oh! then it¡¯s a panel. the chimbley-sweeper¡¯s! He kept him small on purpose.¡± ¡°No more we should.

Oliver Twist 202 what he is going to say. you don¡¯t mind the old girl. as did Mr. about Oliver!¡± ¡°Ha! you¡¯re a clever one. do you. ¡°tell Bill at once. my dear. Sikes looked from one to the other in some surprise. ¡°It was about Oliver I was going to speak. Nancy?¡± ¡°I should think not!¡± replied the young lady. Bill. Ha! ha! ha!¡± ¡°What about him?¡± demanded Sikes. shook her head with an air of defiance. At this confession. ¡°But wot?¡± inquired Sikes. ¡°No.¡± The Jew still hesitated. ¡°I didn¡¯t know whether she mightn¡¯t p¡¯r¡¯aps be out of sorts. Are you. or the devil¡¯s in it. patting her on the neck. you know. and grinning frightfully.¡± replied the Jew. ¡°Now. ¡°but¡ª¡± and again the old man paused. my dear. swallowing a glass of brandy.¡± said Nancy. my dear. Sikes likewise. laying his finger on the side of his nose. She ain¡¯t one to blab. and resumed his seat. for the Jew nodded his head with a satisfied air. ¡°He¡¯s the boy for you. in a hoarse whisper. ¡°You¡¯ve known her long enough to trust her. my dear. Miss Nancy burst into a loud laugh. and. Fagin?¡± he asked at length. no. and burst into sundry exclamations of ¡°Keep the game agoing!¡± ¡°Never say die!¡± and the like. drawing her chair up to the table.¡± replied the Jew. the sharpest girl I ever saw!¡± said the Jew. he needn¡¯t mind me. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . These seemed to have the effect of reassuring both gentlemen. sure enough. as she was the other night. I know you¡¯re not. Fagin. ¡°Why. and putting her elbows upon it.¡± said the Jew. with a laugh.

¡± ¡°Perhaps I do. with a shrill chuckle. ¡°Yours. You won¡¯t see him alive again. my dear. close¡ªclose.want. If there¡¯s anything queer about him when we once get into the work.¡± said Sikes.¡± ¡°And wot. literally hugged himself for joy. if he¡¯s only to open a door for you. Bill. ¡°And will do everything you want. once fill his mind with the idea that he has been a thief. and. Besides. but that¡¯s not what you . he is just the size I want. which he had drawn from under the bedstead.¡± said Mr. ¡°I¡¯ve¡ªI¡¯ve had my eye upon him. ¡°He¡¯s been in good training these last few weeks.¡± said the Jew. Bill!¡± said Nancy.¡± ¡°Frighten him!¡± echoed Sikes. ¡°Mine. in for a pound.¡± interposed the Jew. he¡¯s a safe one.¡± ¡°I know he is. Fagin. you mean. mind you. ¡°he can¡¯t help himself. poising a crowbar. ruminating. if you like. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°I would.¡± said the Jew. Bill.¡± rejoined Fagin. ¡°Have him. ¡°I¡¯ve thought of it all. ¡°It¡¯ll be no sham frightening. the others are all too big. Mark my words!¡± said the robber. ¡°Ours!¡± said Sikes. my dears.¡± ¡°Well. in for a penny. if you frighten him enough. my dear. scowling fiercely on his agreeable friend. as any of the others. Bill. He mayn¡¯t be so much up.Oliver Twist 203 ¡°He!¡± exclaimed Sikes. before you send him. Think of that. That is. Sikes. and he¡¯s ours! Ours for his life! Oho! It couldn¡¯t have come about better!¡± The old man crossed his arms upon his breast. Depend upon it. drawing his head and shoulders into a heap. and it¡¯s time he began to work for his bread. Once let him feel that he is one of us. if I was in your place. with energy.

¡°And about¡ª¡± ¡°Oh. Bill?¡± ¡°I planned with Toby.¡± ¡°No. than being obliged to put the poor leetle boy out of the way¡ªwhich would be dangerous. ¡°when is it to be done. to be sure. it¡¯s quite enough for my power over him that he was in a robbery.¡± rejoined Sikes.Oliver Twist 204 ¡°wot makes you take so much pains about one chalk-faced kid. my dear. is it?¡± asked the Jew. and he must be in the same boat with us. with some confusion. You¡¯d better bring the boy here Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . my dears.¡± rejoined Sikes. ¡°It¡¯s all arranged. ¡°Never mind particulars. properly managed. stopping some turbulent exclamation on the part of Mr. Never mind how he came there. it¡¯s all planned. ah. ¡°he has us now if he could only give us leg-bail again. and I lose ¡¯em all. ¡°Ah. Besides. in a surly voice. Sikes.¡± ¡°When is it to be done?¡± asked Nancy. as you might pick and choose from?¡± ¡°Because they¡¯re of no use to me.¡± replied the Jew. about bringing off the swag.¡± said the Jew.¡± ¡°Good. how much better this is.¡± said the Jew. ¡°there¡¯s no moon. recovering his selfpossession. a not worth the taking. when you know there are fifty boys snoozing about Common Garden every night. interrupting him. Now. and we should lose by it besides. the night arter tomorrow. I could do what I couldn¡¯t with twenty of them.¡± said the Jew. expressive of the disgust with which he received Fagin¡¯s affectation of humanity. Their looks convict ¡¯em when they get into trouble.¡± rejoined Sikes. that¡¯s all I want. With this boy. Sikes nodded. ¡°if he heerd nothing from me to the contrairy.

by the testimony of flash Toby Crackit. in all important particulars. he insisted upon producing his box of housebreaking tools. I shall get off the stones an hour arter daybreak. and to flourish the crowbar in an alarming manner. Fagin craftily observing. any representations made by Mr. than anybody else. than he fell over the box upon the floor. and bring Oliver away with her. and that¡¯s all you¡¯ll have to do.Oliver Twist 205 tomorrow night. Sikes on his return should be required to be confirmed and corroborated. William Sikes. Sikes proceeded to drink brandy at a furious rate. that. that the said Sikes should deal with him as he thought fit. be unreservedly consigned to the care and custody of Mr. These preliminaries adjusted. to render the compact in this respect binding. at the same time. it being understood that. and went to sleep where he fell. and opened for the purpose of explaining the nature and properties of the various implements it contained. Then you hold your tongue. Mr. in which all three took an active part. and the peculiar beauties of their construction. it was decided that Nancy should repair to the Jew¡¯s next evening when the night had set in. if he evinced any disinclination to the task. or any punishment with which it might be necessary to visit him. yelling forth. most unmusical snatches of song. which he had no sooner stumbled in with. and should not be held responsible by the Jew for any mischance or evil that might befall him. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . mingled with wild execrations. and further. It was also solemnly arranged that poor Oliver should. At length. for the purposes (If the contemplated expedition. in a fit of professional enthusiasm. and keep the melting-pot ready.¡± After some discussion. he would be more willing to accompany the girl who had so recently interfered in his behalf.

and the closeness of his prison. ¡°Tomorrow.¡± was his first remark as they descended the stairs. ¡°Is Oliver a-bed? I want to speak to him. Ha! ha! The man against the child. There was no flinching about the girl. that he looked like death. so pale with anxiety. through mud and mire. and the gross air of the world has not had time to breathe upon the changing dust it hallowed.¡± Their eyes met. ¡°Not now. Mr. when a young and gentle spirit has. ¡°Hours ago. fast asleep. ¡°Here he is!¡± The boy was lying. where the Dodger was sitting up. to his gloomy abode. and the Jew scrutinised her narrowly.¡± said the Jew. The Jew again bade her good-night. but an instant. impatiently awaiting his return.¡± said the Jew muffling himself up as before. that it never lasts. ¡°The worst of these women is. that a very little thing serves to call up some long-forgotten feeling. She was as true and earnest in the matter as Toby Crackit himself could be. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . fled to heaven. not death as it shows in shroud and coffin. groped downstairs. Sikes while her back was turned. and sadness.Oliver Twist 206 ¡°Good-night. turning softly away. on a rude bed upon the floor. Fagin wended his way. ¡°Always the way!¡± muttered the Jew to himself as he turned homeward. throwing open a door. and the best of them is. for a bag of gold!¡± Beguiling the time with these pleasant reflections. ¡°Good-night. Nancy.¡± replied the Dodger. but in the guise it wears when life has just departed. and bestowing a sly kick upon the prostrate form of Mr.

¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist 207 Tomorrow.

Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and chuckled as if to show that he knew he would still be very glad to get away if he could. on his sitting down to breakfast along with the Jew. At first. but boldly said. had been placed at his bedside. ¡°I suppose. my dear?¡± Oliver coloured. he was pleased with the discovery. with strong. Don¡¯t be afraid. Oh.¡± replied the Jew.Oliver Twist 208 Chapter 20 Wherein Oliver Is Delivered Over To Mr. involuntarily. to find that the old thief had been reading his thoughts. Ha! ha! ha! We won¡¯t be so cruel as to send you away.¡± said the Jew. no no!¡± The old man. Yes. hoping that it might be the forerunner of his release. no. looked round as he bantered Oliver thus. Not to stop there. he was a good deal surprised to find that a new pair of shoes. but such thoughts were quickly dispelled. that he was to be taken to the residence of Bill Sikes that night. who was stooping over the fire toasting a piece of bread. When Oliver awoke in the morning. sir?¡± asked Oliver anxiously. ¡°No. in a tone and manner which increased his alarm. ¡°We shouldn¡¯t like to lose you. William Sikes. and that his old shoes had been removed. ¡°you want to know what you¡¯re going to Bill¡¯s for¡ªeh. ¡°To¡ªto¡ªstop there. Oliver. thick soles. you shall come back to us again. he did want to know. my dear. fixing his eyes on Oliver. who told him. my dear.

and. till they come to fetch you. he suffered his features gradually to resolve themselves into a ghastly grin. ¡°And here¡¯s a book for you to read. saw that the Jew was gazing fixedly at him. ¡°Indeed I don¡¯t know. ¡°Take heed.¡± said the Jew. with lowering and contracted brows. pointing to the candle. Good-night!¡± ¡°Good-night!¡± replied Oliver softly. Oliver looked up. say nothing. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . parrying the question. ¡°Wait till Bill tells you. turning away with a disappointed countenance from a close perusal of the boy¡¯s face. nodding his head. He had no other opportunity. Oliver! take heed!¡± said the old man. do you think?¡± inquired Fagin.Oliver Twist 209 ¡°Why. left the room. and. he called him by his name. He did so. ¡°You may burn a candle. the Jew. although Oliver felt very anxious. when he prepared to go abroad. from the dark end of the room. he was too much confused by the earnest cunning of Fagin¡¯s looks. and do what he bids you. sir. putting one upon the table. ¡°Bah!¡± said the Jew.¡± The Jew seemed much vexed by Oliver¡¯s not expressing any greater curiosity on the subject. then. and his own speculations. to make any further inquiries just then. looking over his shoulder at the boy as he went. and thinks nothing of blood when his Own is up. Whatever falls out. shaking his right hand before him in a warning manner. as he placed the candlestick upon the table. Suddenly stopping. ¡°He¡¯s a rough man. for the Jew remained very surly and silent till night. The Jew walked to the door. Mind!¡± Placing a strong emphasis on the last word. motioned him to light it.¡± replied Oliver. but the truth is. that.

too. he read of men who. concluded that he had been selected to perform some ordinary menial offices for the housebreaker. the more he was at a loss to divine its real purpose and meaning. that in their horror they had confessed their guilt. and then. The terrible descriptions were so real and vivid. began to read. He was too well accustomed to suffering. He turned over the leaves carelessly at first. and pondered. and after meditating for a long time. lying in their beds at dead of night. that the sallow Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Here.Oliver Twist 210 Oliver leaned his head upon his hand when the old man disappeared. He could think of no bad object to be attained by sending him to Sikes. to such dreadful bloodshed as it made the flesh creep. but. lighting on a passage which attracted his attention he soon became intent upon the volume. until another boy. snuffed the candle. had been tempted (as they said) and led on. and had suffered too much where he was. after many years. It was a history of the lives and trials of great criminals. and so maddened the murderers with the sight. and yelled for the gibbet to end their agony. deep as they were. and the limbs quail. The more he thought of the Jew¡¯s admonition. taking up the book which the Jew had left with him. Here. could be engaged. on the words he had just heard. and the pages were soiled and thumbed with use. with a trembling heart. and. with a heavy sigh. by their own bad thoughts. to think of. but had yielded them up at last. better suited for his purpose. He remained lost in thought for some minutes. to bewail the prospect of change very severely. of secret murders that had been committed by the lonely wayside. which would not be equally well answered by his remaining with Fagin. he read of dreadful crimes that made the blood run cold. of bodies hidden from the eye of man in deep pits and wells: which would not keep them down.

he stood alone in the midst of wickedness and guilt. ¡°What¡¯s that?¡± he cried. in hollow murmurs. The girl threw herself into a chair. desolate and deserted.Oliver Twist 211 pages seemed to turn red with gore. by the spirits of the dead. when a rustling noise aroused him. falling upon his knees. and the words upon them. but made no reply. and that if any aid were to¡¯ be raised up for a poor. By degrees. Only me. and rather to will that he should die at once.¡± said the girl. and wrung her hands. and thrust it from him. turning away her head. Then. who had never known the love of friends or kindred. indeed. he prayed Heaven to spare him from such deeds. with her back towards him. and catching sight of a figure standing by the door. he grew more calm. when. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Oliver raised the candle above his head. ¡°Put down the light. ¡°God forgive me!¡± she cried. ¡°I never thought of this. ¡°Who¡¯s there?¡± ¡°Me. that he might be rescued from his present dangers. ¡°it hurts my eyes. but still remained with his head buried in his hands. than be reserved for crimes so fearful and appalling. the boy closed the book. In a paroxysm of fear. ¡°Can I help you? I will if I can. it might come to him now. to be sounded in his ears. and besought in a low and broken voice. starting up. He had concluded his prayer. and gently inquired if she were ill. It was Nancy. I will. outcast boy. after a while. as if they were whispered.¡± Oliver saw that she was very pale.¡± ¡°Has anything happened?¡± asked Oliver.¡± replied a tremulous voice. and looked towards the door.

¡± Oliver could see that he had some power over the girl¡¯s better feelings. and said. ¡°Nancy!¡± cried Oliver.¡± said Oliver. Nolly. and averting them again. the moment they encountered the boy¡¯s face. I have come from Bill. But. drew her shawl close round her. ¡°Have it your own way. she sat there. suddenly stopping. the thought darted across his mind that it was barely eleven o¡¯clock. ¡°For no good. and her feet upon the ground. for an instant. ¡°I don¡¯t know what comes over me sometimes.¡± ¡°What for?¡± asked Oliver. ¡°Yes. Drawing her chair close to it. and. ¡°Oh! For no harm. thought of appealing to her compassion for his helpless state. are you ready?¡± ¡°Am I to go with you?¡± asked Oliver. who had watched her closely.¡± replied the girl.¡± said she. dirty room. Now. and shivered with cold. somewhat hastily. then. I think. for a little time. affecting to laugh. affecting to busy herself in arranging her dress. without speaking. ¡°what is it?¡± The girl beat her hands upon her knees. caught her throat.¡± ¡°I don¡¯t believe it.Oliver Twist 212 She rocked herself to and fro. but at length she raised her head. and. that he was Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°You are to go with me. gasped for breath. uttering a gurgling sound. and that many people were still in the streets. and. ¡°it¡¯s this damp. ¡°What for?¡± echoed the girl. and looked round. dear. recoiling. he stepped forward. then. of whom surely some might be found to give credence to his tale. Oliver stirred the fire.¡± rejoined the girl. As the reflection occurred to him. raising her eyes.

¡± continued the girl aloud. If ever you are to get loose from here. hastily. to some livid bruises on her neck and arms. was lost on his companion. ¡°You can¡¯t help yourself. They don¡¯t mean to harm you. Give me your hand. Neither his brief consideration. her countenance was white and agitated. whatever they make you do. See here! I have borne all this for you already.¡± She pointed. and I will again. if I had not. I have promised for your being quiet and silent. and continued. while he spoke and cast upon him a look of intelligence which sufficiently showed that she guessed what had been passing in his thoughts. is no fault of yours.¡± Struck by the energy of her manner. Oliver looked up in her face with great surprise. You are hedged round and round. just now.Oliver Twist 213 ready. nor its purport. If I could help you. if you are not. you will only do harm to yourself and me too. but I have not the power. this is not the time. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and I do now. ¡°Hush!¡± said the girl. Make haste! Your hand!¡± She caught the hand which Oliver instinctively placed in hers. I would. as true as God sees me show it. ¡°I have saved you from being ill-used once. ¡°for those who would have fetched you. would have been far more rough than me. and pointing to the door as she looked cautiously round. She seemed to speak the truth. and she trembled with very earnestness. but all to no purpose. Hush! Every word from you is a blow for me. She eyed him narrowly. with great rapidity: ¡°Remember this! And don¡¯t let me suffer more for you. and perhaps be my death. stooping over him. I have tried hard for you.

quickly. as he lighted them up. Come on!¡± This was a very strong expression of approbation. ¡°This way. and continued to pour into his ear. for he was already in the house. drew him after her up the stairs. with the same vehemence which she had exhibited in addressing Oliver. Sikes¡¯s temperament. when they had passed out. by some one shrouded in the darkness. the opportunity was gone.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . appearing at the head of the stairs. the warnings and assurances she had already imparted. But the girl¡¯s voice was in his ear. ¡°He¡¯d have been in the way. the girl pulled him in with her. The door was opened. For one brief moment. saluted him cordially.Oliver Twist 214 and.¡± said the girl. and drew the curtains close. The girl still held Oliver fast by the hand. beseeching him in such tones of agony to remember her. ¡°Oh! That¡¯s the time of day. appearing much gratified thereby. and the door was shut. and was as quickly closed. A hackneycabriolet was in waiting. when the carriage stopped at the house to which the Jew¡¯s steps had been directed on the previous evening.¡± observed Sikes. ¡°Bill!¡± ¡°Hallo!¡± replied Sikes. Oliver cast a hurried glance along the empty street. but lashed his horse into full speed. releasing her hold for the first time. that he had not the heart to utter it. Nancy. without the delay of an instant. that he had scarcely time to recollect where he was. All was so quick and hurried. and a cry for help hung upon his lips. ¡°Bull¡¯s-eye¡¯s gone home with Tom. The driver wanted no directions. While he hesitated. blowing out the light. with a candle. an uncommonly hearty welcome. or how he came there. from a person of Mr.

when he had finished. ¡°Yes. ¡°Like a lamb. except when I speak to you. ¡°Now. ¡°This is powder. first.¡± rejoined Nancy. look here. ¡°Yes.¡± rejoined Nancy. and let me read you a lecture. here he is. at which moment the boy could not repress a start. young ¡¯un. say your prayers first.Oliver Twist 215 ¡°That¡¯s right. ¡°Did he come quiet?¡± inquired Sikes. ¡°So you¡¯ve got the kid.¡± said Sikes.¡± Thus addressing his new pupil.¡± said Sikes. ¡°I¡¯m glad to hear it.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°if you speak a word when you¡¯re out o¡¯ doors with me. ¡°Now it¡¯s loaded. taking up a pocket-pistol which lay on the table. sat himself down by the table. Sikes pulled off Oliver¡¯s cap and threw it into a corner. Oliver replied in the affirmative. ¡°Well. and this is a little bit of a old hat for waddin¡¯. and stood the boy in front of him.¡± said the robber. and putting the barrel so close to his temple that they touched. closing the door as he spoke. sir. when they had all reached the room. grasping Oliver¡¯s wrist tightly.¡± replied Nancy. Mr. with great nicety and deliberation. ¡°for the sake of his young carcass. So.¡± continued Sikes. if you do make up your mind to speak without leave. as would otherways have suffered for it. then. Sikes proceeded to load the pistol. I see it is. and Mr.¡± said Mr Sikes. looking grimly at Oliver. Come here. do you know wot this is?¡± inquired Sikes. that loading will be in your head without notice. ¡°Well.¡± replied Oliver.¡± Oliver murmured his comprehension of the different bodies referred to. and then taking him by the shoulder. that ¡¯ere¡¯s a bullet. which is as well got over at once.

Sikes continued: ¡°As near as I know. and get a snooze before starting. so I needn¡¯t take this devil-and-all of trouble to explain matters to you. ¡°is. D¡¯ye hear me?¡± ¡°The short and the long of what you mean. stimulated perhaps by the immediate prospect of being on active service. and also to an ingenious implement much used in his profession. there isn¡¯t anybody as would be asking very partickler arter you. more than fourscore oaths Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist 216 Having bestowed a scowl upon the object of this warning. on a rough calculation. that if you¡¯re crossed by him in this job you have on hand. every month of your life. and slightly frowning at Oliver as if to bespeak his serious attention to her words. ¡°women can always put things in fewest words. in proof whereof. common to them. And now that he¡¯s thoroughly up to it. and did not utter. let¡¯s have some supper. Nancy quickly laid the cloth. and then they lengthens it out. Sikes approvingly. and will take your chance of swinging for it. if it warn¡¯t for your own good. and. speaking very emphatically. that he humorously drank all the beer at a draught. if you was disposed of. which gave occasion to several pleasant witticisms on the part of Mr. you¡¯ll prevent his ever telling tales afterwards. was in great spirits and good-humour. Mr.¡± said Nancy. by shooting him through the head. it may be here remarked.¡± ¡°That¡¯s it!¡± observed Mr. Indeed. disappearing for a few minutes. to increase its effect. founded upon the singular coincidence of ¡°jemmies¡± being a cant name.¡± In pursuance of this request. Sikes.¡ªExcept when it¡¯s blowing up. the worthy gentleman. as you do for a great many other things in the way of business. presently returned with a pot of porter and a dish of sheep¡¯s heads.

he gave his hand to the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . threw him a handkerchief to tie round his throat. Oliver stretched himself in his clothes. Supper being ended¡ªit may be easily conceived that Oliver had no great appetite for it¡ªMr. ¡°half-past five! Look sharp. Thus attired. while Nancy was busily engaged in preparing breakfast. to call him at five precisely. in readiness to rouse them at the appointed time. on a mattress upon the floor.¡± Oliver was not long in making his toilet. for the candle was still burning. and the girl. It was not yet daylight. and Sikes was thrusting various articles into the pockets of his greatcoat. and the sky looked black and cloudy. mending the fire. he at length fell asleep. sat before it. and having taken some breakfast. and threw himself on the bed. thinking it not impossible that Nancy might seek that opportunity of whispering some further advice. Weary with watching and anxiety. For a long time Oliver lay awake. too. A sharp rain. Nancy. scarcely looked at the boy. he replied to a surly inquiry from Sikes. without moving. by saying that he was quite ready. which hung over the back of a chair. When he awoke. rough cape to button over his shoulders. the table was covered with tea-things. was beating against the window-panes. for it¡¯s late as it is. and Sikes gave him a large. and it was quite dark outside. then!¡± growled Sikes. Sikes disposed of a couple of glasses of spirits and water. by command of the same authority. as Oliver started up.Oliver Twist 217 during the whole progress of the meal. ordering Nancy. with many imprecations in case of failure. or you¡¯ll get no breakfast. save now and then to trim the light. ¡°Now. but the girl sat brooding over the fire.

before it. who.Oliver Twist 218 robber. in the hope of meeting a look from the girl. led him away. when they reached the door. and. for an instant. clasped it firmly in his. exchanging a farewell with Nancy. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and sat. perfectly motionless. But she had resumed her old seat in front of the fire. merely pausing to show him with a menacing gesture that he had that same pistol in a side-pocket of his greatcoat. Oliver turned.

by keeping on the wrong side of the road. and the streets through which they passed. and the kennels were overflowing. a few country waggons were slowly toiling on. Then. a quarter of a minute after his time.Oliver Twist 219 Chapter 21 The Expedition. were noiseless and empty. towards London. donkey Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and a few scattered people were met with. rattled briskly by. There appeared to be nobody stirring in that quarter of the town. other shops began to be unclosed. and now and then. but it rather aggravated than relieved the gloom of the scene: the sombre light only serving to pale that which the street lamps afforded. for large pools of water had collected in the road. and dreary streets. a stagecoach. with gaslights burning in side. blowing and raining hard. By the time they had turned into Bethnal Green Road. Many of the lamps were already extinguished. as he passed. men and women with fish-baskets on their heads. covered with mud. were already open. without shedding any warmer or brighter tints upon the wet housetops. for the windows of the houses were all closely shut. the driver bestowing. The night had been very wet. an admonitory lash upon the heavy waggoner who. came straggling groups of labourers going to their work. the day had fairly begun to break. had endangered his arriving at the office. There was a faint glimmering of the coming day in the sky. then. The public-houses. and the clouds looking dull and stormy. It was a cheerless morning when they got into the street. By degrees.

hawkers. and as many temporary pens as could be crowded into the vacant space. three or four deep. The ground was covered. the crowding. hung heavily above. trudging out with various supplies to the eastern suburbs of the town. Sikes struck. thence into Long Lane. the cries of hawkers. It was market morning. were mingled together in a mass. As they approached the city. and so into Smithfield. All the pens in the centre of the large area. were filled with sheep. which seemed to rest upon the chimney-tops. the ringing of bells and roar of voices. the whistling of drovers. the shouts. Countrymen. it had swelled into a roar of sound and bustle. boys. Turning down Sun Street and Crown Street. and the busy morning of half the London population had begun. the bleating of sheep. chaise-carts filled with live stock or whole carcasses of meat. tied up to posts by the gutter side were long lines of beasts and oxen. It was as light as it was likely to be. till night came on again. butchers. and mingling with the fog. the grunting and squeaking of pigs. whooping and yelling. nearly ankledeep. from which latter place are a tumult of discordant sounds that filled Oliver Twist with amazement. milk-women with pails: an unbroken concourse of people. beating. and crossing Finsbury Square. with filth and mire. the noise and traffic gradually increased: when they threaded the streets between Shoreditch and Smithfield. Mr. by way of Chiswell Street. and quarrelling on all sides. that issued from every public-house. the hideous and Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . thieves. drovers. the barking of dogs. idlers. driving. and vagabonds of every low grade. into Barbican.Oliver Twist 220 carts laden with vegetables. a thick steam perpetually rising from the reeking bodies of the cattle. oaths. pushing. the bellowing and plunging of oxen.

until they were clear of the turmoil. and had made their way through Hosier Lane into Holborn. don¡¯t he. if he would give them a lift as far as Isleworth. dragging Oliver after him. kept up with the rapid strides of the housebreaker as well as he could. with as much civility as he could assume.¡± replied Sikes. and bestowed very little attention on the numerous sights and sounds. ¡°Jump up. looking up at the clock of St. ¡°Your father walks rather too quick for you. Come. and bursting in and out of the throng. unshaven. he¡¯s my boy. Sikes. pressed steadily onward. He nodded. which was at some little distance behind. ¡°Is that your boy?¡± ¡°Yes.Oliver Twist 221 discordant din that resounded from every corner of the market. which quite confounded the senses. which so astonished the boy.¡± said the man. Andrew¡¯s Church. to a passing friend. Sikes accompanied this speech with a jerk at his little companion¡¯s wrist. came up. elbowed his way through the thickest of the crowd. Seeing ¡°Hounslow¡± written on it. and. ¡°No. They held their course at this rate. he asked the driver. between a fast walk and a run. don¡¯t lag beyind already. twice or thrice. ¡°hard upon seven! you must step out. young ¡¯un!¡± said Sikes. squalid. and the unwashed. looking hard at Oliver. Oliver. and dirty figures constantly running to and fro. resisting as many invitations to take a morning dram. and were on their way to Kensington. until they had passed Hyde Park corner. rendered it a stunning and bewildering scene. quickening his pace into a kind of trot. my man?¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Lazylegs!¡± Mr. and putting his hand abstractedly into the pocket where the pistol was. Mr. until an empty cart. when Sikes relaxed his pace.

¡± said the man. and rapped the side-pocket with his fist.¡± And he drove away. where his companion meant to take him. Ned. bestowed a furious look upon him. and lifting him down directly. pointing to a heap of sacks. once again led him onward on his journey. As they passed the different mile-stones. They turned round to the left. ¡°It¡¯s a fine day after all. Brentford. telling Oliver he might look about him if he wanted. until Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . And here. interposing. Hammersmith. Oliver wondered. getting into his cart. told him to lie down there. Kensington. passing many large gardens and gentlemen¡¯s houses on both sides of the way. At length they came to a publichouse called the Coach and Horses: a little way beyond which another road appeared to turn off. and rest himself. seeing that Oliver was out of breath. and then. ¡°he¡¯s sulky. holding Oliver by the hand all the while. ¡°Good-bye. take hold of my hand. Sikes waited until he had fairly gone. Kew Bridge. In with you!¡± Thus addressing Oliver. A young dog! Don¡¯t mind him. ¡°Not a bit of it. in a significant manner. Sikes dismounted with great precipitation. and the driver. ¡°He¡¯s sulky. he helped him into the cart.Oliver Twist 222 inquired the driver. were all passed.¡± replied Sikes. giving him a shake. ¡°He¡¯s used to it. boy. and then. and stopping for nothing but a little beer. the cart stopped. a short way past the publichouse.¡± ¡°Not I!¡± rejoined the other. Chiswick. Here.¡± replied Sikes. walked on for a long time. and yet they went on as steadily as if they had only just begun their journey. taking a right-hand road. more and more.

fell asleep. with a great beam across the middle of the ceiling. My horse hasn¡¯t got a load behind him going back. At length. without being much troubled by their company. and. They took no notice of Oliver.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Sikes indulged himself with three or four pipes. and he won¡¯t be long a-doing of it. are you?¡± inquired Sikes. and sat so long after it. low-roofed room. you¡¯re going on to Lower Halliford. ¡°Yes. for some hours. over a pint of ale. I am. then. turning into an old public-house with a defaced signboard. as the case might be¡ªfor drinking. Being much tired with the walk. who seemed a little the worse¡ªor better. It was quite dark when he was awakened by a push from Sikes. by the fire. as he had coming up in the mornin¡¯. Here¡¯s luck to him! Ecod! he¡¯s a good un. and. in the fields. while Mr. ordered some dinner by the kitchen fire. Rousing himself sufficiently to sit up and look about him. and benches. on which were seated several rough men in smock-frocks. he and his young comrade sat in a corner by themselves. Here against the wall of a house. drinking and smoking. and getting up so early. he found that worthy in close fellowship and communication with a labouring man. The kitchen was an old. he dozed a little at first. ¡°and not slow about it neither. quite overpowered by fatigue and the fumes of the tobacco.Oliver Twist 223 they reached a town. with high backs to them.¡± replied the man. that Oliver began to feel quite certain they were not going any farther. they came back into the town.¡± They lingered about. as Sikes took very little notice of them. and very little of Sikes. They had some cold meat for dinner. ¡°So. Oliver saw written up in pretty large letters ¡°Hampton.

tossing it into the air with great disdain. ¡°that won¡¯t do. was standing outside. there would have been strong reason to suppose he was. and running into Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Becky?¡± ¡°Yes. he was joking. having lingered for a minute or two to bear him up. After the exchange of a few more compliments. if he had been sober. Oliver and Sikes got in without any further ceremony. to see the party start. and the man to whom he belonged. ¡°You¡¯re a-going to accommodate us. and declared he was a real good fellow. The horse.¡± replied the girl. ¡°Are you going to Halliford?¡± ¡°Going on to Shepperton.¡± replied the other. Sikes replied. with tipsy gravity. ¡°If you¡¯re going directly. and wot¡¯s to prevent my standing treat for a pint or so.Oliver Twist 224 ¡°Could you give my boy and me a lift as far as there?¡± demanded Sikes.¡± ¡°Why not?¡± rejoined Sikes.¡± replied the man.¡± replied Sikes. seized Sikes by the hand. To which Mr. and. ¡°I say!¡± said the man. and went out. Then. ready harnessed to the cart. the girl gathering up the pots and glasses as they did so. in return?¡± The stranger reflected upon this argument. ¡°I¡¯m your man. looking out of the pot. and lounging out to the door. he made a very unpleasant use of it. ¡°Is all paid. I can. as far I go. as. you know. his head being given to him. mounted also. pushing the ale towards his new friend. with a very profound face. whose health had been drunk in his absence. with her hands full. they bade the company good-night. and having done so. the other gentleman¡¯s paid.¡± and to defy the hostler and the world to produce his equal. the hostler was told to give the horse his head.

Oliver saw that the water was just below them. Two or three miles more. and Sikes was in no mood to lead him into conversation. in mud and darkness. after performing those feats. and threw into more sombre shadow a dark yewtree with graves beneath it. all was gloomy and black. Sikes kept straight on.Oliver Twist 225 the parlour windows over the way. until they were close upon the bridge. as if in some fantastic joy at the desolation of the scene. as the weary boy had expected. It seemed like quiet music for the repose of the dead. Sikes alighted. bewildered with alarm and apprehension. too. Oliver sat huddled together. On looking intently forward. Sunbury was passed through. for the driver had grown sleepy. The night was very dark. A damp mist rose from the river and the marshy ground about. and rattled out of the town right gallantly. It was piercing cold. and that they were coming to the foot of a bridge. he started off at great speed. There was a dull sound of falling water not far off. took Oliver by the hand. the clock struck seven. As they passed Sunbury Church. then turned suddenly down a bank upon the left. and figuring strange objects in the gaunt trees. whose branches waved grimly to and fro. until they came within sight of the lights of a town at no great distance. Not a word was spoken. They turned into no house at Shepperton. but still kept walking on. and they came again into the lonely road. There was a light in the ferry-house window opposite. and supporting himself for a short time on his hind legs. in a corner of the cart. and the cart stopped. through gloomy lanes and over cold open wastes. which streamed across the road. and the leaves of the old tree stirred gently in the night wind. and spread itself over the dreary fields. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and they once again walked on.

¡°He has brought me to this lonely place to murder me!¡± He was about to throw himself on the ground. The building was dark. dismantled. and to. The door yielded to the pressure. and make one struggle for his young life. and raised the latch. all ruinous and decayed. but no light was visible. and they passed in together.Oliver Twist 226 ¡°The water!¡± thought Oliver. uninhabited. Sikes. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . when he saw that they stood before a solitary house. with Oliver¡¯s hand still in his. softly approached the low porch. There was a window on each side of the dilapidated entrance. all appearance. turning sick with fear. and one storey above.

Are you any fresher now. wake up first. ¡°Show a glim. a feeble candle.¡± said Sikes. Barney. cub id. falling violently. ¡°H ollo!¡± cried a loud. ¡°Bister Sikes!¡± exclaimed Barney. was heard. Barney. or some such article. at the person he addressed. and next. ¡°Do you hear?¡± cried the same voice. if convenient. as this interrogatory was put. and officiating as waiter at the public-house on Saffron Hill. to rouse him from his slumbers. the form of the same individual who has been heretofore described as labouring under the infirmity of speaking through his nose. across the bare floor of the room.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . a glim! Show the gentleman in. for the noise of a wooden body. as of a man between asleep and awake. and you sleeping there. sir. as if you took laudanum with your meals. first.¡± The speaker appeared to throw a boot-jack. Toby. ¡°There¡¯s Bill Sikes in the passage with nobody to do the civil to him. ¡°Don¡¯t make such a row. ¡°A glim. ¡°cub id. and nothing stronger. hoarse voice. as soon as they set foot in the passage. and then an indistinct muttering. from a door on the right hand. or do you want the iron candlestick to wake you thoroughly?¡± A pair of slipshod feet shuffled. hastily. with real or counterfeit joy. and there issued.Oliver Twist 227 Chapter 22 The Burglary.¡± ¡°Aha! my pal!¡± cried the same voice. bolting the door.

my boy!¡± said this figure. ¡°Fagin¡¯s. Only the boy!¡± replied Sikes. with his legs much higher than his head. He was a trifle above the middle size. and tortured into long corkscrew curls. either upon his head or face.¡± exclaimed Barney.¡± said Sikes. a table. was of a reddish dye. ¡°I¡¯m glad to see you. in which case I should have made a personal wentur.Oliver Twist 228 ¡°Here! you get on first. Sikes pushed Oliver before him. ¡°Bill. ¡°Quicker! or I shall tread upon your heels. I was almost afraid you¡¯d given it up. drawing a chair towards the fire. smoking a long clay pipe. through which he occasionally thrust some very dirty fingers. and they entered a low. a coarse. and apparently rather weak in the legs. common rings. two or three broken chairs. eh!¡± exclaimed Toby. dark room with a smoky fire. but this circumstance by no means detracted from his own admiration of his top-boots. Mr. as his eyes rested on Oliver. in their elevated situation.¡± Muttering a curse upon his tardiness. and drab breeches. ornamented with large. but what he had. a man was reposing at full length. Hallo!¡± Uttering this exclamation in a tone of great surprise. for the old ladies¡¯ pockets in chapels! Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . He was dressed in a smartly-cut snuff-coloured coat. with lively satisfaction. on which. putting Oliver in front of him. ¡°The boy. Toby Crackit brought himself into a sitting posture. staring. ¡°Wot an inwalable boy that¡¯ll make. turning his head towards the door. ¡°Wud of Bister Fagid¡¯s lads. which he contemplated. looking at Oliver. and a very old couch. an orange neckerchief. Mr. shawl-pattern waistcoat. Crackit (for he it was) had no very great quantity of hair. with a grin. and demanded who that was. with large brass buttons.

Sit down by the fire.¡± said Sikes.¡± interposed Sikes impatiently. ¡°indeed. as he resumed his seat. ¡°A drain for the boy. and carefully depositing his empty pipe in a corner. at all events. ¡°success to the crack!¡± He rose to honour the toast. ¡°Here. filled a glass with spirits. younker.¡± ¡°There¡ªthat¡¯s enough of that. half-filling a wine glass. Oliver hastily swallowed the contents of the glass. or what was passing around him. as the young Jew placed some fragments of food and a bottle upon the table.¡± ¡°Indeed. at which Mr. ¡°if you¡¯ll give us something to eat and drink while we¡¯re waiting. though not very far off. I¡ª¡± ¡°Down with it!¡± echoed Toby. clapping his hand upon his pocket.¡± said Toby. and rest yourself. looking piteously up into the man¡¯s face.¡± ¡°He had better!¡± said Sikes. sat with his aching head upon his hands. and immediately fell Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Bill. ¡°Now. advanced to the table. and drank off its contents. Mr.Oliver Twist 229 His mug is a fortun¡¯ to him. if he isn¡¯t more trouble than a whole family of Dodgers. and drawing a stool to the fire. ¡°Do you think I don¡¯t know what¡¯s good for you? Tell him to drink it. scarcely knowing where he was. ¡°Burn my body. drink it!¡± Frightened by the menacing gestures of the two men. you perwerse imp. and stooping over his recumbent friend. for you¡¯ll have to go out with us again tonight. Drink it.¡± said Oliver. ¡°Down with it. he whispered a few words in his ear. in mute and timid wonder. or in me. you¡¯ll put some heart in us.¡± said Toby. and honoured Oliver with a long stare of astonishment. Sikes did the same.¡± Oliver looked at Sikes. Crackit laughed immensely. innocence.

or appeared to sleep. Barney. keys. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist 230 into a violent fit of coughing. wrapped in a blanket. They slept. the two men laid themselves down on chairs for a short nap. Sikes.¡± replied Barney. ¡°Here they are.¡± ¡°All right!¡± replied Toby. the other two were on their legs. nobody stirring but Barney. producing a pair of pistols. when he was roused by Toby Crackit jumping up and declaring it was halfpast one.¡± ¡°Crape. and drew on their greatcoats. Sikes and his companion enveloped their necks and chins in large. stretched himself on the floor. Oliver retained his stool by the fire. dark shawls. and even drew a smile from the surly Mr. or wandering about the dark churchyard.¡± replied Sikes. In an instant. brought forth several articles. opening a cupboard. ¡°Barkers for me. ¡°All right. Oliver fell into a heavy doze. ¡°You loaded them yourself. ¡°Bring them bits of timber. and all were actively engaged in busy preparation. who rose once or twice to throw coals upon the fire. darkies¡ªnothing forgotten?¡± inquired Toby. ¡°The persuaders?¡± ¡°I¡¯ve got ¡¯em. centre-bits. for some time.¡± rejoined his companion. or retracing some one or other of the scenes of the past day. and Barney. while Barney. close outside the fender. which delighted Toby Crackit and Barney. fastening a small crowbar to a loop inside the skirt of his coat. stowing them away. which he hastily crammed into the pockets. This done. imagining himself straying along the gloomy lanes.¡± said Toby Crackit. and Sikes having finished his appetite (Oliver could eat nothing but a small crust of bread which they made him swallow).

holding out his hand. and was soon asleep again.Oliver Twist 231 Barney. Oliver. But there was nobody abroad. within a few minutes after leaving the house. as the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°Slap through the town. they soon arrived at Chertsey.¡± whispered Sikes. They were at no great distance off. and returned to announce that all was quiet. who was completely stupefied by the unwonted exercise. and the hoarse barking of dogs occasionally broke the silence of the night. ¡°Take his other hand. rolled himself up as before. and they hurried through the main street of the little town. to see us. put his hand mechanically into that which Sikes extended for the purpose. They had cleared the town. tonight.¡± The man went to the door. and the air. which at that late hour was wholly deserted. and the drink which had been forced upon him. with Oliver between them. and kept on towards the lights which he had seen before. Toby. he took a thick stick from Barney¡¯s hands. who. as they walked pretty briskly. ¡°there¡¯ll be nobody in the way. Barney. A dim light shone at intervals from some bedroom window. and. having delivered another to Toby.¡± said Sikes. Barney. having made all fast. It was now intensely dark.¡± Toby acquiesced. They crossed the bridge. although no rain fell.¡± With these words. That¡¯s the time of day. had become stiff with the half-frozen moisture that was floating about. The fog was much heavier than it had been in the early part of the night. ¡°Look out. Oliver¡¯s hair and eyebrows. ¡°Now then!¡± said Sikes. that. The two robbers issued forth. and the atmosphere was so damp. busied himself in fastening Oliver¡¯s cape.

the cold sweat stood upon his ashy face. or I¡¯ll strew your brains upon the grass. For the love of all the bright angels that rest in heaven. and in three or four seconds he and Toby were lying on the grass on the other side. And they stole cautiously towards the house. climbed in a twinkling. A mist came before his eyes. Sikes had caught him under the arms. and he sank upon his knees. trembling with rage. and dragged him to the house. they turned up a road upon the left hand.Oliver Twist 232 church bell struck two.¡± said Toby. well-nigh mad with grief and terror. ¡°The boy next. never! Oh! pray have mercy on me. After walking about a quarter of a mile. have mercy upon me!¡± The man to whom this appeal was made. scarcely pausing to take breath. and drawing the pistol from his pocket. I will never come near London. ¡°Hoist him up. Quickening their pace. if not murder. I¡¯ll catch hold of him. and had cocked the pistol. ¡°let me run away and die in the fields. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± ¡°Oh! for God¡¯s sake let me go!¡± cried Oliver. And now. and do not make me steal. and involuntarily uttered a subdued exclamation of horror. when Toby. striking it from his grasp. Oliver. never. for the first time. were the objects of the expedition. his limbs failed him. to the top of which. Toby Crackit. Sikes followed directly.¡± Before Oliver had time to look round. ¡°Get up!¡± murmured Sikes. ¡°get up. swore a dreadful oath. saw that housebreaking and robbery. He clasped his hands together. placed his hand upon the boy¡¯s mouth. they stopped before a detached house surrounded by a wall.

that the inmates had probably not thought it worth while to defend it more securely. Sikes¡¯s art sufficed to overcome the fastening of the lattice. you won¡¯t be able to reach. but it was large enough to admit a boy of Oliver¡¯s size nevertheless. at the end of the passage. wrench the shutter open. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and some assistance from Toby. invoking terrific imprecations upon Fagin¡¯s head for sending Oliver on such an errand. ¡°it won¡¯t answer here. and throwing the glare full on Oliver¡¯s face. and is quite as certain. After some delay.¡± Sikes. and I¡¯ll do your business myself with a crack on the head. ¡°Now listen. on a cold night. Bill. but with little noise. and let us in. He¡¯s game enough now. Take this light. ¡°Stand upon one of the hall chairs. That makes no noise. to the street door. about five feet and a half above the ground. you young limb. I¡¯ve seen older hands of his age took the same way. There are three there. A very brief exercise of Mr. and more genteel. which is the old lady¡¯s arms.¡± ¡°There¡¯s a bolt at the top. go softly up the steps straight afore you. for a minute or two. ¡°I¡¯m a-going to put you through there. with a threatening look.¡± whispered Sikes. I¡¯ll engage. The aperture was so small. or small brewing-place. plied the crowbar vigorously. It was a little lattice window. which belonged to a scullery. Say another word. unfasten it. Bill.Oliver Twist 233 ¡°Hush!¡± cried the man. and it soon stood wide open also.¡± interposed Toby. at the back of the house. can¡¯t you?¡± replied Sikes.¡± ¡°Keep quiet. with a jolly large blue unicorn and gold pitchfork on ¡¯em. swung open on its hinges. the shutter to which he had referred. Here. drawing a dark lamp from his pocket. and along the little hall.

Hark!¡± ¡°What¡¯s that?¡± whispered the other man. by first producing his lantern. briefly advised him to take notice that he was within shot all the way. without leaving hold of his collar. that they always leave it open with a catch.¡± said Sikes. do your work. and to get to work. This was no sooner done. who¡¯s got a bed in here. and alarm Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± replied Toby. so as to make a step of his back. in the same low whisper.Oliver Twist 234 ¡°The room door is open. and laughed without noise. and placing it on the ground. They listened intently. releasing his hold of Oliver. ¡°You see the stairs afore you?¡± Oliver.¡± said Sikes. ¡°Take this lantern. and then by planting himself firmly with his head against the wall beneath the window. ¡°It¡¯s done in a minute. Ha! ha! Barney ¡®ticed him away tonight. and his hands upon his knees. ¡°Directly I leave go of you. planted him safely on the floor inside. Toby complied. may walk up and down the passage when he feels wakeful. put Oliver gently through the window with his feet first. Crackit spoke in a scarcely audible whisper. ¡°Yes. he would fall dead that instant.¡± said Sikes. and that if he faltered. so that the dog. after peeping into to satisfy himself. and. gasped out. whether he died in the attempt or not. ¡°That game of that is. the boy had firmly resolved that. Sikes imperiously commanded him to be silent. more dead than alive. he would make one effort to dart upstairs from the hall. ¡°Nothing. looking into the room. mounting upon him. is it?¡± ¡°Wide. So neat!¡± Although Mr. ¡°Now!¡± In the short time he had had to collect his senses. than Sikes.¡± Sikes. pointing to the street door with the pistol barrel.

¡°Come back!¡± suddenly cried Sikes aloud. but he was up again.Oliver Twist 235 the family. but where he knew not¡ªand he staggered back. Sikes had disappeared for an instant. and the shouts of men. and he saw or heard no more. but stealthily. and a cold. ¡°Back! back!¡± Scared by the sudden breaking of the dead stillness of the place. and had him by the collar before the smoke had cleared away. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Oliver let his lantern fall. They¡¯ve hit him. half-dressed men at the top of the stairs swam before his eyes¡ªa flash¡ªa loud noise¡ªa smoke¡ªa crash somewhere. and the sensation of being carried over uneven ground at a rapid pace. as he drew him through the window. mingled with the noise of firearms. who were already retreating. how the boy bleeds!¡± Then came the loud ringing of a bell. and dragged the boy up. and by a loud cry which followed it. and knew not whether to advance or fly. The cry was repeated¡ªa light appeared¡ªa vision of two terrified. And then. ¡°Give me a shawl here. deadly feeling crept over the boy¡¯s heart.¡± said Sikes. He fired his own pistol after the men. ¡°Clasp your arm tighter. the noises grew confused in the distance. he advanced at once. Quick! Damnation. Filled with this idea.

Bumble And A Lady. who. so that only the heaps that had drifted into byways and corners were affected by the sharp wind that howled abroad. The night was bitter cold.Oliver Twist 236 Chapter 23 Which Contains The Substance Of A Pleasant Conversation Between Mr. The snow lay on the ground. which. let their crimes have been what they may. sat herself down before a cheerful fire in her own little room. whirling it into a thousand misty eddies. at a small. Bleak. Corney. dark. where the smallest Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Mrs. and for the homeless. Many hunger-worn outcasts close their eyes in our bare streets. In fact. and glanced. with no small degree of complacency. round table. caught it savagely up in clouds. as if expending increased fury on such prey as it found. at such times. frozen into a hard thick crust. scattered it in air. and piercing cold. it was a night for the well-housed and fed to draw round the bright fire and thank God they were at home. when Mrs. As she glanced from the table to the fireplace. Corney was about to solace herself with a cup of tea. And Shows That Even A Beadle May Be Susceptible On Some Points. starving wretch to lay him down and die. and. the matron of the workhouse to which our readers have been already introduced as the birthplace of Oliver Twist. can hardly open them in a more bitter world. furnished with all necessary materials for the most grateful meal that matrons enjoy. Such was the aspect of out-of-doors affairs. on which stood a tray of corresponding size.

dear!¡± With these words.¡± said Mrs. for Mrs. Corney (who had not been dead more than five-and-twenty years). leaning her elbow on the table. and the single cup. her inward satisfaction evidently increased¡ªso much so. pausing¡ª¡°except to a poor. ran over while Mrs. Corney shook her head mournfully. or the teapot. thought of her solitary fate. as if deploring he mental blindness of those paupers who did not know it. desolate creature like me. Oh. had awakened in her mind sad recollections of Mr. when she was disturbed by a soft tap at the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Corney looked at it as she spoke. She had just tasted her first cup. and took it up afterwards. and. Corney was moralising. Corney¡¯s hand. The small teapot. Corney pettishly. to anybody! Except. that only holds a couple of cups! What use is it of. that Mrs. Ah!¡± Mrs. and looking reflectively at the fire. setting it down very hastily on the hob. ¡°Well!¡± said the matron. proceeded to make the tea. ¡°Drat the pot!¡± said the worthy matron. Corney smiled. How slight a thing will disturb the equanimity of our frail minds! The black teapot. ¡°a little stupid thing. and thrusting a silver spoon (private property) into the inmost recesses of a two-ounce tin tea-caddy. It might have been the latter. the matron dropped into her chair. is uncertain. being very small and easily filled. Corney. and the water slightly scalded Mrs.¡± Whether this remark bore reference to the husband. once more resting her elbow on the table. ¡°I shall never get another!¡± said Mrs. if we did but know it. ¡°I¡¯m sure we have all on us a great deal to be grateful for! A great deal. and she was overpowered. indeed. ¡°I shall never get another¡ªlike him.Oliver Twist 237 of all possible kettles was singing a small song in a small voice.

Bumble. ¡°Hard. ¡°When. here¡¯s large family. Mrs. full grateful.¡± ¡°Of course not. Bumble. ¡°Oh. and to shake the snow off his coat: and who now made his appearance. Corney. ma¡¯am!¡± rejoined Mr. ma¡¯am. What¡¯s amiss now. in a much sweeter tone. Bumble.Oliver Twist 238 room door. ¡°Hard weather. ma¡¯am. this very blessed afternoon. sipping her tea.¡± said the matron. ma¡¯am? Is he grateful? Not a copper Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics ¡°Why. indeed. We have given away.¡± replied the beadle. letting the cold air in. and being very cold himself. ma¡¯am. this. They always die when I¡¯m at meals. lest there should be any impropriety in holding an interview with Mr. Bumble. who had been stopping outside to rub his shoes clean. Mr. Bumble?¡± said the matron. ¡°Some of the old women dying. Is he farthing¡¯s worth of . eh?¡± ¡°Nothing. with closed doors. ma¡¯am?¡± The lady modestly hesitated to reply.¡± replied a man¡¯s voice. in consideration of his wife and quartern loaf and a good pound of cheese. ¡°Dear me!¡± exclaimed the matron. Don¡¯t stand there. Corney sharply. don¡¯t. ma¡¯am. Mr. ¡°is that Mr. ¡°Anti-parochial weather. come in with you!¡± said Mrs.¡± said Mr. I suppose. Mr. Bumble?¡± ¡°At your service. and yet them paupers are not contented. indeed. nothing. has a weight. shut it without permission. Bumble taking advantage of the hesitation. ¡°Shall I shut the door. one man that. bearing the cocked hat in one hand and a bundle in the other. we have given away a matter of twenty quartern loaves and a cheese and a half. When would they be.

As he wouldn¡¯t go away. says our overseer. Bumble. Come. Corney. That¡¯s the way with these people. ¡°see anything like the pitch it¡¯s got to. as brazen as alabaster. Mr. if it¡¯s only a pocket-handkerchief full.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Mr. ¡°Well. goes to our overseer¡¯s door when he has got company coming to dinner. taking ¡¯em away again. ma¡¯am. The day afore yesterday.¡¯ says our overseer. and says. There¡¯s a obstinate pauper for you!¡± ¡°It beats anything I could have believed. wasn¡¯t it?¡± interposed the matron. ¡®My heart!¡¯ says the ungrateful villain. he says! Coals! What would he do with coals? Toast his cheese with ¡¯em. you won¡¯t. ma¡¯am. and he did die in the streets.Oliver Twist 239 it! What does he do. give ¡¯em a apron full of coals today. and I may mention it to you¡ªa man. he must be relieved. ¡°I never. the day after tomorrow. and ought to know. our overseer sent him out a pound of potatoes and half a pint of oatmeal.¡± The matron expressed her entire concurrence in this intelligible simile. Mrs. Corney looked at the floor).¡¯ ¡®Then I¡¯ll die in the streets!¡¯ says the vagrant. ¡®Oh. and shocked the company very much. Bumble?¡± ¡°Well. and then come back for more.¡± observed the matron emphatically. Bumble? You¡¯re a gentleman of experience. ¡°he went away. ma¡¯am. a man¡ªyou have been a married woman.¡± said Mr. and the beadle went on. Grannett. anyway. ¡®what¡¯s the use of this to me? You might as well give me a pair of iron spectacles!¡¯ ¡®Very good.¡¯¡± ¡°Ha! ha! That was very good! So like Mr. and they¡¯ll come back for another. ¡®you won¡¯t get anything else here.¡± rejoined the beadle. but ask for a few coals. with hardly a rag upon his back (here Mrs. ma¡¯am. ¡°But don¡¯t you think out-of-door relief a very bad thing. no.

¡± The matron looked. fresh. Corney. ¡°out-of-door relief. clear as a bell. Mr.¡± replied Mr. Bumble placed them both on top of a chest of drawers.Oliver Twist 240 ¡°Mrs. however. The great principle of out-of-door relief is. and as the beadle coughed. ma¡¯am. that the Board ordered for the infirmary: real. except. Betwixt you and me. ¡°You¡¯ll have a very cold walk. if you look at any cases that get into them owdacious newspapers. Bumble. properly managed¡ªproperly managed. from the little kettle.¡± said the beadle. and took up his hat. Mrs. you¡¯ll always observe that sick families have been relieved with slices of cheese. to give the paupers exactly what they don¡¯t want. folded the handkerchief in which they had been wrapped.¡± said the beadle.¡± said the matron. and shaken it well to test its excellence. ¡°enough to cut one¡¯s ears off. Mr. ¡°Well. ma¡¯am.¡± ¡°Dear me!¡± exclaimed Mrs. preparatory to bidding her good-night. ¡°that¡¯s the great principle. to the beadle. turning up his coatcollar. put it carefully in his pocket. That¡¯s the rule now. too!¡± ¡°Yes. and then they get tired of coming. smiling as men smile who are conscious of superior information. who was moving towards the door. Corney. not to be spoken of. But. This is the port wine. as if to go. ¡°these are official secrets. ma¡¯am. among the parochial officers. genuine port wine. and that¡¯s the reason why. and no sediment!¡± Having held the first bottle up to the light. stopping to unpack his bundle. all over the country. ma¡¯am¡ªis the parochial safeguard.¡± returned Mr. Corney. that is a good one. ma¡¯am. Bumble. ¡°It blows. such as ourselves. as I may say. bashfully inquired whether¡ªwhether Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . only out of the cask this forenoon. Bumble.

began to eat and drink. As she sat down. Bumble was that beadle at that moment. Bumble coughed again. taking up the sugar-basin. Bumble instantaneously turned back his collar again.¡± said Mr. Mr.Oliver Twist 241 he wouldn¡¯t take a cup of tea? Mr. Mr. ¡°and kittens too. having spread a handkerchief over his knees to prevent the crumbs from sullying the splendour of his shorts. and applied herself to the task of making his tea. Mr. I see. Bumble. her eyes once again encountered those of the gallant beadle.¡± replied the matron.¡± replied Mr. Mr. Mr. I declare!¡± ¡°I am so fond of them. As he slowly seated himself. but. The tea was made. He fixed his eyes on Mrs. you can¡¯t think. ¡°Sweet. however. occasionally. glancing at one who.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Mrs. ¡°Very sweet. laid his hat and stick upon a chair. so frolicsome. Again Mr. ma¡¯am. ¡°They¡¯re so happy. which. varying these amusements. Bumble. Corney as he said this. in the centre of her family. She fixed her eyes upon the little teapot. ma¡¯am. and so cheerful. Bumble. and drew another chair up to the table. she coloured. that they are quite companions for me. Bumble. Bumble?¡± inquired the matron. and handed in silence. on the contrary. had no injurious effect upon his appetite. by fetching a deep sigh. Corney rose to get another cup and saucer from the closet. was basking before the fire. ¡°You have a cat. and slightly smiled. Bumble coughed¡ªlouder this time than he had coughed yet. he looked at the lady. rather seemed to facilitate his operations in the tea and toast department. and if ever a beadle looked tender. indeed.

Bumble approvingly. and marking the time with his teaspoon.¡± ¡°Then you¡¯re a cruel man. to give Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Corney. ma¡¯am. with pleasure. Bumble had been sitting opposite each other. slowly flourishing the teaspoon with a kind of amorous dignity which made him doubly impressive. with enthusiasm. Bumble¡¯s part: he being in some sort tempted by time.¡± ¡°Oh. too. and to consider an act of great heroism on Mr. in receding from the fire. and fronting the fire. and still keeping at the table. it will be seen that Mr. that it¡¯s quite a pleasure.¡± said Mr. ¡°so very domestic. ¡°I mean to say this. It was a round table. Bumble resigned his cup without another word. increased the distance between himself and Mrs. ma¡¯am?¡± said Mr. yes!¡± rejoined the matron.¡± ¡°Hard-hearted. squeezed Mrs. or kitten. Corney. Corney¡¯s little finger as she took it. that could live with you. Bumble.¡± said Mr.Oliver Twist 242 ¡°Very nice animals. must be a ass. ¡°so fond of their home. ma¡¯am. and hitched his chair a very little morsel farther from the fire. gave a mighty sigh.¡± ¡°Oh. place. as she held out her hand for the beadle¡¯s cup. I¡¯m sure. ma¡¯am. that any cat. and not be fond of its home.¡± replied Mr. Bumble.¡± ¡°Mrs. ma¡¯am. and as Mrs. Bumble. slowly. Corney and Mr.¡± said the matron vivaciously. ¡°It¡¯s of no use disguising facts. ¡°Hard?¡± Mr. ma¡¯am. and inflicting two open-handed slaps upon his laced waistcoat. ¡°I would drown it myself. Mr. and opportunity. Bumble. with no great space between them. ma¡¯am. Bumble!¡± remonstrated Mrs. Corney. which proceeding some prudent readers will doubtless be disposed to admire. ¡°and a very hard-hearted man besides.

ministers of state. it unfortunately happened. Bumble stopped. Indeed. close to that in which the matron was seated. and when they did so. stirring his tea. wiped his lips. as has been twice before remarked.Oliver Twist 243 utterance to certain soft nothings. she must have fallen into Mr. ¡°what a very curious question from a single man. Bumble?¡± The beadle drank his tea to the last drop. Bumble¡¯s intentions. and looking up into the matron¡¯s face. Corney?¡± ¡°Dear me!¡± exclaimed the matron. soon began to diminish the distance between himself and the matron. ¡°Hard-hearted. Bumble. and if to the left. and handed Mr. Mrs. Bumble¡¯s arms. lord mayors. consequently Mr. Bumble. the two chairs touched. in time. Bumble another cup of tea. What can you want to know for. and no doubt foreseeing these consequences at a glance) she remained where she was. Mrs. moving his chair by little and little. so seem immeasurably beneath the dignity of judges of the land. she would have been scorched by the fire. brought his chair. so (being a discreet matron. and. if the matron had moved her chair to the right. whisked the crumbs off his knees. however (and no doubt they were of the best). which. Mr. ¡°are you hardhearted. and other great public functionaries but more particularly beneath the stateliness and gravity of a beadle. Mr. Corney?¡± said Mr. however well they may become the lips of the light and thoughtless. Now. members of parliament. who (as is well known) should be the sternest and most inflexible among them all. continuing to travel round the outer edge of the circle. finished a piece of toast. that the table was a round one. Whatever were Mr. and Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .

what¡¯s that to me?¡± angrily demanded the matron. ¡°nobody can. and began dusting them with great violence. put his arm round the matron¡¯s waist. as a curious physical instance of the efficacy of a sudden surprise in counteracting the effects of extreme fear. she¡¯s far beyond the reach of help. Bumble darted. which was no sooner heard. which you must hear. for she is dying very hard¡ªshe says she has got something to tell. while the matron sharply demanded who was there. and when the fits are not on her. mistress. But she¡¯s troubled in her mind.¡± replied the old woman. the worthy Mrs. It is worthy of remark. to the wine bottles. Corney muttered a variety of invectives against old women who couldn¡¯t even die without Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . can I?¡± ¡°No. than Mr. but in a slow and dignified manner. I shall scream!¡± Mr. and I know when death¡¯s a-coming. well enough. ¡°old Sally is agoing fast. ¡°I can¡¯t keep her alive. no. As the lady had stated her intention of screaming. Bumble.Oliver Twist 244 deliberately kissed the matron. I¡¯ve seen a many people die.¡± said a withered old female pauper. Bumble made no reply. hideously ugly. Bumble!¡± cried that discreet lady in a whisper. mistress. of course she would have screamed at this additional boldness. for the fright was so great. little babies and great strong men. and that¡¯s not often. with much agility. ¡°If you please. She¡¯ll never die quiet till you come. but that the exertion was rendered unnecessary by a hasty knocking at the door. ¡°Mr. mistress. that her voice had quite recovered all its official asperity.¡± ¡°Well. putting her head in at the door.¡± At this intelligence. that she had quite lost her voice: ¡°Mr.

having satisfied his curiosity on these points. Mr.Oliver Twist 245 purposely annoying their betters. counted the teaspoons. scolding all the way. Bumble¡¯s conduct on being left to himself. and. he took off the cocked hat again. was rather inexplicable. spreading himself before the fire with his back towards it. muffling herself in a thick shawl which she hastily caught up. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Bumble to stay till she came back. lest anything particular should occur. put on his cocked hat corner-wise. closely inspected a silver milk-pot to ascertain that it was of the genuine metal. seemed to be mentally engaged in taking an exact inventory of the furniture. and danced with much gravity four distinct times round the table. briefly requested Mr. and not be all night hobbling up the stairs. Having gone through this very extraordinary performance. she followed her from the room with a very ill grace. He opened the closet. and. and bidding the messenger walk fast. weighed the sugar-tongs. and.

and being at length compelled to pause for breath.Oliver Twist 246 Chapter 24 Treats Of A Very Poor Subject¡ªBut Is A Short One. of the world. her limbs trembled with palsy. It was no unfit messenger of death. while the more nimble superior made her way to the room where the sick woman lay. who had disturbed the quiet of the matron¡¯s room. so peaceful. and remained behind to follow as she might. and have lost their hold for ever. Her body was bent by age. and sorrows. resembled more the grotesque shaping of some wild pencil. and leave Heaven¡¯s surface clear. with a dim light burning at the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and up the stairs. her face. change them as they change hearts. kneel by the coffin¡¯s side in awe. do they grow again. that those who knew them in their happy childhood. distorted into a mumbling leer. even in that fixed and rigid state. so calm. that the troubled clouds pass off. and see the angel even upon earth. And May Be Found Of Importance In This History. to subside into the long-forgotten expression of sleeping infancy. muttering some indistinct answers to the chidings of her companion. and it is only when those passions sleep. The old crone tottered along the passages. gave the light into her hand. It was a bare garret-room. and settle into the very look of early life. Alas! How few of Nature¡¯s faces are left alone to gladden us with their beauty! The cares. than the work of Nature¡¯s hand. and hungerings. It is a common thing for the countenances of the dead.

if you don¡¯t make a row. She won¡¯t see it there.¡± said this young gentleman.¡± said the young man. Mrs. ¡°Cold night. and dropping a curtsey as she spoke. for our places are hard enough. breaking a lump on the top of the fire with the rusty poker. Corney. Mrs.¡± ¡°They¡¯re the Board¡¯s choosing. ¡°It¡¯s a break-up of the system altogether. ¡°If she lasts a couple of hours. to ascertain.¡± said the apothecary¡¯s apprentice.¡± said the apothecary¡¯s deputy. and nodded in the affirmative. Corney. ¡°The least they could do. as the matron entered.¡± The attendant did as she was told. There was another old woman watching by the bed. sir. as if he had previously quite forgotten the patient. turning his face towards the bed. indeed. there. is it. Is she dozing. ¡°these are not at all the sort of thing for a cold night. ¡°Oh!¡± said the young man.Oliver Twist 247 farther end.¡± ¡°It is. in her most civil tones.¡± The conversation was here interrupted by a moan from the sick woman. P. the parish apothecary¡¯s apprentice was standing by the fire. would be to keep us pretty warm. ¡°it¡¯s all U. sir?¡± asked the matron. shaking her head mean Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . making a toothpick out of a quill. ¡°Then perhaps she¡¯ll go off in that way. ¡°Put the light on the floor.¡± replied the mistress. ¡°Very cold. ¡°You should get better coals out of your contractors.¡± returned the matron. I shall be surprised. sir. old lady?¡± The attendant stooped over the bed. intent upon the toothpick¡¯s point.

to intimate that the woman would not die so easily.¡± replied the other. who had by this time returned. and took himself off on tiptoe. having done so. they began to converse in a low voice. She hasn¡¯t much strength in her. The mistress. and chuckled Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . no. When they had sat in silence for some time. so I easily kept her quiet.¡± rejoined the other. but I held her hands. having completed the manufacture of the toothpick. and sat at the foot of the bed. wrapped herself in her shawl. the two hags cowered nearer the fire. The apothecary¡¯s apprentice. ¡°I tried to get it down. and she clenched the mug so hard that it was as much as I could do to get it back again. apparently growing rather dull. when. the two old women rose from the bed. and she soon dropped off. held out their withered hands to catch the heat. no!¡± ¡°Did she drink the hot wine the doctor said she was to have?¡± demanded the first. I ain¡¯t so weak for an old woman. in this position. my dear. she resumed her seat by the side of the other nurse. and it did me good!¡± Looking cautiously round. ¡°She plucked and tore at her arms for a little time. with an expression of impatience. and made their ugliness appear terrible as. ¡°Did she say any more. and crouching over the fire. planted himself in front of the fire. and made good use of it for ten minutes or so. The flame threw a ghastly light on their shrivelled faces. while I was gone?¡± inquired the messenger. to ascertain that they were not overheard.Oliver Twist 248 while. ¡°But her teeth were tight set. although I am on parish allowance. Corney joy of her job. he wished Mrs. So I drank it. ¡°Not a word.

¡± said the first speaker. the old creature shook them exultingly before her face. beautiful corpses she laid out.¡± replied the second woman. ¡°that is.¡± added the second one. joined them by the fire. ¡°We have none of us long to wait for Death. mistress. from which she shook a few grains into the outstretched palm of her companion. many. and fumbling in her pocket. While they were thus employed. ¡°I mind the time. how you worry me again for nothing. brought out an old time-discoloured tin snuff-box. patience! He¡¯ll be here soon enough for us all.¡± answered the first woman. It¡¯s no part of my duty to see all the old women in the house die. ¡°You. ¡°But will never be again. My old eyes have seen them¡ªay. take care. and made rare fun of it afterwards. mistress. she¡¯ll never wake again but once¡ªand mind.Oliver Twist 249 heartily. ¡°she had a merry heart. you impudent old harridans. I¡¯ll soon Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°she won¡¯t find me here when she does wake. that she would.¡± ¡°Hold your tongue. and a few more into her own.¡± rejoined the other. Patience. has she been in this way before?¡± ¡°Often. for I have helped her. A many. who had been impatiently watching until the dying woman should awaken from her stupor. you doting idiot!¡± said the matron sternly. scores of times. the matron. tell me.¡± Stretching forth her trembling fingers as she spoke.¡± said the matron snappishly. that won¡¯t be for long!¡± ¡°Long or short. If you make a fool of me again. too. as nice and neat as wax-work. and those old hands touched them.¡± ¡°Ay. Martha. both of you. and I won¡¯t¡ªthat¡¯s more. Mind that. and sharply asked how long she was to wait? ¡°Not long. looking up into her face. ¡°when she would have done the same.

when a cry from the two women. ¡°Now listen to me.¡± She clutched the matron by the arm. began pouring out many piteous lamentations that the poor dear was too far gone to know her best friends. lie down!¡± ¡°I¡¯ll never lie down again alive!¡± said the woman. On being excluded. closed the door. ¡°Turn them away. ¡°Lie down. ¡°I will tell her! Come here! Nearer! Let me whisper in your ear. ¡°Who¡¯s that?¡± she cried in a hollow voice. she caught sight of the two old women bending forward in the attitude of eager listeners. and returned to the bedside. indeed. stooping over her. was not unlikely. when looking round. caused her to look round. which. ¡°make haste! make haste!¡± The two old crones. who had turned towards the bed. ¡°In this very Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . was about to speak. The patient had raised herself upright. the old ladies changed their tone. since. ¡°Hush. as if making a great effort to revive one latent spark of energy. she was labouring under the effects of a final taste of gin-and-water which had been privily administered.Oliver Twist 250 cure you.¡± said the woman drowsily. when the superior pushed them from the room. chiming in together. hush!¡± said one of the women. in the openness of their hearts. and were uttering sundry protestations that they would never leave her. and was stretching her arms towards them. and forcing her into a chair by the bedside. by the worthy old ladies themselves. I warrant you!¡± She was bouncing away.¡± said the dying woman aloud. struggling. in addition to a moderate dose of opium prescribed by the apothecary. and cried through the keyhole that old Sally was drunk.

Oliver Twist 251
room¡ªin
that was
walking,
boy, and

this very bed¡ªI once nursed a pretty young creetur¡¯,
brought into the house with her feet cut and bruised with
and all soiled with dust and blood. She gave birth to a
died. Let me think¡ªwhat was the year again!¡±

¡°Never mind the year,¡± said the impatient auditor; ¡°what about
her?¡±
¡°Ay,¡± murmured the
drowsy state, ¡°what
jumping fiercely up,
her head¡ª¡°I robbed
wasn¡¯t cold, when I

sick woman, relapsing into her former
about her?¡ªwhat about¡ªI know!¡± she cried,
her face flushed, and her eyes starting from
her, so I did! She wasn¡¯t cold¡ªI tell you she
stole it!¡±

¡°Stole what, for God¡¯s sake?¡± cried the matron, with a gesture
as if she would call for help.
¡°It!¡± replied the woman, laying her hand over the other¡¯s
mouth. ¡°The only thing she had. She wanted clothes to keep her
warm, and food to eat; but she had kept it safe, and had it in her
bosom. It was gold, I tell you! Rich gold, that might have saved her
life!¡±
¡°Gold!¡± echoed the matron, bending eagerly over the woman as
she fell back. ¡°Go on, go on¡ªyes¡ªwhat of it? Who was the
mother? When was it?¡±
¡°She charged me to keep it safe,¡± replied the woman, with a
groan, ¡°and trusted me as the only woman about her. I stole it in
my heart when she first showed it me hanging round her neck;
and the child¡¯s death, perhaps, is on me besides! They would have
treated him better, if they had known it all!¡±
¡°Known what?¡± asked the other. ¡°Speak!¡±
¡°The boy grew so like his mother,¡± said the woman, rambling
on, and not heeding the question, ¡°that I could never forget it
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Oliver Twist 252
when I saw his face. Poor girl! poor girl! She was so young, too!
Such a gentle lamb! Wait; there¡¯s more to tell. I have not told you
all, have I?¡±
¡°No, no,¡± replied the matron, inclining her head to catch the
words, as they came more faintly from the dying woman. ¡°Be
quick, or it may be too late!¡±
¡°The mother,¡± said the woman, making a more violent effort
than before¡ª¡°the mother, when the pains of death first came
upon her, whispered in my ear that if her baby was born alive, and
thrived, the day might come when it would not feel so much
disgraced to hear its poor young mother named. ¡®And oh, kind
Heaven!¡¯ she said, folding her thin hands together, ¡®whether it be
boy or girl, raise up some friends for it in this troubled world, and
take pity upon a lonely, desolate child, abandoned to its mercy!¡¯¡±
¡°The boy¡¯s name?¡± demanded the matron.
¡°They called him Oliver,¡± replied the woman feebly. ¡°The gold I
stole was¡ª¡±
¡°Yes, yes¡ªwhat?¡± cried the other.
She was bending eagerly over the woman to hear her reply; but
drew back instinctively, as she once again rose, slowly and stiffly,
into a sitting posture; then, clutching the coverlid with both hands,
muttered some indistinct sounds in her throat and fell lifeless on
the bed.
*****
¡°Stone dead!¡± said one of the old women, hurrying in as soon as
the door was opened.
¡°And nothing to tell, after all,¡± rejoined the matron, walking
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Oliver Twist 253
carelessly away.
The two crones, to all appearances, too busily occupied in the
preparations for their dreadful duties to make any reply, were left
alone, hovering about the body.
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Oliver Twist 254
Chapter 25
Wherein This History Reverts To Mr. Fagin And
Company.
While these things were passing in the country
workhouse, Mr. Fagin sat in the old den¡ªthe same
from which Oliver had been removed by the girl¡ª
brooding over a dull, smoky fire. He held a pair of bellows upon
his knee, with which he had apparently been endeavouring to
rouse it into more cheerful action; but he had fallen into deep
thought; and with his arms folded on them, and his chin resting on
his thumbs, fixed his eyes, abstractedly, on the rusty bars.
At a table behind him sat the Artful Dodger, Master Charles
Bates, and Mr. Chitling, all intent upon a game of whist; the Artful
taking dummy against Master Bates and Mr. Chitling. The
countenance of the first-named gentleman, peculiarly intelligent at
all times, acquired great additional interest from his close
observance of the game, and his attentive perusal of Mr. Chitling¡¯s
hand; upon which, from time to time, as occasion served, he
bestowed a variety of earnest glances, wisely regulating his own
play by the result of his observations upon his neighbour¡¯s cards.
It being a cold night, the Dodger wore his hat, as, indeed, was
often his custom, within doors. He also sustained a clay pipe
between his teeth, which he only removed for a brief space when
he deemed it necessary to apply for refreshment to a quart pot
upon the table, which stood ready filled with gin-and-water for the
accommodation of the company.
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Oliver Twist 255
Master Bates was also attentive to his play; but being of a more
excitable nature than his accomplished friend, it was observable
that he more frequently applied himself to the gin-and-water, and
moreover indulged in many jests and irrelevant remarks, all highly
unbecoming a scientific rubber. Indeed, the Artful, presuming
upon their close attachment, more than once took occasion to
reason gravely with his companion upon these improprieties; all of
which remonstrances Master Bates received in extremely good
part; merely requesting his friend to be ¡°blowed,¡± or to insert his
head in a sack, or replying with some other neatly-turned
witticism of a similar kind, the happy application of which, excited
considerable admiration in the mind of Mr. Chitling. It was
remarkable that the latter gentleman and his partner invariably
lost; and that the circumstance, so far from angering Master Bates,
appeared to afford him the highest amusement, inasmuch as he
laughed most uproariously at the end of every deal, and protested
that he had never seen such a jolly game in all his born days.
¡°That¡¯s two doubles and the rub,¡± said Mr. Chitling, with a very
long face, as he drew half a crown from his waistcoat pocket. ¡°I
never see such a feller as you, Jack; you win everything. Even
when we¡¯ve good cards, Charley and I can¡¯t make nothing of ¡¯em.¡±
Either the matter or the manner of this remark, which was
made very ruefully, delighted Charley Bates so much, that his
consequent shout of laughter roused the Jew from his reverie, and
induced him to inquire what was the matter.
¡°Matter, Fagin!¡± cried Charley. ¡°I wish you had watched the
play. Tommy Chitling hasn¡¯t won a point; and I went partners with
him against the Artful and him.¡±
¡°Ay, ay!¡± said the Jew, with a grin, which sufficiently
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Oliver Twist 256
demonstrated that he was at no loss to understand the reason.
¡°Try ¡¯em again, Tom; try ¡¯em again.¡±
¡°No more of it for me, thankee, Fagin,¡± replied Mr. Chitling;
¡°I¡¯ve had enough. That ¡¯ere Dodger has such a run of luck that
there¡¯s no standing again¡¯ him.¡±
¡°Ha! ha! my dear,¡± replied the Jew, ¡°you must get up very early
in the morning, to win against the Dodger.¡±
¡°Morning!¡± said Charley Bates; ¡°you must put your boots on
overnight, and have a telescope at each eye, and a opera-glass
between your shoulders, if you want to come over him.¡±
Mr. Dawkins received these handsome compliments with much
philosophy, and offered to cut any gentleman in company, for the
first picture-card, at a shilling a time. Nobody accepting the
challenge, and his pipe being by this time smoked out, he
proceeded to amuse himself by sketching a ground-plan of
Newgate on the table with a piece of chalk which had served him
in lieu of counters; whistling, meantime, with peculiar shrillness.
¡°How precious dull you are, Tommy!¡± said the Dodger,
stopping short when there had been a long silence; and addressing
Mr. Chitling. ¡°What do you think he¡¯s thinking of, Fagin?¡±
¡°How should I know, my dear?¡± replied the Jew, looking round
as he plied the bellows. ¡°About his losses, maybe; or the little
retirement in the country, that he¡¯s just left, eh? Ha! ha! ha! Is that
it, my dear?¡±
¡°Not a bit of it,¡± replied the Dodger, stopping the subject of
discourse as Mr. Chitling was about to reply. ¡°What do you say,
Charley?¡±
¡°I should say,¡± replied Master Bates, with a grin, ¡°that he was
uncommon sweet upon Betsy. See how he¡¯s a-blushing! Oh, my
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Oliver Twist 257
eye! here¡¯s a merry-go-rounder! Tommy Chitling¡¯s in love! Oh,
Fagin, Fagin! what a spree!¡±
Thoroughly overpowered with the notion of Mr. Chitling being
the victim of the tender passion, Master Bates threw himself back
in his chair with such violence, that he lost his balance, and
pitched over upon the floor; where (the accident abating nothing
of his merriment) he lay at full length until his laugh was over,
when he resumed his former position, and began another laugh.
¡°Never mind him, my dear,¡± said the Jew, winking at Mr.
Dawkins, and giving Master Bates a reproving tap with the nozzle
of the bellows. ¡°Betsy¡¯s a fine girl. Stick up to her, Tom. Stick up
to her.¡±
¡°What I mean to say, Fagin,¡± replied Mr. Chitling, very red in
the face, ¡°is, that that isn¡¯t anything to anybody here.¡±
¡°No more it is,¡± replied the Jew; ¡°Charley will talk. Don¡¯t mind
him, my dear; don¡¯t mind him. Betsy¡¯s a fine girl. Do as she bids
you, Tom, and you will make your fortune.¡±
¡°So I do do as she bids me,¡± replied Mr. Chitling; ¡°I shouldn¡¯t
have been milled, if it hadn¡¯t been for her advice. But it turned out
a good job for you; didn¡¯t it, Fagin? And what¡¯s six weeks of it? It
must come, some time or another, and why not in the winter time
when you don¡¯t want to go out a-walking so much; eh, Fagin?¡±
¡°Ah, to be sure, my dear,¡± replied the Jew.
¡°You wouldn¡¯t mind it again, Tom, would you,¡± asked the
Dodger, winking upon Charley and the Jew, ¡°if Bet was all right?¡±
¡°I mean to say that I shouldn¡¯t,¡± replied Tom angrily. ¡°There,
now. Ah! Who¡¯ll say as much as that, I should like to know; eh,
Fagin?¡±
¡°Nobody, my dear,¡± replied the Jew; ¡°not a soul, Tom. I don¡¯t
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Oliver Twist 258
know one of ¡¯em that would do it besides you; not one of ¡¯em, my
dear.¡±
¡°I might have got clear off, if I¡¯d split upon her; mightn¡¯t I,
Fagin?¡± angrily pursued the poor, half-witted dupe. ¡°A word from
me would have done it; wouldn¡¯t it, Fagin?¡±
¡°To be sure it would, my dear,¡± replied the Jew.
¡°But I didn¡¯t blab it; did I, Fagin?¡± demanded Tom, pouring
question upon question with great volubility.
¡°No, no, to be sure,¡± replied the Jew; ¡°you were too stouthearted for that. A deal too st
out, my dear!¡±
¡°Perhaps I was,¡± rejoined Tom, looking round; ¡°and if I was,
what¡¯s to laugh at, in that; eh, Fagin?¡±
The Jew, perceiving that Mr. Chitling was considerably roused,
hastened to assure him that nobody was laughing; and to prove
the gravity of the company, appealed to Master Bates, the
principal offender. But, unfortunately, Charley, in opening his
mouth to reply that he was never more serious in his life, was
unable to prevent the escape of such a violent roar, that the
abused Mr. Chitling, without any preliminary ceremonies, rushed
across the room and aimed a blow at the offender; who, being
skilful in evading pursuit, ducked to avoid it, and chose his time so
well that it lighted on the chest of the merry old gentleman, and
caused him to stagger to the wall, where he stood panting for
breath, while Mr. Chitling looked on in intense dismay.
¡°Hark!¡± cried the Dodger, at this moment, ¡°I heard the tinkler.¡±
Catching up the light, he crept softly upstairs.
The bell was rung again, with some impatience, while the party
were in darkness. After a short pause, the Dodger reappeared, and
whispered to Fagin mysteriously.
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Oliver Twist 259
¡°What!¡± cried the Jew, ¡°alone?¡±
The Dodger nodded in the affirmative, and, shading the flame
of the candle with his hand, gave Charley Bates a private
intimation, in dumb show, that he had better not be funny just
then. Having performed this friendly office, he fixed his eyes on
the Jew¡¯s face, and awaited his directions.
The old man bit his yellow fingers, and meditated for some
seconds; his face working with agitation the while, as if he dreaded
something, and feared to know the worst. At length he raised his
head.
¡°Where is he?¡± he asked.
The Dodger pointed to the floor above, and made a gesture, as
if to leave the room.
¡°Yes,¡± said the Jew, answering the mute inquiry; ¡°bring him
down. Hush! Quiet, Charley I Gently, Tom! Scarce, scarce!¡±
This brief direction to Charley Bates, and his recent antagonist,
was softly and immediately obeyed. There was no sound of their
whereabouts, when the Dodger descended the stairs, bearing the
light in his hand, and followed by a man in a coarse smock-frock;
who, after casting a hurried glance round the room, pulled off a
large wrapper which had concealed the lower portion of his face,
and disclosed, all haggard, unwashed, and unshorn, the features of
flash Toby Crackit.
¡°How are you, Faguey?¡± said this worthy, nodding to the Jew.
¡°Pop that shawl away in my castor, Dodger, so that I may know
where to find it when I cut; that¡¯s the time of day I You¡¯ll be a fine
young cracksman afore the old file now.¡± With these words he
pulled up the smock-frock; and, winding it round his middle, drew
a chair to the fire, and placed his feet upon the hob.
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Oliver Twist 260
¡°See there, Faguey,¡± he said, pointing disconsolately to his topboots; ¡°not a drop of Day and Martin since you know when; not a
bubble of blacking, by Jove! But don¡¯t look at me in that way, man.
All in good time. I can¡¯t talk about business till I¡¯ve eat and drank;
so produce the sustenance, and let¡¯s have a quiet fill-out for the
first time these three days!¡±
The Jew motioned to the Dodger to place what eatables there
were, upon the table; and, seating himself opposite the
housebreaker, waited his leisure.
To judge from appearances, Toby was by no means in a hurry
to open the conversation. At first, the Jew contented himself with
patiently watching his countenance, as if to gain from its
expression some clue to the intelligence he brought; but in vain.
He looked tired and worn, but there was the same complacent
repose upon his features that they always wore; and through dirt,
and beard, and whisker, there still shone, unimpaired, the selfsatisfied smirk of flash Toby Crackit. Then, the Jew, in an agony of
impatience, watched every morsel he put into his mouth; pacing
up and down the room, meanwhile, in irrepressible excitement. It
was all of no use. Toby continued to eat with the utmost outward
indifference, until he could eat no more; then, ordering the Dodger
out, he closed the door, mixed a glass of spirit-and-water, and
composed himself for talking.
¡°First and foremost, Faguey¡ª¡± said Toby.
¡°Yes, yes!¡± interposed the Jew, drawing up his chair.
Mr. Crackit stopped to take a draught of spirits-and-water, and
to declare that the gin was excellent; then placing his feet against
the low mantelpiece, so as to bring his boots to about the level of
his eye, he quietly resumed: ¡°First and foremost, Faguey,¡± said the
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Oliver Twist 261
housebreaker, ¡°how¡¯s Bill?¡±
¡°What!¡± screamed the Jew, starting from his seat.
¡°Why, you don¡¯t mean to say¡ª¡± began Toby, turning pale.
¡°Mean!¡± cried the Jew, stamping furiously on the ground.
¡°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,¡± said Toby, faintly.
¡°I know it,¡± replied the Jew, tearing a newspaper from his
pocket and pointing to it. ¡°What more?¡±
¡°They fired and hit the boy. We cut over the fields at the back,
with him between us¡ªstraight as the crow flies¡ªthrough hedge
and ditch. They gave chase. Damme! the whole country was
awake, and the dogs upon us.¡±
¡°The boy?¡± gasped the Jew.
¡°Bill had him on his back, and scudded like the wind. We
stopped to take him between us; his head hung down, and he was
cold. They were close upon our heels; every man for himself, and
each from the gallows! We parted company, and left the youngster
lying in a ditch. Alive or dead, that¡¯s all I know about him.¡±
The Jew stopped to hear no more; but, uttering a loud yell, and
twining his hands in his hair, rushed from the room, and from the
house.
Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics

and a boisterous cry from the foot passengers. as if conscious that he was now in his proper element. for here reside the traders who purchase them from pick-pockets. Confined as the limits of Field Lane are. before he began to recover the effect of Toby Crackit¡¯s intelligence. Avoiding. nor did he linger until he had again turned into a court. its beer-shop. The old man had gained the street corner. there opens. Inseparable From This History. who saw his danger. as much as possible. when the sudden dashing past of a carriage. within. a narrow and dismal alley. but was still pressing onward. Near to the spot on which Snow Hill and Holborn Hill meet. he fell into his usual shuffling pace. all the main streets. And Many Things. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . He had relaxed nothing of his unusual speed. Here he walked even faster than before. he at length emerged on Snow Hill. Are Done And Performed.Oliver Twist 262 Chapter 26 In Which A Mysterious Character Appears Upon The Scene. in the same wild and disordered manner. and its fried-fish warehouse. it has its barber. are piled with them. of all sizes and patterns. its coffee-shop. leading to Saffron Hill. Hundreds of these handkerchiefs hang dangling from pegs outside the windows or flaunting from the door-posts¡ªand the shelves. In its filthy shops are exposed for sale huge bunches of second-hand silk handkerchiefs. drove him back upon the pavement. and seemed to breathe more freely. upon the right hand as you come out of the city. when. and skulking only through the byways and alleys.

Here. ¡°Why. ¡°The neighbourhood was a little too hot. and crossing his hands upon his shoulders. familiarly. as he passed along. the shoe-vamper. The Jew nodded. He was well known to the sallow denizens of the lane. nodded. by silent merchants. visited at early morning. reflecting. to address a salesman of small stature.¡± pursued the merchant. ¡°Yes. rust and rot in the grimy cellars. stores of old iron and bones. when he stopped. I don¡¯t think your Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Lively. ¡°Well. and setting-in of dusk. ¡°At the Cripples?¡± inquired the man. Pointing in the direction of Saffron Hill. but bestowed no closer recognition until he reached the farther end of the alley. and the rag-merchant. the sight of you. he inquired whether any one was up yonder tonight. in acknowledgement of the Jew¡¯s inquiry after his health. that I knows. elevating his eyebrows. here. for such of them as were on the look-out to buy or sell. as signboards to the petty thief. the clothesman. display their goods. It was into this place that the Jew turned. don¡¯t you find it so?¡¯ Fagin nodded in the affirmative.Oliver Twist 263 It is a commercial colony of itself¡ªthe emporium of petty larceny. He replied to their salutations in the same way. who had squeezed as much of his person into a child¡¯s chair as the chair would hold. once or twice before. ¡°but it soon cools down again. Fagin. and was smoking a pipe at his warehouse door. and who go as strangely as they come. I¡¯ve heerd that complaint of it. ¡°Let me see. Mr.¡± said Fagin. and heaps of mildewy fragments of woollen-stuff and linen. there¡¯s some half-dozen of ¡¯em gone in. would cure the hoptalmy!¡± said this respectable trader. who traffic in dark back-parlours.¡± replied the trader.

the glare of which Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Lively. shading his eyes with his hand. ¡°Have you got anything in my line tonight?¡± ¡°Nothing tonight. for a time. ¡°Non istwentus. Fagin walked straight upstairs. as the little man could not very easily disengage himself from the chair. Fagin?¡± cried the little man. after ineffectually standing on tiptoe. in which doubt and mistrust were plainly mingled. calling after him.¡± replied the little man. turning away. as if in search of some particular person. so Mr. and. the sign of the Cripples was. again forced himself into the little chair. ¡°Are you going up to the Cripples. Merely making a sign to a man at the bar.¡± ¡°Sikes is not. or rather the Cripples. the Jew had disappeared. shaking his head. which was the sign by which the establishment was familiarly known to its patrons. bereft of the advantage of Mr. with a disappointed countenance. ¡°Stop! I don¡¯t mind if I have a drop there with you!¡± But as the Jew. By the time he had got upon his legs. and.¡± said the Jew. moreover. in the hope of catching sight of him. Sikes and his dog have already figured.Oliver Twist 264 friend¡¯s there. as the lawyers say. and opening the door of a room. was the public-house in which Mr. Lively¡¯s presence. looked anxiously about. and softly insinuating himself into the chamber. The room was illuminated by two gas-lights. The Three Cripples. resumed his pipe with a grave demeanour. exchanging a shake of the head with a lady in the opposite shop. waved his hand to intimate that he preferred being alone. I suppose?¡± inquired the Jew. and looking amazingly sly. looking back.

presided at a jingling piano in a remote corner. had an eye for everything that was done. It was curious to observe some faces which stood out prominently from among the group. and closely-drawn curtains of faded red. Near him were the singers.Oliver Twist 265 was prevented by the barred shutters. while a professional gentleman. at the upper end of which. a coarse. rolled his eyes hither and thither. with great applause. male and female. the spectator gradually became aware of the presence of a numerous company. seeming to give himself up to joviality. crowded round a long table. and. as the eye grew more accustomed to the scene. which. heavy-built fellow. to prevent its colour from being injured by the flaring of the lamps. while the songs were proceeding. that at first it was scarcely possible to discern anything more. running over the keys by way of prelude. with a bluish nose. as loud as he could. the professional gentleman. By degrees. and his face tied up for the benefit of a toothache. who. When this was over. occasioned a general cry of order for a song. As Fagin stepped softly in. too. the chairman gave a sentiment. and sang it. between each of which the accompanist played the melody all through. and an ear for everything that was said¡ªand sharp ones. the professional gentleman on the chairman¡¯s right and left volunteered a duet. however. as some of it cleared away through the open door. and. There was the chairman himself (the landlord of the house). after which. rough. a young lady proceeded to entertain the company with a ballad in four verses. an assemblage of heads. might be made out. having subsided. from being visible outside. The ceiling was blackened. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . as confused as the noises that greeted the ear. sat a chairman with a hammer of office in his hand. and the place was so full of dense tobacco smoke.

¡± replied the landlord of the Cripples. with professional indifference. he beckoned to him slightly. others but young women. irresistibly attracted the attention.¡± replied the man. Succeeding. others with every mark and stamp of their sex utterly beaten out. by their very repulsiveness. He¡¯s Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . for it was he. ¡°Won¡¯t you join us? They¡¯ll be delighted. ferocity. Fagin. at length. whose countenances. in turn. expressive of almost every vice in almost every grade. tendered by their more boisterous admirers. ¡°And no news of Barney?¡± inquired Fagin. and drunkenness in all its stages. and none past the prime of life¡ªformed the darkest and saddest portion of this dreary picture. some with the last lingering tinge of their early freshness almost fading as you looked. he¡¯d blow upon the thing at once. and presenting but one loathsome blank of profligacy and crime¡ªsome mere girls. were there. the compliments of the company. to a dozen proffered glasses of spirits-and-water. in catching the eye of the man who occupied the chair. Depend on it. and said in a whisper. as quietly as he had entered it. Fagin?¡± inquired the man. looked eagerly from face to face while these proceedings were in progress. ¡°Is he here?¡± ¡°No. as he followed him out to the landing. every one of ¡¯em.¡± The Jew shook his head impatiently. and women. and left the room. ¡°He won¡¯t stir till it¡¯s all safe. they¡¯re on the scent down there. and applying themselves. and that if he moved. troubled by no grave emotions. in their strongest aspects. but apparently without meeting that of which he was in search. Mr. ¡°None.Oliver Twist 266 receiving. Cunning. ¡°What can I do for you.

however desirous he might be to see the person in question. If you¡¯ll wait ten minutes. hesitating. tomorrow will be time enough. Let him alone for that. he was nevertheless relieved by his absence. that a boy might take him.¡± replied the man. As he is not here. ¡°what a time this would be for a sell! I¡¯ve got Phil Barker here. no. ¡°I expected him here before now. laying the same emphasis on the pronoun as before. ¡°Tell him I came here to see him. looking up. After a brief reflection. before we can afford to part with him.¡± ¡°Good!¡± said the man. descending the stairs. He dismissed him within some quarter of Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . The Jew was no sooner alone. Ha! ha! ha!¡± The landlord reciprocated the old man¡¯s laugh.¡± said the other. and tell them to lead merry lives¡ªwhile they last. ¡°Monks. ¡°Aha! But it¡¯s not Phil Barker¡¯s time. ¡°Nothing more?¡± ¡°Not a word now. he called a hack cabriolet. ¡°Yes. so go back to the company. drawing a gold watch from his fob. as though. he¡¯ll be¡ª¡± ¡°No. I¡¯ll pound it. ¡°Hush!¡± said the Jew. say tomorrow. than his countenance resumed its former expression of anxiety and thought. looking over the rails.¡± said the Jew.¡ª¡°I say. ¡°Phil has something more to do.¡± ¡°Will he be here tonight?¡± asked the Jew. else I should have heard of him. that Barney¡¯s managing properly. and that he must come to me tonight. so drunk. and returned to his guests.¡± said the Jew hastily.¡± said the Jew. my dear. No. do you mean?¡± inquired the landlord. and bade the man drive towards Bethnal Green.¡± ¡°Certain.Oliver Twist 267 all right enough Barney is. and speaking in a hoarse whisper.

Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . lying with her head upon the table. as he made this reflection. Sikes¡¯s residence.¡± muttered the Jew. the woman said. ¡°if there is any deep play here. She pushed the candle impatiently away. ¡°or perhaps she is only miserable. and rubbing his hands together. and her hair straggling over it. shuffled her feet upon the ground. and seemed. from the smothered noise that escaped her. as he knocked at the door. and entered it without any previous ceremony. but this was During the silence. When it was concluded. in his most conciliatory tone. Fagin crept softly upstairs. At length he made another attempt.¡± thought the Jew coolly. ¡°And where should you think Bill was now. as she inquired whether there was any news. she sank into her former attitude.Oliver Twist 268 a mile of Mr. he coughed twice or thrice. as if to assure himself that there were no appearances of Sikes having covertly returned. ¡°Now. but spoke not a word. She eyed his crafty face narrowly. that she could not tell. my girl. The girl was alone. and once or twice as she feverishly changed her position. my dear?¡± The girl moaned out some half-intelligible reply. the noise thus occasioned roused the girl.¡± She was in her room. said. and performed the short remainder of the distance.¡± The old man turned to close the door. the Jew looked restlessly about the room. Apparently satisfied with his inspection. ¡°She has been drinking. to be crying. on foot. but the girl heeded him no more than if he had been made of stone. and made as many efforts to open a conversation. I shall have it out of you. cunning as you are. and as she listened to his recital of Toby Crackit¡¯s story.

¡± ¡°What!¡± cried the Jew.¡± said the Jew.¡± said the girl. ¡°It¡¯s no fault of yours. straining his eyes to catch a glimpse of her face.Oliver Twist 269 ¡°And the boy. Nance. and. Listen to me. am I to lose what chance threw Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . The sight of him turns me myself. ¡°I WILL change it! Listen to me. ¡°You¡¯re drunk. ¡°Poor leetle child! Left in a ditch. except now¡ªthe humour doesn¡¯t suit you. then!¡± responded the girl. ¡°When the boy¡¯s worth hundreds of pounds to me. suddenly looking up. I hope he lies dead in the ditch. And do it the moment he sets foot in this room. ¡°Change it!¡± exclaimed the Jew. fails to restore him to me. ¡°What is it?¡± pursued Fagin. or mind me. ¡°is better where he is. and all of you. dead or alive. mad with rage. than among us. and to know that the worst is can¡¯t bear to have him about me.¡± returned the girl. can strangle Sikes as surely as if I had his bull¡¯s throat between my fingers now. I to have over. I against do. murder him yourself if you would have him escape Jack Ketch. and leaves the boy behind him.¡± ¡°Change it. if he gets off free. and if no harm comes to Bill from it. If he comes back. in amazement. ¡°Ay. if I am not! You¡¯d never have me anything else. who with six words. meeting his gaze. and that his young bones may rot there. it will be too late!¡± ¡°What is all this?¡± cried the girl involuntarily. if you had your will. ¡°I shall be glad him away from my eyes. exasperated beyond all bounds by his companion¡¯s unexpected obstinacy. you drab.¡± ¡°Pooh!¡± said the Jew scornfully. too. only think!¡± ¡°The child.¡± ¡°Am I?¡± cried the girl bitterly. and the vexation of the night. ¡°It does not. doesn¡¯t it?¡± ¡°No!¡± rejoined the Jew furiously. with a laugh.

dear!¡± croaked the Jew. to¡ª¡± Panting for breath. He appeared somewhat reassured.¡± ¡°And about what I was saying. and. he shrank into a chair. ¡°If Bill has not done it this time. and has the power to. cowering together. in his usual voice. And if Toby got clear off. ¡°Did you mind me. his clenched hands had grasped the air.¡± interrupted Nancy hastily. ¡°and I say again. He has done many a good job for you.¡± rejoined Nancy. ¡°and if it is. and out of yours¡ªthat is. ¡°You must say it all over again. ¡°Nancy.Oliver Twist 270 me in the way of getting safely. through the whims of a drunken gang that I could whistle away the lives of! And me bound. his eyes had dilated. and in that instant checked the torrent of his wrath. my dear?¡± said the Jew. trembled with the apprehension of having himself disclosed some hidden villainy. too. keeping his glistening eye steadily upon her. he will another. but now. and out of harm¡¯s way. on beholding her in the same listless attitude from which he had first roused her. rubbing the palms of his hands nervously together. the old man stammered for a word. and will do many more when he can. to a born devil that only wants the will. Fagin!¡± replied the girl. Bill¡¯s pretty sure to be safe. raising her head languidly. if Bill comes to no harm. ¡°The boy must take his chance with the rest. so no more about that. and when he can¡¯t he won¡¯t. and his face grown livid with passion. he ventured to look round at his companion. my dear?¡± observed the Jew.¡± ¡°Regarding this boy. and changed his whole demeanour. A moment before. dear?¡± ¡°Don¡¯t worry me now. After a short silence. I hope he is dead. if it¡¯s anything you want me to do. you had better wait till Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . for Bill¡¯s worth two of Toby any time.

she subsided. but. after indulging in the temporary display of violence above described. It was within an hour of midnight. afforded strong confirmatory evidence of the justice of the Jew¡¯s supposition. and in which. and when. Fagin again turned his face homeward. and of ascertaining. The sharp wind that scoured the streets. under the influence of which she shed tears one minute. and was withal so utterly unmoved by his searching looks that his original impression of her being more than a trifle in liquor. was not exempt from a failing which was very common among the Jew¡¯s female pupils. seemed to have cleared them of Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . they were rather encouraged than checked. that Sikes had not returned. Having eased his mind by this discovery. with great satisfaction. who had had considerable experience of such matters in his time.¡± Fagin put several other questions.Oliver Twist 271 tomorrow. in their tenderer years. The weather being dark. saw. that she was very far gone indeed. all with the same drift of ascertaining whether the girl had profited by his unguarded hints. and piercing cold. You put me up for a minute. she answered them so readily. 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. he had no great temptation to loiter. with his own eyes. was confirmed. Mr. Fagin. with her head upon the table. but now I¡¯m stupid again. leaving his young friend asleep. indeed. and a wholesale perfume of Geneva which pervaded the apartment. heard. first into dullness. and afterwards into a compound of feelings. that night. Mr. Her disordered appearance. Nancy. and having accomplished his twofold object of imparting to the girl what he had.

and was about to reply. stopping short. but. as of dust and mud. and was already fumbling in his pocket for the door-key. indeed. glancing uneasily at his companion. he unlocked the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°Nothing bad. that he had better say what he had got to say. before which they had by this time arrived. interrupting him. and. turning quickly round. when the stranger.¡± ¡°Oh. of course!¡± said the stranger. and shivering. ¡°I have been lingering here these two hours. ¡°Well. I hope?¡± said the stranger. ¡°Ah!¡± said the Jew. and. The Jew shook his head. muttered something about having no fire. however. and turning a startled look on his companion. ¡°On your business all night. my dear. under cover. and slackening his pace as he spoke. glided up to him unperceived. crossing the road.¡± replied the Jew. for his blood was chilled with standing about so long. He had reached the corner of his own street. remarking. as every fresh gust drove him rudely on his way. motioned to the house. for few people were abroad. trembling.¡± said the Jew. It blew from the right quarter for the Jew. and straight before it he went. and what¡¯s come of it?¡± ¡°Nothing good. Fagin looked as if he could have willingly excused himself from taking home a visitor at that unseasonable hour. ¡°Fagin!¡± whispered a voice close to his ear. and they were to all appearance hastening fast home. his companion repeating his request in a peremptory manner. Where the devil have you been?¡± ¡°On your business.Oliver Twist 272 passengers. when a dark figure emerged from a projecting entrance which lay in deep shadow. ¡°is that¡ª¡± ¡°Yes!¡± interrupted the stranger. and the wind blew through him. with a sneer.

Oliver Twist 273
door, and requested him to close it softly, while he got a light.
¡°It¡¯s as dark as the grave,¡± said the man, groping forward a few
steps. ¡°Make haste!¡±
¡°Shut the door,¡± whispered Fagin from the end of the passage.
As he spoke it closed with a loud noise.
¡°That wasn¡¯t my doing,¡± said the other man, feeling his way.
¡°The wind blew it to, or it shut of its own accord; one or the other.
Look sharp with the light, or I shall knock my brains out against
something in this confounded hole.¡±
Fagin stealthily descended the kitchen stairs. After a short
absence, he returned with a lighted candle, and the intelligence
that Toby Crackit was asleep in the back room below, and that the
boys were in the front one. Beckoning the man to follow him, he
led the way upstairs.
¡°We can say the few words we¡¯ve got to say in here, my dear,¡±
said the Jew, throwing open a door on the first floor; ¡°and as there
are holes in the shutters, and we never show lights to our
neighbours, we¡¯ll set the candle on the stairs. There!¡±
With those words, the Jew, stooping down, placed the candle on
an upper flight of stairs, exactly opposite to the room door. This
done, he led the way into the apartment; which was destitute of all
movables save a broken armchair, and an old couch or sofa
without covering, which stood behind the door. Upon this piece of
furniture, the stranger sat himself with the air of a weary man; and
the Jew, drawing up the armchair opposite, they sat face to face. It
was not quite dark; for the door was partially open; and the candle
outside, threw a feeble reflection on the opposite wall.
They conversed for some time in whispers. Though nothing of
the conversation was distinguishable beyond a few disjointed
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Oliver Twist 274
words here and there, a listener might easily have perceived that
Fagin appeared to be defending himself against some remarks of
the stranger; and that the latter was in a state of considerable
irritation. They might have been talking, thus, for a quarter of an
hour or more, when Monks¡ªby which name the Jew had
designated the strange man several times in the course of their
colloquy¡ªsaid, raising his voice a little:
¡°I tell you again, it was badly planned. Why not have kept him
here among the rest, and made a sneaking, snivelling pick-pocket
of him at once?¡±
¡°Only hear him!¡± exclaimed the Jew, shrugging his shoulders.
¡°Why, do you mean to say you couldn¡¯t have done it, if you had
chosen?¡± demanded Monks sternly. ¡°Haven¡¯t you done it, with
other boys, scores of times? If you had had patience for a
twelvemonth, at most, couldn¡¯t you have got him convicted, and
sent safely out of the kingdom perhaps for life?¡±
¡°Whose turn would that have served, my dear?¡± inquired the
Jew humbly.
¡°Mine,¡± replied Monks.
¡°But not mine,¡± said the Jew submissively. ¡°He might have
become of use to me. When there are two parties to a bargain, it is
only reasonable that the interests of both should be consulted; is it
not, my good friend?¡±
¡°What then?¡± demanded Monks.
¡°I saw it was not easy to train him to the business,¡± replied the
Jew; ¡°he was not like the other boys in the same circumstances.¡±
¡°Curse him, no!¡± muttered the man, ¡°or he would have been a
thief, long ago.¡±
¡°I had no hold upon him to make him worse,¡± pursued the Jew,
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Oliver Twist 275
anxiously watching the countenance of his companion. ¡°His hand
was not in. I had nothing to frighten him with; which we always
must have in the beginning or we labour in vain. What could I do?
Send him out with the Dodger and Charley? We had enough of
that, at first, my dear; I trembled for us all.¡±
¡°That was not my doing,¡± observed Monks.
¡°No, no, my dear!¡± renewed the Jew. ¡°And I don¡¯t quarrel with
it now; because, if it had never happened, you might never have
clapped eyes upon the boy to notice him, and so led to the
discovery that it was him you were looking for. Well! I got him
back for you by means of the girl; and then she begins to favour
him.¡±
¡°Throttle the girl!¡± said Monks impatiently.
¡°Why, we can¡¯t afford to do that just now, my dear,¡± replied the
Jew, smiling; ¡°and, besides, that sort of thing is not in our way; or,
one of these days, I might be glad to have it done. I know what
these girls are, Monks, well. As soon as the boy begins to harden,
she¡¯ll care no more for him, than for a block of wood. You want
him made a thief. If he is alive, I can make him one from this time;
and if¡ªif¡ª¡± said the Jew, drawing nearer to the other¡ª¡°it¡¯s not
likely, mind¡ªbut if the worst comes to the worst, and he is dead¡ª
¡±
¡°It¡¯s no fault of mine if he is!¡± interposed the other man, with a
look of terror, and clasping the Jew¡¯s arm with trembling hands.
¡°Mind that, Fagin! I had no hand in it. Anything but his death, I
told you from the first. I won¡¯t shed blood; it¡¯s always found out,
and haunts a man besides. If they shot him dead, I was not the
cause; do you hear me? Fire this infernal den! What¡¯s that?¡±
¡°What?¡± cried the Jew, grasping the coward round the body,
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Oliver Twist 276
with both arms, as he sprang to his feet. ¡°Where?¡±
¡°Yonder!¡± replied the man, glaring at the opposite wall. ¡°The
shadow! I saw the shadow of a woman, in a cloak and bonnet, pass
along the wainscot like a breath!¡±
The Jew released his hold, and they rushed tumultuously from
the room. The candle, wasted by the draught, was standing where
it had been placed. It showed them only the empty staircase, and
their own white faces. They listened intently; but a profound
silence reigned throughout the house.
¡°It¡¯s your fancy,¡± said the Jew, taking up the light and turning
to his companion.
¡°I¡¯ll swear I saw it!¡± replied Monks, trembling. ¡°It was bending
forward when I saw it first; and when I spoke, it darted away.¡±
The Jew glanced contemptuously at the pale face of his
associate, and, telling him he could follow, if he pleased, ascended
the stairs. They looked into all the rooms; they were cold, bare and
empty. They descended into the passage, and thence into the
cellars below. The green damp hung upon the low walls; the tracks
of the snail and slug glistened in the light of the candle; but all was
still as death.
¡°What do you think now?¡± said the Jew, there¡¯s not a creature
in the house except Toby and the boys; and they¡¯re safe enough.
See here!¡±
As a proof of the fact, the Jew drew forth two keys from his
pocket; and explained, that when he first went downstairs, he had
locked them in, to prevent any intrusion on the conference.
This accumulated testimony effectually staggered Mr. Monks.
His protestations had gradually become less and less vehement as
they proceeded in their search without making any discovery; and,
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Oliver Twist 277
now, he gave vent to several very grim laughs, and confessed it
could only have been his excited imagination. He declined any
renewal of the conversation, however, for that night; suddenly
remembering that it was past one o¡¯clock. And so the amiable
couple parted.
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Oliver Twist 278
Chapter 27
Atones For The Unpoliteness Of A Former Chapter,
Which Deserted A Lady Most Unceremoniously.
As it would be by no means seemly in a humble author to
keep so mighty a personage as a beadle waiting, with his
back to the fire, and the skirts of his coat gathered up
under his arms, until such time as it might suit his pleasure to
relieve him; and as it would still less become his station, 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 in
whose ear he had whispered sweet words, which, coming from
such a quarter, might well thrill the bosom of maid or matron of
whatsoever degree; the historian whose pen traces these words¡ª
trusting that he knows his place, and that he entertains a
becoming reverence for those upon earth to whom high and
important authority is delegated¡ªhastens to pay them that
respect which their position demands, and to treat them with all
that duteous ceremony which their exalted rank, and (by
consequence) great virtues, imperatively claim at his hands.
Towards this end, indeed, he had purposed to introduce, in this
place, a dissertation touching the divine right of beadles, and
elusidative of the position, 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, by
want of time and space, to postpone to some more convenient and
fitting opportunity; on the arrival of which, he will be prepared to
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Oliver Twist 279
show, that a beadle properly constituted¡ªthat is to say, a
parochial beadle, attached to a parochial workhouse, and
attending in his official capacity the parochial church¡ªis, in right
and virtue of his office, possessed of all the excellences and best
qualities of humanity; and that to none of those excellences, can
mere companies¡¯ beadles, or court-of-law beadles, or even chapelof-ease beadles (save the last, and they in a very lowly and inferior
degree), lay the remotest sustainable claim.
Mr. Bumble had recounted the teaspoons, reweighed the sugartongs, made a closer inspection of the milk-pot, and ascertained to
a nicety the exact condition of the furniture, down to the very
horse-hair seats of the chairs; and had repeated each process full
half a dozen times, before he began to think that it was time for
Mrs. Corney to return. Thinking begets thinking; and, as there
were no sounds of Mrs. Corney¡¯s approach, it occurred to Mr.
Bumble that it would be an innocent and virtuous way of spending
the time, if he were further to allay his curiosity by a cursory
glance at the interior of Mrs. Corney¡¯s chest of drawers.
Having listened at the keyhole, to assure himself that nobody
was approaching the chamber, Mr. Bumble beginning at the
bottom, proceeded to make himself acquainted with the contents
of the three long drawers; which, being filled with various
garments of good fashion and texture, carefully preserved
between two layers of old newspapers, speckled with dried
lavender, seemed to yield him exceeding satisfaction. Arriving, in
course of time, at the right-hand corner drawer (in which was a
key), and beholding therein a small padlocked box, which, being
shaken, gave forth a pleasant sound, as of the chinking of coin, Mr.
Bumble returned with a stately walk to the fireplace, and,
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Oliver Twist 280
resuming his old attitude, said, with a grave and determined air,
¡°I¡¯ll do it!¡± He followed up this remarkable declaration, by shaking
his head in a waggish manner for ten minutes, as though he were
remonstrating with himself for being such a pleasant dog; and
then he took a view of his legs in profile, with much seeming
pleasure and interest.
He was still placidly engaged in this latter survey, when Mrs.
Corney, hurrying into the room, threw herself, in a breathless
state, on a chair by the fireside, and covering her eyes with one
hand, placed the other over her heart, and gasped for breath.
¡°Mrs. Corney,¡± said Mr. Bumble, stooping over the matron,
¡°what is this, ma¡¯am? Has anything happened, ma¡¯am? Pray
answer me; I¡¯m on¡ªon¡ª¡± Mr. Bumble, in his alarm, could not
immediately think of the word ¡°tenterhooks,¡± so he said ¡°broken
bottles.¡±
¡°Oh, Mr. Bumble!¡± cried the lady, ¡°I have been so dreadfully
put out!¡±
¡°Put out, ma¡¯am!¡± exclaimed Mr. Bumble; ¡°who has dared to¡ª
I know!¡± said Mr. Bumble, checking himself, with native majesty,
¡°this is them wicious paupers!¡±
¡°It¡¯s dreadful to think of!¡± said the lady, shuddering.
¡°Then don¡¯t think of it, ma¡¯am,¡± rejoined Mr. Bumble.
¡°I can¡¯t help it,¡± whimpered the lady.
¡°Then take something, ma¡¯am,¡± said Mr. Bumble soothingly. ¡°A
little of the wine?¡±
¡°Not for the world!¡± replied Mrs. Corney. ¡°I couldn¡¯t¡ªoh! The
top shelf in the right-hand corner¡ªoh!¡± Uttering these words, the
good lady pointed, distractedly, to the cupboard, and underwent a
convulsion from internal spasms. Mr. Bumble rushed to the closet;
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Oliver Twist 281
and, snatching a pint green glass bottle from the shelf thus
incoherently indicated, filled a tea-cup with its contents, and held
it to the lady¡¯s lips.
¡°I¡¯m better now,¡± said Mrs. Corney, falling back, after drinking
half of it.
Mr. Bumble raised his eyes piously to the ceiling in
thankfulness; and, bringing them down again to the brim of the
cup, lifted it to his nose.
¡°Peppermint,¡± exclaimed Mrs. Corney, in a faint voice, smiling
gently on the beadle as she spoke. ¡°Try it! There¡¯s a little¡ªa little
something else in it.¡±
Mr. Bumble tasted the medicine with a doubtful look; smacked
his lips; took another taste; and put the cup down empty.
¡°It¡¯s very comforting,¡± said Mrs. Corney.
¡°Very much so indeed, ma¡¯am,¡± said the beadle. As he spoke, he
drew a chair beside the matron, and tenderly inquired what had
happened to distress her.
¡°Nothing,¡± replied Mrs. Corney. ¡°I am a foolish, excitable, weak
creetur.¡±
¡°Not weak, ma¡¯am,¡± retorted Mr. Bumble, drawing his chair a
little closer. ¡°Are you a weak creetur, Mrs. Corney?¡±
¡°We are all weak creeturs,¡± said Mrs. Corney, laying down a
general principle.
¡°So we are,¡± said the beadle.
Nothing was said, on either side, for a minute or two
afterwards. By the expiration of that time, Mr. Bumble had
illustrated the position by removing his left arm from the back of
Mrs. Corney¡¯s chair, where it had previously rested, to Mrs.
Corney¡¯s apron string, round which it gradually became entwined.
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Oliver Twist 282
¡°We are all weak creeturs,¡± said Mr. Bumble.
Mrs. Corney sighed.
¡°Don¡¯t sigh, Mrs. Corney,¡± said Mr. Bumble.
¡°I can¡¯t help it,¡± said Mrs. Corney. And she sighed again.
¡°This is a very comfortable room, ma¡¯am,¡± said Mr. Bumble,
looking round. ¡°Another room, and this, ma¡¯am, would be a
complete thing.¡±
¡°It would be too much for one,¡± murmured the lady.
¡°But not for two, ma¡¯am,¡± replied Mr. Bumble, in soft accents.
¡°Eh, Mrs. Corney?¡±
Mrs. Corney drooped her head when the beadle said this; the
beadle drooped his, to get a view of Mrs. Corney¡¯s face. Mrs.
Corney, with great propriety, turned her head away, and released
her hand to get at her pocket-handkerchief; but insensibly
replaced it in that of Mr. Bumble.
¡°The Board allow you coals, don¡¯t they, Mrs. Corney?¡± inquired
the beadle, affectionately pressing her hand.
¡°And candles,¡± replied Mrs. Corney, slightly returning the
pressure.
¡°Coals, candle, and house-rent free,¡± said Mr. Bumble. ¡°Oh,
Mrs. Corney, what an angel you are!¡±
The lady was not proof against this burst of feeling. She sank
into Mr. Bumble¡¯s arms; and that gentleman in his agitation,
imprinted a passionate kiss upon her chaste nose.
¡°Such porochial perfection!¡± exclaimed Mr. Bumble
rapturously. ¡°You know that Mr. Slout is worse tonight, my
fascinator?¡±
¡°Yes,¡± replied Mrs. Corney bashfully.
¡°He can¡¯t live a week, the doctor says,¡± pursued Mr. Bumble.
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Oliver Twist 283
¡°He is the master of this establishment; his death will cause a
wacancy; that wacancy must be filled up. Oh, Mrs. Corney, what a
prospect this opens! What a opportunity for a jining of hearts and
housekeepings!¡±
Mrs. Corney sobbed.
¡°The little word?¡± said Mr. Bumble, bending over the bashful
beauty. ¡°The one little, little, little word, my blessed Corney?¡±
¡°Ye¡ªye¡ªyes!¡± sighed out the matron.
¡°One more,¡± pursued the beadle; ¡°compose your darling
feelings for only one more. When is it to come off?¡± Mrs. Corney
twice essayed to speak: and twice failed. At length summoning up
courage, she threw her arms round Mr. Bumble¡¯s neck, and said, it
might be as soon as ever he pleased, and that he was ¡°a irresistible
duck.¡±
Matters being thus amicably and satisfactorily arranged, the
contract was solemnly ratified in another tea-cupful of the
peppermint mixture; which was rendered the more necessary, by
the flutter and agitation of the lady¡¯s spirits. While it was being
disposed of, she acquainted Mr. Bumble with the old woman¡¯s
decease.
¡°Very good,¡± said that gentleman, sipping his peppermint; ¡°I¡¯ll
call at Sowerberry¡¯s as I go home, and tell him to send tomorrow
morning. Was it that as frightened you, love?¡±
¡°It wasn¡¯t anything particular, dear,¡± said the lady evasively.
¡°It must have been something, love,¡± urged Mr. Bumble.
¡°Won¡¯t you tell your own B.?¡±
¡°Not now,¡± rejoined the lady; ¡°one of these days. After we¡¯re
married, dear.¡±
¡°After we¡¯re married!¡± exclaimed Mr. Bumble. ¡°It wasn¡¯t any
Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics

although it was past Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Now. merely pausing. and protested. and I can tell him that he wouldn¡¯t do it a second time!¡± Unembellished by any violence of gesticulation. in the male paupers¡¯ ward. love. no.¡± responded the lady. once again braved the cold wind of the night. 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. ¡°if I thought as any of ¡¯em dared to lift his wulgar eyes to that lovely countenance¡ª¡± ¡°They wouldn¡¯t have dared to do it. The dove then turned up his coat collar. Bumble accompanied the threat with many warlike gestures. with the view of satisfying himself that he could fill the office of workhouse-master with needful acerbity. and bright visions of his future promotion. to abuse them a little. which served to occupy his mind until he reached the shop of the undertaker. having exchanged a long and affectionate embrace with his future partner. for a few minutes. as would presume to do it. and put on his cocked hat. she was much touched with this proof of his devotion.¡± continued Mr. ¡°If I thought it was. and. that he was indeed a dove. Mr. the shop was not closed. clenching his fist. Bumble. Assured of his qualifications. Bumble. ¡°They had better not!¡± said Mr. love!¡± interposed the lady hastily. with great admiration. Mr. as Mr. porochial or extra-porochial. and Mrs. but. ¡°Let me see any man. Bumble left the building with a light heart. Sowerberry having gone out to tea and supper.Oliver Twist 284 impudence from any of them male paupers as¡ª¡± ¡°No. this might have seemed no very high compliment to the lady¡¯s charms.

but. only this one.¡± ¡°Lord!¡± said Noah reflectively. Claypole condescended to swallow. and when he saw what was going forward. plates and glasses. Charlotte?¡± ¡°It¡¯s quite a cruelty. the table was covered with breadand-butter. ¡°Here¡¯s a delicious fat one. Claypole. Mr. ¡°try him. do.¡± acquiesced Mr.Oliver Twist 285 the usual hour of shutting up. ¡°how queer!¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . a number of ¡¯em should ever make you feel uncomfortable. Claypole. attracting no attention. ¡°What a pity it is. dear. ¡°I like to see you eat ¡¯em.¡± replied Charlotte. ¡°So it is.¡± ¡°What a delicious thing is a oyster!¡± remarked Mr. The cloth was laid for supper. for which nothing but a strong appreciation of their cooling properties in cases of internal fever. after he had swallowed it. he made bold to peep in and see what was going forward. Noah. better than eating ¡¯em myself. which Mr. Close beside him stood Charlotte. Noah. denoted that he was in a slight degree intoxicated. and a mass of buttered bread in the other. and a kind of fixed wink in his right eye. ¡°Ain¡¯t yer fond of oysters?¡± ¡°Not overmuch.¡± said Charlotte. At the upper end of the table. isn¡¯t it. A more than ordinary redness in the region of the young man¡¯s nose. could have sufficiently accounted. with his legs thrown over one of the arms. Noah Claypole lolled negligently in an easy-chair. and beholding a light shining through the glass window of the little parlour at the back of the shop. Mr. Bumble tapped with his cane on the counter several times. these symptoms were confirmed by the intense relish with which he took his oysters. opening oysters from a barrel. with remarkable avidity. a porter pot and a wine-bottle. dear!¡± said Charlotte. he was not a little surprised. an open clasp-knife in one hand.

Bumble. or not. ¡°She¡¯s always adoin¡¯ of it. at your peril. Do you hear. whether I like it. Bumble said he was to send a old woman¡¯s shell after breakfast tomorrow morning. ¡°Faugh!¡± ¡°I didn¡¯t mean to do it!¡± said Noah. holding up his hands. Noah. and I¡¯ll kiss yer. yer know yer are!¡± retorted Noah. say another word till your master comes home. and makes all manner of love!¡± ¡°Silence!¡± cried Mr. Charlotte. Bumble sternly. gazed at the beadle in drunken terror. delicate beard!¡± ¡°I can¡¯t manage any more. ¡°The sin and wickedness of the lower orders in this porochial district is frightful! If Parliament don¡¯t take their abominable courses under consideration. ¡°Say it again. sir.¡± said Charlotte. ¡°Here¡¯s one with such a beautiful. without making any further change in his position than suffering his legs to reach the ground. Bumble. owdacious fellow!¡± said Mr. ¡°How dare you mention such a thing. Bumble. Claypole. ma¡¯am. ¡°Take yourself downstairs. and hid her face in her apron. you insolent minx? Kiss her!¡± exclaimed Mr. you shut up the shop.¡± said Noah. sir? And how dare you encourage him.¡± cried Charlotte reproachfully. bursting into the room. ucks me under the chin.¡± Charlotte uttered a scream. tell him that Mr. this country¡¯s ruined. blubbering.¡± ¡°What!¡± said Mr.Oliver Twist 286 ¡°Have another. sir. ¡°I¡¯m very sorry. you wile. ¡°She¡¯s always akissing of me. in strong indignation. sir. Mr. Mr. when he does come home. and the character of the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Bumble.¡± ¡°Oh. ¡°Yer are. and. sir? Kissing!¡± cried Mr. Noah. Come here. Bumble. please. ¡°Say that again.

and have made all necessary preparations for the old woman¡¯s funeral. let us set on foot a few inquiries after young Oliver Twist. from the undertaker¡¯s premises. and ascertain whether he be still lying in the ditch where Toby Crackit left him. the beadle strode. with a lofty and gloomy air. And now that we have accompanied him so far on his road home.Oliver Twist 287 peasantry gone for ever!¡± With these words. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .

For he was not quite satisfied that he was beyond the range of pistol-shot. grinding his teeth. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . he rested the body of the wounded boy across his bended knee.¡± As Sikes growled forth this imprecation. broken for want of breath. for an instant. ¡°I wish I was among some of you. but ventured. and Sikes was in no mood to be played with. was already ahead.Oliver Twist 288 Chapter 28 Looks After Oliver. making the best use of his long legs. laying the boy in a dry ditch at his feet. shouting after Toby Crackit. to look back at his pursuers. There was little to be made out. resounded in every direction. to intimate considerable reluctance as he came slowly along. beckoning furiously to his confederate. with the most desperate ferocity that his desperate nature was capable of. ¡°Come back!¡± Toby made a show of returning. and the barking of the neighbouring dogs. ¡°Quicker!¡± cried Sikes. but the loud shouting of men vibrated through the air. you white-livered hound!¡± cried the robber. And Proceeds With His Adventures. ¡°Stop!¡± The repetition of the word brought Toby to a dead standstill. roused by the sound of the alarm-bell. in the mist and darkness. ¡°W olves tear your throats!¡± muttered Sikes. ¡°Bear a hand with the boy. you¡¯d howl the hoarser for it. in a low voice. and turned his head. who.¡± cried Sikes. ¡°Stop.

¡°drop the kid. to the certainty of being taken by his enemies. ¡°My advice. ¡°Pincher! Neptune! Come here. come here!¡± The dogs. for a second. there!¡± cried a tremulous voice in the rear.¡± At this moment the noise grew louder. seemed to have no particular relish for the sport in which they were engaged. and was gone. I should say. leastways. and show ¡¯em your heels.Oliver Twist 289 and drawing a pistol from his pocket. and very polite. ¡°Ho. who. fairly turned tail. who was by no means of a slim figure.¡± ¡°I am agreeable to anything which is agreeable to Mr. Crackit. ran along the front of the hedge. could discern that the men who had given chase were already climbing the gate of the field in which he stood. who had by this time advanced some distance into the field. from the spot where the boy lay. paused. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . or. as frightened men frequently are. threw over the prostrate form of Oliver the cape in which he had been hurriedly muffled. ¡°that we ¡¯mediately go home again. preferring the chance of being shot by his friend. and who was very pale in the face. Sikes clenched his teeth. Mr. as if to distract the attention of those behind. took one look around. and whirling his pistol high in the air. cleared it at a bound. ho. and darted off at full speed.¡± said the fattest man of the party. readily answered to the command. ¡°It¡¯s all up.¡± With this parting advice. ¡°Don¡¯t play booty with me. stopped to take counsel together. in common with their masters. and that a couple of dogs were some paces in advance of them. Three men.¡± said a shorter man. my orders. again looking round. Sikes. Giles. is. Bill!¡± cried Toby. before another hedge which met it at right angles.

Giles says. and ran back again with the completest unanimity. I know my sitiwation! Thank my stars. no. Giles ought to know.¡± replied the shorter man. ¡°I ain¡¯t. ¡°You¡¯re a falsehood. gentlemen. Giles. Giles. under such circumstances.¡± replied the man.¡± said Brittles. gentlemen.¡± said Mr. Giles.¡± ¡°Speak for yourself. imposed upon himself under cover of a compliment. and to know perfectly well that it was by no means a desirable one. it isn¡¯t our place to contradict him. ¡°You are. ¡°It¡¯s natural and proper to be afraid. who had called the dogs back.¡± said Brittles. these four retorts arose from Mr.¡± These frank admissions softened Mr.¡± said Giles. most philosophically. and was encumbered with a Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± ¡°Certainly. and Mr. they all three faced about.¡± said the third. ¡°Mr. for his teeth chattered in his head as he spoke. ¡°You are afraid. who was the palest of the party. ¡°I¡¯ll tell you what it is.¡± said he. Giles (who had the shortest wind of the party. Giles. until Mr. The third man brought the dispute to a close. who at once owned that he was afraid. I know my sitiwation. Giles¡¯s taunt had arisen from his indignation at having the responsibility of going home again.¡± said Mr. the little man did seem to know his situation.¡± said Mr.Oliver Twist 290 ¡°I shouldn¡¯t wish to appear ill-mannered. ¡°So I do. No.¡± To tell the truth. Giles¡¯s taunt. Brittles. Giles. upon which. I am. ¡°and whatever Mr. Brittles. ¡°only there¡¯s no call to tell a man he is.¡± said Brittles.¡± ¡°So am I. sir. Mr. ¡°You¡¯re a lie. Now. ¡°we¡¯re all afraid. so bounceably.

¡± By a remarkable coincidence. the other two had been visited with the same unpleasant sensation at that precise moment.¡± said Mr. ¡°You may depend upon it. I should have committed murder¡ªI know I should¡ªif we¡¯d caught one of them rascals. together with his two mongrel curs. ¡°that that gate stopped the flow of the excitement. had all gone down again. This dialogue was held between the two men who had surprised the burglars. who. catching at the idea. ¡°But it¡¯s wonderful.¡± ¡°I shouldn¡¯t wonder if it was.¡± As the other two were impressed with a similar presentiment. Mr. Brittles was a lad of all work. and a travelling tinker who had been sleeping in an outhouse.¡± said Mr. therefore. ¡°it was the gate. when he had explained. when his blood is up. as I was climbing over it. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . having entered her service a mere child. to make an apology for his hastiness of speech. Giles acted in the double capacity of butler and steward to the old lady of the mansion. that it was the gate. I felt all mine suddenly going away. ¡°I know what it was. and as their blood. Giles. It was quite obvious.¡± said Giles. and who had been roused. was treated as a promising young boy still. because all three remembered that they had come in sight of the robbers at the instant of its occurrence. like his. ¡°what a man will do. to join the pursuit. especially as there was no doubt regarding the time at which the change had taken place.¡± exclaimed Brittles. Giles.Oliver Twist 291 pitchfork) most handsomely insisted on stopping. some speculation ensued upon the cause of this sudden change in their temperament.

rather than the birth of day¡ªglimmered faintly in the sky. thick and fast. but. hung heavy and useless at his side. and low places were all mire and water. Encouraging each other with such converse as this. Still. on his bed of clay. His left arm. He was so weak. for he still lay stretched. and long after their dusky forms had ceased to be discernible. and uttering it. The grass was wet. keeping very close together. whenever a fresh gust rattled through the boughs. and looking furtively round. At length. grew more and more defined. the three men hurried back to a tree. helpless and unconscious. with a hollow moaning. Catching up the light. the pathways. The air grew colder. rudely bandaged in a shawl. and the mist rolled along the ground like a dense cloud of smoke. Oliver lay motionless and insensible on the spot where Sikes had left him. The objects which had looked dim and terrible in the darkness.Oliver Twist 292 though he was something past thirty. The rain came down. as it beat against him. the boy awoke. as day came slowly on. the light might have been seen twinkling and dancing in the distance. But Oliver felt it not. lest its light should inform the thieves in what direction to fire. and the damp breath of an unwholesome wind went languidly by. The air became more sharp and piercing. a low cry of pain broke the stillness that prevailed. that he could scarcely raise Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and gradually resolved into their familiar shapes. Morning drew on apace. the bandage was saturated with blood. and pattered noisily among the leafless bushes. at a good round trot. notwithstanding. like some exhalation of the damp and gloomy atmosphere through which it was swiftly borne. as its first dull hue¡ªthe death of night. behind which they had left their lantern. they made the best of their way home.

And now hosts of bewildering and confused ideas came crowding on his mind. until he reached a road. when he had done so. and essayed to walk. or through hedge-gaps as they came in his way. Suddenly. he felt the robber¡¯s grasp upon his wrist. Through all these rapid visions. His head was dizzy. Here the rain began to fall so heavily. but. got upon his feet. Oliver. sounded in his ears. as some unseen hand bore him hurriedly away. he found that he was talking to them. he started back at the report of firearms. But he kept up. shuddering from head to foot. he made an effort to stand upright. all was noise and tumult. which seemed to warn him that if he lay there.Oliver Twist 293 himself into a sitting posture. He seemed to be still walking between Sikes and Crackit. he was alone with Sikes. he looked feebly round for help. and groaned with pain. creeping almost mechanically. from cold and exhaustion. that Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and when he caught his own attention. he knew not whither. Thus he staggered on. there ran an undefined. uneasy consciousness of pain. there rose in the air. lights gleamed before his eyes. who were angrily disputing¡ªfor the very words they said. plodding on as on the previous day. between the bars of gates. loud cries and shouts. with his head drooping languidly on his breast. and as shadowy people passed them. fell prostrate on the ground. urged by a creeping sickness at his heart. and he staggered to and fro like a drunken man. Then. which wearied and tormented him incessantly. Trembling in every joint. as it were. by making some violent effort to save himself from falling. and. After a short return of the stupor in which he had been so long plunged. he must surely die. went stumbling onward. nevertheless.

fires. he forgot the agony of his wound. and burglary. Giles¡¯s habit to admit to too great familiarity the humbler servants. with tea and sundries. and if he were in full possession of all the best powers of his slight and youthful frame. Pitying his condition. open fields. It happened that about this time. which. while it gratified. sank down against one of the pillars of the little portico. climbed the steps. and. Oliver felt such fear come over him when he recognised the place. He tottered across the lawn. his whole strength failing him. and bent his faltering steps towards it. That garden wall! On the grass inside. Not that it was Mr. Brittles. He remembered nothing of its details. Mr. He summoned up all his strength for one last trial. Flight! He could scarcely stand. for the instant. and saw that at no great distance there was a house. whither could he fly? He pushed against the garden gate. it would be better. As he drew nearer to this house. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and the tinker were recruiting themselves. towards whom it was rather his wont to deport himself with a lofty affability. in the kitchen. that. But death. after the fatigues and terrors of the night. it was unlocked. It was the very house they had attempted to rob. but the shape and aspect of the building seemed familiar to him. knocked faintly at the door. He looked about. could not fail to remind them of his superior position in society. Giles. than in the lonely. a feeling came over him that he had seen it before. they might have compassion on him. and if they did not. and swung open on its hinges. to die near human beings. and prayed the two men¡¯s mercy. he had fallen on his knees last night.Oliver Twist 294 it roused him. he thought. which perhaps he could reach. and thought only of flight.

distinct.¡± continued Mr. when you heerd it. with his right. Giles sat with his legs stretched out before the kitchen fender. quite apparent.¡± suggested Brittles. ¡°¡ªHeerd a noise. so Mr. ¡°I heerd it now. Giles turned round in his chair. ¡°It was about half-past two. ¡°A kind of a busting noise. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . when I woke up. rolling back the tablecloth. ¡°Lor!¡± and drew their chairs closer together. and pulled the corner of the table-cloth over him to imitate bed-clothes). who were of the party) listened with breathless interest.¡± said Mr. Giles. I fancied I heerd a noise. ¡°More like the noise of powdering a iron bar on a nutmeggrater. looking round him. who asked Brittles. he illustrated a circumstantial and minute account of the robbery. ¡°I says.¡± At this point of the narrative the cook turned pale. when I heerd the noise again.¡± continued Giles.¡± The cook and housemaid simultaneously ejaculated. and. Giles.¡± replied Mr. ¡°It was. sir. ¡®This is illusion¡¯.Oliver Twist 295 make all men equals. ¡°but. I turned down the clothes.¡± rejoined Mr. it had a busting sound. ¡°sat up in bed. and was composing myself off to sleep. Giles. Giles. to which his hearers (but especially the cook and housemaid. at this time. at first.¡± ¡°What sort of a noise?¡± asked the cook. and listened. ¡°or I wouldn¡¯t swear that it mightn¡¯t have been a little nearer three. as it might be so (here Mr. Giles. who asked the tinker.¡± resumed Mr. and asked the housemaid to shut the door. who pretended not to hear. while. leaning his left arm on the table. turning round in my bed.

when I had woke him. what¡¯s to be done? I¡¯ll call up that poor lad. ¡°Of shoes.¡± continued Giles.¡¯¡± ¡°Was he frightened?¡± asked the cook. Giles had risen from his seat.¡± observed Brittles. with his mouth wide open. turning upon him. plucking up a little. being men.¡± said Giles. ¡®is forcing of a door. ¡°Brittles is right. and walked on tiptoes to his room. and stared at him.¡¯ I says.¡± observed the housemaid.¡± said Giles. We. nothing else was to be expected.¡± ¡°I should have died at once. ¡°You¡¯re a woman. drew on a pair of¡ª¡± ¡°Ladies present.Oliver Twist 296 ¡°¡®Somebody. if it had been me. Giles. I¡¯m sure. who fixed his upon the speaker. ¡°He was as firm¡ªah! pretty near as firm as I was. sir. from his right ear to his left. ¡°got softly out of bed. and looking very hard at the cook and housemaid. throwing away the tablecloth. I think. or window. ¡°seized the loaded pistol that always goes upstairs with the plate-basket. nodding his head approvingly.¡± retorted Brittles.¡¯ I says. Mr.¡± said Mr. ¡°Not a bit of it. Brittles. and save him from being murdered in his bed. all eyes were turned upon Brittles. ¡®may be cut. or his throat. ¡®don¡¯t be frightened!¡¯¡± ¡°So you did. without his ever knowing it¡¯. in a low voice. and his face expressive of the most unmitigated horror. ¡°I tossed off the clothes.¡± Mr.¡¯ I says. ¡°from a woman. Giles. Brittles. ¡°¡®but don¡¯t be frightened.¡± replied Mr. took a dark lantern that was standing on Brittles¡¯s hob. ¡°¡®We¡¯re dead men.¡¯ I says.¡± Here. ¡®Brittles.¡± murmured the tinker. and groped our way downstairs in the pitch dark¡ªas it might be so. and laying great emphasis on the word. Giles. and taken two steps with his Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .

who were afraid to stay below. Giles. Brittles capitulated on these terms. surveying the pale faces which surrounded him. and looking very blank himself. took their way upstairs. Giles. probably considered himself nobody. assuming perfect serenity. that they were strong in numbers. ¡°I am ready to make one. somebody?¡± Mr. Giles.¡± ¡°So am I. looked at Brittles. Giles directed an appealing glance at the tinker.¡± said the tinker. The women were out of the question.Oliver Twist 297 eyes shut. ¡°It seems a strange sort of a thing.¡± Nobody moved. in the presence of witnesses. a knock coming at such a time in the morning.¡± said Mr. bringing up the rear. waking up. Do you hear. and the party being somewhat reassured by the discovery (made on throwing open the shutters) that it was now broad day. ¡°It was a knock. but he had suddenly fallen asleep. at all events. after a short silence. with the dogs in front. and so held that the inquiry could not have any application to him. ¡°If Brittles would rather open the door. as he spoke. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and by a master-stroke of policy. in common with the rest of the company. they all talked very loud. Mr. and hurried back to his chair. somebody.¡± said Mr. to warn any evil-disposed person outside. but that young man. ¡°but the door must be opened. he tendered no reply.¡± said Mr. to accompany his description with appropriate action. being naturally modest. and the two women. ¡°Open the door. when he started violently. By the advice of Mr. Giles. The cook and housemaid screamed. as suddenly as he had fallen asleep. Giles.

Giles held on fast by the tinker¡¯s arm (to prevent his running away. the group. Brittles obeyed. Giles.¡± cried Brittles. and the tinker busied himself in endeavouring to restore Oliver. ¡°What¡¯s the matter with the Eh?¡ªWhy¡ª Brittles¡ªlook here¡ªdon¡¯t you know?¡± Brittles. as he pleasantly said). no sooner saw Oliver. seizing the boy by one leg and one arm (fortunately not the broken limb) lugged him straight into the hall. miss. who raised his heavy eyes. valiantly pushing the tinker into the background. Mr. which quelled it in an Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and gave the word of command to open the door. in the hall. lest he should die before he could be hanged. miss! I shot him. These precautions having been taken. calling. speechless and exhausted. beheld no more formidable object than poor little Oliver Twist. and deposited him at full length on the floor thereof. Giles had captured a robber.¡± ¡°In a lantern. peeping timorously over each other¡¯s shoulders. ¡°Here he is!¡± bawled Giles. ¡°A boy!¡± exclaimed Mr. the dogs¡¯ tails were well pinched.Oliver Twist 298 originating in the brain of the same ingenious gentleman. In the midst of all this noise and commotion there was heard a sweet female voice. up the staircase. Giles. and Brittles held the light. miss! Wounded. and mutely solicited their compassion. Mr. The two women-servants ran upstairs to carry the intelligence that Mr. who had got behind the door to open it. so that his voice might travel the better. ¡°here¡¯s one of the thieves. applying one hand to the side of his mouth. than he uttered a loud cry. to make them bark savagely. in a state of great excitement. miss. ma¡¯am! Here¡¯s a thief.

bending over Oliver. there¡¯s a good man!¡± rejoined the lady. the speaker tripped away. with a glance as proud and admiring as if she had been his own child. ¡°Wouldn¡¯t you like to come and look at him. with indescribable complacency. as she turned away. ¡°He looks as if he was a-going. pray. with all speed. ¡°But won¡¯t you take one look at him first. miss. Giles. in the same manner as before. She soon returned. miss?¡± ¡°Not now. with the direction that the wounded person was to be carried. carefully.¡± replied Giles. ¡°Wait quietly only one instant. ¡°you frighten my aunt as much as the thieves did. from which place. miss.¡± bawled Brittles. Giles¡¯s room. a constable and doctor. and that Brittles was to saddle the pony and betake himself instantly to Chertsey. Giles.¡± replied the young lady. with as much pride as if Oliver were some bird of rare plumage. miss. ¡°Not one little peep.¡± ¡°Hush!¡± replied the young lady. Giles. ¡°I¡¯m here. for the world. he was to despatch. for my sake!¡± The old servant looked up at the speaker. that he had skilfully brought down.¡± replied Mr. he helped to carry him upstairs. He didn¡¯t make a very desperate resistance. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . miss. I ain¡¯t much injured. Then. in case he should ?¡± ¡°Hush. ¡°Don¡¯t be frightened. Is the poor creature much hurt?¡± ¡°Wounded desperate.Oliver Twist 299 instant. miss! I was soon too many for him. ¡°Giles!¡± whispered the voice from the stair-head. while I speak to aunt. ¡°Poor fellow! Oh! treat him kindly.¡± With a footstep as soft and gentle as the voice. upstairs to Mr. miss?¡± asked Mr. miss.

Oliver Twist 300 with the care and solicitude of a woman. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .

He had taken his station some halfway between the sideboard and the breakfast-table. if ever angels be for God¡¯s good purposes enthroned in mortal forms. though its furniture had rather the air of old-fashioned comfort. was not more upright than she. looked like one who laboured under a very agreeable sense of his own merits and importance. Dressed with the utmost nicety and precision. she sat. which rather served to point the old style pleasantly than to impair its effect. was in attendance upon them. his head thrown back. The younger lady was in the lovely bloom and springtime of womanhood. at that age. there sat two ladies at a well-spread breakfast-table. one was well advanced in years. In a handsome room. his left leg advanced. grasping a waiter. Mr. dressed with scrupulous care in a full suit of black. they may be. To Which Oliver Resorted. Of the two ladies. while his left hung down by his side. and.Oliver Twist 301 Chapter 29 Has An Introductory Account Of The Inmates Of The House. than of modern elegance. in a stately manner. but the highbacked oaken chair in which she sat. and inclined the merest trifle on one side. and his right hand thrust into his waistcoat. in a quaint mixture of bygone costume. Giles. without Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . with her hands folded on the table before her. Her eyes (and age had dimmed but little of their brightness) were attentively fixed upon her young companion. with his body drawn up to its full height. when. with some slight concessions to the prevailing taste.

and yet the changing expression of sweetness and good-humour. Chancing to raise her eyes as the elder lady was regarding her. above all. ¡°He gets worse instead of better. which was simply braided on her forehead. so mild and gentle. that Brittles had been a slow boy for upwards of thirty years. the smile. such an expression of affection and artless loveliness. ma¡¯am. ma¡¯am. or of the world. The very intelligence that shone in her deep-blue eye. the thousand lights that played about the face.¡± said the young lady. ¡°It is very inexcusable in him if he stops to play with any other boys. and left no shadow there.¡± said the elder lady. Cast in so slight and exquisite a mould. referring to a silver watch. And seeing. ¡°He is always slow. so pure and beautiful. seemed scarcely of her age. not its rough creatures her fit companions. the cheerful.¡± replied Mr. after a pause. she playfully put back her hair. and was stamped upon her noble head. She was not past seventeen.Oliver Twist 302 impiety.¡± remarked the old lady. has he?¡± asked the old lady. Giles. happy smile. there appeared no great probability of his ever being a fast one. smiling. She was busily engaged in the little offices of the table. supposed to abide in such as hers. ¡°And Brittles has been gone upwards of an hour. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . which he drew forth by a black ribbon. that blessed spirits might have smiled to look upon her. and threw into her beaming look. ¡°Brittles always was a slow boy. ¡°An hour and twelve minutes. by the bye.¡± replied the attendant. that earth seemed not her element. I think. were made for home and fireside peace and happiness.

Giles and the breakfast-table together. indeed. out of which there jumped a fat gentleman. a day or two previous. dear! So unexpected! In the silence of night. Giles. Giles was apparently considering the propriety of indulging in a respectful smile himself. Maylie¡ªbless my soul¡ªin the silence of night.¡± said the doctor. positively dead with the fright. when a gig drove up to the garden gate. as if it were the established custom of gentlemen in the housebreaking way to tr ansact business at noon. That was your handiwork. and who.¡± replied the doctor. who ran straight up to the door. and to make an appointment.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Dear. or anybody. and so would I. Miss Rose. getting quickly into the house by some mysterious process. and nearly overturned Mr. whom aunt wishes you to see. I¡¯m sure. under such circumstances.¡± said Rose. ¡°And you. too!¡± The doctor seemed especially troubled by the fact of the robbery having been unexpected. the fat gentleman shook hands with both ladies. and attempted in the night-time. inquired how they found themselves. ¡°I¡± ¡°Oh! very much so.Oliver Twist 303 Mr. ¡°but there is a poor creature upstairs. and my assistant would have been delighted.¡± said the fat gentleman. burst into the room. interrupting him. too¡ªI never heard of such a thing!¡± With these expressions of condolence. ¡°I never heard of such a thing!¡± exclaimed the fat gentleman. and drawing up a chair. ¡°Why didn¡¯t you send? Bless me. ¡°so there is. turning to the young lady.¡± ¡°Ah! to be sure. I understand. my man should have come in a minute. by post. ¡°My dear Mrs. ¡°You ought to be dead.

I¡¯ll look in again. ¡°This is a very extraordinary thing. who unjust attempt it was not for thought it was thought this light treatment of the matter an at diminishing his glory. Maylie.¡± said the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . looked very mysterious. as to hit your man at twelve paces. eh?¡± said the doctor. A large flat box was fetched out of the gig. ¡°Where is he? Show me the way. the reader may be informed. and while he is going upstairs. Mrs. and in reply to an anxious inquiry after his patient. I couldn¡¯t have believed it!¡± Talking all the way. answered respectfully that the like of him to judge about that. At length he returned. but he rather no joke to the opposite party. known through a circuit of ten miles round as ¡°the doctor. and said that he had had that honour.¡± Mr. and a bedroom bell was rung very often. I don¡¯t know. ¡°well. blushed very red. ¡°Gad. from which tokens it was justly concluded that something important was going on above. who had been feverishly putting the tea-cups to rights. perhaps it¡¯s as honourable to hit a thief in a back kitchen. Mrs. and withal as eccentric an old bachelor. Giles. and closed the door carefully. Losberne. by any explorer alive. Giles. Giles upstairs.¡± had grown fat. ¡°Honour. and you¡¯ve fought a duel. Giles. The doctor was absent much longer than either he or the ladies had anticipated. he followed Mr.Oliver Twist 304 Mr. That¡¯s the little window that he got in at. more from goodhumour than from good living. and was as kind and hearty. Maylie. and the servants ran up and downstairs perpetually. that¡¯s true!¡± said the doctor. as I come down. Fancy that he fired in the air. that Mr. eh? Well. as will be found in five times that space. a surgeon in the neighbourhood.

¡± rejoined the old lady.¡± said the doctor. ¡°certainly not. Giles. at first.¡± replied the doctor. Have you seen this thief?¡± ¡°No. in the very zenith of a brief reputation for undaunted courage.¡± replied the old lady. Giles had not. help postponing the explanation for a few delicious minutes. been able to bring his mind to the avowal. that Mr.Oliver Twist 305 doctor.¡± ¡°Then I think it is necessary. ¡°but I wouldn¡¯t hear of it. for the life of him. that he could not. I pledge you my honour!¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°at all events. Maylie. The fact was. under the circumstances. as if to keep it shut. standing with his back to the door. Allow me¡ªMiss Rose. ¡°He is not in danger. I hope?¡± said the old lady. Such commendations had been bestowed upon his bravery. ¡°There is nothing very alarming in his appearance.¡± interposed Mr. if you postponed it. I am quite sure that you would deeply regret not having done so. ¡°Why.¡± ¡°Humph!¡± rejoined the doctor. ¡°though I don¡¯t think he is.¡± ¡°I beg your pardon. that he had only shot a boy.¡± said Mrs. ¡°Nor heard anything about him?¡± ¡°No. during which he had flourished. ma¡¯am. Have you any objection to see him in my presence?¡± ¡°If it be necessary. that would not be an extraordinary thing. ¡°Rose wished to see the man. will you permit me? Not the slightest fear. He is perfectly quiet and comfortable now. ¡°but I was going to tell you about him when Doctor Losberne came in.

gathered Oliver¡¯s hair from his him. He has not been shaved very recently. ¡°let us hear what you think of him. The honest gentleman held on for a minute or so. and gently drew back the curtains of the bed. but he don¡¯t look at all ferocious notwithstanding. Motioning them to advance. As she stooped over the curtain in his hand. he closed the door when they had entered. there lay a mere child.¡± Stepping before them. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . the younger herself in a chair by the face. and looked silence. in lieu of the dogged. as he softly turned the handle of a bedroom door.Oliver Twist 306 Chapter 30 Relates What Oliver¡¯s New Visitors Thought Of Him. worn with pain and exhaustion and sunk into a deep sleep. Maylie. her tears fell upon his forehead. in a whisper. Whilst he was watching the lady glided softly past. and seating bedside. as it streamed over the pillow. in patient thus. with much ceremony and stateliness. bound and splintered up. upstairs. Upon it.¡± said the doctor. which was half-hidden by his long hair. Stop. the doctor drew the young lady¡¯s arm through one of his. With many loquacious assurances that they would be agreeably surprised in the aspect of the criminal. ¡°Now. his head reclined upon the other arm. was crossed upon his breast. led them. black-visaged ruffian they had expected to behold. His wounded arm. he looked into the room. though! Let me first see that he is in visiting order. and offering his disengaged hand to Mrs.

¡± rejoined the surgeon. or the odour of a flower. or the rippling of water in a silent place. as though these marks of pity and compassion had awakened some pleasant dream of a love and affection he had never known.Oliver Twist 307 The boy stirred. in a manner which intimated that he feared it was very possible. ¡°crime. ¡°This poor child can never have been the pupil of robbers!¡± ¡°Vice. ¡°My dear young lady. led the way into an adjoining apartment.¡± ¡°But. which no voluntary exertion of the mind can ever recall. or the want of bread. or the mention of a familiar word. would seem to have awakened. and smiled in his sleep. which some brief memory of a happier existence. The surgeon shook his head. that ill-usage and blows. ¡°But even if he has been wicked. like death. a strain of gentle music. ¡°think how young he is. long gone by. and who can say that a fair outside shall not enshrine her?¡± ¡°But at so early an age!¡± urged Rose. think that he may never have known a mother¡¯s love. replacing the curtain. ¡°What can this mean?¡± exclaimed the elder lady.¡± pursued Rose. mournfully shaking his head. The youngest and fairest are too often its chosen victims. ¡°takes up her abode in many temples.¡± sighed the surgeon. which vanish like a breath. is not confined to the old and withered alone. Thus. in this life. or the comfort of a home. and observing that they might disturb the patient. may have driven him to herd with men who have forced Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . will sometimes call up sudden dim remembrances of scenes that never were. can you¡ªoh! can you really believe that this delicate boy has been the voluntary associate of the worst outcasts of society?¡± said Rose.

which in any case must be the grave of all his chances of amendment.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and might have been equally helpless and unprotected with this poor child.¡± replied Mrs.¡± Mr. Brittles. and that little boy. for mercy¡¯s sake. I know.¡± said the doctor.¡± said the old lady. but that I might have done so. ma¡¯am. Giles is a faithful fellow and an old servant. and balancing himself on his toes. Maylie. ¡°No other. ¡°do you think I would harm a hair of his head?¡± ¡°Oh. Aunt. and reward him for being such a good shot besides. and may mercy be shown to me as I show it to others! What can I do to save him. take my word for it. I can manage it.¡± said the elder lady. Oh! as you love me. think of this. ¡°let me think. and took several turns up and down the room. dear aunt. I haven¡¯t. no!¡± replied Rose eagerly. and frowning frightfully. ¡°my days are drawing to their close. surely. sir?¡± ¡°Let me think. You don¡¯t object to that?¡± ¡°Unless there is some other way of preserving the child. have pity upon him before it is too late! ¡°My dear love. After various exclamations of ¡°I¡¯ve got it now. often stopping.Oliver Twist 308 him to guilt. but you can make it up to him in a thousand ways. before you let them drag this sick child to a prison. he at length made a dead halt.¡± and ¡°no. ¡°There is no other. Losberne thrust his hands into his pockets. as she folded the weeping girl to her bosom.¡± said the doctor. and spoke as follows: ¡°I think if you give me a full and unlimited commission to bully Giles. and know that I have never felt the want of parents in your goodness and affection.¡± and as many renewals of the walking and frowning. ¡°No.

Oliver Twist 309 ¡°Then my aunt invests you with full power. ¡°it is impossible. ¡°that is no very difficult matter. ¡°Is it a bargain?¡± ¡°He cannot be hardened in vice. from what he says. he shall be left to his fate. except yourself. I dare say. 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. Miss Rose. yes. on peril of his life.¡± ¡°You seem to think. aunt!¡± entreated Rose. laughing heartily. and the parties thereunto Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± Finally the treaty was entered into. ¡°then so much the more reason for acceding to my proposition. of such a favourable opportunity for doing so. I think we may converse with him without danger.¡± said Rose. without any further interference on my part. and I can show to the satisfaction of your cool reason. ¡°Very good.¡± retorted the doctor. blushing. that I might avail myself.¡± said Rose. But to return to this boy. that he is a real and thorough bad one (which is more than possible). I only hope. Now I make this stipulation¡ªthat I shall examine him in your presence. smiling through her tears. on the spot. for the sake of the rising male sex generally. and although I have told that thick-headed constable-fellow downstairs that he mustn¡¯t be moved or spoken to. ¡°that everybody is disposed to be hard-hearted today.¡± ¡°You are as great a boy as poor Brittles himself.¡± ¡°Oh. at all events. ¡°Well.¡± returned Rose. aunt!¡± said the doctor. and I wish I were a young fellow. we judge. ¡°Oh.¡± said the doctor. ¡°but pray don¡¯t be harder upon the poor fellows than is indispensably necessary. He will wake in an hour or so. no. and that. if.¡± retorted the doctor. as the present.

and still Oliver slumbered heavily. are rising. and loveliness and virtue watched him as he slept. if we heard but one instant. He felt calm and happy. and Oliver composed to rest again. like dense and heavy clouds. the feeble voice of the sick child recounting a weary catalogue of evils and calamities which hard men had brought upon him. after wiping his eyes. cruelty. Losberne had led them to expect. to Heaven. It was a solemn thing to hear. until Oliver should awake. to pour their after-vengeance on our heads. that he deemed it better to give him the opportunity. and no pride shut out. in the darkened room. before the kind-hearted doctor brought them the intelligence. It was evening. slowly it is true. The patience of the two ladies was destined to undergo a longer trial than Mr. than to insist upon his remaining quiet until next morning.Oliver Twist 310 sat down to wait. The conference was a long one. he said. The boy was very ill. and could have died without a murmur. and Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . with some impatience. for hour after hour passed on. which he should otherwise have done. but his mind was so troubled with anxiety to disclose something. by pain and want of strength. that he was at length sufficiently restored to be spoken to. which no power can stifle. and weak from the loss of blood. indeed. Oliver told them all his simple history. and was often compelled to stop. Oh! if when we oppress and grind our fellow-creatures. but not less surely. The momentous interview was no sooner concluded. we bestowed but one thought on the dark evidences of human error. where would be the injury and injustice. in imagination. the suffering misery. and wrong. the deep testimony of dead men¡¯s voices. which. that each day¡¯s life brings with it! Oliver¡¯s pillow was smoothed by gentle hands that night. than the doctor.

betook himself downstairs to open upon Mr. by which the ladies and gentlemen generally were understood to express the gratification they derived from Mr. a large head. he would never desert them. was corroborating everything. The adventures of the previous night were still under discussion. ¡°Sit still!¡± said the doctor. that he could perhaps originate the proceedings with better effect in the kitchen. before his superior said it. it occurred to him. Mr. with a mug of ale in his hand. in consideration of his services). sir. Giles. ¡°Missis wished some ale to be given out. and was disposed for company. the women-servants. when the doctor entered. Brittles. ¡°I am afraid you have got yourself into a scrape there. and the constable. sir. ¡°So-so. for Mr.¡± returned the doctor. Giles looked round with a patronising air. so into the kitchen he went. Giles was expatiating upon his presence of mind. ¡°Thank you. and he looked as if he had been taking a proportionate allowance of ale¡ªas indeed he had.Oliver Twist 311 condemning them for being weak all at once. and as I felt no ways inclined for my own little room. sir?¡± asked Giles. as much as to say that so long as they behaved properly. sir. in that lower house of the domestic parliament. Giles. Giles. Mr. Mr. Mr. large features. There were assembled. Mr. The latter gentleman had a large staff. the tinker (who had received a special invitation to regale himself for the remainder of the day. Brittles.¡± Brittles headed a low murmur. and large half-boots.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . waving his hand. I am taking mine among ¡¯em here. Giles. And finding nobody about the parlours.¡± said Mr. Giles¡¯s condescension. ¡°How is the patient tonight.

¡°that he¡¯s going to die.¡± faltered Mr. sir. ¡°Something may come of this before long. I should never be happy again. Giles. that Giles and Brittles. ¡°And what are you. will you?¡± said the doctor. who had turned very pale. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± ¡°That¡¯s not the point. stared at each other in a state of stupefaction. Giles. Giles. who was universally considered one of the besttempered creatures on earth.¡± said the doctor. sir!¡± replied Brittles. made this demand in such a dreadful tone of anger. not even Brittles here¡ªnot for all the plate in the county. sir. ¡°Lord bless me. are you a Protestant?¡± ¡°Yes.Oliver Twist 312 ¡°I hope you don¡¯t mean to say. which had been reclining indolently in the chimneycorner. I hope so. ¡°both of you¡ªboth of you! Are you going to take upon yourselves to swear 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. ¡°Mr. I wouldn¡¯t cut a boy off¡ªno.¡± ¡°Then tell me this. boy?¡± said the doctor. constable. and took up his staff of office. If I thought it. sir. sir. to bespeak the exercise of that worthy¡¯s utmost acuteness. starting violently. Giles. turning sharply upon Brittles. who were considerably muddled by ale and excitement. ¡°Pay attention to the reply.¡± The constable looked as wise as he could. trembling.¡± said Mr. ¡°I¡¯m¡ª the same as Mr.¡± said the doctor mysteriously. and tapping the bridge of his nose with it. shaking his forefinger with great solemnity of manner.

Now. in the midst of gunpowder-smoke. next morning.¡± ¡°What?¡± cried the doctor. on your solemn oaths. to all appearance much relieved. Giles looked doubtfully at Brittles. if not. aghast in his turn. able to identify that boy?¡± Brittles looked doubtfully at Mr. and in all the distraction of alarm and darkness. if that wasn¡¯t law. the constable put his hand behind his ear. and at the same moment. He said. these men lay violent hands upon him¡ªby doing which. ¡°That¡¯s what it is. you will observe. ¡°I ask you again. ¡°It¡¯s the runners!¡± cried Brittles.Oliver Twist 313 ¡°It¡¯s a simple question of identity. in what situation do they place themselves?¡± The constable nodded profoundly. ¡°and a couple of men catch one moment¡¯s glimpse of a boy.¡± said the doctor. the question is.¡± thundered the doctor. the sound of wheels. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . they place his life in great danger¡ªand swear he is the thief. to catch the reply. sir. Giles sent for ¡¯em this morning. coughing with a great violence.¡± replied Brittles. and some of it had gone the wrong way. the two women and the tinker leaned forward to listen. when a ring was heard at the gate. Mr.¡± replied the constable. ¡°The Bow Street officers. ¡°me and Mr. ¡°are you. whether these men are justified by the fact. ¡°Here¡¯s a house broken into. the doctor glanced keenly around. for he had finished his ale in a hurry. Here¡¯s a boy comes to that very same house. taking up a candle.¡± said the doctor. he would be glad to know what was. ¡°The what?¡± exclaimed the doctor. Giles. and because he happens to have his arm tied up. sir.

did you? Then confound your slow coaches down here.¡± said the doctor. walking away. sir. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and I only wonder they weren¡¯t here before.¡± ¡°You did. ¡°I sent a message up by the coachman. that¡¯s all.¡± replied Brittles.Oliver Twist 314 ¡°Yes.

as was sent to. as coolly as if he lived there. Brittles opened the door to its full width. without saying anything more. today. cropped pretty close. bony man. being shown into a parlour. and helped his companion to put up the gig. ¡°he¡¯s in the gig.¡± replied a man outside. and confronted a portly man in a greatcoat. they returned to the house. opening the door a little way. The other was a red-headed.¡± Much comforted by this assurance. The man who had knocked at the door was a stout personage of middle height. will you. a-minding the prad. ¡°Just send somebody out to relieve my mate. with shiny black hair. young man?¡± said the officer. aged about fifty. with a rather illfavoured countenance. in a state of great admiration. a round face. This done. with the chain up. shading the candle with his hand. and wiped his shoes on the mat. and showed like what they were.Oliver Twist 315 Chapter 31 Involves A Critical Position. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°it¡¯s the officers from Bow Street. ¡°Open the door. in top-boots. for five or ten minutes?¡± Brittles replying in the affirmative. and a turned-up sinister-looking nose. that you could put it up in. and peeping out. Have you got a coach ¡¯us here. took off their greatcoats and hats. ¡°W ho¡¯s that?¡± inquired Brittles. and pointing out the building. while Brittles lighted them. who walked in. and sharp eyes. and. half-whiskers. the portly man stepped back to the garden gate.

¡± said Blathers. Losberne. motioned Duff to do the same. recounted them at great length. ¡°I can¡¯t say. ¡°And. Mr. of course. and occasionally exchanged a nod. ¡°What are the circumstances?¡± Mr. with regard to this here robbery. who appeared desirous of gaining time. and with much circumlocution. smoothing down his hair.¡± said Mr. motioning Brittles to retire. who now made his appearance. and laying a pair of handcuffs on the table. Losberne. Blathers and Duff looked very knowing meanwhile. who did not appear quite so much accustomed to good society.¡± replied Duff. Losberne. master. Losberne. and shut the door. ¡°Oh! Good-evening.Oliver Twist 316 ¡°Tell your governor that Blathers and Duff is here. I apprehend your meaning to be. if you please?¡± This was addressed to Mr. eh. and forced the head of his stick into his mouth. The latter gentleman. brought in the two ladies. with a smile.¡± said Blathers. after undergoing several muscular affections of the limbs. motioning towards Mrs. or quite so much at his ease in it¡ªone of the two¡ªseated himself. ¡°but my opinion at once is¡ªI don¡¯t mind committing myself to that extent¡ªthat this wasn¡¯t done by a yokel. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Messrs. ¡°This is the lady of the house. for certain. with some embarrassment. Blathers made a bow. master. Maylie. that gentleman. Can I have a word or two with you in private. ¡°Now. Being desired to sit down. translating the word yokel for the benefit of the ladies. he put his hat on the floor. will you?¡± said the stouter man. Duff?¡± ¡°Certainly not. that this attempt was not made by a countryman?¡± said Mr. till I see the work. and taking a chair.

what is this. ¡°Now. Blathers and Duff. and Messrs. I suppose!¡± ¡°Certainly. but it¡¯s nonsense¡ªsheer absurdity. You would like. went into the little room at the end of the passage and looked out at the window. ¡°Nothing at all. ¡°One of the frightened servants chose to take it into his head. as if they were a pair of castanets.¡± observed Blathers. to see the place where the thieves made their attempt. Giles. That¡¯s the usual way of doing business.¡± Lights were then procured. and after that. and after that. ¡°I know his whole history.¡± ¡°Very easy disposed of.Oliver Twist 317 ¡°That¡¯s it. first. with a nervous glance at the two ladies. master. and after that.¡± replied the doctor.¡± replied Blathers. and examine the servants afterwards. ¡°What he says is quite correct. if it is. is it?¡± ¡°All. Brittles. had a candle handed out to inspect the shutter with. nodding his head in a confirmatory way. ¡°Who is the boy? What account does he give of himself? Where did he come from? He didn¡¯t drop out of the clouds. ¡°This is all about the robbery. and looked in at the window. and everybody else in short. did he. a pitchfork to Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . that he had something to do with this attempt to break into the house. master?¡± ¡°Of course not. attended by the native constable. and afterwards went round by way of the lawn. but we can talk about that presently.¡± replied the doctor. about this here boy that the servants are atalking on?¡± said Blathers.¡± rejoined Mr. ¡°We had better inspect the premises first. a lantern to trace the footsteps with.¡± replied the doctor.¡± remarked Duff. Blathers. and playing carelessly with the handcuffs.

¡± ¡°You believe it. making a halt. my pretty cross-examiner. after all. my dear young lady. they would say? A runaway. a consultation of great doctors on the knottiest point in medicine.¡± he said. Judged by mere worldly considerations and probabilities. in not more than one important respect. This consummation being arrived at. ¡°I don¡¯t think it would exonerate him. and in not more than a dozen the last.¡± ¡°I doubt it. surely?¡± interrupted Rose. contradicting each other. his story is a very doubtful one. will be sufficient to exonerate him.¡± said Rose. This done. the doctor walked up and down the next room in a very uneasy state.¡± replied the doctor. ¡°Because. ¡°Upon my word. and held a long council together. and Mrs.¡± said the doctor. the first time. with anxious faces. strange as it is. for secrecy and solemnity. ¡°I hardly know what to do.¡± rejoined the doctor. viewed with their eyes. and Mr. Maylie and Rose looked on. ¡°but I don¡¯t think it is exactly the tale for a practised police-officer. ¡°the poor child¡¯s story. compared with which. Meanwhile. which they performed some six times over. would be mere child¡¯s play.Oliver Twist 318 poke the bushes with. shaking his head. Giles and Brittles were put through a melodramatic representation of their share in the previous night¡¯s adventures.¡± ¡°Surely. nevertheless. amidst the breathless interest of all beholders they came in again. Blathers and Duff cleared the room. there are many ugly points Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . What is he.¡± ¡°Why not?¡± demanded Rose. and perhaps I may be an old fool for doing so. ¡°I believe it. either with them. ¡°because. after a great number of very rapid turns. or with legal functionaries of a higher grade. faithfully repeated to these men.

you see. and is put through a window to rob a house. the doctor put his hands into his pockets. he can only prove the parts that look ill. and none of those that look well. and of the situation Of which he has not the remotest idea. Confound the fellows. by men who seem to have taken a violent fancy to him. to a place which he cannot describe or point out. ¡°The more I think of it. I am certain it will not be Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and so do the very thing that would set him all to rights. he has been the companion of thieves for some time past. forcibly. ¡°but still I do not see anything in it. and then. and that is. and shoots him! As if on purpose to prevent his doing any good for himself! Don¡¯t you see all this?¡± ¡°I see it. on a charge of picking a gentleman¡¯s pocket. from that gentleman¡¯s house.Oliver Twist 319 about it. and will take nothing for granted. of course. to criminate the poor child. and walked up and down the room with even greater rapidity than before.¡± ¡°No.¡± Having given vent to this result of experience. whether he will or no.¡± replied Rose. he has been taken away. more than one side of any question. He is brought down to Chertsey.¡± said the doctor. ¡°of course not! Bless the bright eyes of your sex! They never see. smiling at the doctor¡¯s impetuosity. the one which first presents itself to them. a blundering dog of a half-bred butler. On his own showing. always. there rushes into the way. they will have the why and the wherefore. whether for good or bad. ¡°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.¡± replied the doctor. just at the very moment when he is going to alarm the inmates. he had been carried to a police-office.

¡± ¡°And what the devil¡¯s a put-up thing?¡± demanded the doctor impatiently. for all that.¡± replied Blathers.¡± ¡°Nobody suspected them. ¡°This warn¡¯t a put-up thing. and is in no condition to be talked to any more.Oliver Twist 320 believed. Maylie.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . turning to them.¡± said Mrs. ¡°Wery likely not. with your benevolent plan of rescuing him from misery. entering the room. sitting down kind of desperate calmness.¡± said Duff. ¡°We find it was a town hand. followed by his colleague. for the world. before he said any more. ¡°that we must try and carry it a bold face. Maylie. in this case.¡± said Blathers. ¡°for the style of work is first-rate.¡± ¡°All I know is.¡± said Mr. Losberne. must of ours. continuing his report. and that must be our The boy has strong symptoms of fever upon him. and even if they can do nothing to him in the end. master.¡± ¡°More likely on that wery account. We make the best of it. ladies. it is no fault Come in!¡± with a off with excuse. ¡°Dear. dear! why did they send for these people?¡± ¡°Why. indeed!¡± exclaimed Mrs. ¡°when the servants is in it. materially. that¡¯s one comfort. must interfere. ma¡¯am. ¡°but they might have been in it. but had a contempt for the doctor¡¯s. ¡°I would not have had them here.¡± ¡°Oh! what is to be done?¡± cried Rose. ¡°We call it a put-up robbery. at last. and giving publicity to all the doubts that will be cast upon it. and if bad be the best.¡± said Blathers. as if he pitied their ignorance. ¡°Well. The object is a good one. and making the door fast.¡± said Blathers. still the dragging it forward.

this sort of duty. ladies. and I always find that spirits comes home warmer to the feelings. Mrs. ¡°Ah!¡± said Mr. master. that was. and placing it in front of his chest. That¡¯s all to be said at present. While it was being conveyed to her.¡± ¡°What shall it be?¡± asked the doctor. that¡¯s plain from the size of the window.Oliver Twist 321 ¡°Wery pretty indeed. Blathers. don¡¯t put yourself out of the way. Blathers. as if some new thought had occurred to him. ¡°that was done by Conkey Chickweed. Maylie. if it¡¯s all the same. Duff. ¡°and they had a boy with ¡¯em. thank you. ¡°Oh! to be sure!¡± exclaimed Rose eagerly.¡± ¡°Perhaps they will take something to drink first. who received it very graciously. if you please. miss. ¡°That was something in this way. in an undertone. Maylie?¡± said the doctor. ma¡¯am. drawing his coat-sleeve across his mouth. not holding his wineglass by the stem. ¡°A little drop of spirits. ¡°I have seen a good many pieces of business like this. ¡°It¡¯s a cold ride from London. Anythink that¡¯s handy. warn¡¯t it?¡± rejoined Mr. the doctor slipped out of the room.¡± ¡°Why.¡± continued Blathers. it is. following the young lady to the sideboard.¡± This interesting communication was addressed to Mrs.¡± ¡°That crack down in the back lane at Edmonton. ¡°You shall have it immediately. if you will. ¡°There was two of ¡¯em in it. ¡°it¡¯s dry work.¡± remarked Duff.¡± replied Blathers. We¡¯ll see this lad that you¡¯ve got upstairs at once. in my time. his face brightening. miss!¡± said Blathers.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Blathers. assisting his colleague¡¯s memory. but grasping the bottom between the thumb and forefinger of his left hand. on our accounts.¡± said Mr.

and. Do you mind that time when Conkey was robbed of his money. I tell you. don¡¯t she?¡± demanded Mr. miss. though? What a start that was! Better than any novel-book I ever see!¡± ¡°What was that?¡± inquired Rose. he fired a blunderbuss arter him. which was only a storey high. and after committing the robbery. directly. who had concealed himself under the bed. anxious to encourage any symptoms of good-humour in the unwelcome visitors. and darting out of bed. and one night he was robbed of three hundred and twenty-seven guineas in a canvas bag. that hardly anybody would have been down upon. Blathers. However. and when they came to look about ¡¯em. and that. the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . They set up a hue-and-cry. ¡°It was the Family Pet. you are. ¡°It was a robbery.¡± said Blathers. ¡°Always interrupting. by a tall man with a black patch over his eye. ¡°I know better. partner! This here Conkey Chickweed. consequently. too. for there was traces of blood. and he had a cellar. jumped slap out of window. and badger-drawing. But Conkey was quick. and roused the neighbourhood.¡± interposed Duff. He was wery quick about it. Blathers. ¡°This here Conkey Chickweed¡ª¡± ¡°Conkey means Nosey. found that Conkey had hit the robber. and there they lost ¡¯em.Oliver Twist 322 ¡°You always gave that to him. Conkey hadn¡¯t any more to do with it than I had. all the way to some palings a good distance off.¡± replied Duff. ma¡¯am. for I¡¯ve seen ¡¯em often. that was stole out of his bedroom in the dead of night. and a wery intellectual manner the sports was conducted in. he had made off with the blunt. He warn¡¯t one of the family at that time. for he was woke by the noise. ¡°Of course the lady knows that. miss.¡± ¡°Get out!¡± retorted Mr. kept a public-house over Battlebridge way. where a good many young lords went to see cock-fighting.

all the time.¡¯ ¡®Why didn¡¯t you up and collar him!¡¯ says Spyers. for three or four days. after a deal of talk. One day he come up to the office. and there he sees Chickweed. rings the bell. He was smoking his pipe here. in case he should have to stop a day or two. a-pulling his hair off in such a desperate manner that many people was afraid he might be going to make away with himself. Spyers loses sight of him a minute as he turns a corner. Spyers. that you might have fractured my skull with a toothpick. ¡®I¡¯ve lost him again!¡¯ It was a remarkable Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡®Which is the man?¡¯ ¡®D¡ª me!¡¯ says Chickweed. when all of a sudden Chickweed roars out. in his pocket. at one of the public-house windows behind the little red curtain with his hat on. ¡®but we¡¯re sure to have him.¡¯ said Chickweed. sees a little crowd. licensed witler.¡¯ Spyers no sooner heard this. and all manner of benefits and subscriptions. ¡®pass my house yesterday morning. and went up and down the streets. and tells him to go and assist Mr. late at night. ¡®I was so struck all of a heap. everybody roars out. Chickweed. who. like mad. Chickweed in apprehending the man as robbed his house. who was in a wery low state of mind about his loss. and orders Jem Spyers in (Jem was a active officer). at a moment¡¯s notice. on goes Chickweed. a-tearing down the street full cry. and away he goes. and sets himself down. ¡®I see him. dives in. shoots round. all in a hurry and had a private interview with the magistrate. all ready to bolt out. ¡®Thieves!¡¯ and Chickweed himself keeps on shouting. than he put some clean linen and a comb. Away goes Spyers.¡¯ says the poor man. was got up for the poor man. appeared in the Gazette among the other bankrupts. for between ten and eleven o¡¯clock at night he passed again. ¡®Here he is! Stop thief! Murder!¡¯ Jem Spyers dashes out. and I don¡¯t know what all.Oliver Twist 323 name of Mr. round turns the people.

and clinking the handcuffs together. ¡°Jem Spyers. and listened to everything without seeming to. where is the villain?¡¯ ¡®Come!¡¯ said Spyers. Next morning Spyers took his old place. and after twice as long a run as the yesterday¡¯s one. with Chickweed half-way down the street ahead of him. ¡®Oh. for a tall man with a black patch over his eyes.¡¯ ¡®Have you?¡¯ said Chickweed. ¡®Chickweed. so they went back to the public-house. and the very moment he did so. At last. he couldn¡¯t help shutting ¡¯em. and looked out. he heard Chickweed a-roaring out. if you please. offering him a pinch of snuff. and a good bit of money he had made by it. that poor Mr. ¡°Very curious. to ease ¡¯em a minute. ¡°for a long time said nothing at all. and the other half. But one morning. I¡¯ve found out who done this here robbery. ¡®none of that gammon! You did it yourself. from behind the curtain. my dear Spyers. once or twice more. ¡°Now.Oliver Twist 324 occurrence. who had returned to the room shortly after the commencement of the story. which showed he understood his business. ¡®Here he is!¡¯ Off he starts once more. Blathers. and taking out his snuff-box.¡± ¡°What did Jem Spyers say?¡± inquired the doctor. Chickweed had been robbed by the devil. till his own two eyes ached again.¡¯ So he had. and nobody would never have found it out.¡± observed the doctor. Chickweed had gone mad with grief. if he hadn¡¯t been so precious anxious to keep up appearances. that¡¯s more!¡± said Mr. you can walk upstairs. who was playing tricks with him arterwards. till onehalf the neighbours gave out that Mr. says.¡± resumed the officer. he walked into the bar. my dear Spyers. only let me have wengeance. but he warn¡¯t to be seen nowhere.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . putting down his wine-glass. indeed. the man¡¯s lost again! This was done. too. and I shall die contented! Oh.

What-d¡¯ye-call-him¡¯s grounds. Losberne. with a lighted candle. comes to the house for assistance this morning. being accidentally wounded by a spring-gun in some boyish trespass on Mr. who had placed his life in considerable danger. and looked at the strangers without at all understanding what was going forward¡ª in fact. The bewildered butler gazed from them towards Oliver. ¡°I am sure I thought it was the boy. I am not of an inhuman disposition. Giles preceding the party.¡± returned Blathers. as I can professionally certify.¡± ¡°Thought it was what boy?¡± inquired the senior officer. with a most ludicrous mixture of fear and perplexity. but with great vehemence notwithstanding. by that ingenious gentleman with the candle in his hand. Giles. as he was thus recommended to their notice. ¡°You don¡¯t mean to deny that. he managed to sit up in bed for a minute or so. and from Oliver towards Mr. I suppose?¡± said the doctor. sir!¡± replied Giles. ¡°this is the lad. laying Oliver gently down again. speaking softly. or I wouldn¡¯t have meddled with him. Mr. the two officers ascended to Oliver¡¯s bedroom. Losberne. or what had been passing.Oliver Twist 325 ¡°If you please.¡± Messrs. who. ¡°The housebreaker¡¯s boy. ¡°This. Blathers and Duff looked at Mr. sir. Oliver had been dozing. Being assisted by the doctor.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . at the back here.¡± answered Giles. Losberne. sir. ¡°They¡ªthey certainly had a boy. Closely following Mr. and is immediately laid hold of and maltreated.¡± said Mr. sir. ¡°I was all done for the¡ªfor the best. but looked worse. and was more feverish than he had appeared yet. without seeming to recollect where he was.

and that Mr. ¡°I don¡¯t think it is the boy. where Mr. being called in. Brittles. I really don¡¯t know.Oliver Twist 326 ¡°Well? Do you think so now?¡± inquired Blathers. they would perhaps like to step into the next room. and have Brittles before them.¡± replied poor Giles. Giles had. looking vacantly at his questioner. with a rueful countenance. I¡¯m almost certain that it isn¡¯t. Losberne had been feeling the patient¡¯s pulse during this short dialogue. ¡°Think it¡¯s the same boy. that if the officers had any doubts upon the subject. Mr. and remarked. ¡°I don¡¯t know. You know it can¡¯t be. Giles had said he was. if he were put before him that instant. with supreme contempt.¡± said Giles. but the fact of his own strong mystification. Blathers. involved himself and his respected superior in such a wonderful maze of fresh contradictions and impossibilities.¡± ¡°What do you think?¡± asked Mr. except.¡± ¡°Has this man been a-drinking. because Mr. Giles. admitted in the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . his declarations that he shouldn¡¯t know the real boy. turning to the doctor. indeed. stupid-head?¡± rejoined Blathers impatiently. as tended to throw no particular light on anything. but he now rose from the chair by the bedside. addressing Mr. ¡°Think what now?¡± replied Giles. that he had only taken Oliver to be he. sir?¡± inquired Blathers. indeed. five minutes previously. Acting upon this suggestion. ¡°I couldn¡¯t swear to him. they adjourned to a neighbouring apartment. ¡°I don¡¯t know what to think. ¡°What a precious muddle-headed chap you are!¡± said Duff.

it turned out to have no more destructive loading than gunpowder and brown paper¡ªa discovery which made a considerable impression on everybody but the doctor. Giles had really hit anybody. which. however. the question was then raised. Upon no one. held to be no satisfactory proof. however. and is. who had drawn the ball about ten minutes before. left the Chertsey constable in the house. without troubling themselves very much about Oliver. who had been apprehended overnight under suspicious circumstances. Among other ingenious surmises. that he began to be very much afraid he had been a little too hasty. did it make a greater impression than on Mr. resolving themselves. on investigation. the officers. that two men and a boy were in the cage at Kingston. in the merciful eye of the English law. and to Kingston Messrs. is only punishable by imprisonment. Messrs. promising to return next morning. into the one fact. and have therefore rendered themselves liable to the punishment of death. With the next morning there came a rumour. that the sleeper. that they had been discovered sleeping under a haystack. whether Mr. in the absence of all other evidence. Finally. eagerly caught at this new idea.Oliver Twist 327 kitchen. and upon examination of the fellow-pistol to that which he had fired. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Blathers and Duff came back again. although a great crime. and favoured it to the utmost. after labouring. Blathers and Duff journeyed accordingly. and its comprehensive love of all the king¡¯s subjects. under the fear of having mortally wounded a fellow-creature. and took up their rest for that night in the town. or sleepers. who. The suspicious circumstances. for some hours. as wise as they went. have committed burglary accompanied with violence. Giles himself.

being rewarded with a couple of guineas. sank into their souls. and the former being equally disposed to concede the full merit of it to the great Mr. after some more examination.Oliver Twist 328 In short. the latter gentleman on a mature consideration of all the circumstances. Losberne for Oliver¡¯s appearance if he should ever be called upon. Maylie. Meanwhile. returned to town with divided opinions on the subject of their expedition. inclining to the belief that the burglarious attempt had originated with the Family Pet. and Blathers and Duff. Conkey Chickweed. and the kind-hearted Mr. diffusing peace and happiness Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . a neighbouring magistrate was readily induced to take the joint bail of Mrs. and a great deal more conversation. Rose. gushing from hearts overcharged with gratitude. If fervent prayers. Oliver gradually throve and prospered under the united care of Mrs. Maylie and Mr. what prayers are?¡ªthe blessings which the orphan child called down upon them. Losberne. be heard in Heaven¡ªand if they be not.

and how ardently he hoped that when he grew strong and well again. and reduced him sadly. We are going into the country. only something which would let them see the love and duty with which his breast was full. how deeply he felt the goodness of the two sweet ladies. at length. We will employ you in a hundred ways. ¡°Poor fellow!¡± said Rose. his exposure to the wet and cold had brought on fever and ague. But. if I could but work Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . however slight. The quiet place. by slow degrees. which would prove to them that their gentle kindness had not been cast away. if you will. O liver¡¯s ailings were neither slight nor few. he could do something to show his gratitude. ¡°you shall have many opportunities of serving us. to get better. something. and all the pleasures and beauties of spring. or death. he began. in a few tearful words. and to be able to say sometimes. which hung about him for many weeks. when you can bear the trouble. will restore you in a few days. when Oliver had been one day feebly endeavouring to utter the words of thankfulness that rose to his pale lips.¡± ¡°The trouble!¡± cried Oliver. In addition to the pain and delay attendant on a broken limb. ¡°Oh! dear lady. was eager to serve them with his whole heart and soul. the pure air.Oliver Twist 329 Chapter 32 Of The Happy Life Oliver Began To Lead With His Kind Friends. but that the poor boy whom their charity had rescued from misery. and my aunt intends that you shall accompany us.

¡°Oh. if I could only give you pleasure by watering your flowers. yes!¡± replied Oliver eagerly. ¡°how kind of you to say so!¡± ¡°You will make me happier than I can tell you. ¡°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.¡± replied the young lady. would be an unspeakable pleasure to me. ¡°and Mr. Do you understand me?¡± she inquired. as I told you before.¡± rejoined Oliver.¡± rejoined Oliver¡¯s benefactress. he will carry you to see them. his face brightening with pleasure.¡± ¡°I am sure they would. and the dear old nurse. ¡°for. Losberne has already been kind enough to promise that when you are well enough to bear the journey. watching Oliver¡¯s thoughtful face. but to know that the object of her goodness and compassion was sincerely grateful and attached. they would be pleased. in consequence. ma¡¯am. or running up and down the whole day long. ¡°If they knew how happy I am. yes. that you promise now.¡± ¡°Has he.Oliver Twist 330 for you. smiling. who took so much care of me before. I am sure. ¡°I don¡¯t know what I shall do for joy when I see their kind faces once again!¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and if you only take half the trouble to please us. ma¡¯am?¡± cried Oliver. to make you happy. we shall employ you in a hundred ways. ma¡¯am!¡± cried Oliver. ¡°but I was thinking that I am ungrateful now. you will make me very happy indeed. what would I give to do it!¡± ¡°You shall give nothing at all.¡± ¡°Happy. ¡°To the kind gentleman. or watching your birds.¡± said Miss Maylie. would delight me more than you can well imagine.¡± ¡°To whom?¡± inquired the young lady.

my man. ¡°A good deal. eh?¡± ¡°The thieves¡ªthe house they took me to!¡± whispered Oliver. pointing out of the carriage window. too. and. Do you hear me?¡± ¡°I hear you. Where¡¯s Sikes. Robbery is the matter. before the coachman could dismount from his box. Pull up here. ¡°What¡¯s the matter with the boy?¡± cried the doctor.¡± ¡°There¡¯ll be murder the matter. as if in excess of amazement and Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . began kicking at the door like a madman. from the very impetus of his last kick. sir. ¡°Where¡¯s¡ªconfound the fellow. Maylie. ¡°Do you see anything¡ªhear anything¡ªfeel anything¡ª eh?¡± ¡°That. ugly. well. ¡°The devil it is!¡± cried the doctor. running down to the deserted tenement.¡± replied the humpbacked man. what¡¯s his rascally name¡ªSikes. giving his captive a hearty shake. ¡°Hallo!¡± said a little. coolly. Losberne set out. humpbacked man. without a moment¡¯s reflection. nearly fell into the passage.¡± cried the doctor. all in a bustle. what of it? Stop.Oliver Twist 331 In a short time Oliver was sufficiently recovered to undergo the fatigue of this expedition. that¡¯s it. and uttered a loud exclamation. One morning he and Mr. in a little carriage which belonged to Mrs.¡± said the doctor. you thief?¡± The humpbacked man stared. ¡°if you don¡¯t take your hands off. collaring him. opening the door so suddenly. by some means or other. coachman. ¡°What of the house. accordingly. there! let me out!¡± But. When they came to Chertsey Bridge. ¡°What¡¯s the matter here?¡± ¡°Matter!¡± exclaimed the other. as usual. he had tumbled out of the coach. ¡°Hallo. Oliver turned very pale. that the doctor. ¡°That house!¡± ¡°Yes.¡± cried Oliver.

you shall pay for this. some day.¡± muttered the doctor to himself. and returned to the carriage. dextrously. Losberne. without a word of parley. looking into the other parlour. my friend. uttering the wildest Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . I¡¯m here. You shall pay for this. in this violent way? Do you want to rob me. in a chariot and pair. before I do you a mischief? Curse you!¡± ¡°As soon as I think proper. He looked anxiously round. to be scared by you. ¡°what do you mean by coming into my house. then?¡± demanded the hunchback. the doctor had passed into the parlour. and danced upon the ground. ¡°If you ever want me.¡± said Mr. I haven¡¯t lived here mad and all alone. and shut yourself up again. ¡°the boy must have made a mistake. not a vestige of anything. The man followed to the chariot door.¡± ¡°Will you?¡± sneered the ill-favoured cripple. ¡°I shall find you out. then. growled forth a volley of horrid oaths. and retired into the house. this. you ridiculous old vampire?¡± said the irritable doctor. which. animate or inanimate. ¡°Will you take yourself off.¡± And so saying. ¡°What do you want. answered Oliver¡¯s description? ¡°Now!¡± said the humpbacked man. or to murder me? Which is it?¡± ¡°Did you ever know a man come out to do either. as if wild with rage. from the doctor¡¯s grasp. the misshapen little demon set up a yell. not an article of furniture. bore no resemblance whatever to Oliver¡¯s account of it. Here! Put that in your pocket. for five-andtwenty years. however. who had watched him keenly. Before he could shut the door. like the first.¡± With these words he flung the hunchback a piece of money.Oliver Twist 332 indignation. ¡°Stupid enough. twisting himself. not even the position of the cupboards.

and eyed Oliver for an instant with a glance so sharp and fierce. sir. that so far from being involved in any peculiar troubles or misfortunes. he looked into the carriage. I see no good that I should have done. they could see him some distance behind. Losberne turned to speak to the driver.¡± said the doctor again. and an unavoidable statement of the manner in which I have hushed up this business. single-handed? And if I had had assistance. after a further silence of some minutes. and it was no bad compliment to the nature of the impulses which governed him. He continued to utter the most fearful imprecations. he could not forget it for months afterwards. and tearing his hair. he was a little out of temper. I am always involving myself in some scrape or other. beating his feet upon the ground. Oliver?¡± ¡°No. If the truth must be told. It might have done me good.¡± ¡°An ass. in transports of real or pretended rage. but as Mr. what could I have done.Oliver Twist 333 imprecations and curses all the way. though. for a minute or two. at being disappointed in procuring Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . That would have served me right. ¡°Even if it had been the right place. by acting on impulse. ¡°I am an ass!¡± said the doctor. that. the fact was that the excellent doctor had never acted upon anything but impulse all through his life. waking or sleeping.¡± Now. except leading to my own exposure. he had the warmest respect and esteem of all who knew him. and when they were once more on their way. and at the same time so furious and vindictive.¡± ¡°Then don¡¯t forget it another time. until the driver had resumed his seat. after a long silence. and the right fellows had been there. ¡°Did you know that before.

Brownlow. ¡°The white house. come!¡± said the good doctor. ¡°Now. however. from that time forth. It went on a few paces. pointing eagerly out of the window. very good to me. the next door. which house is it?¡± inquired Mr. they were enabled to drive straight thither. ¡°You will see them directly. and they will be overjoyed to find you safe and well. When the coach turned into it. Losberne. with tears of happy expectation coursing down his face. As Oliver knew the name of the street in which Mr. do you know?¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Oh! make haste! Pray make haste! I feel as if I should die. It stopped. on the very first occasion on which he had a chance of obtaining any. as they had ever been.Oliver Twist 334 corroborative evidence of Oliver¡¯s story. my boy. Losberne. ¡°To Let. so very. that he could scarcely draw his breath. it makes me tremble so. patting him on the shoulder. ¡°What has become of Mr.¡± ¡°Knock at the next door. Oliver looked up at the windows. his heart beat so violently. who used to live in the adjoining house. he made up his mind to attach full credence to them.¡± cried Mr.¡± The coach rolled on. and finding that Oliver¡¯s replies to his questions were still as straightforward and consistent. taking Oliver¡¯s arm in his. Brownlow resided. ¡°They were so good to me. Alas! the white house was empty and there was a bill in the window. No. ¡°That! That!¡± replied Oliver.¡± ¡°Come. that was the wrong house. and stopped again.¡± ¡°Oh! I hope so!¡± cried Oliver. He soon came round again. and still delivered with as much apparent sincerity and truth.

and said.¡± ¡°Then turn towards home again. Brownlow had sold off his goods.¡± said Mr. ¡°The old gentleman. the idea that they should have gone Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Losberne. ¡°Yes. too?¡± inquired Mr. straight!¡± And in obedience to the doctor¡¯s impulse. under many of his recent trials. sir?¡± said Oliver. this is disappointment enough for one day. sir. but would go and inquire.¡± said the doctor. ¡°Quite enough for both of us. sir! Do see him!¡± ¡°My poor boy. Brownlow¡¯s. the housekeeper. 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 don¡¯t stop to bait the horses. too. after a moment¡¯s pause. we shall certainly find that he is dead. for he had pleased himself. This bitter disappointment caused Oliver much sorrow and grief. pray. home again. and a gentleman who was a friend of Mr. If we go to the book-stall keeper¡¯s. Losberne to the driver. many times during his illness.Oliver Twist 335 The servant did not know. and sustained him. Oliver clasped his hands. all went together. till you get out of this confounded London!¡± ¡°The book-stall keeper. and gone to the West Indies. She presently returned. ¡°Has his housekeeper gone. had buoyed him up. or run away.¡± replied the servant. or has set his house on fire. and explaining how he had been forced away. ¡°I know the way there. and sank feebly backward. that Mr. Brownlow and Mrs. and in bewailing his cruel separation from them. See him. and now. The hope of eventually clearing himself with them. home they went. six weeks before. with thinking of all that Mr. even in the midst of his happiness. Bedwin would say to him. No.

to the banker¡¯s. in the behaviour of his benefactors. and who had never wished for change. and. and who have come almost to love each brick and stone that formed the narrow boundaries of their daily walks. and hill. the peace of mind and soft tranquillity. and plain. from day to day. even they. and took Oliver with them. have seemed to pass at once into a new state of being. and glistening water. and leaving Giles and another servant in care of the house. however. to some green sunny spot. they departed to a cottage at some distance in the country. After another fortnight. The circumstance occasioned no alteration. and every tree and flower was putting forth its young leaves and rich blossoms. that a foretaste of Heaven itself has soothed their quick Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . pent-up streets. the sickly boy felt in the balmy air.Oliver Twist 336 so far. which had so excited Fagin¡¯s cupidity. Crawling forth. 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. through lives of toil. they made preparations for quitting the house at Chertsey. Who can describe the pleasure and delight. have been known to yearn at last for one short glimpse of Nature¡¯s face. when the fine warm weather had fairly begun. and carry their own freshness deep into their jaded hearts! Men who have lived in crowded. and among the green hills and rich woods. and carried with them the belief that he was an impostor and robber¡ªa belief which might remain uncontradicted to his dying day¡ªwas almost more than he could bear. carried far from the scenes of their old pains and pleasures. they have had such memories wakened up within them by the sight of sky. Sending the plate. for some months. men. to whom custom has indeed been second nature. with the hand of death upon them.

would sometimes sit hum down and sob unseen. are not of this world. the ivy crept round the trunks of the trees. The days were peaceful and serene. whose days had been spent among squalid crowds. which calls up solemn thoughts of distant times to come. but.Oliver Twist 337 decline. was a little churchyard. thinking of the wretched grave in which his mother lay. covered with fresh turf and moss. not crowded with tall. sadly. and in the midst of noise and brawling. Oliver often wandered here. nothing but pleasant and happy thoughts. Every morning he went to a whiteCharles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and bends down pride and worldliness beneath it. or associating with wretched men. no languishing in a wretched prison. may purify our thoughts. Hard by. nor of its thoughts and hopes. The rose and honeysuckle clung to the cottage walls. seemed to enter on a new existence there. It was a happy time. the nights brought with them neither fear nor care. It was a lovely spot to which they repaired. and the garden flowers perfumed the air with delicious odours. in some remote and distant time. in the least reflective mind. faded from their dim and feeble light! The memories which peaceful country scenes call up. beneath which. there lingers. and would weep for her. but full of humble mounds. when he raised his eyes to the deep sky overhead. and they have sunk into their tombs. as peacefully as the sun whose setting they watched from their lonely chamber window but a few hours before. a vague and half-formed consciousness of having held such feelings long before. and bear down before it old enmity and hatred. Their gentle influence may teach us how to weave fresh garlands for the graves of those we loved. Oliver. but beneath all this. the old people of the village lay at rest. and. unsightly gravestones. he would cease to think of her as lying in the ground. but without pain.

who taught him to read better. Maylie and Rose. listening to the sweet music. and at this. and he with them. and sounded more musical (to Oliver¡¯s ears at Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . some old song which it pleased her aunt to hear. and listen whilst the young lady read. and so happy if they wanted a flower that he could climb to reach. and they returned home. When it became quite dark. who lived near the little church. The poor people were so neat and clean and knelt so reverently in prayer. in a low and gentle voice. how differently the day was spent. he would walk with Mrs. And when Sunday came. and to write. until it grew too dark to see the letters. their assembling there together. There would be no candles lighted at such times as these. in a little room which looked into the garden. listening with such pleasure to all they said. till evening came slowly on. which he could have done. and play some pleasant air. from any way in which he had ever spent it yet! and how happily too. like all the other days in that most happy time! There was the little church. that Oliver could never try enough to please him. or perhaps sit near them. in the morning. in a perfect rapture. the young lady would sit down to a piano. He had his own lesson for the next day to prepare. and filling the homely building with its fragrance. or sing. in some shady place. when the ladies would walk out again. the birds singing without. and hear them talk of books. or had forgotten anything he could run to fetch. and took such pains. he would work hard. with the green leaves fluttering at the windows. not a tedious duty. and the sweet-smelling air stealing in at the low porch.Oliver Twist 338 headed old gentleman. and though the singing might be rude. and Oliver would sit by one of the windows. it was real. that it seemed a pleasure. that he could never be quick enough about it. and who spoke so kindly. Then.

With the purest and most amiable generosity on one side. there was rare cricketplaying. and in the performance of which duty he felt more proud and pleased. there were the walks as usual. with which he would return laden. far and wide. might have been unmingled happiness. or about the plants. failing that. until Miss Rose made her appearance. and plundering the hedges. to the best advantage. and which. in Oliver¡¯s. in the life of the most blessed and favoured of mortals. In the morning. to which Oliver (who had studied this science also. by the end of that short time.Oliver Twist 339 least) than any he had ever heard in church before. and which it took great care and consideration to arrange. and many calls at the clean houses of the labouring men. on the green. there was usually some little commission of charity to execute in the village. failing that. for nosegays of wild flowers. Then. there was always something to do in the garden. So three months glided away. Oliver Twist had become Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . or. and the truest. three months which. would decorate the cages. who was a gardener by trade) applied himself with hearty goodwill. for the embellishment of the breakfast-table. too. when there were a thousand commendations to be bestowed on all he had done. soul-felt gratitude on the other. with which Oliver. in the most approved taste. Oliver read a chapter or two from the Bible. who had been studying the subject under the able tuition of the village clerk. it is no wonder that. Oliver would be afoot by six o¡¯clock. were true felicity. under the same master. sometimes. or. roaming the fields. When the birds were made all spruce and smart for the day. warmest. There was fresh groundsel. home. and at night. which he had been studying all the week. for Miss Maylie¡¯s birds. than if he had been the clergyman himself.

and attachment to. himself. and that the fervent attachment of his young and sensitive heart. was repaid by their pride in. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist 340 completely domesticated with the old lady and her niece.

all things were glad and flourishing. which had looked shrunken and bare in the earlier months. Experiences A Sudden Check. for the day had been unusually warm. and shed her richest perfumes abroad. One beautiful night. which Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and there was a brilliant moon. steeped in sunshine. and when he was dependent for every slight attention and comfort on those who tended him. had now burst into strong life and health. The earth had donned her mantle of brightest green. converted open and naked spots into choice nooks. the same quiet life went on at the little cottage. If the village had been beautiful at first it was now in the full glow and luxuriance of its richness. affectionate creature that he had been when pain and suffering had wasted his strength. Oliver had long since grown stout and healthy. they had taken a longer walk than was customary with them. though they do in the feelings of a great many people. and summer came. and stretching forth their green arms over the thirsty ground. attached. S pring flew swiftly by. which lay stretched beyond. but health or sickness made no difference in his warm feelings to those about him. where was a deep and pleasant shade from which to look upon the wide prospect. The great trees. and the same cheerful serenity prevailed among its inmates. It was the prime and vigour of the year.Oliver Twist 341 Chapter 33 Wherein The Happiness Of Oliver And His Friends. He was still the same gentle. Still. and a light wind had sprung up.

The young lady merely throwing off her simple bonnet. but played a little quicker. they heard a sound as if she were weeping.¡± ¡°I would not alarm you if I could avoid it. my love!¡± cried Mrs. she fell into a low and very solemn air. strove to play some livelier tune. Covering her face with her hands. and. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . pray!¡± Oliver hastened to comply with her request. nothing. and gave vent to the tears which she was now unable to repress. ¡°My child!¡± said the elderly lady. Close the window. as she played it. no! Oh. sat down to the piano as usual. but her fingers dropped powerless on the keys. I can¡¯t describe it. too. aunt. I fear I am ill. Maylie. ¡°but indeed I have tried very hard. and they had walked on. they returned more slowly home. but I feel¡ª¡± ¡°Not ill. while she spoke. ¡°Rose. The young lady. what distresses you?¡± ¡°Nothing. making an effort to recover her cheerfulness. in merry conversation. shuddering as though some deadly chillness were passing over her. Rose made no reply.Oliver Twist 342 was unusually refreshing. my love?¡± interposed Mrs.¡± rejoined Rose. ¡°I don¡¯t know what it is. she sank upon a sofa. Maylie. Maylie being fatigued. ¡°Rose. until they had far exceeded their ordinary bounds. Rose had been in high spirits. After running abstractedly over the keys for a few minutes. ¡°I shall be better presently. not ill!¡± replied Rose. ¡°No. and bending over her. folding her arms about her. rising hastily. Mrs. and cannot help this. as though the words had roused her from some painful thoughts.¡± replied the young lady. my dear!¡± said the elder lady. ¡°What is this? In tears! My dear child. ¡°I never saw you so before.

and they so far succeeded. and so in truth. and it was suffused with a crimson flush. sitting herself down in a dark corner of the room. ¡°I hope.¡± She was. quite well. It may be time that I should meet with some misfortune. Oliver. but. and. remained silent for some time. ¡°of losing the dear girl who has so long been my comfort and happiness. I have been very happy with her for some years¡ªtoo happy. but it was changed. At length. and there was an anxious. observed that she was alarmed by these appearances. the hue of her countenance had changed to a marble whiteness. that when Rose was persuaded by her aunt to retire for the night.¡± said the old lady. ¡°that nothing is the matter? She don¡¯t look well tonight. when candles were brought.¡± said Oliver. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and she was once more deadly pale.Oliver Twist 343 aunt.¡± ¡°Oh! God forbid!¡± exclaimed Oliver hastily. was he. perhaps. assuring them that she felt certain she should rise in the morning. she was in better spirits. haggard look about the gentle face. when Mrs. indeed. who watched the old lady anxiously. like the shadow thrown by a passing cloud. Its expression had lost nothing of its beauty. Another minute. but I hope it is not this. seeing that she affected to make light of them. for. and a heavy wildness came over the soft blue eye. which it had never worn before. but¡ª¡± The old lady motioned to him not to speak. ¡°The heavy blow. they saw that in the very short time which had elapsed since their return home. Oliver. and appeared even in better health.¡± ¡°What?¡± inquired Oliver. Again this disappeared. in a trembling voice: ¡°I hope not. Maylie returned. he endeavoured to do the same. she said.

¡± said Oliver. and for her own. Maylie said these words. who are so good yourself. that. ¡°Two hours ago. poor boy. she was quite well. for I am old. Maylie. and have seen enough of illness and death to know the agony of separation from the objects of our love. earnestly. Maylie. God¡¯s will be done! I love her. I am sure¡ªcertain¡ªquite certain¡ªthat. for the sake of the dear young lady herself. that Oliver. that there is a brighter world than this. suppressing his own emotion. she would be more calm. despite of his efforts to the contrary. wringing her hands. My dear. to know that it is not always the youngest and best who are spared to those that love them. and such things teach us.¡± ¡°She is very ill now. ¡°Surely there is no danger of anything so dreadful?¡± said Oliver.¡± rejoined Mrs. she checked her lamentations as though by one effort. But you teach me my duty. ma¡¯am.¡± ¡°Hush!¡± said Mrs. ventured to remonstrate with her. but this should give us comfort in our sorrow. I had forgotten it for a moment. too.Oliver Twist 344 ¡°Amen to that. she will not die. I have seen enough. and what pleasure and comfort she gives to all about her. I am sure. ¡°and will be worse. laying her hand on Oliver¡¯s head. my child!¡± said the old lady. Oliver. and to beg. and for the sake of all she makes so happy. ¡°And consider. for Heaven is just. and Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°Oh! consider how young and good she is. for your sake. but I hope I may be pardoned. and He knows how well!¡± Oliver was surprised to see that as Mrs. ¡°You think like a child. as the tears forced themselves into his eyes. impressively. what should I do without her!¡± She gave way to such great grief. dear Rose! Oh. notwithstanding. and that the passage to it is speedy. Heaven will never let her die so young.

when their possessors so seldom know themselves? An anxious night ensued. to all external appearance. as she looked steadily into his face. and holding out his trembling hand for the letter.¡± said Mrs. Maylie was ever ready and collected. Losberne. I would not forward it. laying her finger on her lip. When morning came.Oliver Twist 345 drawing herself up as she spoke. Mrs. too. ma¡¯am?¡± inquired Oliver.¡± replied the old lady. and not give way to useless grief. impatient to execute his commission. steadily. became composed and firm. and thence despatched. or wait until I see how Rose goes on. Maylie¡¯s predictions were but too well verified.¡± Oliver could make no reply. ¡°this letter must be sent.¡± said Mrs. I know. and did not know what strong minds are capable of. Maylie. and that. unless I feared the worst. He was still more astonished to find that this firmness lasted. performing all the duties which devolved upon her. which is not more than four miles off. ¡°No. Oliver. Rose was in the first stage of a high and dangerous fever. Oliver glanced at it. But he was young. pausing to reflect. The people at the inn will undertake to do this. It must be carried to the markettown. How should he. Mrs. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . I scarcely know. with all possible expedition. ¡°Here is another letter. even cheerfully. giving it to him mechanically. ¡°We must be active. and saw that it was directed to Harry Maylie. but looked with anxiety to be gone at once.¡± ¡°Is it for Chertsey. by the footpath across the fields. under trying circumstances. and. Maylie. by an express on horseback. ¡°but whether to send it now. to Mr. straight to Chertsey. and I can trust to you to see it done. under all the care and watching which ensued.

and a yellow town-hall. at the greatest speed he could muster.Oliver Twist 346 Esquire. which took up ten good minutes more. and he started off. leaning against a pump by the stable door. to recover breath. and now emerging on an open field. a white hat. with all the wood about it painted green. and a man to be dressed. To this he hastened. and paid. she gave Oliver her purse. picking his teeth with a silver toothpick. a horse had to be saddled. after hearing all he had to say again. he could not make out. He spoke to a postboy. who. in a great heat. referred him to the hostler. which took a long time making out. nor did he stop once. ¡°I think not. where the mowers and hay-makers were busy at their work. who was a tall gentleman in a blue neckcloth. save now and then. who was dozing under the gateway. This gentleman walked with much deliberation into the bar to make out the bill. now almost hidden by the high corn on either side. for a few seconds.¡± With these words. taking it back. and down the little lanes which sometimes divided them. where. and after it was ready. ¡°I will wait until tomorrow. at some great lord¡¯s house in the country. referred him to the landlord. and covered with dust. without more delay. ma¡¯am?¡± asked Oliver. Meanwhile Oliver Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . on the little marketplace of the m arket-town. after hearing what he wanted. and¡ªwho. drab breeches. ¡°Shall it go. and looked about for the inn.¡± replied Mrs. Maylie. There were a white bank. Here he paused. as soon as it caught his eye. and boots with tops to match. Swiftly he ran across the fields. and in one corner there was a large house. looking up impatiently. before which was the sign of ¡°The George¡±. and a red brewery. until he came.

was out of the town. that he felt as if he could have jumped upon the horse himself. He was turning out of the gateway when he accidentally stumbled against a tall man wrapped in a cloak. but fell violently on the ground. ¡°I was in a great hurry to get home. you in a horrible passion. glaring at the boy with his large dark eyes. confused by the strange man¡¯s wild look.¡± ¡°Death!¡± muttered the man to himself. sir. the man set spurs to his horse. ¡°if I had might have been free of you in black death on your heart. ¡°Hah!¡± cried the man. and suddenly recoiling. ¡°What the devil¡¯s this?¡± ¡°I beg your pardon. and that no time had been lost. full tear. to come in my way!¡± ¡°I am sorry. who was at that moment coming out of the inn door.¡± stammered Oliver. As it was something to feel certain that assistance was sent for. as if with the intention of aiming a blow at him. and rattling over the uneven paving of the market-place. with a somewhat lighter heart. between only the courage to say the word. Curses on your head.Oliver Twist 347 was in such a desperate state of impatience and anxiety. Oliver hurried up the inn-yard. and didn¡¯t see you were coming. and galloping along the turnpike-road. and the little parcel having been handed up. ¡°Who would have thought it? Grind him to ashes! He¡¯d start up from a stone coffin. writhing and foaming Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . I a night. with many injunctions and entreaties for its speedy delivery.¡± said Oliver. and imp! What are you doing here?¡± The man shook his fist. to the next stage. his clenched teeth. He advanced towards Oliver. all was ready. in a couple of minutes. and galloped away. At length. as he uttered these words incoherently. fixing his eyes on Oliver. ¡°I hope I have not hurt you!¡± ¡°Rot you!¡± murmured the man.

there was enough to to drive all considerations of selfmemory. and after first seeing the patient. he turned his face homewards. to the staircase. was in constant attendance upon her. and recalling with a great deal of astonishment and some fear. in the agony and passion of his supplication for the life and health of the gentle creature. Oliver gazed. and stealing out. Maylie aside. the fearful. now.¡± How often did Oliver start from his bed that night. ¡°In fact. and then darted into the house for help. and pronounced her disorder to be one of a most alarming nature. who resided on the spot. had even then occurred! And what had been the fervency of all the prayers he had ever uttered. and complacency from his not dwell in his recollection long. before midnight she was delirious. ¡°it would be little short of a miracle. to make up for lost time. he had taken Mrs. running as fast as he could. Having seen him safely carried into the hotel.¡± he said. and cold drops of terror start upon his brow. acute suspense. the extraordinary behaviour of the person from whom he had just parted. with noiseless footsteps. listen for the slightest sound from the sick chamber! How often did a tremble shake his frame. The circumstance did however: for when he occupy his mind. when a sudden tramping of feet caused him to fear that something too dreadful to think of. A medical practitioner. Rose Maylie had rapidly grown worse. compared with those he poured forth. of standing idly Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . for a moment.Oliver Twist 348 in a fit. reached the cottage. at the struggle of the madman (for such he supposed him to be). if she recovered. who was tottering on the deep grave¡¯s verge! Oh! the suspense.

¡± Another morning. The sun shone brightly¡ªas brightly as if it looked upon no misery or care. People spoke in whispers. with life. allay them! Morning came. raising his eyes every instant to the sick chamber. and make the heart beat violently and. wasting fast. Losberne arrived. so much beloved. Oliver crept away to the old churchyard. careering overhead. turning away as he spoke. All the livelong day. wept and prayed for her. with every leaf and flower in full bloom about her. so much of life and Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°It is hard. ¡°so young. such freedom in the rapid flight of the rook. and shuddering to see the darkened window. There was such peace and beauty in the scene. anxious faces appeared at the gate. what reflections or endeavours can. in silence. and the little cottage was lonely and still. and sitting down on one of the green mounds. and for hours after it had grown dark. women and children went away in tears. so much of brightness and mirth in the sunny landscape.¡± said the good doctor. Mr. which the sad remembrance of our helplessness produces. the desperate anxiety to be doing something to relieve the pain. which we have no power to alleviate. the breath come thick. and¡ªhealth. Late at night. looking as if death lay stretched inside. and.Oliver Twist 349 by while the life of one we dearly love. the sinking of soul and spirit. Oliver paced softly up and down the garden. and sounds and sights of joys surrounding her on every side. in the full tide and fever of the time. is trembling in the balance! Oh! the racking thoughts that crowd upon the mind. what tortures can equal these. such blithsome music in the songs of the summer birds. but there is very little hope. the fair young creature lay. or lessen the danger. by the force of the images they conjure up before it. from time to time.

when the boy raised his aching eyes. for she had never left the bedside of her niece. But the sun shone brightly. Oliver turned homeward. that. Oliver¡¯s heart sank at sight of her. He almost thought that shrouds were for the old and shrunken. We need be careful how we deal with those about us. and looked about. that graves were for cold and cheerless winter. and so many more which might have been repaired! There is no remorse so deep as that which is unavailing. for the corpse was young. Another! Again! It was tolling for the funeral service. and wishing that the time could come over again. if we would be spared its tortures.Oliver Twist 350 joyousness. and so little done¡ªof so many things forgotten. A group of humble mourners entered the gate. They stood uncovered by a grave. Maylie was sitting in the little parlour. the thought instinctively occurred to him. that he might never cease showing her how grateful and attached he was. A knell from the church bell broke harshly on these youthful thoughts. that this was not a time for death. when every death carries to some small circle of survivors. in all. not for sunlight and fragrance. Mrs. wearing white favours. and he trembled to think what change Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and more earnest. or want of thought. thoughts of so much omitted. thinking on the many kindnesses he had received from the young lady. in time. for he had been devoted to her service. He had no cause for self-reproach on the score of neglect. and wished he had been. and there was a mother¡ªa mother once¡ªamong the weeping train. that Rose could surely never die when humbler things were all so glad and gay. When he reached home. and that they never wrapped the young and graceful form in their ghastly folds. on which he fancied he might have been more zealous. let us remember this. and yet a hundred little occasions rose up before him. and the birds sang on.

and with looks which showed that their thoughts were elsewhere.¡± said the doctor. The untasted meal was removed. or to bid them farewell. Losberne entered. but the energy which had supported her so long. for years to come. fled up to Heaven with her first thanksgiving. they watched the sun as he sank lower and lower.Oliver Twist 351 could have driven her away. They both involuntarily darted to the door. ¡°As He is good and merciful. as Mr. ¡°What of Rose?¡± cried the old lady. He learned that she had fallen into a deep sleep. in God¡¯s name! My dear child! She is dead! She is dying!¡± ¡°No!¡± cried the doctor passionately. and afraid to speak. my dear ma¡¯am. cast over sky and earth those brilliant hues which herald his departure. anything but suspense! Oh. and tried to fold her hands together. They sat. listening. either to recovery and life. and. and she sank into the friendly arms which were extended to receive her. she will live to bless us all. supporting her. Their quick ears caught the sound of an approaching footstep. from which she would waken. ¡°Be calm.¡± ¡°Let me go.¡± The lady fell upon her knees. for hours. at length. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and die. tell me! in the name of Heaven!¡± ¡°You must compose yourself. ¡°Tell me at once! I can bear it. pray.

The night was fast closing in. and the road was narrow. he could not weep. approaching at a furious pace. or rest. although his view was so brief that he could not identify the person. the noise of some vehicle. to a full sense of the joyful change that had occurred. laden with flowers which he had culled. And A New Adventure Which Happened To Oliver. As it dashed on. He had scarcely the power of understanding anything that had passed. In another second or two. Oliver felt stunned and stupefied by the unexpected intelligence. and as the horses were galloping. after a long ramble in the quiet evening air. he saw that it was a post-chaise. As he walked briskly along the road he heard behind him. Looking round. until. with peculiar care. It was almost too much happiness to bear. and he seemed to awaken all at once. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . for the adornment of the sick chamber. which he did. and a stentorian voice bellowed to the driver to stop. in a white night-cap.Oliver Twist 352 Chapter 34 Contains Some Introductory Particulars Relative To A Young Gentleman Who Now Arrives Upon The Scene. Oliver caught a glimpse of a man. a burst of tears came to his relief. the night-cap was thrust out of the chaise window. when he returned homeward. and the almost insupportable load of anguish which had been taken from his breast. he stood leaning against a gate until it should have passed him. driven at great speed. whose face seemed familiar to him. or speak.

is there?¡± demanded the gentleman in a tremulous voice. ¡°Do not deceive me. I heard him say so. ¡°better or worse?¡± ¡°Better¡ªmuch better!¡± replied Oliver hastily. led him aside.¡± The tears stood in Oliver¡¯s eyes as he recalled the scene which was the beginning of so much happiness. but. when he was suddenly pulled back by a young gentleman who occupied the other corner of the chaise. Losberne says that all danger is at an end. ¡°The change took place¡ªonly a few hours ago. Giles?¡± cried Oliver. my boy. and taking Oliver hurriedly by the arm.¡± ¡°I would not for the world. Losberne¡¯s words were. and the gentleman turned his face away. ¡°Indeed you may believe me. but he feared to interrupt him by any fresh remark¡ªfor he could well guess what Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and who eagerly demanded what was the news.¡± replied Oliver. ¡°In a word!¡± cried the gentleman. and Mr. by awakening hopes that are not to be fulfilled. ¡°You are sure?¡± ¡°Quite. and the same voice called Oliver by his name. what¡¯s the news? Miss Rose! Master O-li-ver!¡± ¡°Is it you. opening the chaise door. the night-cap once again appeared. ¡°Here!¡± cried the voice.¡± replied Oliver. sir.¡± The gentleman did not say another word. Oliver thought he heard him sob. more than once. Then. preparatory to making some reply. and remained silent. Giles popped out his night-cap again. ¡°Thank Heaven!¡± exclaimed the gentleman. running up to the chaise door. sir.Oliver Twist 353 as soon as he could pull up his horses. ¡°Oliver. for some minutes. ¡°You are quite certain? There is no possibility of any mistake on your part. that she would live to bless us all for many years to come. Mr. leaped out.

reminded of his unbecoming costume.¡± ¡°Well. Giles. supporting an elbow on each knee.¡± said he. of grave and sober shape. and do you follow with us. snatched off and pocketed his night-cap. ¡°but if you would leave the postboy to say that. with the white night-cap on. his Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . when he turned round and addressed him. I should never have any more authority with them if they did. and wiping his eyes with a blue cotton pocket-handkerchief dotted with white spots. if you wish it. Only first exchange that night-cap for some more appropriate covering. ¡°I think you had better go on to my mother¡¯s in the chaise. ¡°I would rather walk slowly on. Giles. Harry. As they walked along. and Oliver. or we shall be taken for madmen. He seemed about five-and-twenty years of age. the postboy drove off. sir. and was of the middle height. This done.¡± rejoined Harry Maylie. I should be very much obliged to you.Oliver Twist 354 his feelings were¡ªand so stood apart. which he took out of the chaise. Oliver glanced from time to time with much interest and curiosity at the newcomer. feigning to be occupied with his nosegay. so as to gain a little time before I see her. Giles. That the honest fellow had not been feigning emotion. was abundantly demonstrated by the very red eyes with which he regarded the young gentleman. Mr. Maylie. Let him go on with the luggage. had been sitting on the steps of the chaise. Mr. You can say I am coming. giving a final polish to his ruffled countenance with the handkerchief. smiling. and substituted a hat. It wouldn¡¯t be proper for the maids to see me in this state. Mr.¡± said Giles. All this time. followed at their leisure. Giles.¡± ¡°I beg your pardon. ¡°you can do as you like.¡± Mr.

¡± said Mrs.¡± said Mrs. Harry. Maylie. on reflection. or a day later. he bore so strong a likeness to the old lady. Maylie was anxiously waiting to receive her son when he reached the cottage. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . If I did not feel this.Oliver Twist 355 countenance was frank and handsome. ¡°but. that a changed behaviour in one she loved would break her heart. a day sooner. that Oliver would have had no great difficulty in imagining their relationship. Maylie. but one that shall be deep and lasting. ¡°I fear your happiness would have been effectually blighted. very little import.¡± replied Mrs. Mrs. Losberne¡¯s opinion. I determined to keep back the letter until I had heard Mr. if?¡ªIt is¡ªit is¡ªYou know it. mother¡ª you must know it!¡± ¡°I know that she deserves the best and purest love the heart of man can offer. ¡°or why should I say. and know.¡± said the young man¡ª¡°why run the chance of that occurring which so nearly happened? If Rose had¡ªI cannot utter that word now¡ªif this illness had terminated differently. The meeting did not take place without great emotion on both sides. and that your arrival here. besides. if he had not already spoken of her as his mother. ¡°I know that the devotion and affection of her nature require no ordinary return. and his demeanour easy and prepossessing. how could you ever have forgiven yourself! How could I ever have known happiness again!¡± ¡°If that had been the case. Maylie. ¡°why did you not write before?¡± ¡°I did. Notwithstanding the difference between youth and age. would have been of very. ¡°Mother!¡± whispered the young man. mother?¡± rejoined the young man.¡± ¡°But why.¡± ¡°And who can wonder if it be so.

unworthy alike of the name of man and of the woman you describe.¡± said the lady.¡± replied his mother. or have to encounter so many struggles in my own bosom. as you well know. And she may have the pain of knowing that he does so.¡± returned Mrs. gentle girl! my heart is set.¡± ¡°You think so now. nor one I have lightly formed. may be visited by cold and sordid people upon her. and if you Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . beyond her. be cast in his teeth. which. ardent. no view. mother. ¡°Do you still suppose that I am a boy ignorant of my own mind. who acted thus. become only the more fleeting. laying her hand upon his shoulder.Oliver Twist 356 I should not feel my task so difficult of performance. wrings from me the avowal to you of a passion which. Maylie.¡± ¡°This is unkind.¡± said the young man impatiently. is not one of yesterday. being gratified. which. though it originate in no fault of hers. and that among them are some. I think.¡± ¡°Mother. as firmly as ever heart of man was set on woman. and made the subject of sneers against him. Harry. I have no thought.¡± he would be a selfish brute. sweet.¡± said Harry. one day repent of the connection he formed in early life. ¡°that if an enthusiastic. during the last two days. ¡°that youth has many generous impulses which do not last. and upon his children also. fixing her eyes on her son¡¯s face. and ambitious man marry a wife on whose name there is a stain. no hope in life. ¡°The mental agony I have suffered. in exact proportion to his success in the world. and mistaking the impulses of my own soul?¡± ¡°I think. no matter how generous and good his nature. ¡°And ever will!¡± said the young man. and. On Rose. my dear son. he may. when I take what seems to me to be the strict line of duty. Above all.

just now. Maylie.Oliver Twist 357 oppose me in this great stake.¡± replied his mother. I have considered. I have considered. ¡°far from it.¡± rejoined the old lady. indeed.¡± said the young man. stopping her son as he was about to speak. ¡°it is because I think so much of warm and sensitive hearts. or I mistake. and more than enough. Maylie. ¡°There is something in your manner. as they ever will. and of me. before you suffer Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± interposed Harry. ¡°Not coldly. which would almost imply that she will hear me coldly. Maylie. ¡°you have. and do not disregard the happiness of which you seem to think so little. But we have said enough. that I would spare them from being wounded. you take my peace and happiness in your hands. years and years. and why should I suffer the pain of a delay in giving them vent.¡± rejoined Mrs. My feelings remain unchanged. What I would say. mother.¡± ¡°How then?¡± urged the young man. then. ¡°mother. ¡°You will not press these overstrained opinions of yours. ever since I have been capable of serious reflection.¡± resumed the old lady. on this matter. think better of this. and cast them to the wind. Mother.¡± ¡°Harry.¡± ¡°Let it rest with Rose. so far. ¡°is this. Before you stake your all on this chance. as to throw any obstacle in my way?¡± ¡°I will not. Rose shall hear me. ¡°She has formed no other attachment?¡± ¡°No. which can be productive of no earthly good? No! Before I leave this place.¡± ¡°She shall. ¡°but I would have you consider¡ª¡± ¡°I have considered!¡± was the impatient reply.¡± said Mrs.¡± said Mrs. too strong a hold on her affections already.

¡± said the old lady. and how much I have suffered. and with that perfect sacrifice of self which. when he had concluded. Mr. ¡°I will tell her all. who affected to be busy about the luggage.¡± replied Mrs. The doctor then communicated. ¡°And say how anxious I have been. in reply to multifarious questions from his young friend. mother?¡± ¡°No. God bless you!¡± ¡°I shall see you again tonight?¡± said the young ma eagerly. in all matters. with all the intensity of her noble mind. ¡°I must go back to her.¡± replied the lady. The former now held out his hand to Harry Maylie. a precise account of his patient¡¯s situation. ¡°Have you shot anything particular. reflect for a few moments. ¡°Of course. she hastened from the room. listened with greedy ears. and consider what effect the knowledge of her doubtful birth may have on her decision¡ªdevoted as she is to us. ¡°when I leave Rose.Oliver Twist 358 yourself to be carried to the highest point of hope.¡± ¡°You will tell her I am here?¡± said Harry. Giles?¡± inquired the doctor. Losberne and Oliver had remained at another end of the apartment while this hurried conversation was proceeding.¡± ¡°What do you mean?¡± ¡°That I leave you to discover. my dear child. Maylie. Giles. has always been her characteristic. and how I long to see her.¡± replied Mrs. You will not refuse to do this.¡± And pressing her son¡¯s hand affectionately. which was quite as consolatory and full of promise. on Rose¡¯s history. Maylie. ¡°By and by. and to the whole of which. and hearty salutations were exchanged between them. Mr. great or trifling. as Oliver¡¯s statement had encouraged him to hope. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . lately.

Giles. on the termination of which. in consideration of his gallant behaviour on the occasion of the attempted robbery to deposit. for his sole use and benefit. with much gravity. and having called for a mug of ale. which was highly effective. ¡°No. and supposed that Mr. colouring up to the eyes. Giles walked into the corner with much importance. The subject matter of this conference was not disclosed in the parlour. Giles. in the local savings-bank.¡± said the doctor. replied. sir. announced. with an air of majesty. Giles would begin to be quite proud now. Giles. and was honoured with a short whispering conference with the doctor. because you do that sort of thing admirably. ¡°Nor catching any thieves. At this. I executed.¡± replied Mr. Just step into this corner a moment. how is Brittles?¡± ¡°The boy is very well. recovering his usual tone of patronage. ¡°I am sorry to hear it. for Mr.¡± said Mr. ¡°None at all. a small commission in your favour. will you?¡± Mr. whereunto Mr. sir. and that if they Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . sir. and some wonder. the sum of five-and-twenty pounds.¡± ¡°That¡¯s well. at the request of your good mistress. sir. Giles walked straight thither. ¡°Seeing you here. Pray. the two womenservants lifted up their hands and eyes. and retired with steps of unusual stateliness. Giles. but the kitchen was speedily enlightened concerning it. that on the day before that on which I was called away so hurriedly. he made a great many bows. that it had pleased his mistress.¡± replied Mr. ¡°Well. Mr. no¡±. nor identifying any housebreakers?¡± said the doctor.Oliver Twist 359 ¡°Nothing particular. Giles. ¡°and sends his respectful duty.¡± said the doctor. reminds me. pulling out his shirt frill.

in their old places. and went about his usual early occupations. they stood much in need. for days past. who laughed immoderately at himself. as the remarks of great men commonly are. to the evident satisfaction of the doctor. and it was late before they retired. after the doubt and suspense they had recently undergone. he would thank them to tell him so. with more hope and pleasure than he had known for many days. and made Harry laugh almost as heartily. and however fatigued or thoughtful Harry Maylie might have been at first. by the very force of sympathy. The melancholy which had seemed to the sad eyes of the anxious boy to hang. The dew seemed to sparkle more brightly on the green leaves. was dispelled by magic.Oliver Twist 360 observed that he was at all haughty to his inferiors. withal. they could well have been. and were. which were received with equal favour and applause. Oliver rose next morning. and an abundance of small jokes. and the sweetest wild flowers that could be found. were once more gathered to gladden Rose with their beauty. which displayed itself in a great variety of sallies and professional recollections. they were as pleasant a party as. over every object. he was not proof against the worthy gentleman¡¯s good-humour. beautiful as all were. and caused him to laugh proportionately. as original and as much to the purpose. So. the air to rustle among them with a Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . to take that rest of which. The birds were once more hung out. the remainder of the evening passed cheerfully away. no less illustrative of his humility. in better heart. And then he made a great many other remarks. Above stairs. for the doctor was in high spirits. which struck Oliver as being the drollest things he had ever heard. under the circumstances. with light and thankful hearts. to sing.

and there were no Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and revive her with its freshness. as he set forth on his morning¡¯s walk. one particular little bunch. every morning. but the sombre colours are reflections from their own jaundiced eyes and hearts. he invariably cast his eyes up to that particular corner. If Oliver were behindhand in these respects. Pending these observations. nor. Harry Maylie. and Oliver did not fail to note it at the time. but there always stood in water. just inside the lattice. that whenever the doctor came into the garden. which was made up with great care. the days were flying by. although the young lady had not yet left her chamber.Oliver Twist 361 sweeter music. Oliver could not help noticing that the withered flowers were never thrown away. and their fellow-men. although the little vase was regularly replenished. as left his young companion far behind. and Rose was rapidly recovering. and the sky itself to look more blue and bright. The real hues are delicate. and need a clearer vision. even over the appearance of external objects. was seized with such a passion for flowers. he knew where the best were to be found. The window of the young lady¡¯s chamber was opened now. Nor did Oliver¡¯s time hang heavy on his hands. and morning after morning they scoured the country together. could he help observing. for she loved to feel the rich summer air stream in. and displayed such a taste in their arrangement. It is worthy of remark. are in the right. and cry that all is dark and gloomy. and brought home the fairest that blossomed. however. and nodded his head most expressively. Such is the influence which the condition of our own thoughts exercises. that his morning expeditions were no longer made alone. Men who look on nature. after the very first morning when he met Oliver coming laden home.

and laboured so hard that his quick progress surprised even himself. and yet. and. that he was greatly startled and distressed by a most unexpected occurrence. save now and then. words which are really spoken. and enable it to ramble at its pleasure. when the first shades of twilight were beginning to settle upon the earth. can be called sleep. with redoubled assiduity. as the day had been uncommonly sultry. with Mrs. It was while he was engaged in this pursuit. and filled the place with their delicious perfume. It was quite a cottage-room. whoever they may have been. to the instructions of the white-headed old gentleman. to say that gradually and by slow degrees. There was no other dwelling near. all beyond. There is a kind of sleep that steals upon us sometimes. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and he had exerted himself a great deal. intent upon his books. or sounds which really exist at the moment. with a lattice window. does not free the mind from a sense of things about it. a prostration of strength. we have a consciousness of all that is going on about us. which. One beautiful evening. was on the ground-floor. He applied himself. at the back of the house. and the prospect it commanded was very extensive. it is no disparagement to the authors. in that direction. The little room in which he was accustomed to sit. this is it. for a short distance.Oliver Twist 362 evening walks. while it holds the body prisoner. around which were clusters of jessamine and honeysuckle that crept over the casement. whence a wicket gate opened into a small paddock. if we dream at such a time. So far as an overpowering heaviness. Maylie. was fine meadowland and wood. when busy at his books. He had been poring over them for some time. It looked into a garden. and an utter inability to control our thoughts of power of motion. Oliver sat at this window. and. he fell asleep.

sure enough. and he stood amongst them. the scene changed. that the sweet air was stirring among the creeping plants outside. the air became close and confined. and started up. If you buried him fifty feet deep. if there wasn¡¯t a mark above it. Come away. incidental to such a state. with his face averted. and of whose vicinity we have had no waking consciousness. that he was in the Jew¡¯s house again. I fancy I should know. ¡°Hush. will be influenced and materially influenced. by the mere silent presence of some external object. It is an undoubted fact. Oliver knew. that he lay buried there!¡± The man seemed to say this. that although our senses of touch and sight be for the time dead. and whispering to another man. until reality and imagination become so strangely blended that it is afterwards almost a matter of impossibility to separate the two. and took me across his grave. Nor is this. which sent the blood tingling to Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . perfectly well. and the visionary scenes that pass before us. the most striking phenomenon. And yet he was asleep. my dear!¡± he thought he heard the Jew say. think you? If a crowd of ghosts were to put themselves into his exact shape. ¡°Good Heaven! what was that. with such dreadful hatred. ¡°it is he. yet our sleeping thoughts. which may not have been near us when we closed our eyes.Oliver Twist 363 accommodate themselves with surprising readiness to our visions.¡± ¡°He!¡± the other man seemed to answer. There sat the hideous old man. that Oliver awoke with the fear. there is something that would tell me how to point him out. that he was in his own little room. ¡°could I mistake him. and he thought. who sat beside him. that his books were lying on the table before him. Suddenly. with a glow of terror. pointing at him. in his accustomed corner.

and deprived him of his choice. and meeting his. a flash. white with rage or fear. were the scowling features of the very man who had accosted him in the inn-yard. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . He stood transfixed for a moment.Oliver Twist 364 his heart. with his eyes peering into the room. leaping from the window into the garden. as if it had been deeply carved in stone. there stood the Jew! And beside him. and their look was as firmly impressed upon his memory. called loudly for help. before his eyes. or both. and he them. It was but an instant. But they had recognised him. and they were gone. that he could have almost touched him before he started back. and of power to move? There¡ªthere¡ªat the window¡ªclose before him¡ªso close. and set before him from his birth. a glance. then.

Giles was at a loss to comprehend what this outcry meant. ¡°The Jew! the Jew!¡± Mr. attracted by Oliver¡¯s cries. understood it at once. and who had heard Oliver¡¯s history from his mother. ¡°What direction did he take?¡± he asked.¡± ¡°Then. Giles followed as well as he could. and in the course of a minute or two. and scarcely able to articulate the words. and picking himself up with more agility than he could have been supposed to possess. they found him. whose perceptions were something quicker. they are in the ditch!¡± said Harry. pale and agitated.¡± replied Oliver. When the inmates of the house. ¡°I missed them in an instant. And A Conversation Of Some Importance Between Harry Maylie And Rose. who had been out walking.Oliver Twist 365 Chapter 35 Containing The Unsatisfactory Result Of Oliver¡¯s Adventure. pointing out the course the man had taken. he sprang over the hedge. catching up a heavy stick which was standing in a corner. Mr. pointing in the direction of the meadows behind the house. tumbled over the hedge after them. Losberne. hurried to the spot from which they proceeded. ¡°That. ¡°Follow! And keep as near me as you can. and Oliver followed too.¡± So saying. but Harry Maylie. and just then returned. and darted off with a speed which rendered it matter of exceeding difficulty for the others to keep near him. struck into the same course at no Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .

The search was all in vain. but. to the hedge which divided the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . striking off into an angle of the field indicated by Oliver. in order to gain that. and for Oliver to communicate to Mr. the ditch and hedge adjoining.¡± ¡°Who was the other?¡± inquired Harry and Mr. narrowly. which it was impossible they could have accomplished in so short a time. ¡°Oh. Losberne the circumstances that had led to so vigorous a pursuit. ¡°The very same man I told you of. the men must have made a circuit of open ground. ¡°I saw him too plainly for that. On they all went. ¡°are you sure?¡± ¡°As I am that the men were at the window. after pursuing the track Oliver had pointed out. pointing down.Oliver Twist 366 contemptible speed. They stood now on the summit of a little hill. I saw them both. which afforded time for the remainder of the party to come up. most prodigiously. as he spoke. no. together. as plainly as I see you now. to know what was the matter. Losberne. ¡°We had our eyes fixed full upon each other. nor stopped they once to breathe. sir. until the leader. A thick wood skirted the meadowland in another direction. began to search. There was the village in the hollow on the left. There were not even the traces of recent footsteps to be seen. and I could swear to him. shuddering at the very recollection of the old wretch¡¯s countenance. shouting all the while.¡± ¡°They took this way?¡± demanded Harry. ¡°It must have been a dream.¡± replied Oliver. who came so suddenly upon me at the inn. indeed.¡± said Harry Maylie. but they could not have gained that covert for the same reason. commanding the open fields in every direction for three or four miles.¡± said Oliver.¡± replied Oliver. Oliver.

Still. running a few paces to the right. The sides and brinks of the dishes were of damp clay. ¡°Strange?¡± echoed the doctor. sufficiently remarkable to be remembered.¡± Notwithstanding the evidently useless nature of their search. they gave it up with reluctance. ¡°The tall man leaped over. but Giles returned without any intelligence. calculated to dispel or lessen the mystery. Oliver and Mr. they did not desist until the coming on of night rendered its further prosecution hopeless. and the Jew. On the next day. or the slightest mark which would indicate that any feet had pressed the ground for hours before. save where their own feet had crushed it. just there. Of these. fresh search was made. crept through that gap. and even then. ¡°This is strange!¡± said Harry. Maylie repaired to the market-town. but it was trodden down nowhere. furnished with the best description Oliver could give of the appearance and dress of the strangers. or loitering about. supposing he had been seen drinking. themselves. in the hope of seeing or hearing something of the men there. and looking from him to each other. but this effort was equally Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . could make nothing of it. Giles was despatched to the different ale-houses in the village. ¡°Blathers and Duff. The grass was long.¡± The two gentlemen watched Oliver¡¯s earnest face. On the day following. in no direction were there any appearances of the trampling of men in hurried flight. as he spoke. and the inquiries renewed.Oliver Twist 367 cottage garden from the meadow. the Jew was. but in no one place could they discern the print of men¡¯s shoes. but with no better success. seemed to feel satisfied of the accuracy of what he said. at all events.

ought to have left here. there was at times. the affair began to be forgotten. carried joy into the hearts of all. these symptoms increased. before. Rose was rapidly recovering. even upon Rose herself. Meanwhile. one morning. which Oliver could not fail to remark. with some hesitation. She merely bowed.¡± said the young man. although this happy change had a visible effect on the little circle. and. when Rose was alone in the breakfastparlour. and it became evident that something was in progress which affected the peace of the young lady. begged permission to speak with her for a few moments. waited in silence for him to proceed. has already presented itself to your mind.¡± Rose had been very pale from the moment of his entrance. an unwonted restraint upon some there.¡± said Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Harry Maylie entered. But. and although cheerful voices and merry laughter were once more heard in the cottage. ¡°What I shall have to say. Losberne had fixed a day for his departure to Chertsey. Maylie and her son were often closeted together for a long time. After a few days. though from my lips you have not yet heard them stated. and more than once Rose appeared with traces of tears upon her face. Rose. dies away of itself. when wonder. She had left her room. At length. and bending over some plants that stood near. the most cherished hopes of my heart are not unknown to you. was able to go out. having no fresh food to support it. and mixing once more with the family. but that might have been the effect of her recent illness. and of somebody else besides. After Mr.Oliver Twist 368 fruitless. ¡°A few¡ªa very few¡ªwill suffice. as most affairs are. Mr. drawing his chair towards her.

¡± said the young man: ¡°the fear of losing the one dear being on whom my every wish and hope are fixed.¡± replied Rose. and Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . are visited with sickness. we know. hardly to know a reason why you should be. by the most dreadful and agonising of all apprehensions. You had been dying. loveliest things in nature. They were mine.¡± There were tears in the eyes of the were spoken. to know that you were passing away like some soft shadow. as these words the flower over which she cup. their pure spirits insensibly turn towards their bright home of lasting rest. and good. with the gentle girl. it her fresh young heart. ¡°You should. Rose. and when one fell upon bent.¡± continued the young man passionately. that the best and fairest of our kind. and yet to pray. indeed. ¡°Forgive me for saying so.¡± ¡°I was brought here. by day and night. We know that when the young. ¡°a creature as fair and innocent of guile as one of God¡¯s own angels. Heaven help us. which a light from above casts upon the earth. who could hope. making it more beautiful. too often fade in blooming. that you might be restored to those who loved you¡ªthese were distractions almost too great to bear.Oliver Twist 369 Harry. ¡°A creature. half-opened to her view. to feel that you belonged to that bright sphere whither so many of the fairest and the best have winged their early flight. the beautiful. when the distant world to which she was akin. and glistened brightly in its seemed as though the out-pouring of claimed kindred naturally. 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. trembling between earth and heaven. amid all these consolations. Oh. fluttered between life and death. but I wish you had. Rose.

mastering the emotions by which she was agitated.¡± said Rose. hoping to win my way to fame.Oliver Twist 370 with them. as almost bore down sense and reason in its course. Do not tell me that you wish I had lost this. with eyes that turned blind with their eagerness and deep affection. lest you should die. mute contract that had been sealed between us! That time has not arrived. swelled it again to a high and rushing tide. came such a rushing torrent of fears. and selfish regrets. how I would remind you. and no young vision realised. ¡°I only wish you had left here. so hear my answer. and stake my all upon the words with which you greet the offer. ¡°Rose. some drop of health came back.¡± said the young man. and mingling with the spent and feeble stream of life which circulated languidly within you. my own dear Rose! For years¡ªfor years¡ªI have loved you. more worthy of the highest nature that exists.¡± ¡°Your behaviour has ever been kind and noble. in my day-dreams. but here.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . I offer you the heart so long your own. and claim your hand. weeping. of the many silent tokens I had given of a boy¡¯s attachment. that you might have turned to high and noble pursuits again. taking her hand. thinking. to pursuits well worthy of you.¡± ¡°I did not mean that. in that happy moment. I have watched you change almost from death to life. for it has softened my heart to all mankind. than the struggle to win such a heart as yours.¡± said Rose. with no fame won.¡± ¡°There is no pursuit more worthy of me. and then come proudly home and tell you it had been pursued only for you to share. and apprehensions. Day by day. and never know how devotedly I loved you. You recovered. as in redemption of some old. and almost hour by hour. ¡°As you believe that I am not insensible or ungrateful.

but. portion less girl. that I. and to myself. ¡°that you must endeavour to forget me. I will be the truest. and soften the bitterness of this hard disappointment!¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . gave free vent to her tears. in a low voice.¡± he said.¡± ¡°If your inclinations chime with your sense of duty¡ª¡± Harry began. dear Rose?¡± ¡°It is. Harry still retained the other. a clog. to prevent you from opposing. I owe it. ¡°They do not. Rose. dear Rose. a friendless.Oliver Twist 371 ¡°It is. Rose. colouring deeply. this great obstacle to your progress in the world. Look into the world. Confide some other passion to me. in the warmth of your generous nature.¡± There was a pause. on all your hopes and projects. ¡°Then you return my love?¡± said Harry. ¡°And your reasons. and most faithful friend you have. say but that. that I may endeavour to deserve you. and fastened myself. alike to others. It is a duty that I must perform. for that would wound me deeply. warmest. Harry. should not give your friends reason to suspect that I had sordidly yielded to your first passion.¡± replied Rose. at length. as the object of your love. during which. if you will. who had covered her face with one hand. I owe it to myself.¡± replied Rose.¡± rejoined Rose. ¡°You can say nothing to alter my decision. is it. not as your old and dearly-attached companion. I owe it to you and yours. ¡°Say but that. with a blight upon my name.¡± ¡°To yourself?¡± ¡°Yes. think how many hearts you would be proud to gain are there. ¡°your reasons for this decision?¡± ¡°You have a right to know them.

and every triumph you achieve in life will animate me with new fortitude and firmness. without doing heavy wrong to him I loved. ¡°Stay. as her temporary firmness forsook her. Rose. Farewell. ¡°there is a stain upon my name. which the world visits on innocent heads. disengaging her hand. ¡°why should we prolong this painful interview? Most painful to me. turning away. All the honours to which great talents and powerful connections can help men in public life. at least. and may every blessing that the prayers of a true and earnest heart can call down from the source of all truth and sincerity.Oliver Twist 372 ¡°If I could have done so. we may be long and happily entwined. and the reproach shall rest alone on me.¡± rejoined Rose. In a word. but in other relations than those in which this conversation would have placed us.¡± ¡°One word more. notwithstanding. Rose.¡± answered Rose firmly. nor bring disgrace or failure on the son of her who had so well supplied that mother¡¯s place. cheer and prosper you!¡± ¡°Another word. ¡°is a brilliant one.¡± said the young lady.¡± said Harry. and yet productive of lasting happiness. ¡°Your reason in your own lips.¡± she added. we meet no more. let me hear it?¡± ¡°The prospect before you. are in store for you.¡± said Rose. I will carry it into no blood but my own. Harry! As we have met today. ¡°If I had been less¡ªless fortunate. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . for it will be happiness to know that I once held the high place in your regard which I now occupy. throwing himself before her. But those connections are proud. Dearest Rose! one more!¡± cried Harry. and I will neither mingle with such as may hold in scorn the mother who gave me life. ¡°Do not conceal that from me. Rose. ¡°I could have¡ª¡± ¡°Have received this declaration very indifferently?¡± said Harry.¡± ¡°I could.

It is not an idle thing to do so much.¡± retorted Harry. and all you doom me to undergo.¡± answered Rose. and light the path before me. cherished as a girl. almost unkind. and they relieved her. crowded into the mind of Rose.¡± rejoined Rose. and only once-more¡ª say within a year. if I could have been a help and comfort to you in any humble scene of peace and retirement. now.Oliver Twist 373 the world would call it¡ªif some obscure and peaceful life had been my destiny¡ªif I had been poor. answer me this one question!¡± ¡°Then. but not so far.¡± said Harry. ¡°it will shed a gleam of happiness upon my lonely way. very happy. for one who loves you beyond all else.¡± ¡°I ask one promise. as old hopes will when they come back withered. Harry. ¡°The question does not arise. in the name of all I have suffered for you. Oh. above me.¡± ¡°If your answer be what I almost dare to hope it is. if your lot had been differently cast. and not a blot and drawback in ambitious and distinguished crowds. but it may be much sooner¡ªI may speak to you Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Rose! in the name of my ardent and enduring attachment. to urge it. ¡°I must leave you now. It is unfair. by the utterance of a few brief words. and it makes my purpose stronger. I own I should have been happier. but then. while making this avowal. given this scruple birth?¡± ¡°Do you press me to reply. sick. and never will.¡± Busy recollections of old hopes. ¡°if you had been even a little. ¡°I cannot help this weakness. indeed. ¡°Once. but they brought tears with them. extending her hand. long ago. I have every reason to be happy. I should have been spared this trial.¡± said Rose. helpless¡ªwould you have turned from me then? Or has my probable advancement to riches and honour.

¡± said repeat it! I may possess. for the last time?¡± ¡°Not to press me to alter my right determination. not seek. and by that time I may be enabled to bear it better. ¡°it will be useless. with a melancholy smile. and. imprinting one kiss on her beautiful forehead. if you will¡ªfinally will lay at your feet. ¡°to hear you repeat it. by Harry.¡± replied Rose. whatever of station or fortune I and if you still adhere to your present resolution. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist 374 again on this subject. ¡°it is but one pang the more.¡± ¡°Then let it be so. hurried from the room. will word or act.¡± She extended her hand again. But the young man caught her to his bosom.¡± rejoined Rose.¡± ¡°No. to change it.

and a key to one that will follow when its time arrives. ¡°you shall come and see Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . eh?¡± said the doctor.¡± rejoined Oliver. with great mystery. that young Oliver here is pinned down to his breakfast when he ought to be ranging the meadows after botanical phenomena of all kinds. Too bad. to the seaside. ¡°Why. ¡°That¡¯s a fine fellow. ¡°A nd so you are resolved to be my travelling companion this morning. And at night.¡± said the doctor.Oliver Twist 375 Chapter 36 Is a very short one. you urge me. ¡°though I confess I don¡¯t think I shall. on your road to London. to start before the ladies are stirring. in a great hurry. like a dutiful son. But yesterday morning you have made up your mind. Before noon. as a sequel to the last. the consequence of which is. as Harry Maylie joined him and Oliver at the breakfasttable. ¡°I hope I may have good cause to do so. and may appear of no great importance in its place. Maylie went away. you announce that you are going to do me the honour of accompanying me as far as I go. isn¡¯t it.¡± replied Mr.¡± said Harry. to stay here. Oliver!¡± ¡°I should have been very sorry not to have been at home when you and Mr. but it should be read notwithstanding. you are not in the same mind or intention two halfhours together!¡± ¡°You will tell me a different tale one of these days. Losberne. colouring without any perceptible reason. sir. and to accompany your mother.

¡± said Harry Maylie. cup. every alternate Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± said the doctor. ¡°you are a queer fellow. at this time of the year. or sweepstakes. ¡°I hope so. since I have been here. laying his hand upon his arm. ¡°under which designation I presume. in a low voice. But. to see it packed. ¡°Oliver. and these sudden shiftings and changes are no bad preparation for political life. whether the race be for place. which his whole behaviour displayed.¡± 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.¡± Oliver walked into the window-recess to which Mr. Harry. nor.Oliver Twist 376 me when you return. ¡°I shall not be at home again.¡± replied Oliver. is it likely that anything would occur to render necessary my immediate attendance among them. ¡°You can write now?¡± said Harry. Maylie beckoned him. has any communication from the great nobs produced this sudden anxiety on your part to be gone?¡± ¡°The great nobs. and Giles coming in for the baggage. Good training is always desirable. The post-chaise drove up to the door shortly afterwards.¡± ¡°Well. to speak seriously. have not communicated with me at all. much surprised at the mixture of sadness and boisterous spirits. perhaps for some time. ¡°We shall see. but he contented himself with saying. I wish you would write to me¡ªsay once a fortnight. There¡¯s something in that. sir. But of course they will get you into Parliament at the election before Christmas.¡± and pursued the subject no further. the good doctor bustled out. you include my most stately uncle. ¡°let me speak a word with you.¡± replied Harry.

¡± exclaimed Oliver. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and shouting to the postillion. and its progress only perceptible to the eye. Mr. Let it be a secret between you and me. the vehicle wound its way along the road. quite elated and honoured by a sense of his importance.¡± said the young man. with many assurances of his regard and protection.¡± replied Oliver. quite. ¡°because it might make my mother anxious to write to me oftener. today. Harry cast one slight glance at the latticed window. and what you talk about. Do you hear?¡± Jingling and clattering. letting down the front glass in a great hurry. looking on. sir. I mean¡ªseem happy and quite well. I shall be proud to do it. fast. Maylie took leave of him. ¡°I should like to know¡ªhow my mother and Miss Maylie are. hurrying over his words. ¡°I would rather you did not mention it to them. greatly delighted with the commission. and jumped into the carriage. and mind you tell me everything! I depend upon you. it had been arranged. Will you?¡± ¡°Oh! certainly. should be left behind) held the door open in his hand. ¡°something very short of flying will keep pace with me.¡± ¡°Hallo!¡± cried the doctor. ¡°hard. The doctor was in the chaise. almost hidden in a cloud of dust. sir. ¡°Drive on!¡± he cried. You understand me?¡± ¡°Oh! quite.¡± Oliver. faithfully promised to be secret and explicit in his communications. and whether she¡ª they. ¡°and you can fill up a sheet by telling me what walks you take.¡± said Harry. Giles (who. and the women-servants were in the garden. full gallop! Nothing short of flying will keep pace with me.Oliver Twist 377 Monday¡ªto the General Post Office in London. till distance rendered its noise inaudible. and it is a trouble and worry to her.

or the intricacies of the way. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . that the gazers dispersed. long after it was many miles away. as she sat pensively at the window. ¡°I feared for a time he might be otherwise. who remained with eyes fixed upon the spot where the carriage had disappeared. behind the white curtain which had shrouded her from view when Harry raised his eyes towards the window.Oliver Twist 378 now wholly disappearing. but those which coursed down Rose¡¯s face. sat Rose herself. for.¡± she said. I was mistaken. as intervening objects. And there was one looker-on. and now becoming visible again. still gazing in the same direction. at length. It was not until even the dusty cloud was no longer to be seen.¡± Tears are signs of gladness as well as grief. seemed to tell more of sorrow than of joy. ¡°He seems in high spirits and happy. permitted. very glad. I am very.

acquire peculiar value and Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . There are some promotions in life. Bumble would heave a deep sigh. The laced coat. Bumble was meditating. Mr. There were not wanting other appearances. A paper fly-cage dangled from the ceiling. and dark cotton stockings on his nether limbs. whence. than the reflection of certain sickly rays of the sun. and the cocked hat. and. which announced that a great change had taken place in the position of his affairs. Mr. where were they? He still wore knee-breeches. which. Bumble¡¯s gloom the only thing calculated to awaken a pleasing melancholy in the bosom of a spectator. how different! The mighty cocked hat was replaced by a modest round one. but. while a more gloomy shadow overspread his countenance. but they were not the breeches. oh. Not Uncommon In Matrimonial Cases. Nor was Mr. independent of the more substantial rewards they offer. which were sent back from its cold and shining surface. it might be that the insects brought to mind some painful passage in his own past life.Oliver Twist 379 Chapter 37 In Which The Reader May Perceive A Contrast. no brighter gleam proceeded. to which he occasionally raised his eyes in gloomy thought. The coat was wide-skirted. Bumble sat in the workhouse parlour. Mr. with his eyes moodily fixed on the cheerless grate. Mr. and in that respect like the coat. Bumble was no longer a beadle. and those closely connected with his own person. as the heedless insects hovered round the gaudy network. as it was summer time.

I went very reasonable. Bumble might have meant that he had concentrated a whole existence of happiness into the short space of eight weeks. but the sigh¡ªthere was a vast deal of meaning in the sigh. Mr.Oliver Twist 380 dignity from the coats and waistcoats connected with them. what are they? Men. imperfectly comprehending the few words she had overheard of his complaint. ¡°It seems a age. pursuing the same train of reflection. Lord above knows that!¡± Mr. On him the cocked hat. A field-marshal has his uniform. Bumble. and dear enough I paid for you. fixing his Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Bumble¡¯s ear. and. who. ma¡¯am!¡± said Mr. or the beadle of his hat and lace. ¡°I sold myself. and staff. Bumble. sometimes. a bishop his silk apron. and even holiness too. ¡°you would have been dear at any price.¡± said Mr. with a sigh. a milkpot. Bumble turned. a counsellor his silk gown. ¡°Well?¡± cried the lady. had all three descended. Bumble had married Mrs. a beadle his cocked hat. Cheap. Mere men. ¡°for six tea-spoons. with a small quantity of second-hand furniture and twenty pound in money. and was master of the workhouse. had hazarded the foregoing remark at a venture. Bumble.¡± Mr. ¡°Mrs. are more questions of coat and waistcoat than some people imagine. ¡°And tomorrow two months it was done!¡± said Mr. and encountered the face of his interesting consort. dirt cheap!¡± ¡°Cheap!¡± cried a shrill voice in Mr. Strip the bishop of his apron. Corney. gold-laced coat. a pair of sugar-tongs. ¡°Have the goodness to look at me.¡± said Mr. with sentimental sternness. Dignity. Bumble. Another beadle had come into power. Bumble.

all day?¡± inquired Mrs.¡± said Mr. On hearing this most unexpected sound. ¡°Are you going to sit snoring there. I shall snore. The matter of fact is. ¡°and although I was not snoring. or whether the late Mrs. gape. are in no very high condition. that the matron was in no way overpowered by Mr. and even raised a laugh thereat. in the name of goodness?¡± cried the relict of Mr. ma¡¯am. first incredulous. he might have been alive now. (¡°If she stands such a eye as that. I wish he was. He then relapsed into his former state. ¡°Your late unfortunate husband should have taught it you. Corney was particularly proof against eagle glances.¡±) Whether an exceedingly small expansion of eye be sufficient to quell paupers. ¡°she can stand anything. who. being lightly fed.¡± rejoined Mr. ¡°I am going to sit here. perhaps.¡± said Mr. Mr.Oliver Twist 381 eyes upon her. or cry. laugh. with ineffable contempt. It is a eye I never knew to fail with paupers. and afterwards amazed. ¡°I said the word. such being my prerogative. which sounded as though it were genuine. my power is gone.¡± thundered Mr. Bumble looked. and then. as long as I think proper. ma¡¯am. Bumble to himself. nor did he rouse himself until his attention was again awakened by the voice of his partner. Bumble. Bumble¡¯s scowl. ¡°To obey. Bumble. Bumble. treated it with great disdain. Bumble. are matters of opinion. Corney deceased. If it fails with her. ¡°Your prerogative!¡± sneered Mrs. but. Bumble.¡± ¡°And what¡¯s the prerogative of a woman. on the contrary. ma¡¯am. poor man!¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . sneeze. as the humour strikes me. ¡°The prerogative of a man is to command.

and defied him to talk about his prerogative again. Bumble. Bumble. unless you want me to do something desperate. and tearing his hair. But tears were not the things to find their way to Mr. which was luckily well situated for the purpose. no sooner heard this allusion to the dead and gone. Bumble was not long in discovering. Bumble. seeing at a glance. he looked towards the door.Oliver Twist 382 Mrs. but she was quite prepared to make trial of the latter mode of proceeding.¡± Mr. inflicted a shower of blows (dealt with singular vigour and dexterity) upon it with the other. The first proof he experienced of the fact. the expert lady. Bumble¡¯s soul. she created a little variety by scratching his face. in a voice of command. Bumble was a hard-hearted brute. Bumble rose with a very rueful countenance¡ªwondering much what something desperate might be. ¡°And take yourself away from here. if he dared. ¡°Get up!¡± said Mrs. ¡°Are you going?¡± demanded Mrs. having by this time inflicted as much punishment as she deemed necessary for the offence. they were less troublesome than a manual assault. immediately succeeded by the sudden flying off of his hat to the opposite end of the room. she pushed him over a chair. than she dropped into a chair. was conveyed in a hollow sound. must necessarily be final and conclusive. fell into a paroxysm of tears. that the decisive moment had now arrived. clasping him tightly round the throat with one hand. and that a blow struck for the mastership on one side or other. as Mr. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Picking up his hat. This preliminary proceeding lay bare his head. his heart was waterproof. and. This done. and with a loud scream that Mr.

without bestowing another thought on his unfinished sentence. and that men who ran away from their wives. After making a tour of the house. to be visited with no punishment at all. ¡°I didn¡¯t intend to¡ªI¡¯m going. leaving the late Mrs. but rather rewarded as meritorious individuals who had suffered much. that really I¡ª¡± At this instant. ¡°These women at least shall continue to respect the prerogative. making a quicker motion towards the door. and. Mr. certainly. But the measure of his degradation was not yet full. Bumble came to a room where some of the female paupers were usually employed in washing the parish linen. Mr. Hollo! hollo. and thinking. in justice. are the victims of similar infirmities. Bumble. my dear! You are so very violent. leaving them chargeable to the parish. which had been kicked up in the scuffle. that the poor-laws really were too hard on people. for the first time. you hussies?¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Bumble was fairly taken by surprise. Mr. Mrs.Oliver Twist 383 ¡°Certainly. and fairly beaten. my dear. there! What do you mean by this noise. Bumble. ought. and with a view of impressing the reader with a just sense of his qualifications for office. summoning up all his native dignity. derived no inconsiderable pleasure from the exercise of petty cruelty. who are held in high respect and admiration. This is by no means a disparagement to his character. He had a decided propensity for bullying. whence the sound of voices in conversation. ¡°Hem!¡± said Mr. consequently. was (it is needless to say) a coward. The remark is made. for many official personages. Bumble immediately darted out of the room.¡± rejoined Mr. indeed. Bumble stepped hastily forward to replace the carpet. rather in his favour than otherwise. Corney in full possession of the field. now proceeded.

¡± ¡°Didn¡¯t know I was here!¡± repeated Mrs. seeing with excruciating feelings the delights of the two old paupers.¡± submitted Mr. hesitated for an instant. making everybody in the house laugh. Bumble. Mr. and making yourself look like a fool every hour in the day. as his eyes unexpectedly rested on the form of his lady wife. my dear. caught up a bowl of soap-suds. ¡°What do you do here?¡± ¡°I thought they were talking rather too much to be doing their work properly. my dear. who were tittering together most rapturously. glancing distractedly at a couple of old women at the wash-tub. Bumble. which was at once exchanged for a most humiliated and cowering air.¡± ¡°I¡¯ll tell you what. my dear¡ª¡± urged Mr. and motioning him towards the door. Bumble. ¡°My dear. ordered him instantly to depart. Bumble. ¡°It¡¯s very true. ¡°You thought they were talking too much?¡± said Mrs. You¡¯re a great deal too fond of poking your nose into things that don¡¯t concern you. you¡¯re matron here. ¡°I didn¡¯t know you were here. and walked in with a very fierce and angry manner. Be off. ¡°What business is it of yours?¡± ¡°Why.¡± said Mr. ¡°We don¡¯t want any of your interference.Oliver Twist 384 With these words. Bumble opened the door. Bumble.¡± returned his lady. ¡°What business is it of yours?¡± demanded Mrs. Mr. ¡°but I thought you mightn¡¯t be in the way just then. come!¡± Mr. the moment your back is turned. Bumble. Bumble. Mrs. who were comparing notes of admiration at the workhouse-master¡¯s humility. whose patience brooked no delay. Bumble again. on pain of receiving the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Bumble submissively.¡± replied Mr. Bumble.

he had lost caste and station before the very paupers. but everybody else¡¯s. distractedly into the street. and now!¡± It was too much. Bumble do? He looked dejectedly round. to have travelled some distance. The man who was seated there. whose parlour. He walked up one street. as well as by the dusty soils on his dress. Mr. and ordering something to drink. by a certain haggardness in his look. It began to rain. filled with dismal thoughts. the titterings of the paupers broke into a shrill chuckle of irrepressible delight. at the moment. at length paused before one in a byway. and slunk away. save by one solitary customer. ¡°All in two months!¡± said Mr. He had the air of a stranger. as he passed the bar. and walked.Oliver Twist 385 contents upon his portly person. He eyed Bumble askance. and seemed. Bumble stepped in. as he reached the door. and. ¡°Two months! No more than two months ago. was deserted. He was degraded in their eyes. Bumble. He passed a great many public-houses. This determined him. as he gathered from a hasty peep over the blinds. I was not only my own master. to the lowest depth of the most snubbed henpeckery. Bumble boxed the ears of the boy who opened the gate for him (for he had reached the portal in his reverie). heavily. he had fallen from all the height and pomp of beadleship. so far as the porochial workhouse was concerned. What could Mr. but. It wanted but this. and wore a large cloak. Mr. entered the apartment into which he had looked from the street. was tall and dark. and down another. but scarcely deigned to nod his head in acknowledgement Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . as he entered. until exercise had abated the first passion of his grief. and then the revulsion of feeling made him thirsty.

in an encouraging manner. ¡°It opens the lungs. the stranger. and repulsive to behold. a powerful inducement. in a harsh. in some confusion. and begged. Bumble had quite dignity enough for two. every now and then. Bumble stopped short. as strongly conducive to health. so he drank his gin-andwater in silenc e. but shadowed by a scowl of distrust and suspicion. pleased and exalted him. deep voice.¡± he said. which was keen and bright. and read the paper with great show of pomp and circumstance. ¡°when you peered in at the window?¡± ¡°Not that I am aware of. he withdrew his eyes. for he was curious to know the Like washable beaver hats that improve with rain. his nerves were rendered stouter and more vigorous. which. When they had encountered each other¡¯s glance several times in this way. ¡°Were you looking for me. being tokens of weakness.Oliver Twist 386 of his salutation. Bumble¡¯s awkwardness was enhanced by the very remarkable expression of the stranger¡¯s eye. and so far tacit admissions of his own power. by showers of tears. He eyed his good lady with looks of great satisfaction. that Mr. Mr. broke silence. unlike anything he had ever observed before. as it will happen very often. exercises the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . It so happened. supposing even that the stranger had been more familiar. Bumble felt. the exercise being looked upon. that she should cry her hardest. when men fall into company under such circumstances. unless you¡¯re Mr. to steal a look at the stranger. by the faculty.¡ª¡± Here Mr. which he could not resist. however. to find that the stranger was at that moment stealing a look at him. washes the countenance. Mr. and that whenever he did so.

and putting it on. young man.¡± ¡°I mean no harm. Now. who felt he had asserted his superiority in a becoming manner. ¡°or you would have known my name.¡± rejoined Mr. Mr. You don¡¯t know it. with much ease and waggishness depicted in his whole appearance. to check any undue familiarity the stranger might Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and softens down the temper. Bumble. and I only passed you in the street.¡± rejoined the other. I would recommend you not to ask for it. nodding his head. ¡°It was in that character I saw you. Another silence succeeded this short dialogue. had tried the tears.¡± said Mr.¡± As he discharged himself of his pleasantry. Bumble majestically. ¡°I have seen you before. and sauntered towards the door. ¡°You were differently dressed at that time.Oliver Twist 387 eyes. thrust his hands into his pockets.¡± said the stranger.¡± said the stranger. Bumble. ¡°I see you were not. Bumble took his hat from a peg. as a man might. because stranger¡¯s name. ¡°So cry away.¡± said Mr. he might supply the blank. Mrs. Corney that was. slowly and impressively. ¡°porochial beadle. I think?¡± said he. were you not?¡± ¡°I was.¡± observed Mr.¡± ¡°Just so. You were beadle here once. in some surprise. Bumble. ¡°And have done none. and thought in his impatience. which was again broken by the stranger. rather rakishly on one side. What are you now?¡± ¡°Master of the workhouse. but I should know you again. an expression of sarcasm playing about his mouth.

Put up that. from head to foot. Bumble¡¯s eyes. and shortly afterwards returned with a steaming jorum. Bumble. I suppose?¡± a Not too strong. ¡°You understand what that means. as much as to say. to find you out. after closing the door and window. I want some information from you. Bumble.¡± ¡°I suppose. ¡°Don¡¯t scruple to answer freely. The host smiled. in evident perplexity. looking keenly into Mr. disappeared. ¡°Let it be strong and hot. as he raised them in astonishment at the question. handing Mr.¡± replied Mr. of which. and.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± The stranger smiled. you see. shading his eyes with his hand. young man!¡± ¡°You have the same eye to your own interest. a married man. Bumble¡¯s eyes. Porochial officers are not so well paid that they can afford to refuse any little extra fee. ¡°I came down to this place. then rang the ¡°Fill this glass again. when it comes to them in a civil and proper manner. I don¡¯t ask you to give it for nothing. the first gulp brought the water into Mr. ¡°is not more averse to turning an honest penny when he can. you walked into the very room I was sitting in.¡± said the stranger. and surveying the stranger. man. and nodded his head again. than a single one. while you were uppermost in my mind. he had not mistaken his man.¡± replied Mr. that you always had. today.¡± he said. Bumble¡¯s empty tumbler to the landlord. slight as it is. ¡°Master of the workhouse. with a delicate cough. landlord!¡± said the stranger dryly. I know you pretty well. ¡°Now listen to me. to begin with. by one of those chances which the devil throws in the way of his friends sometimes. You like it so.Oliver Twist 388 otherwise assume. I doubt not?¡± resumed the stranger.

¡± said Mr. as though unwilling that the clinking of money should be heard without. with much satisfaction in his waistcoat pocket. in the grave!¡± ¡°The lying-in room. not quite following the stranger¡¯s excited description. Bumble. Bumble. wherever it was. the crazy hole. and hid their shame. to his companion. night.¡± ¡°The scene. Bumble. Bumble had scrupulously examined the coins.¡± ¡°Why. shaking his head despondingly. he went on: ¡°Carry your memory back¡ªlet me see¡ªtwelve years. who was apprenticed down here to a coffin-maker¡ªI wish he had made his coffin. ¡°I speak of one. as it was supposed. There wasn¡¯t an obstinater young Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . a meek-looking. rot ¡¯em.¡± said the stranger. Bumble. I¡¯ve done it.¡± ¡°A many boys.¡± ¡°Good!¡± ¡°And the time. you mean Oliver! Young Twist!¡± said Mr. last winter. carefully.¡± ¡°It¡¯s a long time. ¡°A boy was born there.¡± observed Mr. pale-faced boy. ¡°Very good.¡± ¡°Yes. ¡°Yes. and screwed his body in it¡ªand who afterwards ran away to London.Oliver Twist 389 As he spoke. of course.¡± ¡°And the place. When Mr. I suppose?¡± said Mr. he pushed a couple of sovereigns across the table. to see that they were genuine. in which miserable drabs brought forth the life and health so often denied to themselves¡ªgave birth to puling children for the parish to rear. ¡°I remember him. ¡°A murrain on the young devils!¡± cried the stranger. and had put them up. the workhouse.

anyway. but at length he breathed more freely. he appeared doubtful whether he ought to be relieved or disappointed by the intelligence. Bumble in the very outset of a tirade on the subject of poor Oliver¡¯s vices. Bumble.Oliver Twist 390 rascal¡ª¡± ¡°It¡¯s not of him I want to hear. the hag that nursed his mother. whichever place she¡¯s gone to.¡± ¡°What do you mean?¡± demanded the stranger sternly. his gaze gradually became vacant and abstracted. whom the gin-and-water had rendered facetious. so I suppose she¡¯s out of employment. for the lucrative disposal of some secret in the possession of his better half. he had heard enough to know that it related to something that had occurred in the old woman¡¯s attendance. ¡°It would be hard to tell. as workhouse nurse. stopping Mr. as if to depart. He well remembered the night of old Sally¡¯s death. and he at once saw that an opportunity was opened. For some time. and he seemed lost in thought. I¡¯ve heard enough of him. Hastily calling this Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . observed that it was no great matter. and although he did not withdraw his eyes for some time afterwards. Corney.¡± said the stranger. But Mr. which the occurrences of that day had given him good reason to recollect. ¡°It¡¯s of a woman. The man looked fixedly at him when he had given this information. With that he rose. and although that lady had never confided to him the disclosure of which she had been the solitary witness. Bumble was cunning enough. Bumble. as the occasion on which he had proposed to Mrs. upon the young mother of Oliver Twist. There¡¯s no midwifery there. ¡°That she died last winter. and withdrawing his eyes.¡± rejoined Mr. Where is she?¡± ¡°Where is she?¡± said Mr.

and writing down upon it. ¡°Only through me. after stopping to Shortly remarking that without more ceremony of appointment for the On glancing at the address. that one woman had been closeted with the old harridan shortly before she died. ¡°following me?¡± ¡°Only to ask a question. Bumble. door. bring her to me there.¡± With these words. the parochial functionary observed that it contained no name. as Bumble touched him on the arm. he led the way to the pay for the liquor that had been drunk. their roads were different. producing a scrap of paper. ¡°What name am I to ask for?¡± ¡°Monks!¡± rejoined the man. in charact ers that betrayed his agitation. and strode hastily away. ¡°at nine in the evening. I needn¡¯t tell you to be secret. turning quickly round.Oliver Twist 391 circumstance to mind. he informed the stranger. ¡°What do you want. thrown off his guard. with an air of mystery. ¡°At nine in the evening. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°How can I find her?¡± said the stranger.¡± cried the man.¡± rejoined Bumble. It¡¯s your interest. ¡°Tomorrow. and that she could. as he had reason to believe. The stranger had not gone far.¡± said the stranger. so he made after him to ask it.¡± rejoined Mr.¡± said the other. and plainly showing that all his fears (whatever they were) were aroused afresh by the intelligence. he departed than an emphatic repetition of the hour following night. pointing to the scrap of paper. throw some light on the subject of his inquiry. ¡°When?¡± cried the stranger hastily. an obscure address by the waterside.

when Mr. which might. which had been threatening all day. bordering upon the river. or thereabouts. from which. already yielded large drops of rain. This was far from being a place of doubtful character. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . spread out in a dense and sluggish mass of vapour. The husband carried a lantern. serve the double purpose of protecting their persons from the rain. and sheltering them from observation. however. unwholesome swamp. discovering that she was close at his heels he mended his rate of walking. And Mrs. then. and trudged a few paces in front as though¡ªthe way being dirty¡ªto give his wife the benefit of treading in his heavy footprints. in profound silence. and proceeded.Oliver Twist 392 Chapter 38 Containing An Account Of What Passed Between Mr. distant from it some miles and a half. It was a dull. They were both wrapped in old and shabby outer garments. directed their course towards a scattered little colony of ruinous houses. towards their place of destination. At Their Nocturnal Interview. at a considerable increase of speed. Bumble. every now and then. perhaps. They went on. and erected on a low. close. and turned his head as if to make sure that his helpmate was following. And Mr. and seemed to presage a violent thunder-storm. for it had long been known as the residence of none but low ruffians. Monks. overcast summer evening. and Mrs. turning out of the main street of the town. Bumble relaxed his pace. who. no light yet shone. Mr. The clouds. Bumble.

as the first peal of distant thunder reverberated in the air. rather for the preservation of appearances. which its upper storey overhung. seemed to wait a favourable opportunity of following its old companion. and a considerable portion of the building had already sunk down into the water. But it had long since gone to ruin. and here and there an oar or coil of rope.¡± said Bumble. to the conjecture that they were disposed there. at first. subsisted chiefly on plunder and crime. would have led a passer-by. than with any view of their being actually employed. and the rain commenced pouring violently down. had weakened and rotted the piles on which it stood. of old worm-eaten shiptimber jumbled together without any attempt at order or arrangement. within a few feet of the river¡¯s bank. probably furnished employment to the inhabitants of the surrounding tenements. tottering and bending over the dark stream. others. and the action of the damp. and planted. and skirting the river. The rat. in its day. It was a collection of mere hovels¡ªsome. formerly used as a manufactory of some kind. 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. A few leaky boats drawn up on the mud. appeared. while the remainder. stood a large building. and made fast to the dwarf wall which skirted it. and involving itself in the same fate. In the heart of this cluster of huts. for the most part. It was before this ruinous building that the worthy couple paused. hastily built with loose bricks. consulting a scrap of paper he held in his hand. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist 393 under various pretences of living by their labour. ¡°The place should be somewhere here. the worm. without much difficulty. It had.

on the second storey. turning round. Bumble¡¯s good lady. as a Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°Stand still a minute. ¡°What the devil made you stand lingering there. who opened a small door. looking apprehensively about him.¡± cried the voice. Mr. walked boldly in. obviously very ill at ease and with scarcely any of that remarkable dignity which was usually his chief characteristic. Following the sound. stamping his foot upon the ground. ¡°and be careful to say as little as you can. ¡°We¡ªwe were only cooling ourselves. Bumble raised his head.¡± With which the head disappeared.¡± Mr. there!¡± cried a voice from above. and addressing Bumble. breast-high. or ever will fall. after he had bolted the door behind them. when he was prevented by the appearance of Monks. Bumble nodded in the affirmative. Bumble. near which they stood. who had eyed the building with very rueful looks. followed. Mr. was apparently about to express some doubts relative to the advisability of proceeding any further with the enterprise just then. and beckoned them inwards. ¡°I¡¯ll be with you directly. ¡°Not all the rain that ever fell. ¡°Is that the man?¡± asked Mr. mind what I told you. who was ashamed or afraid to lay behind.Oliver Twist 394 ¡°Hollo. ¡°Cooling yourselves!¡± retorted Monks. ¡°Don¡¯t keep me here!¡± The woman. ¡°Then. without any other invitation. and the door closed.¡± stammered Bumble. Mr. ¡°Come in!¡± he cried impatiently. will put as much of hell¡¯s fire out. and descried a man looking out of a door. or you¡¯ll betray us at once. who had hesitated at first. Bumble. in the wet?¡± said Monks.¡± said the matron.

the searching look of Monks. which shook the crazy building to its centre. who was not easily cowed. ¡°This is the woman. was fain to withdraw her eyes. I¡¯m not afraid of her telling it to anybody. interposing.¡± replied Monks.¡± said Monks. and returning. I suppose?¡± said the matron. ¡°And what may that be?¡± asked the matron.¡± replied Mr. mindful of his wife¡¯s caution. but low in the roof. if a woman¡¯s a party to a secret that might hang or transport her. which was of considerable extent. ¡°Of course you don¡¯t!¡± said Monks. and bent his gaze upon her. ¡°You think women never can keep secrets. slightly colouring as she spoke. not I! Do you understand. ¡°I know they will always keep one till it¡¯s found out. and again beckoning them to follow him. don¡¯t think it!¡± With this agreeable speech. You won¡¯t cool yourself so easily. or rather ladder. when a bright flash of lightning streamed down the aperture. and a peal of thunder followed. the man hastened across the apartment. mistress?¡± ¡°No. is it?¡± demanded Monks. Bumble. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . leading to another floor of warehouses above. Monks turned short upon the matron. ¡°The loss of their own name. by the same rule. as she spoke. and turn them towards the ground. He was preparing to ascend a steep staircase. ¡°So.¡± rejoined the matron. till even she. ¡°How should you?¡± Bestowing something half-way between a smile and a frown upon his two companions.Oliver Twist 395 man can carry about with him. ¡°Hem! That is the woman.

he led the way up the ladder. interrupting him. and then. ¡°Yes. to the unspeakable discomposure of Mr. showed. it¡¯s all over for this once. and which cast a dim light upon an old table and three chairs that were placed beneath it. Bumble. but his wife anticipated his reply. what may the communication be worth?¡± ¡°Who the devil can tell that. the better for all. ¡°and thunder sometimes brings them on. without knowing of what kind it Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± said Monks.¡± said Monks. and that she told you something¡ª¡± ¡°About the mother of the boy you named. I hate the sound!¡± He remained silent for a few moments. observing his alarm. now and then. lowered a lantern which hung at the end of a rope and pulley passed through one of the heavy beams in the ceiling. Don¡¯t mind me now. does she?¡± The question was addressed to Bumble. ¡°The first is. ¡°Now. that it was much distorted. ¡°the sooner we come to our business. ¡°That¡¯s the second. removing his hands suddenly from his face. ¡°These fits come over me. and hastily closing the window-shutter of the room into which it led. with much deliberation.¡± replied the matron. when they had all three seated themselves. by intimating that she was perfectly acquainted with it. of what nature was her communication?¡± said Monks.¡± observed the woman.¡± Thus speaking. The woman knows what it is.¡± ¡°The first question is. and discoloured. ¡°He is right in saying that you were with this hag the night she died.Oliver Twist 396 ¡°Hear it!¡± he cried. shrinking back. ¡°Hear it! Rolling and crashing on as if it echoed through a thousand caverns where the devils were hiding from it.

as her yoke-fellow could abundantly testify. give me five-andtwenty pounds in gold.¡± replied Mrs. ¡°Humph!¡± said Monks significantly. ¡°Something that she wore. ¡°Speak out. Not before. drawing back.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and with a look of eager inquiry.¡± sa id the woman. if possible.¡± interrupted Mrs. ¡°I spoke as plainly as I could. ¡°It may be nothing. who did not want for spirit. ¡°Nobody better than you. ¡°What¡¯s it worth to you?¡± asked the woman. already. either. ¡°I have heard enough.¡± Mr.Oliver Twist 397 is?¡± asked Monks. to assure me that you are the man I ought to talk to. which he directed towards his wife and Monks. by turns. listened to this dialogue with outstretched neck and distended eyes. and let me know which. in undisguised astonishment¡ªincreased. ¡°Something that was taken from her. as collectedly as before.¡± ¡°Five-and-twenty pounds!¡± exclaimed Monks.¡± answered Mrs.¡± ¡°Add five pounds to the sum you have named. I am persuaded.¡± was the composed reply. Bumble. Bumble. when the latter sternly demanded what sum was required for the disclosure.¡± replied Monks. ¡°and I¡¯ll tell you all I know. Something that¡ª¡± ¡°You had better bid.¡± said Monks. eh?¡± ¡°Perhaps there may. Bumble. ¡°there may be money¡¯s worth to get. ¡°It¡¯s not a large sum. it may be twenty pounds. who had not yet been admitted by his better half into any greater share of the secret than he had originally possessed. Bumble.

Bumble. my dear. indeed. ¡°You are a fool. he made a melancholy feint of grasping his lantern with fierce determination. his teeth chattering as he spoke. in reply. for anything you or I know. there are those who will lie dead for twelve thousand years to come. ¡°and had better hold your tongue.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . or other person or persons trained down for the purpose. by the alarmed expression of every feature.¡± ¡°Not alone. but he has heerd¡ªI say I have no doubt Mr. who will tell strange tales at last!¡± ¡°What if I pay it for nothing?¡± asked Monks hesitatingly. ¡°and which has been lying dead for twelve years past or more!¡± ¡°Such matters keep well. my dear. and not a little. my dear¡ª that I am a very determined officer. Bumble. Bumble spoke.¡± answered the matron. Monks is aware that I am not a young man. Mr. still preserving the resolute indifference she had assumed. and.¡± submitted Mr. that he did want a little rousing. my dear. ¡°As to lying dead. prior to making any very warlike demonstration¡ªunless. I only want a little rousing. like good wine. and unprotected. with very uncommon strength. as I may say. And besides. that may be nothing when it¡¯s told!¡± cried Monks impatiently.¡± replied the matron.¡± As Mr. alone here. often double their value in course of time.¡± said Mrs. and plainly showed. Monks is too much of a gentleman to attempt any violence on porochial persons. Bumble. ¡°I am but a woman. or twelve million. that¡¯s all. against paupers. and also that I am a little run to seed.¡± said Mr. nor unprotected neither. ¡°Mr. Monks has heerd. ¡°I am here.Oliver Twist 398 ¡°Not a large sum for a paltry secret. ¡°You can easily take it away again. if I¡¯m once roused. in a voice tremulous with fear.

that we called old Sally. ¡°no sick wretch or idiot in some other bed? No one who could hear. as the two men leaned over the small table in their eagerness to hear. raising his face from the table. and the woman also leaned forward to render her whisper audible. is gone. ¡°she and I were alone. See here!¡± He thrust his hand into a sidepocket.¡± said Monks grimly. ¡°So! He¡¯s your husband. aggravated the paleness and anxiety of their countenances. ¡°So much the better. encircled by the deepest gloom and darkness. ¡°we were alone. eh?¡± ¡°He my husband!¡± tittered the matron. let¡¯s hear your story. Monks. which I feel is coming up to break over the house-top. ¡°I thought as much. parrying the question. The faces of the three nearly touched. died. ¡°When this woman. and might. I¡¯m in earnest. understand?¡± ¡°Not a soul. when you came in.¡± he said. bent forward to listen to what the woman should say. which.¡± The thunder. before he came. which seemed in fact much nearer and to shiver and break almost over their heads. ¡°gather them up. I stood alone Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± replied the woman.¡± ¡°Was there no one by?¡± asked Monks. looked ghastly in the extreme. if he can¡¯t speak in a lower tone. producing a canvas bag.¡± the matron began. in the same hollow whisper. told out twenty-five sovereigns on the table. and.Oliver Twist 399 ¡°He had better have cut it out. and when this cursed peal of thunder. by possibility. and pushed them over to the woman.¡± rejoined Monks. marking the angry glance which the lady darted at her spouse as she spoke. having subsided. when I find that there¡¯s only one will between them. The sickly rays of the suspended lantern falling directly upon them. ¡°Now. I have less hesitation in dealing with two people.

to all appearance unmoved (as Mr. Bumble was very far from being) by the strange man¡¯s violence. but I¡¯ll know what it was. with desperate eagerness.¡± ¡°In life?¡± asked Monks.¡± said Monks. not merely in the same room.¡± said the woman.¡± resumed the matron. that which the dead mother had prayed her. in a voice which.¡± ¡°She spoke of a young creature. I¡¯ll tear the life out of you both. and glancing over his shoulder.¡± ¡°She didn¡¯t utter another word.¡± ¡°Good. to keep for the infant¡¯s sake. but in the same bed.¡± ¡®¡®Ay?¡± said Monks. violently.¡± replied the woman. ¡°did she sell it? Where! When? To whom? How long before?¡± ¡°As she told me.¡± ¡°She sold it?¡± cried Monks. ¡°It¡¯s a lie! I¡¯ll not be played with. with quivering lip. with one hand. ¡°Go on. regarding her attentively.¡± said the matron.Oliver Twist 400 beside the body when death came over it. ¡°Blood! How things come about!¡± ¡°The child was the one you named to him last night. from its very suppression. ¡°she fell back and died. with her last breath. with great difficulty. seemed only the more furious. ¡°the mother this nurse had robbed. nodding carelessly towards her husband. and so removed the hand by force. ¡°but she clutched my gown. that she had done this. with something like a shudder. ¡°who had brought a child into the world some years before.¡± said the matron. I found it clasped a Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and when I saw that she was dead. ¡°In death. She said more. ¡°She stole from the corpse. when it had hardly turned to one. in which she then lay dying. which was partly closed.¡± ¡°Without saying more?¡± cried Monks.

and then follows the date. she died with the scrap of paper. so that if anything came of it. for some time. The time was out in two days.¡± replied the woman. I found out that. tore open with trembling hands. 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. in which were two locks of hair.¡± ¡°For what?¡± demanded Monks. ¡°There. ¡°All. as I tell you. and a plain gold wedding-ring. as if glad to be relieved of it. all worn and tattered. and so redeemed the pledge. Nothing had come of it. and no mention made of taking the five-andCharles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist 401 scrap of dirty paper.¡± ¡°Where is it now?¡± asked Monks quickly.¡± replied the woman. and prevent it running out. in her hand. I thought something might one day come of it too. ¡°Nothing. and then had pawned it. ¡°It has the word ¡®Agnes¡¯ engraved on the inside.¡± ¡°And this is all?¡± said Monks. and. ¡°In good time I¡¯ll tell you.¡± said the woman. Mr. ¡°it was a pawnbroker¡¯s duplicate. ¡°I judge that she had kept the trinket. and had saved or scraped together money to pay the pawnbroker¡¯s interest year by year.¡± ¡°Which contained¡ª¡± interposed Monks.¡± said the woman. ¡°There is a blank left for the surname. stretching forward. as if he were glad to find that the story was over. it could still be redeemed. after a close and eager scrutiny of the contents of the little packet. And. which is within a year before the child was born. Bumble drew a long breath. It contained a little gold locket. which Monks pouncing upon.¡± replied the woman.

¡± replied Monks. essaying a stroke of facetiousness. with great precipitation. The turbid water. swollen by the heavy rain. ¡°Don¡¯t fear me. addressing Monks. ventured to do the same. he suddenly wheeled the table aside.¡± said his wife. But I may ask you two questions.¡± said Monks. if that had been my game.¡± Thus encouraged. for it¡¯s safer not. after a short silence. with some show of surprise. ¡°and I want to know nothing.¡± said Monks. when you were seated over it.¡± rejoined Monks. ¡°The other question?¡± ¡°What do you propose to do with it? Can it be used against me?¡± ¡°Never. was rushing rapidly on below. and caused that gentleman to retire several paces backward. threw back a large trapdoor which opened close at Mr. quietly enough. or your life is not worth a bulrush. I could have let you down. may I?¡± ¡°You may ask. and all other sounds were lost in the noise of its Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . unchecked.Oliver Twist 402 twenty pounds back again.¡± observed Mr. ¡°Is that what you expected to get from me?¡± demanded the matron ¡°It is.¡± With these words. during the whole of the previous dialogue. ¡°Look down. ¡°nor against me either. Bumble himself. and even Mr. Bumble. ¡°I know nothing of the story. lowering the lantern into the gulf. the matron drew near to the brink. beyond what I can guess at. and pulling an iron ring in the boarding. See here! But don¡¯t move a step forward.¡± ¡°Which makes three. and now he took courage to wipe off the perspiration which had been trickling over his nose. impelled by curiosity. Bumble¡¯s feet. ¡°but whether I answer or not is another question.

The three. which fell heavily back into its former position. ¡°I am not afraid of your wife. looking into each other¡¯s faces. seemed to breathe more freely. and that trash among it. with excessive politeness. There had once been a water-mill beneath. and may break up our pleasant party. clove the water with a scarcely audible splash.¡± ¡°You may depend upon me. bowing himself gradually towards the ladder. as books say it will. where would it be by tomorrow morning?¡± said Monks. with great alacrity.¡± answered Mr. We have nothing more to say.¡± observed Mr. and tying it to a leaden weight. ¡°You¡¯ll keep a quiet tongue in your head. swinging the lantern to and fro in the dark well. and fragments of machinery that yet remained. Monks drew the little packet from his breast. closing the trap-door. and cut to pieces besides. where he had hurriedly thrust it. young man. ¡°If you flung a man¡¯s body down there. will you?¡± said Monks. ¡°If the sea ever gives up its dead. ¡°Twelve miles down the river.¡± replied Bumble. and was gone. It fell straight. recoiling at the thought.Oliver Twist 403 plashing and eddying against the green and slimy piles. Bumble. the tide foaming and chafing round the few rotten stakes. dropped it into the stream. young man.¡± ¡°By all means. ¡°On everybody¡¯s account. on my Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . with a threatening look. when freed from the obstacles which had unavailingly attempted to stem its headlong course. and was lying on the floor. and true as a die. Bumble. ¡°There!¡± said Monks. with a new impulse. which had formed a part of some pulley. it will keep its gold and silver to itself. seemed to dart onward.

¡± remarked Monks. for Monks started at every shadow. holding his lantern a foot above the ground. Monks. would infallibly have pitched headlong into the room below. than Monks. He lighted his lantern from that which Monks had detached the rope.¡± ¡°I am glad. They were no sooner gone. Bidding him go first. ¡°Light your lantern! And get away from here as fast as you can. Bumble. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and. Bumble. to hear it. and Mr. called to a boy who had been hidden somewhere below. slowly. The gate at which they had entered. descended in silence. you know. and now carried in his hand. and with caution. followed by his wife. who appeared to entertain an invincible repugnance to being left alone. was softly unfastened and opened by Monks. merely exchanging a nod with their mysterious acquaintance. and bear the light. looking nervously about him for hidden trap-doors. who had bowed himself to within six inches of the ladder. but with a marvellously light step for a gentleman of his figure. for your sake. he returned to the chamber he had just quitted.¡± It was fortunate that the conversation terminated at this point. the married couple emerged into the wet and darkness outside. or Mr.Oliver Twist 404 own. and. walked not only with remarkable care. 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 the rushing of the water. making no effort to prolong the discourse. They traversed the lower room. Monks brought up the rear. Mr.

so desirable a habitation as his old quarters. Sikes propounded this question. awakening from a nap. lighted only by one small window in the shelving roof. The room in which Mr. if they had stood in any need of corroboration. drowsily growled forth an inquiry what time of night it was.Oliver Twist 405 Chapter 39 Introduces Some Respectable Characters With Whom The Reader Is Already Acquainted. bespoke a state of extreme poverty. of very limited size. The housebreaker was lying on the bed. wrapped in his white Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . while the meagre and attenuated condition of Mr. being a mean and badly-furnished apartment. in appearance. Sikes himself would have fully confirmed these symptoms. And Shows How Monks And The Jew Laid Their Worthy Heads Together O n the evening following that upon which the three worthies mentioned in the last chapter. and was situated at no great distance from his former lodgings. It was not. was not one of those he had tenanted. previous to the Chertsey expedition. together with the disappearance of all such small movables as spare clothes and linen. William Sikes. and abutting on a close and dirty lane. disposed of their little matter of business as therein narrated. although it was in the same quarter of the town. for a great scarcity of furniture and total absence of comfort. Nor were there wanting other indications of the good gentleman¡¯s having gone down in the world of late. Mr.

¡°Come! Don¡¯t stand snivelling there. ¡°Here. Sikes¡¯s question. black beard of a week¡¯s growth. and the addition of a soiled night-cap. ¡°Whining.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and now pricking his ears. that there would have been considerable difficulty in recognising her as the same Nancy who has already figured in this tale. The dog sat at the bedside.Oliver Twist 406 waistcoat. as the girl raised him up and led him to a chair. ¡°All the better for you. with an imprecation on his eyes and limbs. and uttering a low growl as some noise in the street. but for the voice in which she replied to Mr. turning her face aside. ¡°What fancy have you got in your head now?¡± ¡°Oh! you¡¯ve thought better of it.¡± This had not improved Mr. have you?¡± growled Sikes. busily engaged in patching an old waistcoat which formed a portion of the robber¡¯s ordinary dress. are you?¡± said Sikes. ¡°Not long gone seven. he muttered various curses on her awkwardness. Sikes¡¯s temper. Seated by the window. or in the lower part of the house. and displaying a set of features in no degree improved by the cadaverous hue of illness. so pale and reduced with watching and privation. Sikes. and struck her. for. D¡¯ye hear me?¡± ¡°I hear you. cut off altogether. and forcing a laugh. lend us a hand. attracted his attention.¡± said the girl.¡± replied Mr. now eyeing his master with a wistful look. and let me get off this thundering bed anyhow. was a female. marking the tear which trembled in her eye. ¡°How do you feel tonight. Bill?¡± ¡°As weak as water. by way of dressing-gown. and a stiff. you have.¡± replied the girl. If you can¡¯t do anything better than that.

Sikes. you don¡¯t mean to say. the girl¡¯s whining again!¡± ¡°It¡¯s nothing. then. even to her voice¡ª¡°such a number of nights as I¡¯ve been patient with you. Sikes could get out a few of the appropriate oaths with which. now.¡± said the girl. very well. in a savage voice.¡± said the girl. ¡°What foolery are you up to. laying her hand upon his shoulder. throwing herself into a chair.¡± ¡°Well. Not knowing. Sikes tried a little blasphemy. and the tone in which it was delivered. without much assistance¡ªMr. Bill. would have had the desired effect. Why.¡± said the girl. if you¡¯d thought of that. as if you had been a child. which communicated something like sweetness of tone. ¡°Why not?¡± ¡°Such a number of nights. ¡°Don¡¯t you seem to mind me. damme. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . now. ¡°I wouldn¡¯t. on similar occasions.Oliver Twist 407 ¡°Why. before Mr. what to do. and this the first that I¡¯ve seen you like yourself. It¡¯ll soon be over. ¡°No!¡± cried Sikes. you¡¯d be hard upon me tonight. in this uncommon emergency¡ªfor Miss Nancy¡¯s hysterics were usually of that violent kind which the patient fights and struggles out of. with a touch of woman¡¯s tenderness. again? Get up and bustle about. dropped her head over the back of the chair. but the girl being really weak and exhausted.¡± At any other time. looking in. called for assistance. Sikes. you wouldn¡¯t have served me as you did just now. would you? Come. come. ¡°What¡¯s the matter here. say you wouldn¡¯t. he was accustomed to garnish his threats. my dear?¡± said Fagin. nursing and caring for you. and fainted. and don¡¯t come over me with your woman¡¯s nonsense. and finding that mode of treatment wholly ineffectual. this remonstrance.¡± rejoined Mr.¡± ¡°What¡¯ll be over?¡± demanded Mr.

and handed the articles it contained. one by one. and I¡¯ve brought something good with me. Dawkins. Fagin hastened to the girl¡¯s assistance. administered with great energy. especially that department consigned to Master Bates. ¡°Give her a whiff of fresh air with the bellows. himself. who appeared to consider his share in the proceedings.¡± These united restoratives. and poured a portion of its contents down the patient¡¯s throat.¡± said Mr. my dear. previously taking a taste. which was of large size. staggering to a chair by the bedside. and give Bill the little trifles that we spent all our money on. and formed of an old tablecloth. while Bill undoes the petticuts. that you¡¯ll be glad to see. open the bundle. a piece of unexampled pleasantry. for evil winds blow nobody any good. my dear. ¡°and you slap her hands. Charley. what evil wind has blowed you here?¡± he asked Fagin. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°No evil wind at all. ¡°Why. Dodger. Sikes to confront the newcomers. to prevent mistakes. can¡¯t you?¡± replied Sikes impatiently. hid her face upon the pillow. uncorked it in a twinkling with his teeth. were not long in producing the desired effect.Oliver Twist 408 ¡°Lend a hand to the girl. this morning. while Mr. Fagin¡¯s request. in some astonishment at their unlooked-for appearance. to Charley Bates. John Dawkins (otherwise the artful Dodger). leaving Mr. In compliance with Mr. ¡°Don¡¯t stand chattering and grinning at me!¡± With an exclamation of surprise. who had followed his venerable friend into the room. hastily deposited on the floor a bundle with which he was laden. the Artful untied his bundle. The girl gradually recovered her senses. and. and snatching a bottle from the grasp of Master Charles Bates who came close at his heels. Fagin.

and. blunt and everything else. disclosing to view a huge pasty. with sitch tender limbs. ¡°Ah!¡± said Fagin.¡± exclaimed that young gentleman. down in the mouth. Master Bates produced. Bill. that the wery bones melt in your mouth. piece of double Glo¡¯ster. ¡°sitch delicate creeturs. health.¡± observed Mr. at the same instant. so precious strong that if you mix it with biling water. Sikes. pound of best fresh. three weeks and more. from one of his extensive pockets. a pound and a half of moist sugar that the niggers didn¡¯t work at all at. boy!¡± said Fagin. twenty times over. and take no more notice Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . a full-sized wine bottle. Sikes. ¡°And us come to bring him all these beau-ti-ful things.Oliver Twist 409 who placed them on the table. rubbing his hands with great satisfaction. afore you¡¯d have done anything to help me. some of the richest sort you ever lushed!¡± Uttering this last panegyric. carefully corked. to wind up all.¡± ¡°So!¡± exclaimed Mr. shrugging his shoulders. poured out a wine-glassful of raw spirits from the bottle he carried. and there¡¯s no occasion to pick ¡¯em. you¡¯ll do now. it¡¯ll go nigh to blow the lid of the tea-pot off. ¡°little soothed as he glanced over the table. Dawkins. before they got it up to sitch a pitch of goodness¡ªoh no! Two halfquartern brans. Bill. half a pound of seven-andsixpenny green. ¡°but what have you got to say for yourself. while Mr. ¡°I might have been done for. What do you mean by leaving a man in this state. you false-hearted wagabond?¡± ¡°Only hear him. ¡°Sitch a rabbit-pie. with various encomiums on their rarity and excellence. Bill. ¡°You¡¯ll do. why you should leave me here.¡± ¡°The things is well enough in their way. which the invalid tossed down his throat without a moment¡¯s hesitation.

¡°What have you got to say for yourself. If it hadn¡¯t been for the girl. a week and more. every hour that I have laid shivering and burning here. with a bitter grin. ¡°Here! Cut me off a piece of that pie. eh?¡± ¡°I was away from London. Bill. than if I was that ¡¯ere dog. my dear. still growling angrily. and¡ª rewive the drayma besides. but I couldn¡¯t help it.¡± ¡°Don¡¯t be out of temper. and Bill was to do that. dirt cheap.¡± ¡°Hold your din. Charley!¡± ¡°I never see such a jolly dog as that. ¡°What about the other fortnight that you¡¯ve left me lying here.¡± urged Fagin submissively. I might have died.¡± replied the Jew.¡± replied Fagin.¡± ¡°No! I¡¯ll pound it that you ha¡¯n¡¯t. you withered old fence. upon my honour.¡ªDrive him down. ¡°You¡¯ve been scheming and plotting away.¡± cried Master Bates. and was quite poor enough for your work. ¡°I have never forgot you. eagerly catching at the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist 410 of me. my dear. all this mortal time. as the dog retreated under the bed.¡± replied Sikes. Bill.¡± ¡°There now.¡± remonstrated Fagin. never once. ¡°And what about the other fortnight?¡± demanded Sikes. and Bill was to do this. with excessive disgust. and Bill was to do it all. one of you boys. to take the taste of that out of my mouth.¡± cried Sikes. doing as he was desired. ¡°Smelling the grub like a old lady a-going to market! He¡¯d make his fortun¡¯ on the stage that dog would. as soon as he got well. or it¡¯ll choke me dead. like a sick rat in his hole?¡± ¡°I couldn¡¯t help it. ¡°I can¡¯t go into a long explanation before company. Bill. on a plant.¡± ¡°Upon your what?¡± growled Sikes.

of which. receiving a sly wink from the wary old Jew.¡± said Mr. assuming an unusual flow of spirits. by affecting to regard his threats as a little pleasant banter. well. ¡°I haven¡¯t so much as would¡ª¡± ¡°I don¡¯t know how much you¡¯ve got.¡± said Fagin. coming hastily forward. while Fagin. gradually brought Mr. let him be. ¡°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. ¡°The Artful¡¯s a deal too artful.¡± ¡°Well. or anything for an excuse. Sikes.Oliver Twist 411 word. ¡°but I must have some blunt from you tonight.¡± ¡°I haven¡¯t a piece of coin about me.¡± replied the Jew. and.¡± Nancy¡¯s appearance gave a new turn to the conversation.¡± retorted Sikes.¡± ¡°Lots!¡± cried Fagin. ¡°but I must have some tonight. and that¡¯s flat. he condescended to make. however. ¡°Then you¡¯ve got lots at home. and I¡¯ll lie down and have a snooze while she¡¯s Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . for the boys. she took very sparingly. or get dodged by traps and so be prewented. holding up his hands. by laughing very heartily at one or two rough jokes. began to ply her with liquor. ¡°and I must have some from there. if you put him up to it. ¡°I¡¯ll send the Artful round presently. ¡°Let him be.¡± said Sikes. to make all sure. which. with a sigh.¡± rejoined Mr. or lose his way.¡± ¡°You won¡¯t do nothing of the kind. moreover. and I dare say you hardly know yourself. Nancy shall go to the ken and fetch it. ¡°It¡¯s all very well. as it would take a pretty long time to count it. Sikes into a better temper. Sikes. after repeated applications to the spirit-bottle. and would forget to come.

Mr. pulling up his collar. The Jew then. and should have gone to sleep. if I hadn¡¯t had the good-natur¡¯ to amuse this youngster. Crackit. Fagin. I¡¯m as flat as a juryman. Mr. In due course they arrived at Fagin¡¯s abode. Crackit. Sikes. which it is scarcely necessary to say the latter gentleman lost. Sikes sullenly remarking that if he couldn¡¯t get any more he must be content with that. apparently somewhat ashamed at being found relaxing himself with a gentleman so much his inferior in station and mental endowments. Toby Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . flinging himself on the bed.¡± answered Mr. took up his hat to go.Oliver Twist 412 gone. protesting with many solemn asservations that would only leave eighteenpence to keep house with. Horrid dull.¡± After a great deal of haggling and squabbling. returned homeward. and with it. I¡¯m blessed if I ain¡¯t!¡± With these and other ejaculations of the same kind. ¡°it¡¯s been as dull as swipes. ¡°Not a living leg. and inquiring after Sikes. Fagin beat down the amount of the required advance from five pounds to three pounds four and sixpence. Mr. as fast as Newgate. yawned. Damme. taking leave of his affectionate friend. Nancy prepared to accompany him home. Chitling intent upon their fifteenth game at cribbage. while the Dodger and Master Bates put the eatables in the cupboard. his fifteenth and last sixpence. Mr. much to the amusement of his young friends. where they found Toby Crackit and Mr. Toby?¡± asked Fagin. ¡°Has nobody been. attended by Nancy and the boys. and composing himself to sleep away the time until the young lady¡¯s return. meanwhile. You ought to stand something handsome. to recompense me for keeping house so long.

¡± said Fagin. assured the company that he considered his acquaintance cheap at fifteen sixpences an interview. with so much elegance and gentility. and that he didn¡¯t value his losses the snap of his little finger. Fagin?¡± ¡°A very clever fellow. Tom. ain¡¯t it. ¡°Very much so. patting him on the shoulder. ¡°and the sooner you go the better. Come! It¡¯s near ten. bestowing numerous admiring glances on his legs and boots till they were out of sight. ain¡¯t he. indeed. when I like. can¡¯t I. my dear.Oliver Twist 413 Crackit swept up his winnings.¡± replied Fagin. But I can go and earn some more. ¡°Not a bit of it. nodding to Nancy. Chitling. Tom!¡± said Master Bates. and nothing done yet. because he won¡¯t give it to them. the boys. Tom. Fagin?¡± pursued Tom. that Mr. Dodger! Charley! It¡¯s time you were on the lay. and left the room. ¡°And Mr. so make up your loss at once. he swaggered out of the room. Chitling. and winking to his other pupils. took up their hats. as though such small pieces of silver were wholly beneath the consideration of a man of his figure. Crackit is a heavy swell. and crammed them into his waistcoat pocket with a haughty air. Fagin?¡± asked Tom. my dear.¡± ¡°And it is a creditable thing to have his acquaintance. the Dodger and his vivacious friend Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . this done. ¡°Wot a rum chap you are.¡± In obedience to this hint. They¡¯re only jealous. and don¡¯t lose any more time. ¡°No doubt at all of that. highly amused by this declaration.¡± replied Mr. my dear. ¡°that¡¯s where it is! He has cleaned me out.¡± ¡°Ah!¡± cried Tom triumphantly. Fagin?¡± ¡°To be sure you can. ¡°Am I.

she muttered a complaint of the heat. ¡°who¡¯s that? Listen!¡± The girl. The Jew. turning round immediately afterwards.Oliver Twist 414 indulging. he¡¯s coming downstairs. or to care whether the person. however.¡± said Fagin. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Chitling for being seen in good society and a great number of fine gentlemen (composing the good society aforesaid) who establish their reputation upon very much the same footing as flash Toby Crackit. my dear. in a tone of languor that contrasted. with the extreme haste and violence of this action. came or went. and no thanks. Hush!¡± he said. but I¡¯m fond of seeing the young people about me. she tore off her bonnet and shawl. with the rapidity of lightning. it is but justice to say. and thrust them under the table. who pay a much higher price than Mr. who was sitting at the table with her arms folded. as they went. in whose conduct. This is only the key of a little cupboard where I keep a few odd things the boys get. Nancy. Nancy. Not a word about the money while he¡¯s here. my dear¡ªha! ha! ha!¡ª none to lock up. The instant she caught the sound. until the murmur of a man¡¯s voice reached her ears. ¡°I¡¯ll go and get you that cash. I bear it all. appeared in no way interested in the arrival. when they had left the room. I never lock up my money. hastily concealing the key in his breast. Chitling. inasmuch as there are a great number of spirited young bloods about town. ¡°Now. who had his back towards her at the time. had been unobserved by Fagin. there was nothing very conspicuous or peculiar. and I bear it all. It¡¯s a poor trade. very remarkably. Nance. for I¡¯ve got none to lock up. as though nettled by the interruption. in many witticisms at the expense of Mr. ¡°it¡¯s the man I expected before. which. whoever he was. ¡°Bah!¡± whispered the Jew.

¡± The girl drew closer to the table.¡± ¡°And¡ªand¡ªgood?¡± asked Fagin. seemed. pointed upward. ¡°Don¡¯t move. and made no offer to leave the room. on beholding a stranger. perhaps fearing she might say something aloud about the money. and glancing at Monks with an air of careless levity. observing that Monks drew back. she stole another look. was close upon the girl before he observed her. Fagin laughed. so keen and searching. ¡°Not bad.¡± she could hear the man say as they went upstairs. withdrew her eyes. Let me have a word with you. ¡°Not that infernal hole we were in before. coming hastily into the room. although she could see that Monks was pointing to her. my dear. as a man¡¯s step was heard upon the stairs without. ¡°Only one of my young people.¡± The girl drew closer to the table. and making some reply which did not reach her. ¡°I have been prompt enough this time. he could hardly have believed the two looks to have proceeded from the same person.¡± said Fagin. who. if he endeavoured to get rid of her. at the same moment as the visitor. Not ten minutes. and full of purpose. The Jew.Oliver Twist 415 He won¡¯t stop long. and took Monks out of the room.¡± Laying his skinny forefinger upon his lip. He reached it. by the creaking of the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . with a smile. anyway. It was Monks. Nancy. hesitating as though he feared to vex the other man by being too sanguine. that if there had been any bystander to observe the change. ¡°Great. but as he turned his towards Fagin. the Jew carried a candle to the door.¡± replied Monks. ¡°Any news?¡± inquired Fagin.

and seemed. listening with breathless interest. When he returned.¡± When the girl got into the open street. and was lost in the gloom above. staring back as he put down the candle.¡± exclaimed the Jew. the girl had slipped off her shoes. immediately afterwards. to lead his companion to the second storey. merely interchanging a ¡°good-night. They parted without more conversation. What have you been doing to yourself?¡± ¡°Nothing that I know of. and the Jew crawled upstairs again for the money. and. the girl was adjusting her shawl and bonnet. and muffling her arms in it. for a few moments. in a direction quite opposite to that in which Sikes was awaiting her return. ¡°Quite horrible. wholly bewildered and unable to pursue her way.¡± replied the girl carelessly. Monks went at once into the street. The moment the noise ceased. she glided from the room.¡± With a sigh for every piece of money. stood at the door. Before the sound of their footsteps had ceased to echo through the house. the two men were heard descending. shading her eyes with her hands. until it gradually resolved into a Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Suddenly she arose. ascended the stairs with incredible softness and silence. quickened her pace. as if preparing to be gone. the girl glided back with the same unearthly tread. ¡°Why. that¡¯s a dear. Fagin told the amount into her hand. ¡°Come! Let me get back. The room remained deserted for a quarter of an hour or more. she sat down upon a doorstep. except sitting in this close place for I don¡¯t know how long and all.Oliver Twist 416 boards. and drawing her gown loosely over her head. and hurrying on. Nance. as if to look steadily at him. ¡°how pale you are!¡± ¡°Pale!¡± echoed the girl.

he did not observe it. or that she felt the full hopelessness of her condition. for merely inquiring if she had brought the money. resumed the slumbers which her arrival had interrupted. would have been obvious to the lynx-eyed Fagin. lacking the niceties of discrimination. and withal had so beneficial an effect in smoothing down the asperities of his temper. in an unusually amiable condition. partly to recover lost time. as if suddenly recollecting herself. and being troubled with no more subtle misgivings than those which resolve themselves into a dogged roughness of behaviour towards everybody. and partly to keep pace with the violent current of her own thoughts. furthermore. soon reached the dwelling where she had left the housebreaker. That she had all the abstracted and nervous manner of one who is on the eve of some bold and hazardous step. that he had neither time nor inclination to be very critical upon her behaviour and deportment. and being. and. when she presented herself to Mr. and deploring her inability to do something she was bent upon. and burst into tears. It was fortunate for her that the possession of money occasioned him so much employment next day in the way of eating and drinking. she stopped to take breath. he uttered a growl of satisfaction. wrung her hands. Sikes.Oliver Twist 417 violent run. It might be that her tears relieved her. saw Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . If she betrayed any agitation. Sikes. After completely exhausting herself. and replacing his head upon the pillow. who would most probably have taken the alarm at once. as has been already observed. which it has required no common struggle to resolve upon. and hurrying with nearly as great rapidity in the contrary direction. but Mr. and receiving a reply in the affirmative. but she turned back.

when these symptoms first struck him. watching until the housebreaker should drink himself asleep. was lying in bed. ¡°Nothing. pressing her hands upon her eyes. ¡°I tell you wot it is. Mr. Lord! What odds in that?¡± The tone of forced gaiety in which the last words were spoken. ¡°if you haven¡¯t caught the fever. ¡°But. and.¡± replied the girl. Sikes being weak from the fever. and as she did so. and shaking her roughly. the girl¡¯s excitement increased. and indeed. there was an unusual paleness in her cheek. that even Sikes observed with astonishment. raising himself on his hands as he stared the girl in the face. and she sat by. and had pushed his glass towards Nancy to be replenished for the third or fourth time. What¡¯s the matter?¡± ¡°Matter!¡± replied the girl. it would have been very unlikely to have awakened his suspicions. and a fire in her eye. when night came on. taking hot water with his gin to render it less inflammatory. As that day closed in. ¡°Why. ¡°What is it? What do you mean? What are you thinking of?¡± ¡°Of many things. and got it comin¡¯ on. Bill. now. had her agitation been or more perceptible than it was. seemed to produce a deeper impression on Sikes than the wild and rigid look which had preceded them. grasping her by the arm. shivering.¡± said Sikes. ¡°You look like a corpse come to life again. troubled himself so little about her. that. What do you look at me so hard for?¡± ¡°What foolery is this?¡± demanded Sikes. burn my body!¡± said the man. there¡¯s something more than usual in Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist 418 nothing unusual in her demeanour.

and put on your own face. despite the sleeping draught. and held the vessel to his lips. Sikes drained the glass to the bottom. was suddenly stricken. looking fearfully round. while he drank off the contents. as it were.¡± said Sikes. Sikes. too. and muttering the words to himself¡ª¡°there ain¡¯t a stauncher-hearted gal going. with great alacrity. even now. poured it quickly out. ¡°I may be too late.¡± said the robber. fixing his eyes upon her. for two or three minutes. and he lay like one in a profound trance. or I¡¯ll alter it so. with many grumbling oaths. opened again. as she rose from the bedside. locking her hand in his. that you won¡¯t know it again when you do want it. into a deep and heavy sleep. and something dangerous. ¡°The laudanum has taken effect at last.¡± murmured the girl. and then. damme! you wouldn¡¯t do that!¡± ¡°Do what?¡± asked the girl. The girl jumped up. and.¡± She hastily dressed herself in her bonnet and shawl. They closed. as if.¡± The girl obeyed.¡± Fortifying himself with this assurance. She¡¯s got the fever coming on. ¡°Now. fell back upon the pillow. He shifted his position restlessly. after dozing again. from time to time. ¡°come and sit aside of me. You¡¯re not a-going to No. called for his physic. and gazing vacantly about him. and as often springing up with a look of terror. turning his eyes upon her face.Oliver Twist 419 the wind. and again. ¡°There ain¡¯t. the upraised arm fell languidly by his side. but with her back towards him. while in the very attitude of rising. or I¡¯d have cut her throat three months ago. that¡¯s it. The grasp of his hand relaxed. again opened. she expected every moment to feel the pressure of Sikes¡¯ Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . closed once more.

She tore along the narrow pavement. and here her headlong progress excited a still greater curiosity in the stragglers whom she hurried past.Oliver Twist 420 heavy hand upon her shoulders. the streets were comparatively deserted. The clock struck ten. Many of the shops were already closing in the back lanes and avenues through which she tracked her way. raising the lantern to her face. increasing her impatience. down a dark passage through which she had to pass. elbowing the passengers from side to side. surprised at her undiminished speed. in gaining the main thoroughfare. ¡°¡®The woman is mad!¡± said the people. and a few made head upon her. as though to see whither she was hastening at such an unusual rate. and looked back. hurried from the house. and then opening and closing the room door with noiseless touch. ¡°Has it long gone the half-hour?¡± asked the girl. she kissed the robber¡¯s lips. where clusters of persons were eagerly watching their opportunity to do the like. brushing swiftly past him. turning to look after her as she rushed away.¡± muttered Nancy. When she reached the more wealthy quarter of the town. and darting almost under the horses¡¯ heads. ¡°It¡¯ll strike the hour in another quarter. then stooping softly over the bed. but they fell off one by one. crossed crowded streets. It was a family hotel in a quiet but handsome street near Hyde Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and gliding rapidly down the street. A watchman was crying half-past nine. Some quickened their pace behind.¡± said the man. she was alone. and when she neared her place of destination. ¡°And I cannot get there in less than an hour or more. in making from Spitalfields towards the west end of London.

and summoned a man to answer her. if I go!¡± said the girl violently. Take yourself off.¡± said Nancy.¡± she said.¡± ¡°Come!¡± said the man. ¡°No. ¡°Nor business?¡± said the man. ¡°It¡¯s of no use saying any. and who stepped forward to interfere.¡± ¡°I shall be carried out.Oliver Twist 421 Park. ¡°and I can make that a job that two of you won¡¯t like to do. As the brilliant light of the lamp which burned before its door. pushing her towards the door. looking round. accompanied with a scornful look. but the sound determined her. ¡°I must see the lady. ¡°Take it up for her.¡± answered the girl. ¡°What lady?¡± ¡°Miss Maylie. The young woman. Nancy repeated her request. ¡°that will see a simple message carried for a poor wretch like me?¡± This appeal produced an effect on a good-tempered-faced mancook. and advanced towards the stairs. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . looking out from a door behind her. ¡°What name am I to say?¡± asked the waiter. nor that neither. who had by this time noted her appearance. To him. ¡°Now. replied only by a look of virtuous disdain. can¡¯t you?¡± said this person.¡± rejoined the girl. guided her to the spot. the clock struck eleven. ¡°who do you want here ?¡± ¡°A lady who is stopping in this house. The porter¡¯s seat was vacant. ¡°None of this.¡± replied Nancy. who with some other of the servants was looking on. Isn¡¯t there anybody here. She looked round with an air of incertitude. ¡°A lady!¡± was the reply. She had loitered for a few paces as though irresolute. young woman!¡± said a smartly-dressed female. Joe. and she stepped into the hall. and making up her mind to advance.

¡°but do what I ask you first.¡± said the girl firmly. listening with quivering lip to the very audible expressions of scorn. ¡°What¡¯s it to be?¡± said the man. of which the chaste housemaids were very prolific. pale and almost breathless. with one foot on the stairs. who remarked. with great fervour. that the creature was a disgrace to her sex.¡± said the girl. ¡°Do what you like with me. Nancy remained. into the kennel.¡± said Nancy. ¡°and that if the lady will only hear the first word she has to say. ¡°Brass can do better than the gold what has stood the fire.¡± The man ran upstairs. ¡°It¡¯s no good being proper in this world. ¡°That a young woman earnestly asks to speak to Miss Maylie alone. do you?¡± This allusion to Nancy¡¯s doubtful character. ¡°and let me hear the answer.¡± said the second.¡± said the first housemaid. or to have her turned out of doors as an impostor. turning to the men again. and the result was that the man who had first appeared undertook its delivery. and said the young woman was to walk upstairs. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and I ask you to give this message for God Almighty¡¯s sake. and of which they became still more so. and strongly advocated her being thrown. ¡°You don¡¯t suppose the young lady will see such as her. ruthlessly. she will know whether to hear her business.¡± The soft-hearted cook added his intercession.¡± said the man. when the man returned. raised a vast quantity of chaste wrath in the bosoms of four housemaids.¡± ¡°I say.Oliver Twist 422 ¡°What¡¯s the good?¡± replied the man. ¡°you¡¯re coming it strong!¡± ¡°You give the message.

to a small antechamber.Oliver Twist 423 The third contented herself with wondering ¡°what ladies was made of. lighted by a lamp from the ceiling. Here he left her. for she had weightier matters at heart. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and retired.¡± and the fourth took the first in a quartet of ¡°Shameful!¡± with which the Dianas concluded. with trembling limbs. Regardless of all this. Nancy followed the man.

the fallen outcast of low haunts. bending them on the ground. but there was something of the woman¡¯s original nature left in her still. and among the most noisome of the stews and dens of London. but which alone connected her with that humanity. many traces when a very child. The miserable companion of thieves and ruffians. then.Oliver Twist 424 Chapter 40 A Strange Interview. and when she heard a light step approaching the door opposite to that by which she had entered. Which Is A Sequel To The Last Chapter. She raised her eyes sufficiently to observe that the figure which presented itself was that of a slight and beautiful girl. of which her wasting life had obliterated so many. and thought of the wide contrast which the small room would in another moment contain. she tossed her head with affected carelessness as she said: Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . But struggling with these better feelings was pride¡ªthe vice of the lowest and most debased creatures no less than of the high and self-assured. she felt burdened with the sense of her own deep shame. The girl¡¯s life had been squandered in the streets. and shrank as though she could scarcely bear the presence of her with whom she had sought this interview. living within the shadow of the gallows itself¡ªeven this degraded being felt too proud to betray a feeble gleam of the womanly feeling which she thought a weakness. the associate of the scourings of the jails and hulks.

¡± said Rose earnestly. and not without reason either. lady. ¡°Why?¡± ¡°Because. there would be fewer like me¡ªthere would¡ªthere would!¡± ¡°Sit down. lady. the absence of any accent of haughtiness or displeasure. lady!¡± replied the girl. ¡°I am the infamous creature you have heard of. have known any better life. the gentle manner.¡± said the girl. my eyes and senses opening on London streets. Sit down. Tell me why you wished to see me. took the girl completely by surprise.¡± said the girl.¡± ¡°Let me stand.¡± ¡°I am very sorry if any one has behaved harshly to you. or kinder words than Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . as many would have done. I am the girl that dragged little Oliver back to old Fagin¡¯s on the night he went out from the house in Pentonville.¡± said Rose. that lives among the thieves. and the lives of others in your hands.Oliver Twist 425 ¡°It¡¯s a hard matter to get to see you. and gone away.¡± The kind tone of this answer.¡± ¡°You!¡± said Rose Maylie. from the first moment I can recollect. clasping her hands passionately before her face. as if to be nearer assistance in case she should require it. Is¡ªis¡ªthat door shut?¡± ¡°Yes. lady!¡± she said. ¡°I am about to put my life. I am the person you inquired for. ¡°Oh. It is growing late. recoiling a few steps. lady. the sweet voice. you¡¯d have been sorry for it one day. ¡°and do not speak to me so kindly till you know me better. and that never.¡± replied Rose. ¡°If you are in poverty or affliction I shall be truly glad to relieve you if I can¡ªI shall indeed. ¡°Do not think of that. and she burst into tears. ¡°I. If I had taken offence. ¡°if there was more like you. still weeping.

and soon after Oliver was put into your house on the night of the robbery. But I have stolen away from those who would surely murder me. ¡°Thank Heaven upon your knees.¡± said Rose. I found out. ¡°He knows you.¡± said Rose.¡± rejoined the girl. for it was by hearing him tell the place that I found you out.¡± ¡°I never heard the name.¡± ¡°I pity you!¡± said Rose. but I am well used to it. that Monks¡ªthe man I asked you about. for the alley and the gutter were mine. dear lady. Some time ago. from what I heard. Do you know a man named Monks?¡± ¡°No. if they knew I had been here. I am younger than you would think.¡± cried the girl. ¡°which I more than thought before. so help me God! Do not mind shrinking openly from me. The poorest women fall back. and riot and drunkenness. lady. you know¡ª¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°that you had friends to care for and keep you in your childhood. I may use the word.Oliver Twist 426 they have given me. ¡°It wrings my heart to hear you!¡± ¡°Heaven bless you for your goodness!¡± rejoined the girl.¡± ¡°What dreadful things are these!¡± said Rose. in a broken voice. you would pity me indeed. and¡ªand¡ª something worse than all¡ªas I have been from my cradle. to tell you what I have overheard. to look at me. ¡°and knew you were here. as I make my way along the crowded pavement.¡± replied the girl. and that you were never in the midst of cold and hunger. ¡°Then he goes by some other amongst you. involuntarily falling from her strange companion. I¡ª suspecting this man¡ªlistened to a conversation held between him and Fagin in the dark. as they will be my death-bed. ¡°If you knew what I am sometimes.

and the old hag that received them from the mother is rotting in her coffin.¡± ¡°And what occurred then?¡± ¡°I¡¯ll tell you. and Monks. for. which this Monks wanted for some purpose of his own.¡± said Rose. lady. that if Oliver was got back he should have a certain sum.¡± replied the girl.¡¯ They laughed. by driving him through every jail in town and then hauling him up for some felony which Fagin could easily manage. after having made a good profit of him besides. ¡°I understand. he¡¯d rather have had it the other way.¡± ¡°For what purpose?¡± asked Rose. talking on about the boy. and getting very wild.Oliver Twist 427 ¡°Yes. and I saw him no more till last night.¡± ¡°What is all this?¡± said Rose. But I did. and talked of his success in doing this. wrapping myself up so that my shadow should not betray me. 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. Last night he came again.¡± pursued the girl. ¡°and there are not many people besides me that could have got out of their way in time to escape discovery.¡± ¡°That Monks. and had known him directly to be the same child that he was watching for. ¡°The truth. and he was to have more for making him a thief. what a game it would have been to have brought down the boast of the father¡¯s will. said that though he had got the young devil¡¯s money safely now. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . again listened at the door. though it comes from my lips. ¡°He caught sight of my shadow on the wall as I listened. though I couldn¡¯t make out why. Again they went upstairs. ¡°had seen him accidentally with two of our boys on the day we first lost him. and I. A bargain was struck with Fagin. in the hope of finding out.¡± said the girl. lady.

I know many who do worse things.¡± ¡°You do not mean. ¡°And more. if you had them. with oaths common enough in my ears. he laughed. but I¡¯d rather listen to them all a dozen times. as he couldn¡¯t.¡¯ he says. if a man ever did. turning very pale.Oliver Twist 428 ¡°Then he said. and if he took advantage of his birth and history. ¡®Jew as you are. since she began to speak. and I have to reach home without suspicion of having been on such an errand as this. that if he could gratify his hatred by taking the boy¡¯s life without bringing his own neck in danger. ¡°To what use can I turn this communication without you? Back! Why do you wish to return to companions you paint in such terrible colours? If you repeat this information to a gentleman whom I can summon in an instant Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . for a vision of Sikes haunted her perpetually. Fagin. ¡®In short. or the devil against him. than to that Monks once. When he spoke of you and the other lady. and said there was some comfort in that.¡± said Nancy. he might harm him yet. for how many thousand and hundreds of thousands of pounds would you not give. he¡¯d be upon the watch to meet him at every turn in life. you never laid such snares as I¡¯ll contrive for my young brother. he would. glancing uneasily round. and said it seemed contrived by Heaven. but. I must get back quickly. to know who your two-legged spaniel was.¡± said Rose. but strange to yours. ¡°to tell me that this was said in earnest?¡± ¡°He spoke in hard and angry earnest. as she had scarcely ceased to do. ¡°Those were his words. too. ¡°He is an earnest man when his hatred is up. shaking her head. that Oliver should come into your hands.¡¯¡± ¡°His brother!¡± exclaimed Rose. It is growing late.¡± ¡°But what can I do?¡± said Rose.¡± replied the girl. Oliver.

folding her hands as the tears coursed down her face. but it is too late¡ªit is too late!¡± ¡°It is never too late. because¡ª how can I tell such things to an innocent lady like you?¡ªbecause among the men I have told you of. ¡°I cannot leave him now! I could not be his death!¡± ¡°Why should you be?¡± asked Rose.¡± ¡°I wish to go back.¡± ¡°It is. at so great a risk. ¡°that for such a man as this.¡± ¡°Lady.¡± ¡°Your having interfered in this dear boy¡¯s behalf before. for better things. He is the boldest. which convinces me of the truth of what you say. ¡°I must go back. and has been so cruel!¡± ¡°Is it possible. there is one¡ªthe most desperate among them all¡ªthat I can¡¯t leave. ¡°do not turn a deaf ear to the entreaties of one of your own sex. sinking on her knees.¡± said Rose.Oliver Twist 429 from the next room. sweet angellady. all lead me to believe that you might be yet reclaimed. ¡°for penitence and atonement.¡± cried the girl. you are the first that ever blessed me with such words as these. he would be sure to die.¡± cried Rose. your manner. ¡°If I told others what I have told you. you can Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± cried the girl. and let me save you yet.¡± cried the girl. the first¡ªthe first. you can be consigned to some place of safety without half an hour¡¯s delay. I do believe. writhing in the agony of her mind. and led to their being taken. Oh!¡± said the earnest girl. they might have turned me from a life of sin and sorrow. to tell me what you have heard. who ever appealed to you in the voice of pity and compassion. ¡°dear.¡± said the girl. not even to be saved from the life I am leading now. ¡°Nothing could save him. ¡°your coming here.¡± said Rose. your evident contrition and sense of shame. and if I had heard them years ago. Do hear my words. no.

whom you are anxious to serve?¡± ¡°You must have some kind of gentleman about you that will hear it as a secret. I must go back. but where will you be walking or passing at any settled period from thus time?¡± ¡°Will you promise me that you will have my secret strictly kept. if I am alive. and I should be.¡± rejoined the girl.¡± ¡°You should. Whether it is God¡¯s wrath for the wrong I have done. if I know that I was to die by his hand at last.¡± answered Rose.¡± ¡°Of what use. and forced no promise from you. and come alone. and the certainty of immediate rescue? It is madness. ¡°I should not let. but with hundreds of others as bad and wretched as myself. lady. ¡°Every Sunday night.¡± said the girl without hesitation. ¡°I only know that it is so. or with the only other person that knows it.¡± answered the girl. ¡°But where can I find you again when it is necessary?¡± asked Rose. I do not know. and not with me alone.¡± rejoined the girl. or how will its disclosure to me benefit Oliver. rising. as I might have done. ¡°I will walk on London Bridge. but I am drawn back to him through every suffering and ill-usage. and advise you what to do. from eleven until the clock strikes twelve.¡± ¡°I don¡¯t know what it is.¡± ¡°What am I to do?¡± said Rose. is the communication you have made?¡± said Rose. then. ¡°I do not seek to know where these dreadful people live.Oliver Twist 430 resign every future hope. I believe. ¡°This mystery must be investigated. ¡°You will not stop my going because I have trusted in your goodness. ¡°I promise you solemnly. and that I shall not be watched or followed?¡± asked the girl. and I know you will. you depart from me thus.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .

set our rotten hearts on any man. ¡°give away your hearts.¡± ¡°You would serve me best. lady. ¡°I wish to serve you indeed. and the opportunity you have of escaping from it. ¡°Do not close your heart against all my efforts to help you. ¡°if you could take my life at once. and for having that turned. and make you cling to wickedness and misery? Oh! is there no chord in your heart that I can touch! Is there nothing left. for I have felt more grief Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . when a word can save you? What fascination is it that can take you back.¡± ¡°You will.Oliver Twist 431 ¡°Stay another moment.¡± replied the girl. You have a claim on me.¡± interposed Rose. friends. which may enable you to live without dishonesty¡ªat all events until we meet again. not only as the voluntary bearer of this intelligence.¡± replied the girl. to fill them. Will you return to this gang of robbers. waving her hand. and no friend in sickness or death but the hospital nurse. When such as I. stepping gently forward. lady¡ªpity us for having only one feeling of the woman left. who have no certain roof but the coffin-lid. and to this man.¡± ¡°Not a penny. after a pause. who have a home. who can hope to cure us? Pity us. but as a woman lost almost beyond redemption. love will carry you all lengths¡ªeven such as you. other admirers. ¡°Think once again on your own condition. ¡°take some money from me. into a new means of violence and suffering. from a comfort and a pride. everything.¡± said Rose. and let him fill the place that has been a blank through all our wretched lives. by a heavy judgement. and good.¡± said Rose. and beautiful as you are. wringing her hands. as the girl moved hurriedly towards the door. to which I can appeal against this terrible infatuation! ¡°When ladies as young.¡± replied the girl steadily.

God bless you. and it would be something not to die in the hell in which I have lived. overpowered by this extraordinary interview. than I ever did before. while Rose Maylie. tonight. and send as much happiness on your head as I have brought shame on mine!¡± Thus speaking. sank into a chair and endeavoured to collect her wandering Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . which had more the semblance of a rapid dream than an actual occurrence. sweet lady.Oliver Twist 432 to think of what I am. and sobbing aloud. the unhappy creature turned away.

had reposed in her. and. and would be for the next two days. to trust him with the secret. What course of action could she determine upon. Her words and manner had touched Rose Maylie¡¯s heart. And Showing That Surprises. They purposed remaining in London only three days. when her representations in the girl¡¯s behalf could be seconded by no experienced person. and foresaw too clearly the wrath with which. These were all reasons for the greatest Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . indeed. was her fond wish to win the outcast back to repentance and hope. While she felt the most eager and burning desire to penetrate the mystery in which Oliver¡¯s history was enveloped. mingled with her love for her young charge. he would regard the instrument of Oliver¡¯s recapture. Losberne was with them. prior to departing for some weeks to a distant part of the coast. Like Misfortunes. Seldom Come Alone. which could be adopted in eight-and-forty hours? Or how could she postpone the journey without exciting suspicion? Mr.Oliver Twist 433 Chapter 41 Containing Fresh Discoveries. and scarcely less intense in its truth and fervour. in the first explosion of his indignation. It was now midnight of the first day. Her situation was. she could not but hold sacred the confidence which the miserable woman with whom she had just conversed. but Rose was too well acquainted with the excellent gentleman¡¯s impetuosity. as a young and guileless girl. one of no common trial and difficulty.

After more communing with herself next day. for the same reasons.¡± she thought. Giles for a bodyguard. but it was better for us both. even if she had known how to do so. she arrived at the desperate conclusion of consulting Harry. whose first impulse would infallibly be to hold a conference with the worthy doctor on the subject. inclining now to one course and then to another. and to be happier away. entered the room in such breathless haste and violent agitation. when Oliver. he may write. as though the very paper which was to be her messenger should not see her weep. and again recoiling from all. but this awakened the recollection of their last parting. ¡°to come back here.¡± And here Rose dropped the pen. and it seemed unworthy of her to call him back. it was scarcely to be thought of. who had been walking in the streets. She had taken up the same pen. with Mr. Maylie. I hardly thought he would. and studiously abstain from meeting me¡ªhe did when he went away. ¡°If it be painful to him. Rose passed a sleepless and anxious night. and laid it down again fifty times.Oliver Twist 434 caution and most circumspect behaviour in communicating it to Mrs. when¡ªthe tears rose to her eyes as she pursued this train of reflection¡ªhe might have by this time learned to forget her. and had considered and reconsidered the first line of her letter without writing the first word. as seemed to betoken some new cause of alarm. Disturbed by these different reflections. As to resorting to any legal adviser. or he may come himself. as each successive consideration presented itself to her mind. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Once the thought occurred to her of seeking assistance from Harry. how painful it will be to me! But perhaps he will not come. and turned away.

and you should be able to know that I have told you all the truth!¡± ¡°I never thought you had told us anything but the truth.¡± said Rose. ¡°the gentleman who was so good to me¡ªMr.¡± replied the boy. ¡°Oh. ¡°Getting out of a coach. and I trembled so. ¡°Quick!¡± she said. opening a scrap of paper.Oliver Twist 435 ¡°What makes you look so hurried?¡± asked Rose. advancing to meet him. But Giles asked. without a moment¡¯s loss of time. ¡°and going into a house. that we have so often talked about. and be ready to go with me. Look here. and they said he did. that I was not able to go up to him. ¡°I hardly know how. and be ready as soon as you are. for he didn¡¯t see me. dear! To think that I should see him at last. dear me.¡± replied Oliver.¡± said Oliver. ¡°here it is. I will only tell my aunt that we are going out for an hour. ¡°But what is this?¡ªof whom do you speak?¡± ¡°I have seen the gentleman.¡± Oliver needed no prompting to despatch. soothing him. shedding tears of delight. for me. I will take you there directly. and in little more than five minutes they were on their way to Craven Street. I feel as if I should be choked. in the Strand. Brownlow. When they Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . here¡¯s where he lives¡ªI¡¯m going there directly! Oh. Rose read the address. whether he lived there. and very soon determined upon turning the discovery to account. 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. which was Craven Street. scarcely able to articulate.¡± ¡°Where?¡± asked Rose.¡± replied Oliver. ¡°tell them to fetch a hackney-coach. I didn¡¯t speak to him¡ªI couldn¡¯t speak to him.

who had made one very stiff bow. ¡°This is my friend. Miss Maylie was presented to an elderly gentleman of benevolent appearance. who did not look particularly benevolent. I need not give the gentleman the trouble of going away. If I am correctly informed.¡± said the gentleman in the bottle-green coat. and sending up her card by the servant. ¡°that at this period of our interview. and risen from his chair. and dropped into it again. hastily rising with great politeness. he is cognisant of the business on which I wish to speak to you. pray. in nankeen breeches and gaiters. At no great distance from whom. was seated another old gentleman. ¡°I shall surprise you very much. naturally embarrassed. made another very stiff bow. Brownlow on very pressing business. in a bottle-green coat. Grimwig.Oliver Twist 436 arrived there. Grimwig. and his chin propped thereupon. Rose left Oliver in the coach. and following him into an upper room. and who was sitting with his hands clasped on the top of a thick stick.¡± Mr.¡± said the old gentleman.¡± said Rose. ¡°I beg your pardon. Mr. sir?¡± said Rose. ¡°but you once showed great benevolence and goodness to a very dear young friend of mine. and I am sure Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± interposed Miss Maylie. glancing from the other gentleman to the one who had spoken. I believe. I have no doubt.¡± ¡°Mr. ¡°Dear me. ¡°That is my name. Brownlow inclined his head. Grimwig. Mr. under pretence of preparing the old gentleman to receive him. to beg that she would walk upstairs. Be seated. The servant soon returned. will you leave us for a few minutes?¡± ¡°I believe. Brownlow. young lady¡ªI imagined it was some importunate person who¡ªI beg you will excuse me. requested to see Mr.

although his astonishment was not expressed in the same eccentric manner. not to be discharged on empty air.Oliver Twist 437 you will take an interest in hearing of him again. He drew his chair nearer to Miss Maylie¡¯s. as if ashamed of having betrayed so much emotion. and falling back in his chair.¡± replied Rose. who had been affecting to dip into a large book that lay on the table. The words no sooner escaped her lips. my dear young lady. in Heaven¡¯s name put me in possession of it. he jerked himself. without moving a muscle of his face. to leave entirely out of the question that goodness and benevolence of which you speak. Brownlow was no less surprised. discharged from his features every expression but one of unmitigated wonder.¡± ¡°A bad one! I¡¯ll eat my head if he is not a bad one. which seemed. and of which nobody else knows anything. then. ¡°He is a child of a noble nature and a warm heart. speaking by some ventriloquial power. and said: ¡°Do me the favour. deep whistle. ¡°and that Power which has thought fit to try him beyond his years. ¡°Oliver Twist you knew him as. has planted in his breast affections and feelings which would do honour to many who have numbered his days six Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Grimwig. by a convulsion into his former attitude. colouring. Mr. at last.¡± said Rose.¡± ¡°Indeed!¡± said Mr. than Mr. upset it with a great crash. as it were. Brownlow. and indulged in a prolonged and vacant stare. but to die away in the innermost recesses of his stomach.¡± growled Mr. Grimwig. 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. and looking out straight before him emitted a long.

I don¡¯t see the application of that remark. in a few natural words. Grimwig. has been considerably shaken.¡± ¡°Yes. he does not.¡± said Mr. according to their invariable custom. with the same rigid face. Will you let me know what intelligence you have of this poor child. my first impression that he had imposed upon me. if he doesn¡¯t.¡± said Mr. Grimwig. allowing me to premise that I exhausted every means in my power of discovering him. he does. Brownlow. Brownlow. ¡°he does not mean what he says.¡± ¡°I¡¯m only sixty-one. Having gone thus far.¡± growled Mr. Brownlow¡¯s house.¡± ¡°Do not heed my friend.¡± growled Mr. Grimwig. who had had time to collect her thoughts.¡± Rose. Miss Maylie. all that had befallen Oliver since he left Mr. at once related. Brownlow. obviously rising in wrath as he spoke. and had been persuaded by his former associates to rob me. knocking his stick upon the floor. ¡°He¡¯ll eat his head. Miss Maylie. reserving Nancy¡¯s information for that gentleman¡¯s private ear. and afterwards shook hands.¡± said Mr. ¡°No. Brownlow. ¡°He would deserve to have it knocked off. ¡°And he¡¯d uncommonly like to see any man offer to do it. ¡°Now. Grimwig.¡± said Mr.Oliver Twist 438 times over. and concluding with the assurance that Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°to return to the subject in which your humanity is so much interested.¡± said Mr. ¡°And. if he does. the two old gentleman severally took snuff. and that since I have been absent from this country.¡± responded Mr. as the devil¡¯s in it if this Oliver is not twelve years old at least.

Mr. Brownlow. ringing the bell. and then stopping before Rose. kissed her without the slightest preface.¡± The old housekeeper answered the summons with all despatch. ¡°Hush!¡± he said. ¡°At this door!¡± cried the old gentleman. whom Mr. he rose and limped as fast as he could up and down the room at least a dozen times. I like you. for some months past. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . by the bye. Here they are!¡± In fact. if you please. With which he hurried out of the room. described three distinct circles with the assistance of his stick and the table. and into the coach. sitting in it all the time. as the young lady rose in some alarm at this unusual proceeding. Mr. You¡¯re a sweet girl. Miss Maylie. ¡°Send Mrs. had been the not being able to meet with his former benefactor and friend. ¡°Thank God!¡± said the old gentleman. ¡°There is somebody else who should not be forgotten. down the stairs. Bedwin here. and converting one of the hind legs of his chair into a pivot.¡± replied Rose. and if the gratification of that moment had been the only reward for all her anxiety and care in Oliver¡¯s behalf. Grimwig lifted up his head.¡± said Mr. I¡¯m old enough to be your grandfather. You must pardon my finding fault with you¡ª but why not have brought him?¡± ¡°He is waiting in a coach at the door. Grimwig received very graciously. Brownlow returned. When the room door closed behind him. accompanied by Oliver. After performing this evolution. without another word. as he threw himself at one dextrous dive into his former seat. Rose Maylie would have been well repaid. ¡°Don¡¯t be afraid. up the coach steps. But you have not told me where he is now. ¡°This is great happiness to me¡ªgreat happiness.Oliver Twist 439 his only sorrow.

Brownlow. ¡°How well he looks. and yielding to his first impulse.¡± rejoined Mr. Brownlow led the way into another room.Oliver Twist 440 and dropping a curtsey at the door. don¡¯t improve with age. at my time of life. Brownlow. and now holding Oliver from her to mark how he had grown. you get blinder every day. ¡°but put on your glasses. the good soul laughed and wept upon his neck by turns. ¡°it is my innocent boy!¡± ¡°My dear old nurse!¡± cried Oliver. Bedwin. now clasping him to her and passing her fingers fondly through his hair. dead and gone since I was a lightsome young creature. he sprang into her arms. But Oliver¡¯s patience was not proof against this new trial. the same soft eye. and there heard from Rose a full narration of her interview with Nancy.¡± said the old lady. waited for orders. I have never forgotten them. and see if you can¡¯t find out what you were wanted for. Mr.¡± ¡°I could have told you that. but have seen them every day. but not so sad. ¡°Well. embracing him. Rose also Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . which occasioned him no little surprise and perplexity. sir. long while? Ah! the same sweet face. rather testily. or his quiet smile. that I do.¡± replied the old lady. ¡°Why. this long. Leaving her and Oliver to compare notes at leisure.¡± Running on thus. ¡°He would come back¡ªI knew he would. sir. but not so pale. side by side with those of my own dear children. ¡°People¡¯s eyes. holding him in her arms.¡± said Mr. will you?¡± The old lady began to rummage in her pocket for her spectacles. and how like a gentleman¡¯s son he is dressed again! Where have you been. ¡°God be good to me!¡± cried the old lady.

it was arranged that he should call at the hotel at eight o¡¯clock that evening. and readily undertook to hold solemn conference with the worthy doctor himself.¡± rejoined Mr. Brownlow. ¡°Then what the devil is to be done?¡± said the impetuous doctor. in this first outbreak. Brownlow. if he had not been restrained. threatened to make her the first victim of the combined ingenuity of Messrs. Maylie should be cautiously informed of all that had occurred. and beg them to accept a hundred pounds. Losberne in the first instance. or so. and partly by such arguments and representations as seemed best calculated to dissuade him from his hot-brained purpose. ¡°Are we to pass a vote of thanks to all these vagabonds. Rose had by no means overrated the measure of the good doctor¡¯s wrath.Oliver Twist 441 explained her reasons for not confiding in her friend Mr. male and female. he would. And. Rose and Oliver returned home. as a trifling mark of our esteem. by corresponding violence on the side of Mr. laughing. in part. To afford him an early opportunity for the execution of this design. and some slight acknowledgement of their kindness to Oliver?¡± ¡°Not exactly that. and actually put on his hat preparatory to sallying forth to obtain the assistance of those worthies. ¡°but we Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . apiece. Blathers and Duff. Nancy¡¯s history was no sooner unfolded to him than he poured forth a shower of mingled threats and execrations. The old gentleman considered that she had acted prudently. doubtless. have carried the intention into effect without a moment¡¯s consideration of the consequences. when they had rejoined the two ladies. These preliminaries adjusted. who was himself of an irascible temperament. and that in the meantime Mrs.

the discovery of Oliver¡¯s parentage. ¡°I¡¯d send them one and all to¡ª¡± ¡°Never mind where. That can only be done by stratagem.¡± ¡°Gentleness and care. Brownlow.¡± ¡°Very good. smiling. in all probability. cooling himself with his pockethandkerchief. suppose he were apprehended.¡± ¡°What object?¡± asked the doctor.¡± exclaimed the doctor. what good should we bring about?¡± ¡°Hanging a few of them at least. ¡°Thus. which is the same thing. ¡°Simply. ¡°and transporting the rest.¡± ¡°How?¡± inquired the doctor.¡± replied Mr. unless we can bring this man. Losberne. ¡°But reflect whether sending them anywhere is likely to attain the object we have in view. Monks. Brownlow.¡± interposed Mr. he has been fraudulently deprived. and regaining for him the inheritance of which. in direct opposition to our own interest¡ªor at least Oliver¡¯s. we have no proof against him. if this story be true. upon his knees. It is quite clear that we shall have extreme difficulty in getting to the bottom of this mystery.Oliver Twist 442 must proceed gently and with great care. and by catching him when he is not surrounded by these people. Brownlow. abut no doubt they will bring that about for themselves in the fulness of time. ¡°placing this poor girl entirely out of the question.¡± ¡°You see. and supposing it were possible to bring these scoundrels to justice without compromising her safety.¡± ¡°Ah!¡± said Mr. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± suggested the doctor. ¡°I almost forgot that. it seems to me that we shall be performing a very quixotic act.¡± pursued Mr. and if we step in to forestall them. For.

it is very unlikely that he could receive any further punishment than being committed to prison as a rogue and vagabond. and as both Rose and Mrs. I don¡¯t think it will.Oliver Twist 443 He is not even (so far as we know. interfere with our proceedings. but really¡ª¡± ¡°Do not discuss the point. pray. to ascertain from her whether she will point out this Monks. dumb. and an idiot.¡± said Mr. Brownlow. in the slightest degree. interrupting Rose as she was about to speak. If he were not discharged. to procure from her such an account of his haunts and description of his person.¡± ¡°Then. that gentleman¡¯s proposition was carried unanimously. or cannot do that. But. I would suggest that in the meantime we remain perfectly quiet. if she will not. and not by the law. my dear young lady.¡± said the doctor impetuously. this is Tuesday. be deaf.¡± Although Mr. it will be necessary to see the girl. a promise made with the best and kindest intentions. or. as will enable us to identify him. Brownlow. before we can resolve upon any precise course of action. blind. Maylie sided very strongly with Mr. She cannot be seen until next Sunday night. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . whether you think it reasonable that this promise to the girl should be considered binding. and keep these matters secret even from Oliver himself. on the understanding that he is to be dealt with by us. for our purpose. ¡°The promise shall be kept. Losberne received with many wry faces a proposal involving a delay of five whole days. or as the facts appear to us) concerned with the gang in any of their robberies. and of course ever afterwards his mouth would be so obstinately closed that he might as well. he was fain to admit that no better course occurred to him just then. ¡°I put it to you again.

¡°while there remains the slightest prospect of prosecuting this inquiry with a chance of success. 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 this young lady¡¯s very old friend. and quitted the bar in disgust because he had only one brief and a motion of course. and I am content to remain here. ¡°to call in the aid of my friend Grimwig. of course. I make this request with good Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and might prove of material assistance to us. Brownlow. He is a strange creature.¡± said the doctor. you must determine for yourselves. Grimwig were accordingly added to the committee. I should say that he was bred a lawyer.¡± said Mr.¡± he said. motioning towards Mrs. and had so suddenly left the kingdom. but she did not make any audible objection to this motion (possibly she felt in a hopeless minority). ¡°who may he be?¡± ¡°That lady¡¯s son. so long as you assure me that any hope remains. Rose blushed deeply. Brownlow. a disposition to inquire how it happened that I was not in the way to corroborate Oliver¡¯s tale. Maylie. though whether that is a recommendation or not. ¡°We stay in town.¡± ¡°Good!¡± rejoined Mr.Oliver Twist 444 ¡°I should like. and concluding with an expressive glance at her niece. and Harry Maylie and Mr. if it be for twelve months. but a shrewd one. in twenty years. I will spare neither trouble nor expense in behalf of the object in which we are all so deeply interested. Believe me. Maylie. ¡°We must put it to the vote. ¡°And as I see on the faces about me.¡± ¡°I have no objection to your calling in your friend if I may call in mine.¡± said the doctor.¡± replied Mr.

for the present. Maylie. effectually broken up. the old gentleman gave his hand to Mrs. Mr. that we have wearied of his company. and young Oliver. who is all alone in the next room.Oliver Twist 445 reason. will have begun to think. and escorted her into the supper-room. for I might otherwise excite hopes destined never to be realised. leading Rose. Losberne followed. and entered into some dark conspiracy to thrust him forth upon the world.¡± With these words. and the council was. Come! Supper has been announced. by this time. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and only increase difficulties and disappointments already numerous enough.

which were of unusual extent. and urging her to greater exertion. for the former was one of those long-limbed. and apparently light enough. Sikes to sleep. like undergrown men. upon whom it is expedient that this history should bestow some attention. they had toiled along the dusty road. taking little heed of Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . This circumstance. two persons. by the Great North Road. Her companion was not encumbered with much luggage. to whom he occasionally turned with an impatient jerk of the head. like overgrown boys. They were a man and a woman. to whom it is difficult to assign any precise age¡ªlooking as they do. enabled him with much ease to keep some halfdozen paces in advance of his companion. as if reproaching her tardiness. a small parcel wrapped in a common handkerchief. as there merely dangled from a stick which he carried over his shoulder. when they are yet boys. and when they are almost men. bony people. Becomes A Public Character In The Metropolis. shambling. there advanced towards London.Oliver Twist 446 Chapter 42 An Old Acquaintance Of Oliver¡¯s. but of a robust and hardy make. hurried on her self-imposed mission to Rose Maylie. The woman was young. or perhaps they would be better described as a male and female. Thus. as she need have been to bear the weight of the heavy bundle which was strapped to her back. Upon the night when Nancy. Exhibiting Decided Marks Of Genius. having lulled Mr. knock-kneed. added to the length of his legs.

¡± ¡°They¡¯re a good two mile off.Oliver Twist 447 any object within sight.¡± said the long-legged tramper. at least. can¡¯t yer? What a lazybones ye are. the trudged onward nose grew redder with anger. ¡°Where do you mean to stop for the night. Noah?¡± she asked. coming up. and looking up with the perspiration streaming from her face. and so I give yer notice. ¡°Come on. I can tell you. and by his side. until they passed through Highgate archway. for he it was.¡± ¡°It¡¯s a heavy load. pointing out before him.¡± said Noah Claypole. save when they stepped aside to allow a wider passage for the mail-coaches which were whirling out of town. ¡°Never mind whether they¡¯re two mile off. when the foremost traveller stopped and called impatiently to his companion. as if fully prepared to put his threat into woman rose without any further remark. and as he crossed speaking. I don¡¯t ¡°Is it much farther?¡± asked the woman. there yer Well. resting again! patience out. ¡°Heavy! What are yer talking about! What are rejoined the male traveller. ¡°Look there! Those are the lights of London. if yer ain¡¯t enough to tire anybody¡¯s know what is!¡± yer made for?¡± little bundle as he are.¡± said the woman despondingly. changing his own spoke. resting herself against a bank. or I¡¯ll kick yer.¡± said the female. or twenty. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°Much farther! Yer as good as there. to the other shoulder. ¡°Oh. Charlotte. ¡°but get up and come on.¡± As Noah¡¯s red the road while execution. almost breathless with fatigue.

¡± rejoined Charlotte. and so Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . wouldn¡¯t it. ¡°Well. ¡°but don¡¯t put all the blame on me. the wrong road a purpose. and say I should have been locked up. might poke in his old nose. and not stop till we come to the very out-of-the-wayest house I can set eyes on.¡± ¡°Why not?¡± ¡°When I tell yer that I don¡¯t mean to do a thing. ¡¯Cod. ¡°Did I keep it?¡± asked Mr. my lady.¡± replied Charlotte. And serve yer right for being a fool. ¡°No. if he came up after us. ¡°How should I know?¡± replied Noah.¡± replied Mr. Claypole. to go and stop at the very first public-house outside the town.¡± replied Mr. You would have been if I had been. at first. whose temper had been considerably impaired by walking. ¡°No! I shall go and lose myself among the narrowest streets I can find. ¡°Near. anyway. for if we hadn¡¯t gone. I hope. Claypole.¡± said his companion. with dignity. and come back across country. that¡¯s enough.¡± ¡°Yer took the money from the till. so don¡¯t think it. and let me carry it like a dear.¡± ¡°I know I ain¡¯t as cunning as you are. yer may thank yer stars I¡¯ve got a head. ¡°I took it for you. ¡°A pretty thing it would be. not near. ¡®¡®There! Not near.Oliver Twist 448 after they had walked a few hundred yards. and have us taken back in a cart with handcuffs on. yer know yer did. in a jeering tone.¡± said Mr. ¡°No. so that Sowerberry. Claypole. you trusted in me. you needn¡¯t be so cross. yer¡¯d have been locked up hard and fast a week ago. Claypole. Noah dear.¡± said Charlotte. without any why or because either.¡± said Mr Claypole.

render that part of the town one of the lowest and worst that improvement has left in the midst of London. lying between Gray¡¯s Inn Lane and Smithfield. more humble in appearance and more dirty than any he had yet seen. Of course. it should be observed.¡± said the lady. and. and now jogging on again. Just pausing to observe which appeared the most crowded streets. and drawing her arm through his. if they were pursued. Claypole¡¯s habit to repose a blind and foolish confidence in anybody. but as it was not Mr. where he wisely judged. At length. Through these streets. which would leave him an opportunity of asserting his innocence of any theft. having crossed over and surveyed it from the opposite pavement. he stopped in front of one. graciously announced his intention Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . chucking him under the chin. John¡¯s Road.Oliver Twist 449 you are. he entered at this juncture into no explanation of his motives. Claypole went on. in order that. and was soon deep in the obscurity of the intricate and dirty ways. until he arrived at the Angel at Islington. and would greatly facilitate his chances of escape. In pursuance of this cautious plan. and they walked on very leisurely together. Mr. as some fancied appearance induced him to believe it too public for his purpose. dragging Charlotte after him. now stepping into the kennel to embrace at a glance the whole external character of some small public-house. that he had trusted Charlotte to this extent. and consequently the most to be avoided. without halting. from the crowd of passengers and number of vehicles. This was indeed the case. which. in justice to that gentleman. that London began in earnest. he crossed into St. the money might be found on her. Noah Claypole walked.

he pushed the rattling door with his shoulder. for the night.¡± said Noah. who.Oliver Twist 450 of putting up there. What¡¯s the name of the house¡ªth-r¡ªthree what?¡± ¡°Cripples.¡± With these injunctions. recommended us here. ¡°So give us the bundle. ¡°Three Cripples. nudging Charlotte. and perhaps to warn her to betray no surprise. with his two elbows on the counter. If Noah had been attired in his charity-boy¡¯s dress. there might have been some reason for the Jew opening his eyes so wide. who was the attendant sprite. He stared very hard at Noah. and give us a bit of cold meat and a drop of beer while yer inquiring. ¡°and don¡¯t yer speak. There was nobody in the bar but a young Jew. ¡°and a very good sign too.¡± ¡°Show us the tap. but as he had discarded the coat and badge.¡± said Noah.¡± said Charlotte. and entered the house. and Noah stared very hard at him. Barney complied Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± replied the Jew. unstrapping it from the woman¡¯s shoulders.¡± ¡°I¡¯b dot certaid you cad. ¡°Is this the Three Cripples?¡± asked Noah. was reading a dirty newspaper. and wore a short smockfrock over his leathers. and come along. perhaps to call her attention to this most ingenious device for attracting respect. then! Keep close at my heels. ¡°We want to sleep here tonight. followed by his companion. except when yer spoke to.¡± said Barney. ¡°That is the dabe of this ¡¯ouse. will yer?¡± said Noah. and slinging it over his own. ¡°A gentleman we met on the road.¡± repeated Noah. ¡°but I¡¯ll idquire. coming up from the country. there seemed no particular reason for his appearance exciting so much attention in a public-house. Now.

and Barney had only just returned from making the communication above related. ¡°Frob the cuttry. but could. ascertain with tolerable distinctness. looking round to Barney.Oliver Twist 451 by ushering them into a small back room.¡± ¡°Strangers!¡± repeated the old man in a whisper. ¡°stradegers id the next roob. between which and a large upright beam the observer had to thrust himself). in the course of his evening¡¯s business. undrawing a small curtain which concealed a single pane of glass fixed in the wall of the last-named apartment. their subject of conversation. so that any person connected with the house. ¡°Ah! Ad rud uds too. from which secret post he could see Mr. this back room was immediately behind the bar. who sat patiently by. when Fagin.¡± Fagin appeared to receive this communication with great interest. and porter from the pot. Claypole taking cold beef from the dish. Mounting a stool. he informed the travellers that they could be lodged that night. ¡°Aha!¡± he whispered. or I¡¯b bistaked. he cautiously applied his eye to the pane of glass. about five feet from its flooring.¡± added Barney. and setting the required viands before them. Now. having done which. ¡°Hush!¡± said Barney. eating and drinking at his pleasure. The landlord of the house had not withdrawn his eye from this place of espial for five minutes. and left the amiable couple to their refreshment. by applying his ear to the partition. and some steps lower. 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. came into the bar to inquire after some of his young pupils. and administering homeopathic doses of both to Charlotte. ¡°I like that Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . but subthig in your way.

the commencement of which Fagin had arrived too late to hear. ¡°Pockets. mail-coaches.¡± ¡°I should like that well enough.¡± said Mr.¡± ¡°Tills be blowed!¡± said Mr. and have the whopping Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°There.¡± said Charlotte. in case I¡¯m cross with yer.¡± ¡°Lor. Charlotte. He¡¯d be of use to us.¡± said Noah. he knows how to train the girl already. dear.¡± ¡°What do you mean?¡± asked his companion. imprinting a kiss on his ugly face. ¡°But you can¡¯t do all that. women¡¯s ridicules. but a gentleman¡¯s life for me. my dear. if yer like. and continuing a conversation. dear.Oliver Twist 452 fellow¡¯s looks. kicking out his legs. listened attentively. don¡¯t yer be too affectionate.¡± He again applied his eye to the glass. ¡°So I mean to be a gentleman. yer shall be a lady. and turning his ear to the partition. I never see such a precious sly and deceitful creetur as yer can be when I let yer. Claypole. you yourself are worth fifty women. ¡°They¡¯ll be able to make us useful some way or another. how nice it is to hear you say so!¡± exclaimed Charlotte. disengaging himself with great gravity. and let me hear ¡¯em talk¡ªlet me hear ¡¯em. and. that¡¯ll do.¡± replied Charlotte. ¡°I should like to be the captain of some band. and people to get clear off after it. Don¡¯t make as much noise as a mouse. ¡°I shall look out to get into company with them as can.¡± replied Noah. banks!¡± said Mr. ¡°there¡¯s more things besides tills to be emptied. with a subtle and eager look upon his face. that might have appertained to some old goblin. Claypole. Claypole. Why. ¡°but tills ain¡¯t to be emptied every day. ¡°No more jolly old coffins. houses. rising with the porter.

Fagin. Charlotte!¡± ¡°Why. ¡°Yer a sharp feller. and the appearance of a stranger. interrupted him. and took a draught. and if we could only get in with some gentleman of this sort. sinking his voice to a confidential whisper.¡± said Noah. ¡°From the country. ¡°Ha! ha! only hear that. ordered something to drink of the grinning Barney. and having well shaken its contents. ¡°We have not so much dust as that in London. nodded condescendingly to Charlotte. pointing from Noah¡¯s shoes to that of his companion and from them to the two bundles. and follering ¡¯em about. Mr.¡± said Fagin. He was meditating another. ¡°A pleasant night. but cool for the time of year. sir?¡± ¡°How do yer see that?¡± asked Noah Claypole. rubbing his hands. and setting himself down at the nearest table. if there was good profit. though not with complete success. That would suit me. one need be sharp in this town.¡± replied Fagin. unbeknown to themselves. in consequence of his Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . I see.¡± replied the Jew. as he advanced. my dear. and a-very low bow he made. I say it would be cheap at that twenty-pound note you¡¯ve got¡ªespecially as we don¡¯t very well know how to get rid of it ourselves. And very amiable he looked. when the sudden opening of the door. sir. Claypole looked into the porter-pot with an aspect of deep wisdom. The stranger was Mr. ¡°and that¡¯s the truth.¡± After expressing this opinion. wherewith he appeared greatly refreshed.¡± Fagin followed up this remark by striking the side of his nose with his right forefinger¡ªa gesture which Noah attempted to imitate.Oliver Twist 453 of ¡¯em.

¡± stammered Noah. ¡°Don¡¯t mind me. or who did it. There is not a safer place in all this town than is the Cripples. ¡°and so are the people of the house.¡± observed Mr. ¡°I¡¯m in that way myself. Charlotte. or a house. and put about the liquor which Barney reappeared with. or a pocket. or a woman¡¯s reticule. drawing his chair closer.Oliver Twist 454 own nose not being large enough for the purpose. that is. And I have taken a fancy to you and the young woman. when I like to make it so.¡± Mr. Claypole no sooner heard this extract from his own remarks than he fell back in his chair. and you may make your minds easy.¡± ¡°I didn¡¯t take it. You¡¯ve hit the right nail upon the head.¡± said Fagin. no longer stretching out his legs like an independent gentleman. and looked from the Jew to Charlotte with a countenance of ashy paleness and excessive terror. ¡°Good stuff that. and I like you for it.¡± ¡°In what way?¡± asked Mr. Claypole. if he drinks it regularly. or a mail-coach. but coiling them up as well as he could under his chair. and are as safe here as you could be.¡± rejoined Fagin. with a hawk¡¯s eye at the girl and the two bundles.¡± ¡°No matter who¡¯s got it. so I¡¯ve said the word. ¡°In that way of business. Claypole. Fagin seemed to interpret the endeavour as expressing a perfect coincidence with his opinion. ¡°A man need be always emptying a till.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . However. ¡°Dear!¡± said Fagin. nevertheless. a little recovering. my dear. smacking his lips. Mr. ¡°Ha! ha! it was lucky it was only me that heard you by chance. yer know yer have. my dear!¡± replied Fagin. ¡°it was all her doing: yer¡¯ve got it now. in a very friendly manner. It was very lucky it was only me. glancing. or a bank.

Oliver Twist 455 Noah Claypole¡¯s mind might have been at ease after this assurance. and put you in the right way.¡± said Noah. I say. ¡°I¡¯ll tell you more. in the tone of a keeper who has tamed some wild animal.¡± said Fagin. and be taught all the others. where you can take whatever department of the business you think will suit you best at first. clapping him on the shoulder.¡± ¡°Yer speak as if yer were in earnest. into various uncouth positions. I shouldn¡¯t be here. my dear. for he snuffled and writhed about. ¡°She¡¯s kept tolerably well under. ¡°Quite perfect. eyeing his new friend meanwhile with mingled fear and suspicion. and Charlotte made the best of her way off with the packages while Noah held the door open and watched her out. ¡°Here! Let me have a word with you outside.¡± ¡°Now. what do you think?¡± said Fagin. but his body certainly was not. I suppose if I wasn¡¯t. was obeyed without the slightest demur. Charlotte. as he resumed his seat. shrugging his shoulders.¡± ¡°Why. ¡°If you was to like my Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . she¡¯ll be back if yer lose time. ain¡¯t she?¡± he asked. ¡°You¡¯re a genius. ¡°But. by dint of friendly nods and muttered encouragements.¡± replied Noah. ¡°I have got a friend that I think can gratify your darling wish.¡± ¡°There¡¯s no occasion to trouble ourselves to move. after he had reassured the girl.¡± replied Noah.¡± rejoined Fagin. ¡°She¡¯ll take the luggage upstairs the while. see to them bundles!¡± This mandate. ¡°What advantage would it be to me to be anything else?¡± inquired Fagin. which had been delivered with great majesty. getting his legs by gradual degrees abroad¡ªagain.

¡± retorted Fagin. is very doubtful. ¡°Number and date taken. and I don¡¯t think he¡¯d take you. and he couldn¡¯t sell it for a great deal in the market. slapping his breeches pocket. whose rapacity was none of the least comprehensive. that¡¯s where it is!¡± responded Noah. even on my recommendation. ¡°employs a power of hands. It¡¯ll have to go abroad. ¡°What¡¯s the wages?¡± ¡°Live like a gentleman¡ªboard and lodging. ¡°It couldn¡¯t possibly be done without. ¡°The top of the tree. Fagin. winking one of his little eyes. though¡ªit¡¯s a lot of money!¡± ¡°Not when it¡¯s in a note you can¡¯t get rid of.¡± replied Fagin.¡± ¡°When could I see him?¡± asked Noah doubtfully. Claypole.¡± ¡°Where?¡± ¡°Here. has the very best society in the profession.¡± ¡°Um!¡± said Noah. could you do better than join him?¡± ¡°Is he in a good way of business.¡± replied Mr. but as he Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°Not a countryman among ¡¯em. ¡°Twenty pound.¡± replied Fagin. pipes and spirits free¡ªhalf of all you earn. I suppose! Payment stopped at the bank? Ah! It¡¯s not worth much to him. ¡°Tomorrow morning. if he didn¡¯t run rather short of assistants just now. Whether Noah Claypole. ¡°Should I have to hand over?¡± said Noah. in a most decided manner. would have acceded even to these glowing terms. had he been a perfectly free agent.¡± ¡°Regular town-maders?¡± asked Mr.Oliver Twist 456 friend. and half of all the young woman earns.¡± said Fagin.

¡± ¡°Don¡¯t they holler out a good deal.¡± ¡°Why. my dear.Oliver Twist 457 recollected that. That¡¯s the sort of thing!¡± ¡°I heard you talk of something in the spy way upon the others. ¡°as she will be able to do a good deal. ¡°but it wouldn¡¯t pay by itself.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Ain¡¯t there any other line open?¡± ¡°Stop!¡± said Fagin.¡± ¡°That¡¯s true!¡± observed the Jew. ¡°What do you think would suit me now? Something not too trying for the strength. shaking his head. and scratch sometimes?¡± asked Noah. and running round the corner. ¡°No. ruminating or pretending to ruminate. ¡°The kinchin lay. and would suit him. and not very dangerous. and I shouldn¡¯t mind turning my hand to it sometimes. anxiously regarding him. I should like to take something very light. I did mention that. it might not. ¡°Ah! something of that sort.¡± ¡°What do you think. ¡°My friend wants somebody who would do that well. you know. in his new acquaintance more unlikely things said he thought that the event of his refusal it was in the power of to give him up to justice immediately (and had come to pass).¡± said Fagin.¡± ¡°What do you think of the old ladies?¡± asked Fagin. yer see. ¡°But. Claypole slowly. very much. laying his hand on Noah¡¯s knee. ¡°There¡¯s a good deal of money made in snatching their bags and parcels. ¡°I don¡¯t think that would answer my purpose.¡± rejoined Mr.¡± ¡°A little fancy work?¡± suggested Fagin.¡± replied Noah.¡± observed Noah. ¡°Something in the sneaking way. then?¡± asked Noah. you know. and not much more risk than being at home. where it was pretty sure work. he gradually relented.

where they¡¯re always going errands. as a sort of fond way of talking. Claypole. Claypole. and Battle Bridge. ¡°What name shall I tell my good friend?¡± ¡°Mr. as if there were nothing else the matter but a child fallen down and hurt itself. Bolter.¡± ¡°Mrs. as Mr. Bolter. and walk off very slow. any hour in the day. ¡°She calls me Noah. Charlotte?¡± thundered Mr. ¡°I hope I shall know her better very shortly. with sixpences and shillings. my dear. ¡°and you can have a few good beats chalked out in Camden Town. ¡°Yes. extending her hand. Morris Bolter. adding. ¡°is the young children that¡¯s sent on errands by their mothers. Claypole in the side. that¡¯s the very thing!¡± ¡°To be sure it is. and they joined in a burst of laughter both long and loud. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Ha! ha! ha!¡± With this. ¡°What time tomorrow shall we say?¡± ¡°Will ten do?¡± asked Fagin. ¡°The kinchins. Ha! ha! ha!¡± ¡°Ha! ha!¡± roared Mr. Claypole nodded assent.¡± said Fagin.¡± said Fagin. Bolter¡¯s humble servant. and the lay is just to take their money away¡ªthey¡¯ve always got it ready in their hands¡ªthen knock ¡¯em into a kennel. This is Mrs. when he had recovered himself. and neighbourhoods like that. and you can upset as many kinchins as you want. ¡°Lord.¡± ¡°Do you hear the gentleman.¡± replied Noah. Claypole. dear!¡± replied Mrs. who had prepared himself for such an emergency.¡± replied Fagin. Noah. kicking up his legs in an ecstasy. Bolter.¡± said Mr.Oliver Twist 458 ¡°What¡¯s that?¡± demanded Mr. Fagin poked Mr. bowing with grotesque politeness. and Charlotte had returned. ¡°Mr. ¡°Well. that¡¯s all right!¡± said Noah.

bespeaking his good lady¡¯s attention. telling the truth for once. turning to Fagin. but a gentleman who appreciated the dignity of a special appointment on the kinchin lay. Mr. Noah Claypole. Fagin went his way. ¡°You understand?¡± ¡°Oh.¡± replied Fagin.Oliver Twist 459 Morris Bolter. I understand¡ªperfectly. ¡°Good-night! Good-night!¡± With many adieus and good wishes. proceeded to enlighten her relative to the arrangement he had made. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . yes. becoming. in London and its vicinity. not only a member of the sterner sex. late Claypole. with all that haughtiness and air of superiority.

my dear. Bolter. otherwise Bolter. ¡°we have a general number one.¡± ¡°There oughtn¡¯t to be.¡± replied Fagin. by virtue of the compact entered into between them. I thought as much last night!¡± ¡°Every man¡¯s his own friend.¡± said Fagin. it¡¯s only because he¡¯s too much his own friend.¡± ¡°Ha! ha!¡± cried Mr. he had removed next day to Fagin¡¯s house. It¡¯s number one. ¡°He hasn¡¯t as good a one as himself anywhere. with his most insinuating grin. ¡°A nd so it was you that was your own friend. you can¡¯t consider yourself as number one. Claypole. assuming the air of a man of the world.¡± ¡°Except sometimes.¡± ¡°Don¡¯t believe that. Bolter. and some say number seven. ¡°When a man¡¯s his own enemy.¡± said Fagin. It¡¯s neither.¡± said Fagin. my friend. ¡°Some people are nobody¡¯s enemies but their own. ¡°Some conjurers say that number three is the magic number. ¡°That stands to reason. ¡°Number one for ever. that is. neither. if there is.¡± ¡°In a little community like ours. was it?¡± asked Mr.¡± replied Mr.Oliver Twist 460 Chapter 43 Wherein Is Shown How The Artful Dodger Got Into Trouble. my dear. who felt it necessary to qualify his position. Pooh! pooh! There ain¡¯t such a thing in nature.¡± replied Morris Bolter. when. not because he¡¯s careful for everybody but himself. yer know. ¡°¡¯Cod. without Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .

but we ain¡¯t quite so thick together. ¡°Yer about right there.¡± ¡°Number two. is Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . is an ugly finger-post. number one. awe are so mixed up together. and stretching out his hands.¡± said Fagin. who was largely endowed with the quality of selfishness.¡± pursued Fagin. Bolter. ¡°yer a very nice man. but what at the same time would put the cravat round your throat. which points out a very short and sharp turning that has stopped many a bold fellow¡¯s career on the broad highway.¡± interrupted Mr. qualified in tone but not in substance. Bolter.¡± ¡°Only think.¡± replied Mr. ¡°only consider. as you are to yourself.¡± ¡°I say. affecting to disregard this interruption. shrugging his shoulders. without taking care of me. that¡¯s so very easily tied and so very difficult to unloose¡ªin plain English. you mean. that it must be so. ¡°No. ¡°I¡¯m of the same importance to you. and I¡¯m very fond of yer. the halter!¡± Mr.¡± ¡°Well! You can¡¯t take care of yourself. and keep it at a distance. and murmured an assent. it¡¯s your object to take care of number one¡ªmeaning yourself. ¡°The gallows. and all the other young people.¡± continued Fagin¡ª¡°the gallows. ¡°You see.¡± said Mr. I don¡¯t!¡± retorted Fagin.¡± ¡°Oh. and what I love you for doing. the devil!¡± exclaimed Mr. For instance. number one. Bolter. You¡¯ve done what¡¯s a very pretty thing. Bolter put his hand to his neckerchief.Oliver Twist 461 considering me too as the same. as if he felt it inconveniently tight. Bolter. as all that comes to. my dear. To keep in the easy road. and identified in our interests.¡± ¡°Certainly.

so we come at last to what I told you at first¡ªthat a regard for number one holds us all together.¡± rejoined Mr. Not quite so bad. Bolter thoughtfully. ¡°To be able to do that. To strengthen an impression so desirable and useful. Bolter. The more you value your number one. blending truth and fiction together. and must do so. To keep my little business all snug. ¡°not so bad as that.¡± replied Fagin. which it was highly desirable to awaken. Bolter. raising his eyebrows. which it was most important that he should entertain in the outset of their acquaintance. I depend upon you. and became tempered at the same time.¡± said Fagin. with a degree of wholesome fear. in some detail. he followed up the blow by acquainting him. but that he had really impressed his recruit with a sense of his wily genius. Bolter¡¯s respect visibly increased. no. ¡°It¡¯s this mutual trust we have in each other that consoles me under heavy losses. ¡°My best hand was taken from me.¡± replied Mr. the second my number one. the more careful you must be of mine. that this tribute to his powers was no mere compliment. yesterday morning. with delight.¡± said the Jew.¡± ¡°Of course it is. that Mr. ¡°No. ¡°Oh! yer a cunning old codger!¡± Mr. with the magnitude and extent of his operations. The first is your number one.Oliver Twist 462 object number one with you. with so much art.¡± ¡°That¡¯s true.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°What do yer talk about such things for?¡± ¡°Only to show you my meaning clearly. and bringing both to bear. you depend upon me. as best served his purpose. Fagin saw. unless we would all go to pieces in company.¡± ¡°You don¡¯t mean to say he died?¡± cried Mr.

¡°transportation for life. and was very fond of it. ¡°It¡¯s all up. he was wanted. and. ¡°No. Bolter would have been informed that they represented that combination of words. you should have known the Dodger. I suppose he was¡ª¡± ¡°Wanted.¡± replied Fagin. ¡°Yes. ¡°What do you mean?¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± when the dialogue was cut short by the entry of Master Bates. Bolter. it¡¯ll only be a summary conviction. ¡°If they don¡¯t get any fresh evidence. I hope. and we shall have him back again after six weeks or so. He was charged with attempting to pick a pocket. ¡°I¡¯m doubtful about it.¡± said Charley.¡± replied Fagin.¡± interposed Fagin. Mr. for they thought they knew the owner. with a sigh.¡± ¡°Well. Bolter. being interpreted. don¡¯t yer think so?¡± said Mr. he¡¯ll be a lifer. Ah! he was worth fifty boxes. They know what a clever lad he is. Bolter. it¡¯s a case of lagging. but I shall know him. ¡°not very. Fagin. my dear. his own. when he and his new companion had been made known to each other. why don¡¯t yer speak so as I can understand yer?¡± Fagin was about to translate these mysterious expressions into the vulgar tongue. and they found a silver snuff-box on him¡ªhis own. my dear. if they do. for he took snuff himself. with his hands in his breeches pockets. They¡¯ll make the Artful nothing less than a lifer.¡± ¡°Very particular?¡± inquired Mr. They remanded him till today.Oliver Twist 463 ¡°What. but.¡± ¡°What do yer mean by lagging and a lifer?¡± demanded Mr. ¡°What¡¯s the good of talking in that way to me. and I¡¯d give the price of as many to have him back. and his face twisted into a look of semi-comical woe. You should have known the Dodger.

How will be stand in the Newgate Calendar? P¡¯r¡¯aps not be there at all.¡± ¡°Then what do you talk of?¡± replied Fagin angrily. extending his right hand. ¡°What do you talk about his having neither honour nor glory for!¡± exclaimed Fagin. ¡°¡¯cause it can¡¯t come out in the ¡¯dictment. without no honour nor glory!¡± With this expression of feeling for his unfortunate friend. is it?¡± said Charley. Fagin. Master Bates sat himself on the nearest chair with an aspect of chagrin and despondency. and not like a common prig. ¡°what are you blubbering for?¡± ¡°¡®Cause it isn¡¯t on the record. ¡¯cause nobody will never know half of what he was. wot a blow it is!¡± ¡°Ha! ha!¡± cried Fagin. my eye. why didn¡¯t he rob some rich old gentleman of all his walables. darting an angry look at his pupil.Oliver Twist 464 ¡°They¡¯ve found the gentleman as owns the box. my eye.¡± replied Master Bates. at the lowest. and go out as a gentleman. to wisit him in. and turning to Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and the Artful¡¯s booked for a passage out. chain. Oh. and a hatband. ¡°I must have a full suit of mourning. two or three more¡¯s a-coming to ¡¯dentify him. ¡°Wasn¡¯t he always 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 seals.¡± replied Master Bates. chafed into perfect defiance of his venerable friend by the current of his regrets. Oh. in a voice rendered husky by regret. afore he sets out upon his travels. To think of Jack Dawkins¡ªlummy Jack¡ªthe Dodger¡ªthe Artful Dodger¡ªgoing abroad for a common twopenny-halfpenny sneeze-box! I never thought he¡¯d a done it under a gold watch. ¡°not one.

¡°Never mind. ¡°what a lark that would be. and Fagin. to be sure. Charley¡ªone that¡¯s got the greatest gift of the gab¡ªto carry on his defence. ¡°see what a pride they take in their profession. Charley. ¡°it¡¯ll come out. Think how young he is too! What a distinction.¡± said Fagin soothingly.¡± replied Fagin. Bolter nodded assent. Charley. shall he though?¡± cried Charley Bates. he¡¯ll show it himself. ¡°He shall be kept in the stone jug. that he shall. like a gentleman. so he will.¡± ¡°No. ¡°He shall¡ªhe will!¡± ¡°Ah. Charley. wouldn¡¯t it. Fagin? I say. Like a gentleman! With his beer every day.¡± continued the Jew. how the Artful would bother ¡¯em. stepped up to that young gentleman and patted him on the shoulder.¡± repeated Charley. Charley. ¡°He shall have all he wants. if he likes. it is a honour. and he shall make a speech for himself too. and we¡¯ll read it all in the papers¡ª¡®Artful Dodger shrieks of laughter¡ªhere the court was convulsed¡¯¡ªeh. it¡¯ll be sure to come out. to be lagged at his time of life!¡± ¡°Well. and not disgrace his old pals and teachers. Ain¡¯t it beautiful?¡± Mr. that is!¡± said Charley. a little consoled. ¡°and we¡¯ll have a bigwig. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . if he can¡¯t spend it. Bolter in a fit of chuckling which shook him as though he had the palsy. eh?¡± ¡°Ha! ha!¡± laughed Master Bates. after contemplating the grief of Charley Bates for some seconds with evident satisfaction. my dear. wouldn¡¯t he?¡± ¡°Would!¡± cried Fagin. ¡°Ay. rubbing his hands. They¡¯ll all know what a clever fellow he was. and money in his pocket to pitch and toss with.Oliver Twist 465 Mr.

and Jack Dawkins addressing of ¡¯em as intimate and comfortable as if he was the judge¡¯s own son making a speech arter dinner¡ªha! ha! ha!¡± In fact. who bad at first been disposed to consider the imprisoned Dodger rather in the light of a victim. upon my soul I do. with a humorous leer. ¡°Nobody knows him. ¡°Let me think. bending his eyes upon his pupil. my dear¡ª stark mad. that Master Bates. Charley. One is enough to lose at a time. shaking his head. ¡°Mind!¡± interposed Charley. now looked upon him as the chief actor in a scene of most uncommon and exquisite humour.Oliver Twist 466 ¡°I think I see him now.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°Then why don¡¯t you send this new cove?¡± asked Master Bates. by some handy means or other. ¡°We must know how he gets on today. if he didn¡¯t mind¡ª¡± observed Fagin. ¡°Not for the world. ¡°really nothing. Bolter. Fagin had so well humoured his young friend¡¯s eccentric disposition. and felt quite impatient for the arrival of the time when his old companion should have so favourable an opportunity of displaying his abilities.¡± said Fagin. What a game! What a regular game! All the bigwigs trying to look solemn. ¡°Are you mad.¡± cried Charley Bates. no. I see it all afore me. ¡°That wouldn¡¯t quite fit. turning to Mr. ¡°What should he have to mind?¡± ¡°Really nothing.¡± ¡°You don¡¯t mean to go yourself. ¡°Ha! ha! ha! so do I.¡± replied Fagin. ¡°So do I.¡± said Fagin. I suppose?¡± said Charley. laying his hand on Noah¡¯s arm. Mr.¡± ¡°Shall I go?¡± asked Charley.¡± replied Fagin.¡± ¡°Why. Fagin.¡± cried the Jew. that you¡¯d walk into the very place where¡ªNo. my dear.

Bolter. and a carter¡¯s whip. he immediately substituted for his own attire. the very last. By Fagin¡¯s directions. backing towards the door. as some Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°and don¡¯t yer take liberties with yer superiors. to undertake the expedition. and represent to Mr. yer know. but overborne in a much greater degree by his fear of Fagin. Mr. Bolter that he incurred no possible danger in visiting the police office. it would be as safe a spot for him to visit as any in London. had yet been forwarded to the metropolis. in part. velveteen breeches. He was likewise furnished with a felt hat well garnished with turnpike tickets. and leather leggings.¡± retorted Mr. and shaking his head with a kind of sober alarm. surveying Noah¡¯s lank form with much disgust. Thus equipped. it was very probable that he was not even suspected of having resorted to it for shelter. ¡°No. to which he could be supposed likely to resort of his own free-will. that.¡± Master Bates laughed so vehemently at this magnificent threat that it was some time before Fagin could interpose. no¡ªnone of that. with a very bad grace.Oliver Twist 467 ¡°Oh. or yer¡¯ll find yerself in the wrong shop. inasmuch as no account of the little affair in which he had been engaged. and that. inasmuch as it would be.¡± observed Noah. a waggoner¡¯s frock. is that his branch?¡± ¡°Never mind. by these representations. little boy. It¡¯s not in my department. and the eating all the wittles when there¡¯s everything right. of all places. if he was properly disguised. that ain¡¯t. Persuaded. nor any description of his person. Fagin?¡± inquired Master Bates.¡± ¡°Wot department has he got. ¡°The cutting away when there¡¯s anything wrong. all of which articles the Jew had at hand. Bolter at length consented. I dare say about that. he was to saunter into the office.

Charley Bates bade him hurry on alone. being screened off by a partition which concealed the Bench from the common gaze. and as he was as awkward. who were huddled together in a dirty. he was informed of the necessary signs and tokens by which to recognise the Artful Dodger. at the upper end of which was a raised platform railed off from the rest.Oliver Twist 468 country fellow from Covent Garden market might be supposed to do for the gratification of his curiosity. Having described the precise situation of the office. These arrangements completed. Fagin had no fear but that he would look the part to perfection. which¡ª Master Bates being pretty well acquainted with the locality¡ªwere so exact that he was enabled to gain the magisterial presence without asking any questions. who were nodding to their admiring friends. He found himself jostled among a crowd of people. frowsy room. There were only a couple of women in the dock. a box for the witnesses in the middle. chiefly women. and a desk for the magistrates on the right. Noah Claypole. and raw-boned a fellow as need be. punctually followed the directions he had received. and accompanied it with copious directions how he was to walk straight up the passage. the awful locality last named. with a dock for the prisoners on the left hand against the wall. and left the vulgar to imagine (if they could) the full majesty of Justice. and promised to bide his return on the spot of their parting. while the clerk read some Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and was conveyed by Master Bates through dark and winding ways to within a very short distance of Bow Street. and when he got into the yard take the door up the steps on the right-hand side. or meeting with any interruption by the way. or Morris Bolter as the reader pleases. and pull off his hat as he went into the room. Mr. ungainly.

except when he repressed an undue tendency to conversation among the idlers. but although there were several women who would have done very well for that distinguished character¡¯s mother or sister. went flaunting out. shuffling into the office with the big coat tucked up as usual. who. being committed for trial. or poverty.Oliver Twist 469 depositions to a couple of policemen and a man in plain clothes who leant over the table. preceded the jailer. by proclaiming silence. the walls were dirt-coloured. and the ceiling blackened. nobody at all answering the description given him of Mr. hardly less unpleasant than the thick greasy scum on every inanimate object that frowned upon it. The room smelled close and unwholesome. or an habitual acquaintance with both. and his hat in his right hand. Dawkins was to be seen. 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. half-smothered in the mother¡¯s shawl. for depravity. Dawkins.¡± when the gravity of justice was disturbed by feeble cries. He waited in a state of much suspense and uncertainty until the women. taking his place in the dock. A jailer stood reclining against the dock rail. tapping his nose listlessly with a large key. his left hand in his pocket. and. from some meagre infant. It was indeed Mr. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . had left a taint on all the animate matter. and more than one man who might be supposed to bear a strong resemblance to his father. and a dusty clock above the dock¡ªthe only thing present. that seemed to go on as it ought. with a rolling gait altogether indescribable. Noah looked eagerly about him for the Dodger. or looked sternly up to bid some woman ¡°Take that baby out. There was an old smoky bust over the mantel-shelf.

no.¡± retorted the jailer. there!¡± cried the jailer. he¡¯ll go away if I ain¡¯t there to my time. ¡°Hold your tongue. will you?¡± said the jailer.¡± ¡°We¡¯ll see wot the Secretary of State for the Home Affairs has got to say to the beaks. that they laughed almost Master Bates could have done if he had heard the ¡°Silence. desired the jailer ¡°the names of them two files as was on the so tickled the spectators.¡± which as heartily as request. if I don¡¯t. ¡°A pick-pocketing case. certainly not!¡± At this point. and then p¡¯r¡¯aps there won¡¯t be an action for damage against them as kept me away.¡± replied the jailer. ¡°I¡¯m an Englishman.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± ¡°Has the boy ever been here before?¡± ¡°He ought to have been. a many times. the Dodger. your Worship.¡± replied Mr. ¡°He has been pretty well everywhere else. ¡°What is this?¡± inquired one of the magistrates. with a show of being very particular proceedings to be had thereafter. with a view to to communicate bench. and as I¡¯m a man of my word and wery punctual in business matters. ¡°Now then! Wot is this here business? I shall thank the madg¡¯strates to dispose of this here little affair. your Worship. ain¡¯t I?¡± rejoined the Dodger.Oliver Twist 470 requested in an audible voice to know what he was placed in that ¡¯ere disgraceful sitivation for. ¡°and pepper with ¡¯em. Oh. I know him well. for I¡¯ve got an appointment with a gentleman in the city. Dawkins. ¡°Where are my priwileges?¡± ¡°You¡¯ll get your privileges soon enough. and not to keep me while they read the paper.

being searched. ¡°I wouldn¡¯t abase myself by descending to hold no conversation with him. the moment he had disengaged himself from the crowd before referred to. He had also remarked a young gentleman in the throng. and that he missed it on the previous day. had upon his person a silver snuff-box. and that young gentleman was the prisoner before him. ¡°Where are they? I should like to see ¡¯em. nudging the silent Dodger with his elbow. For this reason. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± added the Dodger. ¡°Have you anything to say at all?¡± ¡°Do you hear his Worship ask if you¡¯ve anything to say?¡± inquired the jailer. and indeed take a handkerchief therefrom.¡± This wish was immediately gratified. for a policeman stepped forward who had seen the prisoner attempt the pocket of an unknown gentleman in a crowd. ¡°Wery good. do you?¡± cried the Artful. he took the Dodger into custody as soon as he could get near him. and being then and there present. and another cry of silence. That¡¯s a case of deformation of character.¡± replied the Dodger.¡± Here there was another laugh. and the said Dodger. ¡°Ah! that¡¯s right. where are the witnesses?¡± said the clerk. being a very old one. anyway. making a note of the statement. ¡°Now then. he deliberately put back again. with the owner¡¯s name engraved upon the lid.Oliver Twist 471 ¡°Oh! you know me. which. ¡°Have you anything to ask this witness. particularly active in making his way about. boy?¡± said the magistrate. after trying it on his own countenance. swore that the snuff-box was his. This gentleman had been discovered on reference to the Court Guide.

for this ain¡¯t the shop for justice. It¡¯ll¡ª¡± ¡°There! He¡¯s fully committed!¡± interposed the clerk. with great glee and self-approval. Noah made the best of his way back to where he had left Master Bates.Oliver Twist 472 ¡°I beg your pardon. and so will a wery numerous and ¡¯spectable circle of acquaintance as¡¯ll make them beaks wish they¡¯d never been born. ¡°Take him away. till he got into the yard. my man?¡± ¡°I never see such an out-and-out young wagabond. You¡¯ll pay for this. ¡°Oh. if you was to fall down on your knees and ask me. my attorney is a-breakfasting this morning with the wice-president of the House of Commons. threatening. your Worship. Having seen him locked up by himself in a little cell. After waiting here some time. you young shaver?¡± ¡°No. I wouldn¡¯t be you for something! I wouldn¡¯t go free. the Dodger suffered himself to be led off by the collar. besides which. ¡°Ah! (to the Bench) it¡¯s no use your looking frightened.¡± replied the Dodger. ¡°Did you redress yourself to me. my fine fellers. and so will he.¡± observed the officer.¡± ¡°Come on. he was joined by that young Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Here. and then grinning in the officer¡¯s face.¡± said the Dodger. ¡°not here. now. not a ha¡¯porth of it. to make a parliamentary business of it. looking up with an air of abstraction. but I shall have something to say elsewhere. with a grin. or that they¡¯d got their footmen to hang ¡¯em up to their own hat-pegs.¡± replied the Dodger.¡± said the jailer. ¡°Do you mean to say anything. brushing his hat with the palm of his hand. afore they let ¡¯em come out this morning to try it on upon me. ah! I¡¯ll come on. carry me off to prison! Take me away!¡± With these last words. I won¡¯t show you no mercy.

Fagin the animating news that the Dodger was doing full justice to his bringing-up. and establishing for himself a glorious reputation. to bear to Mr. and ascertained that his new friend had not been followed by any impertinent person. The two hastened back together. who had prudently abstained from showing himself until he had looked carefully abroad from a snug retreat.Oliver Twist 473 gentleman. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .

and resolved not to be turned aside by any consideration. in all the arts of cunning and dissimulation. which had been hidden from all others. whence was no escape. Vile as those schemes were. she felt some relenting. even for his sake. worked upon her mind. a refuge from all the guilt and wretchedness that encompassed her¡ªand what more could she Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and he should fall at last¡ªrichly as he merited such a fate¡ªby her hand. in the full confidence that she was trustworthy and beyond the reach of their suspicion. Her fears for Sikes would have been more powerful inducements to recoil while there was yet time. there were times when. she had refused. even towards him. still. who had led her. the girl Nancy could not wholly conceal the effect which the knowledge of the step she had taken. lest her disclosure should bring him within the iron grasp he had so long eluded. But these were the mere wanderings of a mind unable wholly to detach itself from old companions and associations though enabled to fix itself steadily on one object. she had dropped no clue which could lead to his discovery.Oliver Twist 474 Chapter 44 The Time Arrives For Nancy To Redeem Her Pledge To Rose Maylie¡ªShe Fails. but she had stipulated that her secret should be rigidly kept. Adept as she was. deeper and deeper down into an abyss of crime and misery. She remembered that both the crafty Jew and the brutal Sikes had confided to her schemes. desperate as were their originators. step by step. and bitter as were her feelings towards Fagin.

while the very effort by which she roused herself. again and again. she took no heed of what was passing before her. She grew pale and thin.Oliver Twist 475 do! She was resolved. ¡°That¡¯s the way to talk. even within a few days. and the bell of the nearest church struck the hour. ¡°Dark and heavy it is too. she laughed without merriment. At others¡ªoften within a moment afterwards¡ªshe sat silent and dejected. raising the blind to look out and returning to his seat.¡± replied Sikes gruffly. for I¡¯m in the humour too. my dear. Bill. more forcibly than even these indications.¡± replied Fagin. Sikes and the Jew were talking. and that her thoughts were occupied with matters very different and distant from those in course of discussion by her companions. my dear. and left their traces too. and listened too. Though all her mental struggles terminated in this conclusion. and was noisy without cause or meaning. venturing to Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . that there¡¯s none quite ready to be done. ¡°What a pity.¡± said Sikes. told. It was Sunday night. and shook his head despondingly. brooding with her head upon her hands. ¡°It is a pity.¡± ¡°Ah!¡± replied Fagin. ¡°An hour this side of midnight.¡± said Sikes. The girl looked up from the low seat on which she crouched. or no part in conversations where once she would have been the loudest. Eleven. At times.¡± ¡°You¡¯re right for once. but they paused to listen. ¡°We must make up for lost time when we¡¯ve got things into a good train. At other times. A good night for business this. that she was ill at ease. they forced themselves upon her. That¡¯s all I know.¡± Fagin sighed.

Where¡¯s the gal going to at this time of night?¡± ¡°Not far. ¡°Nowhere.¡± ¡°And I say where?¡± retorted Sikes. does it!¡± cried Sikes.¡± returned Sikes.¡± ¡°Does you good.¡± said Sikes. pulling Sikes by the sleeve. unless you came straight from the old un without any father at all betwixt you. ¡°Where are you going?¡± ¡°I say.¡± ¡°Ha! ha! ha!¡± laughed Fagin. Bill! Quite like yourself. so take it away. does it?¡± said Fagin. Bill¡ªreminds you of being nabbed. casting off the Jew¡¯s hand.¡± ¡°I don¡¯t feel like myself when you lay that withered old claw on my shoulder. ¡°Hallo!¡± cried Sikes.¡± Fagin offered no reply to this compliment. ¡°It makes you nervous. a bit. who had taken advantage of the foregoing conversation to put on her bonnet. and I suppose he is singeing his grizzled red beard by this time. determined not to be offended. so be it.¡± said Sikes. not far. ¡°You¡¯re like yourself tonight. and was now leaving the room.¡± replied the girl. pointed his finger towards Nancy. ¡°Reminds me of being nabbed by the devil. ¡°Then I do. ¡°Nance. ¡°It does me good to hear you. ¡°Well.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± ¡°What answer¡¯s that?¡± returned Sikes. ¡°There never was another man with such a face as yours. unless it was your father. which I shouldn¡¯t wonder at.Oliver Twist 476 pat him on the shoulder. ¡°Do you hear me?¡± ¡°I don¡¯t know where. more in the spirit of obstinacy than because he had any real objection to the girl going where she listed. Sit down. but. as if he were relieved by even this concession.

took the key out. ¡°I want it in the street. locked the door. with great earnestness. then sitting herself down on the floor. ¡°There. ¡°Bill. turning to Fagin. you know. ¡°Aye! And if I hear you for half a minute longer. Bill? Do you know what you¡¯re doing?¡± ¡°Know what I¡¯m¡ªOh!¡± cried Sikes. Wot has come over you. or she daren¡¯t talk to me in that way.¡± ¡°You¡¯ll drive me on to something desperate. and pulling her bonnet from her head.¡± said the girl.Oliver Twist 477 ¡°I¡¯m not well. ¡°There¡¯s not enough there.¡± said the girl. flung it up to the top of an old press. ¡°What do you mean. ¡°she¡¯s out of her senses. will you?¡± ¡°It¡¯s not such a matter as a bonnet would keep me.¡± rejoined the girl. For Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± said the girl. before the door. let me go. ¡°Tell him to let me go. With which assurance he rose.¡± muttered the girl. You don¡¯t. placing both hands upon her breast.¡± said the robber. will you¡ªthis minute¡ª this instant. turning round in his chair to confront her.¡± replied Sikes. ¡°I want a breath of air. He had better. stamping her foot upon the ground. you jade! Wot is it?¡± ¡°Let me go.¡± ¡°Put your head out of the winder.¡± replied Sikes. ¡°Hear you!¡± repeated Sikes.¡± ¡°Then you won¡¯t have it. Fagin. turning very pale. I told you that before. indeed. Do you hear me?¡± cried Nancy. the dog shall have such a grip on your throat as¡¯ll tear some of that screaming voice out. you don¡¯t know what you are doing. It¡¯ll be better for him. ¡°Let me go. she said. as though to keep down by force some violent outbreak.¡± ¡°No!¡± said Sikes. ¡°Now stop quietly where you are.

¡°I think she¡¯s got a touch of that fever in her blood yet. ceased to contest the point any further.¡± ¡°Worse. ¡°Wot a precious strange gal that is!¡± ¡°You may say that.¡± ¡°Wot did she take it into her head to go out tonight for. Sikes looked on. my dear. where he sat himself on a bench.¡± said Sikes. do you think?¡± asked Sikes. seizing her roughly by the arm. ¡°Come: you should know her better than me. Get up.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± ¡°Not till you let me go¡ªnot till you let me go. ¡°You may say that. watching his opportunity. for such a little cause. I suppose. ¡°I never knew her like this. wiping the perspiration from his face.¡± said Fagin thoughtfully. ¡°if I don¡¯t think the gal¡¯s stark raving mad.¡± growled Sikes.Oliver Twist 478 only one hour¡ªdo¡ªdo!¡± ¡°Cut my limbs off one by one!¡± cried Sikes.¡± replied Fagin thoughtfully. and it won¡¯t come out¡ªeh?¡± ¡°Like enough. woman¡¯s obstinacy. struggling and wrestling with him by the way. I suppose it is. held her down by force. With a caution.¡± ¡°Well. but she¡¯s as bad as ever. and suddenly pinioning her hands dragged her.¡± ¡°Nor I. never¡ªnever!¡± screamed the girl. for a minute. Bill. and then. wearied and exhausted. She struggled and implored by turns until twelve o¡¯clock had struck. into a small room adjoining. to make no more efforts to go out that night. ¡°I thought I had tamed her. Sikes left her to recover at leisure and rejoined Fagin. ¡°Whew!¡± said the housebreaker. backed by many oaths. Wot does it mean?¡± ¡°Obstinacy. and thrusting her into a chair.

¡°Light him down. when I was stretched on my back. now she¡¯s on the other tack!¡± exclaimed Sikes. When they reached the passage. Nancy. and drawing close to the girl. tossed her head. my dear. like a black-hearted wolf as you are. turning a look of excessive surprise on his companion. ¡°It¡¯s a pity he should break his neck himself. in a whisper. ¡°We was very poor too. with a candle. ¡°Hush!¡± As he uttered these words. he laid his finger on his lips.¡± said Sikes. the girl herself appeared and resumed her former seat. one way or other. He paused when he reached the room door. Her eyes were swollen and red. it¡¯s worried and fretted her. and. Fagin nodded to him to take no further notice just then. and that being shut up here so long has made her restless¡ªeh?¡± ¡°That¡¯s it. said. in a whisper: ¡°What is it. ¡°She was hanging about me all day. and.¡± Nancy followed the old man downstairs.¡± replied the Jew. kept yourself aloof. in the same tone. without troubling the doctor.¡± said Sikes. and looking round. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . all the time. after a little time.Oliver Twist 479 ¡°I¡¯ll let her a little blood. in a few minutes. dear?¡± ¡°What do you mean?¡± replied the girl. she rocked herself to and fro. Show him a light. Whispering Sikes that there was no fear of her relapsing. and you.¡± said Sikes. Fagin took up his hat and bade him good-night. ¡°Why. and disappoint the sightseers. and night too. who was filling his pipe. Fagin nodded an expressive approval of this mode of treatment. asked if somebody would light him down the dark stairs. and I think. if she¡¯s took that way again. burst out laughing. the girl subsided into her accustomed demeanour.

¡± said Fagin. her desperate impatience to leave home that night at a particular hour. I say.Oliver Twist 480 ¡°The reason of all this. and. for he humours him sometimes¡ªcome to me. had conceived an attachment for some new friend.¡± ¡°I know you well.¡± replied Fagin. Nance. but slowly and by degrees¡ªthat Nancy. her repeated absences from home alone. in a steady voice. all favoured the supposition. He is the mere hound of a day. intent upon the thoughts that were working within his brain. ¡°If he¡±¡ªhe pointed with his skinny forefinger up the stairs¡ª¡°is so hard with you (he¡¯s a brute. answering his parting look with a nod of intelligence. with his mouth almost touching her ear.¡± replied the girl. closed the door between them. though that had tended to confirm him. as Fagin paused. as Fagin offered to lay his hand on hers. but said good-night again. wearied of the housebreaker¡¯s brutality. and. ¡°No matter just now. You have a friend in me. a staunch friend. I have the means at hand. added to these. Nance. If you want revenge on those that treat you like a dog¡ªlike a dog! worse than his dog. and rendered it. almost matter of certainty. quiet and close. Fagin walked towards his own home. but you know me of old. ¡°Good-night. and his eyes looking into hers. why don¡¯t you¡ª¡± ¡°Well?¡± said the girl. her comparative indifference to the interests of the gang for which she had once been so zealous. without manifesting the least emotion. to him at least. a brute-beast). He would be a valuable acquisition with Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . come to me. Nance. He had conceived the idea¡ª not from what had just passed. Her altered manner. ¡°We¡¯ll talk of this again. The object of this new liking was not among his myrmidons.¡± She shrank back.

object to be gained. But perhaps she would recoil from a plot to take the life of Sikes. ¡°what more likely than that she would consent to poison him? Women have done such things. There was no expression of surprise. ¡°How.¡± thought Fagin. another secured in his place. and that it would be surely wreaked¡ªto the maiming of limbs. If. of sounding the girl in the broken hints he threw out at parting. There would be the dangerous villain¡ªthe man I hate¡ªgone. ¡°With a little persuasion. and must (thus Fagin argued) be secured without delay. ¡°can I increase my influence with her? what new power can I acquire?¡± Such brains are fertile in expedients. because the wounds were hidden. and a darker. discovered the object of her altered regard. and my influence over the girl. and threatened to reveal the whole history to Sikes (of whom she stood in no common fear) unless she entered Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± thought Fagin. and his ruffian taunts had not galled Fagin the less. There was another. or perhaps the loss of life¡ªon the object of her more recent fancy. in the housebreaker¡¯s room. no assumption of an inability to understand his meaning. she could never be safe from his fury. and that was one of the chief ends to be attained.Oliver Twist 481 such an assistant as Nancy. and worse. unlimited. Sikes knew too much. and with them uppermost in his thoughts. he had taken the opportunity afterwards afforded him. well. to secure the same object before now. as he crept homewards.¡± These things passed through the mind of Fagin. The girl clearly comprehended it. with a knowledge of this crime to back it. without extracting a confession from herself. that if she shook him off. Her glance at parting showed that. The girl must know. during the short time he sat alone. he laid a watch.

could he not secure her compliance?¡± ¡°I can. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and shall be set to work. and went on his way. almost aloud. The means are ready. I shall have you yet!¡± He cast back a dark look. towards the spot where he had left the bolder villain.¡± said Fagin. which he wrenched tightly in his grasp as though there were a hated enemy crushed with every motion of his fingers. busying his bony hands in the folds of his tattered garment. not for her life! I have it all. Not for her life. and a threatening motion of the hand.Oliver Twist 482 into his designs. ¡°She durst not refuse me then.

I get on better when I talk.¡± ¡°Oh!¡± said Noah. ¡°Where¡¯s Charlotte?¡± ¡°Out. next morning. indeed. ¡°I wish yer¡¯d ordered her to make some buttered toast first.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± said Fagin. ¡°Beautiful! Six shillings and nine-pence-halfpenny on the very first day! The kinchin lay will be a fortune to you. Well. Yer won¡¯t interrupt me. betimes. The old man was up.¡± There seemed.¡± said Noah. cursing his dear young friend¡¯s greediness from the very bottom of his heart. here I am. I can talk. as he had evidently sat down with a determination to do a great deal of business. and waited impatiently for the appearance of his new associate. ¡°What¡¯s the matter? Don¡¯t yer ask me to do anything till I have done eating. ¡°Oh.¡± said Fagin. no great fear of anything interrupting him.¡± said Fagin. after a delay that seemed interminable. at length presented himself. ¡°You did well yesterday.Oliver Twist 483 Chapter 45 Noah Claypole Is Employed By Fagin On A Secret Mission. my dear. ¡°Well. who. and commenced a voracious assault on the breakfast ¡°Bolter. ¡°I sent her out this morning with the other young women. drawing up a chair and seating himself opposite Morris Bolter. yes. Talk away. cutting a monstrous slice of bread.¡± returned Noah.¡± ¡°You can talk as you eat. can¡¯t you?¡± said Fagin. Yer never get time enough over yer meals. because I wanted us to be alone. That¡¯s a great fault in this place.

¡± said Fagin. I know. that don¡¯t. but the milk-can was a perfect masterpiece. ¡°it¡¯s only to dodge a woman. setting down his cup. That don¡¯t suit me. but to tell me where she goes.¡± remarked Mr.¡± said Bolter.¡± said Mr.¡± rejoined Bolter. ¡°I can do that pretty well. Bolter. my dear. and. if it is a street. and assisted himself to a second. ¡°No. and Mr. I think. ¡°The pots I took off airy railings. which finished his first hunk of bread-and-butter.¡± ¡°There¡¯s not the smallest danger in it¡ªnot the very smallest. Bolter. ¡°don¡¯t yer go shoving me into danger. ¡°I want you. leaning over the table. if possible. Bolter. What am I to dodge her for? Not to¡ª¡± ¡°Not to anything. The pint-pots were great strokes of genius. what she says. or the house. and looking his employer eagerly in the face.¡± ¡°What¡¯ll yer give me?¡± asked Noah. who she sees. that needs great care and caution.¡± replied Fagin.¡± ¡°An old woman?¡± demanded Mr. I thought it might get rusty with the rain. and to bring back all the information you can. Bolter having had his laugh out. yer know. and the milkcan was standing by itself outside a public-house. Bolter complacently. for a beginner. ¡°A young one.¡± said the Jew. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . no.¡± ¡°Pretty well. ¡°to do a piece of work for me. my dear.¡± ¡°I say. if it is a house. ¡°I was a regular cunning sneak when I was at school. to remember the street.Oliver Twist 484 ¡°Don¡¯t you forget to add three pint-pots and a milk-can. Eh? Ha! ha! ha!¡± Fagin affected to laugh very heartily. or sending me to any more o¡¯ yer police-offices. and so I tell yer. or catch cold. took a series of large bites.

It was Sunday. for she has been alone all day. ¡°Just to have the pleasure of knowing them. he returned earlier. of course. and leave the rest to me. will not be back much before daybreak. weary nights¡ªand at each. Fagin came home with a disappointed face. ¡°Where is she? Where am I to wait for her? Where am I to go?¡± ¡°All that.¡± ¡°Who is she?¡± inquired Noah. ready to turn out at a word from Fagin. elated by the success of his proposal. my dear. if they¡¯re respectable people. and the next again.¡± said Fagin.¡± said Fagin. ¡°I see. my dear. my dear. and the man she is afraid of. ¡°and on the right errand. ¡°She goes abroad tonight. ¡°You keep ready. for any job of work where there wasn¡¯t valuable consideration to be gained. and I must know who they are. I¡¯m sure. are yer?¡± ¡°She has found out some new friends. I¡¯ll point her out at the proper time.¡± That night.¡± ¡°Oh.¡± said Noah. On the seventh.¡± said Fagin. One pound. Lor!¡± cried Noah.Oliver Twist 485 ¡°If you do it well. curling up his nose. and briefly intimated that it was not yet time.¡± replied Fagin.¡± cried Fagin. Come with me. Six nights passed¡ªsix long. wishing to interest him in the scent as much as possible. and with an exultation he could not conceal. ¡°And that¡¯s what I never gave yet. ¡°Of course. ¡°Yer doubtful of her. ¡°One of us. a pound. the spy sat booted and equipped in his carter¡¯s dress. eh? Ha! ha I ha! I¡¯m your man.¡± replied Noah.¡± ¡°I knew you would be. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and the next. you shall hear from me.

¡± He hastily descended. pointed to Noah. in the required position. and the out the pane of glass observe the person in asked. who withdrew. They entered. Scarcely venturing to words. the lad entered the room adjoining. ¡°I see her now. Fagin drew him behind a small partition which was curtained off. and the door was closed behind them. and emerged by the door at Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Fagin nodded yes. ¡°She is looking down. caused her to raise her face. It opened softly on its hinges as Fagin gave a low whistle. speaking to the girl.¡± cried the spy. and the candle is behind her. without noise. moved it. and the door was closed. which Noah recognised as the same in which he had slept. for the Jew was in a state of such intense excitement that it infected him. hurrying through a labyrinth of streets. He signed to Barney. and the girl came out. scarcely above whisper. but substituting dumb show for young Jew who had admitted them. It was past eleven o¡¯clock. as the room door opened.¡± Noah started up without saying a word.¡± whispered Fagin. ¡°Plainly?¡± ¡°I should know her among a thousand. and they held their breaths as she passed within a few feet of their place of concealment. on the night of his arrival in London. and signed to him to climb up and the adjoining room. and. ¡°Is that the woman?¡± he his breath. and. In an instant.¡± ¡°Stay here.Oliver Twist 486 Quick.¡± whispered Noah. under pretence of snuffling the candle. ¡°I can¡¯t see her face well. They left the house stealthily. arrived at length before a public-house. Fagin. and.

pass on. ¡°Dow. already at some distance before him. the better to observe her motions.¡± whispered the lad. and keep on the other side. She seemed to gather courage as she advanced. She looked nervously round. and kept on the opposite side of the street. who held the door. by the light of the lamps. saw the girl¡¯s retreating figure. and to walk with a steadier and firmer step. ¡°take the left had. twice or thrice. and darted out. ¡°Hist!¡± cried the lad.¡± Noah exchanged a look with Fagin. The spy preserved the same relative distance between them.¡± He did so. and. ¡°To the left. with his eye upon her. and followed. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . He advanced as near as he considered prudent. and once stopped to let two men who were following close behind her.Oliver Twist 487 which they had entered.

from the Middlesex to the Surrey shore. The day had been unfavourable. It was a very dark night. and followed her again. in the ardour of his pursuit. apparently disappointed in her anxious scrutiny of the foot-passengers. One. to gain upon her footsteps. he suffered her to pass by on the opposite pavement. and leaning over the parapet the better to conceal his figure. as two figures emerged on London Bridge. Their appearance was not calculated to attract the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . creeping stealthily on¡ªbut never allowing himself. was not thrown off his guard by it. was that of a woman who looked eagerly about her as though in quest of some expected object. accommodated his pace to hers¡ªstopping when she stopped. but he who watched her. and at that hour and place there were few people stirring. at some distance. Thus. as she moved again. but certainly without noticing. When she was about the same distance in advance as she had been before. and. who slunk along in the deepest shadow he could find. Such as there were. when the woman. or the man who kept her in view. turned back. shrinking into one of the recesses which surmount the piers of the bridge. he slipped quietly down. she stopped. and. for. The church clocks chimed three quarters past eleven. either the woman. the other figure was that of a man. which advanced with a swift and rapid step. they crossed the bridge. At nearly the centre of the bridge.Oliver Twist 488 Chapter 46 The Appointment Kept. The movement was sudden. The man stopped too. hurried quickly past. very possibly without seeing.

Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . The girl had taken a few restless turns to and fro¡ªclosely watched meanwhile by her hidden observer¡ªwhen the heavy bell of St. The palace. They had scarcely set foot upon its pavement. and the spire of St. the rigid face of the corpse and the calm sleep of the child. A mist hung over the river. The hour had not struck two minutes. Magnus. the night-cellar. having dismissed the vehicle. The tower of old St. walked straight towards it. the jail. of health and sickness. when the girl started. so long the giant-warders of the ancient bridge. neither speaking nor spoken. Midnight had come upon the crowded city. were visible in the gloom. when a young lady. The old smoke-stained storehouses on either side. accompanied by a grey-haired gentleman. Saviour¡¯s Church. the madhouse.Oliver Twist 489 importunate regards of such of London¡¯s destitute population. and the thickly scattered spires of churches above were nearly all hidden from the sight. but the forest of shipping below bridge. by any one who passed. and frowned sternly upon water too black to reflect even their lumbering shapes. Paul¡¯s tolled for the death of another day. 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. and rendering darker and more indistinct the murky buildings on the banks. they stood there in silence. alighted from a hackney-carriage within a short distance of the bridge. the chambers of birth and death. and. midnight was upon them all. deepening the red glare of the fires that burned upon the small craft moored off the different wharves. and immediately made towards them. rose heavy and dull from the dense mass of roofs and gables.

They halted with an exclamation of surprise. on the Surrey bank. but suppressed it immediately. These stairs are a part of the bridge. Saviour¡¯s Church. is necessarily unseen by any others on the stairs who chance to be above him. if only a step. the stone wall on the left terminates in an ornamental pilaster facing towards the Thames. with her hand. were those which. and. so that a person turning that angle of the wall. he began to descend. and the tide being out.¡± said Nancy hurriedly. there was plenty of room. the direction in which she wished them to proceed. ¡°Not here. they consist of three flights. and. and on the same side of the bridge as St. he slipped aside. after a moment¡¯s survey of the place.Oliver Twist 490 They walked onward. the countryman looked round. At this point the lower steps widen. form a landing-stairs from the river. and indicated. with his Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . The steps to which the girl had pointed. To this spot. ¡°I am afraid to speak to you here. passed on. and roughly asking what they took up the whole pavement for. when they were suddenly joined by this new associate. the man bearing the appearance of a countryman. Just below the end of the second. as there seemed no better place of concealment. when he reached this point. hastened unobserved. Come away¡ªout of the public road¡ªdown the steps yonder!¡± As she uttered these words. looking about them with the air of persons who entertained some very slight expectation which had little chance of being realised. The countryman looked hastily round. for a man in the garments of a countryman came close up¡ªbrushed against them indeed¡ªat that precise moment. going down.

and directly afterwards of voices almost close to his ear. and persuaded himself. I don¡¯t know why it is.¡± said the gentleman in a kinder tone. well.¡± ¡°Why. where it is light. He drew himself straight upright against the wall. ¡°but I have such a fear and dread upon me tonight that I can hardly Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°I will not suffer the young lady to go any further. he could follow them again. that he more than once gave the matter up for lost. ¡°that I was afraid to speak to you there.¡± said a voice. indeed. sir. but you see I am willing to humour you. shuddering. pretty certain that they would come no lower. To humour me! Well. ¡°for what purpose can you have brought us to this strange place? Why not have let me speak to you. or had resorted to some entirely different spot to hold their mysterious conversation.Oliver Twist 491 back to the pilaster. and there waited. for what. above there. with safety. which was evidently that of a gentleman. and. Many people would have distrusted you too much to have come even so far. listened attentively. and that even if he could not hear what was said.¡± ¡°To humour me!¡± cried the voice of the girl whom he had followed. when he heard the sound of footsteps. ¡°This is far enough.¡± replied Nancy. He was on the point of emerging from his hiding-place. instead of bringing us to this dark and dismal hole?¡± ¡°I told you before.¡± said the girl. scarcely breathing. it¡¯s no matter. either that they had stopped far above. ¡°You¡¯re considerate. and there is something stirring. and so eager was the spy to penetrate the motives of an interview so different from what he had been led to expect. So tardily stole the time in this lonely place. and regaining the road above.

¡°Poor creature! She seems to need it. in the streets tonight. might be a little proud instead of so much humbler. I was reading a book tonight. ¡°This was not. and not allow herself to become the prey of such fearful fancies.¡± ¡°Real ones. having youth. ¡°Oh. and shrouds with blood upon them.¡± said the gentleman.¡± said the gentleman.¡± said the young lady to her companion. dear lady. and they carried one close to me. to wile the time away.¡± ¡°Imagination. ¡°Speak to her kindly.¡± replied the girl.¡± rejoined the girl. and a fear that has made me burn as if I was on fire. ¡°I scarcely know what.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± replied the girl. who seemed to pity her. soothing her. who. that the flesh of the concealed listener crept as he heard the girl utter these words. and preached of flames and vengeance. and the blood chilled within him. why ar¡¯n¡¯t those who claim to be God¡¯s own folks as gentle and as kind to us poor wretches as you. and all that they have lost. ¡°I wish I did.¡± ¡°There is nothing unusual in that.Oliver Twist 492 stand.¡± ¡°Your haughty religious people would have held their heads up to see me as I am tonight. have been upon me all day.¡± There was something so uncommon in her manner. and beauty. Horrible thoughts of death. and the same things came into the print. in a hoarse voice. ¡°No imagination. ¡°They have passed me often. He had never experienced a greater relief than in hearing the sweet voice of the young lady as she begged her to be calm.¡± ¡°A fear of what?¡± asked the gentleman. ¡°I¡¯ll swear I saw ¡®coffin¡¯ written in every page of the book in large black letters¡ªaye.¡± cried the girl.

I hope?¡± asked the old gentleman.¡± replied Nancy. shaking her head. ¡°This young lady.¡± ¡°Good. but now I Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . turn with no less regularity to the darkest side of heaven. Between the Mussulman and the Pharisee. ¡°Now listen to me. and neither he nor any of them suspect me.¡± replied the girl. shortly afterwards. and to some other friends who can be safely trusted.¡± the gentleman began. I couldn¡¯t have seen the lady when I did. ¡°You were not here last Sunday night. ¡°I was kept by force. ¡°A Turk turns his face. ¡°It¡¯s not very easy for me to leave him unless he knows why. as he paused for a moment. addressed himself to her.¡± ¡°By whom?¡± ¡°Him that I told the young lady of before. after washing it well. ¡°has communicated to me.¡± ¡°I am ready. to the east. after giving their faces such a rub against the world as to take the smiles off. when he says his prayers. ¡°No.¡± ¡°You were not suspected of holding any communication with anybody on the subject which has brought us here tonight.¡± ¡°Did he awake before you returned?¡± inquired the gentleman.¡± These words appeared to be addressed to the young lady. The gentleman. I confess to you that I had doubts. what you told her nearly a fortnight since. but that I gave him a drink of laudanum before I came away.¡± replied the girl. at first. whether you were to be implicitly relied upon. ¡°I couldn¡¯t come.Oliver Twist 493 ¡°Ah!¡± said the gentleman. ¡°No.¡± said the gentleman. commend me to the first. and were perhaps uttered with the view of affording Nancy time to recover herself.¡± he said. these good people.

or. recoiling. whatever it may be. and for this other reason. as if this had been the point that he had been aiming to attain. I know she will. I have led a bad life too. if the truth is forced from him. I will never do that. ¡°That man must be delivered up by you. ¡°I will not do it! I will never do it!¡± replied the girl.Oliver Twist 494 firmly believe you are.¡± ¡°Fagin.¡± cried the girl. that. ¡°he cannot be secured.¡± said the gentleman quickly. But if¡ªif¡ª¡± said the gentleman. ¡°Devil that he is. and worse than devil as he has been to me. that we propose to extort the secret. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± ¡°I am. you must deliver up the Jew. that the lady knows and will stand by me in. I tell you without reserve. ¡°I repeat that I firmly believe it.¡± rejoined the girl firmly¡ª¡°for one reason. for I have her promise. who might¡ªany of them¡ªhave turned upon me but didn¡¯t. and I¡¯ll not turn upon them. cannot be acted upon as we wish.¡± said the gentleman. bad as they are. from the fears of this man Monks. besides.¡± replied the girl earnestly.¡± ¡°Then. if secured. ¡°Tell me why?¡± ¡°For one reason. there are many of us who have kept the same courses together. To prove to you that I am disposed to trust you. and leave him to me to deal with. bad life as he has led. ¡°Never!¡± returned the girl.¡± ¡°You will not?¡± said the gentleman. who seemed fully prepared for this answer.¡± ¡°What if he turned against the others?¡± ¡°I promise you that in that case. ¡°put Monks into my hands.

¡°Then. but not Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°My true and faithful pledge.¡± ¡°I have been a liar. ¡°He is tall. From the manner in which she occasionally paused.¡± replied Rose. it appeared as if the gentleman were making some hasty notes of the information she communicated. ¡°The intelligence should be so brought to bear upon him. I think. and among liars from a little child. ¡°but I will take your words. after a short pause. she seemed to consider for a few moments.¡± said the girl. and if the truth is once elicited. she proceeded in a voice so low that it was often difficult for the listener to discover even the import of what she said. ¡°and a strongly-made man. In such a case I could show you reasons. by name and situation. for the purpose of recalling his features and appearance more forcibly to her recollection. ¡°You have.¡± ¡°And if it is not?¡± suggested the girl. to describe. after another interval of silence. that she might safely do so.¡± ¡°Have I the lady¡¯s promise for that?¡± asked the girl. the best position from which to watch it without exciting observation.Oliver Twist 495 there the matter will rest. and the night and hour on which Monks was most in the habit of frequenting it. ¡°Never. that he could never even guess. the public-house whence she had been followed that night.¡± said the girl. they shall go scot-free.¡± replied the gentleman. which would induce you to yield it.¡± pursued the gentleman. ¡°this Fagin shall not be brought to justice without your consent. When she had thoroughly explained the localities of the place. there must be circumstances in Oliver¡¯s little history which it would be painful to drag before the public eye.¡± After receiving an assurance from both.¡± ¡°Monks would never learn how you know what you do?¡± said the girl.

It may not be the same. ¡°How¡¯s this?¡± said the girl. first on one side. and for a few moments they were so still that the listener could distinctly hear them breathe. constantly looks over his shoulder. for I have only seen him twice. that he was not conscious of having done so. in a hurried manner. The gentleman replied. ¡°I think I do. that you might almost tell him by that alone. ¡°I should by your description. and as he walks. although he can¡¯t be more than six or eight-and-twenty. though. breaking silence. as the latter could tell from the distinctness with which he heard him Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . for he has desperate fits.¡± said the gentleman. withered and haggard. and begged her to proceed. he has a lurking walk. and sometimes even bites his hands and covers them with wounds. stopping suddenly. Don¡¯t forget that.¡± As he expressed himself to this effect. His face is dark. and then on the other. and. he took a step or two nearer the concealed spy. His lips are often discoloured and disfigured with the marks of teeth. ¡°Upon his throat. like his hair and eyes. Many people are singularly like each other.¡± she added. there is¡ª¡± ¡°A broad red mark. I think that¡¯s all I can give you to know him by. ¡°Part of this. We shall see. Stay. so high that you can see a part of it below his neckerchief when he turns his face.¡± said the girl. like a burn or scald?¡± cried the gentleman. ¡°You know him!¡± The young lady uttered a cry of surprise. for his eyes are sunk in his head so much deeper than any other man¡¯s.Oliver Twist 496 stout. and both times he was covered up in a large cloak. ¡°I¡¯ve drawn out from other people at the house I tell you of.¡ªWhy did you start?¡± said the girl. with assumed carelessness.

¡± ¡°You put yourself beyond its pale. returning.¡± ¡°Nothing. or. as the Creator bestows but once and never grants again. and I wish you to be the better for it. for the future. weeping. before this river wakes to the first glimpse of daylight.¡± said the gentleman. if you fear to remain here. you shall be placed as entirely beyond the reach of your former associates. or breathe the very air which is pestilence and death to you. Tell me. with a voice and emphasis of kindness that might have touched a much harder and more obdurate heart. What can I do to serve you?¡± ¡°Nothing.¡± rejoined the girl. Before the dawn of morning. either in England. to the spot where he had stood before. indeed.¡± rejoined the gentleman.¡± he said. of youthful energies misspent. as if you were to disappear from the earth this moment. young woman. but a quiet asylum. ¡°You will not persist in saying that. Come! I would not have you go back to exchange one word with any old companion or take one look at any old haunt. you may hope. sir.¡± replied Nancy. ¡°The past has been a dreary waste with you. ¡°Think now. and such priceless treasures lavished. but. ¡°You can do nothing to help me. and leave as utter an absence of all trace behind you. ¡°It must be he!¡± ¡°Now. while there is time and opportunity!¡± ¡°She will be persuaded now. I am past all hope. ¡°She Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . for that must come as you seek it.¡± cried the young lady.Oliver Twist 497 mutter. in some foreign country. so it seemed by the sound. ¡°you have given us most valuable assistance. I do not say that it is in our power to offer you peace of heart and mind. it is not only within the compass of our ability but our most anxious wish to secure you. Quit them all.

to care for. But. I do not. looking hastily round. that you leave me.¡± said the gentleman. I loathe and hate it now. my dear. We may have detained her longer than she expected already. sobbing. and let me go my way alone. all I ask is. ¡°I am chained to my old life. ¡°You have. with a sigh.¡± cried the young lady. It may be years hence.¡± returned the young lady.¡± ¡°Do not speak thus. or it may be only months. lady. lady.¡± rejoined the girl. or bewail them. I must go home. for if you had spoken to me so.¡± ¡°Yes.¡± she said. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . sir. I should have laughed it off. perhaps.Oliver Twist 498 hesitates.¡± said the gentleman. by staying here. ¡°can be the end of this poor creature¡¯s life!¡± ¡°What!¡± repeated the girl. with great stress upon the word. ¡°To such a home as I have raised for myself with the work of my whole life. I must have gone too far to turn back¡ªand yet I don¡¯t know. and God forbid such horrors should!¡± replied the girl.¡± urged the girl. ¡°Good-night. How many times do you read of such as I who spring into the tide.¡± ¡°I fear not.¡± replied the girl. Go! Go! If I have done you any service. but I cannot leave it. some time ago. good-night!¡± The gentleman turned away. ¡°It will never reach your ears. and leave no living thing. yes. ¡°Home.¡± ¡°It is useless. Look at that dark water. ¡°this fear comes over me again. but I shall come to that at last. I shall be watched or seen. ¡°Look before you. Let us part. pray. ¡°We compromise her safety. after a short struggle.¡± ¡°What.¡± ¡°Home!¡± repeated the young lady. ¡°No. dear lady. I am sure.

listening. seemed to determine the gentleman to leave her. Let me have that to think of.¡± Rose Maylie lingered. As they disappeared. that he was Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . that you may have some resource in an hour of need and trouble. ¡°Take it for my sake. ¡°I have not done this for money. and led her. as she requested. good-night!¡± The violent agitation of the girl. The two figures of the young lady and her companion soon afterwards appeared upon the bridge.¡± cried the young lady. They stopped at the summit of the stairs. ascended to the street. looking sadly back. and having ascertained. Bless you! God bless you. away. ¡°Hark!¡± cried the young lady. my love. with feeble and tottering steps. no.¡± ¡°No!¡± replied the girl. and. with gentle force. with many cautious glances round him.¡± ¡°No. not a ring¡ªyour gloves or handkerchief¡ªanything that I can keep. and the apprehension of some discovery which would subject her to ill-usage and violence. The sound of retreating footsteps were audible and the voices ceased. ¡°Did she call! thought I heard her voice. and vented the anguish of her heart in bitter tears. but the old gentleman drew her arm through his. the girl sank down nearly at her full length upon one of the stone stairs. The astonished listener remained motionless on his post for some minutes afterwards. There. Brownlow.Oliver Twist 499 ¡°This purse. And yet¡ªgive me something that you have worn¡ªI should like to have something¡ªno. Good-night. as having belonged to you. and will not till we are gone. sweet lady. After a time she arose.¡± replied Mr. ¡°She has not moved.

crept slowly from his hiding-place. in the same manner as he had descended. when he reached the top. stealthily and in the shade of the wall. and returned. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Peeping out.Oliver Twist 500 again alone. and made for the Jew¡¯s house as fast as his legs would carry him. to make sure that he was unobserved. Noah Claypole darted away at his utmost speed. more than once.

and worried by an evil spirit. and then brought them back again to the candle. with face so distorted and pale. His right hand was raised to his lips.Oliver Twist 501 Chapter 47 Fatal Consequences. the fear Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . he bit his long black nails. an utter distrust of the sincerity of her refusal to yield him up. which was a long-burnt wick drooping almost double. when the streets are silent and deserted. it was at this still and silent hour. fast asleep. It was nearly two hours before daybreak. Towards him the old man sometimes directed his eyes for an instant. hatred of the girl who had dared to palter with strangers. absorbed in thought. and as. he disclosed among his toothless gums a few such fangs as should have been a dog¡¯s or rat¡¯s. moist from the grave. Indeed they were. and profligacy and riot have staggered home to dream. with his face turned towards a wasting candle that stood upon a table by his side. plainly showed that his thoughts were busy elsewhere. He sat crouching over a cold hearth. Stretched upon a mattress on the floor. that he looked less like a man. lay Noah Claypole. bitter disappointment at the loss of his revenge on Sikes. Mortification at the overthrow of his notable scheme. when even sounds appear to slumber. that time which in the autumn of the year may be truly called the dead of night. wrapped in an old torn coverlet. than like some hideous phantom. and eyes so red and bloodshot. and hot grease falling down in clots upon the table. that Fagin sat watching in his old lair.

for an instant. and ruin. and locking it in the cupboard. and now that they sat over against each other. Sitting down and throwing back his outer coat. ¡°Wot do you look at a man so for?¡± Fagin raised his right hand. and surveyed him with a look of real affright. and presently returned accompanied by a man muffled to the chin. ¡°Wot now?¡± cried Sikes. these were the passionate considerations which. until his quick ear seemed to be attracted by a footstep in the street. but his passion was so great. ¡°At last. It¡¯s been trouble enough to get: I thought I should have been here three hours ago. and shook his trembling forefinger in the air. He crept upstairs to the door. sat down again without speaking. face to face.¡± he muttered. the man displayed the burly frame of Sikes. wiping his dry and fevered mouth. laying the bundle on the table. he looked fixedly at him. with his lips quivering so violently.Oliver Twist 502 of detection. who carried a bundle under one arm. as every evil thought and blackest purpose lay working at his heart. and do the most you can with it. But he did not take his eyes off the robber. and his face so altered by the emotions which had mastered him. during this action. ¡°Take care of that. that the power of speech Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . that the housebreaker involuntarily drew back his chair. and death. shot through the brain of Fagin. ¡°There!¡± he said. or appearing to take the smallest heed of time. following close upon each other with rapid and ceaseless whirl. ¡°At last!¡± The bell rang gently as he spoke.¡± Fagin laid his hand upon the bundle. He sat without changing his attitude in the least. and a fierce and deadly rage kindled by all.

as if he had not previously observed him. ¡°was to peach¡ªto blow upon us all¡ªfirst seeking out the right folks for the purpose. and Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°That¡¯s lucky¡ªfor one of us. and reading no satisfactory explanation of the riddle there. describe every mark that they might know us by. and then having a meeting with ¡¯em in the street to paint our likenesses. don¡¯t matter. ¡°It¡¯s not¡ªYou¡¯re not the person. Open your mouth and say wot you¡¯ve got to say in plain words Out with it.¡± ¡°Oh.¡± pursued Fagin. ¡°Well?¡± he said. already. it shall be for want of breath. I¡¯ve no¡ªno fault to find with you.¡± rejoined Fagin. I must look to myself here. or Nance will think I¡¯m lost. out with it!¡± ¡°Suppose that lad that¡¯s lying there¡ª¡± Fagin began.¡± ¡°I¡¯ve got that to tell you.Oliver Twist 503 was for the moment gone. ¡°Damme!¡± said Sikes.¡± Sikes looked with an aspect of great perplexity into the Jew¡¯s face.¡± said Fagin. clenched his coat collar in his huge hand and shook him soundly. resuming his former position. Sikes turned round to where Noah was sleeping. will you!¡± he said. Bill. no. you haven¡¯t. ¡°He¡¯s gone mad.¡± ¡°No. in her own mind. ¡°Suppose that lad. ¡°Tell away! Look sharp. ¡°will make you worse than me. looking sternly at him.¡± ¡°Aye?¡± returned the robber. drawing his chair nearer. Bill. you thundering old cur. ¡°or if you won¡¯t. ¡°She has pretty well settled that. Which one that is. finding his voice. haven¡¯t you?¡± said Sikes. ¡°Speak. feeling in his breast with a look of alarm. with an incredulous air. and ostentatiously passing a pistol into a more convenient pocket.¡± ¡°Lost!¡± cried Fagin.

and beat your brains out afore the people. ¡°If he was left alive till I came.Oliver Twist 504 the crib where we might be most easily taken. that know so much. ¡°Try me. more or less¡ªof his own fancy. and turning white at the mere suggestion. Sikes leaned forward in hands upon his knees. I¡¯d fall upon you with them in the open court. ¡°Suppose he did all this. and peaching to them. earwigged by the parson and brought to it on bread and water¡ªbut of his own fancy. I¡¯d serve them the same. silent. or Bet. and. to please his own taste. tried. what then?¡± ¡°What then!¡± replied Sikes. Do you hear me?¡± cried the Jew. stealing out at nights to find those most interested against us. ¡°I.¡± replied Sikes. with a tremendous oath. almost in a yell. and besides to blow upon a plant we¡¯ve all been in.¡± Fagin looked hard at the robber.¡± replied Sikes impatiently. and if I was tried along with you. and shook the sleeper his chair.¡± ¡°If it was Charley. poising his brawny arm. I¡¯d grind his skull under the iron heel of my boot into as many grains as there are hairs upon his head. I should have such strength. and could hang so many besides myself!¡± ¡°I don¡¯t know. or¡ª¡± ¡°I don¡¯t care who.¡± ¡°You would?¡± ¡°Would I!¡± said the housebreaker. Suppose he was to do all this. looking on with his much what all this .¡± ¡°What if I did it!¡± cried Fagin. clenching his teeth. trapped. ¡°I¡¯d do something in the jail that ¡¯ud get me put in irons. his eyes flashing with rage. ¡°that I could smash your head as if a loaded wagon had gone over it. not grabbed. ¡°Whoever it was. stooped over the bed upon the to rouse him.¡± muttered the robber. or the Dodger. as if wondering Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics motioning him to be floor.

shaking himself pettishly. ¡°You followed her?¡± ¡°Yes. and speaking slowly and with marked emphasis. ¡°He¡¯s tired¡ªtired with watching for her so long¡ªwatching for her. as if to prevent his leaving the house before he had heard enough. which she did¡ªand what time the people went there. but bending over the sleeper again. who asked her to give up all her pals. Fagin made no answer.Oliver Twist 505 questioning and preparation was to end in. and Monks first. and. looking up with an expression of devilish anticipation. Bill.¡± ¡°To London Bridge?¡± ¡°Yes.¡± ¡°Where she met two people?¡± ¡°So she did. giving a heavy yawn.¡± ¡°Wot d¡¯ye mean?¡± asked Sikes. just for him to hear. which she did. Noah rubbed his eyes. and go to. She did all this. ¡°That about¡ªNANCY. ¡°Tell me that again¡ªonce again. pointing to Sikes as he spoke. looked sleepily about him. which she did¡ªand to tell her what house it was that we meet at.¡± ¡°A gentleman and a lady that she had gone to of her own accord before. hauled him into a sitting posture. clutching Sikes by the wrist. She told it all every word without a threat. drawing back. ¡°Tell yer what?¡± asked the sleepy Noah.¡± said Fagin. which she did¡ª and where it could be best watched from.¡± said the Jew. ¡°Bolter. which she did¡ªand to describe him. Bolter! Poor lad!¡± said Fagin. without a murmur¡ª Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . When his assumed name had been repeated several time.

she¡ªha! ha! ha! it made me laugh when she said it. Only a word. the man she had told them of before. and darted. wildly and furiously. Bill!¡± cried Fagin. as he grew more wakeful. Tell it again!¡± cried Fagin. as she promised. on which he was Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . scratching his head. ¡°All right. ¡°A word. ¡°and so the first time she went to see the lady. following him hastily.¡± The word would not have been exchanged. tell him that.¡± ¡°Because she was forcibly kept at home by Bill. he rushed from the room.¡± ¡°Why¡ªwhy? Tell him that.¡± said Noah. and brandishing his other hand aloft. seemed to have a dawning perception who Sikes was¡ª¡°they asked her why she didn¡¯t come last Sunday.¡± ¡°Why.¡± replied Noah. up the stairs.¡± ¡°Hell¡¯s fire!¡± cried Sikes. as the foam flew from his lips.¡± replied Noah. that she couldn¡¯t very easily get out of doors unless he knew where she was going to. ¡°Let me go!¡± Flinging the old man from him. ¡°Bill. I told yer that before. She said she couldn¡¯t. ¡°What more of the man she had told them of before? Tell him that.¡± ¡°Again. half-mad with fury. ¡°Why.Oliver Twist 506 she did¡ªdid she not?¡± cried Fagin. ¡°That¡¯s just what it was!¡± ¡°What did they say about last Sunday?¡± ¡°About last Sunday!¡± replied Noah. that it did¡ª she gave him a drink of laudanum. breaking fiercely from Fagin.¡± said Noah. who. considering. but that the housebreaker was unable to open the door. ¡°They asked her. ¡°What more of him?¡± cried Fagin. tightening his grasp on Sikes.

or raising his eyes to the sky. with a key. laying his hand upon the lock. half-dressed. Bill?¡± The day was breaking. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . but looking straight before him with savage resolution. pulling open the door. I say!¡± ¡°Hear me speak a word. his teeth so tightly compressed that the strained jaw seemed starting through his skin. when the Jew came panting up.¡± rejoined Fagin. nor relaxed a muscle. Without one pause.Oliver Twist 507 expending fruitless oaths and violence. Be crafty. Let me out. without once turning his head to the right or left. dashed into the silent streets. drew back the curtain of the bed. The girl was lying. showing that he felt all disguise was now useless. for she raised herself with a hurried and startled look. ¡°Let me out.¡± said Fagin. ¡°You won¡¯t be¡ª¡± ¡°Well.¡± said Sikes. He opened it.¡± replied the other. and not too bold. nor muttered a word. or moment¡¯s consideration. ¡°not too violent for safety. upon it. strode lightly up the stairs. Bill. and entering his own room. or lowering them to the ground. there was a fire in the eyes of both. doublelocked the door.¡± Sikes made no reply. and lifting a heavy table against it. until he reached his own door. it¡¯s not safe. They exchanged one brief glance. ¡°You won¡¯t be¡ªtoo¡ªviolent. of which Fagin had turned the lock. but. softly. ¡°I mean. the robber held on his headlong course. which could not be mistaken. and there was light enough for the men to see each other¡¯s faces. He had roused her from her sleep. ¡°Don¡¯t speak to me.

¡°It is you. every word you said was heard. for mine. upon my guilty soul I have!¡± The man struggled violently to release his arms. as I spared yours. ¡°You were watched tonight. ¡°Bill. ¡°It is. ¡°Bill. you cannot throw me off. stop before you spill my blood! I have been true to you. and then. Seeing the faint light of early day without.¡± ¡°Then spare my life for the love of Heaven. but the man hastily drew it from the candlestick and hurled it under the grate. clinging to him. ¡°Let it be. Oh! think of all I have given up. and save yourself this crime. and looking once towards the door. ¡°I¡ªwon¡¯t scream or cry¡ªnot once¡ªhear me¡ªspeak to me¡ªtell me what I have done?¡± ¡°You know. ¡°why do you look like that at me?¡± The robber sat regarding her for a few seconds. wrestling with the strength of mortal fear. Bill. for dear God¡¯s sake. dragged her into the middle of the room. You shall have time to think. with an expression of pleasure at his return.¡± was the reply. you cannot have the heart to kill me.¡± said Sikes.Oliver Twist 508 ¡°Get up!¡± said the man. ¡°Get up. Bill!¡± gasped the girl. for your own.¡± said the girl. the girl rose to undraw the curtain. Bill.¡± rejoined the girl. you she-devil!¡± returned the robber. but those of Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°There¡¯s light enough for wot I¡¯ve got to do. with dilated nostrils and heaving breast.¡± ¡°Bill. thrusting his hand before her. placed his heavy hand upon her mouth. Bill!¡± said the girl. suppressing his breath. in the low voice of alarm. only this one night. for you.¡± There was a candle burning. I will not loose my hold. dear Bill. grasping her by the head and throat.

staggering backward to the wall. It was a ghastly figure to look upon. and grasped his pistol. and shutting out the sight with his hand. on her knees. and tear her as he would. except in prayers. told me tonight of a home in some foreign country where I could end my days in solitude and peace. as high towards Heaven as her feeble strength would allow. ¡°the gentleman and that dear lady. drew from her bosom a white handkerchief¡ªRose Maylie¡¯s own¡ªand holding it up. one arm. little time!¡± The housebreaker freed certainty of immediate mind even in the midst force he could summon. with difficulty. and far apart lead better lives. striving to lay her head upon his breast. The detection if he fired. to show the same mercy and goodness to you. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°Bill. It is never too late to repent. Let me see them again. and let us both leave this dreadful place. and never see each other more. in her folded hands. The murderer. nearly blinded with the blood that rained down from a deep gash in her forehead. and beg them. touched his own. flashed across his of his fury.¡± cried the girl. breathed one prayer for mercy to her Maker. but raising herself. he could not tear them away.Oliver Twist 509 the girl were clasped round his. seized a heavy club and struck her down. on my knees. and forget how we have lived. They told me so¡ªI feel it now¡ªbut we must have time¡ªa little. and he beat it twice with all the upon the upturned face that almost She staggered and fell.

Through costly coloured glass and paper-mended window. than to see them glaring upward. If the sight had been a ghastly one in the dull morning. what was it now. and imagine them moving towards him. he had struck and struck again. and so much blood! He struck a light. had been committed within wide London¡¯s bounds since night hung over it. it shed its equal ray. under cover of the darkness. that brings back. through cathedral dome and rotten crevice. There was hair upon the edge. and freshness to man¡ªburst upon the crowded city in clear and radiant glory. he had been afraid to stir. in all that brilliant light! He had not moved. as if watching the reflection of the pool of gore that quivered and danced in the sunlight on the ceiling. And there was the body¡ª mere flesh and blood. that was the worst. but new life. not light alone. He had plucked it off again. and. and thrust the club into it. which blazed and shrank into a Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . The sun¡ªthe bright sun. no more¡ªbut such flesh. Once he threw a rug over it. O f all bad deeds that. but it was worse to fancy the eyes. with terror added to rage. Of all the horrors that rose with an ill scent upon the morning air. He tried to shut it out. that was the foulest and most cruel. kindled a fire. but it would stream in. There had been a moan and motion of the hand. It did. It lighted up the room where the murdered woman lay. and hope.Oliver Twist 510 Chapter 48 The Flight Of Sikes.

unsteady of purpose. struck off to the right again. to be sure that nothing was visible from the outside. He whistled on the dog and walked rapidly away. and taking the footpath across the fields. not for a moment.Oliver Twist 511 light cinder. but he cut the pieces out. he mounted the opposite bank. It was a relief to have got free of the room. and smoulder into ashes. made along the remaining portion of the heath to the fields at Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . There was the curtain still drawn. Even that frightened him. Such preparations completed. and left the house. turned his back upon the corpse. He knew that. dragging the dog with him. and so came out on Hampstead Heath. and rubbed his clothes. He washed himself. how the sun poured down upon the very spot! The glance was instantaneous. whirled up the chimney. It lay nearly under there. there were spots that would not be removed. strode up the hill at Highgate on which stands the stone in honour of Whittington. he moved. no. and uncertain where to go. He shut the door softly. took the key. How those stains were dispersed about the room! The very feet of the dog were bloody. and crossing the road which joins the villages of Hampstead and Highgate. and burned them. caught by the air. towards the door. sturdy as he was. God. and. and glanced up at the window. almost as soon as he began to descend it. He went through Islington. All this time he had. but he held the weapon till it broke. backward. locked it. turned down to Highgate Hill. lest he should soil his feet anew and carry out new evidences of the crime into the streets. Traversing the hollow by the Vale of Health. which she would have opened to admit the light she never saw again. He crossed over. and then piled it on the coals to burn away. skirted Caen Wood. never once.

and still he rambled to and fro. Where could he go. Soon he was up again. in one of which he laid himself down under a hedge. that was near and not too public. and once more he lingered on the heath uncertain where to go. without the courage to purchase bit or drop. whose scanty light had guided them to the spot. to get some meat and drink? Hendon. and ramble on again. and some country labourers were drinking before Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . That was a good place. He wandered over miles and miles of ground. loitering at a snail¡¯s pace. and do the same. and still came back to the old place. though he had tasted no food for many hours. all the people he met¡ªthe very children at the doors¡ªseemed to view him with suspicion. quite tired out. and starting up to make for some other spot. and plodding along the little street. turned down the hill by the church of the quiet village. limping and lame from the unaccustomed exercise. Thither he directed his steps¡ª running sometimes. and round and round. or stopping altogether and idly breaking the hedges with his stick. crept into a small public-house. Morning and noon had passed. and away¡ªnot far into the country. when the man. not far off. and up and down. It was nine o¡¯clock at night.Oliver Twist 512 North End. and still lingered about the same spot. and slept. but backwards towards London by the highroad¡ªthen back again¡ª then over another part of the same ground as he already traversed¡ªthen wandering up and down in fields. and the day was on the wane. and sometimes. and lying on ditches¡¯ brinks to rest. and shaped his course for Hatfield. and out of most people¡¯s way. But when he got there. with a strange perversity. Back he turned again. There was a fire in the taproom. At last he got away. and the dog.

muslin. ¡°This. than he was¡ªwith ten or fifteen year of life in him at least if he had taken care. rust. half-pedlar and half-mountebank. which slackened not until he had made his supper. and opened his box of treasures. spot. which he carried in a case slung to his back. when he was halfawakened by the noisy entrance of a newcomer. cambric. There was nothing to attract attention. and had almost dropped asleep. satin. They made room for the stranger. turned upon the neighbouring land. after paying his reckoning. The robber. and when those topics were exhausted. dirt. cosmetics. ¡°And what be that stoof? Good to eat. cloth. to whom he cast a morsel of food from time to time. from silk. or Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . strops. crape. speck. razors. linen. wash-balls. one white-haired grandfather said. or spatter. and ate and drank alone. and farmers. mildew. stuff. harness-paste. medicine for dogs¡ªand horses. if he had taken care. carpet. upon the age of some old man who had been buried on the previous Sunday. who travelled about the country on foot to vend hones. sat silent and unnoticed in the corner. when he ingeniously contrived to unite business with amusement. producing one¡ª¡°this is the infallible and invaluable composition for removing all sorts of stain. and such like wares. merino. the young men present considering him very old. pointing to some composition-cakes in one corner. and the old men present declaring him to have been quite young¡ªnot older.¡± said the fellow. cheap perfumery. or rather with his dog. This was an antic fellow. The conversation of the men assembled here. spick. bombazeen. His entrance was the signal for various homely jokes with the countrymen. Harry?¡± asked a grinning countryman. or excite alarm in this. but he sat down in the farthest corner.Oliver Twist 513 it.

Wine-stains. and he has put it beyond question¡ªfor it¡¯s quite as satisfactory as a pistol-bullet. and a great deal nastier in the flavour. With all these virtues. If a gentleman wants to prove this. blood-stains! Here is a stain upon the hat of a gentleman in company. and a premium of fifty for twins. starting up. consequently the more credit in taking it. though the men work so hard that they die off. pitch-stains. ¡°before you can come across the room to get it. paint-stains. observe the dark stain upon this gentleman¡¯s hat. one penny a square!¡± There were two buyers directly. pitch-stains. always a-working upon it. and the widows is pensioned directly.¡± ¡°Ah!¡± cried Sikes. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . winking to the company.¡± replied the man.Oliver Twist 514 woollen stuff. fruit-stains. and they can¡¯t make it fast enough. water-stains.¡± said the fellow. ¡°There are fourteen water-mills. ¡°Give that back. and more of the listeners plainly hesitated. beer-stains. paint-stains. If a lady stains her honour. water-stains. all come out at one rub with the infallible and invaluable composition. mud-stains. with twenty pound a year for each of the children. One penny a square! Two halfpence is all the same. Gentlemen all. any stains. beer-stains. One penny a square! Wine-stains. The vendor observing this. sir. she has only need to swallow one cake and she¡¯s cured at once¡ªfor it¡¯s poison. and four farthings is received with joy. before he can order me a pint of ale.¡± ¡°I¡¯ll take it clean out. increased in loquacity. he has only need to bolt one little square. and a galvanic battery. fruit-stains. One penny a square. six steam-engines. that I¡¯ll take clean out. ¡°It¡¯s all bought up as fast as it can be made.

drawing back to the window-shutters.¡± The man got no further. but I don¡¯t reckon much upon it. all day. Damn that ¡¯ere bag. ¡°Corn¡¯s up a little. mud-stain.Oliver Twist 515 no wider than a shilling. for Sikes with a hideous imprecation overthrew the table.¡± replied the man. With the same perversity of feeling and irresolution that has fastened upon him. this won¡¯t do. dressed like a gamekeeper. water-stain. sullen fellow. too.¡± said a gentleman inside. and he handed him a basket which lay ready on the pavement. beer-stain. look alive in there. but he crossed over. the better to admire the horses.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . down Spitalfields way. ¡°That¡¯s for your people. and getting out of the glare of the lamps of a stagecoach that was standing in the street. and listened. despite himself. Whether it is a wine-stain. and that they most probably considered him some drunken. turned back up the town. will you. when he recognised the mail from London. waiting for the letter-bag. was walking past. He almost knew what was to come. you know!¡± ¡°Anything new up in town. I heerd talk of a murder. and saw that it was standing at the little postoffice. ¡°Now. burst out of the house. that¡¯s quite true. Ben?¡± asked the gamekeeper.¡± ¡°Oh. The guard was standing at the door. came up at the moment. A man. finding that he was not followed. pitch-stain. who was looking out of the window. ¡°No. paint-stain. but thicker than a half-crown. ¡°And a dreadful murder it was. fruit-stain. pulling on his gloves. or blood-stain. it warn¡¯t ready night afore last.¡± said the guard. and tearing the hat from him. nothing that I knows on. the murderer.

He could hear its garments rustling in the leaves.¡± growled the guard. If he stopped it did the same. give hold. touching his hat. and every breath of wind came laden with that last low cry. pray. and so¡¯s the young ¡®ooman of property that¡¯s going to take a fancy to me. supply the smallest item of the outline.¡± said the guard. He could trace its shadow in the gloom. it followed¡ªnot running too. took the semblance of some fearful thing. At length he went back again. ¡°Damn that ¡¯ere bag. apparently unmoved by what he had just heard.Oliver Twist 516 ¡°Was it. Sikes remained standing in the street. but like a corpse endowed with the mere machinery of life. substance or shadow. If he ran. that would have been a relief. still or moving. ¡°Coming. He went on doggedly. ¡°Man or woman. sir?¡± rejoined the guard. but I don¡¯t know when. and borne on one Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and took the road which leads from Hatfield to St. Here. and the coach was gone. Ben. but as he left the town behind him. and plunged into the solitude and darkness of the road. running out. All ri-right!¡± The horn sounded a few cheerful notes. sir?¡± ¡°A woman. he felt a dread and awe creeping upon him which shook him to the core. but these fears were nothing compared to the sense that haunted him of that morning¡¯s ghastly figure following at his heels. ¡°are you gone to sleep in there?¡± ¡°Coming!¡± cried the office keeper. and note how stiff and solemn it seemed to stalk along. Every object before him. and agitated by no stronger feeling than a doubt where to go. ¡°Ah. ¡°It is supposed¡ª¡± ¡°Now.¡± replied the gentleman. Albans.¡± replied the coachman impatiently.

The body was in its place. If he shut out the sight. Before the door. there came the room with every well-known object¡ªsome. Those widelystaring eyes. There was a shed in a field he passed. He could not walk on. but the hair rose on his head. were three tall poplar-trees. and its eyes were as he saw them when he stole away. At times he turned. He had kept it before him that morning. for it had turned with him and was behind him then. with desperate determination. and still¡ªa living gravestone. resolved to beat this phantom off. and the wind moaned through them with a dismal wail. and here he stretched himself close to the wall¡ªto undergo new torture. but they were everywhere. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . appeared in the midst of the darkness¡ªlight in themselves. He leaned his back against a bank. which made it very dark within. with its epitaph in blood. silent. visibly out against the cold night-sky. that he had better borne to see them than think upon them. if he had gone over its contents from memory¡ªeach in its accustomed place. and hint that Providence must sleep. till daylight came again. so lustreless and so glassy. erect. indeed. He threw himself upon the road¡ªon his back upon the road. For now. as constant and more terrible than that from which he had escaped. and felt that it stood above him. There were twenty score of violent deaths in one long minute of that agony of fear.Oliver Twist 517 slow melancholy wind that never rose or fell. There were but two. that offered shelter for the night. a vision came before him. though it should look him dead. At his head it stood. and his blood stood still. but it was behind now¡ª always. Let no man talk of murderers escaping justice. but giving light to nothing. that he would have forgotten. He got up.

He darted onward¡ªstraight. were sheets of flame. springing to his feet. the fall of heavy bodies. The noise increased as he looked. rushed into the open air. amidst a shower of falling sparks. before he had laid himself along. He came upon the spot. The broad sky seemed on fire. even though it conveyed a real cause of alarm. He regained his strength and energy at the prospect of personal danger. Rising into the air with showers of sparks. was something to him. headlong¡ªdashing through brier and brake. lighting the atmosphere for miles around. He re-entered the shed. and the tumbling down of red-hot beams. The figure was behind him. The shouts grew louder as new voices swelled the roar. and the cold sweat starting from every pore. And here he remained. There were half-dressed figures tearing to and fro. Any sound of men in that lonely place. and shrank down once more. and. and driving clouds of smoke in the direction where he stood. and the roar of voices mingled in alarm and wonder. and rolling one above the other. It was like new life to him. in such terror as none but he can know. The Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and others coming laden from the burning pile. and leaping gate and fence as madly as his dog. bustle. some endeavouring to drag the frightened horses from the stables. when suddenly there arose upon the night-wind the noise of distant shouting. trembling in every limb. who careered with loud and sounding bark before him. others driving the cattle from the yard and outhouses. and the crackling of flames as they twined round some new obstacle and shot aloft as though refreshed by food.Oliver Twist 518 and rushed into the field without. There were people there¡ªmen and women¡ªlight. The eyes were there. and he could hear the cry of Fire! mingled with the ringing of an alarm-bell.

and now hurrying through the smoke and flame. white-hot.¡± said one. they say. and he feared to be the subject of their talk. under the lee of falling bricks and stones. and as he drank a draught of beer. He looked suspiciously about him. plunged into the thickest of the throng. stealthily. upon the roofs of buildings. and they called to him to share in their refreshment. with tenfold force. The dog obeyed the significant beck of his finger. ¡°He has gone to Birmingham. He took some bread and meat. Up and down the ladders. and they drew off. and had neither scratch nor bruise. The clanking of the enginepumps. together. for the men were conversing in groups. but never ceasing to engage himself wherever noise and men were thickest. there returned. who were from London. nor weariness nor thought. but he bore a charmed life. where doors and windows stood an hour ago. now working at the pumps. for the scouts are out. the molten lead and iron poured down.Oliver Twist 519 apertures. Women and children shrieked. till morning dawned again. the dreadful consciousness of his crime. Hither and thither he dived that night. This mad excitement over. and the spurting and hissing of the water as it fell upon the blazing wood. and. talking about the murder. walls rocked and crumbled into the burning well. till he was hoarse. He shouted. upon the ground. ¡°but they¡¯ll have him yet. He passed near an engine where some men were seated. disclosed a mass of raging fire. and men encouraged each other with noisy shouts and cheers. and only smoke and blackened ruins remained. and by tomorrow night there¡¯ll be a cry all through Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . over floors that quaked and trembled with his weight. added to the tremendous roar. too. in every part of that great fire was he. heard the firemen. flying from memory and himself.

he skulked a little farther in the rear than usual. He wandered on again. and picking up a heavy stone and tying it to his handkerchief as he went. or the robber¡¯s sidelong look at him was sterner than ordinary. whether his instinct apprehended something of their purpose. and cowered as he came more slowly along. and. I¡¯ll risk it. The animal looked up into his master¡¯s face while these preparations were making. Suddenly. at all events. Why can¡¯t I lay by for a week or so. and looked round to call him. to proceed straight to that part of it which he had fixed on for his destination. irresolute and undecided.¡± He hurried off. resolved to lie concealed within a short distance of the metropolis. When his master halted at the brink of a pool. after this country scent. but broken and uneasy sleep. ¡°A good hiding-place. This might lead to his apprehension as he passed along the streets. and walked on. though. and had probably gone with him. forcing blunt from Fagin. and walked till he almost dropped upon the ground. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . entering it at dusk. and oppressed with the fear of another solitary night. and.Oliver Twist 520 the country. He resolved to drown him. by a circuitous route.¡± He acted upon this impulse without delay. and choosing the least frequented roads. get abroad to France? Damme. ¡°There¡¯s somebody to speak to there. too. and. he took the desperate resolution of going back to London.¡± he thought. looking for a pond. and had a long. then lay down in a lane. began his journey back. it would not be forgotten that the dog was missing. If any description of him were out. They¡¯ll never expect to nab me there. The dog.

But no dog appeared. ¡°Do you hear me call? Come here!¡± cried Sikes. The man whistled again and again. and at length he resumed his journey. turned. paused an instant.Oliver Twist 521 he stopped outright. but as Sikes stooped to attach the handkerchief to his throat. Sikes made a runningnoose and called him again. The dog wagged his tail. and sat down and waited in the expectation that he would return. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . The animal came up from the very force of habit. but moved not. and scoured away at his hardest speed. retreated. he uttered a low growl and started back. The dog advanced. ¡°Come back!¡± said the robber.

that the instant you set foot in the street. stopped. Brownlow. that Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . You are free to go. The two men looked to the old gentleman as if for instructions. and impeach him as a felon in my name. they helped out a third man. while another man. Monks. and we to follow. a sturdy man got out of the coach and stationed himself on one side of the steps. dismounted too. and Mr. who had ascended with evident reluctance. drag him into the street. ¡°How dare you urge me to it. The door being opened. But I warn you. ¡°He knows the alternative. At the door of this apartment. sir. At a sign from Mr. ¡°If he hesitates or moves a finger but as you bid him. ¡°Are you mad enough to leave this house? Unhand him. by all I hold most solemn and most sacred. Brownlow.¡± said Mr. and taking him between them. confronting him with a steady look. young man?¡± replied Mr.¡± ¡°How dare you say this of me?¡± asked Monks. Brownlow alighted from a hackney-coach at his own door and knocked softly. Brownlow At Length Meet¡ªTheir Conversation. There. when Mr. Brownlow. This man was Monks. who had been seated on the box.Oliver Twist 522 Chapter 49 Monks And Mr. preceding them. And The Intelligence That Interrupts It. The twilight was beginning to close in. They walked in the same manner up the stairs without speaking. hurried him into the house. led the way into a back room. call for the aid of the police. Brownlow. and stood upon the other side.

looking from one to the other of the men who stood beside him. and brought here by these dogs?¡± asked Monks.¡± Monks muttered some unintelligible words. and the mercy of those you have deeply injured. Brownlow.¡± said Mr. in that chair. I will appeal to the law too. you know the way. Brownlow. I cannot control. and you appeal to my forbearance. It has waited for you two whole days. seat yourself. but when you have gone too far to recede. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and do not say I plunged you down the gulf into which you rushed yourself. I am resolute and immovable. foresee. If you are determined to be the same. I say. do not sue to me for leniency.¡± said Mr. throw yourself for protection on the law. If you complain of being deprived of your liberty¡ªyou had power and opportunity to retrieve t as you came along. If not. with perfect firmness and composure. ¡°By mine. and consign you to a punishment the extent of which. without a word. ¡°A word from me. when the power will have passed into other hands. and the alternative has gone for ever. but wavered still. your blood be upon your own head!¡± ¡°By what authority am I kidnapped in the street. Brownlow. with a shudder. but you deemed it advisable to remain quiet¡ªI say again.Oliver Twist 523 instant will I have you apprehended on a charge of fraud and robbery. once more. ¡°You will be prompt. He hesitated.¡± Monks was plainly disconcerted.¡± replied Mr. ¡°You will decide quickly. ¡°Those persons are indemnified by me. and alarmed besides. although I can.¡± Still the man hesitated. ¡°If you wish me to prefer my charges publicly.

¡± said Monks. as I advocate the dearest interests of others. and that fair creature of his blood and kindred who rejoined her God in youth.¡± said Mr Brownlow to the attendants. Brownlow.¡± ¡°Is there. on the morning that would¡ªbut Heaven willed otherwise¡ªhave made her my young wife. and left me here a solitary. but. it is because my seared heart clung to him. reading in his countenance nothing but severity and determination. Edward Leeford. from that time forth. ¡°it is because the hopes and wishes of young and happy years were bound up with him. and even the sight of you brings with it old thoughts of him.Oliver Twist 524 ¡°I have not the inclination to parley. sat down. sir.¡± Monks looked at the old gentleman with an anxious eye. ¡°and come when I ring. it is because old recollections and associations filled my heart. young man. shrugging his shoulders. I have not the right. ¡°Lock the door on the outside.¡± The men obeyed. ¡°This is pretty treatment.¡± ¡°It is because I was your father¡¯s oldest friend. through all his trials and errors. walked into the room. ¡°and. and. Brownlow.¡± ¡°What has the name to do with it?¡± asked the other. it is because of all these things that I am moved to treat you gently now¡ªyes. even now¡ªand blush for your unworthiness who bear the name. lonely man. after Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . with a faltering tongue¡ª¡°is there¡ªno middle course?¡± ¡°None. it is because he knelt with me beside his only sister¡¯s deathbed when he was yet a boy.¡± returned Mr.¡± said Mr.¡± demanded Monks. ¡°from my father¡¯s oldest friend. throwing down his hat and cloak. and the two were left alone together. till he died.

¡°the misery. into which family pride. ¡°What is the name to me?¡± ¡°Nothing. the glow and thrill which I once felt. and half in dogged wonder. in wonder and alarm. ¡°You know the fact. I know how cold formalities were succeeded by open Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Why do you talk to me of brothers? You know that. ¡°You know I was an only child. 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. the whisper of whose name in your ear when I came behind you in the street. was.¡± said Mr. and that¡¯s enough for me. Brownlow.¡± ¡°I don¡¯t care for hard names. an old man. Brownlow¡ª¡°nothing to you. ¡°I shall interest you by and by. during which he had jerked himself in sullen defiance to and fro. half in silence.¡± ¡°I have no brother.¡± ¡°Attend to what I do know.¡± interrupted Monks. But it was hers. forced your unhappy father when a mere boy. the protracted anguish of that ill-assorted union. ¡°a brother.¡± replied Monks. you were the sole and most unnatural issue. I am very glad you have changed it¡ªvery¡ªvery. and even at this distance of time brings back to me.¡± ¡°But I also know. ¡°But what do you want with me?¡± ¡°You have a brother. as well as I. in itself. Brownlow.Oliver Twist 525 contemplating. the slow torture. and the most sordid and narrowest of all ambition.¡± said Monks (to retain his assumed designation) after a long silence. and you may not. with a jeering laugh.¡± ¡°This is all mighty fine. Brownlow had sat. and Mr. the agitation of his companion.¡± pursued the old gentleman. only to hear it repeated by a stranger.¡± replied Mr.¡± said Mr. I know that of the wretched marriage. shading his face with his hand. almost enough to make you accompany me hither. rousing himself.

or ceased to think of it with bitterness. to hide it in new society beneath the gayest looks they could assume. of which nothing but death could break the rivets. who. ¡°You must talk on if you will. dislike to hate. lingered on at home. Brownlow. then. Brownlow.¡± said Monks. ¡°Not I. he fell among new friends. turning away his eyes and beating his foot upon the ground. ¡°I speak of fifteen years ago. Brownlow. But it rusted and cankered at your father¡¯s heart for years. Must I go back to events which cast a shade upon the memory of your parent. a boy. Your mother succeeded.¡± returned Mr.¡± ¡°Your manner. This circumstance.¡± said Mr. no less than your actions. you know already. she forgot it soon. ¡°and your mother. they were separated. carried each a galling fragment. wholly given up to continental frivolities. assures me that you have never forgotten it. I repeat. and retiring a wide space apart. until at last they wrenched the clanking bond asunder. how indifference gave place to dislike.¡± rejoined Monks. and your father but one-andthirty¡ªfor he was.¡± returned Mr.Oliver Twist 526 taunts. ¡°and what of that?¡± ¡°When they had been separated for some time.¡± said Monks. had utterly forgotten the young husband ten good years her junior. with prospects blighted. and hate to loathing. at least. whose wife had died some half a Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and disclose to me the truth?¡± ¡°I have nothing to disclose. when his father ordered him to marry.¡± ¡°These new friends.¡± ¡°Not I.¡± ¡°Well. when you were not more than eleven years old. or will you spare it. as a man who is determined to deny everything. ¡°were a naval officer retired from active service.

At length. fast followed on each other. Brownlow. as others are often¡ªit is no uncommon case¡ªdied. Monks was biting his lips. young man. moving restlessly in his chair. with his eyes fixed upon the floor. true.¡± ¡°What¡¯s this to me?¡± asked Monks.¡± ¡°Your tale is of the longest. Brownlow. intimacy.¡± said Mr. it would be very brief. he immediately resumed: ¡°The end of a year found him contracted.¡± returned Mr. of all their family. Acquaintance. They were both daughters.¡± The old gentleman paused. ¡°in a part of the country to which your father in his wanderings had repaired. friendship. only passion of a guileless girl. seeing this. and left him with two children¡ªthere had been more. and sorrow. and the other a mere child of two or three years old. if it were one of unmixed joy and happiness. he grew to love him. to that daughter. As the old officer knew him more and more. but. whither this man had sped for health. ardent.Oliver Twist 527 year before. one a beautiful creature of nineteen. and where he had taken up his abode. left him his panacea for all griefs¡ª money. I would that it had ended there. It was necessary that he should immediately repair to Rome. and where he had Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°They resided.¡± observed Monks. happily but two survived. without seeming to hear the interruption. ¡°It is a true tale of grief. ¡°and such tales usually are. and trial. Your father was gifted as few men are. His daughter did the same. one of those rich relations to strengthen whose interest and importance your father had been sacrificed. and to repair the misery he had been instrumental in occasioning. the object of the first. He had his sister¡¯s soul and person. solemnly contracted.

was seized with mortal illness there. to fly the country¡ªI guessed too well he would not fly alone¡ªand never see it more. Even from me. and listened with a face of intense eagerness. ¡°he came to me. the moment the intelligence reached Paris. ¡°He came to me. who carried you with her. As Mr. he changed his position with the air of one who has experienced a sudden relief.Oliver Twist 528 died. was followed. by your mother. and. He went. in a tone intended to appear incredulous. and could not carry forward on his hasty journey. promising to write and tell me all. leaving his affairs in great confusion. among some other things. into money. talked in a wild.¡± interrupted Monks.¡± ¡°I never heard of that. and Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± At this part of the recital. his old and early friend. Brownlow paused. and wiped his hot face and hands. he died the day after her arrival. confided in me his intention to convert his whole property. a picture¡ªa portrait painted by himself¡ªa likeness of this poor girl¡ªwhich he did not wish to leave behind.¡± said Mr. and left with me. distracted way. though his eyes were not directed towards the speaker. of ruin and dishonour worked by himself. He was worn by anxiety and remorse almost to a shadow. leaving no will¡ªno will¡ªso that the whole property fell to her and you. ¡°Before he went abroad. Brownlow slowly. having settled on his wife and you a portion of his recent acquisition. and as he passed through London on his way. and fixing his eyes upon the other¡¯s face. Monks held his breath. but savouring more of disagreeable surprise. at any loss. whose strong attachment had taken root in the earth and covered one most dear to both¡ªeven from me he withheld any more particular confession.

they had called in such trifling debts as were outstanding. Brownlow. that erring child should find one heart and home to shelter and compassionate her. none can tell. ¡°I told you I should interest you before long. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Alas! That was the last time. although for aught he knew. 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 had no letter. and rescued by me from a life of vice and infamy¡ª¡± ¡°What?¡± cried Monks. ¡°When your brother. Brownlow after a short pause¡ª¡°I went. to the scene of his¡ªI will use the term the world would freely use. drawing nearer to the other¡¯s chair¡ª¡°when your brother¡ªa feeble.¡± said Mr. ragged. and I never saw him more. Why. for worldly harshness or favour are now alike to him¡ªof his guilty love. resolved that if her fears were realised. ¡°I went. discharged them. The family had left that part a week before.¡± Monks drew his breath yet more freely. then.¡± said Mr. Even when I first saw him in all his dirt and misery.¡± said Mr. and lay recovering from sickness in my house. or whither. neglected child¡ªwas cast in my way by a stronger hand than chance. I need not tell you he was snared away before I knew his history¡ª¡± ¡°Why not?¡± asked Monks hastily. ¡°By me. struck me with astonishment. I say by me¡ªI see that your cunning associate suppressed my name. for the last time on earth. it would be quite strange to your ears. When he was rescued by me. when all was over. Brownlow. and left the place by night. and looked round with a smile of triumph.Oliver Twist 529 after that to see me once again. his strong resemblance to this picture I have spoken of.

and I never saw you for an instant. you think. I knew that you alone could solve the mystery if anybody could. You came and went. and as. rising boldly. and were supposed to be in London.¡± replied Mr.¡± ¡°You¡ªyou¡ªcan¡¯t prove anything against me. all my efforts were fruitless. by a fancied resemblance in some young imp to an idle daub of a dead man¡¯s. to all appearance. as you well know.¡± returned the old gentleman. they said. I returned. I paced the streets by night and day. You had left it. the same low haunts and mingling with the same infamous herd who had been your associates when a fierce.¡± replied Mr. you were on your own estate in the West Indies¡ªwhither. Brownlow. sometimes for days together and sometimes not for months. when I had last heard of you. Brownlow.¡± ¡°I!¡± ¡°Denial to me is vain. months before. you don¡¯t even known that. but no one could tell where. ¡°I defy you to do it!¡± ¡°We shall see.¡± ¡°And now you do see me. ¡°what then? Fraud and robbery are high-sounding words¡ªjustified.¡± stammered Monks.¡± said Monks. but until two hours ago. you retired upon your mother¡¯s death to escape the consequences of vicious courses here¡ªI made the voyage. ¡°I lost the boy. ungovernable boy. with a searching glance. keeping. Your mother being dead. as strangely as you had ever done.¡± ¡°I did not. Brother! You don¡¯t even know that a child was born of this maudlin pair. and no efforts of mine could recover him.Oliver Twist 530 ¡°Because you know it well. ¡°I shall show you that I know more than that. rising too. Your agents had no clue to your residence. I wearied them with new applications. ¡°but within the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .

the sight of the persecuted child has turned vice itself. vice. You repaired to the place of his birth. It contained a reference to some child likely to be the result of this sad connection. Shadows on the wall have caught your whispers. and now. and the old hag that received them from the mother is rotting in her coffin. to which you were morally if not really a party. and him. ¡®the only proofs of the boy¡¯s identity lie at the bottom of the river. and profligacy. no!¡± returned the coward. no. which your mother destroyed. when your suspicions were first awakened by his resemblance to his father. and in whom all evil passions. you. who hold your councils with thieves and murderers in dark rooms at night. Edward Leeford. in your own words to your accomplice the Jew. festered. There existed proofs¡ªproofs long suppressed¡ªof his birth and parentage. coward. is known to me. and given it the courage and almost the attributes of virtue. which child was born. and brought them to my ear. There was a will.¡¯ Unworthy son. whose plots and wiles have brought a violent death upon the head of one worth millions such as you¡ªyou. You have a brother. you know it.Oliver Twist 531 last fortnight I have learned it all. who from your cradle were gall and bitterness to your own father¡¯s heart. liar¡ªyou. Those proofs were destroyed by you. overwhelmed by these accumulated charges. Murder has been done. till they found a vent in a hideous disease which has made your face an index even to your mind¡ªyou. and accidentally encountered by you. ¡°Every word!¡± cried the old gentleman¡ª¡°every word that has passed between you and this detested villain. do you still brave me?¡± ¡°No.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . leaving the secret and the gain to you at her own death.

¡± ¡°It was the partial disclosure of your secrets. the door was hurriedly unlocked.¡± While Monks was pacing up and down. I will. Carry them into execution so far as your brother is concerned. although the offspring of a guilty and most miserable love. no. You have not forgotten the provisions of the will. for the purpose of attesting it?¡± ¡°If you insist upon that. ¡°Make restitution to an innocent and unoffending child. until such a document is drawn up. ¡°Yes.¡± ¡°Remain quietly here.¡± said Mr.¡± replied the other.¡± replied Monks. and repeat it before witnesses?¡± ¡°That I promise. ¡°You must do more than that. for such he is. Losberne) entered the room in violent agitation. ¡°The man will be taken.¡± ¡°Set your hand to a statement of truth and facts. yes. there.¡± interposed Monks. In this world you need meet no more. Brownlow. Brownlow. ¡°Will you disclose the whole?¡± ¡°Yes. and proceed with me to such a place as I may deem most advisable. ¡°I¡ªI know nothing of that. torn by his fears on the one hand and his hatred on the other. Spies are Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± he cried. and a gentleman (Mr. I thought it was a common quarrel. or will be. I¡¯ll do that also. and there seems little doubt that his master either is. I didn¡¯t know the cause. Brownlow.Oliver Twist 532 ¡°No. too. I was going to inquire the truth of the story when you overtook me.¡± replied Mr. and then go where you please. ¡°He will be taken tonight!¡± ¡°The murderer?¡± asked Mr. under cover of darkness. ¡°His dog has been seen lurking about some old haunt. meditating with dark and evil looks on this disposal and the possibilities of evading it.

It is your only hope of safety. and the door was again locked. Where is Mr. a few hours before.¡± ¡°Fagin. Brownlow. for the meeting. ¡°You¡ªyou¡ªwill be secret with me?¡± ¡°I will. Remain here till I return. at seven. and they tell me he can never escape. he hurried off to where he heard this. and even more. but he will be. ¡°What have you done?¡± asked the doctor.¡± ¡°Have you made up your mind?¡± asked Mr. in a whisper. by this time. A reward of a hundred pounds is proclaimed by Government tonight. Brownlow. or is.¡± said Mr.¡± he replied. Write and appoint the evening after tomorrow. ¡°All that I could hope to do. and laid bare the whole villainy which by these lights became plain as day. ¡°Yes. ¡°and proclaim it with my own lips upon the spot.¡± ¡°I will give fifty more. We shall be down there. I left him no loophole of escape. in a low voice. ¡°what of him?¡± ¡°When I last heard. sallied forth to join the first party at some place in the outskirts agreed upon between them. especially the young lady. if I can reach it. ¡°and. I have spoken to the men who are charged with his capture.¡± said Mr.¡± replied the doctor.Oliver Twist 533 hovering about in every direction. and the result of our good friend¡¯s inquiries on the spot. mounting his horse. but shall require rest. They¡¯re sure of him. he had not been taken. Brownlow. safe in a coach with you. But my blood boils to avenge this poor murdered Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± They left the room. of Monks. Maylie?¡± ¡°Harry? As soon as he had seen your friend here. who may have greater need of firmness than either you or I can quite foresee just now. Coupling the poor girl¡¯s intelligence with my previous knowledge.

¡°I will remain here. Which way have they taken?¡± ¡°Drive straight to the office and you will be in time.¡± The two gentlemen hastily separated. Losberne. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . each in a fever of excitement wholly uncontrollable.Oliver Twist 534 creature.¡± replied Mr.

Oliver Twist 535 Chapter 50 The Pursuit And Escape. Near to that part of the Thames on which the church at Rotherhithe abuts. and deafened by the clash of ponderous wagons that bear great piles of merchandise from the stacks of warehouses that rise from every corner. ragged children. Arriving. To reach this place. and muddy streets. he makes his way with difficulty along. Jostling with unemployed labourers of the lowest class. and devoted to the traffic they may be supposed to occasion. thronged by the roughest and poorest of waterside people. he walks beneath tottering house-fronts projecting over the pavement. the most extraordinary of the many localities that are hidden in London. the strangest. there exists the filthiest. in streets remoter and less frequented than those through which he has passed. wholly unknown. even by name. chimneys halfCharles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and stream from the house-parapet and windows. dismantled walls that seem to totter as he passes. narrow. The cheapest and least delicate provisions are heaped in the shops. ballast-heavers. brazen woman. assailed by offensive sights and smells from the narrow alleys which branch off on the right and left. the coarsest and commonest articles of wearing apparel dangle at the salesman¡¯s door. to the great mass of its inhabitants. 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. the visitor has to penetrate through a maze of close. and the raff and refuse of the river. low-roofed houses. at length. coal-whippers.

At such times. every repulsive lineament of poverty. and garbage. and can always be filled at high water by opening the sluices at the lead mills from which it took its old name. It is a creek or inlet from the Thames. windows guarded by rusty iron bars that time and dirt have almost eaten away. In Jacob¡¯s Island. and every imaginable sign of. the warehouses are roofless and empty. the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . dirtbesmeared walls and decaying foundations. every loathsome indication of filth. Crazy wooden galleries common to the backs of half a dozen houses. stands Jacob¡¯s Island. will see the inhabitants of the houses on either side lowering from their back doors and windows. so confined. windows. on which to dry the linen that is never there. a stranger. in which to haul the water up. rooms so small. buckets. that the air would seem too tainted even for the dirt and squalor which they shelter. beyond Dockhead in the borough of Southwark. so filthy. and when his eye is turned from these operations to the houses themselves. but known in the days of this story as Folly Ditch. In such a neighbourhood. the walls are crumbling down. wooden chambers thrusting themselves out above the mud. six or eight feet deep and fifteen or twenty wide when the tide is in. once called Mill Pond. surrounded by a muddy ditch. and domestic utensils of all kinds. with poles thrust out. desolation and neglect. pails. looking from one of the wooden bridges thrown across it at Mill Lane. rot.Oliver Twist 536 crushed. the windows are windows no more. all these ornament the banks of Folly Ditch. and threatening to fall into it¡ªas some have done. with holes from which to look upon the slime beneath. his utmost astonishment will be excited by the scene before him. half-hesitating to fall. broken and patched.

¡°Well. but strongly defended at door and window. and had not come here. and entered upon by those who have the courage. The houses have no owners. and by that means has a snug house over his head with nobody a-prying and smelling Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and there they die. One of these was Toby Crackit. Thirty or forty years ago. with a melancholy air. in some old scuffle. but now it is a desolate island indeed. ¡°when a man keeps himself so very exclusive as I have done. sat for some time in profound and gloomy silence. whose nose had been almost beaten in. the chimneys are blackened. Chitling.¡± said Toby. who regarding each other every now and then with looks expressive of perplexity and expectation. who seeks a refuge in Jacob¡¯s Island. This man was a returned transport and his name was Kags. Chitling. and the third a robber of fifty years. In an upper room of one of these houses¡ªa detached house of fair size. look¡¯ee. young gentleman. blunder-head?¡± said Kags. or be reduced to a destitute condition indeed. and whose face bore a frightful scar which might probably be traced to the same occasion. I thought you¡¯d have been a little more glad to see me than this. before losses and chancery suits came upon it.Oliver Twist 537 doors are falling into the streets. ruinous in other respects. ¡°Why. another Mr. it was a thriving place. Chitling. They must have powerful motives for a secret residence. and there they live. turning to Mr.¡± said Toby. ¡°I wish. of which house the back commanded the ditch in manner already described¡ªthere were assembled three men. they are broken open.¡± ¡°Why didn¡¯t you. my fine feller. ¡°that you had picked out some other crib when the two old ones got too warm. but they yield no smoke.¡± replied Mr.

and is too modest to want to be presented to the judges on his return. Charley and I made our lucky up the wash¡¯us chimney. when the exclusive young man has got a friend stopping with him. and Bolter got into the empty water-butt. There was a short silence. to speak to who it was.¡± observed Toby. ¡°and went off mad. and said: ¡°When was Fagin took. screaming and raving. for the people at the Cripples are all in custody. ¡°He hung about. and so they took him too.¡± ¡°Especially. but he¡¯ll be here soon. after which Toby Crackit. so they put a strait-weskut on her and took her to the hospital¡ªand there she is. Kags. turned to Chitling.¡± replied Chitling.¡± added Mr. seeming to abandon as hopeless any further effort to maintain his usual devilmay-care swagger.¡± ¡°Wot¡¯s come of young Bates?¡± demanded Kags. then?¡± ¡°Just at dinner-time¡ªtwo o¡¯clock this afternoon.¡± ¡°This is a smash.Oliver Twist 538 about it.¡± ¡°And Bet!¡± ¡°Poor Bet! She went to see the body. not to come over here afore dark. his countenance falling more and more. ¡°There¡¯s more Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . that¡¯s arrived sooner than was expected from foreign parts.¡± replied Chitling. and the bar of the ken¡ªI went up there and see it with my own eyes¡ªis filled with traps. it¡¯s rather a startling thing to have the honour of a visit from a young gentleman (however respectable and pleasant a person he may be to play cards with at conweniency) circumstanced as you are. ¡°There¡¯s nowhere else to go to now. head downwards. but his legs were so precious long that they stuck out at the top. biting his lips. and beating her head against the boards.

and with his eyes closed got up and paced violently to and fro. and the two men sat by in silence with their eyes fixed upon the floor. ¡°He can¡¯t be coming here. when they had returned. and Sikes¡¯s dog bounded into the room. You should have seen how he looked about him. They ran to the window. He was down once. but¡ªthey made a ring round him. and dragging him along amongst ¡¯em. and he¡¯ll swing in six days from this. and clung to them as if they were his dearest friends. I can see the blood upon his hair and beard. and Bolter turns king¡¯s evidence¡ªas of course he will. downstairs. and fought their way along. The dog had jumped in at an open window. he made no attempt to follow them. ¡°the officers fought like devils.Oliver Twist 539 than one will go with this. While he was thus engaged. like one distracted. one behind another.¡± said Kags. and into the street.¡± said Chitling. ¡°if they get the inquest over. and hear the cries with which the women worked themselves into the centre of the crowd at the street corner. nor was his master to be seen. I¡ªI¡ªhope not. I can see the people jumping up. and swore they¡¯d tear his heart out!¡± The horror-stricken witness of this scene pressed his hands upon his ears. not able to stand upright with the pressing of the mob. and get the trial on on Friday. and snarling with their teeth and making at him.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . I can see ¡¯em now. or they¡¯d have torn him away. by G¡ª!¡± ¡°You should have heard the people groan. a pattering noise was heard upon the stairs. all muddy and bleeding.¡± ¡°The sessions are on. ¡°What¡¯s the meaning of this?¡± said Toby. from what he¡¯s said already¡ªthey can prove Fagin an accessory before the fact.

after watching the dog some time in silence. starting at every sound. and finding them filled with strangers. ¡°If he had. They drew their chairs close together. come on here. had made a deep impression on all three. I think he¡¯s got out of the country. Toby shook his head. What do you think?¡± said Chitling. and left the dog behind. coiled himself up to sleep. the dog. ¡°Covered with mud¡ªlame¡ªhalfblind¡ªhe must have come a long w ¡°Where can he have come from!¡± exclaimed Toby. where he¡¯s been many a time and often. was adopted as the right. who lay panting on the floor. It being now dark. without more notice from anybody. and how comes he here alone without the other!¡± ¡°He¡ª¡±(none of them called the murderer by his old name)¡ª ¡°he can¡¯t have made away with himself. and were as silent and awe-stricken as if the remains of Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± said Chitling.¡± ¡°He¡¯s drunk it all up. He must have given him the slip somehow.Oliver Twist 540 ¡°If he was coming here.¡± said Kags. increased by the danger and uncertainty of their own position. the shutter was closed. or he wouldn¡¯t be so easy. and a candle lighted and placed upon the table.¡± This solution. creeping under a chair. No. and that in whispers. They spoke little.¡± said Kags stooping down to examine the animal. ¡°Here! give us some water for him. ¡°the dog ¡¯ud want to lead us away to where he did it. appearing the most probable one. of course. ¡°He¡¯s been to the other kens. But where can he have come from first. The terrible events of the last two days. every drop. he¡¯d have come with the dog. he has run himself faint.

it was the very ghost of Sikes. with such a trembling hand that the knocking was twice repeated before he had finished. his pale face was enough. Crackit went to the window. taking down a candle from the chimney-piece. and. some time. beard of three days¡¯ growth. He drew them softly off. looking angrily round. and lighting it. There was no need to tell them who it was. but shuddering as he was about to drop into it. Crackit went down to the door. taking up the candle. dragged it back close to the wall¡ªas close as it would go¡ª ground it against it¡ªand sat down. ¡°None. thick breath. wasted flesh. shaking all over. Blanched face. The knocking came again. and ran whining to the door.¡± ¡°Don¡¯t leave us in the dark. it wasn¡¯t he. hollow cheeks. They had sat thus. He looked from one to another Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± he said. sunken eyes. drew in his head. ¡°Isn¡¯t there any help for it?¡± asked the other man.Oliver Twist 541 the murdered woman lay in the next room.¡± said Kags. and seeming to glance over his shoulder. No. and another tied over his head under his hat. ¡°We must let him in. short.¡± said Kags. when suddenly was heard a hurried knocking at the door below. Not a word had been exchanged. The dog too was on the alert in an instant. and returned followed by a man with the lower part of his face buried in a handkerchief. to check the fear he felt himself. ¡°Young Bates. He never knocked like that. in a hoarse voice. He laid his hand upon a chair which stood in the middle of the room. He must come in.

so that the moment the¡¯ boy entered the room he encountered his figure.¡± returned the person addressed. Is it true. it was instantly averted. that there was nothing to fear.¡± ¡°Tonight¡¯s paper says that Fagin¡¯s took.Oliver Twist 542 in silence. rather trying to turn his head than actually doing it. ¡°Damn you all!¡± said Sikes. Sikes carried his eyes slowly up the wall behind him. Sikes sat opposite the door. ¡°Wot do they keep such ugly things above the ground for?¡ªWho¡¯s that knocking?¡± Crackit intimated.¡± said the boy. passing his hand across his forehead. but nobody spoke. and directly came back with Charley Bates behind him. falling back. with the same glance behind him. turning his face to Crackit. or to let me lie here till the hunt is over?¡± ¡°You may stop here. ¡°Why isn¡¯t it?¡± he retorted. Three hours ago. Then his hollow voice broke silence. ¡°You that keep this house. They seemed never to have heard its tones before. after some hesitation. and said. ¡°Have you nothing to say to me?¡± There was an uneasy movement among them. by a motion of his hand as he left the room. they all three started. as Sikes turned his eyes Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°How came that dog here?¡± ¡°Alone.¡± said Sikes. ¡°Is¡ªit¡ªthe body¡ªis it buried?¡± They shook their heads. or a lie? ¡°True.¡± They were silent again. if you think it safe. ¡°do you mean to sell me. If an eye were furtively raised and met his. ¡°Toby.

and becoming more and more excited as he spoke. upon the murderer¡¯s face. brought him heavily to the ground. and made as though he would shake hands with him. the former. retreating still farther. or if he dares. They offered no interference. ¡°Charley!¡± said Sikes. ¡°You monster!¡± The man stopped half-way. stepping forward. and looking. ¡°Let me go into some other room. and accompanying them with violent gesticulation. you¡¯ll help me. heedless of the blows that showered upon him.¡± cried the boy. still retreating.Oliver Twist 543 towards him. Murder! Help! If there¡¯s the pluck of a man among you three. ¡°why didn¡¯t you tell me this downstairs?¡± There had been something so tremendous in the shrinking off of the three.¡± answered the boy. and the boy and man rolled on the ground together. single-handed. Accordingly he nodded. ¡°Witness you three. with horror in his eyes. and they looked at each other. The three spectators seemed quite stupefied. I¡¯d give him up if he was to be boiled alive. I tell you at once. wrenching his hands tighter and tighter in the garments about the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . shaking his clenched fist. He may kill me for it if he likes. ¡°Witness you three¡ªI¡¯m not afraid of him¡ªif they come here after him I¡¯ll give him up. Murder! Help! Down with him!¡± Pouring out these cries. but if I am here I¡¯ll give him up. I will. and in the intensity of his energy and the suddenness of his surprise. ¡°don¡¯t you¡ªdon¡¯t you know me?¡± ¡°Don¡¯t come near me. that the wretched man was willing to propitiate even this lad. but Sikes¡¯s eyes sank gradually to the ground.¡± said the boy. upon the strong man. the boy actually threw himself.

and never ceasing to call for help with all his might. for there was the noise of hoofs rattling on the uneven pavement. the tramp of hurried footsteps¡ªendless they seemed in number¡ªcrossing the nearest wooden bridge. was too unequal to last long. ¡°Open the door of some place where I can lock this screeching hell-babe. ¡°I tell you they¡¯ll never open it. Sikes had him down. and the hoarse cry arose again. One man on horseback seemed to be among the crowd. Run straight to the room where the light is. in a voice that rent the air. running to and fro.¡± cried Sikes fiercely. thick and heavy. voices in loud and earnest conversation. Quick!¡± He flung him in. ¡°Is the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . now. as easily as if he were an empty sack.Oliver Twist 544 murderer¡¯s breast. some adequate idea of its immense extent. and his knee was on his throat. and dragging the boy. Break down the door!¡± Strokes. ¡°That door. however. and turned the key. ¡°Break down the door!¡± screamed the boy. for the first time. The gleam of lights increased. There were lights gleaming below.¡± cried the voices without. when Crackit pulled him back with a look of alarm. ¡°Help!¡± shrieked the boy. giving the listener. and pointed to the window. The contest. Then came a loud knocking at the door. and then a hoarse murmur from such a multitude of angry voices as would have made the boldest quail. rattled upon the door and lower window-shutters as he ceased to speak. the footsteps came more thickly and noisily on. ¡°He¡¯s here! Break down the door!¡± ¡°In the king¡¯s name. bolted it. but louder. and a loud huzzah burst from the crowd.

in a voice that rose above all others. ¡°The panels¡ªare they strong?¡± ¡°Lined with sheet-iron. and joined from time to time in one loud furious roar.Oliver Twist 545 downstairs door fast?¡± ¡°Double-locked and chained. as he staggered back into the room.¡± ¡°And the windows too?¡± ¡°Yes. some for sledge-hammers.¡± cried the murderer. some pressed forward with the ecstasy of madmen. like a field of corn moved by an angry wind. beneath the window. Some called for ladders. ¡°Twenty guineas to the man who brings a ladder!¡± The nearest voices took up the cry. throwing up the sash and menacing the crowd. Give Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . some among the boldest attempted to climb up by the water-spout and crevices in the wall. Some shouted to those who were nearest to set the house on fire. some ran with torches to and fro as if to seek them. and the windows. and hundreds echoed it. with the other two men. still remained quite helpless and bewildered. ¡°Do your worst! I¡¯ll cheat you yet!¡± Of all the terrific yells that ever fell on mortal ears. and all waved to and fro. in the darkness beneath. ¡°The tide. and thus impeded the progress of those below.¡± ¡°Damn you!¡± cried the desperate ruffian. others roared to the officers to shoot him dead. none showed such fury as the man on horseback. and bursting through the crowd as if he were parting water. and still came back and roared again. cried. who. Among them all.¡± replied Crackit. who. and shut the faces out¡ª¡°the tide was in as I came up. some spent their breath in impotent curses and execrations. none could exceed the cry of the infuriated throng. throwing himself out of the saddle.

a loud shout proclaimed the fact to those in front. and creeping over the tiles. in a strong. and the ditch a bed of mud.¡± The panic-stricken men pointed to where such articles were kept. struggling current of angry faces. But. I may drop into the Folly Ditch. pressing upon each other in an unbroken stream. hurried up to the house-top. hastily selecting the longest and strongest cord. with here and there a glaring Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . They¡¯re all in front.Oliver Twist 546 me a rope. watching his motions and doubtful of his purpose. Again and again it rose. All the windows in the rear of the house had been long ago bricked up. Give me a rope. looked over the low parapet. except one small trap in the room where the boy was locked. and that was too small even for the passage of his body. a long rope. On pressed the people from the front¡ªon. from this aperture. when the murderer emerged at last on the house-top by the door in the roof. He planted a board. and thus. took up the sound. it echoed and re-echoed. they raised a cry of triumphant execration to which all their previous shouting had been whispers. it seemed as though the whole city had poured its population out to curse him. or I shall do three more murders and kill myself. The crowd had been hushed during these few moments. he had never ceased to call on those without to guard the back. who immediately began to pour round. on. and clear off that way. Those who were at too great a distance to know its meaning. the murderer. on. that it must be matter of great difficulty to open it from the inside. which he had carried up with him for the purpose. but the instant they perceived it and knew it was defeated. The water was out. so firmly against the door.

and at this Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .Oliver Twist 547 torch to light them up. and look upon the criminal as the officers brought him out.¡± There was another roar. Each little bridge (and there were three in sight) bent beneath the weight of the crowd upon it. and the people at the windows. ¡°They have him now. joined the concourse that now thronged pell-mell to the spot they had left. seeing those upon the bridges pouring back. and all panting with impatience to get near the door. At this moment the word was passed among the crowd that the door was forced at last.¡± cried a man on the nearest bridge.¡± cried an old gentleman from the same quarter. each man crushing and striving with his neighbour. The cries and shrieks of those who were pressed almost to suffocation. and that he who had first called for the ladder had mounted into the room. the narrow ways were completely blocked up. there were tiers and tiers of faces in every window. were dreadful. The houses on the opposite side of the ditch had been entered by the mob. or torn bodily out. and. and only for an instant see the wretch. quitted their stations. The stream abruptly turned. and again the shout uprose. ¡°I will give fifty pounds. or trampled down and trodden under foot in the confusion. Still the current poured on to find some nook or hole from which to vent their shouts. I will remain here. ¡°to the man who takes him alive. sashes were thrown up. as this intelligence ran from mouth to mouth. running into the street. cluster upon cluster of people clinging to every house-top. ¡°Hurrah!¡± The crowd grew light with uncovered heads. till he comes to ask for it. and show them out in all their wrath and passion.

and had his knife ready in his hand to cut it then and drop. endeavouring to creep away in the darkness and confusion. and uttered a yell of terror. and the unavailing struggles of others to extricate themselves from the mass. and. determined to make (one last effort for his life by dropping into the ditch. the immediate attention was distracted from the murder. threw his arms above his head. He could let himself down by the cord to within a less distance of the ground than his own height. he set his foot against the stack of chimneys. looking behind him on the roof. Staggering as if struck by lightning. and retain his position) earnestly warned those about him that the man was about to lower himself down¡ªat that very instant the murderer.Oliver Twist 548 time. he lost his balance and Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . thoroughly quelled by the ferocity of the crowd. and the impossibility of escape. At the very instant when he brought the loop over his head previous to slipping it beneath his arm-pits. increased. although the universal eagerness for his capture was. and with the other made a strong running-noose by the aid of his hands and teeth almost in a second. Roused into new strength and energy. between the rush of some to regain the space in front of the house. but seeing this sudden change with no less rapidity than it had occurred. and stimulated by the noise within the house which announced that an entrance had really been effected. if possible. at the risk of being stifled. The man had shrunk down. 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 sprang upon his feet. fastened one end of the rope tightly and firmly round it. in an unearthly screech. ¡°The eyes again!¡± he cried.

and the boy.Oliver Twist 549 tumbled over the parapet. he fell into the ditch. a terrific convulsion of the limbs. tight as a bowstring. which had lain concealed till now. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . There was a sudden jerk. with the open knife clenched in his stiffening hand. and swift as the arrow it speeds. thrusting aside the dangling body which obscured his view. The old chimney quivered with the shock. The noose was on his neck. Missing his aim. but stood it bravely. and there he hung. He fell for five-and-thirty feet. The murderer swung lifeless against the wall. dashed out his brains. jumped for the dead man¡¯s shoulders. and. collecting himself for a spring. A dog. turning completely over as he went. ran backwards and forwards on the parapet. with a dismal howl. for God¡¯s sake. It ran up with his weight. and striking his head against a stone. called to the people to come and take him out.

were with him. and Rose. Mrs. and the good doctor. Brownlow followed in a postchaise. for Oliver was in a flutter of agitation and uncertainty which deprived him of the power of collecting his thoughts. accompanied by one other person whose name had not been mentioned. Losberne¡¯s assistance. Maylie. and comprehending a proposal of marriage with no word of settlement or pin-money. Bedwin. with Mr. at three o¡¯clock in the afternoon.¡± he said. ¡°It was quite true. ¡°that they Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . in a travelling carriage rolling fast towards his native town. The same kind friend had. when Oliver found himself. The events narrated in the last chapter were yet but two days old. They had not talked much upon the way. Brownlow with the nature of the admissions which had been forced from Monks. still the whole matter was enveloped in enough of doubt and mystery to leave them in endurance of the most intense suspense. He and the two ladies had been very carefully made acquainted by Mr. who shared it.Oliver Twist 550 Chapter 51 Affording an explanation of more mysteries than one. and Mrs. and Mr. cautiously stopped all channels of communication through which they could receive intelligence of the dreadful occurrences that had so recently taken place. in at least an equal degree. and although they knew that the object of their present journey was to complete the work which had been so well begun. and appeared to have scarcely less effect on his companions. and almost of speech.

¡°and we¡¯ll¡ªwe¡¯ll take him away from here. my dear old friend. but it might be at a better time than the present. and it could not be at a worse. had remained silent while they journeyed towards his birth-place by a road he had never seen. for you are to every one. and that in all your happiness you have none so great as the coming back to make him happy too. there are the hedges I crept behind for fear any one should overtake me and force me back! Yonder is the path across the fields. houseless. yes. But if Oliver. how the whole current of his recollections ran back to old times.¡± replied Rose. under these influences. ¡°You shall tell him how happy you are. and how rich you have grown. ¡°You will be kind and good to him. and what a crowd of emotions were awakened up in his breast. gently taking his folded hands between her own. when they turned into that which he had traversed on foot. eagerly clasping the hand of Rose. and pointing out of the carriage window. Dick. there!¡± cried Oliver. a poor.¡± said Oliver. ¡°that¡¯s the stile I came over. and no one disposed to give utterance to the thoughts which crowded upon all. leading to the old house where I was a little child! Oh. and have him clothed and taught. ¡°See there. or a roof to shelter his head. if I could only see you now!¡± ¡°You will see him soon. each busied with reflections on the object which had brought them together.¡± ¡°Yes. for the boy was smiling through such happy tears that she could not speak.Oliver Twist 551 must know them before long.¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Dick. without a friend to help him. and send him to some quiet country place where he may grow strong and well¡ªshall we?¡± Rose nodded yes.¡± So they travelled on in silence. wandering boy.

then cried. ¡°It will make you cry. and here was Mr. earnest joyful reality. I know. and you will smile again¡ªI know that too¡ªto think how changed he is. when they got out of the coach. and not offering to eat his Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . as if he were the grandfather of the whole party. and at length drove through its narrow streets. it will be all over. the very cart he used to have. only smaller and less imposing in appearance than he remembered it¡ªthere were all the wellknown shops and houses. all smiles and kindness. standing at the old public-house door¡ª there was the workhouse. and the old one too. and all his recent life had been a happy dream. kissing the young lady. at sight of whom Oliver involuntarily shrank back. with its dismal windows frowning on the street¡ªthere was the same lean porter standing at the gate. but which had somehow fallen off in grandeur and size). with almost every one of which he had some slight incident connected¡ªthere was Gamfield¡¯s cart. with awe. ¡°and I will say ¡®God bless you¡¯ now. you did the same with me. There was Sowerberry¡¯s the undertaker¡¯s just as it used to be. and think a mighty palace. They drove straight to the door of the chief hotel (which Oliver used to stare up at. and then laughed at himself for being so foolish. He said ¡®God bless you¡¯ to me when I ran away. Grimwig all ready to receive them. to hear what he can tell. But it was pure. then laughed again¡ªthere were scores of faces at the doors and windows that he knew quite well¡ªthere was nearly everything as if he had left it but yesterday. but never mind. never mind. the dreary prison of his youthful days. it became matter of no small difficulty to restrain the boy within reasonable bounds. and show him how I love him for it!¡± As they approached the town. with a burst of affectionate emotion.¡± cried the boy.Oliver Twist 552 said Oliver.

not once. the same silence and constraint prevailed that had marred their journey down. even then. followed by Mr. spoke in whispers. in silence. Losberne and Mr. for they told him it was his brother. during the short intervals when they were present. nervous and uncomfortable. and sat down near the door. Brownlow and a man whom Oliver almost shrieked with surprise to see. They sat wondering. At length when nine o¡¯clock had come. or. and everything was arranged as if by magic. but remained in a separate room.¡± said he. which. The two other gentlemen hurried in and out with anxious faces. Mrs. and seen looking in with Fagin at the window of his little room. he could not dissemble. and they began to think they were to hear no more that night. Mr. as if they were afraid to hear the sound of their own voices. All these things made Rose and Oliver. who had papers in his hand. if they exchanged a few words. Grimwig entered the room. and there were bedrooms ready. Brownlow did not join them at dinner. when the hurry of the first half-hour was over. and maintained he knew it best. ¡°but these declarations. Mr. at the astonished boy. Once. who were not in any new secrets. conversed apart. which have been signed in London before many gentlemen. must be in Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . though he had only come that way once. Notwithstanding all this. ¡°This is a painful task. Maylie was called away. There was dinner prepared. and after being absent for nearly an hour. Mr. not even when he contradicted a very old postboy about the nearest road to London.Oliver Twist 553 head¡ªno. and that time fast asleep. and. Monks cast a look of hate. Brownlow. returned with eyes swollen with weeping. and it was the same man he had met at the market-town. walked to a table near which Rose and Oliver were seated.

except you who use it. ¡°His father being taken ill at Rome. was joined by his wife. Let that pass. when he died. Brownlow. ¡°That is their bastard child. directed to yourself.¡± said the person addressed. Brownlow. He was born in this town. ¡°and inclosed in a few short lines to you. Brownlow sternly. by poor young Agnes Fleming. and he slumbered on till next day. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . from whom he had been long separated. I think. for his senses were gone. who went from Paris.¡± was the sullen reply. I would have spared you the degradation. ¡°Quick. ¡°Listen then! You!¡± returned Monks. I have almost done enough.¡± ¡°The term you use.¡± said Mr. the beating of whose heart he might have heard. Don¡¯t keep me here. scowling at the trembling boy. were two.¡± ¡°In the workhouse of this town. ¡°is a reproach to those who have long since passed beyond the feeble censure of the world. and laying his hand upon his head.¡± he addressed himself to Mr. my mother. the illegitimate son of your father. for she had no great affection for him. looking round upon the listeners.¡± ¡°Go on.¡± ¡°This child. ¡°You have the story there.¡± said Mr. my dear friend Edwin Leeford. It reflects disgrace on no one living. who died in giving him birth. Among the papers in his desk.¡± He pointed impatiently to the papers as he spoke. Brownlow. too. for what I know. and took me with her¡ª to look after his property.¡± ¡°Yes. dated on the night his illness first came on. ¡°I must have it here. drawing Oliver to him. and you know why.¡± said Monks. turning away his face. ¡°is your half-brother. nor he for her.Oliver Twist 554 substance repeated here. but we must hear them from your own lips before we part. He knew nothing of us.¡± said Mr.

of the rebellious disposition.¡± said Mr. Brownlow. and your mother. and wear it next her heart. He talked of miseries which his wife had brought upon him. in the same words. and prayers to God to help her. each an annuity of eight hundred pounds. wildly. ¡°was in the same spirit as the letter. and so she had gone on. vice. ¡°The letter?¡ªA sheet of paper crossed and crossed again. to hide her shame. or think the consequences of their sin would be visited on her or their young child. trusting patiently in him. over and over again. and prayed her. ¡°The will. not to curse his memory. and premature bad passions of you his only son. who had been trained to hate him. as if he had gone distracted. He reminded her of the day he had given her the little locket and the ring with her Christian name engraved upon it. if he died.Oliver Twist 555 with an intimation on the cover of the package that it was not to be forwarded till after he was dead.¡± Monks was silent. with a penitent confession. the other a will. as Oliver¡¯s tears fell fast. and lost what none could ever give her back. within a few months of her confinement. and left you. The bulk of his property he divided into Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . He had palmed a tale on the girl that some secret mystery¡ªto be explained one day¡ªprevented his marrying her just then. Brownlow. and a blank left for that which he hoped one day to have bestowed upon her¡ªprayed her yet to keep it. for all the guilt was his. malice. as she had done before¡ªand then ran on. One of these papers was a letter to this girl Agnes. if he had lived. Brownlow. He told her all he had meant to do.¡± said Mr.¡± ¡°The will. She was. at that time.¡± ¡°What of the letter?¡± asked Mr. until she trusted too far. I believe he had. speaking for him.

¡± There was a short silence here. then the money was to come to you. and noble nature. ¡°did what a woman should have done. and his conviction¡ªonly strengthened by approaching death¡ªthat the child would share her gentle heart. it was on the night when he returned home. repulsed him with coldness and aversion. The girl¡¯s father had the truth from her with every aggravation that her violent hate¡ªI love her for it now¡ªcould add. or wrong. but had from an infant.¡± ¡°My mother. cowardice. some weeks before. and ever come of age. for then. she kept.¡± he said.Oliver Twist 556 two equal portions¡ªone for Agnes Fleming. in a louder tone. and not till then. The girl had left her home. and other proofs. if it should be born alive. changing his very name that his friends might never know of his retreat. until Mr. The letter never reached its destination. in secret. If he were disappointed in this expectation. on foot. would he recognise your prior claim upon his purse. and here. it was to inherit the money unconditionally. only on the stipulation that in his minority he should never have stained his name with any public act of dishonour. Goaded by shame and dishonour he fled with his children into a remote corner of Wales. She burned this will. in case they ever tried to lie away the blot. meanness. he had searched for her. ¡°this man¡¯s¡ªEdward Leeford¡¯s¡ª Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Brownlow took up the thread of the narrative. He did this. assured that she had destroyed herself? to hide her shame and his. ¡°Years after this. that his old heart broke. but that. in every town and village near. no great while afterwards. who had none upon his heart. he was found dead in his bed. but if a boy. he said. If it were a girl. when both children were equal. to mark his confidence in the mother.¡± said Monks. and the other for their child.

to pursue it with the bitterest and most unrelenting animosity. squandered. who had been his old accomplice and confidant. Inquiries were set on foot. to the very gallowsfoot. to vent upon it the hatred that I deeply felt. for I had inherited it long before. and. She would not believe that the girl had destroyed herself.¡± ¡°There she died. and strict searches made. never to let it rest. and explained that the Jew. robbed her of jewels and money. had a large reward for keeping Oliver ensnared. I would have finished as I began!¡± As the villain folded his arms tight together.¡± said Monks. They were unavailing for a long time. where for two years he had associated with the lowest outcasts. and. and to spit upon the empty vaunt of that insulting will by dragging it. if ever it crossed my path. She was sinking under a painful and incurable disease. when only eighteen. but was filled with the impression that a male child had been born. but ultimately successful. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . to hunt it down. and muttered curses on himself in the impotence of baffled malice. and was alive. of which some part was to be given up. forged. Mr. She was right. and that a dispute on this head had led to their visit to the country houses for the purpose of identifying hum. gambled. I swore to her. and wished to recover him before she died. I began well. together with her unquenchable and deadly hatred of all whom they involved¡ª though she need not have left me that. but for babbling drabs. on her deathbed.Oliver Twist 557 mother came to me. and the child too. she bequeathed these secrets to me. in the event of his being rescued. and he went back with her to France. He had left her. He came in my way at last. and fled to London. Brownlow turned to the terrified group beside him. if I could. ¡°after a lingering illness.

¡± replied Mr. Brownlow. ¡°Isn¡¯t natur¡¯. who stole them from the corpse. natur¡¯. Bumble. Grimwig. who disappearing with great alacrity. O-li-ver. Brownlow.¡± said Mr. as he pointed to Monks: ¡°Do you know that person?¡± ¡°No. Bumble flatly. turning to Monks. Mrs. in a oak coffin with plated handles. shortly returned. sir. who had stepped up to within a short distance of the respectable couple.Oliver Twist 558 ¡°The locket and ring?¡± said Mr. Brownlow merely nodded to Mr. ¡°Can¡¯t I be supposed to feel¡ªI as brought him up porochially¡ªwhen 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¡ªmy¡ªmy own grandfather. He inquired. you remember the blessed gentleman in the white waistcoat? Ah! he went to heaven last week. ¡°or is that little Oliver? Oh. pushing in Mrs. Bumble. Bumble.¡± replied Mrs. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . ¡°You know what became of them. ¡°I will do my endeavours. without raising his eyes. my dear.¡± said Mr. sir? I hope you are very well¡± This salutation was addressed to Mr. fool. with ill-feigned enthusiasm. halting for an appropriate comparison.¡± ¡°Come. Grimwig tartly. ¡°suppress your feelings. ¡°Do my hi¡¯s deceive me!¡± cried Mr.¡± murmured Mrs.¡± answered Monks. sir. Oliver. ¡°Master Oliver. ¡°How do you do. Bumble.¡± Mr. if you know¡¯d how I¡¯ve been a-grieving for you¡ª¡± ¡°Hold your tongue. and dragging her unwilling consort after him. who stole them from the nurse. Bumble?¡± remonstrated the workhouse master. ¡°I bought them from the man and woman I told you of. Bumble.

¡± said the other. next day. Bumble.¡± replied the matron. long ago.¡± said Mr.¡± ¡°And we knew more than that. and saw it given you. But not again did he return with a stout man and wife. Grimwig. ¡°for she told us often. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . who shook and tottered as they walked. Bumble. ¡°and it was a ¡®locket and gold ring.Oliver Twist 559 ¡°Perhaps you don¡¯t?¡± said Mr. ¡°Certainly not. ¡°Nor sold him anything. addressing her spouse. no. ¡°Yes. to the pawnbroker¡¯s shop. Brownlow nodded to Mr. nor stop the chinks.¡± ¡°No. ¡°No. at the time that she was taken ill.¡± said the foremost one. raising her shrivelled hand. ¡°Why are we brought here to answer to such nonsense as this?¡± Again Mr. no. and watched you too. and saw you take a paper from her hand. to die near the grave of the father of the child.¡± ¡°We heard her try to tell you what she¡¯d done.¡± said the first. that the young mother had told her that.¡¯ We found out that.¡± replied Mr. a certain gold locket and ring?¡± said Mr. perhaps?¡± ¡°No. and again that gentleman limped away with extraordinary readiness. no. for this time. ¡°You shut the door the night old Sally died. she was on her way.¡± ¡°Would you like to see the pawnbroker himself?¡± asked Mr. looking round her and wagging her toothless jaw. Oh! we were by.¡± resumed the first. ¡°but you couldn¡¯t shut out the sound. Brownlow. feeling she should never get over it. he led in two palsied women. perhaps.¡± added the second. ¡°I never saw him in all my life. Brownlow. ¡°You never had. We were by.

¡°No. in the supposes that your wife acts under Brownlow. I have nothing more to say. the law is a bachelor. followed his helpmate downstairs. What then?¡± ¡°Nothing. Bumble. for the law your direction.Oliver Twist 560 Grimwig. Bumble. on the occasion of the destruction the more guilty of the two. If that¡¯s the eye of the law. ¡°Young lady. squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands. with a motion towards the door.¡± said Mr. first looking round to ascertain that his partner had left the room. Mr. and think yourself well off besides. ¡°That is no excuse. ¡°if he¡±¡ªshe pointed to Monks¡ª¡°has been coward enough to confess.¡± ¡°If the law supposes that. that his eye may be opened by experience¡ªby experience. and indeed are eye of the law. ¡°except that it remains for us to take care that neither of you is employed in a situation of trust again. as Mr. as I see he has.¡± replied the woman. Brownlow. and you have sounded all these hags till you have found the right ones. You may leave the room. Bumble. looking about him with great ruefulness.¡± said Mr. ¡°You may make up your mind to that. Brownlow.¡± Laying great stress on the repetition of these two words.¡ªShe would do it. and the worst I wish the law is.¡± urged Mr. ¡°give me Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± ¡°I hope. Grimwig disappeared with the two old woman¡ª ¡±I hope that this unfortunate little circumstance will not deprive me of my porochial office?¡± ¡°Indeed it will.¡± said Mr. Bumble fixed his hat on very tight.¡± replied Mr.¡± replied Mr. Brownlow. I did sell them.¡± replied Mr. ¡°You were present of these trinkets.¡± ¡°It was all Mrs. turning to Rose. and putting his hands in his pockets. ¡°the law is a ass¡ªa idiot. and they¡¯re where you¡¯ll never get them. Bumble.

The people were poor and began to sicken¡ªat least the man did¡ªof their fine humanity.Oliver Twist 561 your hand. ¡°when her father died in a strange place. Do you know this young lady. ¡°pray let me hear them at some other time. You need not fear to hear the few remaining words I have to say. sir?¡± ¡°Yes.¡± said Mr. I am sure.¡± returned Monks. and found the child. giving them a small present of money which would not last long. She didn¡¯t quite Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± ¡°Nay. Maylie to approach. did she?¡± ¡°No.¡± said Monks. who reared it as their own.¡± ¡°Go on.¡± ¡°She took it. in a strange name. I have not strength or spirits now. which she never meant to send. Brownlow. and promising more. without a letter. ¡°What was the fate of the other¡ªthe child?¡± ¡°The child. but if they have any reference to me. ¡°but where friendship fails.¡± returned the old gentleman. Do not tremble.¡± said Rose faintly. book.¡± said Mr. or scrap of paper that yielded the faintest clue by which his friends or relatives could be traced¡ªthe child was taken by some wretched cottagers. ¡°I never saw you before.¡± replied Monks. hatred will often force a way. so she left it with them.¡± ¡°If they have¡ªI do not know how they can. ¡°The father of the unhappy Agnes had two daughters. My mother found it. after a year of cunning search¡ªay. drawing her arm through his. sighing to Mrs. ¡°I have seen you often. ¡°Go on!¡± ¡°You couldn¡¯t find the spot to which these people had repaired.¡± replied Monks.¡± said Rose. Brownlow. ¡°you have more fortitude than this.

I would not lose her now. ¡°not the less my dearest child.¡± cried Oliver. and sure to go wrong at one time or other. remember who this is who waits to clasp you in his arms. ¡°The kindest. come. My heart will burst. Maylie. miserable enough even to satisfy us. saw the girl by chance. bade them take good heed of the child. my own dear girl!¡± ¡°The only friend I ever had. My sweet companion. and took her home. residing.¡± ¡°Do you see her now?¡± ¡°Yes. at Chester. poor child! See here¡ªlook. and told them she was illegitimate. until a widow lady. clinging to her. I think. darling Rose!¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .¡± ¡°You have borne more. best of friends.¡± cried Rose. however. with such alterations as suited her. but told the history of her sister¡¯s shame. for all the treasures of the world. my dear!¡± ¡°Not aunt. on their discontent and poverty for the child¡¯s unhappiness.Oliver Twist 562 rely. embracing her tenderly. The circumstances countenanced all this. then. folding the fainting girl in her arms. There was some cursed spell. ¡°Come. dear. my love. two or three years ago. for in spite of all our efforts she remained there and was happy. pitied her. Maylie. against us. my own dear sister. Leaning on your arm.¡± said Mrs. that something taught my heart to love so dearly from the first! Rose.¡± ¡°But not the less my niece. I lost sight of her. for she came of bad blood. and there the child dragged on an existence. and have been through all. look. ¡°I¡¯ll never call her aunt¡ªsister.¡± cried Mrs. the people believed it. the best and gentlest creature that ever shed happiness on every one she knew. throwing his arms about her neck. I cannot bear all this. and saw her no more until a few months back.

¡± ¡°I am not here by accident.¡± ¡°The same reasons which influenced me then.¡± said Rose. that it became a solemn pleasure. and lost. when should I ever feel it. and the broken words which were exchanged in the long. at any time within a year. sister. taking a seat beside the lovely girl. Do you guess that I have come to remind you of a promise?¡± ¡°Stay.Oliver Twist 563 Let the tears which fell.¡± he said. I was to lay whatever of station or fortune I might possess at your feet. and mother. in that one moment. Joy and grief were mingled in the cup.¡± ¡°Not to press you to alter your determination. be sacred. ¡°I know it all. but there were no bitter tears. A soft tap at the door.¡± said Rose firmly. after a lengthened silence. ¡°but to hear you repeat it. Oliver opened it. ¡°You do know all. They were a long. as I should tonight? It is a Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . were gained. ¡°nor have I heard all this tonight. and clothed in such sweet and tender recollections. I pledged myself. You gave me leave. and lost all character of pain. A father. for even grief itself arose so softened. glided away. at length announced that some one was without. and gave place to Harry Maylie. whose goodness saved me from a life of indigence and suffering.¡± ¡°All. ¡°If I ever owed a strict and rigid duty to her. if you would. close embrace between the orphans.¡± ¡°I did.¡± he added. by no word or act. ¡°Dear Rose. to seek to change it. but I knew it yesterday¡ªonly yesterday. long time alone. will influence me now. to renew the subject of our last discourse. and if you still adhered to your former determination. I know it all.¡± pursued the young man.

¡°Think. with a firm determination to level all fancied barriers between yourself and me.¡± said Rose. taking her hand. ¡°I wish I could. now. prospects. I left you. my wishes.¡± ¡°You harden your heart against me. with reference to you. ¡°My hopes. but a home¡ª a heart and home¡ªyes.Oliver Twist 564 struggle.¡± ¡°And what have I heard? What have I heard?¡± cried Rose.¡± urged her lover. Harry. Harry. dear Rose. no distinction among a bustling crowd. but one my heart shall bear. are all I have to offer. Those who have shrunk Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . that no pride of birth should curl the lip at you. we have said enough. no mingling with a world of malice and detraction where the blood is called into honest cheeks by aught but real disgrace and shame. dearest Rose. we have said enough. ¡°I mean but this¡ªthat when I left you last. I offer you. Harry.¡± said the young man. not yet. Rose. detaining her as she rose.¡± said the young lady.¡± ¡°The disclosure of tonight¡ª¡± Harry began. as that in which I stood before. and those.¡± ¡°Then why inflict it on yourself?¡± said Harry. ¡°The disclosure of tonight. for I would turn from it. bursting into tears. feeling¡ªevery thought in life except my love for you¡ªhave undergone a change. it is a pang.¡± ¡°What do you mean?¡± she faltered. resolved that if my world could not be yours.¡± ¡°Not yet. ¡°That a sense of his deep disgrace so worked upon my own father that he shunned all There. and spare myself this pain. and those alone. I would make yours mine. This I have done.¡± replied Rose softly. ¡°leaves me in the same position. think what you have heard tonight. ¡°but one I am proud to make. ¡°Oh.

Some people affirm that Harry Maylie had been observed to set it. Truth to tell. and proved you so far right. than all the hopes I have renounced. but the best authorities consider this downright scandal. he being young and a clergyman. Such power and patronage. if you¡¯ll allow me. Neither Mrs. Brownlow. ¡°I had serious thoughts of eating my head tonight. Grimwig. in a dark room adjoining. but there are smiling fields and waving trees in England¡¯s richest county. nor Rose (who all came in together). Maylie. nor Harry. the supper had been waiting a most unreasonable time. my own!¡ªthere stands a rustic dwelling which you can make me prouder of. and pulling his pocket-handkerchief from over his head. Grimwig. waking up. and here I lay it down!¡± ***** ¡°It¡¯s a trying time waiting supper for lovers. and by one village church¡ªmine.¡± said Mr. could offer a word in extenuation. was followed both by the doctor and Mr. have shrunk from you. ¡°where have you been.Oliver Twist 565 from me because of this.¡± said Mrs. ¡°for I began to think I should get nothing else. Maylie. measured a thousandfold.¡± Mr. my child. ¡°Oliver. What is the matter?¡± Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . originally. as smiled upon me then. being contagious. such relatives of influence and rank. Grimwig lost no time in carrying this notice into effect upon the blushing girl. of saluting the bride that is to be. This is my rank and station now.¡± said Mr. Rose. and why do you look so sad? There are tears stealing down your face at this moment. look coldly now. I¡¯ll take the liberty. and the example.

Poor Dick was dead! Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and hopes that do our nature the greatest honour.Oliver Twist 566 It is a world of disappointment¡ªoften to the hopes we most cherish.

urge something in his behalf. he still remained in the same strained attitude of close attention. He had scarcely moved since the trial began. As his eyes wandered to the gallery. He stood there. all bright with gleaming eyes. Inquisitive and eager eyes peered from every inch of space. and his head thrust forward to enable him to catch with greater distinctness every word that fell from the presiding judge. below. Before him and behind¡ªabove. and when the points against him were stated with terrible distinctness. even then. At times. Beyond these manifestations of anxiety. A slight bustle in the court. he turned his eyes sharply upon them to observe the effect of the slightest featherweight in his favour. From the rail before the dock. and now that the judge ceased to speak. in mute appeal that he would. he could see the Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . recalled him to himself.Oliver Twist 567 Chapter 52 Fagin¡¯s Last Night Alive The court was paved. with one hand resting on the wooden slab before him. who was delivering his charge to the jury. on the right and on the left¡ªhe seemed to stand surrounded by a firmament. as though he listened still. from floor to roof. away into the sharpest angle of the smallest corner in the galleries. with his gaze bent on him. the other held to his ear. he stirred not hand or foot. he saw that the jurymen had turned together to consider of their verdict. looked towards his counsel. all looks were fixed upon one man¡ªFagin. Looking round. in all this glare of living light. with human faces.

and looked only to the jury. He looked wistfully into their faces. As he saw all this in one bewildered glance. and made another with his knife. for the crowded place was very hot. He wondered whether it was like. when he turned his eyes towards the judge. as though to see which way the greater number leaned. The Jailer touched him on the shoulder. In the same way. A few there were. But in no one face¡ª not even among the women. in impatient wonder how they could delay. and sat down on a chair. or any feeling by one of all-absorbing interest that he should be condemned. Some of the people were eating. and looked on when the artist broke his pencil-point. of whom there were many there¡ª could he read the faintest sympathy with himself. and looking back. too. Hush! They only sought permission to retire. There was one young man sketching his face in a little note-book. and how he put it on. but that was fruitless. There was an old fat gentleman on the bench.Oliver Twist 568 people rising above each other to see his face¡ªsome hastily applying their glasses to their eyes¡ªand others whispering to their neighbours with looks expressive of abhorrence. He wondered within himself whether this Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . who seemed unmindful of him. one by one. The man pointed it out. his mind began to busy itself with the fashion of his dress. He followed mechanically to the end of the dock. or he would not have seen it. who had gone out. and what it cost. and some fanning themselves with handkerchiefs. some half an hour before. He looked up into the gallery again. the death-like stillness came again. and now come back. he saw that the jurymen had turned towards the judge. when they passed out. as any idle spectator might have done.

dropping into a whisper. and turned burning hot at the idea of speedy death. and wondering how the head of one had been broken off and whether they would mend it. and then he only muttered that he was an old man¡ªan old man¡ªan old man¡ªand so. It was a peal of joy from the greeting the news that he would die on Monday. free from one oppressive overwhelming sense of the grave that opened at his feet. and pursued this train of careless thought until some new object caught his eye and roused another. and he could not fix his thoughts upon it. he fell to counting the iron spikes before him. and a breathless look from all towards the door. even while he trembled. but it was twice repeated before he seemed to hear it. He could glean nothing from their faces. and then they swelled out. but in a vague and general way. Then he thought of all the horrors of the gallows and the scaffold¡ªand stopped to watch a man sprinkling the floor to cool it¡ªand then went on to think again. and he was asked if he had anything to say why sentence of death should not be passed upon him. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and looked intently at his questioner while the demand was made. all this time. populace outside. with a tremendous shout. The jury returned.Oliver Twist 569 man had been to get his dinner. He had resumed his listening attitude. and passed him close. Thus. it was ever present to him. what he had had. At length there was a cry of silence. they might as well have been of stone. and where he had had it. The noise subsided. and another. Perfect stillness ensued¡ªnot a rustle¡ªnot a breath¡ªGuilty. his mind was. and it echoed loud groans. The building rang another. that gathered strength as like angry thunder. for an instant. was silent again. Not that. or leave it as it was.

and his eyes staring out before him. The address was solemn and impressive. through a gloomy passage lighted by a few dim lamps. and others were talking to their friends. and the prisoner still stood with the same air and gesture. He gazed stupidly about him for an instant. that he might not have about him the means of anticipating the law. He shook his fist. and would have spat upon them. tried to collect his thoughts. and they assailed him with opprobrious names. Here he was searched. A woman in the gallery uttered some exclamation. when the jailer put his hand upon his arm. After a while. like a marble figure. as he passed. and screeched and hissed. they led him to one of the condemned cells. without the motion of a nerve. But he stood. into the interior of the prison. he began to remember a few disjointed fragments of what the judge had said. he looked hastily up as if angry at the interruption. They led him through a paved room under the court. but. and beckoned him away. and left him there¡ªalone. and casting his bloodshot eyes upon the ground. that he could not hear a Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . where some prisoners were waiting till their turns came. his underjaw hanging down. the prisoners fell back to render him more visible to the people who were clinging to the bars. who crowded round a grate which looked into the open yard. which served for seat and bedstead. and bent forward yet more attentively. His haggard face was still thrust forward. He sat down on a stone bench opposite the door. this ceremony performed. but his conductors hurried him on. and obeyed. though it had seemed to him. called forth by this dread solemnity. at the time.Oliver Twist 570 The judge assumed the black cap. There was nobody there to speak to him. the sentence fearful to hear.

¡ªLight. light! At length. to him? It was another form of knell. the faces that he knew. why didn¡¯t they bring a light? The cell had been built for many years. when his hands were raw with beating against the heavy door and walls. for the prisoner was to be left alone no more. almost as it was delivered. Other watchers are glad to hear this church clock strike. for they tell of life and coming day. in such quick succession. the drop went down. because they died with prayers upon their lips. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . To be hanged by the neck¡ªtill he was dead.Oliver Twist 571 word. till he was dead¡ªthat was the end. the noose. These gradually fell into their proper places. he began to think of all the men he had known who had died upon the scaffold. two men appeared. so that in a little time he had the whole. even beneath that hideous veil. the pinioned arms. Scores of men must have passed their last hours there. one bearing a candle. silent night. What availed the noise and bustle of cheerful morning. from strong vigorous men to dangling heaps of clothes! Some of them might have inhabited that very cell¡ªsat upon that very spot. some of them through his means. With what a rattling noise. which penetrated even there. It was like sitting in a vault strewn with dead bodies¡ªthe cap. It was very dark. hollow sound¡ªDeath. The boom of every iron bell came laden with the one. dismal. deep. with mockery added to the warning. As it came on very dark. They rose up. Then came night¡ªdark. the other dragging in a mattress on which to pass the night. He had seen some of them die¡ªand had joked too. that he could hardly count them. To him they brought despair. which he thrust into an iron candlestick fixed against the wall. and how suddenly they changed. To be hanged by the neck. and by degrees suggested more.

They renewed their charitable efforts and he beat them o¡ê Saturday night. and yet so short. that one man could not bear to sit there. not that he had ever held any defined or positive hope of mercy. it was gone as soon as come¡ªand night came on again. in all the tortures of his evil conscience. but dreaming. the day broke¡ªSunday. made no effort to rouse his attention. He grew so terrible. And as he thought of this. and at another howled and tore his hair.Oliver Twist 572 The day passed off¡ªday! There was no day. night so long. He had spoken little to either of the two men. He had only one night more to live. his unwashed flesh crackled with the fever that burned him up. every minute. in such a paroxysm of fear and wrath that even they¡ªused to such sights¡ªrecoiled from him with horror. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . eyeing him alone. hurried to and fro. that a withering sense of his helpless. It was not until the night of this last awful day. long in its dreadful silence. at last. and twisted into knots. He had sat there. who relieved each other in their attendance upon him. but that he had never been able to consider more than the dim probability of dying so soon. he started up. his beard was torn. and so the two kept watch together. but he had driven them away with curses. Now. He cowered down upon his stone bed. his eyes shone with a terrible light. for their parts. His red hair hung down upon his bloodless face. At one time he raved and blasphemed. and thought of the past. Venerable men of his own persuasion had come to pray beside him. and they. and his head was bandaged with a linen cloth. and short in its fleeting hours. desperate state came in its full intensity upon his blighted soul. and with gasping mouth and burning skin. awake. He had been wounded with some missiles from the crowd on the day of his capture.

signed by one of the sheriffs. would have slept but ill that night. By degrees they fell off. he would be the only mourner in his own funeral train. at eleven¡ª Those dreadful walls of Newgate. with anxious faces. and wondered what the man was doing who was to be hanged tomorrow. The space before the prison was cleared. in the dead of night. but. and too long. painted black. for an hour. and inquired. and walking with unwilling steps away. of men. turned back to conjure up the scene. if they could have seen him. and those were the real hours treading on each other¡¯s heels. communicated the welcome intelligence to clusters in the street who pointed out to one another the door from which he must come out. From early in the evening until nearly midnight. which have hidden so much misery and such unspeakable anguish. and showed where the scaffold would be built. one by one. little groups of two and three presented themselves at the lodge gate. If it was not a trick to frighten him. when they came round again! Eleven. too often. where would he be. not only from the eyes. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Another struck. when Mr. and a few strong barriers. At eight. from the thoughts. Brownlow and Oliver appeared at the wicket. the street was left to solitude and darkness.Oliver Twist 573 Eight¡ªnine¡ªten. before the voice of the previous hour had ceased to vibrate. had been already thrown across the road to break the pressure of the expected crowd. never held so dread a spectacle as that. The few who lingered as they passed. whether any reprieve had been received. and. These being answered in the negative. They were immediately admitted to the lodge. and presented an order of admission to the prisoner.

towards the cells.¡± These few words had been said apart. opposite to that by which they had entered. and motioned the visitors to Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and as the child has seen him in the full career of his success and villainy. so as to be inaudible to Oliver. glancing at Oliver with some curiosity. opened by other turnkeys¡ªfrom the inner side. you can see the door he goes out at. through dark and winding ways. ¡°but my business with this man is intimately connected with him. If you step this way.Oliver Twist 574 ¡°Is the young gentleman to come too. ¡°It¡¯s not a sight for children.¡± He led them into a stone kitchen. Motioning them to remain where they were. stretching themselves as if glad of the temporary relief. ascended a flight of narrow steps. fitted with coppers for dressing the prison food. I think it as well¡ªeven at the cost of some pain and fear¡ªthat he should see him now. and came into a passage with a row of strong doors on the left hand. The man touched his hat. and led them on.¡± ¡°It is not indeed. ¡°This.¡± said the man. sir?¡± said the man whose duty it was to conduct them. through which came the sound of men¡¯s voices. There was an open grating above it. and the throwing down of boards. my friend. stopping in a gloomy passage where a couple of workmen were making some preparations in profound silence¡ª¡°this is the place he passes through. and. opened another gate. and pointed to a door. mingled with the noise of hammering.¡± rejoined Mr. From this place. The two attendants. They were putting up the scaffold. the turnkey knocked at one of these with his bunch of keys. they passed through several strong gates. after a little whispering. Brownlow. came out into the passage. having entered an open yard. sir. and.

Oliver Twist 575 follow the jailer into the cell. without appearing conscious of their presence otherwise than as a part of his vision. with a countenance more like that of a snared beast than the face of a man. ¡°Oliver. Fagin. rocking himself from side to side. The condemned criminal was seated on his bed. a very old. Fagin! Are you a man?¡± ¡°I shan¡¯t be one long. my Lord. ¡°Take him away to bed!¡± cried Fagin. Saw his head off!¡± ¡°Fagin. too. It¡¯s worth the money to bring him up to it¡ªBolter¡¯s throat. ¡°That¡¯s me!¡± cried Fagin. ha! ha! ha! Oliver too¡ªquite the gentleman now¡ªquite the¡ªTake the boy away to bed!¡± The jailer took the disengaged hand of Oliver. never mind the girl¡ªBolter¡¯s throat as deep as you can cut. laying his hand upon his breast to keep him down. ¡°Good boy. looked on without speaking. and. ¡°Strike them all dead! What right have they to butcher me?¡± As he spoke he caught sight of Oliver and Mr. old man!¡± ¡°Here. whispering to him not to be alarmed. Brownlow.¡± said the jailer. some of you? He has been the¡ªthe¡ªsomehow the cause of all this. looking up with a face retaining no human expression but rage and terror. ¡°Here¡¯s somebody wants to see you. I suppose. Bill.¡± he mumbled. They did so. Shrinking to the farthest corner of the seat.¡± said the turnkey.¡± he replied. ¡°Do you hear me. Charley¡ªwell done. to ask you some questions. for he continued to mutter. ¡°An old man. His mind was evidently wandering to his old life. falling instantly into the attitude of listening he had assumed upon his trial. he demanded to know Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics .

¡± replied Fagin.Oliver Twist 576 what they wanted there. as he relinquished Mr.¡± said Mr. Say only one upon your knees. Brownlow¡¯s hand. This Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and we will talk till morning.¡± returned Oliver.¡± cried Fagin. Brownlow. ¡°are in a canvas bag. and looking vacantly over his head. outside.¡± ¡°Outside. ¡°Steady. in a low voice.¡± ¡°I am not afraid. with me. beckoning to him. for he grows worse as the time gets on. my dear. ¡°do not say that now. ¡°I haven¡¯t one¡ªnot one. ¡°That¡¯ll help us on. by a man called Monks. now then!¡± ¡°Oh! God forgive this wretched man!¡± cried the boy. ¡°Say I¡¯ve gone to sleep¡ªthey¡¯ll believe you. in a hole a little way up the chimney in the top front room. You can get me out. here! Let me whisper to you. I want to talk to you. tell him what you want. Where are those papers?¡± ¡°Oliver. ¡°Now. Quick. ¡°The papers. but tell me where they are.¡± ¡°Yes. sir. if you take me so. drawing Oliver towards him.¡± replied Fagin. Do! Let me say one prayer.¡± ¡®¡®You have some papers. with a burst of tears. I want to talk to you.¡± said Fagin.¡± said Fagin. if you please. that¡¯s right. ¡°which were placed in your hands. that Monks has confessed. ¡°Let me say a prayer.¡± ¡°It¡¯s all a lie together.¡± said Oliver. Now then. You know that Sikes is dead. pushing the boy before him towards the door. that there is no hope of any further gain.¡± ¡°For the love of God.¡± said Mr. for better security. advancing.¡± said the turnkey. still holding him down. upon the very verge of death. Brownlow solemnly. ¡°Here. yes. ¡°That¡¯s right.

held him back.¡± cried Fagin. but hurry on. Everything told of life and animation.Oliver Twist 577 door first. ¡°Softly. the cross-beam. He struggled with the power of desperation. but one dark cluster of objects in the centre of all¡ªthe black stage. Oliver nearly swooned after this frightful scene. Day was dawning when they again emerged. It was some time before they left the prison.¡± replied Mr. and the attendants returned. don¡¯t you mind.¡± replied the man. sir?¡± inquired the turnkey. for an instant. and disengaging Oliver from his grasp. ¡°You had better leave him. and then sent up cry upon cry that penetrated even those massive walls. he had not the strength to walk. Faster. Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Brownlow. the windows were filled with people. quarrelling. ¡°Press on. and was so weak that for an hour or more. Now. joking. smoking and playing cards to beguile the time. the rope. faster!¡± The men laid hands upon him. ¡°No other question. the crowd were pushing. sir.¡± The door of the cell opened. ¡°If I hoped we could recall him to a sense of his position¡±¡ª ¡°Nothing will do that. press on. If I shake and tremble. and rang in their ears until they reached the open yard. now!¡± ¡°Have you nothing else to ask him. shaking his head. and all the hideous apparatus of death. A great multitude had already assembled. as we pass the gallows. but not so slow. now.

to which his young charge joyfully acceded. By the provisions of his father¡¯s will. The fortunes of those who have figured in this tale are nearly closed. Oliver would have been entitled to the whole. but Mr. It appeared. Monks. Mrs.Oliver Twist 578 Chapter 53 And Last. Brownlow. proposed this mode of distribution. unwilling to deprive the elder son of the opportunity of retrieving his former vices and pursuing an honest career. on the same day they entered into possession of their new and happy home. to enjoy. to each. retired with his Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . Rose Fleming and Harry Maylie were married in the village church which was henceforth to be the scene of the young clergyman¡¯s labours. Maylie took up her abode with her son and daughter-inlaw. The little that remains to their historian to relate. on full and careful investigation. little more than three thousand pounds. it would yield. still bearing that assumed name. the greatest felicity that age and worth can know¡ªthe contemplation of the happiness of those on whom the warmest affections and tenderest cares of a well-spent life have been unceasingly bestowed. Before three months had passed. 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. during the tranquil remainder of her days. is told in few and simple words.

planting. where his dear friends resided. having quickly squandered it. which that eccentric gentleman cordially reciprocated. he settled his business on his assistant. He is accordingly visited by Mr. as a most profound authority. Mr. he took to gardening. fishing. all undertaken with his characteristic impetuosity. and. where. Soon after the marriage of the young people. bereft of the presence of his old friends. he contented himself with hinting that he feared the air began to disagree with him. Brownlow adopted Oliver as his son. after undergoing a long confinement for some fresh act of fraud and knavery. he once more fell into his old courses. Grimwig a Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . at length sank under an attack of his old disorder. he had managed to contract a strong friendship for Mr. Before his removal. whose condition approached as nearly to one of perfect happiness as can ever be known in this changing world. and in each and all. and instantaneously recovered. carpentering. Removing with him and the old housekeeper to within a mile of the parsonage house. and thus linked together a little society. died the chief remaining members of his friend Fagin¡¯s gang. Grimwig. finding that the place really no longer was. he would have been discontented if his temperament had admitted of such a feeling. then. and various other pursuits of a similar kind. For two or three months. he gratified the only remaining wish of Oliver¡¯s warm and earnest heart.Oliver Twist 579 portion to a distant part of the New World. took a bachelor¡¯s cottage outside the village of which his young friend was pastor. he has since become famous throughout the neighbourhood. where. As far from home. and died in prison. and would have turned quite peevish if he had known how. Here. to him. what it had been. the worthy doctor returned to Chertsey.

Mr. he never fails to criticise the sermon to the young clergyman¡¯s face. and carpenters. always informing Mr. doing everything in a very singular and unprecedented manner. in strict confidence afterwards. at a loss for the means of a livelihood. On all such occasions. deprived of their situations. in proof thereof. Bumble. but Mr. and pockets half the penalty. and Mrs. Grimwig plants. Brownlow to rally him on his old prophecy concerning Oliver. but always maintaining with his favourite asseveration. was. fishes. receiving a free pardon from the Crown in consequence of being admitted approver against Fagin. Mr. Mr. His plan is to walk out once a week during church time attended by Charlotte in respectable attire. Grimwig contends that he was right in the main. that his mode is the right one On Sundays. It is a standing and very favourite joke for Mr. Losberne. that he considers it an excellent performance. but the result is the same. but deems it as well not to say so. after all. Sometimes. The lady faints away at the doors of charitable publicans. Mr. he went into business as an informer. Noah Claypole. lays an information next day. and the gentleman being accommodated with threepennyworth of brandy to restore her. were Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . for some little time. in which calling he realises a genteel subsistence. waiting his return. not burdened with too much work. and to remind him of the night on which they sat with the watch between them. with great ardour. which always calls forth a laugh on his side. and. and considering his profession not altogether as safe a one as he could wish. After some consideration. Claypole faints himself.Oliver Twist 580 great many times in the course of the year. and increases his good-humour. remarks that Oliver did not come back.

Giles and Brittles.Oliver Twist 581 gradually reduced to great indigence and misery. after all. and the last-named boy quite grey. Master Charles Bates. And now. although the former is bald. falters. that to this day the villagers have never been able to discover to which establishment they properly belong. I would paint her the life and joy of the fireside circle Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . but. and a good purpose. I would fain linger yet with a few of those among whom I have so long moved. for some time. They sleep at the parsonage. shedding on her secluded path in life soft and gentle light. and Mr. the hand that traces these words. resolved to amend it in some new sphere of action. He struggled hard. succeeded in the end. that in this reverse and degradation. and Mr. Arriving at the conclusion that it certainly was. Losberne. from being a farmer¡¯s drudge. for a little longer space. he has not even spirits to be thankful for being separated from his wife. Bumble has been heard to say. Brownlow. and Oliver. he turned his back upon the scenes of the past. and would weave. having a contented disposition. fell into a train of reflection whether an honest life was not. he is now the merriest young grazier in all Northamptonshire. that fell on all who trod it with her. and share their happiness by endeavouring to depict it. Mr. and. As to Mr. they still remain in their old posts. but divide their attentions so equally among its inmates. appalled by Sikes¡¯s crime. I would show Rose Maylie in all the bloom and grace of early womanhood. and shone into their hearts. and suffered much. and finally became paupers in that very same workhouse in which they had once lorded it over others. and a carrier¡¯s lad. the best. as it approaches the conclusion of its task. the threads of these adventures.

¡± There Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . and passing whole hours together in picturing the friends whom they had so sadly lost. more and more. How Mr. I would summon before me. and listen to their merry prattle.Oliver Twist 582 and the lively summer group. I would recall the tones of that clear laugh. untiring discharge of domestic duties at home. that awakened in his own bosom old remembrances. those joyous little faces that clustered round her knee. and mutual love. I have said that they were truly happy. once again. I would watch her in all her goodness and charity abroad. tried by adversity. Brownlow went on. and a thousand looks and smiles. and showed the thriving seeds of all he wished him to become¡ª how he traced in him new traits of his early friend. and gratitude to that Being whose code is Mercy. and fervent thanks to Him who had protected and preserved them¡ª these are all matters which need not be told. melancholy and yet sweet and soothing¡ªhow the two orphans. and the smiling. happiness can never be attained. and without strong affection and humanity of heart. and becoming attached to him. Within the altar of the old village church there stands a white marble tablet. and hear the low tones of her sweet voice in the moonlit evening walk. and turns of thought and speech¡ªI would fain recall them every one. as his nature developed itself. These. I would follow her through the sultry fields at noon. from day to day. and conjure up the sympathising tear that glistened in the soft blue eye. which bears as yet but one word: ¡°AGNES. I would paint her and her dead sister¡¯s child happy in their love for one another. filling the mind of his adopted child with stores of knowledge. remembered its lessons in mercy to others. and whose great attribute is Benevolence to all things that breathe.

if the spirits of the Dead ever come back to earth. and may it be many. to visit spots hallowed by the love¡ªthe love beyond the grave¡ªof those whom they knew in life. and she was weak and erring. I believe it none the less because that nook is in a church. before another name is placed above it! But.Oliver Twist 583 is no coffin in that tomb. I believe that the shade of Agnes sometimes hovers round that solemn nook. The End Charles Dickens ElecBook Classics . many years.