CHAPTER I 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 there was considerable difficulty in inducing Oliver to take upon himself the office of respiration,--a troublesome practice, but one which custom has rendered necessary to our easy existence; and for some time he lay gasping on a little flock mattress, rather unequally poised between this world and the next: the balance being decidedly in favour of the latter. Now, if, during this brief period, Oliver had been surrounded by careful grandmothers, anxious aunts, experienced nurses, and doctors of profound wisdom, he would most inevitably and indubitably have been killed in no time. There being nobody by, however, but a pauper old woman, who was rendered rather misty by an unwonted allowance of beer; and a parish surgeon who did such matters by contract; Oliver and Nature fought out the point between them. The result was, that, after a few struggles, Oliver breathed, sneezed, and proceeded to advertise to the inmates of the workhouse the fact of a new burden having been imposed upon the parish, by setting up as loud a cry as could reasonably have been expected from a male infant who had not been possessed of that very useful appendage, a voice, for a much longer space of time than three minutes and a quarter. As Oliver gave this first proof of the free and proper action of his lungs, the patchwork coverlet which was carelessly flung over the iron bedstead, rustled; the pale face of a young woman was raised feebly from the pillow; and a faint voice imperfectly articulated the words, 'Let me see the child, and die.' The surgeon had been sitting with his face turned towards the fire: giving the palms of his hands a warm and a rub alternately. As the young woman spoke,

he rose, and advancing to the bed's head, said, with more kindness than might have been expected of him: 'Oh, you must not talk about dying yet.' 'Lor bless her dear heart, no!' interposed the nurse, hastily depositing in her pocket a green glass bottle, the contents of which she had been tasting in a corner with evident satisfaction. 'Lor bless her dear heart, when she has lived as long as I have, sir, and had thirteen children of her own, and all on 'em dead except two, and them in the wurkus with me, she'll know better than to take on in that way, bless her dear heart! Think what it is to be a mother, there's a dear young lamb do.' Apparently this consolatory perspective of a mother's prospects failed in producing its due effect. The patient shook her head, and stretched out her hand towards the child. The surgeon deposited it in her arms. She imprinted her cold white lips passionately on its forehead; passed her hands over her face; gazed wildly round; shuddered; fell back--and died. They chafed her breast, hands, and temples; but the blood had stopped forever. They talked of hope and comfort. They had been strangers too long. 'It's all over, Mrs. Thingummy!' said the surgeon at last. 'Ah, poor dear, so it is!' said the nurse, picking up the cork of the green bottle, which had fallen out on the pillow, as she stooped to take up the child. 'Poor dear!' 'You needn't mind sending up to me, if the child cries, nurse,' said the surgeon, putting on his gloves with great deliberation. 'It's very likely it WILL be troublesome. Give it a little gruel if it is.' He put on his hat, and, pausing by the bed-side on his way to the door, added, 'She was a good-looking girl, too; where did she come from?' 'She was brought here last night,' replied the old woman, 'by the overseer's order. She was found lying in the street. She had walked some distance, for her shoes were worn to pieces; but where she came from, or where she was going to, nobody knows.' The surgeon leaned over the body, and raised the left hand. 'The old story,' he said, shaking his head: 'no wedding-ring, I see. Ah! Good-night!' The medical gentleman walked away to dinner; and the nurse, having once more applied herself to the green bottle, sat down on a low chair before the fire, and proceeded to dress the infant. What an excellent example of the power of dress, young Oliver Twist was! Wrapped in the blanket which had hitherto formed his only covering, he might

have been the child of a nobleman or a beggar; it would have been hard for the haughtiest stranger to have assigned him his proper station in society. But now that he was enveloped in the old calico robes which had grown yellow in the same service, he was badged and ticketed, and fell into his place at once--a parish child--the orphan of a workhouse--the humble, half-starved drudge--to be cuffed and buffeted through the world--despised by all, and pitied by none. Oliver cried lustily. If he could have known that he was an orphan, left to the tender mercies of church-wardens and overseers, perhaps he would have cried the louder.


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

troublesome questions, or the parishioners would rebelliously affix their signatures to a remonstrance. But these impertinences were speedily checked by the evidence of the surgeon, and the testimony of the beadle; the former of whom had always opened the body and found nothing inside (which was very probable indeed), and the latter of whom invariably swore whatever the parish wanted; which was very self-devotional. Besides, the board made periodical pilgrimages to the farm, and always sent the beadle the day before, to say they were going. The children were neat and clean to behold, when THEY went; and what more would the people have! It cannot be expected that this system of farming would produce any very extraordinary or luxuriant crop. Oliver Twist's ninth birthday found him a pale thin child, somewhat diminutive in stature, and decidely small in circumference. But nature or inheritance had implanted a good sturdy spirit in Oliver's breast. It had had plenty of room to expand, thanks to the spare diet of the establishment; and perhaps to this circumstance may be attributed his having any ninth birthday at all. Be this as it may, however, it was his ninth birthday; and he was keeping it in the coal-cellar with a select party of two other young gentleman, who, after participating with him in a sound thrashing, had been locked up for atrociously presuming to be hungry, when Mrs. Mann, the good lady of the house, was unexpectedly startled by the apparition of Mr. Bumble, the beadle, striving to undo the wicket of the garden-gate. 'Goodness gracious! Is that you, Mr. Bumble, sir?' said Mrs. Mann, thrusting her head out of the window in well-affected ecstasies of joy. '(Susan, take Oliver and them two brats upstairs, and wash 'em directly.)--My heart alive! Mr. Bumble, how glad I am to see you, sure-ly!' Now, Mr. Bumble was a fat man, and a choleric; so, instead of responding to this open-hearted salutation in a kindred spirit, he gave the little wicket a tremendous shake, and then bestowed upon it a kick which could have emanated from no leg but a beadle's. 'Lor, only think,' said Mrs. Mann, running out,--for the three boys had been removed by this time,--'only think of that! That I should have forgotten that the gate was bolted on the inside, on account of them dear children! Walk in sir; walk in, pray, Mr. Bumble, do, sir.' Although this invitation was accompanied with a curtsey that might have softened the heart of a church-warden, it by no means mollified the beadle 'Do you think this respectful or proper conduct, Mrs. Mann,' inquired Mr. Bumble, grasping his cane, 'to keep the parish officers a waiting at your gardengate, when they come here upon porochial business with the porochial orphans? Are you aweer, Mrs. Mann, that you are, as I may say, a porochial delegate, and a stipendiary?' 'I'm sure Mr. Bumble, that I was only a telling one or two of the dear children as is so fond of you, that it was you a coming,' replied Mrs. Mann with great humility.

Mr. Bumble had a great idea of his oratorical powers and his importance. He had displayed the one, and vindicated the other. He relaxed. 'Well, well, Mrs. Mann,' he replied in a calmer tone; 'it may be as you say; it may be. Lead the way in, Mrs. Mann, for I come on business, and have something to say.' Mrs. Mann ushered the beadle into a small parlour with a brick floor; placed a seat for him; and officiously deposited his cocked hat and can on the table before him. Mr. Bumble wiped from his forehead the perspiration which his walk had engendered, glanced complacently at the cocked hat, and smiled. Yes, he smiled. Beadles are but men: and Mr. Bumble smiled. 'Now don't you be offended at what I'm a going to say,' observed Mrs. Mann, with captivating sweetness. 'You've had a long walk, you know, or I wouldn't mention it. Now, will you take a little drop of somethink, Mr. Bumble?' 'Not a drop. Nor a drop,' said Mr. Bumble, waving his right hand in a dignified, but placid manner. 'I think you will,' said Mrs. Mann, who had noticed the tone of the refusal, and the gesture that had accompanied it. 'Just a leetle drop, with a little cold water, and a lump of sugar.' Mr. Bumble coughed. 'Now, just a leetle drop,' said Mrs. Mann persuasively. 'What is it?' inquired the beadle. 'Why, it's what I'm obliged to keep a little of in the house, to put into the blessed infants' Daffy, when they ain't well, Mr. Bumble,' replied Mrs. Mann as she opened a corner cupboard, and took down a bottle and glass. 'It's gin. I'll not deceive you, Mr. B. It's gin.' 'Do you give the children Daffy, Mrs. Mann?' inquired Bumble, following with this eyes the interesting process of mixing. 'Ah, bless 'em, that I do, dear as it is,' replied the nurse. 'I couldn't see 'em suffer before my very eyes, you know sir.' 'No'; said Mr. Bumble approvingly; 'no, you could not. You are a humane woman, Mrs. Mann.' (Here she set down the glass.) 'I shall take a early opportunity of mentioning it to the board, Mrs. Mann.' (He drew it towards him.) 'You feel as a mother, Mrs. Mann.' (He stirred the gin-and-water.) 'I--I drink your health with cheerfulness, Mrs. Mann'; and he swallowed half of it. 'And now about business,' said the beadle, taking out a leathern pocket-book. 'The child that was half-baptized Oliver Twist, is nine year old to-day.;

then?' The beadle drew himself up with great pride. was led into the room by his benevolent protectress. This was a T. as could be scrubbed off in one washing. Perhaps I may be. and the next Vilkins. Oliver?' said Mr. supernat'ral exertions on the part of this parish. 'Make a bow to the gentleman. inflaming her left eye with the corner of her apron. Notwithstanding the most superlative. 8 . which was afterwards increased to twenty pound.-Swubble.' said Mrs. for the fist had been too often impressed upon his body not to be deeply impressed upon his recollection. 'perhaps I may be.' said the beadle. 'Will you go along with me. Mann. 'And notwithstanding a offered reward of ten pound. evidently gratified with the compliment. I named him.' said Bumble. I may say. you're quite a literary character. Oliver was about to say that he would go along with anybody with great readiness. and was shaking her fist at him with a furious countenance. he caught sight of Mrs. The next one comes will be Unwin. when we come to Z. Bumble. Mann. leaving the room for that purpose. Oliver. glancing upward. and all the way through it again. after a moment's reflection. Oliver.' 'You. The last was a S. Mrs.'Bless him!' interposed Mrs. or what was his mother's settlement. and said. Mann. So let me see him at once.' He finished the gin-and-water. 'Well. and added. or con--dition.' said Mrs. Mann. Mann. in a majestic voice. having had by this time as much of the outer coat of dirt which encrusted his face and hands. Oliver made a bow. Mann. who had got behind the beadle's chair. which was divided between the beadle on the chair. 'How comes he to have any name at all.' 'Why. when. He took the hint at once. Mann. well.--Twist. Mr. sir!' said Mrs. Mrs. I have got names ready made to the end of the alphabet. the board have determined to have him back into the house. 'we have never been able to discover who is his father. and the cocked hat on the table. removed. I have come out myself to take him there. 'Oliver being now too old to remain here.' 'I'll fetch him directly. and. but added. 'Will she go with me?' inquired poor Oliver.' Mrs Mann raised her hands in astonishment. I named HIM. 'I inwented it. We name our fondlings in alphabetical order. name. Bumble!' 'I.

inquiring at the end of every quarter of a mile whether they were 'nearly there. Oliver was frightened at the sight of so many gentlemen. who had handed him over to the care of an old woman. He had no time to think about the matter. with his cane. Bumble returned very brief and snappish replies. 'What's your name. for the temporary blandness which gin-andwater awakens in some bosoms had by this time evaporated. firmly grasping his goldlaced cuff. fortunately bowed to that. conducted him into a large white-washed room. and seeing no board but the table. informed him that the board had said he was to appear before it forthwith.'No. Young as he was. to wake him up: and another on the back to make him lively: and bidding him to follow. she can't. sank into the child's heart for the first time.' said Bumble. and the little brown-cloth parish cap on his head. was a particularly fat gentleman with a very round. At the top of the table.' To these interrogations Mr. and he was once again a beadle. seated in an arm-chair rather higher than the rest. Bumble. a piece of bread and butter. 9 . and what Oliver wanted a great deal more. With the slice of bread in his hand. boy?' said the gentleman in the high chair. telling him it was a board night. less he should seem too hungry when he got to the workhouse. returned. Bumble gave him a tap on the head. Bumble walked on with long strides. Oliver had not been within the walls of the workhouse a quarter of an hour. when Mr. It was no very difficult matter for the boy to call tears into his eyes. Mrs. Mann gave him a thousand embraces. and had scarcely completed the demolition of a second slice of bread. Bumble from the wretched home where one kind word or look had never lighted the gloom of his infant years. he had sense enough to make a feint of feeling great regret at going away. red face. they were the only friends he had ever known. and was not quite certain whether he ought to laugh or cry. 'But she'll come and see you sometimes. Oliver was rather astounded by this intelligence. Not having a very clearly defined notion of what a live board was. 'Bow to the board. and. Hunger and recent ill-usage are great assistants if you want to cry. where eight or ten fat gentlemen were sitting round a table. Oliver brushed away two or three tears that were lingering in his eyes. which made him cry. Oliver was then led away by Mr.' replied Mr. Mr. Bumble. and a sense of his loneliness in the great wide world. as the cottage-gate closed after him. trotted beside him. which made him tremble: and the beadle gave him another tap behind. Wretched as were the little companions in misery he was leaving behind. however. and Oliver cried very naturally indeed. And yet he burst into an agony of childish grief. for Mr.' This was no very great consolation to the child. however. little Oliver.

philosophical men. dinner. a public breakfast. 'What are you crying for?' inquired the gentleman in the white waistcoat. 'The boy IS a fool--I thought he was. Oliver bowed low by the direction of the beadle. and putting him quite at his ease.' said the gentleman in the high chair. hard bed. that the board had that very day arrived at a decision which would exercise the most material influence over all his future fortunes. But he hadn't. and when they came to turn their attention to the workhouse. What COULD the boy be crying for? 'I hope you say your prayers every night. a tavern where there was nothing to pay. sir?' inquired poor Oliver. And to be sure it was very extraordinary. You know you're an orphan. deep. on a rough.' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. and supper all the year 10 . tea. 'listen to me. and a marvellously good Christian too. and take care of you--like a Christian. For the combination of both these blessings in the one simple process of picking oakum. he sobbed himself to sleep. What a novel illustration of the tender laws of England! They let the paupers go to sleep! Poor Oliver! He little thought. I suppose?' 'What's that. 'and pray for the people who feed you. what ordinary folks would nver have discovered--the poor people liked it! It was a regular place of public entertainment for the poorer classes. Which was a capital way of raising his spirits. 'You know you've got no father or mother. 'So you'll begin to pick oakum to-morrow morning at six o'clock.' stammered the boy. and that you were brought up by the parish. The gentleman who spoke last was unconsciously right.' 'Yes. and taught a useful trade. sir. where. whereupon a gentleman in a white waistcoat said he was a fool. sir. It would have been very like a Christian.' added the surly one in the white waistcoat. 'Well! You have come here to be educated. 'Hush!' said the gentleman who had spoken first.These two causes made him answer in a very low and hesitating voice. But they had. they found out at once. because nobody had taught him. as he lay sleeping in happy unconsciousness of all around him. And this was it: The members of this board were very sage. if Oliver had prayed for the people who fed and took care of HIM.' said another gentleman in a gruff voice. 'Boy. weeping bitterly. and was then hurried away to a large ward.' said the red-faced gentleman in the high chair.' replied Oliver. don't you?' 'Yes.

not they). With this view. when he had two ounces and a quarter of bread besides. ladled the gruel at mealtimes. that unless he had another basin of gruel per diem. as they had theretofore done. after a week or two's gruel. Of this festive composition each boy had one porringer. and when they had performed this operation (which never took very long. and issued three meals of thin gruel a day. the spoons being nearly as large as the bowls). which fluttered loosely on their wasted. meanwhile. a brick and mortar elysium. in no time. might have started up in all classes of society. and had provided for this difficulty. but the board were long-headed men. kindly undertook to divorce poor married people. shrunken forms. and no more--except on occasions of great public rejoicing. in consequence of the great expense of a suit in Doctors' Commons. or by a quick one out of it. He had a wild. The relief was inseparable from the workhouse and the gruel. as if they could have devoured the very bricks of which it was composed. the system was in full operation. in sucking their fingers most assiduously. Oliver Twist and his companions suffered the tortures of slow starvation for three months: at last they got so voracious and wild with hunger. in consequence of the increase in the undertaker's bill. They made a great many other wise and humane regulations. looking very knowing. employing themselves. and the board were in ecstasies. which it is not necessary to repeat. Boys have generally excellent appetites. where it was all play and no work. took his family away from him. with a copper at one end: out of which the master. with such eager eyes. and. with the view of catching up any stray splashes of gruel that might have been cast thereon. and the necessity of taking in the clothes of all the paupers. and made him a bachelor! There is no saying how many applicants for relief. 'we are the fellows to set this to rights. The boys polished them with their spoons till they shone again. But the number of workhouse inmates got thin as well as the paupers. instead of compelling a man to support his family. of being starved by a gradual process in the house. they contracted with the water-works to lay on an unlimited supply of water. dressed in an apron for the purpose. and they implicitly believed him. was a large stone hall. he was afraid he might some night happen to eat the boy who slept next him. they established the rule. they would sit staring at the copper. It was rather expensive at first. if it had not been coupled with the workhouse. A council was held. that one boy. and half a roll of Sundays. who happened to be a weakly youth of tender age. The room in which the boys were fed. that all poor people should have the alternative (for they would compel nobody. and with a corn-factor to supply periodically small quantities of oatmeal. 'Oho!' said the board. and that frightened people. hungry eye. and hadn't been used to that sort of thing (for his father had kept a small cook-shop).round. hinted darkly to his companions. having reference to the ladies. and assisted by one or two women. The bowls never wanted washing.' So. with an onion twice a week. who was tall for his age. under these last two heads. lots were cast who should walk up to 11 . we'll stop it all. For the first six months after Oliver Twist was removed.

the boys whispered each other. when Mr. The board were sitting in solemn conclave. in his cook's uniform. and ask for more. pinioned him in his arm. 'I want some more. and winked at Oliver. in a faint voice. and a bill was next morning pasted on the outside of the gate. and answer me distinctly. but he turned very pale. 12 . the gruel was served out. I beg your pardon. and then clung for support to the copper. and it fell to Oliver Twist. 'That boy will be hung. business.' Nobody controverted the prophetic gentleman's opinion. 'I know that boy will be hung. Oliver was ordered into instant confinement. said: somewhat alarmed at his own temerity: 'Please. In other words.' replied Oliver.' The master was a fat. I want some more. stationed himself at the copper. Bumble. five pounds and Oliver Twist were offered to any man or woman who wanted an apprentice to any trade. 'For MORE!' said Mr. and reckless with misery.the master after supper that evening. while his next neighbours nudged him. basin and spoon in hand.' The master aimed a blow at Oliver's head with the ladle. The evening arrived. his pauper assistants ranged themselves behind him. sir. An animated discussion took place. Bumble rushed into the room in great excitement. He rose from the table. Limbkins. the boys took their places. sir! Oliver Twist has asked for more!' There was a general start. offering a reward of five pounds to anybody who would take Oliver Twist off the hands of the parish. sir. and addressing the gentleman in the high chair.' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. 'Compose yourself. or calling. The gruel disappeared. sir. Limbkins. The master. and advancing to the master. 'Please. The assistants were paralysed with wonder. 'What!' said the master at length. healthy man. Horror was depicted on every countenance. Child as he was. and shrieked aloud for the beadle. said.' replied Bumble. He gazed in stupified astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds. he was desperate with hunger. and a long grace was said over the short commons. 'Mr. the boys with fear. Do I understand that he asked for more. after he had eaten the supper allotted by the dietary?' 'He did.

' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. than I am that that boy will come to be hung.' As I purpose to show in the sequel whether the white waistcoated gentleman was right or not. if I ventured to hint just yet. 13 . as he knocked at the gate and read the bill next morning: 'I never was more convinced of anything in my life. whether the life of Oliver Twist had this violent termination or no.'I never was more convinced of anything in my life. I should perhaps mar the interest of this narrative (supposing it to possess any at all).

and there permitted to listen to. there was one obstacle: namely. a general supplication of the boys. deeply cogitating in his mind his ways and means of paying certain arrears of rent. for all future times and ages. once and for ever. It chanced one morning. and. He only cried bitterly all day. Oliver was denied the benefit of exercise. he would have established that sage individual's prophetic character. for which his landlord had become rather pressing. had been. and he was allowed to perform his ablutions every morning under the pump. 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. in a stone yard. spread his little hands before his eyes to shut out the darkness. the pleasure of society. chimney-sweep. As for exercise. that Mr. And so for from being denied the advantages of religious consolation. he was alternately cudgelling his brains and his donkey.' that. To the performance of this feat. Bumble. and there sociably flogged as a public warning and example. his eyes encountered the bill on the gate. that. at first sight not unreasonable to suppose. or the advantages of religious consolation. virtuous. dismal night came on. tried to sleep: ever and anon waking with a start and tremble. went his way down the High Street. in a species of arthimetical desperation. There was a still greater obstacle in Oliver's youth and childishness. 14 . while Oliver's affairs were in this auspicious and confortable state. by tying one end of his pocket-handkerchief to a hook in the wall. it was nice cold weather. Mr. that pocket-handkerchiefs being decided articles of luxury. and obedient. containing a special clause. and attaching himself to the other. and drawing himself closer and closer to the wall. and console his mind with. in council assembled: solemnly given and pronounced under their hands and seals. if he had entertained a becoming feeling of respect for the prediction of the gentleman in the white waistcoat. in which they entreated to be made good. he was carried every other day into the hall where the boys dined. Gamfield. and. during the period of his solitary incarceration. As for society. and crouching in the corner. Let it not be supposed by the enemies of 'the system. Gamfield's most sanguine estimate of his finances could not raise them within full five pounds of the desired amount. contented. and caused a tingling sensation to pervade his frame. and an article direct from the manufactory of the very Devil himself.CHAPTER III RELATES HOW OLIVER TWIST WAS VERY NEAR GETTING A PLACE WHICH WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A SINECURE For a week after the commission of the impious and profane offence of asking for more. and to be guarded from the sins and vices of Oliver Twist: whom the supplication distinctly set forth to be under the exclusive patronage and protection of the powers of wickedness. in the presence of Mr. It appears. who prevented his catching cold. removed from the noses of paupers by the express order of the board. when the long. however. when passing the workhouse. he was kicked into the same apartment every evening at prayertime. therein inserted by authority of the board. by repeated applications of the cane. as if to feel even its cold hard surface were a protection in the gloom and loneliness which surrounded him.

and then. bestowed a blow on his head. whether he was destined to be regaled with a cabbage-stalk or two when he had disposed of the two sacks of soot with which the little cart was laden. Gamfield. he smiled joyously when that person came up to read the bill. by way of gentle reminder that he was not his own master.' 'Walk in. Mr. as to the boy with which it was encumbered. as he perused the document. Gamfield. and by these means turned him round. with a condescending smile. he walked up to the gate. 'It's a nasty trade. Gamfield growled a fierce imprecation on the donkey generally. He then gave him another blow on the head. Gamfield and the donkey. Mr. touching his fur cap in token of humility. so. probably. Having completed these arrangements. Gamfield. The gentleman with the white waistcoat was standing at the gate with his hands behind him. accosted the gentleman in the white waistcoat.' said Mr.' said Mr. Mr. 'This here boy. my man. he spelt the bill through again. without noticing the word of command. 'Ay. wot the parish wants to 'prentis. just to stun him till he came back again. and I am ready to take him. Gamfield to the donkey. Having witnessed the little dispute between Mr. from beginning to end. 'I wants a 'prentis.' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. So. Mr. catching hold of the bridle. Limbkins.' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. in a good 'spectable chimbley-sweepin' bisness. for five pounds was just the sum he had been wishing for. too. as a caution not to run away in his absence.'Wo--o!' said Mr. for he saw at once that Mr. and. 'Young boys have been smothered in chimneys before now. The donkey was in a state of profound abstraction: wondering. running after him. he gave his jaw a sharp wrench. followed the gentleman with the white waistcoat into the room where Oliver had first seen him. just the very thing for register stoves. 15 . and another wrench of the jaw. to read the bill. when Gamfield had again stated his wish. but more particularly on his eyes. Gamfield smiled. knowing what the dietary of the workhouse was. 'What of him?' 'If the parish vould like him to learn a right pleasant trade. and. which would inevitably have beaten in any skull but a donkey's. well knew he would be a nice small pattern. after having delivered himself of some profound sentiments in the board-room. sir. he jogged onward. Gamfield was exactly the sort of master Oliver Twist wanted.' said another gentleman.' said Mr. to give the donkey another blow on the head. Gamfield having lingered behind. Then.

as it's a nasty business. taken it into their heads that this extraneous circumstance ought to influence their proceedings. At length the whispering ceased. pausing near the door.'That's acause they damped the straw afore they lit it in the chimbley to make 'em come down again. in some unaccountable freak. Limbkins. but in so low a tone. Gamfield. with a quick step.' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat.' said Mr. vereas smoke ain't o' no use at all in making a boy come down. and said. Gamfield did happen to labour under the slight imputation of having bruised three or four boys to death already. It was very unlike their general mode of doing business. acause. having resumed their seats and their solemnity. indeed. if they had.' 'have a printed report published. even if they've stuck in the chimbley. 'that's all smoke. he returned to the table. and wery lazy.' were alone audible. he twisted his cap in his hands. 'Decidedly not.' Mr. three pound ten was plenty. 'Ten shillings too much. we think you ought to take something less than the premium we offered.' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. The board then procedded to converse among themselves for a few minutes. as he had no particular wish to revive the rumour. that the words 'saving of expenditure. It's humane too.' added the other members. Gamfield's countenance brightened. Gen'l'men. Limbkins. gen'l'men. it occurred to him that the board had. These only chanced to be heard. roasting their feet makes 'em struggle to hextricate theirselves. perhaps. gen'l'men? Come! Don't be too hard on a poor man. and we don't approve of it.' The gentleman in the white waistcoat appeared very much amused by this explanation. and that's wot he likes. Mr.' 'Not at all. 16 . as. but still. and no blaze. 'at least.' 'looked well in the accounts. gen'l'men?' said Mr. 'What'll you give.' said Gamfield. and the members of the board. Limbkins said: 'We have considered your proposition. As Mr. and there's nothink like a good hot blaze to make 'em come down vith a run.' replied Mr. Limbkins. or account of their being very frequently repeated with great emphasis. and walked slowly from the table. 'So you won't let me have him. for it only sinds him to sleep. What'll you give?' 'I should say. Boys is wery obstinit. 'No. but his mirth was speedily checked by a look from Mr.

as a premium. gen'l'men. 'Pooh! pooh! nonsense!' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. said Gamfield. Bumble. 'You're desperate hard upon me. wavering. 'The kind and blessed gentleman which is so amny parents to you.' said Mr. Oliver. and ordered to put himself into a clean shirt. urged Gamfield. 'He'd be cheap with nothing at all. 'You're a going to be made a 'prentice of. and the holiday allowance of two ounces and a quarter of bread.' said Mr. firmly. Limbkins. and. Oliver!--seventy shillins--one hundred and forty sixpences!--and all for a naughty orphan which noboday can't love. not unaturally. for he hasn't been overfed since he was born. gen'l'men.' repeated Mr. Bumble. and you've got rid of him for good and all. 'Come. He had hardly achieved this very unusual gymnastic performance. with his own hands. observing a smile on all of them.' As Mr. Ha! ha! ha!' Mr. Bumble. 'Come.' was the firm reply of Mr. In pursuance of this determination. There!' 'Three pound ten. for signature and approval. Oliver. trembling. 'Don't make your eyes red.' said Mr. that very afternoon.' 'A prentice. He wants the stick. now and then: it'll do him good. Say four pound. to his excessive astonishment. Limbkins. somewhat less pompously. 'Yes. 'Three pound fifteen. Mr. and make a man of you: although the expense to the parish is three pound ten!--three pound ten. little Oliver. the tears rolled down the poor child's face. was at once instructed that Oliver Twist and his indentures were to be conveyed before the magistrate. you silly fellow! He's just the boy for you. Oliver. 'Come! I'll split the diff'erence. sir!' said the child. when Mr. Take him. a basin of gruel. Bumble brought him. Bumble. when you have none of your own: are a going to 'prentice you: and to set you up in life. The bargain was made.' 'Not a farthing more. Oliver! Wipe 17 . gradually broke into a smile himself. or they never would have begun to fatten him up in that way. At this tremendous sight. Oliver. for it was gratifying to his feelings to observe the effect his eloquence had produced. but eat your food and be thankful. after delivering this address in an awful voice. in a tone of impressive pomposity. and he sobbed bitterly. Oliver began to cry very piteously: thinking. Bumble paused to take breath. was released from bondage. 'say four pound. Gamfield gave an arch look at the faces round the table. that the board must have determined to kill him for some useful purpose. and his board needn't come very expensive.'Come!' said Gamfield. gen'l'men.

' Oliver roused himself. with a palpitating heart. and added. would be to look very happy. The old gentleman with the spectacles gradually dozed off. while the other was perusing. by leading him at once into an adjoining room: the door of which was open. 'This is him. your worship. on the other. There the boy remained. Bumble. and made his best obeisance. he was shut up in a little room by himself. Mr. 'Bow to the magistrate. you young rascal!' Oliver stared innocently in Mr. He had been wondering.' As Mr. Bumble. whereupon. Bumble to stay there. over the little bit of parchment. The old gentleman who was reading the newspaper raised his head for a moment. 'Mind what I told you. and say. but that gentleman prevented his offering any remark thereupon. a small piece of parchment which lay before him. 'Oh. the lastmentioned old gentleman woke up. with the aid of a pair of tortoise-shell spectacles. Gamfield. until he came back to fetch him.' It certainly was. in a low voice.your eyes with the cuffs of your jacket.' replied Mr. that if he failed in either particular. and admonished by Mr. there was no telling what would be done to him. Oliver. after Oliver had been stationed by Mr. he put on a grim and threatening look. that he should like it very much indeed. sir. is this the boy?' said the old gentleman. for half an hour. with a great window. On their way to the magistrate. Bumble thrust in his head. while two or three bluff-looking men. with a partially washed face. and said aloud: 'Now. When they arrived at the office. whether all boards were born 18 . Bumble threw in a gentle hint. Behind a desk. unadorned with the cocked hat. Bumble's face at this somewhat contradictory style of address. and there was a short pause. my dear. and don't cry into your gruel. Bumble instructed Oliver that all he would have to do. 'This is the boy. both of which injunctions Oliver promised to obey: the rather as Mr. for there was quite enough water in it already. Bumble in front of the desk. Oliver. and pulled the other old gentleman by the sleeve. my dear. come to the gentleman. that's a very foolish action. with his eyes fixed on the magistrates' powder. It was a large room. sat two old gentleman with powdered heads: one of whom was reading the newspaper. Bumble said this. when the gentleman asked him if he wanted to be apprenticed. were lounging about.' said Mr. in top-boots. Limbkins was standing in front of the desk on one side. and Mr. At the expiration of which time Mr. Mr.

and signed the indentures. It was the critical moment of Oliver's fate. will you?' said the old gentleman. was regarding the repulsive countenance of his future master. with a mingled expression of horror and fear. your worship. 'I suppose he's fond of chimney-sweeping?' 'He doats on it. too palpable to be mistaken.with that white stuff on their heads. Limbkins. and do all that sort of thing. even by a half-blind magistrate. 'I hope I am. The old gentleman stopped. 'If we was to bind him to any other trade to-morrow. will he?' inquired the old gentleman. 'When I says I will. with an ugly leer. sir--you'll treat him well. I means I will. he'd run away simultaneous. sir. he would have dipped his pen into it. 'I have no doubt you are. whose villainous countenance was a regular stamped receipt for cruelty. who attempted to take snuff with a cheerful and unconcerned aspect.' replied Bumble.' replied Mr. and feed him. What is the matter?' 'Stand a little away from him. and were boards from thenceforth on that account. 'Now. Gamfield. But.' 19 . despite all the admonitory looks and pinches of Bumble. without finding it. boy. and happening in the course of his search to look straight before him. my friend.' said the other magistrate: laying aside the paper. tell us what's the matter: don't be afraid. as it chanced to be immediately under his nose. giving Oliver a sly pinch. so he couldn't reasonably be expected to discern what other people did. and Oliver would have been straightway hurried off. and looked from Oliver to Mr. But the magistrate was half blind and half childish. 'you look pale and alarmed. as a matter of course.' said Mr. but you look an honest. 'And this man that's to be his master--you. and looking about him for the inkstand.' replied Bumble. his gaze encountered the pale and terrified face of Oliver Twist: who. your worship. laid down his pen. it followed.' said the old gentleman. Gamfield doggedly. 'My boy!' said the old gentleman. and leaning forward with an expression of interest. to intimate that he had better not say he didn't. 'Well. If the inkstand had been where the old gentleman though it was.' replied the old gentleman: fixing his spectacles more firmly on his nose. that he looked all over his desk for it. 'You're a rough speaker. open-hearted man.' said the old gentleman: turning his spectacles in the direction of the candidate for Oliver's premium. 'And he WILL be a sweep. my friend. Beadle.

Beadle. 'I hope. incredulous of having heard aright.Oliver fell on his knees.' said the second old gentleman. 'Did your worship speak to me?' 'Yes. Bumble shook his head with gloomy mystery. Oliver. on the unsupported testimony of a child. and said he wished he might come to good.' said the second old gentleman sharply. which. 'We refuse to sanction these indentures.' stammered Mr.' Mr. Hold your tongue. 'Take the boy back to the workhouse. and treat him kindly. when Mr.' 'Hold your tongue.' 'The magistrates are not called upon to pronounce any opinion on the matter. would seem to be a wish of a totaly opposite description. Bumble was stupefied with astonishment. that he wished he might come to him. Bumble had given vent to this compound adjective.' That same evening.' said the old gentleman: tossing aside the piece of parchment as he spoke. whereunto Mr. Limbkins: 'I hope the magistrates will not form the opinion that the authorities have been guilty of any improper conduct. 'Well! of all the artful and designing orphans that ever I see. and that five pounds would be paid to anybody who would take possession of him. 'I beg your worship's pardon. Bumble.that they would starve him--beat him--kill him if they pleased--rather than send him away with that dreadful man. 'Well!' said Mr. and clasping his hands together. he nodded significantly. but that he would be drawn and quartered into the bargain. 20 . Bumble. Gamfield replied. raising his hands and eyes with most impressive solemnite. the public were once informed that Oliver Twist was again To Let. you are one of the most bare-facedest. A beadle ordered to hold his tongue! A moral revolution! The old gentleman in the tortoise-shell spectacles looked at his companion. not only that Oliver would be hung. The next morning. Mr. He seems to want it.' said Mr. although he agreed with the beadle in most matters. prayed that they would order him back to the dark room-. the gentleman in the white waistcoat most positively and decidedly affirmed.

' said the undertaker. either in possession. the parochial undertaker. Mr. some day after dinner. when an advantageous place cannot be obtained. with the view of finding out some captain or other who wanted a cabin-boy without any friends. as he advanced to Mr. took counsel together on the expediency of shipping off Oliver Twist. Mr. and was returning to the workhouse to communicate the result of his mission. attired in a suit of threadbare black. in this point of view. The more the case presented itself to the board. in imitation of so wise and salutary an example. Sowerberry. His step was elastic. as is pretty generally known. tapping the undertaker on the shoulder. very favourite and common recreations among gentleman of that class. remainder.' replied the beadle: with precisely as near an approach to a laugh as a great official ought to indulge in. it is a very general custom to send him to sea. Bumble had been despatched to make various preliminary inquiries. so. Sowerberry. in a friendly manner. with his cane. or would knock his brains out with an iron bar. large-jointed man. no less a person than Mr. Bumble. Mr. Sowerberry. and his face betokened inward pleasantry. was to send him to sea without delay. Mr. Mr. as he thrust his thumb and forefinger into the proferred snuff-box of the undertaker: which was an ingenious little model of a patent coffin. that the skipper would flog him to death. 'I say you'll make your fortune. Bumble. with darned cotton stockings of the same colour. reversion. or expectancy. This suggested itself as the very best thing that could possibly be done with him: the probability being. 'You'll make your fortune. both pastimes being. but he was in general rather given to professional jocosity. 21 . and shook him cordially by the hand. for the young man who is growing up. Bumble. the more manifold the advantages of the step appeared.' 'So are the coffins. in a playful mood. in some small trading vessel bound to a good unhealthy port. 'The prices allowed by the board are very small.' said the beadle. Bumble. The board.CHAPTER IV OLIVER. they came to the conclusion that the only way of providing for Oliver effectually. and shoes to answer. when he encountered at the gate.' repeated Mr. His features were not naturally intended to wear a smiling aspect. BEING OFFERED ANOTHER PLACE. Sowerberry was a tall gaunt. MAKES HIS FIRST ENTRY INTO PUBLIC LIFE In great families. 'I have taken the measure of the two women that died last night. 'Think so?' said the undertaker in a tone which half admitted and half disputed the probability of the event. Mr.

' 'Well.' said the beadle. Bumble. and want of the common necessaries of life. I remember. 'every trade has its drawbacks.' As Mr. and gave three distinct raps upon the words 'five pounds': which were printed thereon in Roman capitals of gigantic size. resuming the current of observations which the beadle had interrupted: 'though I must say." didn't they?' 22 . of course. Bumble. do you? A porochial 'prentis. Bumble. Bumble spoke. what a very elegant button this is. liberal terms?' As Mr.' 'I recollect. 'Well. I make it up in the long-run. 'The jury brought it in. by canal. allowable. 'By the bye. 'that's just the very thing I wanted to speak to you about. Mr. the latter gentleman thought it advisable to change the subject.' he said at length. sir. sir.' said the undertaker. well. Mr. Sowerberry. Mr.Mr. Sowerberry said this. why.' 'Of course.' said Mr. Oliver Twist being uppermost in his mind. a millstone. I think it rather pretty. Bumble felt that it rather tended to convey a reflection on the honour of the parish. that all the stout people go off the quickest.' said Mr. 'Though I must say. Bumble. Sowerberry. 'you don't know anybody who wants a boy. "Died from exposure to the cold. and all the iron handles come. The board presented it to me on Newyear's morning. Mr. are the first to sink when they come into the house. for the first time. from Birmingham. 'The die is the same as the porochial seal--the Good Samaritan healing the sick and bruised man. who died in a doorway at midnight.' continued the undertaker. Bumble by the gilt-edged lappel of his official coat. and let me tell you.' 'Yes. 'and if I don't get a profit upon this or that particular article. and laughed a long time without cessation. A fair profit is. but we must have some profit. 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. he raised his cane to the bill above him. I put it on. Bumble. you see--he! he! he!' 'Just so. You know-dear me. the coffins are something narrower and more shallow than they used to be. Bumble. and as Mr. Well-seasoned timber is an expensive article. 'there's no denying that. with the becoming indignation of an ill-used man. of course. glancing proudly downwards at the large brass buttons which embellished his coat. he made him his theme. who is at present a dead-weight. 'Gadso!' said the undertaker: taking Mr. The people who have been better off. that I have to contend against one very great disadvantage: which is. Bumble! I never noticed it before.' replied the undertaker. well. Mr. round the porochial throat? Liberal terms. Mr. since the new system of feeding has come in. Bumble.' said Mr. to attend the inquest on that reduced tradesman. Sowerberry was much tickled at this: as of course he ought to be. as I may say. Mr. and have paid rates for many years.

'And I only wish we'd a jury of the independent sort. 'I was thinking that if I pay so much towards 'em. 'they would indeed. said in a calmer voice: 'Well. grovelling wretches. 'If the board attended to all the nonsense that ignorant jurymen talk. 'the rules and regulations of the board would soon bring their spirit down for 'em. 'Well?' 'Well. Mr.' said the beadle. in the house for a week or two. what about the boy?' 'Oh!' replied the undertaker. Bumble. took a handkerchief from the inside of the crown. that if the relieving officer had--' 'Tush! Foolery!' interposed the beadle. and. and so--I think I'll take the boy myself. approvingly: to calm the rising wrath of the indignant parish officer. 'And they made it a special verdict. Bumble. vulgar. snapping his fingers contemptuously.' 'Let 'em alone for that.' 'Juries.' said the beadle. 'So do I. Bumble nodded.' said the beadle. I've a right to get as much out of 'em as I can.' said the undertaker. 'by adding some words to the effect. you know.' said the undertaker.' replied the undertaker. 'No more they have. wiped from his forehead the perspiration which his rage had engendered. grasping his cane tightly. he smiled. why.' 23 .' 'Very true. I pay a good deal towards the poor's rates. Bumble. Bumble. as was his wont when working into a passion: 'juries is ineddicated. they'd have enough to do.' replied the undertaker.' 'Hem!' said Mr.' acquiesced the undertaker.' rejoined the undertaker. Mr.' 'So they are.' said the undertaker. growing very red in the face.Mr. turning to the undertaker. fixed the cocked hat on again. So saying. 'They haven't no more philosophy nor political economy about 'em than that. 'I despise 'em.' said Mr. I think. Mr Bumble lifted off his cocked hat.

he would be sent to sea. to a state of brutal stupidity and sullenness by the ill usage he had received. and hold up your head. it being a windy day. When little Oliver was taken before 'the gentlemen' that evening. Withdrawing his other hand from Mr. 'Yes. 'Oliver!' said Mr. Bumble. as a beadle always should: and. Bumble grasped the undertaker by the arm. but it was an unsuccessful one. that night. 24 . Mr. and passed the back of his unoccupied hand briskly across his eyes. he left a tear in them when he looked up at his conductor. that they by common consent pronounced him a hardened young rascal.' Although Oliver did as he was desired.Mr. Bumble thought it expedient to look down. should feel in a great state of virtuous astonishment and horror at the smallest tokens of want of feeling on the part of anybody. and wept until the tears sprung out from between his chin and bony fingers. for life. instead of possessing too little feeling. that Oliver. that he can get enough work out of a boy without putting too much food into him. little Oliver was completely enshrouded by the skirts of Mr. to do what he likes with. Sowerberry was closeted with the board for five minutes. and led him into the building. and that if he complained of his situation. tremulous voice. of all people in the world. in perfect silence. As Mr. in the case of a parish apprentice. It was followed by another.' replied Oliver. about half a foot square by three inches deep--he pulled his cap over his eyes. He heard the news of his destination. at once. or knocked on the head. For some time. he shall have him for a term of years. in a low. and it was arranged that Oliver should go to him that evening 'upon liking'--a phrase which means. and another. and disclosed to great advantage his flapped waistcoat and drab plush knee-breeches. in this particular instance. 'Pull that cap off your eyes. possessed rather too much. Bumble drew Oliver along. that if the master find. they were rather out. sir. Now. was led away by that dignitary to a new scene of suffering. sir. Bumble's coat as they blew open. upon a short trial. The simple fact was. it rolled down his cheek. having had his luggage put into his hand--which was not very difficult to carry. Bumble to remove him forthwith. and informed that he was to go. Mr. for the beadle carried his head very erect. or ever came back to the parish again. however. and was in a fair way of being reduced. The child made a strong effort. there to be drowned. and orered Mr. Mr. and. inasmuch as it was all comprised within the limits of a brown paper parcel. Bumble gazed sternly upon him. as the case might be. as general house-lad to a coffin-maker's. although it was very natural that the board. As they drew near to their destination. with a fit and becoming air of gracious patronage. Bumble's he covered his face with both. and once more attaching himself to Mr. Bumble's coat cuff. he evinced so little emotion. without notice or remark. and see that the boy was in good order for inspection by his new master: which he accordingly did.

he walked on with him in silence. 'he is small. Sowerberry. stopping short. when Mr. 'on our victuals and our drink. Sowerberry. no. clinging to the hand which held the well-known cane. 'Aha!' said the undertaker. Bumble?' 'No one else. hemmed three or four times in a husky manner. indeed I will. you are the--' 'No. with some astonishment. Bumble. Mr. than 25 . 'Well! Of ALL the ungratefullest.' 'Why. sir. 'My dear. 'this is the boy from the workhouse that I told you of. Bumble in amazement. with a vixenish countenance.' bade Oliver dry his eyes and be a good boy.'Well!' exclaimed Mr. sir! So very lonely!' cried the child. 'Oh! that's the boy.' 'Ah! I dare say he will. There's no denying it. he IS rather small.' sobbed Oliver. squeezed-up woman. don't pray be cross to me!' The child beat his hand upon his heart. Sowerberry. who had just putup the shutters of his shop. to get a better view of Oliver. 'Mrs.' replied the beadle. I will be good indeed. looking up from the book. and after muttering something about 'that troublesome cough. Mrs. Sowerberry--he'll grow. sir! I am a very little boy. and pausing in the middle of a word.' said Mr. Sowerberry emerged from a little room behind the shop. Then once more taking his hand. Bumble: looking at Oliver as if it were his fault that he was no bigger. for they always cost more to keep. 'So lonely. and darting at his little charge a look of intense malignity. 'he's very small.' replied the lady pettishly. and worst-disposed boys as ever I see. then. Bumble regarded Oliver's piteous and helpless look. Oh! sir. 'Everybody hates me. and looked in his companion's face. and it is so--so--' 'So what?' inquired Mr. my dear?' Mrs. Oliver. will you have the goodness to come here a moment. But he'll grow. no. was making some entries in his day-book by the light of a most appropriate dismal candle. with tears of real agony. Mr. and presented the form of a short. for a few seconds. is it?' said the undertaker: raising the candle above his head.' Oliver made a bow. 'no. don't. not I.' replied Mr. sir. 'is that you. indeed.' Oliver bowed again. 'Here! I've brought the boy. Bumble entered. deferentially. I see no saving in parish children. The undertaker. sir. 'Dear me!' said the undertaker's wife.

and leading the way upstairs. could have seen Oliver Twist clutching at the dainty viands that the dog had neglected. I wish he could have witnessed the horrible avidity with which Oliver tore the bits asunder with all the ferocity of famine. 26 . the undertaker's wife opened a side door. whose eyes had glistened at the mention of meat. and blue worsted stockings very much out of repair. Sowerberry. 'give this boy some of the cold bits that were put by for Trip. Charlotte. and who was trembling with eagerness to devour it. I suppose? But it doesn't much matter whether you do or don't. whose heart is iron. who had followed Oliver down. Come. 'your bed's under the counter. I wish some well-fed philosopher. and pushed Oliver down a steep flight of stairs into a stone cell. with the same relish. However. I dare say the boy isn't too dainty to eat 'em--are you. boy?' Oliver. so he may go without 'em. He hasn't come home since the morning. whose blood is ice. There is only one thing I should like better. Oliver replied in the affirmative. 'Well.' said the undertaker's wife. for you can't sleep anywhere else.they're worth. Sowerberry: taking up a dim and dirty lamp. little bag o' bones. when Oliver had finished his supper: which she had regarded in silent horror. replied in the negative. You don't mind sleeping among the coffins.' said Mrs. men always think they know best. and a plateful of coarse broken victuals was set before him. wherein sat a slatternly girl. There! Get downstairs. whose meat and drink turn to gall within him. but meekly followed his new mistress. 'Then come with me.' said Mr. in shoes down at heel. and denominated 'kitchen'. and that would be to see the Philosopher making the same sort of meal himself. and with fearful auguries of his future appetite: 'have you done?' There being nothing eatable within his reach. don't keep me here all night!' Oliver lingered no longer.' With this. 'Here. damp and dark: forming the ante-room to the coal-cellar.

was repeated. 'I will. with the tall grass waving gently above his head. and gazed timidly about him with a feeling of awe and dread. being left to himself in the undertaker's shop. But his heart was heavy. lay scattered on the floor. An unfinished coffin on black tressels. directly. HE FORMS AN UNFAVOURABLE NOTION OF HIS MASTER'S BUSINESS Oliver. like high-shouldered ghosts with their hands in their breeches pockets. sir. and a voice began. that that were his coffin. which many people a good deal older than he will be at no loss to understand. the legs desisted.' replied Oliver. and turning the key. with a hearse drawn by four black steeds. before he could huddle on his clothes. The atmosphere seemed tainted with the smell of coffins. to drive him mad with terror.CHAPTER V OLIVER MINGLES WITH NEW ASSOCIATES. the absence of no loved and well-remembered face sank heavily into his heart. will yer?' cried the voice which belonged to the legs which had kicked at the door. in regular array. Oliver was awakened in the morning.' replied Oliver: undoing the chain. 'Open the door. approaching in the distance. 'How old are yer?' inquired the voice. He was alone in a strange place. bright-headed nails. every time his eyes wandered in the direction of the dismal object: from which he almost expected to see some frightful form slowly rear its head. and the wall behind the counter was ornamented with a lively representation of two mutes in very stiff neckcloths. which stood in the middle of the shop. and we all know how chilled and desolate the best of us will sometimes feel in such a situation. looked so gloomy and death-like that a cold tremble came over him. Nor were these the only dismal feelings which depressed Oliver. elm-chips. When he began to undo the chain. and shreds of black cloth. by a loud kicking at the outside of the shop-door: which. set the lamp down on a workman's bench. as he crept into his narrow bed. GOING TO A FUNERAL FOR THE FIRST TIME. 27 . 'I suppose yer the new boy. or to care for him. and that he could be lain in a calm and lasting sleep in the churchyard ground. notwithstanding. The regret of no recent separation was fresh in his mind. The shop was close and hot. Coffin-plates. The recess beneath the counter in which his flock mattress was thrust. in an angry and impetuous manner. looked like a grave. Against the wall were ranged. a long row of elm boards cut in the same shape: looking in the dim light. and the sound of the old deep bell to soothe him in his sleep. ain't yer?' said the voice through the key-hole. sir. and he wished. The boy had no friends to care for. 'Yes. on duty at a large private door. about twenty-five times.

to entertain the smallest doubt that the owner of the voice. my work'us brat!' and having made this obliging promise. and said that Oliver would want one before long. of lumbering make and heavy countenance. 'you just see if I don't. that's all. Sowerberry came down soon after.' condescended to help him. whoever he might be. sir?' inquired Oliver. At this. the charity-boy looked monstrous fierce. 'and you're under me.'Ten. 'Did you want a coffin. with a clasp-knife. having taken down the shutters. in continuation: descending from the top of the post. Oliver. when superadded to these personal attractions are a red nose and yellow smalls. Take down the shutters. Mr. Oliver glanced up the street. 'did you knock?' 'I kicked. 'No. the size of his mouth. innocently. sir. 'Yer don't know who I am. He drew back the bolts with a trembling hand. and then consumed with great dexterity. I suppose. Mr. who had addressed him through the key-hole. for nobody did he see but a big charity-boy. and over the way: impressed with the belief that the unknown. 'I'm Mister Noah Claypole. and broken a pane of glass in his effort to stagger away beneath the weight of the first one to a small court at the side of the house in which they were kept during the day. to warm himself. to look dignified under any circumstances. sitting on a post in front of the house. and opened the door. eating a slice of bread and butter: which he cut into wedges. Oliver had been too often subjected to the process to which the very expressive monosyllable just recorded bears reference.' replied Oliver. Work'us?' said the charity-boy.' rejoined Oliver. would redeem his pledge. and entered the shop with a dignified air. had walked a few paces off.' said the voice. was graciously assisted by Noah: who having consoled him with the assurance that 'he'd catch it. 'Then I'll whop yer when I get in. the voice began to whistle. meanwhile. For a second or two. 'I beg your pardon.' said Oliver at length: seeing that no other visitor made his appearance. small-eyed youth.' replied the charity-boy. yer idle young ruffian!' With this. and down the street. if he cut jokes with his superiors in that way. Claypole administered a kick to Oliver. sir.' said the charity-boy. sir. with edifying gravity. which did him great credit. Shortly 28 . It is difficult for a large-headed. most honourably. but it is more especially so.

but not a workhouse orphan. Neither his father nor his mother will ever interfere with him. Noah. now that fortune had cast in his way a nameless orphan. said. Sowerberry--the shop being shut up--were taking their supper in the little back-parlour. All his relations let him have his own way pretty well. for he could trace his genealogy all the way back to his parents. Mr. you brute!' said Mrs. Eh. 'Come near the fire. 'Well. 'I saved a nice little bit of bacon for you from master's breakfast. he stopped short. 'what a rum creature you are! Why don't you let the boy alone?' 'Let him alone!' said Noah. Noah was a charity-boy. and ate the stale pieces which had been specially reserved for him. The shop-boys in the neighbourhood had long been in the habit of branding Noah in the public streets.afterwards. There's your tea. 'My dear--' He was going to say more. Work'us?' said Noah Claypole. and drink it there. who lived hard by. Noah!' said Charlotte. Mrs. bursting into a hearty laugh. with a peculiarly unpropitious aspect. he retorted on him with interest. discharged with a wooden leg. 29 . D'ye hear?' 'D'ye hear. Sowerberry appeared. It shows us what a beautiful thing human nature may be made to be. you queer soul!' said Charlotte. take it away to that box. and Mrs. in which she was joined by Noah. for they'll want you to mind the shop. at whom even the meanest could point the finger of scorn.' said Mr. Sowerberry looking up. Sowerberry. with the ignominious epithets of 'leathers. and make haste. 'Lor. and his father a drunken soldier. No chance-child was he. his mother being a washerwoman. and Noah had bourne them without reply. after which they both looked scornfully at poor Oliver Twist. followed that young gentleman down the stairs to breakfast. But. and take them bits that I've put out on the cover of the bread-pan. and how impartially the same amiable qualities are developed in the finest lord and the dirtiest charity-boy. Sowerberry.' and the like. my dear. sharply. nothing. Sowerberry.' said Mrs. 'Ugh. Oliver. as he sat shivering on the box in the coldest corner of the room. for the matter of that. Sowerberry. and a diurnal pension of twopence-halfpenny and an unstateable fraction.' in fulfilment of Noah's prediction.' said Charlotte. This affords charming food for contemplation. shut that door at Mister Noah's back. Mrs. but. 'Nothing. Oliver had been sojourning at the undertaker's some three weeks or a month. 'Why everybody lets him alone enough. Charlotte? He! he! he!' 'Oh. when Mr. Oliver having 'caught it.' 'charity. after several deferential glances at his wife.

it would have a superb effect.' As Mrs. my dear. Bumble entered the shop. don't consult me. The occasion was not long in coming. Sowerberry.' interposed Mrs. 'I thought you didn't want to hear. who had a good deal of taste in the undertaking way. proceeded. Sowerberry. but only for children's practice. my dear. Sowerberry looked up with an expression of considerable wonderment. my dear. without allowing time for any observation on the good lady's part. Sowerberry humbly. 'There's an expression of melancholy in his face. under existing circumstances. Mr. pray. Sowerberry to begging. my dear. as a special favour. with this view.' Here. there was another hysterical laugh. 'which is very interesting. but. 'I want to ask your advice. Sowerberry very much. Sowerberry. Sowerberry rightly construed this. for he eats enough.' said Sowerberry. 'But. my dear. my dear. After a short duration. that Oliver should be at once initiated into the mysteries of the trade. Mr. she merely inquired. 30 . 'I am nobody. my love. which frightened Mr. 'It's only about young Twist. that he should accompany his master on the very next occasion of his services being required. the permission was most graciously conceded. she gave an hysterical laugh.' Mrs. This is a very common and much-approved matrimonial course of treatment. as it would have been compromising her dignity to have said so. Sowerberry said this. why such an obvious suggestion had not presented itself to her husband's mind before? Mr. in an affecting manner: 'ask somebody else's. Sowerberry remarked it and. It would be very new to have a mute in proportion. _I_ don't want to intrude upon your secrets. He would make a delightful mute. therefore. don't tell me what you were going to say.' 'No. as an acquiescence in his proposition. no. and. don't ask mine. You may depend upon it. it was speedily determined. was much struck by the novelty of this idea. Sowerberry was most curious to hear. with much sharpness.' said Mr.' resumed Mr. to be allowed to say what Mrs. which threatened violent consequences. Sowerberry.' 'He need be. Half an hour after breakfast next morning.' replied Mrs. Sowerberry. 'A very good-looking boy.' observed the lady. I was only going to say--' 'Oh. which is often very effective It at once reduced Mr. my dear. and supporting his cane against the counter. my dear. that. 'I don't mean a regular mute to attend grown-up people.' Mrs.'Not at all.' said Mr.

too. Mr.--and he sends back word that she shan't take it. 'Obstinate people. sir. fastening the strap of the leathern pocket-book: which. we've got to bury her. He had gone out to dinner. he struck the counter sharply with his cane.' said the beadle. and a porochial funeral afterwards. and so she shan't take it-says she shan't take it. 'Well. Mr.' 'Oh.' 'Ah. like himself. in a fever of parochial excietment. very obstinate. ony a week before-sent 'em for nothing. there's promptness. 'I ne--ver--did--' 'Never did. offhand. 'We only heard of the family the night before last. Sowerberry with a sneer. that's too much.drew forth his large leathern pocket-book: from which he selected a small scrap of paper. 'I never heard the name before. but now she's dead. Bumble's mind in full force. 'Aha!' said the undertaker. looking from the scrap of paper to Mr.' 'Proud. 'and we shouldn't have known anything about them. I'm afraid. eh?' exclaimed Mr.' said the undertaker. and flounced out of the shop 31 . and the sooner it's done. was very corpulent. what's the ungrateful behaviour of these rebels. which he handed over to Sowerberry. 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. indeed!' replied the beadle.' replied Mr. Bumble. Mr. glancing over it with a lively countenance. Sowerberry!' 'So it is.' asquiesced the undertaker. 'an order for a coffin. the husband sends back word that the medicine won't suit his wife's complaint. it's sickening. 'Promptness.' Bumble shook his head. sir? Why. and that's the direction.' Thus saying. the better.' replied the beadle. then. Proud. 'Antimonial. as he replied. strong. with a blackin'-bottle in. sir! Good. but his 'prentice (which is a very clever lad) sent 'em some medicine in a blacking-bottle. and became flushed with indignation. as was given with great success to two Irish labourers and a coal-heaver. wholesome medicine. 'Come. nor nobody never did.' said the undertaker.' said the undertaker. eh?' 'For a coffin first. sir!' As the atrocity presented itself to Mr. sir!' ejaculated the beadle. Sowerberry. Bumble. 'No. 'But what's the consequence. Bumble put on his cocked hat wrong side first. 'Bayton.

'Why, he was so angry, Oliver, that he forgot even to ask after you!' said Mr. Sowerberry, looking after the beadle as he strode down the street. 'Yes, sir,' replied Oliver, who had carefully kept himself out of sight, during the interview; and who was shaking from head to foot at the mere recollection of the sound of Mr. Bumble's voice. He needn't haven taken the trouble to shrink from Mr. Bumble's glance, however; for that functionary, on whom the prediction of the gentleman in the white waistcoat had made a very strong impression, thought that now the undertaker had got Oliver upon trial the subject was better avoided, until such time as he should be firmly bound for seven years, and all danger of his being returned upon the hands of the parish should be thus effectually and legally overcome. 'Well,' said Mr. Sowerberry, taking up his hat. 'the sooner this job is done, the better. Noah, look after the shop. Oliver, put on your cap, and come with me.' Oliver obeyed, and followed his master on his professional mission. They walked on, for some time, through the most crowded and densely inhabited part of the town; and then, striking down a narrow street more dirty and miserable than any they had yet passed through, paused to look for the house which was the object of their search. The houses on either side were high and large, but very old, and tenanted by people of the poorest class: as their neglected appearance would have sufficiently dentoed, without the concurrent testimony afforded by the squalid looks of the few men and women who, with folded arms and bodies half doubled, occasionally skulked along. A great many of the tenements had shop-fronts; but these were fast closed, and mouldering away; only the upper rooms being inhabited. Some houses which had become insecure from age and decay, were prevented from falling into the street, by huge beams of wood reared against the walls, and firmly planted in the road; but even these crazy dens seemed to have been selected as the nightly haunts of some houseless wretches, for many of the rough boards which supplied the place of door and window, were wrenched from their positions, to afford an aperture wide enough for the passage of a human body. The kennel was stagnant and filthy. The very rats, which here and there lay putrefying in its rottenness, were hideous with famine. There was neither knocker nor bell-handle at the open door where Oliver and his master stopped; so, groping his way cautiously through the dark passage, and bidding Oliver keep close to him and not be afraid the undertaker mounted to the top of the first flight of stairs. Stumbling against a door on the landing, he rapped at it with his knuckles. It was opened by a young girl of thirteen or fourteen. The undertaker at once saw enough of what the room contained, to know it was the apartment to which he had been directed. He stepped in; Oliver followed him. There was no fire in the room; but a man was crouching, mechanically, over the empty stove. An old woman, too, had drawn a low stool to the cold hearth, and

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

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

So, they put the bier on the brink of the grave; and the two mourners waited patiently in the damp clay, with a cold rain drizzling down, 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. Mr. Sowerberry and Bumble, being personal friends of the clerk, sat by the fire with him, and read the paper.

At length, after a lapse of something more than an hour, Mr. Bumble, and Sowerberry, and the clerk, were seen running towards the grave. Immediately afterwards, the clergyman appeared: putting on his surplice as he came along. Mr. Bumble then thrashed a boy or two, to keep up appearances; and the reverend gentleman, having read as much of the burial service as could be compressed into four minutes, gave his surplice to the clerk, and walked away again. 'Now, Bill!' said Sowerberry to the grave-digger. 'Fill up!' It was no very difficult task, for the grave was so full, that the uppermost coffin was within a few feet of the surface. The grave-digger shovelled in the earth; stamped it loosely down with his feet: shouldered his spade; and walked off, followed by the boys, who murmured very loud complaints at the fun being over so soon. 'Come, my good fellow!' said Bumble, tapping the man on the back. 'They want to shut up the yard.' The man who had never once moved, since he had taken his station by the grave side, started, raised his head, stared at the person who had addressed him, walked forward for a few paces; and fell down in a swoon. The crazy old woman was too much occupied in bewailing the loss of her cloak (which the undertaker had taken off), to pay him any attention; so they threw a can of cold water over him; and when he came to, saw him safely out of the churchyard, locked the gate, and departed on their different ways. 'Well, Oliver,' said Sowerberry, as they walked home, 'how do you like it?' 'Pretty well, thank you, sir' replied Oliver, with considerable hesitation. 'Not very much, sir.' 'Ah, you'll get used to it in time, Oliver,' said Sowerberry. 'Nothing when you ARE used to it, my boy.' Oliver wondered, in his own mind, whether it had taken a very long time to get Mr. Sowerberry used to it. But he thought it better not to ask the question; and walked back to the shop: thinking over all he had seen and heard.


CHAPTER VI OLIVER, BEING GOADED BY THE TAUNTS OF NOAH, ROUSES INTO ACTION, AND RATHER ASTONISHES HIM The month's trial over, Oliver was formally apprenticed. It was a nice sickly season just at this time. In commercial phrase, coffins were looking up; and, in the course of a few weeks, Oliver acquired a great deal of experience. The success of Mr. Sowerberry's ingenious speculation, exceeded even his most sanguine hopes. The oldest inhabitants recollected no period at which measles had been so prevalent, or so fatal to infant existence; and many were the mournful processions which little Oliver headed, in a hat-band reaching down to his knees, to the indescribable admiration and emotion of all the mothers in the town. As Oliver accompanied his master in most of his adult expeditions too, in order that he might acquire that equanimity of demeanour and full command of nerve which was 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; when Sowerberry had an order for the burial of some rich old lady or gentleman, who was surrounded by a great number of nephews and nieces, who had been perfectly inconsolable during the previous illness, and whose grief had been wholly irrepressible even on the most public occasions, they would be as happy among themselves as need be--quite cheerful and contented--conversing together with as much freedom and gaiety, as if nothing whatever had happened to disturb them. Husbands, too, bore the loss of their wives with the most heroic calmness. Wives, again, put on weeds for their husbands, as if, so far from grieving in the garb of sorrow, they had made up their minds to render it as becoming and attractive as possible. It was observable, too, that ladies and gentlemen who were in passions of anguish during the ceremony of interment, recovered almost as soon as they reached home, and became quite composed before the tea-drinking was over. All this was very pleasant and improving to see; and Oliver beheld it with great admiration. That Oliver Twist was moved to resignation by the example of these good people, I cannot, although I am his biographer, undertake to affirm with any degree of confidence; but I can most distinctly say, that for many months he continued meekly to submit to the domination and ill-treatment of Noah Claypole: who used him far worse than before, now that his jealousy was roused by seeing the new boy promoted to the black stick and hatband, while he, the old one, remained stationary in the muffin-cap and leathers. Charlotte treated him ill, because Noah did; and Mrs. Sowerberry was his decided enemy, because Mr. Sowerberry was disposed to be his friend; so, between these three on one side, and a glut of funerals on the other, Oliver was not altogether as comfortable as the hungry pig was, when he was shut up, by mistake, in the grain department of a brewery.


And now, I come to a very important passage in Oliver's history; for I have to record an act, slight and unimportant perhaps in appearance, but which indirectly produced a material change in all his future prospects and proceedings. One day, Oliver and Noah had descended into the kitchen at the usual dinnerhour, to banquet upon a small joint of mutton--a pound and a half of the worst end of the neck--when Charlotte being called out of the way, there ensued a brief interval of time, which Noah Claypole, being hungry and vicious, considered he could not possibly devote to a worthier purpose than aggravating and tantalising young Oliver Twist. Intent upon this innocent amusement, Noah put his feet on the table-cloth; and pulled Oliver's hair; and twitched his ears; and expressed his opinion that he was a 'sneak'; and furthermore announced his intention of coming to see him hanged, whenever that desirable event should take place; and entered upon various topics of petty annoyance, like a malicious and ill-conditioned charityboy as he was. But, making Oliver cry, Noah attempted to be more facetious still; and in his attempt, did what many sometimes do to this day, when they want to be funny. He got rather personal. 'Work'us,' said Noah, 'how's your mother?' 'She's dead,' replied Oliver; 'don't you say anything about her to me!' Oliver's colour rose as he said this; he breathed quickly; and there was a curious working of the mouth and nostrils, which Mr. Claypole thought must be the immediate precursor of a violent fit of crying. Under this impression he returned to the charge. 'What did she die of, Work'us?' said Noah. 'Of a broken heart, some of our old nurses told me,' replied Oliver: more as if he were talking to himself, than answering Noah. 'I think I know what it must be to die of that!' 'Tol de rol lol lol, right fol lairy, Work'us,' said Noah, as a tear rolled down Oliver's cheek. 'What's set you a snivelling now?' 'Not YOU,' replied Oliver, sharply. 'There; that's enough. Don't say anything more to me about her; you'd better not!' 'Better not!' exclaimed Noah. 'Well! Better not! Work'us, don't be impudent. YOUR mother, too! She was a nice 'un she was. Oh, Lor!' And here, Noah nodded his head expressively; and curled up as much of his small red nose as muscular action could collect together, for the occasion. 'Yer know, Work'us,' continued Noah, emboldened by Oliver's silence, and speaking in a jeering tone of affected pity: of all tones the most annoying: 'Yer

know, Work'us, it can't be helped now; and of course yer couldn't help it then; and I am very sorry for it; and I'm sure we all are, and pity yer very much. But yer must know, Work'us, yer mother was a regular right-down bad 'un.' 'What did you say?' inquired Oliver, looking up very quickly. 'A regular right-down bad 'un, Work'us,' replied Noah, coolly. 'And it's a great deal better, Work'us, that she died when she did, or else she'd have been hard labouring in Bridewell, or transported, or hung; which is more likely than either, isn't it?' Crimson with fury, Oliver started up; overthrew the chair and table; seized Noah by the throat; shook him, in the violence of his rage, till his teeth chattered in his head; and collecting his whole force into one heavy blow, felled him to the ground. A minute ago, the boy had looked the quiet child, mild, dejected creature that harsh treatment had made him. But his spirit was roused at last; the cruel insult to his dead mother had set his blood on fire. His breast heaved; his attitude was erect; his eye bright and vivid; his whole person changed, as he stood glaring over the cowardly tormentor who now lay crouching at his feet; and defied him with an energy he had never known before. 'He'll murder me!' blubbered Noah. 'Charlotte! missis! Here's the new boy a murdering of me! Help! help! Oliver's gone mad! Char--lotte!' Noah's shouts were responded to, by a loud scream from Charlotte, and a louder from Mrs. Sowerberry; the former of whom rushed into the kitchen by a side-door, while the latter paused on the staircase till she was quite certain that it was consistent with the preservation of human life, to come further down. 'Oh, you little wretch!' screamed Charlotte: seizing Oliver with her utmost force, which was about equal to that of a moderately strong man in particularly good training. 'Oh, you little un-grate-ful, mur-de-rous, hor-rid villain!' And between every syllable, Charlotte gave Oliver a blow with all her might: accompanying it with a scream, for the benefit of society. Charlotte's fist was by no means a light one; but, lest it should not be effectual in calming Oliver's wrath, Mrs. Sowerberry plunged into the kitchen, and assisted to hold him with one hand, while she scratched his face with the other. In this favourable position of affairs, Noah rose from the ground, and pommelled him behind. This was rather too violent exercise to last long. When they were all wearied out, and could tear and beat no longer, they dragged Oliver, struggling and shouting, but nothing daunted, into the dust-cellar, and there locked him up. This being done, Mrs. Sowerberry sunk into a chair, and burst into tears.


' Noah stopped to make no reply. and he'll kick that door down in ten minutes. whose top waistcoat-button might have been somewhere on a level with the crown of Oliver's head. Make haste!' 'Oh! Charlotte. Noah. ma'am. It'll keep the swelling down. 'Run to Mr. she's going off!' said Charlotte. and a sufficiency of cold water. that are born to be murderers and robbers from their very cradle. ma'am. 'Your master's not at home. Bumble. and very much it astonished the people who were out walking. dear. rendered this occurance highly probable. dear! I don't know.' suggested Mr. Poor Noah! He was all but killed. I only hope this'll teach master not to have any more of these dreadful creatures. never mind your cap! Make haste! You can hold a knife to that black eye. but started off at his fullest speed. 'What's to be done!' exclaimed Mrs. 'unless we send for the policeofficers. and not to lose a minute. Claypole.' 'Poor fellow!' said Mrs. to see a charity-boy tearing through the streets pell-mell. and a clasp-knife at his eye. Noah.' said Charlotte.' 'Or the millingtary.' Oliver's vigorous plunges against the bit of timber in question. what a mercy we have not all been murdered in our beds!' 'Ah! mercy indeed. which Noah had poured over her head and shoulders. there's not a man in the house. Noah. 39 . and performed some affecting tears and sniffs. with no cap on his head. 'Dear. rubbed his eyes with the inside of his wrists while this commiseration was bestowed upon him.' said Mrs. no. when I come in. Sowerberry: looking piteously on the charity-boy.' was the reply. Sowerberry: speaking as well as she could. Sowerberry. as you run along.'Bless her. through a deficiency of breath. and tell him to come here directly. 'No. Sowerberry: bethinking herself of Oliver's old friend. 'A glass of water. ma'am.' said Mrs. 'Oh! Charlotte.

no. sir. Noah?' 'No. 'Oh. Mr. sir!' said Noah: 'Oliver. and inquired what that young cur was howling for. and why Mr. who happened to be hard by.CHAPTER VII OLIVER CONTINUES REFRACTORY Noah Claypole ran along the streets at his swiftest pace. he imparted additional effect thereunto. please.' replied Noah. that even he. wit well-affected dismay: and in tones so loud and agitated. that they not only caught the ear of Mr. from which he was at that moment suffering the acutest torture. sir. sir. Bumble: with a gleam of pleasure in his metallic eyes. --which is a very curious and remarkable circumstance: as showing that even a beadle. Bumble did not favour him with something which would render the series of vocular exclamations so designated. Oh! what dreadful pain it is! Such agony. what's the matter with the boy!' said the old pauper. --Oliver has--' 'What? What?' interposed Mr. of the gentleman aforesaid. sir!' And here. Bumble. by bewailing his dreadful wounds ten times louder than before. started back in astonishment. 'Not run away. 'Why. and when he observed a gentleman in a white waistcoat crossing the yard. for a minute or so. an involuntary process? 40 . 'Mr. and forgetfulness of personal dignity. sir. but he's turned wicious. he hasn't run away. has he. Bumble himself. he knocked loudly at the wicket. and presented such a rueful face to the aged pauper who opened it. when he turned angrily round. Having rested here. but alarmed him so much that he rushed into the yard without his cocked hat. he had sustained severe internal injury and damage. until he reached the workhouse-gate. he was more tragic in his lamentations than ever: rightly conceiving it highly expedient to attract the notice. may be afflicted with a momentary visitation of loss of self-possession. The gentleman's notice was very soon attracted. Bumble!' cried Noah. and then missis. Noah writhed and twisted his body into an extensive variety of eel-like positions. and paused not once for breath. Bumble to understand that. who saw nothing but rueful faces about him at the best of times. When Noah saw that the intelligence he communicated perfectly paralysed Mr. to collect a good burst of sobs and an imposing show of tears and terror. and rouse the indignation. for he had not walked three paces. Bumble. Bumble! Mr. and then he tried to murder Charlotte. acted upon a sudden and powerful impulse. thereby giving Mr. from the violent and sanguinary onset of Oliver Twist. Not run away. 'He tried to murder me.

Bumble. 'He said he wanted to. adjusted to their owner's satisfaction.' 'By Jove!' exclaimed the gentleman in the white waistcoat.'It's a poor boy from the free-school. Bumble judged it prudent to parley.' replied the beadle. certainly. before opening the door. applying his mouth to the keyhole.' said the gentleman in the white waistcoat: smiling benignly. Don't spare him. from the inside.' replied Mr. sir. too. did he. Bumble and Noah Claypole betook themselves with all speed to the undertaker's shop. sir. 'Yes. With this view he gave a kick at the outside. you let me out!' replied Oliver. by way of prelude. sir. were of so startling a nature.' 'Certainly. then. to murder the female servant. 'I knew it! I felt a strange presentiment from the very first. 'Do you know this here voice. Here's a penny for you. and flog him-. which was about three inches higher than his own. Bumble. missis wants to know whether Mr. 'You're a good boy--a very good boy. 'who has been nearly murdered--all but murdered. --by young Twist. Oliver?' said Mr. that that audacious young savage would come to be hung!' 'He has likewise attempted. Sowerberry and Charlotte. And the cocked hat and cane having been. Bumble. 'And his master.' 'Ah! Said he wanted to. Noah?' added Mr. Bumble. 'And please. The accounts of his ferocity as related by Mrs. 'And his missis.' replied Noah. by this time. Here the position of affairs had not at all improved.'cause master's out. and patting Noah's head. Mr.' 'No. sir. Claypole. and.' interposed Mr. sir. and Oliver continued to kick. in a deep and impressive tone: 'Oliver!' 'Come. I think you said.' replied Noah. or he would have murdered him. my boy.' said Mr. that Mr. Bumble. my boy?' inquired the gentleman in the white waistcoat. 'No! he's out. at the cellardoor. I will not. stopping short. Bumble can spare time to step up there. with undiminished vigour. said. sir. Bumble. directly. Sowerberry had not yet returned. 41 . and seed what's best to be done. with a face of ashy paleness. just step up to Sowerberry's with your cane.

who are practical philosophers. Mrs. ma'am. he must be mad. ma'am. You've raised a artificial soul and spirit in him. is to leave him in the cellar for a day or so. Bumble. 'the only thing that can be done now. sir? Ain't you a-trembling while I speak. or deed. recommenced kicking. and looked from one to another of the three bystanders. so there was a great deal of meekness and self-devotion in her voluntarily remaining under Mr. in mute astonishment. Excitable natures. you know. 'Ah!' said Mr. ma'am unbecoming a person of his condition: as the board. meat. Bumble's heavy accusation. with stern emphasis. Sowerberry. piously raising her eyes to the kitchen ceiling: 'this comes of being liberal!' The liberality of Mrs. that that mother of his made her way here.' said Mrs. If you had kept the boy on gruel. Sowerberry. this would never have happened. Bumble. and then to take him out. after a few moments of deep meditation. he 42 . will tell you. He stepped back from the keyhole. Bumble's discourse. sir?' said Mr. Oliver's offence having been explained to him.'Yes.' At this point of Mr. 'No boy in half his senses could venture to speak so to you. Sowerberry returned at this juncture. weeks before.' replied Bumble.' 'What?' exclaimed Mrs.' replied Oliver.' 'It's not Madness. 'Ain't you afraid of it. Bumble. An answer so different from the one he had expected to elicit. boldly. 'You've over-fed him. ma'am. 'Oh. and keep him on gruel all through the apprenticeship. 'It's Meat. Mrs. just hearing enough to know that some allusion was being made to his mother. and was in the habit of receiving. with a violence that rendered every other sound inaudible. drew himself up to his full height.' replied Mr. Oliver. word. that I know of. Sowerberry to Oliver. staggered Mr. 'Meat. with such exaggerations as the ladies thought best calculated to rouse his ire. Bumble not a little.' 'Dear. What have paupers to do with soul or spirit? It's quite enough that we let 'em have live bodies. Mr. He comes of a bad family. when the lady brought her eyes down to earth again. had consisted of a profuse bestowal upon him of all the dirty odds and ends which nobody else would eat. ma'am. Sowerberry. dear!' ejaculated Mrs. in thought. against difficulties and pain that would have killed any well-disposed woman. she was wholly innocent. Of which. Bumble. till he's a little starved down. Sowerberry! Both the nurse and doctor said. Sowerberry. 'No!' replied Oliver. to do her justice.

it must be quite clear to every experienced reader that he would have been.' replied Oliver. But now. and dragged his rebellious apprentice out. and rendered Mr. his face was bruised and scratched. you little ungrateful wretch?' said Mrs. an insulting creature. and various other agreeable characters too numerous for recital within the limits of this chapter. Sowerberry burst into a flood of tears. by no means complimentary to the memory of his mother.unlocked the cellar-door in a twinkling. The angry flush had not disappeared. he had borne the lash without a cry: for he felt that pride swelling in his heart which would have kept down a shriek to the last. Sowerberry. Bumble's subsequent application of the parochial cane. a brute. 'She deserved what he said. because it was his interest to be so. 'Now. ain't you?' said Sowerberry. and. as far as his power went--it was not very extensive--kindly disposed towards the boy. The flood of tears. For the rest of the day. a base imitation of a man. that Oliver gave way to the feelings which the day's treatment may be supposed likely to have awakened in a mere child. Oliver's clothes had been torn in the beating he had received. and a box on the ear. and worse. he scowled boldly on Noah. an unnatural husband. by the collar. rather unnecessary. 'It's a lie!' said Oliver. hiding his face 43 . which satisfied even Mrs. perhaps. according to all precedents in disputes of matrimony established. he was. This flood of tears left Mr. and at night. Sowerberry herself. ordered him upstairs to his dismal bed. perhaps. Sowerberry. he fell upon his knees on the floor. he was shut up in the back kitchen. and his hair scattered over his forehead. and what if he did. 'She did. It was not until he was left alone in the silence and stillness of the gloomy workshop of the undertaker. Mrs. however. If he had hesitated for one instant to punish Oliver most severely. when there were none to see or hear him. though they had roasted him alive. you are a nice young fellow. Sowerberry no alternative. because his wife disliked him. and looked quite undismayed. however. 'He called my mother names. and. To do him justice. 'Well.' 'She didn't' said Oliver. giving Oliver a shake. Sowerberry. so he at once gave him a drubbing. amidst the jeers and pointings of Noah and Charlotte.' said Mrs. Mrs. after making various remarks outside the door. left him no resource. in company with a pump and a slice of bread. looked into the room. and when he was pulled out of his prison. He had listened to their taunts with a look of contempt.

toiling up the hill. and listened intently. Oliver stopped.' replied the child. uncertain whither to fly. wept such tears as. They had been beaten. The stars seemed. Besides. from being so still. dark night. and he half resolved to turn back. to the boy's eyes. as he stopped. and again unbarred the door. as they went out. he gently undid the fastenings of the door. He took the same route. led out again into the road. He reached the house. as the boy ran to the gate. Bumble. He softly reclosed the door. One timid look around--one moment's pause of hesitation--he had closed it behind him. He looked to the right and to the left. His way lay directly in front of the cottage. A child was weeding one of the little beds. and arriving at a footpath across the fields: which he knew. He had come a long way though. so he walked on. His heart beat quickly when he bethought himself of this. Oliver felt glad to see him. Along this same footpath. and looked abroad. to wait for morning. and thrust his thin arm between the rails to greet him. Oliver well-remembered he had trotted beside Mr. when he first carried him to the workhouse from the farm.in his hands. farther from the earth than he had ever seen them before. and should lose a great deal of time by doing so. and the sombre shadows thrown by the trees upon the ground. and walked quickly on. He remembered to have seen the waggons. though younger than himself. and peeped into the garden. Oliver remained motionless in this attitude. and shut up together. sat himself down upon a bench. there was no wind. It was a cold. With the first ray of light that struggled through the crevices in the shutters. The candle was burning low in the socket when he rose to his feet. Dick!' said Oliver. 'Is any one up?' 'Nobody but me. God send for the credit of our nature. it was so early that there was very little fear of his being seen. and was in the open street. before he went. struck into it. Having availed himself of the expiring light of the candle to tie up in a handkerchief the few articles of wearing apparel he had. Oliver arose. 44 . and starved. for. looked sepulchral and deathlike. after some distance. he had been his little friend and playmate. few so young may ever have cause to pour out before him! For a long time. 'Hush. There was no appearance of its inmates stirring at that early hour. he raised his pale face and disclosed the features of one of his former companions. Having gazed cautiously round him. many and many a time.

and Angels. I will. and troubles and changes. and flinging his little arms round Oliver's neck. I know I shall! You will be well and happy!' 'I hope so. climbing up the low gate. 'I am running away. don't stop!' 'Yes. he never once forgot it. 'I shall see you again. How pale you are!' 'I heard the doctor tell them I was dying.' replied Oliver. dear! God bless you!' The blessing was from a young child's lips. Oliver.' said Oliver. 'After I am dead. Kiss me. They beat and ill-use me. dear. Dick. some long way off. but don't stop. and I am going to seek my fortune. because I dream so much of Heaven. and kind faces that I never see when I am awake. I know the doctor must be right.'You musn't say you saw me. but it was the first that Oliver had ever heard invoked upon his head.' said the child. yes. 'I am very glad to see you. but not before. Dick. of his after life. and through the struggles and sufferings. 45 . Dick. to say good-b'ye to you. I don't know where. 'Good-b'ye.' replied the child with a faint smile.' replied the child.

He had diminished the distance between himself and London by full four miles more. although they were extremely ready and active to point out his difficulties. It was eight o'clock now. He had a crust of bread. Oliver walked twenty miles that day. and all that time tasted nothing but the crust of dry bread. and that there were ways of living in that vast city. and so is a penny. which those who had been bred up in country parts had no idea of. before he recollected how much he must undergo ere he could hope to reach his place of destination. It was the very place for a homeless boy. and meditated upon his means of getting there. for the wind moaned dismally over the empty fields: and he was cold and hungry. He felt frightened at first. Then he sat down to rest by the side of the milestone. Being very tired with his walk. he jumped upon his feet. Bumble--could ever find him there! He had often heard the old men in the workhouse. like those of most other people. who must die in the streets unless some one helped him. and more alone than he had ever felt before. Though he was nearly five miles away from the town. determined to lie there. but they small helps to a sixty-five miles' walk in winter time. and trudged on. by turns. and began to think. where he had better go and try to live. 'A clean shirt. As this consideration forced itself upon him. say that no lad of spirit need want in London.' But Oliver's thoughts. so. 46 . however. When the night came. and again walked forward. 'is a very comfortable thing.' thought Oliver. a coarse shirt. and so are two pairs of darned stockings. The stone by which he was seated. creeping close under a hay-rick. which he begged at the cottage-doors by the road-side. he slackened his pace a little. and once more gained the high-road. and hid behind the hedges. and two pairs of stockings. London!--that great place!--nobody--not even Mr. he changed his little bundle over to the other shoulder. and a few draughts of water.CHAPTER VIII OLIVER WALKS TO LONDON. bore. too. after a good deal of thinking to no particular purpose. till morning. for the first time. The name awakened a new train of ideas in the boy's mind. an intimation that it was just seventy miles from that spot to London. he soon fell asleep and forgot his troubles. till noon: fearing that he might be pursued and overtaken. HE ENCOUNTERS ON THE ROAD A STRANGE SORT OF YOUNG GENTLEMAN Oliver reached the stile at which the by-path terminated. and. he ran. he turned into a meadow. in large characters. were wholly at a loss to suggest any feasible mode of surmounting them. He had a penny too--a gift of Sowerberry's after some funeral in which he had acquitted himself more than ordinarily well--in his pocket. As these things passed through his thoughts. in his bundle.

or troubled themselves to inquire how he came there. they talked about the beadle-which brought Oliver's heart into his mouth. when night closed in again. and then begged of the outside passengers. He waited at the bottom of a steep hill till a stage-coach came up. but there were very few who took any notice of him: and even those told him to wait till they got to the top of the hill. that they sank deeper into Oliver's soul. or turned round to stare at him as they hurried by. who had a shipwrecked grandson wandering barefoot in some distant part of the earth. and his legs so weak that they trembled beneath him. Poor Oliver tried to keep up with the coach a little way. upon a door-step. When the outsides saw this. His feet were sore. If he begged at a farmer's house. In others. Another night passed in the bleak damp air. the window-blinds were drawn up. ten to one but they threatened to set the dog on him. to drive that strange boy out of the place. 47 . in other words. in the very first village through which he passed. he would most assuredly have fallen dead upon the king's highway. He had walked no more than twelve miles. by reason of his fatigue and sore feet. but was unable to do it. declaring that he was an idle young dog. He had no heart to beg. but the light only served to show the boy his own lonesomeness and desolation.He felt cold and stiff. and such tears of sympathy and compassion. and people began passing to and fro. By degrees. for many hours together. if it had not been for a good-hearted turnpike-man. the shutters were opened. when he got up next morning. Oliver's troubles would have been shortened by the very same process which had put an end to his mother's. and then let them see how far he could run for a halfpenny. they put their halfpence back into their pockets again. and the coach rattled away and left only a cloud of dust behind. The window-shutters were closed. The sun was rising in all its splendid beauty. and when he showed his nose in a shop. and gave him what little she could afford--and more--with such kind and gently words. Oliver limped slowly into the little town of Barnet. But the turnpike-man gave him a meal of bread and cheese. he would stand about the inn-yards. and look mournfully at every one who passed: a proceeding which generally terminated in the landlady's ordering one of the post-boys who were lounging about. as he sat. large painted boards were fixed up: warning all persons who begged within the district. when he set forward on his journey next morning he could hardly crawl along. took pity upon the poor orphan. In some villages. And there he sat. with bleeding feet and covered with dust. Early on the seventh morning after he had left his native place. but none relieved him. than all the sufferings he had ever undergone.--very often the only thing he had there. that they would be sent to jail. made him worse. Some few stopped to gaze at Oliver for a moment or two. This frightened Oliver very much. and the old lady. the street was empty. In fact. not a soul had awakened to the business of the day. and a benevolent old lady. and so hungry that he was obliged to exchange the penny for a small loaf. and didn't deserve anything. for she was sure he had come to steal something. and made him glad to get out of those villages with all possible expedition.

He was. 'My eyes. eh? But. was about his own age: but one of the queerest looking boys that Oliver had even seen. than 48 . common-faced boy enough.' 'Walking for sivin days!' said the young gentleman. 'I suppose you don't know what a beak is. Beak's order. and as dirty a juvenile as one would wish to see.He had been crouching on the step for some time: wondering at the great number of public-houses (every other house in Barnet was a tavern.' Oliver mildly replied. very often. I see. who had passed him carelessly some minutes before. and when you walk by a beak's order. which reached nearly to his heels. it's not straight forerd. for there he kept them. 'Hullo.' replied Oliver: the tears standing in his eyes as he spoke. 'I have walked a long way. but he had about him all the airs and manners of a man. THE mill--the mill as takes up so little room that it'll work inside a Stone Jug. that it threatened to fall off every moment--and would have done so. the boy crossed over. ugly eyes. 'Why. flat-browed. with ease. or something less. sharp. He was a snub-nosed. said 'Hullo. my covey! What's the row?' said this strange young gentleman to Oliver.' he added. which brought it back to its old place again. and returned his steady look. and walking close up to Oliver. I have been walking these seven days. and little. a beak's a madgst'rate. what it had taken him a whole week of courage and determination beyond his years to accomplish: when he was roused by observing that a boy. gazing listlessly at the coaches as they passed through. He took little heed of this at first. He wore a man's coat. 'I am very hungry and tired. had returned. how green!' exclaimed the young gentleman. in a few hours. and thinking how strange it seemed that they could do. Was you never on the mill?' 'What mill?' inquired Oliver. He had turned the cuffs back. noticing Oliver's look of surprise. but always agoing up. His hat was stuck on the top of his head so lightly. large or small). and was now surveying him most earnestly from the opposite side of the way. my covey! What's the row?' The boy who addressed this inquiry to the young wayfarer. and niver a coming down agin. altogether. that he had always heard a bird's mouth described by the term in question. as roystering and swaggering a young gentleman as ever stood four feet six. He was short of his age: with rather bow-legs. that Oliver raised his head. and always goes better when the wind's low with people. in the bluchers. half-way up his arm. if the wearer had not had a knack of every now and then giving his head a sudden twitch. to get his hands out of the sleeves: apparently with the ultimated view of thrusting them into the pockets of his corduroy trousers. 'What mill! Why. my flash com-pan-i-on. Upon this. but the boy remained in the same attitude of close observation so long. 'Oh.

Taking the bread under his arm. And don't he know me? Oh.' answered Oliver. wot'll give you lodgings for nothink. as far as the big coat-sleeves would let them go. 'I've got to be in London to-night. 'Yes. indeed. and led the way to a tap-room in the rear of the premises. and put his arms into his pockets. and I know a 'spectable old gentleman as lives there. as far as it goes. during the progress of which the strange boy eyed him from time to time with great attention. the young gentlman turned into a small publichouse. if any genelman he knows interduces you. don't you?' 'I do. or. and Oliver. as he himself expressed it. by direction of the mysterious youth. 'you want grub. and stuffing it therein.' The strange boy whistled. 'Yes. Up with you on your pins. I'll fork out and stump. 'I have not slept under a roof since I left the country.' 'Money?' 'No.when it's high. 'a fourpenny bran!' the ham being kept clean and preserved from dust. a pot of beer was brought in.' 'Got any lodgings?' 'No. 'I suppose you want some place to sleep in to-night. Certainly not!' 49 . Here. falling to. and you shall have it. But come. 'Going to London?' said the strange boy. I'm at low-water-mark myself-only one bob and a magpie. where he purchased a sufficiency of ready-dressed ham and a halfquartern loaf. when I'm at home.' 'Don't fret your eyelids on that score.' replied the boy. the young gentleman took him to an adjacent chandler's shop. I do. no! Not in the least! By no means. but. when Oliver had at length concluded. acos then they can't get workmen. 'Do you live in London?' inquired Oliver.' said the young gentleman. by the ingenious expedient of making a hole in the loaf by pulling out a portion of the crumb. There! Now then! Morrice!' Assisting Oliver to rise. made a long and hearty meal. and never ask for the change--that is.' said the young gentleman. at his new friend's bidding.

even at that time of night. as he had a rather flightly and dissolute mode of conversing. without loss of time. Mr. as he passed along.The young gentelman smiled. were the public-houses. would doubtless provide Oliver with a comfortable place. if he found the Dodger incorrigible. the lowest orders of Irish were wrangling with might and main. This unexpected offer of shelter was too tempting to be resisted. where drunken men and women were positively wallowing in filth. who. it was nearly eleven o'clock when they reached the turnpike at Islington. and in them. catching him by the arm. The sole places that seemed to prosper amid the general blight of the place. bound. especially as it was immediately followed up. Covered ways and yards. Oliver was just considering whether he hadn't better run away. when they reached the bottom of the hill. but the only stock in trade appeared to be heaps of children. and furthermore avowed that among his intimate friends he was better known by the sobriquet of 'The Artful Dodger. down the little court by the side of the workhouse. thence into Little Saffron Hill. as if to intimate that the latter fragments of discourse were playfully ironical. great ill-looking fellows were cautiously emerging. There were a good many small shops. and that he was a peculiar pet and protege of the elderly gentleman before mentioned. John's Road. through Exmouth Street and Coppice Row. he could not help bestowing a few hasty glances on either side of the way. or screaming from the inside. to decline the honour of his farther acquaintance. the moral precepts of his benefactor had hitherto been thrown away upon him. pushed 50 . and from several of the door-ways. They crossed from the Angel into St. and. His conductor. directing Oliver to follow close at his heels. as he more than half suspected he should. and the air was impregnated with filthy odours. were crawling in and out at the doors. As John Dawkins objected to their entering London before nightfall. Under this impression. Although Oliver had enough to occupy his attention in keeping sight of his leader. but. being of a dissipated and careless turn. by the assurance that the old gentleman referred to. This led to a more friendly and confidential dialogue. which here and there diverged from the main street. The street was very narrow and muddy. Dawkin's appearance did not say a vast deal in favour of the comforts which his patron's interest obtained for those whom he took under his protection. he secretly resolved to cultivate the good opinion of the old gentleman as quickly as possible. and so into Saffron Hill the Great: along which the Dodger scudded at a rapid pace. disclosed little knots of houses. A dirtier or more wretched place he had never seen. to all appearance. across the classic ground which once bore the name of Hockley-in-the-Hole. struck down the small street which terminates at Sadler's Wells Theatre. from which Oliver discovered that his friend's name was Jack Dawkins. on no very well-disposed or harmless errands.' Oliver concluded that. and finished the beer as he did so.

thrusting the candle farther out. Seated round the table were four or five boys.' replied Jack Dawkins. a loaf and butter.open the door of a house near Field Lane. 'my friend Oliver Twist. and a plate. Oliver. and seemed to be dividing his attention between the frying-pan and the clothes-horse. for the light of a feeble candle gleamed on the wall at the remote end of the passage. He threw open the door of a back-room. 'This is him. some sausages were cooking. In a fryingpan. then!' cried a voice from below. These all crowded about their associate as he whispered a few words to the Jew. 'Plummy and slam!' was the reply. none older than the Dodger. and drinking spirits with the air of middle-aged men. was a very old shrivelled Jew. were huddled side by side on the floor. whose villainous-looking and repulsive face was obscured by a quantity of matted red hair. There was a deal table before the fire: upon which were a candle. from where a balustrade of the old kitchen staircase had been broken away. This seemed to be some watchword or signal that all was right. 'Where did he come from?' 'Greenland.' said the man. 'There's two on you. pulling Oliver forward. smoking long clay pipes. and drawing him into the passage. and shielding his eyes with his hand. and having the other firmly grasped by his companion. which was on the fire. He was dressed in a greasy flannel gown. Several rough beds made of old sacks. Is Fagin upstairs?' 'Yes. and a man's face peeped out. and the face disappeared. over which a great number of silk handkerchiefsl were hanging. he's a sortin' the wipes. with his throat bare. and which was secured to the mantelshelf by a string. 'Now. groping his way with one hand. two or three pewter pots. stuck in a gingerbeer bottle. in reply to a whistle from the Dodger.' 51 .' said Jack Dawkins. Fagin. and then turned round and grinned at Oliver. and standing over them. Up with you!' The candle was drawn back. 'Who's the t'other one?' 'A new pal. with a toastingfork in his hand. closed it behind them. So did the Jew himself. toasting-fork in hand. ascended with much difficulty the dark and broken stairs: which his conductor mounted with an ease and expedition that showed he was well acquainted with them. The walls and ceiling of the room were perfectly black with age and dirt. and drew Oliver in after him.

One young gentleman was very anxious to hang up his cap for him. Ah. making a low obeisance to Oliver. took him by the hand. you're a-staring at the pocket-handkerchiefs! eh. but for a liberal exercise of the Jew's toasting-fork on the heads and shoulders of the affectionate youths who offered them. 'We are very glad to see you. and hoped he should have the honour of his intimate acquaintance. when he went to bed. Immediately afterwards he felt himself gently lifted on to one of the sacks. very. and then he sunk into a deep sleep. Oliver did as he was desired. and draw a tub near the fire for Oliver. These civilities would probably be extended much farther. because another gentleman wanted the tumbler. that's all. he might not have the trouble of emptying them. and shook both his hands very hard--especially the one in which he held his little bundle. There are a good many of 'em. the young gentleman with the pipes came round him. ain't there? We've just looked 'em out. and another was so obliging as to put his hands in his pockets.The Jew grinned. that's all. In the midst of which they went to supper. 52 . ready for the wash. Oliver. Oliver ate his share. in order that. Oliver. take off the sausages. Upon this.' said the Jew. as he was very tired. 'Dodger. Ha! ha! ha!' The latter part of this speech. himself. and the Jew then mixed him a glass of hot gin-and-water: telling him he must drink it off directly. was hailed by a boisterous shout from all the hopeful pupils of the merry old gentleman. and. my dear.

Standing. and recognised the sound of the spoon grating against the saucepan's sides: and yet the self-same senses were mentally engaged. and distorting every feature with a hideous grin. Although Oliver had roused himself from sleep. and called him by his name. After satisfiying himself upon this head. No. He then drew forth: as it seemed to Oliver. who was boiling some coffee in a saucepan for breakfast. from some trap in the floor: a small box. and other muttered reflections of the like nature. At such time. and looked in. besides rings. 'Aha!' said the Jew. its bounding from earth and spurning time and space. than you would in five nights with your eyes fast closed. Oliver was precisely in this condition. and your senses wrapt in perfect unconsciousness. long sleep. When the coffee was done. He saw the Jew with his half-closed eyes. he turned round and looked at Oliver. which he placed carefully on the table. or kept the drop up. and other articles of jewellery. at the same time. shrugging up his shoulders. a minute longer. he would go on whistling and stirring again. the Jew once more deposited the watch in its place of safety. There is a drowsy state. He did not answer. bracelet. then in an irresolute attitude for a few minutes. with an iron spoon. he was not thoroughly awake. and took from it a magnificent gold watch. Never poached upon old Fagin! And why should they? It wouldn't have loosened the knot. His eyes glistened as he raised the lid. He would stop every now and then to listen when there was the least noise below: and when he had satistified himself.CHAPTER IX CONTAINING FURTHER PARTICULARS CONCERNING THE PLEASANT OLD GENTLEMAN. no! Fine fellows! Fine fellows!' With these. the Jew stepped gently to the door: which he fastened. At least half a dozen more were severally drawn forth from the same box. as before. as if he did not well know how to employ himself. AND HIS HOPEFUL PUPILS It was late next morning when Oliver awoke. no. of such 53 . to form some glimmering conception of its mighty powers. in busy action with almost everybody he had ever known. heard his low whistling. when freed from the restraint of its corporeal associate. when you dream more in five minutes with your eyes half open. and whistling softly to himself as he stirred it round and round. sparkling with jewels. between sleeping and waking. he sat down. brooches. Dragging an old chair to the table. and yourself half conscious of everything that is passing around you. and was to all appearances asleep. from a sound. There was no other person in the room but the old Jew. 'Clever dogs! Clever dogs! Staunch to the last! Never told the old parson where they were. a mortal knows just enough of what his mind is doing. and surveyed with equal pleasure. the Jew drew the saucepan to the hob.

indeed. even of their names. and although the recognition was only for an instant--for the briefest space of time that can possibly be conceived--it was enough to show the old man that he had been observed. Oliver. meekly. as if to induce the belief that he had caught it up. scowling fiercely on the boy. my dear!' said the Jew.' 'You were not awake an hour ago?' said the Jew. the boy's eyes were fixed on his in mute curiousity. Ha! ha! you're a brave boy. and.magnificent materials. Oliver could see that the knife quivered in the air. leaning back in his chair.' 'Tush. At length he put it down. 'I was not. before he laid it down. my dear. muttered: 'What a fine thing capital punishment is! Dead men never repent. Ah. tush. boy! Quick--quick! for your life. his bright dark eyes. sir. There seemed to be some very minute inscription on it. 'Of course I know that. sir. pored over it. and. I only tried to frighten you. long and earnestly. laying his hand on a bread knife which was on the table. as if despairing of success. You're a brave boy. 'No! No. 'I am very sorry if I have disturbed you. He trembled very much though. but glanced uneasily at the box.' replied Oliver. Having replaced these trinkets. He closed the lid of the box with a loud crash. my dear?' said the Jew. 54 . which had been staring vacantly before him.' replied Oliver. 'What do you watch me for? Why are you awake? What have you seen? Speak out. 'Did you see any of these pretty things. sir. for. dead men never bring awkward stories to light. that Oliver had no idea. in mere sport. or turn white-livered!' As the Jew uttered these words.' The Jew rubbed his hands with a chuckle. indeed!' replied Oliver. the Jew took out another: so small that it lay in the palm of his hand. and costly workmanship. notwithstanding. fell on Oliver's face. and shading it with his hand. 'What's that?' said the Jew. started furiously up. it's a fine thing for the trade! Five of 'em strung up in a row. abruptly resuming his old manner. 'Are you sure?' cried the Jew: with a still fiercer look than before: and a threatening attitude. and playing with the knife a little. and none left to play booty. sir. earnestly. for the Jew laid it flat upon the table. 'I wasn't able to sleep any longer. laying his hand upon it after a short pause. 'Upon my word I was not. even in his terror.

'Well. 'And what have you got. 'Not so heavy as they might be. producing two pocket-books. when the Dodger returned: accompanied by a very sprightly young friend. my little property. with eagerness. sir.' Oliver got up. after looking at the insides carefully. ain't he. my dear. 'but very neat and nicely made. cost him a good deal of money. sir. 55 . At which Mr.' replied that young gentlman. certainly. very much to the amazement of Oliver.' said the Jew. He had scarcely washed himself. and some hot rolls and ham which the Dodger had brought home in the crown of his hat. 'They--they're mine. with so many watches. turning rather pale. Oliver. Ingenious workman. walked across the room. who saw nothing to laugh at. 'Lined?' inquired the Jew. The four sat down. that's all. and addressing himself to the Dodger.' replied the Dodger. he only cast a deferential look at the Jew. 'What have you got. All I have to live upon. glancing slyly at Oliver. The folks call me a miser.' said Oliver. 'I hope you've been at work this morning. Charles Bates laughed uproariously. 'Certainly. and asked if he might get up. 'As nails. my dear. and I'll give you a basin to wash in.' added Charley Bates. but. by emptying the basin out of the window. my dears?' 'Hard. good boys!' said the Jew. 'Ah!' said the Jew. Bring it here. my dear?' said Fagin to Charley Bates.' Oliver thought the old gentleman must be a decided miser to live in such a dirty place.' replied Oliver. one green. When he turned his head. Only a miser. and who was now formally introduced to him as Charley Bates. and the other red. the box was gone. 'Pretty well.' replied the Dodger. 'Stay. There's a pitcher of water in the corner by the door.' replied the old gentleman. on the coffee. whom Oliver had seen smoking on the previous night. thinking that perhaps his fondness for the Dodger and the other boys. 'Good boys. and made everything tidy.'Yes. and stooped for an instant to raise the pitcher. agreeably to the Jew's directions. my dear. Dodger?' 'A couple of pocket-books. in anything that had passed. to breakfast. in my old age. Oliver?' 'Very indeed.' said the Jew.

for fear of thieves. wouldn't you. 'Very much. he would look constantly round him. the Dodger trod upon his toes. trotted up and down the room with a stick. and in that one 56 . All this time. Oliver. You haven't marked them well. so nimbly. The merry old gentleman. and a watch in his waistcoat pocket.' said the Jew. and would keep slapping all his pockets in turn. in imitation of the manner in which old gentlmen walk about the streets any hour in the day. meeting the coffee he was drinking. placing a snuff-box in one pocket of his trousers. upon which the old gentleman. by and by. every time he turned round. changed the subject by asking whether there had been much of a crowd at the execution that morning? This made him wonder more and more. the merry old gentlman and the two boys played at a very curious and uncommon game. making believe that he was staring with all his might into shop-windows. sir. 'Well. as an apology to the company for his unpolite behaviour. very. Charley. in such a very funny and natural manner.' said Oliver. the two boys followed him closely about: getting out of his sight. eh? Ha! ha! ha!' 'If you please. at the same time producing four pockethandkerchiefs.' replied Oliver. a note-case in the other. that it was impossible to follow their motions. At such times. Shall us. though. or ran upon his boot accidently. with a guard-chain round his neck. and said he'd know better. so the marks shall be picked out with a needle. When the breakfast was cleared away. my dear?' said the Jew. which laugh. and sticking a mock diamond pin in his shirt: buttoned his coat tight round him. indeed. very nearly terminated in his premature suffocation. Sometimes he stopped at the fire-place. inspecting them closely. for it was plain from the replies of the two boys that they had both been there. and we'll teach Oliver how to do it. The Dodger said nothing.'Wipes. 'You'd like to be able to make pocket-handkerchiefs as easy as Charley Bates. which was performed in this way. while Charley Bates stumbled up against him behind. and Oliver naturally wondered how they could possibly have found time to be so very industrious. 'He is so jolly green!' said Charley when he recovered. At last. that Oliver laughed till the tears ran down his face. and carrying it down some wrong channel. if you'll teach me. 'they're very good ones. observing Oliver's colour mounting. to see that he hadn't lost anything. but he smoothed Oliver's hair over his eyes. sir.' replied Master Bates. Master Bates saw something so exquisitely ludicrous in this reply. and sometimes at the door. that he burst into another laugh. and putting his spectacle-case and handkerchief in his pockets.

'Here it is.' tapping the fire-shovel on the hearth to add force to his words. unless they should unexpectedly come across any.' Oliver held up the bottom of the pocket with one hand. Make 'em your models. Being remarkably free and agreeable in their manners. They wore a good deal of hair. even the spectacle-case. Make 'em your models. if they do. with the most extraordinary rapidity. if you take pattern by him. This. he cried out where it was. and they won't neglect it. 'Yes. 57 . in consequence of one of the young ladies complaining of a coldness in her inside. pocket-handkerchief.' said Oliver.moment they took from him. having been kindly furnished by the amiable old Jew with money to spend. As there is no doubt they were. and then the game began all over again. Charley Bates expressed his opinion that it was time to pad the hoof. and drew the handkerchief lighty out of it with the other. The visitors stopped a long time. 'Is it gone?' cried the Jew. At length. when we were at play this morning. 'Yes. When this game had been played a great many times. isn't it? They have gone out for the day. as you saw them do. and the conversation took a very convivial and improving turn.' said Fagin. my dear. Oliver thought them very nice girls indeed. shirt-pin. not very neatly turned up behind.' 'Have they done work. the Dodger. 'There. as he had seen the Dodger hold it. and the two young ladies. and Charley. sir. 'That's a pleasant life. sir?' inquired Oliver. and will make you one too.' said the Jew. perhaps. 'do everything they bid you. sir.' said Oliver. without my feeling it. one of whom was named Bet. snuff-box. a couple of young ladies called to see the young gentleman. my dear. 'See if you can take it out. my dear?' said the Jew. note-case. showing it in his hand. but they had a great deal of colour in their faces. my dear. He'll be a great man himself. it occurred to Oliver.--Is my handkerchief hanging out of my pocket. my dear. when they are out. stopping short. watch-guard. and were rather untidy about the shoes and stockings. for directly afterwards. and the other Nancy. Spirits were produced. must be French for going out. and take their advice in all matters-especially the Dodger's. If the old gentlman felt a hand in any one of his pockets. depend upon it. went away together. and looked quite stout and hearty. 'that is. chain. They were not exactly pretty.

patting Oliver on the head approvingly.' said the playful old gentleman. If you go on. 58 . and I'll show you how to take the marks out of the handkerchiefs. thinking that the Jew.'You're a clever boy. my dear. and was soon deeply involved in his new study. you'll be the greatest man of the time. being so much his senior. must know best. had to do with his chances of being a great man. 'I never saw a sharper lad. And now come here. But.' Oliver wondered what picking the old gentleman's pocket in play. he followed him quietly to the table. in this way. Here's a shilling for you.

and the dinners had been rather meagre. first. and thrusting them into pockets which were so surprisingly capacious. empty-handed. BEING A SHORT. that Oliver soon began to think his companions were going to deceive the old gentleman. one morning. but this was carrying out his virtuous precepts to an unusual extent. too. IN THIS HISTORY For many days. 59 . AND PURCHASES EXPERIENCE AT A HIGH PRICE. for two or three days. by pilfering divers apples and onions from the stalls at the kennel sides. The pace at which they went. Oliver was rendered the more anxious to be actively employed. Master Bates sauntering along with his hands in his pockets. of pulling the caps from the heads of small boys and tossing them down areas. by what he had seen of the stern morality of the old gentleman's character. On one occasion. BUT VERY IMPORTANT CHAPTER. and Oliver between them. regularly. and took many occasions of earnestly entreating the old gentleman to allow him to go out to work with his two companions. (of which a great number were brought home. he would expatiate with great vehemence on the misery of idle and lazy habits. The three boys sallied out. that they seemed to undermine his whole suit of clothes in every direction. as usual. he told Oliver he might go. and his friend the Dodger. every morning.CHAPTER X OLIVER BECOMES BETTER ACQUAINTED WITH THE CHARACTERS OF HIS NEW ASSOCIATES. and placed him under the joint guardianship of Charley Bates. The Dodger had a vicious propensity. Oliver remained in the Jew's room. wondering where they were going. but. he even went so far as to knock them both down a flight of stairs. while Charley Bates exhibited some very loose notions concerning the rights of property. At length. Whenever the Dodger or Charley Bates came home at night. whether they were or no. ill-looking saunter. and what branch of manufacture he would be instructed in. the Dodger with his coat-sleeves tucked up. and would enforce upon them the necessity of an active life. There had been no handkerchiefs to work upon.) and sometimes taking part in the game already described: which the two boys and the Jew played. These things looked so bad. that Oliver was on the point of declaring his intention of seeking his way back. At length. was such a very lazy. by not going to work at all. Oliver obtained the permission he had so eagerly sought. by a very mysterious change of behaviour on the part of the Dodger. in the best way he could. picking the marks out of the pocket-handkerchief. he began to languish for fresh air. when his thoughts were suddenly directed into another channel. indeed. and his hat cocked. by sending them supperless to bed. Perhaps these were reasons for the old gentleman's giving his assent.

he took to his heels. and carried a smart bamboo cane under his arm.' 'He'll do. 'Do you see that old cove at the book-stall?' 'The old gentleman over the way?' said Oliver. nor the street. beginning at the top line of the next one. reading away. for a moment. as hard as if he were in his elbow-chair. to see the Dodger plunge his hand into the old gentleman's pocket. not knowing whether to advance or retire. It is very possible that he fancied himself there. Seeing the boy scudding away at such a 60 . Oliver walked a few paces after them. and going regularly on. and. 'Hush!' replied the Dodger. and finally to behold them. This was all done in a minute's space. and slunk close behind the old gentleman towards whom his attention had been directed. nor the boys. 'What's the matter?' demanded Oliver. and missing his handkerchief. anything but the book itself: which he was reading straight through: turning over the leaf when he got to the bottom of a page. and. by some strange perversion of terms. then. and. He was dressed in a bottle-green coat with a black velvet collar. from his abstraction. looking on with his eyelids as wide open as they would possibly go. not knowing what he did. drew his companions back again. indeed. in short.' observed Master Charley Bates. with the greatest surprise. with the blood so tingling through all his veins from terror. with the greatest interest and eagerness. In the very instant when Oliver began to run. putting his hand to his pocket.' said the Doger. confused and frightened. with the greatest caution and circumspection. made off as fast as he could lay his feet to the ground. which is yet called. I see him. laying his finger on his lip. The old gentleman was a very respectable-looking personage. and the jewels. He had taken up a book from the stall. with a powdered head and gold spectacles. and the Jew. that he saw not the book-stall. and there he stood.They were just emerging from a narrow court not far from the open square in Clerkenwell. 'A prime plant. that he felt as if he were in a burning fire. nor. turned sharp round. 'Yes. for it was plain. but he was not permitted to make any inquiries. What was Oliver's horror and alarm as he stood a few paces off. 'The Green': when the Dodger made a sudden stop. and draw from thence a handkerchief! To see him hand the same to Charley Bates. stood looking on in silent amazement. Oliver looked from one to the other. in his own study. for the two boys walked stealthily across the road. wore white trousers. and the watches. both running away round the corner at full speed! In an instant the whole mystery of the hankerchiefs. rushed upon the boy's mind. the old gentleman. He stood.

splashing through the mud. One wretched breathless child. 'Stop thief! Stop thief!' The cry is taken up by a hundred voices. and. and. shouting 'Stop thief!' too. and shouting 'Stop thief!' with all his might. covered with mud and dust. 'Stop thief! Stop thief!' 'Stop thief! Stop thief!' There is a passion FOR HUNTING SOMETHING deeply implanted in the human breast. agaony in his eyes. 'Stop thief! Stop thief!' There is a magic in the sound. coming down the street. the schoolboy his marbles. They no sooner heard the cry. and courts. they hail his decreasing strength with joy. the child his battledore. were it only in mercy! Stopped at last! A clever blow. But the old gentleman was not the only person who raised the hue-and-cry. they issued forth with great promptitude. slap-dash: tearing. pell-mell. perhaps he would have been prepared for this. swell the shout. The Dodger and Master Bates. joining the rushing throng. and saw Oliver running. and the crowd eagerly gather round him: each new comer. unwilling to attract public attention by running down the open street. the paviour his pickaxe. and astonishing the fowls: and streets. screaming. it alarmed him the more. the baker his basket. large drops of perspiration streaming down his face. strains every nerve to make head upon his pursuers. rousing up the dogs. If he had been. he was not theoretically acquainted with the beautiful axiom that self-preservation is the first law of nature. onward bear the mob. book in hand. terror in his looks. the errand-boy his parcels. made off after him. stop him for God's sake. so away he went like the wind. 61 .rapid pace. and the car-man his waggon. and rattling along the pavements: up go the windows. when the old gentleman was officiously dragged and pushed into the circle by the foremost of the pursuers. yelling.' 'Where's the gentleman?' 'Here his is. re-echo with the sound. and as they follow on his track. 'Stand aside!' 'Give him a little air!' 'Nonsense! he don't deserve it. joined in the pursuit like good citizens. sir!' 'Yes. looking wildly round upon the heap of faces that surrounded him.' 'Make room there for the gentleman!' 'Is this the boy. guessing exactly how the matter stood. however. and the crowd accumulate at every turning. and bleeding from the mouth. a whole audience desert Punch in the very thickest of the plot. knocking down the passengers as they turn the corners. Away they fly. 'Stop thief!' Ay. Although Oliver had been brought up by philosophers. with the old gentleman and the two boys roaring and shouting behind him. had merely retured into the very first doorway round the corner. the milkman his pail. jostling and struggling with the others to catch a glimpse. he very naturally concluded him to be the depredator. squares. and lend fresh vigour to the cry.' Oliver lay. Away they run. Not being prepared. out run the people. than. He is down upon the pavement. helter-skelter. the butcher throws down his tray. The tradesman leaves his counter. and gain upon him every instant. panting with exhaustion.

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. get up!' 'Don't hurt him. The gentleman walked on with them by the officer's side. as if he contemplated running away himself: which it is very possible he might have attempted to do. 'Come. sir. 'I am afraid it is the boy. eyeing him with an expression of dislike. indeed. in proof thereof. you young devil?' Oliver. the old gentleman.' said the gentleman. I stopped him. and looking round. 'Come. I know you. roughly. get up. it was two other boys. and stared back at Oliver from time to time. 62 .' 'Afraid!' murmured the crowd. and thus have afforded another chase. 'It wasn't me indeed. made a shift to raise himself on his feet.' said the old gentleman. and on they went. Indeed.' said the officer. and seized Oliver by the collar. at a rapid pace. who could hardly stand. 'he has hurt himself.' '_I_ did that.' said the man. expecting something for his pains.'Yes. tearing his jacket half off his back. and was at once lugged along the streets by the jacket-collar. but it was true besides. 'That's a good 'un!' 'Poor fellow!' said the gentleman. got a little ahead.' 'Oh no. compassionately. I won't hurt him. sir. sir. 'and preciously I cut my knuckle agin' his mouth. they ain't.' replied the officer.' said a great lubberly fellow. 'They are here somewhere. 'Come. 'Oh no. Will you stand upon your legs. look anxiously round. it won't do. and as many of the crowd as could achieve the feat. but. stepping forward.' The follow touched his hat with a grin. for the Dodger and Charley Bates had filed off down the first convenient court they came to. clasping his hands passionately. The boys shouted in triumph.' said Oliver. He meant this to be ironical.

The old gentleman looked almost as rueful as Oliver when the key grated in the lock.CHAPTER XI TREATS OF MR. only not so light. I am. into this dispensary of summary justice. and indeed in the immediate neighborhood of. CAN he be innocent? He looked like--Bye the bye. young gallows!' This was an invitation for Oliver to enter through a door which he unlocked as he spoke. It was most intolably dirty. and down a place called Mutton Hill. tapping his chin with the cover of the book. Now. and a bunch of keys in his hand. sir?' inquired the man with the keys. locked up. He turned with a sigh to the book. elsewhere. men and women are every night confined on the most trivial charges--the word is worth noting--in dungeons.' replied the old gentleman. 'something that touches and interests me. 'His worship will be disengaged in half a minute. for it was Monday morning. occupied by the most atrocious felons. 'but I am not sure that this boy actually took the handkerchief. This cell was in shape and size something like an area cellar. The crowd had only the satisfaction of accompanying Oliver through two or three streets. Let any one who doubts this. sir. In our station-houses. found guilty.' 'Must go before the magistrate now.' replied the man who had Oliver in charge.' exclaimed the old gentleman. which had been the innocent cause of all this disturbance.' said the old gentleman to himself as he walked slowly away. compare the two. compared with which. a very notorious metropolitan police office. AND FURNISHES A SLIGHT SPECIMEN OF HIS MODE OF ADMINISTERING JUSTICE The offence had been committed within the district. 'A young fogle-hunter. halting very abruptly. by the back way. 'Yes. when he was led beneath a low archway. and up a dirty court. I--I would rather not press the case. in a thoughtful manner. and it had been tenanted by six drunken people. 'Bless my soul!-where have I seen something like that look before?' 63 . who had been locked up. and which led into a stone cell. Here he was searched. FANG THE POLICE MAGISTRATE. and staring up into the sky. It was a small paved yard into which they turned. and under sentence of death. and here they encountered a stout man with a bunch of whiskers on his face. But this is little. tried. 'What's the matter now?' said the man carelessly. are palaces. 'Are you the party that's been robbed. those in Newgate. since Saturday night. and nothing being found upon him. 'There is something in that boy's face.' replied the man.

He was out of temper. long-backed. He was roused by a touch on the shoulder. 'No. with no great quantity of hair. changed but to be heightened. still dressed in their old freshness and beauty. the old gentleman walked. He closed his book hastily. superior to its power. he heaved a sigh over the recollections he awakened. the brightness of the smile. but which the mind. He wandered over them again. the beaming of the soul through its mask of clay. waited to be questioned. Fang. Mr. growing on the back and sides of his head. and. and taken from earth only to be set up as a light. The old gentleman bowed respectfully. calling back the lustre of the eyes. there were the faces of young and blooming girls that were now old women. So. into a back anteroom opening from the yard. to the special and particular notice of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. and it was not easy to replace the shroud that had so long concealed them. and whispering of beauty beyond the tomb. He had called them into view. and being. buried them again in the pages of the musty book. an absent old gentleman. for the three hundred and fiftieth time. and what he had. and he looked up with an angry scowl. and commending him. stiff-necked. and on one side the door was a sort of wooden pen in which poor little Oliver was already deposited. and a request from the man with the keys to follow him into the office. at the upper end. 'it must be imagination. Fang was at that moment perusing a leading article in a newspaper of the morning. and of many that had been almost strangers peering intrusively from the crowd. retiring into a corner.' He then withdrew a pace or two. But the old gentleman could recall no one countenance of which Oliver's features bore a trace. His face was stern. Now. with the same meditative face. and there. there were faces that the grave had changed and closed upon. Fang sat behind a bar. There were the faces of friends. said suiting the action to the word. and much flushed. with another polite and gentlemanly inclination of the head.' said the old gentleman. Mr. he might have brought action against his countenance for libel. 'That is my name and address. adverting to some recent decision of his. trembling very much at the awfulness of the scene. 'Who are you?' said Mr. middle-sized man. shaking his head. to shed a soft and gentle glow upon the path to Heaven. and foes. with a panelled wall. and have recovered heavy damages. If he were really not in the habit of drinking rather more than was exactly good for him. happily for himself. The office was a front parlour. and was at once ushered into the imposing presence of the renowned Mr.After musing for some minutes. and advancing to the magistrate's desk. it so happened that Mr. called up before his mind's eye a vast amphitheatre of faces over which a dusky curtain had hung for many years. 64 . Fang was a lean. Fang. sir.

Fang. under the protection of the bench. How dare you bully a magistrate!' 'What!' exclaimed the old gentleman. or I'll have you turned out of the office!' said Mr. 'what's this fellow charged with?' 'He's not charged at all. policeman. to his card. 'Swear this person!' said Fang to the clerk.' said the old gentleman. Mr. tossing the card contemptuously away with the newspaper. Now.' Saying this. Brownlow's indignaton was greatly roused. 'and that is.' said Fang. swear this policeman. Fang. 'He appears against this boy. but it was a good annoyance. but reflecting perhaps.' replied the officer. 'Hold your tongue this instant. 'Policeman! Where's the policeman? Here. sir?' 'I was standing at a bookstall--' Mr. Fang. your worship. Swear him. Fang. 'Now. your worship. speaking LIKE a gentleman. 'I will not. that he might only injure the boy by giving vent to it. could have believed--' 'Hold your tongue. 'Who is this fellow?' 'My name. 'my name. 'Officer!' said Mr.The old gentleman pointed. 'You're an insolent impertinent fellow. surveying Mr. he suppressed his feelings and submitted to be sworn at once.' said Mr. without actual experience. sir.' Mr. that I really never. does he?' said Mr. Brownlow. Brownlow began. 'Appears against the boy. 'Officer!' said Mr. 'I'll not hear another word. sir!' replied the old gentleman. Permit me to inquire the name of the magistrate who offers a gratuitous and unprovoked insult to a respectable person. Fang. sir!' said Mr. 'Hold your tongue. 'Swear him!' 'Before I am sworn. Brownlow looked around the office as if in search of some person who would afford him the required information. is Brownlow. throwing the paper on one side. Brownlow contemptuously from head to foot. peremptorily. with some surprise. what is this?' 65 . sir. and a safe one. Fang. 'what's the charge against this boy? What have you got to say. sir. reddening.' said Mr.' His worshp knew this perfectly well. I must beg to say one word.

to be connected with the thieves. none of your tricks here. and the whole place seemed turning round and round. Where does he live?' 66 . related how he had taken the charge. Fang. refusing to give evidence. or by whom. in a striped waistcoat. and expressing his hope that. with a sneer. thus preventing the word from being heard--accidently. 'Oh. won't he?' said Fang. 'Are there any witnesses?' inquired Mr. but finding him really incapable of understanding the question. or do you not? You have been sworn. your worship. and how that was all he knew about it. and then. by--' By what. said in a towering passion. how he had searched Oliver. turning round to the prosecutor. Fang. and repeated the inquiry. What's your name?' Oliver tried to reply but his tongue failed him. with becoming humility. Fang. if the magistrate should believe him. I will. 'None. looking towards the bar. man. He was deadly pale. I dare say!' said Mr. Brownlow contrived to state his case. and found nothing on his person.' said the kind-hearted thief-taker. With many interruptions. he hazarded a guess.' said the old gentleman in conclusion. 'He has been hurt already. Now. what's his name?' This was addressed to a bluff old fellow. for the clerk and jailor coughed very loud. 'I really fear that he is ill. very well. 'Come. nobody knows. you young vagabond. Fang sat silent for some minutes. your worship. observing that. and knowing that his not replying would only infuriate the magistrate the more. He bent over Oliver. just at the right moment. he won't speak out. who was standing by the bar. although not actually the thief. 'Officer. you hardened scoundrel?' demanded Mr. and repeated insults. 'What's your name.The policeman. he would deal as leniently with him as justice would allow. if you stand there. Mr. 'Very well. I'll punish you for disrespect to the bench. 'And I fear.' replied the policeman. of course. they won't do. he had run after the boy because he had saw him running away. in the surprise of the moment. and the former dropped a heavy book upon the floor. and add to the severity of his sentence. 'Do you mean to state what your complaint against this boy is.' he added.' 'Oh! yes. 'He says his name's Tom White. with great energy. Mr.

expecially of the poorer class. officer. 'He stands committed for three months--hard labour of course.' 'I think he really is ill.' replied the officer: hazarding the usual reply. they are closed to the public. your worship.' said the old gentleman. 'let him. and.) Mr. 67 . within such walls. then.' said Mr. sir?' inquired the clerk in a low voice. your worship. 'He says they died in his infancy. looking round with imploring eyes. if he likes. and although. 'Has he any parents?' inquired Mr. Fang. enough fantastic tricks are daily played to make the angels blind with weeping. almost the lives. save through the medium of the daily press. clad in an old suit of black.' replied the officer. 'Take care of him.' The door was opened for this purpose. and fell to the floor in a fainting fit. Fang: 'don't try to make a fool of me.' remonstrated the officer.' 'Stand away. breathless with haste.'Where he can. of Her Majesty's subjects. 'I knew he was shamming. Clear the office. again pretending to receive Oliver's answer. rushed hastily into the office. 'I know better.' said Fang. raising his hands instinctively. officer.' 'How do you propose to deal with the case. he'll soon be tired of that. Fang. 'Summarily. the character. 'Stuff and nonsense!' said Mr. murmured a feeble prayer for a draught of water. Although the presiding Genii in such an office as this. as if this were incontestable proof of the fact. Fang. but no one dared to stir.(Footnote: Or were virtually. stop! don't take him away! For Heaven's sake stop a moment!' cried the new comer. The men in the office looked at each other. At this point of the inquiry.' Oliver availed himself of the kind permission. the good name. 'Stop.' cried Fang. your worship. 'Let him lie there. when an elderly man of decent but poor appearance. 'he'll fall down. Oliver raised his head.' replied Mr. Fang was consequently not a little indignant to see an unbidden guest enter in such irreverent disorder. and a couple of men were preparing to carry the insensible boy to his cell. and advanced towards the bench. exercise a summary and arbitrary power over the liberties.

eh?' said Fang. 'The very book he has in his hand. that book. with a comical effort to look humane.' replied the man. and the matter was growing rather too serious to be hushed up. bursting out with the rage he had kept down so long. and you may think yourself very fortunate that the owner of the property declines to prosecute. Fang. 'I will not be turned out. and I've run here all the way.' cried the man. you must hear me. The robbery was committed by another boy.' said the man: 'I saw three boys: two others and the prisoner here: loitering on the opposite side of the way. 'I WILL speak. Fang. innocently. under very suspicious and disreputable circumstances. my man. Fang. do you hear? Clear the office!' 68 . 'Dear me. what have you got to say?' 'This. sir.' replied the man. man. had joined in the pursuit. after another pause.' replied the man. The boy is discharged. I keep the book-stall. with a smile. I demand to be sworn. 'Yes.'What is this? Who is this? Turn this man out. that you have obtained possession of that book. I saw it done. 'I hadn't a soul to mind the shop. with a very ill grace. or the law will overtake you yet.' The man was right.' 'The prosecutor was reading. sir. 'd--n me! I'll--' 'Clear the office!' said the magistrate. the worthy book-stall keeper proceeded to relate. Clear the office!' cried Mr. 'Is it paid for?' 'No. and I saw that this boy was perfectly amazed and stupified by it. 'A nice person to prefer a charge against a poor boy!' said Fang. in a more coherent manner the exact circumstances of the robbery. Mr. 'I consider. His manner was determined. I will not be put down. Let this be a lesson to you. I could get nobody till five minutes ago.' Having by this time recovered a little breath. when this gentleman was reading. 'Why didn't you come here before?' said Fang.' growled Mr.' 'Oh. I saw it all. You must not refuse. it is not. after a pause. 'Officers. was he?' inquired Fang. 'Everybody who could have helped me. Clear the office!' 'D--n me!' cried the old gentleman. 'Swear the man. 'Now. I forgot all about it!' exclaimed the absent old gentleman.

dear! I have this unhappy book still! Jump in. bending over him.' The book-stall keeper got into the coach. Little Oliver Twist lay on his back on the pavement. 'May I accompany you?' said the book-stall keeper. and his passion vanished in a moment. looking in. my dear sir. Poor fellow! There's no time to lose. and a cold tremble convulsing his whole frame. and the bamboo cane in the other: in a perfect phrenzy of rage and defiance.The mandate was obeyed. He reached the yard. Brownlow quickly. and Oliver having been carefully laid on the seat. yes. 'Call a coach. poor boy!' said Mr. with his shirt unbuttoned. and away they drove. pray. Directly!' A coach was obtained. 'Poor boy. 'I forgot you. Brownlow was conveyed out. 'Bless me. Dear. and the indignant Mr. with the book in one hand. somebody.' said Mr. his face a deadly white. the old gentleman got in and sat himself on the other. and his temples bathed with water. Brownlow. 69 .

'This is not the place I went to sleep in.' whispered Oliver. 'Save us!' said the old lady. and. or you will be ill again.CHAPTER XII IN WHICH OLIVER IS TAKEN BETTER CARE OF THAN HE EVER WAS BEFORE. he was tended with a kindness and solicitude that knew no bounds. and they are too happy there. But. my dear. and drawing it round his neck. 'What a grateful little dear it is. I almost feel as if she had.' said the old lady mildly. there's a dear!' With those words. very neatly and precisely dressed.' replied Oliver. and could see him now!' 'Perhaps she does see me. The coach rattled away. 'What room is this? Where have I been brought to?' said Oliver. But if she 70 . 'because heaven is a long way off. that he could not help placing his little withered hand in hers. and you have been very bad. Lie down again. and still the boy lay stretched on his uneasy bed. pretty nigh. with tears in her eyes. dwindling away beneath the dry and wasting heat of fever. Oliver remained insensible to all the goodness of his new friends. and a motherly old lady. and. without loss of time. in which Mr. being very faint and weak. Feebly raising himself in the bed. The worm does not work more surely on the dead body. rose as she undrew it. for many days. and rose and sank again. with his head resting on his trembling arm. over nearly the same ground as that which Oliver had traversed when he first entered London in company with the Dodger. a bed was prepared. my dear. Pretty creetur! What would his mother feel if she had sat by him as I have. in which she had been sitting at needle-work. to come down to the bedside of a poor boy. from an arm-chair close by.' said the old lady softly. he looked anxiously around. and many times after that. the old lady very gently placed Oliver's head upon the pillow. but they were overheard at once. 'perhaps she has sat by me. Weak. The curtain at the bed's head was hastily drawn back. and pallid. he awoke at last from what seemed to have been a long and troubled dream. 'I suppose it was.' He uttered these words in a feeble voice. 'You must be very quiet. turning a different way when it reached the Angel at Islington. and here. looked so kindly and loving in his face.--as bad as bad could be. Brownlow saw his young charge carefully and comfortably deposited. folding his hands together. than does this slow creeping fire upon the living frame. smoothing back his hair from his forehead. The sun rose and sank. and thin.' 'That was the fever. 'Hush. stopped at length before a neat house. Here. in a quiet shady street near Pentonville. AND IN WHICH THE NARRATIVE REVERTS TO THE MERRY OLD GENTLEMAN AND HIS YOUTHFUL FRIENDS.

patting him on the cheek. He is not hungry.' said the doctor. sir. she must have pitied me. The doctor.knew I was ill. The old lady made a respectful inclination of the head. but wiping her eyes first. Bedwin. which seemed to say that she thought the doctor was a very clever man. Mrs. an't you?' 'No. 'If she had seen me hurt.' replied Oliver. after tasting the cool stuff. 'Yes. which lay on the counterpane. and said he was a great deal better. Bedwin.' answered Oliver. Are you?' 'Yes. 'Hem!' said the gentleman. told him he must lie very quiet. You may give him a little tea. ma'am. don't you. ma'am. sir.' said the doctor. I know you're not. from which he was awakened by the light of a candle: which. and some dry toast without any butter. The doctor appeared much of the same opinion himself. and her spectacles. or he would be ill again.' answered Oliver. as if they were part and parcel of those features. So. and then. 'No. with a very shrewd and satisfied look. 'No. sir. 'No. 'Just as I expected. 'Yes. rather thirsty. 'You're not sleepy. even there. who felt his pulse. are you not. Oliver kept very still. Mrs. will you have the goodness?' The old lady dropped a curtsey. and expressing a qualified approval of it. I know you are. it would have made here sorrowful. Don't keep him too warm. afterwards. being brought near the bed. partly because he was anxious to obey the kind old lady in all things. because he was completely exhausted with what he had already said. and partly. He soon fell into a gentle doze. showed him a gentleman with a very large and loud-ticking gold watch in his hand.' The old lady made no reply to this. 71 . to tell the truth. Nor thirsty. She can't know anything about me though. and her face has always looked sweet and happy.' said the gentleman: looking very wise. my dear?' said the doctor. when I have dreamed of her.' replied Oliver. my dear?' said the gentleman. for she was very ill herself before she died.' said the gentleman: 'You're hungry too. 'You ARE a great deal better.' added Oliver after a moment's silence. 'You feel sleepy. 'It's very natural that he should be thirsty. brought some cool stuff for Oliver to drink. sir. hurried away: his boots creaking in a very important and wealthy manner as he went downstairs. thank you. but be careful that you don't let him be too cold.

its weary recollections of the past! It had been bright day. soon after this. Having him set.' And with this. would be roused again to all the struggles and turmoils of life. my dear. and we must get up our best looks. my dear. more than all. 'that's got nothing to do with your broth. however. The crisis of the disease was safely past. The darkness and the deep stillness of the room were very solemn. 'I'm only having a regular good cry. the old woman. Oliver thought. Bedwin had him carried downstairs into the little housekeeper's room. it's all over now. and divers moans and chokings. and might yet fill it with the gloom and dread of his awful presence. and. he turned his face upon the pillow. 'Well. as they brought into the boy's mind the thought that death had been hovering there. if this were death.' said the old lady. when he awoke. a small Prayer Book and a large nightcap. There. the more he'll be pleased. when reduced to the regulation strength. In three days' time he was able to sit in an easy-chair. and fervently prayed to Heaven. when Oliver opened his eyes. the old lady applied herself to warming up. at the lowest computation. by the fire-side. Gradually. These. 72 . chequered at frequent intervals with sundry tumblings forward. because the better we look. in a little bundle. counting the little circles of light which the reflection of the rushlight-shade threw upon the ceiling. being in a state of considerable delight at seeing him so much better. well propped up with pillows. Brownlow may come in to see you this morning. Putting the latter on her head and the former on the table. he fell into that deep tranquil sleep which ease from recent suffering alone imparts. for three hundred and fifty paupers. He belonged to the world again. that calm and peaceful rest which it is pain to wake from. And thus the night crept slowly on.' said the old lady. and left him in charge of a fat old woman who had just come: bringing with her. and it's full time you had it. and I'm quite comfortable. after telling Oliver that she had come to sit up with him. and.' said Oliver. 'Never mind me. for hours. the good old lady sat herself down too. Mrs. a basin full of broth: strong enough. to all its cares for the present. here. for the doctor says Mr. or tracing with his languid eyes the intricate pattern of the paper on the wall. which belonged to her. its anxieties for the future. Who.' 'You're very. very kind to me. to furnish an ample dinner. had no worse effect than causing her to rub her nose very hard. never you mind that. drew her chair close to the fire and went off into a series of short naps. The old lady tenderly bade him good-night shortly afterwards. he felt cheerful and happy. Oliver lay awake for some time. forthwith began to cry most violently. ma'am. as he was still too weak to walk. it was nearly twelve o'clock. and then fall asleep again. for many days and nights. in a little saucepan.Oliver dozed off again.

'but the eyes look so sorrowful.' Oliver DID see it in his mind's eye as distinctly as if he had not altered his position.' said the old lady. I don't know.'Are you fond of pictures. laughing very heartily at her own acuteness. no. What a beautiful. just opposite his chair. child. I expect. 'Yes. Oliver got through it with extraordinary expedition. really.' 'Whose. The man that invented the machine for taking likenesses might have known that would never succeed. they seem fixed upon me. and Mrs. ma'am?' said Oliver. it's a deal too honest.' 'Lord save us!' exclaimed the old lady. 'that's a portrait. It seems to strike your fancy. when there came a soft rap at the door. Brownlow. seeing that Oliver had fixed his eyes.' said Oliver. suiting the action to the word.' added Oliver in a low voice. on a portrait which hung against the wall. Oliver looked very worn and shadowy from sickness. with all the bustle befitting so solemn a preparation. and in walked Mr. 'you don't see it now. 'painters always make ladies out prettier than they are. 'I don't quite know. satisfied that he felt more comfortable. without taking his eyes from the canvas. looking up for a moment from the broth. sure you're not afraid of it?' said the old lady: observing in great surprise. mild face that lady's is!' 'Ah!' said the old lady. at all events. and made an ineffectual attempt to stand up. 'Is--is that a likeness. but he thought it better not to worry the kind old lady. most intently. than his countenance underwent a very great variety of odd contortions. dear?' inquired the old lady. 'Come in. the old gentleman came in as brisk as need be.' said the old lady. child. my dear.' said the old lady. 'don't talk in that way. Bedwin. 'I have seen so few that I hardly know. It makes my heart beat. or they wouldn't get any custom. but.' 'It is so pretty. You're weak and nervous after your illness. ma'am?' asked Oliver. He had scarcely swallowed the last spoonful. Let me wheel your chair round to the other side. and then you won't see it. the look of awe with which the child regarded the painting. dear. 'Oh no. A deal. starting.' replied Oliver. There!' said the old lady. Now. he had no sooner raised his spectacles on his forehead. 'It's not a likeness of anybody that you or I know. ma'am. and wanted to speak to me. 'Why. and thrust his hands behind the skirts of his dressing-gown to take a good long look at Oliver. out of 73 . 'as if it was alive. salted and broke bits of toasted bread into the broth. 'Why.' returned Oliver quickly. so he smiled gently when she looked at him.' answered the old lady in a good-humoured manner. and where I sit. but couldn't.

there existed no affinity or connection whatsoever.' 'I don't know. 'And very grateful indeed. 'What made you tell the magistrate your name was White?' 'I never told him so. my dear?' 'Very happy. Brownlow. Bedwin. sir. 'Oliver what? Oliver White.' 'Good by. sir.' said Mr. Tom White. which terminated in his sinking back into the chair again. sir. eh?' 'He has just had a basin of beautiful strong broth.' returned Oliver in amazement. Brownlow. that he could not withdraw his gaze. Bedwin: drawing herself up slightly. This sounded so like a falsehood. for your goodness to me.respect to his benefactor. stoutly. there was truth in every one of its thin and sharpened lineaments.' said Mr. Brownlow's heart. I don't know. the old idea of the resemblance between his features and some familiar face came upon him so strongly. sir. sir. Wouldn't they. if the truth must be told. and broth will compounded. although his motive for looking steadily at Oliver no longer existed. 'Poor boy. Oliver Twist. sir. and the fact is. 'Everything you have had.' said Mr. Brownlow. 'Some mistake. with a slight shudder. eh?' 'My name is Oliver. being large enough for any six ordinary old gentlemen of humane disposition.' said Mr. Mrs. 'Ugh!' said Mr. 'Have you given him any nourishment. eh?' 'No. poor boy!' said Mr.' replied the little invalid: with a look of great astonishment. But. clearing his throat. but never mind that. 'I'm rather hoarse this morning. that Mr.' said Mrs.' 'I hope not. Bedwin. How do you feel. sir. It was impossible to doubt him.' replied Mrs. 'a couple of glasses of port wine would have done him a great deal more good. 74 .' replied Oliver. I'm afraid I have caught cold. that the old gentleman looked somewhat sternly in Oliver's face. Brownlow. Bedwin. Twist. by some hydraulic process which we are not sufficiently philosophical to be in a condition to explain. 'Oliver. and laying strong emphasis on the last word: to intimate that between slops. forced a supply of tears into his eyes. Brownlow.' 'Queer name!' said the old gentleman. 'I rather think I had a damp napkin at dinner-time yesterday. Bedwin? Any slops. Brownlow. has been well aired. sir.

so precisely alike. 'Why! what's this? Bedwin. the mouth. to do a great right. of their quitting the pursuit. in almost as great a degree as this strong proof of their anxiety for their own preservation and safety goes to corroborate and confirm the little code of laws which certain profound and sound-judging philosophers have laid down as the main-springs of all Nature's deeds and actions: the said philosophers very wisely reducing the good lady's proceedings to matters of maxim and theory: and. The expression was. being left 75 . I need hardly beg the reader to observe. If I wanted any further proof of the strictly philosophical nature of the conduct of these young gentlemen in their very delicate predicament. 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. that the minutest line seemed copied with startling accuracy! Oliver knew not the cause of this sudden exclamation. Although I do not mean to assert that it is usually the practice of renowned and learned sages. or generous impulse and feeling. and forasmuch as the freedom of the subject and the liberty of the individual are among the first and proudest boasts of a truehearted Englishman. in consequence of their executing an illegal conveyance of Mr. for the instant. or indeed the distinction between the two. raising his eyes beseechingly. as has been already described. sir?' said Oliver. joined in the hue-and-cry which was raised at Oliver's heels. that this action should tend to exalt them in the opinion of all public and patriotic men. so. in behalf of the two young pupils of the Merry Old Gentleman. in carrying out their theories. look there!' As he spoke. by various circumlocations and discursive staggerings. Brownlow's personal property. when the general attention was fixed upon Oliver. For. to shorten the road to any great conclusion (their course indeed being rather to lengthen the distance. not being strong enough to bear the start it gave him. There was its living copy. by a very neat and pretty compliment to her exalted wisdom and understanding. The eyes. Thus. every feature was the same.' replied the old gentleman. or the amount of the wrong. and of recording-That when the Dodger. he fainted away. you may do a little wrong. to evince great wisdom and foresight in providing against every possible contingency which can be supposed at all likely to affect themselves. putting entirely out of sight any considerations of heart. the head. will justify. that it is the invariable practice of many mighty philosophers. no. like unto those in which drunken men under the pressure of a too mighty flow of ideas. he pointed hastily to the picture over Oliver's head. I should at once find it in the fact (also recorded in a foregoing part of this narrative). which affords the narrative an opportunity of relieving the reader from suspense. are prone to indulge). and you may take any means which the end to be attained. 'No. they were actuated by a very laudable and becoming regard for themselves. and making immediately for their home by the shortest possible cut. A weakness on his part. still. the amount of the right. I do mean to say. and do say distinctly. for. and his accomplished friend Master Bates. and then to the boy's face.'I hope you are not angry with me.

that they ventured to halt beneath a low and dark archway. through a most intricate maze of narrow streets and courts. thrust his tongue into his cheek. with great rapidity. my eye!' The vivid imagination of Master Bates presented the scene before him in too strong colours. flung himself upon a doorstep. 'What do you mean?' said Charley. As he arrived at this apostrophe. gammon and spinnage. 'Ha! ha! ha!' roared Charley Bates. 'What's the matter?' inquired the Dodger. 'What do you mean?' The Dodger made no reply. and. 'I can't help it! To see him splitting away at that pace. scratched his head. the frog he wouldn't. and nodded thrice.' remonstrated the Dodger. Master Bates felt it so. taking advantage of the next interval of breathlessness on the part of his friend to propound the question. then. for the Dodger's manner was impressive. comprehensive. taking off his hat. but putting his hat on again. what should he say?' inquired Charley: stopping rather suddenly in his merriment. 'Why. and rolled thereon in a transport of mirth. he again rolled upon the door-step. and high cockolorum. This was explanatory. and laughed louder than before. but not satisfactory. 'What should he say?' Mr. what?' said the Dodger. and starting on again as if he was made of iron as well as them. It was not until the two boys had scoured. 'Hold your noise. and cutting round the corners. Having remained silent here. Dawkins whistled for a couple of minutes. singing out arter him--oh. 'What?' repeated Charley Bates. stupid?' 'I can't help it. bursting into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. looking cautiously round. Master Bates uttered an exclamation of amusement and delight. and impartial view of his own particular case.' said the Dodger: with a slight sneer on his intellectual countenance.entirely to the philosopher concerned. 'Toor rul lol loo. and knocking up again' the posts. to be settled and determined by his clear. just long enough to recover breath to speak. 'Do you want to be grabbed. 'Ah. and me with the wipe in my pocket. 'What'll Fagin say?' inquired the Dodger. slapped the bridge of his nose some half-dozen times in a familiar but expressive 76 . and again said.' said Charley. and gathering the skirts of his long-tailed coat under his arm.

closing it behind them. The door was slowly opened. a few minutes after the occurrence of this conversation. a pocket-knife in his right. and listened. There was a rascally smile on his white face as he turned round. and a pewter pot on the trivet. Master Bates followed. Hark!' The footsteps approached nearer. with a thoughtful countenance. 77 . and turning on his heel. bent his ear towards the door. slunk down the court. how's this?' muttered the Jew: changing countenance. and the Dodger and Charley Bates entered. 'only two of 'em? Where's the third? They can't have got into trouble. 'Why. they reached the landing.manner. The noise of footsteps on the creaking stairs. roused the merry old gentleman as he sat over the fire with a saveloy and a small loaf in his hand. and looking sharply out from under his thick red eyebrows.

and threatening him with horrid imprecations. 'Where's the boy?' The young thieves eyed their preceptor as if they were alarmed at his violence.--the kind of legs. at one jerk. plundering. Fagin looked so very much in earnest. if it had taken effect. and that's all about it. seemed perfectly miraculous. swinging himself. who deemed it prudent in all cases to be on the safe side. The Jew stepped back in this emergency. with large swelling calves. well-sustained. Fagin? D--me. and. rising with a menacing look. unless he done the River Company every quarter. lace-up half boots. he suddenly altered its destination. CONNECTED WITH WHOM VARIOUS PLEASANT MATTERS ARE RELATED. wot are you stopping outside for. with more agility than could have been anticipated in a man of his apparent decrepitude. very soiled drab breeches. always look in an 78 . APPERTAINING TO THIS HISTORY 'Where's Oliver?' said the Jew. and continuous roar--something between a mad bull and a speaking trumpet. and not the pot. I might have know'd. and who conceived it by no means improbable that it might be his turn to be throttled second. Wot's it all about. and flung it full at that young gentleman. and made a pass at the merry old gentleman's waistcoat. as hit me. 'What's become of the boy?' said the Jew. as if you was ashamed of your master! Come in!' The man who growled out these words. 'Why. clean out of the big coat. was a stoutly-built fellow of about fiveand-thirty. 'Will you speak?' thundered the Jew: shaking the Dodger so much that his keeping in the big coat at all. which in such costume. in a black velveteen coat. But Charley Bates. what the blazes is in the wind now!' growled a deep voice. let go o' me. which. rich. sullenly. as nobody but an infernal. if my neck-handkercher an't lined with beer! Come in. which he left in the Jew's hands. than could have been easily replaced. and grey cotton stockings which inclosed a bulky pair of legs. dropped upon his knees.CHAPTER XIII SOME NEW ACQUAINTANCES ARE INTRODUCED TO THE INTELLIGENT READER. seizing the Dodger tightly by the collar. and raised a loud. calling his attention by a perfectly terrific howl. would have let a little more merriment out. and looked uneasily at each other. that Charley Bates. 'Come.' said the Dodger. seizing up the pot. you sneaking warmint. the traps have got him. will you!' And. or I'd have settled somebody. at this moment. thundering old Jew could afford to throw away any drink but water-and not that. But they made no reply. the Dodger snatched up the toasting fork. prepared to hurl it at his assailant's head. or I'll throttle you!' Mr. 'Speak out. 'Who pitched that 'ere at me? It's well it's the beer. 'Why.

and a dirty belcher handkerchief round his neck: with the long frayed ends of which he smeared the beer from his face as he spoke. You know my name: out with it! I shan't disgrace it when the time comes. and--no.' 'Perhaps I am. 79 . well. He had a brown hat on his head. Bill. Sikes. skulked into the room. unless you mean as little harm when you throw pewter pots about. with abject humility. avaricious. I'd have done it long ago. for you're fit for nothing but keeping as a curiousity of ugliness in a glass bottle. when he had done so. a piece of dumb show which the Jew appeared to understand perfectly. 'What are you up to? Ill-treating the boys. and I suppose they don't blow glass bottles large enough. in-sa-ti-able old fence?' said the man. however. and jerking his head over on the right shoulder. d'ye hear?' growled this engaging ruffian. 'You seem out of humour. 'you always mean mischief when you come that. He disclosed. 'Come in. are you? Lie down!' This command was accompanied with a kick.' replied Sikes. I couldn't have sold you afterwards. trembling. as you do when you blab and--' 'Are you mad?' said the Jew. catching the man by the sleeve.' 'Well.unfinished and incomplete state without a set of fetters to garnish them. and two scowling eyes. 'Why didn't you come in afore?' said the man. Mr. one of which displayed various parti-coloured symptoms of having been recently damaged by a blow.' said the Jew. a broad heavy countenance with a beard of three days' growth. then--Bill Sikes. you covetous. appeared to occupy himself in taking a survey of the apartment.' said the Jew. with his face scratched and torn in twenty different places. 'You're getting too proud to own me afore company. If I'd been your 'prentice. 'I wonder they don't murder you! I would if I was them. 'I should think you was rather out of sorts too. and pointing towards the boys. without uttering a sound. seating himself deliberately. 'don't speak so loud!' 'None of your mistering. He appeared well used to it. Sikes contented himself with tying an imaginary knot under his left ear.' replied the ruffian.' 'Hush! hush! Mr. which sent the animal to the other end of the room. and winking his very ill-looking eyes twenty times in a minute. for he coiled himself up in a corner very quietly. A white shaggy dog.

' 'And I'm afraid.' The man started. Every member of the respectable coterie appeared plunged in his own reflections. you see. but if the speaker could have seen the evil leer with which the Jew bit his pale lip as he turned round to the cupboard. and his eyes were vacantly staring on the opposite wall. and is committed. which gracious act led to a conversation. 'that he may say something which will get us into trouble.' 'That's very likely.' said Mr. with which his whole conversation was plentifully besprinkled. laying his hat upon the table.' said Mr. speaking as if he had not noticed the interruption. my dear. After swallowing two of three glasses of spirits. and turned round upon the Jew. 'You're blowed upon.' Again the Jew nodded. 80 . Sikes condescended to take some notice of the young gentlemen. with such alterations and improvements on the truth. The Jew nodded assent. But the old gentleman's shoulders were shrugged up to his ears.' said Mr. added the Jew. 'If he hasn't peached. Sikes.--'I'm afraid that. as to the Dodger appeared most advisable under the circumstances. 'Somebody must find out wot's been done at the office.He then. in cant terms. there's no fear till he comes out again. 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. and regarding the other closely as he did so. There was a long pause. not excepting the dog. Sikes in a much lower tone than he had taken since he came in. in which the cause and manner of Oliver's capture were circumstantially detailed.' said the Jew. if the game was up with us. it might be up with a good many more. or the wish (at all events) to improve upon the distiller's ingenuity not very far from the old gentleman's merry heart. and that it would come out rather worse for you than it would for me. This was said in jest. demanded a glass of liquor. 'I'm afraid. Fagin. he might have thought the caution not wholly unnecessary.' returned Sikes with a malicious grin. Sikes. 'and then he must be taken care on. You must get hold of him somehow. 'And mind you don't poison it. but which would be quite unintelligible if they were recorded here. Mr.

'Why.' said Sikes. This was. and Mr.' said the Jew in a soothing manner. and Charley Bates. 'Only just up to the office. that the Dodger. for the sudden entrance of the two young ladies whom Oliver had seen on a former occasion. Fagin. Sikes: 'nobody about here knows anything of you. 'What do you mean by that?' said Mr. my dear.' said the Jew coaxingly. the pain of a direct and pointed refusal. unfortunately. William Sikes. The Jew's countenance fell. it is difficult to guess. 'What I say. was obvious. she will. one and all.' replied Nancy. to the other female. Fagin. not to say gorgeously attired. caused the conversation to flow afresh.The prudence of this line of action. Fagin. 'Nancy. but that she merely expressed an emphatic and earnest desire to be 'blessed' if she would. It is due to the young lady to say that she did not positively affirm that she would not. happened. who was gaily. a polite and delicate evasion of the request. 'what do YOU say?' 'That it won't do. Bill. He turned from this young lady. neither. but.' said Nancy. 'Yes. looking up in a surly manner.' 'She'll go. 81 . to entertain a violent and deeply-rooted antipathy to going near a policeoffice on any ground or pretext whatever. 'The very thing!' said the Jew. you're just the very person for it. Fagin. in a red gown. which shows the young lady to have been possessed of that natural good breeding which cannot bear to inflict upon a fellow-creature. Bill. she won't. How long they might have sat and looked at each other. green boots. my dear?' 'Wheres?' inquired the young lady. however.' reasoned Mr. indeed. and Fagin. in a state of uncertainty not the most pleasant of its kind. Sikes. It is not necessary to make any guesses on the subject.' replied the lady collectedly. so it's no use a-trying it on. there was one very strong objection to its being adopted.' said Sikes. 'Bet will go. 'it's rather more no than yes with me. 'No. and yellow curl-papers.' replied Nancy in the same composed manner.' 'And as I don't want 'em to. won't you. my dear.

gentlemen. Fagin. Entering by the back way. do.' said the Jew. the lady in question was ultimately prevailed upon to undertake the commission. Sikes. she was not under the same apprehension of being recognised by any of her numerous acquaintance. withheld by the same considerations as her agreeable friend. if you please. 'Nolly. turning round to his young friends.' said Mr. that young lady made the best of her way to the policeoffice. and smiting the table with his enormous fist. she arrived in perfect safety shortly afterwards. Accordingly. dear. 'Stop a minute.--Miss Nancy prepared to issue forth on her errand. my dears. gentlemen. do have pity. bursting into tears. 'Ah. 'Nolly?' 82 . my brother! My poor. and many other encomiums. for.And Mr. promises. 'Carry that in one hand. It looks more respectable. producing. having recently removed into the neighborhood of Field Lane from the remote but genteel suburb of Ratcliffe.' said Sikes. 'it looks real and genivine like. and wringing the little basket and the street-door key in an agony of distress. and tell me what's been done with the dear boy. so it does.' said the Jew. gentlemen!' Having uttered those words in a most lamentable and heart-broken tone: to the immeasurable delight of her hearers: Miss Nancy paused. nodded smilingly round. my dear. 'Oh. were being passed on the accomplished Nancy. There was no sound within: so she coughed and listened again. 'There.--both articles of dress being provided from the Jew's inexhaustible stock. and her curl-papers tucked up under a straw bonnet. hanging a large street-door key on the forefinger of the young lady's right hand. rubbing his hands. 'She's a honour to her sex.' said the Jew. Still there was no reply: so she spoke. as if in mute admonition to them to follow the bright example they had just beheld. sweet. she tapped softly with the key at one of the celldoors. and disappeared. innocent little brother!' exclaimed Nancy. filling his glass. my dear. with a clean white apron tied over her gown. She was not. indeed. 'What has become of him! Where have they taken him to! Oh. and wishing they was all like her!' While these. my dear. winked to the company. very good! Very good indeed. notwithstanding a little natural timidity consequent upon walking through the streets alone and unprotected. Sikes was right. 'Here's her health.' 'Yes. she's a clever girl. and shaking his head gravely. whither. By dint of alternate threats. yes. and listened. my dear!' said the Jew. dear?' murmured Nancy in a gentle voice. a little covered basket. and bribes.' 'Give her a door-key to carry in her t'other one.

or knew anything about him. Nancy made straight up to the bluff officer in the striped waistcoat.' This was a vagrant of sixty-five. as neither of these criminals answered to the name of Oliver. the old man informed the deeply affected sister that Oliver had been taken ill in the office. who was going to prison for NOT playing the flute. in other words. rendered more piteous by a prompt and efficient use of the street-door key and the little basket. in defiance of the Stamp-office. my dear. Bill Sikes no sooner heard the account of the expedition delivered. and then. 'Well!' cried a faint and feeble voice. and doing nothing for his livelihood. the gentleman's got him. for begging in the streets. demanded her own dear brother.' said the old man. which had been confiscated for the use of the county: so Nancy passed on to the next cell. he having heard that word mentioned in the directions to the coachman. to his own residence: of and concerning which. with a preliminary sob. 'I haven't got him. Fang to the House of Correction for one month. with the appropriate and amusing remark that since he had so much breath to spare. and that the prosecutor had carried him away. In the next cell was another man. in an insensible condition. 'Where is he?' screamed Nancy. 'What gentleman! Oh. to the domicile of the Jew. or.' replied the voice. Mr. gracious heavens! What gentleman?' exclaimed Nancy. all the informant knew was. who was going to the same prison for hawking tin saucepans without license. He made no answer: being occupied mentally bewailing the loss of the flute. In a dreadful state of doubt and uncertainty. and knocked there. thereby doing something for his living. had been very properly committed by Mr. that it was somewhere in Pentonville. and with the most piteous wailings and lamentations. and discharged in consequence of a witness having proved the robbery to have been committed by another boy. In reply to this incoherent questioning. than he very hastily called up the white dog. expeditiously 83 . putting on his hat. exchanging her faltering walk for a swift run.' replied the officer. not in custody. and. 'No. returned by the most devious and complicated route she could think of. 'Why. and who. But. in a distracted manner.There was nobody inside but a miserable shoeless criminal. it would be more wholesomely expended on the treadmill than in a musical instrument. the agonised young woman staggered to the gate. 'God forbid. 'Is there a little boy here?' inquired Nancy. who had been taken up for playing the flute. the offence against society having been clearly proved.

' added the Jew. Not an instant. he hastily proceeded to dispose the watches and jewellery beneath his clothing. my dears!' With these words.' said the Jew greatly excited.' replied the Jew. drew from its place of concealment the box which he had unintentionally disclosed to Oliver. my dear.' said the Jew as he pursued his occupation. I shall know what to do next. Nancy says?' inquired the Dodger. 'Who's there?' he cried in a shrill tone. You'll know where to find me! Don't stop here a minute. I shall shut up this shop to-night. Find him. 'there's money. do nothing but skulk about. through the key-hole. he pushed them from the room: and carefully double-locking and barring the door behind them. my dears. my dear. I trust to you. 'Yes. that's all. I must have him found. unlocking a drawer with a shaking hand.departed: without devoting any time to the formality of wishing the company good-morning. 'We must know where he is. 'wherever she lays hands on him. stay. find him out. Then. he must be found. 'If he means to blab us among his new friends. till you bring home some news of him! Nancy. 'What now?' cried the Jew impatiently. never fear. 'Is he to be kidnapped to the other ken. 'Me!' replied the voice of the Dodger.' 84 . my dears. A rap at the door startled him in this occupation.' The boy murmured a reply of intelligence: and hurried downstairs after his companions.--to you and the Artful for everything! Stay. 'He has not peached so far. we may stop his mouth yet. 'Charley.

such a good young man. BROWNLOW'S. also. in the hope of again looking on the face of the beautiful lady.CHAPTER XIV COMPRISING FURTHER PARTICULARS OF OLIVER'S STAY AT MR.' This was all the information Oliver could obtain about the picture at that time. because Mr. 'It is gone. There! I promise you that! Now. that as it seemed to worry you.' 'I see it is ma'am. dear. WITH THE REMARKABLE PREDICTION WHICH ONE MR. who was clerk to a merchant in the West Indies. for the picture had been removed. who had been dead and gone. it was time to have tea. both by the old gentleman and Mrs. 'Ah!' said the housekeeper. with great interest and gravity. with a slice of dry toast. perhaps it might prevent your getting well. When the old lady had expatiated. on the excellences of her children. Brownlow's abrupt exclamation had thrown him. indeed. 'you get well as fast as ever you can. a long time. he endeavoured to think no more of the subject just then. Brownlow said. GRIMWIG UTTERED CONCERNING HIM. ma'am. in the conversation that ensued: which indeed bore no reference to Oliver's history or prospects. good-humouredly. and lived in the country. about an amiable and handsome daughter of hers. however. After tea she began to teach Oliver cribbage: which he learnt as quickly as she could teach: and at which game they played. He was still too weak to get up to breakfast. and the merits of her kind good husband besides. who was married to an amiable and handsome man. His expectations were disappointed.' 'Well. As the old lady had been so kind to him in his illness. and who was. but was confined to such topics as might amuse without exciting him. Bedwin. the subject of the picture was carefully avoided. let us talk about something else. 'Oh. 'I liked to see it. I quite loved it. 85 .' said Oliver. no. so he listened attentively to a great many stories she told him. and about a son. well!' said the old lady. his first act was to cast an eager glance at the wall. It didn't worry me. that it brought the tears into her eyes to talk about them. but.' replied Oliver. and then to go cosily to bed. watching the direction of Oliver's eyes. you know. WHEN HE WENT OUT ON AN ERRAND Oliver soon recovering from the fainting-fit into which Mr. until it was time for the invalid to have some warm wine and water. child. and wrote such dutiful letters home four times a-year. when he came down into the housekeeper's room next day. poor dear soul! just six-and-twenty years.' rejoined the old lady. and it shall be hung up again. 'Why have they taken it away?' 'It has been taken down. you see.

he gave them to a servant who had been very kind to him. every day of their lives. As Oliver was told that he might do what he liked with the old clothes. as he was sitting talking to Mrs. at which Mr. Which is still a marvel to more experienced people than Oliver Twist. Brownlow was seated reading. and. and talk to him a little while. that after the noise and turbulence in the midst of which he had always lived. and keep the money for herself. he pushed the book away from him. and orderly. and a new pair of shoes. Brownlow caused a complete new suit. despite that important personal advantage. that she really didn't think it would have been possible. and sit down. and that there was now no possible danger of his ever being able to wear them again. properly. Bedwin. 'There are a good many books. although she lamented grievously. that she went so far as to say: looking at him with great complacency from head to foot. looking into some pleasant little gardens. to be provided for him. Everything was so quiet.' said Mrs. on the longest notice. meanwhile. Brownlow calling to him to come in. and let me part your hair nicely for you. marvelling where the people could be found to read such a great number of books as seemed to be written to make the world wiser. and save us! Wash your hands. Oliver complied. everybody so kind and gentle. and saw the Jew roll them up in his bag and walk away. it seemed like Heaven itself. and asked her to sell them to a Jew. that there was not even time to crimp the little frill that bordered his shirt-collar. to have made much difference in him for the better. There was a table drawn up before the window. This she very readily did. On Mr. child. about a week after the affair of the picture. and. They were sad rags. Brownlow. there came a message down from Mr. When he saw Oliver. with a window. he should like to see him in his study. and Oliver had never had a new suit before. my boy?' said Mr. 'Dear heart alive! If we had known he would have asked for you. are there not. Brownlow. 86 . he looked so delicate and handsome. One evening. that if Oliver Twist felt pretty well. He was no sooner strong enough to put his clothes on. and a new cap. quite full of books. than Mr. Thus encouraged. to tell the truth. observing the curiosity with which Oliver surveyed the shelves that reached from the floor to the ceiling. we would have put you a clean collar on. he found himself in a little back room. those of Oliver's recovery. and neat.They were happy days. and told him to come near the table. 'Bless us. Bedwin. as Oliver looked out of the parlour window. and made you as smart as sixpence!' Oliver did as the old lady bade him. Oliver tapped at the study door. he felt quite delighted to think that they were safely gone.

never will.' replied Oliver.--that is. and at last said. At the earnest manner of his reply. and write books. 'I never saw so many. with a good deal of gilding about the binding. How should you like to grow up a clever man. 87 .' said Mr. and smiling as he did so. sir. 'What! wouldn't you like to be a book-writer?' said the old gentleman.' said the old gentleman.' 'Oh. while there's an honest trade to be learnt. speaking if possible in a kinder. upon which the old gentleman laughed heartily.' said Oliver. moved by the warmth of Oliver's sudden appeal. 'I want you to pay great attention. and said something about a curious instinct. sir!' 'My dear child. patting Oliver on the head. 'Well. 'and you will like that.' interposed Oliver. sir. composing his features. sir. 'there are other equally heavy ones. 'Not always those. the old gentleman laughed again. Have mercy upon a poor boy. 'Don't be afraid! We won't make an author of you. well. 'you need not be afraid of my deserting you. eh?' 'I think I would rather read them.'A great number. not understanding.' said the old gentleman. because there are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts. as many older persons would be. some cases. Let me stay here. Oliver considered a little while.' replied Oliver. paid no very great attention to. I shall talk to you without any reserve.' said the old gentleman kindly. or brickmaking to turn to. than Oliver had ever known him assume yet.' 'I suppose they are those heavy ones. pray!' exclaimed Oliver. alarmed at the serious tone of the old gentleman's commencement! 'Don't turn me out of doors to wander in the streets again.' 'I never.' said Oliver.' said the old gentleman. better than looking at the outsides. Don't send me back to the wretched place I came from. 'Now. though he by no means knew what it was. Brownlow. to what I am going to say. which Oliver. though of a much smaller size. my boy. because I am sure you are well able to understand me. Which Oliver felt glad to have done. unless you give me cause. if you behave well. but at the same time in a much more serious manner. pointing to some large quartos. and declared he had said a very good thing.' 'Thank you. sir. and be a servant.' 'You shall read them. sir. he should think it would be a much better thing to be a book-seller. don't tell you are going to send me away. sir.

'Is he coming up?' inquired Mr.' rejoined the old gentleman. and. 'I do not think you ever will. before. The ends of his white neckerchief were twisted into a ball about the size of an orange.' replied the servant. in a more cheerful tone. and of looking out of the corners of his eyes at the same time: which irresistibly reminded the beholder of a parrot. there walked into the room: supporting himself by a thick stick: a stout old gentleman. well!' said the old gentleman at length. running upstairs. defy description. I have been deceived. on my best affections. even to myself. who brought you up. Brownlow. when he was on the point of beginning to relate how he had been brought up at the farm. nankeen breeches and gaiters. announced Mr. and carried to the workhouse by Mr. Bumble. all the inquiries I have been able to make. and you shall not be friendless while I live.' At this moment. 'Shall I go downstairs. 'No. confirm the statement. for he was a worthy creature at bottom. and a broad-brimmed white hat. 'He asked if there were any muffins in the house. The persons on whom I have bestowed my dearest love. but I feel strongly disposed to trust you. and I am more interested in your behalf than I can well account for. and how you got into the company in which I found you.'I hope not. forever. and knowing that I have suffered great pain and sorrow.' Oliver's sobs checked his utterance for some minutes. where you come from. although the happiness and delight of my life lie buried there too. he said he had come to tea. and he must not mind his being a little rough in his manners. nevertheless. dangled loosely below it. Brownlow smiled. perhaps. because you have a young heart. 'Yes. as he had reason to know. Grimwig. striped waistcoat. not to wound me again. turning to Oliver. when I told him yes. A very small-plaited shirt frill stuck out from his waistcoat. with the sides turned up with green. In 88 .' Mr. sir. lie deep in their graves. with nothing but a key at the end. Brownlow. a peculiarly impatient little double-knock was heard at the street-door: and the servant. I have not made a coffin of my heart. said that Mr. You say you are an orphan. sir?' inquired Oliver. you will be more careful. but. 'Well. rather lame in one leg. who was dressed in a blue coat. in the objects whom I have endeavoured to benefit. without a friend in the world. and sealed it up. Deep affliction has but strengthened and refined them. 'I would rather you remained here. Speak the truth. 'I only say this. Grimwig was an old friend of his.' As the old gentleman said this in a low voice: more to himself than to his companion: and as he remained silent for a short time afterwards: Oliver sat quite still. He had a manner of screwing his head on one side when he spoke. Let me hear your story.' replied Mr. and. and a very long steel watch-chain. the variety of shapes into which his countenance was twisted.

sir. no. discontented voice. and. Oliver bowed. 'You don't mean to say that's the boy who had the fever. sir!' This was the handsome offer with which Mr. recoiling a little more. 89 .this attitude. striking his stick upon the ground. he fixed himself. a very thick coating of powder. 'I'll eat my head. and it was the more singular in his case. he has not had one.' 'I feel strongly on this subject. took a view of Oliver: who. 'Come! Put down your hat." I called out of the window. Grimwig. whom we were speaking about. the possibility of scientific improvements being brought to that pass which will enable a gentleman to eat his own head in the event of his being so disposed. and.' 'No. 'Hallo! what's that!' looking at Oliver. in a growling. Brownlow. laughing. and threw this bit of peel upon the staircase. and I know orange-peel will be my death.' said Mr. Grimwig backed and confirmed nearly every assertion he made. Grimwig's head was such a particularly large one. sir. Grimwig. 'that's the boy who had the orange! If that's not the boy. and fell against my garden-railings. 'This is young Oliver Twist.' said the irritable old gentleman. and his too. seeing that he was the object of inspection. 'Wait a minute! Don't speak! Stop--' continued Mr. by his friends. Then. sir. opening a double eye-glass. losing all dread of the fever in his triumph at the discovery. and I KNOW it's put there by the surgeon's boy at the corner. A young woman stumbled over a bit last night. and bowed again. If he is not--' Here the irascible old gentleman gave a great knock on the ground with his stick. "he's an assassin! A man-trap!" So he is. still keeping his stick in his hand. that the most sanguine man alive could hardly entertain a hope of being able to get through it at a sitting--to put entirely out of the question.' repeated Mr. because.' said Mr. even admitting for the sake of argument. "Don't go to him. exclaimed. to imply the customary offer. which was always understood. Brownlow. and speak to my young friend. whenever it was not expressed in words. directly she got up I saw her look towards his infernal red lamp with the pantomime-light. and retreating a pace or two. who had the orange. coloured. he sat down. abruptly. holding out a small piece of orange-peel at arm's length. or I'll be content to eat my own head. drawing off his gloves. I hope?' said Mr. Mr. '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. Grimwig. I'll eat my head. which he wore attached to a broad black riband. 'There's always more or less orange-peel on the pavement in our street. the moment he made his appearance.

he had resolved. 'That's the boy. a horrid boy.' replied Mr. Brownlow coughed impatiently. as he did not half like the visitor's manner. He had had a fever six times.' replied Mr. I only knew two sort of boys. Grimwig. sir. and beef-faced boys. that in the inmost recesses of his own heart. Grimwig the most exquisite delight. 'Don't know?' 'No. they call him. asked Oliver to step downstairs and tell Mrs. What of that? Fevers are not peculiar to good peope. Grimwig. inwardly determining that no man should dictate to him whether a boy was well-looking or not.' Here. with a round head. Brownlow. Mr Brownlow. 'He may have worse. When Mr. Brownlow. sharpened on this occasion by the finding of the orange-peel. Brownlow 90 . 'How are you. Pooh! nonsense!' Now. boy?' said Mr.' repeated Mr. 'Where does he come from! Who is he? What is he? He has had a fever. Grimwig. Mr. pettishly. seeming to apprehend that his singular friend was about to say something disagreeable. eh? I knew a man who was hung in Jamaica for murdering his master.' replied Oliver. are they? Bad people have fevers sometimes. I know him! The wretch!' 'Come.'That's the boy.' replied Mr. Mealy boys. is he not?' inquired Mr. I never see any difference in boys. from the first. with the voice of a pilot. 'I don't know. I don't know. which. and. but he had a strong appetite for contradiction.' 'And which is Oliver?' 'Mealy.' said Mr. to oppose his friend. he was very happy to do. is it?' said Mr. thank you. 'A great deal better. the fact was.' 'They are not. 'these are not the characteristics of young Oliver Twist. Grimwig was strongly disposed to admit that Oliver's appearance and manner were unusually prepossessing. and red cheeks. Bedwin they were ready for tea. which appeared to afford Mr. 'He may have worse. and the appetite of a wolf. I know a friend who has a beef-faced boy. I say. 'He is a nice-looking boy. he wasn't recommended to mercy on that account. Grimwig. with a body and limbs that appear to be swelling out of the seams of his blue clothes. Grimwig. haven't they. Mr. and glaring eyes. so he needn't excite your wrath. a fine boy. at length. Brownlow.

with a sneer. knocking the table also. Bedwin chanced to bring in. at this moment.' said Mr. Mr. having laid them on the table. knocking the table. who made one of the party.' replied Mr. Brownlow had that morning purchased of the identical bookstall-keeper. 'I would rather he was alone with me at the time. Mrs. with a provoking smile.' whispered that gentleman to Mr. looking sideways at Oliver. Brownlow. He answered with some hesitation. Grimwig.' replied Oliver. And he demanded.' 'Yes. Brownlow. and that he had postponed any investigation into Oliver's previous history until he thought the boy was strong enough to hear it. bore with great good humour.' said Mr. 'We shall see. was graciously pleased to express his entire approval of the muffins. matters went on very smoothly. which Mr. 'I'll answer for that boy's truth with my life!' said Mr. 'And I for his falsehood with my head!' rejoined Mr.admitted that on no one point of inquiry could he yet return a satisfactory answer. Grimwig. He is deceiving you. why. and Oliver. 'And when are you going to hear at full. 'If he is not. at the conclusion of the meal. All this. Brownlow. Mr. Grimwig. I saw him hesitate. she prepared to leave the room. began to feel more at his ease than he had yet done in the fierce old gentleman's presence.' 'I'll swear he is not. 'we will. true. as he resumed his subject. Brownlow. because if she didn't find a table-spoon or two missing some sunshiny morning. Brownlow. sir. Grimwig. whether the housekeeper was in the habit of counting the plate at night. at tea. 'he won't come up to you to-morrow morning. 'We will. my good friend. Come up to me to-morrow morning at ten o'clock.' replied Mr. he would be content to--and so forth. 'To-morrow morning. although himself somewhat of an impetuous gentleman: knowing his friend's peculiarities. checking his rising anger. 91 . as Mr. a small parcel of books. Grimwig chuckled maliciously.' As fate would have it. Brownlow. and particular account of the life and adventures of Oliver Twist?' asked Grimwig of Mr. my dear. warmly. 'I'll tell you what.' replied Mr. Brownlow. 'I'll--' and down went the stick. who has already figured in this history. because he was confused by Mr. Grimwig's looking so hard at him.

Brownlow. so you will have to bring me back. he should prove to him the injustice of his suspicions: on this head at least: at once. Having superadded many injunctions to be sure and not take cold. and. and left the room. he made a respectful bow. The old lady smilingly returned his salutation. sir.' The old gentleman was just going to say that Oliver should not go out on any account. Oliver ran one way.' 'He has gone. the old lady at length permitted him to depart.' 'Yes. Bedwin followed him to the street-door. 'You SHALL go. 'I particularly wished those books to be returned to-night. my dear.' exclaimed Mr. Mrs. sir. to report that there were no tidings of him. to her own room.' 'Send Oliver with them. 'Bless his sweet face!' said the old lady.' said Mr. do let me take them. 'Dear me. This is a five-pound note. 'Call after him. too. and waited. Brownlow. 'there is something to go back. brought down the books under his arm in a great bustle.' said the old gentleman. Having buttoned up the banknote in his jacket pocket. I am very sorry for that. Mrs.' replied Mrs. eagerly. and the name of the bookseller. giving him many directions about the nearest way. but there was no boy in sight. somehow. and that you have come to pay the four pound ten I owe him.' said Oliver. looking after him. Grimwig determined him that he should. if you please. sir. and the girl ran another.' Oliver. He is a poor man. 'I can't bear.' 'I won't be ten minutes. in a breathless state. ten shillings change. Bedwin. to let him go out of my sight. Bedwin stood on the step and screamed for the boy. Brownlow.' At this moment. Fetch them down. Brownlow. cap in hand. There are some books to be taken back. 92 .' The street-door was opened.' said Mr. 'The books are on a chair by my table. and they are not paid for. delighted to be of use. with an ironical smile. to hear what message he was to take. 'you are to say that you have brought those books back. and Mrs. by his prompt discharge of the commission.'Stop the boy. when a most malicious cough from Mr. and nodded before he turned the corner. went back. Bedwin!' said Mr. you know.' said Mr. 'he will be sure to deliver them safely. 'it's particular. 'You are to say. and placed the books carefully under his arm.' said Oliver. sir. glancing steadily at Grimwig. and that. 'I'll run all the way. and the name of the street: all of which Oliver said he clearly understood. Oliver looked gaily round. closing the door. Grimwig. Oliver and the girl returned.

'I do not. but there the two old gentlemen continued to sit.' 'Oh! you really expect him to come back. with the watch between them. in silent expectation.'Let me see. in silence. and a five-pound note in his pocket. and placing it on the table. I'll eat my head. although Mr. and the pride with which we put forth our most rash and hasty conclusions. Brownlow. and laugh at you. that.' said Mr. he'll be back in twenty minutes. It grew so dark. He'll join his old friends the thieves. Grimwig's breast. The boy has a new suit of clothes on his back. Grimwig. and though he would have been unfeignedly sorry to see his respected friend duped and deceived. pulling out his watch. 'No. 'It will be dark by that time.' With these words he drew his chair closer to the table. Brownlow. smiling. It is worthy of remark. that Oliver Twist might not come back. Grimwig was not by any means a bad-hearted man. The spirit of contradiction was strong in Mr. that the figures on the dial-plate were scarcely discernible. at the longest. as illustrating the importance we attach to our own judgments. sir. If ever that boy returns to this house. a set of valuable books under his arm. and there the two friends sat. he really did most earnestly and strongly hope at that moment. smiting the table with his fist. 93 .' he said. and it was rendered stronger by his friend's confident smile. 'Don't you?' asked Mr. with the watch between them. at the moment. do you?' inquired Mr.

under a powerful sense of injury. at this moment. in winking at his master with both eyes at the same time. THE MERRY OLD JEW AND MISS NANCY WERE In the obscure parlour of a low public-house. The dog jumped from right to left. 'Keep quiet. 94 . would you?' said Sikes. and struck and blasphemed. Dogs are not generally apt to revenge injuries inflicted upon them by their masters. seizing the poker in one hand. growling. Mr. half-boots and stockings. and deliberately opening with the other a large clasp-knife. the door suddenly opening. Sikes the more. 'You would. Sikes's dog. This resistance only infuriated Mr. under a form. 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. and from left to right. and growled more fiercely than before: at the same time grasping the end of the poker between his teeth. drab shorts. just escaping the pewter measure which Mr. There must always be two parties to a quarrel. redeyed dog. he retired. says the old adage. and barking. Sikes spoke in the very harshest key of a very harsh voice. you warmint! Keep quiet!' said Mr. appearing to entertain some unaccountable objection to having his throat cut. At his feet. who. and labouring. 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. the man thrust and swore. growling. whom even by that dim light no experienced agent of the police would have hesitated to recognise as Mr. Whatever was the cause. the effect was a kick and a curse. he remained where he was. but Mr. in the filthiest part of Little Saffron Hill. made no more ado but at once fixed his teeth in one of the half-boots. Sikes. and biting at it like a wild beast. Sikes. where a flaring gas-light burnt all day in the wintertime. perhaps. and where no ray of sun ever shone in the summer: there sat. fresh cut on one side of his mouth. you born devil! Come here! D'ye hear?' The dog no doubt heard. the dog darted out: leaving Bill Sikes with the poker and the clasp-knife in his hands. 'Come here. William Sikes. when. being disappointed of the dog's participation. bestowed upon the dog simultaneously. which he drew from his pocket. because Mr. strongly impregnated with the smell of liquor. is matter for argument and consideration. dropping on his knees. sat a white-coated. began to assail the animal most furiously. and in licking a large. Sikes levelled at his head. alternately. having faults of temper in common with his owner. and the struggle was reaching a most critical point for one or other.CHAPTER XV SHOWING HOW VERY FOND OF OLIVER TWIST. suddenly breaking silence. who occupied himself. but. a man in a velveteen coat. a dark and gloomy den. at once transferred his share in the quarrel to the new comer. Having given in a hearty shake. which appeared to be the result of some recent conflict. snapping.

' retorted Sikes with a fierce sneer. unless it's behind a nightcap. he drew forth an old cotton handkerchief from his breast. give me time. as haven't half the pluck of curs. It's rather more than it ought to be. my dear.' replied the Jew. you go. hastily opened it. replacing the poker.' The Jew rubbed his hands. well.' 'Well. so take care of me.' 'Why?' inquired the Jew with a forced smile. you don't. half a minute ago. soothingly.' replied Sikes. but as I know you'll do me a good turn another time. Fagin. impatiently. 'Couldn't you hear the noise?' 'Not a sound of it. 'Here it is! All safe!' As he spoke. produced a small brown-paper packet. shutting up the knife with a very expressive look. Bill. and proceeded to count the sovereigns it contained. 'I didn't know. Fagin. and--' 'Stow that gammon. so as nobody hears how you come or go! I wish you had been the dog. d--me.' replied Fagin.' replied Fagin. humbly. 'and this is your share. and. You'll never have the laugh at me. and. however. my dear.'What the devil do you come in between me and my dog for?' said Sikes. 95 . with a fierce gesture. 'Grin away. snatching it from him. is it?' inquired Sikes. 'Sneaking in and out. I didn't know.' interposed the robber.' said Sikes. yes. sitting down at the table. 'Cause the government. and surveying him with savage contempt. what have you got to say to me?' 'It's all passed safe through the melting-pot. 'Where is it? Hand over!' 'Yes. Sikes. we--we--have a mutual interest. as I'm a living man. Bill.--a mutual interest.' said Sikes. give me time. I've got the upper hand over you. 'grin away. for the Jew was the new comer.' 'Humph. 'Well. I'll keep it. 'Didn't know.' said the Jew. my dear. as cares for the lives of such men as you. you white-livered thief!' growled Sikes. 'This is all. 'Oh no! You hear nothing. though. 'I know all that. affected to laugh at the pleasantry of his friend. lets a man kill a dog how he likes. There! If I go. and untying a large knot in one corner. as if he though the interest lay rather more on the Jew's side than on his. Bill.' replied the Jew. 'that's why. He was obviously very ill at ease.

It was answered by another Jew: younger than Fagin.' replied the young lady. suspiciously. speaking.'All. 'You haven't opened the parcel and swallowed one or two as you come along. have you?' inquired Sikes. he retired. as if for permission.' said Sikes. and--' 'Ah. now that that Sikes was looking on. 96 . the Jew reamining silent.' replied the Jew. Nancy?' inquired Sikes. 'Dobody but Biss Dadsy. dear!' said Fagin. 'Yes. in a tone of surprise: which perhaps might mean that Barney was at liberty to tell the truth. and shook his head in reply. perfectly understanding the hint.' These words. in plain English. Bill Sikes merely pointed to the empty measure. 'Send her here. as if in expectation of it. I am. and presently returned. you've done it many a time. disposing of its contents. 'Nancy!' exclaimed Sikes. apron. 'Nobody?' inquired Fagin. too. who was stooping at the moment to tie the boot-lace which the dog had torn. but nearly as vile and repulsive in appearance. Possibly. looking up. so slightly that the action would have been almost imperceptible to an observant third person. if I don't honour that 'ere girl. Bill. Jerk the tinkler. 'Send her here.' Barney looked timidly at Fagin.' replied Barney. basket. pouring out a glass of liquor. conveyed an injunction to ring the bell. 'Don't put on an injured look at the question. ushering in Nancy. proffering the glass. and street-door key. for her native talents. Barney?' inquired Fagin. and not lifting his eyes from the ground. 'Is anybody here. The Jew. 'and tired enough of it I am.' replied Barney. 'Dot a shoul. he might have thought that it boded no good to him. if he had observed the brief interchange of signals. who raised his eyes for an instant. The young brat's been ill and confined to the crib. without raising his eyes from the ground. It was lost upon Sikes.' replied Barney. complete. 'Where? Strike me blind.' 'She's bid havid a plate of boiled beef id the bar. Nancy. retired to fill it: previously exchanging a remarkable look with Fagin. whose words: whether they came from the heart or not: made their way through the nose. who was decorated with the bonnet. are you. 'You are on the scent.

'Oh. when he was startled by a young woman screaming out very loud. He was walking along. The Jew thrust his head out of the room door when Sikes had left it. the butcher's boy: who appeared of a lounging. he accidently turned down a by-street which was not exactly in his way. and a half closing of his deeply-set eyes. 'I have found him! Oh! Oliver! Oliver! Oh you naughty boy. they went away together. expressed his intention of accompanying her. warned Miss Nancy that she was disposed to be too communicative. dear. and so marched on. reseated himself at the table. might be weeping bitterly at that very moment. who. finding that he was walking a short part of her way himself. whether he didn't think he had better run for the doctor. but not discovering his mistake until he had got half-way down it. looked after him as we walked up the dark passage. and declared it was time to go. When he got into Clerkenwell. I've found him. I've found him!' With these incoherent exclamations. with a horrible grin. who was also looking on. The fact is all we need care for here. when he was stopped by having a pair of arms thrown tight round his neck. Mr. and then. shook his clenched fist. with the books under his arm. to see what the matter was. not to say indolent disposition: replied. he did not think it worth while to turn back. Meanwhile. followed. upon which Nancy pulled her shawl over her shoulders. to make me suffer such distress on your account! Come home. is not a matter of much importance. In about ten minutes' time. little dreaming that he was within so very short a distance of the merry old gentleman. and the fact is. was on his way to the book-stall. Who is it? What are you stopping me for?' The only reply to this. that he thought not. whether a peculiar contraction of the Jew's red eye-brows. 'Let go of me. and knowing it must lead in the right direction. and how much he would give for only one look at poor little Dick. turned the conversation to other matters. come. by the dog. my dear brother!' And he had hardly looked up. thinking how happy and contented he ought to feel. Mr. and with several gracious smiles upon Mr. To which. who slunk out of a backyard as soon as his master was out of sight. the young woman burst into another fit of crying. at a little distant. Sikes. 97 . that she suddenly checked herself. 'Oh my gracious!' said the young woman. and got so dreadfully hysterical. that a couple of women who came up at the moment asked a butcher's boy with a shiny head of hair anointed with suet. Oh. 'Don't. was a great number of loud lamentations from the young woman who had embraced him. Thank gracious goodness heavins. starved and beaten. Sikes. as quickly as he could. struggling. muttered a deep curse. and who had a little basket and a street-door key in her hand. where he was soon deeply absorbed in the interesting pages of the Hue-and-Cry.' cried Oliver.Now. Fagin was seized with a fit of coughing. Oliver Twist.

never mind. ma'am. 'I am not. I don't know them. I haven't any sister. and started back. too!' rejoined the man. who now saw her face for the first time. Bull's-eye.' said the young woman. who are hard-working and respectable people. 'And he shall have it. in irrepressible astonishment. you young dog! Come home directly. or he'll kill his dear mother and father. 'That's right!' cried a looker-on. Help! help! cried Oliver. you little brute. administering another blow. 'Go home. or father and mother either. and seizing Oliver by the collar. I live at Pentonville. 'I'm better now. it's Nancy!' exclaimed Oliver. from his parents. mind him. 'Why. 98 . 'he ran away.' replied Oliver. appealing to the bystanders. 'Help!' repeated the man. you young rascal! What books are these? You've been a stealing 'em. bursting out of a beer-shop. struggling in the man's powerful grasp. and almost broke his mother's heart. how he braves it out!' cried the young woman. I'm an orphan. from a garret-window. with a white dog at his heels. you young villain! Here. 'You see he knows me!' cried Nancy.' 'I don't belong to them. 'It'll do him good!' said the two women. Make him come home. casting an approving look at the garret-window. Come home directly. 'I don't know her.' replied the young woman. 'Yes. 'Come on. boy! Mind him!' Weak with recent illness. terrified by the fierce growling of the dog. and break my heart!' 'What the devil's this?' said a man. and struck him on the head. have you? Give 'em here. do. the man tore the volumes from his grasp. 'That's the only way of bringing him to his senses!' 'To be sure!' cried a sleepy-faced carpenter. and went and joined a set of thieves and bad characters.'Oh.' With these words.' 'Young wretch!' said one woman.' said the other. stupified by the blows and the suddenness of the attack. you cruel boy! Come!' 'Oh. no.' 'Only hear him. no. grasping Oliver's hand. 'young Oliver! Come home to your poor mother. greatly alarmed. near a month ago. there's good people. I'll help you. and the brutality of the man. 'He can't help himself.

perseveringly. for there was nobody to care for them. in the dark parlour. 99 . the servant had run up the street twenty times to see if there were any traces of Oliver. what could one poor child do! Darkness had set in. no help was near. with the watch between them. and still the two old gentlemen sat. it was a low neighborhood. It was of little moment. Bedwin was waiting anxiously at the open door. In another moment he was dragged into a labyrinth of dark narrow courts. ********* The gas-lamps were lighted. and was forced along them at a pace which rendered the few cries he dared to give utterance to. unintelligible. resistance was useless. indeed.overpowered by the conviction of the bystanders that he really was the hardened little wretch he was described to be. whether they were intelligible or no. Mrs. had they been ever so plain.

and growled. and looked round. 'Here. and licking his lips. although it might have been Grosvenor Square. AFTER HE HAD BEEN CLAIMED BY NANCY The narrow streets and courts. and other indications of a cattlemarket. Bull'sEye!' The dog looked up. the rapid rate at which they had hitherto walked. which Nancy clasped tight in hers. master. Sikes slackened his pace when they reached this spot: the girl being quite unable to support any longer. boy!' said Sikes. were pens for beasts. giving vent to another admonitory growl for the benefit of Oliver. They had hurried on a few paces. his two conductors stopped. seizing Oliver's unoccupied hand. young'un!' Bull's-eye wagged his tail in acknowledgment of this unusually endearing form of speech. 'See here. Get on. Oliver saw. and turned their heads in the direction whence the sound proceeded. 'Now.CHAPTER XVI RELATES WHAT BECAME OF OLIVER TWIST. The lights in the shops could scarecely struggle through the heavy mist. led the way onward. hold him! D'ye mind!' The dog growled again. eyed Oliver as if he were anxious to attach himself to his windpipe without delay. as Oliver hesitated. With its first stroke. you know what you've got to expect. The night was dark and foggy. 'Give me the other. 100 . the dog will soon stop that game. quite out of the track of passengers. regarding the animal with a kind of grim and ferocious approval. rendering the strange place still stranger in Oliver's eyes. for anything Oliver knew to the contrary. scattered about which.' said Sikes. so call away as quick as you like. strike me blind if he isn't!' said Sikes. and making his uncertainty the more dismal and depressing. 'if he speaks ever so soft a word. at length. They were in a dark corner. putting his other hand to Oliver's throat. but too plainly. which thickened every moment and shrouded the streets and houses in gloom. Turning to Oliver. terminated in a large open space. and. He held out his hand. It was Smithfield that they were crossing. 'Do you hear?' growled Sikes. that resistance would be of no avail. 'He's as willing as a Christian. he roughly commanded him to take hold of Nancy's hand. when a deep church-bell struck the hour.

as I couldn't hear the squeaking on. 'Oh. and don't stand preaching there. and on the door was nailed a board. 'Of course they can. 'What's the good of telling me that. Sikes. that's all you women think of. if the snow was on the ground. But Oliver felt her hand tremble.' 'And what good would that do?' inquired the unsentimental Mr. They walked on. the row and din outside made the thundering old jail so silent. so it don't much matter. 'I wonder whether THEY can hear it. can't I!' replied Sikes. such fine young chaps as them!' 'Yes. Bill. drew her shawl more closely round her. nearly full of old-clothes shops. and. and stood for a few moments under a lamp. glancing cautiously about. 'Fine young chaps! Well. and those appearing from their looks to hold much the same position in society as Mr. and. Sikes appeared to repress a rising tendency to jealousy. Arter I was locked up for the night. Come on. and soon 101 . 'It was Bartlemy time when I was shopped. Bill. the dog running forward. intimating that it was to let: which looked as if it had hung there for many years. they're as good as dead.' said Nancy.' replied Sikes. I can hear it. or not walking at all. who still had her face turned towards the quarter in which the bell had sounded. if it was you that was coming out to be hung.' 'Poor fellow!' said Nancy.' With this consolation. the next time eight o'clock struck. as if a sash window were gently raised. for a full half-hour: meeting very few people. told him to step out again. and I hadn't a shawl to cover me. Mr. 'Unless you could pitch over a file and twenty yards of good stout rope. and there warn't a penny trumpet in the fair.' cried Sikes. was heard. Nancy stooped below the shutters. clasping Oliver's wrist more firmly.'Eight o' clock. the house was in a ruinous condition. by little-frequented and dirty ways. as if conscious that there was no further occasion for his keeping on guard. They crossed to the opposite side of the street. and Oliver heard the sound of a bell. saw that it had turned a deadly white. A noise. stopped before the door of a shop that was closed and apparently untenanted.' The girl burst into a laugh.' answered Sikes. Sikes himself.' said Nancy. looking up in her face as they passed a gas-lamp. that I could almost have beat my brains out against the iron plates of the door. for all the good it would do me. 'Wait a minute!' said the girl: 'I wouldn't hurry by. At length they turned into a very filthy narrow street. I'd walk round and round the place till I dropped. 'All right. Bill. and they walked away. when the bell ceased. you might as well be walking fifty mile off.

my wig!' cried Master Charles Bates. The Artful. no!' The style of this reply. look at him! Fagin. 'Look at his togs! Superfine cloth. 'Look at his togs. 'and precious down in the mouth he has been. They waited.afterwards the door softly opened. otherwise the Artful Dodger. 'No. as well as the voice which delivered it. my wig. and seldom gave way to merriment when it interfered with business. Look after your legs if you do!' 'Stand still a moment. and. 'Let's have a glim. The young gentleman did not stop to bestow any other mark of recognition upon Oliver than a humourous grin. and I'll get you one. Won't he be glad to see you? Oh. but. Master Bates laid himself flat on the floor: and kicked convulsively for five minutes.' replied the voice. do look at him! I can't bear it. I cant' bear it. The receding footsteps of the speaker were heard. while the Jew. 'or we shall go breaking our necks. he snatched the cleft stick from the Dodger. while I laugh it out. or treading on the dog. 'Is the old 'un here?' asked the robber. here he is! Oh. chained and barred the door. made a great number of low bows to the bewildered boy. The passage was perfectly dark. rifled Oliver's pockets with steady assiduity.' replied the voice. meantime. advancing to Oliver. while the person who had let them in. Hold me. and. somebody. 'Yes. Then jumping to his feet. the form of Mr. in an ectasy of facetious joy. Fagin. 'Anybody here?' inquired Sikes. Mr. and. taking off his nightcap. He bore in his right hand a tallow candle stuck in the end of a cleft stick. John Dawkins.' said Sikes. Sikes then seized the terrified boy by the collar with very little ceremony. viewed him round and round. and all three were quickly inside the house. which Oliver thought he had heard before. opening the door of a low earthy-smelling room. They crossed an empty kitchen. Fagin!' said Charley. from whose lungs the laughter had proceeded: 'here he is! oh. 'Oh. it is such a jolly game. appeared. beckoned the visitors to follow him down a flight of stairs. putting the light so close to his new jacket as nearly to set him on fire. were received with a shout of laughter. in another minute. and the 102 . cry. seemed familiar to Oliver's ears: but it was impossible to distinguish even the form of the speaker in the darkness. which seemed to have been built in a small back-yard.' With this irrepressible ebullition of mirth. turning away.' replied a voice. who was of a rather saturnine disposition.

Keep me here all my life long. pray send them back. sell 'em. that Fagin himself relaxed. putting on his hat with a determined air. Master Bates. 'hand over. wringing his hands. my eye. Sikes plucked the note from between the Jew's finger and thumb.' said Oliver. my dear. for fear you should spoil that Sunday one. for he hoped that the dispute might really end in his being taken back. isn't is. Oliver started too. 'That's mine. my dear. hardly fair. what a game! And his books. more boisterous than the first.' said the Jew. Why didn't you write. neither. but pray. 'Mine. fell into another ectasy. send him back the books and money. 'Fair. who was blessed with a lively sense of the ludicrous. give it here!' With this gentle remonstrance. is it. and looking the old man coolly in the face. when I was near dying of the fever. old gentleman who took me into his house. You shall have the books. you avaricious old skeleton. pray send them back. 'and not half enough. kind. stepping forward as the Jew seized the note. though from a very different cause. 'beautiful writing.heavy swell cut! Oh. and kidnapping. no.' At his. 'Come! Hand over. Fagin!' 'Delighted to see you looking so well. 'mine and Nancy's that is. Bill.' The Jew started. and had me nursed. 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. Oh. 'Hallo. 'This is hardly fair. but as the Artful drew forth the five-pound note at that instant. and tied it in his neckerchief. bowing with mock humility. it is doubtful whether the sally of the discovery awakened his merriment. with sundry grimaces.' said Charley Bates: who. too! Nothing but a gentleman. He'll 103 . Mr. every young boy as gets grabbed through you? Give it here. You may keep the books. folded it up small. or not fair. 'to the good. had been affecting to read one of the volumes in question. and even the Dodger smiled. Fagin. 'That's for our share of the trouble. Nancy?' inquired the Jew. if you're fond of reading. what's that?' inquired Sikes.' 'They're very pretty.' 'No. mine.' said the Jew. Bill. If you ain't. 'They belong to the old gentleman. my dear. will you?' said Sikes.' said Sikes. I'll take the boy back again. 'The Artful shall give you another suit.' 'If that ain't mine!' said Bill Sikes.' retorted Sikes. my dear. and say you were coming? We'd have got something warm for supper. Master Bates roared again: so loud. Oliver?' At sight of the dismayed look with which Oliver regarded his tormentors.

don't think it.' Oliver had looked from one to the other. pale and breathless from the scuffle.' 'Shan't he!' said Sikes. setting his teeth. she hasn't. will you?' said the Jew. 'I'll soon do that. which made the bare old house echo to the roof. Ha! ha!' chuckled the Jew. struggling violently with the man. 'Keep back the dog. I don't care for that. while these words were being spoken. dragging Oliver among them. and beat his hands together. savagely. Oliver. Bill. or I'll split your head against the wall. and they'll ask no questions after him. and could scarecely understand what passed. just as the Jew and the two boys returned. rubbing his hands. and so get him lagged. 'No. Fagin. if we had chosen our time!' 'Of course it couldn't. struggling to disengage himself from the girl's grasp. 'I know'd that. or they wouldn't have taken him in at all. and send them back!' With these words. It's all right enough.' said Nancy. They're soft-hearted psalm-singers. 'it couldn't have happened better. directly I see him coming through Clerkenwell. fear they should be obliged to prosecute. in perfect desperation. they WILL think you have stolen 'em. do have mercy upon me. 104 . he jumped suddenly to his feet. looking round.' remarked Fagin. Oliver fell upon his knees at the Jew's feet. and tore wildly from the room: uttering shrieks for help. 'the child shan't be torn down by the dog. looking covertly round. Bill!' cried Nancy. with the books under his arm. 'The girl's gone mad. and knitting his shaggy eyebrows into a hard knot. but when Bill Sikes concluded. 'The boy's right. 'Keep back the dog.' replied Sikes. and closing it.' replied Sikes. 'What's the matter here!' said Fagin. Oh. if you don't keep off.' The housebreaker flung the girl from him to the further end of the room. springing before the door. 'Stand off from me.' 'Then keep quiet.' screamed the girl. with a threatening look.think I stole them. I think. she hasn't. he'll tear the boy to pieces. as if he were bewildered. you're right.' 'I don't care for that. the old lady: all of them who were so kind to me: will think I stole them. as the Jew and his two pupils darted out in pursuit.' 'Serve him right!' cried Sikes. which were uttered with all the energy of passionate grief. 'no. He's safe enough. 'You're right. unless you kill me first.

'I won't stand by and see it done. gave utterance to about a couple of score of curses and threats.' The Jew inflicted a smart blow on Oliver's shoulders with the club. 'eh?' Oliver made no reply. Sikes had stared at one another in a disconcerted manner. called for the police. and her hands clenched. did you?' sneered the Jew. 'Wanted to get assistance.--you're more clever than ever to-night. he resorted to more tangible arguments. however. You will be the worse for it. with a force that brought some of the glowing coals whirling out into the room. during which he and Mr. Mr. when the girl. taking up a jagged and knotted club which law in a corner of the fireplace. As they produced no visible effect on the object against whom they were discharged. at present. cast a glance. and what more would you have?--Let him be--let him be--or I shall put that mark on some of you. 'So you wanted to get away. shrinking involuntarily back a few paces. 'Why. he turned to Oliver.' 'Am I!' said the girl. 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. my young master. in a soothing tone. and possibly feeling his personal pride and influence interested in the immediate reduction of Miss Nancy to reason.' replied Nancy. rushing forward. thus mutely appealed to. 'Come! What do you think of that?' Mr. 'Take care I don't overdo it.' The girl stamped her foot violently on the floor as she vented this threat. my dear.' cried the girl. that will bring me to the gallows before my time. 105 . Fagin was sufficiently well acquainted with the manners and customs of that particular species of humanity to which Nancy belonged. Fagin.'No. 'you. speaking very loud. wrested it from his hand. if I do. and was raising it for a second. the fierce impulses of recklessness and despair. The Jew saw that it would be hopeless to affect any further mistake regarding the reality of Miss Nancy's rage. Ha! ha! my dear. and. and so I tell you in good time to keep clear of me. I won't do that. which few men like to provoke. and with her lips compressed. Fagin.' There is something about a roused woman: especially if she add to all her other strong passions. half imploring and half cowardly. 'You've got the boy. neither. catching the boy by the arm. Nancy!' said the Jew. 'We'll cure you of that. you are acting beautifully. after a pause. and breathed quickly. at Sikes: as if to hint that he was the fittest person to pursue the dialogue. to feel tolerably certain that it would be rather unsafe to prolong any conversation with her. did you?' said the Jew. She flung it into the fire. With the view of diverting the attention of the company. the rapid production of which reflected great credit on the fertility of his invention. Sikes. But he watched the Jew's motions.

as you call him. dirty streets are my home. without blows?' 'Come. and that'll keep me there. and the cold. and what you are?' 'Oh. if you say much more!' The girl said nothing more. keep quiet.' said the Jew appealing to him in a remonstratory tone. it is!' returned the girl. 'You're a nice one. 'to take up the humane and gen--teel side! A pretty subject for the child. before I had lent a hand in bringing him here. yes. with a growl like that he was accustomed to use when addressing his dog. day and night. then. would render blindness as common a disorder as measles: 'what do you mean by it? Burn my body! Do you know who you are. Sikes. day and night. with a poor assumption of indifference. 'It is my living. turned her face aside. not speaking. only once out of every fifty thousand times that it is uttered below. and. you villain! Yes. tearing her hair and dress in a transport of passion. well. and motioning towards the boys. and you're the wretch that drove me to them long ago. wet. if you have. darting a hasty look at Sikes. laughing hysterically.' added Sikes. He's a thief. Don't you know it? Speak out! Don't you know it?' 'Well. but. who were eagerly attentive to all that passed. goaded by these reproaches. a devil. I thieved for you when I was a child not half as old as this!' pointing to Oliver. or had changed places with them we passed so near to-night. and shaking her head from side to side. backing the inquiry with a very common imprecation concerning the most beautiful of human features: which. 'we must have civil words. 'a mischief worse than that. 'or I'll quiet you for a good long time to come. as he surveyed her with a contemptuous air. come. to make a friend of!' 'God Almighty help me. you deserve 'em from me. till I die!' 'I shall do you a mischief!' interposed the Jew. with an attempt at pacification.' rejoined Sikes. from this night forth. civil words. 'I have been in the same trade. Isn't that enough for the old wretch. whose passion was frightful to see.' 'Civil words!' cried the girl. Bill. a liar. if it were heard above.' The girl laughed again: even less composedly than before. and bit her lip till the blood came. made such a rush at the Jew as would probably have left signal marks 106 . 'Well. 'and I wish I had been struck dead in the street. 'and.'What do you mean by this?' said Sikes. 'Civil words. I know all about it. it's your living!' 'Aye. but pouring out the words in one continuous and vehement scream.' replied the girl. for twelve years since. and in the same service. all that's bad. I am!' cried the girl passionately.' replied the Jew.

Brownlow's. Fagin. and locking the door behind him. apparently much delighted with his commission. who opportunely arrived to throw water over her friend.' said the Jew. Charley. 'Put off the smart ones. and we can't get on. 'but they're clever. Master Bates rolling up the new clothes under his arm. 'She's all right now. and the accidental display of which.' 'I suppose he'd better not wear his best clothes tomorrow. without 'em.of her revenge upon him. had he?' inquired Charley Bates. and here.' said Sikes. had not her wrists been seized by Sikes at the right moment. laying her down in a corner. Master Bates. he produced the identical old suit of clothes which Oliver had so much congratulated himself upon leaving off at Mr. and he soon fell sound asleep. and fainted. nor the boys. by the Jew who purchased them. reciprocating the grin with which Charley put the question.' replied the Jew. where there were two or three of the beds on which he had slept before. 107 . seemed to consider it in any other light than a common occurance incidental to business. But he was sick and weary. 'Certainly not. show Oliver to bed. she made a few ineffectual struggles. upon which. might have kept many people awake under more happy circumstances than those in which Oliver was placed. leaving Oliver in the dark. with many uncontrollable bursts of laughter. but neither he. 'It's the worst of having to do with women. to Fagin. and the voice of Miss Betsy.' The Jew wiped his forehead: and smiled. What fun it is!' Poor Oliver unwillingly complied. The noise of Charley's laughter. nor Sikes. and perform other feminine offices for the promotion of her recovery. nor the dog. when she's up in this way. in our line. as if it were a relief to have the disturbance over. 'She's uncommon strong in the arms.' said Charley. 'and I'll give 'em to Fagin to take care of. took the cleft stick: and led Oliver into an adjacent kitchen. replacing his club. departed from the room. of his whereabout. had been the very first clue received.

Mr. as the layers of red and white in a side of streaky bacon. the reader taking it for granted that there are good and substantial reasons for making the journey. and relaxed not in his dignified pace. we are busy actors. weighed down by fetters and misfortunes. We behold. Bumble stopped not to converse with the small shopkeepers and others who spoke to him. who are free of all sorts of places. where a grey-headed seneschal sings a funny chorus with a funnier body of vassals. The hero sinks upon his straw bed. he clutched his cane with the vigorous tenacity of health and power. from church vaults to palaces. which might have warned an observant stranger that thoughts were passing in the beadle's mind. If so. Mr. Such changes appear absurd. which makes a vast difference. in the next scene. There was an abstraction in his eye. Bumble emerged at early morning from the workhouse-gate. are blind to violent transitions and abrupt impulses of passion or feeling. in all good murderous melodramas. his cocked hat and coat were dazzling in the morning sun. and we are straightway transported to the great hall of the castle. are not only sanctioned in books by long usage. there. but this morning it was higher than usual. the heroine in the grasp of a proud and ruthless baron: her virtue and her life alike in danger. and rapid changes of time and place. chiefly estimated with relation to the dilemmas in which he leaves his characters at the end of every chapter: this brief introduction to the present one may perhaps be deemed unnecessary. up the High Street. The transitions in real life from well-spread boards to deathbeds. or he would not be invited to proceed upon such an expedition. but are by many considered as the great art of authorship: an author's skill in his craft being. but they are not so unnatural as they would seem at first sight. drawing forth her dagger to preserve the one at the cost of the other. with throbbing bosoms. are at once condemned as outrageous and preposterous. let it be considered a delicate intimation on the part of the historian that he is going back to the town in which Oliver Twist was born. his faithful but unconscious squire regales the audience with a comic song. He merely returned their salutations with a wave of his hand. are not a whit less startling. He was in the full bloom and pride of beadlehood. deferentially. and just as our expectations are wrought up to the highest pitch. presented before the eyes of mere spectators. to present the tragic and the comic scenes. and roam about in company. Mr. which. in as regular alternation. As sudden shiftings of the scene. and walked with portly carriage and commanding steps. by such critics. too great for utterance. instead of passive lookers-on. only. an elevation in his air. The actors in the mimic life of the theatre. carolling perpetually.CHAPTER XVII OLIVER'S DESTINY CONTINUING UNPROPITIOUS. Bumble always carried his head high. and from mourning-weeds to holiday garments. BRINGS A GREAT MAN TO LONDON TO INJURE HIS REPUTATION It is the custom on the stage. until 108 . a whistle is heard. as he passed along.

And all the infant paupers might have chorussed the rejoinder with great propriety. as I may say. or dropping himself into a seat. as any common jackanapes would: but letting himself gradually and slowly down into a chair.' The first sentence was addressed to Susan. Mann. Finding she had done right. Bumble. and vexation. 'is a life of worrit. please. Mann. 'by coach. and sighed. I and two paupers. this is! Come into the parlour.' replied Mrs. Mann. good morning. 'and hoping you find yourself well. sir. striking the table with his cane. Bumble. with great attention and respect. Bumble. Mr. Mrs. 'A porochial life. 'To London. it IS a pleasure. 'Mrs.' 'Well.' continued Mr. Mann--to dispose to the matter before the quarter-sessions at Clerkinwell. about a settlement. Bumble. Mrs. with many smiles. hearing the well-known shaking at the garden-gate. Bumble!' cried Mrs. only think of its being you! Well.' 109 .' 'Lauk. repressing a complacent smile by looking sternly at his cocked hat. Mann. Mr. and the board has appointed me--me. Mann tended the infant paupers with parochial care. must suffer prosecution.' added Mr. dear me. 'A porochial life is not a bed of roses. said. ma'am.' resumed the inflexible beadle. Mann. 'If it isn't him at this time in the morning! Lauk. Mrs. And I very much question. Mann! A legal action is a coming on.' 'Ah. Mann!' said the beadle. raised her hands with a look of sympathy. not very well knowing what the beadle meant. Mann. starting back. sir. Mann. ma'am. not sitting upon. Bumble. Mrs. 'Mrs. Mann. if they had heard it. Mrs. 'Drat that beadle!' said Mrs. but all public characters. and hardihood.' replied the beadle.' Mrs. drawing himself up. Mann. 'Mrs. Mr.' rejoined the lady. 'Ah! You may well sigh. into the house. sir!' 'So-so. and the exclamations of delight were uttered to Mr. and good morning to YOU.' said Mr. Mrs. I am going to London. Mann sighed again: evidently to the satisfaction of the public character: who.he reached the farm where Mrs. Bumble: as the good lady unlocked the garden-gate: and showed him. ma'am. 'whether the Clerkinwell Sessions will not find themselves in the wrong box before they have done with me. that it isn't indeed.

I am very much obliged to you. 'Where is he?' 110 . Mann appeared quite awed by them. 'It's very much blotted. sir. At length she said. in acknowledgment of Mrs. from his pocketbook. the dears! Of course. which I think we shall be able to do. I'm sure. Bumble produced some silver money rolled up in paper. 'here is your porochial stipend for the month." Mr. the Clerkinwell Sessions have only themselves to thank.' 'Oh!' said Mrs.' said the beadle. that Mrs. 'You're going by coach. and takes them cheap. ma'am. Thank you. 'The opposition coach contracts for these two.' 'Isn't that boy no better?' inquired Mr. 'The Clerkinwell Sessions have brought it upon themselves. 'He's a ill-conditioned. coaxingly. Mann shook her head. Ha! ha! ha!' When Mr. Bumble had laughed a little while. his eyes again encountered the cocked hat.' said Mrs. Bumble. 'they're as well as can be. Bumble delivered himself of these words. 'We put the sick paupers into open carts in the rainy weather. Mrs. Mr. 'Bless their dear little hearts!' said Mrs.' There was so much determination and depth of purpose about the menacing manner in which Mr. Bumble.'Oh! you mustn't be too hard upon them. bad-disposed porochial child that.' said the farmer of infants. if we can throw 'em upon another parish. Bumble. except the two that died last week. Mann. sir. to prevent their taking cold. I dare say.' said Mr. wicious. ma'am. 'and if the Clerkinwell Sessions find that they come off rather worse than they expected. Mann with emotion. Bumble nodded.' Mr. and inquired how the children were. and requested a receipt: which Mrs. Mrs. Mann wrote.' 'That's when they're ill. blandly. Mann.' replied Mr.' said Mr. sir? I thought it was always usual to send them paupers in carts. 'They are both in a very low state. And little Dick. 'but it's formal enough. Bumble angrily. and he became grave. and we find it would come two pound cheaper to move 'em than to bury 'em--that is. Mann's curtsey. Mann. sir. if they don't die upon the road to spite us. Bumble.' said the beadle. 'We are forgetting business.

hung loosely on his feeble body. Dick was discovered. he was led into the awful presence of Mr. 'I suppose you're going to say that you DO want for something. Bumble.'I'll bring him to you in one minute. Mann. The child was pale and thin. I'm sure.' said the child. you little wretch--' 'Stop. and encountered those of Mr. from head to foot. and speaking with great fervour. Mrs. for. 'Here. you Dick!' After some calling. 'that I was glad to die when I was very young. sir. 'They're all in one story. Bumble. Bumble surveyed the little speaker. you obstinate boy?' said Mrs. not daring to lift his eyes from the floor. 'Like what. my little sister who is in Heaven. Mann. Mann. 'to leave my dear love to poor Oliver Twist. and. might forget me. 'I should think not. Bumble's humour. sir. now? Why. who had of course laughed very much at Mr. the beadle. Mrs. 'Hey-day!' interposed Mr. 'What's the matter with you. and his young limbs had wasted away. sir. the livery of his misery. and dried upon Mrs. Mann. and had grown old. turning to his companion. and to let him know how often I have sat by myself and cried to think of his wandering about in the dark nights with nobody to help him. Bumble's glance. and it would be so much happier if we were both children there together. if I had lived to be a man. perhaps.' 'I should like--' faltered the child. and his eyes large and bright.' said the child pressing his small hands together. stop!' said the beadle. like those of an old man.' replied the child faintly. eh?' 'I should like. And I should like to tell him. 'Nothing. Having had his face put under the pump. 'You want for nothing. That out-dacious Oliver had demogalized them all!' 111 . raising his hand with a show of authority. Mann.' Mr.' replied Mrs. and dreading even to hear the beadle's voice. Bumble. porochial Dick?' inquired Mr.' said Mrs. his cheeks were sunken. The child meekly raised his eyes. 'Can't you look at the gentleman. The scanty parish dress. with indescribable astonishment. Such was the little being who stood trembling beneath Mr. with welltimed jocularity. or be unlike me. Mann. said. Mann's gown.

accompanied by the criminals whose settlement was disputed. in which the advertiser is. whimpering pathetically. was the following advertisement. warmly interested. ma'am. 'There. to prepare for his journey. and locked up in the coal-cellar. 112 . although he had a great-coat on. with sundry moral reflections on the too-prevalent sin of discontent and complaining. absconded. Mann. Bumble declared. and. appearance. oyster sauce. or tend to throw any light upon his previous history. At six o'clock next morning. from his home. he arrived in London. Mann. and has not since been heard of. 'This must be stated to the board. ma'am!' said Mr. caused his teeth to chatter in his head. 'FIVE GUINEAS REWARD 'Whereas a young boy. and disappearance: with the name and address of Mr. who persisted in shivering. with whom. person. and porter. than those which originated in the perverse behaviour of the two paupers. holding up her hands. take him away. named Oliver Twist. Brownlow at full length. 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. Bumble: having exchanged his cocked hat for a round one. Bumble sat himself down in the house at which the coach stopped. and encased his person in a blue great-coat with a cape to it: took his place on the outside of the coach. Mr. in a manner which.' And then followed a full description of Oliver's dress.' said Mr. and complaining of the cold. in due course of time. for many reasons. sir' said Mrs Mann. he drew his chair to the fire. He experienced no other crosses on the way. and made him feel quite uncomfortable. Having disposed of these evil-minded persons for the night. at Pentonville. on Thursday evening last. they shall be acquainted with the true state of the case. and took a temperate dinner of steaks. Bumble's eye rested. 'They shall understand that. I can't bear the sight on him.' Dick was immediately taken away. sir?' said Mrs. Mr. composed himself to read the paper. and looking malignantly at Dick. Bumble imperiously.'I couldn't have believed it. Putting a glass of hot gin-and-water on the chimney-piece. Mrs. Mr. Bumble shortly afterwards took himself off. 'I hope the gentleman will understand that it isn't my fault. Bumble. 'I never see such a hardened little wretch!' 'Take him away. or was enticed. Mr.

'Now. in explanation of his errand. To this inquiry the girl returned the not uncommon. the worthy old lady hurried back into the parlour again. with decanters and glasses before them.' said the old lady: 'I knew we should hear of him. A beadle all over!' Mr. where do you come from?' Mr. than Mrs. gentlemen. are you not?' inquired Mr. left the glass of hot gin-andwater. come in. 'Take a seat. Bless his heart! I said so all along. Brownlow moved the lamp. Bumble sat himself down. sir. and now returned with a request that Mr. read the advertisement.' 'Pray don't interrupt just now. He was shown into the little back study. three several times. you come in consequence of having seen the advertisement?' 'Yes. Brownlow and his friend Mr. Bumble opened his eyes. Bumble would follow her immediately: which he did. in his excitement. The girl. had run upstairs meanwhile.' rejoined Mr. 'Of course.' said Mr. Bumble no sooner uttered Oliver's name.' observed Mr. and seating herself on a sofa. Brownlow at home?' inquired Mr. Grimwig. and said. 'Is Mr. 'I knew he was.' Having heard this. Grimwig's manner. Mr. Bedwin. Poor dear! I knew we should! I was certain of it. sir. Grimwig aside to his friend. Bumble. slowly and carefully. burst into tears. Bumble proudly. but rather evasive reply of 'I don't know. with a little impatience. 'I am a porochial beadle. who was not quite so susceptible. quite confounded by the oddity of Mr. where sat Mr. who had been listening at the parlour door. The latter gentleman at once burst into the exclamation: 'A beadle. Bumble of the girl who opened the door. or I'll eat my head. 'And you ARE a beadle. hastened into the passage in a breathless state. A parish beadle. Brownlow gently shook his head to impose silence on his friend.' said Mr. so as to obtain an uninterrupted view of the beadle's countenance. will you?' Mr. Brownlow. Grimwig. and resumed: 'Do you know where this poor boy is now?' 113 . untasted. 'Come in.Mr. and in something more than five minutes was on his way to Pentonville: having actually.

Mr. 'Mrs.' said the old gentleman sorrowfully. that even Mr. Bedwin. and. if you have anything to say. 'Speak out. if it had been favourable to the boy. Brownlow's observations. he then awaited Mr. that Oliver was a foundling. At length he stopped.' said Mr. 'You see?' said Mr. Brownlow. Bumble put down his hat. and running away in the night-time from his master's house. 'Well.' 114 .'No more than nobody. Mr. do you?' said Mr. withdrew. when the housekeeper appeared. Mr. Folding his arms again. and malice. however. In proof of his really being the person he represented himself. Bumble. inclined his head in a retrospective manner. but the sum and substance of it was. It was too late to do it now. commenced his story. and rang the bell violently. Grimwig. Bumble laid upon the table the papers he had brought to town. what DO you know of him?' inquired the old gentleman. after looking over the papers. and. but I would gladly have given you treble the money. Mr. That he had terminated his brief career in the place of his birth. Bumble's features. catching at the inquiry very quickly. my friend. caustically. 'I fear it is all too true. from his birth. 'that boy. ingratitude.' replied Mr. shook his head with portentous solemnity. displayed no better qualities than treachery. Brownlow paced the room to and fro for some minutes. some twenty minutes in the telling. after an attentive perusal of Mr. That he had. Grimwig. as it did. folded his arms. pocketing the five guineas. in as few words as possible. Oliver. looking triumphantly at Mr. Bumble. unbuttoned his coat. he might have imparted a very different colouring to his little history.' It is not improbable that if Mr. What DO you know of him?' 'You don't happen to know any good of him. 'This is not much for your intelligence. It would be tedious if given in the beadle's words: occupying. Grimwig forbore to vex him further. by making a sanguinary and cowardly attack on an unoffending lad. Bumble had been possessed of this information at an earlier period of the interview. Brownlow looked apprehensively at Mr. so he shook his head gravely. evidently so much disturbed by the beadle's tale. Bumble's pursed-up countenance. born of low and vicious parents. after a few moments' reflection. is an imposter. Brownlow. Mr. and requested him to communicate what he knew regarding Oliver.

on any pretence. 115 . the old lady tossed her head. That's my opinion!' This was a hard hit at Mr. sir. Oliver's heart sank within him. who was a bachelor. Brownlow. sir. gentle child. Bedwin. feigning an anger he was far from feeling. 'Silence!' said the old gentleman. Never. eh? He was interesting. sir. As it extorted nothing from that gentleman but a smile. and smoothed down her apron preparatory to another speech. 'Never!' 'You old women never believe anything but quack-doctors. 'I tell you he is. or it might have broken outright. 'Never let me hear the boy's name again. Grimwig poked the fire with a flourish.' There were sad hearts at Mr. 'I know what children are. Remember! I am in earnest. and people who can't say the same.' growled Mr.' retorted Mrs. Never. indignantly. It cannot be. all his life. grateful. wasn't he? Interesting! Bah!' And Mr. Why didn't you take my advise in the beginning. when she was stopped by Mr. Grimwig. it was well for him that he could not know what they had heard.'It can't be. and lying storybooks. Mrs. mind! You may leave the room. 'What do you mean by can't be? We have just heard a full account of him from his birth. shouldn't say anything about them.' 'I never will believe it.' said the old lady energetically. 'He was a dear. sir. 'I knew it all along. when he thought of his good friends. I suppose. Bedwin.' retorted the old gentleman. and he has been a thorough-paced little villain.' replied the old lady. and have done these forty years. you would if he hadn't had a fever. Brownlow's that night. Grimwig. firmly. I rang to tell you that.

Fagin laid great stress on the fact of his having taken Oliver in. and said. Little Oliver's blood ran cold. Then. and met the Jew's searching look. when he recollected the general nature of the altercations between that gentleman and Mr. never failing to revert to his kind friends. proving unworthy of his confidence and evincing a desire to communicate with the police. seeing nobody. smiling hideously. between early morning and midnight. Fagin) and a few select friends. if it were not precisely true. and covering himself with an old patched greatcoat. had rendered it necessary that he should become the victim of certain evidence for the crown: which. but who. he went out. expressed his anxious hopes that he might never be obliged to submit Oliver Twist to that unpleasant operation. and that deeply-laid plans for the destruction of inconveniently knowing or over-communicative persons. as he listened to the Jew's words. and locked the room-door behind him. and for the greater part of many subsequent days. 116 . and left during the long hours to commune with his own thoughts. without his timely aid.CHAPTER XVIII HOW OLIVER PASSED HIS TIME IN THE IMPROVING SOCIETY OF HIS REPUTABLE FRIENDS About noon next day. he felt that his pale face and trembling limbs were neither unnoticed nor unrelished by that wary old gentleman. in wilfully absenting himself from the society of his anxious friends. and. and imperfectly comprehended the dark threats conveyed in them. That it was possible even for justice itself to confound the innocent with the guilty when they were in accidental companionship. when. and he related the dismal and affecting history of a young lad whom. and the opinion they must long ago have formed of him. he might have perished with hunger. of which he clearly demonstrated he had been guilty. Mr. The Jew. were sad indeed. still more. when the Dodger and Master Bates had gone out to pursue their customary avocations. with great friendliness and politeness of manner. was indispensably necessary for the safety of him (Mr. he saw they would be very good friends yet. Mr. As he glanced timidly up. had been really devised and carried out by the Jew on more occasions than one. to no ordinary extent. Which. in his philanthropy. Fagin took the opportunity of reading Oliver a long lecture on the crying sin of ingratitude. Fagin did not seek to conceal his share in the catastrophe. he knew already. Mr. Sikes: which seemed to bear reference to some foregone conspiracy of the kind. and. Mr. and cherished him. but lamented with tears in his eyes that the wrong-headed and treacherous behaviour of the young person in question. and applied himself to business. And so Oliver remained all that day. he thought by no means unlikely. patted Oliver on the head. Fagin concluded by drawing a rather disagreeable picture of the discomforts of hanging. taking his hat. in endeavouring to escape from them after so much trouble and expense had been incurred in his recovery. had unfortunately come to be hanged at the Old Bailey one morning. that if he kept himself quiet. he had succoured under parallel circumstances.

One afternoon. peering over the parapet-wall of a distant house. and he was tired of wandering from room to room.After the lapse of a week or so. but it was quickly withdrawn again. There was a back-garret window with rusty bars outside. with panelled walls and cornices to the ceiling. too desirous to conciliate those about him when he could honestly do so. Oliver was but too glad to make himself useful. rendered into plain English. and out of this. to be as near living people as he could. and. and would remain there. the mouldering shutters were fast closed: the bars which held them were screwed tight into the wood. there was neither sight nor sound of any living thing. and as the window of Oliver's observatory was nailed down. Paul's Cathedral. Spiders had built their webs in the angles of the walls and ceilings.-which he had as much chance of being. and filled them with strange shadows. Dawkins designated as 'japanning his trotter-cases. cleaning his boots. 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 117 . signifieth. With these exceptions. and run back terrified to their holes. with this end and aim. he applied himself to a process which Mr. this was by no means an habitual weakness with him). when Oliver walked softly into a room. as if he had lived inside the ball of St. the mice would scamper across the floor. the Dodger and Master Bates being engaged out that evening. a grizzly head might be seen. and gable-ends. while the Dodger sat upon the table so that he could take his foot in his laps. the only light which was admitted. he condescendingly commanded Oliver to assist him in his toilet. to look upon. it had belonged to better people. when it grew dark. It was a very dirty place. he would crouch in the corner of the passage by the street-door. until the Jew or the boys returned. blackened chimneys. the first-named young gentleman took it into his head to evince some anxiety regarding the decoration of his person (to do him justice. straightway. listening and counting the hours. although they were black with neglect and dust. Sometimes. From all of these tokens Oliver concluded that a long time ago. and. however bad. Oliver often gazed with a melancholy face for hours together. and sometimes. So he at once expressed his readiness. and he was at liberty to wander about the house. which. were ornamented in various ways. to throw any objection in the way of this proposal.' The phrase. stealing its way through round holes at the top: which made the rooms more gloomy. and dimmed with the rain and smoke of years. too happy to have some faces. In all the rooms. indeed. and had perhaps been quite gay and handsome: dismal and dreary as it looked now. kneeling on the floor. the Jew left the room-door unlocked. The rooms upstairs had great high wooden chimneypieces and large doors. without making any attempt to be seen or heard. but nothing was to be descried from it but a confused and crowded mass of housetops. it was as much as he could do to make out the forms of the different objects beyond. before the old Jew was born. which had no shutter. and often.

not if you tied him up in one. down to the dog. So we all are. or the prospective misery of putting them on.' said Charley. 'I think I know that. 'Not a bit of it. said. and half to Master Bates: 'What a pity it is he isn't a prig!' 'Ah!' said Master Charles Bates. checking himself. and having his boots cleaned all the time.' The Dodger sighed again. Dawkins gave his hat a ferocious cock.' Mr. when he hears a fiddle playing! And don't he hate other dogs as ain't of his breed! Oh. in silence. or whether it was the goodness of the tobacco that soothed the feelings of the Dodger. without even the past trouble of having taken them off. or the mildness of the beer that mollified his thoughts. Don't he look fierce at any strange cove that laughs or sings when he's in company!' pursued the Dodger. and heaving a gentle sign. looking up. are you not?' inquired Oliver. and Mr. half in abstraction. 'I suppose you don't even know what a prig is?' said the Dodger mournfully.' replied Oliver. foreign to his general nature. 'I am. 118 . 'It's a the--. you're one. and then. Sikes' dog. So's Sikes. for a brief space.pipe. This was merely intended as a tribute to the animal's abilities. 'So's Charley. So's Bet. So's Nancy. 'I am. And he's the downiest one of the lot!' 'And the least given to peaching. claiming to be out-and-out Christians. for there are a good many ladies and gentlemen. He looked down on Oliver. no. after delivering this sentiment. and left him there without wittles for a fortnight. swinging one leg carelessly to and fro. raising his head. as if to denote that he would feel obliged by his saying anything to the contrary. 'Won't he growl at all. to disturb his reflections. and looked at Master Bates. for some seconds.' said the Dodger. for the nonce.' repeated the Dodger. no!' 'He's an out-and-out Christian. 'He's a rum dog. with a spice of romance and enthusiasm.' added Charley Bates. there exist strong and singular points of resemblance. with a thoughtful countenance. he was evidently tinctured. and resumed his pipe: as did Charley Bates. So's Fagin. for fear of committing himself. 'He wouldn't so much as bark in a witness-box. 'he don't know what's good for him. 'I'd scorn to be anything else. between whom. if Master Bates had only known it. They both smoked.' replied the Doger.' observed Charley. but it was an appropriate remark in another sense.

recurring to the point from which they had strayed: with that mindfulness of his profession which influenced all his proceedings.' rejoined the Dodger. Charley?' Master Bates nodded assent. You won't. and went up into his head. 'and let them be punished for what you did. but the recollection of Oliver's flight came so suddenly upon him. I--I--would rather go. there's plenty more where they were took from. 'I wish they would let me go. 'Look here!' said the Dodger. that was the move. 'that's too mean. Oliver?' 'And make your fortun' out of hand?' added the Dodger.' said Oliver with a half smile. and down into his throat: and brought on a fit of coughing and stamping. 'This hasn't go anything to do with young Green here. you precious flat!' 'It's naughty.' said Charley. that is. about five minutes long. 'Go!' exclaimed the Dodger. and the forty-second Tuesday in Trinity-week. and would have spoken. where's your spirit?' Don't you take any pride out of yourself? Would you go and be dependent on your friends?' 'Oh. wasn't it. drawing forth a handful of shillings and halfpence. ain't it. 'cause the traps know that we work together. with a grin. Oliver?' inquired Charley Bates. 'Why don't you put yourself under Fagin. won't he?' 119 . timidly. and do the gen-teel: as I mean to. 'And so be able to retire on your property. that the smoke he was inhaling got entagled with a laugh. 'He'll come to be scragged. Oliver knew this too well.'Well. in the very next leap-year but four that ever comes. he only sighed. 'Here's a jolly life! What's the odds where it comes from? Here. though. won't you? Oh. and went on with his boot-cleaning. well. 'I don't like it.' '_I_ couldn't do it. 'Why. and tossing them into a cupboard. catch hold. 'That was all out of consideration for Fagin.' said the Dodger.' 'And Fagin would RATHER not!' rejoined Charley.' said the Dodger.' rejoined Oliver. with a wave of his pipe. and he might have got into trouble if we hadn't made our lucky.' 'No more it has.' said Charley Bates. but thinking it might be dangerous to express his feelings more openly.' 'That. 'You can leave your friends. blow that!' said Master Bates: drawing two or three silk handkerchiefs from his pocket. with an air of haughty disgust.

'I don't know what that means. or you'll be the first he ever had that turned out unprofitable. dropped his head on his shoulder. being exhausted. to be sure!' said the Jew.' Master Charley Bates. You'd better begin at once. interspersed with a variety of hints to Oliver that the best thing he could do. except the chaps wot gets them--and you've just as good a right to them as they have. too. but who was accosted by the Dodger as Tom Chitling. and a gentleman whom Oliver had never seen before. for the Jew had returned home accompanied by Miss Betsy. and chuckled with delight at his pupil's proficiency.' said the Dodger. 'some other cove will. Ha! ha! ha! He understands the catechism of his trade. surveying his boots with much satisfaction when Oliver had polished them. holding it erect in the air. and nobody half a ha'p'orth the better. 'Something in this way. so that the coves that lose 'em will be all the worse. resumed his pipe with tears in his eyes. The conversation proceeded no farther at this time. 'he don't know what you mean. and who. Master Bates caught up an end of his neckerchief.' Master Bates backed this advice with sundry moral admonitions of his own: which. though. 'Look how he stares. who had entered unseen by Oliver.' said Charley.' said the Dodger. thereby indicating. by the means which they themselves had employed to gain it.' 'If you don't take pocket-handkechers and watches. as the Jew was heard unlocking the door above. Dawkins launched into a glowing description of the numerous pleasures incidental to the life they led. 'You've been brought up bad.' said Charly. he and his friend Mr. Nolly. old feller.' The old man rubbed his hands gleefully together.' said the Dodger. and you'll be all the worse. as he corroborated the Dodger's reasoning in these terms. he'll be the death of me.' replied Oliver. 120 . As he said it. reducing his conversation to the level of Oliver's capacity. I know he will. and jerked a curious sound through his teeth. 'That's what it means. that scragging and hanging were one and the same thing. Oliver. 'if you don't take fogels and tickers--' 'What's the good of talking in that way?' interposed Master Bates. and you're only losing time. having laughed heartily again. Jack! I never did see such prime company as that 'ere boy. by a lively pantomimic representation. 'Fagin will make something of you. and. take the Dodger's word for it.' 'To be sure. 'It all lies in a nutshell my dear. for you'll come to the trade long before you think of it. 'And always put this in your pipe. in a nutshell. would be to secure Fagin's favour without more delay.

He had small twinkling eyes. The same remark he considered to apply to the regulation mode of cutting the hair: which he held to be decidedly unlawful. young 'un. Oliver was seldom left alone. Mr. and an apron. and a pock-marked face. you'll find your way there. a dark corduroy jacket. After some words apart between the last comer and Fagin.having lingered on the stairs to exchange a few gallantries with the lady. From this day. After some more jokes on the same subject. they drew their chairs towards the fire. and the liberality of the Jew himself. Mr.' replied Oliver. His wardrobe was. and that he 'wished he might be busted if he warn't as dry as a lime-basket. Mr. Oliver?' inquired the Jew. 'Who's that?' inquired Tom Chitling. Chitling wound up his observations by stating that he had not touched a drop of anything for fortytwo moral long hard-working days. sir. they exchanged a few short whispers with Fagin. then. in truth. now made his appearance. with a grin. and that. led the conversation to the topics most calculated to interest his hearers. with strong marks of irritation. telling Oliver to come and sit by him.' 'Where do you think the gentleman has come from.' said the young man. soon enough. who played the old game with the Jew every day: whether for their own improvement or Oliver's. Chitling did the same: for the house of correction becomes fatiguing after a week or two. Mr. the proficiency of the Dodger. rather out of repair. the boys laughed. and withdrew.' replied the Jew. Chitling added. but was placed in almost constant communication with the two boys. he had not been able to bestow any attention on his private clothes. At other times the old man would tell them stories of robberies he had committed 121 . 'A young friend of mine. and left the party to their repose. for it burnt holes in them. greasy fustian trousers. casting a contemptuous look at Oliver. Chitling was older in years than the Dodger: having perhaps numbered eighteen winters. in consequence of having worn the regimentals for six weeks past. 'He's in luck. but he excused himself to the company by stating that his 'time' was only out an hour before. and the Jew. These were. 'I--I--don't know. the great advantages of the trade. Miss Betsy accordingly withdrew. my dear. 'Never mind where I came from. the amiability of Charley Bates. Fagin best knew. I'll bet a crown!' At this sally. as the other boys put a bottle of spirits on the table. wore a fur cap. and Mr. with a meaning look at Fagin. but there was a degree of deference in his deportment towards that young gentleman which seemed to indicate that he felt himself conscious of a slight inferiority in point of genius and professional aquirements. that the new way of fumigating clothes up yonder was infernal unconstitutional. At length these subjects displayed signs of being thoroughly exhausted. and there was no remedy against the County.

In short. he was now slowly instilling into his soul the poison which he hoped would blacken it. the wily old Jew had the boy in his toils. Having prepared his mind. to prefer any society to the companionship of his own sad thoughts in such a dreary place.in his younger days: mixed up with so much that was droll and curious. and change its hue for ever. 122 . that Oliver could not help laughing heartily. by solitude and gloom. and showing that he was amused in spite of all his better feelings.

turning suddenly off to the left. was in the neighborhood of Whitechapel. then. either by the darkness of the night. he walked upstairs. slunk down the street as quickly as he could. when the Jew: buttoning his great-coat tight round his shrivelled body. the rain fell sluggishly down. The house to which Oliver had been conveyed. engendered in the slime and darkness through which he moved: crawling forth. my dear. you stupid brute! Don't you know the devil when he's got a great-coat on?' Apparently. damp. to show that he was as well satisfied as it was in his nature to be.' said the Jew looking in. and threw it over the back of a chair. he retired to the corner from which he had risen: wagging his tail as he went. and having listened while the boys made all secure. The mud lay thick upon the stones. glancing suspiciously round. and a black mist hung over the streets. Bill. 123 . and. he knocked. He kept on his course. he soon became involved in a maze of the mean and dirty streets which abound in that close and densely-populated quarter. A dog growled as he touched the handle of a room-door. lighted only by a single lamp at the farther end. and at length turned into one. by night. It seemed just the night when it befitted such a being as the Jew to be abroad. in search of some rich offal for a meal. having exchanged a few muttered words with the person who opened it. 'Well!' said Sikes. the dog had been somewhat deceived by Mr. and until their retreating footsteps were no longer audible. The Jew stopped for an instant at the corner of the street. windy night. He hurried through several alleys and streets. until he reached Bethnal Green. for as the Jew unbuttoned it. As he glided stealthily along. 'Bring in your body then.' said Sikes. or the intricacies of the way. The Jew was evidently too familiar with the ground he traversed to be at all bewildered. 'Lie down. and struck off in the direction of the Spitalfields. and a man's voice demanded who was there. He paused on the step as the door was locked and chained behind him. and pulling the collar up over his ears so as completely to obscure the lower part of his face: emerged from his den. and everything felt cold and clammy to the touch. the hideous old man seemed like some loathsome reptile. through many winding and narrow ways. At the door of a house in this street. only me. Fagin's outer garment.CHAPTER XIX IN WHICH A NOTABLE PLAN IS DISCUSSED AND DETERMINED ON It was a chill. 'Only me. creeping beneath the shelter of the walls and doorways. crossed the road.

--'Ah! Nancy. 'It is cold.' said the Jew. my dear. and with no more suspicious articles displayed to view than two or three heavy bludgeons which stood in a corner. 'For business. if it finds its way through your heart. in which there were many: which. 'Yes. Fagin and his young friend had not met. 'There.' replied the Jew. and bade Fagin draw up his. and threw the remainder of its contents into the ashes: as a preparatory ceremony to filling it again for himself: which he did at once. Burn my body. Sikes seized the glass. fixing his eyes on the Jew. were speedily removed by the young lady's behaviour. Sikes.' replied the Jew. but in a restless and suspicious manner habitual to him. Nancy. It was a meanly furnished apartment. quite. 'It must be a piercer. to see his lean old carcase shivering in that way. for he had seen it often before. to judge from the diversity of their appearance. Mr.'Well. and a 'lifepreserver' that hung over the chimney-piece. 'Quite enough. Bill?' said the Jew.' said Sikes.' 'For business?' inquired the Jew. Bill. and no mistake. 'It seems to go right through one. The Jew glanced round the room. She took her feet off the fender. are you?' inquired Sikes.' said Mr. 'Ugh!' With a hoarse grunt of contempt.' replied Sikes. All doubts upon the subject. since she had interfered in behalf of Oliver. pushed back her chair. were filled with several kinds of liquids. if he had any. 124 . without saying more about it: for it was a cold night. drawing his chair forward.' The latter recognition was uttered with just enough of embarrassment to imply a doubt of its reception. putting down the glass after just setting his lips to it. Sikes pouring out a glass of brandy.' added the old man. and speaking in a very low voice.' Nancy quickly brought a bottle from a cupboard. smacking his lips. 'What! You're afraid of our getting the better of you. thankye. for Mr. as he warmed his skinny hands over the fire. like a ugly ghost just rose from the grave. 'Now I'm ready. Nancy dear. as his companion tossed down the second glassful. not in curiousity. 'so say what you've got to say. Wot about it?' inquired Sikes.' 'About the crib at Chertsey. 'Give him something to drink. bade the Jew drink it off. with nothing but the contents of the closet to induce the belief that its occupier was anything but a working man. make haste! It's enough to turn a man ill. touching his side.

'No.' remonstrated the Jew. 'Think what women are. and that's the same thing. I do mean to tell you so. turning pale with anger. Bill. 'There. 'Not by flash Toby Crackit?' said the Jew incredulously. and grew calmer. 'Don't tell me!' 'But I will tell you. he don't. nothing more. not at all.' 'But do you mean to say. 'somebody will hear us. 'Or he won't.' sneered Mr. 'He knows what I mean. 'Who are you that's not to be told? I tell you that Toby Crackit has been hanging about the place for a fortnight. 'Not to be done at all!' echoed the Jew. about that crib at Chertsey. when is it to be done. my dear.' replied Sikes. winking and blinking. don't sit there. 'that the women can't be got over?' 'Not a bit of it. eh? When is it to be done? Such plate.' rejoined Sikes. my dear. who had in vain attempted to stop this burst of indignation. my dear.' 'Then it hasn't been properly gone about. 'Not at all.' said the Jew. Wot d'ye mean?' 'Hush.' retorted Sikes. and he can't get one of the servants in line. 'The old lady has had 'em these twenty years. coaxingly.' replied Sikes coldly. 'It was only my caution.' replied Sikes.' 'No.' said the Jew. and if you were to give 'em five hundred pound. and call things by their right names. such plate!' said the Jew: rubbing his hands. don't he?' 'No. he dropped his voice as he said the words.' 'Do you mean to tell me. leaning back in his chair. as we expected. Bill. Speak out. Bill. they wouldn't be in it. there. my dear. as if you warn't the very first that thought about the robbery.' 'Let 'em hear!' said Sikes. Somebody will hear us. Sikes DID care.' replied Sikes.' 125 . Bill. hush!' said the Jew. and elevating his eyebrows in a rapture of anticipation.' said the Jew. 'I don't care. Nancy.' But as Mr. Sikes. and it's all of no use. the whole blessed time he's been loitering down there. and talking to me in hints. and a canary waistcoat.'Ah! you know what I mean. on reflection. 'He says he's worn sham whiskers.' said the Jew: softening as the other grew heated: 'that neither of the two men in the house can be got over?' 'Yes. not even by flash Toby Crackit. my dear. 'At least it can't be a put-up job. Now.

sounding the panels of the door and shutters.' 'As you like. thrusting aside the Jew's hand. but it's best to be on the safe side when one deals with you. 'Then. he feared the game was up. Sikes. 'Why. After ruminating for some minutes with his chin sunk on his breast. abruptly breaking the stillness that prevailed. You can't do it without me. bending his head forward. stopping short. 'is it worth fifty shiners extra. he raised his head and said. 'Yes. with some disdain. my dear. if it's safely done from the outside?' 'Yes.' 'Which is that. 'as you cross the lawn--' 'Yes?' said the Jew. and pointed for an instant to the Jew's face.' rejoined the Jew.' The Jew looked blank at this information. 'Fagin.' said Sikes. Toby and me were over the garden-wall the night afore last. sat with her eyes fixed upon the fire.' whispered Sikes. 'it's a sad thing. but yours and Toby's?' 126 .' said Sikes. 'Worse luck!' A long silence ensued. looked suddenly round. 'Is it a bargain?' inquired Sikes. 'let it come off as soon as you like. The crib's barred up at night like a jail. 'So he did. as you like' replied the Jew. Bill?' asked the Jew eagerly. and every muscle in his face working. to lose so much when we had set our hearts upon it.' rejoined Sikes. 'and they warn't of no more use than the other plant. 'Umph!' cried Sikes. my dear.' said the Jew. as if she had been deaf to all that passed. I know. 'Never mind which part it is. with his eyes almost starting out of it. that if flash Toby Crackit reported aright. as the girl. but there's one part we can crack. scarcely moving her head. during which the Jew was plunged in deep thought. with a deep sigh. dropping his hands on his knees.' said the old man. Sikes eyed him furtively from time to time. 'And yet. 'Is there no help wanted.' said the Jew. with his face wrinkled into an expression of villainy perfectly demoniacal. his eyes glistening.'He should have tried mustachios and a pair of military trousers. my dear. apparently fearful of irritating the housebreaker.' 'So it is. my dear. safe and softly. Nancy. as suddenly rousing himself. yes.' said Mr. with the excitement that the inquiry had awakened.

'None. 'Why. you know. no. 127 . my dear. 'But wot?' inquired Sikes.' 'No more we should. 'Oh! then it's a panel. by a sign. But the father gets lagged. 'Bill!' 'What now?' inquired Sikes. 'so they go on. as she was the other night. and. 'I want a boy.' said Mr. Are you Nancy?' '_I_ should think not!' replied the young lady: drawing her chair up to the table. who had been considering during this speech. She ain't one to blab. 'Go on. or the Devil's in it. 'You don't want any beer. and intimated. his wrath rising with the recollection of his wrongs. nevertheless. 'I didn't know whether she mightn't p'r'aps be out of sorts. the second you must find us.' The Jew still hesitated. Fagin. that he would have her told to leave the room. The first we've both got. you don't mind the old girl. who was still gazing at the fire. the chimbley-sweeper's! He kept him small on purpose. 'Nonsense. The Jew nodded his head towards Nancy.' said Sikes. he needn't mind me. and in time makes a 'prentice of him. I know what he's going to say.) we shouldn't have half a dozen boys left in the whole trade. Bill. by requesting Miss Nancy to fetch him a jug of beer. I know you're not. 'but--' and again the old man paused. folding her arms. 'if I'd only got that young boy of Ned. Lord!' said Mr. do you. 'No. and takes the boy away from a trade where he was arning money. and he musn't be a big 'un. and had only caught the last sentence. 'Cept a centre-bit and a boy. and retaining her seat very composedly. Sikes. and then the Juvenile Delinquent Society comes. as if he thought the precaution unnecessary.' replied the Jew.' rejoined the girl coolly. And so they go on. eh?' 'Never mind wot it is!' replied Sikes. in a year or two.' said the Jew.' acquiesed the Jew. and let him out by the job. Sikes.' 'A boy!' exclaimed the Jew. my dear. teaches him to read and write. reflectively. 'You've known her long enough to trust her. and putting her elbows upon it. but complied. Fagin?' he asked at length.' said Nancy. Sikes shrugged his shoulders impatiently. if they'd got money enough (which it's a Providence they haven't. 'I tell you I do!' replied Sikes. Sikes looked from one to the other in some surprise.

and burst into sundry exclamations of 'Keep the game a-going!' 'Never say die!' and the like. before you send him. Depend upon it he's a safe one. 'Tell Bill at once. 'He!' exclaimed. Sikes likewise. if he's only to open a door for you. in for a pound. 'Mine. he is just the size I want. 'he can't help himself. Oho! It couldn't have come about better! The old man crossed his arms upon his breast. 'I've--I've had my eye upon him.' 'I know he is. 'It WAS about Oliver I was going to speak. Fagin. 'It'll be no sham frightening. and. once fill his mind with the idea that he has been a thief. You won't see him alive again. and. my dear. about Oliver!' 'Ha! you're a clever one. poising a crowbar. in for a penny.' said the Jew with energy. 'Yours. 'He's the boy for you.' rejoined Fagin.' said Nancy with a laugh. These seemed to have the effect of re-assuring both gentlemen. 'Have him. you mean. swallowing a glass of brandy.' said Mr. sure enough. 'Now. and it's time he began to work for his bread. my dear. He mayn't be so much up. Bill. That is. close--close. 'He's been in good training these last few weeks. 'And will do everything you want. Fagin. 'I've thought of it all. laying his finger on the side of his nose. Miss Nancy burst into a loud laugh. ruminating. 'I would. 'Ours!' said Sikes. literally hugged himself for joy. my dear.At this confession. and grinning frightfully. my dear: the sharpest girl I ever saw!' said the Jew. Besides. Bill. Bill!' said Nancy. Think of that.' replied the Jew in a hoarse whisper. Bill.' interposed the Jew. drawing his head and shoulders into a heap.' said the Jew.' 'Well. if you frighten him enough. if you like. but that's not what you want. If there's anything queer about him when we once get into the work. if I was in your place. my dears. as any of the others. the others are all too big. Ha! ha! ha!' 'What about him?' demanded Sikes. Sikes. Sikes. Mark my words!' said the robber.' 'Frighten him!' echoed Sikes. mind you. shook her head with an air of defiance. Once let him feel that he is one of us. for the Jew nodded his head with a satisfied air. and resumed his seat: as did Mr.' 128 . patting her on the neck.' 'Perhaps I do. and he's ours! Ours for his life. with a shrill chuckle. which he had drawn from under the bedstead.

' rejoined Sikes in a surly voice. 'Ah. and he must be in the same boat with us. the night arter to-morrow.' 'Good. my dear. Their looks convict 'em when they get into trouble. in which all three took an active part. Sikes on his return 129 . any representations made by Mr. scowling fiercely on his agreeable friend. and we should lose by it besides. You'd better bring the boy here to-morrow night.' rejoined Sikes. and should not be held responsible by the Jew for any mischance or evil that might be necessary to visit him: it being understood that. Besides. than anybody else. it was decided that Nancy should repair to the Jew's next evening when the night had set in.' said the Jew. Then you hold your tongue. to render the compact in this respect binding. 'he has us now if he could only give us leg-bail again. it's all planned. 'And about--' 'Oh. I could do what I couldn't with twenty of them.' 'No.' said the Jew. Now. 'if he heerd nothing from me to the contrairy. expressive of the disgust with which he received Fagin's affectation of humanity. that the said Sikes should deal with him as he thought fit. interrupting him. It was also solemnly arranged that poor Oliver should. when you know there are fifty boys snoozing about Common Garden every night.' After some discussion. 'It's all arranged about bringing off the swag. William Sikes. my dears. With this boy. properly managed.' said Sikes. and further.' said the Jew. Sikes. I shall get off the stone an hour arter daybreak. and keep the melting-pot ready. ah. Bill?' 'I planned with Toby. it's quite enough for my power over him that he was in a robbery. Never mind how he came there.' replied the Jew. recovering his self-possession. and that's all you'll have to do. he would be more willing to accompany the girl who had so recently interfered in his behalf. how much better this is. is it?' asked the Jew. 'there's no moon.'And wot. Fagin craftily observing. and bring Oliver away with her. and I lose 'em all.' 'When is it to be done?' asked Nancy. 'Never mind particulars.' rejoined Sikes. with some confusion. for the purposes of the contemplated expedition. if he evinced any disinclination to the task. 'not worth the taking. that's all I want. stopping some turbulent exclamation on the part of Mr. be unreservedly consigned to the care and custody of Mr. that. 'when is it to be done. 'wot makes you take so much pains about one chalk-faced kid. Sikes nodded. to be sure. as you might pick and choose from?' 'Because they're of no use to me. than being obliged to put the poor leetle boy out of the way--which would be dangerous.

At length. Nancy.' replied the Dodger. impatiently awaiting his return. and to flourish the crowbar in an alarming manner. To-morrow. Mr. and sadness. fled to Heaven. mingled with wild execrations. he insisted upon producing his box of housebreaking tools: which he had no sooner stumbled in with. 'Hours ago. by the testimony of flash Toby Crackit. 'Here he is!' The boy was lying. 'Is Oliver a-bed? I want to speak to him. on a rude bed upon the floor. Fagin wended his way. bestowing a sly kick upon the prostrate form of Mr. 'To-morrow. The Jew again bade her good-night. narrowly. 'Good-night. the best of them is. Ha! ha! The man against the child. 'Good-night. in all important particulars. for a bag of gold!' Beguiling the time with these pleasant reflections. to his gloomy abode: where the Dodger was sitting up. throwing open a door. and opened for the purpose of explaining the nature and properties of the various implements it contained. Sikes while her back was turned. that he looked like death. muffling himself up as before.' was his first remark as they descended the stairs. yelling forth. not death as it shows in shroud and coffin. through mud and mire. There was no flinching about the girl. She was as true and earnest in the matter as Toby Crackit himself could be. and the peculiar beauties of their construction. Mr. and the gross air of the world has not had time to breathe upon the changing dust it hallowed. 'Not now. but an instant. 'Always the way!' muttered the Jew to himself as he turned homeward. fast asleep. and. that it never lasts. and the Jew scrutinised her. in a fit of professional enthusiasm. and went to sleep where he fell. Sikes proceeded to drink brandy at a furious rate.' 130 . 'The worst of these women is. turning softly away. groped downstairs.' Their eyes met. These preliminaries adjusted.' said the Jew. when a young and gentle spirit has. than he fell over the box upon the floor. that a very little thing serves to call up some longforgotten feeling. at the same time.should be required to be confirmed and corroborated. most unmusical snatches of song. so pale with anxiety.' said the Jew. and the closeness of his prison. but in the guise it wears when life has just departed. and.

he was a good deal surprised to find that a new pair of shoes. fixing his eyes on Oliver.' replied the Jew. 'To--to--stop there.' replied Oliver. who was stooping over the fire toasting a piece of bread.' said the Jew. parrying the question. in a tone and manner which increased his alarm. 'We shouldn't like to lose you. softly. Don't be afraid. and that his old shoes had been removed. 'Why. 'Indeed I don't know. to find that the old thief had been reading his thoughts. Good-night!' 'Good-night!' replied Oliver. 'Wait till Bill tells you. sir?' asked Oliver. had been placed at his bedside. 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. looked round as he bantered Oliver thus. my dear. At first. anxiously. with strong thick soles. that. to make any further inquiries just then. WILLIAM SIKES When Oliver awoke in the morning. till they come to fetch you. 131 . who told him. and his own speculations. no!' The old man. He had no other opportunity: for the Jew remained very surly and silent till night: when he prepared to go abroad. sir. involuntarily. Yes. he was too much confused by the earnest cunning of Fagin's looks. 'Bah!' said the Jew. but the truth is. Oliver. 'I suppose. although Oliver felt very anxious.CHAPTER XX WHEREIN OLVER IS DELIVERED OVER TO MR. putting one upon the table. 'No. then. 'you want to know what you're going to Bill's for---eh. Ha! ha! ha! We won't be so cruel as to send you away. Oh no. turning away with a disappointed countenance from a close perusal of the boy's face. Not to stop there.' said the Jew. he was pleased with the discovery: hoping that it might be the forerunner of his release. you shall come back to us again. 'You may burn a candle. that he was to be taken to the residence of Bill Sikes that night. but such thoughts were quickly dispelled. he did want to know. no. my dear. 'And here's a book for you to read. do you think?' inquired Fagin. my dear?' Oliver coloured. but boldly said.' The Jew seemed much vexed by Oliver's not expressing any greater curiosity on the subject.

and. The terrible descriptions were so real and vivid. Here. he grew more calm. and had suffered too much where he was. the more he was at a loss to divine its real purpose and meaning. snuffed the candle.The Jew walked to the door: looking over his shoulder at the boy as he went. but. lighting on a passage which attracted his attention. from the dark end of the room. and that if any 132 . He turned over the leaves. and yelled for the gibbet to end their agony. he read of dreadful crimes that made the blood run cold. and the limbs quail. pointing to the candle. had been tempted (so they said) and led on. by their own bad thoughts. and. began to read. of secret murders that had been committed by the lonely wayside. that the sallow pages seemed to turn red with gore. until another boy. that he might be rescued from his present dangers. left the room. nodding his head. as he placed the candlestick upon the table. after many years. than be reserved for crimes. that in their horror they had confessed their guilt. and besought. In a paroxysm of fear. in a low and broken voice. and the words upon them. and then. and the pages were soiled and thumbed with use. Suddenly stopping. motioned him to light it. He remained lost in thought for some minutes. Here. better suited for his purpose could be engaged. say nothing. on the words he had just heard. deep as they were. and so maddened the murderers with the sight. to such dreadful bloodshed as it made the flesh creep. falling upon his knees. the Jew. but had yielded them up at last. taking up the book which the Jew had left with him. with a heavy sigh. and pondered. to think of. he soon became intent upon the volume. and thinks nothing of blood when his own is up. with a trembling heart. by the spirits of the dead. he prayed Heaven to spare him from such deeds. Oliver! take heed!' said the old man. the boy closed the book. which would not be equally well answered by his remaining with Fagin. and do what he bids you. Carelessly at first. and. W hatever falls out. with lowering and contracted brows. He was too well accustomed to suffering. he suffered his features gradually to resolve themselves into a ghastly grin. and after meditating for a long time. lying in their beds at dead of night. and rather to will that he should die at once. The more he thought of the Jew's admonition. Mind!' Placing a strong emphasis on the last word. shaking his right hand before him in a warning manner. 'Take heed. concluded that he had been selected to perform some ordinary menial offices for the housebreaker. he read of men who. He did so. he called him by his name. of bodies hidden from the eye of man in deep pits and wells: which would not keep them down. 'He's a rough man. and thrust it from him. so fearful and appaling. It was a history of the lives and trials of great criminals. too. in hollow murmers. Oliver leaned his head upon his hand when the old man disappeared. to bewail the prospect of change very severely. Then. to be sounded in his ears. saw that the Jew was gazing fixedly at him. as if they were whispered. By degrees. He could think of no bad object to be attained by sending him to Sikes. Oliver looked up.

' She rocked herself to and fro. caught her throat. I think. but made no reply. 'You are to go with me. but at length she raised her head. when a rustling noise aroused him. 'Oh! For no harm. recoiling. 'What is it?' The girl beat her hands upon her knees. but still remained with his head buried in his hands. 'Who's there?' 'Me. Drawing her chair close to it. uttering a gurgling sound. 'I don't know what comes over me sometimes.' replied a tremulous voice. indeed.' 'Has anything happened?' asked Oliver. 'I never thought of this. 'Put down the light. desolate and deserted. he stood alone in the midst of wickedness and guilt. 'Nancy!' cried Oliver. without speaking.' 'What for?' asked Oliver. starting up. and looked round. and averting them again. when. I will. for a little time. Oliver stirred the fire. and. she sat there. 'What's that!' he cried. I have come from Bill. 'it's this damp dirty room.' replied the girl. suddenly stopping. 'God forgive me!' she cried after a while. and catching sight of a figure standing by the door.' said she. gasped for breath. and her feet upon the ground. and gently inquired if she were ill. He had concluded his prayer. 'What for?' echoed the girl. it might come to him now. with her back towards him: and wrung her hands. raising her eyes.' Oliver saw that she was very pale. the moment they encountered the boy's face. and. are you ready?' 'Am I to go with you?' asked Oliver. Now.' 133 .' said the girl. 'Can I help you? I will if I can. turning away her head. dear. Nolly. 'Yes. drew her shawl close round her: and shivered with cold. It was Nancy. affecting to busy herself in arranging her dress.aid were to be raised up for a poor outcast boy who had never known the love of friends or kindred. 'It hurts my eyes. Only me. Oliver raised the candle above his head: and looked towards the door. The girl threw herself into a chair.

the thought darted across his mind that it was barely eleven o'clock. the girl pulled him in with her. and was as quickly closed. would have been far more rough than me. but lashed his horse into full speed. quickly. just now. and. was lost on his companion. She eyed him narrowly. You are hedged round and round. for an instant. Neither his brief consideration. while he spoke.' continued the girl aloud. See here! I have borne all this for you already. somewhat hastily. and perhaps be my death. he stepped forward: and said. Give me your hand. that he was ready. But. and I will again. if I had not. if you are not. with great rapidity: 'Remember this! And don't let me suffer more for you. The driver wanted no directions. and. hastily. blowing out the light. her countenance was white and agitated. The door was opened. Oliver looked up in her face with great surprise. drew him after her up the stairs. I would. the warnings and assurances she had already imparted. and she trembled with very earnestness. and pointing to the door as she looked cautiously round. Make haste! Your hand! She caught the hand which Oliver instinctively placed in hers. and drew the curtains close. She seemed to speak the truth. to some livid bruises on her neck and arms. All was so quick and 134 . with the same vehemence which she had exhibited in addressing Oliver.' Oliver could see that he had some power over the girl's better feelings. 'Hush!' said the girl. 'For no good.' Struck by the energy of her manner. 'You can't help yourself. nor its purport.' rejoined the girl. I have promised for your being quiet and silent. thought of appealing to her compassion for his helpless state. They don't mean to harm you. If ever you are to get loose from here.'I don't believe it. and continued. but all to no purpose. by some one shrouded in the darkness. then. you will only do harm to yourself and me too. is no fault of yours. and I do now. but I have not the power. A hackney-cabriolet was in waiting. stooping over him.' said Oliver: who had watched her closely. whatever they make you do. 'for those who would have fetched you. then.' She pointed. without the delay of an instant. I have tried hard for you. and that many people were still in the streets: of whom surely some might be found to give credence to his tale. this is not the time. and cast upon him a look of intelligence which sufficiently showed that she guessed what had been passing in his thoughts. As the reflection occured to him. The girl still held Oliver fast by the hand. affecting to laugh. Hush! Every word from you is a blow for me. If I could help you. when they had passed out. and continued to pour into his ear. 'I have saved you from being ill-used once. as true as God sees me show it. 'Have it your own way.

as he lighted them up. 'Well. an uncommonly hearty welcome. first: do you know wot this is?' inquired Sikes. that he had scarcely time to recollect where he was. Oliver replied in the affirmative.' said Sikes when they had all reached the room: closing the door as he spoke.' Thus addressing his new pupil. Sikes' temperament. that 'ere's a bullet. that he had not the heart to utter it.' said Sikes. he was already in the house. Oliver cast a hurried glance along the empty street.' observed Sikes. young 'un.' 'That's right. from a person of Mr. releasing her hold for the first time. and then.' replied Nancy. 'Now. For one brief moment. when to carriage stopped at the house to which the Jew's steps had been directed on the previous evening. 'Like a lamb. with a candle.' 135 . the opportunity was gone.' rejoined Nancy. 'Did he come quiet?' inquired Sikes. beseeching him in such tones of agony to remember her. taking up a pocket-pistol which lay on the table.' rejoined Nancy. 'This is powder. 'Bill!' 'Hallo!' replied Sikes: appearing at the head of the stairs. which is as well got over at once. Nancy. and a cry for help hung upon his lips. 'Oh! That's the time of day. Come on!' This was a very strong expression of approbation. Sikes pulled off Oliver's cap and threw it into a corner. or how he came there. and this is a little bit of a old hat for waddin'. While he hesitated. 'He'd have been in the way. and stood the boy in front of him.' continued Sikes. looking grimly at Oliver.hurried. Come here.' said the girl. here he is. appearing much gratified thereby. taking him by the shoulder. look here. and let me read you a lectur'. sat himself down by the table. then. and the door was shut. Mr. 'Bull's-eye's gone home with Tom. 'This way. But the girl's voice was in his ear. 'So you've got the kid. saluted him cordially. 'I'm glad to hear it. 'Yes. 'for the sake of his young carcase: as would otherways have suffered for it.

and get a snooze before starting. she presently returned with a pot of porter and a dish of sheep's heads: which gave occasion to several pleasant witticisms on the part of Mr. mending the fire. Oliver stretched himself in his clothes.' 'That's it!' observed Mr. 'Yes. I see it is. when he had finished. and the girl. Indeed. you'll prevent his ever telling tales afterwards. with great nicety and deliberation. And now that he's thoroughly up to it. and threw himself on the bed. 'Now it's loaded.' In pursuance of this request. and also to an ingenious implement much used in his profession. Sikes disposed of a couple of glasses of spirits and water.-. approvingly.' replied Oliver. that if you're crossed by him in this job you have on hand. Sikes continued. sat before it. in readiness to rouse them at the appointed time. on a rough calculation. if it warn't for you own good. Sikes. more than four-score oaths during the whole progress of the meal. on a mattress upon the floor. the worthy gentleman. grasping Oliver's wrist. Sikes proceeded to load the pistol. Sikes. if you DO make up your mind to speak without leave. by shooting him through the head. so I needn't take this devil-and-all of trouble to explain matters to you. Nancy quickly laid the cloth. that he humourously drank all the beer at a draught. let's have some supper. and Mr. to increase its effect. So. and putting the barrel so close to his temple that they touched. disappearing for a few minutes. was in great spirits and good humour. 'Well. and slightly frowning at Oliver as if to bespeak his serious attention to her words: 'is.Oliver murmured his comprehension of the different bodies referred to. 'As near as I know.' Having bestowed a scowl upon the object of this warning. sir. by command of the same authority. Mr. at which moment the boy could not repress a start.' said Mr. if you WAS disposed of. ordering Nancy. say your prayers first. stimulated perhaps by the immediate prospect of being on active service.' said the robber. Supper being ended--it may be easily conceived that Oliver had no great appetite for it--Mr. it may be here remarked. D'ye hear me?' 'The short and the long of what you mean. with many imprecations in case of failure. 'women can always put things in fewest words. except when I speak to you.Except when it's blowing up. common to them. in proof whereof. Sikes. 136 . and then they lengthens it out. founded upon the singular coincidence of 'jemmies' being a can name. and did not utter. every month of your life. as you do for a great many other things in the way of business.' said Nancy: speaking very emphatically. there isn't anybody as would be asking very partickler arter you. that loading will be in your head without notice. and will take your chance of swinging for it. to call him at five precisely. 'if you speak a word when you're out o' doors with me.

without moving. Oliver turned. clasped it firmly in his. was beating against the window-panes. the table was covered with tea-things. and it was quite dark outside. led him away. scarcely looking at the boy. Nancy. Weary with watching and anxiety. who. save now and then to trim the light. 137 . A sharp rain. as Oliver started up. thinking it not impossible that Nancy might seek that opportunity of whispering some further advice. and. having taken some breakfast. threw him a handkerchief to tie round his throat.' Oliver was not long in making his toilet. But she had resumed her old seat in front of the fire. he at length fell asleep. 'half-past five! Look sharp. he gave his hand to the robber. too. which hung over the back of a chair. for the candle was still burning. When he awoke. exchanging a farewell with Nancy. for it's late as it is. he replied to a surly inquiry from Sikes.For a long time Oliver lay awake. Sikes gave him a large rough cape to button over his shoulders. for an instant. or you'll get no breakfast. by saying that he was quite ready. Thus attired. It was not yet daylight. and Sikes was thrusting various articles into the pockets of his great-coat. but the girl sat brooding over the fire. and sat. Nancy was busily engaged in preparing breakfast. merely pausing to show him with a menacing gesture that he had that same pistol in a side-pocket of his greatcoat. then!' growled Sikes. when they reached the door. and the sky looked black and cloudy. perfectly motionless before it. in the hope of meeting a look from the girl. 'Now.

and mingling with the fog. hawkers. the bellowing and plunging of the oxen.CHAPTER XXI THE EXPEDITION It was a cheerless morning when they got into the street. without shedding any warmer or brighter tints upon the wet house-tops. It was market-morning. perpetually rising from the reeking bodies of the cattle. the grunting and squeaking of pigs. with gas-lights burning inside. were noiseless and empty. The ground was covered. chaise-carts filled with live-stock or whole carcasses of meat. driving. but it rather aggrevated than relieved the gloom of the scene: the sombre light only serving to pale that which the street lamps afforded. 138 . There appeared to be nobody stirring in that quarter of the town. donkey-carts laden with vegetables. were mingled together in a mass. and the streets through which they passed. the bleating of sheep. and dreary streets. thieves. hung heavily above. a few country waggons were slowly toiling on. idlers. nearly ankle-deep. and the busy morning of half the London population had begun. had endangered his arriving at the office. which seemd to rest upon the chimney-tops. and quarrelling on all sides. towards London. milkwomen with pails. trudging out with various supplies to the eastern suburbs of the town. a quarter of a minute after his time. that issued from every public-house. three or four deep. As they approached the City. an unbroken concourse of people. rattled briskly by: the driver bestowing. were filled with sheep. blowing and raining hard. by keeping on the wrong side of the road. into Barbican: thence into Long Lane. the ringing of bells and roar of voices. pushing. when they threaded the streets between Shoreditch and Smithfield. by way of Chiswell Street. and vagabonds of every low grade. it had swelled into a roar of sound and bustle. the whistling of drovers. the barking dogs. came straggling groups of labourers going to their work. with filth and mire. It was as light as it was likely to be. till night came on again. tied up to posts by the gutter side were long lines of beasts and oxen. the day had fairly begun to break. men and women with fish-baskets on their heads. oaths. the crowding. The night had been very wet: large pools of water had collected in the road: and the kennels were overflowing. There was a faint glimmering of the coming day in the sky. other shops began to be unclosed. By the time they had turned into the Bethnal Green Road. butchers. and a few scattered people were met with. were already open. All the pens in the centre of the large area. now and then. Mr. drovers. from which latter place arose a tumult of discordant sounds that filled Oliver Twist with amazement. the windows of the houses were all closely shut. Sikes struck. The public-houses. covered with mud. and as many temporary pens as could be crowded into the vacant space. and admonitory lash upon the heavy waggoner who. then. and so into Smithfield. Then. and crossing Finsbury square. the noise and traffic gradually increased. boys. a stage-coach. Turning down Sun Street and Crown Street. Countrymen. By degrees. Many of the lamps were already extinguished. a thick steam. the cries of hawkers. as he passed. and the clouds looking dull and stormy. the shouts.

139 . and the unwashed. to a passing friend. came up. And here. unshaven. until they were clear of the turmoil. and putting his hand abstractedly into the pocket where the pistol was. and yet they went on as steadily as if they had only just begun their journey. Sikes. and dirty figues constantly running to and fro. Kew Bridge. 'He's used to it. and were on their way to Kensington: when Sikes relaxed his pace. more and more. and bestowed very little attention on the numerous sights and sounds. Ned. At length. until they had passed Hyde Park corner. Come. resisting as many invitations to take a morning dram. and bursting in and out of the throng. which so astonished the boy. Andrew's Church. he helped him into the cart. which quite confounded the senses.' replied Sikes. if he would give them a lift as far as Isleworth. my man?' inquired the driver: seeing that Oliver was out of breath. interposing. 'Is that your boy?' 'Yes. they came to a public-house called the Coach and Horses. They held their course at this rate. and.beating. where his companion meant to take him. until an empty cart which was at some little distance behind. pressed steadily onward. looking up at the clock of St. Oliver wondered. elbowed his way through the thickest of the crowd. looking hard at Oliver. dragging Oliver after him. 'Not a bit of it. Hammersmith. As they passed the different mile-stones. twice or thrice. Chiswick. He nodded. Oliver. another road appeared to run off. and had made their way through Hosier Lane into Holborn. were all passed. and rest himself. squalid. don't he. don't lag behind already. kept up with the rapid strides of the house-breaker as well as he could. he's my boy. Here. Seeing 'Hounslow' written on it. Kensington. he asked the driver with as much civility as he could assume. 'hard upon seven! you must step out. Mr.' replied Sikes. quickening his pace into a kind of trot between a fast walk and a run. told him to lie down there. 'Now. young 'un!' said Sikes. whooping and yelling. take hold of my hand. Lazylegs!' Mr. 'Your father walks rather too quick for you. a little way beyond which. Brentford. rendered it a stunning and bewildering scene. Sikes accompanied this speech with a jerk at his little companion's wrist.' said the man. In with you!' Thus addressing Oliver. 'Jump up. the cart stopped. the hideous and discordant dim that resounded from every corner of the market. and the driver. pointing to a heap of sacks.

'Hampton. I am. and. without being much troubled by their company. My horse hasn't got a load behind him going back. 'Good-bye. on which were seated several rough men in smock-frocks. giving him a shake. It was quite dark when he was awakened by a push from Sikes. turning into an old public-house with a defaced sign-board.' replied the man. low-roofed room. walked on for a long time: passing many large gardens and gentlemen's houses on both sides of the way. over a pint of ale. bestowed a furious look upon him. Being much tired with the walk. holding Oliver by the hand all the while. then. A young dog! Don't mind him. and getting up so early. a short way past the public-house. Oliver saw written up in pretty large letters. and sat so long after it. fell asleep. once again led him onward on his journey. after all. you're going on to Lower Halliford. 'So. in the fields. he found that worthy in close fellowship and communication with a labouring man. and lifting him down directly. quite overpowered by fatigue and the fumes of the tobacco.' They lingered about.' replied Sikes. by the fire. drinking and smoking. who seemed a little the worse--or better. Here's luck to him. They had some cold meat for dinner. They turned round to the left.Sikes dismounted with great precipitation. taking a right-hand road.' said the man. in a significant manner.' And he drove away. as he had coming up in the mornin'. boy. At length they came back into the town. as Sikes took very little notice of the. 'Yes. They took no notice of Oliver. Here against the wall of a house. 'he's sulky. that Oliver began to feel quite certain they were not going any further. and then. The kitchen was an old. telling Oliver he might look about him if he wanted. and then. until they reached a town.' 'Not I!' rejoined the other. he dozed a little at first. he and his young comrade sat in a corner by themselves. with a great beam across the middle of the ceiling. 'and not slow about it neither. and he won't be long a-doing of it. while Mr. Rousing himself sufficiently to sit up and look about him. getting into his cart. are you?' inquired Sikes. and rapped the side-pocket with his fist. and benches. 'It's a fine day. ordered some dinner by the kitchen fire. Sikes waited until he had fairly gone. as the case might be--for drinking. and. for some hours. and stopping for nothing but a little beer. 'He's sulky. with high backs to them. and very little of Sikes. Sikes indulged himself with three or four pipes. Ecod! he's a good 'un!' 140 .

The horse. for the driver had grown sleepy. the girl gathering up the pots and glasses as they did so. and the man to whom he belonged. with a very profound face. 'Is all paid. pushing the ale towards his new friend.' replied the man. and supporting himself for a short time on his hind-legs. Sikes replied. There was a light in the ferry-house window opposite: which streamed across the road. he started off at great speed. Oliver sat huddled together. Oliver and Sikes got in without any further ceremony. bewildered with alarm and apprehension. to see the party start. he was joking. and figuring strange objects in the gaunt trees. 'that won't do. with tipsy gravity. he made a very unpleasant use of it: tossing it into the air with great disdain. and lounging out to the door.'Could you give my boy and me a lift as far as there?' demanded Sikes. Then. the clock struck seven.' and to defy the hostler and the world to produce his equal. having done so. A damp mist rose from the river. he seized Sikes by the hand: and declared he was a real good fellow. and the marshy ground about. and spread itself over the dreary fields. his head being given him.' replied Sikes. 'I'm your man. the hostler was told to give the horse his head. Becky?' 'Yes.' replied the other. too. I can. after performing those feats. they bade the company goodnight. It was piercing cold. was standing outside: ready harnessed to the cart. if he had been sober. There was a dull sound of falling water not far off. as.' 'Why not?' rejoined Sikes. whose health had been drunk in his absence. After the exchange of a few more compliments. As they passed Sunbury Church. and rattled out of the town right gallantly.' replied the girl. and. and the leaves of the old tree stirred gently in the night wind. To which Mr. in return?' The stranger reflected upon this argument. and went out. mounted also. whose branches waved grimly to and fro. all was gloomy and black. and threw into more sombre shadow a dark yew-tree with graves beneath it. the other gentleman's paid. 'Are you going to Halliford?' 'Going on to Shepperton. as far as I go. and Sikes was in no mood to lead him into conversation. with her hands full. 'You're a-going to accommodate us. looking out of the pot. 'I say!' said the man. Not a word was spoken. as if in some fantastic joy at the desolation of the scene. there would have been strong reason to suppose he was. and wot's to prevent my standing treat for a pint or so. in a corner of the cart. and running into the parlour windows over the way. having lingered for a minute or two 'to bear him up. 'If you're going directly. 141 . you know. It seemed like quiet music for the repose of the dead. The night was very dark.

The house was dark. but no light was visible. 142 . and that they were coming to the foot of a bridge. 'The water!' thought Oliver. as the weary boy had expected. uninhabited. They turned into no house at Shepperton. through gloomy lanes and over cold open wastes. until they came within sight of the lights of a town at no great distance. and raised the latch. but still kept walking on. Oliver saw that the water was just below them. with Oliver's hand still in his. until they were close upon the bridge. in mud and darkness. turning sick with fear. and make one struggle for his young life. Sikes alighted. dismantled: and the all appearance. and they came again into the lonely road.Sunbury was passed through. when he saw that they stood before a solitary house: all ruinous and decayed. and they once again walked on. The door yielded to the pressure. Two or three miles more. and they passed in together. On looking intently forward. and the cart stopped. 'He has brought me to this lonely place to murder me!' He was about to throw himself on the ground. took Oliver by the hand. Sikes. softly approached the low porch. and one story above. then turned suddenly down a bank upon the left. Sikes kept straight on. There was a window on each side of the dilapidated entrance.

ornamented with large common rings. turning his head towards the door. from a door on the right hand. as if you took laudanum with your meals.' Muttering a curse upon his tardiness. a glim! Show the gentleman in. Are you any fresher now. which he contemplated. to rouse him from his slumbers: for the noise of a wooden body. as soon as they set foot in the passage. smoking a long clay pipe. a man was reposing at full length.' 'Here! you get on first. shawl-pattern waistcoat.' 'Aha! my pal!' cried the same voice. sir. at the person he addressed. a coarse. and apparently rather weak in the legs.' The speaker appeared to throw a boot-jack. I was almost afraid you'd given it up: in which case I should have made a personal wentur. either upon his head or face. an orange neckerchief. 'Do you hear?' cried the same voice. if convenient. was of a reddish dye. cub id. two or three broken chairs. bolting the door. as of a man between sleep and awake. and they entered a low dark room with a smoky fire. 'Show a glim. Barney. Barney.CHAPTER XXII THE BURGLARY 'Hallo!' cried a loud. and drab breeches. Mr. 'Don't make such a row. and then an indistinct muttering. with lively satisfaction. 'Bister Sikes!' exclaimed Barney. and you sleeping there. and a very old couch: on which. hastily. first. was heard. 'I'm glad to see you. and nothing stronger. He was a trifle above the middle size. across the bare floor of the room. putting Oliver in front of him. 'Quicker! or I shall tread upon your heels. Toby. with large brass buttons. falling violently. through which he occasionally thrust some very dirty fingers. in their elevated situation. 'Bill. staring. but this circumstance by no means detracted from his own admiration of his top-boots. but what he had. as this interrogatory was put. or some such article. 'cub id. with his legs much higher than his head. 'There's Bill Sikes in the passage with nobody to do the civil to him.' said Sikes. 'A glim. Hallo!' 143 . Crackit (for he it was) had no very great quantity of hair. and tortured into long corkscrew curls. Sikes pushed Oliver before him. hoarse voice. wake up first.' said Sikes. my boy!' said this figure. a feeble candle: and next. a table. or do you want the iron candlestick to wake you thoroughly?' A pair of slipshod feet shuffled. and officiating as waiter at the public-house on Saffron Hill. with real or counterfeit joy. He was dressed in a smartly-cut snuff-coloured coat. the form of the same individual who has been heretofore described as labouring under the infirmity of speaking through his nose. and there issued.

'indeed. you'll put some heart in us. Drink it.' said Sikes. 'Burn my body. scarecely knowing where he was. Only the boy!' replied Sikes. I--' 'Down with it!' echoed Toby.' exclaimed Barney. 'Success to the crack!' He rose to honour the toast. Sikes.Uttering this exclamation in a tone of great surprise. 'Down with it. 'Fagin's. eh!' exclaimed Toby. or in me. for you'll have to go out with us again to-night. 'Here. in mute and timid wonder. the two men laid themselves down on chairs for a short nap. innocence. drawing a chair towards the fire. he whispered a few words in his ear: at which Mr. as the young Jew placed some fragments of food. advanced to the table. and immediately fell into a violent fit of coughing: which delighted Toby Crackit and Barney. you perwerse imp. 'Do you think I don't know what's good for you? Tell him to drink it. and demanded who that was.' interposed Sikes. carefully depositing his empty pipe in a corner. 'if you'll give us something to eat and drink while we're waiting. and drawing a stool to the fire. 'Now. 'A drain for the boy. looking at Oliver. 'Wud of Bister Fagid's lads. and a bottle upon the table. younker. Crackit laughed immensely. impatiently. and stooping over his recumbant friend.' said Oliver. Bill. and rest yourself. or what was passing around him.' said Toby. for the old ladies' pockets in chapels! His mug is a fortin' to him. looking piteously up into the man's face.' said Toby. and drank off its contents. This done. Oliver retained his stool by the fire. 144 . filled a glass with spirits. Oliver hastily swallowed the contents of the glass. sat with his aching head upon his hands. if he isn't more trouble than a whole family of Dodgers. and. 'The boy. though not very far off. Sikes did the same.' 'He had better!' said Sikes clapping his hand upon his pocket. and even drew a smile from the surly Mr. Toby Crackit brought himself into a sitting posture.' 'Indeed. 'Wot an inwalable boy that'll make.' 'There--there's enough of that. and honoured Oliver with a long stare of astonishment. and Sikes having satisfied his appetite (Oliver could eat nothing but a small crust of bread which they made him swallow). Mr. Mr. as his eyes rested on Oliver. at all events. Sit down by the fire. with a grin.' Oliver looked at Sikes. as he resumed his seat. drink it!' Frightened by the menacing gestures of the two men. half-filling a wine-glass.

stowing them away. 'Bring them bits of timber. Oliver: who was completely stupified by the unwonted exercise. 'Crape. and the air. In an instant.' replied Sikes. producing a pair of pistols. or wandering about the dark churchyard. and the drink which had been forced upon him: put his hand mechanically into that which Sikes extended for the purpose.Barney wrapped in a blanket. having made all fast.' With these words. the other two were on their legs. Oliver's hair and eyebrows.' 'All right!' replied Toby. 'Now then!' said Sikes. Sikes and his companion enveloped their necks and chins in large dark shawls. 'Barkers for me. nobody stirring but Barney.' The man went to the door. darkies--nothing forgotten?' inquired Toby: fastening a small crowbar to a loop inside the skirt of his coat. had become stiff with the half-frozen moisture that was floating about. centre-bits. 'The persuaders?' 'I've got 'em. Barney.' replied Barney. that. The two robbers issued forth with Oliver between them. brought forth several articles. Barney. Barney. 'Look out. who. They 145 . although no rain fell. and all were actively engaged in busy preparation.' said Toby Crackit. which he hastily crammed into the pockets.' rejoined his companion. within a few minutes after leaving the house. stretched himself on the floor: close outside the fender. 'Take his other hand. Barney. or retracing some one or other of the scenes of the past day: when he was roused by Toby Crackit jumping up and declaring it was half-past one. It was now intensely dark. and the atmosphere was so damp. Barney. holding out his hand. 'Here they are. 'You loaded them yourself.' said Sikes. opening a cupboard. They slept. The fog was much heavier than it had been in the early part of the night. for some time. Oliver fell into a heavy doze: imagining himself straying along the gloomy lanes. he took a thick stick from Barney's hands. busied himself in fastening on Oliver's cape. who rose once or twice to throw coals on the fire. rolled himself up as before. and returned to announce that all was quiet. or appeared to sleep. Toby. keys. That's the time of day. and drew on their great-coats. 'All right. and was soon asleep again. having delivered another to Toby.

and drawing the pistol from his pocket. which at that late hour was wholly deserted. But there was nobody abroad. and involuntarily uttered a subdued exclamation of horror. trembling with rage. never.' Before Oliver had time to look round. they stopped before a detached house surrounded by a wall: to the top of which. Oliver. 'there'll be nobody in the way. when Toby.' Sikes. saw that housebreaking and robbery. I've seen older hands of his age took the same way. They had cleared the town. A dim light shone at intervals from some bed-room window. and more genteel. but with little noise. they turned up a road upon the left hand. After walking about a quarter of a mile. and dragged him to the house. and I'll do your business myself with a crack on the head. invoking terrific imprecations upon Fagin's head for sending Oliver on such an errand. Quickening their pace. 'Get up!' murmured Sikes. and do not make me steal. 'let me run away and die in the fields. the cold sweat stood upon his ashy face. and. climbed in a twinkling. And they stole cautiously towards the house. Bill. Say another word. as they walked pretty briskly. Sikes followed directly. He's game enough now. if not murder. 'Slap through the town. wrench the shutter open.' said Toby. have mercy upon me!' The man to whom this appeal was made. Toby Crackit. for a minute or two. I will never come near London. scarcely pausing to take breath. for the first time. For the love of all the bright Angels that rest in Heaven. And now. 'Hush!' cried the man. plied the crowbar vigorously. 'Hoist him up. 'it won't answer here. were the objects of the expedition. tonight. and they hurried through the main street of the little town. After some 146 . and kept on towards the lights which he had seen before. I'll engage. they soon arrived at Chertsey. or I'll strew your brains upon the grass. Sikes had caught him under the arms. and the hoarse barking of dogs occasionally broke the silence of the night. to see us.' whispered Sikes. and is quite as certain. his limbs failed him. That makes no noise. striking it from his grasp. on a cold night. and had cocked the pistol. They were at no great distance off.crossed the bridge. 'The boy next.' Toby acquiesced. Here. never! Oh! pray have mercy on me. I'll catch hold of him. A mist came before his eyes. well-nigh mad with grief and terror. placed his hand upon the boy's mouth. He clasped his hands together. and in three or four seconds he and Toby were lying on the grass on the other side. and he sank upon his knees.' 'Oh! for God's sake let me go!' cried Oliver. as the church-bell struck two. swore a dreadful oath. 'Get up.

and placing it on the ground. who's got a bed in here. he would fall dead that instant. swung open on its hinges. They listened intently. 'Directly I leave go of you. gasped out. do your work. This was no sooner done.' interposed Toby. to the street door.' 'There's a bolt at the top. Sikes imperiously commanded him to be silent.' said Sikes. Sike's art. you won't be able to reach. Toby complied.' said Sikes. and laughed without noise. is it?' 'Wide. and along the little hall. at the end of the passage. and his hands upon his knees. more dead than alive.' repied Toby. Bill. 147 . or small brewing-place. and. that they always leave it open with a catch. so as to make a step of his back. drawing a dark lantern from his pocket. and let us in. with a jolly large blue unicorn and gold pitchfork on 'em: which is the old lady's arms. and throwing the glare full on Oliver's face. looking into the room. put Oiver gently through the window with his feet first. 'Stand upon one of the hall chairs. without leaving hold of his collar. Ha! ha! Barney 'ticed him away to-night. There are three there. The aperture was so small. 'Take this lantern. It was a little lattice window. by first producing his lantern. So neat!' Although Mr. can't you?' replied Sikes. nevertheless. A very brief exercise of Mr. than Sikes. and it soon stood wide open also. 'I'm a going to put you through there.' Sikes. Hark!' 'What's that?' whispered the other man. in the same low whisper. 'Now listen. after peeping in to satisfy himself. may walk up and down the passage when he feels wakeful. 'The room-door is open. about five feet and a half above the ground. you young limb. but it was large enough to admit a boy of Oliver's size. pointing to the streetdoor with the pistol-barrel. briefly advised him to take notice that he was within shot all the way. 'You see the stairs afore you?' Oliver. so that the dog. with a threatening look. and some assistance from Toby. go softly up the steps straight afore you. mounting upon him. planted him safely on the floor inside. 'The game of that is. 'Yes.' 'Keep quiet. and to get to work. unfasten it. Take this light. that the inmates had probably not thought it worth while to defend it more securely.' whispered Sikes. and that if he faltered. at the back of the house: which belonged to a scullery. the shutter to which he had referred.delay. 'It's done in a minute. Crackit spoke in a scarcely audible whisper. sufficed to overcome the fastening of the lattice. then by planting himself firmly with his head against the wall beneath the window.

Filled with this idea. Oliver let his lantern fall.' said Sikes. and the sensation of being carried over uneven ground at a rapid pace. whether he died in the attempt or not. but he was up again. He fired his own pistol after the men. but where he knew not. 'Give me a shawl here. and had him by the collar before the smoke had cleared away. and knew not whether to advance or fly. but stealthiy.'Nothing. and by a loud cry which followed it. as he drew him through the window. And then. Sikes had disappeared for an instant. the boy had firmly resolved that.' said Sikes. They've hit him. and the shouts of men.--and he staggered back. mingled with the noise of fire-arms. releasing his hold of Oliver. he would make one effort to dart upstairs from the hall. 'Back! back!' Scared by the sudden breaking of the dead stillness of the place. and he saw or heard no more. and a cold deadly feeling crept over the boy's heart. 'Come back!' suddenly cried Sikes aloud. 148 . 'Now!' In the short time he had had to collect his senses. and dragged the boy up. The cry was repeated--a light appeared--a vision of two terrified half-dressed men at the top of the stairs swam before his eyes--a flash--a loud noise--a smoke--a crash somewhere. Quick! How the boy bleeds!' Then came the loud ringing of a bell. and alarm the family. the noises grew confused in the distance. he advanced at once. who were already retreating. 'Clasp your arm tighter.

proceeded to make the tea. that Mrs. and the single cup. as if deploring the mental blindness of those paupers who did not know it.--so much so. Ah!' Mrs. The snow lay on the ground. scattered it in air. indeed. How slight a thing will disturb the equanimity of our frail minds! The black teapot. the matron of the workhouse to which our readers have been already introduced as the birthplace of Oliver Twist. setting it down very hastily on the hob. 'a little stupid thing. and looking reflectively at the fire. leaning her elbow on the table. can hardly open them in a more bitter world. 149 .' said Mrs. ran over while Mrs.CHAPTER XXIII WHICH CONTAINS THE SUBSTANCE OF A PLEASANT CONVERSATION BETWEEN MR. at a small round table: on which stood a tray of corresponding size. when Mr. and glanced. it was a night for the well-housed and fed to draw round the bright fire and thank God they were at home. Many hunger-worn outcasts close their eyes in our bare streets. Corney was about to solace herself with a cup of tea. and thrusting a silver spoon (private property) into the inmost recesses of a two-ounce tin tea-caddy. Corney's hand. Such was the aspect of out-of-doors affairs. pausing. Corney shook her head mournfully. whirling it into a thousand misty eddies. and piercing cold. 'Well!' said the matron. Corney (who had not been dead more than five-and-twenty years). AND SHOWS THAT EVEN A BEADLE MAY BE SUSCEPTIBLE ON SOME POINTS The night was bitter cold. Corney smiled. 'Drat the pot!' said the worthy matron. had awakened in her mind sad recollections of Mr. caught it savagely up in clouds. dark. her inward satisfaction evidently increased. let their crimes have been what they may. and. and. Corney was moralising. BUMBLE AND A LADY. if we did but know it. thought of her solitary fate. furnished with all necessary materials for the most grateful meal that matrons enjoy. once more resting her elbow on the table. Corney. starving wretch to lay him down and die. 'except to a poor desolate creature like me. Bleak. being very small and easily filled. who. The small teapot. In fact. that only holds a couple of cups! What use is it of. Oh dear!' With these words. as if expending increased fury on such prey as it found. Mrs. frozen into a hard thick crust. 'I'm sure we have all on us a great deal to be grateful for! A great deal. the matron dropped into her chair. so that only the heaps that had drifted into byways and corners were affected by the sharp wind that howled abroad: which. and she was overpowered. sat herself down before a cheerful fire in her own little room. at such times. Corney. with no small degree of complacency. where the smallest of all possible kettles was singing a small song in a small voice. As she glanced from the table to the fireplace. to anybody! Except. and the water slightly scalded Mrs. and for the homeless.

pettishly. ma'am. What's amiss now. sipping her tea. 'I never. ma'am. It might have been the latter. is uncertain. and being very cold himself. and to shake the snow off his coat. Corney looked at it as she spoke. Bumble. and they'll come back for another. 'Why here's one man that. in consideraton of his wife and large family. ma'am?' The lady modestly hesitated to reply. ma'am? Is he grateful? Not a copper farthing's worth of it! What does he do. nothing. ma'am.' replied a man's voice. 'When. Bumble taking advantage of the hesitation. Corney. I suppose. Mrs. don't. Bumble?' 'At your service. come in with you!' said Mrs. we have given away a matter of twenty quartern loaves and a cheese and a half. 'Anti-porochial weather this.' said the matron.' 'Of course not. ma'am.' replied the beadle. lest there should be any impropriety in holding an interview with Mr. Corney. 'Hard. Bumble. When would they be. a man--you have been a married woman. 'is that Mr. Don't stand there.' The matron expressed her entire concurrence in this intelligible simile.' Whether this remark bore reference to the husband. who had been stopping outside to rub his shoes clean. he says! Coals! What would he do with coals? Toast his cheese with 'em and then come back for more. Is he grateful. letting the cold air in. and the beadle went on. but ask for a few coals. She had just tasted her first cup. ma'am. eh?' 'Nothing. 'Oh. 'Dear me!' exclaimed the matron. That's the way with these people. The day afore yesterday. has a quartern loaf and a good pound of cheese. and I may mention 150 .' said Mr. Mr. full weight. in a much sweeter tone. and yet them paupers are not contented. 'Shall I shut the door. We have given away. indeed. Bumble. and took it up afterwards. 'Hard weather. ma'am!' rejoined Mr. ma'am. for Mrs. Mr. with closed doors. 'see anything like the pitch it's got to. They always die when I'm at meals. this very blessed afternoon. the day after to-morrow. give 'em a apron full of coals to-day. indeed. bearing the cocked hat in one hand and a bundle in the other. as brazen as alabaster. if it's only a pocket handkerchief full. Corney. Mr. or the teapot. ma'am. when she was disturbed by a soft tap at the room-door.' said Mr. Bumble?' said the matron.'I shall never get another!' said Mrs. shut it without permission. Bumble. 'Some of the old women dying. and who now made his appearance. Bumble. sharply. 'I shall never get another-like him.

Mrs. except.' The matron looked. you won't. "you won't get anything else here. Bumble?' 'Well." "Then I'll die in the streets!" says the vagrant." says our overseer. turning up his coat-collar. That's the rule now.' said the matron. genuine port wine.' said the beadle. Bumble placed them both on top of a chest of drawers.' 'Ha! ha! That was very good! So like Mr. 'You'll have a very cold walk. Bumble. Mr. as if to go. Corney. properly managed. There's a obstinate pauper for you!' 'It beats anything I could have believed. 'these are official secrets. and shocked the company very much. Mr. bashfully inquired whether--whether he wouldn't take a cup of tea? 151 . our overseer sent him out a pound of potatoes and half a pint of oatmeal.it to you--a man. if you look at any cases that get into them owdacious newspapers.' observed the matron emphatically.' said the beadle. real. clear as a bell. "what's the use of THIS to me? You might as well give me a pair of iron spectacles!' "Very good. fresh. 'out-of-door relief. Bumble. smiling as men smile who are conscious of superior information. ma'am.' 'Dear me!' exclaimed Mrs. and then they get tired of coming. any way. all over the country. to the beadle. not to be spoken of. preparatory to bidding her good-night. and shaken it well to test its excellence. Grannett. with hardly a rag upon his back (here Mrs. But. Mr. you'll always observe that sick families have been relieved with slices of cheese. taking 'em away again. and ought to know. and took up his hat." says our overseer. Corney. This is the port wine. and as the beadle coughed. from the little kettle. that is a good one. Corney looked at the floor). The great principle of out-of-door relief is. Corney. he must be relieved. 'Well. ma'am. and he DID die in the streets. Corney. put it carefully in his pocket.' returned Mr. ma'am: is the porochial safeguard. wasn't it?' interposed the matron. to give the paupers exactly what they don't want. "Oh no. Bumble? You're a gentleman of experience. Betwixt you and me.' rejoined the beadle. Mrs. however. 'that's the great principle.' replied Mr. and says. only out of the cask this forenoon. Mr. that the board ordered for the infirmary. goes to our overseer's door when he has got company coming to dinner. who was moving towards the door. Come. ma'am. such as ourselves. ma'am. among the porochial officers. "My heart!" says the ungrateful villain. 'It blows. stopping to unpack his bundle. 'Well. ma'am. and that's the reason why. as I may say.' 'Mrs. folded the handkerchief in which they had been wrapped. 'he went away. 'But don't you think out-of-door relief a very bad thing. and no sediment!' Having held the first bottle up to the light. too!' 'Yes. Bumble. 'enough to cut one's ears off. As he wouldn't go away.

he looked at the lady. 'You have a cat. and NOT be fond of its home. squeezed Mrs. as she held out her hand for the beadle's cup. by fetching a deep sigh. The tea was made. ma'am. Mr. ma'am. Bumble instantaneously turned back his collar again. 'so fond of their home too. Corney as he said this. and drew another chair up to the table. said Mr. must be a ass. and if ever a beadle looked tender. and marking the time with his teaspoon. was basking before the fire. 'and kittens too. Bumble. Bumble. I see. Bumble. slowly flourishing the teaspoon with a kind of amorous dignity which made him doubly impressive. laid his hat and stick upon a chair.' 'Mrs. varying these amusements.you can't think. Bumble!' remonstrated Mrs. yes!' rejoined the matron with enthusiasm. occasionally. 'They're SO happy. 'I would drown it myself. As she sat down. Corney.Mr. she coloured. but. slowly. had no injurious effect upon his appetite. Bumble was that beadle at that moment. ma'am.' said the matron vivaciously. ma'am?' said Mr. Bumble coughed--louder this time than he had coughed yet. and slightly smiled. that it's quite a pleasure. As he slowly seated himself. I declare!' 'I am so fond of them. Bumble coughed again. that any cat. however. and SO cheerful. Mr. Mr. 'Sweet? Mr. and applied herself to the task of making his tea. ma'am. taking up the sugar-basin. or kitten. 'It's of no use disguising facts. ma'am.' 'Then you're a cruel man.' 'Oh. Bumble. rather seemed to facilitate his operations in the tea and toast department. and 152 . Corney's little finger as she took it. Again Mr. SO frolicsome. Bumble. in the centre of her family. approvingly. 'and a very hard-hearted man besides. her eyes once again encountered those of the gallant beadle. Bumble. Bumble?' inquired the matron. Bumble.' replied the matron. that they are quite companions for me. 'Hard?' Mr. Corney. Bumble resigned his cup without another word. and handed in silence.' 'Hard-hearted.' 'Oh. indeed.' said Mr.' said Mr. He fixed his eyes on Mrs. 'so very domestic. ma'am. Bumble. that could live with you.' replied Mr. ma'am. having spread a handkerchief over his knees to prevent the crumbs from sullying the splendour of his shorts. I'm sure. Corney rose to get another cup and saucer from the closet. Mr.' replied Mr. glancing at one who. 'Very sweet. She fixed her eyes upon the little teapot. Mrs.' 'Very nice animals. which. began to eat and drink. ma'am. Mr. on the contrary. with pleasure. 'I mean to say this.

in receding from the fire. It was a round table. soon began to diminish the distance between himself and the matron. the two chairs touched. in time. Bumble's arms.inflicting two open-handed slaps upon his laced waistcoat. with no great space between them. to give utterance to certain soft nothings. Bumble stopped. and as Mrs. Bumble. I shall scream!' Mr. and still keeping at the table. members of parliament. but in a slow and dignified manner. Whatever were Mr. 'Mr. lord mayors. some prudent readers will doubtless be disposed to admire. and other great public functionaries. she must have fallen into Mr. Corney?' said Mr. stirring his tea. As the lady had stated her intention of screaming. finished a piece of toast. and opportunity. put his arm round the matron's waist. which however well they may become the lips of the light and thoughtless. but that the exertion was rendered unnecessary by a hasty knocking at the door: which was no sooner heard. Mr. and looking up into the matron's face. continuing to travel round the outer edge of the circle. Indeed. so (being a discreet matron. 'what a very curious question from a single man. and handed Mr. however (and no doubt they were of the best): it unfortunately happened. and if to the left. Bumble. and when they did so. and. Mrs. Bumble another cup of tea. consequently Mr. but more particularly beneath the stateliness and gravity of a beadle: who (as is well known) should be the sternest and most inflexible among them all. which proceeding. and hitched his chair a very little morsel farther from the fire. Bumble. Bumble. and deliberately kissed the matron. whisked the crumbs off his knees. close to that in which the matron was seated. gave a mighty sigh. 'are YOU hard-hearted. and fronting the fire. than 153 . of course she would have screamed at this additional boldness. wiped his lips. Bumble!' cried that discreet lady in a whisper. do seem immeasurably beneath the dignity of judges of the land. Bumble's part: he being in some sort tempted by time. 'Mr. brought his chair. that the table was a round one. ministers of state. Bumble had been sitting opposite each other. Mr. Bumble?' The beadle drank his tea to the last drop. Corney. Now. increased the distance between himself and Mrs. that she had quite lost her voice. place. she would have been scorched by the fire. What can you want to know for. and no doubt foreseeing these consequences at a glance) she remained where she was. Mrs. 'Hard-hearted. Bumble's intentions. if the matron had moved her chair to the right. Corney and Mr. moving his chair by little and little. for the fright was so great. Corney?' 'Dear me!' exclaimed the matron. Bumble made no reply. and to consider an act of great heroism on Mr. it will be seen that Mr. as has been twice before remarked.

and danced with much gravity four distinct times round the table. Bumble darted. and I know when death's a-coming. 154 . and. muffling herself in a thick shawl which she hastily caught up. and not be all night hobbling up the stairs. and.--and that's not often. Having gone through this very extraordinary performance. put on his cocked hat corner-wise. I've seen a many people die. 'I can't keep her alive. lest anything particular should occur. Corney muttered a variety of invectives against old women who couldn't even die without purposely annoying their betters. mistress. briefly requested Mr. what's that to me?' angrily demanded the matron. mistress.Mr. was rather inexplicable. 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. that her voice had quite recovered all its official asperity. spreading himself before the fire with his back towards it. with much agility. 'nobody can.--she says she has got something to tell. closely inspected a silver milk-pot to ascertain that it was of the genuine metal.' said a withered old female pauper. 'If you please. scolding all the way. having satisfied his curiosity on these points. which you must hear. He opened the closet. Bumble's conduct on being left to himself. Bidding the messenger walk fast. seemed to be mentally engaged in taking an exact inventory of the furniture. the worthy Mrs. well enough. It is worthy of remark.' replied the old woman. and. Bumble to stay till she came back. Mr. counted the teaspoons. no. to the wine bottles. hideously ugly: putting her head in at the door. weighed the sugar-tongs. mistress. She'll never die quiet till you come. for she is dying very hard. can I?' 'No. she followed her from the room with a very ill grace. But she's troubled in her mind: and when the fits are not on her. 'Old Sally is a-going fast. and began dusting them with great violence: while the matron sharply demanded who was there.' 'Well. he took off the cocked hat again.' At this intelligence. little babes and great strong men.

' replied the mistress. 'Cold night. AND MAY BE FOUND OF IMPORTANCE IN THIS HISTORY It was no unfit messanger of death. being at length compelled to pause for breath. sir?' asked the matron. Mrs. and have lost their hold for ever. as if he had previously quite forgotten the patient. BUT IS A SHORT ONE. 'The least they could do. and remained behind to follow as she might: while the more nimble superior made her way to the room where the sick woman lay. and settle into the very look of early life. breaking a lump on the top of the fire with the rusty poker. distorted into a mumbling leer.' The conversation was here interrupted by a moan from the sick woman. she gave the light into her hand. making a toothpick out of a quill.' returned the matron. sir. to subside into the long-forgotten expression of sleeping infancy. with a dim light burning at the farther end. resembled more the grotesque shaping of some wild pencil. turning his face towards the bed. 'it's all U. muttering some indistinct answers to the chidings of her companion. and hungerings. and see the Angel even upon earth. It was a bare garret-room. 'You should get better coals out of your contractors. and sorrows. 'Very cold. there. Alas! How few of Nature's faces are left alone to gladden us with their beauty! The cares. so peaceful. 'these are not at all the sort of thing for a cold night.' 'It is. change them as they change hearts. even in that fixed and rigid state. of the world.' 'They're the board's choosing. kneel by the coffin's side in awe. There was another old woman watching by the bed. 'Oh!' said the young mag. It is a common thing for the countenances of the dead.' said the apothecary's deputy. that the troubled clouds pass off. and it is only when those passions sleep. 155 . is it. that those who knew them in their happy childhood.' said this young gentleman. and leave Heaven's surface clear. sir. than the work of Nature's hand. and dropping a curtsey as she spoke. in her most civil tones. Corney. and up the stairs. would be to keep us pretty warm: for our places are hard enough. the parish apothecary's apprentice was standing by the fire. indeed. as the matron entered. do they grow again.P. so calm. The old crone tottered alone the passages. Mrs. her limbs trembled with palsy. her face.CHAPTER XXIV TREATS ON A VERY POOR SUBJECT. who had disturbed the quiet of the matron's room. Her body was bent by age. Corney.

'I mind the time. 'Put the light on the floor. to ascertain. Corney joy of her job. and chuckled heartily. to intimate that the woman would not die so easily. 'Then perhaps she'll go off in that way. they began to converse in a low voice.' The attendant did as she was told: shaking her head meanwhile. to ascertain that they were not overheard.' said the young man. and sat at the foot of the bed. and made their ugliness appear terrible. intent upon the toothpick's point. She won't see it there. no. 'I tried to get it down. held out their withered hands to catch the heat. she resumed her seat by the side of the other nurse. 'Not a word. although I am on parish allowance. he wished Mrs. who had by this time returned. 'she had a merry heart. The apothecary's apprentice. wrapped herself in her shawl. 'when she would have done the same.' rejoined the other. planted himself in front of the fire and made good use of it for ten minutes or so: when apparently growing rather dull. old lady?' The attendant stooped over the bed. 'But her teeth were tight set. When they had sat in silence for some time. while I was gone?' inquired the messenger. in this position.' said the apothecary's apprentice. The flame threw a ghastly light on their shrivelled faces. Is she dozing. 156 . 'Did she say any more. Anny dear. and nodded in the affirmative.' said the first speaker. She hasn't much strength in her.' 'Ay. with an expression of impatience. So I drank it. and took himself off on tiptoe. having completed the manufacture of the toothpick. and crouching over the fire. that she would. and made rare fun of it afterwards. if you don't make a row.' rejoined the other. 'It's a break-up of the system altogether. the two old women rose from the bed.' replied the other. 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. I shall be surprised. so I easily kept her quiet. 'She plucked and tore at her arms for a little time. the two hags cowered nearer to the fire.'If she lasts a couple of hours. as. and she clenched the mug so hard that it was as much as I could do to get it back again. but I held her hands. The mistress. having done so. and it did me good!' Looking cautiously round. and she soon dropped off.

that won't be for long!' 'Long or short. and forcing her into a chair by the bedside. scores of times. I warrant you!' She was bouncing away. 'make haste! make haste!' The two old crones. the old creature shook them exultingly before her face.' answered the first woman. snappishly. you impudent old harridans. and fumbling in her pocket. It's no part of my duty to see all the old women in the house die. caused her to look round.' Stretching forth her trembling fingers as she spoke. take care. If you make a fool of me again. for I have helped her. 'We have none of us long to wait for Death. as nice and neat as waxwork. the matron.' said the matron. and were uttering sundry protestations that they would never leave her. drowsily. when a cry from the two women. stooping over her. 'Who's that?' she cried. and those old hands touched them too. looking up into her face. in a hollow voice. and I won't--that's more.' She clutched the matron by the arm.' replied the second woman. beautiful corpses she laid out. joined them by the fire. While they were thus employed. mistress. 'I WILL tell her! Come here! Nearer! Let me whisper in your ear. she'll never wake again but once--and mind. who had turned towards the bed. when the 157 .' added the second one. mistress. has she been in this way before?' 'Often. 'Turn them away. 'But will never be again. began pouring out many piteous lamentations that the poor dear was too far gone to know her best friends. tell me. patience! He'll be here soon enough for us all. and a few more into her own. Mind that. Martha.' said the woman. 'You.' 'Hold your tongue. I'll soon cure you. The patient had raised herself upright. from which she shook a few grains into the outstretched palm of her companion. 'Lie down. and sharply asked how long she was to wait? 'Not long. 'Hush. struggling. brought out an old timediscoloured tin snuff-box. you doting idiot!' said the matron sternly. many. lie down!' 'I'll never lie down again alive!' said the woman. chiming in together. My old eyes have seen them--ay. she caught sight of the two old women bending forward in the attitude of eager listeners. who had been impatiently watching until the dying woman should awaken from her stupor. Patience. and was stretching her arms towards them. 'she won't find me here when she does wake. 'that is.A many. was about to speak. hush!' said one of the women. both of you. how you worry me again for nothing. when looking round.

' murmured the sick woman. I have not told you all. as they came more faintly from the dying woman. was not unlikely.' replied the woman with a groan. as if making a great effort to revive one latent spark of energy. 'and trusted me as the only woman about her. and the child's death.superior pushed them from the room. the old ladies changed their tone. with a gesture as if she would call for help. It was gold. or it may be too late!' 158 . she was labouring under the effects of a final taste of gin-and-water which had been privily administered. go on--yest--what of it? Who was the mother? When was it?' 'She charge me to keep it safe. and had it in her bosom. Poor girl! poor girl! She was so young. in addition to a moderate dose of opium prescribed by the apothecary. 'IT!' replied the woman. She wanted clothes to keep her warm. rambling on. and all soiled with dust and blood. indeed. which. for God's sake?' cried the matron. On being excluded. bending eagerly over the woman as she fell back. 'In this very room--in this very bed--I once nursed a pretty young creetur'. I tell you! Rich gold. when I stole it!' 'Stole what. 'Be quick. closed the door. and food to eat.' said the impatient auditor. and her eyes starting from her head--'I robbed her. and not heeding the question. by the worthy old ladies themselves. 'The only thing she had. 'Now listen to me. and cried through the keyhole that old Sally was drunk. 'Speak!' 'The boy grew so like his mother. no. Let me think--what was the year again!' 'Never mind the year. 'that I could never forget it when I saw his face.' said the dying woman aloud. that might have saved her life!' 'Gold!' echoed the matron. and returned to the bedside. 'what about her?--what about--I know!' she cried.' said the woman. relapsing into her former drowsy state. that was brought into the house with her feet cut and bruised with walking. if they had known it all!' 'Known what?' asked the other.' replied the matron. perhaps. and died. in the openness of their hearts. 'Go on. but she had kept it safe. there's more to tell. so I did! She wasn't cold--I tell you she wasn't cold. I stole it in my heart when she first showed it me hanging round her neck. too! Such a gentle lamb! Wait. She gave birth to a boy. 'what about her?' 'Ay. laying her hand over the other's mouth. is on me besides! They would have treated him better. jumping fiercely up: her face flushed. have I?' 'No. since. inclining her head to catch the words.

' said the woman. whispered in my ear that if her baby was born alive. 'the mother. raise up some friends for it in this troubled world. "And oh.'The mother. 159 . into a sitting posture. 'The gold I stole was--' 'Yes. clutching the coverlid with both hands. 'And nothing to tell.' replied the woman. after all. yes--what?' cried the other. hurrying in as soon as the door was opened. to all appearance. the day might come when it would not feel so much disgraced to hear its poor young mother named. hovering about the body. when the pains of death first came upon her. slowly and stiffly. were left alone.' rejoined the matron. The two crones. making a more violent effort than before. kind Heaven!" she said. and thrived. She was bending eagerly over the woman to hear her reply. as she once again rose. folding her thin hands together. 'They CALLED him Oliver. muttered some indistinct sounds in her throat. ******* 'Stone dead!' said one of the old women. then. and take pity upon a lonely desolate child. but drew back. feebly. too busily occupied in the preparations for their dreadful duties to make any reply. walking carelessly away. abandoned to its mercy!"' 'The boy's name?' demanded the matron. "whether it be boy or girl. and fell lifeless on the bed. instinctively.

the Artful. At a table behind him sat the Artful Dodger. acquired great additional interest from his close observance of the game. from time to time. and moreover indulged in many jests and irrelevant remarks. Chitling. fixed his eyes.' or to insert his head in a sack. Fagin sat in the old den--the same from which Oliver had been removed by the girl--brooding over a dull. more than once took occasion to reason gravely with his companion upon these improprieties. Chitling. Master Bates received in extremely good part. merely requesting his friend to be 'blowed. Chitling. peculiarly intelligent at all times. 'That's two doubles and the rub. Charley and I can't make nothing of 'em. FAGIN AND COMPANY While these things were passing in the country workhouse. and that the circumstance. it was observable that he more frequently applied himself to the gin-and-water. abstractedly. and protested that he had never seen such a jolly game in all his born days. that his consequent shout of laughter roused the Jew from his reverie. Master Bates was also attentive to the play. The countenance of the first-named gentleman. indeed. on the rusty bars. the Artful taking dummy against Master Bates and Mr. the Dodger wore his hat. delighted Charley Bates so much. but being of a more excitable nature than his accomplished friend. Mr. and his attentive perusal of Mr. excited considerable admiration in the mind of Mr. all of which remonstrances. He held a pair of bellows upon his knee. which stood ready filled with gin-and-water for the accommodation of the company. It being a cold night.' Either the master or the manner of this remark.' said Mr. all highly unbecoming a scientific rubber.CHAPTER XXV WHEREIN THIS HISTORY REVERTS TO MR. as he drew half-a-crown from his waistcoat-pocket. inasmuch as he laughed most uproariously at the end of every deal. and Mr. he bestowed a variety of earnest glances: wisely regulating his own play by the result of his observations upon his neighbour's cards. as occasion served. Jack. or replying with some other neatly-turned witticism of a similar kind. with a very long face. and with his arms folded on them. Chitling's hand. so far from angering Master Bates. upon which. which he only removed for a brief space when he deemed it necessary to apply for refreshment to a quart pot upon the table. smoky fire. appeared to afford him the highest amusement. the happy application of which. was often his custom within doors. 160 . and induced him to inquire what was the matter. Indeed. Even when we've good cards. 'I never see such a feller as you. It was remarkable that the latter gentleman and his partner invariably lost. and his chin resting on his thumbs. as. He also sustained a clay pipe between his teeth. presuming upon their close attachment. but he had fallen into deep thought. with which he had apparently been endeavouring to rouse it into more cheerful action. Chitling: all intent upon a game of whist. which was made very ruefully. you win everything. Master Charles Bates.

' 161 . that that isn't anything to anybody here. winking at Mr.' 'What I mean to say. with a grin. Fagin!' cried Charley. and have a telescope at each eye. my eye! here's a merry-gorounder! Tommy Chitling's in love! Oh. Fagin! what a spree!' Thoroughly overpowered with the notion of Mr. 'How precious dull you are. if you want to come over him.'Matter. my dear?' 'Not a bit of it.' 'No more of it for me. Tommy!' said the Dodger. and I went partners with him against the Artfull and dumb. which sufficiently demonstrated that he was at no loss to understand the reason. he proceeded to amuse himself by sketching a ground-plan of Newgate on the table with the piece of chalk which had served him in lieu of counters. Master Bates threw himself back in his chair with such violence. when he resumed his former position. 'Never mind him. and giving Master Bates a reproving tap with the nozzle of the bellows. Fagin. eh? Ha! ha! Is that it. 'Try 'em again. Tom. stopping short when there had been a long silence. 'is. Dawkins. maybe.' 'Ay. Tom. whistling. Dawkins received these handsome compliments with much philosophy. where (the accident abating nothing of his merriment) he lay at full length until his laugh was over. 'Betsy's a fine girl. at a shilling at a time. 'I wish you had watched the play. very red in the face. my dear?' replied the Jew. See how he's a-blushing! Oh. Chitling was about to reply. with a grin.' replied Mr. Chitling. and addressing Mr. Fagin?' 'How should I know. to win against the Dodger.' Mr.' 'Morning!' said Charley Bates. 'What do you think he's thinking of. 'you must put your boots on over-night. Chitling. Charley?' '_I_ should say. and a opera-glass between your shoulders. looking round as he plied the bellows. my dear. 'About his losses. ay!' said the Jew. Chitling. Fagin. 'you must get up very early in the morning. with peculiar shrillness.' said the Jew. for the first picture-card. and his pipe being by this time smoked out. Chitling being the victim of the tender passion. Fagin.' replied the Dodger. and offered to cut any gentleman in company. Tommy Chitling hasn't won a point. Nobody accepting the challenge. Stick up to her. 'What do YOU say. try 'em again.' replied Master Bates. that he lost his balance.' 'Ha! ha! my dear.' replied Mr. thank 'ee. stopping the subject of discourse as Mr. 'I've had enough. and pitched over upon the floor. or the little retirement in the country that he's just left. and began another laugh. That 'ere Dodger has such a run of luck that there's no standing again' him. meantime. 'that he was uncommon sweet upon Betsy. Stick up to her.' replied the Jew.

' replied the Jew. 'You wouldn't mind it again. that the abused Mr. Fagin?' demanded Tom. 'There.' replied the Jew. in opening his mouth to reply that he was never more serious in his life.' rejoined Tom. was unable to prevent the escape of such a violent roar. Fagin?' angrily pursued the poor half-witted dupe. 'No. Tom. didn't it. I don't know one of 'em that would do it besides you. mightn't I. my dear. if it hadn't been for her advice. I should like to know. 'But I didn't blab it. while Mr.' 'So I DO do as she bids me. my dear. pouring question upon question with great volubility. 'if Bet was all right?' 'I mean to say that I shouldn't. Chitling looked on in intense dismay. Charley. 162 . Fagin! And what's six weeks of it? It must come. looking round. my dear. A deal too stout. who. did I. Chitling. Fagin?' 'Ah. Don't mind him. Chitling.' replied the Jew. and you will make your fortune. But it turned out a good job for you.' 'I might have got clear off.' Catching up the light. now.'No more it is. Fagin?' The Jew. 'A word from me would have done it. what's to laugh at. eh. ducked to avoid it. where he stood panting for breath. don't mind him. to be sure. rushed across the room and aimed a blow at the offender. Tom. 'not a soul. appealed to Master Bates. Fagin?' 'To be sure it would. to be sure.' asked the Dodger. my dear. he crept softly upstairs. 'I shouldn't have been milled. perceiving that Mr. Ah! Who'll say as much as that. hastened to assure him that nobody was laughing. if I'd split upon her.' replied Mr. angrily. would you. and to prove the gravity of the company. without any preliminary ceremonies. no. 'Hark!' cried the Dodger at this moment. being skilful in evading pursuit. Chitling was considerably roused. and why not in the winter time when you don't want to go out a-walking so much. But. 'and if I was.' replied Tom. Do as she bids you. in that.' replied the Jew. some time or another. winking upon Charley and the Jew. and chose his time so well that it lighted on the chest of the merry old gentleman. not one of 'em. my dear!' 'Perhaps I was. wouldn't it. 'Charley will talk. my dear. and caused him to stagger to the wall. Fagin?' 'Nobody. the principal offender. Tom. 'I heard the tinkler. eh. eh.' replied the Jew. 'you were too stout-hearted for that. unfortunately. Betsy's a fine girl.

and made a gesture. and meditated for some seconds. unwashed. 'Yes. After a short pause. by Jove! But don't look at me in that way.' said the Jew. 'alone?' The Dodger nodded in the affirmative. in dumb show. shading the flame of the candle with his hand. he fixed his eyes on the Jew's face. At length he raised his head. drew a chair to the fire. so produce the sustainance. and followed by a man in a coarse smock-frock. so that I may know where to find it when I cut. I can't talk about business till I've eat and drank. and awaited his directions. The old man bit his yellow fingers. as if to leave the room. 'Pop that shawl away in my castor. All in good time. Faguey. 'Where is he?' he asked. Hush! Quiet. and feared to know the worst. bearing the light in his hand. gave Charley Bates a private intimation. and unshorn: the features of flash Toby Crackit. and whispered Fagin mysteriously. who. nodding to the Jew. not a bubble of blacking. There was no sound of their whereabout. 'See there. the Jew contented himself with patiently watching his 163 . his face working with agitation the while. 'What!' cried the Jew. while the party were in darkness. as if he dreaded something. winding it round his middle. when the Dodger descended the stairs. and placed his feet upon the hob. 'not a drop of Day and Martin since you know when. that he had better not be funny just then. Charley! Gently. that's the time of day! You'll be a fine young cracksman afore the old file now. Dodger. after casting a hurried glance round the room.The bell was rung again. and. scarce!' This brief direction to Charley Bates. with some impatience. 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. To judge from appearances. was softly and immediately obeyed. Toby was by no means in a hurry to open the conversation. and. The Dodger pointed to the floor above. the Dodger reappeared. man. 'bring him down. Faguey?' said this worthy. At first. 'How are you. pulled off a large wrapper which had concealed the lower portion of his face.' With these words he pulled up the smock-frock. upon the table. seating himself opposite the housebreaker. answering the mute inquiry. and his recent antagonist. Having performed this friendly office. and disclosed: all haggard. Tom! Scarce. pointing disconsolately to his top boots. waited his leisure.' he said. and.

then placing his feet against the low mantelpiece. '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. and left the youngster lying in a ditch. 'I know it. It was all of no use. but there was the same complacent repose upon his features that they always wore: and through dirt. 'Why. Damme! the whole country was awake.' The Jew stopped to hear no more. watched every morsel he put into his mouth. Then the Jew. Toby continued to eat with the utmost outward indifference. as if to gain from its expression some clue to the intelligence he brought. and he was cold. he closed the door. and whisker. stamping furiously on the ground.' said Toby. turning pale.' said Toby faintly. there still shone. meanwhile. We cut over the fields at the back. in an agony of impatience. Mr. He looked tired and worn. you don't mean to say--' began Toby. then. ordering the Dodger out. 164 . rushed from the room. pacing up and down the room. and beard. We stopped to take him between us. yes!' interposed the Jew. and scudded like the wind. and the dogs upon us. and to declare that the gin was excellent. Faguey.' said the housebreaker. 'how's Bill?' 'What!' screamed the Jew.' 'The boy!' 'Bill had him on his back. he quietly resumed. his head hung down. but uttering a loud yell. 'Yes. tearing a newspaper from his pocket and pointing to it. 'First and foremost. Faguey. and from the house. and each from the gallows! We parted company. They gave chase. and twining his hands in his hair. 'What more?' 'They fired and hit the boy. mixed a glass of spirits and water. 'Mean!' cried the Jew. every man for himself. the self-satisfied smirk of flash Toby Crackit. and composed himself for talking. with him between us--straight as the crow flies--through hedge and ditch. 'First and foremost. until he could eat no more. starting from his seat. that's all I know about him.countenance. Alive or dead. Crackit stopped to take a draught of spirits and water. unimpaired. in irrepressible excitement. so as to bring his boots to about the level of his eye. They were close upon our heels.' replied the Jew. but in vain. drawing up his chair.

Here he walked even faster than before. and who go as strangely as they come. nor did he linger until he had again turned into a court. for such of them as were on the look-out to buy or sell. and the shelves. when the sudden dashing past of a carriage: and a boisterous cry from the foot passengers. all the main streets. of all sizes and patterns. ARE DONE AND PERFORMED The old man had gained the street corner. when. opens. who had squeezed as much of his person into a child's chair as the chair would hold. familiarly. a narrow and dismal alley. and the rag-merchant.' replied the trader. the sight of you. 'but it soon cools down again.CHAPTER XXVI IN WHICH A MYSTERIOUS CHARACTER APPEARS UPON THE SCENE. stores of old iron and bones. upon the right hand as you come out of the City. Fagin. Lively. for here reside the traders who purchase them from pick-pockets. 'Why. don't you find it so?' 165 . the clothesman. and was smoking a pipe at his warehouse door. AND MANY THINGS. to address a salesman of small stature. He replied to their salutations in the same way. rust and rot in the grimy cellars. 'Well. He had relaxed nothing of his unusual speed. when he stopped. Near to the spot on which Snow Hill and Holborn Hill meet. but was still pressing onward. nodded. are piled with them. who traffic in dark backparlours. In its filthy shops are exposed for sale huge bunches of secondhand silk handkerchiefs. but bestowed no closer recognition until he reached the further end of the alley. and setting-in of dusk. 'The neighbourhood was a little too hot. and its fried-fish warehouse. Mr. its coffee-shop. I've heerd that complaint of it. It was into this place that the Jew turned. Avoiding. It is a commercial colony of itself: the emporium of petty larceny: visited at early morning. within. Hundreds of these handkerchiefs hang dangling from pegs outside the windows or flaunting from the door-posts. as much as was possible. elevating his eyebrows. as sign-boards to the petty thief. as he passed along. here. who saw his danger: drove him back upon the pavement. the shoe-vamper.' said Fagin. would cure the hoptalymy!' said this respectable trader. as if conscious that he was now in his proper element. He was well known to the sallow denizens of the lane. it has its barber. Here. once or twice before. by silent merchants. Confined as the limits of Field Lane are. he at length emerged on Snow Hill. leading to Saffron Hill. in acknowledgment of the Jew's inquiry after his health. and crossing his hands upon his shoulders. and seemed to breathe more freely. display their goods. and heaps of mildewy fragments of woollen-stuff and linen. before he began to recover the effect of Toby Crackit's intelligence. INSEPARABLE FROM THIS HISTORY. he fell into his usual shuffling pace. its beer-shop. and skulking only through the byways and alleys. in the same wild and disordered manner.

in the hope of catching sight of him. moreover. sat a chairman with a hammer of office in his hand. The ceiling was blackened.' replied the little man. Lively's presence. so Mr. calling after him. 'Are you going up to the Cripples. shaking his head. Fagin walked straight upstairs.' pursued the merchant. Pointing in the direction of Saffron Hill. looked anxiously about: shading his eyes with his hand. however. resumed his pipe with a grave demeanour.Fagin nodded in the affirmative. Fagin?' cried the little man. and. the spectator gradually became aware of the presence of a numerous company. 'At the Cripples?' inquired the man. to prevent its colour from being injured by the flaring of the lamps. he inquired whether any one was up yonder to-night. for a time. as the lawyers say. crowded round a long table: at the upper end of which. as some of it cleared away through the open door. from being visible outside. and looking amazingly sly. turning away. as the little man could not very easily disengage himself from the chair. with a disappointed countenance. I suppose?' inquired the Jew. again forced himself into the little chair. as confused as the noises that greeted the ear. 'Have you got anything in my line to-night?' 'Nothing to-night. the sign of the Cripples was. The Three Cripples. might be made out. bereft of the advantage of Mr. that at first it was scarcely possible to discern anything more. 'Let me see. By the time he had got upon his legs. I don't think your friend's there. or rather the Cripples.' 'Sikes is not. 'Stop! I don't mind if I have a drop there with you!' But as the Jew. as if in search of some particular person. looking back. the glare of which was prevented by the barred shutters. exchanging a shake of the head with a lady in the opposite shop. which was the sign by which the establishment was familiarly known to its patrons: was the public-house in which Mr. Sikes and his dog have already figured.' said the Jew. 'Non istwentus. 'Yes. The Jew nodded. By degrees. and as the eye grew more accustomed to the scene. and softly insinuating himself into the chamber. after ineffectually standing on tiptoe. Lively. reflecting. The room was illuminated by two gas-lights. waved his hand to intimate that he preferred being alone. the Jew had disappeared. Merely making a sign to a man at the bar. and opening the door of a room. and the place was so full of dense tobacco smoke. in which doubt and mistrust were plainly mingled. while a professional gentleman with a 166 . and. that I knows. an assemblage of heads. there's some half-dozen of 'em gone in. male and female. and closely-drawn curtains of faded red.

and said in a whisper. in turn.' replied the man. as he followed him out to the landing. 'What can I do for you. 'Is HE here?' 'No. every one of 'em. tendered by their more boisterous admirers. rough.bluish nose. at length. (the landlord of the house. 'He won't stir till it's all safe. else I should have 167 . had an eye for everything that was done. for it was he. by their very repulsiveness. occasioned a general cry of order for a song. as loud as he could. 'None. heavy built fellow. formed the darkest and saddest portion of this dreary picture. and presenting but one loathsome blank of profligacy and crime.) a coarse. between each of which the accompanyist played the melody all through. whose countenances. some mere girls. were there. Mr. to a dozen proffered glasses of spirits and water. in catching the eye of the man who occupied the chair. he beckoned to him slightly. looked eagerly from face to face while these proceedings were in progress. troubled by no grave emotions. rolled his eyes hither and thither. in their strongest aspect. and women: some with the last lingering tinge of their early freshness almost fading as you looked: others with every mark and stamp of their sex utterly beaten out. running over the keys by way of prelude. ferocity. with professional indifference. and none past the prime of life. There was the chairman himself. while the songs were proceeding. and an ear for everything that was said--and sharp ones. Succeeding. expressive of almost every vice in almost every grade. who. and applying themselves. When this was over. others but young women. but apparently without meeting that of which he was in search. the professional gentleman on the chairman's right and left volunteered a duet. Fagin?' inquired the man. He's all right enough. irresistibly attracted the attention. Depend on it. Near him were the singers: receiving. It was curious to observe some faces which stood out prominently from among the group. the professional gentleman. which having subsided. presided at a jingling piano in a remote corner. seeming to give himself up to joviality. and that if he moved. they're on the scent down there. Barney is. the compliments of the company. Fagin. as quietly as he had entered it. after which. and sang it. too. a young lady proceeded to entertain the company with a ballad in four verses. and. As Fagin stepped softly in.' replied the landlord of the Cripples. 'Won't you join us? They'll be delighted. 'And no news of Barney?' inquired Fagin. he'd blow upon the thing at once. and drunkeness in all its stages.' The Jew shook his head impatiently. with great applause. Cunning. and left the room. and his face tied up for the benefit of a toothache. the chairman gave a sentiment.

hastily. No. say tomorrow. hesitating. lying with her head upon the table. Let him alone for that. 'Yes. 'She has been drinking. cunning as you are. drawing a gold watch from his fob. I shall have it out of you.' said the Jew. to-morrow will be time enough.' She was in her room. and performed the short remainder of the distance. 'I say. and returned to his guests. my girl. he'll be--' 'No. 'Now. laying the same emphasis on the pronoun as before. he called a hack-cabriolet. do you mean?' inquired the landlord. descending the stairs. As he is not here. I'll pound it. he was nevertheless relieved by his absence. 'or perhaps she is only miserable. that Barney's managing properly.' 168 . Ha! ha! ha!' The landlord reciprocated the old man's laugh. Sikes's residence. and tell them to lead merry lives--WHILE THEY LAST. He dismissed him within some quarter of a mile of Mr. before we can afford to part with him. 'I expected him here before now. 'Monks. Fagin crept softly upstairs. that a boy might take him!' 'Ah! But it's not Phil Barker's time. The girl was alone.' said the Jew. The Jew was no sooner alone.' thought the Jew. 'Nothing more?' 'Not a word now.' 'Good!' said the man. as though. the woman said. cooly.' 'Will HE be here to-night?' asked the Jew.' said the Jew. 'Phil has something more to do. and speaking in a hoarse whisper. so go back to the company.heard of him. and that he must come to me to-night. and her hair straggling over it. 'Tell him I came here to see him. looking up. 'what a time this would be for a sell! I've got Phil Barker here: so drunk.' muttered the Jew. and entered it without any previous ceremony. If you'll wait ten minutes. 'Hush!' said the Jew. After a brief reflection.' said the other. no.' 'Certain. and bade the man drive towards Bethnal Green. looking over the rails. as he knocked at the door. my dear. than his countenance resumed its former expression of anxiety and thought.' replied the man. 'if there is any deep play here. however desirous he might be to see the person in question. on foot.

and the vexation of the night.' said the girl. 'And the boy. and seemed. scornfully. 'I shall be glad to have him away from my eyes. as if to assure himself that there were no appearances of Sikes having covertly returned. And do it the moment he sets foot in this room.The old man turned to close the door. doesn't it?' 'No!' rejoined the Jew. and rubbing his hands together. my dear?' The girl moaned out some half intelligible reply. and leaves the boy behind him. except now. I hope he lies dead in the ditch and that his young bones may rot there. shuffled her feet upon the ground. The sight of him turns me against myself. the Jew looked restlessly about the room. fails to restore him to me. as she inquired to his recital of Toby Crackit's story. 'Poor leetle child! Left in a ditch. as he made this reflection. Listen to me. to be crying. Apparently satisfied with his inspection. She eyed his crafty face narrowly.' said the Jew. 'And where should you think Bill was now. in amazement. 'is better where he is. Nance. She pushed the candle impatiently away. When it was concluded. but this was all. with a laugh. I do. than among us. 'I WILL change it! Listen to me. said. that she could not tell. in his most concilitory tone. and made as many efforts to open a conversation. exasperated beyond all bounds by his companion's unexpected obstinacy. you drab. from the smothered noise that escaped her. and once or twice as she feverishly changed her position. I can't bear to have him about me. suddenly looking up. if he gets off free. and all of you. too. and if no harm comes to Bill from it. or mind me. meeting his gaze. At length he made another attempt. only think!' 'The child. but spoke not a word. she sank into her former attitude. If he comes back. roused the girl. he coughed twice or thrice. straining his eyes to catch a glimpse of her face. 'It does not. the noise thus occasioned. can strangle Sikes as surely as if I had his bull's throat between my fingers now. and to know that the worst is over. 'Ay.' 'Am I?' cried the girl bitterly. who with six words. During the silence. it will be too late!' 169 . 'It's no fault of yours. and dead or alive. then!' responded the girl.' returned the girl. murder him yourself if you would have him escape Jack Ketch.--the humour doesn't suit you. if you had your will. if I am not! You'd never have me anything else. furiously.' 'What!' cried the Jew. 'Change it!' exclaimed the Jew. 'You're drunk. but the girl heeded him no more than if he had been made of stone.' 'Pooh!' said the Jew.' 'Change it.

and out of yours. if it's anything you want me to do. his clenched hands had grasped the air. and in that instant checked the torrent of his wrath. my dear?' said the Jew. dear!' croaked the Jew.' rejoined Nancy. and was withal so utterly unmoved by his searching looks. but. dear?' 'Don't worry me now. and out of harm's way. 'What is it?' pursued Fagin. in his usual voice. she answered them so readily. the old man stammered for a word.' 'And about what I was saying. 'The boy must take his chance with the rest. and has the power to. first into dullness. he ventured to look round at his companion. but now I'm stupid again. through the whims of a drunken gang that I could whistle away the lives of! And me bound.' interrupted Nancy. his eyes had dilated. too. on beholding her in the same listless attitude from which he had first roused her. he shrunk into a chair. and his face grown livid with passion. was confirmed. 'Did you mind me. 'Nancy. am I to lose what chance threw me in the way of getting safely. so no more about that. keeping his glistening eye steadily upon her. and changed his whole demeanour. raising her head languidly. in their tenderer years. trembled with the apprehension of having himself disclosed some hidden villainy. after indulging in the temporary display of violence above described. and a wholesale perfume of Geneva which pervaded the apartment. I hope he is dead. he will another. was not exempt from a failing which was very common among the Jew's female pupils. hastily. and will do many more when he can. 'Your must say it all over again.'What is all this?' cried the girl involuntarily. to-' Panting for breath. and when. for Bill's worth two of Toby any time. to a born devil that only wants the will. but now. He appeared somewhat reassured. Fagin!' replied the girl. Her disordered appearance. and.' 'Regarding this boy. He has done many a good job for you.' Fagin put several other questions: all with the same drift of ascertaining whether the girl had profited by his unguarded hints. indeed. if Bill comes to no harm. my dear?' observed the Jew. After a short silence. you had better wait till to-morrow. and when he can't he won't. cowering together. 'When the boy's worth hundreds of pounds to me. Bill's pretty sure to be safe. they were rather encouraged than checked. You put me up for a minute. And if Toby got clear off. rubbing the palms of his hands nervously together. 'and if it is. 'and I say again. she subsided. afforded stong confirmatory evidence of the justice of the Jew's supposition. A moment before. and in which. mad with rage. Nancy.--that is. 'If Bill has not done it this time. and afterwards into a compound of feelings: under the influence of which she 170 . that his original impression of her being more than a trifle in liquor.

with her head upon the table. 'I have been lingering here these two hours. he had no great temptation to loiter. He had reached the corner of his own street. when a dark figure emerged from a projecting entrance which lay in deep shadow. Having eased his mind by this discovery. as every fresh gust drove him rudely on his way. Fagin again turned his face homeward: leaving his young friend asleep.shed tears one minute. with his own eyes. with great satisfaction. and the wind blew through him. stopping short. before which they had by this time arrived: remarking. and was about to reply. I hope?' said the stranger. 'Ah!' said the Jew. It was within an hour of midnight.' 'Oh. 'Fagin!' whispered a voice close to his ear. The Jew shook his head. of course!' said the stranger. glancing uneasily at his companion. Fagin looked as if he could have willingly excused himself from taking home a visitor at that unseasonable hour. and slackening his pace as he spoke.' replied the Jew. for few people were abroad. 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. muttered something about having no fire. and what's come of it?' 'Nothing good. that he had better say what he had got to say. 'On your business all night. my dear.' said the Jew. and was already fumbling in his pocket for the door-key. heard. but his companion repeating his request in a peremptory 171 . and shivering. and of ascertaining. and. The sharp wind that scoured the streets. and piercing cold. and having accomplished his twofold object of imparting to the girl what he had. It blew from the right quarter for the Jew. and they were to all appearance hastening fast home. glided up to him unperceived. as of dust and mud. crossing the road. that she was very far gone indeed. 'is that--' 'Yes!' interrupted the stranger. with a sneer. that Sikes had not returned. interrupting him. Where the devil have you been?' 'On your business. and turning a startled look on his companion. Mr. and straight before it he went: trembling. who had had considerable experience of such matters in his time. Mr. and. indeed. seemed to have cleared them of passengers. motioned to the house. however. Fagin. turning quickly round. 'Well. saw. The weather being dark. when the stranger. under cover: for his blood was chilled with standing about so long. 'Nothing bad. that night.

Why not have kept him here among the rest. stooping down. if you had chosen?' demanded Monks. Look sharp with the light. which was destitute of all movables save a broken arm-chair. threw a feeble reflection on the opposite wall. shrugging his shoulders. 'I tell you again. he led the way into the apartment. and that the boys were in the front one. and an old couch or sofa without covering. the Jew. scores of times? If you had had patience for a twelvemonth. and requested him to close it softly. couldn't you have got him convicted. which stood behind the door.' said the Jew. he returned with a lighted candle. groping forward a few steps. and the candle outside. They might have been talking. my dear. and the intelligence that Toby Crackit was asleep in the back room below. it closed with a loud noise. while he got a light. 'We can say the few words we've got to say in here. and made a sneaking. and that the latter was in a state of considerable irritation. sternly. 'and as there are holes in the shutters. 'Why. There!' With those words. exactly opposite to the room door. and sent safely out of the kingdom. 'That wasn't my doing. or it shut of its own accord: one or the other. placed the candle on an upper flight of stairs. and we never show lights to our neighbours. feeling his way. After a short absence. we'll set the candle on the stairs. This done. Beckoning the man to follow him. snivelling pickpocket of him at once?' 'Only hear him!' exclaimed the Jew.' said the other man. he led the way upstairs. 'The wind blew it to.manner.' said the man. a listener might easily have perceived that Fagin appeared to be defending himself against some remarks of the stranger. As he spoke. with other boys. it was badly planned. Upon this piece of furniture. They conversed for some time in whispers.' whispered Fagin from the end of the passage. or I shall knock my brains out against something in this confounded hole. when Monks--by which name the Jew had designated the strange man several times in the course of their colloquy--said. 'It's as dark as the grave. the door was partially open. at most. throwing open a door on the first floor. 'Make haste!' 'Shut the door. do you mean to say you couldn't have done it. raising his voice a little. Though nothing of the conversation was distinguishable beyond a few disjointed words here and there. the stranger sat himself with the air of a weary man. they sat face to face. for a quarter of an hour or more.' Fagin stealthily descended the kitchen stairs. 'Haven't you done it. he unlocked the door. It was not quite dark. thus. perhaps for life?' 172 . and the Jew. drawing up the arm-chair opposite.

If they shot him dead. and clasping the Jew's arm with trembling hands. no!' muttered the man. I might be glad to have it done. and so led to the discovery that it was him you were looking for. 'Why. my dear!' renewed the Jew. my dear.' 'Curse him. smiling. no. with both arms. and then SHE begins to favour him.' said the Jew. one of these days. is it. I was not the cause. If he is alive. 'or he would have been a thief. mind. well. we can't afford to do that just now. if it had never happened. grasping the coward round the body. Well! I got him back for you by means of the girl. I trembled for us all. You want him made a thief. When there are two parties to a bargain. submissively. long ago. impatiently. it is only reasonable that the interests of both should be consulted. it's always found out.' 'Throttle the girl!' said Monks. and.' replied the Jew. I won't shed blood. at first. and he is dead--' 'It's no fault of mine if he is!' interposed the other man. 'He might have become of use to me.--but if the worst comes to the worst.' 'THAT was not my doing.' pursued the Jew. I had nothing to frighten him with. if--if--' said the Jew. drawing nearer to the other.' 'I had no hold upon him to make him worse.'Whose turn would that have served. 'he was not like other boys in the same circumstances. 'Mind that. 'His hand was not in. 'and. As soon as the boy begins to harden. as he sprung to his feet. Anything but his death. 'I saw it was not easy to train him to the business. because. 'But not mine. What could I do? Send him out with the Dodger and Charley? We had enough of that. or. my good friend?' 'What then?' demanded Monks. you might never have clapped eyes on the boy to notice him. Monks.--'it's not likely. 'No. besides. I told you from the first. anxiously watching the countenance of his companion. do you hear me? Fire this infernal den! What's that?' 'What!' cried the Jew. 'Mine.' replied Monks. I can make him one from this time. than for a block of wood. my dear?' inquired the Jew humbly. that sort of thing is not in our way. Fagin! I had no hand in it. or we labour in vain. 'Where?' 173 . I know what these girls are. my dear. and haunts a man besides. with a look of terror. 'And I don't quarrel with it now. she'll care no more for him.' observed Monks. which we always must have in the beginning.' replied the Jew.

wasted by the draught. in a cloak and bonnet. and. the Jew drew forth two keys from his pocket. and explained. His protestations had gradually become less and less vehement as they proceeded in their search without making any discovery. he gave vent to several very grim laughs. 'I'll swear I saw it!' replied Monks. they were cold. and when I spoke. This accumulated testimony effectually staggered Mr. he had locked them in. 'Besides ourselves. for that night: suddenly remembering that it was past one o'clock. and empty. bare. trembling. there's not a creature in the house except Toby and the boys. The candle. See here!' As a proof of the fact. 'It's your fancy. They listened intently: a profound silence reigned throughout the house. They looked into all the rooms.' said the Jew. however. and they rushed tumultuously from the room. He declined any renewal of the conversation. pass along the wainscot like a breath!' The Jew released his hold. ascended the stairs. Monks.'Yonder! replied the man. telling him he could follow. the tracks of the snail and slug glistened in the light of the candle. 'The shadow! I saw the shadow of a woman. 'It was bending forward when I saw it first. and confessed it could only have been his excited imagination. and thence into the cellars below. 174 . now. glaring at the opposite wall. 'What do you think now?' said the Jew. it darted away. but all was still as death. that when he first went downstairs. They descended into the passage. to prevent any intrusion on the conference. The green damp hung upon the low walls. And so the amiable couple parted. when they had regained the passage. was standing where it had been placed. if he pleased. taking up the light and turning to his companion.' The Jew glanced contemptuously at the pale face of his associate. and. and their own white faces. It showed them only the empty staircase. and they're safe enough.

Her disordered appearance. can mere companies' beadles. 'and if it is. and out of yours. indeed. and (by consequence) great virtues.' 'And about what I was saying. and elucidative of the position. they were rather encouraged than checked. if Bill comes to no harm. Nancy. which. imperatively claim at his hands. and a wholesale 175 . and in which. and as it would still less become his station. and attending in his official capacity the parochial church: is. and that to none of those excellences. and they in a very lowly and inferior degree). in their tenderer years. lay the remotest sustainable claim. a parochial beadle. and out of harm's way. seemly in a humble author to keep so mighty a personage as a beadle waiting. or even chapel-of-ease beadles (save the last. if it's anything you want me to do. and to treat them with all that duteous ceremony which their exalted rank. on the arrival of which. a dissertation touching the divine right of beadles. was not exempt from a failing which was very common among the Jew's female pupils. to postpone to some more convenient and fitting opportunity. 'and I say again. that his original impression of her being more than a trifle in liquor. Bill's pretty sure to be safe. You put me up for a minute. and was withal so utterly unmoved by his searching looks. or his gallentry to involve in the same neglect a lady on whom that beadle had looked with an eye of tenderness and affection. 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. my dear?' observed the Jew. but now I'm stupid again. coming from such a quarter. for Bill's worth two of Toby any time. and the skirts of his coat gathered up under his arms. 'Your must say it all over again. And if Toby got clear off. the historian whose pen traces these words-trusting that he knows his place. by want of time and space.' rejoined Nancy. by no means. Towards this end. until such time as it might suit his pleasure to relieve him. with his back to the fire. but. in right and virtue of his office. indeed. WHICH DESERTED A LADY. was confirmed.CHAPTER XXVII ATONES FOR THE UNPOLITENESS OF A FORMER CHAPTER. hastily. I hope he is dead.' interrupted Nancy. she answered them so readily. might well thrill the bosom of maid or matron of whatsoever degree.--that is. and in whose ear he had whispered sweet words. keeping his glistening eye steadily upon her. he had purposed to introduce. 'The boy must take his chance with the rest. in this place. MOST UNCEREMONIOUSLY As it would be. possessed of all the excellences and best qualities of humanity. he will be prepared to show. or court-of-law beadles. and that he entertains a becoming reverence for those upon earth to whom high and important authority is delegated-hastens to pay them that respect which their position demands. you had better wait till to-morrow. that a beadle properly constituted: that is to say.' Fagin put several other questions: all with the same drift of ascertaining whether the girl had profited by his unguarded hints. attached to a parochail workhouse.

with his own eyes. Having eased his mind by this discovery. when a dark figure emerged from a projecting entrance which lay in deep shadow. glancing uneasily at his companion. that she was very far gone indeed. afforded stong confirmatory evidence of the justice of the Jew's supposition. 'Well. Fagin. The weather being dark. he had no great temptation to loiter. and afterwards into a compound of feelings: under the influence of which she shed tears one minute. with a sneer. and when. and shivering. turning quickly round. saw. and they were to all appearance hastening fast home. It was within an hour of midnight. for few people were abroad. that he had better say what he had got to say. Fagin again turned his face homeward: leaving his young friend asleep. and was already fumbling in his pocket for the door-key. 176 . 'Fagin!' whispered a voice close to his ear. with great satisfaction.' replied the Jew. with her head upon the table. however. my dear. 'Ah!' said the Jew. under cover: for his blood was chilled with standing about so long. that night. after indulging in the temporary display of violence above described.' said the Jew. interrupting him. she subsided. of course!' said the stranger. and. and was about to reply. Mr. glided up to him unperceived. as of dust and mud. first into dullness. when the stranger. He had reached the corner of his own street. and of ascertaining. 'I have been lingering here these two hours. 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. and the wind blew through him. before which they had by this time arrived: remarking.' 'Oh. motioned to the house. crossing the road. and slackening his pace as he spoke. and what's come of it?' 'Nothing good. Mr.perfume of Geneva which pervaded the apartment. 'On your business all night. The sharp wind that scoured the streets. The Jew shook his head. It blew from the right quarter for the Jew. and straight before it he went: trembling. and having accomplished his twofold object of imparting to the girl what he had. seemed to have cleared them of passengers. Where the devil have you been?' 'On your business. and piercing cold. that Sikes had not returned. heard. 'is that--' 'Yes!' interrupted the stranger. 'Nothing bad. stopping short. I hope?' said the stranger. who had had considerable experience of such matters in his time. as every fresh gust drove him rudely on his way. and turning a startled look on his companion.

' 'It would be too much for one. turned her head away. and requested him to close it softly. Mrs. rapturously. where it had previously rested.' said Mr. 'I can't help it. 177 . the beadle drooped his. Nothing was said on either side. Bumble had illustrated the position by removing his left arm from the back of Mrs. Corney. don't they. Corney. in soft accents. 'We are all weak creeturs. 'So we are. and that gentleman in his agitation.' said the beadle. Bumble's arms. Corney's face. She sank into Mr.' replied Mrs. 'Don't sigh.' said Mr. to Mrs. 'Oh. 'You know that Mr. Corney?' inquired the beadle. he unlocked the door. would be a complete thing. for a minute or two afterwards. Corney.Fagin looked as if he could have willingly excused himself from taking home a visitor at that unseasonable hour.' murmured the lady. indeed. Mrs. Bumble looking round. Bumble. Corney's aprong-string. Bumble.' said Mr. and. but his companion repeating his request in a peremptory manner. Corney. 'Eh. Corney drooped her head. slightly returning the pressure. ma'am. Mrs. muttered something about having no fire. Bumble. imprinted a passionate kiss upon her chaste nose. 'But not for two. 'The board allows you coals. 'Another room. Mr. and released her hand to get at her pocket-handkerchief. Bumble. ma'am. when the beadle said this. Bumble. 'And candles. And she sighed again. 'Coals. and this. Corney. ma'am. my fascinator?' 'Yes. Mrs. but insensibly replaced it in that of Mr. what an Angel you are!' The lady was not proof against this burst of feeling. 'This is a very comfortable room.' said Mr. and house-rent free. By the expiration of that time. while he got a light. affectionately pressing her hand. Bumble. Mrs. round which is gradually became entwined. with great propriety. candles. to get a view of Mrs. Corney's chair.' replied Mrs. bashfully. Corney.' rejoined Mr. Corney?' Mrs. 'Such porochial perfection!' exclaimed Mr. Corney sighed.' said Mrs. Mrs. Slout is worse to-night.

' said that gentleman. Bumble's neck. the doctor says. porochial or extra-porochial. Corney twice essayed to speak: and twice failed. Oh. little word. Bumble with the old woman's decease. Mrs. she acquainted Mr. 'He is the master of this establishment. Bumble. dear. as would presume to do it. 'It wasn't any impudence from any of them male paupers as--' 'No. At length summoning up courage. that wacancy must be filled up. she threw her arms around Mr. Bumble. 'one of these days. dear. Corney.' pursued the beadle. After we're married.' Matters being thus amicably and satisfactorily arranged.?' 'Not now.' pursued Mr.' rejoined the lady. 'Won't you tell your own B. Bumble. Was it that as frightened you. his death will cause a wacancy. which was rendered the more necessary. 'Let me see any man. 'if I thought as any one of 'em had dared to lift his wulgar eyes to that lovely countenance--' 'They wouldn't have dared to do it. clenching his fist. 'They had better not!' said Mr. 'compose your darling feelings for only one more. my blessed Corney?' 'Ye--ye--yes!' sighed out the matron. Bumble. When is it to come off?' Mrs.' 'After we're married!' exclaimed Mr. the contract was solemnly ratified in another teacupful of the peppermint mixture.'He can't live a week.' urged Mr. no. and said. it might be as soon as ever he pleased. little. Corney sobbed. and I can tell him that he wouldn't do it a second time!' 178 . 'The little word?' said Mr. by the flutter and agitation of the lady's spirits. what a prospect this opens! What a opportunity for a jining of hearts and housekeepings!' Mrs. bending over the bashful beauty. 'Very good. 'The one little.' said the lady evasively. sipping his peppermint. love!' interposed the lady. love. love.' continued Mr. 'It must have been something. 'One more. Bumble. hastily. love?' 'It wasn't anything particular. 'I'll call at Sowerberry's as I go home. and tell him to send to-morrow morning.' responded the lady. 'If I thought it was. and that he was 'a irresistible duck. While it was being disposed of. Bumble.

to abuse them a little.' 'What a delicious thing is a oyster!' remarked Mr. Mr. and when he saw what was going forward. only this one. Bumble left the building with a light heart. the table was covered with bread and butter. Mr. for which nothing but a strong appreciation of their cooling properties. 'So it is. having exchanged a long and affectionate embrace with his future partner. with his legs thrown over one of the arms: an open clasp-knife in one hand. Assured of his qualifications. 'Here's a delicious fat one. 'An't yer fond of oysters?' 'Not overmuch. these symptoms were confirmed by the intense relish with which he took his oysters. and a kind of fixed wink in his right eye. although it was past the usual hour of shutting-up. Mr. dear!' said Charlotte. Claypole. and protested. that he was indeed a dove. 'try him. a porter-pot and a wine-bottle. but. she was much touched with this proof of his devotion.' acquiesced Mr. Charlotte?' 'It's quite a cruelty. and a mass of buttered bread in the other. Mr. a number of 'em should ever make you feel uncomfortable. with the view of satisfying himself that he could fill the office of workhouse-master with needful acerbity. once again braved the cold wind of the night: merely pausing. Claypole. for a few minutes. Sowerberry having gone out to tea and supper: and Noah Claypole not being at any time disposed to take upon himself a greater amount of physical exertion than is necessary to a convenient performance of the two functions of eating and drinking. A more than ordinary redness in the region of the young gentleman's nose. with great admiration. he was not a little surprised. Noah dear. At the upper end of the table. 'What a pity it is. Bumble tapped with his cane on the counter several times. Now. Bumble accompanied the threat with many warlike gestures.' 179 . and put on his cocked hat. and.Unembellished by any violence of gesticulation.' said Charlotte. and beholding a light shining through the glass-window of the little parlour at the back of the shop. as Mr. and Mrs. could have sufficiently accounted. the shop was not closed. in the male paupers' ward. better than eating 'em myself. opening oysters from a barrel: which Mr. but. denoted that he was in a slight degree intoxicated. with remarkable avidity. isn't it. do. Close beside him stood Charlotte. 'I like to see you eat 'em. he made bold to peep in and see what was going forward.' replied Charlotte. this might have seemed no very high compliment to the lady's charms. attracting no attention. after he had swallowed it. and bright visions of his future promotion: which served to occupy his mind until he reached the shop of the undertaker. in cases of internal fever. Claypole condescended to swallow. The cloth was laid for supper. plates and glasses. Noah. Noah Claypole lolled negligently in an easy-chair. The dove then turned up his coat-collar.

and have made all necessary preparations for the old woman's funeral.' 'Oh. Noah.' said Noah. And now that we have accompanied him so far on his road home. Bumble. please. without making any further change in his position than suffering his legs to reach the ground. 180 . 'Say that again. whether I like it. in strong indignation. and hid her face in her apron. 'How dare you mention such a thing. bursting into the room. Charlotte. Bumble. Bumble. this country's ruined. yer know yer are!' retorted Noah. sir? And how dare you encourage him. owdacious fellow!' said Mr. you insolent minx? Kiss her!' exclaimed Mr. 'Faugh!' 'I didn't mean to do it!' said Noah. she chucks me under the chin. sir. sir. the beadle strode. say another word till your master comes home. 'Yer are.'Lor!' said Noah. Come here. Mr. and makes all manner of love!' 'Silence!' cried Mr. Bumble. Mr. Bumble said he was to send a old woman's shell after breakfast to-morrow morning. and I'll kiss yer. Bumble. Claypole. when he does come home. tell him that Mr. from the undertaker's premises. 'She's always a-kissing of me.' said Charlotte.' 'What!' said Mr. holding up his hands. delicate beard!' 'I can't manage any more. 'how queer!' 'Have another. ma'am. and the character of the peasantry gone for ever!' With these words. 'Take yourself downstairs. or not. you shut up the shop. reproachfully.' cried Charlotte. Bumble. sternly. gazed at the beadle in drunken terror. and ascertain whether he be still lying in the ditch where Toby Crackit left him. sir. 'Say it again. 'Here's one with such a beautiful. Do you hear sir? Kissing!' cried Mr. reflectively. 'The sin and wickedness of the lower orders in this porochial district is frightful! If Parliament don't take their abominable courses under consideration. at your peril. blubbering. 'She's always a-doin' of it. 'I'm very sorry. Noah. and. you wile.' Charlotte uttered a scream. let us set on foot a few inquires after young Oliver Twist. with a lofty and gloomy air.

preferring the chance of being shot by his friend. 'Don't play booty with me. Mr. For he was not quite satisfied that he was beyond the range of pistol-shot. ran along the front of the hedge. 'Pincher! Neptune! Come here. 'It's all up. the cape in which he had been hurriedly muffled. before another hedge which met it at right angles. to the certainty of being taken by his enemies. for a second. and Sikes was in no mood to be played with. and whirling his pistol high into the air. 'I wish I was among some of you.' As Sikes growled forth this imprecation. 'Quicker!' cried Sikes. 'Stop!' The repetition of the word. to look back at his pursuers. laying the boy in a dry ditch at his feet. and darted off at full speed. brought Toby to a dead stand-still. you'd howl the hoarser for it. broken for want of breath. who. fairly turned tail. and the barking of the neighbouring dogs. 'Bear a hand with the boy. for an instant. again looking round. to intimate considerable reluctance as he came slowly along. as if to distract the attention of those behind. beckoning furiously to his confederate. took one look around. come here!' 181 . Bill!' cried Toby. making the best use of his long legs. cleared it at a bound. and was gone. shouting after Toby Crackit. in a low voice. with the most desperate ferocity that his desperate nature was capable of. resounded in every direction.' With this parting advice. 'Ho. threw over the prostrate form of Oliver. Crackit. grinding his teeth. AND PROCEEDS WITH HIS ADVENTURES 'Wolves tear your throats!' muttered Sikes.' cried Sikes. and turned his head. there!' cried a tremulous voice in the rear. from the spot where the boy lay. 'drop the kid. and show 'em your heels. in the mist and darkness.CHAPTER XXVIII LOOKS AFTER OLIVER. could discern that the men who had given chase were already climbing the gate of the field in which he stood. ho. roused by the sound of the alarm bell. Sikes. you white-livered hound!' cried the robber. Sikes clenched his teeth. he rested the body of the wounded boy across his bended knee.' At this moment the noise grew louder. 'Come back!' Toby made a show of returning. but ventured. was already ahead. 'Stop. and that a couple of dogs were some paces in advance of them. paused. but the loud shouting of men vibrated through the air. There was little to be made out. and drawing a pistol from his pocket.

'You're a lie. 'You're a falsehood. upon which. Three men. Giles.' said a shorter man. they all three faced about. Mr.The dogs. 'and whatever Mr.' 'I am agreeable to anything which is agreeable to Mr. Giles says.' said Giles. I know my sitiwation! Thank my stars. leastways. 'Mr. 'I'll tell you what it is. Giles's taunt had arisen from his indignation at having the responsibility of going home again. Giles. for his teeth chattered in his head as he spoke. The third man brought the dispute to a close. who had by this time advanced some distance into the field. sir. or.' said the third.' said Brittles. until Mr. is.' These frank admissions softened Mr.' 'Certainly. Giles. to make an apology for his hastiness of speech.' said the fattest man of the party. imposed upon himself under cover of a compliment.' said Brittles. Brittles. 'I shouldn't wish to appear ill-mannered. and to know perfectly well that it was by no means a desirable one. who was the palest of the party. I should say. in common with their masters. who at once owned that HE was afraid. and Mr. and who was very pale in the face.' replied the man. 'only there's no call to tell a man he is. these four retorts arose from Mr. 'we're all afraid.' said he. my ORDERS.' 'Speak for yourself.' said Brittles.' 'So am I. gentlemen. and very polite: as frightened men frequently are. I know my sitiwation. seemed to have no particular relish for the sport in which they were engaged. No. as was encumbered with a pitchfork) most handsomely insisted on stopping.' To tell the truth. I am. 'You are. so bounceably. Giles. Giles. most philosophically. gentlemen.' said Mr. who. 'You are afraid.' said Mr. Giles's taunt. 'So I do. and ran back again with the completest unanimity. Giles. 'I an't. Giles (who had the shortest wind of the party. Giles ought to know. no.' replied the shorter man. readily answered to the command. Brittles. 'My advice. who had called the dogs back. 'It's natural and proper to be afraid. it isn't our place to contradict him. 'that we 'mediately go home again. under such circumstances. the little man DID seem to know his situation.' said Mr. who was by no means of a slim figure. Now. stopped to take counsel together. 182 .

' said Mr. 'what a man will do.' By a remarkable coincidence. at a good round trot. Encouraging each other with such converse as this. Mr. the light might have been seen twinkling and dancing in the distance. were all mire and water. notwithstanding. behind which they had left their lantern. and a travelling tinker who had been sleeping in an outhouse. Morning drew on apace. 'I know what it was. The grass was wet. Still. thick and fast. especially as there was no doubt regarding the time at which the change had taken place.' As the other two were impressed with a similar presentiment. and long after their dusky forms had ceased to be discernible. having entered her service a mere child. as its first dull hue--the death of night. I felt all mine suddenly going away. and looking apprehensively round. The air grew colder. and low places. when his blood is up. Oliver lay motionless and insensible on the spot where Sikes had left him. and the mist rolled along the ground like a dense cloud of smoke. some speculation ensued upon the cause of this sudden change in their temperament. keeping very close together. had all gone down again. Giles acted in the double capacity of butler and steward to the old lady of the mansion. grew more and more defined. with a hollow moaning.' exclaimed Brittles. the pathways. to join in the pursuit. the damp breath of an unwholesome wind went languidly by. The rain came down. and who had been roused. Giles. rather than the birth of day--glimmered faintly in the sky. The air become more sharp and piercing. was treated as a promising young boy still. like his. It was quite obvious. as day came slowly on. and gradually resolved into their familiar shapes.'But it's wonderful. I should have committed murder--I know I should--if we'd caught one of them rascals. 183 .' said Giles. they made the best of their way home. Giles. The objects which had looked dim and terrible in the darkness. This dialogue was held between the two men who had surprised the burglars.' said Mr. 'You may depend upon it. that it was the gate. though he was something past thirty.' 'I shouldn't wonder if it was. 'that that gate stopped the flow of the excitement. the three men hurried back to a tree. lest its light should inform the thieves in what direction to fire. as I was climbing over it. but. Catching up the light. 'it was the gate. because all three remembered that they had come in sight of the robbers at the instant of its occurance. catching at the idea. together with his two mongrel curs. and as their blood. like some exhalation of the damp and gloomy atmosphere through which it was swiftly borne. Brittles was a lad of all-work: who. and pattered noisily among the leafless bushes. therefore. whenever a fresh gust rattled through the boughs. when he had explained. the other two had been visited with the same unpleasant sensation at that precise moment.

hung heavy and useless at his side. between the bars of gates. he was alone with Sikes. for the instant. and. he forgot the agony of his wound. and prayed the two men's mercy. rudely bandaged in a shawl. Pitying his condition. helpless and unconscious. he started back at the report of firearms. Thus he staggered on. and he staggered to and from like a drunken man. It was the very house they had attempted to rob. He summoned up all his strength for one last trial. he must surely die: got upon his feet. he had fallen on his knees last night. Oliver felt it not. Oliver felt such fear come over him when he recognised the place. that. Here the rain began to fall so heavily. it would be better. on his bed of clay. He looked about. or through hedge-gaps as they came in his way. and essayed to walk. there rose into the air. the bandage was saturated with blood. from cold and exhaustion. as it beat against him. he felt the robber's grasp upon his wrist. and groaned with pain. which wearied and tormented him incessantly. and as shadowy people passed them. After a short return of the stupor in which he had been so long plunged. they might have compassion on him. which perhaps he could reach. creeping. Oliver: urged by a creeping sickness at his heart. he made an effort to stand upright.But. Trembling in every joint. shuddering from head to foot. hosts of bewildering and confused ideas came crowding on his mind. and if they did not. His head was dizzy. he thought. and bent his faltering steps towards it. He remembered nothing of its details. sounded in his ears. a feeling come over him that he had seen it before. he knew not whither. to die near human beings. until he reached a road. And now. At length. he looked feebly round for help. and uttering it. As he drew nearer to this house. Then. He was so weak. That garden wall! On the grass inside. nevertheless. Flight! He could scarcely stand: and if he were in full possession of all the best powers of 184 . But he kept up. and when he caught his own attention. the boy awoke. with his head drooping languidly on his breast. lights gleamed before his eyes. a low cry of pain broke the stillness that prevailed. Suddenly. loud cries and shouts. almost mechanically. He seemed to be still walking between Sikes and Crackit. that it roused him. but. uneasy conscious of pain. for he still lay stretched. that he could scarcely raise himself into a sitting posture. when he had done so. who were angrily disputing--for the very words they said. Through all these rapid visions. all was noise and tumult. fell prostrate on the ground. which seemed to warn him that if he lay there. as some unseen hand bore him hurriedly away. plodding on as on the previous day. went stumbling onward. and saw that at no great distance there was a house. than in the lonely open fields. and thought only of flight. His left arm. but the shape and aspect of the building seemed familiar to him. there ran an undefined. as it were. by making some violent effort to save himself from falling. he found that he was talking to them.

and asked the housemaid to shut the door: who asked Brittles. Giles. and. who pretended not to hear. while it gratified. "is forcing of a door."' 185 . continued Giles. He tottered across the lawn. Mr. in the kitchen. knocked faintly at the door. or his throat. at first. leaning his left arm on the table. Giles. Giles. '--Heerd a noise.' suggested Brittles. fires.' said Mr.' 'What sort of a noise?' asked the cook. he illustrated a circumstantial and minute account of the robbery. without his ever knowing it.' continued Mr. his whole strength failing him. when you HEERD it. and listened. with his right.' At this point of the narrative the cook turned pale. 'A kind of a busting noise. after the fatigues and terrors of the night. '"Somebody." I says. Giles. and the tinker.' resumed Mr. 'but. Brittles. and pulled the corner of the table-cloth over him to imitate bed-clothes. 'It was.' replied Mr. I turned down the clothes'. and swung open on its hinges. Giles sat with his legs stretched out before the kitchen fender. with tea and sundries. Giles turned round in his chair. sir. and. Giles. looking round him. 'or I wouldn't swear that it mightn't have been a little nearer three. it had a busting sound.his slight and youthful frame. rolling back the table-cloth. it was unlocked. whither could he fly? He pushed against the garden-gate.' rejoined Mr. distinct. and save him from being murdered in his bed.) I fancied I heerd a noise. sunk down against one of the pillars of the little portico. Not that it was Mr. Giles. "may be cut from his right ear to his left. so Mr. 'sat up in bed. to which his bearers (but especially the cook and housemaid. death." I says. could not fail to remind them of his superior position in society. as it might be so. quite apparent. and burglary. climbed the steps. while. Brittles. (here Mr. which. 'It was about half-past tow. at this time. Giles's habit to admit to too great familiarity the humbler servants: towards whom it was rather his wont to deport himself with a lofty affability. who asked the tinker. or window. make all men equals. "This is illusion". when I woke up. It happened that about this time. when I heerd the noise again. who were of the party) listened with breathless interest. what's to be done? I'll call up that poor lad.' The cook and housemaid simultaneously ejaculated 'Lor!' and drew their chairs closer together. 'More like the noise of powdering a iron bar on a nutmeg-grater. and was composing myself off to sleep. But. 'I says. were recruiting themselves. turning round in my bed. 'I heerd it now.

'I tossed off the clothes. plucking up a little.' murmured the tinker.' replied Mr. I think. We.' said Mr. and his face expressive of the most unmitigated horror. and laying great emphasis on the word. '--Of SHOES." I says.Here.' said Mr. when he started violently.' said Mr. "Brittles. when I had woke him.' 'I should have died at once. and walked on tiptoes to his room. being men.' said Giles. in a low voice. sir. 'You're a woman.' Mr. 'from a woman. 'got softly out of bed. surveying the pale faces which surrounded him. '"We're dead men. 'but the door must be opened. I'm sure. in common with the rest of the company. '"but don't be frightened. and looking very blank himself. Giles. and groped our way downstairs in the pitch dark. approvingly. Brittles. and hurried back to his chair. nodding his head. Giles had risen from his seat.' observed the housemaid. 'He was as firm--ah! pretty near as firm as I was.' observed Brittles."' 'WAS he frightened?' asked the cook. Giles. throwing away the table-cloth. 'Brittles is right. Mr. 'seized the loaded pistol that always goes upstairs with the platebasket. somebody?' 186 . with his mouth wide open. Giles. The cook and housemaid screamed. Giles. 'It seems a strange sort of a thing. all eyes were turned upon Brittles. 'Open the door. and taken two steps with his eyes shut.--as it might be so. 'It was a knock. Do you hear. if it had been me.' Nobody moved. a knock coming at such a time in the morning. assuming perfect serenity. somebody. and looking very hard at the cook and housemaid. "don't be frightened!"' 'So you did. 'Not a bit of it." I says. drew on a pair of--' 'Ladies present. nothing else was to be expected. and stared at him. who fixed his upon the speaker. to accompany his description with appropriate action. Giles. turning upon him.' continued Giles.' said Giles.' retorted Brittles. took a dark lantern that was standing on Brittle's hob.

no sooner saw Oliver. he tendered no reply. waking up. and deposited him at full length on the floor thereof. and mutely solicited their compassion. Giles. took their way upstairs. seizing the boy by one leg and one arm (fortunately not the broken limb) lugged him straight into the hall. as he pleasantly said). speechless and exhausted. and Brittles held the light. Giles. Giles directed an appealing glance at the tinker. 'Here he is!' bawled Giles. brought up the rear. up the staircase. Giles. 'If Brittles would rather open the door.' cried Brittles. ma'am! Here's a thief.Mr. the dogs' tails were well pinched. miss. The women were out of the question.' 'So am I. with the dogs in front. that they were strong in numbers. miss! Wounded. which quelled it in an instant.' said Mr. Mr. but he had suddenly fallen asleep. The two women-servants ran upstairs to carry the intelligence that Mr. after a short silence. they all talked very loud.' '--In a lantern. These precautions having been taken. applying one hand to the side of his mouth. looked at Brittles. Brittles obeyed. By the advice of Mr. Mr. probably considered himself nobody. 'What's the matter with the--eh?--Why--Brittles--look here--don't you know?' Brittles. the group. and so held that the inquiry could not have any application to him. and the party being somewhat re-assured by the discovery (made on throwing open the shutters) that it was now broad day. but that young man. pushing the tinker into the background. who were afraid to stay below. Giles. miss! I shot him. who had got behind the door to open it. Brittles capitualated on these terms. as suddenly as he had fallen asleep. The two women. 'Giles!' whispered the voice from the stair-head. to make them bark savagely. peeping timourously over each other's shoulders. valiantly. as he spoke. calling in a state of great excitement. miss. 'here's one of the thieves. and gave the word of command to open the door. 'I am ready to make one. 'A boy!' exclaimed Mr. lest he should die before he could be hanged. and the tinker busied himself in endeavouring to restore Oliver. beheld no more formidable object than poor little Oliver Twist. Mr. Giles. In the midst of all this noise and commotion. so that his voice might travel the better. Giles held on fast by the tinker's arm (to prevent his running away.' said the tinker. originating in the brain of the same ingenious gentleman. to warn any evil-disposed person outside. who raised his heavy eyes. in the presence of witnesses. at all events. there was heard a sweet female voice. 187 . than he uttered a loud cry. being naturally modest. and by a master-stoke of policy. in the hall. Giles had captured a robber.

She soon returned. 'Poor fellow! Oh! treat him kindly. He didn't make a very desperate resistance. in the same manner as before. 'But won't you take one look at him. miss?' 'Not now. while I speak to aunt. with the direction that the wounded person was to be carried. 'you frighten my aunt as much as the thieves did. miss! I was soon too many for him. he helped to carry him upstairs. I ain't much injured. that he had skilfully brought down. 188 . he was to despatch. with a glance as proud and admiring as if she had been his own child. miss.' bawled Brittles. miss. 'He looks as if he was a-going.' replied Mr. miss?' asked Mr. Then. with indescribable complacency. upstairs to Mr. a constable and doctor. Giles's room. and that Brittles was to saddle the pony and betake himself instantly to Chertsey: from which place. pray. the speaker tripped away. miss. with all speed. Giles. carefully. 'Wait quietly only one instant. with as much pride as if Oliver were some bird of rare plumage.' With a footstep as soft and gentle as the voice. Giles. for the world. Is the poor creature much hurt?' 'Wounded desperate. miss. there's a good man!' rejoined the lady. bending over Oliver.'I'm here. 'Not one little peep. with the care and solicitude of a woman. 'Wouldn't you like to come and look at him. in case he should?' 'Hush. Giles for my sake!' The old servant looked up at the speaker. miss. as she turned away.' 'Hush!' replied the young lady. 'Don't be frightened.' replied the young lady. first.' replied Giles.

above all. were made for Home. which he drew forth by a black ribbon. looked like one who laboured under a very agreeable sense of his own merits and importance. seemed scarcely of her age. was in attendance upon them. while his left hung down by his side. when. grasping a waiter. which was simply braided on her forehead. and threw into her beaming look. in a stately manner. with some slight concessions to the prevailing taste. dressed with scrupulous care in a full suit of black. and was stamped upon her noble head. has he?' asked the old lady. which rather served to point the old style pleasantly than to impair its effect. the thousand lights that played about the face. such an expression of affection and artless loveliness. and. that blessed spirits might have smiled to look upon her.' replied Mr. without impiety. Mr. if ever angels be for God's good purposes enthroned in mortal forms. Giles. Giles. she sat. TO WHICH OLIVER RESORTED In a handsome room: though its furniture had rather the air of old-fashioned comfort. in a quaint mixture of by-gone costume. his head thrown back. or of the world. so pure and beautiful. 189 . and inclined the merest trifle on one side. they may be. and his right hand thrust into his waist-coat. and yet the changing expression of sweetness and good humour. She was not past seventeen. than of modern elegance: there sat two ladies at a well-spread breakfast-table. The younger lady was in the lovely bloom and spring-time of womanhood. 'An hour and twelve minutes. his left leg advanced. Cast in so slight and exquisite a mould. He had taken his station some half-way between the side-board and the breakfast-table. happy smile. referring to a silver watch. 'And Brittles has been gone upwards of an hour. and left no shadow there. She was busily engaged in the little offices of the table. one was well advanced in years. was not more upright than she. and fireside peace and happiness. Chancing to raise her eyes as the elder lady was regarding her. the smile.CHAPTER XXIX HAS AN INTRODUCTORY ACCOUNT OF THE INMATES OF THE HOUSE. Of the two ladies. after a pause. ma'am. but the high-backed oaken chair in which she sat. with his body drawn up to its full height. so mild and gentle. the cheerful. nor its rough creatures her fit companions. supposed to abide in such as hers. The very intelligence that shone in her deep blue eye. Her eyes (and age had dimmed but little of their brightness) were attentively upon her young companion. Dressed with the utmost nicety and precision. at that age. she playfully put back her hair. with her hands folded on the table before her. that earth seemed not her element.

'It is very inexcusable in him if he stops to play with any other boys.' said the elder lady.' replied the doctor. I think. Giles. who had been feverishly putting the tea-cups to rights. Giles. 'Honour. by post. 'I--' 'Oh! very much so. the fat gentleman shook hands with both ladies. I understand. 'You ought to be dead. and so would I. 'He gets worse instead of better. smiling. Fancy that he fired in the air. dear! So unexpected! In the silence of the night. 'Brittles always was a slow boy. perhaps it's as honourable to hit a thief in a back kitchen. and my assistant would have been delighted. Giles was apparently considering the propriety of indulging in a respectful smile himself. burst into the room. 'but there is a poor creature upstairs. eh?' said the doctor. when a gig drove up to the garden-gate: out of which there jumped a fat gentleman.' 'Ah! to be sure. And seeing. and you've fought a duel. there appeared no great probability of his ever being a fast one.' remarked the old lady. and nearly overturned Mr. positively dead with the fright. a day or two previous. 'well. Dear. inquired how they found themselves. too--I NEVER heard of such a thing!' With these expressions of condolence.' said the doctor. or anybody. 'My dear Mrs. getting quickly into the house by some mysterious process. Miss Rose. interrupting him. and to make an appointment. I don't know. turning to the young lady. 'Why didn't you send? Bless me. Giles. that Brittles had been a slow boy for upwards of thirty years. as if it were the established custom of gentlemen in the housebreaking way to transact business at noon. Mr.' said the fat gentleman. who ran straight up to the door: and who. That was your handiwork. 'I never heard of such a thing!' exclaimed the fat gentleman. Giles and the breakfast-table together. my man should have come in a minute. and said that he had had that honour.' Mr. whom aunt wishes you to see. 'so there is. by the bye. 'And you. too!' The doctor seemed expecially troubled by the fact of the robbery having been unexpected. as to hit your man at twelve paces.' said the young lady. and attempted in the night-time.'He is always slow. indeed. under such circumstances.' said Rose. Maylie--bless my soul--in the silence of the night.' 190 . and drawing up a chair. I'm sure. blushed very red.' replied the attendant. ma'am.

' said the doctor. much longer than either he or the ladies had anticipated. eh? Well. 'but I wouldn't hear of it. under the circumstances. Giles had not. as I come down. Giles. in the very zenith of a brief reputation for undaunted courage. at first. ma'am. he followed Mr. looked very mysterious. and in reply to an anxious inquiry after his patient. the reader may be informed. Giles upstairs. for the life of him. interposed Mr.' 'Humph!' rejoined the doctor.' rejoined the old lady. 'Where is he? Show me the way. and the servants ran up and down stairs perpetually. more from good-humour than from good living: and was as kind and hearty. from which tokens it was justly concluded that something important was going on above. 'There is nothing very alarming in his appearance.' had grown fat. and withal as eccentric an old bachelor. Maylie. that Mr. 'This is a very extraordinary thing. Giles. A large flat box was fetched out of the gig. Maylie. The doctor was absent. That's the little window that he got in at.' 'I beg your pardon. by any explorer alive. 'Rose wished to see the man. I couldn't have believed it!' Talking all the way. help postponing the explanation for a few delicious minutes. that it was not for the like of him to judge about that. Maylie.Mr. I'll look in again.' replied the doctor. that he could not. Losberne. been able to bring his mind to the avowal. and closed the door. 'He is not in danger. carefully. that's true!' said the doctor.' said Mrs. that would NOT be an extraordinary thing. Have you seen the thief?' 'No. 'but I was going to tell you about him when Doctor Losberne came in. that he had only shot a boy. Mrs. but he rather thought it was no joke to the opposite party. Mrs. Have you any objection to see him in my presence?' 191 . and a bedroom bell was rung very often. during which he had flourished. known through a circuit of ten miles round as 'the doctor. 'though I don't think he is. At length he returned. 'Why. answered respectfully. 'Nor heard anything about him?' 'No. standing with his back to the door. who thought this light treatment of the matter an unjust attempt at diminishing his glory. and while he is going upstairs. I hope?' said the old lady. 'Gad. Such commendations had been bestowed upon his bravery.' The fact was. as will be found in five times that space. as if to keep it shut. a surgeon in the neighbourhood. that Mr.

will you permit me? Not the slightest fear.' said the doctor. 'certainly not. I pledge you my honour!' 192 .' replied the old lady. I am quite sure that you would deeply regret not having done so.'If it be necessary. 'at all events.' 'Then I think it is necessary. if you postponed it. He is perfectly quiet and comfortable now. Allow me--Miss Rose.

long gone by. he looked into the room. mournfully shaking his head. would seem to have awakened. and looked on. though! Let me first see that he is in visiting order. which was half hidden by his long hair. Upon it. The youngest and fairest are too often its chosen victims.' said the doctor. upstairs. as he softly turned the handle of a bedroom-door.' 193 . Stop. which some brief memory of a happier existence. 'Now. there lay a mere child: worn with pain and exhaustion. 'My dear young lady. He has not been shaved very recently. 'takes up her abode in many temples. for a minute or so.' Stepping before them. in lieu of the dogged.CHAPTER XXX RELATES WHAT OLIVER'S NEW VISITORS THOUGHT OF HIM With many loquacious assurances that they would be agreeably surprised in the aspect of the criminal. which vanish like a breath. a strain of gentle music. 'crime. 'let us hear what you think of him. as though these marks of pity and compassion had awakened some pleasant dream of a love and affection he had never known. Whilst he was watching the patient thus. As she stooped over him. is not confined to the old and withered alone. and offering his disengaged hand to Mrs. 'What can this mean?' exclaimed the elder lady. 'This poor child can never have been the pupil of robbers!' 'Vice. the younger lady glided softly past.' rejoined the surgeon. in silence. and seating herself in a chair by the bedside. His wounded arm. with much ceremony and stateliness. but he don't look at all ferocious notwithstanding. as it streamed over the pillow. replacing the curtain. led them. and who can say that a fair outside shell not enshrine her?' 'But at so early an age!' urged Rose. was crossed upon his breast. bound and splintered up. Maylie. which no voluntary exertion of the mind can ever recall. or the odour of a flower. Thus.' said the surgeon. like death. in this life. gathered Oliver's hair from his face. Motioning them to advance. or the rippling of water in a silent place. The boy stirred. will sometimes call up sudden dim remembrances of scenes that never were. in a whisper. her tears fell upon his forehead. and sunk into a deep sleep. The honest gentleman held the curtain in his hand. he closed the door when they had entered. black-visaged ruffian they had expected to behold. his head reclined upon the other arm. and smiled in his sleep. and gently drew back the curtains of the bed. or the mention of a familiar word. the doctor drew the young lady's arm through one of him.

ma'am. I can manage it. 'No. Giles is a faithful fellow and an old servant. that you may be found in as vulnerable and softhearted a mood by the first eligible young fellow who appeals to your 194 . Brittles. or the want of bread. have pity upon him before it is too late!' 'My dear love. and know that I have never felt the want of parents in your goodness and affection. led the way into an adjoining apartment. 'do you think I would harm a hair of his head?' 'Oh.' said the elder lady. 'think how young he is. After various exclamations of 'I've got it now' and 'no. I haven't. before you let them drag this sick child to a prison. sir?' 'Let me think. for mercy's sake. Oh! as you love me. think of this. as she folded the weeping girl to her bosom.' said the doctor. but you can make it up to him in a thousand ways. take my word for it. and observing that they might disturb the patient. can you--oh! can you really believe that this delicate boy has been the voluntary associate of the worst outcasts of society?' said Rose.' said Rose. which in any case must be the grave of all his chances of amendment. think that he may never have known a mother's love.' replied Mrs. smiling through her tears. and balancing himself on his toes. 'No other. I know. Aunt. often stopping. 'But even if he has been wicked. You don't object to that?' 'Unless there is some other way of preserving the child. except yourself. or the comfort of a home.' 'You seem to think. 'that everybody is disposed to be hardhearted to-day. surely. for the sake of the rising male sex generally. and spoke as follows: 'I think if you give me a full and unlimited commission to bully Giles. but that I might have done so.' said the old lady. 'but pray don't be harder upon the poor fellows than is indispensably necessary. 'my days are drawing to their close: and may mercy be shown to me as I show it to others! What can I do to save him. Losberne thrust his hands into his pockets.' and as many renewals of the walking and frowning.'But.' Mr. I only hope. Miss Rose. and took several turns up and down the room. and that little boy. and reward him for being such a good shot besides. he at length made a dead halt. in a manner which intimated that he feared it was very possible. 'There is no other.' retorted the doctor. and might have been equally helpless and unprotected with this poor child. and frowning frightfully.' 'Then my aunt invests you with full power. that ill-usage and blows. 'let me think.' said the doctor. dear aunt. Maylie. eagerly. may have driven him to herd with men who have forced him to guilt.' pursued Rose. The surgeon shook his head. no!' replied Rose.

' 'Oh no. Oliver told them all his simple history. Oh! if when we oppress and grind our fellow-creatures.' retorted the doctor. to pour their aftervengeance on our heads. and that. and still Oliver slumbered heavily. and I wish I were a young fellow. indeed. that he was at length sufficiently restored to be spoken to. and weak from the loss of blood. I think we may converse with him without danger. from what he says. 'He cannot be hardened in vice.' 'Very good. He will wake in an hour or so. are rising. than to insist upon his remaining quiet until next morning: which he should otherwise have done. and wrong. where would be the injury and injustice. aunt!' said the doctor.' said the doctor. The patience of the two ladies was destined to undergo a longer trial than Mr. the suffering. of such a favourable opportunity for doing so.' said Rose. without any farther interference on my part. but his mind was so troubled with anxiety to disclose something. that I might avail myself. laughing heartily. by pain and want of strength. and I can show to the satisfaction of your cool reason. misery. we judge. we bestowed but one thought on the dark evidences of human error. he shall be left to his fate. if we heard but one instant. The boy was very ill.' 'You are as great a boy as poor Brittles himself. aunt!' entreated Rose. It was a solemn thing. and although I have told that thick-headed constable-fellow downstairs that he musn't be moved or spoken to. and the parties thereunto sat down to wait. which. that each day's life brings with it! 195 . to hear.' Finally the treaty was entered into. slowly it is true. in the darkened room. I dare say. if. he said. with some impatience. Now I make this stipulation--that I shall examine him in your presence. 'that is no very difficult matter. 'Well. like dense and heavy clouds. blushing. 'Oh yes.compassion. the deep testimony of dead men's voices. but not less surely. at all events. 'It is impossible. to Heaven. cruelty. before the kind-hearted doctor brought them the intelligence. The conference was a long one. as the present. which no power can stifle. until Oliver should awake. Losberne had led them to expect. the feeble voice of the sick child recounting a weary catalogue of evils and calamities which hard men had brought upon him. and was often compelled to stop. It was evening. that he is a real and thorough bad one (which is more than possible). 'Is is a bargain?. on the spot. that he deemed it better to give him the opportunity. 'then so much the more reason for acceding to my proposition. The great point of our agreement is yet to come. in imagination. and no pride shut out. for hour after hour passed on. on peril of his life. But to return to this boy.' returned Rose.

with a mug of ale in his hand. sir. and he looked as if he had been taking a proportionate allowance of ale--as indeed he had. it occurred to him. Giles. betook himself downstairs to open upon Mr. The adventures of the previous night were still under discussion. Giles. Mr. who had turned very pale. 'that he's going to die. Giles. Giles looked round with a patronising air.' Brittles headed a low murmur. boy?' said the doctor. 'How is the patient to-night. not even Brittles here.' said the doctor. in consideration of his services). after wiping his eyes. 'And what are YOU. Giles.' 'That's not the point. Mr. turning sharply upon Brittles. I wouldn't cut a boy off: no. and as I felt no ways inclined for my own little room. the women-servants. 'Thank you. 'Sit still!' said the doctor. mysteriously. If I thought it. returned the doctor. The momentous interview was no sooner concluded. There were assembled. and condemning them for being weak all at once.' 'I hope you don't mean to say.' faltered Mr. before his superior said it. Brittles. 'So-so'. sir. not for all the plate in the county. I should never be happy again. was corroborating everything. a large head. Giles. And finding nobody about the parlours. the tinker (who had received a special invitation to regale himself for the remainder of the day. Giles's condescension. so into the kitchen he went. waving his hand. Mr. are you a Protestant?' 'Yes. sir. sir?' asked Giles. Giles. as much as to say that so long as they behaved properly. and was disposed for company. Mr. trembling. said Mr. Giles was expatiating upon his presence of mind. 'Mr. and large half-boots. 'I am afraid you have got yourself into a scrape there. Giles. sir. I am taking mine among 'em here. when the doctor entered. he would never desert them. He felt calm and happy. for Mr. by which the ladies and gentlemen generally were understood to express the gratification they derived from Mr.Oliver's pillow was smoothed by gentle hands that night. sir. 196 . that he could perhaps originate the proceedings with better effect in the kitchen. Brittles. The latter gentleman had a large staff. and the constable. 'Misses wished some ale to be given out. and loveliness and virtue watched him as he slept. and Oliver composed to rest again. in that lower house of the domestic parliament.' said Mr. Mr. I hope so. large features. than the doctor. sir. and could have died without a murmur.

Now. to catch the reply. you will observe. on your solemn oaths. to bespeak the exercise of that worthy's utmost acuteness. He said.' replied the constable. and at the same moment. and in all the distraction of alarm and darkness. Giles looked doubtfully at Brittles.' The constable looked as wise as he could. 'Here's the house broken into. will you?' said the doctor. Mr.' replied Brittles. 'both of you. Giles. 'It's the runners!' cried Brittles. Here's a boy comes to that very same house. he would be glad to know what was. these men lay violent hands upon him--by doing which. shaking his forefinger with great solemnity of manner. that Giles and Brittles. 'The Bow Street officers. Giles. and took up his staff of office: which had been recling indolently in the chimney-corner. 'The what?' exclaimed the doctor. the sound of wheels. if that wasn't law.' thundered the doctor. constable. starting violently.' said the doctor. 'me and Mr.' said the doctor. the question is. who was universally considered one of the best-tempered creatures on earth. made this demand in such a dreadful tone of anger. 'Pay attention to the reply.' said the doctor.' 'Then tell me this. the constable put his hand behind his ear. if not. 'Something may come of this before long.'Lord bless me. and because he happens to have his arm tied up.' 197 . who were considerably muddled by ale and excitement. for he had finished his ale in a hurry. able to identify that boy?' Brittles looked doubtfully at Mr. 'I ask you again. 'and a couple of men catch one moment's glimpse of a boy. 'I'm the same as Mr. taking up a candle. the two women and the tinker leaned forward to listen. 'are you. both of you! Are you going to take upon yourselves to swear. 'It's a simple question of identity. when a ring was heard at the gate. that that boy upstairs is the boy that was put through the little window last night? Out with it! Come! We are prepared for you!' The doctor. sir. and tapping the bridge of his nose with it. in what situation do they place themselves?' The constable nodded profoundly. sir. and some of it had gone the wrong way. in the midst of gunpowder smoke. 'That's what it is. coughing with great violence. stared at each other in a state of stupefaction. next morning. sir. Giles sent for 'em this morning. the doctor glanced keenly round. sir!' replied Brittles. to all appearance much relieved. whether these men are justified by the fact. aghast in his turn. they place his life in great danger--and swear he is the thief.

did you? Then confound your--slow coaches down here. that's all.' replied Brittles. and I only wonder they weren't here before.'What?' cried the doctor. 198 . 'Yes. 'I sent a message up by the coachman. sir.' 'You did. walking away.' said the doctor.

or quite so much at his ease in it--one of the two--seated himself.CHAPTER XXXI INVOLVES A CRITICAL POSITION 'Who's that?' inquired Brittles. without saying anything more. was a stout personage of middle height. and confronted a portly man in a great-coat. will you?' said the stouter man. motioning towards Mrs. 'it's the officers from Bow Street. smoothing down his hair. and. and the head of his stick into his mouth. in a state of great admiration. Losberne. and a turned-up sinister-looking nose. and laying a pair of handcuffs on the table. and sharp eyes. half-whiskers. This done. and pointing out the building. Have you got a coach 'us here. aged about fifty: with shiny black hair. that gentleman. as coolly as if he lived there. with the chain up. he put his hat on the floor. Mr. 199 . 'he's in the gig. The latter gentleman. 'Tell your governor that Blathers and Duff is here. motioned to Duff to do the same. motioning Brittles to retire. and wiped his shoes on the mat. with a rather ill-favoured countenance. master. bony man. who now made his appearance. Blathers made a bow. cropped pretty close. took off their great-coats and hats. opening the door a little way. Being desired to sit down. with some embarrassment. Maylie. and helped his companion to put up the gig: while Brittles lighted them. the portly man stepped back to the garden-gate.' replied a man outside. as was sent to to-day. who did not appear quite so much accustomed to good society. Losberne. shading the candle with his hand. and taking a chair. if you please?' This was addressed to Mr. Can I have a word or two with you in private. a-minding the prad.' Much comforted by this assurance. 'Oh! Good-evening.' said Mr. who walked in. for five or ten minutes?' Brittles replying in the affirmative. 'Open the door. a round face. in topboots. being shown into a parlour. young man?' said the officer. 'Just send somebody out to relieve my mate. The other was a red-headed. Brittles opened the door to its full width. after undergoing several muscular affections of the limbs. they returned to the house. will you. brought in the two ladies. and peeping out. that you could put it up in. and shut the door. The man who had knocked at the door. 'This is the lady of the house. and showed like what they were.

'Now. and examine the servants afterwards. That's the usual way of doing business. 'This is all about the robbery. 'but my opinion at once is.' Lights were then procured. about this here boy that the servants are a-talking on?' said Blathers. You would like. 'That's it. 'Nothing at all. of course. but it's nonsense: sheer absurdity. and after that. 200 . went into the little room at the end of the passage and looked out at the window. Messrs. who appeared desirous of gaining time. Blathers and Duff looked very knowing meanwhile.' replied Blathers. a lantern to trace the footsteps with. 'I can't say. 'I know his whole history: but we can talk about that presently. 'One of the frightened servants chose to take it into his head. eh. is it?' 'All. Blathers and Duff.--that this wasn't done by a yokel. had a candle handed out to inspect the shutter with. I suppose?' 'Certainly. and looked in at the window. master. nodding his head in a confirmatory way. to see the place where the thieves made their attempt. attended by the native constable. Losberne. with a nervous glance at the two ladies. I apprehend your meaning to be. a pitchfork to poke the bushes with.' replied the doctor.' replied the doctor.' remarked Duff. translating the word yokel for the benefit of the ladies. 'What are the circumstances?' Mr.' observed Blathers. Giles. Duff?' 'Certainly not.' said Blathers. that this attempt was not made by a countryman?' said Mr. and playing carelessly with the handcuffs. first. and everybody else in short. master. did he. as if they were a pair of castanets. and Messrs. 'Who is the boy? What account does he give of himself? Where did he come from? He didn't drop out of the clouds. that he had something to do with this attempt to break into the house. master?' 'Of course not. Brittles. and afterwards went round by way of the lawn. 'And. with regard to this here robbery. 'What he says is quite correct. recounted them at great length.' rejoined Mr. 'We had better inspect the premises first. and occasionally exchanged a nod. Blathers. and after that.'Now.' said Blathers. for certain.' replied Duff. with a smile. if it is. till I see the work.' 'Wery easy disposed of. what is this. Losberne. and after that.' replied the doctor. and with much circumlocution.--I don't mind committing myself to that extent.

my dear young lady. a blundering dog of a half-bred butler. Confound the fellows. he has been taken away. a consultation of great doctors on the knottiest point in medicine. by men who seem to have taken a violent fancy to him. and perhaps I may be an old fool for doing so. to criminate the poor child. and of the situation of which he has not the remotest idea. to a place which he cannot describe or point out. they WILL have the way and the wherefore.' replied Rose. on a charge of picking a gentleman's pocket. will be sufficient to exonerate him. 'Because. they came in again. there are many ugly points about it. and will take nothing for granted. and then. viewed with their eyes. Blathers and Duff cleared the room.' 'Why not?' demanded Rose.' 'You believe it.' he said. On his own showing. his story is a very doubtful one.' replied the doctor: 'because.' 'I doubt it. he has been the companion of thieves for some time past. after a great number of very rapid turns. my pretty cross-examiner. after all. surely?' interrupted Rose. smiling at the doctor's impetuosity. from that gentleman's house. 'the poor child's story. he can only prove the parts that look ill. and in not more than a dozen the last. This consummation being arrived at. would be mere child's play. and Mrs. he has been carried to a police-officer. the doctor walked up and down the next room in a very uneasy state. they would say? A runaway. and shoots him! As if on purpose to prevent his doing any good for himself! Don't you see all this?' 'I see it. faithfully repeated to these men. Meanwhile. forcibly. there rushes into the way. '_I_ believe it. making a halt. you see. for secrecy and solemnity.' said the doctor. and so do the very thing that would set him all to rights. 'but still I do not see anything in it.' 201 . Giles and Brittles were put through a melodramatic representation of their share in the previous night's adventures: which they performed some six times over: contradiction each other.This done. 'I hardly know what to do.' 'Surely. compared with which. and none of those that look well. 'I don't think it would exonerate him. just at the very moment when he is going to alarm the inmates. the first time. either with them.' said Rose. and held a long council together. What is he. Judged by mere worldly considerations and probabilities. of course. or with legal functionaries of a higher grade. 'but I don't think it is exactly the tale for a practical policeofficer. and is put through a window to rob a house. shaking his head. He is brought down to Chertsey. 'Upon my word. whether he will or no. in not more than one important respect. with anxious faces. amidst the breathless interest of all beholders. strange as it is. and Mr.' rejoined the doctor. nevertheless. Maylie and Rose looked on.

for all that. The object is a good one. master. ma'am. Losberne.'No. We must make the best of it. and that is.' 'All I know is. 'that we must try and carry it off with a bold face.' said Blathers. 'We find it was a town hand.' said Mrs. 'when the servants is in it.' said Blathers. it is no fault of ours. and that must be our excuse. the one which first presents itself to them. 'We call it a put-up robbery. and giving publicity to all the doubts that will be cast upon it. that's one comfort. and even if they can do nothing to him in the end.' 'Wery pretty indeed it is. Maylie. and is in no condition to be talked to any more. I am certain it will not be believed. Come in!' 'Well. as if he pitied their ignorance. 'Wery likely not. The boy has strong symptoms of fever upon him.' 'Oh! what is to be done?' cried Rose. dear! whyddid they send for these people?' 'Why. 'but they might have been in it.' replied the doctor.' said Duff. entering the room followed by his colleague. 'of course not! Bless the bright eyes of your sex! They never see. 'This warn't a put-up thing. before he said any more.' said the doctor. in this case. at last: sitting down with a kind of desperate calmness. and walked up and down the room with even greater rapidity than before.' remarked Duff. the doctor put his hands into his pockets.' 'More likely on that wery account. in an undertone. turning to them. 'I would not have had them here. must interfere. continuing his report.' said Mr. 'Dear. always. ladies. more than one side of any question. still the dragging it forward. for the world. '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.' 'Nobody suspected them.' Having given vent to this result of experience. 202 . and if bad be the best. 'for the style of work is first-rate.' replied Blathers. indeed!' exclaimed Mrs. but had a contempt for the doctor's.' 'And what the devil's a put-up thing?' demanded the doctor.' said Blathers. impatiently. materially. and making the door fast. with your benevolent plan of rescuing him from misery. 'The more I think of it. Maylie. whether for good or bad.

Anythink that's handy. this sort of duty. following the young lady to the sideboard. Conkey hadn't any more to do with it than I had. and I always find that spirits comes home warmer to the feelings. the doctor slipped out of the room.' 'You always gave that to him' replied Duff. Do you mind that time when Conkey was robbed of his money. drawing his coat-sleeve across his mouth.' said Blathers. if you please.'There was two of 'em in it. Blathers. on our accounts. miss!' said Blathers.' 'Perhaps they will take something to drink first.' 'Get out!' retorted Mr. 'Ah!' said Mr. warn't it?' rejoined Mr. that was.' replied Blathers. Blathers.' 'What shall it be?' asked the doctor. but grasping the bottom between the thumb and forefinger of his left hand: and placing it in front of his chest. 'This here Conkey Chickweed--' 'Conkey means Nosey. 'It was a robbery. thank you. I tell you. ladies. miss. 'That was something in this way. that's plain from the size of the window. Duff. 'it's dry work. 'Oh! to be sure!' exclaimed Rose. 'It's a cold ride from London. 'I know better. 'It was the Family Pet. That's all to be said at present. though? What a start that was! Better than any novel-book _I_ ever see!' 'What was that?' inquired Rose: anxious to encourage any symptoms of goodhumour in the unwelcome visitors. 'You shall have it immediately. 'A little drop of spirits. ma'am.' 'That crack down in the back lane at Edmonton.' said Mr. 'I have seen a good many pieces of business like this.' This interesting communication was addressed to Mrs. Maylie?' said the doctor: his face brightening. 203 . master. as if some new thought had occurred to him. eagerly. that hardly anybody would have been down upon. 'that was done by Conkey Chickweed. assisting his colleague's memory.' continued Blathers. Maylie. don't put yourself out of the way. in my time. if it's all the same. While it was being conveyed to her. if you will. Blathers. Mrs. 'and they had a boy with 'em.' interposed Duff.' 'Why. miss. Blathers: not holding his wine-glass by the stem. ma'am. who received it very graciously. We'll see this lad that you've got upstairs at once.

partner! This here Conkey Chickweed. and went up and down the streets. Next morning. Chickweed in apprehending the man as robbed his house. in his pocket. than he put some clean linen and a comb.'Of course the lady knows that. at a moment's notice. He was wery quick about it. dives in. after a deal of talk. but he warn't to be seen nowhere. all ready to bolt out. "I was so struck all of a heap. where a good many young lords went to see cock-fighting." said Chickweed. and he had a cellar. and a wery intellectural manner the sports was conducted in. "I've lost him again!" It was a remarkable occurrence. However. for three or four days. he couldn't help shutting 'em. he had made off with the blunt." "Why didn't you up. he hears Chickweed a-roaring out. and had a private interview with the magistrate. sees a little crowd. all in a hurry. for he fired a blunderbuss arter him. till one-half the neighbours gave out that Mr. all the way to some palings a good distance off. Blathers." Spyers no sooner heard this. "pass my house yesterday morning. kept a publichouse over Battlebridge way. 'Always interrupting. in case he should have to stop a day or two. One day he came up to the office. and roused the neighbourhood. and when they came to look about 'em. rings the bell. "Here he is! Stop thief! Murder!" Jem Spyers dashes out. and away he goes. At last. directly. for a tall man with a black patch over his eye. and one night he was robbed of three hundred and twenty-seven guineas in a canvas bag. Spyers took his old place. a-tearing down the street full cry. miss. who. who had concealed himself under the bed." says the poor man. that you might have fractured my skull with a toothpick. They set up a hue-and-cry. from behind the curtain. "Thieves!" and Chickweed himself keeps on shouting. and I don't know what all. appeared in the Gazette among the other bankrupts. But Conkey was quick. so they went back to the public-house. with Chickweed half-way down the street ahead of him. till his own two eyes ached again. Spyers loses sight of him a minute as he turns a corner. the name of Mr. Chickweed. don't she?' demanded Mr. and the very moment he did so. at that time. licensed witler. for there was traces of blood. and sets himself down at one of the public-house windows behind the little red curtain. and orders Jem Spyers in (Jem was a active officer). "Here he is!" Off he starts once more. and that. "I see him. late at night. once or twice more. to ease 'em a minute. a pulling his hair off in such a desperate manner that many people was afraid he might be going to make away with himself. and looked out. that was stole out of his bedrrom in the dead of night. Spyers. too. with his hat on. and all manner of benefits and subscriptions. He warn't one of the family. for I've seen 'em off'en. and there they lost 'em. "but we're sure to have him. when all of a sudden Chickweed roars out. Away goes Spyers. and there he sees Chickweed. and collar him!" says Spyers. and tells him to go and assist Mr. for between ten and eleven o'clock at night he passed again. all the time. on goes Chickweed. round turns the people. everybody roars out. and after twice as long a run as the yesterday's one. was got up for the poor man. the man's lost again! This was done. and badger-drawing. like mad. who was in a wery low state of mind about his loss. found that Conkey had hit the robber. and. you are. Chickweed had been 204 . jumped slap out of window: which was only a story high. shoots round. by a tall man with a black patch over his eye. consequently. He was smoking his pipe here. and after committing the robbery. "Which is the man?" "D--me!" says Chickweed.

as he was thus recommended to their notice.' 205 . and is immediately laid hold of and maltreated. the two officers ascended to Oliver's bedroom. comes to the house for assistance this morning. The bewildered butler gazed from them towards Oliver. speaking softly. I suppose?' said the doctor. sir. who.' 'What did Jem Spyers say?' inquired the doctor. laying Oliver gently down again. and from Oliver towards Mr. you can walk upstairs. Giles. sir.' answered Giles. 'I am sure I thought it was the boy. Losberne.robbed by the devil. and the other half. Blathers and Duff looked at Mr. as I can professionally certify. But. "none of that gammon! You did it yourself. but looked worse. Closely following Mr. and taking out his snuffbox. Blathers. and nobody would never have found it out.' 'If YOU please. he walked into the bar. my dear Spyers. he managed to sit up in bed for a minute or so. Oliver had been dozing. and listened to everything without seeming to. indeed. What-d' ye-call-him's grounds. and I shall die contented! Oh.' Messrs. and was more feverish than he had appeared yet.' observed the doctor. only let me have wengeance. and looked at the strangers without at all understanding what was going forward--in fact. 'this is the lad.' resumed the officer." "Have you?" said Chickweed. 'Jem Spyers. who had returned to the room shortly after the commencement of the story. being accidently wounded by a spring-gun in some boyish trespass on Mr. 'Now." So he had. my dear Spyers.' returned Mr. Chickweed had gone mad with grief. and clinking the handcuffs together. or I wouldn't have meddled with him. Being assisted by the doctor. Losberne. where is the villain!" "Come!" said Spyers. with a lighted candle. 'for a long time said nothing at all. at the back here. I've found out who done this here robbery. with a most ludicrous mixture of fear and perplexity. who was playing tricks with him arterwards. Blathers. 'This. without seeming to recollect where he was. Mr. offering him a pinch of snuff. sir. I am not of an inhuman disposition. 'You don't mean to deny that. if he hadn't been so precious anxious to keep up appearances!' said Mr. 'Very curious. too. 'It was all done for the--for the best. if you please. one morning. that poor Mr. and a good bit of money he had made by it. which showed he understood his business.' said Mr. but with great vehemence notwithstanding. putting down his wine-glass. Giles preceding the party. or what had been passing. says "Chickweed. by that ingenious gentleman with the candle in his hand: who has placed his life in considerable danger. "Oh. Losberne.

' 'Has this man been a-drinking. under the fear of having mortally wounded a fellow-creature. Finally. five minutes previously.' replied poor Giles. 'I don't know what to think. 'I couldn't swear to him. did it make a greater impression than on Mr. Mr. I'm almost certain that it isn't. that he begain to be very much afraid he had been a little too hasty.'Thought it was what boy?' inquired the senior officer.' 'Well? Do you think so now?' inquired Blathers. because Mr. Among other ingenious surmises. Acting upon this suggestion. for some hours. as tended to throw no particular light on anything. sir?' inquired Blathers. his declarations that he shouldn't know the real boy. without troubling themselves very much about Oliver. Stupid-head?' rejoined Blathers. 'I don't know. and have Brittles before them. Giles had really hit anybody. I really don't know. the officers. 'I don't think it is the boy. 'Think it's the same boy. but the fact of his own strong mystification. and upon examination of the fellow pistol to that which he had fired. who had drawn the ball about ten minutes before. and that Mr. 'What a precious muddle-headed chap you are!' said Duff. involved himself and his respected superior in such a wonderful maze of fresh contradictions and impossibilities. You know it can't be. however. but he now rose from the chair by the bedside. they adjourned to a neighbouring apartment. Upon no one. turning to the doctor. whether Mr.' said Giles.' 'What do you think?' asked Mr. with supreme contempt. Giles had said he was. 206 . looking vacantly at his questioner. except. 'Think what. and remarked. with a rueful countenance. indeed. being called in. Giles had. that he had only taken Oliver to be he. sir!' replied Giles. if he were put before him that instant. impatiently. admitted in the kitchen. the question was then raised. who. eagerly caught at this new idea. that if the officers had any doubts upon the subject. and took up their rest for that night in the town. after labouring. Blathers. indeed. 'The housebreaker's boy. and favoured it to the utmost. they would perhaps like to step into the next room. left the Chertsey constable in the house. Giles. where Mr. 'They--they certainly had a boy. Losberne had been feeling the patient's pulse during this short dialogue. Brittles. Giles himself. now?' replied Giles. it turned out to have no more destructive loading than gunpowder and brown paper: a discovery which made a considerable impression on everybody but the doctor. addressing Mr. promising to return the next morning.

who had been apprehended over night under suspicious circumstances. and the kind-hearted Mr. Meanwhile. Blathers and Duff came back again. have committed burglary accompanied with violence. Conkey Chickweed. be heard in heaven--and if they be not. sunk into their souls. which. diffusing peace and happiness. in the absence of all other evidence. If fervent prayers. in the merciful eye of the English law. Maylie. inclining to the belief that the burglarious attempt had originated with the Family Pet. or sleepers. The suspicious circumstances. being rewarded with a couple of guineas. although a great crime. and Blathers and Duff. however. after some more examination. that two men and a boy were in the cage at Kingston.With the next morning. and is. and the former being equally disposed to concede the full merit of it to the great Mr. and a great deal more conversation. on investigation. into the one fact. In short. Losberne for Oliver's appearance if he should ever be called upon. and have therefore rendered themselves liable to the punishment of death. that the sleeper. and to Kingston Messrs. as wise as they went. what prayers are!--the blessings which the orphan child called down upon them. Messrs. is only punishable by imprisonment. Losberne. there came a rumour. Oliver gradually throve and prospered under the united care of Mrs. held to be no satisfactory proof. resolving themselves. a neighbouring magistrate was readily induced to take the joint bail of Mrs. Rose. that they had been discovered sleeping under a haystack. and its comprehensive love of all the King's subjects. returned to town with divided opinions on the subject of their expedition: the latter gentleman on a mature consideration of all the circumstances. Maylie and Mr. gushing from hearts overcharged with gratitude. 207 . Blathers and Duff journeyed accordingly.

'Oh yes. by slow degrees. was eager to serve them with his whole heart and soul. something. he began. 'how kind of you to say so!' 'You will make me happier than I can tell you. the pure air. but to know that the object of her goodness and compassion was sincerely grateful and attached. and the dear old nurse. and how ardently he hoped that when he grew strong and well again.' 'To whom?' inquired the young lady. I am sure. Do you understand me?' she inquired. or watching your birds. But. watching Oliver's thoughtful face. that you promise now. or running up and down the whole day long. if I could but work for you. he could do something to show his gratitude. his exposure to the wet and cold had brought on fever and ague: which hung about him for many weeks. '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. We will employ you in a hundred ways. and my aunt intends that you shall accompany us.' said Miss Maylie. when Oliver had been one day feebly endeavouring to utter the words of thankfulness that rose to his pale lips. will restore you in a few days. 'you shall have many opportunities of serving us. which would let them see the love and duty with which his breast was full. more than you can well imagine. smiling. how deeply he felt the goodness of the two sweet ladies. in consequence.' rejoined Oliver. and if you only take half the trouble to please us. 'Oh! dear lady.' 'Happy. 'Poor fellow!' said Rose.' 'The trouble!' cried Oliver. only something. would delight me.CHAPTER XXXII OF THE HAPPY LIFE OLIVER BEGAN TO LEAD WITH HIS KIND FRIENDS Oliver's ailings were neither slight nor few. which would prove to them that their gentle kindness had not been cast away.' replied the young lady. if you will. and to be able to say sometimes. or death. however slight. you will make me very happy indeed. to get better.' 208 . if I could only give you pleasure by watering your flowers. would be an unspeakable pleasure to me. and reduced him sadly. 'To the kind gentleman. what would I give to do it!' 'You shall give nothing at all. 'but I was thinking that I am ungrateful now. and all the pleasure and beauties of spring. at length. ma'am. as I told you before. We are going into the country. when you can bear the trouble. 'for. The quiet place. they would be pleased. to make you happy. we shall employ you in a hundred ways. who took so much care of me before. but that the poor boy whom their charity had rescued from misery. 'If they knew how happy I am. in a few tearful words. In addition to the pain and delay attendant on a broken limb. yes!' replied Oliver eagerly. ma'am!' cried Oliver.

'Hallo. Pull up here. nearly fell forward into the passage. Robbery is the matter. in a little carriage which belonged to Mrs. Losberne has already been kind enough to promise that when you are well enough to bear the journey. began kicking at the door like a madman. 'That house!' 'Yes. from the very impetus of his last kick. growled forth a volley of horrid oaths. what's his rascally name--Sikes. there! let me out!' But. that's it. 'and Mr. too. Maylie. as if in excess of amazement and indignation. my man. pointing out of the carriage window. collaring him. and. by some means or other. what of it? Stop coachman.' 'Has he. that the doctor. 'What's the matter with the boy?' cried the doctor. eh?' 'The thieves--the house they took me to!' whispered Oliver. 209 .' replied the hump-backed man. giving his captive a hearty shake. before the coachman could dismount from his box. 'I don't know what I shall do for joy when I see their kind faces once again!' In a short time Oliver was sufficiently recovered to undergo the fatigue of this expedition. 'Do you see anything--hear anything--feel anything--eh?' 'That. Do you hear me?' 'I hear you. dexterously. from the doctor's grasp. accordingly. 'Where's--confound the fellow.'I am sure they would. however. 'Halloa?' said a little ugly hump-backed man: opening the door so suddenly. running down to the deserted tenement.' cried the doctor. you thief?' The hump-backed man stared. sir. Before he could shut the door. the doctor had passed into the parlour. without a moment's reflection.' said the doctor.' 'There'll be Murder the matter. Where's Sikes. his face brightening with pleasure. all in a bustle. When they came to Chertsey Bridge. Oliver turned very pale. 'if you don't take your hands off. coolly. Losberne set out. he had tumbled out of the coach. 'What's the matter here?' 'Matter!' exclaimed the other. One morning he and Mr. and retired into the house. and uttered a loud exclamation. well. without a word of parley. as usual. 'A good deal. ma'am?' cried Oliver.' cried Oliver. then. he will carry you to see them.' rejoined Oliver's benefactress. twisting himself. 'The devil it is!' cried the doctor. 'What of the house.

or to murder me? Which is it?' 'Did you ever know a man come out to do either. who had watched him keenly. as if wild with rage. that. and an unavoidable statement of the manner in which I have hushed up this business. Oliver?' 'No. I see no good that I should have done. after a long silence. You shall pay for this. He continued to utter the most fearful imprecations. which. 'Will you take yourself off. and danced upon the ground.' said Mr. and the right fellows had been there. I'm here. until the driver had resumed his seat. animate or inanimate. 'the boy must have made a mistake. in this violent way? Do you want to rob me. I haven't lived here mad and all alone. 'Even if it had been the right place. this. you ridiculous old vampire?' said the irritable doctor. he looked into the carriage. 'If you ever want me. looking into the other parlour. sir. he could not forget it for months afterwards. like the first. except leading to my own exposure. but as Mr. The man followed to the chariot door. in transports of real or pretended rage. That would 210 . 'I am an ass!' said the doctor. single-handed? And if I had had assistance. they could see him some distance behind: beating his feet upon the ground. not an article of furniture. 'I shall find you out. 'what do you mean by coming into my house. you shall pay for this. what could I have done. 'Stupid enough. and shut yourself up again. after a further silence of some minutes. and eyed Oliver for an instant with a glance so sharp and fierce and at the same time so furious and vindictive. in a chariot and a pair. not even the position of the cupboards.' muttered the doctor to himself. to be scared by you. and tearing his hair. bore no resemblance whatever to Oliver's account of it. not a vestige of anything. 'Did you know that before. for five-and-twenty years.' said the doctor again.He looked anxiously round.' 'Will you?' sneered the ill-favoured cripple.' 'An ass. Losberne. answered Oliver's description! 'Now!' said the hump-backed man. before I do you a mischief? Curse you!' 'As soon as I think proper. and returned to the carriage. some day. waking or sleeping.' And so saying. Losberne turned to speak to the driver. Here! Put that in your pocket.' With these words he flung the hunchback a piece of money. my friend.' 'Then don't forget it another time. 'What do you want. then?' demanded the hunchback. uttering the wildest imprecations and curses all the way. the misshapen little demon set up a yell. and when they were once more on their way.

' The coach rolled on. pointing eagerly out of the window. that so far from being involved in any peculiar troubles or misfortunes. they were enabled to drive straight thither. taking Oliver's arm in his. and gone to the West Indies. from that time forth. No. come!' said the good doctor. and stopped again.have served me right. very good to me. and a gentleman who was a friend of Mr. so very. the next door. 'They were so good to me. Brownlow had sold off his goods. 'The white house. at being disappointed in procuring corroborative evidence of Oliver's story on the very first occasion on which he had a chance of obtaining any. It went on a few paces. It stopped. and finding that Oliver's replies to his questions. 211 . after a moment's pause. his heart beat so violently. he made up his mind to attach full credence to them. Alas! the white house was empty. that Mr.' 'Oh! I hope so!' cried Oliver. all went together. She presently returned. Oliver looked up at the windows. Oliver clasped his hands. Brownlow resided. 'Yes. with tears of happy expectation coursing down his face. six weeks before. sir'. do you know?' The servant did not know. 'That! That!' replied Oliver. that was the wrong house. I am always involving myself in some scrape or other. When the coach turned into it. but would go and inquire. patting him on the shoulder. 'To Let. and they will be overjoyed to find you safe and well. 'What has become of Mr. As Oliver knew the name of the street in which Mr. the housekeeper. and sank feebly backward. that he could scarcely draw his breath. however. 'The old gentleman. Oh! make haste! Pray make haste! I feel as if I should die: it makes me tremble so. It might have done me good. If the truth must be told. though.' Now. which house is it?' inquired Mr. Losberne. by acting on impulse. my boy. and said. were still as straightforward and consistent.' 'Knock at the next door. and there was a bill in the window. the fact was that the excellent doctor had never acted upon anything but impulse all through his life. and if was no bad compliment to the nature of the impulses which governed him. who used to live in the adjoining house. 'Has his housekeeper gone too?' inquired Mr. as they had ever been.' 'Come. Losberne. he had the warmest respect and esteem of all who knew him. He soon came round again. Losberne. Brownlow.' cried Mr. he was a little out of temper. 'You will see them directly. 'Now. for a minute or two. Brownlow's. replied the servant. and still delivered with as much apparent sincerity and truth.

and in bewailing his cruel separation from them. The circumstance occasioned no alteration. and who have come almost to love each brick and stone that formed the narrow boundaries of their daily walks. No. and they have sunk into their tombs. The hope of eventually clearing himself with them. they made preparations for quitting the house at Chertsey. and glistening water.' said Mr. sir?' said Oliver. the peace of mind and soft tranquillity. that a foretaste of heaven itself has soothed their quick decline. After another fortnight. with the hand of death upon them. and leaving Giles and another servant in care of the house. to whom custom has indeed been second nature. they have had such memories wakened up within them by the sight of the sky. with thinking of all that Mr. men. and every tree and flower was putting forth its young leaves and rich blossoms. This bitter disappointment caused Oliver much sorrow and grief. for some months. and sustained him. pent-up streets. which had so excited Fagin's cupidity. too.' said the doctor. 'and don't stop to bait the horses. and took Oliver with them. as peacefully 212 . Brownlow and Mrs. and carry their own freshness. the idea that they should have gone so far. or run away. even they. we shall certainly find that he is dead. and hill and plain. for he had pleased himself. and. to the banker's. and explaining how he had been forced away. deep into their jaded hearts! Men who have lived in crowded. they departed to a cottage at some distance in the country. or has set his house on fire. even in the midst of his happiness. 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. this is disappointment enough for one day. had buoyed him up. from day to day. Crawling forth. See him. to some green sunny spot. pray. till you get out of this confounded London!' 'The book-stall keeper. the sickly boy felt in the balmy air. 'Quite enough for both of us. in the behaviour of his benefactors. and who have never wished for change. through lives of toil.'Then turn towards home again. and now. many times during his illness. Who can describe the pleasure and delight. and carried with them the belief that the was an impostor and a robber--a belief which might remain uncontradicted to his dying day--was almost more than he could bear. have been known to yearn at last for one short glimpse of Nature's face. home they went. carried far from the scenes of their old pains and pleasures. home again straight!' And in obedience to the doctor's impulse. have seemed to pass at once into a new state of being. If we go to the book-stall keeper's. Bedwin would say to him: and what delight it would be to tell them how many long days and nights he had passed in reflecting on what they had done for him. and among the green hills and rich woods. however. under many of his recent trials. 'I know the way there. Losberne to the driver. Sending the plate. sir! Do see him!' 'My poor boy. when the fine warm weather had fairly begun.

and at this.as the sun whose setting they watched from their lonely chamber window but a few hours before. and the garden-flowers perfumed the air with delicious odours. The poor people were so neat and clean. seemed to enter on a new existence there. whose days had been spent among squalid crowds. in some shady place. The days were peaceful and serene. a vague and half-formed consciousness of having held such feelings long before. And when Sunday came. Then. and. and bends down pride and worldliness beneath it. the old people of the village lay at rest. nor of its thoughts and hopes. and in the midst of noise and brawling. or sing. Then. and Oliver would sit by one of the windows. he would walk with Mrs. but beneath all this. Oliver often wandered here. and play some pleasant air. and listen whilst the young lady read: which he could have done. It was a lovely spot to which they repaired. or had forgotten anything he could run to fetch: that he could never be quick enought about it. Hard by. but without pain. not a tedious duty. or associating with wretched men. Every morning he went to a white-headed old gentleman. thinking of the wretched grave in which his mother lay. and to write: and who spoke so kindly. he had his own lesson for the next day to prepare. it was real. was a little churchyard. but full of humble mounds. are not of this world. in a little room which looked into the garden. their assembling there together. and hear them talk of books. in a low and gentle voice. would sometimes sit him down and sob unseen. and bear down before it old enmity and hatred. the nights brought with them neither fear nor care. Oliver. the ivy crept round the trunks of the trees. from any way in which he had ever spent it yet! and how happily too. with the green leaves fluttering at the windows: the birds singing without: and the sweetsmelling air stealing in at the low porch. covered with fresh turf and moss: beneath which. and though the singing might be rude. or perhaps sit near them. Their gentle influence may teach us how to weave fresh garlands for the graves of those we loved: may purify our thoughts. that it seemed a pleasure. and he with them: listening with such pleasure to all they said: and so happy if they wanted a flower that he could climb to reach. until it grew too dark to see the letters. sadly. and would weep for her. When it became quite dark. but. There would be no candles lighted at such times as these. the young lady would sit down to the piano. and sounded more 213 . and knelt so reverently in prayer. The rose and honeysuckle clung to the cottage walls. that Oliver could never try enough to please him. he would work hard. It was a happy time. when the ladies would walk out again. like all the other days in that most happy time! There was the little church. nothing but pleasant and happy thoughts. which calls up solemn thoughts of distant times to come. and they returned home. listening to the sweet music. in some remote and distant time. he would cease to think of her as lying in the ground. and filling the homely building with its fragrance. till evening came slowly on. in a perfect rapture. there lingers. faded from their dim and feeble sight! The memories which peaceful country scenes call up. Maylie and Rose. and took such pains. not crowded with tall unsightly gravestones. who lived near the little church: who taught him to read better. some old song which it pleased her aunt to hear. in the least reflective mind. no languishing in a wretched prison. when he raised his eyes to the deep sky overhead. in the morning. how differently the day was spent.

and that the fervent attachment of his young and sensitive heart. sometimes. there were the walks as usual. and in the performance of which duty he felt more proud and pleased. and attachment to. failing that. in the life of the most blessed and favoured of mortals. on the green. roaming the fields. or. by the end of that short time. home. than if he had been the clergyman himself. or about the plants. might have been unmingled happiness. for the embellishment of the breakfast-table. Oliver read a chapter or two from the Bible. There was fresh groundsel. far and wide. would decorate the cages. there was always something to do in the garden. or. With the purest and most amiable generousity on one side. three months which. there was usually some little commission of charity to execute in the village. warmest. who was a gardener by trade. with which he would return laden. until Miss Rose made her appearance: when there were a thousand commendations to be bestowed on all he had done. with which Oliver. failing that. and which it took great care and consideration to arrange. In the morning. and at night. and the truest. was repaid by their pride in. who had been studying the subject under the able tuition of the village clerk. which he had been studying all the week. So three months glided away. himself. it is no wonder that. too. and many calls at the clean houses of the labouring men. 214 . Oliver would be a-foot by six o'clock. to the best advantage. and plundering the hedges. under the same master. and which. there was rare cricket-playing. soul-felt gratitude on the other. in Oliver's were true felicity.) applied himself with hearty good-will. for Miss Maylie's birds. Oliver Twist had become completely domesticated with the old lady and her niece. When the birds were made all spruce and smart for the day. in the most approved taste. to which Oliver (who had studied this science also. Then. for nosegays of wild flowers.musical (to Oliver's ears at least) than any he had ever heard in church before.

as though the words had roused her from some painful thoughts. It was the prime and vigour of the year. The earth had donned her mantle of brightest green. The young lady merely throwing off her simple bonnet. and as she played it. pray!' 215 . Maylie being fatigued. my love?' interposed Mrs. and there was a brilliant moon. and summer came. attached. nothing. in merry conversation. and they had walked on. Close the window. Rose had been in high spirits.CHAPTER XXXIII WHEREIN THE HAPPINESS OF OLIVER AND HIS FRIENDS. but I feel--' 'Not ill. EXPERIENCES A SUDDEN CHECK Spring flew swiftly by. aunt. Rose made no reply. which had looked shrunken and bare in the earlier months. I can't describe it. my dear!' said the elder lady. my love!' cried Mrs. and the same cheerful serenity prevailed among its inmates. but health or sickness made no difference in his warm feelings of a great many people. until they had far exceeded their ordinary bounds. and comfort on those who tended him. 'No. which was unusually refreshing. 'I shall be better presently. while she spoke. 'I don't know what it is. One beautiful night. but played a little quicker. Still. steeped in sunshine. they returned more slowly home. and when he was dependent for every slight attention. After running abstractedly over the keys for a few minutes. Oliver had long since grown stout and healthy. Mrs. all things were glad and flourishing. converted open and naked spots into choice nooks. 'Rose. Maylie. what distresses you?' 'Nothing. had now burst into strong life and health. which lay stretched beyond. and stretching forth their green arms over the thirsty ground. Maylie. when they had taken a longer walk than was customary with them: for the day had been unusually warm. no! Oh. affectionate creature that he had been when pain and suffering had wasted his strength. He was still the same gentle. and a light wind had sprung up. rising hastily. 'What is this? In tears! My dear child. The great trees. 'Rose. too. she fell into a low and very solemn air. 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.' replied the young lady. they heard a sound as if she were weeping. not ill!' replied Rose: shuddering as though some deadly chillness were passing over her. sat down to the piano as usual. and bending over her. and shed her richest perfumes abroad. where was a deep and pleasant shade from which to look upon the wide prospect.

'The heavy blow.' 'I would not alarm you if I could avoid it.Oliver hastened to comply with her request. remained silent for some time. I fear I AM ill. which it had never worn before. Its expression had lost nothing of its beauty.' said Oliver. aunt. I have been very happy with her for some years: too happy. strove to play some livelier tune. and they so far succeeded. but it was changed. indeed. 216 . that when Rose was persuaded by her aunt to retire for the night. Oliver. and she was once more deadly pale. 'but indeed I have tried very hard. she said. in a trembling voice: 'I hope not. like the shadow thrown by a passing cloud. At length. they saw that in the very short time which had elapsed since their return home. making an effort to recover her cheerfulness. quite well. but her fingers dropped powerless over the keys. but seeing that she affected to make light of them. and there was an anxious haggard look about the gentle face. 'Amen to that. Again this disappeared. and gave vent to the tears which she was now unable to repress. 'I never saw you so before. folding her arms about her.' 'What?' inquired Oliver. 'of losing the dear girl who has so long been my comfort and happiness. when candles were brought. perhaps. wringing her hands. observed that she was alarmed by these appearances. and so in truth. and appeared even in better health: assuring them that she felt certain she should rise in the morning. but--' The old lady motioned to him not to speak. and it was suffused with a crimson flush: and a heavy wildness came over the soft blue eye. was he. he endeavoured to do the same.' rejoined Rose. who watched the old lady anxiously. Another minute. 'My child!' said the elderly lady. and cannot help this. 'I hope.' She was. the hue of her countenance had changed to a marble whiteness.' 'Oh! God forbid!' exclaimed Oliver. hastily. and sitting herself down in a dark corner of the room. 'that nothing is the matter? She don't look well to-night. my child!' said the old lady. but I hope it is not this. Maylie returned. Oliver. when Mrs.' said the old lady. The young lady. she sank upon a sofa. for. It may be time that I should meet with some misfortune. she was in better spirits. Covering her face with her hands.

as the tears forced themselves into his eyes. I am sure. impressively. steadily. for your sake. and have seen enough of illness and death to know the agony of separation from the objects of our love. for Heaven is just. but I hope I may be pardoned. Oliver. Maylies. with all possible expedition. I had forgotten it for a moment. 'Two hours ago. dear Rose! Oh. I am sure--certain--quite certain--that. Maylie. Maylie said these words. 'And consider.'Surely there is no danger of anything so dreadful?' said Oliver. even cheerfully. Mrs. under trying circumstances. by an express on horseback. God's will be done! I love her. and did not know what strong minds are capable of.' 217 .' said Mrs. and that the passage to it is speedy. who are so good yourself. ventured to remonstrate with her. and for her own. The people at the inn will undertake to do this: and I can trust to you to see it done. to Mr. she would be more calm. she will not die. notwithstanding.' 'She is very ill now. as she looked steadily into his face. by the footpath across the field: and thence dispatched. When morning came. He was still more astonished to find that this firmness lasted. and that. for I am old. How should he. to all external appearances. that there is a brighter world than this. she checked her lamentations as though by one effort. 'Oh! consider how young and good she is. but this should give us comfort in our sorrow.' 'Hush!' said Mrs. and for the sake of all she makes so happy. despite of his efforts to the contrary. what shall I do without her!' She gave way to such great grief. and. Heaven will never let her die so young. I have seen enough. and what pleasure and comfort she gives to all about her. Maylie. and to beg. when their possessors so seldom know themselves? An anxious night ensued. and not give way to useless grief. for the sake of the dear young lady herself. suppressing his own emotion. Maylie's predictions were but too well verified. Rose was in the first stage of a high and dangerous fever. Maylie was every ready and collected: performing all the duties which had devolved upon her. My dear. Oliver.' said Oliver. 'and will be worse. became composed and firm. But he was young. and He know how well!' Oliver was surprised to see that as Mrs. But you teach me my duty. and drawing herself up as she spoke. straight to Chertsey. that. poor boy. ma'am. to know that it is not always the youngest and best who are spared to those that love them.' rejoined Mrs. that Oliver. earnestly. 'You think like a child. I know. Losberne. laying her hand on Oliver's head. Mrs. she was quite well. and such things teach us. laying her finger on her lip. It must be carried to the market-town: which is not more than four miles off. too. under all the care and watching which ensued. 'We must be active. 'this letter must be sent.

to recover breath. ma'am?' inquired Oliver. leaning against a pump by the stable-door. and the little parcel having been handed up. pausing to reflect. to the next stage. picking his teeth with a silver toothpick.' replied Mrs. 'Here is another letter. giving it to him mechanically.' With these words. At length. for a few seconds.' said Mrs. was out of the town. which took up ten good minutes more. Maylie. unless I feared the worst. Here he paused. I scarcely know. Swiftly he ran across the fields. and in one corner there was a large house. and now emerging on an open field. where the mowers and haymakers were busy at their work: nor did he stop once. but looked his anxiety to be gone at once. impatiently. until he came. that he felt as if he could have jumped upon the horse himself. she gave Oliver her purse. 'I will wait until to-morrow.Oliver could make no reply. and a man to be dressed. There were a white bank. and rattling over the uneven paving of the market-place. without more delay. 218 . Meanwhile Oliver was in such a desperate state of impatience and anxiety. on the little market-place of the market-town. drab breeches. with many injunctions and entreaties for its speedy delivery. where. 'Shall it go. He spoke to a postboy who was dozing under the gateway. and boots with tops to match. taking it back.' 'Is it for Chertsey. and a red brewery. referred him to the landlord. all was ready. who after hearing all he had to say again. 'I think not. after hearing what he wanted. and a yellow town-hall. too. in a great heat. as soon as it caught his eye. impatient to execute his commission. a white hat.' To this he hastened. a horse had to be saddled. and down the little lanes which sometimes divided them: now almost hidden by the high corn on either side.' replied the old lady. at some great lord's house in the country. 'but whether to send it now. and galloped away. the man set spurs to his horse. This gentleman walked with much deliberation into the bar to make out the bill: which took a long time making out: and after it was ready. Oliver glanced at it. looking up. he could not make out. and he started off. and saw that it was directed to Harry Maylie. and galloping along the turnpike-road. and paid. Maylie. 'No. or wait until I see how Rose goes on. save now and then. and looked about for the inn. and who. Esquire. at the greatest speed he could muster. I would not forward it. full tear. with all the wood about it painted green: before which was the sign of 'The George. ma'am?' asked Oliver. referred him to the ostler. and covered with dust. in a couple of minutes. who was a tall gentleman in a blue neckcloth. and holding out his trembling hand for the letter.

to the staircase. was in constant attendance upon her. I might have been free of you in a night. and black death on your heart. for a moment. and suddenly recoiling. glaring at the boy with his large dark eyes. running as fast as he could. to make up for lost time: and recalling with a great deal of astonishment and some fear. 'Hah!' cried the man. 'I hope I have not hurt you!' 'Rot you!' murmured the man. fixing his eyes on Oliver.' he said. in a horrible passion. however: for when he reached the cottage. as he uttered these words incoherently. who resided on the spot. The circumstance did not dwell in his recollection long. Having seen him safely carried into the hotel. between his clenched teeth. sir.' 'Death!' muttered the man to himself. 'In fact.' said Oliver. in a fit. as if with the intention of aiming a blow at him. Oliver gazed. and after first seeing the patient. 'if I had only had the courage to say the word. listen for the slightest sound from the sick 219 .As it was something to feel certain that assistance was sent for. He advanced towards Oliver. before mid-night she was delirious. and to drive all considerations of self completely from his memory. 'Who would have thought it! Grind him to ashes! He'd start up from a stone coffin. Rose Maylie had rapidly grown worse. Oliver hurried up the inn-yard. and that no time had been lost.' stammered Oliver. and stealing out. confused by the strange man's wild look. he had taken Mrs. there was enough to occupy his mind. Maylie aside. but fell violently on the ground: writhing and foaming. he turned his face homewards.' How often did Oliver start from his bed that night. if she recovered. with noiseless footstep. Curses on your head. 'I was in a great hurry to get home. He was turning out of the gateway when he accidently stumbled against a tall man wrapped in a cloak. and didn't see you were coming. to come in my way!' 'I am sorry. and pronounced her disorder to be one of a most alarming nature. who was at that moment coming out of the inn door. you imp! What are you doing here?' The man shook his fist. with a somewhat lighter heart. the extraordinary behaviour of the person from whom he had just parted. and then darted into the house for help. at the struggles of the madman (for such he supposed him to be). 'it would be little short of a miracle. 'What the devil's this?' 'I beg your pardon. A medical practitioner.

which we have no power to alleviate. The sun shone brightly. acute suspense. women and children went away in tears. the fearful. and health. that graves were for cold and cheerless winter: not for sunlight and fragrance. and looked about. that he might never 220 . Mr. allay them! Morning came. now. raising his eyes every instant to the sick chamber. anxious faces appeared at the gate. in silence. and the breath come thick. 'so young. so much of brightness and mirth in the sunny landscape. that this was not a time for death. and sitting down on one of the green mounds. the sinking of soul and spirit. Late that night. and. had even then occurred! And what had been the fervency of all the prayers he had ever muttered. in the full tide and fever of the time. 'It is hard. for the corpse was young. and that they never wrapped the young and graceful form in their ghastly folds. such freedom in the rapid flight of the rook. what reflections or endeavours can. A group of humble mourners entered the gate: wearing white favours. in the agony and passion of his supplication for the life and health of the gentle creature. People spoke in whispers. and there was a mother--a mother once--among the weeping train. when a sudden trampling of feet caused him to fear that something too dreadful to think of. the thought instinctively occurred to him. Oliver crept away to the old churchyard. Losberne arrived. But the sun shone brightly. that Rose could surely never die when humbler things were all so glad and gay. is trembling in the balance! Oh! the racking thoughts that crowd upon the mind. and wishing that the time could come again. wept and prayed for her. from time to time. by the force of the images they conjure up before it. who was tottering on the deep grave's verge! Oh! the suspense. which the sad remembrance of our helplessness produces. but there is very little hope. with life. so much of life and joyousness in all. They stood uncovered by a grave. and for hours after it had grown dark. He almost thought that shrouds were for the old and shrunken. when the boy raised his aching eyes. with every leaf and flower in full bloom about her. or lessen the danger. so much beloved. what tortures can equal these.' said the good doctor. and shuddering to see the darkened window. thinking on the many kindnesses he had received from the young lady. careering overhead. that. of standing idly by while the life of one we dearly love. turning away as he spoke. and the little cottage was lonely and still. Another! Again! It was tolling for the funeral service. looking as if death lay stretched inside. compared with those he poured forth. and sounds and sights of joy. There was such peace and beauty in the scene. Oliver turned homeward. as brightly as if it looked upon no misery or care. and cold drops of terror start upon his brow. the DESPERATE ANXIETY TO BE DOING SOMETHING to relieve the pain. and the birds sang on. A knell from the church bell broke harshly on these youthful thoughts. surrounding her on every side: the fair young creature lay. such blithesome music in the songs of the summer birds.' Another morning.chamber! How often did a tremble shake his frame. Oliver paced softly up and down the garden. wasting fast. and make the heart beat violently. All the livelong day.

and die. and tried to fold her hands together. Maylie was sitting in the little parlour. at length. He had no cause for selfreproach on the score of neglect. They sat. and afraid to speak. with looks which showed that their thoughts were elsewhere. but the energy which had supported her so long. she will live to bless us all. and he trembled to think what change could have driven her away.' The lady fell upon her knees. for she had never left the bedside of her niece. Their quick ears caught the sound of an approaching footstep.cease showing her how grateful and attached he was. let us remember this. tell me! in the name of Heaven!' 'You must compose yourself. The untasted meal was removed. in time. 'Tell me at once! I can bear it. and yet a hundred little occasions rose up before him. anything but suspense! Oh!. or to bid them farewell.' 'Let me go. He learnt that she had fallen into a deep sleep. as Mr. for he had been devoted to her service. thoughts of so much omitted. cast over sky and earth those brilliant hues which herald his departure. either to recovery and life. from which she would waken. They both involuntarily darted to the door. When he reached home Mrs. 'As He is good and merciful. Oliver's heart sand at sight of her. if we would be spared its tortures. when every death carries to some small circle of survivors. and she sank into the friendly arms which were extended to receive her. We need be careful how we deal with those about us. and more earnest. and. 'What of Rose?' cried the old lady. on which he fancied he might have been more zealous. listening. fled up to Heaven with her first thanksgiving. for years to come. or want of thought. and so little done--of so many things forgotten. passionately. 221 . my dear ma'am. Losberne entered. 'Be calm. in God's name! My dear child! She is dead! She is dying!' 'No!' cried the doctor. they watched the sun as he sank lower and lower.' said the doctor supporting her. pray. and wished he had been. for hours. and so many more which might have been repaired! There is no remorse so deep as that which is unavailing.

Giles?' cried Oliver. and who eagerly demanded what was the news. and taking Oliver hurriedly by the arm. running up to the chaise-door. driven at great speed. and he seemed to awaken. 222 . Looking round.' replied Oliver. approaching at a furious pace. leaped out. He had scarcely the power of understanding anything that had passed. Oliver felt stunned and stupefied by the unexpected intelligence. until. and the road was narrow. 'Better or worse?' 'Better--much better!' replied Oliver. to a full sense of the joyful change that had occurred. led him aside. Losberne says. the nightcap was thrust out of the chaise-window. whose face seemed familiar to him. 'Thank Heaven!' exclaimed the gentleman. 'Oliver. when he returned homeward: laden with flowers which he had culled. he heard behind him. and Mr. the nightcap once again appeared: and the same voice called Oliver by his name. when he was suddenly pulled back by a young gentleman who occupied the other corner of the chaise. and the almost insupportable load of anguish which had been taken from his breast. The night was fast closing in. 'You are sure?' 'Quite. 'The change took place only a few hours ago. although his view was so brief that he could not identify the person. all at once. as soon as he could pull up his horses. that all danger is at an end. opening the chaise-door. with peculiar care. what's the news? Miss Rose! Master O-li-ver!' 'Is is you. he saw that it was a post-chaise. but. Then. preparatory to making some reply. or speak.CHAPTER XXIV CONTAINS SOME INTRODUCTORY PARTICULARS RELATIVE TO A YOUNG GENTLEMAN WHO NOW ARRIVES UPON THE SCENE. 'In a word!' cried the gentleman. he stood leaning against a gate until it should have passed him. In another second or two. 'Here!' cried the voice. AND A NEW ADVENTURE WHICH HAPPENED TO OLIVER It was almost too much happiness to bear. and as the horses were galloping. after a long ramble in the quiet evening air. hastily. a burst of tears came to his relief. Oliver caught a glimpse of a man in a white nitecap. for the adornment of the sick chamber. and a stentorian voice bellowed to the driver to stop: which he did. the noise of some vehicle. As he walked briskly along the road. sir. he could not weep. Giles popped out his nightcap again. As it dashed on.' The gentleman said not another word. or rest.

' 'I would not for the world. sir. 'Do not deceive me. so as to gain a little time before I see her.' 'Well. and remained silent. 223 . if he had not already spoken of her as his mother. and substituted a hat. Giles.' The tears stood in Oliver's eyes as he recalled the scene which was the beginning of so much happiness. more than once. and was of the middle height. snatched off and pocketed his nightcap. for some minutes. and Oliver. This done. Notwithstanding the difference between youth and age.' Mr. if you wish it. was abundently demonstrated by the very red eyes with which he regarded the young gentleman. All this time. he bore so strong a likeness to the old lady. It wouldn't be proper for the maids to see me in this state. Let him go on with the luggage. Maylie. Mr. with the white nightcap on. As they walked along. Harry. Giles.' 'I beg your pardon. Mr. Giles. followed at their leisure. Oliver thought he heard him sob. which he took out of the chaise. or we shall be taken for madmen. of grave and sober shape.' rejoined Harry Maylie. You can say I am coming. smiling. sir. 'I think you had better go on to my mother's in the chaise. Giles. reminded of his unbecoming costume. Losberne's words were. and wiping his eyes with a blue cotton pocket-handkerchief dotted with white spots. my boy. that she would live to bless us all for many years to come. Only first exchange that nightcap for some more appropriate covering. his countenance was frank and handsome. is there?' demanded the gentleman in a tremulous voice. the postboy drove off. I should never have any more authority with them if they did. Oliver glanced from time to time with much interest and curiosity at the new comer. He seemed about five-and-twenty years of age.'You are quite certain? There is no possibility of any mistake on your part. and do you follow with us. and the gentleman turned his face away. 'you can do as you like. had been sitting on the steps of the chaise. by awakening hopes that are not to be fulfilled. That the honest fellow had not been feigning emotion.' said Giles: giving a final polish to his ruffled countenance with the handkerchief.' said he. but he feared to interrupt him by any fresh remark--for he could well guess what his feelings were--and so stood apart.' replied Oliver. 'Indeed you may believe me. and his demeanor easy and prepossessing. 'I would rather walk slowly on. that Oliver would have had no great difficulty in imagining their relationship. supporting an elbow on each knee. Mr. when he turned round and addressed him. Mr. 'but if you would leave the postboy to say that. I heard him say so. feigning to be occupied with his nosegay. I should be very much obliged to you.

impatiently. mother?' rejoined the young man.' 'Mother. which.' 'But why. very little import. who acted thus. being gratified. Above all. laying her hand upon his shoulder. If I did not feel this. 'but. and upon his children also: and. The meeting did not take place without great emotion on both sides. my dear son. no matter how generous and good his nature. 'why did you not write before?' 'I did. Maylie. and that your arrival here. unworthy alike of the name of man and of the woman you describe. and ambitious man marry a wife on whose name there is a stain. but one that shall be deep and lasting. ardent. or have to encounter so many struggles in my own bosom. 'why run the chance of that occurring which so nearly happened? If Rose had--I cannot utter that word now--if this illness had terminated differently. Maylie. 'he would be a selfish brute. 224 . mother. Maylie. 'Mother!' whispered the young man.' said the young man.' said Harry. Maylie. I think' said the lady. 'I fear your happiness would have been effectually blighted. be cast in his teeth. and know. Maylie was anxiously waiting to receive her son when he reached the cottage.' replied his mother. And she may have the pain of knowing that he does so. Harry. may be visited by cold and sordid people upon her. I determined to keep back the letter until I had heard Mr. and made the subject of sneers against him: he may.' 'And who can wonder if it be so. how could you ever have forgiven yourself! How could I ever have know happiness again!' 'If that HAD been the case. 'I know that the devotion and affection of her nature require no ordinary return. mother--you must know it!' 'I know that she deserves the best and purest love the heart of man can offer.' said the young man. that a changed behaviour in one she loved would break her heart. which. on reflection. when I take what seems to me to be the strict line of duty. though it originate in no fault of hers. IF?--It is--it is--you know it.' said Mrs. one day repent of the connection he formed in early life.' 'You think so now.' 'This is unkind.' replied Mrs.' returned Mrs. fixing her eyes on her son's face. become only the more fleeting.' said Mrs. a day sooner or a day later. Losberne's opinion. and mistaking the impulses of my own soul?' 'I think. 'or why should I say. 'that youth has many generous impulses which do not last.Mrs. 'that if an enthusiastic. 'Do you still suppose that I am a boy ignorant of my own mind. Harry. I should not feel my task so difficult of performance. would have been of very. besides. in exact proportion to his success in the world. and that among them are some.

and do not disregard the happiness of which you seem to think so little. My feelings remain unchanged. stopping her son as he was about to speak. during the last two days. too strong a hold on her affections already. Rose shall hear me. and consider what effect the knowledge of her doubtful birth may have on her decision: devoted as she is to us. 'You will not press these overstrained opinions of yours. 'She has formed no other attachment?' 'No. think better of this. on Rose's history. 'Mother. I have considered. God bless you!' 'I shall see you again to-night?' said the young man. is not one of yesterday. 'is this. which can be productive of no earthly good? No! Before I leave this place.' replied his mother. I have considered. in all matters. and if you oppose me in this great stake. so far.' 'What do you mean?' 'That I leave you to discover. Maylie. has always been her characteristic. and more than enough. 'it is because I think so much of warm and sensitive hearts. no hope in life. indeed. and of me. with all the intensity of her noble mind. and why should I suffer the pain of a delay in giving them vent. as to throw any obstacle in my way?' 'I will not. and with that perfect sacrifice of self which. 'I must go back to her. that I would spare them from being wounded. On Rose. nor one I have lightly formed. 'The mental agony I have suffered. mother. as they ever will.' said Mrs. then. great or trifling. sweet. 'Not coldly.' said Mrs.' rejoined Mrs. 'far from it. 'but I would have you consider--' 'I HAVE considered!' was the impatient reply. beyond her. Before you stake your all on this chance. years and years.' 'Let it rest with Rose. Mother. no view. eagerly. before you suffer yourself to be carried to the highest point of hope. or I mistake. wrings from me the avowal to you of a passion which. as you well know. I have no thought.' 'Harry. which would almost imply that she will hear me coldly. Maylie. But we have said enough. 'There is something in your manner. What I would say. as firmly as ever heart of man was set on woman.'And ever will!' said the young man.' resumed the old lady. just now. Maylie. ever since I have been capable of serious reflection. gentle girl! my heart is set.' rejoined the old lady. and cast them to the wind. on this matter. 'you have.' 'How then?' urged the young man.' said the young man. my dear child.' 'She shall.' interposed Harry. Maylie. reflect for a few moments. you take my peace and happiness in your hands. 225 .' replied Mrs.

on the termination of which. Just step into this corner a moment. Giles. Giles.' replied Mr. and hearty salutations were exchanged between them. The subject matter of this conference was not disclosed in the parlour. and having called for a mug of ale. 'And say how anxious I have been. 'and sends his respectful duty. a small commission in your favour. Pray. Giles. mother?' 'No. Mr. 'I am sorry to hear it. he made a great many bows.' said the old lady.' 'You will tell her I am here?' said Harry.' And pressing her son's hand. sir. Mr.' replied the lady. You will not refuse to do this. to depost. a precise account of his patient's situation. because you do that sort of thing admirably. lately. and to the whole of which. Giles walked straight thither. I executed. affectionately. announced. 'Nor catching any thieves. that on the day before that on which I was called away so hurriedly. 'Well. Giles walked into the corner with much importance. who affected to be busy about the luggage.' replied Mrs. 'Have you shot anything particular. Giles. sir. and retired with steps of unusual stateliness. and how I long to see her. reminds me. that it had pleased his mistress. Maylie. Mr. will you?' Mr. and was honoured with a short whispering conference with the doctor. Giles?' inquired the doctor.'By and by. 'None at all. at the request of your good mistress. The former now held out his hand to Harry Maylie. Giles. the sum of five-and-twenty 226 . The doctor then communicated. she hastened from the room. with an air of majesty. 'Of course.' 'That's well. when he had concluded. how is Brittles?' 'The boy is very well. 'I will tell her all. in the local savings-bank. Losberne and Oliver had remained at another end of the apartment while this hurried conversation was proceeding.' replied Mr. and how much I have suffered. recovering his usual tone of patronage. with much gravity.' said the doctor. but the kitchen was speedily enlightened concerning it. 'Nothing particular. listened with greedy ears. which was highly effective. sir. and some wonder.' said Mr. 'when I leave Rose. 'Seeing you here. for Mr. nor identifying any house-breakers?' said the doctor.' said the doctor. in reply to multifarious questions from his young friend. in consideration of his gallant behaviour on the occasion of that attempted robbery. sir. as Oliver's statement had encouraged him to hope. which was quite as consolatory and full of promise. colouring up to the eyes.

the air to rustle among them with a sweeter music. and were. to the evident satisfaction of the doctor. and an abundance of small jokes. no'. and went about his usual occupations. and their fellow-men. Giles. and it was late before they retired. replied. and made Harry laugh almost as heartily. exercise. but the sombre colours are reflections from their own jaundiced eyes and hearts. and however fatigued or thoughtful Harry Maylie might have been at first. It is worthy of remark. with more hope and pleasure than he had known for many days. they were as pleasant a party as. and supposed that Mr. and displayed such a taste in their arrangement. for days past. and revive her with its freshness. as left his young companion far behind. The window of the young lady's chamber was opened now. who laughed immoderately at himself. for his sole use and benefit. withal. to sing. every morning. with light and thankful hearts. over every object. And then he made a great many other remarks. was dispelled by magic. he knew where the best were to be found. Oliver rose next morning. by the very force of sympathy. one particular little bunch. The melancholy which had seemed to the sad eyes of the anxious boy to hang. Harry Maylie. after the doubt and suspense they had recently undergone. even over the appearance of external objects. nor. and cry that all is dark and gloomy. the two women-servants lifted up their hands and eyes. were once more gathered to gladden Rose with their beauty. beautiful as all were. no less illustrative of his humility. could he help observing. and the sweetest wild flowers that could be found. So. in better heart. At this. as the remarks of great men commonly are. which was made up with great care. The dew seemed to sparkle more brightly on the green leaves. which displayed itself in a great variety of sallies and professional recollections. pulling out his shirt-frill. was seized with such a passion for flowers. The real hues are delicate. and brought home the fairest that blossomed. after the very first morning when he met Oliver coming laden home. they stood much in need. he would thank them to tell him so. that his morning expeditions were no longer made alone. in their old places. The birds were once more hung out. and Oliver did not fail to note it at the time. which struck Oliver as being the drollest things he had ever heard. they could well have been. and need a clearer vision. Such is the influence which the condition of our own thoughts. for the doctor was in high spirits. Above stairs. If Oliver were behindhand in these respects. although the little vase was regularly replenished. for she loved to feel the rich summer air stream in. and morning after morning they scoured the country together. as original and as much to the purpose. he was not proof against the worthy gentleman's good humour. are in the right. under the circumstances. which were received with equal favour and applause. and the sky itself to look more blue and bright. just inside the lattice. Men who look on nature. and that if they observed that he was at all haughty to his inferiors. to take that rest of which. but there always stood in water. Oliver could not help noticing that the withered flowers were never thrown away. 'No. that whenever the doctor came into 227 . the remainder of the evening passed cheerfully away.pounds. and caused him to laugh proportionately.

save now and then. was fine meadow-land and wood. and Rose was rapidly recovering. and. if we dream at such a time. the most striking phenomenon indcidental to such a state. and nodded his head most expressively. and there were no evening walks. It was while he was engaged in this pursuit. So far as an overpowering heaviness. that he was in the Jew's house again. yet our sleeping thoughts. as he set forth on his morning's walk. will be influenced and materially influenced. the days were flying by. It looked into a garden. which may not have been near us when we closed our eyes: and of whose vicinity we have had no waking consciousness. and the visionary scenes that pass before us. that he was greatly startled and distressed by a most unexpected occurence. There sat the hideous old man. and an utter inability to control our thoughts or power of motion. with Mrs. He had been poring over them for some time. He applied himself. by the MERE SILENT PRESENCE of some external object. in that direction. it it no disparagement to the authors. in his 228 . he invariably cast his eyes up to that particular corner. and the prospect it commanded was very extensive. It is an undoubted fact. Pending these observations. There was no other dwelling near. with a glow of terror. was on the ground-floor. whence a wicket-gate opened into a small paddock. that his books were lying on the table before him. until reality and imagination become so strangely blended that it is afterwards almost matter of impossibility to separate the two. when the first shades of twilight were beginning to settle upon the earth.the garden. for a short distance. while it holds the body prisoner. and. with redoubled assiduity. And yet he was asleep. words which are really spoken. we have a consciousness of all that is going on about us. and he thought. perfectly well. although the young lady had not yet left her chamber. with a lattice-window: around which were clusters of jessamine and honeysuckle. and enable it to ramble at its pleasure. It was quite a cottage-room. Nor is this. that although our senses of touch and sight be for the time dead. which. that he was in his own little room. to the instructions of the whiteheaded old gentleman. accommodate themselves with surprising readiness to our visions. Maylie. that crept over the casement. can be called sleep. the scene changed. that gradually and by slow degrees. as the day had been uncommonly sultry. Oliver sat at this window. to say. and he had exerted himself a great deal. that the sweet air was stirring among the creeping plants outside. There is a kind of sleep that steals upon us sometimes. when busy at his books. Oliver knew. and filled the place with their delicious perfume. intent upon his books. all beyond. a prostration of strength. whoever they may have been. One beautiful evening. at the back of the house. this is it. The little room in which he was accustomed to sit. Suddenly. or sounds which really exist at the moment. does not free the mind from a sense of things about it. and laboured so hard that his quick progress surprised even himself. he fell asleep. Nor did Oliver's time hang heavy on his hands. and yet. the air became close and confined.

think you? If a crowd of ghosts were to put themselves into his exact shape.' 'He!' the other man seemed to answer. 'could I mistake him. and meeting his: there stood the Jew! And beside him. and took me across his grave. It was but an instant. with such dreadful hatred. then. and of power to move! There--there--at the window-close before him--so close. were the scowling features of the man who had accosted him in the inn-yard. 'it is he. as if it had been deeply carved in stone. 229 . He stood transfixed for a moment. called loudly for help. leaping from the window into the garden. and set before him from his birth.accustomed corner. there is something that would tell me how to point him out. a glance. and they were gone. sure enough. which sent the blood tingling to his heart. if there wasn't a mark above it. If you buried him fifty feet deep. I fancy I should know. that Oliver awoke with the fear. pointing at him. with his face averted. a flash. 'Hush. and started up. my dear!' he thought he heard the Jew say. or both. that he lay buried there?' The man seemed to say this. and deprived him of his voice. who sat beside him. But they had recognised him. and he them. and their look was as firmly impressed upon his memory. and whispering to another man. Good Heaven! what was that. that he could have almost touched him before he started back: with his eyes peering into the room. and he stood amongst them. before his eyes. white with rage or fear. Come away.

struck into the same course at no contemptible speed. but. Giles was at a loss to comprehend what this outcry meant. after pursuing the track Oliver had pointed out. and darted off with a speed which rendered it matter of exceeding difficulty for the others to keep near him. to know what was the matter. striking off into an angle of the field indicated by Oliver. pointing in the direction of the meadows behind the house. who had been out walking. A thick wood skirted the meadow-land in another direction. tumbled over the hedge after them. to be seen. he sprang over the hedge. 230 . which it was impossible they could have accomplished in so short a time. and picking himself up with more agility than he could have been supposed to possess. The search was all in vain. but they could not have gained that covert for the same reason. pale and agitated. AND A CONVERSATION OF SOME IMPORTANCE BETWEEN HARRY MAYLIE AND ROSE When the inmates of the house. and scarcely able to articulate the words. and Oliver followed too. catching up a heavy stick which was standing in a corner. began to search.CHAPTER XXXV CONTAINING THE UNSATISFACTORY RESULT OF OLIVER'S ADVENTURE. 'Follow! And keep as near me. pointing out the course the man had taken. in order to gain that. They stood now. the ditch and hedge adjoining. shouting all the while. understood it at once. Losberne the circumstances that had led to so vigorous a pursuit. and who had heard Oliver's history from his mother. hurried to the spot from which they proceeded. and just then returned. There were not even the traces of recent footsteps. and for Oliver to communicate to Mr. the men must have made a circuit of open ground. Oliver. 'It must have been a dream. narrowly. 'That. most prodigiously. 'The Jew! the Jew!' Mr.' 'Then. and in the course of a minute or two. whose perceptions were something quicker. There was the village in the hollow on the left. 'I missed them in an instant. nor stopped they once to breathe.' replied Oliver. Giles followed as well as he could. 'What direction did he take?' he asked.' said Harry Maylie. they found him. attracted by Oliver's cries. Mr. as you can. on the summit of a little hill. which afforded time for the remainder of the party to come up. commanding the open fields in every direction for three or four miles. Losberne.' So saying. On they all went. until the leader. they are in the ditch!' said Harry. but Harry Maylie.

carried joy into the hearts of all. together. but it was trodden down nowhere. Losberne. 231 . The sides and brinks of the ditches were of damp clay. the affair began to be forgotten. or loitering about. and the Jew. in the hope of seeing or hearing something of the men there. Still. The grass was long. but Giles returned without any intelligence.' The two gentlemen watched Oliver's earnest face. or the slightest mark which would indicate that any feet had pressed the ground for hours before. shuddering at the very recollection of the old wretch's countenance. and looking from him to each other. themselves. She had left her room: was able to go out. furnished with the best description Oliver could give of the appearance and dress of the strangers. supposing he had been seen drinking. to the hedge which divided the cottage-garden from the meadow. seemed to fell satisfied of the accuracy of what he said. Meanwhile. dies away of itself. but in no one place could they discern the print of men's shoes. running a few paces to the right. After a few days. 'Blathers and Duff.' Notwithstanding the evidently useless nature of their search. and the inquiries renewed.' replied Oliver. sir. as most affairs are. 'The tall man leaped over.' 'They took this way?' demanded Harry: 'are you sure?' 'As I am that the men were at the window. Maylie repaired to the market-town. could make nothing of it. having no fresh food to support it. they did not desist until the coming on of night rendered its further prosecution hopeless. at all events. the Jew was. who came so suddenly upon me at the inn. crept through that gap. sufficiently remarkable to be remembered. fresh search was made. calculated to dispel or lessen the mystery. 'I saw him too plainly for that. Of these. and I could swear to him. Oliver and Mr. when wonder. On the next day. as he spoke. 'Strange?' echoed the doctor. but with no better success. save where their own feet had crushed it. and mixing once more with the family. On the day following. as he spoke.' said Oliver.' replied Oliver. they gave it up with reluctance. as plainly as I see you now. and even then. in no direction were there any appearances of the trampling of men in hurried flight. pointing down. 'We had our eyes fixed full upon each other. 'This is strange!' said Harry. indeed. but this effort was equally fruitless. I saw them both.'Oh no. Giles was dispatched to the different alehouses in the village. 'The very same man I told you of. Rose was rapidly recovering. just there.' 'Who was the other?' inquired Harry and Mr.

'I--I--ought to have left here. to feel that you belonged to that bright sphere whither so many of the fairest and the best have winged their early flight. waited in silence for him to proceed. She merely bowed. but that might have been the effect of her recent illness. and when one fell upon the flower over which she bent. that she would return to the sorrow and calamity of this! Rose. indeed. 'A few--a very few--will suffice. begged permission to speak with her for a few moments. when the distant world to which she was akin. We know that when the young. and yet to pray. too often fade in blooming. 'Forgive me for saying so. amid all these consolations.' 'I was brought here. which a light from above. to have no hope that you would be spared to those who linger here. and it became evident that something was in progress which affected the peace of the young lady. their pure spirits insensibly turn towards their bright home of lasting rest.' said the young man. are visited with sickness. the most cherished hopes of my heart are not unknown to you. 'You should. You had been dying. and. Rose. half opened to her view. casts upon the earth. has already presented itself to your mind. there was at times. 'A creature. before. but I wish you had. as these words were spoken. with some hesitation. Rose.' said the young man. 'a creature as fair and innocent of guile as one of God's own angels. that 232 . Harry Maylie entered.' Rose had been very pale from the moment of his entrance. 'the fear of losing the one dear being on whom my every wish and hope are fixed. with the loveliest things in nature. and more than once Rose appeared with traces of tears upon her face. and of somebody else besides.' There were tears in the eyes of the gentle girl. when Rose was alone in the breakfast-parlour.But. 'What I shall have to say.' continued the young man.' said Harry. passionately. although this happy change had a visible effect on the little circle. claimed kindred naturally. hardly to know a reason why you should be. it seemed as though the outpouring of her fresh young heart. fluttered between life and death. making it more beautiful. Heaven help us! that the best and fairest of our kind. drawing his chair towards her. these symptoms increased. an unwonted restraint upon some there: even upon Rose herself: which Oliver could not fail to remark. After Mr. Mrs. Losberne had fixed a day for his departure to Chertsey. and although cheerful voices and merry laughter were once more heard in the cottage.' replied Rose. to know that you were passing away like some soft shadow. and glistened brightly in its cup. though from my lips you have not heard them stated. and bending over some plants that stood near. Oh! who could hope. one morning. Maylie and her son were often closeted together for a long time. At length. the beautiful. and good. we know. by the most dreadful and agonising of all apprehensions. trembling between earth and heaven.

gave free vent to her tears. Do not tell me that you wish I had lost this.you might be restored to those who loved you--these were distractions almost too great to bear. taking her hand. They were mine. Rose. 'I only wish you had left here. think how many hearts you would be proud to gain. 'that you must endeavour to forget me. my own dear Rose! For years--for years--I have loved you. with not fame won. and then come proudly home and tell you it had been pursued only for you to share. 'Rose. 'You can say nothing to alter my resolution. during which. and most faithful friend you have.' 233 . with eyes that turned blind with their eagerness and deep affection. and almost hour by hour. of the many silent tokens I had given of a boy's attachment. that you might have turned to high and noble pursuits again. weeping. 'your reasons for this decision?' 'You have a right to know them. hoping to win my way to fame.' said Rose. You recovered. I will be the truest. Confide some other passion to me. and never know how devotedly I loved you. Day by day. as the object of your love. in my daydreams. thinking. it is.' There was a pause. 'As you believe that I am not insensible or ungrateful. who had covered her face with one hand. and claim your hand. Rose. I offer you the heart so long your own. in that happy moment. to life. for that would wound me deeply. Look into the world.' rejoined Rose. by day and night. came such a rushing torrent of fears. It is a duty that I must perform.' 'There is no pursuit more worthy of me: more worthy of the highest nature that exists: than the struggle to win such a heart as yours. I owe it.' 'I did not mean that. but. and stake my all upon the words with which you greet the offer. as almost bore down sense and reason in its course.' he said. how I would remind you. some drop of health came back. as in redemption of some old mute contract that had been sealed between us! That time has not arrived. and mingling with the spent and feeble stream of life which circulated languidly within you. at length. but here.' replied Rose. and no young vision realised. if you will. I have watched you change almost from death. are there. warmest. to pursuits well worthy of you. and selfish regrets. swelled it again to a high and rushing tide. in a low voice. mastering the emotions by which she was agitated.' said the young man. so hear my answer.' 'Your behaviour has ever been kind and noble. and with them. and apprehensions. that I may endeavour to deserve you.' 'It is. alike to others. 'And your reasons. for it has softened my heart to all mankind.' said Rose. Harry still retained the other. not as your old and dearly-attached companion. dear Rose?' 'It is. and to myself. lest you should die.

I will carry it into no blood but my own. a clog. a friendless. 'I could have--' 'Have received this declaration very differently?' said Harry. which the world visits on innocent heads. and fastened myself. 'there is a stain upon my name. turning away. portionless. should not give your friends reason to suspect that I had sordidly yielded to your first passion.' said Rose. and may every blessing that the prayers of a true and earnest heart can call down from the source of all truth and sincerity. are in store for you. 'They do not.' said Harry. and yet productive of lasting happiness. disengaging her hand.' 'One word more.' replied Rose.' 'If your inclinations chime with your sense of duty--' Harry began. in the warmth of your generous nature. 'is a brilliant one. Rose. at least. with a blight upon my name. sick. 'Stay!' she added. let me hear it!' 'The prospect before you. But those connections are proud. Harry. I owe it to myself. we meet no more. to prevent you from opposing. and the reproach shall rest alone on me.' rejoined Rose. From your own lips. notwithstanding. Farewell. dear Rose. that I. I owe it to you and yours. as her temporary firmness forsook her.' said the young lady. and every triumph you achieve in life will animate me with new fortitude and firmness. 'If I had been less--less fortunate. and soften the bitterness of this hard disappointment!' 'If I could have done so. colouring deeply. helpless--would you have turned from me then? Or has my probable advancement to riches and honour. Rose. cheer and prosper you!' 'Another word. say but that. nor bring disgrace or failure on the son of her who has so well supplied that mother's place. All the honours to which great talents and powerful connections can help men in public life. throwing himself before her. 'Then you return my love?' said Harry. without doing heavy wrong to him I loved. the world would call it--if some obscure and peaceful life had been my destiny--if I had been poor. 'Do not conceal that from me. Rose. this great obstacle to your progress in the world. Harry! As we have met to-day. 'Say but that.'To yourself?' 'Yes. for it WILL be happiness to know that I once held the high place in your regard which I now occupy. on all your hopes and projects. 'why should we prolong this painful interview? Most painful to me. firmly. and I will neither mingle with such as may hold in scorn the mother who gave me life. 'Your reason in your own words. we may be long and happily entwined.' 'I could. girl. but in other relations than those in which this conversation have placed us. In a word. Dearest Rose! one more!' cried Harry. given this scruple birth?' 234 .' answered Rose.

and it makes my purpose stronger. I should have been spared this trial.' replied Rose. with a melancholy smile.' said Harry. for one who loves you beyond all else. but then. long ago.' 'Then let it be so. Rose: in the name of my ardent and enduring attachment. above me. extending her hand. Oh. Harry. very happy. It is unfair. 'I cannot help this weakness. now. and by that time I may be enabled to bear it better. indeed. 'it is but one pang the more.--I may speak to you again on this subject. 'The question does not arise. and only once more.' 'No. cherished as a girl. 235 . hurried from the room. and light the path before me. and never will. whatever of station of fortune I may possess. by the utterance of a few brief words. to change it. for the last time. 'if you had been even a little. but they brought tears with them.' rejoined Rose.' Busy recollections of old hopes. and not a blot and drawback in ambitious and distinguished crowds. will not seek. I have every reason to be happy.' answered Rose. to urge it. if you will--finally repeat it! I will lay at your feet.'Do not press me to reply. and they relieved her. by word or act. and imprinting one kiss on her beautiful forehead.' 'Not to press me to alter my right determination. 'I must leave you now.' retorted Harry. if I could have been a help and comfort to you in any humble scene of peace and retirement. 'it will be useless. I own I should have been happier. if your lot had been differently cast. in the name of all I have suffered for you.' said Rose. as old hopes will when they come back withered. 'it will shed a gleam of happiness upon my lonely way. while making this avowal.' 'If your answer be what I almost dare to hope it is. and all you doom me to undergo. It is not an idle thing to do so much.' rejoined Rose.--say within a year. almost unkind. 'Once. and if you still adhere to your present resolution.' said Harry. 'to hear you repeat it.' She extended her hand again. but it may be much sooner. But the young man caught her to his bosom.' 'I ask one promise. but not so far. crowded into the mind of Rose. answer me this one question!' 'Then.

But yesterday morning you had made up your mind. But of course they will get you into parliament at the election before Christmas. have not communicated with me at all. 'though I confess I don't think I shall. is it likely that anything would occur to render necessary my immediate attendance among them. the good doctor bustled out. since I have been here. 'under which designation.' 236 . to start before the ladies are stirring. 'let me speak a word with you. the consequence of which is.' said Harry. you announce that you are going to do me the honour of accompanying me as far as I go. that young Oliver here is pinned down to his breakfast when he ought to be ranging the meadows after botanical phenomena of all kinds. 'That's a fine fellow. with great mystery. Oliver?' 'I should have been very sorry not to have been at home when you and Mr. like a dutiful son.' said Harry Maylie. AND A KEY TO ONE THAT WILL FOLLOW WHEN ITS TIME ARRIVES 'And so you are resolved to be my travelling companion this morning. There's something in that. at this time of the year. AS A SEQUEL TO THE LAST. but he contented himself with saying. in a low voice. has any communication from the great nobs produced this sudden anxiety on your part to be gone?' 'The great nobs. 'Why. 'I hope I may have good cause to do so. as Harry Maylie joined him and Oliver at the breakfast-table. cup. to stay here. Good training is always desirable. sir. Harry. on your road to London. eh?' said the doctor.' replied Mr. to speak seriously. 'you are a queer fellow. to the sea-side.CHAPTER XXXVI IS A VERY SHORT ONE. BUT IT SHOULD BE READ NOTWITHSTANDING. you are not in the same mind or intention two half-hours together!' 'You will tell me a different tale one of these days. I presume. Losberne. and to accompany your mother. AND MAY APPEAR OF NO GREAT IMPORTANCE IN ITS PLACE. isn't it. 'Oliver.' rejoined Oliver. you include my most stately uncle. Maylie went away. Too bad. whether the race be for place. or sweepstakes. But.' 'Well. in a great hurry. to see it packed.' and pursued the subject no farther. and these sudden shiftings and changes are no bad preparation for political life.' replied Harry. colouring without any perceptible reason. you urge me. 'We shall see. And at night.' 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.' said the doctor. Before noon. and Giles coming in for the luggage. nor.' said the doctor. The post-chaise drove up to the door shortly afterwards. 'you shall come and see me when you return.

till distance rendered its noise inaudible. and mind you tell me everything! I depend upon you. and what you talk about. should be left behind) held the door open in his hand. sir. greatly delighted with the commission. 'I would rather you did not mention it to them. which his whole behaviour displayed.' replied Oliver.' 'Halloa!' cried the doctor. The doctor was in the chaise. hurrying over his words. faithfully promised to be secret and explicit in his communications.Oliver walked into the window-recess to which Mr. or the intricacies of the way. 'You can write well now?' said Harry. Do you hear?' Jingling and clattering. 'I should like to know how--how my mother and Miss Maylie are. as intervening objects. 'I shall not be at home again. I wish you would write to me--say once a fort-night: every alternate Monday: to the General Post Office in London. It 237 . Maylie beckoned him. quite elated and honoured by a sense of his importance. Harry cast one slight glance at the latticed window. Giles (who.' said the young man. Mr. 'hard. quite. I shall be proud to do it. I mean--seem happy and quite well. with many assurances of his regard and protection. Maylie took leave of him.' exclaimed Oliver. 'Drive on!' he cried. 'something very short of flyng will keep pace with me.' said Harry.' Oliver. almost hidden in a cloud of dust: now wholly disappearing. full gallop! Nothing short of flying will keep pace with me. 'because it might make my mother anxious to write to me oftener. and jumped into the carriage. and shouting to the postillion. Let is be a secret between you and me. and the women-servants were in the garden. and now becoming visible again. the vehicle wound its way along the road. permitted. to-day. it had been arranged. laying his hand upon his arm. and it is a trouble and worry to her. 'I hope so. looking on. Will you?' 'Oh! certainly. letting down the front glass in a great hurry. much surprised at the mixture of sadness and boisterous spirits. You understand me?' 'Oh! quite. perhaps for some time. sir. and its rapid progress only perceptible to the eye. 'and you can fill up a sheet by telling me what walks you take. sir. fast. and whether she--they.' replied Oliver.

'I feared for a time he might be otherwise. 'He seems in high spirits and happy. at length. for. still gazing in the same direction.was not until even the dusty cloud was no longer to be seen. 238 . seemed to tell more of sorrow than of joy. very glad.' Tears are signs of gladness as well as grief. as she sat pensively at the window. but those which coursed down Rose's face. I am very. who remained with eyes fixed upon the spot where the carriage had disappeared.' she said. I was mistaken. long after it was many miles away. behind the white curtain which had shrouded her from view when Harry raised his eyes towards the window. sat Rose herself. that the gazers dispersed. And there was one looker-on.

gold-laced coat. On him the cocked hat. where were they? He still wore kneebreeches. A field-marshal has his uniform. and was master of the workhouse. as it was summer time. Bumle had married Mrs. 'And to-morrow two months it was done!' said Mr. NOT UNCOMMON IN MATRIMONIAL CASES Mr. with his eyes moodily fixed on the cheerless grate. Bumble's gloom the only thing calculated to awaken a pleasing melancholy in the bosom of a spectator. a pair of sugar-tongs. it might be that the insects brought to mind. and dark cotton stockings on his nether limbs. Cheap. and the cocked hat. and even holiness too. a beadle his cocked hat. Nor was Mr. Mere men. Bumble. and those closely connected with his own person. Another beadle had come into power. no brighter gleam proceeded. 'It seems a age. Corney. Bumble was no longer a beadle. There are some promotions in life. Mr. and a milk-pot. Bumble might have meant that he had concentrated a whole existence of happiness into the short space of eight weeks. than the reflection of certain sickly rays of the sun. and staff.CHAPTER XXXVII IN WHICH THE READER MAY PERCEIVE A CONTRAST. had all three descended. and twenty pound in money. sometimes. and. 'I sold myself. but. while a more gloomy shadow overspread his countenance. Bumble sat in the workhouse parlour. Bumble would heave a deep sigh. what are they? Men. a bishop his silk apron. independent of the more substantial rewards they offer. dirt cheap!' 239 . I went very reasonable. but the sigh--there was a vast deal of meaning in the sigh. oh how different! The mighty cocked hat was replaced by a modest round one. with a small quantity of second-hand furniture. Strip the bishop of his apron. which. with a sigh. Mr. Mr.' said Mr. which were sent back from its cold and shining surface. which announced that a great change had taken place in the position of his affairs. Bumble was meditating. Dignity. a counsellor his silk gown. are more questions of coat and waistcoat than some people imagine. whence. The coat was wide-skirted. to which he occasionally raised his eyes in gloomy thought.' Mr. Mr. and in that respect like THE coat. 'for six teaspoons. some painful passage in his own past life. Bumble. require peculiar value and dignity from the coats and waistcoats connected with them. There were not wanting other appearances. as the heedless insects hovered round the gaudy net-work. A paper fly-cage dangled from the ceiling. The laced coat. but they were not THE breeches. pursuing the same train of relection. or the beadle of his hat and lace.

who. perhaps.') Whether an exceedingly small expansion of eye be sufficient to quell paupers.' 'And what's the prerogative of a woman.' 'Your PREROGATIVE!' sneered Mrs. Bumble was a hard-hearted brute. Bumble. 'I am going to sit here.' said Mr. Bumble's scowl. It is a eye I never knew to fail with paupers. or whether the late Mrs. sneeze. as long as I think proper. poor man!' Mrs. or cry.' said Mr. 'The prerogative of a man is to command. I wish he was. The matter of fact. ma'am. 'Have the goodness to look at me. Bumble. and even raised a laugh threreat.' said Mr. first incredulous. than she dropped into a chair. Bumble. 'Mrs. such being my prerogative. I shall snore. Bumble. which sounded as though it were genuine. and with a loud scream that Mr. but. are matters of opinion. and that a blow struck for the mastership on one side or other. being lightly fed. Bumble. Mr.' rejoined Mr. laugh. He then relapsed into his former state. 'Well!' cried the lady. is. nor did he rouse himself until his attention was again awakened by the voice of his partner. and afterwards amazed. in the name of Goodness?' cried the relict of Mr. that the matron was in no way overpowered by Mr. as the humour strikes me. with ineffable contempt. no sooner heard this allusion to the dead and gone. gape. Bumble.'Cheap!' cried a shrill voice in Mr.' thundered Mr. ma'am. 'and although I was NOT snoring. 'Your late unfortunate husband should have taught it you. Bumble. and dear enough I paid for you. my power is gone. who. seeing at a glance. had hazarded the foregoing remark at a venture. all day?' inquired Mrs. and then. ma'am!' said Mr. he might have been alive now. Bumble. 240 . and encountered the face of his interesting consort. 'Are you going to sit snoring there. 'she can stand anything. If it fails with her. ma'am. on the contrary. Corney deceased. Bumble's ear: 'you would have been dear at any price. imperfectly comprehending the few words she had overheard of his complaint. (If she stands such a eye as that. Bumble to himself. are in no very high condition. treated it with great disdain. Bumble looked. Bumble turned. must necessarily be final and conclusive. that the decisive moment had now arrived. with a sentimental sternness. 'To obey. Corney was particularly proof against eagle glances. On hearing this most unexpected sound. fell into a paroxysm of tears. Bumble. Lord above knows that!' Mr. 'I said the word. fixing his eyes upon her.

Like washable beaver hats that improve with rain. Bumble. because they were less troublesome than a manual assault. 'Certainly. by the faculty. Bumble. clasping him tightly round the throat with one hand. Mr. immediately succeeded by the sudden flying off of his hat to the opposite end of the room. This preliminary proceeding laying bare his head. Bumble's soul. if he dared. being tokens of weakness. Bumble took his hat from a peg. and. by showers of tears. Corney in full possession of the field. Mr. in an encouraging manner. thrust his hands into his pockets. as stronly conducive to health. Bumble immediately darted out of the room. He had a decided propensity for bullying: derived no inconsiderable pleasure from the exercise of 241 . and tearing his hair. Picking up his hat. and softens down the temper.But. having. He eyed his good lady with looks of great satisfaction. making a quicker motion towards the door. and putting it on. his nerves were rendered stouter and more vigorous. Mrs. Corney that was. she pushed him over a chair. by this time. This done. Bumble. inflicted as much punishment as she deemed necessary for the offence. that she should cry her hardest: the exercise being looked upon. Bumble was fairly taken by surprise. Bumble stepped hastily forward to replace the carpet. 'Get up!' said Mrs. unless you want me to do something desperate. 'Are you going?' demanded Mr. who felt he had asserted his superiority in a becoming manner. 'And take yourself away from here. which was luckily well situated for the purpose: and defied him to talk about his prerogative again. and begged. she was quite prepared to make trial of the latter mode of proceeding. Bumble. as Mr. which.' rejoined Mr. she created a little variety by scratching his face. Bumble was not long in discovering. his heart was waterproof. 'I didn't intend to--I'm going. he looked towards the door. Mr. without bestowing another thought on his unfinished sentence: leaving the late Mrs. the expert lady. and so far tacit admissions of his own power. rather rakishly. Bumble rose with a very rueful countenance: wondering much what something desperate might be.' As he discharged himself of this pleasantry. Now. exercises the eyes. was conveyed in a hollow sound. with much ease and waggishness depicted in his whole appearance. my dear! You are so very violent. and sauntered towards the door. as a man might. inflicted a shower of blows (dealt with singular vigour and dexterity) upon it with the other.' Mr. which had been kicked up in the scuffle. that really I--' At this instant. 'So cry away. but. Mrs. please and exalted him. on one side. 'It opens the lungs.' said Mr. and fairly beaten. tears were not the things to find their way to Mr. my dear. certainly. in a voice of command. had tried the tears. washes the countenance. The first proof he experienced of the fact.

my dear--' urged Mr. You're a great deal too fond of poking your nose into things that don't concern you. Bumble. 'What business is it of yours?' demanded Mrs. Hallo! hallo there! What do you mean by this noise. who were tittering together most rapturously.petty cruelty. 'It's very true. for the first time. Bumble came to a room where some of the female paupers were usually employed in washing the parish linen: when the sound of voices in conversation. caught up a bowl of soap242 . Mr. 'We don't want any of your interference. whose patience brooked no delay. my dear. 'but I thought you mightn't be in the way just then. 'What do YOU do here?' 'I thought they were talking rather too much to be doing their work properly.' 'I'll tell you what. and making yourself look like a fool every hour in the day. summoning up all his native dignity. my dear. consequently. Mrs. who are held in high respect and admiration.' said Mr. 'YOU thought they were talking too much?' said Mrs. the moment your back is turned.' 'Didn't know I was here!' repeated Mrs. the measure of his degradation was not yet full. indeed. Bumble. for many official personages. 'These women at least shall continue to respect the prerogative. and that men who ran away from their wives. 'What business is it of yours?' 'Why. Mr.' returned his lady. you hussies?' With these words. are the victims of similar infirmities. in justice to be visited with no punishment at all. After making a tour of the house.' replied Mr. that the poor-laws really were too hard on people. who were comparing notes of admiration at the workhouse-master's humility. Bumble. making everybody in the house laugh. Be off. rather in his favour than otherwise. and with a view of impressing the reader with a just sense of his qualifications for office.' submitted Mr. But. but rather rewarded as meritorious individuals who had suffered much. Bumble. come!' Mr. leaving them chargeable to the parish. the delight of the two old paupers. seeing with excruciating feelings. This is by no means a disparagement to his character. Bumble submissively. was (it is needless to say) a coward. The remark is made. Bumble. now proceeded. Bumble. you're matron here. as his eyes unexpectedly rested on the form of his lady wife. Bumble opened the door. ought. 'Hem!' said Mr. hesitated for an instant. Mr. and thinking. and walked in with a very fierce and angry manner: which was at once exchanged for a most humiliated and cowering air. 'My dear. and. Bumble. again. Bumble. Bumble: glancing distractedly at a couple of old women at the wash-tub. 'I didn't know you were here. Bumble.

in a harsh. broke silence. save by one solitary customer. deep voice. unlike anything he had ever observed before. Bumble boxed the ears of the boy who opened the gate for him (for he had reached the portal in his reverie). He had the air of a stranger. What could Mr. Bumble. Bumble stepped in. as he gathered from a hasty peep over the blinds. was tall and dark. the titterings of the paupers broke into a shrill chuckle of irrepressible delight. by a certain haggardness in his look. and read the paper with great show of pomp and circumstance. It so happened. He was degraded in their eyes. to steal a look at the stranger: and that whenever he did so. to have travelled some distance. distractedly. and down another. on pain of receiving the contents upon his portly person. He walked up one street. filled with dismal thoughts. to find that the stranger was at that moment stealing a look at him. The man who was seated there. Mr. and wore a large cloak. until exercise had abated the first passion of his grief. but scarcely deigned to nod his head in acknowledgment of his salutation. and ordering something to drink. and slunk away. when men fall into company under such circumstances: that Mr. he withdrew his eyes. as well as by the dusty soils on his dress. and. a powerful inducement. ordered him instantly to depart. 'All in two months!' said Mr. so far as the porochial workhouse was concerned. however: as it will happen very often. as he reached the door. When they had encountered each other's glance several times in this way. heavily. Mr. Mr.suds. at the moment. Bumble felt. Mr. and then the revulsion of feeling made him thirsty. He eyed Bumble askance. and repulsive to behold. This determined him. and seemed. 'Two months! No more than two months ago. the stranger. he had fallen from all the height and pomp of beadleship. He passed a great many public-houses. which he could not resist. was deserted. supposing even that the stranger had been more familiar: so he drank his gin-and-water in silence. as he entered. to the lowest depth of the most snubbed henpeckery. Bumble do? He looked dejectedly round. 243 . It wanted but this. Bumble had quite dignity enough for two. he had lost caste and station before the very paupers. Bumble's awkwardness was enhanced by the very remarkable expression of the stranger's eye. and walked. which was keen and bright. but everybody else's. in some confusion. whose parlour. but shadowed by a scowl of distrust and suspicion. into the street. I was not only my own master. as he passed the bar. at length paused before one in a byway. entered the apartment into which he had looked from the street. and motioning him towards the door. It began to rain. but. every now and then. and now!--' It was too much.

with a delicate cough. Bumble. I know you pretty well. man.'Were you looking for me. then rang the bell. shading his eyes with his hand. Bumble's empty tumbler to the landlord.' replied Mr.' he said. for he was curious to know the stranger's name. 'is not more averse to turning an honest penny when he can.' said Mr. You don't know it. I think?' said he. 'Fill this glass again. looking keenly into Mr. you see.' rejoined Mr. 'You were differently dressed at that time. 'It was in that character I saw you.' said the stranger. Bumble stopped short. Bumble. and I only passed you in the street. Bumble.' 'Just so. majestically. he might supply the blank. Porochial officers are not so well paid that they can afford to refuse any little extra fee. I suppose?' 'Not too strong. and thought in his impatience. in some surprise. than a single one. You like it so. a married man. young man!' 'You have the same eye to your own interest. slowly and impressively. and expression of quiet sarcasm playing about his mouth. in evident perplexity. Bumble. --' Here Mr. 'Master of the workhouse.' rejoined the other.' 'I meant no harm.' replied Mr.' 'I suppose. You were beadle here. I would recommend you not to ask for it. 'I have seen you before. Another silence succeeded this short dialogue: which was again broken by the stranger. to check any undue familiarity the stranger might otherwise assume. What are you now?' 'Master of the workhouse. 'when you peered in at the window?' 'Not that I am aware of. 'And have done none. he had not mistaken his man. once.' observed Mr. 'Let it be strong and hot. 'porochial beadle.' he said. Bumble. Bumble's eyes. from head to foot. and surveying the stranger. and nodded his head again: as much to say. 'or you have known my name. 244 . as he raised them in astonishment at the question. I doubt not?' resumed the stranger. handing Mr. 'I see you were not.' The stranger smiled. but I should know you again. nodding his head. that you always had. 'Don't scruple to answer freely. when it comes to them in a civil and proper manner. were you not?' 'I was. young man.' said the stranger. unless you're Mr.

night. Bumble's eyes. of course. I've done it. There wasn't a obstinater young rascal--' 245 . The host smiled. I don't ask you to give it for mothing. the first gulp brought the water into Mr.' 'It's a long time. and shortly afterwards returned with a steaming jorum: of which.' 'A many boys. you mean Oliver! Young Twist!' said Mr. and. last winter. 'I came down to this place. 'Yes. wherever it was. 'I remember him. a meeklooking.' said the stranger.'You understand what that means. and screwed his body in it--and who afterwards ran away to London. landlord!' said the stranger. Bumble had scrupulously examined the coins. Put up that. in his waistcoat-pocket. I suppose?' said Mr. Bumble. drily. 'Why. 'A boy was born there. to see that they were genuine.' 'The scene.' observed Mr. disappeared. he pushed a couple of sovereigns across the table to his companion. the workhouse. pale-faced boy. 'Now listen to me.' said the stranger. not quite following the stranger's excited description. while you were uppermost in my mind.' said Mr. Bumble. to begin with. 'A murrain on the young devils!' cried the stranger. in which miserable drabs brought forth the life and health so often denied to themselves--gave birth to puling children for the parish to rear. who was apprenticed down here. rot 'em in the grave!' 'The lying-in room. with much satisfaction. to-day. as it was supposed. carefully. the crazy hole. I want some information from you. slight as it is. despondingly. and had put them up. as though unwilling that the chinking of money should be heard without. to a coffin-maker--I wish he had made his coffin. you walked into the very room I was sitting in.' 'Yes. by one of those chances which the devil throws in the way of his friends sometimes.' 'And the place. after closing the door and window. 'I speak of one.' As he spoke. When Mr. he went on: 'Carry your memory back--let me see--twelve years. shaking his head.' 'Good!' 'And the time. 'Very good. and hid their shame. Bumble. to find you out. Bumble.

and writing down upon it. stopping Mr. and he at once saw that an opportunity was opened. the hag that nursed his mother.' 'What do you mean?' demanded the stranger. producing a scrap of paper. 'When?' cried the stranger. that one woman had been closeted with the old harridan shortly before she died. Where is she?' 'Where is she?' said Mr. 'It would be hard to tell. and withdrawing his eyes. Bumble in the outset of a tirade on the subject of poor Oliver's vices. hastily. 'How can I find her?' said the stranger. whichever place she's gone to. bring her to me there. Bumble was cunning enough. thrown off his guard. He well remembered the night of old Sally's death. observed that it was no great matter. Bumble. The man looked fixedly at him when he had given this information. whom the gin-and-water had rendered facetious. 'Only through me. for the lucrative disposal of some secret in the possession of his better half. Bumble. he informed the stranger.'It's not of him I want to hear. 'At nine in the evening. he led the way to the door.' rejoined Mr. but at length he breathed more freely. 'It's of a woman. as if to depart. as workhouse nurse. an obscure address by the water-side. as the occasion on which he had proposed to Mrs. I needn't tell you to be secret. Shortly remarking that their roads were different.' said the stranger. I've heard enough of him. he 246 . with an air of mystery. But Mr. With that he rose. and that she could. as he had reason to believe. It's your interest.' rejoined Bumble. For some time. 'at nine in the evening. so I suppose she's out of employment. sternly. he had heard enough to know that it related to something that had occurred in the old woman's attendance. and although he did not withdraw his eyes for some time afterwards. Hastily calling this circumstance to mind. 'To-morrow. in characters that betrayed his agitation. Bumble. he appeared doubtful whether he ought to be relieved or disappointed by the intelligence. There's no midwifery there.' With these words. and although that lady had never confided to him the disclosure of which she had been the solitary witness. and he seemed lost in thought. Corney.' rejoined Mr.' said the stranger. upon the young mother of Oliver Twist. 'That she died last winter. throw some light on the subject of his inquiry. anyway. after stopping to pay for the liquor that had been drunk. which the occurrences of that day had given him good reason to recollect. his gaze gradually became vacant and abstracted. and plainly showing that all his fears (whatever they were) were aroused afresh by the intelligence.

pointing to the scrap of paper. and strode hastily.' said the other. 'What do you want?' cried the man. 247 . turning quickly round. The stranger had not gone far. as Bumble touched him on the arm. so he made after him to ask it. On glancing at the address. away.departed. without more ceremony than an emphatic repetition of the hour of appointment for the following night. 'Following me?' 'Only to ask a question. 'What name am I to ask for?' 'Monks!' rejoined the man. the parochial functionary observed that it contained no name.

In the heart of this cluster of huts. The husband carried a lantern. subsisted chiefly on plunder and crime. It was a collection of mere hovels: some. without much difficulty. AND MRS. however. turning out of the main street of the town. which had been threatening all day. and seemed to presage a violent thunder-storm. and involving itself in the same fate. and sheltering them from observation. and planted. and trudged on. and made fast to the dwarf wall which skirted it: and here and there an oar or coil of rope: appeared. Mr. from which. It had. he mended his rate of walking. to indicate that the inhabitants of these miserable cottages pursued some avocation on the river. directed their course towards a scattered little colony of ruinous houses. and a considerable portion of the building had already sunk down into the water. 248 . The clouds. then. under various pretences of living by their labour. no light yet shone. AT THEIR NOCTURNAL INTERVIEW It was a dull. and proceeded. when Mr. bordering upon the river. seemed to wait a favourable opportunity of following its old companion. discovering that she was close at his heels. The rat. But it had long since gone to ruin. tottering and bending over the dark stream. distant from it some mile and a-half. MONKS. in its day. while the remainder. and skirting the river. the worm. This was far from being a place of doubtful character. within a few feet of the river's bank. and Mrs. BUMBLE. to the conjecture that they were disposed there. would have led a passer-by. spread out in a dense and sluggish mass of vapour. AND MR. They were both wrapped in old and shabby outer garments. Bumble relaxed his pace. stood a large building. had weakened and rotted the piles on which it stood. which its upper stories overhung. overcast summer evening. for the most part. A few leaky boats drawn up on the mud. close.CHAPTER XXXVIII CONTAINING AN ACCOUNT OF WHAT PASSED BETWEEN MR. of old worm-eaten ship-timber: jumbled together without any attempt at order or arrangement. rather for the preservation of appearances. and turned his head as if to make sure that his helpmate was following. already yielded large drops of rain. a few paces in front. hastily built with loose bricks: others. or thereabouts. serve the double purpose of protecting their persons from the rain. They went on. who. than with any view to their being actually employed. in profound silence. as though-the way being dirty--to give his wife the benefit of treading in his heavy footprints. perhaps. formerly used as a manufactory of some kind. which might. and the action of the damp. every now and then. for it had long been known as the residence of none but low ruffians. at a considerable increase of speed. at first. Bumble. but a glance at the shattered and useless condition of the articles thus displayed. and erected on a low unwholesome swamp. towards their place of destination. probably furnished employment to the inhabitants of the surrounding tenements.

who had hesitated at first. and beckoned them inwards. near which they stood. 'Then. as the first peal of distant thunder reverberated in the air. don't think it!' With this agreeable speech. who was ashamed or afraid to lag behind. will put as much of hell's fire out. 'Come in!' he cried impatiently. Bumble. followed: obviously very ill at ease and with scarcely any of that remarkable dignity which was usually his chief characteristic. in the wet?' said Monks. 'We--we were only cooling ourselves. who had eyed the building with very rueful looks. as a man can carry about with him. till even she.' said the matron: 'and be careful to say as little as you can. who was not easily cowed. 'What the devil made you stand lingering there. mind what I told you. consulting a scrap of paper he held in his hand. and the door closed. Mr. after he had bolted the door behind them. a minute.' cried the voice. 'Not all the rain that ever fell. and turn them them towards the ground. 249 . looking apprehensively about him. and bent his gaze upon her. breast-high. Bumble nodded in the affirmative. 'Is that the man?' asked Mr. was fain to withdraw her eyes. and the rain commenced pouring violently down. Bumble's good lady. 'Stand still. walked boldly in. without any other invitation. 'I'll be with you directly. and addressing Bumble. 'The place should be somewhere here. Mr. 'Halloa there!' cried a voice from above. Following the sound. Monks turned short upon the matron. Bumble. 'Don't keep me here!' The woman.' said Bumble. 'Cooling yourselves!' retorted Monks. or you'll betray us at once.It was before this ruinous building that the worthy couple paused. stamping his foot upon the ground. Bumble raised his head and descried a man looking out of a door. You won't cool yourself so easily. or ever will fall. was apparently about to express some doubts relative to the advisability of proceeding any further with the enterprise just then. on the second story. turning round.' With which the head disappeared.' stammered Bumble. Mr. when he was prevented by the appearance of Monks: w ho opened a small door.' Mr.

not I! Do you understand. 250 . Bumble. observing his alarm. and again beckoning them to follow him. does she?' The question was addressed to Bumble. that it was much distorted and discoloured. showed. but low in the roof. I suppose?' said the matron.' rejoined the matron. to the unspeakable discomposure of Mr. lowered a lantern which hung at the end of a rope and pulley passed through one of the heavy beams in the ceiling: and which cast a dim light upon an old table and three chairs that were placed beneath it. The woman know what it is. 'You think women never can keep secrets.' said Monks. he led the way up the ladder. the better for all. if a woman's a party to a secret that might hang or transport her. and a peal of thunder followed. 'Now. I hate the sound!' He remained silent for a few moments. Don't mind me now. shrinking back. and returning.' replied Mr. which was of considerable extent. 'Hear it! Rolling and crashing on as if it echoed through a thousand caverns where the devils were hiding from it. is it?' demanded Monks. Bumble. removing his hands suddenly from his face. 'The loss of their own good name. now and then. 'I know they will always keep ONE till it's found out. mistress?' 'No. by the same rule.'This is the woman. slightly colouring as she spoke. but his wife anticipated the reply. which shook the crazy building to its centre. leading to another floor of warehouses above: when a bright flash of lightning streamed down the aperture. and hastily closing the windowshutter of the room into which it led. 'the sooner we come to our business. 'and thunder sometimes brings them on. interposing. it's all over for this once.' said Monks.' said Monks. 'These fits come over me. 'So. the man hastened across the apartment. 'How should you?' Bestowing something half-way between a smile and a frown upon his two companions. I'm not afraid of her telling it to anybody. when they had all three seated themselves. 'Hem! That is the woman. 'And what may that be?' asked the matron. or rather ladder. mindful of his wife's caution. by intimating that she was perfectly acquainted with it. 'Of course you don't!' said Monks. the searching look of Monks.' replied Monks. He was preparing to ascend a steep staircase.' Thus speaking. as she spoke. and then. 'Hear it!' he cried.

and with a look of eager inquiry. what may the communication be worth?' 'Who the devil can tell that. 'Humph!' said Monks significantly. 'there may be money's worth to get. 'It's not a large sum. 'Nobody better than you.' 'Not a large sum for a paltry secret. 'Speak out. and that she told you something--' 'About the mother of the boy you named. as collectedly as before.' said Monks.' replied Monks. Bumble.' 'The first question is. and let me know which. by turns. 'It may be nothing. it may be twenty pounds.' was the composed reply.' said the woman. 'That's the second. 'The first is.' 'Add five pounds to the sum you have named. in undisguised astonishment.' Mr.'He is right in saying that you were with this hag the night she died. if possible. 'Something that was taken from her. listened to this dialogue with outstretched neck and distended eyes: which he directed towards his wife and Monks. Bumble. as her yoke-fellow could abundantly testify. 'I have heard enough. increased.' 'Five-and-twenty pounds!' exclaimed Monks. already.' interrupted Mrs. Bumble. of what nature was her communication?' said Monks. 'and which has been lying dead for twelve years past or more!' 251 . without knowing of what kind it is?' asked Monks. to assure me that you are the man I ought to talk to. eh?' 'Perhaps there may. 'Something that she wore. Bumble: who did not want for spirit. when the latter sternly demanded.' replied the matron interrupting him. give me five-and-twenty pounds in gold.' answered Mrs. 'What's it worth to you?' asked the woman. 'and I'll tell you all I know. either. 'Yes.' observed the woman with much deliberation. what sum was required for the disclosure. I am persuaded. that may be nothing when it's told!' cried Monks impatiently. 'I spoke as plainly as I could. drawing back.' replied Mrs. who had not yet been admitted by his better half into any greater share of the secret than he had originally possessed. Something that--' 'You had better bid. Not before.

that's all. by the alarmed expression of every feature. 'gather them up. in reply. 'As to lying dead. Monks. and. for anything you or I know. indeed. 'Now. Bumble. grimly. 'You can easily take it away again. I have less hesitation in dealing with two people. or other person or persons trained down for the purpose. or twelve million. and to shiver and break almost over their heads. raising his face from the table. when I find that there's only one will between them. and producing a canvas bag. hesitating. like good wine. Bumble spoke. which I feel is coming up to break over the house-top. 'Mr. nor unprotected. and when this cursed peal of thunder. Monks has heerd. 'So! He's your husband. See here!' He thrust his hand into a side-pocket. having subsided. that he DID want a little rousing.' said Mr. and the woman also leant forward to render her whisper audible. Bumble. 'You are a fool. in a voice tremulous with fear: '_I_ am here. as I may say.' answered the matron. let's hear your story. Bumble. my dear. Mr.'Such matters keep well. is gone. prior to making any very warlike demonstration: unless. The faces of the three nearly touched. Monks is too much of a gentleman to attempt any violence on porochial persons. And besides.' 'Not alone.' said Mrs. my dear. which seemed in fact much nearer. 'I thought as much. often double their value in course of time. and plainly showed. there are those who will lie dead for twelve thousand years to come. eh?' 'He my husband!' tittered the matron. marking the angry glance which the lady darted at her spouse as she spoke. with very uncommon strength. and unprotected.' submitted Mr. I'm in earnest.' rejoined Monks. if he can't speak in a lower tone. neither. before he came. and pushed them over to the woman. I only want a little rousing.' he said. as the two men leant over the small table in their eagerness to hear.' 'He had better have cut it out. still preserving the resolute indifference she had assumed.' said Monks.' As Mr. 'and had better hold your tongue. and not a little. alone here. when you came in.' The thunder. and also that I am a little run to seed. Monks is aware that I am not a young man. 'So much the better. his teeth chattering as he spoke. my dear: that I am a very determined officer. told out twenty-five sovereigns on the table. bent forward to listen to what the woman should say. he made a melancholy feint of grasping his lantern with fierce determination. parrying the question. my dear. who will tell strange tales at last!' 'What if I pay it for nothing?' asked Monks. The sickly rays of the suspended lantern falling directly upon them. aggravated the paleness 252 . bu he has heerd: I say I have no doubt Mr. if I'm once roused. 'I am but a woman. against paupers.' replied the matron.

that she had done this.' 'She didn't utter another word. encircled by the deepest gloom and darkness. 'She stole from the corpse.' said Monks. in which she then lay dying. when it had hardly turned to one. but I'll know what it was.' cried Monks. in the same hollow whisper. nodding carelessly towards her husband. and glancing over his shoulder.' 'Ay?' said Monks.' 'Which contained--' interposed Monks. that which the dead mother had prayed her. 'she and I were alone.' 'Without saying more?' cried Monks. to keep for the infant's sake. 'Go on. but in the same bed. 'When this woman. 'In death. and when I saw that she was dead. died. with desperate eagerness. 'she fell back and died. 'Blood! How things come about!' 'The child was the one you named to him last night. stretching forward. 'No sick wretch or idiot in some other bed? No one who could hear.' replied the woman. with one hand. 'we were alone. 'the mother this nurse had robbed. with quivering lip.' resumed the matron.' replied the woman. by possibility. I'll tear the life out of you both. which was partly closed. understand?' 'Not a soul.' 'She spoke of a young creature.' said the matron. I found it clasped a scrap of dirty paper. 'Nothing.' said the woman.' said the matron. with great difficulty. to all appearance unmoved (as Mr. with something like a shudder. that we called old Sally.and anxiety of their countenances: which. violently. and so removed the hand by force.' 253 . with her last breath.' 'She sold it. looked ghastly in the extreme. in a voice which. 'did she sell it? Where? When? To whom? How long before?' 'As she told me. _I_ stood alone beside the body when death came over it. and might.' 'In life?' asked Monks. seemed only the more furious.' replied the woman. 'who had brought a child into the world some years before. from its very suppression. Bumble was very far from being) by the strange man's violence.' 'Was there no one by?' asked Monks.' the matron began. 'but she clutched my gown. 'It's a lie! I'll not be played with.' 'Good. regarding her attentively. 'it was a pawnbroker's duplicate. She said more. not merely in the same room.

tore open with trembling hands.' replied the woman. for some time. I found out that. and no mention made of taking the five-and-twenty pounds back again.'For what?' demanded Monks. essaying a stroke of facetiousness.' 254 .' said Monks. 'nor against me either. in her hand. with some show of surprise. See here! But don't move a step forward. as if glad to be relieved of it. which is within a year before the child was born. But I may ask you two questions. and prevent its running out. 'The other question?' 'What do you propose to do with it? Can it be used against me?' 'Never. 'There is a blank left for the surname.' observed Mr. It contained a little gold locket: in which were two locks of hair. 'I judge that she had kept the trinket.' replied Monks. 'It is.' said the woman. which Monks pouncing upon. in the hope of turning it to better account. Bumble drew a long breath. she died with the scrap of paper. The time was out in two days. all worn and tattered. 'THERE. unchecked. as if he were glad to find that the story was over. 'In good time I'll tell you. may I?' 'You may ask. I thought something might one day come of it too.' said the woman. Bumble. Nothing had come of it. for it's safer not. 'It has the word "Agnes" engraved on the inside. and then follows the date. after a short silence. it could still be redeemed.' rejoined Monks. during the whole of the previous dialogue.' '--Which makes three. and. 'but whether I answer or not is another question. 'Is that what you expected to get from me?' demanded the matron. 'and I want to know nothing. she hastily threw upon the table a small kid bag scarcely large enough for a French watch.' replied the woman.' 'Where is it now?' asked Monks quickly. or your life is not worth a bulrush.' said his wife addressing Monks. and so redeemed the pledge. and had saved or scraped together money to pay the pawnbroker's interest year by year. 'I know nothing of the story.' 'And this is all?' said Monks. 'All. so that if anything came of it. And. beyond what I can guess at. Mr. as I tell you. after a close and eager scrutiny of the contents of the little packet. and then had pawned it. and now he took courage to wipe the perspiration which had been trickling over his nose. and a plain gold wedding-ring.

lowering the lantern into the gulf. 'If you flung a man's body down there. and was lying on the floor. which fell heavily back into its former position. 'Light your lantern! And get away from here as fast as you can. the matron drew near to the brink. as books say it will. where he had hurriedly thrust it. 'Don't fear me. which had formed a part of some pulley. There had once been a water-mill beneath. dropped it into the stream. 'There!' said Monks. 'On everybody's account. for your sake. and all other sounds were lost in the noise of its plashing and eddying against the green and slimy piles. The three looking into each other's faces. Monks. threw back a large trap-door which opened close at Mr. the tide foaming and chafing round the few rotten stakes. We have nothing more to say. where would it be to-morrow morning?' said Monks. 'You'll keep a quiet tongue in your head. you know. and may break up our pleasant party. clove the water with a scarcely audible splash. Monks drew the little packet from his breast. and pulling an iron ring in the boarding. 'I am not afraid of your wife. quietly enough.' replied Bumble. young man. closing the trap-door. seemed to dart onward. and that trash among it. and fragments of machinery that yet remained. 'If the sea ever gives up its dead. on my own. Bumble's feet. when freed from the obstacles which had unavailingly attempted to stem its headlong course. seemed to breathe more freely. swollen by the heavy rain.' remarked Monks. and tying it to a leaden weight. to hear it. and even Mr. The turbid water. with great alacrity. with great precipitation.With these words. swinging the lantern to and fro in the dark well. Bumble himself. ventured to do the same. when you were seated over it. and was gone. It fell straight. 'Twelve miles down the river. I could have let you down. if that had been my game.' 'By all means. recoiling at the thought. with excessive politeness.' observed Mr. young man. with a threatening look. and cut to pieces besides.' said Monks. Bumble. it will keep its gold and silver to itself. will you?' said Monks. 'Look down. bowing himself gradually towards the ladder.' 255 . he suddenly wheeled the table aside. Mr. impelled by curiousity. and caused that gentleman to retire several paces backward.' Thus encouraged. and true as a die.' 'You may depend upon me. with a new impulse. was rushing rapidly on below. Bumble.' answered Mr.' 'I am glad.

Monks brought up the rear. Bidding him go first. called to a boy who had been hidden somewhere below. and bear the light. He lighted his lantern from that which Monks had detached from the rope. who appeared to entertain an invincible repugnance to being left alone. or Mr. Bumble. the married couple emerged into the wet and darkness outside. slowly. and Mr. but with a marvellously light step for a gentleman of his figure: looking nervously about him for hidden trap-doors. after pausing on the steps to satisfy himself that there were no other sounds to be heard than the beating of the rain without. he returned to the chamber he had just quitted. who had bowed himself to within six inches of the ladder. They traversed the lower room. and the rushing of the water. would infallibly have pitched headlong into the room below.It was fortunate that the conversation terminated at this point. They were no sooner gone. 256 . and now carried in his hand. than Monks. Bumble. descended in silence. merely exchanging a nod with their mysterious acquaintance. was softly unfastened and opened by Monks. and with caution. for Monks started at every shadow. The gate at which they had entered. and making no effort to prolong the discourse. holding his lantern a foot above the ground. followed by his wife. walked not only with remarkable care.

D'ye hear me?' 'I hear you. lend us a hand. cut off altogether. if they had stood in any need of corroboration. 'Not long gone seven. black beard of a week's growth. Sikes's question. Nor were there wanting other indications of the good gentleman's having gone down in the world of late: for a great scarcity of furniture. was a female: so pale and reduced with watching and privation. turning her face aside. of very limited size. and uttering a low growl as some noise in the street. 'Here. as the girl raised him up and led him to a chair. 'Come! Don't stand snivelling there. he muttered various curses on her awkwardnewss. Bill?' 'As weak as water. but for the voice in which she replied to Mr. Sikes. 'How do you feel to-night. and displaying a set of features in no degree improved by the cadaverous hue of illness.' said the girl. The room in which Mr.' replied Mr. bespoke a state of extreme poverty. The housebreaker was lying on the bed. by way of dressing-gown. while the meagre and attenuated condition of Mr. although it was in the same quarter of the town. and the addition of a soiled nightcap. The dog sat at the bedside: now eyeing his master with a wistful look. It was not.' replied the girl. AND SHOWS HOW MONKS AND THE JEW LAID THEIR WORTHY HEADS TOGETHER On the evening following that upon which the three worthies mentioned in the last chapter. previous to the Chertsey expedition. drowsily growled forth an inquiry what time of night it was. If you can't do anything better than that. together with the disappearance of all such small moveables as spare clothes and linen. disposed of their little matter of business as therein narrated. or in the lower part of the house. Sikes propounded this question. and now pricking his ears. awakening from a nap. lighted only by one small window in the shelving roof. was not one of those he had tenanted. that there would have been considerable difficulty in recognising her as the same Nancy who has already figured in this tale.' Illness had not improved Mr. and forcing a laugh. and let me get off this thundering bed anyhow. busily engaged in patching an old waistcoat which formed a portion of the robber's ordinary dress.CHAPTER XXXIX INTRODUCES SOME RESPECTABLE CHARACTERS WITH WHOM THE READER IS ALREADY ACQUAINTED. and was situated at no great distance from his former lodgings. so desirable a habitation as his old quarters: being a mean and badly-furnished apartment. Sikes's temper. and abutting on a close and dirty lane. and total absence of comfort. wrapped in his white great-coat. and struck her. Sikes himself would have fully confirmed these symptoms. Mr. 'What fancy have you got in your head now?' 257 . for. Seated by the window. with an imprecation on his eyes and limbs. in appearance. William Sikes. and a stiff. attracted his attention. 'Whining are you?' said Sikes.

which communicated something like sweetness of tone. as if you had been a child: and this the first that I've seen you like yourself. to prevent mistakes. It'll soon be over. then.' said the girl. before Mr. and don't come over me with your woman's nonsense. and poured a portion of its contents down the patient's throat: previously taking a taste. 'I wouldn't. himself. with a touch of woman's tenderness. very well. Fagin.' At any other time. Sikes tried a little blasphemy: and finding that mode of treatment wholly ineffectual. can't you?' replied Sikes impatiently. my dear?' said Fagin. would you? Come.'Oh! you've thought better of it. Fagin hastened to the girl's assistance. 'Give her a whiff of fresh air with the bellows. 'What's the matter here. if you'd thought of that. while Bill undoes the petticuts. called for assistance. looking in. Sikes in a savage voice. 'No!' cried Mr.' 'What'll be over?' demanded Mr. 'and you slap her hands. while Mr. come. hastily deposited on the floor a bundle with which he was laden. and fainted.' said Mr.' said the girl. have you?' growled Sikes. damme. 'Don't you seem to mind me. the girls's whining again!' 'It's nothing.' 'Well. 'Why not?' 'Such a number of nights. who had followed his venerable friend into the room. you wouldn't have served me as you did just now. 'Don't stand chattering and grinning at me!' With an exclamation of surprise. you don't mean to say. throwing herself into a chair.' said the girl. without much assistance. and the tone in which it was delivered. now. for Miss Nancy's hysterics were usually of that violent kind which the patient fights and struggles out of. what to do. dropped her head over the back of the chair. you'd be hard upon me to-night. uncorked it in a twinkling with his teeth. laying her hand upon his shoulder. Sikes. 'Lend a hand to the girl.' rejoined Mr. Why. 'What foolery are you up to. Mr. he was accustomed to garnish his threats. but the girl being really weak and exhausted. and snatching a bottle from the grasp of Master Charles Bates who came close at his heels. say you wouldn't. this remonstrance. marking the tear which trembled in her eye. John Dawkins (otherwise the Artful Dodger). in this uncommon emergency. 'All the better for you. Charley. Bill. would have had the desired effect. on similar occasions. now. Not knowing.' 'Why. Sikes. you have. nursing and caring for you.' 258 . Dawkins. Sikes could get out a few of the appropriate oaths with which. again? Get up and bustle about. even to her voice: 'such a number of nights as I've been patient with you.

'Why. 'but what have you got to say for yourself. Fagin's request. 'I might have been done for. and everything else.' In compliance with Mr. in some astonishment at their unlooked-for appearance. and there's no occasion to pick 'em. than if I was that 'ere dog. 'You'll do. hid her face upon the pillow: leaving Mr. Dawkins. so precious strong that if you mix it with biling water. and take no more notice of me. health. The girl gradually recovered her senses. down in the mouth. and handed the articles it contained. half a pound of seven and six-penny green. you'll do now. open the bundle. Sikes: a little soothed as he glanced over the table. Charley!' 259 . this morning. you false-hearted wagabond?' 'Only hear him. that you'll be glad to see.' 'The things is well enough in their way. Master Bates produced. administered with great energy: especially that department consigned to Master Bates.--oh no! Two half-quartern brans. rubbing his hands with great satisfaction. my dear. and I've brought something good with me. what evil wind has blowed you here?' he asked Fagin. to Charley Bates: who placed them on the table. poured out a wine-glassful of raw spirits from the bottle he carried: which the invalid tossed down his throat without a moment's hesitation. 'sitch delicate creeturs. for evil winds blow nobody any good. which was of large size.' exclaimed that young gentleman. while Mr. 'Ah!' said Fagin. Sikes to confront the new comers. that the wery bones melt in your mouth. my dear. disclosing to view a huge pasty. twenty times over.-Drive him down. the Artful untied this bundle. with sitch tender limbs. 'And us come to bring him all these beau-ti-ful things. Bill. afore you'd have done anything to help me. with various encomiums on their rarity and excellence. a piece of unexampled pleasantry: were not long in producing the desired effect. and formed of an old table-cloth. from one of his extensive pockets. Dodger. three weeks and more. Sikes. who appeared to consider his share in the proceedings. some of the richest sort you ever lushed!' Uttering this last panegyrie. and. a full-sized wine-bottle. boys!' said Fagin. at the same instant. 'Sitch a rabbit pie. it'll go nigh to blow the lid of the tea-pot off. staggering to a chair by the bedside. Bill. to wind up all. What do you mean by leaving a man in this state. why you should leave me here.' 'Do!' exclaimed Mr. one by one. shrugging his shoulders. all this mortal time. carefully corked.' observed Mr. pound of best fresh. and. afore they got it up to sitch a pitch of goodness. 'No evil wind at all. piece of double Glo'ster. a pound and a half of moist sugar that the niggers didn't work at all at. blunt.These united restoratives. and give Bill the little trifles that we spent all our money on. Bill.

but I couldn't help it. receiving a sly wink from the wary old Jew. and Bill was to do that.' 'No! I'll pound it that you han't. dirt cheap. moreover. on a plant. Sikes into a better temper.' Nancy's appearance gave a new turn to the conversation. submissively.' 'There now. and Bill was to do this.' cried Sikes. to take the taste of that out of my mouth.'I never see such a jolly dog as that. 260 . 'What about the other fortnight that you've left me lying here. I might have died.' replied Sikes. 'but I must have some blunt from you to-night.' urged Fagin. Bill. '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. while Fagin. began to ply her with liquor: of which. my dear. doing as he was desired. If it hadn't been for the girl. after repeated applications to the spirit-bottle. 'I have never forgot you.' 'Upon your what?' growled Sikes. however. by laughing very heartily at one or two rough jokes. eh?' 'I was away from London. 'Smelling the grub like a old lady a going to market! He'd make his fortun' on the stage that dog would. or it'll choke me dead. as soon as he got well: and was quite poor enough for your work. 'Here! Cut me off a piece of that pie. one of you boys. with a bitter grin. coming hastily forward. like a sick rat in his hole?' 'I couldn't help it. 'What have you got to say for yourself. a week and more. assuming an unusual flow of spirits. upon my honour.' replied the Jew. you withered old fence. he condescended to make. by affecting to regard his threats as a little pleasant banter. 'It's all very well. my dear. 'Let him be. with excessive disgust. she took very sparingly.' remonstrated Fagin.' 'I haven't a piece of coin about me.' cried Master Bates. as the dog retreated under the bed: still growling angrily.' 'Hold your din. and Bill was to do it all. and. I can't go into a long explanation before company. every hour that I have laid shivering and burning here. Bill.' 'Don't be out of temper. and rewive the drayma besides. Bill. 'And what about the other fortnight?' demanded Sikes.' replied the Jew. let him be. eagerly catching at the word. 'You've been scheming and plotting away. for the boys. never once. Sikes.' said Mr. which. gradually brought Mr.

and would forget to come. I'm as flat as a juryman. his fifteenth and last sixpence: much to the amusement of his young friends. Horrid dull. bestowing numerous admiring glances on his legs and boots till they were out of sight. Sikes. 'Not a living leg. Crackit. and crammed them into his waistcoat pocket with a haughty air. yawned. returned homeward. 'The Artful's a deal too artful. Nancy shall go to the ken and fetch it. Sikes.' 'Lots!' cried Fagin. Crackit. Mr.' answered Mr. they arrived at Fagin's abode. well. Damme.' 'You won't do nothing of the kind. with so much elegance and gentility. with the Dodger and Master Bates put the eatables in the cupboard. pulling up his collar. Sikes sullenly remarking that if he couldn't get any more he must accompany him home. as though such small pieces of silver were wholly beneath the consideration of a man of his figure.' said Sikes. flinging himself on the bed. apparently somewhat ashamed at being found relaxing himself with a gentleman so much his inferior in station and mental endowments. or get dodged by traps and so be perwented. or anything for an excuse. and that's flat. or lose his way. Mr.' retorted Sikes. to make all sure. with a sigh. if I hadn't had the good natur' to amuse this youngster. and with it. assured the company that he 261 .' rejoined Mr. took up his hat to go. Fagin beat down the amount of the required advance from five pounds to three pounds four and sixpence: protesting with many solemn asseverations that that would only leave him eighteen-pence to keep house with. Chitling. which it is scarcely necessary to say the latter gentleman lost. as fast as Newgate. and inquiring after Sikes.' After a great deal of haggling and squabbling.' 'Well. and I dare say you hardly know yourself. he swaggered out of the room. this done. 'it's been as dull as swipes. and should have gone to sleep. 'Has nobody been. to recompense me for keeping house so long. 'and I must have some from there. The Jew then. meanwhile. as it would take a pretty long time to count it. holding up is hands. 'I haven't so much as would--' 'I don't know how much you've got. I'm blessed if I an't!' With these and other ejaculations of the same kind. if you put him up to it. Chitling intent upon their fifteenth game at cribbage. Mr. and composing himself to sleep away the time until the young lady's return. and I'll lie down and have a snooze while she's gone. You ought to stand something handsome. Toby Crackit swept up his winnings.' said Fagin. 'I'll send the Artful round presently. Toby?' asked Fagin. taking leave of his affectionate friend. where they found Toby Crackit and Mr.'Then you've got lots at home. 'but I must have some tonight. attended by Nancy and the boys: Mr. that Mr. In due course. Fagin.

But I can go and earn some more. Tom!' said Master Bates. The instant she caught the sound. They're only jealous.' 'Ah!' cried Tom. Tom. This is only the key of a little cupboard where I keep a few odd things the boys get. Come! It's near ten. an't it. 'who's that? Listen!' The girl.' In obedience to this hint. triumphantly. appeared in no way interested in the arrival: or to care whether the person.' replied Mr. Fagin?' asked Tom. she tore off her bonnet and shawl. my dear. when they had left the room. because he won't give it to them.considered his acquaintance cheap at fifteen sixpences an interview. whoever he was.' 'And it is a creditable thing to have his acquaintance. Chitling. who was sitting at the table with her arms folded. my dear. in whose conduct. and that he didn't value his losses the snap of his little finger. 'Very much so. who pay a much higher price than Mr. so make up your loss at once. and winking to his other pupils. my dear. came or went: until the murmur of a man's voice reached her ears. but I'm fond of seeing the young people about me. 'Not a bit of it. highly amused by this declaration. hastily concealing the key in his breast. when I like. Chitling. I never lock up my money. patting him on the shoulder. the Dodger and his vivacious friend indulging. 'Wot a rum chap you are. Nancy. Fagin?' 'To be sure you can. as they went.' said Fagin.' said Fagin. Crackit is a heavy swell. 'Am I. 'Now. 'No doubt at all of that. it is but justice to say. 'And Mr. an't he. nodding to Nancy. Nancy. my dear--ha! ha! ha!--none to lock up. and don't lose any more time. and no thanks. Fagin?' pursued Tom. indeed. and I bear it all. took up their hats. 'I'll go and get you that cash. Chitling for being seen in good society: and a great number of fine gentlemen (composing the good society aforesaid) who established their reputation upon very much the same footing as flash Toby Crackit. there was nothing very conspicuous or peculiar: inasmuch as there are a great number of spirited young bloods upon town. Fagin?' 'A very clever fellow. can't I. Dodger! Charley! It's time you were on the lay. and left the room. in many witticisms at the expense of Mr. and the sooner you go the better. 'that's where it is! He has cleaned me out. It's a poor trade. Hush!' he said. Tom. with the rapidity of 262 . my dear. the boys. for I've got none to lock up. I bear it all. and nothing done yet.

although she could see that Monks was pointing to her. and making some reply which did not reach her. my dear. as though nettled by the interruption. by the creaking of the boards. hesitating as though he feared to vex the other man by being too sanguine. as a man's step was heard upon the stairs without. The Jew.' The girl drew closer to the table. Nance. 'Bah!' he whispered. and made no offer to leave the room. who had his back towards her at the time. It was Monks. he's coming downstairs. 'Great. observing that Monks drew back. he could hardly have believed the two looks to have proceeded from the same person. and took Monks out of the room. Before the sound of their footsteps had ceased to echo through the house. Let me have a word with you. 'Don't move. very remarkably. 'Any news?' inquired Fagin. and 263 . Fagin laughed. Not a word about the money while he's here. and full of purpose. and glancing at Monks with an air of careless levity. Not ten minutes. the Jew carried a candle to the door. that if there had been any bystander to observe the change. 'Only one of my young people. seemed. and drawing her gown loosely over her head. with the extreme haste and violence of this action: which. but as he turned towards Fagin. to lead his companion to the second story. she stole another look. Nancy. and thrust them under the table.' she could hear the man say as they went upstairs. turning round immediately afterwards.lightning. at the same moment as the visitor. 'Not bad. was close upon the girl before he observed her. any way.' Laying his skinny forefinger upon his lip.' 'And--and--good?' asked Fagin. 'Not that infernal hole we were in before. 'it's the man I expected before. withdrew her eyes. The Jew: perhaps fearing she might say something aloud about the money. she muttered a complaint of the heat: in a tone of languor that contrasted.' replied Monks with a smile. so keen and searching. however. who. if he endeavoured to get rid of her: pointed upward. coming hastily into the room. the girl had slipped off her shoes. 'I have been prompt enough this time. He reached it. had been unobserved by Fagin.' The girl drew closer to the table. on beholding a stranger. He won't stop long.' said Fagin.

They parted without more conversation. and seemed. and burst into tears. but she turned back. except sitting in this close place for I don't know how long and all. Fagin told the amount into her hand. for merely inquiring if she had brought the money. After completely exhausting herself. ascended the stairs with incredible softness and silence. 'how pale you are!' 'Pale!' echoed the girl. wrung her hands. and. until it gradually resolved into a violent run. when she presented herself to Mr. stood at the door. the girl glided back with the same unearthly tread. partly to recover lost time.' exclaimed the Jew. he uttered a growl of satisfaction. and partly to keep pace with the violent current of her own thoughts: soon reached the dwelling where she had left the housebreaker. 'Why. in a direction quite opposite to that in which Sikes was awaiting her returned. that's a dear. she stopped to take breath: and. It might be that her tears relieved her. she sat down upon a doorstep.' replied the girl carelessly. as if to look steadily at him. 'Come! Let me get back.muffling her arms in it. That she had all the abstracted and nervous manner of one who is on the eve of some bold and hazardous step. quickened her pace. Nance!. 'Quite horrible. It was fortunate for her that the possession of money occasioned him so much employment next day in the way of eating and drinking. would have been obvious to the lynx-eyed Fagin. shading her eyes with her hands. listening with breathless interest. and withal had so beneficial an effect in smoothing down the asperities of his temper.' With a sigh for every piece of money. resumed the slumbers which her arrival had interrupted. Sikes. starting back as he put down the candle. immediately afterwards. What have you been doing to yourself?' 'Nothing that I know of. The moment the noise ceased. and receiving a reply in the affirmative. and hurrying with nearly as great rapidity in the contrary direction. Monks went at once into the street. and was lost in the gloom above. she glided from the room. the girl was adjusting her shawl and bonnet. and the Jew crawled upstairs again for the money. merely interchanging a 'good-night. and deploring her inability to do something she was bent upon. If she betrayed any agitation. and hurrying on. he did not observe it. or that she felt the full hopelessness of her condition. and replacing his head upon the pillow. as if suddenly recollecting herself. The room remained deserted for a quarter of an hour or more. for a few moments.' When the girl got into the open street. who 264 . When he returned. Suddenly she arose. as if preparing to be gone. which it has required no common struggle to resolve upon. that he had neither time nor inclination to be very critical upon her behaviour and deportment. wholly bewildered and unable to pursue her way. the two men were heard descending.

taking hot water with his gin to render it less inflammatory. now. the girl's excitement increased. called for his physic. and she sat by. and held the vessel to his lips. when night came on. burn my body!' said the man. Sikes lacking the niceties of discrimination. 'What is it? What do you mean? What are you thinking of?' 'Of many things. No. 'I tell you wot it is. raising himself on his hands as he stared the girl in the face. seemd to produce a deeper impression on Sikes than the wild and rigid look which had preceded them. as has been already observed. there's something more than usual in the wind. grasping her by the arm. 'Nothing. 'there ain't a stauncher-hearted gal going. damme! you wouldn't do that!' 'Do what?' asked the girl. and muttering the words to himself. with many grumbling oaths. Mr. and indeed. Bill. was lying in bed. 'There ain't. and being troubled with no more subtle misgivings than those which resolve themselves into a dogged roughness of behaviour towards everybody.would most probably have taken the alarm at once. shivering. and a fire in her eye. that. pressing her hands upon her eyes. Lord! What odds in that?' The tone of forced gaiety in which the last words were spoken. As that day closed in. saw nothing unusual in her demeanor. it would have been very unlikely to have awakened his suspicions. that even Sikes observed with astonishment. 'But.' replied the girl. poured it quickly out. but with her back towards him.' Fortifying himself with this assurance. You're not a-going to--. 265 . watching until the housebreaker should drink himself asleep. She's got the fever coming on. Sikes being weak from the fever. when these symptoms first struck him. and shaking her roughly. 'if you haven't caught the fever. and got it comin' on. or I'd have cut her throat three months ago. and. had her agitation been far more perceptible than it was.' said Sikes. and then.' said Sikes. that's it. and being. The girl jumped up. What's the matter?' 'Matter!' replied the girl. troubled himself so little about her. but Mr. while he drank off the contents. 'Why. and as she did so. Sikes drained the glass to the bottom. with great alacrity. fixing his eyes upon her. in an unusually amiable condition. 'You look like a corpse come to life again. and something dangerous too. and had pushed his glass towards Nancy to be replenished for the third or fourth time. furthermore. there was an unusual paleness in her cheek. What do you look at me so hard for?' 'What foolery is this?' demanded Sikes.

and darting almost under the horses' heads. and looked back. 'And I cannot get there in less than an hour or more. and when she neared her place of destination. locking her hand in his. but they fell off one by one. in gaining the main thoroughfare. and here her headlong progress excited a still greater curiosity in the stragglers whom she hurried past. as though to see whither she was hastening at such an unusual rate. fell back upon the pillow: turning his eyes upon her face. as it were. down a dark passage through which she had to pass. The grasp of his hand relaxed. Many of the shops were already closing in the back lanes and avenues through which she tracked her way. and. He shifted his position restlessly.' murmured the girl.' muttered Nancy: brushing swiftly past him. in making from Spitalfields towards the West-End of London. crossed crowded streets. hurried from the house. despite the sleeping draught.' said the man: raising his lantern to her face. and as often springing up with a look of terror. They closed.'Now. she was alone.' said the robber. and gliding rapidly down the street. Some quickened their pace behind. from time to time. 'come and sit aside of me. for two or three minutes. was suddenly stricken. and he lay like one in a profound trance. closed once more.' The girl obeyed. she kissed the robber's lips. or I'll alter it so. The clock struck ten. increasing her impatience. 266 . and a few made head upon her. 'The woman is mad!' said the people. A watchman was crying half-past nine. as she rose from the bedside. surprised at her undiminished speed. When she reached the more wealthy quarter of the town. where clusters of persons were eagerly watching their opportunity to do the like. then. turning to look after her as she rushed away. and again. 'Has it long gone the half-hour?' asked the girl. stooping softly over the bed. the upraised arm fell languidly by his side. she expected every moment to feel the pressure of Sikes's heavy hand upon her shoulder. Sikes. the streets were comparatively deserted. after dozing again. again opened. and put on your own face. and then opening and closing the room-door with noiseless touch. that you won't know it agin when you do want it.' She hastily dressed herself in her bonnet and shawl: looking fearfully round. even now. 'I may be too late. while in the very attitude of rising. 'It'll strike the hour in another quarter. She tore along the narrow pavement: elbowing the passengers from side to side. 'The laudanum has taken effect at last. and gazing vacantly about him. into a deep and heavy sleep. opened again. as if.

replied only by a look of virtuous disdain.' said Nancy. 'What's the good?' replied the man. The young woman.' she said. guided her to the spot. As the brilliant light of the lamp which burnt before its door. 'Take it up for her.' replied Nancy. 'It's of no use saying any. nor that neither. who with some of the other servants was looking on. raised a vast quantity of chaste wrath in the bosoms of four housemaids.It was a family hotel in a quiet but handsome street near Hyde Park. She had loitered for a few paces as though irresolute. and advanced towards the stairs. into the kennel. and she stepped into the hall. who remarked.' rejoined the girl. 'None of this. that the creature was a disgrace to her sex. 'and I can make that a job that two of you won't like to do. Isn't there anybody here. 267 . looking out from a door behind her. 'You don't suppose the young lady will see such as her. young woman!' said a smartly-dressed female. the clock struck eleven.' 'I shall be carried out if I go!' said the girl violently. The porter's seat was vacant. 'Nor business?' said the man. She looked round with an air of incertitude. Nancy repeated her request. 'What name am I to say?' asked the waiter. 'that will see a simple message carried for a poor wretch like me?' This appeal produced an effect on a good-tempered-faced man-cook. 'What lady?' 'Miss Maylie. who had by this time.' 'Come!' said the man. 'I must see the lady. 'No. 'A lady!' was the reply. but the sound determined her. Joe. pushing her towards the door. ruthlessly. looking round. 'who do you want here?' 'A lady who is stopping in this house. Take yourself off. and who stepped forward to interfere. with great fervour. and summoned a man to answer her. 'Now. and strongly advocated her being thrown. To him. accompanied with a scornful look. and making up her mind to advance. do you?' This allusion to Nancy's doubtful character.' answered the girl. can't you?' said this person. noted her appearance.

'That a young woman earnestly asks to speak to Miss Maylie alone.' said the girl firmly. Nancy remained. Regardless of all this: for she had weightier matters at heart: Nancy followed the man. 268 .' The soft-hearted cook added his intercession. and I ask you to give this message for God Almighty's sake. of which the chaste housemaids were very prolific. 'Brass can do better than the gold what has stood the fire. The third contented herself with wondering 'what ladies was made of'. pale and almost breathless. and of which they became still more so. and the result was that the man who had first appeared undertook its delivery. and said the young woman was to walk upstairs. Here he left her.' said Nancy.' The man ran upstairs.' said the first housemaid. 'and that if the lady will only hear the first word she has to say.' said the second. to a small ante-chamber. 'but do what I ask you first.' 'I say. with one foot on the stairs.' said the man. 'It's no good being proper in this world. listening with quivering lip to the very audible expressions of scorn. 'and let me hear the answer. and the fourth took the first in a quartette of 'Shameful!' with which the Dianas concluded. turning to the men again. with trembling limbs. and retired. or to have her turned out of doors as an impostor. when the man returned. lighted by a lamp from the ceiling.'Do what you like with me. she will know whether to hear her business.' said the girl. 'What's it to be?' said the man. 'you're coming it strong!' 'You give the message.

WHICH IS A SEQUEL TO THE LAST CHAMBER The girl's life had been squandered in the streets. 'Why?' 269 . and among the most noisome of the stews and dens of London. and shrunk as though she could scarcely bear the presence of her with whom she had sought this interview. many traces when a very child. the gentle manner. of which her wasting life had obliterated so many.CHAPTER XL A STRANGE INTERVIEW. still weeping. lady. I am the person you inquired for. The miserable companion of thieves and ruffians. then.' The kind tone of this answer. but there was something of the woman's original nature left in her still. and she burst into tears. she felt burdened with the sense of her own deep shame.' 'I am very sorry if any one has behaved harshly to you. took the girl completely by surprise. 'if there was more like you. 'If you are in poverty or affliction I shall be truly glad to relieve you if I can. but which alone connected her with that humanity. the absence of any accent of haughtiness or displeasure. lady. and thought of the wide contrast which the small room would in another moment contain. lady!' she said. there would be fewer like me. 'and do not speak to me so kindly till you know me better. Sit down. the fallen outcast of low haunts. living within the shadow of the gallows itself.' said Rose. she tossed her head with affected carelessness as she said: 'It's a hard matter to get to see you.' 'Let me stand. you'd have been sorry for it one day. recoiling a few steps. and gone away. clasping her hands passionately before her face. earnestly. as if to be nearer assistance in case she should require it. Is--is--that door shut?' 'Yes.' said the girl.--there would--there would!' 'Sit down.--I shall indeed.' said Rose. 'Do not think of that. But struggling with these better feelings was pride. as many would have done. bending them on the ground. the associate of the scourings of the jails and hulks. and when she heard a light step approaching the door opposite to that by which she had entered. lady. Tell me why you wished to see me.--the vice of the lowest and most debased creatures no less than of the high and self-assured. She raised her eyes sufficiently to observe that the figure which presented itself was that of a slight and beautiful girl. It is growing late. If I had taken offence.--even this degraded being felt too proud to betray a feeble gleam of the womanly feeling which she thought a weakness.' replied Rose. and not without reason either. 'Oh. the sweet voice.

for the alley and the gutter were mine. 'I. I am the girl that dragged little Oliver back to old Fagin's on the night he went out from the house in Pentonville. 'I am the infamous creature you have heard of. that Monks--the man I asked you about. and had known him directly to be the same child that he was watching for.' pursued the girl. and that never from the first moment I can recollect my eyes and senses opening on London streets have known any better life. 'I understand. 'and knew you were here. I may use the word. 270 .' cried the girl. that lives among the thieves. I am younger than you would think. as I make my way along the crowded pavement. to tell you what I have overheard. if they knew I had been here. from what I heard. 'He knows you.'Because. in a broken voice.' replied the girl.' 'You!' said Rose Maylie. 'Then he goes by some other amongst us. or kinder words than they have given me. dear lady. and riot and drunkenness.' 'What dreadful things are these!' said Rose. lady. 'If you knew what I am sometimes. and--and--something worse than all--as I have been from my cradle. 'which I more than thought before.' rejoined the girl. and that you were never in the midst of cold and hunger. involuntarily falling from her strange companion.' 'I never heard the name. 'that you had friends to care for and keep you in your childhood. 'had seen him accidently with two of our boys on the day we first lost him. 'Thank Heaven upon your knees.' 'I pity you!' said Rose. But I have stolen away from those who would surely murder me. as they will be my deathbed.' said the girl.' said Rose.' '--That Monks. I found out.' said Rose. you would pity me. though I couldn't make out why. I--suspecting this man--listened to a conversation held between him and Fagin in the dark.' said Rose. but I am well used to it. The poorest women fall back. to look at me. lady!' replied the girl. for it was by hearing him tell the place that I found you out. indeed. and soon after Oliver was put into your house on the night of the robbery. so help me God! Do not mind shrinking openly from me. 'I am about to put my life and the lives of others in your hands. you know--' 'Yes. Some time ago. 'It wrings my heart to hear you!' 'Heaven bless you for your goodness!' rejoined the girl. Do you know a man named Monks?' 'No.

Oliver. 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. I know many who do 271 . in the hope of finding out. 'to tell me that this was said in earnest?' 'He spoke in hard and angry earnest. he laughed. after having made a good profit of him besides. for how many thousands and hundreds of thousands of pounds would you not give. and I saw him no more till last night. by driving him through every jail in town.' said Nancy. that if Oliver was got back he should have a certain sum. 'He is an earnest man when his hatred is up. 'For what purpose?' asked Rose. and said there was some comfort in that too. and he was to have more for making him a thief. 'Then. But I did. 'And more. 'Those were his words. that if he could gratify his hatred by taking the boy's life without bringing his own neck in danger. Again they went upstairs. lady. and the old hag that received them from the mother is rotting in her coffin. that Oliver should come into your hands. if a man ever did. to know who your two-legged spaniel was. wrapping myself up so that my shadow would not betray me. for a vision of Sikes haunted her perpetually. and talked of his success in doing this. as she had scarcely ceased to do. but. he might harm him yet. what a game it would have been to have brought down the boast of the father's will.' replied the girl. glancing uneasily round.' replied the girl. Fagin."' 'His brother!' exclaimed Rose.' 'What is all this!' said Rose." They laughed.' 'And what occurred then?' 'I'll tell you. lady. and Monks. talking on about the boy.' 'You do not mean. though it comes from my lips. and said it seemed contrived by Heaven. 'and there are not many people besides me that could have got out of their way in time to escape discovery. he'd rather have had it the other way. he would. "In short. 'He caught sight of my shadow on the wall as I listened. as he couldn't. shaking her head. and I. if you had them. but strange to yours. which this Monks wanted for some purpose of his own. or the devil.A bargain was struck with Fagin. against him. he said." he says. for. since she began to speak. you never laid such snares as I'll contrive for my young brother. he'd be upon the watch to meet him at every turn in life. Last night he came again. and getting very wild.' said the girl. turning very pale. and if he took advantage of his birth and history.' said Rose. and then hauling him up for some capital felony which Fagin could easily manage. again listened at the door. said that though he had got the young devil's money safely know. with oaths common enough in my ears. "Jew as you are. When he spoke of you and the other lady. 'The truth.

' 'Your having interfered in this dear boy's behalf before.' said Rose. your evident contrition.' 'I don't know what it is. that I can't leave: no. 'To what use can I turn this communication without you? Back! Why do you wish to return to companions you paint in such terrible colors? If you repeat this information to a gentleman whom I can summon in an instant from the next room. there is one: the most desperate among them all. to tell me what you have heard. than to that Monks once. and if I had heard them years ago.' 'Why should you be?' asked Rose.' said the girl. because--how can I tell such things to an innocent lady like you?--because among the men I have told you of. Oh!' said the earnest girl. I do not know. I must get back quickly.' said Rose. you can resign every future hope.' 'Lady. but I am drawn back to him through every suffering and ill usage. 'I must go back. not even to be saved from the life I am leading now.' 'But what can I do?' said Rose. and not with me alone. who ever appealed to you in the voice of pity and compassion. 'for penitence and atonement. and I have to reach home without suspicion of having been on such an errand as this. and I should be. 'that for such a man as this. It is growing late. 'If I told others what I have told you. 'I only know that it is so. I do believe. 'Nothing could save him. I must go back. for better things.' cried the girl. you ARE the first that ever blessed me with such words as these. and sense of shame. 'your coming here. and let me save you yet. the first--the first.worse things. it is too late!' 'It is never too late.' answered the girl. if I knew that I was to die by his hand at last.' cried the girl. but with hundreds of others as bad and wretched as myself.' 'It is. He is the boldest. 'do not turn a deaf ear to the entreaties of one of your own sex. sweet. he would be sure to die. Do hear my words.' 'I wish to go back. folding her hands as the tears coursed down her face. I believe. which convinces me of the truth of what you say. 'I cannot leave him now! I could not be his death. they might have turned me from a life of sin and sorrow. you can be consigned to some place of safety without half an hour's delay. at so great a risk. and led to their being taken. but I'd rather listen to them all a dozen times. and has been so cruel!' 'Is it possible. Whether it is God's wrath for the wrong I have done. all lead me to believe that you might yet be reclaimed.' cried Rose. sinking on her knees. 'dear. angel lady. your manner.' 272 .' cried the girl. and the certainty of immediate rescue? It is madness. writhing in agony of her mind. but it is too late.

to fill them.' said the girl without hesitation. and no friend in sickness or death but the hospital nurse. 'Think once again on your own condition. set our rotten hearts on any man. 'I should not let you depart from me thus. waving her hand. but where will you be walking or passing at any settled period from this time?' 'Will you promise me that you will have my secret strictly kept. and that I shall not be watched or followed?' asked the girl. and good. When such as I. 'take some money from me. and come alone. after a pause. 'Every Sunday night.' said Rose.' answered Rose. 'give away your hearts. who have no certain roof but the coffinlid. then.' 'Stay another moment. as the girl moved hurriedly towards the door. whom you are anxious to serve?' 'You must have some kind gentleman about you that will hear it as a secret.' 'You will. friends. 'I do not seek to know where these dreadful people live. and let him fill the place that has been a blank through all our wretched lives. and the opportunity you have of escaping from it. and advise you what to do. other admirers. benefit Oliver. or how will its disclosure to me. love will carry you all lengths--even such as you. who can hope to cure us? Pity us.' rejoined the girl.' interposed Rose. 'You will not stop my going because I have trusted in your goodness. but as a woman lost almost beyond redemption. and make you cling to wickedness and misery? Oh! is there no chord in your heart that I can touch! Is there nothing left. from a comfort and a pride. and I know you will. when a word can save you? What fascination is it that can take you back. which may enable you to live without dishonesty--at all events until we meet again?' 'Not a penny. and for having that turned. 'I promise you solemnly. or with the only other person that knows it. 'But where can I find you again when it is necessary?' asked Rose.' replied the girl. You have a claim on me: not only as the voluntary bearer of this intelligence. from eleven until the clock strikes twelve.' 'Of what use. 'I will walk on London Bridge if I am alive.'What am I to do?' said Rose. lady. 'This mystery must be investigated. 273 . is the communication you have made?' said Rose.' 'You should. into a new means of violence and suffering. to which I can appeal against this terrible infatuation!' 'When ladies as young. everything. as I might have done. and beautiful as you are. who have home. and to this man. Will you return to this gang of robbers. rising. and forced no promise from you.' rejoined the girl. lady--pity us for having only one feeling of the woman left.' replied the girl steadily. by a heavy judgment.

tonight. and send as much happiness on your head as I have brought shame on mine!' Thus speaking. lady. 'I wish to serve you indeed. sweet lady. for I have felt more grief to think of what I am. the unhappy creature turned away.' replied the girl. wringing her hands. 'if you could take my life at once. sank into a chair. overpowered by this extraordinary interview.' 'You would serve me best. and endeavoured to collect her wandering thoughts. than I ever did before. while Rose Maylie. which had more the semblance of a rapid dream than an actual occurance. and it would be something not to die in the hell in which I have lived. and sobbing aloud. God bless you.' said Rose. 274 . stepping gently forward.'Do not close your heart against all my efforts to help you.

'If it be painful to him. to trust him with the secret. and would be for the next two days. Once the thought occurred to her of seeking assistance from Harry. It was now midnight of the first day. for the same reason. SELDOM COME ALONE Her situation was. in the first explosion of his indignation. LIKE MISFORTUNES. but it was better for us both. Losberne was with them. Maylie. whose first impulse would infallibly be to hold a conference with the worthy doctor on the subject. but Rose was too well acquainted with the excellent gentleman's impetuosity. he would regard the instrument of Oliver's recapture.' she thought. AND SHOWING THAT SUPRISES. 275 . as each successive consideration presented itself to her mind. Her words and manner had touched Rose Maylie's heart. indeed. While she felt the most eager and burning desire to penetrate the mystery in which Oliver's history was enveloped. even if she had known how to do so. 'to come back here. Rose passed a sleepless and anxious night. and again recoiling from all. she arrived at the desperate conclusion of consulting Harry. and scarcely less intense in its truth and fervour. These were all reasons for the greatest caution and most circumspect behaviour in communicating it to Mrs. and. how painful it will be to me! But perhaps he will not come. as though the very paper which was to be her messenger should not see her weep. What course of action could she determine upon. I hardly thought he would. They purposed remaining in London only three days. As to resorting to any legal adviser. which could be adopted in eightand-forty hours? Or how could she postpone the journey without exciting suspicion? Mr.' And here Rose dropped the pen. After more communing with herself next day. she could not but hold sacred the confidence which the miserable woman with whom she had just conversed. and studiously abstain from meeting me--he did when he went away. it was scarcely to be thought of. one of no common trial and difficulty. or he may come himself. as a young and guileless girl. but this awakened the recollection of their last parting. and turned away. and it seemed unworthy of her to call him back. had reposed in her. and to be happier away. and foresaw too clearly the wrath with which. when--the tears rose to her eyes as she pursued this train of reflection--he might have by this time learnt to forget her. Disturbed by these different reflections. he may write.CHAPTER XLI CONTAINING FRESH DISCOVERIES. prior to departing for some weeks to a distant part of the coast. inclining now to one course and then to another. when her representations in the girl's behalf could be seconded by no experienced person. was her fond wish to win the outcast back to repentance and hope. mingled with her love for her young charge.

When they arrived there.' replied Oliver. whether he lived there. 'Oh dear! To think that I should see him at last. 'I hardly know how. opening a scrap of paper. who did not look particularly benevolent. when Oliver. and be ready as soon as you are.' said Rose.' replied Oliver. with Mr. under pretence of preparing the old gentleman to receive him. dear me. that we have so often talked about. as seemed to betoken some new cause of alarm. to beg that she would walk upstairs. 'the gentleman who was so good to me--Mr. Rose read the address. and you should be able to know that I have told you the truth!' 'I never thought you had told us anything but the truth. and had considered and reconsidered the first line of her letter without writing the first word. 'Quick!' she said. was seated another old gentleman. 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. Look here. Brownlow on very pressing business. and laid it down again fifty times. and who was sitting with his hands clasped on the top of a thick stick. here's where he lives--I'm going there directly! Oh. The servant soon returned. Brownlow. But Giles asked. shedding tears of delight. 276 . At no great distance from whom. scarcely able to articulate. I feel as if I should be choked. 'here it is.' 'Where?' asked Rose. that I was not able to go up to him.She had taken up the same pen. Giles for a body-guard. and be ready to go with me. and his chin propped thereupon. in the Strand. 'Getting out of a coach. for me. and following him into an upper room. I didn't speak to him--I couldn't speak to him. and I trembled so. and sending up her card by the servant. She very soon determined upon turning the discovery to account. requested to see Mr. 'Tell them to fetch a hackney-coach. Rose left Oliver in the coach. which was Craven Street.' said Oliver. Miss Maylie was presented to an elderly gentleman of benevolent appearance.' replied the boy. without a minute's loss of time. entered the room in such breathless haste and violent agitation. who had been walking in the streets. soothing him.' Oliver needed no prompting to despatch. advancing to meet him. 'What makes you look so flurried?' asked Rose. and they said he did. 'But what is this?--of whom do you speak?' 'I have seen the gentleman. and in little more than five minutes they were on their way to Craven Street. 'and going into a house. in nankeen breeches and gaiters. I will take you there directly. I will only tell my aunt that we are going out for an hour. in a bottle-green coat. for he didn't see me.

He drew his chair nearer to Miss Maylie's. as it were. he is cognizant of the business on which I wish to speak to you. and said.' said the old gentleman. in the bottle-green coat. and of which nobody else knows anything. glancing from the other gentleman to the one who had spoken. I believe. I have no doubt. without moving a muscle of his face. Mr.' growled Mr. discharged from his features every expression but one of unmitigated wonder.' replied Rose.' said Rose. then. and falling back in his chair. upset it with a great crash. and I am sure you will take an interest in hearing of him again. The words no sooner escaped her lips. 'and that Power which has thought fit to try him beyond his years. Be seated. than Mr. not to be discharged on empty air. has planted in his 277 . Grimwig. in Heaven's name put me in possession of it. naturally embarrassed. 'I shall surprise you very much. he jerked himself. colouring. Mr. Browlow was no less surprised.' said the gentleman. young lady--I imagined it was some importunate person who--I beg you will excuse me. 'Oliver Twist you knew him as. and risen from his chair. to leave entirely out of the question that goodness and benevolence of which you speak. Brownlow. sir?' said Rose. will you leave us for a few minutes?' 'I believe. I need not give that gentleman the trouble of going away. Mr. who had been affecting to dip into a large book that lay on the table. although his astonishment was not expressed in the same eccentric manner. Grimwig.' 'Mr. Grimwig. If I am correctly informed.' 'Indeed!' said Mr. 'He is a child of a noble nature and a warm heart. Grimwig. speaking by some ventriloquial power. hastily rising with great politeness. and looking out straight before him emitted a long deep whistle. as if ashamed of having betrayed so much emotion.' Mr. 'but you once showed great benevolence and goodness to a very dear young friend of mine. who had made one very stiff bow. 'This is my friend. at last. 'Do me the favour. pray. 'That is my name. my dear young lady.'Dear me. but to die away in the innermost recesses of his stomach. 'I beg your pardon. 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. Brownlow inclined his head. made another very stiff bow. which seemed. by a convulsion into his former attitude.' 'A bad one! I'll eat my head if he is not a bad one. Grimwig.' interposed Miss Maylie. and dropped into it again. 'that at this period of our interview. and indulged in a prolonged and vacant stare.' said Rose. Brownlow.

breast affections and feelings which would do honour to many who have numbered his days six times over.' 'I'm only sixty-one,' said Mr. Grimwig, with the same rigid face. 'And, as the devil's in it if this Oliver is not twelve years old at least, I don't see the application of that remark.' 'Do not heed my friend, Miss Maylie,' said Mr. Brownlow; 'he does not mean what he says.' 'Yes, he does,' growled Mr. Grimwig. 'No, he does not,' said Mr. Brownlow, obviously rising in wrath as he spoke. 'He'll eat his head, if he doesn't,' growled Mr. Grimwig. 'He would deserve to have it knocked off, if he does,' said Mr. Brownlow. 'And he'd uncommonly like to see any man offer to do it,' responded Mr. Grimwig, knocking his stick upon the floor. Having gone thus far, the two old gentlemen severally took snuff, and afterwards shook hands, according to their invariable custom. 'Now, Miss Maylie,' said Mr. Brownlow, 'to return to the subject in which your humanity is so much interested. Will you let me know what intelligence you have of this poor child: allowing me to promise that I exhausted every means in my power of discovering him, and that since I have been absent from this country, my first impression that he had imposed upon me, and had been persuaded by his former associates to rob me, has been considerably shaken.' Rose, who had had time to collect her thoughts, at once related, in a few natural words, all that had befallen Oliver since he left Mr. Brownlow's house; reserving Nancy's information for that gentleman's private ear, and concluding with the assurance that his only sorrow, for some months past, had been not being able to meet with his former benefactor and friend. 'Thank God!' said the old gentleman. 'This is great happiness to me, great happiness. But you have not told me where he is now, Miss Maylie. You must pardon my finding fault with you,--but why not have brought him?' 'He is waiting in a coach at the door,' replied Rose. 'At this door!' cried the old gentleman. With which he hurried out of the room, down the stairs, up the coachsteps, and into the coach, without another word. When the room-door closed behind him, Mr. Grimwig lifted up his head, and converting one of the hind legs of his chair into a pivot, described three distinct circles with the assistance of his stick and the table; stitting in it all the time.

After performing this evolution, he rose and limped as fast as he could up and down the room at least a dozen times, and then stopping suddenly before Rose, kissed her without the slightest preface. 'Hush!' he said, as the young lady rose in some alarm at this unusual proceeding. 'Don't be afraid. I'm old enough to be your grandfather. You're a sweet girl. I like you. Here they are!' In fact, as he threw himself at one dexterous dive into his former seat, Mr. Brownlow returned, accompanied by Oliver, whom Mr. Grimwig received very graciously; and if the gratification of that moment had been the only reward for all her anxiety and care in Oliver's behalf, Rose Maylie would have been well repaid. 'There is somebody else who should not be forgotten, by the bye,' said Mr. Brownlow, ringing the bell. 'Send Mrs. Bedwin here, if you please.' The old housekeeper answered the summons with all dispatch; and dropping a curtsey at the door, waited for orders. 'Why, you get blinder every day, Bedwin,' said Mr. Brownlow, rather testily. 'Well, that I do, sir,' replied the old lady. 'People's eyes, at my time of life, don't improve with age, sir.' 'I could have told you that,' rejoined Mr. Brownlow; 'but put on your glasses, and see if you can't find out what you were wanted for, will you?' The old lady began to rummage in her pocket for her spectacles. But Oliver's patience was not proof against this new trial; and yielding to his first impulse, he sprang into her arms. 'God be good to me!' cried the old lady, embracing him; 'it is my innocent boy!' 'My dear old nurse!' cried Oliver. 'He would come back--I knew he would,' said the old lady, holding him in her arms. 'How well he looks, and how like a gentleman's son he is dressed again! Where have you been, this long, long while? Ah! the same sweet face, but not so pale; the same soft eye, but not so sad. I have never forgotten them or his quiet smile, but have seen them every day, side by side with those of my own dear children, dead and gone since I was a lightsome young creature.' Running on thus, and now holding Oliver from her to mark how he had grown, now clasping him to her and passing her fingers fondly through his hair, the good soul laughed and wept upon his neck by turns. Leaving her and Oliver to compare notes at leisure, Mr. Brownlow led the way into another room; and there, heard from Rose a full narration of her interview with Nancy, which occasioned him no little surprise and perplexity. Rose also explained her reasons for not confiding in her friend Mr. Losberne in the first

instance. The old gentleman considered that she had acted prudently, and readily undertook to hold solemn conference with the worthy doctor himself. To afford him an early opportunity for the execution of this design, it was arranged that he should call at the hotel at eight o'clock that evening, and that in the meantime Mrs. Maylie should be cautiously informed of all that had occurred. These preliminaries adjusted, Rose and Oliver returned home. Rose had by no means overrated the measure of the good doctor's wrath. Nancy's history was no sooner unfolded to him, than he poured forth a shower of mingled threats and execrations; threatened to make her the first victim of the combined ingenuity of Messrs. Blathers and Duff; and actually put on his hat preparatory to sallying forth to obtain the assistance of those worthies. And, doubtless, he would, in this first outbreak, have carried the intention into effect without a moment's consideration of the consequences, if he had not been restrained, in part, by corresponding violence on the side of Mr. Brownlow, who was himself of an irascible temperament, and party by such arguments and representations as seemed best calculated to dissuade him from his hotbrained purpose. 'Then what the devil is to be done?' said the impetuous doctor, when they had rejoined the two ladies. 'Are we to pass a vote of thanks to all these vagabonds, male and female, and beg them to accept a hundred pounds, or so, apiece, as a trifling mark of our esteem, and some slight acknowledgment of their kindness to Oliver?' 'Not exactly that,' rejoined Mr. Brownlow, laughing; 'but we must proceed gently and with great care.' 'Gentleness and care,' exclaimed the doctor. 'I'd send them one and all to--' 'Never mind where,' interposed Mr. Brownlow. 'But reflect whether sending them anywhere is likely to attain the object we have in view.' 'What object?' asked the doctor. 'Simply, the discovery of Oliver's parentage, and regaining for him the inheritance of which, if this story be true, he has been fraudulently deprived.' 'Ah!' said Mr. Losberne, cooling himself with his pocket-handkerchief; 'I almost forgot that.' 'You see,' pursued Mr. Brownlow; 'placing this poor girl entirely out of the question, and supposing it were possible to bring these scoundrels to justice without compromising her safety, what good should we bring about?' 'Hanging a few of them at least, in all probability,' suggested the doctor, 'and transporting the rest.' 'Very good,' replied Mr. Brownlow, smiling; 'but no doubt they will bring that about for themselves in the fulness of time, and if we step in to forestall them, it

seems to me that we shall be performing a very Quixotic act, in direct opposition to our own interest--or at least to Oliver's, which is the same thing.' 'How?' inquired the doctor. 'Thus. It is quite clear that we shall have extreme difficulty in getting to the bottom of this mystery, unless we can bring this man, Monks, upon his knees. That can only be done by stratagem, and by catching him when he is not surrounded by these people. For, suppose he were apprehended, we have no proof against him. He is not even (so far as we know, or as the facts appear to us) concerned with the gang in any of their robberies. If he were not discharged, it is very unlikely that he could receive any further punishment than being committed to prison as a rogue and vagabond; and of course ever afterwards his mouth would be so obstinately closed that he might as well, for our purposes, be deaf, dumb, blind, and an idiot.' 'Then,' said the doctor impetuously, 'I put it to you again, whether you think it reasonable that this promise to the girl should be considered binding; a promise made with the best and kindest intentions, but really--' 'Do not discuss the point, my dear young lady, pray,' said Mr. Brownlow, interrupting Rose as she was about to speak. 'The promise shall be kept. I don't think it will, in the slightest degree, interfere with our proceedings. But, before we can resolve upon any precise course of action, it will be necessary to see the girl; to ascertain from her whether she will point out this Monks, on the understanding that he is to be dealt with by us, and not by the law; or, if she will not, or cannot do that, to procure from her such an account of his haunts and description of his person, as will enable us to identify him. She cannot be seen until next Sunday night; this is Tuesday. I would suggest that in the meantime, we remain perfectly quiet, and keep these matters secret even from Oliver himself.' Although Mr. Loseberne received with many wry faces a proposal involving a delay of five whole days, he was fain to admit that no better course occurred to him just then; and as both Rose and Mrs. Maylie sided very strongly with Mr. Brownlow, that gentleman's proposition was carried unanimously. 'I should like,' he said, 'to call in the aid of my friend Grimwig. He is a strange creature, but a shrewd one, and might prove of material assistance to us; I should say that he was bred a lawyer, and quitted the Bar in disgust because he had only one brief and a motion of course, in twenty years, though whether that is recommendation or not, you must determine for yourselves.' 'I have no objection to your calling in your friend if I may call in mine,' said the doctor. 'We must put it to the vote,' replied Mr. Brownlow, 'who may he be?'


'That lady's son, and this young lady's--very old friend,' said the doctor, motioning towards Mrs. Maylie, and concluding with an expressive glance at her niece. Rose blushed deeply, but she did not make any audible objection to this motion (possibly she felt in a hopeless minority); and Harry Maylie and Mr. Grimwig were accordingly added to the committee. 'We stay in town, of course,' said Mrs. Maylie, 'while there remains the slightest prospect of prosecuting this inquiry with a chance of success. I will spare neither trouble nor expense in behalf of the object in which we are all so deeply interested, and I am content to remain here, if it be for twelve months, so long as you assure me that any hope remains.' 'Good!' rejoined Mr. Brownlow. 'And as I see on the faces about me, a disposition to inquire how it happened that I was not in the way to corroborate Oliver's tale, and had so suddenly left the kingdom, 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. Believe me, I make this request with good reason, for I might otherwise excite hopes destined never to be realised, and only increase difficulties and disappointments already quite numerous enough. Come! Supper has been announced, and young Oliver, who is all alone in the next room, will have begun to think, by this time, that we have wearied of his company, and entered into some dark conspiracy to thrust him forth upon the world.' With these words, the old gentleman gave his hand to Mrs. Maylie, and escorted her into the supper-room. Mr. Losberne followed, leading Rose; and the council was, for the present, effectually broken up.


CHAPTER XLII AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE OF OLIVER'S, EXHIBITING DECIDED MARKS OF GENIUS, BECOMES A PUBLIC CHARACTER IN THE METROPOLIS Upon the night when Nancy, having lulled Mr. Sikes to sleep, hurried on her self-imposed mission to Rose Maylie, there advanced towards London, by the Great North Road, two persons, upon whom it is expedient that this history should bestow some attention. They were a man and woman; or perhaps they would be better described as a male and female: for the former was one of those long-limbed, knock-kneed, shambling, bony people, to whom it is difficult to assign any precise age,-looking as they do, when they are yet boys, like undergrown men, and when they are almost men, like overgrown boys. The woman was young, but of a robust and hardy make, as she need have been to bear the weight of the heavy bundle which was strapped to her back. Her companion was not encumbered with much luggage, as there merely dangled from a stick which he carried over his shoulder, a small parcel wrapped in a common handkerchief, and apparently light enough. This circumstance, added to the length of his legs, which were of unusual extent, enabled him with much ease to keep some half-dozen paces in advance of his companion, to whom he occasionally turned with an impatient jerk of the head: as if reproaching her tardiness, and urging her to greater exertion. Thus, they had toiled along the dusty road, taking little heed of any object within sight, save when they stepped aside to allow a wider passage for the mailcoaches which were whirling out of town, until they passed through Highgate archway; when the foremost traveller stopped and called impatiently to his companion, 'Come on, can't yer? What a lazybones yer are, Charlotte.' 'It's a heavy load, I can tell you,' said the female, coming up, almost breathless with fatigue. 'Heavy! What are yer talking about? What are yer made for?' rejoined the male traveller, changing his own little bundle as he spoke, to the other shoulder. 'Oh, there yer are, resting again! Well, if yer ain't enough to tire anybody's patience out, I don't know what is!' 'Is it much farther?' asked the woman, resting herself against a bank, and looking up with the perspiration streaming from her face. 'Much farther! Yer as good as there,' said the long-legged tramper, pointing out before him. 'Look there! Those are the lights of London.' 'They're a good two mile off, at least,' said the woman despondingly.

'Never mind whether they're two mile off, or twenty,' said Noah Claypole; for he it was; 'but get up and come on, or I'll kick yer, and so I give yer notice.' As Noah's red nose grew redder with anger, and as he crossed the road while speaking, as if fully prepared to put his threat into execution, the woman rose without any further remark, and trudged onward by his side. 'Where do you mean to stop for the night, Noah?' she asked, after they had walked a few hundred yards. 'How should I know?' replied Noah, whose temper had been considerably impaired by walking. 'Near, I hope,' said Charlotte. 'No, not near,' replied Mr. Claypole. 'There! Not near; so don't think it.' 'Why not?' 'When I tell yer that I don't mean to do a thing, that's enough, without any why or because either,' replied Mr. Claypole with dignity. 'Well, you needn't be so cross,' said his companion. 'A pretty thing it would be, wouldn't it to go and stop at the very first publichouse outside the town, so that Sowerberry, if he come up after us, might poke in his old nose, and have us taken back in a cart with handcuffs on,' said Mr. Claypole in a jeering tone. 'No! I shall go and lose myself among the narrowest streets I can find, and not stop till we come to the very out-of-the-wayest house I can set eyes on. 'Cod, yer may thanks yer stars I've got a head; for if we hadn't gone, at first, the wrong road a purpose, and come back across country, yer'd have been locked up hard and fast a week ago, my lady. And serve yer right for being a fool.' 'I know I ain't as cunning as you are,' replied Charlotte; 'but don't put all the blame on me, and say I should have been locked up. You would have been if I had been, any way.' 'Yer took the money from the till, yer know yer did,' said Mr. Claypole. 'I took it for you, Noah, dear,' rejoined Charlotte. 'Did I keep it?' asked Mr. Claypole. 'No; you trusted in me, and let me carry it like a dear, and so you are,' said the lady, chucking him under the chin, and drawing her arm through his. This was indeed the case; but as it was not Mr. Claypole's habit to repose a blind and foolish confidence in anybody, it should be observed, in justice to that

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

ingenious device for attracting respect, and perhaps to warn her to betray no surprise. 'We want to sleep here to-night.' 'I'b dot certaid you cad,' said Barney, who was the attendant sprite; 'but I'll idquire.' 'Show us the tap, and give us a bit of cold meat and a drop of beer while yer inquiring, will yer?' said Noah. Barney complied by ushering them into a small back-room, and setting the required viands before them; having done which, he informed the travellers that they could be lodged that night, and left the amiable couple to their refreshment. Now, this back-room was immediately behind the bar, and some steps lower, so that any person connected with the house, undrawing a small curtain which concealed a single pane of glass fixed in the wall of the last-named apartment, about five feet from its flooring, 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, between which and a large upright beam the observer had to thrust himself), but could, by applying his ear to the partition, ascertain with tolerable distinctness, their subject of conversation. The landlord of the house had not withdrawn his eye from this place of espial for five minutes, and Barney had only just returned from making the communication above related, when Fagin, in the course of his evening's business, came into the bar to inquire after some of his young pupils. 'Hush!' said Barney: 'stradegers id the next roob.' 'Strangers!' repeated the old man in a whisper. 'Ah! Ad rub uds too,' added Barney. 'Frob the cuttry, but subthig in your way, or I'b bistaked.' Fagin appeared to receive this communication with great interest. Mounting a stool, he cautiously applied his eye to the pane of glass, from which secret post he could see Mr. Claypole taking cold beef from the dish, and porter from the pot, and administering homoepathic doses of both to Charlotte, who sat patiently by, eating and drinking at his pleasure. 'Aha!' he whispered, looking round to Barney, 'I like that fellow's looks. He'd be of use to us; he knows how to train the girl already. Don't make as much noise as a mouse, my dear, and let me hear 'em talk--let me hear 'em.' He again applied his eye to the glass, and turning his ear to the partition, listened attentively: with a subtle and eager look upon his face, that might have appertained to some old goblin.


'So I mean to be a gentleman,' said Mr. Claypole, kicking out his legs, and continuing a conversation, the commencement of which Fagin had arrived too late to hear. 'No more jolly old coffins, Charlotte, but a gentleman's life for me: and, if yer like, yer shall be a lady.' 'I should like that well enough, dear,' replied Charlotte; 'but tills ain't to be emptied every day, and people to get clear off after it.' 'Tills be blowed!' said Mr. Claypole; 'there's more things besides tills to be emptied.' 'What do you mean?' asked his companion. 'Pockets, women's ridicules, houses, mail-coaches, banks!' said Mr. Claypole, rising with the porter. 'But you can't do all that, dear,' said Charlotte. 'I shall look out to get into company with them as can,' replied Noah. 'They'll be able to make us useful some way or another. Why, you yourself are worth fifty women; I never see such a precious sly and deceitful creetur as yer can be when I let yer.' 'Lor, how nice it is to hear yer say so!' exclaimed Charlotte, imprinting a kiss upon his ugly face. 'There, that'll do: don't yer be too affectionate, in case I'm cross with yer,' said Noah, disengaging himself with great gravity. 'I should like to be the captain of some band, and have the whopping of 'em, and follering 'em about, unbeknown to themselves. That would suit me, if there was good profit; and if we could only get in with some gentleman of this sort, I say it would be cheap at that twentypound note you've got,--especially as we don't very well know how to get rid of it ourselves.' After expressing this opinion, Mr. Claypole looked into the porter-pot with an aspect of deep wisdom; and having well shaken its contents, nodded condescendingly to Charlotte, and took a draught, wherewith he appeared greatly refreshed. He was meditating another, when the sudden opening of the door, and the appearance of a stranger, interrupted him. The stranger was Mr. Fagin. And very amiable he looked, and a very low bow he made, as he advanced, and setting himself down at the nearest table, ordered something to drink of the grinning Barney. 'A pleasant night, sir, but cool for the time of year,' said Fagin, rubbing his hands. 'From the country, I see, sir?' 'How do yer see that?' asked Noah Claypole.


'We have not so much dust as that in London,' replied Fagin, pointing from Noah's shoes to those of his companion, and from them to the two bundles. 'Yer a sharp feller,' said Noah. 'Ha! ha! only hear that, Charlotte!' 'Why, one need be sharp in this town, my dear,' replied the Jew, sinking his voice to a confidential whisper; 'and that's the truth.' Fagin followed up this remark by striking the side of his nose with his right forefinger,--a gesture which Noah attempted to imitate, though not with complete success, in consequence of his own nose not being large enough for the purpose. However, Mr. Fagin seemed to interpret the endeavour as expressing a perfect coincidence with his opinion, and put about the liquor which Barney reappeared with, in a very friendly manner. 'Good stuff that,' observed Mr. Claypole, smacking his lips. 'Dear!' said Fagin. 'A man need be always emptying a till, or a pocket, or a woman's reticule, or a house, or a mail-coach, or a bank, if he drinks it regularly.' Mr. Claypole no sooner heard this extract from his own remarks than he fell back in his chair, and looked from the Jew to Charlotte with a countenance of ashy palences and excessive terror. 'Don't mind me, my dear,' said Fagin, drawing his chair closer. 'Ha! ha! it was lucky it was only me that heard you by chance. It was very lucky it was only me.' 'I didn't take it,' stammered Noah, no longer stretching out his legs like an independent gentleman, but coiling them up as well as he could under his chair; 'it was all her doing; yer've got it now, Charlotte, yer know yer have.' 'No matter who's got it, or who did it, my dear,' replied Fagin, glancing, nevertheless, with a hawk's eye at the girl and the two bundles. 'I'm in that way myself, and I like you for it.' 'In what way?' asked Mr. Claypole, a little recovering. 'In that way of business,' rejoined Fagin; 'and so are the people of the house. You've hit the right nail upon the head, and are as safe here as you could be. There is not a safer place in all this town than is the Cripples; that is, when I like to make it so. And I have taken a fancy to you and the young woman; so I've said the word, and you may make your minds easy.' Noah Claypole's mind might have been at ease after this assurance, but his body certainly was not; for he shuffled and writhed about, into various uncouth positions: eyeing his new friend meanwhile with mingled fear and suspicion.

she'll be back if yer lose time. if he didn't run rather short of assistants just now.' 'Why. 'You're a genius. I shouldn't be here. and be taught all the others. employs a power of hands.' said Noah. though--it's a lot of money!' 289 . Claypole. Charlotte. 'Not a countryman among 'em. winking one of his little eyes. slapping his breeches-pocket. 'What advantage would it be to me to be anything else?' inquired Fagin.' said Fagin. 'It couldn't possibly be done without. 'She's kept tolerably well under. where you can take whatever department of the business you think will suit you best at first. getting his legs by gradual degrees abroad again. 'Here! Let me have a word with you outside.' rejoined Fagin. and I don't think he'd take you. by dint of friendly nods and muttered encouragements. 'She'll take the luggage upstairs the while.'I'll tell you more. see to them bundles. has the very best society in the profession.' replied Fagin.' replied Fagin.' 'There's no occasion to trouble ourselves to move. I say. 'But. I suppose if I wasn't. 'Should I have to hand over?' said Noah. which had been delivered with great majesty. what do you think?' said Fagin. and Charlotte made the best of her way off with the packages while Noah held the door open and watched her out. clapping him on the shoulder. could you do better than join him?' 'Is he in a good way of business. ain't she?' he asked as he resumed his seat: in the tone of a keeper who had tamed some wild animal. was obeyed without the slightest demur. 'Twenty pound.' 'Yer speak as if yer were in earnest.' This mandate. in a most decided manner. and put you in the right way. 'The top of the tree. shrugging his shoulders.' replied Noah. 'If you was to like my friend. even on my recommendation. my dear. after he had reassured the girl.' 'Now.' 'Regular town-maders?' asked Mr. that's where it is!' responded Noah. 'I have got a friend that I think can gratify your darling wish. 'Quite perfect.' replied Noah.

' said Fagin.' 290 . it was in the power of his new acquaintance to give him up to justice immediately (and more unlikely things had come to pass).'Not when it's in a note you can't get rid of. where it was pretty sure work. would have acceded even to these glowing terms.' 'Why.' 'What do you think. yer see. and said he thought that would suit him. 'as she will be able to do a good deal.' 'When could I see him?' asked Noah doubtfully. and half of all the young woman earns. you know. ruminating or pretending to ruminate. whose rapacity was none of the least comprehensive. 'Something in the sneaking way. I should like to take something very light. 'To-morrow morning. 'My friend wants somebody who would do that well. Claypole slowly. That's the sort of thing!' 'I heard you talk of something in the spy way upon the others. 'But. I suppose? Payment stopped at the Bank? Ah! It's not worth much to him. Fagin.' rejoined Mr. 'What's the wages?' 'Live like a gentleman--board and lodging. in the event of his refusal. and he couldn't sell it for a great deal in the market. very much. 'Number and date taken. anxiously regarding him. he gradually relented.' replied Noah. 'What do you think would suit me now? Something not too trying for the strength. and not very dangerous. 'but it wouldn't pay by itself.' retorted Fagin. is very doubtful. Whether Noah Claypole. and I shouldn't mind turning my hand to it sometimes.' 'A little fancy work?' suggested Fagin. then?' asked Noah. it might not. 'Ah! something of that sort.' 'Um!' said Noah. my dear.' 'Where?' 'Here. had he been a perfectly free agent. I did mention that. 'No.' observed Noah.' 'That's true!' observed the Jew.' replied Mr. pipes and spirits free--half of all you earn. and not much more risk than being at home. but as he recollected that. It'll have to go abroad. you know.

and Charlotte had returned.' 'The kinchins. Bolter's humble servant. Bolter. as if there were nothing else the matter but a child fallen down and hurt itself. as Mr. and you can upset as many kinchins as you want. 'I don't think that would answer my purpose. Charlotte?' thundered Mr. 'She calls me Noah. I understand--perfectly. Claypole in the side. 'Mr. and running round the corner. kicking up his legs in an ecstasy. and walk off very slow.' said Fagin. 'Yes. 'is the young children that's sent on errands by their mothers. laying his hand on Noah's knee. that's all right!' said Noah. 'The kinchin lay. when he had recovered himself. and they joined in a burst of laughter both long and loud. This is Mrs. where they're always going errands. who had prepared himself for such emergency. as a sort of fond way of talking. Claypole. and neighborhoods like that.' said Mr.' said Fagin. Fagin poked Mr. telling the truth for once.'What do you think of the old ladies?' asked Fagin. 'What time to-morrow shall we say?' 'Will ten do?' asked Fagin. 'and you can have a few good beats chalked out in Camden Town.' replied Fagin. and the lay is just to take their money away--they've always got it ready in their hands. 'What name shall I tell my good friend. and Battle Bridge. late Claypole.--then knock 'em into the kennel. 'Well. any hour in the day. 'There's a good deal of money made in snatching their bags and parcels. 'Lord.' replied Fagin.' 'Do you hear the gentleman. Ain't there any other line open?' 'Stop!' said Fagin. extending her hand. shaking his head. 'You understand?' 'Oh yes.' 'Mrs. Ha! ha! ha!' With this. with sixpences and shillings. Bolter. adding. Ha! ha! ha!' 'Ha! ha!' roared Mr. bowing with grotesque politeness. Claypole. Morris Bolter. dear!' replied Mrs. Claypole nodded assent. Morris Bolter. that's the very thing!' 'To be sure it is. and scratch sometimes?' asked Noah.' replied Noah. 'Goodnight! Good-night!' 291 . my dear.' 'Mr. 'I hope I shall know her better very shortly. Noah. turning to Fagin.' 'Don't they holler out a good deal. Bolter.

Mr. proceeded to enlighten her relative to the arrangement he had made. Fagin went his way. in London and its vicinity. becoming.With many adieus and good wishes. with all that haughtiness and air of superiority. not only a member of the sterner sex. but a gentleman who appreciated the dignity of a special appointment on the kinchin lay. 292 . bespeaking his good lady's attention. Noah Claypole.

'yer a very nice man. ''Cod. For instance. as you are to yourself.CHAPTER XLIII WHEREIN IS SHOWN HOW THE ARTFUL DODGER GOT INTO TROUBLE 'And so it was you that was your own friend. that it must be so. 'Ha! ha!' cried Mr. you mean. 'When a man's his own enemy. It's neither. it's only because he's too much his own friend. 'Number one for ever. neither. without considering me too as the same. the devil!' exclaimed Mr. my friend.' replied Morris Bolter. and identified in our interests. if there is.' 'Except sometimes.' interrupted Mr.' 'Don't believe that.' 'Number two. without taking care of me. 'You see. Claypole. and I'm very fond of yer. my dear. Bolter. who felt it necessary to qualify this position.' replied Mr. by virtue of the compact entered into between them. I don't!' retorted Fagin. number one. number one.' 'I say.' 'Well! You can't take care of yourself. affecting to disregard this interruption. and some say number seven.' 'There oughn't to be. it's your object to take care of number one--meaning yourself.' 'Certainly. Bolter. 'I'm of the same importance to you. Bolter. when. not because he's careful for everybody but himself. he had removed next day to Fagin's house.' replied Mr. as all that comes to. otherwise Bolter. Bolter. but we ain't quite so thick together. Bolter. 'Some people are nobody's enemies but their own. Bolter. I thought as much last night!' 'Every man's his own friend.' pursued Fagin. 'we are so mixed up together. 'we have a general number one. 'That stands to reason.' 'In a little community like ours. yer know.' 293 . my dear. 'He hasn't as good a one as himself anywhere.' replied Fagin. 'Yer about right there. was it?' asked Mr. assuming the air of a man of the world. with his most insinuating grin.' said Mr. and all the other young people. Pooh! pooh! There ain't such a thing in nature.' said Fagin. It's number one.' 'Oh.' said Fagin. Some conjurers say that number three is the magic number. who was largely endowed with the quality of selfishness. 'No.

with the magnitude and extent of his operations. Bolter. the second my number one. The first is your number one. that's so very easily tied and so very difficult to unloose--in plain English. the more careful you must be of mine. with so much art. 'only consider. 'It's this mutual trust we have in each other that consoles me under heavy losses. Fagin saw. You've done what's a very pretty thing.' continued Fagin.' 'Very particular?' inquired Mr. I depend upon you. Bolter.' 'You don't mean to say he died?' cried Mr. the halter!' Mr.' 'What. Bolter put his hand to his neckerchief. is object number one with you.' replied Fagin. you depend upon me.' said Fagin. The more you value your number one. He was charged with attempting to pick a pocket. but that he had really impressed his recruit with a sense of his wily genius. and they found a silver snuff-box on him. for 294 . no. which it was highly desirable to awaken. blending truth and fiction together. raising his eyebrows. To keep my little business all snug.' 'That's true. which points out a very short and sharp turning that has stopped many a bold fellow's career on the broad highway.' replied Fagin.' rejoined Mr. They remanded him till to-day. To strengthen an impression so desirable and useful.' interposed Fagin. and bringing both to bear. for he took snuff himself. 'What do yer talk about such things for?' 'Only to show you my meaning clearly. but what at the same time would put the cravat round your throat. my dear. he followed up the blow by acquainting him. that Mr. and was very fond of it.' said the Jew. as if he felt it inconveniently tight. his own. I suppose he was--' 'Wanted.' replied Mr. 'No. and must do so. 'not so bad as that. and what I love you for doing. at the same time. 'the gallows.' said Fagin. my dear.'Only think. Bolter. and murmured an assent. thoughtfully. 'No. 'not very. 'My best hand was taken from me. unless we would all go to pieces in company. in some detail. with a degree of wholesome fear. which it was most important that he should entertain in the outset of their acquaintance. shrugging his shoulders. 'Oh! yer a cunning old codger!' Mr. as best served his purpose. and stretching out his hands. with delight. 'The gallows. is an ugly finger-post. qualified in tone but not in substance. Bolter. he was wanted. 'To be able to do that. that this tribute to his powers was no mere compliment. Bolter's respect visibly increased. 'Yes. and became tempered. and keep it at a distance.--his own.' 'Of course it is. Not quite so bad. yesterday morning. so we come at last to what I told you at first--that a regard for number one holds us all together. To keep in the easy road.

to wisit him in. They'll make the Artful nothing less than a lifer.' 'What do you mean by lagging and a lifer?' demanded Mr. 'I must have a full suit of mourning. don't yer think so?' said Mr. 'what are you blubbering for?' ''Cause it isn't on the rec-ord. it'll only be a summary conviction. Fagin. 'not one. my dear. chain.' 'Then what do you talk of?' replied Fagin angrily. if they do. Ah! he was worth fifty boxes. 'I'm doubtful about it. when he and his new companion had been made known to each other. To think of Jack Dawkins--lummy Jack--the Dodger-the Artful Dodger--going abroad for a common twopenny-halfpenny sneeze-box! I never thought he'd a done it under a gold watch. why didn't he rob some rich old gentleman of all his walables.' 'Well. 'Wasn't he always the top-sawyer among you all! Is there one of you that could touch him or come near him on any scent! Eh?' 'Not one. 'It's all up.they thought they knew the owner. and I'd give the price of as many to have him back. but. Fagin. why don't yer speak so as I can understand yer?' Fagin was about to translate these mysterious expressions into the vulgar tongue. you should have known the Dodger. Bolter. it's a case of lagging. Bolter would have been informed that they represented that combination of words. chafed into perfect defiance of his venerable friend by the current of his regrets. Mr. being interpreted. Oh. 'What do you mean?' 'They've found the gentleman as owns the box. and not like a common prig. but I shall know him. and go out as a gentleman. darting an angry look at his pupil. They know what a clever lad he is. and his face twisted into a look of semi-comical woe. 'If they don't get any fresh evidence. Bolter. and a hatband.' replied Master Bates.' when the dialogue was cut short by the entry of Master Bates. with a sigh.' replied Fagin. 'What's the good of talking in that way to me. at the lowest. in a voice rendered husky by regret. and. 'What do you talk about his having neither honour nor glory for!' exclaimed Fagin. You should have known the Dodger. two or three more's a coming to 'dentify him. he'll be a lifer. without no honour nor glory!' With this expression of feeling for his unfortunate friend. and we shall have him back again after six weeks or so. Master Bates sat himself on the nearest chair with an aspect of chagrin and despondency. 'transportation for life. and seals. I hope.' said Charley.' replied Master Bates. and the Artful's booked for a passage out. with his hands in his breeches-pockets. ''cause it can't come out in the 295 . afore he sets out upon his travels. is it?' said Charley.

bending his eyes upon his pupil. 'He shall be kept in the Stone Jug. 'it'll come out. Like a gentleman! With his beer every day. and we'll read it all in the papers--"Artful Dodger--shrieks of laughter--here the court was convulsed"--eh. now looked upon him as the chief actor in a scene of most uncommon and exquisite humour. 'Ha! ha! ha! so do I. 'what a lark that would be. how the Artful would bother 'em wouldn't he?' 'Would!' cried Fagin. that he shall. 'and we'll have a big-wig. 'see what a pride they take in their profession. to be lagged at his time of life!' 'Well. 'Never mind. a little consoled. Charley. 'He shall--he will!' 'Ah. if he can't spend it. my dear. shall he though?' cried Charley Bates. that Master Bates. What a game! What a regular game! All the big-wigs trying to look solemn. Charley: one that's got the greatest gift of the gab: to carry on his defence. Charley. 'Ay.' 'No. Fagin. Fagin? I say. and Fagin. 'He shall have all he wants. rubbing his hands. Charley. and turning to Mr. my eye.' said Fagin soothingly. it'll be sure to come out. extending his right hand.' repeated Charley. 'So do I. stepped up to that young gentleman and patted him on the shoulder. upon my soul I do. and money in his pocket to pitch and toss with. who had at first been disposed to consider the imprisoned Dodger rather in the light of a victim.' cried the Jew. and Jack Dawkins addressing of 'em as intimate and comfortable as if he was the judge's own son making a speech arter dinner--ha! ha! ha!' In fact.' cried Charley Bates. Bolter nodded assent. They'll all know what a clever fellow he was. wouldn't it. and felt quite impatient for 296 .'dictment.' replied Fagin. Ain't it beautiful?' Mr. Bolter in a fit of chuckling which shook him as though he had the palsy. 'cause nobody will never know half of what he was. How will he stand in the Newgate Calendar? P'raps not be there at all. Oh.' continued the Jew. eh?' 'Ha! ha! laughed Master Bates. Mr. Charley. and he shall make a speech for himself too. my eye. and not disgrace his old pals and teachers. like a gentleman. Fagin had so well humoured his young friend's eccentric disposition. 'I think I see him now. I see it all afore me. he'll show it himself. if he likes. Think how young he is too! What a distinction. so he will. to be sure. it is a honour that is!' said Charley. wot a blow it is!' 'Ha! ha!' cried Fagin. after contemplating the grief of Charley Bates for some seconds with evident satisfaction.

nor any description of his person.' 'Why. my dear. and represent to Mr. 'Mind!' interposed Charley. that ain't. but overborne in a much greater degree by his fear of Fagin. that you'd walk into the very place where--No. to undertake the expedition. I dare say about that. it was very probable that he was not even suspected of having resorted to it for shelter. the very last. stark mad. no. in part. my dear.' said Fagin. It's not in my department. and that. to which he could be supposed likely to resort of his own free will. 'Nobody knows him.' 'Wot department has he got. 'Then why don't you send this new cove?' asked Master Bates.' 'Shall I go?' asked Charley. Bolter at length consented. he immediately 297 . 'really nothing. that it was some time before Fagin could interpose. by these representations. 'What should he have to mind?' 'Really nothing. little boy.' replied Fagin. inasmuch as no account of the little affair in which he had engaged. Mr. 'Let me think. 'Are you mad. it would be as safe a spot for him to visit as any in London. Bolter. Persuaded.' 'Oh.' said Fagin. if he didn't mind--' observed Fagin. 'No. yer know.the arrival of the time when his old companion should have so favourable an opportunity of displaying his abilities. or yer'll find yerself in the wrong shop.' 'You don't mean to go yourself. 'That wouldn't quite fit. by some handy means or other.' replied Fagin shaking his head. One is enough to lose at a time. and shaking his head with a kind of sober alarm. inasmuch as it would be. backing towards the door. laying his hand on Noah's arm. that. Fagin?' inquired Master Bates. had yet been forwarded to the metropolis. 'Not for the world. no--none of that.' retorted Mr. is that his branch?' 'Never mind. Charley. and the eating all the wittles when there's everything right.' Master Bates laughed so vehemently at this magnificent threat. 'The cutting away when there's anything wrong. 'and don't yer take liberties with yer superiors. Bolter that he incurred no possible danger in visiting the police-office. Bolter. turning to Mr.' observed Noah. if he were properly disguised. of all places. I suppose?' said Charley with a humorous leer. By Fagin's directions. 'We must know how he gets on to-day. with a very bad grace. surveying Noah's lank form with much disgust.

and a carter's whip. or an habitual acquaintance with both. he was to saunter into the office. and promised to bide his return on the spot of their parting. at the upper end of which was a raised platform railed off from the rest. from some meagre infant. and left the vulgar to imagine (if they could) the full majesty of justice. ungainly. punctually followed the directions he had received. or Morris Bolter as the reader pleases.' when the gravity of justice was disturbed by feeble cries. had left a taint on all the animate matter. hardly less unpleasant than the thick greasy scum on every inaminate object that frowned upon it. for depravity. and when he got into the side. These arrangements completed. Noah Claypole. halfsmothered in the mother's shawl. chiefly women. The room smelt close and unwholesome. and pull off his hat as he went into the room. with a dock for the prisoners on the left hand against the wall. and a desk for the magistrates on the right. by proclaiming silence. while the clerk read some depositions to a couple of policemen and a man in plain clothes who leant over the table. A jailer stood reclining against the dock-rail. a waggoner's frock. or meeting with any interruption by the way. Fagin had no fear but that he would look the part to perfection. and a dusty clock above the dock--the only thing present. who were huddled together in a dirty frowsy room. and as he was as awkward. velveteen breeches. Thus equipped. except when he repressed an undue tendency to conversation among the idlers. he was informed of the necessary signs and tokens by which to recognise the Artful Dodger. There was an old smoky bust over the mantel-shelf. the walls were dirt-discoloured. as some country fellow from Covent Garden market might be supposed to do for the gratification of his curiousity. which--Master Bates being pretty well acquainted with the locality--were so exact that he was enabled to gain the magisterial presence without asking any question. or poverty. who were nodding to their admiring friends. There were only a couple of women in the dock. and leather leggings: all of which articles the Jew had at hand. Having described the precise situation of the office. the awful locality last named. and accompanied it with copious directions how he was to walk straight up the passage. that seemed to go on as it ought. and rawboned a fellow as need be. He found himself jostled among a crowd of people. but although there were several women who would have done very well for that distinguished character's mother 298 . or looked sternly up to bid some woman 'Take that baby out. tapping his nose listlessly with a large key. He was likewise furnished with a felt hat well garnished with turnpike tickets. Noah looked eagerly about him for the Dodger. Mr. being screened off by a partition which concealed the bench from the common gaze. and was conveyed by Master Bates through dark and winding ways to within a very short distance of Bow Street. Charley Bates bade him hurry on alone. a box for the witnesses in the middle. and the ceiling blackened.substituted for his own attire.

Oh no. your worship. a many times. your worship. 'and pepper with 'em. and. and not to keep me while they read the paper. ain't I?' rejoined the Dodger. 'Silence there!' cried the jailer. 299 . nobody at all answering the description given him of Mr.' 'Oh! you know me. and then pr'aps ther won't be an action for damage against them as kep me away. and another cry of silence. Dawkins. It was indeed Mr. 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. the Dodger.' replied the jailer. any way. 'He has been pretty well everywhere else. 'A pick-pocketing case. requested in an audible voice to know what he was placed in that 'ere disgraceful sitivation for. who. 'Now then! Wot is this here business? I shall thank the madg'strates to dispose of this here little affair.' Here there was another laugh. will you?' said the jailer. with a rolling gait altogether indescribable. preceded the jailer. 'I'm an Englishman. He waited in a state of much suspense and uncertainty until the women. certainly not!' At this point. Dawkins. That's a case of deformation of character. for I've got an appointment with a genelman in the City. went flaunting out. and his hat in his right hand.' retorted the jailer.or sister. his left hand in his pocket. desired the jailer to communicate 'the names of them two files as was on the bench. 'Wery good. Dawkins was to be seen.' 'Has the boy ever been here before?' 'He ought to have been. and as I am a man of my word and wery punctual in business matters.' Which so tickled the spectators. with a show of being very particular with a view to proceedings to be had thereafter. 'Hold your tongue. _I_ know him well. if I don't. 'What is this?' inquired one of the magistrates. taking his place in the dock. and more than one man who might be supposed to bear a strong resemblance to his father. shuffling into the office with the big coat sleeves tucked up as usual. 'Where are my priwileges?' 'You'll get your privileges soon enough.' 'We'll see wot the Secretary of State for the Home Affairs has got to say to the beaks. he'll go away if I ain't there to my time.' replied Mr. making a note of the statement. that they laughed almost as heartily as Master Bates could have done if he had heard the request. being committed for trial. do you?' cried the Artful.

and the said Dodger. particularly active in making his way about. 'not here. and indeed take a handkerchief therefrom. for this ain't the shop for justice: besides which. 'Where are they? I should like to see 'em. or that they'd got their footmen to hang 'em up to their own hat-pegs. and that young gentleman was the prisoner before him. nudging the silent Dodger with his elbow. brushing his hat with the palm of his hand.' 'Come on.' This wish was immediately gratified. after trying in on his own countenance. with the owner's name engraved upon the lid. and being then and there present. I'll--' 'There! He's fully committed!' interposed the clerk. and that he had missed it on the previous day. 'Take him away. For this reason.'Now then. your worship. 'Oh ah! I'll come on. which. my man?' 'I never see such an out-and-out young wagabond. for a policeman stepped forward who had seen the prisoner attempt the pocket of an unknown gentleman in a crowd. but I shall have something to say elsewhere. YOU'LL pay for this. if you was to fall down on your knees and ask me. my fine fellers.' replied the Dodger. 'Do you mean to say anything. he took the Dodger into custody as soon as he could get near him. afore they let 'em come out this morning to try it on upon me. being a very old one. not a ha'porth of it. you young shaver?' 'No. This gentleman had been discovered on reference to the Court Guide. Here. being searched. the moment he had disengaged himself from the crowd before referred to. I wouldn't be you for something! I wouldn't go free.' observed the officer with a grin. where are the witnesses?' said the clerk. and so will he. my attorney is a-breakfasting this morning with the Wice President of the House of Commons.' said the Dodger. 'Ah! (to the Bench) it's no use your looking frightened. 'Ah! that's right. 'Have you anything to say at all?' 'Do you hear his worship ask if you've anything to say?' inquired the jailer. now.' replied the Dodger. boy?' said the magistrate.' added the Dodger. carry me off to prison! Take me away!' 300 . and so will a wery numerous and 'spectable circle of acquaintance as'll make them beaks wish they'd never been born. 'I wouldn't abase myself by descending to hold no conversation with him' replied the Dodger. He had also remarked a young gentleman in the throng.' said the jailer. he deliberately put back again. swore that the snuff-box was his. I won't show you no mercy. 'Did you redress yourself to me. 'Have you anything to ask this witness. looking up with an air of abstraction. 'I beg your pardon. had upon his person a silver snuff-box.

to make a parliamentary business of it. there were times when. again and again. and bitter as were her feelings towards Fagin. the girl Nancy could not wholly conceal the effect which the knowledge of the step she had taken. Though all her mental struggles terminated in this conclusion. he was joined by that young gentleman. even towards him. these were the mere wanderings of a mind unwholly to detach itself from old companions and associations. told. a refuge from all the guilt and wretchedness that encompasses her-and what more could she do! She was resolved. and he should fall at last--richly as he merited such a fate--by her hand. CHAPTER XLIV THE TIME ARRIVES FOR NANCY TO REDEEM HER PLEDGE TO ROSE MAYLIE. the Dodger suffered himself to be led off by the collar. she had dropped no clue which could lead to his discovery. who had led her. The two hastened back together. But. Adept as she was. and ascertained that his new friend had not been followed by any impertinent person. At other times. Her fears for Sikes would have been more powerful inducements to recoil while there was yet time. and was noisy without a moment afterwards--she sat silent and dejected. till he got into the yard. in all the arts of cunning and dissimulation. Having seen him locked up by himself in a little cell. even for his sake. more forcibly than even these indications. even within a few days. with great glee and self-approval. she would have been the loudest. step by step. deeper and deeper down into an abyss of crime and misery. and resolved not to be turned aside by any consideration. wrought upon her mind. they forced themselves upon her. Fagin the animating news that the Dodger was doing full justice to his bringing-up. and that her 301 . which had been hidden from all others: in the full confidence that she was trustworthy and beyond the reach of their suspicion. desperate as were their originators. Noah made the best of his way back to where he had left Master Bates. brooding with her head upon her hands. Vile as those schemes were. After waiting here some time. she took no heed of what was passing before her. she laughed without merriment. who had prudently abstained from showing himself until he had looked carefully abroad from a snug retreat. and then grinning in the officer's face. and establishing for himself a glorious reputation. though enabled to fix itself steadily on one object. She remembered that both the crafty Jew and the brutal Sikes had confided to her schemes. She grew pale and thin. threatening. that she was ill at ease. she felt some relenting. still. lest her disclosure should bring him within the iron grasp he had so long eluded. or no part in conversations where once. she had refused. while the very effort by which she roused herself. but she had stipulated that her secret should be rigidly kept. whence was no escape. to bear to Mr. and left their traces too. SHE FAILS. At times.With these last words.

but they paused to listen. does it!' cried Sikes.' 'What answer's that?' retorted Sikes. Bill. Bill. casting off the Jew's hand. 'There never was another man with such a face as yours. my dear.thoughts were occupied with matters very different and distant from those in the course of discussion by her companions.' 'You're right for once. pointed his finger towards Nancy. raising the blind to look out and returning to his seat. pulling Sikes by the sleeve. which I shouldn't wonder at. 'Do you hear me?' 302 . It was Sunday night.' said Sikes.' 'Does you good. 'It make you nervous.' said Sikes.' said Sikes. 'It is a pity. Quite like yourself.' 'Ha! ha! ha!' laughed Fagin. and shook his head despondingly. 'You're like yourself to-night. and I suppose HE is singeing his grizzled red beard by this time. so be it. 'Well.' 'I don't feel like myself when you lay that withered old claw on my shoulder. A good night for business this. Eleven. and listened too. Sikes and the Jew were talking. unless it was your father.' replied Fagin. 'What a pity. 'Nance.' Fagin sighed. a bit.--reminds you of being nabbed. so take it away. and was now leaving the room. my dear.' returned Sikes. 'Reminds me of being nabbed by the devil. 'We must make up for lost time when we've got things into a good train. determined not to be offended. 'Hallo!' cried Sikes. who had taken advantage of the foregoing conversation to put on her bonnet.' Fagin offered no reply to this compliment: but. does it?' said Fagin. for I'm in the humour too. The girl looked up from the low seat on which she crouched. Where's the gal going to at this time of night?' 'Not far. 'It does me good to hear you. venturing to pat him on the shoulder. Bill.' replied Sikes gruffly.' 'Ah!' replied Fagin. unless you came straight from the old 'un without any father at all betwixt you. and the bell of the nearest church struck the hour. That's all I know. that there's none quite ready to be done. as if he were relieved by even this concession. 'Dark and heavy it is too. 'That's the way to talk. 'An hour this side of midnight.

' 'I'm not well. backed by many oaths. She struggled and implored by turns until twelve o'clock had struck. 'Let me go. more in the spirit of obstinacy than because he had any real objection to the girl going where she listed. before the door.' said the robber. watching his opportunity. You don't. Wot has come over you.' said Sikes. let me go. 'What do you mean. or she daren't talk to me in that way. It'll be better for him. will you?' 'It's not such a matter as a bonnet would keep me. she said. Sikes looked on.'I don't know where. 'There's not enough there. you know. ceased to contest the point any further. 'Bill. Get up. and then. took the key out. indeed.' replied the girl. Sit down. 'Hear you!' repeated Sikes turning round in his chair to confront her. struggling and wrestling with him by the way.' muttered the girl placing both hands upon her breast. 'she's out of her senses.' 'Then you won't have it.' 'Put your head out of the winder. Do you hear me?' cried Nancy stamping her foot upon the ground.' 'You'll drive me on the something desperate.' said the girl turning very pale. held her down by force. the dog shall have such a grip on your throat as'll tear some of that screaming voice out.' 'Not till you let me go--not till you let me go--Never--never!' screamed the girl. I told you that before. 'Then I do. With a caution. locked the door. then sitting herself down on the floor. for a minute.' said the girl with great earnestness. seizing her roughly by the arm. you don't know what you are doing. 'There.' 'No!' said Sikes. and pulling her bonnet from her head. 'I want a breath of air.' replied Sikes. For only one hour--do--do!' 'Cut my limbs off one by one!' cried Sikes. Fagin. to make no more 303 . 'Nowhere. into a small room adjoining. 'If I don't think the gal's stark raving mad. 'Now stop quietly where you are. 'Tell him to let me go.--this minute--this instant. you jade! Wot is it?' 'Let me go. will you. and thrusting her into a chair. 'I want it in the street. where he sat himself on a bench. With which assurance he rose. 'Aye! And if I hear you for half a minute longer. wearied and exhausted. Bill? Do you know what you're doing?' 'Know what I'm--Oh!' cried Sikes. turning to Fagin.' replied Sikes.' said the girl. He had better. as though to keep down by force some violent outbreak. flung it up to the top of an old press. and suddenly pinioning her hands dragged her.' rejoined the girl.

' 'Nor I. I suppose it is. and you. He paused when he reached the room-door.' said Fagin thoughtfully.' 'I'll let her a little blood. and night too. it's worried and fretted her.' 'Well. 'Why. without troubling the doctor. woman's obstinacy. Sikes left her to recover at leisure and rejoined Fagin. tossed her head. when I was stretched on my back. one way or other.' 'Wot did she take it into her head to go out to-night for. like a blackhearted wolf as you are. 'Wot a precious strange gal that is!' 'You may say that. turning a look of excessive surprise on his companion. 'I never knew her like this. Fagin nodded to him to take no further notice just then. but she's as bad as ever. Her eyes were swollen and red. 'Hush!' As he uttered these words. I suppose. do you think?' asked Sikes. Whispering Sikes that there was no fear of her relapsing. and I think. Fagin nodded an expressive approval of this mode of treatment. and. Wot does is mean?' 'Obstinacy.' 'Worse. and. in a few minutes. 'I thought I had tamed her.' said Sikes.efforts to go out that night. and that being shut up here so long has made her restless--eh?' 'That's it. 'We was poor too. 'Come. she rocked herself to and fro.' replied Fagin thoughtfully. kept yourself aloof. and looking round. now she's on the other tack!' exclaimed Sikes. 'You may say that. you should know her better than me. if she's took that way again. the girl herself appeared and resumed her former seat. my dear. for such a little cause. after a little time. 'I think she's got a touch of that fever in her blood yet. my dear.' replied the Jew in a whisper. burst out laughing. 304 . and it won't come out--eh?' 'Like enough.' said Sikes. 'She was hanging about me all day. asked if somebody would light him down the dark stairs. 'Whew!' said the housebreaker wiping the perspiration from his face. Fagin took up his hat and bade him good-night.' said Sikes.' growled Sikes. the girl subsided into her accustomed demeanour. Bill. all the time.

The object of this new liking was not among his myrmidons.' Nancy followed the old man downstairs. Nance. The girl must know.' replied Fagin. Nancy. her repeated absences from home alone. she could never be safe from his fury. her desperate impatience to leave home that night at a particular hour.' 'I know you well. and rendered it. he laid his finger on his lip. and that it would be surely wreaked--to the maiming of limbs. quiet and close. You have a friend in me. and. in a whisper. We'll talk of this again. well. and his ruffian taunts had not galled Fagin the less. I say. or perhaps the loss of life--on the object of her more recent fancy. with his mouth almost touching her ear.'Light him down. as Fagin offered to lay his hand on hers. but you know me of old. come to me. Fagin walked towards his home. He had conceived the idea--not from what had just passed though that had tended to confirm him. to him at least. why don't you--' 'Well?' said the girl. that if she shook him off. Her altered manner. and must (thus Fagin argued) be secured without delay. 'If HE'--he pointed with his skinny forefinger up the stairs--'is so hard with you (he's a brute. a brute-beast). 'Goodnight. added to these. with a candle. If you want revenge on those that treat you like a dog--like a dog! worse than his dog. had conceived an attachment for some new friend. and drawing close to the girl. Nance. all favoured the supposition. intent upon the thoughts that were working within his brain. in the same tone. said. but slowly and by degrees--that Nancy. He would be a valuable acquisition with such an assistant as Nancy. her comparative indifference to the interests of the gang for which she had once been so zealous. almost matter of certainty. 'What is it. dear?' 'What do you mean?' replied the girl. because the wounds were hidden. and. and disappoint the sight-seers. to be gained.' replied the girls. as Fagin paused. for he humours him sometimes--come to me. 'It's a pity he should break his neck himself. Sikes knew too much. and a darker object. 'The reason of all this. 305 . Show him a light. in a steady voice. Nance. He is the mere hound of a day. answering his parting look with a nod of intelligence. There was another.' She shrank back.' said Sikes. who was filling his pipe. a staunch friend. and his eyes looking into hers. closed the door between them. When they reached the passage. without manifesting the least emotion. but said good-night again. wearied of the housebreaker's brutality. I have the means at hand. 'No matter just now.

to secure the same object before now. unlimited. But perhaps she would recoil from a plot to take the life of Sikes. I shall have you yet!' He cast back a dark look.' thought Fagin. and my influence over the girl. The means are ready. as though there were a hated enemy crushed with every motion of his fingers. 'She durst not refuse me then. no assumption of an inability to understand his meaning.' These things passed through the mind of Fagin. 'can I increase my influence with her? what new power can I acquire?' Such brains are fertile in expedients. without extracting a confession from herself. another secured in his place. with a knowledge of this crime to back it. he had taken the opportunity afterwards afforded him. If. and a threatening motion of the hand. during the short time he sat alone. towards the spot where he had left the bolder villian. 306 . almost aloud. and shall be set to work.' thought Fagin. There was no expression of surprise. Her glance at parting showed THAT. could he not secure her compliance? 'I can. The girl clearly comprehended it. There would be the dangerous villain: the man I hate: gone. in the housebreaker's room.'With a little persuasion. and worse. he laid a watch. as he crept homeward. and with them uppermost in his thoughts. 'what more likely than that she would consent to poison him? Women have done such things.' said Fagin. which he wrenched tightly in his grasp. and that was one of the chief ends to be attained. not for her life! I have it all. and threatened to reveal the whole history to Sikes (of whom she stood in no common fear) unless she entered into his designs. Not for her life. of sounding the girl in the broken hints he threw out at parting. discovered the object of her altered regard. 'How. and went on his way: busying his bony hands in the folds of his tattered garment.

'I sent her out this morning with the other young woman.' said Fagin. my dear. betimes. 'Where's Charlotte?' 'Out. 'What's the matter? Don't yer ask me to do anything till I have done eating. no. The pint-pots were great strokes of genius: but the milk-can was a perfect masterpiece. as he had evidently sat down with a determination to do a great deal of business. 'Beautiful! Six shillings and ninepence halfpenny on the very first day! The kinchin lay will be a fortune to you. 'I wish yer'd ordered her to make some buttered toast first. 307 .' 'Oh!' said Noah. which finished his first hunk of bread and butter. 'Bolter. Bolter complacently.' 'Pretty well. 'Oh yes. Bolter having had his laugh out. indeed. took a series of large bites. 'Well. Bolter. Eh? Ha! ha! ha!' Fagin affected to laugh very heartily.' 'You can talk as you eat.CHAPTER XLV NOAH CLAYPOLE IS EMPLOYED BY FAGIN ON A SECRET MISSION The old man was up. no great fear of anything interrupting him. 'The pots I took off airy railings. for a beginner.' said Mr. at length presented himself.' said Fagin. That's a great fault in this place. drawing up a chair and seating himself opposite Morris Bolter. and Mr.' 'Don't you forget to add three pint-pots and a milk-can. my dear. Talk away. I can talk. I get on better when I talk. cutting a monstrous slice of bread. and waited impatiently for the appearance of his new associate. I think. can't you?' said Fagin. who after a delay that seemed interminable. cursing his dear young friend's greediness from the very bottom of his heart. 'No. Yer won't interrupt me.' said Noah. I thought it might get rusty with the rain. here I am. Well. 'You did well yesterday. and assisted himself to a second. Yer never get time enough over yer meals. next morning. and the milk-can was standing by itself outside a publichouse.' returned Noah. yer know. and commenced a voracious assault on the breakfast. because I wanted us to be alone.' said Fagin. or catch cold.' remarked Mr.' There seemed.

'Where is she? Where am I to wait for her? Where am I to go?' 'All that.' said Noah. if possible.' 'An old woman?' demanded Mr.' That night.' replied Fagin. of course. 'Of course. what she says. and to bring me back all the information you can. eagerly. 'Yer doubtful of her. eleated by the success of his proposal. 'I was a regular cunning sneak when I was at school. I know. 'I can do that pretty well.' 'That's not the smallest danger in it--not the very smallest. for any job of work where there wasn't valuable consideration to be gained.' 'I say. 'A young one. and so I tell yer. setting down his cup. to remember the street. that don't. or sending me any more o' yer police-offices.' said Bolter. 'If you do it well. if it is a street. One pound. who she sees.' said Fagin. and looking his employer. if it is a house. wishing to interest him in the scent as much as possible.' 'Oh Lor!' cried Noah. 'I see. the spy sat booted and equipped in his carter's dress: ready to turn out at a word from Fagin. are yer?' 'She had found out some new friends. eh? Ha! ha! ha! I'm your man.'I want you. and I must know who they are. Bolter.' said Fagin.' 'Who is she?' inquired Noah. that needs great care and caution.' replied Noah. 'You keep ready. 'to do a piece of work for me. 'don't yer go shoving me into danger. I'll point her out at the proper time. a pound. if they're respectable people. my dear.' cried Fagin. leaning over the table. 'it's only to dodge a woman. and leave the rest to me. you shall hear from me. my dear. curling up his nose. and. and the next. and the next again. or the house. 'And that's what I never gave yet. in the face. What am I to dodge her for? Not to--' 'Not to do anything.' 'I knew you would be. my dear.' said the Jew. Fagin came home with a disappointed face. but to tell me where she goes.' 'What'll yer give me?' asked Noah.' said Fagin. 308 . Six nights passed--six long weary nights--and on each.' rejoined Bolter. my dear.' replied Fagin. Bolter. 'One of us. That don't suit me. 'Just to have the pleasure of knowing them.

moved it in the required position. and they held their breaths as she passed within a few feet of their place of concealment. Quick!' Noah started up without saying a word. and the man she is afraid of will not be back much before daybreak. 'and on the right errand. Scarcely venturing to whisper. on the night of his arrival in London. under pretence of snuffing the candle. and hurrying through a labyrinth of streets. It was Sunday. It opened softly on its hinges as Fagin gave a low whistle. and the girl came out. and the door was closed behind them. Fagin. speaking to the girl. without noise. 'I see her now. Fagin nodded yes. On the seventh. 'Plainly?' 'I should know her among a thousand. 'take the left had. he returned earlier.and briefly intimated that it was not yet time. for she has been alone all day. but substituting dumb show for words. who withdrew. They left the house stealthily. 'To the left. pointed out the pane of glass to Noah. In an instant. 'Dow. and darted out. caused her to raise her face. and. Come with me. 'She goes abroad to-night.' cried the spy. 'I can't see her face well. 'Stay there. He signed to Barney. It was past eleven o'clock.' whispered Noah.' said Fagin. and the candle is behind her.' He hastily descended. the lad entered the room adjoining. and the door was closed. and. for the Jew was in a state of such intense excitement that it infected him. and the young Jew who had admitted them. and keep od the other side. scarcely above his breath. and emerged by the door at which they had entered. I'm sure. 'She is looking down. Fagin drew him behind a small partition which was curtained off. They entered.' Noah exchanged a look with Fagin.' whispered the lad. arrived at length before a public-house.' whispered Fagin. and signed to him to climb up and observe the person in the adjoining room. and with an exultation he could not conceal. 'Is that the woman?' he asked. which Noah recognised as the same in which he had slept. 'Hist!' cried the lad who held the door. as the room-door opened.' 309 .

She looked nervously round. and. and followed: with his eye upon her. twice or thrice. the better to observe her motions.He did so. and to walk with a steadier and firmer step. and kept on the opposite side of the street. The spy preserved the same relative distance between them. and once stopped to let two men who were following close behind her. He advanced as near as he considered prudent. She seemed to gather courage as she advanced. saw the girl's retreating figure. 310 . pass on. by the light of the lamps. already at some distance before him.

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. but he who watched her. from the Middlesex to the Surrey shore. and rendering darker and more indistinct the murky buildings on the banks. The man stopped too. at some distance. 311 . Paul's tolled for the death of another day. Such as there were. but the forest of shipping below bridge. but certainly without noticing. Their appearance was not calculated to attract the importunate regards of such of London's destitute population. they stood there in silence: neither speaking nor spoken to. and at that hour and place there were few people stirring. and the thickly scattered spires of churches above. A mist hung over the river. by any one who passed. rose heavy and dull from the dense mass of roofs and gables. was not thrown off his guard by it. It was a very dark night. turned back. and the spire of Saint Magnus. The old smoke-stained storehouses on either side. so long the giant-warders of the ancient bridge. as two figures emerged on London Bridge. and followed her again. either the woman. she stopped. of health and sickness. which advanced with a swift and rapid step. and. for. creeping stealthily on: but never allowing himself. they crossed the bridge. the madhouse: the chambers of birth and death. and leaning over the parapet the better to conceal his figure. hurried quickly past: very possibly without seeing. At nearly the centre of the bridge. accommodated his pace to hers: stopping when she stopped: and as she moved again. in the ardour of his pursuit. or the man who kept her in view. One.CHAPTER XLVI THE APPOINTMENT KEPT The church clocks chimed three quarters past eleven. to gain upon her footsteps. the other figure was that of a man. the rigid face of the corpse and the calm sleep of the child: midnight was upon them all. the jail. he suffered her to pass on the opposite pavement. The girl had taken a few restless turns to and fro--closely watched meanwhile by her hidden observer--when the heavy bell of St. The day had been unfavourable. he slipped quietly down. shrinking into one of the recesses which surmount the piers of the bridge. and frowned sternly upon water too black to reflect even their lumbering shapes. The palace. The tower of old Saint Saviour's Church. Midnight had come upon the crowded city. Thus. When she was about the same distance in advance as she had been before. The movement was sudden. was that of a woman who looked eagerly about her as though in quest of some expected object. who slunk along in the deepest shadow he could find. when the woman. apparently disappointed in her anxious scrutiny of the footpassengers. the nightcellar. were nearly all hidden from sight. deepening the red glare of the fires that burnt upon the small craft moored off the different wharfs. were visible in the gloom.

and after a moment's survey of the place. These stairs are a part of the bridge. So tardily stole the time in this lonely place. listened attentively. and on the same side of the bridge as Saint Saviour's Church. either that they had stopped far above. Just below the end of the second. and as there seemed no better place of concealment. that he more than once gave the matter up for lost. and indicated. they consist of three flights. the tide being out. and regaining the road above. there was plenty of room. The countryman looked hastily round. when he reached this point. for a man in the garments of a countryman came close up--brushed against them. accompanied by a grey-haired gentleman. when the girl started. indeed--at that precise moment. he slipped aside. and that even if he could not hear what was said. on the Surrey bank. walked straight towards it. with his back to the pilaster. and. 'I am afraid to speak to you here. he began to descend. with safety. he could follow them again. the countryman looked round. if only a step. and roughly asking what they took up the whole pavement for. the man bearing the appearance of a countryman. and. having dismissed the vehicle. and directly afterwards of voices almost close at his ear. scarcely breathing. At this point the lower steps widen: so that a person turning that angle of the wall. He drew himself straight upright against the wall. passed on. They had scarcely set foot upon its pavement. They halted with an exclamation of surprise. or had resorted to some entirely different spot to hold their mysterious conversation. form a landingstairs from the river.' said Nancy hurriedly. and so eager was the spy to penetrate the motives of an interview so different from what he had been led to expect. when a young lady. and there waited: pretty certain that they would come no lower. going down. the stone wall on the left terminates in an ornamental pilaster facing towards the Thames. looking about them with the air of persons who entertained some very slight expectation which had little chance of being realised. but suppressed it immediately. were those which. alighted from a hackney-carriage within a short distance of the bridge. and persuaded himself. and. hastened unobserved. To this spot. is necessarily unseen by any others on the stairs who chance to be above him. the direction in which she wished them to proceed. when they were suddenly joined by this new associate. 'Not here. and immediately made towards them. He was on the point of emerging from his hiding-place. when he heard the sound of footsteps. Come away-out of the public road--down the steps yonder!' As she uttered these words. 312 . They walked onward. The steps to which the girl had pointed. with her hand.The hour had not struck two minutes.

in the streets to-night. have been upon me all day. dear lady. and not allow herself to become the prey of such fearful fancies. that the flesh of the concealed listener crept as he heard the girl utter these words. and there is something stirring. instead of bringing us to this dark and dismal hole?' 'I told you before. and beauty. shuddering. and preached of flames and vengeance. 'This was not. and they carried one close to me. above there. who seemed to pity her. where it is light. indeed. 'Speak to her kindly.' said the gentleman. 'I scarcely know of what. to wile the time away.' 'There is nothing unusual in that. who. having youth.' 'To humour me!' cried the voice of the girl whom he had followed. why ar'n't those who claim to be God's own folks as gentle and as kind to us poor wretches as you. it's no matter.' There was something so uncommon in her manner. Many people would have distrusted you too much to have come even so far.' 'Your haughty religious people would have held their heads up to see me as I am to-night. and shrouds with blood upon them.' said the girl. Horrible thoughts of death. which was evidently that of the gentleman. I was reading a book to-night.' said the young lady to her companion. might be a little proud instead of so much humbler?' 313 . 'Oh. 'You're considerate. 'but I have such a fear and dread upon me to-night that I can hardly stand. 'They have passed me often.' 'REAL ONES.' said the gentleman. and the blood chilled within him.' replied the girl in a hoarse voice.' cried the girl.--aye.' replied the girl.' said a voice. but you see I am willing to humour you. sir.'This is far enough. 'that I was afraid to speak to you there. 'I wish I did. 'No imagination.' rejoined the girl. I don't know why it is. well. and the same things came into the print.' 'Imagination. for what. 'I'll swear I saw "coffin" written in every page of the book in large black letters. 'I will not suffer the young lady to go any farther.' said the gentleman in a kinder tone. and all that they have lost.' replied Nancy. He had never experienced a greater relief than in hearing the sweet voice of the young lady as she begged her to be calm. soothing her.' 'Why.' 'A fear of what?' asked the gentleman. and a fear that has made me burn as if I was on fire. 'Poor creature! She seems to need it. 'for what purpose can you have brought us to this strange place? Why not have let me speak to you. To humour me! Well.

and to some other friends who can be safely trusted.'Ah!' said the gentleman. what you told her nearly a fortnight since. I confess to you that I had doubts. if secured.' 'Good. 'he cannot be secured. and neither he nor any of them suspect me.' said the gentleman. turn with no less regularity.' 'You were not suspected of holding any communication with anybody on the subject which has brought us here to-night. I couldn't give him a drink of laudanum before I came away. as he paused for a moment. 'A Turk turns his face. Between the Mussulman and the Pharisee. 'You were not here last Sunday night. 314 .' replied Nancy.' cried the girl.' 'I am ready. 'I couldn't come. from the fear of this man Monks. and were perhaps uttered with the view of afffording Nancy time to recover herself. 'I repeat that I firmly believe it. to the East. 'has communicated to me.' 'I am. these good people. I tell you without reserve.' 'By whom?' 'Him that I told the young lady of before. after giving their faces such a rub against the World as to take the smiles off.' the gentleman began. 'That man must be delivered up by you.' replied the girl. cannot be acted upon as we wish. The gentleman.' said the gentleman. or. commend me to the first!' These words appeared to be addressed to the young lady. but now I firmly believe you are. recoiling. 'No. I hope?' asked the old gentleman. that we propose to extort the secret.' he said. whatever it may be. 'It's not very easy for me to leave him unless he knows why. To prove to you that I am disposed to trust you. 'No. to the darkest side of Heaven. addressed himself to her.' 'Did he awake before you returned?' inquired the gentleman. after washing it well. 'I was kept by force. when he says his prayers. at first. 'Now listen to me. you must deliver up the Jew. shortly afterwards.' said the girl earnestly.' replied the girl.' 'Fagin. whether you were to be implicitly relied upon. shaking her head. But if--if--' said the gentleman. 'This young lady.

' 'I have been a liar. there must be circumstances in Oliver's little history which it would be painful to drag before the public eye. after a short pause. that she might safely do so. she proceeded in a voice so low that it was often difficult for the listener to discover even the purport of what she said.' 'Monks would never learn how you knew what you do?' said the girl.' 'You will not?' said the gentleman. 'put Monks into my hands. 'but I will take your words. who seemed fully prepared for this answer.' replied the gentleman. From the manner in which she occasionally paused. and I'll not turn upon them. 'Never. I think. which would induce you to yield it.' 'What if he turns against the others?' 'I promise you that in that case.'I will not do it! I will never do it!' replied the girl.' pursued the gentleman. if the truth is forced from him. there the matter will rest. 'The intelligence should be brought to bear upon him. the public-house whence she had been followed that night. there are many of us who have kept the same courses together.' 'And if it is not?' suggested the girl. as if this had been the point he had been aiming to attain. and leave him to me to deal with.' After receving an assurance from both.' 'Then.' rejoined the girl firmly. besides. and if the truth is once elicited. 'Never!' returned the girl. who might--any of them--have turned upon me. 'this Fagin shall not be brought to justice without your consent.' said the girl after another interval of silence. 'Tell me why?' 'For one reason. 'Devil that he is. that. 'Then. that the lady knows and will stand by me in. and worse than devil as he has been to me.' said the gentleman. but didn't. I know she will. 'My true and faithful pledge. I have led a bad life too.' replied Rose. for I have her promise: and for this other reason. that he could never even guess. bad life as he has led. to describe. by name and situation. 'for one reason. and among liars from a little child. it appeared as if the gentleman were making 315 . bad as they are. quickly. 'You have. In such a case I could show you reasons.' 'Have I the lady's promise for that?' asked the girl. they shall go scot free. I will never do that.

I think that's all I can give you to know him by. 'Upon his throat: so high that you can see a part of it below his neckerchief when he turns his face: there is--' 'A broad red mark. 'I think I do. and sometimes even bites his hands and covers them with wounds--why did you start?' said the girl. We shall see. like a burn or scald?' cried the gentleman. and. 'I should by your description. 'you have given us most valuable assistance. although he can't be more than six or eight and twenty.' 316 . 'It must be he!' 'Now. for the purpose of recalling his features and appearances more forcibly to her recollection. Many people are singularly like each other. for his eyes are sunk in his head so much deeper than any other man's. that you might almost tell him by that alone. for I have only seen him twice. stopping suddenly. His face is dark.' he said. like his hair and eyes. 'You will not persist in saying that. for he has desperate fits. breaking silence. What can I do to serve you?' 'Nothing. When she had thoroughly explained the localities of the place.' As he expressed himself to this effect. His lips are often discoloured and disfigured with the marks of teeth. Don't forget that. in a hurried manner. Tell me.' said the girl. 'and a strongly made man.' rejoined the gentleman.' replied Nancy. and as he walks. withered and haggard. he took a step or two nearer the concealed spy. with assumed carelessness. 'How's this?' said the girl.' said the girl. with a voice and emphasis of kindness that might have touched a much harder and more obdurate heart. and both times he was covered up in a large cloak. and I wish you to be the better for it. Stay though.' she added. and the night and hour on which Monks was most in the habit of frequenting it. 'Part of this. as the latter could tell from the distinctness with which he heard him mutter.' said the gentleman. young woman. and then on the other. and begged her to proceed. The gentleman replied. 'I have drawn out from other people at the house I tell you of. the best position from which to watch it without exciting observation. and for a few moments they were so still that the listener could distinctly hear them breathe. she seemed to consider for a few moments. constantly looks over his shoulder. 'He is tall. but not stout. that he was not conscious of having done so. first on one side. 'You know him!' The young lady uttered a cry of surprise. he has a lurking walk. It may not be the same. returning: so it seemed by the sound: to the spot where he had stood before. 'Think now.some hasty notes of the information she communicated.

either in England. 317 . in some foreign country. 'She hesitates. and leave no living thing. or breathe the very air which is pestilence and death to you. I am past all hope. I must have gone too far to turn back. with a sigh. 'We compromise her safety. We may have detained her longer than she expected already. and let me go my way alone.' 'What. to care for. Quit them all. How many times do you read of such as I who spring into the tide. 'can be the end of this poor creature's life!' 'What!' repeated the girl. weeping. 'Look before you.'Nothing.' said the gentleman. for that must come as you seek it.' said the gentleman.' rejoined the girl. lady. for the future. that you leave me. Come! I would not have you go back to exchange one word with any old companion.' returned the young lady. 'I am chained to my old life. I shall be watched or seen. 'To such a home as I have raised for myself with the work of my whole life. 'No sir. my dear. or.' 'Yes. you shall be placed as entirely beyond the reach of your former associates. sir. or it may be only months. or take one look at any old haunt. as if you were to disappear from the earth this moment. if you fear to remain here.' said the gentleman.' cried the young lady. yes. Before the dawn of morning. you may hope. perhaps.' cried the young lady. or bewail them. sobbing. indeed. with great stress upon the word. 'You have.' 'Do not speak thus. pray. before this river wakes to the first glimpse of daylight. after a short struggle.' 'You put yourself beyond its pale. while there is time and opportunity!' 'She will be persuaded now. and leave as utter an absence of all trace behind you. I do not say that it is in our power to offer you peace of heart and mind. and such priceless treasures lavished. 'You can do nothing to help me. 'The past has been a dreary waste with you. as the Creator bestows but once and never grants again. Go! Go! If I have done you any service all I ask is. but I shall come to that at last. I must go home. of youthful energies mis-spent. it is not only within the compass of our ability but our most anxious wish to secure you. 'Home.' 'I fear not.' 'Home!' repeated the young lady.' replied the girl. lady. It may be years hence. some time ago. looking hastily round. But.' she said. I do not. but. but a quiet asylum.' 'It is useless. I loathe and hate it now. I am sure. but I cannot leave it.' rejoined the girl. Look at that dark water.' urged the girl. I should have laughed it off. 'this fear comes over me again. by staying here.--and yet I don't know. for if you had spoken to me so. Let us part.

'Did she call! I thought I heard her voice. And yet--give me something that you have worn: I should like to have something--no.' cried the young lady.' replied Mr. sweet lady. no. stealthily and in the shade of the wall. my love. in the same manner as he had descended. Noah Claypole darted away at his utmost speed. looking sadly back. and returned. There. away. and with feeble and tottering steps ascended the street. The sound of retreating footsteps were audible and the voices ceased. 'She has not moved. not a ring--your gloves or handkerchief--anything that I can keep. and made for the Jew's house as fast as his legs would carry him. more than once. Let me have that to think of. 'I have not done this for money. crept slowly from his hiding-place. the girl sunk down nearly at her full length upon one of the stone stairs. The astonished listener remained motionless on his post for some minutes afterwards. with gentle force. Peeping out.'It will never reach your ears.' Rose Maylie lingered. good-night!' The violent agitation of the girl. The two figures of the young lady and her companion soon afterwards appeared upon the bridge.' 'No!' replied the girl. as having belonged to you.' 'No. and will not till we are gone. and having ascertained. and led her. and the apprehension of some discovery which would subject her to ill-usage and violence. with many cautious glances round him. to make sure that he was unobserved. and God forbid such horrors should!' replied the girl. when he reached the top. and vented the anguish of her heart in bitter tears. seemed to determine the gentleman to leave her. Brownlow. 'Good-night. Bless you! God bless you. good-night!' The gentleman turned away. After a time she arose. dear lady. as she requested. 'Take it for my sake. Good-night. 318 . 'Hark!' cried the young lady. 'This purse. They stopped at the summit of the stairs. but the old gentleman drew her arm through his. As they disappeared. listening. that he was again alone. that you may have some resource in an hour of need and trouble.

or appearing to tkae the smallest heed of time. But he did not take his eyes off the robber. and utter distrust of the sincerity of her refusal to yield him up. the man displayed the burly frame of Sikes. when even sounds appear to slumber. and presently returned accompanied by a man muffled to the chin. Mortification at the overthrow of his notable scheme. plainly showed that his thoughts were busy elsewhere. and ruin. I thought I should have been here. and then brought them back again to the candle. wiping his dry and fevered mouth. and do the most you can with it. may be truly called the dead of night. He crept upstairs to the door. lay Noah Claypole. it was at this still and silent hour. and locking it in the cupboard. he hit his long black nails. He sat without changing his attitude in the least. laying the bundle on the table. for an 319 . His right hand was raised to his lips. 'Take care of that. and profligacy and riot have staggered home to dream. that he looked less like a man. shot through the brain of Fagin. and worried by an evil spirit. and as. when the streets are silent and deserted. with face so distorted and pale. and a fierce and deadly rage kindled by all. these were the passionate considerations which. the fear of detection. and hot grease falling down in clots upon the table. and death. than like some hideous phantom.' Fagin laid his hand upon the bundle.CHAPTER XLVII FATAL CONSEQUENCES It was nearly two hours before day-break. as every evil thought and blackest purpose lay working at his heart. fast asleep. absorbed in thought. Sitting down and throwing back his outer coat. Stretched upon a mattress on the floor. sat down again without speaking. with his face turned towards a wasting candle that stood upon a table by his side. that time which in the autumn of the year. following close upon each other with rapid and ceaseless whirl.' he muttered. 'At last!' The bell rang gently as he spoke. wrapped in an old torn coverlet. three hours ago. It's been trouble enough to get. Indeed they were. until his quick ear seemed to be attracted by a footstep in the street. who carried a bundle under one arm. He sat crouching over a cold hearth. that Fagin sat watching in his old lair. he disclosed among his toothless gums a few such fangs as should have been a dog's or rat's. 'There!' he said. which with a long-burnt wick drooping almost double. moist from the grave. 'At last. and eyes so red and blood-shot. hatred of the girl who had dared to palter with strangers. Towards him the old man sometimes directed his eyes for an instant. bitter disappointment at the loss of his revenge on Sikes.

Suppose he was to do all this. Sikes turned round to where Noah was sleeping. 'Tell away! Look sharp. 'Speak.' pursued Fagin. feeling in his breast with a look of alarm. 'Well!' he said. face to face. stealing out at nights to find those most interested against us.' Sikes looked with an aspect of great perplexity into the Jew's face. haven't you?' said Sikes. or Nance will think I'm lost. in her own mind. and shook his trembling forefinger in the air. describe every mark that they might know us by. will you!' he said.instant. Open your mouth and say wot you've got to say in plain words. 'will make you worse than me. during this action. 'Wot do you look at a man so for?' Fagin raised his right hand. trapped. and now that they sat over against each other. 'That's lucky--for one of us. 'was to peach--to blow upon us all--first seeking out the right folks for the purpose. as if he had not previously observed him. Bill. 'Wot now?' cried Sikes. 'It's not--you're not the person. I've no--no fault to find with you. and surveyed him with a look of real affright. you haven't.' 'I've got that to tell you. to please his own taste. Do 320 . 'or if you don't. and ostentatiously passing a pistol into a more convenient pocket. drawing his chair nearer. not grabbed.--but of his own fancy.' 'Lost!' cried Fagin. resuming his former position. out with it!' 'Suppose that lad that's laying there--' Fagin began. you thundering old cur. Out with it. Bill.' 'Aye?' returned the robber with an incredulous air.' 'No. 'He's gone mad. with his lips quivering so violently. 'Damme!' said Sikes. clenched his coat collar in his huge hand and shook him soundly. that the housebreaker involuntarily drew back his chair.' rejoined Fagin. more or less--of his own fancy. 'She has pretty well settled that. and then having a meeting with 'em in the street to paint our likenesses. it shall be for want of breath. he looked fixedly at him.' 'Oh. no. and the crib where we might be most easily taken. and besides to blow upon a plant we've all been in. Which one that is. looking sternly at him. but his passion was so great. and his face so altered by the emotions which had mastered him.' said Fagin. already. finding his voice. don't matter. and reading no satisfactory explanation of the riddle there. tried. earwigged by the parson and brought to it on bread and water. and peaching to them. 'Suppose that lad. that the power of speech was for the moment gone. I must look to myself here.

clutching Sikes by the wrist. I'd grind his skull under the iron heel of my boot into as many grains as there are hairs upon his head. looked sleepily about him.' replied Sikes impatiently. with a tremendous oath. and. that knows so much. 'Tell me that again--once again. just for him to hear.' 'You would?' 'Would I!' said the housebreaker. 'That about--NANCY. or the Dodger. and could hang so many besides myself!' 'I don't know. clenching his teeth and turning white at the mere suggestion.' 'If it was Charley. shaking himself pettishy.' said Fagin. and beat your brains out afore the people. 'Try me. looking up with an expression of devilish anticipation. and speaking slowly and with marked emphasis. and. and shook the sleeper to rouse him.' said the Jew. as if to prevent his leaving the house before he had heard enough. I'd serve them the same. giving a heavy yawn. When his assumed name had been repeated several times. I'd fall upon you with them in the open court. 'Tell yer what?' asked the sleepy Noah. 'that I could smash your head as if a loaded waggon had gone over it. poising his brawny arm. pointing to Sikes as he spoke. or--' 'I don't care who. or Bet. 'Bolter. Fagin made no answer.you hear me?' cried the Jew. what then?' 'What then!' replied Sikes. 'If he was left alive till I came. stooped over the bed upon the floor. Bill. motioning him to be silent. 'You followed her?' 321 . 'Whoever it was. hauled him into a sitting posture. his eyes flashing with rage.' Fagin looked hard at the robber.' 'Wot d'ye mean?' asked Sikes. Noah rubbed his eyes.' muttered the robber.' replied Sikes. 'Suppose he did all this. 'He's tired--tired with watching for her so long. drawing back. as if wondering much what all this questioning and preparation was to end in. 'I.--watching for her. but bending over the sleeper again. Bolter! Poor lad!' said Fagin. I should have such strength.' 'What if I did it!' cried Fagin almost in a yell. and if I was tried along with you. Sikes leant forward in his chair: looking on with his hands upon his knees. 'I'd do something in the jail that 'ud get me put in irons.

which she did. 'Bill. and darted. considering. 'they asked her why she didn't come. and brandishing his other hand aloft. as she promised. tightening his grasp on Sikes.' 'Where she met two people.' 'Hell's fire!' cried Sikes.' replied Noah. who. which she did--and to tell her what house it was that we meet at.' 'Why. 'They asked her. which she did--and what time the people went there. 'Let me go!' Flinging the old man from him. that she couldn't very easily get out of doors unless he knew where she was going to.' said Noah. 'Why I told yer that before. and Monks first. who asked her to give up all her pals.' 'So she did. 'What more of him?' cried Fagin. 'A word. that it did--she gave him a drink of laudanum.' 'Again. she-ha! ha! ha! it made me laugh when she said it. tell him that.' 'A gentleman and a lady that she had gone to of her own accord before. as the foam flew from his lips.' said Noah. 'That's just what it was!' 'What did they say. about last Sunday?' 'About last Sunday!' replied Noah. 'and so the first time she went to see the lady. Tell it again!' cried Fagin.' 'Why--why? Tell him that. and go to. which she did--and where it could be best watched from. seemed to have a dawning perception who Sikes was. She did all this. without a murmur--she did--did she not?' cried Fagin. the man she had told them of before. following him hastily. as he grew more wakeful. She said she couldn't.' replied Noah. Bill!' cried Fagin. Only a word. he rushed from the room. 'What more of the man she had told them of before? Tell him that. up the stairs.' 'Because she was forcibly kept at home by Bill. She told it all every word without a threat.'Yes. last Sunday. scratching his head. breaking fiercely from the Jew. wildly and furiously. 'All right. which she did--and to describe him.' 'To London Bridge?' 'Yes. half mad with fury.' 322 .

Bill!' said the girl. 'why do you look like that at me!' 323 .' There was a candle burning. but looking straight before him with savage resolution: his teeth so tightly compressed that the strained jaw seemed starting through his skin. or moment's consideration. and not too bold. 'I mean. 'It is. Bill?' The day was breaking. upon it.' said Sikes.' said Fagin. which could not be mistaken. drew back the curtain of the bed. Without one pause. but. nor relaxed a muscle. with a key. the girl rose to undraw the curtain.' said the girl. pulling open the door. 'Don't speak to me. Bill. with an expression of pleasure at his return.' said Sikes. 'not too violent for safety.' 'Bill. in the low voice of alarm. He opened it. laying his hand upon the lock. but that the housebreaker was unable to open the door: on which he was expending fruitless oaths and violence. when the Jew came panting up. strode lightly up the stairs. thrusting his hand before her. and there was light enough for the men to see each other's faces. and hurled it under the grate. and entering his own room. 'Get up!' said the man. dashed into the silent streets. of which Fagin had turned the lock. showing that he felt all disguise was now useless. the robber held on his headlong course. there was a fire in the eyes of both.' replied the other. nor muttered a word. and lifting a heavy table against it.' Sikes made no reply. but the man hastily drew it from the candlestick. or lowering them to the ground. Seeing the faint light of early day without. 'You won't be--' 'Well. double-locked the door. 'Let it be. for she raised herself with a hurried and startled look. it's not safe. until he reached his own door. Be crafty. They exchanged one brief glance. I say!' 'Hear me speak a word. 'You won't be--too--violent. Let me out. without once turning his head to the right or left.' was the reply. or raising his eyes to the sky. softly.' rejoined Fagin. 'Let me out. 'There's enough light for wot I've got to do. The girl was lying. He had roused her from her sleep.The word would not have been exchanged. 'Get up. half-dressed. 'It is you.

and tear her as he would. seized a heavy club and struck her down. It is never too late to repent. with dilated nostrils and heaving breast. Let me see them again. you she devil!' returned the robber. and save yourself this crime. You SHALL have time to think. but those of the girl were clasped round his. as high towards Heaven as her feeble strength would allow. It was a ghastly figure to look upon. on her knees. dear Bill. upon my guilty soul I have!' The man struggled violently. every word you said was heard. to release his arms. dragged her into the middle of the room. placed his heavy hand upon her mouth. 'Bill. and he beat it twice with all the force he could summon. and shutting out the sight with his hand. and looking once towards the door. for mine. and forget how we have lived. clinging to him. She staggered and fell: nearly blinded with the blood that rained down from a deep gash in her forehead. as I spared yours. 'You were watched to-night. 324 . on my knees. only this one night. The murderer staggering backward to the wall. with difficulty. for your own. and beg them. They told me so--I feel it now--but we must have time--a little. stop before you spill my blood! I have been true to you.--'I--I won't scream or cry--not once--hear me--speak to me--tell me what I have done!' 'You know. upon the upturned face that almost touched his own. for you. little time!' The housebreaker freed one arm.' cried the girl. flashed across his mind even in the midst of his fury. suppressing his breath.' 'Then spare my life for the love of Heaven. in her folded hands. you cannot throw me off. breathed one prayer for mercy to her Maker. he could not tear them away. and then. striving to lay her head upon his breast. but raising herself. The certainty of immediate detection if he fired. Bill!' gasped the girl. and never see each other more. 'the gentleman and that dear lady. drew from her bosom a white handkerchief--Rose Maylie's own--and holding it up. and far apart lead better lives. 'Bill. grasping her by the head and throat. to show the same mercy and goodness to you. for dear God's sake. told me to-night of a home in some foreign country where I could end my days in solitude and peace. 'Bill. for a few seconds. Bill. and grasped his pistol.' rejoined the girl. I will not loose my hold.The robber sat regarding her. Oh! think of all I have given up. except in prayers. and let us both leave this dreadful place. you cannot have the heart to kill me. wrestling with the strength of mortal fear. Bill.

he had struck and struck again. There was hair upon the end. and. He crossed over. no. not light alone. and walked rapidly away. Of all the horrors that rose with an ill scent upon the morning air. and so much blood! He struck a light. He had plucked it off again. If the sight had been a ghastly one in the dull morning. backward. unsteady of 325 . And there was the body-mere flesh and blood. but he held the weapon till it broke. nor more--but such flesh. Such preparations completed. there were spots that would not be removed. and imagine them moving towards him. but new life. had been committed with wide London's bounds since night hung over it. took the key. sturdy as he was. whirled up the chimney. and hope. It was a relief to have got free of the room. which she would have opened to admit the light she never saw again. and thrust the club into it. he had been afraid to stir. There had been a moan and motion of the hand. but it was worse to fancy the eyes. turned his back upon the corpse. in all that brilliant light! He had not moved. There was the curtain still drawn. how the sun poured down upon the very spot! The glance was instantaneous. The sun--the bright sun. not for a moment. All this time he had. that was the worst. that was the foulest and most cruel. He went through Islington. than to see them glaring upward. It lay nearly under there. to be sure that nothing was visible from the outside. with terror added to rage. How those stains were dispersed about the room! The very feet of the dog were bloody. and glanced up at the window. that brings back. and smoulder into ashes. strode up the hill at Highgate on which stands the stone in honour of Whittington. now. and rubbed his clothes. it shed its equal ray. Even that frightened him. lest he should soil his feet anew and carry out new evidence of the crime into the streets. but it would stream in. He shut the door softly.CHAPTER XLVIII THE FLIGHT OF SIKES Of all bad deeds that. HE knew that. never once. he moved. It lighted up the room where the murdered woman lay. under cover of the darkness. He whistled on the dog. and freshness to man--burst upon the crowded city in clear and radiant glory. towards the door: dragging the dog with him. but he cut the pieces out. through cathedral dome and rotten crevice. and. turned down to Highgate Hill. Once he threw a rug over it. He tried to shut it out. and left the house. and burnt them. caught by the air. He washed himself. It did. and then piled it on the coals to burn away. what was it. as if watching the reflection of the pool of gore that quivered and danced in the sunlight on the ceiling. locked it. which blazed and shrunk into a light cinder. God. kindled a fire. Through costly-coloured glass and paper-mended window.

and taking the foot-path across the fields. and round and round. Traversing the hollow by the Vale of Heath. It was nine o'clock at night. and shaped his course for Hatfield. struck off to the right again. and once more he lingered on the Heath.--not far into the country. but he sat down in the furthest corner. and so came on Hampstead Heath. There was nothing to attract attention. if he had taken care. uncertain where to go. Thither he directed his steps. That was a good place. with a strange perversity. to get some meat and drink? Hendon. and still came back to the old place. and still lingered about the same spot. than he was--with ten or fifteen year of life in him at least--if he had taken care. he mounted the opposite bank. but back towards London by the high-road--then back again--then over another part of the same ground as he already traversed--then wandering up and down in fields. turned down the hill by the church of the quiet village. not far off. crept into a small publichouse. The robber. without the courage to purchase bit or drop. in one of which he laid himself down under a hedge. and had almost 326 . loitering at a snail's pace. At last he got away. There was a fire in the tap-room.--running sometimes. and farmers. the young men present considering him very old. and crossing the road which joins the villages of Hampstead and Highgate. and sometimes. all the people he met--the very children at the doors-seemed to view him with suspicion. limping and lame from the unaccustomed exercise. and lying on ditches' brinks to rest. and the day was on the wane. sat silent and unnoticed in his corner. or stopping altogether and idly breaking the hedges with a stick. one white-haired grandfather said. and when those topics were exhausted. that was near and not too public. almost as soon as he began to descend it. turned upon the neighboring land. whose scanty light had guided them to the spot. and away. and uncertain where to go. and some country-labourers were drinking before it. and do the same. when the man. or excite alarm in this. skirted Caen Wood. quite tired out. and out of most people's way. They made room for the stranger. and the old men present declaring him to have been quite young--not older. made along the remaining portion of the heath to the fields at North End. and slept. and still he rambled to and fro. and the dog. or rather with his dog: to whom he cast a morsel of food from time to time. He wandered over miles and miles of ground. and plodding along the little street. Morning and noon had passed. though he had tasted no food for many hours. Back he turned again. and starting up to make for some other spot.purpose. upon the age of some old man who had been buried on the previous Sunday. after paying his reckoning. and up and down. The conversation of the men assembled here. But when he got there. and ramble on again. and ate and drank alone. Where could he go. Soon he was up again.

One penny a square. and a premium of fifty for twins. any stains. spot. mildew. always a-working upon it. half pedlar and half mountebank. water-stain. stops. bombazeen. which he carried in a case slung to his back. paint-stains.' said the fellow. increased in loquacity. stuff. or blood-stain--' 327 . merino. when he was half wakened by the noisy entrance of a new comer. before he can order me a pint of ale.' said the fellow. and four farthings is received with joy. beer-stain. six steam-engines. One penny a square! Two halfpence is all the same. 'It's all bought up as fast as it can be made. sir. This was an antic fellow. pitch-stains. when he ingeniously contrived to unite business with amusement. he has only need to bolt one little square. producing one.' 'Hah!' cried Sikes starting up. no wider than a shilling. crape. His entrance was the signal for various homely jokes with the countrymen. harness-paste. from silk. and a great deal nastier in the flavour. speck.dropped asleep. fruit-stain. razors. water-stains. 'this is the infallible and invaluable composition for removing all sorts of stain. and the widows is pensioned directly. satin. and he has put it beyond question--for it's quite as satisfactory as a pistol-bullet. spick. but thicker than a half-crown. washballs. linen. blood-stains! Here is a stain upon the hat of a gentleman in company. dirt. If a gentleman wants to prove this. fruit-stains. and more of the listeners plainly hesitated. cambrick. she has only need to swallow one cake and she's cured at once--for it's poison. mud-stains. pitchstain. winking to the company. or woollen stuff. muslin. with twenty pound a-year for each of the children. all come out at one rub with the infallible and invaluable composition.' 'I'll take it clean out. paint-stain. beer-stains. The vendor observing this. 'And what be that stoof? Good to eat. pitchstains. 'Give that back. Wine-stains. beer-stains. mud-stain. 'There are fourteen water-mills. Whether it is a wine-stain. 'before you can come across the room to get it. which slackened not until he had made his supper. though the men work so hard that they die off. Gentlemen all. paint-stains. that I'll take clean out. and they can't make it fast enough. If a lady stains her honour. and such-like wares. With all these virtues. water-stains. One penny a square! Wine-stains.' replied the man. and a galvanic battery. Harry?' asked a grinning countryman. pointing to some composition-cakes in one corner. 'This. consequently the more credit in taking it. and opened his box of treasures. who travelled about the country on foot to vend hones. cloth. cheap perfumery. one penny a square!' There were two buyers directly. cosmetics. carpet. fruit-stains. observe the dark stain upon this gentleman's hat. or spatter. rust. medicine for dogs and horses.

came up at the moment. A man. Ben?' asked the game-keeper. 'It is supposed--' 'Now. who was looking out of the window.' 'Was it.' said the guard. 'That's for your people. substance or shadow. 'No. Albans. 'Damn that 'ere bag. but I don't know when. drawing back to the window-shutters.' 'Oh. too. and that they most probably considered him some drunken sullen fellow. the murderer. All ri--ight!' The horn sounded a few cheerful notes. and getting out of the glare of the lamps of a stage-coach that was standing in the street. sir?' rejoined the guard. Here. this won't do. turned back up the town. despite himself.' said a gentleman inside. when he recognised the mail from London. all day. The guard was standing at the door. 'Now.' growled the guard. he felt a dread and awe creeping upon him which shook him to the core. down Spitalfields way. and saw that it was standing at the little post-office. 'And a dreadful murder it was.' said the guard. burst out of the house. sir?' 'A woman. dressed like a game-keeper. it warn't ready night afore last. apparently unmoved by what he had just heard. and tearing the hat from him. and took the road which leads from Hatfield to St. pulling on his gloves. 'Ah. and agitated by no stronger feeling than a doubt where to go. and he handed him a basket which lay ready on the pavement. that's quite true. was walking past. finding that he was not followed. 'Coming. He almost knew what was to come. you know!' 'Anything new up in town. but I don't reckon much upon it. Every object before him.The man got no further.' replied the coachman impatiently. look alive in there. but as he left the town behind him. nothing that I knows on. the better to admire the horses. 'Man or woman. 328 . Damn that 'ere bag. will you. Sikes remained standing in the street. waiting for the letter-bag. Ben. and plunged into the solitude and darkness of the road. With the same perversity of feeling and irresolution that had fastened upon him. but he crossed over. At length he went back again. He went on doggedly. pray. I heerd talk of a murder. and the coach was gone. 'Corn's up a little. give hold. and so's the young 'ooman of property that's going to take a fancy to me. and listened. running out. for Sikes with a hideous imprecation overthrew the table.' replied the gentleman.' replied the man. touching his hat. 'are you gone to sleep in there?' 'Coming!' cried the office keeper.

before he had laid himself along. He got up. there came the room with every well-known object--some. that he would have forgotten. and here he stretched himself close to the wall--to undergo new torture. and hint that Providence must sleep. which made it very dark within. and note how stiff and solemn it seemed to stalk along. and the roar of voices mingled in alarm and wonder. that he had better borne to see them than think upon them. a vision came before him. There was a shed in a field he passed. but these fears were nothing compared to the sense that haunted him of that morning's ghastly figure following at his heels. was something to him. At his head it stood. The body was in ITS place. and its eyes were as he saw them when he stole away. when suddenly there arose upon the night-wind the noise of distant shouting. and shrunk down once more. The eyes were there. he turned. though it should look him dead. with its epitaph in blood. and every breath of wind came laden with that last low cry. and the wind moaned through them with a dismal wail. And here he remained in such terror as none but he can know. indeed. 329 . appeared in the midst of the darkness: light in themselves. If he ran. till daylight came again. for it had turned with him and was behind him then. but giving light to nothing. There were but two. Let no man talk of murderers escaping justice. He re-entered the shed. but it was behind now--always. He had kept it before him that morning. but they were everywhere. and still--a living grave-stone. Any sound of men in that lonely place. He regained his strength and energy at the prospect of personal danger. and borne on one slow melancholy wind that never rose or fell. took the semblance of some fearful thing. He could hear its garments rustling in the leaves. supply the smallest item of the outline. He COULD NOT walk on. were three tall poplar trees. trembling in every limb. He could trace its shadow in the gloom. but the hair rose on his head. and felt that it stood above him. rushed into the open air. Before the door. For now. visibly out against the cold night-sky. He leaned his back against a bank. Those widely staring eyes. even though it conveyed a real cause of alarm. silent. with desperate determination. If he shut out the sight. if he had gone over its contents from memory--each in its accustomed place. erect. The figure was behind him.still or moving. He threw himself upon the road--on his back upon the road. resolved to beat this phantom off. so lustreless and so glassy. and the cold sweat starting from every pore. If he stopped it did the same. At times. it followed--not running too: that would have been a relief: but like a corpse endowed with the mere machinery of life. and his blood stood still. and rushed into the field without. and springing to his feet. There were twenty score of violent deaths in one long minute of that agony of fear. that offered shelter for the night. as constant and more terrible than that from which he had escaped.

' said one: 'but they'll have him yet. and they called to him to share in their refreshment. Women and children shrieked. nor weariness nor thought. stealthily. and had a long. and driving clouds of smoke in the direction where he stood. lighting the atmosphere for miles round. The shouts grew louder as new voices swelled the roar. 'He has gone to Birmingham. Hither and thither he dived that night: now working at the pumps. who careered with loud and sounding bark before him. disclosed a mass of raging fire. Suddenly. together. He passed near an engine where some men were seated. and rolling one above the other. and leaping gate and fence as madly as his dog. and they drew off. and flying from memory and himself. there returned. for the men were conversing in groups. and now hurrying through the smoke and flame. headlong--dashing through brier and brake. He wandered on again. he took the desperate resolution to going back to London. and by to-morrow night there'll be a cry all through the country. upon the ground. where doors and windows stood an hour ago. and he feared to be the subject of their talk. were sheets of flame. amidst a shower of falling sparks.The broad sky seemed on fire. others driving the cattle from the yard and out-houses. and men encouraged each other with noisy shouts and cheers. and others coming laden from the burning pile. There were half-dressed figures tearing to and fro. and he could hear the cry of Fire! mingled with the ringing of an alarm-bell. and had neither scratch nor bruise. There were people there--men and women--light. heard the firemen. He took some bread and meat. too. in every part of that great fire was he. but broken and uneasy sleep. talking about the murder. The dog obeyed the significant beck of his finger. and only smoke and blackened ruins remained. walls rocked and crumbled into the burning well. till he was hoarse. white hot. the fall of heavy bodies. the dreadful consciousness of his crime. The noise increased as he looked. but never ceasing to engage himself wherever noise and men were thickest. He looked suspiciously about him. It was like new life to him. The apertures. He came upon the spot. and shot aloft as though refreshed by food. bustle. some endeavouring to drag the frightened horses from the stables. added to the tremendous roar. 330 . the molten lead and iron poured down. over floors that quaked and trembled with his weight. He shouted. who were from London. He darted onward--straight. then lay down in a lane. under the lee of falling bricks and stones. This mad excitement over. The clanking of the engine-pumps. with ten-fold force. and walked till he almost dropped upon the ground. Rising into the air with showers of sparks.' He hurried off. and oppressed with the fear of another solitary night. and as he drank a draught of beer. for the scouts are out. upon the roofs of buildings. and the spirting and hissing of the water as it fell upon the blazing wood. and the crackling of flames as they twined round some new obstacle. Up and down the ladders. they say. and the tumbling down of red-hot beams. plunged into the thickest of the throng. till morning dawned again. irresolute and undecided. but he bore a charmed life.

The man whistled again and again. paused an instant. The dog advanced. but as Sikes stooped to attach the handkerchief to his throat. whether his instinct apprehended something of their purpose. The dog.' he thought. looking about for a pond: picking up a heavy stone and tying it to his handerkerchief as he went. He resolved to drown him. get abroad to France? Damme. and looked round to call him.' He acted upon this impluse without delay. entering it at dusk by a circuitous route. When his master halted at the brink of a pool. 331 . though. and scoured away at his hardest speed. but moved not. to proceed straight to that part of it which he had fixed on for his destination. and. resolved to lie concealed within a short distance of the metropolis. or the robber's sidelong look at him was sterner than ordinary. The animal looked up into his master's face while these preparations were making. forcing blunt from Fagin. and. and had probably gone with him. They'll never expect to nab me there. too. he uttered a low growl and started back. and choosing the least frequented roads began his journey back. But no dog appeared. This might lead to his apprehension as he passed along the streets.'There's somebody to speak to there. 'Do you hear me call? Come here!' cried Sikes. 'Come back!' said the robber. and sat down and waited in the expectation that he would return. Why can't I lie by for a week or so. 'A good hidingplace. Sikes made a running noose and called him again. and cowered as he came more slowly along. he skulked a little farther in the rear than usual. and at length he resumed his journey. at all event. If any description of him were out. The dog wagged his tail. he stopped outright. I'll risk it. The animal came up from the very force of habit. it would not be forgotten that the dog was missing. and walked on. after this country scent. retreated.

that instant will have you apprehended on a charge of fraud and robbery. Brownlow. 'He knows the alternative. and consign you to a punishment the extent of which. 'If you wish me to prefer my charges publicly. and stood upon the other side. young man?' replied Mr. hurried him into the house. dismounted too. If not. 'If he hesitates or moves a finger but as you bid him. BROWNLOW AT LENGTH MEET. If you complain of being deprived of your liberty--you had power and opportunity to retrieve it as you came along. foresee. Brownlow. There. although I can.' Monks was plainly disconcerted.' said Mr. Brownlow. The two men looked at the old gentleman as if for instructions. when the power will have passed into other hands. when Mr. who had been seated on the box. Monks. once more. sir. They walked in the same manner up the stairs without speaking. 'Those persons are indemnified by me. Brownlow. your blood be upon your own head!' 'By what authority am I kidnapped in the street. 'Are you mad enough to leave this house? Unhand him. confronting him with a steady look. looking from one to the other of the men who stood beside him. You are free to go. I cannot control. and knocked softly. they helped out a third man. and taking him between them. for you know the way. and we to follow. throw yourself for protection on the law. but when you have gone too far to recede. do not sue to me for leniency.' replied Mr. with a shudder. and brought here by these dogs?' asked Monks. a sturdy man got out of the coach and stationed himself on one side of the steps.' said Mr. yourself. while another man. call for the aid of the police. and Mr. But I warn you. led the way into a back-room. but you deemed it advisable to remain quiet--I say again. The door being opened. stopped. 'You will decide quickly. by all I hold most solemn and most sacred. and you appeal 332 . Brownlow. drag him into the street. This man was Monks. I will appeal to the law too. and do not say I plunged you down the gulf into which you rushed. If you are determined to be the same. Browlow. AND THE INTELLIGENCE THAT INTERRUPTS IT The twilight was beginning to close in. who had ascended with evident reluctance. and impeach him as a felon in my name. 'How dare you urge me to it. At a sign from Mr. I say. He hesitated. Brownlow alighted from a hackney-coach at his own door. 'By mine. THEIR CONVERSATION.' 'How dare you say this of me?' asked Monks. and alarmed besides. preceding them. with perfect firmness and composure.CHAPTER XLIX MONKS AND MR. At the door of this apartment. I am resolute and immoveable.

and even at this distance of time brings back to me. Brownlow to the attendants. Brownlow.' Monks looked at the old gentleman. from that time forth. and even the sight of you brings with it old thoughts of him. 'I have not the inclination to parley.' said Mr. but. Brownlow. sat down.' Still the man hesitated.to my forbearance. throwing down his hat and cloak. and the two were left alone together.' 'What has the name to do with it?' asked the other. it is because old recollections and associations filled my heart. 'and come when I ring. the agitation of his companion. even now--and blush for your unworthiness who bear the name. sir. I have not the right. without a word. 'it is because the hopes and wishes of young and happy years were bound up with him. 'and. lonely man: it is because he knelt with me beside his only sisters' death-bed when he was yet a boy. half in silence. and.' The men obeyed. young man. and the mercy of those you have deeply injured. 'nothing to you.' replied Mr.' Monks muttered some unintelligible words. it is because of all these things that I am moved to treat you gently now--yes. 'from my father's oldest friend. 'A word from me. seat yourself. 'What is the name to me?' 'Nothing. Brownlow. 'This is pretty treatment.' said Mr. and that fair creature of his blood and kindred who rejoined her God in youth. shrugging his shoulders. in that chair. 'You will be prompt. through all his trials and errors.--'is there--no middle course?' 'None.' said Mr.' said Monks.' 'Is there--' demanded Monks with a faltering tongue. walked into the room. after contemplating. an old man. till he died. and half in dogged wonder. 'Lock the door on the outside. but wavered still. and left me here a solitary. on the morning that would--but Heaven willed otherwise--have made her my young wife. reading in his countenance nothing but severity and determination. Edward Leeford. Brownlow. and the alternative has gone for ever. It has waited for you two whole days. it is because my seared heart clung to him. with an anxious eye. But it was HERS. as I advocate the dearest interests of others.' returned Mr. the glow and thrill which I 333 .' 'It is because I was your father's oldest friend.

of which nothing but death could break the rivets. when HIS father 334 . and your father but one-and-thirty--for he was.' said Monks (to retain his assumed designation) after a long silence. at least.' 'This is all mighty fine.' 'But I also know. shading his face with his hand. you know already.' said Monks. the protracted anguish of that ill-assorted union. and you may not. and the most sordid and narrowest of all ambition. with prospects blighted. Your mother succeeded. until at last they wrenched the clanking bond asunder. 'But what do you want with me?' 'You have a brother. when you were not more than eleven years old. and Mr. lingered on at home. Brownlow.' interrupted Monks with a jeering laugh. the whisper of whose name in your ear when I came behind you in the street. I know that of the wretched marriage. forced your unhappy father when a mere boy. during which he had jerked himself in sullen defiance to and fro. they were separated. 'You know I was an only child.once felt. 'You know the fact. 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. I repeat. 'I speak of fifteen years ago.' 'Not I. and hate to loathing. 'Not I. who. Brownlow had sat.' 'I don't care for hard names. and retiring a wide space apart. how indifference gave place to dislike.' 'Well.' returned Mr. 'the misery. only to hear it repeated by a stranger. This circumstance.' 'I have no brother. the slow torture.' returned Mr.' said Mr. into which family pride. assures me that you have never forgotten it. Brownlow. Why do you talk to me of brothers? You know that. Brownlow. he fell among new friends. as well as I. you were the sole and most unnatural issue. dislike to hate. almost enough to make you accompany me hither. 'and your mother. Brownlow. carried each a galling fragment. had utterly forgotten the young husband ten good years her junior. she forgot it soon. and that's enough for me. turning away his eyes and beating his foot upon the ground. or ceased to think of it with bitterness. was.' replied Monks. I am very glad you have changed it--very--very. I know how cold formalities were succeeded by open taunts. as a man who is determined to deny everything.' 'Attend to what I do know. But it rusted and cankered at your father's heart for years. a boy. to hide it in new society beneath the gayest looks they could assume. wholly given up to continental frivolities. in wonder and alarm.' said Monks. no less than your actions.' said Mr.' 'Your manner.' pursued the old gentleman. 'I shall interest you by and by. 'and what of that?' 'When they had been separated for some time. rousing himself: 'a brother. in itself.

'in a part of the country to which your father in his wandering had repaired.' 'Your tale is of the longest. It was necessary that he should immediately repair to Rome.' observed Monks.ordered him to marry. solemnly contracted. though his eyes were not directed towards the speaker. to that daughter. They were both daughters. 'It is a true tale of grief and trial. and to repair the misery he had been instrumental in occasioning. 'They resided. if it were one of unmixed joy and happiness. and the other a mere child of two or three years old. and wiped his hot face and hands.' said Mr. but. He went. he grew to love him. He had his sister's soul and person. one a beautiful creature of nineteen.' At this part of the recital Monks held his breath.' rejoined Monks. seeing this. and sorrow. of all their family. left him his panacea for all griefs--Money. the object of the first.' said Mr. and where he had taken up his abode. Brownlow. friendship. he changed his position with the air of one who has experienced a sudden relief. 'he came to me. Acquaintance. and disclose to me the truth?' 'I have nothing to disclose. it would be very brief. At length one of those rich relations to strengthen whose interest and importance your father had been sacrificed. leaving no will--NO WILL--so that the whole property fell to her and you. Brownlow paused. His daughter did the same.' said Mr. then. whither this man had sped for health. moving restlessly in his chair. fast followed on each other. true. I would that it had ended there. and fixing his eyes upon the other's face. and where he had died. and listened with a face of intense eagerness. by your mother who carried you with her. 'Before he went abroad.' 'What's this to me?' asked Monks. young man. ardent. he died the day after her arrival. leaving his affairs in great confusion.' 'These new friends. was seized with mortal illness there. or will you spare it. the moment the intelligence reached Paris.' returned Mr. as others are often--it is no uncommon case--died. The old gentleman paused. 'You must talk on if you will. and left him with two children--there had been more. he immediately resumed: 'The end of a year found him contracted. As the old officer knew him more and more. Must I go back to events which cast a shade upon the memory of your parent. As Mr. Monks was biting his lips. whose wife had died some half-a-year before. Brownlow. slowly. with his eyes fixed upon the floor. 'were a naval officer retired from active service. was followed. 'and such tales usually are.' 335 . happily but two survived. and as he passed through London on his way. without seeming to hear the interruption. Brownlow. Brownlow. Your father was gifted as few men are. intimacy. only passion of a guileless girl.

'By me.' said Mr. to the scene of his--I will use the term the world would freely use.' said Mr. Brownlow. his old and early friend.'I never heard of that. to fly the country--I guessed too well he would not fly alone--and never see it more. Why.' 'I went. Brownlow. and looked round with a smile of triumph.' 'I!' 336 . 'When your brother: a feeble. Alas! THAT was the last time. a picture--a portrait painted by himself--a likeness of this poor girl--which he did not wish to leave behind. He was worn by anxiety and remorse almost to a shadow. Brownlow. I had no letter. drawing nearer to the other's chair. and left with me. struck me with astonishment. having settled on his wife and you a portion of his recent acquisition. and I never saw him more. and lay recovering from sickness in my house. promising to write and tell me all. distracted way. confided to me his intention to convert his whole property. and rescued by me from a life of vice and infamy--' 'What?' cried Monks. among some other things. I need not tell you he was snared away before I knew his history--' 'Why not?' asked Monks hastily. after a short pause. they had called in such trifling debts as were outstanding. his strong resemblance to this picture I have spoken of. and could not carry forward on his hasty journey. and. Even from me. of ruin and dishonour worked by himself. neglected child: was cast in my way by a stronger hand than chance. for worldly harshness or favour are now alike to him--of his guilty love.' interrupted MOnks in a tone intended to appear incredulous. into money.' Monks drew his breath yet more freely. it would be quite strange to your ears. whose strong attachment had taken root in the earth that covered one most dear to both--even from me he withheld any more particular confession. at any loss. although for ought he knew. but savouring more of disagreeable surprise. 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. The family had left that part a week before. for the last time on earth. 'Because you know it well. and left the place by night. when all was over. 'I went. When he was rescued by me.' said Mr. 'He came to me. 'When your brother. discharged them. talked in a wild. ragged. resolved that if my fears were realised that erring child should find one heart and home to shelter and compassionate her. and after that to see me once again. none can tell. or whithter. then. I say by me--I see that your cunning associate suppressed my name. 'I told you I should interest you before long. Even when I first saw him in all his dirt and misery.

overwhelmed by these accumulated charges.--you. they said. There was a will. who hold your councils with thieves and murderers in dark rooms at night.' stammered Monks. 'but within the last fortnight I have learnt it all. You have a brother. months before. and I never saw you for an instant.'Denial to me is vain.' returned the old gentleman with a searching glance.' 'I DID NOT. as strangely as you had ever done: sometimes for days together and sometimes not for months: keeping to all appearance the same low haunts and mingling with the same infamous herd who had been your associates when a fierce ungovernable boy. Your mother being dead. festered." Unworthy son. I knew that you alone could solve the mystery if anybody could. and profligacy. you don't even know that. I paced the streets by night and day. and were supposed to be in London. You repaired to the place of his birth. no!' returned the coward. Those proofs were destroyed by you. I returned. but until two hours ago. and in whom all evil passions. There existed proofs--proofs long suppressed-of his birth and parentage. which your mother destroyed.' replied Mr. liar.--you.' said Monks.' 'You--you--can't prove anything against me. in your own words to your accomplice the Jew.' 'And now you do see me. vice. as you well know. and now. Edward Leeford. no. coward. I wearied them with new applications.--you. by a fancied resemblance in some young imp to an idle daub of a dead man's Brother! You don't even know that a child was born of this maudlin pair. You had left it. and no efforts of mine could recover him. 337 . 'what then? Fraud and robbery are high-sounding words--justified. do you still brave me!' 'No. "THE ONLY PROOFS OF THE BOY'S IDENTITY LIE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE RIVER. all my efforts were fruitless. you retired upon your mother's death to escape the consequences of vicious courses here--I made the voyage. 'I shall show you that I know more than that. You came and went. leaving the secret and the gain to you at her own death. you think. and him.' replied Mr. 'I lost the boy. AND THE OLD HAG THAT RECEIVED THEM FORM THE MOTHER IS ROTTING IN HER COFFIN. and accidentally encountered by you. which child was born. It contained a reference to some child likely to be the result of this sad connection. and as when I had last heard of you you were on your own estate in the West Indies-whither. Your agents had no clue to your residence. rising boldly. whose plots and wiles have brought a violent death upon the head of one worth millions such as you. who from your cradle were gall and bitterness to your own father's heart. Brownlow. 'I defy you to do it!' 'We shall see. Brownlow. but no one could tell where. you know it. till they found a vent in a hideous disease which had made your face an index even to your mind--you. when your suspicions were first awakened by his resemblance to your father. rising too.

and proceed with me to such a place as I may deem most advisable. no. 'every word that has passed between you and this detested villain. 'Make restitution to an innocent and unoffending child. 'I--I knew nothing of that. 'and proclaim it with my own lips upon the spot. and given it the courage and almost the attributes of virtue. Brownlow. and brought them to my ear. although the offspring of a guilty and most miserable love. I was going to inquire the truth of the story when you overtook me.' While Monks was pacing up and down. 'He will be taken to-night!' 'The murderer?' asked Mr. if I can reach it. Brownlow.' he cried. You have not forgotten the provisions of the will. Carry them into execution so far as your brother is concerned. Where is Mr. Brownlow.' said Mr.' interposed Monks.' 'I will give fifty more. A reward of a hundred pounds is proclaimed by Government tonight.' 'Set your hand to a statement of truth and facts. until such a document is drawn up. yes. 'The man will be taken. and then go where you please.' replied the other. 'His dog has been seen lurking about some old haunt. and a gentleman (Mr. to which you were morally if not really a party. 'Yes.' replied Mr. 'Will you disclose the whole?' 'Yes. I have spoken to the men who are charged with his capture. is known to me. In this world you need meet no more. meditating with dark and evil looks on this proposal and the possibilities of evading it: torn by his fears on the one hand and his hatred on the other: the door was hurriedly unlocked.' 'It was the partial disclosure of your secrets. for such he is. and there seems little doubt hat his master either is. and repeat it before witnesses?' 'That I promise too.' 'No. I will. Murder has been done. I didn't know the cause. or will be.' 'Remain quietly here. I'll do that also. Spies are hovering about in every direction.' replied Monks.' said Mr.'Every word!' cried the gentleman. Maylie?' 338 . Losberne) entered the room in violent agitation. Shadows on the wall have caught your whispers. under cover of the darkness. there. 'You must do more than that. Brownlow. and they tell me he cannot escape. for the purpose of attesting it?' 'If you insist upon that. I thought it was a common quarrel. the sight of the persecuted child has turned vice itself.

safe in a coach with you.' replied the doctor. of Monks. They left the room. 'What have you done?' asked the doctor in a whisper. I left him no loophole of escape. and laid bare the whole villainy which by these lights became plain as day. 'I will remain here. Write and appoint the evening after tomorrow. It is your only hope of safety. They're sure of him. and the door was again locked. and even more. We shall be down there. Which way have they taken?' 'Drive straight to the office and you will be in time. for the meeting.' 'Have you made up your mind?' asked Mr. 'what of him?' 'When I last heard. Losberne. 'Yes. and the result of our good friend's inquiries on the spot. in a low voice.' said Mr. 'All that I could hope to do. a few hours before. at seven. Remain here till I return. 339 . or is. but shall require rest: especially the young lady. Brownlow.' he replied. 'You--you--will be secret with me?' 'I will.' 'Fagin. 'and mounting his horse sallied forth to join the first party at some place in the outskirts agreed upon between them.'Harry? As soon as he had seen your friend here. Coupling the poor girl's intelligence with my previous knowledge. he had not been taken. by this time. but he will be. But my blood boils to avenge this poor murdered creature. each in a fever of excitement wholly uncontrollable.' replied Mr. Brownlow.' The two gentlemen hastily separated. he hurried off to where he heard this. who MAY have greater need of firmness than either you or I can quite foresee just now.

and threatening to fall into it--as some have done. with poles thrust out. Jostling with unemployed labourers of the lowest class. looking from one of the wooden bridges thrown across it at Mill Lane. 340 . narrow. every imaginable sign of desolation and neglect. and garbage. buckets. rot. domestic utensils of all kinds. in streets remoter and lessfrequented than those through which he has passed. he walks beneath tottering house-fronts projecting over the pavement. and deafened by the clash of ponderous waggons that bear great piles of merchandise from the stacks of warehouses that rise from every corner. every repulsive lineament of poverty. and stream from the house-parapet and windows. with holes from which to look upon the slime beneath. To reach this place. at length. and muddy streets. so confined. windows guarded by rusty iron bars that time and dirt have almost eaten away. the most extraordinary of the many localities that are hidden in London. so filthy. The cheapest and least delicate provisions are heaped in the shops. In such a neighborhood.CHAPTER L THE PURSUIT AND ESCAPE Near to that part of the Thames on which the church at Rotherhithe abuts. in which to haul the water up. ragged children. to the great mass of its inhabitants. windows. dirt-besmeared walls and decaying foundations. thronged by the rougest and poorest of waterside people. and devoted to the traffic they may be supposed to occasion. stands Jacob's Island. the strangest. where the buildings on the banks are dirtiest and the vessels on the river blackest with the dust of colliers and the smoke of close-built low-roofed houses. coal-whippers. and the raff and refuse of the river. six or eight feet deep and fifteen or twenty wide when the tide is in. will see the inhabitants of the houses on either side lowering from their back doors and windows. assailed by offensive sights and smells from the narrow alleys which branch off on the right and left. ballast-heavers. rooms so small. beyond Dockhead in the Borough of Southwark. his utmost astonishment will be excited by the scene before him. brazen women. At such times. broken and patched. Crazy wooden galleries common to the backs of half a dozen houses. dismantled walls that seem to totter as he passes. he makes his way with difficulty along. on which to dry the linen that is never there. the coarsest and commonest articles of wearing apparel dangle at the salesman's door. there exists the filthiest. wooden chambers thrusting themselves out above the mud. every loathsome indication of filth. surrounded by a muddy ditch. all these ornament the banks of Folly Ditch. Arriving. but known in the days of this story as Folly Ditch. pails. and can always be filled at high water by opening the sluices at the Lead Mills from which it took its old name. wholly unknown. chimneys half crushed half hesitating to fall. It is a creek or inlet from the Thames. even by name. the visitor has to penetrate through a maze of close. once called Mill Pond. that the air would seem too tainted even for the dirt and squalor which they shelter. and when his eye is turned from these operations to the houses themselves. a stranger.

In Jacob's Island. but they yield no smoke. 'when a man keeps himself so very ex-clusive as I have done. 'Well. and had not come here. who. another Mr. and Bolter got into the empty water-butt. Chitling. Chitling. in some old scuffle. and is too modest to want to be presented to the Judges on his return.' said Toby turning to Mr.' 'Especially. and entered upon by those who have the courage. it's rather a startling thing to have the honour of a wisit from a young gentleman (however respectable and pleasant a person he may be to play cards with at conweniency) circumstanced as you are. and the third a robber of fifty years. In an upper room of one of these houses--a detached house of fair size. who seek a refuge in Jacob's Island. but his legs were so precious long that they stuck out at the top. Kags. 'that you had picked out some other crig when the two old ones got too warm. I thought you'd have been a little more glad to see me than this. the chimneys are blackened. regarding each other every now and then with looks expressive of perplexity and expectation.' said Toby. and there they live. Thirty or forty years ago. the walls are crumbling down.' 341 . One of these was Toby Crackit. seeming to abandon as hopeless any further effort to maintain his usual devil-may-care swagger. whose nose had been almost beaten in. blunder-head!' said Kags. sat for some time in profound and gloomy silence. Chitling. but now it is a desolate island indeed. This man was a returned transport. the doors are falling into the streets. that's arrived sooner than was expected from foreign parts. with a melancholy air. and his name was Kags. There was a short silence. the warehouses are roofless and empty.' replied Mr. after which Toby Crackit. but strongly defended at door and window: of which house the back commanded the ditch in manner already described--there were assembled three men.' added Mr. They must have powerful motives for a secret residence. and whose face bore a frightful scar which might probably be traced to the same occasion. when the exclusive young man has got a friend stopping with him. or be reduced to a destitute condition indeed.' 'Why didn't you. before losses and chancery suits came upon it. they are broken open. and so they took him too. ruinous in other respects. head downwards. and there they die. it was a thriving place. 'When was Fagin took then?' 'Just at dinner-time--two o'clock this afternoon. turned to Chitling and said. and by that means has a snug house over his head with nobody a prying and smelling about it. 'Why. 'I wish. The houses have no owners. the windows are windows no more. look'e. young gentleman. my fine feller. Charley and I made our lucky up the wash-us chimney.

' said Kags. and snarling with their teeth and making at him.' replied Chitling. 'Here! Give us some water for him. all muddy and bleeding.'And Bet?' 'Poor Bet! She went to see the Body. 'There's nowhere else to go to now. 'He hung about. he has run himself faint.' 'If he was coming here.' observed Toby. nor was his master to be seen. not able to stand upright with the pressing of the mob. and into the street. and clung to them as if they were his dearest friends. and the two men sat by in silence with their eyes fixed upon the floor. but they made a ring round him. a pattering noise was heard upon the stairs. stooping down to examine the animal. I can see 'em now.' 'Wot's come of young Bates?' demanded Kags. and Bolter turns King's evidence: as of course he will. I--I--hope not. and the bar of the ken--I went up there and see it with my own eyes--is filled with traps. and Sikes's dog bounded into the room. While he was thus engaged. screaming and raving. who lay panting on the floor.' 342 . one behind another. downstairs. They ran to the window. 'There's more than one will go with this. and draggin him along amongst 'em. but he'll be here soon. He was down once. or they'd have torn him away. he made no attempt to follow them.' said Chitling. I can see the people jumping up. and fought their way along. 'and went off mad. The dog had jumped in at an open window.' said Kags: 'if they get the inquest over. 'the officers fought like devils. he'd have come with the dog.' replied Chitling. I can see the blood upon his hair and beard. 'What's the meaning of this?' said Toby when they had returned. so they put a strait-weskut on her and took her to the hospital--and there she is. for the people at the Cripples are all in custody. by G--!' 'You should have heard the people groan. biting his lips. and with his eyes closed got up and paced violently to and fro.' 'This is a smash. and swore they'd tear his heart out!' The horror-stricken witness of this scene pressed his hands upon his ears. and beating her head against the boards. like one distracted. 'He can't be coming here. not to come over here afore dark.' 'The sessions are on. and he'll swing in six days from this. You should have seen how he looked about him. from what he's said already: they can prove Fagin an accessory before the fact. and hear the cries with which the women worked themselves into the centre of the crowd at the street corner. his countenance falling more and more. and get the trial on on Friday. to speak to who it was.

and were as silent and awe-stricken as if the remains of the murdered woman lay in the next room. 'If he had. creeping under a chair. 'Covered with mud--lame--half blind--he must have come a long way. and a candle lighted and placed upon the table. Crackit went to the window.' 'Don't leave us in the dark. 'We must let him in.' 'Where can he have come from!' exclaimed Toby. looking angrily round. They had sat thus. or he wouldn't be so easy. every drop. and how comes he here alone without the other!' 'He'--(none of them called the murderer by his old name)--'He can't have made away with himself.' This solution. the dog. They spoke little. 'He's been to the other kens of course. and shaking all over. it wasn't he.' said Kags.'He's drunk it all up.' said Kags. 'Isn't there any help for it?' asked the other man in a hoarse voice. They drew their chairs closer together.' said Kags. his pale face was enough. The knocking came again. The dog too was on the alert in an instant. No. But where can he have come from first. and finding them filled with strangers come on here. It being now dark. The terrible events of the last two days had made a deep impression on all three. taking down a candle from the chimneypiece. coiled himself up to sleep. some time.' he said. to check the fear he felt himself. and left the dog behind. No. He never knocked like that. when suddenly was heard a hurried knocking at the door below. and that in whispers. without more notice from anybody. 'None. There was no need to tell them who it was. was adopted as the right. where he's been many a time and often. He must have given him the slip somehow. increased by the danger and uncertainty of their own position. appearing the most probable one.' said Chitling after watching the dog some time in silence. starting at every sound. taking up the candle. the shutter was closed. 'the dog 'ud want to lead us away to where he did it. I think he's got out of the country. 343 . and ran whining to the door. with such a trembling hand that the knocking was twice repeated before he had finished. Toby shook his head. and lighting it. What do you think?' said Chitling. He MUST come in. drew in his head. 'Young Bates.

and seeming to glance over his shoulder. If an eye were furtively raised and met his. 'do you mean to sell me. but shuddering as he was about to drop into it. He looked from one to another in silence. wasted flesh.' said Sikes. 'Why isn't it!' he retorted with the same glance behind him.' 'To-night's paper says that Fagin's took. 'How came that dog here?' he asked. They seemed never to have heard its tones before. or a lie?' 'True. after some hesitation.' returned the person addressed. 344 . but nobody spoke. it was the very ghost of Sikes. He drew them slowly off. 'Damn you all!' said Sikes. Three hours ago. Blanched face. and returned followed by a man with the lower part of his face buried in a handkerchief. He laid his hand upon a chair which stood in the middle of the room. if you think it safe. they all three started. sunken eyes. beard of three days' growth.Crackit went down to the door. Sikes sat opposite the door. and another tied over his head under his hat. 'Is--it--the body--is it buried?' They shook their heads. that there was nothing to fear.' They were silent again. passing his hand across his forehead. hollow cheeks. 'Wot do they keep such ugly things above the ground for?--Who's that knocking?' Crackit intimated. 'You that keep this house. and directly came back with Charley Bates behind him. by a motion of his hand as he left the room. turning his face to Crackit. or to let me lie here till this hunt is over?' 'You may stop here. 'Have you nothing to say to me?' There was an uneasy movement among them. Sikes carried his eyes slowly up the wall behind him: rather trying to turn his head than actually doing it: and said. it was instantly averted. dragged it back close to the wall--as close as it would go--and ground it against it--and sat down. Not a word had been exchanged. short thick breath. Is it true. When his hollow voice broke silence. 'Alone. so that the moment the boy entered the room he encountered his figure.

still retreating. the boy actually threw himself. Then. upon the murderer's face. and made as though he would shake hands with him. and they looked at each other. and the boy and man rolled on the ground together. came a loud knocking at the door. One man on horseback seemed to be among the crowd. There were lights gleaming below. when Crackit pulled him back with a look of alarm. They offered no interference. brought him heavily to the ground. The contest. and pointed to the window. and becoming more and more excited as he spoke. voices in loud and earnest conversation. upon the strong man. heedless of the blows that showered upon him. the tramp of hurried footsteps--endless they seemed in number--crossing the nearest wooden bridge. 'Charley!' said Sikes. I will. and never ceasing to call for help with all his might. stepping forward. 'Don't you--don't you know me?' 'Don't come nearer me. the footsteps came more thickly and noisily on. you'll help me. however.' said the boy. wrenching his hands tighter and tighter in the garments about the murderer's breast.' cried the boy shaking his clenched fist. that the wretched man was willing to propitiate even this lad. and then a hoarse murmur from such a multitude of angry voices as would have made the boldest quail. the former. I tell you out at once. Sikes had him down. and accompanying them with violent gesticulation. Murder! Help! If there's the pluck of a man among you three. and his knee was on his throat. or if he dares.' answered the boy.'Toby. 'Help!' shrieked the boy in a voice that rent the air. and in the intensity of his energy and the suddenness of his surprise. 'Witness you three. was too unequal to last long. but Sikes's eyes sunk gradually to the ground. for there was the noise of hoofs rattling on the uneven pavement. Murder! Help! Down with him!' Pouring out these cries. but if I am here I'll give him up. and looking. 'Witness you three--I'm not afraid of him--if they come here after him. The gleam of lights increased. with horror in his eyes. 'He's here! Break down the door!' 345 . I'd give him up if he was to be boiled alive. 'Let me go into some other room. 'You monster!' The man stopped half-way.' said the boy falling back. single-handed. Accordingly he nodded. 'why didn't you tell me this. He may kill me for it if he likes. I'll give him up. retreating still farther. The three spectators seemed quite stupefied. downstairs?' There had been something so tremendous in the shrinking off of the three. as Sikes turned his eyes towards him.

Among them all. in a voice that rose above all others. running to and fro. and the windows. a long rope. rattled upon the door and lower window-shutters as he ceased to speak. some adequate idea of its immense extent. 'Break down the door!' screamed the boy. Break down the door!' Strokes. some for sledge-hammers. with the other two men.' cried Sikes fiercely. 'Do your worst! I'll cheat you yet!' Of all the terrific yells that ever fell on mortal ears. 'Twenty guineas to the man who brings a ladder!' The nearest voices took up the cry. and bursting through the crowd as if he were parting water. Give me a rope. and shut the faces out. 'the tide was in as I came up. like a field of corn moved by an angry wind: and joined from time to time in one loud furious roar. still remained quite helpless and bewildered. none showed such fury as the man on horseback. or I shall do three more murders and kill myself. some ran with torches to and fro as if to seek them. 'That door. and still came back and roared again. 'I tell you they'll never open it.' 'And the windows too?' 'Yes. I may drop into the Folly Ditch. Some called for ladders.'In the King's name.' cried the murderer. none could exceed the cry of the infuriated throng. for the first time. throwing himself out of the saddle.' replied Crackit. and a loud huzzah burst from the crowd. and clear off that way. as easily as if he were an empty sack. 346 . but louder. 'The tide. who. and the hoarse cry arose again. and all waved to and fro. Run straight to the room where the light is. and dragging the boy. beneath the window. as he staggered back into the room. 'The panels--are they strong?' 'Lined with sheet-iron. others roared to the officers to shoot him dead. who. and hundreds echoed it.' cried the voices without. 'Open the door of some place where I can lock this screeching Hell-babe. 'Is the downstairs door fast?' 'Double-locked and chained. some among the boldest attempted to climb up by the water-spout and crevices in the wall. bolted it. Quick!' He flung him in. thick and heavy.' 'Damn you!' cried the desperate ruffian. and thus impeded the progress of those below. giving the listener. some pressed forward with the ecstasy of madmen. Give me a rope. and turned the key. throwing up the sash and menacing the crowd. They're all in front. Some shouted to those who were nearest to set the house on fire. in the darkness beneath. cried. some spent their breath in impotent curses and execrations. now.

to guard the back. watching his motions and doubtful of his purpose. it echoed and reechoed.' There was another roar. he had never ceased to call on those without. it seemed as though the whole city had poured its population out to curse him. and creeping over the tiles. or torn bodily out. 'Hurrah!' The crowd grew light with uncovered heads. in a strong struggling current of angry faces. with here and there a glaring torch to lighten them up. The 347 . and the ditch a bed of mud. But. hastily selecting the longest and strongest cord. from this aperture. The houses on the opposite side of the ditch had been entered by the mob. and the people at the windows. seeing those upon the bridges pouring back. so firmly against the door that it must be matter of great difficulty to open it from the inside. I will remain here. there were tiers and tiers of faces in every window. hurried up to the house-top. On pressed the people from the front--on. a loud shout proclaimed the fact to those in front. when the murderer emerged at last on the house-top by the door in the roof. and running into the street. who immediately began to pour round. they raised a cry of triumphant execration to which all their previous shouting had been whispers.' cried a man on the nearest bridge. and look upon the criminal as the officers brought him out. and that he who had first called for the ladder had mounted into the room. the murderer. and show them out in all their wrath and passion. sashes were thrown up. All the window in the rear of the house had been long ago bricked up. 'I will give fifty pounds. on. He planted a board. and all panting with impatience to get near the door. and thus. At this moment the word was passed among the crowd that the door was forced at last. as this intelligence ran from mouth to mouth. and again the shout uprose. looked over the low parapet. 'They have him now. but the instant they perceived it and knew it was defeated. Again and again it rose. pressing upon each other in an unbroken stream. quitted their stations. joined the concourse that now thronged pell-mell to the spot they had left: each man crushing and striving with his neighbor.The panic-stricken men pointed to where such articles were kept. cluster upon cluster of people clinging to every house-top. 'to the man who takes him alive. except one small trap in the room where the boy was locked. and only for an instant see the wretch. The crowd had been hushed during these few moments. till he come to ask me for it. took up the sound. and that was too small even for the passage of his body. The water was out. which he had carried up with him for the purpose.' cried an old gentleman from the same quarter. on. Those who were at too great a distance to know its meaning. The stream abruptly turned. Each little bridge (and there were three in sight) bent beneath the weight of the crowd upon it. Still the current poured on to find some nook or hole from which to vent their shouts.

cries and shrieks of those who were pressed almost to suffocation, or trampled down and trodden under foot in the confusion, were dreadful; the narrow ways were completely blocked up; and at this time, between the rush of some to regain the space in front of the house, and the unavailing struggles of others to extricate themselves from the mass, the immediate attention was distracted from the murderer, although the universal eagerness for his capture was, if possible, increased. The man had shrunk down, thoroughly quelled by the ferocity of the crowd, and the impossibility of escape; but seeing this sudden change with no less rapidity than it had occurred, he sprang upon his feet, determined to make one last effort for his life by dropping into the ditch, and, at the risk of being stifled, endeavouring to creep away in the darkness and confusion. Roused into new strength and energy, and stimulated by the noise within the house which announced that an entrance had really been effected, he set his foot against the stack of chimneys, fastened one end of the rope tightly and firmly round it, and with the other made a strong running noose by the aid of his hands and teeth almost in a second. He could let himself down by the cord to within a less distance of the ground than his own height, and had his knife ready in his hand to cut it then and drop. At the very instant when he brought the loop over his head previous to slipping it beneath his arm-pits, 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, and retain his position) earnestly warned those about him that the man was about to lower himself down--at that very instant the murderer, looking behind him on the roof, threw his arms above his head, and uttered a yell of terror. 'The eyes again!' he cried in an unearthly screech. Staggering as if struck by lightning, he lost his balance and tumbled over the parapet. The noose was on his neck. It ran up with his weight, tight as a bow-string, and swift as the arrow it speeds. He fell for five-and-thirty feet. There was a sudden jerk, a terrific convulsion of the limbs; and there he hung, with the open knife clenched in his stiffening hand. The old chimney quivered with the shock, but stood it bravely. The murderer swung lifeless against the wall; and the boy, thrusting aside the dangling body which obscured his view, called to the people to come and take him out, for God's sake. A dog, which had lain concealed till now, ran backwards and forwards on the parapet with a dismal howl, and collecting himself for a spring, jumped for the dead man's shoulders. Missing his aim, he fell into the ditch, turning completely over as he went; and striking his head against a stone, dashed out his brains.


CHAPTER LI AFFORDING AN EXPLANATION OF MORE MYSTERIES THAN ONE, AND COMPREHENDING A PROPOSAL OF MARRIAGE WITH NO WORD OF SETTLEMENT OR PIN-MONEY The events narrated in the last chapter were yet but two days old, when Oliver found himself, at three o'clock in the afternoon, in a travelling-carriage rolling fast towards his native town. Mrs. Maylie, and Rose, and Mrs. Bedwin, and the good doctor were with him: and Mr. Brownlow followed in a post-chaise, accompanied by one other person whose name had not been mentioned. They had not talked much upon the way; for Oliver was in a flutter of agitation and uncertainty which deprived him of the power of collecting his thoughts, and almost of speech, and appeared to have scarcely less effect on his companions, who shared it, in at least an equal degree. He and the two ladies had been very carefully made acquainted by Mr. Brownlow with the nature of the admissions which had been forced from Monks; and although they knew that the object of their present journey was to complete the work which had been so well begun, still the whole matter was enveloped in enough of doubt and mystery to leave them in endurance of the most intense suspense. The same kind friend had, with Mr. Losberne's assistance, cautiously stopped all channels of communication through which they could receive intelligence of the dreadful occurrences that so recently taken place. 'It was quite true,' he said, 'that they must know them before long, but it might be at a better time than the present, and it could not be at a worse.' So, they travelled on in silence: each busied with reflections on the object which had brought them together: and no one disposed to give utterance to the thoughts which crowded upon all. But if Oliver, under these influences, had remained silent while they journeyed towards his birth-place by a road he had never seen, how the whole current of his recollections ran back to old times, and what a crowd of emotions were wakened up in his breast, when they turned into that which he had traversed on foot: a poor houseless, wandering boy, without a friend to help him, or a roof to shelter his head. 'See there, there!' cried Oliver, eagerly clasping the hand of Rose, and pointing out at the carriage window; 'that's the stile I came over; 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, leading to the old house where I was a little child! Oh Dick, Dick, my dear old friend, if I could only see you now!' 'You will see him soon,' replied Rose, gently taking his folded hands between her own. 'You shall tell him how happy you are, and how rich you have grown, and that in all your happiness you have none so great as the coming back to make him happy too.'


'Yes, yes,' said Oliver, 'and we'll--we'll take him away from here, and have him clothed and taught, and send him to some quiet country place where he may grow strong and well,--shall we?' Rose nodded 'yes,' for the boy was smiling through such happy tears that she could not speak. 'You will be kind and good to him, for you are to every one,' said Oliver. 'It will make you cry, I know, to hear what he can tell; but never mind, never mind, it will be all over, and you will smile again--I know that too--to think how changed he is; you did the same with me. He said "God bless you" to me when I ran away,' cried the boy with a burst of affectionate emotion; 'and I will say "God bless you" now, and show him how I love him for it!' As they approached the town, and at length drove through its narrow streets, it became matter of no small difficulty to restrain the boy within reasonable bounds. There was Sowerberry's the undertaker's just as it used to be, only smaller and less imposing in appearance than he remembered it--there were all the well-known shops and houses, with almost every one of which he had some slight incident connected--there was Gamfield's cart, the very cart he used to have, standing at the old public-house door--there was the workhouse, the dreary prison of his youthful days, with its dismal windows frowning on the street--there was the same lean porter standing at the gate, at sight of whom Oliver involuntarily shrunk back, and then laughed at himself for being so foolish, then cried, then laughed again--there were scores of faces at the doors and windows that he knew quite well--there was nearly everything as if he had left it but yesterday, and all his recent life had been but a happy dream. But it was pure, earnest, joyful reality. They drove straight to the door of the chief hotel (which Oliver used to stare up at, with awe, and think a mighty palace, but which had somehow fallen off in grandeur and size); and here was Mr. Grimwig all ready to receive them, kissing the young lady, and the old one too, when they got out of the coach, as if he were the grandfather of the whole party, all smiles and kindness, and not offering to eat his head--no, not once; not even when he contradicted a very old postboy about the nearest road to London, and maintained he knew it best, though he had only come that way once, and that time fast asleep. There was dinner prepared, and there were bedrooms ready, and everything was arranged as if by magic. Notwithstanding all this, when the hurry of the first half-hour was over, the same silence and constraint prevailed that had marked their journey down. Mr. Brownlow did not join them at dinner, but remained in a separate room. The two other gentlemen hurried in and out with anxious faces, and, during the short intervals when they were present, conversed apart. Once, Mrs. Maylie was called away, and after being absent for nearly an hour, returned with eyes swollen with weeping. All these things made Rose and Oliver, who were not in any new secrets, nervous and uncomfortable. They sat wondering, in silence; or, if they exchanged a few words, spoke in whispers, as if they were afraid to hear the sound of their own voices.

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

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

'Years after this,' he said, 'this man's--Edward Leeford's--mother came to me. He had left her, when only eighteen; robbed her of jewels and money; gambled, squandered, forged, and fled to London: where for two years he had associated with the lowest outcasts. She was sinking under a painful and incurable disease, and wished to recover him before she died. Inquiries were set on foot, and strict searches made. They were unavailing for a long time, but ultimately successful; and he went back with her to France. 'There she died,' said Monks, 'after a lingering illness; and, on her death-bed, she bequeathed these secrets to me, together with her unquenchable and deadly hatred of all whom they involved--though she need not have left me that, for I had inherited it long before. She would not believe that the girl had destroyed herself, and the child too, but was filled with the impression that a male child had been born, and was alive. I swore to her, if ever it crossed my path, to hunt it down; never to let it rest; to pursue it with the bitterest and most unrelenting animosity; to vent upon it the hatred that I deeply felt, and to spit upon the empty vaunt of that insulting will by draggin it, if I could, to the very gallows-foot. She was right. He came in my way at last. I began well; and, but for babbling drabs, I would have finished as I began!' As the villain folded his arms tight together, and muttered curses on himself in the impotence of baffled malice, Mr. Brownlow turned to the terrified group beside him, and explained that the Jew, who had been his old accomplice and confidant, had a large reward for keeping Oliver ensnared: of which some part was to be given up, in the event of his being rescued: and that a dispute on this head had led to their visit to the country house for the purpose of identifying him. 'The locket and ring?' said Mr. Brownlow, turning to Monks. 'I bought them from the man and woman I told you of, who stole them from the nurse, who stole them from the corpse,' answered Monks without raising his eyes. 'You know what became of them.' Mr. Brownlow merely nodded to Mr. Grimwig, who disappearing with great alacrity, shortly returned, pushing in Mrs. Bumble, and dragging her unwilling consort after him. 'Do my hi's deceive me!' cried Mr. Bumble, with ill-feigned enthusiasm, 'or is that little Oliver? Oh O-li-ver, if you know'd how I've been a-grieving for you--' 'Hold your tongue, fool,' murmured Mrs. Bumble. 'Isn't natur, natur, Mrs. Bumble?' remonstrated the workhouse master. 'Can't I be supposed to feel--_I_ as brought him up porochially--when I see him asetting here among ladies and gentlemen of the very affablest description! I always loved that boy as if he'd been my--my--my own grandfather,' said Mr. Bumble, halting for an appropriate comparison. 'Master Oliver, my dear, you

remember the blessed gentleman in the white waistcoat? Ah! he went to heaven last week, in a oak coffin with plated handles, Oliver.' 'Come, sir,' said Mr. Grimwig, tartly; 'suppress your feelings.' 'I will do my endeavours, sir,' replied Mr. Bumble. 'How do you do, sir? I hope you are very well.' This salutation was addressed to Mr. Brownlow, who had stepped up to within a short distance of the respectable couple. He inquired, as he pointed to Monks, 'Do you know that person?' 'No,' replied Mrs. Bumble flatly. 'Perhaps YOU don't?' said Mr. Brownlow, addressing her spouse. 'I never saw him in all my life,' said Mr. Bumble. 'Nor sold him anything, perhaps?' 'No,' replied Mrs. Bumble. 'You never had, perhaps, a certain gold locket and ring?' said Mr. Brownlow. 'Certainly not,' replied the matron. 'Why are we brought here to answer to such nonsense as this?' Again Mr. Brownlow nodded to Mr. Grimwig; and again that gentleman limped away with extraordinary readiness. But not again did he return with a stout man and wife; for this time, he led in two palsied women, who shook and tottered as they walked. 'You shut the door the night old Sally died,' said the foremost one, raising her shrivelled hand, 'but you couldn't shut out the sound, nor stop the chinks.' 'No, no,' said the other, looking round her and wagging her toothless jaws. 'No, no, no.' 'We heard her try to tell you what she'd done, and saw you take a paper from her hand, and watched you too, next day, to the pawnbroker's shop,' said the first. 'Yes,' added the second, 'and it was a "locket and gold ring." We found out that, and saw it given you. We were by. Oh! we were by.' 'And we know more than that,' resumed the first, 'for she told us often, long ago, that the young mother had told her that, feeling she should never get over it, she was on her way, at the time that she was taken ill, to die near the grave of the father of the child.'

for the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction. 'That is no excuse. 'if he--she pointed to Monks--'has been coward enough to confess. Bumble. 355 . Grimwig with a motion towards the door. and you have sounded all these hags till you have found the right ones. Brownlow. 'No. Mr. 'You may make up your mind to that.' 'Nay.' said Rose faintly.'Would you like to see the pawnbroker himself?' asked Mr.' replied Mr.' replied Mr. Bumble. turning to Rose. 'You were present on the occasion of the destruction of these trinkets. and indeed are the more guilty of the two. but if they have--any reference to me. 'you have more fortitude than this. in the eye of the law. that his eye may be opened by experience--by experience. followed his helpmate downstairs. and think yourself well off besides. Bumble. first looking round to ascertain that his partner had left the room.' 'I hope. You need not fear to hear the few remaining words we have to say.' 'If the law supposes that. I have nothing more to say. and the worst I wish the law is.' said Mr. She WOULD do it. I DID sell them.' 'It was all Mrs. Do you know this young lady. You may leave the room.' urged Mr. looking about him with great ruefulness. and they're where you'll never get them. sir?' 'Yes. Brownlow. drawing her arm through his. Brownlow. I am sure.' replied Mr. What then?' 'Nothing.' Laying great stress on the repetition of these two words. 'pray let me hear them at some other time. as I see he had. I have not strength or spirits now.' replied the woman.' said Mr.' returned the old gentlman. 'Young lady. squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands. Brownlow. Bumble fixed his hat on very tight.' said Mr.' said Rose. If that's the eye of the law. Bumble. Grimwig disappeared with the two old women: 'I hope that this unfortunate little circumstance will not deprive me of my porochial office?' 'Indeed it will. the law is a bachelor. and putting his hands in his pockets. 'give me your hand.' 'If they have--I do not know how they can.' replied Monks. 'the law is a ass--a idiot. 'I never saw you before. as Mr. Do not tremble. 'except that it remains for us to take care that neither of you is employed in a situation of trust again.

who reared it as their own. hatred will often force a way. did she?' 'No. folding the fainting girl in her arms. saw the girl by chance.' said Mrs. I lost sight of her. best of friends. on their discontent and poverty for the child's unhappiness. until a widow lady. but told the history of the sister's shame. against us.' returned Monks.' cried Rose. 'What was the fate of the other--the child?' 'The child. signing to Mrs. My mother found it. my dear!' 356 . through all. Maylie to approach. for in spite of all our efforts she remained there and was happy. two or three years ago. Brownlow.. for she came of bad blood. 'Go on!' 'You couldn't find the spot to which these people had repaired. so she left it with them. for all the treasures of the world. 'when her father died in a strange place. and sure to go wrong at one time or other.' said Mr. Maylie.' said Mr. and took her home. after a year of cunning search--ay. or scrap of paper that yielded the faintest clue by which his friends or relatives could be traced--the child was taken by some wretched cottagers. The people were poor and began to sicken--at least the man did--of their fine humanity. clinging to her. Brownlow. with such alterations as suited her. look. poor child! See here--look. which she never meant to send. then. miserable enough even to satisfy us. 'not the less my dearest child.' replied Monks.'I have seen you often.' 'But not the less my niece. and told them she was illegitimate. 'The father of the unhappy Agnes had TWO daughters. my love. Leaning on your arm. and saw her no more until a few months back. I think. 'but where friendship fails.' 'Do you see her now?' 'Yes.' 'She took it. the best and gentlest creature that ever shed happiness on every one she knew. in a strange name. The circumstances countenanced all this. remember who this is who waits to clasp you in his arms. the people believed it. come. and there the child dragged on an existence. 'Come. without a letter. My heart will burst. I cannot bear all this. My sweet companion. and promised more. residing. book. pitied her. and found the child. Maylie. She didn't quite rely. bade them take good heed of the child.' 'Go on.' said Monks. and have been. however.' 'You have borne more. There was some cursed spell. embracing her tenderly. 'The kindest. my own dear girl!' 'The only friend I ever had. at Chester. I would not lose her now. giving them a small present of money which would not last long.' cried Mrs.

'but one I am proud to make. 'You DO know all. and clothed in such sweet and tender recollections. if you would. but one my heart shall bear. 'Dear Rose. but there were no bitter tears: for even grief itself arose so softened. 'I wish I could. and spare myself this pain.' 'The disclosure of to-night. I pledged myself.' he said. sister. to seek to change it. and gave place to Harry Maylie.'Not aunt. dear. when should I ever feel it. 'nor have I heard all this to-night. A soft tap at the door.' 'You harden your heart against me. A father. I know it all. glided away. throwing his arms about her neck.' urged her lover. were gained.' pursued the young man.' said Rose firmly. with reference to you. Harry. 'leaves me in the same position. 'The disclosure of to-night.' 'I am not here by accident. at length announced that some one was without. that it became a solemn pleasure. will influence me know.' cried Oliver. You gave me leave. my own dear sister.' 'All.' said Rose. bursting into tears. by no word or act. 'I'll never call her aunt--sister. Oliver opened it. I was to lay whatever of station or fortune I might possess at your feet.' said Rose. 'but to hear you repeat it. and mother. and the broken words which were exchanged in the long close embrace between the orphans. and lost all character of pain. for I knew it yesterday--only yesterday.'--Harry began.' 'The same reasons which influenced me then. that something taught my heart to love so dearly from the first! Rose. as I should to-night? It is a struggle. and if you still adhered to your former determination.' 357 . in that one moment.' 'Not to press you to alter your determination. Joy and grief were mingled in the cup. Rose.' replied Rose softly. 'If I ever owed a strict and rigid duty to her. darling Rose!' Let the tears which fell. long time alone. whose goodness saved me from a life of indigence and suffering. and lost. taking a seat beside the lovely girl. it is a pang. as that in which I stood before. at any time within a year. 'I know it all. Do you guess that I have come to remind you of a promise?' 'Stay. to renew the subject of our last discourse.' he added after a lengthened silence.' said the young lady. be sacred. They were a long. 'Oh Harry.' 'I did.

'for I began to think I should get nothing else. Grimwig. I offer you. and here I lay it down!' ******* 'It's a trying thing waiting supper for lovers. taking her hand. the supper had been waiting a most unreasonable time. 'I had serious thoughts of eating my head to-night. we have said enough. Brownlow: some people affirm that Harry Maylie had been observed to set it. where the blood is called into honest cheeks by aught but real disgrace and shame. 'I mean but this--that when I left you last. This is my rank and station now. nor Rose (who all came in together).' 'And what have I heard! What have I heard!' cried Rose. 'That a sense of his deep disgrace so worked upon my own father that he shunned all--there. I left you with a firm determination to level all fancied barriers between yourself and me. waking up. Those who have shrunk from me because of this. and the example. Truth to tell. but the best authorities consider this downright scandal: he being young and a clergyman.' said Mr. not yet. nor Harry. dearest Rose. I would make yours mine. but a home--a heart and home--yes. in a dark room adjoining. Harry. for I would turn from it. Such power and patronage: such relatives of influence and rank: as smiled upon me then. look coldly now. could offer a word in extenuation. my own!-there stands a rustic dwelling which you can make me prouder of. think what you have heard to-night. 'My hopes. now. no distinction among a bustling crowd. I'll take the liberty. and by one village church--mine.' said Mr. dear Rose. feeling: every thought in life except my love for you: have undergone a change. and pulling his pocket-handkerchief from over his head. are all I have to offer. Neither Mrs. but there are smiling fields and waving trees in England's richest county. my wishes. have shrunk from you. than all the hopes I have renounced.' 'What do you mean!' she faltered. if you'll allow me. was followed both by the doctor and Mr. being contagious. no mingling with a world of malice and detraction. we have said enough. and those. Grimwig. measured a thousandfold.'Then why inflict it on yourself?' said Harry. This I have done. orginally. Rose. and those alone. prospects. 'Think. detaining her as she rose. of saluting the bride that is to be. 358 .' Mr. Grimwig lost no time in carrying this notice into effect upon the blushing girl.' said the young man. and proved you so far right. that no pride of birth should curl the lip at you. resolved that if my world could not be yours. Maylie.' 'Not yet.

'where have you been. What is the matter?' It is a world of disappointment: often to the hopes we most cherish.' said Mrs.'Oliver. and why do you look so sad? There are tears stealing down your face at this moment. Maylie. Poor Dick was dead! 359 . and hopes that do our nature the greatest honour. my child.

looked towards his counsel. with one hand resting on the wooden slab before him. from floor to roof. and his head thrust forward to enable him to catch with greater distinctness every word that fell from the presiding judge. in impatient wonder how they could delay. or he would not have seen it. He followed mechanically to the end of the dock. the deathlike stillness came again. he turned his eyes sharply upon them to observe the effect of the slightest featherweight in his favour. A few there were. and sat down on a chair. He stood there. Beyond these manifestations of anxiety. Looking round. he still remained in the same strained attitude of close attention. He looked up into the gallery again. on the right and on the left: he seemed to stand surrounded by a firmament. who was delivering his charge to the jury. with his gaze ben on him. away into the sharpest angle of the smallest corner in the galleries. of whom there were many there--could he read the faintest sympathy with himself. A slight bustle in the court. he stirred not hand or foot. Inquisitive and eager eyes peered from every inch of space. and made another with his knife. At times. recalled him to himself. The man pointed it out. As he saw all this in one bewildered glance. He wondered whether it was like. in all this glare of living light. with human faces. and when the points against him were stated with terrible distinctness. who seemed unmindful of him. urge something in his behalf. for the crowded place was very hot. all looks were fixed upon one man--Fagin. and looked on when the artist broke his pencil-point. But in no one face--not even among the women. From the rail before the dock. all bright with gleaming eyes. and some fanning themselves with handkerchiefs. The jailed touched him on the shoulder. As his eyes wandered to the gallery. the other held to his ear. even then. as any idle spectator might have done. and now that the judge ceased to speak. and looked only to the jury. as though he listened still. He looked. There was one young man sketching his face in a little note-book.CHAPTER LII FAGIN'S LAST NIGHT ALIVE The court was paved. He had scarcely moved since the trial began. below. or any feeling but one of all-absorbing interest that he should be condemned. Some of the people were eating. as though to see which way the greater number leant. to consider their verdict. into their faces. he saw that the juryman had turned together. and looking back he saw that the jurymen had turned towards the judge. Hush! They only sought permission to retire. wistfully. Before him and behind: above. he could see the people rising above each other to see his face: some hastily applying their glasses to their eyes: and others whispering their neighbours with looks expressive of abhorrence. 360 . but that was fruitless. one by one when they passed out. in mute appeal that he would.

and passed him close. and looked intently at his questioner while the demand was made. He gazed stupidly about him for an instant. uttered some exclamation. when the jailer put his hand upon his arm. His haggard face was still thrust forward. all this time. and bent forward yet more attentively. He wondered within himself whether this man had been to get his dinner. and what it cost. his mind began to busy itself with the fashion of his dress. who had gone out. and turned burning hot at the idea of speedy death. The jury returned. too. but. and he could not fix his thoughts upon it. free from one oppressive overwhelming sense of the grave that opened at his feet. dropping into a whisper. his mind was. and a breathless look from all towards the door. and how he put it on. and pursued this train of careless thought until some new object caught his eye and roused another. and another. even while he trembled. when he turned his eyes towards the judge. He could glean nothing from their faces. and his eyes staring out before him. But he stood. his under-jaw hanging down. The noise subsided. and obeyed. who crowded round a grate which looked into the open yard. but in a vague and general way. but it was twice repeated before he seemed to hear it. and he was asked if he had anything to say why sentence of death should not be passed upon him. or leave it as it was. like angry thunder. the prisoners fell back to render him more visible to the people who were clinging to the bars: and they assailed him 361 . as he passed. Then. and then it echoed loud groans. what he had had. There was nobody there to speak to HIM. The judge assumed the black cap.In the same way. he fell to counting the iron spikes before him. that gathered strength as they swelled out. and whether they would mend it. and then he only muttered that he was an old man--an old man--and so. At length there was a cry of silence. for an instant. he looked hastily up as if angry at the interruption. and now come back. They led him through a paved room under the court. greeting the news that he would die on Monday. A woman in the gallery. they might as well have been of stone. Thus. and another. without the motion of a nerve. and wondering how the head of one had been broken off. and the prisoner still stood with the same air and gesture. where some prisoners were waiting till their turns came. There was an old fat gentleman on the bench. The address was solemn and impressive. like a marble figure. it was ever present to him. Not that. and where he had had it. and beckoned him away. the sentence fearful to hear. some half an hour before. and others were talking to their friends. called forth by this dread solemnity. He had resumed his listening attitude. It was a peal of joy from the populace outside. was silent again. The building rang with a tremendous shout. Perfect stillness ensued--not a rustle--not a breath--Guilty. he thought of all the horrors of the gallows and the scaffold--and stopped to watch a man sprinkling the floor to cool it--and then went on to think again.

deep. What availed the noise and bustle of cheerful morning. that he might not have about him the means of anticipating the law. They rose up. Then came the night--dark. why didn't they bring a light? The cell had been built for many years. the pinioned arms. Venerable men of his own persuasion had come to pray beside him. and by degrees suggested more: so that in a little time he had the whole. even beneath that hideous veil. and would have spat upon them. It was very dark. that he could not hear a word. It was like sitting in a vault strewn with dead bodies--the cap. in such quick succession. almost as it was delivered. tried to collect his thoughts. light! At length. and yet so short.with opprobrious names. two men appeared: one bearing a candle. which he thrust into an iron candlestick fixed against the wall: the other dragging in a mattress on which to pass the night. and short in its fleeting hours. To him they brought despair. at the time. that he could hardly count them. till he was dead--that was the end. With what a rattling noise the drop went down. night so long. To be hanged by the neck. which served for seat and bedstead. and he beat them off. He sat down on a stone bench opposite the door. he began to think of all the men he had known who had died upon the scaffold. long in its dreadful silence. but his conductors hurried him on. He shook his fist. As it came on very dark. through a gloomy passage lighted by a few dim lamps. and screeched and hissed. Other watchers are glad to hear this church-clock strike. They renewed their charitable efforts. Here. silent night. dismal. The day passed off. To be hanged by the neck till he was dead. because they died with prayers upon their lips. and at another howled and tore his hair. but he had driven them away with curses. Scores of men must have passed their last hours there. it was gone as soon as come--and night came on again. this ceremony performed. he was searched. he began to remember a few disjointed fragments of what the judge had said: though it had seemed to him. These gradually fell into their proper places. After awhile. to him? It was another form of knell. when his hands were raw with beating against the heavy door and walls. and how suddenly they changed. some of them through his means. with mockery added to the warning. and casting his blood-shot eyes upon the ground. Day? There was no day.--and had joked too. the faces that he knew. from strong and vigorous men to dangling heaps of clothes! Some of them might have inhabited that very cell--sat upon that very spot. The boom of every iron bell came laden with the one. which penetrated even there. 362 . the noose. into the interior of the prison. At one time he raved and blasphemed. hollow sound--Death. they led him to one of the condemned cells. for the prisoner was to be left alone no more. for they tell of life and coming day. and left him there--alone. He had seen some of them die.--Light.

too often. communicated the welcome intelligence to clusters in the street. He grew so terrible. walking with unwilling steps away. and those were the real hours treading on each other's heels. At eight. before the voice of the previous hour had ceased to vibrate. and. would have slept but ill that night. for their parts. never held so dread a spectacle as that. Eight-nine--then. and inquired. from the thoughts. and twisted into knots. with anxious faces. made no effort to rouse his attention. painted black. The space before the prison was cleared. and with gasping mouth and burning skin. Now. 363 . These being answered in the negative. when they came round again! Eleven! Another struck. He cowered down upon his stone bed. of men. the street was left to solitude and darkness. and presented an order of admission to the prisoner. he started up. his unwashed flesh crackled with the fever that burnt him up. who relieved each other in their attendance upon him. where would he be. but that he had never been able to consider more than the dim probability of dying so soon. which have hidden so much misery and such unspeakable anguish. hurried to and fro. he would be the only mourner in his own funeral train. He had sat there. and they. signed by one of the sheriffs. in the dead of night. He had been wounded with some missiles from the crowd on the day of his capture. not only from the eyes. and thought of the past. and wondered what the man was doing who was to be hanged to-morrow. He had only one night more to live. but. And as he thought of this. his beard was torn. one by one. his eyes shone with a terrible light. the day broke--Sunday.Saturday night. If it was not a trick to frighten him. for an hour. at eleven-Those dreadful walls of Newgate. and a few strong barriers. every minute. He had spoken little to either of the two men. little groups of two and three presented themselves at the lodge-gate. From early in the evening until nearly midnight. had been already thrown across the road to break the pressure of the expected crowd. By degrees they fell off. and his head was bandaged with a linen cloth. The few who lingered as they passed. and too long. Brownlow and Oliver appeared at the wicket. that a withering sense of his helpless. whether any reprieve had been received. when Mr. in all the tortures of his evil conscience. and so the two kept watch together. His red hair hung down upon his bloodless face. It was not until the night of this last awful day. at last. awake. turned back to conjure up the scene. not that he had ever held any defined or positive hope of mercy. and showed where the scaffold would be built. but dreaming. and. desperate state came in its full intensity upon his blighted soul. in such a paroxysm of fear and wrath that even they--used to such sights--recoiled from him with horror. eyeing him alone. that one man could not bear to sit there. who pointed out to one another the door from which he must come out. if they could have seen him. They were immediately admitted into the lodge.

There was an open grating above it. through dark and winding ways. throught which came the sound of men's voices.'Is the young gentleman to come too. ha! ha! ha! Oliver too--quite the gentleman now--quite the--take that boy away to bed!' The jailer took the disengaged hand of Oliver. opened by other turnkeys from the inner side. and led them on. having entered an open yard. There were putting up the scaffold. some of you? He has been the--the--somehow the cause of all this.' He led them into a stone kitchen.' 'It is not indeed. stopping in a gloomy passage where a couple of workmen were making some preparations in profound silence--'this is the place he passes through. you can see the door he goes out at. 'This. looked on without speaking. and. The two attendants. opened another gate. From this place. 'Good boy. 'It's not a sight for children. and motioned the visitors to follow the jailer into the cell. Bill. The condemned criminal was seated on his bed. my friend. with a countenance more like that of a snared beast than the face of a man. and pointed to a door. and the throwing down of boards. They did so. rocking himself from side to side. stretching themselves as if glad of the temporary relief. His mind was evidently wandering to his old life. for he continued to mutter. after a little whispering. ascended a flight of narrow steps. they passed through several strong gates. 'Do you hear me. and glancing at Oliver with some curiousity. came out into the passage. so as to be inaudible to Oliver. never mind the girl--Bolter's throat as deep as you can cut. Motioning them to remain where they were. mingled with the noise of hammering. fitted with coppers for dressing the prison food. and as this child has seen him in the full career of his success and villainy. and. whispering him not to be alarmed. I think it as well--even at the cost of some pain and fear--that he should see him now. too. 'Take him away to bed!' cried Fagin. towards the cells.' said the man.' These few words had been said apart. sir?' said the man whose duty it was to conduct them. without appearing conscious of their presence otherwise than as a part of his vision. Brownlow. It's worth the money to bring him up to it--Bolter's throat. If you step this way. 'Oliver.' rejoined Mr.' said the jailer. The man touched his hat. 'but my business with this man is intimately connected with him. 364 . sir. Charley--well done--' he mumbled. and came into a passage with a row of strong doors on the left hand. opposite to that by which they had entered. the turnkey knocked at one of these with his bunch of keys. Saw his head off!' 'Fagin.

laying his hand upon his breast to keep him down. 'Let me say a prayer. he demanded to know what they wanted there. Do! Let me say one prayer. here! Let me whisper to you. Brownlow advancing. Now then. by a man called Monks. but hurry on.' said Mr. and looking vacantly over his head. 'Now. my Lord. 'do not say that now. for better security. 'Steady. drawing Oliver towards him.' said the turnkey. now then!' 'Oh! God forgive this wretched man!' cried the boy with a burst of tears. a very old. Quick.' 'Yes. still holding him down. with me. You know that Sikes is dead. 'An old man. 'That'll help us on. Where are those papers?' 'Oliver. Fagin. 'Here's somebody wants to see you. upon the very verge of death. Say only one. 'Here. that Monks has confessed. that there is no hope of any further gain. in a hole a little way up the chimney in the top front-room. falling instantly.' 'I am not afraid.' 'For the love of God. I want to talk to you. now. sir?' inquired the turnkey. 'which were placed in your hands. if you take me so. that's right. into the attitude of listening he had assumed upon his trial.' said Oliver in a low voice. don't you mind.' 'You have some papers. for he grows worse as the time gets on. Fagin! Are you a man?' 'I shan't be one long. yes. 'I haven't one--not one. I suppose. 'That's right. Now. to ask you some questions. I want to talk to you. If I shake and tremble. as he relinquished Mr.' said Fagin. now!' 'Have you nothing else to ask him.' replied Fagin. This door first.' cried Fagin. if you please.' 'It's all a lie together. 'are in a canvas bag.' said Mr.' said Fagin. Brownlow's hand.' returned Oliver.' said the turnkey. 'Strike them all dead! What right have they to butcher me?' As he spoke he caught sight of Oliver and Mr. pushing the boy before him towards the door. sir.' 'Outside. Brownlow solemnly. upon your knees.'That's me!' cried the Jew. as we pass the gallows.' replied Fagin. my dear. 'The papers.' he replied. Shrinking to the furthest corner of the seat. but tell me where they are. old man!' 'Here. 'Say I've gone to sleep--they'll believe you. You can get me out. Brownlow. looking up with a face retaining no human expression but rage and terror. beckoning to him. outside. tell him what you want. and we will talk till morning. 365 .

' cried Fagin. A great multitude had already assembled. 'If I hoped we could recall him to a sense of his position--' 'Nothing will do that. faster!' The men laid hands upon him. 'You had better leave him. 'Press on.'No other question. the windows were filled with people. Faster. smoking and playing cards to beguile the time. and was so weak that for an hour or more. sir. he had not the strength to walk. and the attendants returned. 'Softly. and all the hideous apparatus of death. the cross-beam. He struggled with the power of desperation.' replied Mr. and disengaging Oliver from his grasp.' The door of the cell opened. quarrelling. Brownlow. but not so slow. Day was dawning when they again emerged. press on. 366 . but one dark cluster of objects in the centre of all--the black stage.' replied the man. shaking his head. Everything told of life and animation. the crowd were pushing. the rope. Oliver nearly swooned after this frightful scene. joking. held him back. and then sent up cry upon cry that penetrated even those massive walls. for an instant. It was some time before they left the prison. and rang in their ears until they reached the open yard.

Before three months had passed. the worthy doctor returned to Chertsey. he once more fell into his old courses. Brownlow. Oliver would have been entitled to the whole. carpentering. Here he took to gardening. Monks. where his dear friends resided. on the same day they entered into possession of their new and happy home. he gratified the only remaining wish of Oliver's warm and earnest heart. the greatest felicity that age and worth can know--the contemplation of the happiness of those on whom the warmest affections and tenderest cares of a well-spent life. to him. bereft of the presence of his old friends. Brownlow adopted Oliver as his son. For two or three months.CHAPTER LIII AND LAST The fortunes of those who have figured in this tale are nearly closed. where. Mr. and died in prison. and instantaneously recovered. to enjoy. he contented himself with hinting that he feared the air began to disagree with him. but Mr. whose condition approached as nearly to one of perfect happiness as can ever be known in this changing world. then. finding that the place really no longer was. Maylie took up her abode with her son and daughter-in-law. Mrs. after undergoing a long confinement for some fresh act of fraud and knavery. having quickly squandered it. As far from home. on full and careful investigation. and various other pursuits of a similar kind: all undertaken with his characteristic impetuosity. proposed this mode of distribution. have been unceasingly bestowed. and. to each. unwilling to deprive the elder son of the opportunity of retrieving his former vices and pursuing an honest career. Rose Fleming and Harry Maylie were married in the village church which was henceforth to be the scene of the young clergyman's labours. fishing. In 367 . is told in few and simple words. Soon after the marriage of the young people. he settled his business on his assistant. and thus linked together a little society. what it had been. It appeared. retired with his portion to a distant part of the New World. during the tranquil remainder of her days. died the chief remaining members of his friend Fagin's gang. he would have been discontented if his temperament had admitted of such a feeling. and would have turned quite peevish if he had known how. where. at length sunk under an attack of his old disorder. still bearing that assumed name. Removing with him and the old housekeeper to within a mile of the parsonage-house. planting. that if the wreck of property remaining in the custody of Monks (which had never prospered either in his hands or in those of his mother) were equally divided between himself and Oliver. it would yield. took a bachelor's cottage outside the village of which his young friend was pastor. By the provisions of his father's will. little more than three thousand pounds. The little that remains to their historian to relate. to which his young charge joyfully acceded.

he went into business as an Informer. Brownlow. Mr. Mr. He is accordingly visited by Mr. which always calls forth a laugh on his side. and Mr. remarks that Oliver did not come back after all. that to this day the villagers have never been able to discover to which establishment they properly belong. Grimwig contends that he was right in the main. The lady faints away at the doors of charitable publicans. which that eccentric gentleman cordially reciprocated. the best. His plan is. Bumble has been heard to say. although the former is bald. Arriving at the conclusion that it certainly was. After some consideration. deprived of their situations. but divide their attentions so equally among its inmates. at a loss for the means of a livelihood. they still remain in their old posts. doing everything in a very singular and unprecedented manner. 368 . having a contented disposition. waiting his return. that his mode is the right one. appalled by Sikes's crime. and a good purpose. and suffered much. after all. Mr.each and all he has since become famous throughout the neighborhood. that in this reverse and degradation. They sleep at the parsonage. Giles and Brittles. Sometimes Mr. and the gentleman being accommodated with three-penny worth of brandy to restore her. lays an information next day. he had managed to contract a strong friendship for Mr. and Oliver and Mr. but Mr. for some little time. he has not even spirits to be thankful for being separated from his wife. to walk out once a week during church time attended by Charlotte in respectable attire. fell into a train of reflection whether an honest life was not. for Mr. Bumble. as a most profound authority. and to remind him of the night on which they sat with the watch between them. but always maintaining with his favourite asseveration. On all such occasions. but the result is the same. in strict confidence afterwards. Claypole faints himself. that he considers it an excellent performance. It is a standing and very favourite joke. not burdened with too much work. but. He struggled hard. for some time. Before his removal. and carpenters. On Sundays. were gradually reduced to great indigence and misery. in which calling he realises a genteel subsistence. with great ardour. Master Charles Bates. As to Mr. and the last-named boy quite grey. he turned his back upon the scenes of the past. and finally became paupers in that very same workhouse in which they had once lorded it over others. Grimwig. Losberne. Losberne. Mr. Noah Claypole: receiving a free pardon from the Crown in consequence of being admitted approver against Fagin: and considering his profession not altogether as safe a one as he could wish: was. but deems it as well not to say so. and increases his good humour. and Mrs. fishes. and. resolved to amend it in some new sphere of action. he never fails to criticise the sermon to the young clergyman's face: always informing Mr. and pockets half the penalty. Grimwig plants. Brownlow to rally him on his old prophecy concerning Oliver. Grimwig a great many times in the course of the year. in proof thereof.

and the smiling untiring discharge of domestic duties at home. that fell on all who trod it with her. as his nature developed itself. filling the mind of his adopted child with stores of knowledge. and whose great attribute is Benevolence to all things that breathe. These. I would summon before me. and showed the thriving seeds of all he wished him to become--how he traced in him new traits of his early friend. shedding on her secluded path in life soft and gentle light. as it approaches the conclusion of its task. and passing whole hours together in picturing the friends whom they had so sadly lost. I would follow her through the sultry fields at noon. and listen to their merry prattle. once again. and becoming attached to him. from being a farmer's drudge. those joyous little faces that clustered round her knee. melancholy and yet sweet and soothing-how the two orphans. and hear the low tones of her sweet voice in the moonlit evening walk. happiness can never be attained. and a carrier's lad. and she was weak and erring. and mutual love. and may it be many. which bears as yet but one word: 'AGNES. I would paint her the life and joy of the fire-side circle and the lively summer group. How Mr. falters. I believe it none the less because that nook is in a Church. tried by adversity. for a little longer space. and turns fo thought and speech--I would fain recall them every one. Brownlow went on. 369 . and conjure up the sympathising tear that glistened in the soft blue eye. and without strong affection and humanity of heart. and fervent thanks to Him who had protected and preserved them--these are all matters which need not to be told. Within the altar of the old village church there stands a white marble tablet. I believe that the shade of Agnes sometimes hovers round that solemn nook. the thread of these adventures. And now. I have said that they were truly happy. I would fain linger yet with a few of those among whom I have so long moved.succeeded in the end. many years. I would watch her in all her goodness and charity abroad. to visit spots hallowed by the love-the love beyond the grave--of those whom they knew in life. from day to day. and a thousand looks and smiles. I would paint her and her dead sister's child happy in their love for one another. and would weave.' There is no coffin in that tomb. and gratitude to that Being whose code is Mercy. if the spirits of the Dead ever come back to earth. and shone into their hearts. the hand that traces these words. before another name is placed above it! But. and share their happiness by endeavouring to depict it. more and more. he is now the merriest young grazier in all Northamptonshire. that awakened in his own bosom old remembrances. I would show Rose Maylie in all the bloom and grace of early womanhood. remembered its lessons in mercy to others. and. I would recall the tones of that clear laugh.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful