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CHARLES DICKENS, bom at Landport 
(Portsea), near Portsmouth, in i8i2. From 
the humblest beginnings became a parlia- 
mentary reporter, and so entered journalism. 
Went to America in 1842 and 1867-8, and 
to Italy in 1844. First editor of The Daily 
News, 1846. ¥ound&d Household Words (later 
restarted as All the Year Round) in 1849. 
Died at Gad's Hill, Kent, on 9th June 1870. 


O. { 




All Tights^s^Y^^ 
Made in Great Britain 
at The Temple Press Letchworth 
and decorated by Eric Ravilious 


J. M. Dent Sl Sons Ltd. 

Aldine House Bedford St. London 

Toronto , Vancouver 

Melbourne . Wellington 

First Published in this Edition igoj 

Reprinted 1909, 1910, 1912, 1915, 1918, 

1920, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1929, 


In considering Dickens, as we almost always must consider 
him, as a man of startling originality, we may possibly miss 
the forces from which he drew even his original energy. It 
is not well for man to be alone. We, in the modern world, 
are ready enough to admit that when it is applied to some 
problem of monasticism or of an ecstatic life. But we will 
not admit that our modern claim to absolute originality is 
really a claim to absolute unsociability; a claim to absolute 
loneliness. The anarchist is at least as much alone as the 
I ascetic. And the men of very violent vigour in literature, the 
imen such as Dickens, have generally displayed a large socia- 
ibility towards the society of literature, always expressed in 
ithe happy pursuit of pre-existent themes, sometimes expressed, 
jas in the cases of Moli^re or Sterne, in downright plagi- 
arism. For even theft is a confession of our dependence on 
society. In Dickens, however, this element of the original 
foundations on which he worked is quite especially difficult 
to determine. This is partly due to the fact that for the 
present reading public he is practically the only one of his 
long line that is read at all. He sums up Smollett and Gold- 
smith, but he also destroys them. This one giant, being 
closest to us, cuts off from our view even the giants that 
begat him. But much more is this difficulty due to the fact 
that Dickens mixed up with the old material, materials so 
subtly modern, so made of the French Revolution, that the 
whole is transformed. If we want the best example of this, 
the best example is "Oliver Twist." 

Relatively to the other works of Dickens " Oliver Twist '* 
is not of great value, but it is of great importance. Some 
parts of it are so crude and of so clumsy a melodrama, that 
one is almost tempted to say that Dickens would have been 
greater without it. But even if he had been greater without 
it he would still have been incomplete without it. With the 
exception of some gorgeous passages, both of humour and 
horror, the interest of the book lies not so much in its revela- 
tion of Dickens' literary genius as in its revelation of those 


viii Introduction 

moral, personal, and political instincts which were the make- 
up of his character and the permanent support of that literary 
genius. It is by far the most depressing of all his books; it 
is in some ways the most irritating; yet its ugliness gives 
the last touch of honesty to all that spontaneous and splendid 
output. Without this one discordant note all his merriment 
might have seemed like levity. 

But in order adequately to appreciate " Oliver Twist," we 
must first remember its place in biography and chronology. 
Dickens, it must be remembered, had just appeared upon the 
stage and set the whole world laughing with his first great 
story "Pickwick." "Oliver Twist" was his encore. It was 
the second opportunity given to him by those who had rolled 
about with laughter over Tupman and Jingle, Weller and 
Dowler. Under such circumstances a stagey reciter will some- 
times take care to give a pathetic piece after his humorous 
one; and with all his many moral merits, there was much 
that was stagey about Dickens. But this explanation alone 
is altogether inadequate and unworthy. There was in Dickens 
this other kind of energy, horrible, uncanny, barbaric, capable 
in another age of coarseness, greedy for the emblems of estab- 
lished ugliness, the coffin, the gibbet, the bones, the bloody 
knife. Dickens liked these things, and he was all the more 
of a man for liking them ; especially he was all the more 
of a boy. We can all recall with pleasure the fact that Miss 
Petowker (afterwards Mrs. Lillyvick) was in the habit of 
reciting a poem called "The Blood Drinker's Burial." I can- 
not express my regret that the words of this poem are not 
given ; for Dickens would have been quite as capable of writing 
" The Blood Drinker's Burial " as Miss Petowker was of 
reciting it. This strain existed in Dickens alongside of his 
happy laughter; both were allied to the same robust romance. 
Here as elsewhere Dickens is close to all the permanent 
human things. He is close to religion, which has never 
allowed the thousand devils on its churches to stop the dancing 
of its bells. He is allied to the people, to the real poor, who 
love nothing so much as to take a cheerful glass and to talk 
about funerals. The extremes of his gloom and gaiety are the 
mark of religion and democracy ; . they mark him off from 
the moderate happiness of philosophers, and from that stoicism 
which is the virtue and the creed of aristocrats There is 
nothing odd in the fact that the same man who conceived the 
humane hospitalities of Pickwick should also have imagined 

Introduction ix' 

the inhuman laughter of Fagin's den. They are both genuine 
and they are both exaggerated. And the whole human tradi- 
tion has tied up together in a strange knot these strands of 
festivity and fear. It is over the cups of Christmas Eve that 
men have always competed in telling ghost stories. 

This first element was present in Dickens, and it is very 
powerfully present in '* Oliver Twist." It had not been 
present with sufficient consistency or continuity in " Pickwick " 
to make it remain on the reader's memory at all, for the tale 
of " Gabriel Grubb " is grotesque rather than horrible, and the 
two gloomy stories of the *' Madman and the Queer Client " 
are so utterly irrelevant to the tale, that even if the reader 
remember them he probably does not remember that they occur 
in " Pickwick." Critics have complained of Shakespeare and 
others for putting comic episodes into a tragedy. It required 
a man with the courage and coarseness of Dickens actually 
to put tragic episodes into a farce. But they are not caught 
up into the story at all. In ** Oliver Twist," however, the 
thing broke out with an almost brutal inspiration, and those 
who had fallen in love with Dickens for his generous buffoonery 
may very likely have been startled at receiving such very 
different fare at the next helping. When you have bought 
a man's book because you like his writing about Mr. Wardle's 
punch-bowl and Mr. Winkle's skates, it may very well be 
surprising to open it and read about the sickening thuds that 
beat out the life of Nancy, or that mysterious villain whose 
face was blasted with disease. If there was any such disap- 
pointment it has left no mark in history; for after "Oliver 
Twist," as after *' Pickwick," Dickens' career continued to be 
a triumphal procession. ! 

But for the critic in our own time at any rate the first great 
element in the book is this first revelation of Dickens' power 
over the ghastly and the unnatural. For this specific and 
narrow purpose the work is really admirable. Characters 
which are not very clearly conceived as regards their own 
psychology are yet at certain moments managed so as to 
shake to its foundations our own psychology. Bill Sikes is not 
exactly a real man, but for all that he is a real murderer.' 
Nancy is not really impressive as a living woman ; but, as 
the phrase goes, she makes a lovely corpse. Something quite 
childish and eternal in us, something which is shocked with 
the mere simplicity of death, quivers when we read of those 
repeated blows or see Sikes cursing the tell-tale cur who will 

X Introduction 

follow his bloody foot-prints. And this curious, sublime melo- 
drama, which is melodrama and yet is painfully real, reaches 
its hideous height in that fine scene of the death of Sikes, the 
besieged house, the boy screaming within, the crowd scream- 
ing without, the murderer turned almost a maniac and drag- 
ging his victim uselessly up and down the room, the escape 
over the roof, the rope swiftly running taut, and death 
sudden, startling and symbolic; a man hanged. There is in 
this and similar scenes something of the quality of Hogarth 
and many other English moralists of the early eighteenth 
century. It is not easy to define this Hogarthian quality in 
words, beyond saying that it is a sort of alphabetical realism, 
like the cruel candour of children. But it has about it these 
two special principles which separate it from all that we call 
realism in our time. First, that with us a moral story means 
a story about moral people ; with them a moral story meant 
more often a story about immoral people. Second, that with 
us realism is always associated with some subtle view of 
morals ; with them realism was always associated with some 
simple view of morals. The end of Bill Sikes exactly in the 
way that the law would have killed him — this is a Hogarthian 
incident; it carries on that tradition of startling and shocking 

All this element in the book was a sincere thing in the 
author, but none the less it came from old soils, from the 
grave-yard and the gallows, and the lane where the ghost 
walked. Dickens was always attracted to such things, and 
(as Forster says with inimitable simplicity) " but for his strong 
sense might have fallen into the follies of spiritualism." As 
a matter of fact, like mos*t of the men of strong sense in his 
tradition, Dickens was left with a half belief in spirits which 
became in practice a belief in bad spirits. The great disad- 
vantage of those who have too much strong sense to believe 
in spiritualism, is that they keep last the low and little forms 
of the supernatural, such as omens, curses, spectres and 
retributions, but find a high and happy supernaturalism quite 
incredible. Thus the Puritans denied the sacraments, but went 
on burning witches. This shadow does rest, to some extent, 
upon the rational English writers like Dicktas ; supernatural- 
ism was dying, but its ugliest roots died last. Dickens would 
have found it easier to believe in a ghost than in a vision of 
the Virgin with angels. There, for good or evil, however, was 
the root of the old diablerie in Dickens, and there it is in 

Introduction xi 

"Oliver Twist." But this was only the first of the new- 
Dickens elements, which must have surprised those Dickensians 
who eagerly bought his second book. The second of the new 
Dickens elements is equally indisputable and separate. It 
swelled afterwards to enormous proportions in Dickens' work; 
but it really has its rise here. Again, as in the case of the 
element of diablerie, it would be possible to make technical 
exceptions in favour of '* Pickwick." Just as there were quite 
inappropriate scraps of the gruesome element in "Pickwick," 
so there are quite inappropriate allusions to this other topic 
in " Pickwick." But nobody by merely reading " Pickwick " 
would even remember this topic; no one by merely reading 
" Pickwick " would know what this topic is; this third great 
subject of Dickens; this second great subject of the Dickens 
of "Oliver Twist." 

This subject is social oppression. It is surely fair to say 
that no one could have gathered from " Pickwick " how this 
question boiled in the blood of the author of "Pickwick." 
There are, indeed, passages, particularly in connection with 
Mr. Pickwick in the debtor's prison, which prove to us, look- 
ing back on a whole public career, that Dickens had been 
from the beginning bitter and bold about the problem of our 
civilisation. No one could have imagined at the time that 
this bitterness ran in an unbroken river under all the surges 
of that superb gaiety and exuberance. With " Oliver Twist " 
this sterner side of Dickens was suddenly revealed. For the 
very first pages of " Oliver Twist " are stern even when they 
are funny. They amuse, but they cannot be enjoyed, as can 
the passages about the follies of Mr. Snodgrass or the humilia- 
tions of Mr. Winkle. The difference between the old easy 
humour and this new harsh humour is a difference not of 
degree but of kind. Dickens makes game of Mr. Bumble 
because he wants to kill Mr. Bumble; he made game of Mr. 
Winkle because he wanted him to live for ever. Dickens 
has taken the sword in hand ; against what is he declaring 

It is just here that the greatness of Dickens comes in; it 
is just here that the difference lies between the pedant and 
the poet. Dickens enters the social and political war, and the 
first stroke he deals is not only significant but even startling. 
Fully to see this we must appreciate the national situation. 
It was an age of reform, and even of radical reform; the 
world was full of radicals and reformers; but only too many 

xii Introduction 

of them took the line of attacking everything and anything 
that was opposed to some particular theory among the many 
political theories that possessed the end of the eighteenth 
century. Some had so much perfected the perfect theory of 
republicanism that they almost lay awake at night because 
Queen Victoria had a crown on her head. Others were so 
certain that mankind had hitherto been merely strangled in 
the bonds of the State that they saw truth only in the destruc- 
tion of tariffs or of bye-laws. The greater part of that genera- 
tion held that clearness, economy and a hard common-sense, 
would soon destroy the errors that had been erected by the 
superstitions and sentimentalities of the past. In pursuance of 
this idea many of the new men of the new century, quite con- 
fident that they were invigorating the new age, sought to 
destroy the old sentimental clericalism, the old sentimental 
feudalism, the old-w^orld belief in priests, the old-world belief 
in patrons, and among other things the old-world belief in 
beggars. They sought among other things to clear away the 
old visionary kindliness on the subject of vagrants. Hence 
those reformers enacted not only a new reform law but also 
a new poor law. In creating many other modern things they 
created the modern workhouse, and when Dickens came out 
to fight it was the first thing that he broke with his battle- 

This is where Dickens' social revolt is of more value than 
mere politics and avoids the vulgarity of the novel with a 
purpose. His revolt is not a revolt of the commercialist against 
the feudalist, of the Nonconformist against the Churchman, 
of the Free-trader against the Protectionist, of the Liberal 
against the Tory. If he were among us now his revolt would 
not be the revolt of the Socialist against the Individualist, 
or of the Anarchist against the Socialist. His revolt was 
simply and solely the eternal revolt; it was the revolt of the 
weak against the strong. He did not dislike this or that 
argument for oppression; he disliked oppression. Me disliked 
a certain look on the face of a man when he looks down on 
another man. And that look on that face is the only thing 
in the world that we have really to fight between here and 
the fires of Hell. That which pedants of that time and this 
time would have called the sentimentalism of Dickens was 
really simply the detached sanity of Dickens. He cared no- 
thing for the fugitive explanations of the Constitutional Con- 
servatives; he cared nothing for the fugitive explanations of 

Introduction xiii 

the Manchester School. He would have cared quite as little for 
the fugitive explanations of the Fabian Society or of the 
modern scientific Socialist. He saw that under many forms 
there was one fact, the tyranny of man over man; and he 
struck at it when he saw it, whether it was old or new. 
When he found that footmen and rustics were too much afraid 
of Sir Leicester Dedlock, he attacked Sir Leicester Dedlock ; 
he did not care ' whether Sir Leicester Dedlock said he was 
attacking England or whether Mr. Rouncewell, the Iron- 
master, said he was attacking an effete oligarchy. In that 
case he pleased Mr. Rouncewell, the Ironmaster, and dis- 
pleased Sir Leicester Dedlock, the Aristocrat. But when he 
found that Mr. Rouncewell's workmen were much too 
frightened of Mr. Rouncewell, then he displeased Mr. Rounce- 
well in turn; he displeased Mr. Rouncewell very much by 
calling him Mr. Bounderby. When he imagined himself to 
be fighting old laws he gave a sort of vague and general 
approval to new laws. But when he came to the new laws 
they had a bad time. When Dickens found that after a 
hundred economic arguments and granting a hundred economic 
considerations, the fact remained that paupers in modern work- 
houses were much too afraid of the beadle, just as vassals in 
ancient castles were much too afraid of the Dedlocks, then 
he struck suddenly and at once. This is what makes the 
opening chapters of " Oliver Twist " so curious and important. 
The very fact of Dickens' distance from, and independence 
of, the elaborate financial arguments of his time, makes more 
definite and dazzling his sudden assertion that he sees the old 
human tyranny in front of him as plain as the sun at noon- 
day. Dickens attacks the modern workhouse with a sort of 
inspired simplicity as of a boy in a fairy tale who had wan- 
dered about, sword in hand, looking for ogres and who had 
found an indisputable ogre. All the other people of his time 
are attacking things because they are bad economics or because 
they are bad politics, or because they are bad science; he 
alone is attacking things because they are bad. iVll the others 
are Radicals with a large R; he alone is radical with a 
small one. He encounters evil with that beautiful surprise 
which, as it is the beginning of all real pleasure, is also the 
beginning of all righteous indignation. He enters the work- 
house just as Oliver Twist enters it, as a little child. 

This is the real power and pathos of that celebrated passage 
in the book which has passed into a proverb; but which has 

xiv Introduction 

not lost its terrible humour even in being hackneyed. T 
mean, of course, the everlasting quotation about Oliver Twist 
asking for more. The real poignancy that there is in this 
idea is a very good study in that strong school of social 
criticism which Dickens represented. A modern realist describ- 
ing the dreary workhouse would have made all the children 
utterly crushed, not daring to speak at all, not expecting 
anything, not hoping anything, past all possibility of affording 
even an ironical contrast or a protest of despair. A modern, 
in short, would have made all the boys in the workhouse 
pathetic by making them all pessimists. But Oliver Twist is 
not pathetic because he is a pessimist. Oliver Twist is 
pathetic because he is an optimist. The whole tragedy of 
that incident is in the fact that he does expect the universe 
to be kind to him, that he does believe that he is living in 
a just world. He comes before the Guardians as the ragged 
peasants of the French Revolution came before the Kings 
and Parliaments of Europe. That is to say, he comes, indeed, 
with gloomy experiences, but he comes with a happy philo- 
sophy. He knows that there are wrongs of man to be cursed; 
but he believes also that there are rights of man to be 
demanded. It has often been remarked as a singular fact 
that the French poor, who stand in historic tradition as typical 
of all the desperate men who have dragged down tyranny, 
were, as a matter of fact, by no means worse off than the 
poor of many other European countries before the Revolu- 
tion. The truth is that the French were tragic because they 
were better off. The others had known the sorrowful experi- 
ences ; but they alone had known the splendid expectation 
and the original claims. It was just here that Dickens was 
so true a child of them and of their happy theory so bitterly 
applied. They were the one oppressed people that innocently 
asked for justice ; they were the one Parish Boy who innocently 
asked for more. 

1907. G. K. C. 

Introduction xv 

The following is a list of the works of Charles Dickens : — 

Sketches by Boz, 1835, 2nd series, 1836 (from "Monthly Magazine," 
"Morning Chronicle," "Evening Chronicle," "Bell's Life in London," 
and "The Library of Fiction") ; Sunday under Three Heads, &c., 1836 ; 
The Strange Gentleman, comic burletta, 1837 ; The Village Coquettes, 
comic opera, 1836; Is she his wife? or Something Singular? comic 
burletta, acted 1837 ; Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, monthly 
numbers, 1836-7; Mudfog Papers (Bentley's "Miscellany"), 1837-9; 
Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi, edited by Boz, 1838 ; Oliver Twist, or the 
Parish Bo5^s Progress, 1838 (from Bentley's "Miscellany"); Sketches of 
Young Gentlemen, 1838 ; Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, 
monthly numbers, 1838-9; Sketches of Young Couples, &c., 1840; 
Master Humphrey's Clock, weekly numbers, 1 840-1 ; volume form, 1840, 
1841 (Old Curiosity Shop, Bamaby Rudge) ; The Pic-nic Papers (preface 
and first story), 1841 ; American notes for general circulation, 1842; A 
Christmas Carol in Prose, 1843 ; The Life and Adventures of Martin 
Chuzzlewit, monthly numbers, 1843-4; The Chimes: a Goblin Story of 
some Bells, &c., 1844; The Cricket on the Hearth: a Fairy Tale of 
Home, 1845; Pictures from Italy, 1846 (from "Daily News"); The 
Battle of Life : a Love Story, 1846 ; Dealings with the Firm of Dombey 
& Son, &c., monthly numbers, 1846-8; The Haunted Man, and the 
Ghost's Bargain, 1848 ; The Personal History of David Copperfield, 
monthly numbers, 1849-50; Christmas Stories in "Household Words" 
and "All the Year Round," 1850-67; Bleak House, monthly numbers, 
1852-3 ; A Child's History of England, 1854 (from "Household Words"); 
Hard Times for these Times, 1854 (from "Household Words"); Little 
Dorritt, monthly numbers, 1855-57 ; A Tale of Two Cities, 1859 (from 
"All the Year Round"); Great Expectations, 1861 (from "All the Year 
Round"); Our Mutual Friend, monthly numbers, 1864-5; Religious 
Opinions of the late Rev. Chauncey Hare Townhend, ed. C. D., 1869; 
"Landor's Life," last contribution to "All the Year Round"; The 
Mystery of Edwin Drood (unfinished), in monthly numbers, April to 
September, 1870. 

Other papers were ccmtributed to "Household Words" and "All the 
Year Round." 

First Collective Ed,, 1847-74; Library Ed., 1857, &c. ; "Charles 
Dickens" Ed., 1868-70; Letters, ed. Miss Hogarth and Miss Dickens, 
1886; Life, by Forster, 1872-74; "Men of Letters" Series, 1882: 
" Great Writers " Series, 1887. See also "Dickens, a Critical Study," try 
G. R. Gissing, 1926. 


Once upon a time it was held to be a coarse and shocking 
circumstance, that some of the characters in these pages are chosen 
from the most criminal and degraded of London's population. 

As I saw no reason, when I wrote this book, why the dregs of life 
(so long as their speech did not offend the ear) should not serve the 
purpose of a moral, as well as its froth and cream, I made bold to 
believe that this same Once upon a time would not prove to be All- 
time or even a long time. I saw many strong reasons for pursuing 
my course. I had read of thieves by scores j seductive fellows 
(amiable for the most part), faultless in dress, plump in pocket, 
choice in horse-flesh, bold in bearing, fortunate in gallantry, great 
at a song, a bottle, pack of cards or dice-box, and fit companions 
for the bravest. But I had never met (except in Hogarth) with 
the miserable reality. It appeared to me that to draw a knot of 
such associates in crime as really did exist ; to paint them in all 
their deformity, in all their wretchedness, in all the squalid misery 
of their lives ; to show them as they really were, for ever skulking 
uneasily through the dirtiest paths of life, with the great black 
ghastly gallows closing up their prospect, turn them where they 
might ; it appeared to me that to do this, would be to attempt a 
something which was needed, and which would be a service to 
society. And I did it as I best could. 

In every book I know, where such characters are treated of, 
allurements and fascinations are thrown around them. Even in the 
Beggar's Opera, the thieves are represented as leading a life which 
is rather to be envied than otherwise : while Macheath, with all 
the captivations of command, and the devotion of the most beautiful 
girl and only pure character in the piece, is as much to be admired 
and emulated by weak beholders, as any fine gentleman in a red coat 
who has purchased, as Voltaire says, the right to command a 
couple of thousand men, or so, and to affront death at their head. 
Johnson's question, whether any man will turn thief because 
Macheath is reprieved, seems to me beside the matter. I ask 
myself, whether any man will be deterred from turning thief, 
because of Macheath's being sentenced to death, and because of 
the existence of Peachum and Lockit ; and remembering the 
captain's roaring life, great appearance, vast success, and strong 

xviii Preface 

advantages, I feel assured that nobody having a bent that way will 
take any warning from him, or will see anything in the play but a 
flowery and pleasant road, conducting an honourable ambition — in 
':ourse of time — to Tyburn Tree. 

In fact, Gay's witty satire on society had a general object, which 
made him quite regardless of example in this respect, and gave him 
other and wider aims. The same may be said of Sir Edward 
Bulwer's admirable and powerful novel of Paul Clifford, which 
cannot be fairly considered as having, or as being intended to have, 
any bearing an this part of the subject, one way or other. 

What manner of life is that which is described in these pages, as 
the everyday existence of a Thief? What charms has it for the 
young and ill-disposed, what allurements for the most jolter-headed 
of juveniles? Here are no canterings on moonlit heaths, no merry- 
makings in the snuggest of all possible caverns, none of the attrac- 
tions of dress, no embroidery, no lace, no jack-boots, no crimson 
coats and ruffles, none of the dash and freedom with which " the 
road " has been time out of mind invested. The cold wet shelter- 
less midnight streets of London ; the foul and frowsy dens, where 
vice is closely packed and lacks the room to turn ; the haunts of 
hunger and disease ; the shabby rags that scarcely hold together ; 
where are the attractions of these things ? 

There are people, however, of so refined and delicate a nature, 
that they cannot bear the contemplation of such horrors. Not that 
they turn instinctively from crime ; but that criminal characters, 
to suit them, must be, like their meat, in delicate disguise. A 
Massaroni in green velvet is an enchanting creature ; but a Sikes 
in fustian is insupportable. A Mrs. Massaroni, being a lady in 
short petticoats and a fancy dress, is a thing to imitate in tableaux 
and have in lithograph on pretty songs ; but a Nancy, being a 
creature in a cotton gown and cheap shawl, is not to be thought of. 
It is wonderful how Virtue turns from dirty stockings ; and how 
Vice, married to ribbons and a little gay attire, changes her name, 
as wedded ladies do, and becomes Romance. 

But as the stem truth, even in the dress of this (in novels) 
much exalted race, was a part of the purpose of this book, I did not, 
for these readers, abate one hole in the Dodger's coat, or one scrap 
of curl-paper in Nancy's dishevelled hair. I had no faith in the 
delicacy which could not bear to look upon them. I had no desire 
to make proselytes among such people. I had no respect for their 
opinion, good or bad ; did not covet their approval ; and did not 
write for their amusement. 

It has been observed of Nancy that her devotion to the brutal 

Preface xix 

house-breaker does not seem natural And it has been objected to 
Sikes in the same breath — with some inconsistency, as I venture to 
think — that he is surely over-drawn, because in him there would 
appear to be none of those redeeming traits which are objected to 
as unnatural in his mistress. Of the latter objection I will merely 
remark, that I fear there are in the world some insensible and 
callous natures, that do become utterly and incurably bad. \\Tiether 
this be so or not, of one thing I am certain : that there are such 
men as Sikes, who, being closely followed through the same space 
of time and through the same current of circumstances, would not 
give, by the action of a moment, the faintest indication of a better 
nature. Whether every gentler human feeling is dead within such 
bosoms, or the proper chord to strike has rusted and is hard to find, 
I do not pretend to know ; but that the fact is as I state it, I am 

It is useless to discuss whether the conduct and character of the 
girl seems natural or unnatural, probable or improbable, right or 
wrong. It IS TRUE. Every man who has watched these melan- 
choly shades of life, must know it to be so. From the first intro- 
duction of that poor wretch, to her laying her blood-stained head 
upon the robber's breast, there is not a word exaggerated or over- 
wrought. It is emphatically God's truth, for it is the truth He 
leaves in such depraved and miserable breasts ; the hope yet 
lingering there ; the last fair drop of water at the bottom of the 
weed-choked well. It involves the best and worst shades of our 
nature ; much of its ugliest hues, and something of its most 
oeautiful ; it is a contradiction, an anomaly, an apparent impos- 
sibility ; but it is a truth. I am glad to have had it doubted, for in 
:hat circumstance I should find a sufficient assurance (if I wanted 
my) that it needed to be told. 

In the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty, it was publicly 
ieclared in London by an amazing Alderman, that Jacob's Island 
iid not exist, and never had existed. Jacob's Island continues to 
jxist (like an ill-bred place as it is) in the year one thousand eight 
lundred and sixty-seven, though improved and much changed* 




Among other public buildings in a certain town, which 
for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from men- 
tioning-, 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 some- 
what more than probable that these memoirs would never 
have appeared ; or, if they had, that being comprised with- 
in a couple of pages, they would have possessed the in- 
estimable 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 possi- 
bility have occurred. The fact is, that there was consider- 
able 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 

2 Oliver Twist 

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 
v/orkhouse 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 to- 
wards 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 workus 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 

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 

Oliver Twist 3 

temples ; but the blood had stopped for ever. 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 

'* 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-star\^ed 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 churchwardens 
and overseers, perhaps h© would have cried the louder. 

Oliver Twist 



For the next eight or ten months, Oliver was the vict'm 
of a systematic course of treachery and deception. He 
was broug-ht up by hand. The hungry and destitute situa- 
tion of the infant orphan was duly reported by the work- 
house authorities to the parish authorities. The parish 
authorities inquired with dignity of the workhouse author- 
ities, 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 de- 
spatched 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 inconveni- 
ence 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 sm.all head per week. Sevenpence-half- 
penny'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 uncomfort- 
able. 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, anc^ consigned the rising 
parochial generation to even a shorter allowance than was 
originally provided for them. Thereby finding in the low- 
est depth a deeper still ; and proving herself a very great 
experimental philosopher. 

Everybody knows the stor}^ 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 got his own horse down to a straw a day, 
and would unquestionably have rendered him a very spirited 

Oliver Twist 5 

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 experi- 
mental 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 a 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 over- 
looked in turning up a bedstead, or inadvertently scalded 
to death when there happened to be a washing — though 
the latter accident was very scarce, anything approaching 
to a washing being of rare occurrence in the farm — the 
jury would take it into their heads to ask troublesome 
questions, or the parishioners would rebelliously affix their 
signatures to a remonstrance. But these impertinences 
were speedily checked by the evidence of the surgeon, and 
the testimony of the beadle; the former of whom had 
always opened the body and found nothing inside (which 
was very probable indeed), and the latter of whom in- 
variably 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 birth-day found him a pale thin child, some- 
what diminutive in stature, and decidedly small in circum- 
ference. 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; 
md perhaps to this circumstance may be attributed his 
[laving any ninth birth-day at all. Be this as it may, how- 
ver, it was his ninth birth-day ; and he was keeping it in 
[he coal -cellar with a select party of two other young 

6 Oliver Twist 

gentlemen, 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 up-stairs, and wash 'em directly.) My 
heart alive 1 Mr. Bumble, how glad I am to see you, 

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 I 
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 churchwarden, it 
by no means mollified the beadle. 

** Do you think this respectful or proper conduct, Mrs. 
Mann," inquired Mr. Bumble, grasping his cane, '* to keep 
the parish officers a waiting at your garden-gate, when 
they come here upon porochial business connected 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 de- 
posited his cocked hat and cane on the table before him. 
Mr. Bumble wiped from his forehead the perspiration which 

Oliver Twist 7 

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 men- 
tion it. Now, will you take a little drop of somethink, Mr. 

" Not a drop. Not 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 accom- 
panied 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 wha' 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?" in- 
quired Bumble, following with his eyes the interesting 
process of mixing. 

•*Ah, bless 'em, that I do, dear as it is," rep'ied 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 to- 
wards him.) " You feel as a mother, Mrs. Mann." (He 
stirred the gin-and-water.) ** I — I drink your health with 
dieerfulness, Mrs. Mann;" and he swallowed half of it. 

** And now about business," said the beadle, taking out a 

t'eathern pocket-book. " The child that was half -baptized, 
Oliver Twist, is nine year old to-day." 
** Bless him !" interposed Mrs. Mann, inflaming her left 
;ye with the corner of her apron. 

' And notwithstanding a offered reward of ten pound, 
vliich was afterwards increased to twenty pound. Not- 
vithstanding the most superlative, and, I may say, super- 
lat'ral exertions on the part of this parish," said Bumble, 

8 Oliver Twist 

" we have never been able to discover who is his father, or 
what was his mother's settlement, name, or con — dition. " 

Mrs. Mann raised her hands in astonishment; but added, 
after a moment's reflection, *' How comes he to have any 
name at all, then?" 

The beadle drew himself up with great pride, and said, 
** I inwented it." 

''You, Mr. Bumble!" 

** I, Mrs. Mann. We name our fondling-s in alphabetical 
order. The last was a S, — Swubble, I named him. This 
was a T, — Twist, I named him. The next one as comes 
will be Unwin, and the next Vilkins. I have got names 
ready made to the end of the alphabet, and all the way 
through it again, when we come to Z," 

"Why, you're quite a literary character, sir!" said 
Mrs. Mann. 

" W>11, well," said the beadle, evidently gratified with 
the compliment; ** perhaps I m>ay be. Perhaps I may be, 
Mrs. Mann." He finished the gin-and-water, and added, 
** Oliver being now too old to remain here, the board have 
determined to have him back into the house. I have come 
out myself to take him there. So let me see him at once. " 

** I'll fetch him directly," said Mrs. Mann, leaving the 
room for that purpose. Oliver, having had by this time as 
much of the outer coat of dirt which encrusted his face and 
hands, rem.oved, as could be scrubbed off in one washing, 
was led into the room by his benevolent protectress. 

" Make a bow to the gentleman, Oliver," said Mrs. 

Oliver made a bow, which was divided between the 
beadle on the chair, and the cocked hat on the table. 

'* Will you go along with me, Oliver?" said Mr. Bumble, 
in a majestic voice. 

Oliver was about to say that he would go along with 
anybody with great readiness, when, glancing upward, he 
caught sight of Mrs. Mann, who had got behind the 
beadle's chair, and was shaking her fist at him with a 
furious countenance. He took the hint at once, for the 
fist had been too often impressed upon his body not to be 
deeply impressed upon his recollection. 

" Will she go with me ?" inquired poor Oliver. 

** No, she can't," replied Mr. Bumble. "But she'll 
come and see you sometimes." 

This was no very great consolation to the child. Young 

Oliver Twist 9 

as he was, however, he had sense enough to make a feint 
of feeling great regret at going away. It was no very 
difficult matter for the boy to call tears into his eyes. 
Hunger and recent ill-usage are great assistants if you want 
to cry ; and Oliver cried very naturally indeed. Mrs. 
Mann gave him a thousand embraces, and, what Oliver 
wanted a great deal more, a piece of bread and butter, lest 
he should seem too hungry when he got to the workhouse. 
With the slice of bread in his hand, and the little brown- 
cloth parish cap on his head, Oliver was then led away by 
Mr. Bumble from the wretched home where one kind word 
or look had never lighted the gloom of his infant years. 
And yet he burst into an agony of childish grief, as the 
cottage-gate closed after him. Wretched as were the little 
companions in misery he was leaving behind, they were 
the only friends he had ever known ; and a sense of his 
loneliness in the great wide world, sank into the child's 
heart for the first time. 

Mr. Bumble walked on with long strides ; little Oliver, 
firmly grasping his gold-laced cuff, trotted beside him, 
inquiring at the end of every quarter of a mile whether 
they were ** nearly there." To these interrogations Mr. 
Bumble returned very brief and snappish replies ; for the 
temporary blandness which gin-and-water av^/akens in some 
bosoms had by this time evaporated; and he was once 
again a beadle. 

Oliver had not been within the walls of the workhouse 
a quarter of an hour, and had scarcely completed the 
demolition of a second slice of bread, when Mr. Bumble, 
who had handed him over to the care of an old woman, 
returned ; and, telling him it was a board night, informed 
him that the board had said he was to appear before it 

Not having a very clearly defined notion of what a live 
board was, Oliver was rather astounded by this intelligence, 
and was not quite certain whether he ought to laugh or 
cry. He had no time to think about the matter, however ; 
for Mr. Bumble gave him a tap on the head, with his cane, 
to wake him up : and another on the back to make him 
lively : and bidding him follow, conducted him into a 
large white-washed room, where eight or ten fat gentlemen 
were sitting round a table. At the top of the table, seated 
in an arm-chair rather higher than the rest, was a particu- 
larly fat gentleman with a very round, red face. 

lo Oliver Twist 

"Bow to the board," said Bumble. Oliver brushed 
away two or three tears that were lingering- in his eyes; 
and seeing no board but the table, fortunately bowed to that. 

'* What's your name, boy?" said the gentleman in the 
high chair. 

Oliver was frightened at the sight of so many gentlemen, 
A^hich made him tremble : and the beadle gave him another 
tap behind, which made him cry. These two causes made 
him answer in a very low and hesitating voice ; whereupon 
a gentleman in a white waistcoat said he was a fool. 
Which was a capital way of raising his spirits, and putting 
him quite at his ease. 

** Boy," said the gentleman in the high chair, ** listen to 
me. You know you're an orphan, I suppose?" 

*' What's that, sir?" inquired poor Oliver. 

** The boy is a fool — I thought he was," said the gentle- 
man in the white waistcoat. 

'*Hush!" said the gentleman who had spoken first. 
" You know you've got no father or mother, and that you 
were brought up by the parish, don't you?" 

"Yes, sir," replied Oliver, weeping bitterly. 

** W^hat are you crying for?" inquired the gentleman in 
the white waistcoat. And to be sure it was very extra- 
ordinary. What could the boy be crying for? 

" I hope you say your prayers every night," said another 
gentleman in a gruff voice; " and pray for the people who 
feed you, and take care of you — Hke a Christian." 

" Yes, sir," stammered the boy. The gentleman who 
spoke last was unconsciously right. It would have been 
very like a Christian, and a marvellously good Christian, 
too, if Oliver had prayed for the people who fed and took 
care of him. But he hadn't, because nobody had taught him. 

** Well ! You have come here to be educated, and taught 
a useful trade," said the red-faced gentleman in the high 

* So you'll begin to pick oakum to-morrow morning at 
six o'clock,'* added the surly one in the white waistcoat. 

For the combination of both these blessings in the one 
simple process of picking oakum, Oliver bowed low by the 
direction of the beadle, and was then hurried away to a 
large ward : where, on a rough, hard bed, he sobbed him- 
self to sleep. What a noble illustration of the tender laws 
df England ! They let the paupers go to sleep ! "" 

Poor Oliver ! He little thought, as he lay sleeping in 

Oliver Twist ii 

happy unconsciousness of all around him, tliat the board 
had that very day arrived at a decision which would exer- 
cise the most material influence over all his future fortunes. 
But they had. And this was it : "■^' '"^"\ 

The members of this board were very sage, deep, philo- ; 
sophical men ; and when they came to turn their attention 
to the workhouse, they found out at once, what ordinary- 
folks would never have discovered — the poor people liked 
it ! It was a regular place of public entertainment for the 
poorer classes ; a tavern where there was nothing to pay ; 
a public breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper all the year 
round ; a brick and mortar elysium, where it was all play 
and no work. '*Oho!" said the board, looking very 
knowing ; '* we are the fellows to set this to rights ; we'll 
stop it all, in no time." So, they established the rule, that 
all poor people should have the alternative (for they would 
compel nobody, not they), of being starved by a gradual 
process in the house, or by a quick one out of it. With 
this view, they contracted with the water-works to lay on 
an unlimited supply of water; and with a corn-factor to 
supply periodically small quantities of oatmeal ; and issued 
three meals of thin gruel a day, with an onion twice a week, 
and half a roll on Sundays. They made a great many other 
wise and humane regulations, having reference to the 
ladies, which it is not necessarj' to repeat; kindly under- 
took to divorce poor married people, in consequence of the 
o^reat expense of a suit in Doctors* Commons ; and, instead 
of compelling a man to support his family, as they had 
theretofore done, took his family away from him, and made 
him a bachelor ! There is no saying how many applicants 
for relief, under these last two heads, might have started 
up in all classes of society, if it had not been coupled with 
the workhouse; but the board were long-headed men, and 
had provided for this difficulty. The relief was inseparable 
from the workhouse and the gi-uel; and that frightened 

t people. . _/ 

For the first six months after Oliver Twist was removed, 
: the system was in full operation. It was rather expensive 
' at first, in consequence of the increase in the undertaker's 
1 bill, and the necessity of taking in the clothes of all the 
•jp)aupers, which fluttered loosely on their wasted, shrunken 
i Forms, after a week or two's gruel. But the number of 
workhouse inmates got thin as well as the paupers; and 
1 the board were in ecstasies. 

12 Oliver Twist 

The room in which the boys were fed, was a larg-e stone 
hall, with a copper at one end : out of which the master^ 
dressed in an apron for the purpose, and assisted by one or 
two women, ladled the gruel at meal-times. Of this festive 
composition each boy had one porringer, and no more — 
except on occasions of great public rejoicing, when he had 
two ounces and a quarter of bread besides. The bowls 
never wanted washing. The boys polished them with their 
spoons till they shone again ; and when they had performed 
this operation (which never took very long,, the spoons 
being nearly as large as the bowls), they would sit staring 
at the copper, with such eager eyes, as if they could have 
devoured the very bricks of which it was composed ; em- 
ploying themselves, meanwhile, in sucking their fingers 
most assiduously, with the view of catching up any stray 
splashes of gruel that might have been cast thereon. Boys 
have generally excellent appetites. Oliver Twist and his 
companions suffered the tortures of slow starvation for 
three months : at last they got so voracious and wild with 
hunger, that one boy, who was tall for his age, and hadn't 
been used to that sort of thing (for his father had kept a 
small cook-shop), hinted darkly to his companions, that un- 
less he had another basin of gruel per diem, he was afraid 
he might some night happen to eat the boy who slept next 
him, who happened to be a weakly youth of tender age. 
He had a wild, hungry eye; and they implicitly believed 
him. A council was held ; lots were cast who should v/alk 
up to the master after supper that evening, and ask for 
more ; and it fell to Oliver Twist. 

The evening arrived; the boys took their places. The 
master, in his cook's uniform, stationed himself at the 
copper; his pauper assistants ranged themselves behind 
him ; the gruel was served out ; and a long grace was said 
over the short commons. The gruel disappeared ; the boys 
whispered each other, and winked at Oliver; while his 
next neighbours nudged him. Child as he was, he was 
desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose 
from the table; and advancing to the master, basin and 
spoon in hand, said : somewhat alarmed at his own 
temerity : 

" Please, sir, I want some more.'* 

The master was a fat, healthy man ; but he turned very 
pale. He gazed in stupefied astonishment on the small 
rebel for some seconds, and then clung for support to the 

Oliver Twist 13 

copper. The assistants were paralysed with wonder; the 
boys with fear. 

'* What !" said the master at length, in a faint voice. 

** Please, sir," replied Oliver, ** I want some more." 

The master aimed a blow at Oliver's head with the ladle ; 
pinioned him in his arms ; and shrieked aloud for the 

The board were sitting in solemn conclave, when Mr. 
Bumble rushed into the room in great excitement, and 
addressing the gentleman in the high chair, said, 

** Mr. Limbkins, I beg your pardon, sir! Oliver Twist 
has asked for more !" 

There was a general start. Horror was depicted on 
every countenance. 

** For more!'' said Mr. Limbkins. ** Compose yourself, 
Bumble, and answer me distinctly. Do I understand that 
he asked for more, after he had eaten the supper allotted 
by the dietary?" 

** He did, sir," replied Bumble. 

** That boy will be hung," said the gentleman in tbe"y^ 
white waistcoat. ** I know that boy will be hung." / 

Nobody controverted the prophetic gentleman's opinion. 
An animated discussion took place. Oliver was ordered 
into instant confinement; and a bill was next morning 
pasted on the outside of the gate, offering a reward of five 
pounds to anybody who would take OHver Twist off the 
hands of the parish. In other words, five pounds and 
Oliver Twist were offered to any man or woman who 
wanted an apprentice to any trade, business, or calling. 

** I never was more convinced of anything in my life," 
said the gentleman in the white waistcoat, as he knocked 
at the gate and read the bill next morning : "I never was 
more convinced of anything in my life, than I am that that 
boy will come to be hur^. " 

As I purpose to show in the sequel whether the white- 
waistcoated gentleman was right or not, I should perhaps 
mar the interest of this narrative (supposing it to possess 
any at all), if I ventured to hint just yet, whether the life of 
Oliver Twist had this violent termination or no. 

\ 14 Oliver Twist 



For a week after the commission of the impious and 
profane offence of asking for more, 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. It ap- 
pears, at first sight, not unreasonable to suppose, that, if 
he had entertained a becoming feeling of respect for the 
prediction of the gentleman in the white waistcoat, he 
would have established that sage individual's prophetic 
character, once and for ever, by tying one end of his pocket- 
handkerchief to a hook in the wall, and attaching himself 
to the other. To the performance of this feat, however, 
there was one obstacle : namely, that pocket-handkerchiefs 
being decided articles of luxury, had been, for all future 
times and ages, removed from the noses of paupers by the 
express order of the board, in council assembled ; solemnly 
given and pronounced under their hands and seals. There 
was a still greater obstacle in Oliver's youth and childish- 
ness. He only cried bitterly all day ; and, when the long, 
dismal night came on, spread his little hands before his 
eyes to shut out the darkness, and crouching in the corner, 
tried to sleep : ever and anon waking with a start and 
tremble, and drawing himself closer and closer to the wall, 
as if to feel even its cold hard surface were a protection 
in the gloom and loneliness which surrounded him. 

Let it not be supposed by the enemies of *' the, system,'* 
that, during the period of his solitary Incarceration, Oliver 
was denied the benefit of exercise,* the pleasure of society, 
or the advantages of religious consolation. As for exercise, 
it was nice cold weather, and he was allowed to perform 
his ablutions every morning under the pump, in a stone 
yard, in the presence of Mr. Bumble, who prevented his 
catching cold, and caused a tingling sensation to pervade 
his frame, by repeated applications of the cane. As for 
society, he was carried every other day into the hall where 
the boys dined, and there sociably flogged as a public warn- 
ing and example. And so far from being denied the ad- 
vantages of religious consolation, he was kicked into the 

Oliver Twist 15 

same apartment every evening* at prayer-time, and there 
permitted to listen to, and console his mind with, a general 
supplication of the boys, containing a special clause, therein 
inserted by authority of the board, in which they entreated 
to be made good, virtuous, contented, and obedient, 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 wicked- 
ness, and an article direct from the manufactory of the very 
Devil himself. 

It chanced one morning, while 01iver*s affairs were in 
this auspicious and comfortable state, that Mr. Gamfield, 
chimney-sweep, went his way down the HiglrStreet, deeply 
cogitating in his mind his ways and means of paying 
certain arrears of rent, for which his landlord had become 
rather pressing. Mr. Gamfield 's most sanguine estimate 
of his finances could not raise them within full five pounds 
of the desired amount; and, in a species of arithmetical 
desperation, he was alternately cudgelling his brains and 
his donkey, when, passing the workhouse, his eyes en- 
countered the bill on the gate. 

" Wo — o !" said Mr. Gamfield to the donkey. 

The donkey was in a state of profound abstraction : 
wondering, probably, whether he was destined to be re- 
galed with a cabbage-stalk or two when he had disposed 
of the two sacks of soot with which the little cart was laden ; 
so, without noticing the word of command, he jogged 

Mr. Gamfield growled a fierce imprecation on the dor^key 
generally, but more particularly on his eyes ; and, running 
after him, bestowed a blow on his head, which would in- 
evitably have beaten in any skull but a donkey's. Then, 
catching hold of the bridle, he gave his jaw a sharp wrench, 
by way of gentle reminder that he was not his own master ; 
and by these means turned him round. He then gave him 
another blow on the head, just to stun him till he came 
back again. Having completed these arrangements, he 
walked up to the gate, to read the bill. 

The gentleman with the white waistcoat was standing at 
the gate with his hands behind him, after having delivered 
himself of some profound sentiments in the board-room. 
Having witnessed the little dispute between Mr. Gamfield 
and the donkey, he smiled joyously when that person came 
up to read the bill, for he saw at once that Mr. Gamfield 

1 6 Oliver Twist 

was exactly the sort of master Oliver Twist wanted. Mr. 
Gamfield smiled, too, as he perused the document; for five 
pounds was just the sum he had been wishing for; and, 
as to the boy with which it was encumbered, Mr. Gamfield, 
knowing what the dietary of the workhouse was, well knew 
he would be a nice small pattern, just the very thing for 
register stoves. So, he spelt the bill through again, from 
beginning to end ; and then, touching his fur cap in token \ 
of humility, accosted the gentleman in the white waistcoat. , 

" This here boy, sir, wot the parish wants to 'prentis,'*' 
said Mr. Gamfield. 

*' Ay, my man," said the gentleman in the white waist- 
coat, with a condescending smile. *' What of him?" 

" If the parish vould like him to learn a right pleasant: 
trade, in a good 'spectable chimbley-sweepin' bisness," said ! 
Mr. Gamfield, ** I wants a 'prentis, and I am ready to take 

*' Walk in," said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. 
Mr. Gamfield having lingered behind, to give the donkey 
another blow on the head, and another wrench of the jaw, 
as a caution not to run away in his absence, followed the 
gentleman with the white waistcoat into the room where 
Oliver had first seen him. 

*' It's a nasty trade," said Mr. Limbklns, when Gamfield 
had again stated his wish. 

* * Young boys have been smothered in chimneys before 
now," said another gentleman. 

** That's acause they damped the straw afore they lit It in i 
the chlmbley to make 'em come down agin," said Gam- 
field ; " that's all smoke, and no blaze ; vereas smoke ain't 
o' no use at all in making a boy come down, for it only 
sinds him to sleep, and that's wot he likes. Boys is wery 
obstinit, and wery lazy, gen'lmen, and there's nothink like: 
a good hot blaze to make 'em come down vlth a run. It's 
humane too, gen'lmen, acause, even If they've stuck in the 
chlmbley, roasting their feet makes 'em struggle to hextri- 
cate thelrselves. " 

The gentleman in the white waistcoat appeared very 
much amused by this explanation ; but his mirth was 
speedily checked by a look from Mr. Limbklns. The 
board then proceeded to converse among themselves for a 
few minutes, but in so low a tone, that the words ** saving 
of expenditure," '* looked well in the accounts," '* have a 
printed report published," were alone audible. These only 

Oliver Twist 17 

chanced to be heard, indeed, on account of their being- 
very frequently repeated with great emphasis. 

At length the whispering ceased ; and the members of 
the board, having resumed their seats and their solemnity,, 
Mr. Limbkins said : 

'* We have considered your proposition, and we don't 
approve of it. ' ' i 

" Not at all," said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. 

** Decidedly not," added the other members. 

As Mr. Gamfield did happen to labour under the slight 
imputation of having bruised three or four boys to death 
already, it occurred to him that the board had, perhaps, in 
some unaccountable freak, taken it into their heads that 
this extraneous circumstance ought to influence their pro- 
:eedings. It was very unlike their general mode of doing 
jusiness, if they had; but still, as he had no particular 
wish to revive the rumour, he twisted his cap in his hands, 
and walked slowly from the table. 

** So you won't let me have him, gen'lmen?" said Mr. 
oramfield, pausing near the door. 

** No," replied Mr. Limbkins; ** at least, as it's a nasty 
)usiness, we think you ought to take something less than 
he premium we offered." 

Mr. Gamfield 's countenance brightened, as, with a quick 
jtep, he returned to the table, and said : 

* What '11 you give, gen'lmen? Come! Don't be too 
lard on a poor man. What'll you give?" 

' I should say, three pound ten was plenty," said Mr. 

' Ten shillings too much," said the gentleman in the 
vhite waistcoat. 

* Come !" said Gamfield; '* say four pound, gen'lmen. 
)av four pound, and you've got rid on him for good and 
11.' There!" 

'* Three pound ten," repeated Mr. Limbkins, firmly. 

"Come! I'll split the difference, gen'lmen," urged 
iamfield. "Three pound fifteen." 

" Not a farthing more," was the firm reply of Mr. 

** You're desperate hard upon me, gen'lmen," said 
ramfield, wavering. 

' Pooh! pooh! nonsense!" said the gentleman in the 
^hite waistcoat. " He'd be cheap with nothing at all, as 

premium. Take him, you silly fellow I He's just the 

1 8 Oliver Twist 

boy foi you. He wants the stick, now and then : it'll 
do him good ; and his board needn't come very expensive, 
for he hasn't been over-fed since he was bom. Ha ! ha ! 

Mr. Gamfield gave an arch look at the faces round the 
table, and, observing a smile on all of them, gradually 
broke into a smile himself. The bargain was made. Mr. 
Bumble was at once instructed that Oliver Twist and his 
indentures were to be conveyed before the magistrate, for 
signature and approval, that very afternoon. 

In pursuance of this determination, little Oliver, to hij 
excessive astonishment, was released from bondage, anc 
ordered to put himself into a clean shirt. He had hardl} 
achieved this very unusual gymnastic performance, wher 
Mr. Bumble brought him, with his own hands, a basin o; 
gruel, and the holiday allowance of two ounces and 
quarter of bread. At this tremendous sight, Oliver begai 
to cry very piteously : thinking, not unnaturally, that th< 
board must have determined to kill him for some usefu 
purpose, or they never would have begun to fatten hin 
up in that way. 

** Don't make your eyes red, Oliver, but eat your foo( 
and be thankful," said Mr. Bumble, in a tone of impreSjH 
sive pomposity. ** You're a going to be made a 'prentic», 
of, Oliver." '^ 

" A 'prentice, sir!" said the child, trembling. 

"Yes, Oliver," said Mr. Bumble. •* The kind am 
blessed gentlemen which is so many parents to you, Oliver 
when you have none of your own : are a going to 'prentio 
you : and to set you up in life, and make a man of you 
although the expense to the parish is three pound ten !— 
three pound ten, Oliver ! — seventy shillins — one hundred s 
and forty sixpences ! — and all for a naughty orphan whicl 
nobody can't love." 

As Mr. Bumble paused to take breath, after delivering 
this address in an awful voice, the tears rolled down th 
poor child's face, and he sobbed bitterly. 

" Come," said Mr. Bumble, somewhat less pompously 
for it was gratifying to his feelings to observe the effect hi 
eloquence had produced ; *' Come, Oliver ! Wipe your eye 
with the cuffs of your jacket, and don't cry into you 
gruel; that's a very foolish action, Oliver." It certain!; 
was, for there was quite enough water in it already. 

On their way to the magistrate, Mr. Bumble instructed J 

i enti 

Oliver Twist 19 

Oliver that all he would have to do, would be to look very 
hiappy, and say, when the gentleman asked him if he 
wanted to be apprenticed, that he should like it very much 
ndeed ; both of which injunctions Oliver promised to obey : 
he rather as Mr. Bumble threw in a gentle hint, that if he 
ailed in either particular, there was no telling what would 
)e done to him. When they arrived at the office, he was 
hut up in a little room by himself, and admonished by 
dr. Bumble to stay there, until he came back to fetch him. 

There the boy remained, with a palpitating heart, for 
lalf an hour. At the expiration of which time Mr. Bumble 
hrust in his head, unadorned with the cocked hat, and 
aid aloud : 

'* Now, Oliver, my dear, come to the gentleman.'* As 
Ar, Bumble said this, he put on k grim and threatening 
3ok, and added, in a low voice, " Mind what I told you, 
ou young rascal !" 

Oliver stared innocently in Mr. Bumble's face at this 
omewhat contradictory style of address ; but that gentle- 
lan prevented his offering any remark thereupon, by lead- 
ig him at once into an adjoining room : the door of which 
7SiS Open. It was a large room, with a great window. 
Jehind a desk, sat two old gentlemen with powdered 
eads : one of whom was reading the newspaper ; while 
he other was perusing, with the aid of a pair of tortoise- 
ell spectacles, a small piece of parchment which lay 
efore him. Mr. Limbkins was standing in front of the 
esk on one side; and Mr. Gamfield, with a partially 
cashed face, on the other ; while two or three bluff-looking 
len, in top-boots, were lounging about. 

The old gentleman with the spectacles gradually dozed 
[f , over the little bit of parchment ; and there was a short 
ause, after Oliver had been stationed by Mr. Bumble in 
ont of the desk. 

*' This is the boy, your worship," said Mr. Bumble. 

The old gentleman who was reading the newspaper 
lised his head for a moment, and pulled the other old 
entieman by the sleeve; whereupon, the last-mentioned 

d gentleman woke up. 

** Oh, is this the boy?" said the old gentleman. 

** This is him, sir," replied Mr. Bumble. ** Bow to the 

aglstrate, my dear." 

Oliver roused himself, and made his best obeisance. He 
id been wondering, with his eyes fixed on the mag is- 

20 Oliver Twist 

trates* powder, whether all boards were born with that 
white stuff on their heads, and were boards from thence- 
forth on that account. 

** Well," said the old gentleman, ** I suppose he's fond 
of chimney-sweeping-?" 

'* He doats on it, your worship," replied Bumble; giving 
Oliver a sly pinch, to intimate that he had better not say 
he did*n't. 

"And he will be a sweep, will he?" inquired the old 

" If we was to bind him to any other trade to-morrow, 
he'd run away simultaneous, your worship," replied 

** And this man that's to be his master — you, sir — you'll 
treat him well, and feed him, and do all that sort of thing, 
will you?" said the old gentleman. 

** When I says I will, I means I will," replied Mr. Gam 
field doggedly. 

"You're a rough speaker, my friend, but you look an 
honest, open-hearted man," said the old gentleman : turn 
ing his spectacles in the direction of the candidate forJ 
Oliver's premium, whose villanous countenance was a' 
regular stamped receipt for cruelty. But the magistrate 
was half blind and half childish, so he couldn't reasonabl) 
be expected to discern what other people did. 

" I hope I am, sir," said Mr. Gamfield, with an uglj 

" I have no doubt you are, my friend," replied the olcfp 
gentleman : fixing his spectacles more firmly on his ncse 
and looking about him for the inkstand. 

It was the critical moment of Oliver's fate. If the ink 
stand had been where the old gentleman thought it was 
he would have dipped his pen into it, and signed the in 
dentures, and Oliver would have been straightway hurriec 
off. But, as it chanced to be immediately under his nose 
it followed, as a matter of course, that he looked all ovei p. 
his desk for it, without finding it; and happening in th< 
course of his search to look straight before him, his gaz<k 
encountered the pale and terrified face of Oliver Twist 
who, despite all the admonitory looks and pinches o.jort 
Bumble, was regarding the repulsive countenance of hi; 
future master, with a mingled expression of horror am pin 
fear, too palpable to be mistaken, even by a half-blinc k\ 
magistrate. eat 

Oliver Twist 21 

The old gentleman stopped, laid down his pen, and 
looked from Oliver to Mr. Limbkins ; who attempted to 
take snuif with a cheerful and unconcerned aspect. 

" My boy!" said the old gentleman, leaning over the 
desk. Oliver started at the sound. He might be excused 
for doing so : for the words were kindly said ; and strange 
sounds frighten one. He trembled violently, and burst 
into tears. • 

** My boy !" said the old gentleman, ** you look pale and 
alarmed. What is the matter?" 

** Stand a little away from him, Beadle," said the other 
nagistrate : laying aside the paper, and leaning forward 
vith an expression of interest. ** Now, boy, tell us what's 
he matter: don't be afraid." 

Oliver fell on his knees, and clasping his hands together, 
)rayed that they would order him back to the dark room — 
hat they would starve him — beat him — kill him if they 
)leased^rather than send him away with that dreadful man. 

** Well !" said Mr. Bumble, raising his hands and eyes 
. ^^ith most impressive solemnity, ** Well ! of all the artful 
r ,nd designing orphans that ever I see, Oliver, you are one 
M the most bare-f acedest. " 

'' Hold your tongue, Beadle," said the second old gentle- 
lan, when Mr. Bumble had given vent to this compound 

' I beg your worship's pardon," said Mr. Bumble, in- 
redulous of his having heard aright. ** Did your worship 
peak to me?" 

*' Yes. Hold your tongue." 

Mr. Bumble was stupefied with astonishment. A beadle 
|(|rdered to hold his tongue ! A moral revolution ! 
s The old gentleman in the tortoise-shell spectacles looked 
njt his companion ; he nodded significantly. 
e{ ** We refuse to sanction these indentures," said the old 
;e entleman : tossing aside the piece of parchment as he 
ti >oke. 

ji, ** I hope," stammered Mr. Limbkins; "I hope the 
jj agistrates will not form the opinion that the authorities 
■I ive been guilty of any improper conduct, on the unsup- 
5 >rted testimony of a mere child." 

g ** The magistrates are not called upon to pronounc<i any 
j„ )inion on the matter," said the second old gentleman 
id larply. " Take the boy back to the workhouse, and 
eat him kindly. He seems to want it." 

22 Oliver Twist 

That same evening, the gentleman in the white waist- 
coat most positively and decidedly affirmed, not only thai 
Oliver would be hung, but that he would be drawn and 
quartered into the bargain. Mr. Bumble shook his heac 
with gloomy mystery, and said he wished he might come 
to good; whereunto Mr. Gamfield replied, that he wishec 
he might come to him ; which, although he agreed witt 
the beadle in most matters, would seem to be a wish of i 
totally opposite description. 

The next morning, the public were once more informec 
that Oliver Twist was again To Let, and that five pounds 
would be paid to anybody who would take possession 
of him. 



In great families, when an advantageous place cannot b- 
obtained, either in possession, reversion, remainder, o 
expectancy, for the young man who is gowing up, it i. 
a very general custom to send him to sea. The board, if 
imitation of so wise and salutary an example, took counse' 
together on the expediency of shipping off Oliver Twist, i; 
some small trading vessel bound to a good unhealthy port 
This suggested itself as the very best thing that coulc 
possibly be done with him : the probability being, that th 
skipper would flog him to death, in a playful mood, somi 
day after dinner, or would knock his brains out with ai 
iron bar ; both pastimes being, as is pretty generally known 
very favourite and common recreations among gentlemei 
of that class. The more the case presented itself to th 
board, in this point of view, the more manifold the advan 
tages of the step appeared ; so, they came to the conclu 
sion that the only way of providing for Oliver effectually 
was to send him to sea without delay. 

Mr. Bumble had been despatched to make various pre 
liminary inquiries, with the view of finding out some cap 
tain or other who wanted a cabin-boy without any friends 
and was returning to the workhouse to communicate th 
result of his mission; when he encountered at the gate 

Oliver Twist 23 

10 less a person than Mr. Sowerberry, the parochial under- 

Mr. Sowerberry was a tall, gaunt, large-jointed man, 
ittired in a suit of threadbare black, with darned cotton 
rtockings of the same colour, and shoes to answer. His 
eatures were not naturally intended to wear a smiling 
ispect, but he was in general rather given to professional 
ocosity. His step was elastic, and his face betokened 
nward pleasantry, as he advanced to Mr. Bumble, and 
hook him cordially by the hand. 

I have taken the measure of the two women that died 
ast night, Mr. Bumble," said the undertaker. 

You'll make your fortune, Mr. Sowerberry," said the 
eadle, as he thrust his thumb and forefing-er into the 
roffered snuff-box of the undertaker : which was an in- 
enious little model of a patent coffin. " I say you'll make 
our fortune, Mr. Sowerberry," repeated Mr. Bumble, 
apping the undertaker on the shoulder, in a friendly 
lanner, with his cane. 

" Think so?" said the undertaker in a tone which half 

dmitted and half disputed the probability of the event. 

The prices allowed by the board are very small, Mr. 

umble. " 

* So are the coffins," replied the beadle : with precisely 

near an approach to a laugh as a great official ought to 

dulge in. 

Mr. Sowerberry was much tickled at this : as of course 
ought to be; and laughed a long time without ces- 
ition. ** Well, well, Mr. Bumble," he said at length, 
there *s no denying that, since the new system of feeding 
is come in, the coffins are something narrower and more 
lallow than they used to be; but we must have some 
ofit, Mr. Bumble. Well-seasoned timber is an expen- 
\re article, sir; and all the iron handles come, by canal, 
3m Birmingham." 

Well, well," said Mr. Bumble, "every trade has its 
awbacks. A fair profit is, of course, allowable." 
** Of course, of course," replied the undertaker; '* and 
I don't get a profit upon this or that particular article,, 
ly, I make it up in the long-run, you see — ^he ! he I 

"Just so," said Mr. Bumble. 

'Though I must say," continued the undertaker, rr- 
i,j^"ning the current of observations which the beadle had 

i24 Oliver Twist 

interrupted : ** thoug-h I must say, Mr. Bumble, that I 
have to contend against one very great disadvantage : 
which is, that all the stout people go off the quickest. Th( 
people who have been better off, and have paid rates^ 
for many years, are the first to sink when they come 
into the house ; and let me tell you, Mr. Bumble, thai, 
three or four inches over one's calculation makes a greaij 
hole in one's profits; especially when one has a family tc 
provide for, sir." 

As Mr. Sowerberry said this, with the becoming indig 
nation of an ill-used man ; and as Mr. Bumble felt thai 
it rather tended to convey a reflection on the honour of th< 
parish ; the latter gentleman thought it advisable to change 
the subject. Oliver Twist being uppermost in his mind. 
he made him his theme. 

'* By the bye," said Mr. Bumble, " you don't know any 
body who wants a boy, do you? A porochial 'prentis, whc 
is at present a deadweight; a millstone, as I may say 
round the porochial throat? Liberal terms, Mr. Sower 
berry, liberal terms!" As Mr. Bumble spoke, he raisec 
his cane to the bill above him, and gave three distinq 
raps upon the words '* five pounds:" which were printec^ 
thereon in Roman capitals of a gigantic size. 

^* Gadso !" said the undertaker : taking Mr. Bumble b} 
the gilt-edged lappel of his official coat; '* that's just tht 
very thing I wanted to speak to you about. You know- 
dear me, what a very elegant button this is, Mr. Bumble ( 
I never noticed it before." 

** Yes, I think it is rather pretty," said the beadle 
glancing proudly downwards at the large brass button.' 
which embellished his coat. '* The die is the same as th) 
porochial seal — the Good Samaritan healing the sick ant 
bruised man. The board presented it to me on New-year 'j 
morning, Mr. Sowerberry. 1 put it on, 1 remember, f6:u 
the first time, to attend the inquest on that reduced trades 
man, who died in a doorway at midnight." 

*' I recollect," said the undertaker. '* The jury brough 
it in, * Died from exposure to the cold, and want of th«f( 
common necessaries of life,' didn't they?" 

Mr. Bumble nodded. 

" And they made it a special verdict, I think," said th4 
undertaker, ** by adding some words to the effect, that i o 
the relieving officer had " 

** Tush ! Foolery!" interposed the beadle. *' If th(fi 

Oliver Twist 25 

»oard attended to all the nonsense that ignorant jurymen 
alk, they'd have enough to do." 

"Very true,** said the undertaker; "they would 

Juries," said Mr. Bumble, grasping his cane tightly^ 
s was his wont when working into a passion ; " juries is 
aeddicated, vulgar, grovelling wretches." 
' So they are," said the undertaker. 
* They haven't no more philosophy nor political economy 
bout 'em than that," said the beadle, snapping his fingers- 

" No more they have," acquiesced the undertaker. 

" I despise 'em," said the beadle, growing very red m 
he face. 

So do I," rejoined the undertaker. 
And I only wish we'd a jury of the independent sort,^ 
1 the house for a week or two," said the beadle; *' the 
ules and regulations of the board would soon bring their 
pirit down for 'em." 

" Let 'em alone for that," replied the undertaker. So 
aying, he smiled, approvingly : to calm the rising wrath 
f the indignant parish officer. 

Mr. Bumble lifted off his cocked hat; took a handker- 
liief from the inside of the crown; wiped from his forc- 
ead the perspiration which his rage had engendered ; fixed 
le cocked hat on again ; and, turning to the undertaker, 
aid in a calmer voice : 

" Well; what about the boy?" 

" Oh!" replied the undertaker; ** why, you know, Mr, 
umble, I pay a good deal towards the ooor's rates." 

" Hem !" said Mr. Bumble. " Well?" 

** Well," replied the undertaker, " I was thinking that 

I pay so much towards 'em, I've a right to get as much 
Jt of 'em as I can, Mr. Bumble ; and so — and so — I think 

11 take the boy myself." 

Mr. Bumble grasped the undertaker by the arm, and led 

m into the building. Mr. Sowerberry was closeted with 
le board for five minutes ; and it was arranged that Oliver 
lould go to him that evening ** upon liking " — a phrase 
hich means, in the case of a parish apprentice, that if 
je master find, upon a short trial, that he can get enough 
ork out of a boy without putting too much food into him, 
? shall have him for a term of years, to do what he likcte 


26 Oliver Twist 

When little Oliver was taken before " the gentlemen 
that evening ; and informed that he was to go, that nighi 
as general house-lad to a coffin-maker's; and that if h 
complained of his situation, or ever came back to the paris|„ 
again, he would be sent to sea, there to be drowned, c 
knocked on the head, as the case might be, he evinced s 
little emotion, that they by common consent pronounce 
him a hardened young rascal, and ordered Mr. Bumbl^ j 
to remove him forthwith. 

Now, although it was very natural that the board, of a 
people in the world, should feel in a great state of virti 
ous astonishment and horror at the smallest tokens 
want of feeling on the part of anybody, they were rathe 
out, in this particular instance. The simple fact was, tha 
Oliver, instead of possessing too little feeling, possesse 
rather too much ; and was in a fair way of being reduced 
for life, to a state of brutal stupidity and sullenness by th 
ill-usage he had received. He heard the news of his des 
tination, in perfect silence; and, having had his luggag 
put into his hand — which was not very difficult to carrj 
inasmuch as it was all comprised within the limits of 
brown paper parcel, about half a foot square by three inche^ 
deep — he pulled his cap over his eyes; and once mor 
attachmg mmself to Mr. Bumble's coat cuff, was led awa;| 
by that dignitary to a new scene of suffering. 

For some time, Mr. Bumble drew Oliver along, withou 
notice or remark; for the beadle carried his head ver;i 
erect, as a beadle always should : and, it being a wind 
day, little Oliver was completely enshrouded by the skirti 
of Mr. Bumble's coat as they blew open, and disclosec 
to great advantage his flapped waistcoat and drab plusl 
knee-breeches. As they drew near to their destination 
however, Mr. Bumble thought it expedient to look down 
and see that the boy was in good order for inspection b} 
his new master : which he accordingly did, with a fit ant 
becoming air of gracious patronage. 

"Oliver!" said Mr. Bumble. 

** Yes, sir," replied Oliver, in a low, tremulous voice. 

** Pull that cap off your eyes, and hold up your head 

Although Oliver did as he was desired, at once; an< 
passed the back of his unoccupied hand briskly across hi: 
eyes, he left a tear in them when he looked up at hii 
conductor. As Mr. Bumble gazed sternly upon him, i 

Oliver Twist 2"] ^^ 

3lled down his cheek. It was followed by another, and 
nother. The child made a strong effort, but it was an 
nsuccessful one. Withdrawing his other hand from Mr. 
tumble's, he covered his face with both; and wept until 
le tears sprung out from between his chin and bony 
*'Well!" exclaimed Mr. Bumble, stopping short, and 
arting at his little charge a look of intense maligi/ity. 
Well ! Of all the ungratefullest, and worst-disposed 

3ys as ever I see, Oliver, you are the " 

** No, no, sir," sobbed Oliver, clinging to the hand which 
sld the well-known cane; "no, no, sir; I will be good 
ideed ; indeed, indeed I will, sir ! I am a very little boy, 

r; and it is so — so " 

** So what?" inquired Mr. Bumble in amazement. 
"So lonely, sir! So very lonely!" cried the child. 
Everybody hates me. Oh ! sir, don't, don't pray be 
oss to me !" The child beat his hands upon his heart ; and 
oked in his companion's face, with tears of real agony. 
Mr. Bumble regarded Oliver's piteous and helpless look, 
Tth some astonishment, for a few seconds ; hemmed three 
' four times in a husky manner; and, after muttering 
►mething about "that troublesome cough," bade Oliver 
■y his eyes and be a good boy. Then once more taking 
s hand, he walked on with him in silence. 
The undertaker, who had just put up the shutters of 
s shop, was making some entries in his day-book by the 
►•ht of a most appropriate dismal candle, when Mr. 
imble entered. 

" Aha !" said the undertaker : looking up from the book, 
id pausing in the middle of a word; "is that you, 

" No one else, Mr. Sowerberry," replied the beadle. 
Here! I've brought the boy." Oliver made a bow. 
" Oh ! that's the boy, is it?" said the undertaker : rais- 
jf the candle above his head, to get a better view of 
iver, " Mrs. Sowerberry, will you have the goodness 
come here a moment, my dear?" 

d Mrs. Sowerberry emerged from a little room behind the 
op, and presented the form of a short, thin, squeezed-up 

II >man, with a vixenish countenance. 

li " My dear," said Mr. Sowerberry, deferentially, " this 
the boy from the workhouse that I told you of. ' * Oliver 

i wed again. 

28 Oliver Twist 

"Dear me!'* said the undertaker's wife, "he's vei 

"Why, he is rather small," replied Mr. Bumble: loo!^ 
ing at Oliver as if it were his fault that he was no h'lggei 
" he is small. There's no denying it. But he'll gro\ 
Mrs. Sowerberry — he'll grow." 

" Ah ! I dare say he will," replied the lady pettishl; 
*' on our victuals and our drink. I see no saving in paris 
children, not I ; for they always cost more to keep, th; 
they're worth. However, men always think they kno 
best. There I Get down stairs, little bag o' bones. 
With this, the undertaker's wife opened a side door, ar 
pushed Oliver down a steep flight of stairs into a stor 
cell, damp and dark : forming the ante-room to the coai 
cellar, and denominated "kitchen:" wherein sat a slai 
ternly girl, in shoes down at heel, and blue worsted stocl 
ings very much out of repair. 

" Here, Charlotte," said Mrs. Sowerberry, who ha^ 
followed Oliver down, " give this boy some of the co! 
bits that were put by for Trip. He hasn't come hour: 
since the morning, so he may go without 'em. I dare se 
the boy isn't too dainty to eat 'em, — are you, boy?" 

Oliver, whose eyes had glistened at the mention 
meat, and who was trembling with eagerness to devour il 
replied in the negative ; and a plateful of coarse broke) 
victuals was set before him. 

I wish some well-fed philosopher, whose meat and drio 
turn to gall within him ; whose blood is ice, whose heart 
iron ; could have seen Oliver Twist clutching at the daint 
viands that the dog had neglected. I wish he could ha^ 
witnessed the horrible avidity with which Oliver tore it 
bits asunder with all the ferocity of famine. There is onl! 
one thing I should like better; and that would be to se 
the Philosopher making the same sort of meal himsel 
with the same relish. 

"Well," said the undertaker's wife, when Oliver ha 
finished his supper : which she had regarded in siler 
horror, and with fearful auguries of his future appetite 
" have you done?" 

There being nothing eatable within his reach, 01iv< 
replied in the affirmative. * 

" Then come with me," said Mrs. Sowerberry: takin 
up a dim and dirty lamp, and leading the way up stairs 
" your bed's under the counter. You don't mind sleepin 

Oliver Twist 29 

mong the coffins, I suppose? But it doesn't much matter 
i^hether ypu do or don't, for you can't sleep anywhere else, 
^ome ; don't keep me here all night!" 

Oliver lingered no longer, but meekly followed his new 



►liver, being left to himself in the undertaker's shop, 
et the lamp down on a workman's bench, and gazed 
midly about him with a feeling of awe and dread, which 
lany people a good deal older than he, will be at no loss 
► understand. An unfinished coffin on black tressels, 
hich stood in the middle of the shop, looked so gloomy 
nd death-like that a cold tremble came over him, every 
me his eyes wandered in the direction of the disnl^l 
bject : from which he almost expected to see some fright- 

oil form slowly rear its head, to drive him mad with terror, 
gainst the wall were ranged, in regular array, a long row 
f elm boards cut into the same shape : looking in the dim 
ght, like high-shouldered ghosts with their hands in their 

n reeches-pockets. Coffin-plates, elm-chips, bright-headed 
ails, and shreds of black cloth, lay scattered on the floor; 
nd the wall behind the counter was ornamented with a 

^ vely representation of two mutes in vei-y stiff neckcloths, 
ti duty at a large private door, with a hearse drawn by 
ur black steeds, approaching in the distance. The shop 
as close and hot. The atmosphere seemed tainted with 
5€ smell of coffins. The recess beneath the counter in 
hich his flock mattress was thrust looked like a grave. 
Nor were these the only dismal feelings which depressed 
•liver. He was alone in a strange place ; and we all know 
ow chilled and desolate the best of us will sometimes feeJ 
such a situation. The boy had no friends to care for, 
• to care for him. The regret of no recent separation 
as fresh in his mind ; the absence of no loved and well- 

Ipfemembered face sank heavily into his heart. But his 

rj eart was heavy, notwithstanding ; and he wished, as he 
ept into his narrow bed, that that were his coffin, and 

30 Oliver Twist 

that he could be lain in a calm and lasting sleep in the" 
church-yard ground, with the tall grass wavinij^ gentlyf' 
above his head, and the sound of the old deep bell to soothe 
him in his sleep. 

Oliver was awakened in the morning, by a loud kicking" 
at the outside of the shop-door ; which, before he could 
huddle on his clothes, was repeated, in an angry and 
impetuous manner, about twenty-five times. When he 
began to undo the chain, the legs desisted, and a voic€^ 

** Open the door, will yer?" cried the voice which be-" 
longed to the legs which had kicked at the door. 

'* I will, directly, sir," replied Oliver : undoing the chain 
and turning the key. 

'* I suppose yer the new boy, ain't yer?" said the voic^' 
through the key-hole. 

" Yes, sir," replied Oliver. 

" How old are yer?" inquired the voice. 

" Ten, sir," replied Oliver. 

"Then I'll whop yer when I get in," said the voice;" 
'* you just see if I don't, that's all, my work 'us brat !" anci*' 
having made this obliging promise, the voice began tcf 
whistle. r 

Oliver had been too often subjected to the process tcj 
which the very expressive monosyllable just recorded bearff 
reference, to entertain the smallest doubt that the ownerl 
of the voice, whoever he might be, would redeem hisi 
pledge, most honourably. He drew back the bolts with af 
trembling hand, and opened the door. ^! 

For a second or two, Oliver glanced up the street, anc^ 
down the street, and over the way : impressed with thef 
belief that the unknown, who had addressed him through} 
the keyhole, had walked a few paces off, to warm himself ;; 
for nobody did he see but a big charity-boy, sitting on a 
post in front of the house, eating a slice of bread and 
butter: which he cut into wedges, the size of his mouth, 
with a clasp knife, and then consumed with great dexterity. " 

** I beg your pardon, sir," said Oliver at length: see-^' 
ing that no other visitor made his appearance; " did youf, 

■* I kicked," replied the charity-boy. 

** Did you want a coffin, sir?" inquired Oliver, inno- 

At this the charity-boy looked monstrous fierce; and 

Oliver Twist 31 

aid that Oliver would want one before long, if he cut jokes 
7ith his superiors in that v/ay. 

Yer don't know who I am, I suppose, Work'us?" 
aid the charity-boy, in continuation : descending from the 
3p of the post, meanwhile, with edifying gravity. 
*' No, sir," rejoined Oliver. 

"I'm Mister Noah Claypole," said the charity-boy, 
and you're under me. Take down the shutters," yer idle 
oung ruffian!" With this, Mr. Claypole administered a 
ick to Oliver, and entered the shop with a dignified air, 
^hich did him great credit. It is difficult for a large- 
eaded, small-eyed youth, of lumbering make and heavy 
Duntenance, to look dignified under any circumstances ; 
ut it is more especially so, when superadded to these 
ersonal attractions are a red nose and yellow smalls. 
Oliver, having taken down the shutters, and broken a 
ane of glass in his efforts to stagger away beneath the 
'eight of the first one to a small court at the side of the 
ouse in which they were kept during the day, was 
raciously assisted by Noah : who having consoled him 
ith the assurance that *' he'd catch it," condescended 
) help him. Mr. Sowerberry came down soon after, 
hortly afterwards, Mrs. Sowerberry appeared. Oliver 
aving "caught it," in fulfilment of Noah's prediction, 
)llowed that young gentleman down the stairs to breakfast. 
'* Come near the fire, Noah," said Charlotte. " I saved 
nice little bit of bacon for you from master's breakfast, 
'liver, shut that door at Mister Noah's back, and take 
lem bits that I've put out on the cover of the bread-pan. 
here's your tea; take it away to that box, and drink it 
lere, and make haste, for they'll want you to mind the 
lop. D'ye hear?" 

D'ye hear, Work'us?" said Noah Claypole. 

Lor, Noah!" said Charlotte, "what a rum creature 
DU are ! Why don't you let the boy alone?" 

Let him alone!" said Noah. "Why everybody lets 
im alone enough, for the matter of that. Neither his 
ither nor his mother will ever interfere with him. All his 
ilations let him have his own way pretty well. Eh, 
harlotte? He! he! he!" 

Oh, you queer soul !" said Charlotte, bursting into a 
earty laugh, in which she was joined by Noah; after 
hich they both looked scornfully at poor Oliver Twist, 
; he sat shivering on the box in the coldest corner of the 

32 Oliver Twist ) 

room, and ate the stale pieces which had been specially 
reserved for him. 

Noah was a charity-boy, but not a workhouse orphan. 
No chance-child was he, for he could trace his genealogy 
all the way back to his parents, who lived hard by; his 
mother being a washerwoman, and his father a drunken 
soldier, discharged with a wooden leg, and a diurnal pension 
of twopence-halfpenny and an unstateable fraction. The 
shop-boys in the neighbourhood had long been in the habil 
of branding Noah, in the public streets, with the ignomini- 
ous epithets of "leathers," "charity," and the like; anc 
Noah had borne them without reply. But, now that for- 
tune had cast in his way a nameless orphan, at whom ever 
the meanest could point the finger of scorn, he retorted 
on him with interest. \ This affords charming food for con- 
templation. It shows us what a beautiful thing human 
nature may be made to be; and how impartially the same 
amiable qualities ai;e developed in the finest lord and the 
dirtiest charity-boy/) 

Oliver had b^eTTsojourning at the undertaker's some 
three weeks or a month. Mr. and Mrs. Sowerberry — the 
shop being shut up — were taking their supper in the little 
back-parlour, when Mr. Sowerberry, after several defer- 
ential glances at his wife, said, 

" My dear — " He was going to say more; but, Mrs. 
Sowerberry looking up, with a peculiarly unpropitious 
aspect, he stopped short. 

" Well," said Mrs. Sowerberry, sharply. 

*' Nothing, my dear, nothing," said Mr. Sowerberry. 

** Ugh, you brute !" said Mrs. Sowerberry. 

"Not at all, my dear," said Mr. Sowerberry humbly. 
** I thought you didn't want to hear, my dear. I wa£ 
only going to say " 

" Oh, don't tell me what you were going to say," inter 
posed Mrs. Sowerberry. "I am nobody; don't consult 
me, pray. 7 don't want to intrude upon your secrets." Aj 
Mrs. Sowerberry said this, she gave an hysterical laugh 
which threatened violent consequences. i 

" But, -ny dear," said Sowerberry, " I want to ask youi 

" No, no, don't ask mine," replied Mrs. Sowerberry, ir 
an affecting manner: "ask somebody else's." Here 
there was another hysterical laugh, which frightened Mr 
Sowerberry very much. This is a very common and much 

Oliver Twist 33 

approved matrimonial course of treatment, which is often 
very effective. It at once reduced Mr. Sowerberry to 
begging, as a special favour, to be allowed to say what 
Mrs. Sowerberry was most curious to hear. After a short 
altercation of less than three quarters of an hour's duration, 
the permission was most graciously conceded. 

'* It's only about young Twist, my dear," said Mr. 
Sowerberry. ** A very good-looking boy, that, my dear." 

*' He need be, for he eats enough," observed the lady. 

** There's an expression of melancholy in his face, my 
dear," resumed Mr. Sowerberry, ** which is very interest- 
ing. He would make a delightful mute, my love." 

Mrs. Sowerberry looked up with an expression of con- 
siderable wonderment. Mr. Sowerberry remarked it; and, 
without allowing time for any observation on the good 
lady's part, proceeded. 

** I don't mean a regular mute to attend grown-up people, 
my dear, but only for children's practice. It would be very 
new to have a mute in proportion, my dear. You may 
depend upon it, it would have a superb effect." 

Mrs. Sowerberry, who had a good deal of taste in the 
undertaking way, was much struck by the novelty of this 
idea ; but, as it would have been compromising her dignity 
to have said so, under existing circumstances, she merely 
inquired, with much sharpness, why such an obvious sug- 
gestion had not presented itself to her husband's mind 
before? Mr. Sowerberry rightly construed this, as an 
acquiescence in his proposition ; it was speedily determined, 
therefore, that Oliver should be at once initiated into the 
mysteries of the trade ; and, with this view, that he should 
accompany his master on the very next occasion of his 
services being required. 

The occasion was not long in coming. Half an hour after 
breakfast next morning, Mr. Bumble entered the shop; 
and supporting his cane against the counter, drew forth 
his large leathern pocket-book : from which he selected a 
small scrap of paper, which he handed over to Sowerberry. 

"Aha!" said the undertaker, glancing over it with a 
lively countenance ; '* an order for a coffin, eh?" 

** For a coffin first, and a porochial funeral afterwards," 
replied Mr. Bumble, fastening the strap of the leathern 
pocket-book : which, like himself, was very corpulent. 

** Bayton," said the undertaker, looking from the scrap 
of paper to Mr. Bumble. " I never heard the name before. " 


34 Oliver Twist 

Bumble shook his head, as he replied, " Obstinate 
people, Mr. Sowerberry; very obstinate. Proud, too, I'm 
afraid, sir." 

" Proud, eh?" exclaimed Mr. Sowerberry with a sneer. 
" Come, that's too much." 

** Oh, it's sickening," replied the beadle. ** Antimonial, 
Mr. Sowerberry ! " 

** So it is," acquiesced the undertaker. 
*• We only heard of the family the night before last," said 
the beadle; " and we shouldn't have known anything about 
them, then, 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. He had gone out to dinner ; but his 'prentice (which 
is a very clever lad) sent 'em some medicine in a blacking- 
bottle, off-hand." 

" Ah, there's promptness," said the undertaker. 
** Promptness, indeed !" replied the beadle. *' But what's 
the consequence; what's the ungrateful behaviour of these 
rebels, sir? Why, the husband sends back word that the 
medicine won't suit his wife's complaint, and so she shan't 
take it — says she shan't take it, sir ! Good, strong, whole- 
some medicine, as was given with great success to two 
Irish labourers and a coalheaver, only a week before — 
sent 'em for nothing, with a blackin '-bottle in, — and he I 
sends back word that she shan't take it, sir !" 

As the atrocity presented itself to Mr. Bumble's mind 
in full force, he struck the counter sharply with his cane, 
and became flushed with indignation. 

** Well," said the undertaker, '* I ne — ver — did " i 

"Never did, sir!" ejaculated the beadle. "No, nor 
nobody never did; but, now she's dead, we've got to bury 
her ; and that's the direction ; and the sooner it's done, the ijp 

Thus saying, Mr. Bumble put on his cocked hat wrong 'jT 
side first, in a fever of parochial excitement ; and flounced 
out of the shop. 

" 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. j|0] 

*' Yes, sir," replied Oliver, who had carefully kept him- 
self 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 have taken the 


Oliver Twist 35 

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^earch. Thejiouses 
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 denoted, 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 firmlv 
olanted in the road ; but even these crazy dens seemed to 
lave been selected as the nightly haunts of some houseless 
wretches, for many of the rough boards which supplied 
he place of door and window, were wrenched from their 
positions, to afford an aperture wide enough for the passage 
)f a human body. The kennel was stagnant and filthy. 
The very ratSj which here and there lay putrefying in its 
'ottenness, were hideous with famine. 

There was neither knocker nor bell-handle at the open 
loor where Oliver and his master stopped ; so, groping 
lis way cautiously through the dark passage, and bidding 
)liver keep close to him and not be afraid, the undertaker 
nounted to the top of the first flight of stairs. Stumbling 
igainst a door on the landing, he rapped at it with his 

It was opened by a young girl of thirteen or fourteen. 


Oliver Twist 

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, /in 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, sorrietbing covered with an old blanket. 
Oliver shuddered as he cast his eyes towards 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 bloodshot. 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 afraid 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 

" 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 i 
worms would worry her — not eat her — she is so worn j 
away. * ' 

The undertaker offered no reply to this raving ; but pro- 
ducing 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, 

Oliver Twist 37 

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 

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 unloosed the cravat of the man who still remained 
extended on the ground, she tottered towards the 

*' She was my daughter,*' said the old woman, nodding 
her head in the direction of the corpse ; and speaking with 
an idiotic leer, aiore ghastly than even the presence of 
death in suc h_a_place. *' Lord, Lord ! Well it is strange 
that I who'^ave birth to her, and was a woman then, 
should be alive and merry now, and she lying there : so 
cold and stiff! Lord, Lord ! — to think of it; it's as good) 
as a play — as good as a play !" r- — ^ 

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 to-morrow, 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 re- 
turned to the miserable abode; where Mr. Bumble had 
already arrived, accompanied by four men from the work- 
house, 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 arc 

38 Oliver Twist 

rather late; and it won't do, to keep th3 clergyman wait- 
ing. Move on, my m«n, — 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 Jn which the 
nettles grew, and where tKe^paris^r graves were mad^e, 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 per- 
sonal 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 ot 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!" 

!i ( It was no very difficult task ; for the grave was so full, 

>^fthat 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, 

Oliver Twist 39 

stared at the person who had addressed him, walked for- 
ward 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 nome, 

how do you like it?" 

** Pretty well, thank you, sir," replied Oliver, with con- 
siderable hesitation. ** Not very much, sir." 

" Ah, you'll get used to it in time, Oliver," said Sower- 
berry. ** 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. 



The month's trial over, Oliver was formally apprenticed. 
It was a nice sickly season just at this time. In com- 
nercial phrase, coffins were looking up; and, in the course 
Df a few weeks, Oliver acquired a great deal of experience. 
rhe success of Mr. Sowerberry 's ingenious speculation, 

xceeded even his most sanguine hopes. The oldest in- 
habitants recollected no period at which measles had been 
50 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 indescrib- 
able admiration and emotion of all the mothers in the town. 
As Oliver acompanied his master in most of his adult 

xpeditions, too, in order that he might acquire that 
equanimity of demeanour and full command of nerve which 
are essential to a finished undertaker, he had many oppor- 
tunities of observing the beautiful resignation and fortitude 
with which some strong-minded people bear their trials 
and losses. 

40 Oliver Twist 

For instance; when Sowerberry had an order for the 
burial of some rich old lady or gentleman, who was sur- 
rounded 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 them- 
selves as need be — quije cheerful and contented — con vers - 
Tng^together with asjnuch freedom and gaiety, as if nothing 
whatever had happened to disturb them. Husbands, too, 
bor€ 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 confi- 
dence ; 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 hat-band, 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. Sower-j 
berry 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. 
__„,J^And now I come to a very important passage in Oliver's 
Cl.history ; for I have to record an act, slight and unimportant 
perhaps in appearance, but which indirectly produced i 
material change in all his future prospects and proceedings 

One day, Oliver and Noah had descended into the kitchen 
at the usual dinner-hour, 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 

Oliver Twist 41 

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 other topics of petty 
annoyance, like a malicious and ill-conditioned charity-boy 
as he was. But, none of these taunts producing the desired 
effect of making Oliver cry, Noah attempted to be more 
facetious still ; and in this attempt, did what many small 
wits, with far greater reputations than Noah, sometimes do 
to this day, when they want to be funny. He got rather 
person aL__ 

" Work 'us," said Noah, ** how's your mother?" 

** She's dead," repHed 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 pre- 
cursor 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, hastily brushing the tear 
away. ** Don't think it." 

'* Oh, not me, eh !" sneered Noah. 

" No, 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 

42 Oliver Twist 

'* 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'm 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 

" 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 labour- 
ing 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, mild, de- 
jected 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 that 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 Hfe, 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 ^ scream, for 
the benefit of society. 

Charlotte's fist was by no means a light one; but, lest it 

Oliver Twist 43 

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, struggUng 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. 

** Bless her, she's going off !" said Charlotte. ** A glass 
of water, Noah, dear. Make haste!" 

** Oh ! Charlotte," said Mrs. Sowerberry; speaking as 

I well as she could, through a deficiency of breath, and a 

sufficiency of cold water, which Noah had poured over her 

head and shoulders. '* Oh ! Charlotte, what a mercy we 

have not all been murdered in our beds !" 

** Ah ! mercy indeed, ma'am," was the reply. " I only 
hope this '11 teach master not to have any more of these 
dreadful creaturs, that are born to be murderers and rob- 
bers from their very cradle. Poor Noah ! He was all 
but killed, ma'am, when I come in." 

** Poor fellow !" said Mrs. Sowerberry : looking piteously 
on the charity-boy. 

Noah, whose top waistcoat-button might have been 
somewhere on a level with the crown of Oliver's head, 
rubbed his eyes with the inside of his wrists while this 
commiseration was bestowed upon him, and performed 
some affecting tears and sniffs. 

"What's to be done!" exclaimed Mrs. Sowerberry. 
"Your master's not at home; there's not a man in the 
house, and he'll kick that door down in ten minutes." 
Oliver's vigorous plunges against the bit of timber in 
question, rendered this occurrence highly probable. 

"Dear, dear! I don't know, ma'am," said Charlotte, 
" unless we send for the police-officers." 
^" Or the millingtary," suggested Mr. Claypole. 
" No, no," said Mrs. Sowerberry : bethinking herself of 
Oliver's old friend. " Run to Mr. Bumble, Noah, and tell 
him to come here directly, and not to lose a minute ; never 
mind your cap ! Make haste ! You can hold a knife to 
that black eye, as you run along. It'll keep the swelling 

44 Oliver Twist 

Noah stopped to make no reply, but started off at his 
fullest speed ; and very much it astonished the people who 
were out walking-, to see a charity-boy tearing through the 
streets pell-mell, with no cap on his head, and a clasp-knife 
at his eve. 



Noah Claypole ran along the streets at his swiftest pace, 
and paused not once for breath, until he reached the work- 
house-gate. Having rested here, for a minute or so, to 
collect a good burst of sobs and an imposing show of tears 
and terror, he knocked loudly at the wicket ; and presented 
such a rueful face to the aged pauper who opened it, that 
even he, who saw nothing but rueful faces about him at 
the best of times, started back in astonishment. 

" Why, what's the matter with the boy !" said the old 

"Mr. Bumble! Mr. Bumble!" cried Noah, with well- 
affected dismay : and in tones so loud and agitated, that 
they not only caught the ear of Mr. Bumble himself, who 
happened to be hard by, but alarmed him so much that he 
rushed into the yard without his cocked hat, — which is 
a very curious and remarkable circumstance : as showing 
that even a beadle, acted upon by a sudden and powerful 
impulse, may be afflicted with a momentary visitation of 
loss oi self-possession, and forgetfulness of personal 

"Oh, Mr. Bumble, sir!" said Noah: ** Oliver, sir,— 
Oliver has " 

"What? W^hat?" interposed Mr. Bumble: with a 
gleam of pleasure in his metallic eyes: ** Not run away; 
he hasn't run away, has he, Noah?" 

" No, sir, no. Not run away, sir, but he's turned 
wicious," replied Noah. " He tried to murder me, sir; 
and then he tried to murder Charlotte ; and then missis. 
Oh ! what dreadful pain it is ! Such agony, please, sir !" 
And here, Noah writhed and twisted his body into an ex- 
tensive variety of eel-like positions ; thereby giving Mr. 
Bumble to understand that, from the violent and sanguin- 

Oliver Twist 45 

ary onset of Oliver Twist, he had sustained severe internal 
injury and damage, from which he was at that moment 
suffering the acutest torture. 

When Noah saw that the intelligence he communicated 
perfectly paralysed Mr. Bumble, he imparted additional 
effect thereunto, by bewailing his dreadful wounds ten 
times louder than before ; and when he observed a gentle- 
man in a white waistcoat crossing the yard, he was more 
tragic in his lamentations than ever : rightly conceiving 
it highly expedient to attract the notice, and rouse the 
indignation, of the gentleman aforesaid. 

The gentleman's notice was very soon attracted; foi he 
had not walked three paces, when he turned angrily round, 
and inquired what that young cur was howling for, and 
why Mr. Bumble did not favour him with something which 
would render the series of vocular exclamations so desig- 
nated, an involuntary process? 

** It's a poor boy from the free-school, sir," replied 
Mr. Bumble, '* who has been nearly murdered — all but 
murdered, sir, — by young Twist." 

"By Jove!" exclaimed the gentleman in the white 
waistcoat, stopping short. " I knew it ! I felt a strange 
presentiment from the very first, that that audacious young 
savage would come to be hung!" 

" He has likewise attempted, sir, to murder the female 
servant," said Mr. Bumble, with a face of ashy paleness. 

'* And his missis," interposed Mr. Claypole. 

** And his master, too, I think you said, Noah?" added 
Mr. Bumble. 

" No ! he's out, or he would have murdered him," replied 
Noah. ** He said he v^^anted to." 

"Ah! Said he wanted to, did he, my boy?" inquired 
the gentleman in the white waistcoat. 

" Yes, sir," replied Noah. " And please, sir, missis 
wants to know whether Mr. Bumble can spare time to step 
up there, directly, and flog him — 'cause master's out." 

"Certainly, my boy; certainly," said the gentleman in 
the white waistcoat: smiling benignly, and patting Noah's 
head, which was about three inches higher than his own. 
** You're a good boy — a very good boy. Here's a penny 
for you. Bumble, just step up to Sowerberry's with your 
cane, and see what's best to be done. Don't spare him, 

** No, I will not, sir," replied the beadle: adjusting the 


Oliver Twist 

wax-end which was twisted round the bottom of his cane, 
for purposes of parochial flagellation. 

" Tell Sowerberry not to spare him either. They'll 
never do anything with him, without stripes and bruises," 
said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. 

" I'll take care, sir," replied the beadle. And the 
cocked hat and cane having been, by this time, adjusted to 
their owner's satisfaction, Mr. Bumble and Noah Claypole 
betook themselves with all speed to the undertaker's shop. 

Here the position of aifairs had not at all improved. 
Sowerberry had not yet returned, and Oliver continued to 
kick, with undiminished vigour, at the cellar-door. The 
accounts of his ferocity, as related by Mrs. Sowerberry and 
Charlotte, were of so startling a nature, that Mr. Bumble 
judged it prudent to parley, before opening the door. With 
this view he gave a kick at the outside, by way of prelude ; 
and, then, applying his mouth to the keyhole, said, in a 
deep and impressive tone : 


"Come; you let me out!" replied Oliver, from the 

" Do you know this here voice, Oliver?" said Mr. 

'* Yes," replied Oliver. 

** Ain't you afraid of It, sir? Ain't you a-trembling 
while I speak, sir?" said Mr. Bumble. 

" No !" replied Oliver, boldly. 

An answer so different from the one he had expected to 
elicit, and was in the habit of receiving, staggered Mr. 
Bumble not a little. He stepped back from the keyhole; 
drew himself up to his full height; and looked from one to 
another of the three by-standers, in mute astonishment. 

"Oh, you know, Mr. Bumble, he must be mad," said 
Mrs. Sowerberry. ** No boy in half his senses could venture 
to speak so to you. " 

" It's not Madness, ma'am," replied Mr. Bumble, after 
a few moments of deep meditation. " It's Meat." 

" What?" exclaimed Mrs. Sowerberry. 

" Meat, ma'am, meat," replied Bumble, with stern em- 
phasis. " You've over-fed him, ma'am. You've raised a 
artificial soul and spirit in him, ma'am, unbecoming a 
person of his condition : as the board, Mrs. Sowerberry, 
who are practical philosophers, will tell you. What have 
paupers to do with soul or spirit? It's quite enough that 

Oliver Twist 47 

we let 'em have live bodies. If you had kept the boy on 
gruel, ma'am, this would never have happened." 

"Dear, dear!" ejaculated Mrs. Sowerberry, piously 
raising her eyes to the kitchen ceiling : '* this comes of 
being liberal !" 

The liberality of Mrs. Sowerberry to Oliver, had consisted 
in a profuse bestowal upon him of all the dirty odds and 
ends which nobody else would eat ; so there was a great 
deal of meekness and self-devotion in her voluntarily re- 
maining under Mr. Bumble's heavy accusation. Of which, 
to do her justice, she was wholly innocent, in thought, 
word, or deed. 

"Ah!" said Mr. Bumble, when the lady brought her 
eyes down to earth again; " the only thing that can be 
done now, that I know of, is to leave him in the cellar for 
a day or so, till he's a little starved down ; and then to take 
him out, and keep him on gruel all throueh his apprentice- 
ship. He comes of a bad family. Excitable natures, Mrs. 
Sowerberry ! Both the nurse and doctor said, that that 
mother of his made her way here, against difficulties and 
pain that would have killed any well-disposed woman, 
weeks before. ' ' 

At this point of Mr. Bumble's discourse, Oliver, just 
hearing enough to know that some new allusion was being 
made to his mother, recommenced kicking, with a violence 
that rendered every other sound inaudible. Sowerberry 
returned at this juncture. Oliver's oifence having been 
explained to him, with such exaggerations as the ladies 
thought best calculated to rouse his ire, he unlocked the 
cellar-door in a twinkling, and dragged his rebellious ap- 
prentice out, by the collar. 

Oliver's clothes had been torn in the beating he had 
received ; his face was bruised and scratched ; and his hair 
scattered over his forehead. The angry flush had not dis- 
appeared, however; and when he was pulled out of his 
prison, he scowled boldly on Noah, and looked quite undis- 

** Now, you are a nice young fellow, ain't you?" said 
Sowerberry; giving Oliver a shake, and a box on the ear. 

" He called my mother names," replied Oliver. 

" Well, and what if he did, you little ungrateful wretch?" 
said Mrs. Sowerberry. " She deserved what he said, and 

" She didn't," said Oliver. 

4-8 Oliver Twist 

** She did," said Mrs. Sowerberry. 

** It's a lie," said Oliver. 

Mrs. Sowerberry burst into a flood of tears* 

This flood of tears left Mr. Sowerberry no alternative. 
If he had hesitated for one instant to punish Oliver most 
severely, it must be quite clear to every experienced reader 
that he would have been, according to all precedents in 
disputes of matrimony established, a brute, an unnatural 
husband, an insulting- creature, a base imitation of a man, 
and various other agreeable characters too numerous for 
recital within the limits of this chapter. To do him justice, 
he was, as far as his power went — it was not very extensive 
— kindly disposed towards the boy; perhaps, because it 
was his interest to be so; perhaps, because his wife disliked 
him. The flood of tears, however, left him no resource; 
so he at once gave him a drubbing, which satisfied even 
Mrs. Sowerberry herself, and rendered Mr. Bumble's sub- 
sequent application of the parochial cane, rather unneces- 
sary. For the rest of the day, he was shut up in the back 
kitchen, in company with a pump and a slice of bread ; and, 
at night, Mrs. Sowerberry, after making various remarks 
outside the door, by no means complimentary to the memory 
of his mother, looked into the room, and, amidst the jeers 
and pointings of Noah and Charlotte, ordered him up stairs 
to his dismal bed. 

It was not until he was left alone in the silence and 
stillness of the gloomy workshop of the undertaker, that 
Oliver gave way to the feelings which the day's treatment 
may be supposed likely to have awakened in a mere child. 
He had listened to their taunts with a look of contempt; 
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, though they had roasted him alive. But now, 
when there were none to see or hear him, he fell upon his 
knees on the floor; and, hiding his face in his hands, wept 
such tears as, God send for the credit of our nature, few so 
young may ever have cause to pour out before him ! 

For a long time, Oliver remained motionless in this 
attitude. The candle was burning low in the socket when 
he rose to his feet. Having gazed cautiously round him, 
and listened intently, he gently undid the fastenings of the 
door, and looked abroad. 

It was a cold, dark night. The stars seemed, to the 
boy's eyes, farther from the earth than he had ever seen 

Oliver Twist 49 

them before ; there was no wind ; and the sombre shadows 
thrown by the trees upon the ground, looked sepulchral 
and deathlike, from being so still. He softly reclosed the 
door. Having availed himself of the expiring light of 
the candle to tie up in a handkerchief the few articles of 
wearing apparel he had, sat himself down upon a bench, to 
wait for morning. 

With the first ray of light that struggled through the 
crevices in the shutters, Oliver arose, and again unbarred 
the door. One timid look around — one moment's pause ot 
hesitation — he had closed it behind him, and was in the 
open street. 

He looked to the right and to the left, uncertain whither 
to fly. He remembered to have seen the waggons, as they 
went out, toiling up the hill. He took the same route ; and 
arriving at a footpath across *he fields : which he knew, 
after some distance, led out aga^n into the road : struck 
into it, and walked quickly on. 

Along this same footpath, Oliver well remembered he 
had trotted beside Mr. Bumble, when he first carried him 
to the workhouse from the farm. His way lay directly in 
front of the cottage. His heart beat quickly when he be- 
thought himself of this ; and he half resolved to turn back. 
He had come a long way though, and should lose a great 
deal of time by doing so. Besides, it was so early that 
there was very little fear of his being seen; so he walked 

He reached the house. There was no appearance of its 
inmates stirring at that early hour. Oliver stopped, and 
peeped into the garden. A child was weeding one of the 
little beds; as he stopped, he raised his pale face and dis- 
closed the features of one of his former companions. Oliver 
felt glad to see him, before he went ; for, though younger 
than himself, he had been his little friend and playmate. 
They had been beaten and starved, and shut up together, 
many and many a time. 

*' Hush, Dick !" said Oliver, as the boy ran to the gate, 
and thrust his thin arm between the rails to greet him. 
" Is any one up?*"" 

** Nobody but me," replied the child. 

" You mustn't say you saw me, Dick," said Oliver. " I 
am running away. They beat and ill-use me, Dick ; and 
I am going to seek my fortune, some long way off. I 
don't know where. How pale you are I" 

50 Oliver Twist 

" I heard the doctor teH them I was dyings," replied the 
child with a faint smile. " I am very glad to see you, I 
dear; but don't stop, don't stop !" 

" Yes, yes, I will, to say good-b'ye to you," replied 
Oliver. " I shall see you again, Dick. I know I shall ! 
You will be well and happy !" 

"I hope so," replied the child. ** After I am dead, but 
not before. I know the doctor must be right, Oliver, be- 
•cause I dream so much of Heaven, and Angels, and kind 
faces that I never see when I am awake. Kiss me," said 
the child, climbing up the low gate, and flinging his little 
arms round Oliver's neck. " Good-b'ye, dear! God bless 
you ! ' ' 

The blessing was from a young child's lips, but it was 
the first that Oliver had ever heard invoked upon his head ; 
and through the struggles and sufferings, and troubles and 
changes, of his after life, he never once forgot it. 



Oliver reached the stile at which the by-path terminated; 
and once more gained the high-road. It was eight o'clock 
now. Though he was nearly five miles away from the 
town, he ran, and hid behind the hedges, by turns, till 
noon : fearing that he might be pursued and overtaken.i 
Then he sat down to rest by the side of the milestone, and 
began to think, for the first time, where he had better go 
and try to live. 

The stone by which he was seated, bore, in large 
characters, an intimation that it was just seventy miles 
from that spot to London. The name awakened a new train 
of ideas in the boy's mind. London ! — that great large 
place ! — nobody — not even Mr. Bumble — could ever find 
him there ! He had often heard the old men in the work- 
house, too, say that no lad of spirit need want in London ; 
and that there were ways of living in that vast city, which 
those who had been bred up in country parts had no idea 
of. It was the very place for a homeless boy, who must 
die in the streets unless some one helped him. As these 

Oliver Twist 51 

thing's passed through his thoughts, he jumped upon his 
feet, and again walked forward. 

He had diminished the distance between himself and 
London by full four miles more, before he recollected how 
much he must undergo ere he could hope to reach his place 
of destination. As this consideration forced itself upon 
him, he slackened his pace a little, and meditated upon his 
means of getting there. He had a crust of bread, a coarse 
shirt, and two pairs of stockings, in his bundle. He had 
a penny too — a gift of Sowerberry's after some funeral in 
ivhich he had acquitted himself more than ordinarily well — 
in his pocket. " A clean shirt," thought Oliver, ** is a 
i^ery comfortable thing; and so are two pairs of darned 
stockings ; and so is a penny ; but they are small helps 
:o a sixty-five miles' walk in winter time." But Oliver's 
:houghts, like those of most other people, although they 
Lvere extremely ready and active to point out his difficulties, 
ivere wholly at a loss to suggest any feasible mode of sur- 
rnounting them ; so, after a good deal of thinking to no 
^articular purpose, he changed his little bundle over to the 
>ther shoulder, and trudged on. 

Oliver walked twenty miles that day ; and all that time 
lasted nothing but the crust of dry bread, and a few 
Iraughts of water, which he begged at the cottage-doors 
)y the roadside. When the night came, he turned into a 
neadow; and, creeping close under a hay-rick, deter- 
nined to lie there, till morning. He felt frightened at first, 
or the wind moaned dismally over the empty fields : and 
le was cold and hungry, and more alone than he had ever 
"elt before. Being very tired with his walk, however, he 
>oon fell asleep and forget his troubles. 

He felt cold and stiff, when he got up next morning, and 
;o hungry that he was obliged to exchange the penny for 
I small loaf, in the very first village through which he 
massed. He had walked no more than twelve miles, wher^ 
light closed in again. His feet were sore, and his legs 
50 weak that they trembled beneath him. Another night 
Dassed in the bleak damp air, made him worse ; when he 
set forward on his journey next morning, he could hardly 
:rawl along. 

He waited at the bo'ttom of a steep hill till a stage-coach 

i:ame up, and then begged of the outside passengers; 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, 

52 Oliver Twist 

and then let them see how far he could run for a halfpenny. 
Poor Oliver tried to keep up with the coach a little way, 
but was unable to do it, by reason of his fatigue and sore 
feet. When the outsides saw this, they put their halfpence 
back into their pockets again, declaring that he was an idle 
young dog, and didn't deserve anything; and the coach 
rattled away and left only a cloud of dust behind. 

In some villages, large painted boards were fixed up : 
warning all persons who begged within the district, that 
they would be sent to jail. This frightened Oliver very 
much, and made him glad to get out of those villages with 
all possible expedition. In others, 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, to 
drive that strange boy out of the place, for she was sure he 
had come to steal something. If he begged at a farmer's 
house, ten to one but they threatened to set the dog on 
him ; and when he showed his nose in a shop, they talked 
about the beadle— which brought Oliver's heart into his 
mouth, — very often the only thing he had there, for many 
hours together. 

In fact, if it had not been for a good-hearted turnpike- 
man, and a benevolent old lady, Oliver's troubles would 
have been shortened by the very same process which had 
put an end to his mother's ; in other words, he would most 
assuredly have fallen dead upon the king's highway. But 
the turnpike-man gave him a meal of bread and cheese ; and 
the old lady, who had a shipwrecked grandson wandering 
barefoot in some distant part of the earth, took pity upon 
the poor orphan, and gave him what little she could afford — 
and more — with such kind and gentle words, and such tears 
of sympathy and compassion, that they sank deeper into 
Oliver's soul, than all the sufferings he had ever under- 

Early on the seventh morning after he had left his native 
place, Oliver limped slowly into the little town of Barnet. 
The window-shutters were closed ; the street was empty ; 
not a soul had awakened to the business of the day. The 
sun was rising in all its splendid beauty ; but the light only 
served to show the boy his own lonesomeness and desola- 
tion, as he sat, with bleeding feet and covered with dust, 
upon a door-step. 

By d'^grees, the shutters were opened; the window- 

Oliver Twist 53 

blinds were drawn up ; and people began passing to and 
fro. Some few stopped to gaze at Oliver for a moment or 
two, or turned round to stare at him as they hurried by; 
but none relieved him, or troubled themselves to inquire 
how he came there. He had no heart to beg. And there 
he sat. 

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, large or small), gazing 
listlessly at the coaches as they passed through, and think- 
ing how strange it seemed that they could do, with ease, 
in a few hours, 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, who had 
passed him carelessly some minutes before, had returned, 
and was now surveying him most earnestly from the op- 
posite side of the way. He took little heed of this at first ; 
but the boy remained in the same attitude of close obser- 
vation so long, that Oliver raised his head, and returned 
his steady look. Upon this, the boy crossed over; and, 
walking close up to Oliver, said, 

'* Hullo, my covey ! What's the row?" 

The boy who addressed this inquiry to the young way- 
farer, was about his own age : but one of the queerest 
looking boys that Oliver had ever seen. He was a snub- 
nosed, flat-browed, common-faced boy enough ; and as 
dirty a juvenile as one would wish to see ; but he had about 
him all the airs and manners of a man. He was short of 
his age : with rather bow-legs, and little, sharp, ugly eyes. 
His hat was stuck on the top of his head so lightly, that it 
threatened to fall off every moment — and would have done 
so, very often, if the wearer had not had a knack of every 
now and then giving his head a sudden twitch, which 
brought it back to its old place again. He wore a man's 
coat, which reached nearly to his heels. He had turned the 
cuffs back, half-way up his arm, to get his hands out of 
the sleeves : apparently with the ultimate view of thrust- 
ing them into the pockets of his corduroy trousers ; for 
there he kepj them. Ke was, altogether, as roystering 
and swaggering a young gentleman as ever stood four feet 
six, or something less, in his bluchers. 

** Hullo, my covey ! What's the row?'' said this strange 
jroung gentleman to Oliver. 

" I am very hungry and tired," replied Oliver : the tears 

54 - Oliver Twist 

standing in his eyes as he spoke. '* I have walked a long 
way. I have been walking- these seven days." 

" Walking for sivin days !" said the young gentleman., 
*' Oh, I see. Beak's order, eh? But," he added, noticing 
Oliver's look of surprise, ** I suppose you don't know what 
a beak is, my flash com-pan-i-on?" 

Oliver mildly replied, that he had always heard a bird's? 
mouth described by the term in question. 

*' My eyes, how green!" exclaimed the young gentle- 
man. '* Why, a beak's a madgst'rate; and when you 
walk by a beak's order, it's not straight forerd, but always; 
a going up, and nivir a coming down agin. Was you neveri 
on the mill?" 

" What mill?" inquired Oliver. 

" What mill! Why, the mill — the mill as takes up so 
little room that it'll work inside a Stone Jug ; and always 
goes better when the wind's low with people, than when 
it's high ; acos then they can't get workmen. But come," 
said the young gentleman ; ** you want grub, and you shall 
have it. I'm at low-water-mark myself — only one bob 
and a magpie; but, as far as it goes, I'll fork out and 
stump. Up with you on your pins. There ! Now then ! 
Morrice ! ' ' 

Assisting Oliver to rise, the young gentleman took him 
to an adjacent chandler's shop, where he purchased a suffi- 
ciency of ready-dressed ham and a half-quartern loaf, or, 
as he himself expressed it, ** a fourpenny bran !" the ham 
being kept clean and preserved from dust, by the ingenious 
expedient of making a hole in the loaf by pulling out a 
portion of the crumb, and stuffing it therein. Taking the 
bread under his arm, the young gentleman turned into a 
small public-house, and led the way to a tap-room in the 
rear of the premises. Here, a pot of beer was brought in, 
by direction of the mysterious youth ; and Oliver, falling 
to, at his new friend's bidding, made a long and hearty 
meal, during the progress of which, the strange boy eyed 
him from time to time with great attention. 

'* Going to London?" said the strange boy, when Oliver 
had at length concluded. 


" Got any lodgings?" 


*' Money?" 


Oliver Twist 55 

The strange boy whistled; and put his arms into his 
pockets, as far as the big coat sleeves would let them go. 

" Do you live in London?" inquired Oliver. 

" Yes. I do, when I'm at home," repHed the boy. *'l 
suppose you want some place to sleep in to-night, don't 
you ? ' ' 

" I do, indeed," answered Oliver. " I have not slept 
under a roof since I left the country." 

" Don't fret your eyelids on that score," said the young 
gentleman. " I've got to be in London to-night; and I 
know a 'spectable old genelman as lives there, wot '11 give 
you lodgings for nothink, and never ask for the change — 
that is, if any genelman he knows interduces you. And 
don't he know me? Oh, no! Not in the least! By no 
means. Certainly not ! " ; 

The young gentleman smiled, as if to intimate that the; 
latter fragments of discourse were playfully ironical ; and 
finished the beer as he did so. I 

This unexpected offer of shelter was too tempting to be 
resisted ; especially as it was immediately followed up, by 
the assurance that the old gentleman referred to, would 
doubtless provide Oliver with a comfortable place, without 
loss of time. This led to a more friendly and confidential 
dialogue; from which Oliver discovered that his friend's' 
name was Jack Dawkins, and that he was a peculiar pet 
and protege of the elderly gentleman before mentioned. 

Mr. Dawkins 's appearance did not say a vast deal in 
favour of the comforts which his patron's interest obtained 
for those which he took under his protection; but, as he 
had a rather flighty and dissolute mode of conversing, and 
furthermore avowed that among his intimate friends he was 
better known by the sobriquet of "The artful Dodger,'* 
Oliver concluded that, being of a dissipated and careless 
turn, the moral precepts of his benefactor had hitherto been 
thrown away upon him. Under this impression, he secretly 
resolved to cultivate the good opinion of the old gentleman 
as quickly as possible ; and, if he found the Dodger incor- 
rigible, as he more than half suspected he should, to decline 
the honour of his farther acquaintance. "^ 

As John Dawkins objected to their entering London be- 
fore nightfall, it was nearly eleven o'clock when they 
reached the turnpike at Islington. They crossed from the 
Angel into St. John's Road; struck down the small street 
which terminates at Sadler's Wells Theatre; through 


Oliver Twist 

Exmouth Street and Coppice Row ; down the little court by 
the side of the workhouse ; across the classic ground which 
once bore the name of Hockley-in-the-Hole ; thence into 
Little Saffron Hill ; and so into Saffron Hill the Great : 
along which the Dodger scudded at a rapid pace, directing 
Oliver to follow close at his heels. 

Although Oliver had enough to occupy his attention in 
keeping sight of his leader, he could not help bestowing a 
few hasty glances on either side of the way, as he passed 
along. A dirtier or more wretched place he had never 
seen. The street was very narrow and muddy, and the air 
was impregnated with filthy odours. There were a good 
many small shops ; but the only stock in trade appeared to 
be heaps of children, who, even at that time of night, were 
crawling in and out at the doors, or screaming from the 
inside. The sole places that seemed to prosper amid the 
general blight of the place, were the public-houses; and! 
in them, the lowest orders of Irish were wrangling with 
might and main. Covered ways and yards, which here 
and there diverged from the main street, disclosed little 
knots of houses, where drunken men and women werei 
positively wallowing in filth ; and from several of the door- 
ways, great ill-looking fellows were cautiously emerging,; 
bound, to all appearance, on no very well-disposed or 
harmless errands. 

Oliver was just considering whether he hadn't better run, 
away, when they reached the bottom of the hill. His con- 
ductor, catching him by the arm, pushed open the door ofl 
a house near Field Lane; and, drawing him into the pas-| 
sage, closed it behind them. 

*' Now, then !" cried a voice from below, in reply to a 
whistle from the Dodger. 

** Plummy and slam !" was the reply. 

This seemed to be some watchword or signal that all 
was right ; for the light of a feeble candle gleamed on the 
wall at the remote end of the passage; and a man's face 
peeped out, from where a balustrade of the old kitchen 
staircase had been broken away. 

"There's two on you," said the man, thrusting the 
candle farther out, and shading his eyes with his hand. 
"Who's the t'other one?" 

" A new pal," replied Jack Dawkins, pulling Oliver 

** Where did he come from?" 

Oliver Twist 57 

" Greenland. Is Fag in up stairs?" 

" Yes, he's a sortin' the wipes. Up with you!** The 
candle was drawn back, and the face disappeared. 

Oliver, groping his way with one hand, and having the 
other firmly grasped by his companion, 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. He threw open the door of a 
back-room, and drew Oliver in after him. 

The walls and ceiling of the room were perfectly black 
with age and dirt. There was a deal table before the fire : 
upon which were a candle, stuck in a ginger-beer bottle, 
two or three pewter pots, a loaf and butter, and a plate. 
In a frying-pan, which was on the fire, and which was 
secured to the mantelshelf by a string, some sausages were 
cooking ; and standing over them, with a toasting-fork in his 
hand, was a very old shrivelled Jew, whose villanous-look- 
ing and repulsive face was obscured by a quantity of matted 
red hair. He was dressed in a greasy flannel gown, with 
his throat bare; and seemed to be dividing his attention 
between the frying-pan and a clothes-horse, over which a 
great number of silk handkerchiefs were hanging. Several 
rough beds made of old sacks, were huddled side by side 
on the floor. Seated round the table were four or five 
boys, none older than the Dodger, smoking long clay pipes, 
and drinking spirits with the air of middle-aged men. These 
all crowded about their associate as he whispered a few 
words to the Jew; and then turned round and grinned at 
Oliver. So did the Jew himself, toasting-fork in hand. 

" This is him, Fagin," said Jack Dawkins ; ** my friend 
Oliver Twist." 

The Jew grinned ; and, making a low obeisance to Oliver, 
took him by the hand, and hoped he should have the honour 
o^ his intimate acquaintance. Upon this, the young gentle- 
men with the pipes came round him, and shook both his 
hands very hard — especially the one in which he held his 
little bundle. One young gentleman was very anxious to 
hang up his cap for him ; and another was so obliging as 
to put his hands in his pockets, in order that, as he was 
very tired, he might not have the trouble of emptying them, 
himself, when he went to bed. These civilities v^ould pro- 
bably have been extended much farther, but for a liberal 
exercise of the Jew's toasting-fork on the' heads and 
shoulders of the affectionate youths who offered them. 

58 Oliver Twist 

" We are very glad to see you, Oliver, very," said the 
Jew. ** Dodger, take off the sausages; and draw a tub 
near the fire for Oliver. Ah, you're a-staring at the pocket- 
handkerchiefs ! eh, my dear ! There are a good many of 
'em, ain't there? We've just looked 'em out, ready for 
the wash; that's all, Oliver; that's all. Ha! ha! ha!" 

The latter part of this speech, was hailed by a boisterous 
shout from all the hopeful pupils of the merry old gentle- 
man. In the midst of which, they went to supper. 

Oliver ate his share, and the Jew then mixed him a glass 
of hot gin and water : telling him he must drink it off 
directly, because another gentleman wanted the tumbler. 
Oliver did as he was desired. Immediately afterwards he 
felt himself gently lifted on to one of the sacks; and then 
he sunk into a deep sleep. 



It was late next morning when Oliver awoke, from a 
sound, long sleep. There was no other person in the room 
but the old Jew, who was boiUng some coffee in a saucepan 
for breakfast, and whistling softly to himself as he stirred 
it round and round, with an iron spoon. He would stop 
every now and then to listen when there was the least noise 
below : and when he had satisfied himself, he would go on, 
whistling and stirring again, as before. 

Although Oliver had roused himself from sleep, he was 
not thoroughly awake. There is a drowsy state, between 
sleeping and waking, when you dream more in five minutes 
with your eyes half open, and yourself half conscious of 
everything that is passing around you, than you would in 
five nights with your eyes fast closed, and your senses 
wrapt in perfect unconsciousness. jT At such times, a mortal 
knows just enough of what his mihd is doing, to form some 
glimmering conception of its mighty powers, its bounding 
from earth and spurning time and space, when freed from 
the restraint of its corporeal associate. ? 

Oliver was precisely in this condition. He saw the Jew 

Oliver Twist 59 

with his half-closed eyes ; heard his low whistling ; and 
recognised the sound of the spoon grating against the 
saucepan's sides; and yet the self -same senses were 
mentally engaged, at the same time, in busy action with 
almost everybody he had ever known. 

When the coffee was done, the Jew drew the saucepan 
-to the hob. Standing, then, in an irresolute attitude for 
a few minutes, as if he did not well know how to employ 
himself, he turned round and looked at Oliver, and called 
him by his name. He did not answer, and was to all 
appearance asleep. 

After satisfying himself upon this head, the Jew stepped 
gently to the door : which he fastened. He then drew 
forth : as it seemed to Oliver, from some trap in the floor : 
a small box, which he placed carefully on the table. His 
eyes glistened as he raised the lid, and looked in. Drag- 
ging an old chair to the table, he sat down ; and took from 
it a magnificent gold watch, sparkling with jewels. 

" Ah !" said the Jew, shrugging up his shoulders, and 
distorting every feature with a hideous grin. * * Clever 
dogs ! Clever dogs ! Staunch to the last ! Never told 
the old parson where they were. Never peached upon old 
Fagin ! And why should they ? It wouldn't have loosened 
the knot, or kept the drop up, a minute longer. No, no, 
no! Fine fellows! Fine fellows!" 

With these, and other muttered reflections of the like 
nature, the Jew once more deposited the watch in its place 
of safety. At least half a dozen more were severally drawn 
forth from the same box, and surveyed with equal pleasure ; 
besides rings, brooches, bracelets, and other articles of 
jewellery, of such magnificent materials, and costly work- 
manship, that Oliver had no idea, even of their names. 

Having replaced these trinkets, the Jew took out an- 
other : so small that it lay in the palm of his hand. There 
seemed to be some very minute inscription on it ; for the 
Jew laid it flat upon the table, and, shading it with his 
hand, pored over it, long and earnestly. At length he put 
it down, as if despairing of success; and, leaning back in 
his chair, muttered : 

** What a fine thing capital punishment is ! Dead men 
never repent ; dead men never bring awkward stories to 
light. Ah, it's a fine thing for the trade ! Five of 'em 
strung up in a row, and none left to play booty, or turn 
white-livered I" 

6o Oliver Twist 

As the Jew uttered these words, his bright dark eyes, 
which had been staring vacantly before him, fell on Oliver's 
face; the boy's eyes were fixed on his in mute curiosity; 
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 ob- 
served. He closed the lid of the box with a loud crash ; 
and, laying his hand on a bread knife which was on the 
table, started furiously up. He trembled very much 
though ; for, even in his terror Oliver could see that the 
knife quivered in the air. 

" What's that?" said the Jew. " What do you watch 
me for? Why are you awake? What have you seen? 
Speak out, boy! Quick — quick! for your life!** 

** I wasn't able to sleep any longer, sir," replied Oliver, 
meekly. '* I am very sorry if I have disturbed you, sir." 

*' You were not awake an hour ago?" said the Jew, 
scowling fiercely on the boy. 

" No ! No, indeed !" replied Oliver. 

'* Are you sure?" cried the Jew : with a still fiercer look 
than before : and a threatening attitude. 

** Upon my word I was not, sir,** replied Oliver, 
earnestly. ** I was not, indeed, sir." 

** Tush, tush, my dear!" said the Jew, abruptly resum- 
ing his old manner, and playing with the knife a little, 
before he laid it down; as if to induce the belief that he 
had caught it up, in mere sport. ** Of course I know 
that, my dear. I only tried to frighten you. You're a 
brave boy. Ha! ha! you're a brave boy, Oliver!" The 
Jew rubbed his hands with a chuckle, but glanced uneasily 
at the box, notwithstanding. 

" Did you see any of these pretty things, my dear?" said 
the Jew, laying his hand upon it after a short pause. 

" Yes, sir," replied Oliver. 

**Ah!" said the Jew, turning rather pale. ** They — 
they're mine, Oliver; my little property. All I have to 
live upon, in my old age. The folks call me a miser, my 
dear. Only a miser; that's all." 

Oliver thought the old gentleman must be a decided 
miser to live in such a dirty place, with so many watches ; 
but, thinking that perhaps his fondness for the Dodger 
and the other boys, cost him a good deal of money, he 
only cast a deferential look at the Jew, and asked if he 
might get up. 

Oliver Twist 61 

"Certainly, my dear, certainly," replied the old gentle- 
man. ** Stay. There's a pitcher of water in the corner by 
the door. Bring it here; and I'll give you a basin to wash 
in, my dear.** 

Oliver got up ; walked across the room ; and stooped for 
an instant to raise the pitcher. When he turned his head, 
the box was gone. 

He had scarcely washed himself, and made everything 
tidy, by emptying the basin out of the window, agreeably 
to the Jew's directions, when the Dodger returned : accom- 
panied by a very sprightly young friend, whom Oliver had 
seen smoking on the previous night, and who was now 
formally introduced to him as Charley Bates. The four 
sat down, to breakfast, on the coffee, and some hot rolls 
and ham which the Dodger had brought home in the crown 
of his hat. 

"Well," said the Jew, glancing slyly at Oliver, and 
addressing himself to the Dodger, ** I hope you've been at 
work this morning, my dears?" 

" Hard," replied the Dodger. 

" As Nails," added Charley Bates. 

" Good boys, good boys !" said the Jew. ** W^hat have 
you got. Dodger?" 

"A couple of pocket-books," replied that young gentle- 

*' Lined?" inquired the Jew, with eagerness. 

*' Pretty well," said the Dodger, producing two pocket- 
books ; one green, and the other red. 

*' Not so heavy as they might be," said the Jew, after 
looking at the insides carefully; ** but very neat and nicely 
made. Ingenious workman, ain't he, Oliver?" 

" Ver}% indeed, sir," said Oliver. At which Mr. Charles 
Bates laughed uproariously ; very much to the amazement 
of Oliver, who saw nothing to laugh at, in anything that 
had passed. 

" And what have you got, my dear?" said Fagin to 
Charley Bates. 

** Wipes," replied Master Bates; at the sam.e time pro- 
ducing four pocket-handkerchiefs. 

** Well," said the Jew, inspecting them closely; " they're 
very good ones, very. You haven't marked them well, 
though, Charley ; so the marks shall be picked out with a 
needle, and we'll teach Oliver how to do it. Shall us, 
Oliver, eh? Ha ! ha ! ha!" 

62 Oliver Twist 

" If you please, sir," said Oliver. 

" You'd like to be able to make pocket-handkerchiefs as 
easy as Charley Bates, wouldn't you, my dear?" said the 

" Very much, indeed, if you'll teach me, sir," replied 

Master Bates saw something so exquisitely ludicrous in 
this reply that he burst into another laugh ; which laugh, 
meeting the coffee he was drinking, and carrying it down 
some wrong channel, very nearly terminated in his pre- 
mature suffocation. 

" He is so jolly green !" said Charley when he recovered, 
as an apology to the company for his unpolite behaviour. 

The Dodger said nothing, but he smoothed Oliver's hair 
over his eyes, and said he'd know better, by-and-bye; upon 
which the old gentleman, observing Oliver's colour mount- 
ing, 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 ; for it was plain from 
the replies of the two boys that they had both been there ; 
and Oliver naturally wondered how they could possibly 
have found time to be so very industrious. 

When the breakfast was cleared away, the merry old 
gentleman and the two boys played at a very curious and 
uncommon game, which was performed in this way. The 
merry old gentleman, placing a snuff-box in one pocket of 
his trousers, a note-case in the other, and a watch in his 
waistcoat pocket, with a guard-chain round his neck, and 
sticking a mock diamond pin in his shirt : buttoned his 
coat tight round him, and putting his spectacle-case and 
handkerchief in his pockets, trotted up and down the room 
with a stick, in imitation of the manner in which old 
gentlemen walk about the streets any hour in the day. 
Sometimes he stopped at the fire-place, and sometimes at 
the door, making believe that he was staring with all his 
might into shop-windows. At such times he would look 
constantly round him, for fear of thieves, and would keep 
slapping all his pockets in turn, to see that he hadn't lost 
anything, in such a very funny and natural manner, that 
Oliver laughed til! the tears ran down his face. All this 
time, the two boys followed him closely about : getting out 
of his sight, so nimbly, every time he turned round, that it 
was impossible to follow their motions. At last, the 
Dodger trod upon his toes, or ran upon his boot accident- 

Oliver Twist 63 

ally, while Charley Bates stumbled up against him behind ; 
and In that one moment they took from him, with the most 
extraordinary rapidity, snuff-box, note-case, watch-guard, 
chain, shirt-pin, pocket-handkerchief, even the spectacle- 
case. If the old gentleman felt a hand in any one of his 
pockets, he cried out where it was; and then the game 
began all over again. 

When this game had been played a great many times, 
a couple of young ladies called to see the young gentlemen ; 
one of whom was named Bet, and the other Nancy. They 
wore a good deal of hair, not very neatly turned up behind, 
and were rather untidy about the shoes and stockings. 
They were not exactly pretty, perhaps; but they had a 
great deal of colour in their faces, and looked quite stout 
and hearty. Being remarkably free and agreeable in their 
manners, Oliver thought them very nice g-irls indeed. As 
there is no doubt they were. 

These visitors stopped a long time. Spirits were pro- 
duced, in consequence of one of the young ladies complain- 
ing of a coldness in her inside ; and the conversation took a 
very convivial and improving turn. At length, Charley 
Bates expressed his opinion that it was time to pad the 
hoof. This, it occurred to OHver, must be French for 
going out ; for, directly afterwards, the Dodger, and 
Charley, and the two young ladies, went away together, 
having been kindly furnished by the amiable old Jew with 
money to spend. 

" There, my dear," said Fagin. ** That's a pleasant life, 
isn't it? They have gone out for the day." 

'* Have they done work, sir?" inquired Oliver. 

"Yes," said the Jew; "that is, unless they should 
unexpectedly come across any, when they are out ; and 
they won't neglect it, if they do, my dear, depend upon it. 
Make 'em your models, my dear. Make 'em your models," 
tapping the fire-shovel on the hearth to add force to his 
words; *' do everything they bid you, and take their advice 
in all matters — especially the Dodger's, my dear. He'll 
be a great man himself, and will make you one too, if you 
take pattern by him. — Is my handkerchief hanging out of 
my pocket, my dear?" said the Jew, stopping short. 

" Yes, sir," said Oliver. 

** See if you can take it out, without my feeling it : as 
you saw them do, when we were at play this morning. ' ' 

Oliver held up the bottom of the pocket with one hand, 

64 Oliver Twist 

as he had seen the Dodger hold it, and drew the handker- 
chief lightly out of it with the other. 

*' Is it gone?" cried the Jew. 

** Here it is, sir," said Oliver, showing it in his hand. 

** You're a clever boy, my dear," said the playful old 
gentleman, patting Oliver on the head approvingly. "I 
never saw a sharper lad. Here's a shilling for you. If 
you go on, in this way, you'll be the greatest man of the 
time. And now come here, and I'll show you how to take 
the marks out of the handkerchiefs." 

Oliver wondered what picking the old gentleman's 
pocket in play, had to do with his chances of being a great 
man. But, thinking that the Jew, being so much his 
senior, must know best, he followed him quietly to the 
table, and was soon deeply involved in his new study. 



For many days, Oliver remained in the Jew's room, pick- 
ing the marks out of the pocket-handkerchiefs, (of which ai 
great number were brought home,) and sometimes taking: 
part in the game already described : which the two boys 
and the Jew played, regularly, every morning. At length, 
he began to languish for fresh air, and took many occa- 
sions of earnestly entreating the old gentleman to allowv 
him to go out to work, with his two companions. 

Oliver was rendered the more anxious to be actively 
employed, by what he had seen of the stern morality of 
the old gentleman's character. Whenever the Dodger or 
Charley Bates came home at night, empty-handed, he 
would expatiate with great vehemence on the misery of 
idle and lazy habits ; and would enforce upon them the 
Necessity of an active life, by sending them supperless to 
bed. On one occasion, indeed, he even went so far as to 
knock them both down a flight of stairs ; but this was carry- 
ing out his virtuous precepts to an unusual extent. 

At length, one morning, Oliver obtained the permission 

Oliver Twist 65 

he had so eagerly sought. There had been no handker- 
chiefs to work upon, for two or three days, and the dinners 
had been rather meagre. Perhaps these were reasons for 
the old gentleman's giving his assent; but, whether they 
were or no, he told Oliver he might go, and placed him 
under the joint guardianship of Charley Bates, and his 
friend the Dodger. 

The three boys sallied out; the Dodger with his coat- 
sleeves tucked up, and his hat cocked, as usual ; Master 
Bates sauntering along with his hands in his pockets ; and 
Oliver between them, wondering where they were going, 
and what branch of manufacture he v/ould be instructed in, 

The pace at which they went, was such a very lazy, ill- 
looking saunter, that Oliver soon began to think his com- 
panions were going to deceive the old gentleman, by not 
going to work at all. The Dodger had a vicious pro- 
pensity, too, of pulling the caps from the heads of small 
boys and tossing them down areas ; while Charley Bates 
exhibited some very loose notions concerrting the rights of 
property, by pilfering divers apples and onions from the 
stalls at the kennel sides, and thrusting them into pockets 
which were so surprisingly capacious, that they seemed to 
undermine his whole suit of clothes in every direction. 
These things looked so bad, that Oliver was on the point 
of declaring his intention of seeking his way back, in the 
best way he could; when his thoughts were suddenly 
directed into another channel, by a very mysterious change 
of behaviour on the part of the Dodger. 

They were just emerging from a narrow court not far 
from the open square in Clerkenwell, which is yet called, 
by some strange perversion of terms, *' The Green :" when 
the Dodger made a sudden stop; and, laying his finger on 
his lip, drew his companions back again, with the greatest 
caution and circumspection. 

'• What's the matter?" demanded Oliver. 

** Hush!" replied the Dodger. " Do you see that old 
cove at the book-stall?" 

" The old gentleman over the way?" said Oliver. *' Yes, 
I see him." 

•* He'll do," said the Dodger. 

" A prime plant," observed Master Charley Bates. 

Oliver looked from one to the other, with the greatest 
surprise; but he was not permitted to make any inquiries; 

66 Oliver Twist 

for the two boys walked stealthily across the road, and 
slunk close behind the old gentleman towards whom his 
attention had been directed. Oliver walked a few paces 
after them ; and, not knowing whether to advance or retire, 
stood looking on in silent amazement. 

The old gentleman was a very respectable-looking per- 
sonage, with a powdered head and gold spectacles. He 
was dressed in a bottle-green coat with a black velvet 
collar ; wore white trousers ; and carried a smart bamboo 
cane under his arm. He had taken up a book from the 
stall, and there he stood, reading away, as hard as if he 
were in his elbow-chair, in his own study. It is very pos- 
sible that he fancied himself there, indeed ; for it was plain, 
from his abstraction, that he saw not the book-stall, nor 
the street, nor the boys, nor, in short, anything but the 
book itself : which he was reading straight through : turn- 
ing over the leaf when he got to the bottom of a page, 
beginning at the top line of the next one, and going 
regularly on, with the greatest interest and eagerness. 

What was Oliver's horror and alarm as he stood a few 
paces off, looking on with his eyelids as wide open as they 
would possibly go, to see the Dodger plunge his hand into 
the old gentleman's pocket, and draw from thence a hand- 
kerchief ! To see him hand the same to Charley Bates ; 
and finally to behold them, both, running away round the 
corner at full speed. 

in an instant the whole mystery of the handkerchiefs, 
and the watches, and the jewels, and the Jew, rushed upon 
the boy's mind. He stood, for a moment, with the blood 
so tingling through all his veins from terror, that he felt 
as if he were in a burning fire ; then, confused and 
frightened, he took to his heels; and, not knowing what 
he did, made off as fast as he could lay his feet to the 

This was all done in a minute's space. In the very 
instant when Oliver began to run, the old gentleman, put- 
ting his hand to his pocket, and missing his handkerchief, 
turned sharp round. Seeing the boy scudding away at 
such a rapid pace, he very naturally concluded him. to be 
the depredator; and, shouting " Stop thief!" with all his 
. might, made off after him, book in hand. 

But the old gentleman was not the only person who 
raised the hue-and-cry. The Dodger and Master Bates, 
unwilling to attract public attention by running down the 

Oliver Twist 67 

open street, had merely retired into the very first doorway 
-ound the corner. They no sooner heard the cry, and saw 
Dliver running, than, guessing exactly how the matter 
stood, they issued forth with great promptitude; and, 
shouting "Stop thief!" too, joined in the pursuit like 
^^ood citizens. 

Although Oliver had been brought up by philosophers, he 
was not theoretically acquainted with the beautiful axiom 
that self-preservation is the first law of nature. If he had 
been, perhaps he would have been prepared for this. Not 
being prepared, however, it alarmed him the more ; so away 
he went like the wind, with the old gentleman and the two 
boys roaring and shouting behind him. 

"Stop thief! Stop thief!" There is a magic in the 
sound. The tradesman leaves his counter, and the carman 
tiis waggon ; the butcher throws down his tray ; the baker 
bis basket ; the milkman his pail ; the errand-boy his 
parcels ; the school-boy his marbles ; the paviour his pick- 
axe; the child his battledore. Away they run, pell-mell, 
belter-skelter, slap-dash : tearing, yelling, screaming, 
knocking down the passengers as they turn the corners, 
•ousing up the dogs, and astonishing the fowls : and streets, 
squares, and courts, re-echo with the sound. 

" Stop thief ! Stop thief !" The cry is taken up by a 
hundred voices, and the crowd accumulate at every turn- 
ing. Away they fly, splashing through the mud, and 
rattling along the pavements : up go the windows, out run 
the people, onward bear the mob, a whole audience desert 
Punch in the very thickest of the plot, and, joining the 
rushing throng, swell the shout, and lend fresh vigour to 
the cry, " Stop thief ! Stop thief !" 

" Stop thief ! Stop thief !" There is a passion for hunt- 
ing something deeply implanted in the human breast. One 
wretched breathless child, panting with exhaustion ; terror 
n his looks ; agony in his eyes ; large drops of perspiration 
streaming down his face ; strains every nerve to make head 
jpon his pursuers ; and as they follow on his track, and gain 
upon him every instant, they hail his decreasing strength 
ivith still louder shouts, and whoop and scream with joy. 
" Stop thief i" Ay, stop him for God's sake, were it only 
n mercy ! 

Stopped at last ! A clever blow. He is down upon the 
Davement ; and the crowd eagerly gather round him : each 
lew comer, jostling and struggling with the others to catch 

68 Oliver Twist 

a glimpse. ** Stand aside!" ** Give him a little air!'' 
'* Nonsense ! he don't deserve it." " Where's the gentle- 
man?" *' Here he is, coming down the street." " Make 
room there for the gentleman !" "Is this the boy, sir !'' 

Oliver lay, covered with mud and dust, and bleeding fron: 
the mouth, looking wildly round upon the heap of faces that 
surrounded him, when the old gentleman was officiousl} 
dragged and pushed into the circle by the foremost of the 

'* Yes," said the gentleman, '* I am afraid it is the boy.' 

** Afraid !" murmured the crowd. '* That's a ^ood 'un !* 

'* Poor fellow !" said the gentleman, ** he has hurt him- 

** / did that, sir," said a great lubberly fellow, stepping 
forward; "and preciously I cut my knuckle agin' h'n 
mouth. I stopped him, sir." 

The fellow touched his hat with a grin, expecting some 
thing for his pains ; but, the old gentleman, eyeing hin 
with an expression of dislike, looked anxiously round, a: 
if he contemplated running away himself : which it is ver} 
possible he might have attempted to do, and thus have 
afforded another chase, had not a police officer (who i< 
generally the last person to arrive in such cases) at tha 
moment made his way through the crowd, and seized Olivei 
by the collar. 

" Come, get up," said the man, roughly. 

'* It wasn't me indeed, sir. Indeed, indeed, it was tw( 
other boys," said Oliver, clasping his hands passionately 
and looking round. " They are here somewhere. " 

" Oh no, they ain't," said the officer. He meant this t( 
be ironical, but it was true besides; for the Dodger anc 
Charley Bates had filed off down the first convenient cour 
they came to. ** Come, get up !" 

'* Don't hurt him," said the old gentleman, compas- 

" Oh no, I won't hurt him," replied the officer, tearing 
his jacket half off his back, in proof thereof. " Come, ' 
know you; it won't do. Will you stand upon your legs 
you young devil?" 

Oliver, who could hardly stand, made a shift to raise him 
self on his feet, and was at once lugged along the streetf 
by the jacket-collar, at a rapid pace. The gentlemar 
walked on with them by the officer's side; and as many o: 

Oliver Twist 69 

the crowd as could achieve the feat, got a little a-head, and 
stared back at Oliver from time to time. The boys shouted 
in triumph ; and on they went. 



The offence had been committed within the district, and 
indeed in the immediate neighbourhood of, a very notorious 
netropolitan police office. The crowd had only the satisfac- 
:ion of accompanying Oliver through two or three streets, 
md down a place called Mutton Hill, when he was led 
Deneath a low archway, and up a dirty court, into this 
dispensary of summary justice, by the backway. It was 
i small paved yard into which they turned; and here they 
ncountered a stout man with a bunch of whiskers on his 
ace, and a bunch of keys in his hand. 

** What's the matter now?" said the man carelessly. 

** A young f ogle-hunter, " replied the man who had Oliver 
n charge. 

'* Are you the party that's been robbed, sir?" inquired 
he man with the keys. 

** Yes, 1 am," replied the old gentleman; " but I am not 
;ure that this boy actually took the handkerchief. I — I 
ivould rather not press the case." 

* Must go before the magistrate now, sir," replied the 
nan. " His worship will be disengaged in half a minute. 
^Jow, young gallows !" 

This was an invitation for Oliver to enter through a door 
which he unlocked as he spoke, and which led into a stone 
;ell. Here he was searched ; and nothing being found upon 
lim, locked up. 

This cell was in shape and size something like an area 
cellar, only not so light. It was most intolerably dirty ; for 
t was Monday morning ; and it had been tenanted by six 
irunken people, who had been locked up, elsewhere, since 
Saturday night. But this is little. In our station-houses, 
nen and women are every night confined on the most 
rivial charges — the word is worth noting — in dungeons, 

70 Oliver Twist 

compared with which, those in Newgate, occupied by the 
most atrocious felons, tried, found guilty, and under sen- 
tence of death, are palaces. Let any one who doubts this, 
compare the two. 

The old gentleman looked almost as rueful as Oliver^ 
when the key grated in the lock. He turned with a sigh to 
the book, which had been the innocent cause of ail this; 

" There is something in that boy's face," said the old 
gentleman to himself as he walked slowly away, tapping his 
chin with the cover of the book, in a thoughtful manner ; 
" something that touches and interests me. Can he bej 
innocent? He looked like. — By the bye," exclaimed the old 
gentleman, halting very abruptly, and staring up into the; 
sky, '* Bless my soul ! Where have I seen something like 
that look before?" 

After musing for some minutes, the old gentleman 
walked, with the same meditative face, into a back ante- 
room opening from the yard ; and there, retiring into a 
corner, called up before his mind's eye a vast amphitheatre; 
of faces over which a dusky curtain had hung for many 
years. ** No," said the old gentleman, shaking his head 'J 
** it must be imagination. " 

He wandered over them again. He had called them into! 
view, and it was not easy to replace the shroud that had so 
long concealed them. There were the faces of friends, and] 
foes, and of many that had been almost strangers peering! 
intrusively from the crowd; there were the faces of young 
and blooming girls that were now old women ; there were 
faces that the grave had changed and closed upon, but 
which the mind, superior to its power, still dressed in their 
old freshness and beauty, calling back the lustre of the 
eyes, the brightness of the smile, the beaming of the soul 
through its mask of clay, and whispering of beauty beyond 
the tomb, changed but to be heightened, and taken from 
earth only to be set up as a light, to shed a soft and gentle 
glow upon the path to Heaven. 

But the old gentleman could recall no one countenance ol 
which Oliver's features bore a trace. So, he heaved a sigt 
over the recollections he had awakened ; and being, happih 
for himself, an absent old gentleman, buried them again ir 
the pages of the musty book. 

He was roused by a touch on the shoulder, and a requesi 
from the man with the keys to follow him into the office. 

Oliver Twist 71 

He closed his book hastily ; and was at once ushered into 
;he imposing presence of the renowned Mr. Fang. 

The office was a front parlour, with a panelled wall. Mr. 
Fang sat behind a bar, at the upper end ; and on one side 
:he door was a sort of wooden pen in which poor little 
Dliver was already deposited : trembling very much at the 
iwfulness of the scene. 

Mr. Fang was a lean, long-backed, stiff-necked, middle- 
ized man, with no great quantity of hair, and what he had, 
growing on the back and sides of his head. His face was 
tern, and much flushed. If he were really not in the habit 
)f drinking rather more than was exactly good for him, he 
night have brought an action against his countenance for 
ibel, and have recovered heavy damages. 

The old gentleman bowed respectfully ; and advancing to 
:he magistrate's desk, said, suiting the action to the word, 
* That is my name and address, sir." He then withdrew 
I pace or two; and, with another polite and gentlemanly 
nclination of the head, waited to be questioned. 

Now, it so happened that Mr. Fang was at that moment 
jerusing a leading article in a newspaper of the morning, 
idverting to some recent decision of his, and commending 
lim, for the three hundred and fiftieth time, to the special 
md particular notice of the Secretary of State for the Home 
Department. He was out of temper; and he looked up 
vith an angry scowl. 

** Who are you?" said Mr. Fang. 

The old gentleman pointed, with some surprise, to his 

"Officer!" said Mr. Fang, tossing the card contemp- 
uously away with the newspaper. " Who is this fellow?" 

** My name, sir," said the old gentleman, speaking like 
I gentleman, '* my name, sir, is Brownlow. Permit me to 
nquire the name of the magistrate who offers a gratuitous 
ind unprovoked insult to a respectable person, under the 
)rotection of the bench." Saying this, Mr. Brownlow 
ooked round the office as if in search of some person who 
vould afford him the required information. 

"Officer!" said Mr. Fang, throwing the paper on one 
ide, " what's this fellow charged with?" 

" He's not charged at all, your worship," replied the 
)fficer. " He appears against the boy, your worship. " 

His worship knew this perfectly well ; but it was a good 
uanoyance, and a safe one. 

72 Oliver Twist 

" Appears against the boy, does he?" said Fang, survey- 
ing Mr. Brownlow contemptuously from head to foot. 
" Swear him !" 

" Before I am sworn, I must beg to say one word," said 
Mr. Brownlow: " and that is, that I really never, without 
actual experience, could have believed " 

'* Hold your tongue, sir !" said Mr. Fang, peremptorily. 

" I will not, sir !" replied the old gentleman. 

" Hold your tongue this instant, or I'll have you turned 
out of the office !" said Mr. Fang. ** You're an insolent, 
impertinent fellow. How dare you bully a magistrate!" 

'* What !" exclaimed the old gentleman, reddening. 

** Swear this person !" said Fang to the clerk. *' I'll not 
hear another word. Swear him. " 

Mr. Brownlow's indignation was greatly roused; but 
reflecting perhaps, that he might only injure the boy by 
giving vent to it, he suppressed his feelings and submitted 
to be sworn at once. 

" Now," said Fang, ** what's the charge against this 
boy? What have you got to say, sir?" 

** I was standing at a book-stall " Mr. Brownlow 


" Hold your tongue, sir," said Mr. Fang. ** Policeman ! 
Where's the policeman? Here, swear this policeman. Now, 
policeman, what is this?" 

The policeman, with becoming humility, related how he 
had taken the charge ; how he had searched Oliver, and 
found nothing on his person ; and how that was all he knew 
about it. 

" Are there any witnesses?" inquired Mr. Fang. 

" None, your worship," replied the policeman. 

Mr. Fang sat silent for some minutes, and then, turning 
round to the prosecutor, said in a towering passion, 

" Do you mean to state what your complaint against 
this boy is, man, or do you not? You have been sworn. 
Now, if you stand there, refusing to give evidence, I'll 
punish you for disrespect to the bench ; I will, by " 

By what, or by whom, nobody knows, for the clerk and 
jailer coughed very loud, just at the right moment ; and the 
former dropped a heavy book upon the floor, thus prevent- 
ing the words from being heard — accidentally, of course. 

With many interruptions, and repeated insults, Mr. 
Brownlow contrived to state his case ; observing that, in the 
surprise of the moment, he had run after the boy because 

Oliver Twist 73 

he saw him running away ; and expressing his hope that, if 
the magistrate should believe him, although not actually 
the thief, to be connected with thieves, he would deal as 
leniently with him as justice would allow. 

" Ke has been hurt already," said the old gentleman in 
conclusion. "And I fear," he added, with great energy, 
looking towards the bar, " I really fear that he is ill." 

" Oh ! yes, I dare say !" said Mr. Fang, with a sneer. 
** Come, none of your tricks here, you young vagabond; 
they won't do. What's your name?" 

Oliver tried to reply, but his tongue failed him. He was 
deadly pale ; and the whole place seemed turning round and 

'* What's your name, you hardened scoundrel?" de- 
manded- Mr. Fang. " Officer, what's his name?" 

This was addressed to a bluff old fellow, in a striped 
waistcoat, who was standing by the bar. He bent over 
Oliver, and repeated the inquiry ; but finding him really 
incapable of understanding the question ; and knowing that 
his not replying would only infuriate the magistrate the 
more, and add to the severity of his sentence ; he hazarded 
a guess. 

" He says his name's Tom White, your worship," said 
this kind-hearted thief-taker. 

" Oh, he won't speak out, won't he?" said Fang. '* Very 
well, very well. Where does he live?" 

•'Where he can, your worship," replied the officer; 
again pretending to receive Oliver^'s answer. 

*' Has he any parents?" inquired Mr. Fang. 

" He says they died in his infancy, your worship," 
replied the officer : hazarding the usual reply. 

At this point of the inquiry, Oliver raised his head ; 
and, looking round with imploring eyes, murmured a feeble 
prayer for a draught of water. 

'* Stuff and nonsense!" said Mr. Fang: "don't try to 
make a fool of me." 

'• I think he really is ill, your worship," remonstrated 
the officer. 

" I know better," said Mr. Fang. 

"Take care of him, officer," said the old gentleman, 
raising his hands instinctively; " he'll fall down." 

"Stand away, officer,'* cried Fane; "let him, if he 

Oliver availed himself of the kind permission, and fell to 

74 Oliver Twist 

the floor in a fainting fit. The men in the office looked at 
each other, but no one dared to stir. 

" I knew he was shamming," said Fang, as if this were 
incontestable proof of the fact. ** Let him lie there; he'll 
soon be tired of that." 

" How do you propose to deal with the case, sir?" in- 
quired the clerk in a low voice. 

" Summarily," replied Mr. Fang. *' He stands com- 
mitted for three months — hard labour of course. Clear 
the office. ' ' 

The door was opened for this purpose, and a couple of 
men were preparing to carry the insensible boy to his cell ; 
when an elderly man of decent but poor appearance, clad in 
an old suit of black, rushed hastily into the office, and 
advanced towards the bench. 

"Stop, stop! Don't take him away! For Heaven's 
sake stop a moment!" cried the new-comer, breathless 
with haste. 

Although the presiding Genii in such an office as this, 
exercise a summary and arbitrary power over the liberties, 
the good name, the character, almost the lives, of Her 
Majesty's subjects, especially of the poorer class; and 
although, within such walls, enough fantastic tricks are 
daily played to make the angels blind with weeping ; they 
are closed to the public, save through the medium of the 
daily press. ^ Mr. Fang was consequently not a little in- 
dignant to see an unbidden guest enter in such irreverent 

** What is this? Who is this? Turn this man out. 
Clear the office !" cried Mr, Fang. 

'* I will speak," cried the man; ** I will not be turned 
out. I saw it all. I keep the book-stall. I demand toi 
be sworn. I will not be put down. Mr. Fang, you must; 
hear me. You must not refuse, sir." 

The man was right. His manner was determined; and 
the matter was growing rather too serious to be hushed 

** Swear the man," growled Mr. Fang, with a very ill 
grace. ** Now, man, what have yoj got to say?" 

'* This," said the man : " I saw three boys : two others 
and the prisoner here : loitering on the opposite side of the 
way, when this gentleman was reading. The robbery was 

* Or were virtually, then. 

Oliver Twist 75 

committed by another boy. I saw it done ; and I saw that 
this boy was perfectly amazed and stupefied by it." 
Having by this time recovered a little breath, the worthy 
30ok-stall keeper proceeded to relate, in a more coherent 
manner, the exact circumstances of the robbery. 

'* Why didn't you come here before?" said Fang-, after 
a pause. 

*' I hadn't a soul to mind the shop," replied the man. 
" Everybody who could have helped me, had joined in the 
Dursuit. I could get nobody till five minutes ago ; and I 've 
run here all the way." 

** The prosecutor was reading, was he?" inquired Fang, 
after another pause. 

** Yes," replied the man. " The very book he has in his 

** Oh, that book, eh?" said Fang. '* Is it paid for?" 

** No, it is not," replied the man, with a smile. 

** Dear me, I forgot all about it !" exclaimed the absent 
old gentleman, innocently. 

** A nice person to prefer a charge against a poor boy !" 
said Fang, with a comical effort to look humane. '* I con- 
sider, sir, that you have obtained possession of that book, 
under very suspicious and disreputable circumstances ; and 
you may think yourself very fortunate that the owner of 
the property declines to prosecute. Let this be a lesson to 
you, my man, or the law will overtake you yet. The boy 
is discharged. Clear the oflfice. " 

** D — n me !" cried the old gentleman, bursting out with 
the rage he had kept down so long, ** d — n me ! I'll " 

*' Clear the office !" said the magistrate. " Officers, do 
you hear? Clear the office!" 

The mandate was obeyed ; and the indignant Mr. Brown- 
low was conveyed out, with the book in one hand, and the 
bamboo cane in the other : in a perfect phrenzy of rage and 
defiance. He reached the yard ; and his passion vanished 
in a moment. Little Oliver Twist lay on his back on the 
pavement, with his shirt unbuttoned, and his temples 
bathed with water; his face a deadly white; a.c:d a cold 
tremble convulsing his whole frame. 

'* Poor boy, poor boy!" said Mr. Brownlow, bending 
over him. " Call a coach, somebody, pray. Directly !" 

A coach was obtained, and Oliver, having been carefully 
laid on one seat, the old gentleman got in and sat himself 
on the other. 


Oliver Twist 

** May I accompany you?" said the book-stall keeper, 
looking in. 

** Bless me, yes, my dear sir," said Mr. Brownlow 
quickly. " I forgot you. Dear, dear! I have this un- 
happy book still ! Jump in. Poor fellow ! There's no 
time to lose." 

The book-stall keeper got into the coach ; and away they ■ 



The coach rattled away, over nearly the same ground as 
that which Oliver had traversed when he first entered 
London in company with the Dodger; and, turning a dif- 
ferent way when it reached the Angel at Islington, stopped 
at length before a neat house, in a quiet shady street near 
Pentonville. Here, a bed was prepared, without loss of 
time, in which Mr. Brownlow saw his young charge care- 
fully and comfortably deposited ; and here, he was tended 
with a kindness and solicitude that knew no bounds. 

But, for many days, Oliver remained insensible to all the 
goodness of his new friends. The sun rose and sank, and 
rose and sank again, and many times after that ; and still 
the boy lay stretched on his uneasy bed, dwindling away 
beneath the dry and wasting heat of fever. The worm 
does not his work more surely on the dead body, than does 
this slow creeping fire upon the living frame. 

Weak, and thin, and pallid, he awoke at last from what I 
seemed to have been a long and troubled dream. Feebly 
raising himself in the bed, with his head resting on his 
trembling arm, he looked anxiously around. 

*' What room is this? Where have I been brought 
to?" said Oliver. ** This is not the place I went to sleep 

He uttered these words in a feeble voice, being very faint 
and weak; but they were overheard at once. The curtain 
at the bed's head was hastily drawn back, and a motherly 

Oliver Twist 77 

old lady, very neatly and precisely dressed, rose as she 
undrew it, from an arm-chair close by, in which she had 
been sitting at needle-work. 

*' Hush, my dear," said the old lady softly. " You must 
be very quiet, or you will be ill again ; and you have been 
rery bad, — as bad as bad could be, pretty nigh. Lie down 
again; there's a dear!" With those words, the old lady 
very gently placed Oliver's head upon the pillow; and, 
smoothing back his hair from his forehead, looked so 
kindly and lovingly in his face, that he could not help 
placing his little withered hand in hers, and drawing it 
round his neck. 

** Save us !" said the old lady, with tears in her eyes, 
" What a grateful little dear it is. Pretty creetur ! What 
would his mother feel if she had sat by him as I have, and 
could see him now !" 

** Perhaps she does see me," whispered Oliver, folding 
bis hands together; '* perhaps she has sat by me. I almost 
feel as if she had." 

" That was the fever, my dear," said the old lady 

'* I suppose it was," replied Oliver, ** because heaven 
is a long way off; and they are too happy there, to come 
down to the bedside of a poor boy. But if she knew I was 
ill, she must have pitied me, even there ; for she was very 
ill herself before she died. She can't know anything about 
■ne though," added Oliver after a moment's silence. " If 
she had seen me hurt, it would have made her sorrowful ; 
and her face has always looked sweet and happy, when T 
have dreamed of her." 

The old lady made no reply to this ; but wiping her eyes 
first, and her spectacles, which lay on the counterpane, 
ifterwards, as if they were part and parcel of those 
Features, brought some cool stuff for Oliver to drink ; and 
then, patting him on the cheek, told him he must lie very 
quiet, or he would be ill again. 

So, Oliver kept very still ; partly because he was anxious 
to obey the kind old lady in all things ; and partly, to tell 
the truth, because he was completely exhausted with what 
he had already said. He soon fell into a gentle dose, from 
which he was awakened by the light of a candle : which, 
being brought near the bed, showed him a gentleman with 
a very large and loud-ticking gold watch in his hand, who 
felt his pulse, and said he was a great deal better. 

78 Oliver Twist 

'' You are a great deal better, are you not, my dear?" 
said the gentleman. 

" Yes, thank you, sir," replied Oliver. ^ 

** Yes, I know you are," said the gentleman : " You're 
hungry too, a'n't you?" 

*' No, sir," answered Oliver. 

** Hem !" said the gentleman. " No, I know you're not. 
He is not hungry, Mrs. Bed win," said the gentleman: 
looking very wise. 

The old lady made a respectful inclination of the head, 
which seemed to say that she thought the doctor was a 
very clever man. The doctor appeared much of the same 
opinion himself. 

** You feel sleepy, don't you, my dear?" said the doctor. 

'* No, sir," replied Oliver. 

" No," said the doctor, with a very shrewd and satisfied; 
look. "You're not sleepy. Nor thirsty. Are you?" 

** Yes, sir, rather thirsty," answered Oliver. 

"Just as I expected, Mrs. Bedwin," said the doctor. 
" It's very natural that he should be thirsty. You mayi 
give him a little tea, ma'am, and some dry toast withouti 
any butter. Don't keep him too warm, ma'am; but be; 
careful that you don't let him be too cold; will you havei 
the goodness?" 

The old lady dropped a curtsey. The doctor, afteri 
tasting the cool stuff, and expressing a qualified approval 
of it, hurried away : his boots creaking in a very important 
and wealthy manner as he went down stairs. 

Oliver dosed off again, soon after this ; when he awoke, it 
was nearly twelve o'clock. The old lady tenderly bade him 
good-night shortly afterwards, and left him in charge of 
a fat old woman who had just come : bringing with her, in 
a little bundle, a small Prayer Book and a large nightcap. 
Putting the latter on her head and the former on the table, 
the old woman, after telling Oliver that she had come to sit 
up with him, drew her chair close to the fire and went off 
into a series of short naps, chequered at frequent intervals 
with sundry tumblings forward, and divers moans and 
chokings. These, however, had no worse effect than 
causing her to rub her nose very hard, and then fall asleep 

And thus the night crept slowly on. Oliver lay awake for 
some time, counting the little circles of light which the 
reflection of the rushlight-shade threw upon the ceiling ; or 

Oliver Twist 79 

I tracing with his languid eyes the intricate pattern of the 
paper on the wall. The darkness and the deep stillness of 
the room were very solemn ; as they brought into the boy's 
mind the thought that death had been hovering there, for 
nany days and nights, and might yet fill it with the gloom 
and dread of his awful presence, he turned his face upon the 
pillow, and fervently prayed to Heaven. 

Gradually, he fell into that deep tranquil sleep which ease 
from recent suffering alone imparts ; that calm and peaceful 
rest which it is pain to wake from. Who, if this were 
death, would be roused again to all the struggles and tur- 
moils of life; to all its cares for the present; its anxieties 
for the future; more than all, its weary recollections of 
the past ! 

It had been bright day, for hours, when Oliver opened 
his eyes ; he felt cheerful and happy. The crisis of the 
disease was safely past. He belonged to the world again. 

In three days' time he was able to sit in an easy-chair, 
well propped up with pillows ; and, as he was still too weak 
to walk, Mrs. Bedwin had him carried down stairs into the 
little housekeeper's room, which belonged to her. Having 
him set, here, by the fireside, the good old lady sat herself 
down too; and, being in a state of considerable delight at 
seeing him so much better, forthwith began to cry most 

" Never mind me, my dear," said the old lady. ''I'm 
only having a regular good cry. There; it's all over now ; 
and I'm quite comfortable." 

" You're very, very kind to me, ma'am," said Oliver. 

"Well, never you mind that, my dear," said the old 
iauy; ** that's got nothing to do with your broth; and it's 
full time you had it; for the doctor says Mr. Brownlow 
may come in to see you this morning ; and we must get up 
our best looks, because the better we look, the more he'll 
be pleased." And with this, the old lady applied herself 
to warming up, in a little saucepan, a basin full of broth : 
strong enough, Oliver thought, to furnish an ample dinner, 
when reduced to the regulation strength, for three hundred 
and fifty paupers, at the lowest computation. 

** Are you fond of pictures, dear?" inquired the old lady, 
seeing that Oliver had fixed his eyes, most intently, on a 
portrait which hung against the wall ; just opposite his 

*' I don't quite know, ma'am," said Oliver, without 

8o Oliver Twist 

taking his eyes from the canvas; " I have seen so few, 
that I hardly know. What a beautiful, mild face that lady's 

" Ah !" said the old lady, *' painters always make ladies 
out prettier than they are, or they wouldn't get any custom, 
child. The man that invented the machine for taking like- 
nesses might have known that would never succeed ; it's 
a deal too honest. A deal," said the old lady, laughing 
very heartily at her own acuteness. 

** Is — is that a likeness, ma'am?" said Oliver. 

*' Yes," said the old lady, looking up for a moment from 
the broth; "that's a portrait." 

" Whose, ma'am?" asked Oliver. 

" Why, really, my dear, I don't know," answered the 
old lady in a good-humoured manner. ** It's not a likeness 
of anybody that you or I know, I expect. It seems to 
strike your fancy, dear." 

" It is so very pretty," replied Oliver. 

** Why, sure you're not afraid of it?" said the old lady : 
observing, in great surprise, the look of awe with which 
the child regarded the painting. 

** Oh no, no," returned Oliver quickly; "but the eyes 
look so sorrowful ; and where I sit, they seem fixed upon 
me. It makes my heart beat," added Oliver in a low voice, 
"as if it was alive, and wanted to speak to me, but 

"Lord save us!" exclaimed the old lady, starting; 
" don't talk in that way, child. You're weak and nervous 
after your illness. Let me wheel your chair round to the 
other side; and then you won't see it. There!" said the 
old lady, suiting the action to the word ; " you don't see it 
now, at all events." 

Oliver did see it in his mind's eye as distinctly as if he 
had not altered his position ; but he thought it better not 
to worry the kind old lady ; so he smiled gently when she 
looked at him ; and Mrs. Bedwin, satisfied that he felt more 
comfortable, salted and broke bits of toasted bread into the 
broth, with all the bustle befitting so solemn a preparation. 
Oliver got through it with extraordinary expedition. He 
had scarcely swallowed the last spoonful, when there came 
a soft rap at the door. " Come in," said the old lady; 
and in walked Mr. Brownlov/. 

Now, the old gentleman came in as brisk as need be; 
but he had no sooner raised his spectacles on his forehead, 

Oliver Twist 8i 

and thrust his hands behind the skirts of his dressing- 
gown to take a good long look at Oliver, than his coun- 
tenance underwent a very great variety of odd contortions. 
Oliver looked very worn and shadowy from sickness, and 
made an ineffectual attempt to stand up, out ©f respect 
to his benefactor, which terminated in his sinking back 
into the chair again ; and the fact is, if the truth must be 
told, that Mr. Brownlow's heart, being large enough for 
any six ordinary old gentlemen of humane disposition^ 
forced a supply of tears into his eyes, by some hydraulic 
process which we are not sufficiently philosophical to be in 
a condition to explain. 

" Poor boy, poor boy !" said Mr. Brownlow, clearing his 
throat. ** I'm rather hoarse this morning, Mrs. Bedwin. 
I'm afraid I have caught cold." 

** I hope not, sir," said Mrs. Bedwin. ** Everything 
you have had, has been well aired, sir." 

" I don't know, Bedwin. I don't know," said Mr. 
Brownlow; ** I rather think I had a damp napkin at dinner- 
time yesterday; but never mind that. How do you feel, 
my dear?" 

" Very happy, sir," replied Oliver. " And very grateful 
indeed, sir, for your goodness to me." 

'* Good boy," said Mr. Brownlow, stoutly. " Have you 
given him any nourishment, Bedwin? Any slops, eh?" 

'* He has just had a basin of beautiful strong broth, sir," 
replied Mrs. Bedwin : drawing herself up slightly, and 
laying a strong enfphasis on the last word : to intimate 
that between slops, and broth well compounded, there 
existed no affinity or connexion whatsoever. 

'' Ugh !" said Mr. Brownlow, with a slight shudder; ** a 
couple of glasses of port wine would have done him a great 
deal more good. Wouldn't they, Tom White, eh?" 

" My name is Oliver, sir," replied the little invalid : with 
a look of great astonishment. 

'* Oliver," said Mr. Brownlow; " Oliver what? Oliver 
White, eh?" 

"No, sir. Twist, Oliver Twist." 

** Queer name !" said the old gentleman. ** W^hat made 
you tell the magistrate your name was White?" 

*' I never told him so, sir," returned Oliver m amaze- 

This sounded so like a falsehood, that the old gentleman 
looked somewhat sternly in Oliver's face. It was impossible 

82 Oliver Twist 

to doubt him ; there was truth in every one of its thin and 
sharpened lineaments. 

" Some mistake," said Mr. Brownlow. But, although 
his motive for looking- steadily at Oliver no longer existed, 
the old idea of the resemblance between his features and 
some familiar face came upon him so strongly, that he 
could not withdraw his gaze. 

" 1 hope you are not angry with me, sir?" said Oliver, 
raising his eyes beseechingly. 

** No, no," replied the old gentleman. " Why ! what's 
this? Bedwin, look there !" 

As he spoke, he pointed hastily to the picture above 
Oliver's head, and then to the boy's face. There was its 
living copy. The eyes, the head, the mouth ; every feature 
was the same. The expression was, for the instant, so 
precisely alike, that the minutest line seemed copied with 
startling accuracy ! 

Oliver knew not the cause of this sudden exclamation ; 
for, not being strong enough to bear the start it gave him, 
he fainted away. A weakness on his part, which affords 
the narrative an opportunity of relieving the reader from 
suspense, in behalf of the two young pupils of the Merry 
Old Gentleman ; and of recording — 

That w'hen the Dodger, and his accomplished friend 
Master Bates, joined in the hue-and-cry which was raised 
at Oliver's heels, in consequence of their executing an 
illegal conveyance of Mr. Brownlow's personal property, 
as has been already described, they ':»ere actuated by a 
very laudable and becoming regard for themselves; and 
forasmuch as the freedom of the subject and the liberty of 
the individual are among the first and proudest boasts 
of a true-hearted Englishman, so, I need hardly beg the 
reader to observe, that this action should tend to exalt 
them in the opinion of all public and patriotic men, in 
almost as great a degree as this strong proof of their 
anxiety for their own preservation and safety goes to cor- 
roborate and confirm the little code of laws which certain 
profound and sound-judging philosophers have laid down 
as the mainsprings of all Nature's deeds and actions : the 
said philosophers very wisely reducing the good lady's 
proceedings to matters of maxim and theory : and, by a 
very neat and pretty compliment tc her exalted wisdom 
and understanding, putting entirely out of sight any con- 
siderations of heart, or generous impulse and feeling. For, 

Oliver Twist 83 

these are matters totally beneath a female who is acknow- 
ledged by universal admission to be far above the numerous 
little foibles and weaknesses of her sex. 

If I wanted any further proof of the strictly philosophical 
nature of the conduct of these young gentlemen in their 
very delicate predicament, I should at once find it in the 
fact (also recorded in a foregoing part of this narrative), 
of their quitting the pursuit, when the general attention 
was fixed upon Oliver; and making immediately for their 
home by the shortest possible cut. Although I do not 
mean to assert that it is usually the practice of renowned 
and learned sages, to shorten the road to any great con- 
clusion (their course indeed being rather to lengthen the 
distance, by various circumlocutions and discursive stag- 
gerings, like unto those in which drunken men under the 
pressure of a too mighty flow of ideas, are prone to in- 
dulge) ; still, I do mean to say, and do say distinctly, that 
it is the invariable practice of many mighty philosophers, 
in carrying out their theories, to evince great wisdom and 
foresight in providing against every possible contingency 
which can be supposed at all likely to affect themselves. 
Thus, to do a great right, you may do a little wrong ; and 
you may take any means which the end to be attained will 
justify; the amount of the right, or the amount of the 
wrong, or indeed the distinction between the two, being 
left entirely to the philosopher concerned, to be settled and 
determined by his clear, comprehensive, and impartial view 
of his own particular case. 

It was not until the two boys had scoured, with great 
rapidity, through a most intricate maze of narrow streets 
and courts, that they ventured to halt beneath a low and 
dark archway. Having remained silent here, just long 
enough to recover breath to^^speak, Master Bates uttered 
an exclamation of amusement and delight; and, bursting 
into an uncontrollable fit of laughter, flung himself upon 
a door-step, and rolled thereon in a transport of mirth. 

" What's the matter?" inquired the Dodger. 

"Ha! ha! ha!" roared Charley Bates. 

" Hold your noise," remonstrated the Dodger, looking 
cautiously round. ** Do you want to be grabbed, stupid?" 

" I can't help it," said Charley, *' I can't help it ! To 
see him splitting away at that pace, and cutting round the 
corners, and knocking up again the posts, and starting on 
again as if he was made of iron as well as them, and me 

84 Oliver Twist 

with the wipe in my pocket, singing out arter him — oh, 
my eye !*' The vivid imagination of Master Bates presented 
the scene before him in too strong colours. As he arrived 
at this apostrophe, he again rolled upon the door-step, andl 
laughed louder than before. 

" What'll Fagin say?" inquired the Dodger; taking 
advantage of the next interval of breathlessness on the 
part of his friend to propound the question. 

" What?" repeated Charley Bates, 

" Ah, what?" said the Dodger. 

** Why, what should he say?" inquired Charley: stop-- 
ping rather suddenly in his merriment; for the Dodger's 
manner was impressive. "What should he say?" 

Mr. Dawkins whistled for a couple of minutes ; then, 
taking off his hat, scratched his head, and nodded thrice. 

** What do you mean?" said Charley. 

** Toor rul lol loo, gammon and spinnage, the frog he 
wouldn't, and high cockolorum," said the Dodger: with 
a slight sneer on his intellectual countenance. J 

This was explanatory, but not satisfactory. Master 'I 
Bates felt it so; and again said, ** What do you mean?" 

The Dodger made no reply ; but putting his hat on 
again, and gathering the skirts of his long-tailed coat 
under his arm, thrust his tongue into his cheek, slapped 
the bridge of his nose some half-dozen times in a familiar 
but expressive manner, and turning on his heel, slunk 
down the court. Master Bates followed, with a thoughtful i| 

The noise of footsteps on the creaking stairs, a few 
minutes after the occurrence of this conversation, roused ' 
the merry old gentleman as he sat over the fire with a 
saveloy and a small loaf in his left hand ; a pocket-knife 
in his right ; and a pewter pot on the trivet. There was 
a rascally smile on his white face as he turned round, and, 
looking sharply out from under his thick red eyebrows, 
bent his ear towards the door, and listened. 

** Why, how's this?" muttered the Jew, changing coun- 
tenance; "only two of 'em? Where's the third? They 
can't have got into trouble. Hark !" 

The footsteps approached nearer ; they reached the land- 
ing. The door was slowly opened ; and the Dodger and 
Charley Bates entered, closing it behind them. 

Oliver Twist 85 



' Where's Oliver?" said the Jew, rising with a menacing 
00k. '• Where's the boy?" 

The young thieves eyed their preceptor as if they were 
ilarmed at his violence ; and looked uneasily at each other. 
But they made no reply. 

* What's become of the boy?" said the Jew, seizing tht 
Oodger tightly by the collar, and threatening him with 
lorrid imprecations. ** Speak out, or I'll throttle you !" 

Mr. Fagin looked so very much in earnest, that Charley 
Bates, who deemed it prudent in all cases to be on the safe 
side, and who conceived it by no means improbable that it 
[night be his turn to be throttled second, dropped upon 
lis knees, and raised a loud, well-sustained, and continuous 
roar — something between a mad bull and a speaking 

* Will you speak?" thundered the Jew: shaking the 
Dodger so much that his keeping in the big coat at all, 
seemed perfectly miraculous. 

** Why, the traps have got him, and that's all about it," 
aid the Dodger, sullenly. *' Come, let go o' me, will 
you!" And, swinging himself, at one jerk, clean out of 
the big coat, which he left in the Jew's hands, the Dodger 
snatched up the toasting fork, and made a pass at the 
merry old gentleman's waistcoat; which, if it had taken 
effect, would have let a little more merriment out, than 
could have been easily replaced. 

The Jew stepped back in this emergency, with more 
agility than could have been anticipated in a man of his 
apparent decrepitude; and, seizing up the pot, prepared 
to hurl it at his assailant's head. But Charley Bates, at 
this moment, calling his attention by a perfectly terrific 
howl, he suddenly altered its destination, and flung it full 
at that young gentleman. 

** Why, what the blazes is in the wind now!" growled 
a deep voice. ** Who pitched that 'ere at me? It's well 

86 Oliver Twist 

':t's the beer, and not the pot, as hit me, or I'd have settled 
somebody. I might have know'd, as nobody but an in- 
fernal, rich, plundering, thundering old Jew could afford 
to throw away any drink but water — and not that, unless 
he done the River Company every quarter. Wot's it all 
about, Fagin? D — me, if my neck-handkerchief a 'n't lined 
with beer ! Come in, you sneaking warmint ; wot are you 
stopping outside for, as if you was ashamed of "'our 
master ! Come in !" 

The man who growled out these words, was a stoutly- 
built fellow of about five-and-thirty, in a black velveteen 
coat, very soiled drab breeches, lace-up half boots, and 
grey cotton stockings, which inclosed a bulky pair of legs, 
with large swelling calves ; — the kind of legs, which in 
such costume, always look in an unfinished and incomplete 
state without a set of fetters to garnish them. He had a 
brown hat on his head, 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. He disclosed, 
when he had done so, a broad heavy countenance with a 
beard of three days' growth, and two scowling eyes; one 
of which displayed various parti-coloured symptoms of 
having been recently damaged by a blow. 

** Come in, d'ye hear?" growled this engaging ruffian. 

A white shaggy dog, with his face scratched and torn in 
twenty different places, skulked into the room. 

" Why didn't you come in afore?" said the man. 
*' You're getting too proud to own me afore company, are 
you? Lie down !" 

This command was accompanied with a kick, which sent 
the animal to the other end of the room. He appeared 
well used to it, however ; for he coiled himself up in a 
corner very quietly, without uttering a sound, and wink- 
ing his very ill-looking eyes twenty times in a minute, 
appeared to occupy himself in taking a survey of the 

" What are you up to? Ill-treating the boys, you 
covetous, avaricious, in-sa-ti-a-ble old fence?" said the 
man, seating himself deliberately. ** I wonder they don't 
murder you ! 7 would if I was them. If I'd been your 
'prentice, I'd have done it long ago, and — no, I couldn't 
have sold you afterwards, for you're fit for nothing but 
keeping as a curiosity of ugliness in a glass bottle, and I 
suppose they don't blow glass bottles large enough." 

Oliver Twist 87 

"Hush! hush! Mr. Sikes," said the Jew, trembling; 

don't speak so loud." 

"None of your mistering," replied the ruffian; ** you 
always mean mischief when you come that. You know 
my name : out with it ! I shan't disgrace it when the 
time comes." 

" Well, well, then — Bill Sikes," said the Jew, with abject 
humility. *' You seem out of humour, Bill." 

" Perhaps I am," replied Sikes; ** I should think you 
was rather out of sorts too, unless you mean as little 
harm when you throw pewter pots about, as you do when 
you blab, and " 

" Are you mad?" said the Jew, catching the man by the 
sleeve, and pointing towards the boys. 

Mr. Sikes contented himself with tying an imaginary 
knot under his left ear, and jerking his head over on tht 
right shoulder ; a piece of dumb show which the Jew ap- 
peared to understand perfectly. He then, in cant terms, 
with which his whole conversation was plentifully be- 
sprinkled, but which would be quite unintelligible if they 
were recorded here, demanded a glass of liquor. 

" And mind you don't poison it," said Mr. Sikes, laying 
his hat upon the table. 

This was said in jest ; 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, he might have thought 
the caution not wholly unnecessary, or the wish (at all 
events) to improve upon the distiller's ingenuity not very 
far from the old gentleman's merry heart. 

After swallowing two or three glasses of spirits, Mr. 
Sikes condescended to take some notice of the young 
gentlemen ; which gracious act led to a conversation, in 
which the cause and manner of Oliver's capture were cir- 
cumstantially detailed, with such alterations and improve- 
ments on the truth, as to the Dodger appeared most 
advisable under the circumstances. 

"I'm afraid," said the Jew, " that he may say some- 
thing which will get us into trouble." 

"That's very likely," returned Sikes with a malicious 
grin. " You're blowed upon, Fagin." 

"And I'm afraid, you see," added the Jew, speaking 
as if he had not noticed the interruption ; and regarding 
the other closely as he did so, — " I'm afraid that, if the 
game was up with us, it might be up with a good many 

88 Oliver Twist 

more, and that it would come out rather worse for you 
than it would for me, my dear." 

The man started, and turned round upon the Jew. But 
the old gentleman's shoulders were shrugged up to his 
ears ; and his eyes were vacantly staring on the opposite 

There was a long pause. Every member of the respect- 
able coterie appeared plunged in his own rejections ; not 
excepting the dog, 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. 

** Somebody must find out wot's been done at the office," 
said Mr. Sikes in a much lower tone than he had taken 
since he came in. 

The Jew nodded assent. 

** If he hasn't peached, and is committed, there's no fear 
till he comes out again," said Mr. Sikes, ** and then he 
must be taken care on. You must get hold of him 

Again the Jew nodded. 

The prudence of this line of action, indeed, was obvious ; 
but, unfortunately, there was one very strong objection to j 
its being adopted. This was, that the Dodger, and Charley 
Bates, and Fagin, and Mr. William Sikes, happened, one 
and all, to entertain a violent and deeply-rooted antipathy 
to going near a police-office on any ground or pretext 
whatever. j 

How long they might have sat and looked at each other, | 
in a state of uncertainty not the most pleasant of its kind, 
it is difficult to guess. It is not necessary to make any 
guesses on the subject, however ; for the sudden entrance 
of the two young ladies whom Oliver had seen on a former 
occasion, caused the conversation to flow afresh. 

** The very thing !" said the Jew. " Bet will go; won't 
you, my dear?" 

** Wheres?" inquired the young lady. 

*' Only just up to the office, my dear," said the Jew 

It is due to the young lady to say that she did not 
positively affirm that she would not, but that she merely 
expressed an emphatic and earnest desire to be ** blessed " 
if she would ; a polite and delicate evasion of the request, 
which shows the young lady to have been possessed of that 

Oliver Twist 89 

natural good breeding which cannot bear to inflict upon 
a fellow-creature the pain of a direct and pointed refusal. 

The Jew's countenance fell. He turned from this young 
lady, who was gaily, not to say gorgeously attired, in a 
red gown, green boots, and yellow curl-papers, to the other 

" Nancy, my dear," said the Jew in a soothing manner, 
" what do you say?" 

'* That it won't do; so it's no use a-trying it on, Fagin," 
replied Nancy. 

** What do you mean by that?" said Mr. Sikes, looking 
up in a surly manner. 

" What I say. Bill," replied the lady collectedly. 

** Why, you're just the very person for it," reasoned 
Mr. Sikes : *' nobody about here knows anything of you." 

" And as I don't want 'em to, neither," replied Nancy 
in the same composed manner, ** it's rather more no than 
•^s with me, Bill." 
"^ ** She'll go, Fagin," said Sikes. 

** No, she won't, Fagin," said Nancy. 

" Yes, she will, Fagin," said Sikes. 

And Mr. Sikes was right. By dint of alternate threats, 
promises, and bribes, the lady in question was ultimately 
prevailed upon to undertake the commission. She was 
not, indeed, withheld by the same considerations as her 
agreeable friend ; for, having recently removed into the 
neighbourhood of Field Lane from the remote but genteel 
suburb of Ratcliffe, she was not under the same appre- 
hension of being recognised by any of her numerous 

Accordingly, with a clean white apron tied over her 
gown, and her curl-papers tucked up under a straw bonnet, 
— both articles of dress being provided from the Jew'? 
inexhaustible stock, — Miss Nancy prepared to issue forth 
on her errand. 

** Stop a minute, my dear," said the Jew, producing a 
little covered basket. ** Carry that in one hand. It looks 
more respectable, my dear." 

** Give her a door-key to carry in her t'other one, 
Fagin," said Sikes; ** it looks real and genivine like." 

*' Yes, yes, my dear, so it does," said the Jew, hanging 
a large street-door key on the forefinger of the young 
lady's right hand. "There; very good! Very good 
indeed, my dear!" said the Jew, rubbing his hands. 

90 Oliver Twist 

*' Oh, my brother ! My poor, dear, sweet, innocent little 
brother !" exclaimed Nancy, bursting into tears, and wring- 
ing the little basket and the street-door key in an agony 
of distress. *' What has become of him ! Where have 
they taken him to ! Oh, do have pity, and tell me what's 
been done with the dear boy, gentlemen; do, gentlemen, 
if you please, gentlemen!" 

Having uttered these words in a most lamentable and 
heart-broken tone to the immeasurable delight of her 
hearers, Miss Nancy paused, winked to the company, 
nodded smilingly round, and disappeared. 

"Ah! she's a clever girl, my dears," said the Jew, 
turning round to his young friends, and shaking his head 
gravely, as if in mute admonition to them to follow the 
bright example they had just beheld. 

** She's a honour to her sex," said Mr. Sikes, filling his 
glass, and smiting the table with his enormous fist. 
" Here's her health, and wishing they was all like 

While these, and many other encomiums, were being 
passed on the accomplished Nancy, that young lady made 
the best of her way to the police-office ; whither, notwith- 
standing a little natural timidity consequent upon walking 
through the streets alone and unprotected, she arrived in 
perfect safety shortly afterwards. 

Entering by the back way, she tapped softly with the 
key at one of the cell-doors, and listened. There was no 
sound within : so she coughed and listened again. Still 
there was no reply : so she spoke. 

"Nolly, dear?" murmured Nancy in a gentle voice; 
" Nolly?" 

There was nobody inside but a miserable shoeless 
criminal, who had been taken up for playing the flute, and 
who, the offence against society having been clearly 
proved, had been very properly committed by Mr. Fang to 
the House of Correction for one month; with the appro- 
priate and amusing remark that since he had so much 
breath to spare, it would be more wholesomely expended 
on the treadmill than in a musical instrument. He made 
no answer : being occupied in mentally bewailing the loss 
of the flute, which had been confiscated for the use of the 
county ; so Nancy passed on to the next cell, and knocked 

*' Well !" cried a faint and feeble voice. 

Oliver Twist 91 

** Is there a little boy here?" inquired Nancy, with a 
preliminary sob. 

" No," replied the voice; " God forbid." 

This was a vagrant of sixty-five, who was going to 
prison for not playing the flute; or, in other words, for 
begging in the streets, and doing nothing for his liveli- 
hood. In the next cell, was another man, who was going 
to the same prison for hawking tin saucepans without a 
license ; thereby doing something for his living, in defiance 
of the Stamp-office. 

But, as neither of these criminals answered to the name 
of Oliver, or knew anything about him, Nancy made 
straight up to the bluff officer in the striped waistcoat; 
and with the most piteous wailings and lamentations, ren- 
dered more piteous by a prompt and efficient use of the 
street-door key and the little basket, demanded her own 
dear brother. 

*' 7 haven't got him, my dear," said the old man. 

" Where is he?" screamed Nancy, in a distracted 

" Why, the gentleman's got him," replied the officer. 

* ' What gentleman ? Oh, gracious heavens ! What 
gentleman?" exclaimed Nancy. 

In reply to this incoherent question, the old man in- 
formed the deeply affected sister that Oliver had been taken 
ill in the office, and discharged in consequence of a wit- 
ness having proved the robbery to have been committed 
by another boy, not in custody; and that the prosecutor 
had carried him away, in an insensible condition, to his 
own residence : of and concerning which, all the informant 
knew was, that it was somewhere at Pentonville, he hav- 
ing heard that word mentioned in the directions to the 

In a dreadful state of doubt and uncertainty, the agonised 
young woman staggered to the gate, and then, exchang- 
ing her faltering walk for a swift run, returned by the 
most devious and complicated route she could think of, 
to the domicile of the Jew. 

Mr. Bill Sikes no sooner heard the account of the ex- 
pedition delivered, than he very hastily called up the white 
dog, and, putting on his hat, expeditiously departed : with- 
out devoting any time to the formality of wishing the 
company good-morning. 

*'We must know where he is. mv dears: he must be 

92 Oliver Twist 

found," said the Jew, greatly excited. ** Charley, do no- 
thing but skulk about, till you bring home some news of 
him ! Nancy, my dear, I must have him found. I trust 
to you, my dear, — to you and the Artful for everything ! 
Stay, stay," added the Jew, unlocking a drawer with a 
shaking hand; "there's money, my clears. I shall shut 
up this shop to-night. You'll know where to find me! 
Don't stop here a minute. Not an instant, my dears !" 

With these words, he pushed them from the room : 
and carefully double-locking and barring the door behind 
them, drew from its place of concealment the box which he 
had unintentionally disclosed to Oliver. Then, he hastily 
proceeded to dispose the watches and jewellery beneath his 

A rap at the door startled him in this occupation. 
** Who's there?" he cried in a shrill tone. 

"Me!" replied the voice of the Dodger, through the 

** What now?" cried the Jew impatiently. 

** Is he to be kidnapped to the other ken, Nancy says?" 
inquired the Dodger. 

" Yes," replied the Jew, ** wherever she lays hands on 
him. Find him, find him out, that's all ! I shall know 
what to do next; never fear." 

The boy murmured a reply of intelligence ; and hurried 
down stairs after his companions. 

" He has not peached so far," said the Jew as he pursued 
his occupation. ** If he means to blab us among his new 
friends, we may stop his mouth yet." 



Oliver soon recovering from the fainting-fit into wb'ch 
Mr. Brownlow's abrupt exclamation had thrown him, the 
subject of the picture was carefully avoided, both by the 
old gentleman and Mrs. Bedwin, in the conversation that 
ensued : which indeed bore no reference to Oliver's history 

Oliver Twist 93 

or prospects, but was confined to such topics as might 
amuse without exciting him. He was still too weak to get 
up to breakfast ; but, when he came down into the house- 
keeper's room next day, his first act was to cast an eager 
glance at the wall, in the hope of again looking on the face 
of the beautiful lady. His expectations were disappointed, 
however, for the picture had been removed. 

" Ah !" said the housekeeper, watching the direction of 
Oliver's eyes. ** It is gone, you see." 

'* I see it is, ma'am," replied Oliver. " Why have they 
taken it away?" 

'* It has been taken down, child, because Mr. Brown- 
low said, that as it seemed to worry you, perhaps it might 
prevent your getting well, you know," rejoined the old 

'* Oh, no, indeed. It didn't worry me, ma'am," said 
Oliver. ** I liked to see it. I quite loved it." 

"Well, well!" said the old lady, good-humouredly ; 
" you get well as fast as ever you can, dear, and it shall be 
hung up again. There ! I promise you that ! Now, let 
us talk about something else." 

This was all the information Oliver would obtain about 
the picture at that time. As the old lady had been so kind 
to him in his illness, he endeavoured to think no more of 
the subject just then ; so he listened attentively to a great 
many stories she told him, about an amiable and handsome 
daughter of hers, who was married to an amiable and hand- 
some man, and lived in the country; and about a son. 
who was clerk to a merchant in the West Indies ; and who 
was, also, such a good young man, and wrote such dutiful 
letters home four times a-year, that it brought the tears 
into her eyes to talk about them. When the old lady had 
expatiated, a long time, on the excellences of her children, 
and the merits of her kind good husband besides, who had 
been dead and gone, poor dear soul ! just six-and-twenty 
years, it was time to have tea. After tea she began to 
teach Oliver cribbage : which he learnt as quickly as she 
could teach : and at which game they played, with great 
interest and gravity, until it was time for the invahd to 
have some warm wine and water, with a slice of dry toast, 
and then to go cosily to bed. 

They were happy days, those of Oliver's recovery. 
Everything was so quiet, and neat, and orderly; every- 
body was kind and gfentle ; that after the noise and turbu- 


94 Oliver Twist 

lence in the midst of which he had always lived, it seemed 
like Heaven itself. He was no sooner strong enough to 
put his clothes on, properly, than Mr. Brownlow caused a 
complete new suit, and a new cap, and a new pair of shoes, 
to be provided for him. As Oliver was told that he might 
do what he liked with the old clothes, he gave them to a 
servant who had been very kind to him, and asked her 
to sell them to a Jew, and keep the money for herself. 
This she very readily did ; and, as Oliver looked out of the 
parlour window, and saw the Jew roll them up in his bag 
and walk away, he felt quite delighted to think that they 
were safely gone, and that there was now no possible 
danger of his ever being able to wear them again. They 
were sad rags, to tell the truth ; and Oliver had never had 
a new suit before. 

One evening, about a week after the affair of the picture, 
as he was sitting talking to Mrs. Bedwin, there came a 
message down from Mr. Brownlow, that if Oliver Twist 
felt pretty well, he should like to see him in his study, and 
talk to him a little while. 

'* Bless us, and save us ! Wash your hands, and let me 
part your hair nicely for you, child," said Mrs. Bedwin. 
** Dear heart alive ! If we had known he would have asked 
for you, we would have put you a clean collar on, and 
made you as smart as sixpence!" 

Oliver did as the old lady bade him ; and, although she 
lamented grievously, meanwhile, that there was not even 
time to crimp the little frill that bordered his shirt-collar; 
he looked so delicate and handsome, despite that important 
personal advantage, that she went so far as to say : looking 
at him with great complacency from head to foot, that she 
really didn't think it would have been possible, on the 
longest notice, to have made much difference in him for the 

Thus encouraged, Oliver tapped at the study door. On 
Mr. Brownlow calling to him to come in, he found himself 
in a little back room, quite full of books, with a window, 
looking into some pleasant little gardens.^ There was a 
table drawn up before the window, at which Mr. Brownlow 
was seated reading. When he saw Oliver, he pushed the 
book away from him, and told him to come near the table, 
and sit down. Oliver complied ; 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. 

Oliver Twist 95 

Which is still a marvel to more experienced people than 
Oliver Twist, every day of their lives. 

" There are a good many books, are there not, my boy?" 
said Mr. Brovimlow, observing the curiosity with which 
Oliver surveyed the shelves that reached from the floor to 
the ceiling. 

" A great number, sir," replied Oliver. ** I never saw- 
so many." 

'* You shall read them, if you behave well," said the old 
gentleman kindly; "and you will like that, better than 
looking at the outsides, — that is, in some cases ; because 
there are books of which the backs and covers are by far 
the best parts." 

" I suppose they are those heavy ones, sir," said Oliver, 
pointing to some large quartos, with a good deal of gilding 
about the binding. 

"Not always those," said the old gentleman, patting 
Oliver on the head, and smiling as he did so; " there are 
other equally heavy ones, though of a much smaller size. 
How should you like to grow up a clever man, and write 
books, eh?" 

" I think I would rather read them, sir," replied Oliver. 

" What! wouldn't you like to be a book-writer?" said 
the old gentleman. 

Oliver considered a little while ; and at last said, he 
should think it would be a much better thing to be a book- 
seller ; upon which the old gentleman laughed heartily, and 
declared he had said a very good thing. Which Oliver felt 
glad to have done, though he by no means knew what it was. 

" Well, well," said the old gentleman, composing his ' 
features. " Don't be afraid ! We won't make an author 
of you, while there's an honest trade to be learnt, or brick- 
rrt^ktng to turn to." 

" Thank you, sir," said Oliver. At the earnest manner 
of his reply, the old gentleman laughed again ; and said 
something about a curious instinct, which Oliver, not 
understanding, paid no very great attention to. 

" Now," said Mr. Brownlow, speaking if possible in a 
kinder, but at the same time in a much more serious 
manner, than Oliver had ever known him assume yet, " I 
want you to pay great attention, my boy, to what I am 
going to say. I shall talk to you without any reserve ; 
because I am sure you are as well able to understand me, 
as many older persons would be." 


Oliver Twist 

** Oh, don't tell me you are going to send me away, s'u, 
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. Let me stay here, 
and be a servant. Don't send me back to the wretched 
place I came from. Have mercy upon a poor boy, sir!" 

" My dear child," said the old gentleman, moved by 
the warmth of Oliver's sudden appeal; " you need not be 
afraid of my deserting you, unless you give me cause." 

** I never, never will, sir," interposed Oliver. 

** I hope not," rejoined the old gentleman, " I do not 
think you ever will. I have been deceived, before, in the 
objects whom I have endeavoured to benefit; but 1 feel 
strongly disposed to trust you, nevertheless ; and I am 
more interested in your behalf than I can well account for, 
even to myself. The persons on whom I have bestovi/ed 
my dearest love, lie deep in their graves ; but, although the 
happiness and delight of my life lie buried there too, I have 
not made a coffin of my heart, and sealed it up, for ever, 
on my best affections. Deep afjfliction has but strength- 
ened and refined them." 

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. 

"Well, well!" said the old gentleman at length, in sa 
more cheerful tone, '* I only say this, because you have a 
young heart ; and knowing that I have suffered great pain 
and sorrow, you will be more careful, perhaps, not to 
wound me again. You say you are an orphan, without a 
friend in the world ; all the inquiries I have been able to 
make, confirm the statement. Let me hear your stor) ; 
where you come from ; who brought you up ; and how you 
got into the company in which I found you. Speak the 
truth, and you shall not be friendless while I live." 

Oliver's sobs checked his utterance for some minutes ; 
when he was on the point of beginning to relate how he 
had been brought up at the farm, and carried to the work- 
house by Mr. Bumble, a peculiarly impatient little double- 
knock was heard at the street-door : and the servant, 
running up stairs, announced Mr. Grimwig. 

" Is he coming up?" inquired Mr. Brownlow. 

" Yes, sir," replied the servant. ** He asked if there 
were any muffins in the house; and, when I told him yes, 
he said be had come to tea." 

Oliver Twist 97 

Mr. Brownlow smiled ; and, turning to Oliver, said that 
Mr. Grimwig- was an old friend of his, and he must not 
mind his being- a little rough in his manners; for he 
was a worthy creature at bottom, as he had reason to 

** Shall I go down stairs, sir?" inquired Oliver. 

"No," replied Mr. Brownlow,."! would rather you 
remained here." 

At this moment, there walked into the room ; supporting 
himself by a thick stick : a stout old gentleman, rather 
lame in one leg, who was dressed in a blue coat, striped 
waistcoat, nankeen breeches and gaiters, and a broad- 
brimmed white hat, with the sides turned up with green. 
A very small-plaited shirt frill stuck out from his waistcoat ; 
and a very long steel watch-chain, with nothing but a key 
at the end, dangled loosely below it. The ends of his white 
neckerchief were twisted into a ball about the size of an 
orange ; the variety of shapes into which his countenance 
was twisted, defy description. He had a manner of screw- 
ing his head on one side when he spoke; and of looking 
out of the corners of his eyes at the same time : which 
irresistibly reminded the beholder of a parrot. In this 
attitude, he fixed himself, the moment he made his appear- 
ance ; and, holding out a small piece of orange-peel at 
arm's length, exclaimed, in a growling, discontented voice, 

" Look here ! -do you see this ! Isn't it a most wonder- 
ful 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, and I 
know orange-peel will be my death at last. It will, sir : 
orange-peel will be my death, or I'll be content to eat my 
own head, sir !" 

This was the handsome offer with which Mr. Grimwig 
backed and confirmed nearly every assertion he made ; and 
it was the more singular in his case, because, even admit- 
ting for the sake of argument, the possibility of scientific 
improvements being ever brought to that pass which will 
enable a gentleman to eat his own head in the event of his 
being so disposed, Mr. Grimwig 's head was such a par- 
ticularly large one, 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, a very thick 
coating of powder. 

" I'll eat my head, sir," repeated Mr. Grimwig, striking 


98 Oliver Twist 

his stick upon the ground. ** Hallo ! what's that !" look- 
ing at Oliver, and retreating a pace or two. 

'* This is young Oliver Twist, whom we were speaking 
about," said Mr. Brownlow. i^,,, , 

Oliver bowed. 

" You don't mean to say that's the boy who had the 
fever, I hope?" said Mr. Grimwig, recoiHng a little more. 
'' Wait, a minute ! Don't speak ! Stop — " continued Mr. 
Grimwig, abruptly, losing all dread of the fever in his 
triumph at the discovery; "that's the boy who had the 
orange ! If that's not the boy, sir, who had the orange, 
and threw this bit of peel upon the staircase, I'll eat my 
head, and his too." 

" No, no, he has not had one," said Mr. Brownlow, 
laughing. "Come! Put down your hat; and speak to 
my young friend." 

'* I feel strongly on this subject, sir," said the irritable 
old gentleman, drawing off his gloves. " There's always 
more or less orange-peel on the pavement in our street; 
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 fell against my garden-railings ; directly she got up 
I saw her look towards his infernal red lamp with the 
pantomime-light. ' Don't go to him,' I called out of the 
window, ' he's an assassin ! A man-trap !' So he is. If 

he is not " Here the irascible old gentleman gave 

a great knock on the ground with his stick ; which was 
always understood, by his friends, to imply the custom- 
ary offer, whenever it was not expressed in words. Then, 
still keeping his stick in his hand, he sat down ; and, open- 
ing a double eye-glass, which he wore attached to a broad 
black riband, took a view of Oliver : who, seeing that he ' 
was the object of inspection, coloured, and bowed again. 

** That's the boy, is it?" said Mr. Grimwig, at length. 

** That is the boy," replied Mr. Brownlow. 

** How are you, boy?" said Mr. Grimwig. 

*' A great deal better, thank you, sir," replied Oliver. 

Mr. Brownlow, seeming to apprehend that his singular 
friend was about to say something disagreeable, asked 
Oliver to step down stairs and tell Mrs. Bedwin they were 
ready for tea; which, as he did not half like the visitor's 
manner, he was very happy to do. 

" Fie is a nice-looking boy, is he not?" inquired Mr. 

Oliver Twist 99 

" I don't know," replied Mr. Grim wig, pettishly. 

*• Don't know?" 

" No. I don't know. I never see any difference in 
boys. I only know two sorts of boys. Mealy boys, and 
beef-faced boys. ' ' 

" And which is Oliver?" 

** Mealy. I know a friend who has a beef-faced boy; a 
fine boy, they call him ; with a round head, and red cheeks, 
and glaring eyes ; a horrid boy ; with a body and limbs 
that appear to be swelling out of the seams of his blue 
clothes; with the voice of a pilot, and the appetite of a 
wolf. I know him ! The wretch !" 

*' Come," said Mr. Brownlow, ** these are not the 
characteristics of young Oliver Twist ; so he needn't excite 
your wrath." 

** They are not," replied Mr. Grimwig. ** He may have 

Here, Mr. Brownlow coughed impatiently ; which 
appeared to afford Mr. Grimwig the most exquisite delight. 

*' He may have worse, I say," repeated Mr. Grimwig. 
'* Where does he come from? Who is he? W^hat is he? 
He has had a fever. What of that? Fevers are not 
peculiar to good people ; are they? Bad people have fevers 
sometimes; haven't they, eh? I knew a man who was 
hung in Jamaica for murdering his master. He had had 
a fever six times; he wasn't recommended to mercy on 
that account. Pooh! nonsense!" 

Now, the fact was, that in the inmost recesses of his own 
heart, Mr. Grimwig was strongly disposed to admit that 
Oliver's appearance and manner were unusually prepos- 
sessing; but he had a strong appetite for contradiction, 
sharpened on this occasion by the finding of the orange- 
peel ; and, inwardly determining that no man should dictate 
to him whethei* a boy was well-looking or not, he had 
resolved, from the first, to oppose his friend. When Mr. 
Brownlow admitted that on no one point of inquirr could 
he yet return a satisfactory answer ; and that he had post- 
poned any investigation into Oliver's previous history until 
he thought the boy was strong enough to bear it ; Mr. 
Grimwig chuckled maliciously. And he demanded, with a 
sneer, whether the housekeeper was in the habit of count- 
ing the plate at night; because, if she didn't find a table- 
spoon or two missing some sunshiny morning, why, he 
would be content to — and so forth. 

loo Oliver Twist 

All this, Mr. Brownlow, although himself somewhat of 
an impetuous g-entleman : knowing his friend's peculiar- 
ities, bore with great good humour; as Mr. Grimwig, at 
tea, was graciously pleased to express his entire approval 
of the muffins, matters went on very smoothly ; and Oliver, 
who made one of the party, began to feel more at his ease 
than he had yet done in the fierce old gentleman's presence. 

** And when are you going to hear a full, true, and par- 
ticular account of the life and adventures of Oliver Twist?" 
asked Grimwig of Mr. Brownlow, at the conclusion of the 
meal : looking sideways at Oliver, as he resumed the 

*' To-morrow morning," replied Mr. Brownlow. "I 
would rather he was alone with me at the time. Come up 
to me to-morrow morning at ten o'clock, my dear." 

"Yes, sir," replied Oliver. He answered with some 
hesitation, because he was confused by Mr. Grimwig's 
looking so hard at him. 

*' I'll tell you what," whispered that gentleman to Mr. 
Brownlow; " he won't come up to you to-morrow morn- 
ing. I saw him hesitate. He is deceiving you, my good 

** I'll swear he is not," replied Mr. Brownlow, warmly. 

** If he is not," said Mr. Grimwig, ** I'll " and down 

went the stick. 

** I'll answer for that boy's truth with my life!" said 
Mr. Brownlow, knocking the table. 

** And I for his falsehood with my head !" rejoined Mr. 
Grimwig, knocking the table also. 

" We shall see," said Mr. Brownlow, checking his rising 

'' We will," replied Mr. Grimwig, with a provoking 
smile ; " we will," 

As fate would have it, Mrs. Bedwin chanced to bring in, 
at this moment, a small parcel of books, which Mr. Brown- 
low had that morning purchased of the identical bookstall- 
keeper, who has already figured in this history; having 
laid them on the table, she prepared to leave the room. 

"Stop the boy^ Mrs. Bedwin!" said Mr. Brownlow; 
" there is something to go back." 

" He has gone, sir," replied Mrs. Bedwin. 

" Call after him," said Mr. Brownlow ; "it's particular. 
He is a poor man, and they are not paid for. There are 
some books to be taken back, too." 

Oliver Twist loi 

The street door was opened. Oliver ran one way ; and 
the girl ran another; and Mrs. Bedwin stood on the step 
and screamed for the boy ; but there was no boy in sight. 
Oliver and the girl returned, in a breathless state, to report 
that there were no tidings of him. 

** Dear me, I am very sorry for that," exclaimed Mr. 
Brownlow; ** I particularly wished those books to be re- 
turned to-night." 

** Send Oliver with them," said Mr. Grimwig, with an 
ironical smile ; * * he will be sure to deliver them safely, you 
know. ' ' 

"Yes; do let me take them, if you please, sir," said 
Oliver. ** I'll run all the way, sir." 

The old gentleman was just going to say that Oliver 
should not go out on any account ; when a most malicious 
cough from Mr. Grimwig determined him that he should ; 
and that, by his prompt discharge of the commission, he 
should prove to him the injustice of his suspicions : on 
this head at least : at once. 

" You shall go, my dear," said the old gentleman. 

The books are on a chair by my table. Fetch them 
down. ' ' 

Oliver, delighted to be of use. brought down the books 
under his arm in a great bustle; and waited, cap in hand, 
to hear what message he was to take. 

" You are to say," said Mr. Brownlow, glancing steadily 
at Grimwig; " you are to say that you have brought those 
books back ; and that you have come to pay the four pound 
ten I owe him. This is a five-pound note, so you will have 
to bring me back, ten shillings change." 

** I won't be ten minutes, sir," replied Oliver, eagerly. 
Having buttoned up the bank-note in his jacket pocket, 
and placed the books carefully under his arm, he made 
a respectful bow, and left the room. Mrs. Bedwin fol- 
lowed him to the street-door, giving him many directions 
about the nearest way, and the name of the bookseller, 
and the name of the street : all of which Oliver said he 
clearly understood. Having superadded many injunctions 
to be sure and not take cold, the old lady at length pern 
mitted him to depart. 

** Bless his sweet face !" said the old lady, looking after 
him. ** I can't bear, somehow, to let him go out of my 

At this moment, Oliver looked gaily round, and nodded 

I02 Oliver Twist 

before he turned the corner. The old lady smilingly re- 
turned his salutation, and, closing the door, went back to 
her own room. 

** Let me see; he'll be back in twenty minutes, at the 
longest," said Mr. Brownlow, pulling out his watch, and 
placing it on the table. *' It w^ill be dark by that time." 

" Oh! you really expect him to come back, do you?" 
inquired Mr. Grimwig. 

" Don't you?" asked Mr. Brownlow, smiling. 

The spirit of contradiction was strong in Mr. Grimwig 's 
breast, at the moment; and it was rendered stronger by his 
friend's confident smile. 

" No," he said, smiting the table with his fist, ** I do not. 
The boy has a new suit of clothes on his back, a set of 
valuable books under his arm, and a five-pound note in his 
pocket. He'll join his old friends the thieves, and laugh at 
you. If ever that boy returns to this house, sir, I'll eat 
my head." 

With these Vv^ords he drew his chair closer to the table; 
and there the two friends sat, in silent expectation, with 
the watch between them. 

It is worthy of remark, as illustrating the importance we 
attach to our own judgments, and the pride with which 
we put forth our most rash and hasty conclusions, that, 
although Mr. Grimwig was not by any means a bad- 
hearted man, and though he would have been unfeignedly 
sorry to see his respected friend duped and deceived, he 
really did most earnestly and strongly hope at that moment, 
that Oliver Twist might not come back. 

It grew so dark, that the figures on the dial-plate were 
scarcely discernible ; but there the two old gentlemen con- 
tinued to sit, in silence, with the watch between them. 



In the obscure parlour of a low public-house, in the 
filthiest part of Little Saffron Hill ; a dark and gloomy den, 
where a flaring gas-light burnt all day in the winter-time ; 
and where no ray of sun ever shone in the summer : there 

Oliver Twist 103 

sat, brooding over a little pewter measure and a small 
glass, strongly impregnated with the smell of liquor, a 
man in a velveteen coat, drab shorts, half boots and stock- 
ings, who even by that dim light no experienced agent of 
police would have hesitated to recognise as Mr. William 
Sikes. At his feet sat a white-coated, red-eyed dog; who 
occupied himself, alternately, in winking at his master 
with both eyes at the same time; and in licking a large, 
fresh cut on one side of his mouth, which appeared to be 
the result of some recent conflict. 

"Keep quiet, you warmint ! Keep quiet!" said Mr. 
Sikes, suddenly breaking silence. Whether his medita- 
tions were so intense as to be disturbed by the dog's wink- 
ing, or whether his feelings were so wrought upon by his 
reflections that they required all the relief derivable from 
kicking an unoffending animal to allay them, is matter for 
argument and consideration. Whatever was the cause, 
the effect was a kick and a curse, bestowed upon the dog 

Dogs are not generally apt to revenge injuries inflicted 
upon them by their masters; but Mr. Sikes's dog, having 
faults of temper in common with his owner, and labouring, 
perhaps, at this moment, under a powerful sense of injury, 
made no more ado but at once fixed his teeth in one of the 
half -boots. Having given it a hearty shake, he retired, 
growling, under a form ; just escaping the pewter measure 
which Mr. Sikes levelled at his head. 

** You would, would you?" said Sikes, seizing the poker 
in one hand, and deliberately opening with the other a large 
clasp knife, which he drew from his pocket. * ' Come here, 
you born devil! Come here! D'ye hear?" 

The dog no doubt heard ; because Mr. Sikes spoke in the 
very harshest key of a very harsh voice; but, appearing 
to entertain some unaccountable objection to having his 
throat cut, he remained where he was, and growled more 
fiercely than before : at the same time grasping the end 
of the poker between his teeth, and biting at it like a wild 

This resistance only infuriated Mr. Sikes the more ; who, 
dropping on his knees, began to assail the animal most 
furiously. The dog jumped from right to left, and from 
left to right : snapping, growling, and barking ; the man 
thrust and swore, and struck and blasphemed ; and the 
struggle was reaching a most critical point for one or 

I04 Oliver Twist 

other; when, the door suddenly opening, the dog darted 
out : leaving Bill Sikes with the poker and the clasp-knife 
in his hands. 

There must always be two parties to a quarrel, says the 
old adage. Mr. Sikes, being disappointed of the dog's 
participation, at once transferred his share in the quarrel 
to the new-comer. 

" What the devil do you come in between me and my 
dog for?" said Sikes, with a fierce gesture. 

** I didn't know, my dear, I didn't know," replied Fagin, 
humbly ; for the Jew was the new-comer. 

" Didn't know, you white-livered thief !" growled Sikes. 
** Couldn't you hear the noise?" 

** Not a sound of it, as I'm a living man, Bill," replied 
the Jew. 

" Oh no ! You hear nothing, you don't," retorted Sikes 
with a fierce sneer. " Sneaking in and out, so as nobody 
hears how you come or go ! I wish you had been the 
dog, Fagin, half a minute ago." 

** Why?" inquired the Jew with a forced smile. 

** 'Cause the government, as cares for the lives of such 
men as you, as haven't half the pluck of curs, lets a man 
kill a dog how he likes," replied Sikes, shutting up the 
knife with a very expressive look; '* that's why." 

The Jew rubbed his hands; and, sitting down at the 
table, affected to laugh at the pleasantry of his friend. He 
was obviously very ill at ease, however. 

"Grin away," said Sikes, replacing the poker, and 
surveying him with savage contempt; ** grin away. 
You'll never have the laugh at me, though, unless it's be- 
hind a night-cap. I've got the upper hand over you, 
Fagin; and, d — me, I'll keep it. There! If I go, you 
go; so take care of me." 

** Well, well, my dear," said the Jew, " I know all that; 
we — we — have a mutual interest. Bill, — a mutual interest." 

** Humph," said Sikes, as if he thought the interest lay 
rather more on the Jew's side than on his. ** Well, what 
have you got to say to me?" 

** It's all passed safe through the melting-pot," replied 
Fagin, *' and this is your share. It's rather more than it 
ought to be, my dear; but as I know you'll do me a good 
turn another time, and " 

*' Stow that gammon," interposed the robber, impa- 
tiently. <- *' Where is it? Hand over !" 

Oliver Twist 105 

** Yes, yes, Bill; give me time, give me time," replied 
the Jew, soothingly. "Here it is! All safe!" As he 
spoke, he drew forth an old cotton handkerchief from his 
breast, and untying a large knot in one corner, produced 
a small brown-paper packet. Sikes, snatching it from 
him, hastily opened it; and proceeded to count the 
sovereigns it contained. 

** This is all, is it?" inquired Sikes. 

" All," replied the Jew. 

** You haven't opened the parcal and swallowed one or 
two as you come along, have you.'^" inquired Sikes, sus- 
piciously. ** Don't put on an injured look at the ques- 
tion; you've done it many a time. Jerk the tinkler." 

These words, in plain English, conveyed an injunction 
to ring the bell. It was answered by another Jew : younger 
than Fagin, but nearly as vile and repulsive in appearance. 

Bill Sikes merely pointed to the empty measure. The 
Jew, perfectly understanding the hint, retired to fill it : 
previously exchanging a remarkable look with Fagin, who 
raised his eyes for an instant, as if in expectation of it, 
and shook his head in reply; so slightly that the action 
would have been almost imperceptible to an observant 
third person. It was lost upon Sikes, who was stoop- 
ing at the moment to tie the boot-lace which the dog had 
torn. Possibly, if he had observed the brief interchange 
of signals, he might have thought that it boded no good 
to him. 

" Is anybody here, Barney?" inquired Fagin; speaking, 
now that Sikes was looking on, without raising his eyes 
from the ground. 

** Dot a shoul," replied Barney ; whose words : whether 
they came from the heart or not : made their way through 
the nose. 

"Nobody?" inquired Fagin, in a tone of surprise: 
which perhaps might mean that Barney was at liberty to 
tell the truth. 

** Dobody but Biss Dadsy," replied Barney. 

"Nancy!" exclaimed Sikes. "Where? Strike me 
blind, if I don't honour that 'ere girl, for her native 

" She's bid havid a plate of boiled beef id the bar," 
replied Barney. 

" Send her here," said Sikes, pouring out a glass of 
liquor* ** Send her here." 

io6 Oliver Twist 

Barney looked timidly at Fagin, as if for permission; 
the Jew remaining- silent, and not lifting his eyes from the 
ground, he retired; and presently returned, ushering in 
Nancy ; who was decorated with the bonnet, apron, basket, 
and street-door key, complete. 

" You are on the scent, are you, Nancy?" inquired 
Sikes, proffering the glass. 

** Yes, I am, Bill," replied the young lady, disposing of 
its contents; "and tired enough of it I am, too. The 
young brat's been ill and confined to the crib; and " 

*' Ah, Nancy, dear!" said Fagin, looking up. 

Now, whether a peculiar contraction of the Jew's red 
eyebrows, and a half-closing of his deeply-set eyes, warned 
Miss Nancy that she was disposed to be too communica- 
tive, is not a matter of much importance. The fact is all 
we need care for here ; and the fact is, that she suddenly 
checked herself, and with several gracious smiles upon Mr. 
Sikes, turned the conversation to other matters. In about 
ten minutes' time, Mr. Fagin was seized with a fit of 
coughing ; upon which Nancy pulled her shawl over her 
shoulders, and declared it u^as time to go. Mr. Sikes, 
finding that he was walking a short part of her way him- 
self, expressed his intention of accompanying her; they 
went away together, followed, at a little distance, by the 
dog, who slunk out of a back-yard as soon as his master 
was out of sight. 

The Jew thrust his head out of the room door when 
Sikes had left it; looked after him as he walked up the 
dark passage ; shook his clenched fist ; muttered a deep 
curse; and then, with a horrible grin, re-seated himself at 
the table ; where he was soon deeply absorbed in the 
interesting pages of the Hue-and-Cry. 

Meanwhile, Oliver Twist, little dreaming that he was 
Vv'ithin so very short a distance of the merry old gentleman, 
was on his way to the book-stall. When he got into 
Clerkenwell, he accidentally turned down a bye-street which 
was not exactly in his way; but not discovering his mis- 
take until he had got half-way down it, and knowing it 
must lead in the right direction, he did not think it Vv^orth 
while to turn back ; and so marched on, as quickly as he 
could, with the books under his arm. 

He was walking along, thinking how happy and con- 
tented he ought to feel ; and how much he would give for 
only one look at poor little Dick, who, starved and beaten, 

Oliver Twist 107 

might be weeping bitterly at that very moment; when he 
was startled by a young woman screaming out very loud, 
*• Oh, my dear brother !" And he had hardly looked up, 
to see what the matter was, when he was stopped by having 
a pair of arms thrown tight round his neck. 

" Don't," cried Oliver, struggling. " Let go of me. 
Who is it? What are you stopping me for?" 

The only reply to this, was a great number of loud 
lamentations from the young woman who had embraced 
him; and who had a little basket and a street-door key 
in her hand. 

** Oh my gracious !" said the young woman, ** I've 
found him ! Oh ! Oliver ! Oliver ! Oh you naughty boy, 
to make me suffer sich distress on your account ! Come 
home, dear, come. Oh, I've found him. Thank gracious 
goodness heavins, I've found him!" With these inco- 
herent exclamations, the young woman burst into another 
fit of crying, and got so dreadfully hysterical, that a couple 
of women who came up at the moment asked a butcher's 
boy with a shiny head of hair anointed with suet, who was 
also looking on, whether he didn't think he had better run 
for the doctor. To which, the butcher's boy : who ap- 
peared of a lounging, not to say indolent disposition : 
replied, that he thought not. 

*' Oh, no, no, never mind," said the young woman, 
grasping Oliver's hand; ** I'm better now. Come home 
directly, you cruel boy ! Come !" 

" What's the matter, ma'am?" inquired one of the 

" Oh, ma'am," replied the young woman, *' he ran 
away, near a month ago, from his parents, who are hard- 
working and respectable people ; and went and joined a 
set of thieves and bad characters ; and' almost broke his 
mother's fteart. " 

** Young wretch I" said one woman. 

** Go home, do, you little brute," said the other. 

** I am not," replied Oliver, greatly alarmed. " I don't 
know her. I haven't any sister, or father and mother 
either. I'm an orphan; I live at Pentonville. " 

*' Only hear him, how be braves it out !" cried the young 

" Why, it's Nancy !" exclaimed Oliver; who now saw 
her face for the first time ; and started back, in irrepressible 

io8 Oliver Twist 

" You see he knows me !" cried Nancy, appealing to the 
bystanders. " He can't help himself. Make him come 
home, there's good people, or he'll kill his dear mother and 
father, and break my heart !" 

'* What the devil's this?" said a man, bursting out of 
a beer-shop, with a white dog at his heels ; '* young Oliver ! 
Come home to your poor mother, you young dog ! Come 
home directly." 

'* I don't belong to them. I don't know them. Help! 
help !" cried Oliver, struggling in the man's powerful grasp. 

** Help !" repeated the man. *' Yes; I'll help you, you 
young rascal! What books are these? You've been a 
stealing 'em, have you? Give 'em here." With these 
words, the man tore the volumes from his grasp, and 
struck him on the head. 

"That's right!" cried a looker-on, from a garret- 
window. " That's the only way of bringing him to his 
senses !" 

"To be sure!" cried a sleepy-faced carpenter, casting 
an approving look at the garret-window. 

" It'll do him good !" said the two women. 

" And he shall have it, too !" rejoined the man, adminis- 
tering another blow, and seizing Oliver by the collar. 
" Come on, you young villain ! Here, Bull's-eye, mind 
him, boy ! Mind him !" 

Weak with recent illness ; stupefied by the blows and 
the suddenness of the attack; terrified by the fierce growl- 
ing of the dog, and the brutality of the man ; overpowered 
by the conviction of the bystanders that he really was the 
hardened little wretch he was described to be ; what could 
one poor child do? Darkness had set In; it was a low 
neighbourhood ; no help was near ; resistance was useless. 
In another moment he was dragged into a labyrinth of 
dark narrow courts, and was forced along them at a pace 
which rendered the few cries he dared to give utterance 
to, unintelligible. It was of little moment, indeed, whether 
they were intelligible or no; for there was nobody to care 
for them, had they been ever so plain. 


The gas-lamps were lighted ; Mrs. Bedwin was waiting 
anxiously at the open door; the servant had run up the 
street twenty times to see if there were any traces of Oliver ; 
and still the two old gentlemen sat, perseverlngly, in the 
dark parlour, with the watch between them. 

Oliver Twist 109 



The narrow streets and courts, at length, terminated in 
a large open space; scattered about which, were pens for 
beasts, and other indications of a cattle-market. Sikes 
slackened his pace when they reached this spot : the girl 
being quite unable to support any longer, the rapid rate at 
which they had hitherto walked. Turning to Oliver, he 
roughly commanded him to take hold of Nancy's hand. 

" Do you hear?" growled Sikes, as Oliver hesitated, 
and looked round. 

They were in a dark corner, quite out of the track of 
passengers. Oliver saw, but too plainly, that resistance 
would be of no avail. He held out his hand, which Nancy 
clasped tight in hers. 

** Give me the other," said Sikes, seizing Oliver's un- 
occupied hand. ** Here, Bull's-eye!" 

The dog looked up, and growled. 

** See here, boy !" said Sikes, putting his other hand to 
Oliver's throat; "if he speaks ever so soft a word, hold 
him ! D'ye mind !" 

The dog growled again ; and licking his lips, eyed Oliver 
as if he were anxious to attach himself to his windpipe 
without delay. 

" He's as willing as a Christian, strike me blind if he 
isn't!" said Sikes, regarding the animal with a kind of 
grim and ferocious approval. " Now, you know what 
you've g^ot to expect, master, so call away as quick as you 
like ; the dog will soon stop that game. Get on, young 

Bull's-eye wagged his tail in acknowledgment of this 
unusually endearing form of speech ; and, giving vent to 
another admonitory growl for the benefit of Oliver, led the 
way onward. 

It was Smithfield that they were crossing, although it 
might have been Grosvenor Square, for anything Oliver 
knew to the contrary. The night was dark and foggy. 
The lights in the shops could scarcely struggle through the 
heavy mist, which thickened every moment and shrouded 

no Oliver Twist 

the streets and houses in gloom ; rendering the strange 
place still stranger in Oliver's eyes ; and making his un- 
certainty the more dismal and depressing. 

They had hurried on a few paces, when a deep church- 
bell struck the hour. With its first stroke, his two con- 
ductors stopped, and turned their heads in the direction 
whence the sound proceeded. 

" Eight o'clock, Bill," said Nancy, when the bell ceased. 

" What's the good of telling me that; I can hear it, 
can't I !" replied Sikes. 

'* I wonder whether they can hear it," said Nancy. 

" Of course they can," replied Sikes. ** It was Bartle- 
my time when I was shopped; and there warn't a penny 
trumpet in the fair, as I couldn't hear the squeaking on. 
After I was locked up for the night, the row and din out- 
side made the thundering old jail so silent, that 1 could 
almost have beat my brains out against the iron plates of 
the door." 

" Poor fellows !" said Nancy, who still had her face 
turned towards the quarter in which the bell had sounded. 
'* Oh, Bill, such fine young chaps as them !" 

" Yes; that's all you women think of," answered Sikes. 
** Fine young chaps ! Well, they're as good as dead, so it 
don't much matter." 

With this consolation, Mr. Sikes appeared to repress a 
rising tendency to jealousy, and, clasping Oliver's wrist 
more firmly, told him to step out again. 

*' Wait a minute!" said the girl: ** I wouldn't hurry 
by, if it was you that was coming out to be hung, the next 
time eight o'clock struck. Bill. I'd walk round and round 
the place till I dropped, if the snow was on the ground, 
and I hadn't a shawl to cover me." 

'* And what good would that do?" inquired the unsenti- 
mental Mr. Sikes. ** Unless you could pitch over a file 
and twenty yards of good stout rope, you might as well be 
walking fifty mile off, or not walking at all, for all the good 
it would do me. Come on, and don't stand preaching 

The girl burst into a laugh ; drew her shawl more closely 
round her; and they walked away. But Oliver felt her 
hand tremble, and, looking up in her face as they passed 
a gas-lamp, saw that it had turned a deadly white. 

They walked on, by little-frequented and dirty ways, for 
a full half-hour: meeting very few people, and those ap- 

Oliver Twist iii 

pearing from their looks to hold much the same position in 
society as Mr. Sikes himself. At length they turned into 
a very filthy narrow street, nearly full of old-clothes shops ; 
the dog running forward, as if conscious that there was no 
further occasion for his keeping on guard, stopped before 
the door of a shop that was closed and apparently un- 
tenanted ; the house was in a ruinous condition, and on the 
door was nailed a board, intimating that it was to let : 
which looked as if it had hung there for many years. 

" All right," cried Sikes, glancing cautiously about. 

Nancy stooped below the shutters, and Oliver heard the 
sound of a bell. They crossed to the opposite side of the 
street, and stood for a few moments under a lamp. A noise, 
as if a sash window were gently raised, was heard ; and 
soon afterwards the door softly opened. Mr. Sikes then 
seized the terrified boy by the collar with very little cere- 
mony ; and all three were quickh'- inside the house. 

The passage was perfectly dark. They waited, while 
the person who had let them in, chained and barred the 

** Anybody here?" inquired Sikes. 

" No," replied a voice, which Oliver thought he had 
heard before. 

" Is the old 'un here?" asked the robber. 

"Yes," replied the voice; "and precious down in the 
mouth he has been. Won't he be glad to see you? Oh, 
no ! " 

The style of this reply, as well as the voice which de- 
livered it, seemed familiar to Oliver's ears : but it was 
impossible to distinguish even the form of the speaker in 
the darkness. 

** Let's have a glim," said Sikes, " or we shall go break- 
ing our necks, or treading on the dog. Look after your 
legs if you do !" 

" Stand still a moment, and I'll get you one," replied 
the voice. The receding footsteps of the speaker were 
heard; and, in another minute, the form of Mr. John 
Dawkins, otherwise the artful Dodger, appeared. He bore 
in his right hand a tallow candle stuck in the end of a 
cleft stick. 

The young gentleman did not stop to bestow any other 
mark of recognition upon Oliver than a humorous grin ; 
but, turning away, beckoned the visitors to follow him down 
a flight of stairs. They crossed an empty kitchen; and. 

112 Oliver Twist 

opening the door of a low earthy-smelling room, which 
seemed to have been built in a small back-yard, were 
received with a shout of laughter. 

'* Oh, my wig, my wig !" cried Master Charles Bates, 
from whose lungs the laughter had proceeded ; * ' here he 
is ! oh, cry, here he is ! Oh, Fagin, look at him ! Fagin, 
do look at him ! I can't bear it; it is such a jolly game, I 
can't bear it. Hold me, somebody, while I laugh it out." 

With this irrepressible ebullition of mirth. Master Bates 
laid himself flat on the floor : and kicked convulsively for 
five minutes in an ecstasy of facetious joy. Then jumping 
to his feet, he snatched the cleft stick from the Dodger; 
and, advancing to Oliver, viewed him round and round; 
while the Jew, taking off his nightcap, made a great 
number of low bows to the bewildered boy. The Artful, 
meantime, who was of a rather saturnine disposition, and 
seldom gave way to merriment when it interfered with 
business, rifled Oliver's pockets with steady assiduity. 

** Look at his togs, Fagin!" said Charley, putting the 
light so close to his new jacket as nearly to set him on fire. 
" Look at his togs ! Superfine cloth, and the heavy swell 
cut ! Oh, my eye, what a game ! And his books, too ! 
Nothing but a gentleman, Fagin!" 

" Delighted to see you looking so well, my dear," said 
the Jew, bowing with mock humility. ** The Artful shall 
give you another suit, my dear, for fear you should spoil 
that Sunday one. Why didn't you write, my dear, and 
say you were coming? We'd have got something warm 
for supper." 

At this. Master Bates roared again : so loud, that Fagin 
himself relaxed, and even the Dodger smiled ; but as the 
Artful drew forth the five-pound note at that instant, it is 
doubtful whether the sally or the discovery awakened his 

"Hallo! what's that?" inquired Sikes, stepping for- 
ward as the Jew seized the note. " That's mine, Fagin." 

** No, no, my dear," said the Jew. *' Mine, Bill, mine. 
You shall have the books." 

'* If that ain't mine!" said Bill Sikes, putting on his 
hat with a determined air; ** mine and Nancy's, that is; 
I'll take the boy back again." 

The Jew started. Oliver started too, though from a very 
different cause ; for he hoped that the dispute might really 
end in his being taken back. 

Oliver Twist 113 

"Come! Hand over, will you?" said Sikes. 

"This is hardly fair, Bill; hardly fair, is it, Nancy?" 
inquired the Jew. 

" Fair, or not fair," retorted Sikes, "hand over, I tell 
you ! Do you think Nancy and me has got notb'ng else to 
do with our precious time but to spend it in scouting arter 
and kidnapping, every young boy as gets grabbed through 
you? Give it here, you avaricious old skeleton, give it 

With this gentle remonstrance, Mr. Sikes plucked the 
note from between the Jew's finger and thumb; and look- 
ing the old man coolly in the face, folded it up small, and 
tied it in his neckerchief. 

" That's for our share of the trouble," said Sikes ; '* and 
not half enough, neither. You may keep the books, if 
you're fond of reading. If you a'n't, sell 'em." 

" They're very pretty," said Charley Bates : who, with 
sundry grimaces, had been affecting to read one of the 
volumes in question : " beautiful writing, isn't it, Oliver?" 
At sight of the dismayed look with which Oliver regarded 
his tormentors. Master Bates, who was blessed with a lively 
sense of the ludicrous, fell into another ecstasy, more 
boisterous than the first. 

" They belong to the old gentleman," said Oliver, wring- 
ing his hands; "to the good, kind, old gentleman who 
took me into his house, and had me nursed, when I was 
near dying of the fever. Oh, pray send them back ; send 
him back the books and money. Keep me here all my life 
long; but pray, pray send them back. He'll think I stole 
them ; the old lady : all of them who were so kind to me : 
will think I stole them. Oh, do have mercy upon me, 
and send them back !" 

With those words, which were uttered with all the 
energy of passionate grief, Oliver fell upon his knees at 
the Jew's feet; and beat his hands together, in perfect 

" The boy's right," remarked Fagin, looking covertly 
round, and knitting his shaggy eyebrows into a hard knot. 
"You're right, Oliver, you're right; they will think you 
have stolen 'em. Ha! ha!" chuckled the Jew, rubbing 
his hands; " it couldn't have happened better, if we had 
chosen our time ! * ' 

"Of course it couldn't, replied Sikes; "I know'd 
that, directly I see him coming through Clerkenwell, with 

1 14 Oliver Twist 

the books under his arm. It's all right enough. They're 
soft-hearted psalm-singers, or they wouldn't have taken 
him in at all; and they'll ask no questions after him, fear 
they should be obliged to prosecute, and so get him 
lagged. He's safe enough." 

Oliver had looked from one to the other, while these 
words were being spoken, as if he were bewildered, and 
could scarcely understand what passed ; but when Bill 
Sikes concluded, he jumped suddenly to his feet, and tore 
wildly from the room : uttering shrieks for help, which 
made the bare old house echo to the roof. 

"Keep back the dog. Bill!" cried Nancy, springing; 
before the door, and closing it, as the Jew and his two 
pupils darted out in pursuit. " Keep back the dog; he'll 
tear the boy to pieces." 

** Serve him right !" cried Sikes, struggling to disengage; 
himself from the girl's grasp. " Stand off from me, or 
I'll split your head against the wall." 

" I don't care for that, Bill, I don't care for that," 
screamed the girl, struggling violently with the man : " the' 
child shan't be torn down by the dog, unless you kill me' 

" Shan't he !" said Sikes, setting his teeth. *' I'll sooni 
do that, if you don't keep off." 

The housebreaker flung the girl from him to the further 
end of the room, just as the Jew and the two boys returned, 
dragging Oliver among them. 

*' What's the matter here !" said Fagin, looking round. 

" The girl's gone mad, I think," replied Sikes, savagely. 

" No, she hasn't," said Nancy, pale and breathless from 
the scuffle; *' no, she hasn't, Fagin; don't think it." 

"Then keep quiet, will you?" said the Jew, with a 
threatening look. • 

" No, I won't do that, neither," replied Nancy, speaking] 
very loud. " Come ! What do you think of that?" 
■^ Mr. Fagin was sufficiently well acquainted with the man- 
ners and customs of that particular species of humanity to 
which Nancy belonged, to feel tolerably certain that it 
would be rather unsafe to prolong any conversation with 
her, at present. With the view of diverting the attention 
of the company, he turned to Oliver. 

" So you wanted to get away, my dear, did you?" said: 
the Jew, taking up a jagged and knotted club which lay in 
a corner of the fireplace; " eh?" 

Oliver Twist 115 

Oliver made no reply. But he watched the Jew's 
motions, and breathed quickly. 

** Wanted to get assistance; called for the police; did 
you?" sneered the Jew, catching the boy by the arm. 
** We'll cure you of that, my young master." 

The Jew inflicted a smart blow on Oliver's shoulders 
with the club; and was raising it for a second, when the 
girl, rushing forward, wrested it from his hand. She 
flung it into the fire, with a force that brought some of the 
glowing coals whirling out into the room. 

*' I won't stand by and see it done, Fagin," cried the 
girl. '* You've got the boy, and what more would you 
have? — Let him be — let him be — or I shall put that mark 
on some of you, that will bring me to the gallows before 
my time." 

The girl stamped her foot violently on the floor as she 
v^ented this threat ; and with her lips compressed, and her 
[lands clenched, looked alternately at the Jew and the other 
robber : her face quite colourless from the passion of rage 
into which she had gradually worked herself. 

"Why, Nancy!" said the Jew, in a soothing tone; 
ifter a pause, during which he and Mr. Sikes had stared 
it one another in a disconcerted manner; "you — you're 
nore clever than ever to-night. Ha ! ha ! my dear, you 
^re acting beautifully." 

" Am I?" said the girl. ** Take care I don't overdo it. 
You will be the worse for it, Fagin, if I do; and so I tell 
you in good time to keep clear of me." 

There is something about a roused woman : especially if 
she add to all her other strong passions, the fierce impulses 
3f recklessness and despair : which few men like to pro- 
voke. The Jew saw that it would be hopeless to affect any 
further mistake regarding the reality of Miss Nancy's rage ; 
and, shrinking involuntarily back a few paces, cast a 
glance, half im.ploring and half cowardly at Sikes : as if 
to hint that he was the fittest person to pursue the dialogue. 

Mr. Sikes, thus mutely appealed to; and possibly feeling 
his personal pride and influence interested in the immediate 
reduction of Miss Nancy to reason ; gave utterance to about 
a couple of score of curses and threats, the rapid produc- 
tion of which reflected great credit on the fertility of his 
invention. As they produced no visible effect on the object 
against whom they were discharged, however, he resorted 
to more tangible arguments. 

ii6 Oliver Twist 

"What do you mean by this?" said Sikes ; backing 
the inquiry with a very common imprecation concerning the 
most beautiful of human features : which, if it were heard 
above, only once out of every fifty thousand times that it 
is uttered below, would render blindness as common a 
disorder as measles : *' what do you mean by it? Burn 
my body ! Do you know who you are, and what you 

" Oh, yes, I know all about it," replied the girl, laugh- 
ing hysterically; and shaking her head from side to side, 
with a poor assumption of indifference. 

** Well, then, keep quiet," rejoined Sikes, with a growl 
like that he was accustomed to use when addressing his- 
dog, " or I'll quiet you for a good long time to come." 

The girl laughed again : even less composedly than be- 
fore; and, darting a hasty look at Sikes, turned her face 
aside, and bit her lip till the blood came. 

" You're a nice one," added Sikes, as he surveyed her 
with a contemptuous air, '* to take up the humane and 
gen — teel side ! A pretty subject for the child, as you call 
him, to make a friend of !" 

" God Almighty help me, I am !" cried the girl passion- 
ately; " and I wish I had been struck dead in the street, 
or had changed places with them we passed so near to- 
night, before I had lent a hand in bringing him here. He's 
a thief, a liar, a devil, all that's bad, from this night forth. 
Isn't that enough for the old wretch, without blows?" 

" Come, come, Sikes," said the Jew, appealing to him 
in a remonstratory tone, and motioning towards the boys, 
who were eagerly attentive to all that passed; '* we must 
have civil words; civil words, Bill." 

** Civil words !" cried the girl, whose passion was 
frightful to see. " Civil words, you villain ! Yes, you 
deserve 'em from me. I thieved for you when I was a 
child not half as old as this ! ' ' pointing to Oliver. * * I 
have been in the same trade, and in the same service, for 
twelve years since. Don't you know it? Speak out ! 
Don't you know it?" 

'* Well, well," replied the Jew, with an attempt at paci- 
fication; ** and, if you have, it's your living !" 

"Aye, it is!" returned the girl; not speaking, but 
pouring out the words in one continuous and vehement 
scream. " It is my living; and the cold, wet, dirty streets 
are my home; and you're the wretch that drove me to 

Oliver Twist iiy 

them lon^ aeo, and that'll keep me there, day and night, 
day and night, till I die !" 

** I shall do you a mischief !" interposed the Jew, goaded 
by these reproaches; ** a mischief worse than that, if you 
say much more !" 

The girl said nothing more; but, tearing her hair and 
dress in a transport of passion, made such a rush at the 
Jew as would probably have left signal marks of her re- 
venge upon him, had not her wrists been seized by Sikes at 
the right moment ; upon which, she made a few ineffectual 
struggles, and fainted. 

** She's all right now," said Sikes, laying her down 
in a corner. '* She's uncommon strong in the arms when 
she's up in this way." 

The Jew wiped his forehead : and smiled, as if it were 
a relief to have the disturbance over; but neither he, nor 
Sikes, nor the dog, nor the boys, seemed to consider it in 
any other light than a common occurrence incidental to 

*' It's the worst of having to do with women," said the 
Jew, replacing his club; " but they're clever, and we can't 
Sfet on, in our line, without 'em. Charley, show Oliver to 

" I suppose he'd better not wear his best clothes to- 
morrow, Fagin, had he?" inquired Charley Bates. 

'* Certainly not," replied the Jew, reciprocating the grin 
ivith which Charley put the question. 

Master Bates, apparently much delighted with his com- 
nission, took the cleft stick : and led Oliver into an adjacent 
kitchen, where there were two or three of the beds on which 
le had slept before; and here, with many uncontrollable 
Dursts of laughter, he produced the identical old suit of 
lothes which Oliver had so much congratulated himself 
apon leaving off at Mr. Browlow's; and the accidental 
display of which, to Fagin, by the Jew who purchased 
hem, had been the very first clue received, of his where- 

" Pull off the smart ones," said Charley, ** and I'll give 
em to Fagin to take care of. What fun it is !" 

Poor Oliver unwillingly complied. Master Bates rolling 
ip the new clothes under his arm, departed from the room, 
eaving Oliver in the dark, and locking the door behind 

The noise of Charley's laughter, and the voice of Miss 

ii8 Oliver Twist 

Betsy, who opportunely arrived to throw water over her 
friend, and perform other feminine offices for the pro- 
motion of her recovery, might have kept many people awake 
under more happy circumstances than those in which Oliver 
was placed. But he was sick and weary ; and he soon fell 
sound asleep. 


Oliver's destiny continuing unpropitious, brings a 
great man to london to injure his reputation 

It is the custom on the stage, in all good murderous.^ 
melodramas, to present the tragic and the comic scenes, in 
as regular alternation, as the layers of red and white in a 
side of streaky bacon. The hero sinks upon his straw bed,jjj 
weighed down by fetters and misfortunes; in the next„ 
scene, his faithful but unconscious squire regales the audi- ^ 
ence with a comic song. We behold, with throbbing j, 
bosoms, the heroine in the grasp of a proud and ruthless 
baron : her virtue and her life alike in danger, drawing . 
forth her dagger to preserve the one at the cost of the other 
and just as our expectations are wrought up to the highesi ^ 
pitch, a whistle is heard, and we are straightway trans- jj, 
ported to the great hall of the castle : where a grey-headec j„ 
seneschal sings a funny chorus with a funnier body ol 
vassals, who are free of all sorts of places, from churctj^j 
vaults to palaces, and roam about in company, carolling^, 
perpetually. ^oj 

-Such changes appear absurd; but they ar^ not^so un-k 
natural as they would seem at first sighf." TlietFansItions 
in real life from well-spread boards to death-beds, anc|p|, 
from mourning weeds to holiday garments, are not a whil 
less startling; only, there, we are busy actors, instead ol 
passive lookers-on, which makes a vast difference. The 
actors in the mimic life of the theatre, are blind to violenlj 
transitions and abrupt impulses of passion or feeling 
which, presented before the eyes of mere spectators, arc 
at once condemned as outrageous and preposterous. 

As sudden shif tings of the scene, and rapid changes oljig 
time and place, are not only sanctioned in books by long 
usage, but are by many considered as the great art oi 
authorship : an author's skill in his craft being, by suchijfj 

Oliver Twist 119 

critics, 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. If so, 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; the reader 
taking it for granted that there are good and substantial 
reasons for making the journey, or he would not be invited 
to proceed upon such an expedition. 

Mr. Bumble emerged at early morning from the work- 
louse-gate, and walked with portly carriage and command- 
,ng steps, up the High Street. He was in the full bloom 
md pride of beadlehood ; his cocked hat and coat were 
dazzling in the morning sun ; he clutched his cane with the 
pgorous tenacity of health and power. Mr. Bumble 
klways carried his head high ; but this morning it was 
pigher than usual. There was an abstraction in his eye,' 
an elevation in his air, which might have warned an ob- 
servant stranger that thoughts were passing in the beadle's 
nind, too great for utterance. 

Mr. Bumble stopped not to converse with the small shop- 
keepers and others who spoke to him, deferentially, as he 
massed along. He merely returned their salutations with 
I wave of his hand, and relaxed not in his dignified pace, 
mtil he reached the farm where Mrs. Mann tended the 
nfant paupers with parochial care. 

•' Drat that beadle !" said Mrs. Mann, hearing the well- 
cnown shaking at the garden-gate. ** If it isn't him at 
his time in the morning ! Lauk, Mr. Bumble, only think 
>f its being you ! Well, dear me, it is a pleasure, this is ! 
;^ome into the parlour, sir, please." 

The first sentence was addressed to Susan ; and the ex- 
clamations of delight were uttered to Mr. Bum.ble : as the 
;:ood lady unlocked the garden-gate, and showed him, with 
freat attention and respect, into the house. 

"Mrs. Mann," said Mr. Bumble; not sitting upon, of 
hopping himself into a seat, as any common jackanapes 
vould : but letting himself gradually and slowly down into 
L chair; " Mrs. Mann, ma'am, good morning." 

" Well, and good morning to you, sir," replied Mrs. 
^ann, with many smiles; " and hoping vou find yourself 
veil, sir !" 

'* So-so, Mrs. Mann," replied the beadle. *' A porochial 
ife is not a bed of roses, Mrs. Mann." 

I20 Oliver Twist 

"Ah, that it isn't indeed, Mr. Bumble," rejoined the 
lady. And all the infant paupers might have chorused tiie 
rejoinder with great propriety, if they had heard it. 

" A porochial Hfe, ma'am," continued Mr. Bumble, 
striking the table with his cane, " is a life of worrit, and 
vexation, and hardihood ; but all public characters, as I 
may say, must suffer prosecution." 

Mrs. Mann, not very well knowing what the beadle 
meant, raised her hands with a look of sympathy, and 

"Ah! You may well sigh, Mrs. Mann!" said the 

Finding she had done right, Mrs. Mann sighed again : 
evidently to the satisfaction of the public character : who, 
(repressing a complacent smile by looking sternly at his 
■cocked hat, said, 
' *' Mrs. Mann, I am a going to London." 

** Lauk, Mr. Bumble !" cried Mrs. Mann, starting back. 
T '* To London, ma'am," resumed the inflexible beadle, 
P by coach. I and two paupers, Mrs. Mann ! A legal 
action is a coming on, about a settlement; and the board 
has appointed me — me, Mrs. Mann — to depose to the' 
matter before the quarter-sessions at Clerkinwell. And I ' 
very much question," added Mr. Bumble, drawing himself 1 
up, *' whether the Clerkinwell Sessions will not find them- 
selves in the wrong box before they have done with me." I 
I ** Oh! you mustn't be too hard upon them, sir," saidj 
iMrs. Mann, coaxingly. 

I ** The Clerkinwell Sessions have brought it upon them 
selves, ma'am," replied Mr. Bumble; ** and if the Clerkin- 
well Sessions find that they come off rather worse than they 
expected, the Clerkinwell Sessions have only themselves to 

There was so much determination and depth of purpose 
about the menacing manner in which Mr. Bumble delivered 
himself of these words, that Mrs. Mann appeared quite 
awed by them. At length she said, 

** You're going by coach, sir? I thought it was always 
usual to send them paupers in carts." 

** That's when they're ill, Mrs. Mann," said the beadle. 
** We put the sick paupers into open carts in the rainy 
weather, to prevent their taking cold." 

"Oh!" said Mrs. Mann. 

*^ The opposition coach contracts for these two ; and 

Oliver Twist 121 

rakes them cheap," said Mr. Bumble. *' They are both in 
1 very low state, and we find it would come two pound 
cheaper to move 'em than to bury 'em — that is, if we can 
:hrow 'em upon another parish, which I think we shall be 
ible to do, if they don't die upon the road to spite us. Ha ! 
la! ha!" 

When Mr. Bumble had laughed a little while, his eyes 
igain encountered the cocked hat ; and he became grave. 

** We are forgetting business, ma'am," said the beadle; 
'here is your porochial stipend for the month." 

Mr. Bumble produced some silver money rolled up in 
Daper, from his pocket-book ; and requested a receipt : 
vhich Mrs. Mann wrote. 

** It's very much blotted sir," said the farmer of 
nfants; " but it's formal enough, I dare say. Thank you, 
Mr. Bumble, sir, I am very much obliged to you, I'm 

Mr. Bumble nodded, blandly, in acknowledgment of 
Vlrs. Mann's curtsey; and inquired how the children 

" Bless their dear little hearts!" said Mrs. Mann with 
amotion, ** they're as well as can be, the dears ! Of 
course, except the two that died last week. And little 

** Isn't that boy no better?" inquired Mr. Bumble. 

Mrs. Mann shook her head. 

*' He's a ill-conditioned, wicious, bad-disposed porochial 
;hild that," said Mr. Bumble angrily. "Where is he?" 

* I'll bring him to you in one minute, sir," replied Mrs. 
llann. ** Here, you Dick!" 

After some calling, Dick was discovered. Having had 
lis face put under the pump, and dried upon Mrs. Mann's 
fown, he was led into the awful presence of Mr. Bumble, 
he beadle. 

The child was pale and thin ; his cheeks were sunken ; 
md his eyes large and bright. The scanty parish dress, 
he livery of his misery, hung loosely on his feeble body; 
md his young limbs had wasted away, like those of an 
)ld man. 

Such was the little being who stood trembling beneath 
VIr. Bumble's glance; not daring to lift his eyes from the 
loor; and dreading even to hear the beadle's voice. 

* Can't you look at the gentleman, you obstinate boy?'* 
laid Mrs. Mann. 

122 Oliver Twist 

The child meekly raised his eyes, and encountered thosei 
of Mr. Bumble. 

" What's the matter with you, porochial Dick?" i 

quired Mr. Bumble, with well-timed jocularity. 

** Nothing, sir," replied the child faintly. 

" I should think not," said Mrs. Mann, who had of 

course laughed very much at Mr. Bumble's humour. 

** You want for nothing, I'm sure." 

*• I should Hke " faltered the child. 

** Heyday !" interposed Mrs. Mann, " I suppose you're 
going to say that you do want for something, now? Why 

you little wretch " 

** Stop, Mrs. Mann, stop!" said the beadle, raising his 
hand with a show of authority. ** Like what, sir, eh?' 

** I should like," faltered the child, ** if somebody that 
can write, would put a few words down for me on a piece 
of paper, and fold it up and seal it, and keep it for me, 
after I am laid in the ground." 

** Why, what does the boy mean?" exclaimed Mr. 
Bumble, on whom the earnest manner and wan aspect oft 
the child had made some impression : accustomed as hei 
was to such things. ** What do you mean, sir?" f 

** I should like," said the child, '' to leave my dear love! 
to poor Oliver Twist; and to let him know how often ij 
have sat by myself and cried to think of his wanderingf 
about in the dark nights with nobody to help him. Andy 
I should like to tell him," said the child, pressing his small J 
hands together, and speaking with great fervour, ** that I 
was glad to die when I was very young ; for, perhaps, if I 
had lived to be a man, and had grown old, my little sister 
who is in Heaven, might forget me, or be unlike me; and 
it would be so much happier if we were both children there; 

Mr. Bumble surveyed the little speaker, from head to 
foot, with indescribable astonishment; and, turning to 
his companion said, " They're all in one story, Mrs. Mann. 
That out-dacious Oliver has demogalized them all !" 

** I couldn't have believed it, sir!" said Mrs. Mann, 
holding up her hands, and looking malignantly at Dick. 
" I never see such a hardened little wretch !" 

** Take him away, ma'am!" said Mr. Bumble imperi- 
ously. ** This must be stated to the board, Mrs. Mann." 
** I hope the gentlemen will understand that it isn't my 
fault, sir?" said Mrs. M«iin, whimpering pathetically. 

Oliver Twist 123 

"They sliall understand that, ma'am; they shall be 
icquainted with the true state of the case," said Mr. 
Bumble. '* There; take him away, I can't bear the sight 
>n him." 

Dick was immediately taken away, and locked up in the 
;oal-cellar. Mr. Bumble shortly afterwards took himself 
>ff, to prepare for his journey. 

At six o'clock next morning, Mr. Bumble : having ex- 
:hanged his cocked hat for a round one, and encased his 
)erson in a blue great-coat with a cape to it : took his 
)lace on the outside of the coach, accompanied by the 
riminals whose settlement was disputed; with whom, in 
lue course of time, he arrived in London. He experienced 
10 other crosses on the way, than those which originated 
n the perverse behaviour of the two paupers, who per- 
isted in shivering, and complaining of the cold, in a 
nanner which, Mr. Bumble declared, caused his teeth to 
hatter in his head, and made him feel quite uncomfort- 
ble ; although he had a great-coat on. 

Having disposed of these evil-minded persons for the 
light, Mr. Bumble sat himself down in the house at which 
he coach stopped ; and took a temperate dinner of steaks, 
yster sauce, and porter. Putting a glass of hot gin-and- 
i^ater on the chimney-piece, he drew his chair to the fire ; 
nd, with sundry moral reflections on the too-prevalent 
in of discontent and complaining, composed himself to 
ead the paper. 

The very first paragraph upon which Mr. Bumble's eye 
ested, was the following advertisement. 


* Whereas a young boy, named Oliver Twist, 
bsconded, or was enticed, on Thursday evening last, from 
lis home, at Pentonville ; and has not since been heard 
>f. The above reward will be paid to any person who will 
l^ive such information as will lead to the discovery of the 
aid Oliver Twist, or tend to throw any light upon his 
Drevious history, in which the advertiser is, for many 
easons, warmly interested." 

And then followed a full description of Oliver's dress, 
)erson, appearance, and disappearance : with the name and 
iddress of Mr. Brownlow at full length. 

124 Oliver Twist 

Mr. Bumble opened his eyes ; read the advertisement 
slowly and carefully, three several times; and in something^ 
more than five minutes was on his way to Pentonville 
having actually, in his excitement, left the glass of hot gin 
and-water, untasted. 

"Is Mr. Brownlow at home?" inquired Mr. Bumble of| 
the girl who opened the door. 

To this inquiry the girl returned the not uncommon, but 
rather evasive reply of " I don't know ; where do you come 

Mr. Bumble no sooner uttered Oliver's name, in ex 
planation of his errand, than Mrs. Bedwin, who had beenJ" 
listening at the parlour door, hastened into the passage m 
a breathless state. 

" Come in, come in," said the old lady: " I knew we 
should hear of him. Poor dear ! I knew we should ! 
I was certain of it ! Bless his heart ! I said so, all 

Having said this, the worthy old lady hurried back into 
the parlour again; and seating herself on a sofa, burst' 
into tears. The girl, who was not quite so susceptible, had; 
run up stairs meanwhile ; and now returned with a request 
that Mr. Bumble would follow her immediately : which he 

He was shown into the little back study, where sat Mr. 
Brownlow and his friend Mr. Grimwig, with decanters and 
glasses before them. The latter gentleman at once burst 
into the exclamation : 

** A beadle ! A parish beadle, or I'll eat my head." 

" Pray don't interrupt just now," said Mr. Brownlow. 
** Take a seat, will you?" 

Mr. Bumble sat himself down : quite confounded by the? 
oddity of Mr. Grimwig 's manner. Mr. Brownlow moved 
the lamp, so as to obtain an uninterrupted view of the 
Beadle's countenance; and said, with a little impatience, 

** Now, sir, you come in consequence of having seen the 

** Yes, sir," said Mr. Bumble. 

** And you are a beadle, are you not?" inquired Mr. 

" I am a porochial beadle, gentlemen," rejoined Mr. 
Bumble, proudly. 

*' Of course," observed Mr. Grimwig aside to his friend, 
** I knew he was. A beadle all over !" 

Oliver Twist 125 

Mr. Brownlow gently shook his head to impose silence 
m his friend, and resumed : 

** Do you know where this poor boy is now?" 

** No more than nobody," replied Mr. Bumble. 

** Well, what do you know of him?" inquired the old 
•gentleman. ** Speak out, my friend, if you have anything 

say. What do you know of him?" 

" You don't happen to know any good of him, do you?" 
aid Mr. Grimwig, caustically; after an attentive perusal 
►f Mr. Bumble's features. 

Mr. Bumble, catching at the inquiry very quickly, shook 
lis head with portentous solemnity. 

* You see?" said Mr. Grimwig, looking triumphantly at 
At. Brownlow. 

Mr. Brownlow looked apprehensively at Mr. Bumble's 
»ursed-up countenance ; and requested him to communicate 
vhat he knew regarding Oliver, in as few words as pos- 

1 Mr. Bumble put down his hat; unbuttoned his coat; 
olded his arms ; inclined his head in a retrospective 
nanner; and, after a few moments' reflection, commenced 
lis story. 

It would be tedious if given in the beadle's words : occu- 
lying, as it did, some twenty minutes in the telling ; but 
he sum and substance of it was. That Oliver was a 
oundling, born of low and vicious parents. That he had, 
rom his birth, displayed no better qualities than treachery, 
igratitude, and malice. That he had terminated his brief 
areer in the place of his birth, by making a sanguinary 
nd cowardly attack on an unoffending lad, and running 
way in the night-time from his master's house. In prooi 
f his really being the person he represented himself, Mr. 
Jumble laid upon the table the papers he had brought to 
own. Folding his arms again, he then awaited Mr. 
Jrownlow's observations. 

* I fear it is all too true," said the old gentleman sorrow- 
ully, after looking over the papers. " This is not much 
or your intelligence ; but I would gladly have given 
ou treble the money, if it had been favourable to the 

It is not improbable that if Mr. Bumble had been pos- 
essed of this information at an earlier period of the inter- 
iew, he might have imparted a very different colouring to 
lis little history. It was too late to do it now, however : so 

126 Oliver Twist 

he shook his head gravely, and, pocketing the five guineas 

Mr. Brownlow paced the room to and fro for some 
minutes ; evidently so much disturbed by the beadle's tale: 
that even Mr. Grimwig forbore to vex him further. 

At length he stopped, and rang the bell violently. 

" Mrs. Bedwin," said Mr. Brownlow, when the house< 
keeper appeared; ** that boy, Oliver, is an impostor." 

■ it can't be, sir. It cannot be," said the old lady] 

'* I tell you he is," retorted the old gentleman. ** Whaii 
do you mean by can't be? We have just heard a ful 
account of him from his birth ; and he has been a thoroughi 
paced little villain, all his life." i 

'* I never will believe it, sir," replied the old lady, firmly 

'* You old women never believe anything but quack 
doctors, and lying story-books," growled Mr. Grimwig 
** I knew it all along. Why didn't you take my advice ir 
the beginning; you would, if he hadn't had a fever, I sup 
pose, eh? He was interesting, wasn't he? Interesting 
Bah !" And Mr. Grimwig poked the fire with a flourish. 

** He was a dear, grateful, gentle child, sir," retorted 
Mrs. Bedwin, indignantly. *' I know what children are^ 
sir; and have done these forty years; and people who can' 
say the same, shouldn't say anything about them. That'j 
my opinion ! ' ' 

This was a hard hit at Mr. Grimwig, who was i 
bachelor. As it extorted nothing from that gentleman bu i 
a smile, the old lady tossed her head, and smoothed dowr 
her apron preparatory to another speech, when she waji 
stopped by Mr. Brownlow. 

'♦ Silence!" said the old gentleman, feigning an angefi 
he was far from feeling. " Never let me hear the boy'j 
name again. I rang to tell you that. Never. Never, or 
any pretence, mind ! You may leave the room, Mrs. Bed 
win. Remember! I am in earnest." 

There were sad hearts at Mr. Brownlow 's that night. 

Oliver's heart sank within him, when he thought of hiii 
good kind friends ; it was well for him that he could no ' 
know what they had heard, or it might have broken out 

Oliver Twist 127 



About noon next day, when the Dodger and Master Bates 
had gone out to pursue their customary avocations, Mr. 
F'agin took the opportunity of reading OHver a long lecture 
on the crying sin of ingratitude : of which he clearly 
demonstrated he had been guilty, to no ordinary extent, in 
wilfully absenting himself from the society of his anxious 
friends; and, still more, in endeavouring to escape from 
them after so much trouble and expense had been incurred 
n his recovery. Mr. Fagin laid great stress on the fact 
y{ his having taken Oliver in, and cherished him, when, 
ivithout his timely aid, he might have perished with 
lunger; and he related the dismal and affecting history of a 
foung lad whom, in his philanthropy, he had succoured 
inder parallel circumstances, but who, proving unworthy 
>f his confidence and evincing a desire to communicate with 
:he police, had unfortunately come to be hanged at the Old 
3ailey one morning. Mr. Fagin did not seek to conceal 
tiis share in the catastrophe, but lamented with tears in his 
yes that the wrong-headed and treacherous behaviour of 
he young person in question, had rendered it necessary 
hat he should become the victim of certain evidence for 
itlhe crown : which, if it were not precisely true, was in- 
niispensably necessary for the safety of him (Mr. Fagin) and 

few select friends. Mr. Fagin concluded by drawing a 
ather disagreeable picture of the discomforts of hanging ; 
ind, with great friendliness and politeness of manner, ex- 
's )ressed his anxious hopes that he might never be obliged 
no submit Oliver Twist to that unpleasant operation. 

Little Oliver's blood ran cold, as he listened to the Jew's 
vords, and imperfectly comprehended the dark threats con- 
eyed in them. That it was possible even for justice itself 
iJo confound the innocent with the guilty when they were in 
itLCcidental companionship, he knew already; and that 
leeply-laid plans for the destruction of inconveniently 
mowing or over-communicative persons, had been really 
levised and carried out by the old Jew on more occasions 
ban one, he thought by no means unlikely, when he recol- 

128 Oliver Twist 

lected the general nature of the altercations between that 
gentleman and Mr. Sikes : which seemed to bear reference 
to some foregone conspiracy of the kind. As he glanced 
timidly up, and met the Jew's searching look, he felt that 
his pale face and trembling limbs were neither unnoticed 
nor unrelished by that wary old gentleman. 

The Jew, smiling hideously, patted Oliver on the head, 
and said, that if he kept himself quiet, and applied himself 
to business, he saw they would be very good friends yet. 
Then, taking his hat, and covering himself with an old 
patched great-coat, he went out, and locked the room-door, 
behind him. 

And so Oliver remained all that day, and for the greater; 
part of many subsequent days, seeing nobody, between; 
early morning and midnight, and left during the long hours; 
to commune with his own thoughts. Which, never failing 
to revert to his kind friends, and the opinion they mustj 
long ago have formed of him, were sad indeed. '. 

After the lapse of a week or so, the Jew left the room-j 
door unlocked ; and he was at liberty to wander about the] 
house. • I 

It was a very dirty place. The rooms up stairs had great! 
high wooden chimney-pieces and large doors, with panelledi] 
walls and cornices to the ceilings ; which, although they , 
were black with neglect and dust, were ornamented in vari- 1 
ous ways» From all of these tokens Oliver concluded that a , 
long time ago, before the old Jew was born, it had belonged i 
to better people, and had perhaps been quite gay and hand-L 
some : dismal and dreary as it looked now. It 

Spiders had built their webs in the angles of the walls'} 
and ceilings ; and sometimes, when Oliver walked softlyjj 
into a room, the mice would scamper across the floor, andj 
run back terrified to their holes. With these exceptions, |^ 
there was neither sight nor sound of any livifig thing ; andij 
often, when it grew dark, and he was tired of wandering 
from room to room, he would crouch in the corner of 
the passage by the street-door, to be as near living people 
as he could ; and would remain there, listening and count 
ing the hours, until the Jew or the boys returned. <*^ 

In all the rooms, the mouldering shutters were fast 
•closed : the bars which held them were screwed tight into 
the wood ; the only light which was admitted, stealing its 
way through round holes at the top : which made the rooms 
^more gloomy, and filled them with strange shadows. There 

_____..__ /! 

Oliver Twist 129 

was a back-garret window with rusty bars outside, which 
had no shutter; and out of this, OHver often gazed with a 
tnelancholy face for hours together; but nothing was to 
be descried from it but a confused and crowded mass of 
house-tops, blackened chimneys, and gable-ends. Some- 
times, indeed, a grizzly head might be seen, peering over 
the parapet-wall of a distant house : but it was quickly 
withdrawn again j and as the window of Oliver's observ- 
atory was nailed down, and dimmed with the rain and 
smoke of years, it was as much as he could do to make out 
the forms of the diiTerent objects beyond, without making 
any attempt to be seen or heard, — which he had as much 
chance of being, as if he had lived inside the ball of St. 
Paul's Cathedral. 

One afternoon, the Dodger and Master Bates being en- 
gaged out that evening, the first-named young gentleman 
took it into his head to evince some anxiety regarding the 
decoration of his person (to do him justice, this was by no 
means an habitual weakness with him); and, with this end 
and aim, he condescendingly commanded Oliver to assist 
him in his toilet, straightway. 

Oliver was but too glad to make himself useful ; too 
happy to have some faces, however bad, to look upon; too 
desirous to conciliate those about him when he could 
honestly do so ; to throw any objection in the way of this 
proposal. So he at once expressed his readiness; and, 
kneeling on the floor, while the Dodger sat upon the table 
so that he could take his foot in his lap, he applied himself 
to a process which Mr. Dawkins designated as *' japanning 
his trotter-cases." The phrase, rendered into plain Eng- 
lish, signifieth, cleaning his boots. 

VVhether it was the sense of freedom and independence 
which a rational animal may be supposed to feel when he 
sits on a table in an easy attitude smoking a pipe, swinging 
one leg carelessly to and fro, and having his boots cleaned 
all the time, without even the past trouble of having taken 
them off, or the prospective misery of putting them on, to 
disturb his reflections ; or whether it was the goodness of 
the tobacco that soothed the feelings of the Dodger, or the 
mildness of the beer that mollified his thoughts ; he was 
evidently tinctured, for the nonce, with a spice of romance 
and enthusiasm, foreign to his general nature. He looked 
down on Oliver, with a thoughtful countenance, for a brief 
space; and then, raising his headland heaving a gentle 


130 Oliver Twist 

sigh, said, half in abstraction, and iialf to Master 
Bates : 

" What a pity it is he isn't a prig !" 

"Ah!'' said Master Charles Bates; "he don't know 
what's good for him." 

The Dodger sighed again, and resumed his pipe : as did 
Charley Bates. They both smoked, for some seconds, in 

" I suppose you don't even know what a prig is?" saidl 
the Dodger mournfully. 

" I think I know that," replied Oliver, looking up. " It's 
a th — ; you're one, are you not?" inquired Oliver, check- 
ing himself. 

" I am," replied the Dodger. "I'd scorn to be any-- 
thing else." Mr. Dawkins gave his hat a ferocious cock, 
after delivering this sentiment, and looked at Master Bates,, 
as if to denote that he would feel obliged by his saying; 
anything to the contrary. 

" I am," repeated the Dodger. " So's Charley. So's; 
Fagin. So's Sikes. So's Nancy. So's Bet. So we all are,, 
down to the dog. And he's the downiest one of the lot !" 

"And the least given to peaching," added Charley 

" He wouldn't so much as bark in a witness-box, for fear: 
of committing himself; no, not if you tied him up in one,, 
and left him there without wittles for a fortnight," said the: 

" Not a bit of it," observed Charley. 

" He's a rum dog. Don't he look fierce at any strange 
cove that laughs or sings wb^ - he's in company !" pursued 
the Dodger. " Won't he growl at all, when he hears a. 
fiddle playing ! And don't he hate other dogs as ain't of i 
his breed! Oh, no!" 

" He's an out-and-out Christian," said Charley. 

This was merely intended as a tribute to the animal's 
abilities, but it was an appropriate remark in another sense, 
if Master Bates had only known it; for there are a good 
many ladies and gentlemen, claiming to be out-and-out 
Christians, between whom, and Mr. Sikes' dog, there exist 
strong and singular points of resemblance. 

" Well, well," said the Dodger, recurring to the point 
from which they had strayed : with that mindfulness of his 
profession which influenced all his proceedings. " This 
hasn't got anything to do with young Green here." 

Oliver Twist 131 

"No more it has," said Charley. '* Why don't you put 
I'ourself under Fagin, Oliver?" 

"And make your fortun' out of hand?" added the 
Dodger, with a grin. 

" And so be able to retire on your property, and do the 
;:en-teel : as I mean to, in the very next leap-year but four 
hat ever comes, and the forty-second Tuesday in Trinity- 
A'eek," said Charley Bates. 

" I don't like it," rejoined Oliver, timidly; '* I wish they 
would let me go. I — I — would rather go." 

" And Fagin would rather not !" rejoined Charley. 

Oliver knew this too well ; but thinking it might be 
langerous to express his feelings more openly, he only 
ighed, and went on with his boot-cleaning. 

"Go!" exclaimed the Dodger. "Why, where 's your 
ipirit? Don't you take any pride out of yourself? Would 
►^ou go and be dependent on your friends?" 

" Oh, blow that!" said Master Bates : drawing two or 
hree silk handkerchiefs from his pocket, and tossing them 
nto a cupboard, " that's too mean ; that is." 

' I couldn't do it," said the Dodger, with an air of 
laughty disgust. 

" You can leave your friends, though," said Oliver with 
1 half smile; " and let them be punished for what you did." 

" That," rejoined the Dodger, with a wave of his pipe, 
' That was all out of consideration for Fagin, 'cause the 
raps know that we work together, and he might have got 
nto trouble if we hadn't made our lucky; that was the 
nove, wasn't it, Charley?" 

Master Bates nodded assent, and would have spoken; 
)ut the recollection of Oliver's flight came so suddenly upon 
lim, that the smoke he was inhaling got entangled with a 
augh, and went up into his head, and down into his throat : 
md brought on a fit of coughing and stamping, about five 
ninutes long. 

' Look here !" said the Dodger, drawing forth a handful 
)f shillings and half -pence. " Here's a jolly life ! What's 
he odds where it comes from? Here, catch hold : there's 
Dlenty more where they were took from. You won't, won't 
^ou? Oh, you precious flat !" 

" It's naughty, ain't it, Oliver?" inquired Charley Batesv 

He'll come to be scragged, won't he?" 

** I don't know what that means," replied Oliver. 

" Something in this way, old feller," said Charley. As 

132 Oliver Twist 

he said it, Master Bates caught up an end of his necker- 
chief; and, holding it erect in the air, dropped his head on 
his shoulder, and jerked a curious sound through his teeth : 
thereby indicating, by a lively pantomimic representation, 
that scragging and hanging were one and the same thing. 

" That's what it means," said Charley. ** Look how he 
stares. Jack ! I never did see such prime company as thai 
'ere boy; he'll be the death of me, I know he will." Master 
Charles Bates, having laughed heartily again, resumed his 
pipe with tears in his eyes. 

'* You've been brought up bad," said the Dodger, sur 
veying his boots with much satisfaction when Oliver had 
polished them. ** Fagin will make something of you, 
though, or you'll be the first he ever had that turned outl? 
unprofitable. You'd better begin at once; for you'll comej" 
to the trade long before you think of it; and you're only!'' 
losing time, Oliver. " " 

Master Bates backed this advice with sundry moral/ 
admonitions of his own : which, being exhausted, he andp 
his friend Mr. Dawkins launched into a glowing description'^ 
of the numerous pleasures incidental to the life they led, ^ 
interspersed with a variety of hints to Oliver that the best' 
thing he could do, would be to secure Fagin's favour with-^ 
out more delay, by the means which they themselves had ^ 
employed to gain it. ^ 

" And always put this in your pipe, Nolly," said the ^ 
Dodger, as the Jew was heard unlocking the door above, ' 
" if you don't take fogies and tickers " ' 

" What's the good of talking in that way?" interposed 
Master Bates; " he don't know what you mean." 

" If you don't take pocket-handkerchers and watches," 
said the Dodger, reducing his conversation to the level of 
Oliver's capacity, *' some other cove will ; so that the coves 
that lose 'em will be all the worse, and you'll be all the 
worse too, and nobody half a ha'p'orth the better, except 
the chaps wot gets them — and you've just as good a right 
to them as they have. " 

" T€> be sure, to be sure!" said the Jew, who had 
entered, unseen by Oliver. ** It all lies in a nutshell, my 
dear; in a nutshell, take the Dodger's word for it. Ha! 
ha ! ha ! He understands the catechism of his trade. " 

The old man rubbed his hands gleefully together, as he 
corroborated the Dodger's reasoning in these terms ; and 
chuckled with delight at his pupil's proficiency. 

Oliver Twist 133 

The conversation proceeded no farther at this time, foi 
the Jew had returned home accompanied by Miss Betsy, 
and a gentleman whom Oliver had never seen before, but 
who was accosted by the Dodger as Tom Chitling; and 
who, having lingered on the stairs to exchange a few 
gallantries with the lady, now made his appearance. 

Mr. Chitling was older in years than the Dodger : having 
perhaps numbered eighteen winters ; but there was a degree 
of deference in his deportment towards that young gentle- 
man which seemed to indicate that he felt himself conscious 
of a slight inferiority in point of genius and professional 
acquirements. He had small twinkling eyes, and a pock- 
marked face ; wore a fur cap, a dark corduroy jacket, 
o^reasy fustian trousers, and an apron. His wardrobe was, 
in truth, rather out of repair; but he excused himself to 
the company by stating that his " time " was only out an 
liour before; and that, in consequence of having worn the 
regimentals for six weeks past, he had not been able to be- 
stow any attention on his private clothes. Mr. Chitling 
added, with strong marks of irritation, that the new way 
of fumigating clothes up yonder was infernal unconstitu- 
tional, for it burnt holes in them, and there was no remedy 
against the County. The same remark he considered to 
apply to the regulation mode of cutting the hair : which he 
held to be decidedly unlawful. Mr. Chitling wound up his 
observations by stating that he had not touched a drop of 
anything for forty-two mortal long hard-working days ; 
and that he ** wished he might be busted if he warn't as dry 
as a lime-basket." 

*' Where do you think the gentleman has come from, 
Oliver?" inquired the Jew, with a grin, as the other boys 
put a bottle of spirits on the table. 

*' I — I — don't know, sir," replied Oliver. 

'* Who's that?" inquired Tom Chitling, casting a con- 
temptuous look at Oliver. 

" A young friend of mine, my dear," replied the Jew. 

" He's in luck, then," said the young man, with a mean- 
ing look at Fagin. " Never mind where I came from, 
young un; you'll find your way there, soon enoug-h, I'll bet 
a crown !" 

At this sally the boys laughed. After some more jokes 
on the same subject, they exchanged a few short whispers 
with Fagin ; and withdrev^. 

After some words apart between the last comer &n6 

134 Oliver Twist 

Fagin, they drew their chairs towards the fire ; and the 
Jew, telling- Oliver to come and sit by him, led the con- 
versation to the topics most calculated to interest his 
hearers. These were, the great advantages of the trade, 
the proficiency of the Dodger, the amiability of Charley 
Bates, and the liberality of the Jew himself. At length 
these subjects displayed signs of being thoroughly ex- 
hausted ; and Mr. Chitling did the same : for the house 
of correction becomes fatiguing after a week or two. Miss 
Betsy accordingly withdrew; and left the party to their | 
repose. : 

From this day, Oliver was seldom left alone; but was i 
placed in almost constant communication with the two i 
boys, who played the old game with the Jew every day : i 
whether for their own improvement or Oliver's, Mr. Fagin 
best knew. At other times the .old man would tell them 
stories of robberies he had committed in his younger days : 
mixed up with so much that was droll and curious, that 
Oliver could not help laughing heartily, and showing that I 
he was amused in spite of all his better feelings. I 

In short, the wily old Jew had the boy in his toils, j 
Having prepared his rhind, by solitude and gloom, to prefer { 
any society to the companionship of his own sad thoughts \ 
in such a dreary place, he was now slowly instilling into 
his soul the poison which he hoped would blacken it, and 
change its hue for ever. 



It was a chill, damp, windy night, when the Jew ; button- 
ing his great-coat tight round his shrivelled body, and pull- 
ing the collar up over his ears so as completely to obscure 
the lower part of his face : emerged from his den. He 
paused on the step as the door was locked and chained be- 
hind him ; and having listened while the boys made all 
secure, and until their retreating footsteps were no longer 
audible, slunk down the street as quickly as he could. 

The house to which Oliver had been conveyed, was in the 
neighbourhood of Whitechapel. The Jew stopped for an 

Oliver Twist 135 

instant at the comer of the street; and, glancing sus- 
piciously round, crossed the road, and struck off in the 
direction of Spitalfields. 

- The mud lay thick upon the stones, and a black mist hung 
over the streets ; the rain fell sluggishly down, and every- 
thing felt cold and clammy to the touch. It seemed just 
the night when it befitted such a being as the Jew to be 
abroad. As he glided stealthily along, creeping beneath 
the shelter of the walls and doorways, the hideous old man 
seemed like some loathsome reptile, engendered in the 
slime and darkness through which he moved : crawling 
forth, by night, in search of some rich offal for a meal. 

He kept on his course, through many winding and nar- 
row ways, until he reached Bethnal Green ; then, turning 
suddenly off to the left, he soon became involved in a maze 
of the mean and dirty streets which abound in that close 
and densely-populated quarter. 

The Jew was evidently too familiar with the grouna he 
traversed to be at all bewildered, either by the darkness of 
the night, or the intricacies of the way. He hurried 
through several alleys and streets, and at length turned into 
onCj lighted only by a single lamp at the farther end. At 
the door of a house in this street, he knocked ; having 
exchanged a few muttered words with the person who 
opened it, he walked up stairs. 

A dog growled as he touched the handle of a room-door; 
and a man's voice demanded who was there. 

** Only me. Bill; only me, my dear," said the Jew, look- 
ing in. 

" Bring in your body then," said Sikes. ** Lie down, 
you stupid brute ! Don't you know the devil when he's 
got a great-coat on?" 

Apparently, the dog had been somewhat deceived by Mr. 
Fagin's outer garment; for as the Jew unbuttoned it, 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, 
to show that he was as well satisfied as it was in his 
nature to be. 

"Well!" said Sikes. 

** Well, my dear," replied the Jew. — ** Ah ! Nancy." 

The latter recognition was uttered with just enough of 
embarrassment to imply a doubt of its reception ; for Mr. 
Fagin and his young friend had not met, since she had 
Interfered in behalf of Oliver. All doubts upon the subject, 

136 Oliver Twist 

if he had any, were speedily removed by the young lady's 
behaviour. She took her feet off the fender, pushed 
back her chair, and bade Fagin draw up his, without 
saying more about it : for it was a cold night, and no 

*' It is cold, Nancy dear," said the Jew, as he warmed his 
skinny hands over the fire. *' It seems to go right through 
one," added the old man touching his side. 

'* It must be a piercer, if it finds its way through your 
heart," said Mr. Sikes. ** Give him something to drink, 
Nancy. Burn my body, make haste ! It's enough to turn 
a man ill, to see his lean old carcase shivering in that way, 
like a ugly ghost just rose from the grave." 

Nancy quickly brought a bottle from a cupboard, in 
which there were many : which, to judge from the diversity 
of their appearance, were filled with several kinds of 
liquids. Sikes pouring out a glass of brandy, bade the 
Jew drink it off. 

" Quite enough, quite, thankye, Bill," replied the Jew, 
putting down the glass after just setting his lips to it. 

" What ! You're afraid of our getting the better of you, 
are you?" inquired Sikes, fixing his eyes on the Jew. 

With a hoarse grunt of contempt, Mr. Sikes seized the 
glass, 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. 

The Jew glanced round the room, as his companion 
tossed down the second glassful ; not in curiosity, for he had 
seen it often before; but in a restless and suspicious man- 
ner habitual to him. It was a meanly furnished apartment, 
with nothing but the contents of the closet to induce the 
belief that its occupier was anything but a working man ; 
and with no more suspicious articles displayed to view than 
two or three heavy bludgeons which stood in a corner, and 
a " life preserver " that hung over the chimney-piece. 

*' There," said Sikes, smacking his lips. ** Now I'm 

" For business?" inquired the Jew. 

** For business," replied Sikes; ** so say what youVe 
got to say." 

** About the crib at Chertsey, Bill?" said the Jew, draw- 
ing his chair forward, and speaking in a very low voice. 

'* Yes. Wot about it?" inquired Sikes. 

Oliver Twist 137 

** Ah . you know what I mean, my dear," said the Jew. 
*' He knows what I mean, Nancy; don't he?" 

*'No, he don't," sneered Mr. Sikes. "Or he won't, 
and that's the same thing. Speak out, and call things by 
their right names; don't sit there, winking and blinking, 
and talking to me in hints, as if you warn't the very 
first that thought about the robbery. What d'ye 

"Hush, Bill, hush!" said the Jew, who had in vain 
attempted to stop this burst of indignation; "somebody 
will hear us, my dear. Somebody will hear us." 

" Let 'em hear !" said Sikes; '" I don't care." But as 
Mr. Sikes did care, on reflection he dropped ^ voice as 
he said the words, and grew calmer. '■ 

" There, there," said the Jew coaxingly. " It was only 
my caution, nothing more. Now, my dear, about that 
crib at Chertsey ; when is it to be done. Bill, eh? When 
is it to be done? Such plate, my dear, such plate !" said 
the Jew : rubbing his hands, and elevating his eyebrows 
in a rapture of anticipation. 

"Not at all," replied Sikes coldly. 

" Not to be done at all !" echoed the Jew, leaning back 
in his chair. 

" No, not at all," rejoined Sikes. " At least it can't be 
a put-up job, as we expected." 

" Then it hasn't been properly gone about," said the 
Jew, turning pale with anger. " Don't tell me !" 

" But I will tell you," retorted Sikes. " Who are you 
that's not to be told? I tell you that Toby Crackit has 
been hanging about the place for a fortnight, and he can't 
get one of the servants into a line." 

" Do you mean to tell me. Bill," said the Jew ; softening 
as the other grew heated : " that neither of the two men 
in the house can be got over?" 

" Yes, I do mean to tell you so," replied Sikes. " The 
old lady has had 'em these twenty year ; and if you were 
to give 'em five hundred pound, they wouldn't be in it." 

" But do you mean to say, my dear," remonstrated the 
Jew, " that the women can't be got over?** 

" Not a bit of it," replied Sikes. 

" Not by flash Toby Crackit?" said the Jew incredu- 
lously. " Think what women are. Bill." 

"No; not even by flash Toby Crackit," replied Sikes. 
" He says he's worn sham whiskers, and a canary waist- 

138 Oliver Twist 

coat, the whole blessed time he's been loitering down there, 
and it's all of no use. " 

" He should have tried mustachios and a pair of military 
trousers, my deaf," said the Jew. 

"So he did," rejoined Sikes, " and they warn't of no 
more use than the other plant." 

The Jew looked blank at this information. After 
ruminating for some minutes with his chin sunk on his 
breast, he raised his head and said, with a deep sigh, that 
if flash Toby Crackit reported aright, he feared the game 
was up. 

"And yet," said the old man, dropping his hands on 
his knees, " it's a sad thing, my dear, to lose so much 
when we had set our hearts upon it." 

" So it is," said Mr. Sikes. " Worse luck!" 

A long silence ensued ; during which the Jew was 
plunged in deep thought, with his face wrinkled into an 
expression of villany perfectly demoniacal. Sikes eyed 
him furtively from time to time. Nancy, apparently 
fearful of irritating the housebreaker, sat with her eyes 
fixed upon the fire, as if she had been deaf to all that 

" Fagin," said Sikes, abruptly breaking the stillness 
that prevailed; "is it worth fifty shiners extra, if it's 
safely done from the outside?" 

"Yes," said the Jew, as suddenly rousing himself. 

" Is it a bargain?" inquired Sikes. 

" Yes, my dear, yes," rejoined the Jew; his eyes glisten- 
ing, and every muscle in his face working, with the excite- 
ment that the inquiry had awakened. 

"Then," said Sikes, thrusting aside the Jew's hand, 
with some disdain, " let it come off as soon as you like. 
Toby and me were over the garden-wall the night afore 
last, sounding the panels of the door and shutters. The 
crib's barred up at night like a jail; but there's one part 
we can crack, safe and softly." 

" Which is that, Bill?" asked the Jew eagerly. 

" Why," whispered Sikes, " as you cross the lawn " 

" Yes?" said the Jew, bending his head forward, with 
his eyes almost starting out of it. 

" Umph !" cried Sikes, stopping short, as the girl, 
scarcely moving her head, looked suddenly round, and 
pointed for an instant to the Jew's face. " Never mind 
which part it is. You can't do it without me, I know; 

Oliver Twist 139 

but it's best to be on the safe side when one deals with 

"As you like, my dear, as you Hke," replied the Jew. 
** Is there no help wanted, but yours and Toby's?" 

"None," said Sikes. ** 'Cept a centre-bit and a boy. 
The first we've both got; the second you must find us." 

" A boy !" exclaimed the Jew. " Oh ! then it's a panel, 

"Never mind wot it is!" replied Sikes. *' I want a 
boy, and he mustn't be a big un. Lord !" said Mr. Sikes, 
reflectively, "if I'd only got that young boy of Ned, the 
chimbley-sweeper's ! He kept him small on purpose, and 
let him out by the job. But the father gets lagged; and 
then the Juvenile Delinquent Society comes, and takes 
the boy away from a trade where he was arning money, 
teaches him to read and write, and in time makes a 'pren- 
tice of him. And so they go on," said Mr. Sikes, his wrath 
rising with the recollection of his wrongs, " so they go 
on; and, if they'd got money enough (which it's a Provi- 
dence they haven't,) we shouldn't have half-a-dozen boys 
left in the whole trade, in a year or two." 

" No more we should," acquiesced the Jew, who had 
been considering during this speech, and had only caught 
the last sentence. " Bill!" 

" What now?" inquired Sikes. 

The Jew nodded his head towards Nancy, who was still 
gazing at the fire; and intimated, by a sign, that he would 
h.'ive her told to leave the room. Sikes shrugged his 
shoulders impatiently, as if he thought the precaution un- 
necessary ; but complied, nevertheless, by requesting Miss 
Nancy to fetch him a jug of beer. 

" You don't want any beer," said Nancy, folding her 
arms, and retaining her seat very composedly. 

" I tell you I do !" replied Sikes. 

" Nonsense," rejoined the girl coolly. " Go on, Fagin. 
I know what he's going to say, Bill; he needn't mind me." 

The Jew still hesitated. Sikes looked from one to the 
other in some surprise. 

' Why, you don't mind the old girl, do you, F"agin?" 
he osked at length. " You've known her long enough to 
trust her, or the Devil's in it. She ain't one to blab. 
Are you, Nancy?" 

" I should think not !" replied the young- lady : drawing 
her chair up to the table, and putting her elbows upon it. 

140 Oliver Twist 

** No, no, my dear, I know you're not," said the Jew; 
** but " and again the old man paused. 

** But wot?" inquired Sikes. 

** I didn't know whether she mightn't p'r'aps be out of 
sorts, you know, my dear, as she was the other night," 
replied the Jew. 

At this confession, Miss Nancy burst into a loud laugh; 
and, swallowing a glass of brandy, shook her head with 
an air of defiance, and burst into sundry exclamations of 
" Keep the game a-going!" '* Never say die!" and the 
like. These seem.ed to have the effect of re-assuring both 
gentlemen; for the Jew nodded his head with a ^^atTsfied 
air, and resumed his seat : as did Mr. Sikes likewise. 

"Now, Fagin," said Nancy with a laugh. "Tell Bill 
4t once, about Oliver !" 

" Ha! you're a clever one, my dear; the sharpest girl 
I ever saw !" said the Jew, patting her on the neck. "It 
was about Oliver I was going to speak, sure enough. Ha ! 
ha! ha!" 

"What about him?" demanded Sikes. 

" He's the boy for you, my dear," replied the Jew in a 
hoarse whisper ; laying his finger on the side of his nose, 
and grinning frightfully. 

"He!" exclaimed Sikes. 

" Have him, Bill !" said Nancy. " I would, if I was in 
your place. Ke mayn't be so much up, as any of the 
others ; hut that's not what you want, if he's only to open 
a door for you. Depend upon it he's a safe one, Bill." 

" I know he is," rejoined Fagin. " He's been in good 
training these last few weeks, and it's time he began to 
work for his bread. Besides, the others are all too big." 

"Well, he is just the size I want," said Mr. Sikes, 

" And will do everything you want. Bill, my dear," inter- 
posed the Jew; "he can't help himself. That is, if you 
frighten him enough." 

"Frighten him!" echoed Sikes. "It'll be no sham 
frightening, mind you. If there's anything queer about 
him when we once get into the work ; in for a penny, in 
for a pound. You won't see him alive again, Fagin. Think 
of that, before you send him. Mark my words!" said 
the robber, poising a crowbar, which he had drawn from 
under the bedstead. 

" I've thought of it all," said the jew with energy. 

Oliver Twist 141 

** I've — I've had my eye upon him, my dears, close — close. 
Once let him feel that he is one of us; once fill his mind 
with the idea that he has been a thief ; and he's ours ! Ours 
for his life. Oho ! It couldn't have come about better !" 
The old man crossed his arms upon his breast ; and, draw- 
ing his head and shoulders into a heap, literally hugged 
himself for joy. 

" Ours !" said Sikes. *' Yours, you mean." 

*' Perhaps I do, my dear," said the Jew, with a shrill 
chuckle. ''Mine, if you like, Bill." 

'* And wot," said Sikes, scowling fiercely on his agree- 
able friend, ** wot makes you take so much pains about one 
chalk-faced kid, when you know there are fifty boys snooz- 
ing about Common Garden every night, as you might pick 
and choose from?" 

" Because they're of no use to me, my dear," replied 
the Jew, with some confusion, ** not worth the taking. 
Their looks convict 'em when they get into trouble, and 
I lose 'em all. With this boy, properly managed, my 
dears, I could do what I couldn't with twenty of them. 
Besides," said the Jew, recovering his self-possession, 
" he has us now if he could only give us leg-bail again; 
and he must be in the same boat with us. Never mind 
how he came there; it's quite enough for my power over 
him that he was in a robbery; that's all I want. Now, 
how much better this is, than being obliged to put the poor 
leetle boy out of the way — which would be dangerous, and 
we should lose by it besides." 

** When is it to be done?" asked Nancy, stopping some 
turbulent exclamation on the part of Mr. Sikes, expressive 
of the disgust with which he received Fagin's affectation 
of humanity. 

'* Ah, to be sure," said the Jew; ** when is it to be done, 

** I planned with Toby, the night arter to-morrow," 
rejoined Sikes in a surly voice, "if he heerd nothing from 
me to the contrairy. " 

** Good," said the Jew; ** there's no moon." 

** No," rejoined Sikes. 

** It's all arranged about bringing off the swag, is it?" 
asked the Jew. 

Sikes nodded. 

*' And about " 

** Oh, ah, it's all planned," rejoined Sikes, interrupting 

142 Oliver Twist 

him. " Never mind particulars. You'd better bring 
the boy here to-morrow night. I shall get off the stones 
an hour arter daybreak. Then you hold your tongue and 
keep the melting-pot ready, and that's all you'll have to 

After some discussion, in which all three took an active 
part, it was decided that Nancy should repair to the Jew's 
next evening when the night had set in, and bring Oliver 
away with her ; Fagin craftily observing, that, if he 
evinced any disinclination to the task, he would be more 
willing to accompany the girl who had so recently inter- 
fered in his behalf, than anybody else. It was also solemnly 
arranged that poor Oliver should, for the purposes of the 
contemplated expedition, be unreservedly consigned to the 
care and custody of Mr. William Sikes ; and further, that 
the said Sikes should deal with him as he thought fit ; and 
should not be held responsible by the Jew for any mischance 
or evil that might befall him, or any punishment with which 
it might be necessary to visit him : it being understood 
that, to render the compact in this respect binding, any 
representations made by Mr. Sikes on his return should 
be required to be confirmed and corroborated, in all im- 
portant particulars, by the testimony of flash Toby Crackit. 

These preliminaries adjusted, Mr. Sikes proceeded to 
drink brandy at a furious rate, and to flourish the crowbar 
in an alarming manner ; yelling forth, at the same time, 
most unmusical snatches of song, mingled with wild exe- 
crations. At length, in a fit of professional enthusiasm, 
he insisted upon producing his box of housebreaking tools : 
which he had no sooner stumbled in with, and opened for 
the purpose of explaining the nature and properties of the 
various implements it contained, and the peculiar beauties 
of their construction, than he fell over the box upon the 
floor, and went to sleep where he fell. 

** Good night, Nancy," said the Jew, mufliing himself 
up as before. 

''Good night." 

Their eyes met, and the Jew scrutinised her, narrowly. 
There was no flinching about the girl. She was as true 
and earnest in the matter as Toby Crackit himself could be. 

The Jew again bade her good night, and bestowing a sly 
kick upon the prostrate form of Mr. Sikes while her back 
was turned, groped downstairs. 

'* Always the way !" muttered the Jew to himself as he 

Oliver Twist 143 

turned homeward. ** The worst of these women is, that 
a very little thing serves to call up some long-forgotten 
feeling; and the best of them is, that it never lasts. Ha I 
ha ! The man against the child, for a bag of gold !" 

Beguiling the time with these pleasant reflections, Mr. 
Fagin wended his way, through mud and mire, to his 
gloomy abode : where the Dodger was sitting up, im- 
patiently awaiting his return. 

" Is Oliver a-bed? I want to speak to him," was his 
first remark as they descended the stairs. 

" Hours ago," replied the Dodger, throwing open a 
door. ** Here he is !" 

The boy was lying, fast asleep, on a rude bed upon the 
floor ; so pale with anxiety, and sadness, and the closeness 
of his prison, that he looked like death; not death as it 
shows in shroud and coflEin, but in the guise it wears when 
life has just departed ; when a young and gentle spirit has, 
but an instant, fled to Heaven, and the gross air of the 
world has not had time to breathe upon the changing dust 
It hallowed. 

"Not now," said the Jew, turning softly away. ** To- 
morrow. To-morrow." 



When Oliver awoke in the morning, he was a good deal 
surprised to find that a new pair of shoes, with strong thick 
soles, had been placed at his bedside ; and that his old shoes 
had been removed. At first, he was pleased with the 
discovery : hoping that it might be the forerunner of his 
release; but such thoughts were quickly dispelled, on his 
sitting down to breakfast along with the Jew, who told 
him, in a tone and manner which increased his alarm, that 
he was to be taken to the residence of Bill Sikes that night. 

"To — to — stop there, sir?" asked Oliver, anxiously. 

" No, no, my dear. Not to stop there," rephed the Jew. 
** We shouldn't Hke to lose you. Don't be afraid, Oliver, 
you shall come back to us again. Ha ! ha ! ha ! We 
won't be so cruel as to send you away, my dear. Oh no, 

144 Oliver Twist 

The old man, who was stooping over the fire toasting a 
piece of bread, looked round as he bantered Oliver thus; 
and chuckled as if to show that he knew he would still be 
very glad to get away if he could. 

*' I suppose," said the Jew, fixing his eyes on Oliver, 
** you want to know what you're going to Bill's for — eh, my 

Oliver coloured, involuntarily, to find that the old thief 
had been reading his thoughts; but boldly said, Yes, he 
did want to know. 

" Why, do you think?" inquired Fagin, parrying the 

** Indeed I don't know, sir," replied Oliver. 

*' Bah !" said the Jew, turning away with a disappointed 
countenance from a close perusal of the boy's face. " Wail 
till Bill tells you, then." 

The Jew seemed much vexed by Oliver's not expressing 
any greater curiosity on the subject ; but the truth is, that, 
although Oliver felt very anxious, he was too much con- 
fused by the earnest cunning of Fagin 's looks, and his 
own speculations, to make any further inquiries just then. 
He had no other opportunity : for the Jew remained very 
surly and silent till night : when he prepared to go abroad 

"You may burn a candle," said the Jew, putting one 
upon the table. ** And here's a book for you to read, til) 
they come to fetch you. Good night!" 

** Good night!" replied Oliver, softly. 

The Jew walked to the door : looking over his shoulder 
at the boy as he went. Suddenly stopping, he called him 
by his name. 

Oliver looked up; the Jew, pointing to the candle, 
motioned him to light it. He did so; and, as he placed 
the candlestick upon the table, saw that the Jew was gazing 
fixedly at him, with lowering and contracted brows, from 
the dark end of the room. 

"Take heed, Oliver! take heed!" said the old man, 
shaking his right hand before him in a warning manner. 
** He's a rough man, and thinks nothing of blood when 
his own is up. Whatever falls out, say nothing ; and do 
what he bids you. Mind !" Placing a strong emphasis 
on the last word, he suffered his features gradually to 
resolve themselves into a ghastly grin, and, nodding his 
head, left the room. 

Oliver leaned his head upon his hand when the old man 

Oliver Twist 145 

disappeared, and pondered, with a trembling heart, on the 
A'ords he had just heard. The more he thought of the 
[ew's admonition, the more he was at a loss to divine its 
eal purpose and meaning. He could think of no bad 
object to be attained by sending him to Sikes, which would 
lot be equally well answered by his remaining with Fagin ; 
ind after meditating for a long time, concluded that he 
lad been selected to perform some ordinary menial offices 
or the housebreaker, until another boy, better suited for 
lis purpose, could be engaged. He was too well accus- 
tomed to suffering, and had suffered too much where he 
was, to bewail the prospect of change very severely. He 
emained lost in thought for some minutes ; and then, with 
\ heavy sigh, snuffed the candle, and, taking up the book 
.vhich the Jew had left with him, began to read. 

He turned over the leaves. Carelessly at first; but, 
Ighting on a passage which attracted his attention, he 
»oon became intent upon the volume. It was a history of 
the lives and trials of great criminals ; and the pages were 
oiled and thumbed with use. Here, he read of dreadful 
rimes that made the blood run cold ; of secret murders 
:hat had been committed by the lonely wayside; of bodies 
lidden from the eye of man in deep pits and wells : which 
would not keep them down, deep as they were, but had 
yielded them up at last, after many years, and so mad- 
dened the murderers with the sight, that in their horror 
they had confessed their guilt, and yelled for the gibbet 
to end their agony. Here, too, he read of men who, lying 
in their beds at dead of night, had been tempted (so they 
said) and led on, by their own bad thoughts, to such dread- 
ful bloodshed as it made the flesh creep, and the limbs 
quail, to think of. The terrible descriptions were so real 
and vivid, that the sallow pages seemed to turn red with 
gore ; and the words upon them, to be sounded in his ears, 
as if they were whispered, in hollow murmurs, by the 
spirits of the dead. 

In a paroxysm of fear, the boy closed the book, and 
thrust it from him. Then, falling upon his knees, he 
prayed Heaven to spare him from such deeds; and rather 
to will that he should die at once, than be reserved for 
crimes, so fearful and appalling. By degrees, he grew 
more calm, and besought, in a low and broken voice, that 
he might be rescued from his present dangers ; and that 
if any aid were to be raised up for a poor outcast boy who 


Oliver Twist 

had never known the love of friends or kindred, it might 
come to him now, when, desolate and deserted, he stood 
alon-e in the midst of wickedness and guilt. 

He had concluded his prayer, but still remained with hii 
head buried in his hands, when a rustling noise aroused him 

"What's that!" he cried, starting up, and catching 
sight of a figure standing by the door. " Who's there? 

** Me. Only me," replied a tremulous voice. 

Oliver raised the candle above his head : and looked 
towards the door. It was Nancy. 

" Put down the light," said the girl, turning away hei||s 
head. "It hurts my eyes." 

Oliver saw that she was very pale, and gently inquirecl 
if she were ill. The girl threw herself into a chair, with 
her back towards him : and wrung her hands ; but maddt 
no reply. 

" God forgive me!" she cried after a while, " I nevei||[] 
thought of this." 

" Has anything happened?" asked Oliver. " Can 1 
help you? I will if I can. I will, indeed." 

She rocked herself to and fro; caught her thoat; andjtl 
uttering a gurgling sound, gasped for breath. |s 

"Nancy!" cried Oliver, "what is it?" 

The girl beat her hands upon her knees, and her fee^i 
upon the ground ; and, suddenly stopping, drew her shaw 
close round her : and shivered with cold. 

Oliver stirred the fire. Drawing her chair close to it 
she sat there, for a little time, without speaking ; but a 
length she raised her head, and looked round. 

" I don't know what comes over me sometimes," saidipi 
she, affecting to busy herself in arranging her dress ; 
" it's this damp, dirty room, I think. Now, Nolly, dear,iai 
are you ready?" 

" Am I to go with you?" asked Oliver. 

" Yes. I have come from Bill," replied the girl. " Youfii 
are to go with me." 

" W^hat for?" asked Oliver, recoiling. 

" What for?" echoed the girl, raising her eyes, and 
averting them again, the moment they encountered the 
boy's face. "Oh! For no harm." 

" I don't believe it," said Oliver; who had watched her 

" Have it your own way," rejoined the eirl, affectinp 
to laugh. " For no good, then." 

Oliver Twist 147 

Oliver could see that he had some power over the girl's 
)etter feelings, and, for an instant, thought of appealing 
her compassion for his helpless state. But, then, the 
hought darted across his mind that it was barely eleven 
) 'clock; and that many people were still in the streets: 
)f whom surely some might be found to give credence to 
lis tale. As the reflection occurred to him, he stepped 
orward : and said, somewhat hastily, that he was ready. 

Neither his brief consideration, nor its purport, was lost 
)n his companion. She eyed him narrowly, while he 
poke ; and cast upon him a look of intelligence which suf- 
iciently showed that she guessed what had been passing 
n his thoughts. 

** Hush !" said the girl, stooping over him, and pointing 
o the door as she looked cautiously round. ** You can't 
lelp yourself. I have tried hard for you, but all to no 
mrpose. You are hedged round and round. If ever you 
ire to get loose from here, this is not the time." 

Struck by the energy of her manner, Oliver looked up 
n her face with great surprise. She seemed to speak 
he truth ; her countenance was white and agitated ; and 
he trembled with very earnestness. 

** I have saved you from being ill-used once, and I will 
Lgain, and I do now," continued the girl aloud; "for 
hose who would have fetched you, if I had not, would 
lave been far more rough than me. I have promised for 
'our being quiet and silent; if you are not, you will only 
lo harm to yourself and me too, and perhaps be my death. 
5ee here ! I have borne all this for you already, as true 
is God sees me show it." 

She pointed, hastily, to some livid bruises on her neck 
Lnd arms ; and continued, with great rapidity : 

** Remember this ! And don't let me suffer more for 
ou, just now. If I could help you, I would ; but I have 
lot the power. They don't mean to harm you; whatever 
hey make you do, is no fault of yours. Hush ! Every 
vord from you is a blow for me. Give me your hgnd. 
vlake haste ! Your hand !" 

She caught the hand which Oliver instinctively placed 
n hers, and, blowing out the light, drew him after her up 
he stairs. The door was opened, quickly, by some one 
ihrouded in the darkness, and was as quickly closed, when 
hey had passed out. A hackney-cabriolet was in waiting ; 
^ith the same vehemence which she had exhibited in 

148 Oliver Twist 

addressing Oliver, the girl pulled him in with her, and 
drew the curtains close. The driver wanted no directions, 
but lashed his horse into full speed, without the delay of 
an instant. 

The girl still held Oliver fast by the hand, and continued 
to pour into his ear, the warnings and assurances she had 
already imparted. All was so quick and hurried, that he 
had scarcely time to recollect where he was, or how he came 
there, when the carriage stopped at the house to which thet 
Jew's steps had been directed on the previous evening. 

For one brief moment, Oliver cast a hurried glance along 
the empty street, and a cry for help hung upon his lips. 
But the girl's voice was in his ear, beseeching him in such 
tones of agony to remember her, that he had not the heart 
to utter it. While he hesitated, the opportunity was gone ; 
he was already in the house, and the door was shut. 

"This way," said the gfirl, releasing her hold for the 
first time. ** Bill!" 

" Hallo!" replied Sikes : appearing at the head of the 
stairs, with a candle. " Oh ! That's the time of day. 
Come on !" 

This was a very strong expression of approbation, an 
uncommonly hearty welcome, from a person of Mr. Sikes 's 
temperament. Nancy, appearing much gratified thereby, 
saluted him cordially. 

** Bull's-eye's gone home with Tom," observed Sikes, as 
he lighted them up. ** He'd have been in the way." 

"That's right," rejoined Nancy. 

" So you've got the kid," said Sikes, when they had alll 
reached the room : closing the door as he spoke. 

** Yes, here he is," replied Nancy. 

" Did he come quiet?" inquired Sikes. 

" Like a lamb," rejoined Nancy. 

** I'm glad to hear it," said Sikes, looking grimly at 
Oliver ; ** for the sake of his young carcase : as would other- 
ways have suffered for it. Come here, young un ; and 
let me read you a lectur', which is as well got over at 

Thus addressing his new pupil, Mr. Sikes pulled off 
Oliver's cap and threw it into a corner; and then, taking 
him by the shoulder, sat himself down by the table, and 
stood the boy in front of him. 

** Now, first : do you know wot this is?" inquired Sikes, 
taking up a pocket-pistol which lay on the table 

Oliver Twist 149 

Oliver replied in the affirmative. 

"Well, then, look here," continued Sikes. *' This is 
Dowder; that 'ere's a bullet; and this is a little bit of a old 
lat for waddin*. " 

Oliver murmured his comprehension of the different 
Dodles referred to ; and Mr. Sikes proceeded to load the 
Distol, with great nicety and deliberation. 

* Now it's loaded," said Mr. Sikes, when he had 

' Yes, [ see it is, sir," replied Oliver. 

'Well," said the robber, grasping Oliver's wrist, and 
Dutting the barrel so close to his temple that they touched ; 
It which moment the boy could not repress a start; " if 
^ou speak a word when you're out o' doors with me, except 
vhen I speak to you, that loading will be in your head 
vithout notice. So, if you do make up your mind to speak 
vithout leave, say your prayers first." 

Having bestowed a scowl upon the object of this warn- 
ng, to increase its effect, Mr. Sikes continued. 

' As near as I know, there isn't anybody as would be 
isking very partickler arter you, if you was disposed of; 
;o I needn't take this devil-and-all of trouble to explain 
natters to you, if it warn't for your own good. D'ye hear 

* The short and the long of what you mean," said 
!^ancy : speaking very emphatically, and slightly frowning 
It Oliver as if to bespeak his serious attention to her 
vords : '* is, that if you're crossed by him in this job you 
lave on hand, you'll prevent his ever telling tales after- 
wards, by shooting him through the head, and will take 

our chance of swinging for it, as you do for a great many 
)ther things in the way of business, every month of your 

'* That's it !" observed Mr. Sikes, approvingly ; ** women 
an always put things in fewest words. — Except when it's 
blowing up ; and then they lengthens it out. And now that 
le's thoroughly up to it, let's have some supper, and get 

snooze before starting." 

In pursuance of this request, Nancy quickly laid the 
iloth ; disappearing for a few minutes, she presently re- 
urned with a pot of porter and a dish of sheep's heads : 
which gave occasion to several pleasant witticisms on the 
Dart of Mr. Sikes, founded upon the singular coincidence 
3f ** jemmies " being a cant nam^, common to them, and 

150 Oliver Twist 

also to an ingenious implement much used m his profes 
sion. Indeed, the worthy gentleman, stimulated perhaps 
by the immediate prospect of being on active service, was 
in great spirits and good humour ; in proof whereof, it may 
be here remarked, that he humorously drank all the beer 
at a draught, and did not utter, on a rough calculation^ 
more than four-score oaths during the whole progress ot 
the meal. 

Supper being ended — it may be easily conceived that 
Oliver had no great appetite for it — Mr. Sikes disposed oi 
a couple of glasses of spirits and water, and threw himself 
on the bed ; ordering Nancy, with many imprecations in 
case of failure, to call him at five precisely. Oliver 
stretched himself in his clothes, by command of the same 
authority, on a mattress upon the floor ; and the girl, mend-; 
tng the fire, sat before it, in readiness to rouse them at the 
appointed time. 

For a long time Oliver lay awake, thinking it not impos- 
sible that Nancy might seek that opportunity of whispering 
some further advice ; but the girl sat brooding over the 
fire, without moving, save now and then to trim the light." 
Weary with watching and anxiety, he at length fell asleep.! 

When he awoke, the table was covered with tea-things, 
and Sikes was thrusting various articles into the pockets 
of his great-coat, which hung over the back of a chair. 
Nancy was busily engaged in preparing breakfast. It was 
not yet daylight; for the candle was still burning, and it 
was quite dark outside. A sharp rain, too, was beating, 
against the window-panes ; and the sky looked black and; 

"Now, then!" growled Sikes, as Oliver started up; 
*' half-past five ! Look sharp, or you'll get no breakfast; 
for it's late as it is." 

Oliver was not long in making his toilet; having taken, 
some breakfast, he replied to a surly inquiry from Silces, 
by saying that he was quite ready. 

Nancy, scarcely looking at the boy, threw him a hand- 
kerchief to tie round his throat; Sikes gave him a large 
rough cape to button over his shoulders. Thus attired, 
he gave his hand to the robber, who, merely pausing to 
show him with a menacing gesture that he had that same 
pistol in a side-pocket of his great-coat, clasped it firmly 
in his, and, exchanging a farewell with Nancy, led him 

Oliver Twist 151 

Oliver turned, for an instant, when they reached the 
oor, in the hope of meeting a look from the girl. But 
he had resumed her old seat in front of the fire, and sat 
erfectly motionless before it. 



r was a cheerless morning when they got into the street ; 
lowing and raining hard ; and the clouds looking dull and 
tormy. The night had been very wet : large pools of 
^ater had collected in the road : and the kennels were over- 
owing. There was a faint glimmering of the coming day 

I the sky ; but it rather aggravated than relieved the gloom 
f the scene : the sombre light only serving to pale that 

hich the street-lamps afforded, without shedding any 
warmer or brighter tints upon the wet housetops, and 
reary streets. There appeared to be nobody stirring in 
lat quarter of the town ; the windows of the houses were 

II closely shut ; and the streets through which they passed, 
^ere noiseless and empty. 

By the time they had turned into the Bethnal Green Road, 
le day had fairly begun to break. Many of the lamps 
ere already extinguished ; a few country waggons were 
lowly toiling on, towards London ; now and then, a stage- 
oach, covered with mud, rattled briskly by : the driver 
estowing, as he passed, an admonitory lash upon the heavy 
waggoner who, by keeping on the wrong side of the road, 
ad endangered his arriving at the office a quarter of a 
linute after his time. The public-houses, with gas-lights 
urning inside, were already open. By degrees, other 
hops began to be unclosed, and a few scattered people 
ere met with. Then, came straggling groups of labourers 
oing to their work; then, men and women with fish- 
askets on their heads ; donkey-carts laden with vegetables ; 
haise-carts filled with live-stock or whole carcasses of 
leat ; Tiilk-women with pails ; an unbroken concourse of 
eople, ^rudging out with various supplies to the eastern 
uburbs of the town. As they approached the City, the 
oise and traffic gradually increased ; when they threaded 
he streets between Shoreditch and Smithfield, it had 

152 Oliver Twist 

swelled into a roar of sound and bustle. It was as ligh 
as it was likely to be, till night came on again, and the bus; 
morning of half the London population had begun. 

Turning down Sun Street and Crown Street, and cross 
ing Finsbury Square, Mr. Sikes struck, by way of Chiswel 
Street, into Barbican : thence into Long Lane, and so inti 
Smithfield ; from which latter place arose a tumult of dis 
cordant sounds that filled Oliver Twist with amazement. 

It was market-morning. The ground was covered 
nearly ankle-deep, with filth and mire ; a thick steam, per 
petually rising from the reeking bodies of the cattle, an< 
mingling with the fog, which seemed to rest upon th 
chimney-tops, hung heavily above. All the pens in th 
centre of the large area, and as many temporary pens a 
could be crowded into the vacant space, were filled wit! 
sheep; tied up to posts by the gutter side were long line 
of beasts and oxen, three or four deep. Countrymen 
butchers, drovers, hawkers, boys, thieves, idlers, and vaga 
bonds of every low grade, were mingled together in ; 
mass; the whistling of drovers, the barking of dogs, th 
bellowing and plunging of oxen, the bleating of sheep, th 
grunting and squeaking of pigs, the cries of hawkers, th 
shouts, oaths, and quarrelling on all sides ; the ringin< 
of bells and roar of voices, that issued from every public 
house ; the crowding, pushing, driving, beating, whooping 
and yelling ; the hideous and discordant din that resounde( 
from every corner of the market; and the unwashed, un 
shaven, squalid, and dirty figures constantly running to an^ 
fro, and bursting in and out of the throng ; rendered i 
a stunning and bewildering scene, which quite confounds 
the senses. 

Mr. Sikes, dragging Oliver after him, elbowed his wa 
through the thickest of the crowd, and bestowed very littl 
attention on the numerous sights and sounds, which s^ 
astonished the boy. He nodded, twice or thrice, to : 
passing friend; and, resisting as many invitations to tak 
a morning dram, pressed steadily onward, until they wer 
clear r f the turmoil, and had made their way througl 
Hosier Lane into Holborn. 

" Now, young un !" said Sikes, looking up at the cloc' 
of St. Andrew's Church, " hard upon seven ! you mus 
step out. Come, don't lag behind already. Lazy legs !" 

Mr. Sikes accompanied this speech with a jerk at his littl 
companion's wrist; Oliver, quickening his pace into ; 

Oliver Twist 153 

kind of trot, between a fast walk and a run, kept up with 
the rapid strides of the housebreaker as well as he could. 

They held their course at this rate, until they had passed 
Hyde Park corner, and were on their way to Kensington : 
when Sikes relaxed his pace, until an empty cart which was 
at some little distance behind, came up. Seeing '* Houn- 
slow " written on it, he asked the driver with as much 
civility as he could assume, if he would give them a lift 
as far as Isleworth. 

*' Jump up," said the man. ** Is that your boy?" 

"Yes; he's my boy," replied Sikes, looking hard at 
Oliver, and putting his hand abstractedly into the pocket 
where the pistol was. 

" Your father walks rather too quick for you, don't he, 
-ny man?" inquired the driver: seeing that Oliver was 
>ut of breath. 

" Not a bit of it," replied Sikes, interposing. " He's 
ised to it. Here, take hold of my hand, Ned. In with 
/ou !" 

Thus addressing Oliver, he helped him into the cart; and 
:he driver, pointing to a heap of sacks, told him to lie 
iown there, and rest himself. 

As they passed the different mile-stones, Oliver 
vondered, more and more, where his companion meant to 
ake him. Kensington, Hammersmith, Chiswick, Kew 
Bridge, Brentford, were all passed ; and yet they went on 
IS steadily as if they had only just begun their journey. At 
ength, they came to a public-house called the Coach and 
:Iorses : a little way beyond which, another road appeared 
o turn off. And here, the cart stopped. 

Sikes dismounted with great precipitation, holding 
Dliver by the hand' all the while; and lifting him down 
lirectly, bestowed a furious look upon him, and rapped 
he side-pocket with his fist, in a significant manner. 

** Good-bye, boy," said the man. 

** He's sulky," replied Sikes, giving him a shake; 

* he's sulky. A young dog ! Don't mind him." 

" Not I !" rejoined the other, getting into his cart. 

* It's a fine day, after all." And he drove away. 

Sikes waited until he had fairly gone; and then, telling 
Dliver he might look about him if he wanted, once again 
ed him onward on his journey. 

They turned round to the left, a short way past the 
)ublic-house; and then, taking a right-hand road, walked 

154 Oliver Twist 

on for a long time : passing many large gardens and gentle- 
men's houses on both sides of the way, and stopping fori 
nothing but a little beer, until they reached a town. Here 
against the wall of a house, Oliver saw written up in pretty 
large letters, "Hampton." They lingered about, in the 
fields, for some hours. At length, they came back into the 
town ; and, turning into an old pubHc-house with a defaced 
sign-board, ordered some dinner by the kitchen fire. 

The kitchen was an old, low-roofed room ; with a greati 
beam across the middle of the ceiling, and benches, with 
high backs to them, by the fire; on which were seated 
several rough men in smock-frocks, drinking and smok- 
ing. They took no notice of Oliver; and very little* 
of Sikes ; and, as Sikes took very little notice of them, he 
and his young comrade sat in a corner by themselves, with- 
out being much troubled by their company. 

They had some cold meat for dinner, and sat so long after 
it, while Mr. Sikes indulged himself with three or four 
pipes, that Oliver began to feel quite certain they were not 
going any further. Being much tired with the walk, and' 
getting up so early, he dosed a little at first; then, quite* 
overpowered by fatigue and the fumes of the tobacco, fell 
dsleep. J 

It was quite dark when he was awakened by a push fromi^ 
Sikes. Rousing himself sufficiently to sit up and look about ^ 
him, he found that worthy in close fellowship and communi-:' 
cation with a labouring man, over a pint of ale. 

** So, you're going on to Lower Halliford, are you?" 
inquired Sikes. 

" Yes, I am," replied the man, who seemed a little the 
worse — or better, as the case might be — for drinking ; "andj^ 
not slow about it neither. My horse hasn't got a load be-:§ 
hind him going back, as he had coming up in the mornin 
and he won't be long a-doing of it. Here's luck to him ij 
Ecod ! he's a good un !" 

** Could you give my boy and me a lift as far as 
there?" demanded Sikes, pushing the ale towards his new 

" If you're going directly, I can," replied the man, look- ^ 
ing out of the pot. ** Are you going to Halliford?" 

** Going on to Shepperton," replied Sikes. 

"I'm your man, as far as I go," replied the other. ** I? 
all paid, Becky?" 

*' Yes, the other gentleman's paid," replied the girl. 

Oliver Twist 155 

' I say !" said the man, with tipsy gravity ; ** that won't 
o, you know." 

' Why not?" rejoined Sikes, " You're a-going to ac- 
ommodate us, and wot's to prevent my standing treat for 

pint or so, in return?" 

The stranger reflected upon this argument, with a very 
rofound face ; having done so, he seized Sikes by the hand 
nd declared he was a real good fellow. To which Mr. 
ikes replied, he was joking ; as, if he had been sober, 
liere would have been strong reason to suppose he was. 

After the exchange of a few more compliments, they bade 
be company good night, and went out ; the girl gathering 
p the pots and glasses as they did so, and lounging out 
o the door, with her hands full, to see the party. 

The horse, whose health had been drunk in his absence, 
/as standing outside : ready harnessed to the cart. Oliver 
nd Sikes got in without any further ceremony ; and the 
lan to whom he belonged, having lingered for a minute or 
wo ** to bear him up," and to defy the hostler and the 
/orld to produce his equal, mounted also. Then, the 
ostler was told to give the horse his head ; and, his head 
eing given him, he made a very unpleasant use of it : 
ossing it into the air with great disdain, and running into 
he parlour windows over the way ; after performing those 
eats, and supporting himself for a short time on his hind- 
egs, he started off at great speed, and rattled out of the 
own right gallantly. 

The night was very dark. A damp mist rose from the 
iver, and the marshy ground about ; and spread itself over 
he dreary fields. It was piercing cold, too ; all was gloomy 
nd black. Not a word was spoken; for the driver had 
Town sleepy; and Sikes was in no mood to lead him into 
onversation. Oliver sat huddled together, in a corner of 
he cart; bewildered with alarm and apprehension; and 
iguring strange objects in the gaunt trees, whose branches 
^7aved grimly to and fro, as if in some fantastic joy at the 
lesolation of the scene. 

As they passed Sunbury Church, the clock struck seven. 
There was a light in the ferry-house window opposite : 
vhich streamed across the road, and threw into more som- 
)re shadow a dark yew-tree with graves beneath it. There 
vas a dull sound of falling water not far off ; and the leaves 
>f the old tree stirred gently in the night wind. It seemed 
ike quiet music for the repose of the dead. 


Oliver Twist 

Sunbury was passed through, and they came again into 
the lonely road. Two or three miles more, and the cart 
stopped. Sikes alighted, took Oliver by the hand, and they 
once again walked on. 

They turned into no house at Shepperton, as the weary 
boy had expected; but still kept walking on, in mud and 
darkness, through gloomy lanes and over cold open wastes, 
until they came within sight of the lights of a town at no 
great distance. On looking intently forward, Oliver saw 
that the water was just below them, and that they were 
coming to the foot of a bridge. 

Sikes kept straight on, until they were close upon the 
bridg:e; then turned suddenly down a bank upon the left 

"The water!" thought Oliver, turning sick with fear. 
" He has brought me to this lonely place to murder me !*' 

He was about to throw himself on the ground, and make 
one struggle for his young life, when he saw that they stood 
before a solitary house : all ruinous and decayed. There 
was a window on each side of the dilapidated entrance ; and | 
one story above ; but no light was visible. The house was | 
dark, dismantled : and, to all appearance, uninhabited. I 

Sikes, with Oliver's hand still in his, softly approached; 
the low porch, and raised the latch. The door yielded toJ 
the pressure, and they passed in together. 



"Hallo!" cried a loud, hoarse voice, as soon as they. 
set foot in the passage. 

" Don't make such a row," said Sikes, bolting the door. 
** Show a glim, Toby." 

"Aha! my pal!" cried the same voice. "A glim, 
Barney, a glim ! Show the gentleman in, Barney ; wake 
up first, if convenient." 

The speaker appeared to throw a boot-jack, or some sue*! 
article, at the person he addressed, to rouse him from his 
slumbers : for the noise of a wooden body, falling violently, 
was heard ; and then an indistinct muttering, as of a mnn 
between asleep and awake. 

" Do you hear?" cried the same voice. "There's Bill 

Oliver Twist 157 

Sikes in the passage with nobody to do the civil to hin^. ; 
and you sleeping there, as if you took laudanum with youi 
neafs, and nothing stronger. Are you any fresher now, or 
do you want the iron candlestick to wake you thoroughly?' 

A pair of slipshod feet shuffled, hastily, across the bare 
floor of the room, as this interrogatory was put; and there 
issued from a door on the right hand : first, a feeble candle : 
and next, the form of the same individual who has been 
heretofore described as labouring under the infirmity of 
speaking through his nose, and officiating as waiter at the 
public-house on Saifron Hill. 

' Bister Sikes !" exclaimed Barney, with real or counter- 
feit joy; ** cub id, sir; cub id." 

" Here ! you get on first," said Sikes, putting Oliver in 
ront of him. ** Quicker ! or I shall tread upon your 

Muttering a curse upon his tardiness, Sikes pushed Oliver 
before him ; and they entered a low dark room with a 
smoky fire, two or three broken chairs, a table, and a very 
Did couch : on which, with his legs much higher than his 
lead, a man was reposing at full length, smoking a long 
:lay pipe. He was dressed in a smartly-cut snuff-coloured 
oat, with large brass buttons ; an orange neckerchief ; a 
oarse, staring, shawl-pattern waistcoat, and drab breeches. 
Mr. Crackit (for he it was) had no very great quantity of 
lair, either upon his head or face ; but what he had, was 
3f a reddish dye, and tortured into long corkscrew curls, 
through which he occasionally thrust some very dirty 
lingers, ornamented with large common rings. He was 
I trifle above the middle size, and apparently rather weak 
n the legs ; but this circumstance by no means detracted 
"rom his own admiration of his top-boots, which he contem- 
plated, in their elevated situation, with lively satisfaction. 
' Bill, my boy!" said this figure, turning his head to- 
wards the door, ''I'm glad to see you. I was almost 
afraid you'd given it up : in which case I should have made 
a personal wentur. Hallo!" 

Uttering this exclamation in a tone of great surprise, as 
his eye rested on Oliver, Mr. Toby Crackit brought himself 
into a sitting posture, and demanded who that was. 

'* The boy. Only the boy!" replied Sikes, drawing a 
chair towards the fire. 

" Wud of Bister Fagin's lads," exclaimed Barney, with 


158 Oliver Twist 

*' Fagin's. eh !" exclaimed Toby, looking at Oliver. 
** Wot an inwalable boy that'll make, for the old ladies' 
pockets in chapels ! His mug is a fortun' to him." 

" There — there's enough of that," interposed Sikes im- 
patiently; and stooping over his recumbent friend, he 
whispered a few words in his ear : at which Mr. Crackit 
laughed immensely, and honoured Oliver with a long stare 
of astonishment. 

*' Now," said Sikes, as he resumed his seat, '* if you'll 
give us something to eat and drink while we're waiting, 
you'll put some heart in us; or in me, at all events. Sit 
down by the fire, younker, and rest yourself; for you'll 
have to go out with us again to-night, though not very 
far off." 

Oliver looked at Sikes in mute and timid wonder ; andr 
drawing a stool to the fire, sat with his aching head upon 
his hands, scarcely knowing where he was, or what was 
passing around him. 

** Here," said Toby, as the young Jew placed some! 
fragments of food, and a bottle upon the table, " Success: 
to the crack!" He rose to honour the toast; and, care- 
fully depositing his empty pipe in a corner, advanced to 
the table, filled a glass with spirits, and drank off its con- 
tents. Mr. Sikes did the same. 

" A drain for the boy," said Toby, half-filling a wine 
glass. ** Down with it, innocence." 

" Indeed," said Oliver, looking piteously up into the 

man's face; ** indeed, I " 

** Down with it!" echoed Toby. "Do you think 1 
don't know what's good for you? Tell him t6 drink it| 

" He had better!" said Sikes, clapping his hand upon! 
his pocket. ** Burn my body, if he isn't more trouble thar 
a whole family of Dodgers. Drink it, you perwerse imp ; 
drink it!" 

Frightened by the menacing gestures of the two men, 
Oliver hastily swallowed the contents of the glass, and 
immediately fell into a violent fit of coughing : which de- 
lighted Toby Crackit and Barney, and even drew a smile 
from the surly Mr. Sikes. 

This done, and Sikes having satisfied his appetite (Olivei 
could eat nothing but a small crust of bread which the} 
made him swallow), the two men laid themselves down or 
chairs for a short nap. Oliver retained his stool by the 

Oliver Twist 159 

ire; Barney, wrapped in a blanket, stretched himself on 
he floor : close outside the fender. 

They slept, or appeared to sleep, for some time ; nobody 
tirring but Barney, who rose once or twice to throw 
:oals upon the fire. Oliver fell into a heavy doze : imagin- 
ng himself straying along the gloomy lanes, or wandering 
Lbout the dark churchyard, or retracing some one or other 
>f the scenes of the past day : when he was roused by Toby 
rackit jumping up and declaring it was half-past one. 

In an instant, the other two were on their legs, and all 
vere actively engaged in busy preparation. Sikes and his 
'ompanion enveloped their necks and chins in large dark 
hawls, and drew on their great-coats ; Barney, opening 
L cupboard, brought forth several articles, which he hastily 
;rammed into the pockets. 

" Barkers for me, Barney," said Toby Crackit. 

Here they are," replied Barney, producing a pair of 
)istols. " You loaded them yourself." 

" All right !" replied Toby, stowing them away. " The 

" I've got 'em," replied Sikes. 

'* Crape, keys, centre-bits, darkies — nothing forgotten ?" 
nquired Toby : fastening a small crowbar to a loop inside 
he skirt of his coat. 

" All right," rejoined his companion. *' Bring them bits 
)f timber, Barney. That's the time of day." 

With these words, he took a thick stick from Barney's 
lands, who, having delivered another to Toby, busied 
limself in fastening on^ Oliver's cape. 

" Now then," said Sikes, holding out his hand. 

Oliver : who was completely stupefied by the unwonted 
;xercise, and the air, and the drink which had been forced 
ipon him : put his hand mechanically into that which Sikes 

txtended for the purpose. 
*' Take his other hand, Toby," said Sikes. " Look out, 

The man went to the door, and returned to announce that 
ill was quiet. The two robbers issued forth with Oliver 
Detween them. Barney, having made all fast, rolled him- 
self up as before, and was soon asleep again. 

It was now intensely dark. The fog was much heavier 
than it had been in the early part of the night ; and the 
atmosphere was so damp, that, although no rain fell, 
Oliver's hair and eyebrows, within a few minutes after 

i6o Oliver Twist 

leaving the house, had become stiff with the half-frozen 
moisture that was floating about. They crossed the bridge, 
and l^ept on towards the lights which he had seen before. 
They were at no great distance off; and, as they walked 
pretty briskly, they soon arrived at Chertsey. 

" Slap through the town," whispered Sikes; "there'll; 
be nobody in the way, to-night, to see us." 

Toby acquiesced ; and they hurried through the main; 
street of the little town, which at that late hour was wholly 
deserted. A dim light shone at intervals from some bed- 
room window; and the hoarse barking of dogs occasion- 
ally broke the silence of the night. But there was nobody 
abroad. They had cleared the town, as the church-bell 
struck two. 

Quickening their pace, they turned up a road upon the 
left hand. After walking about a quarter of a mile, they 
stopped before a detached house surrounded by a wall : to 
the top of which, Toby Crackit, scarcely pausing to take 
breath, climbed in a twinkling. 

•* The boy next," said Toby. ** Hoist him up; I'll catch 
hold of him." 

Before Oliver had time to look round, Sikes had caught 
him under the arms ; and in three or four seconds he and i 
Toby were lying on the grass on the other side. Sikes 
followed directly. And they stole cautiously towards the 

And now, for the first time, Oliver, well-nigh mad with 
grief and terror, saw that housebreaking and robbery, if 
not murder, were the objects of the expedition. He clasped 
his hands together, and involuntarily uttered a subdued j 
■exclamation of horror. A mist came before his eyes; the j 
€old sweat stood upon his ashy face ; his limbs failed him ; 
-and he sank upon his knees. 

*' Get up !" murmured Sikes, trembling with rage, and 
drawing the pistol from his pocket; *' Get up, or I'll strew 
your brains upon the grass." 

*' Oh ! for God's sake let me go!" cried Oliver; " let 
me run away and die in the fields. I will never come 
near London ; never, never ! Oh ! pray have mercy on 
me, and do not make me steal. For the love of all 
the bright Angels that rest in Heaven, have mercy upon 

The man to whom this appeal was made, swore a dread- 
rful oath, and had cocked the pistol, when Toby, striking it 

Oliver Twist 161 

from his grasp, placed his hand upon the boy's mouth, and 
dragged him to the house. 

** Hush !" cried the man; ** it won't answer here. Say 
another word, and I'll do your business myself with a crack 
on the head. That makes no noise, and is quite as certain, 
and more genteel. Here, Bill, wrench the shutter open. 
He's game enough now, I'll engage. I've seen older 
hands of his age took the same way, for a minute or two, 
on a cold night." 

Sikes, invoking terrific imprecations upon Fagin's herid 
for sending Oliver on such an errand, plied the crowbar 
vigorously, but with little noise. After some delay, and 
some assistance from Toby, the shutter to which he had 
referred, swung open on its hinges. 

It was a little lattice window, about five feet and a hall 
above the ground, at the back of the house : which be- 
longed to a scullery, or small brewing-place, at the end of 
the passage. The aperture was so small, that the inmates 
had probably not thought it worth while to defend it more 
securely ; but it was large enough to admit a boy of Oliver's 
size, nevertheless. A very brief exercise of Mr. Sikes 's art 
sufficed to overcome the fastening of the lattice; and it 
soon stood wide open also. 

** Now listen, you young limb," whispered Sikes, draw- 
ing a dark lantern from his pocket, and throwing the glare 
full on Oliver's face; "I'm a going to put you through 
there. Take this light; go softly up the steps straight 
afore you, and along the little hall, to the street-door; 
unfasten it, and let us in." 

*' There's a bolt at the top, you won't be able to reach," 
interposed Toby. " Stand upon one of the hall chairs. 
There are three there. Bill, with a jolly large blue unicorn 
and gold pitchfork on 'em : which is the old lady's arms." 

" Keep quiet, can't you?' replied Sikes, with a threaten- 
ing look. ** The room-door is open, is it?" 

" Wide," replied Toby, after peeping in to satisfy him- 
self. " The game of that is, that they always leave it open 
with a catch, so that the dog, who's got a bed in here, may 
walk up and down the passage when he feels wakeful. 
Ha ! ha ! Barney 'ticed him away to-night. So neat !" 

Although Mr. Crackit spoke in a scarcely audible 
whisper, and laughed without noise, Sikes imperiously 
commanded him to be silent, and to get to work. Toby 
complied, by first producing his lantern, and placing it on. 

1 62 Oliver Twist 

■the ground; then by planting himself firmly with his head 
against the wall beneath the window, and his hands upon 
his knees, so as to make a step of his back. This was no 
sooner done, than Sikes, mounting upon him, put Oliver 
gently through the window with his feet first; and, with- 
out leaving hold of his collar, planted him safely on the 
floor inside. 

*' Take this lantern,'* said Sikes, looking into the room. 
** You see the stairs afore you?" 

Oliver, more dead than alive, gasped out "Yes." 
Sikes, pointing to the street-door with the pistol-barrel, 
briefly advised him to take notice that he was within shot 
all the way; and that if he faltered, he would fall dead 
that instant. 

'* It's done in a minute," said Sikes, in the same low 
whisper. ** Directly I leave go of you, do your work. 

" What's that?" whispered the other man. 

They listened intently. 

** Nothing," said Sikes, releasing his hold of Oliver. 

In the short time he had had to collect his senses, the 
boy had firmly resolved that, whether he died in the at- 
tempt or not, he would make one effort to dart up stairs 
from the hall, and alarm the family. Filled with this idea, 
he advanced at once, but stealthily. 

"Come back!" suddenly cried Sikes aloud. "Back!! 

Scared by the sudden breaking of the dead stillness of! 
the place, and by a loud cry which followed it, Oliver let 
his lantern fall, and knew not whether to advance or fly. 

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, but where he knew not, — and he staggered 

Sikes had disappeared for an instant; but he was up 
again, and had him by the collar before the smoke had 
cleared away. He fired his own pistol after the men, who 
were already retreating ; and dragged the boy up. 

** Clasp your arm tighter," said Sikes, as he drew him 
through the window. " Give me a shawl here. They've 
hit him. Quick ! How the boy bleeds !" 

Then came the loud ringing of a bell, mingled with the 


Oliver Twist 163 

noise of fire-arms, and the shouts of men, and the sensa- 
tion of being carried over uneven ground at a rapid pace. 
And then, the noises grew confused in the distance ; and 
a cold deadly feeling crept over the boy's heart; and he 
saw or heard no more. 



The night was bitter cold. The snow lay on the ground, 
frozen into a hard thick crust, so that only the heaps that 
had drifted into by-ways and corners were affected by the 
sharp wind that howled abroad : which, as if expending 
increased fury on such prey as it found, caught it savagely 
up in clouds, and, whirling it into a thousand misty eddies, 
scattered it in air. Bleak, dark, and piercing cold, it was 
a night for the well-housed and fed to draw round the 
bright fire and thank God they were at home ; and for the 
homeless, starving wretch to lay him down and die. Many 
hunger-worn outcasts close their eyes in our bare streets, 
at such times, who, let their crimes have been what they 
may, can hardly open them in a more bitter world. 

Such was the aspect of out-of-doors affairs, when Mrs. 
Corney, the matron of the workhouse to which our readers 
have been already introduced as the birthplace of Oliver 
Twist, sat herself down before a cheerful fire in her own 
little room, and glanced, with no small degree of com- 
placency, at a small round table : on which stood a tray of 
corresponding size, furnished with all necessary materials 
for the most grateful meal that matrons enjoy. In fact, 
Mrs. Corney was about to solace herself with a cup of tea. 
As she glanced from the table to the fireplace, where the 
smallest of all possible kettles was singing a small song in 
a small voice, her inward satisfaction evidently increased, 
— so much so, indeed, that Mrs. Corney smiled. 

**Well!" said the matron, leaning her elbow on the 
table, and looking reflectively at the fire; "I'm sure we 
have all on us a great deal to be grateful for I A great 
deal, if we did but know it. Ah!" 

1 64 

Oliver Twist 

Mrs. Corney shook her head mournfully, as if deploring 
the mental blindness of those paupers who did not know it ; 
and thrusting a silver spoon (private property) into the in- 
most recesses of a two-ounce tin tea-caddy, proceeded to 
make the tea. 

How slight a thing will disturb the equanimity of our 
frail minds ! The black teapot, being very small and 
easily filled, ran over while Mrs. Corney was moralising ; 
and the water slightly scalded Mrs. Corney *s hand. 

*' Drat the pot!" said the worthy matron, setting it 
down very hastily on the hob; ** a little stupid thing, that 
only holds a couple of cups ! What use is it of, to any- 
body ! Except," said Mrs. Corney, pausing, "except to 
a poor desolate creature like me. Oh dear !" 

With these words, the matron dropped into her chair, 
and, once more resting her elbow on the table, thought of 
her solitary fate. The small teapot, and the single cup, 
had awakened in her mind sad recollections of Mr. Corney 
(who had not been dead more than five-and-twenty years) ; 
and she was overpowered. 

"I shall never get another!" said Mrs. Corney, pet- 
tishly; ** I shall never get another — like him." 

Whether this remark bore reference to the husband, or 
the teapot, is uncertain. It might have been the latter ; 
for Mrs. Corney looked at it as she spoke ; and took it up 
afterwards. She had just tasted her first cup, when she 
was disturbed by a soft tap at the room-door. 

" Oh, come in with you!" said Mrs. Corney, sharply. 
" Some of the old women dying, I suppose. They always 
die when I'm at meals. Don't stand there, letting the cold 
air in, don't. What's amiss now, eh?" 

" Nothing, ma'am, nothing," replied a man's voice. 

" Dear me !" exclaimed the matron, in a much sweeter 
tone, *' is that Mr. Bumble?" 

*' At your service, ma'am," said Mr. Bumble, who had 
been stopping outside to rub his shoes clean, and to shake 
the snow off his coat; and who now made his appearance, 
bearing the cocked hat in one hand and a bundle in the 
other. *' Shall I shut the door ma'am?" 

The lady modestly hesitated to reply, lest there should 
be any impropriety in holding an interview with Mr. 
Bumble, with closed doors. Mr. Bumble taking advantage 
of the hesitation, and being very cold himself, shut it 
without permission. 

Oliver Twist 165 

*' Hard weather, Mr. Bumble," said the matron. 

"Hard, indeed, ma'am," replied the beadle. ** Anti- 
porochial weather this, ma'am. We have given away, 
Mrs. Corney, we have given away a matter of twenty 
quartern loaves and a cheese and a half, this very blessed 
afternoon; and yet them paupers are not contented." 

" Of course not. When would they be, Mr. Bumble?" 
said the matron, sipping her tea. 

" When, indeed, ma'am," rejoined Mr. Bumble. " Why 
here's one man that, in consideration of his wife and large 
family, has a quartern loaf and a good pound of cheese, 
full weight. Is he grateful, ma'am? Is he grateful? 
Not a copper farthing's worth of it ! What does he do, 
ma'am, but ask for a few coals; if it's only a pocket 
handkerchief full, he says ! Coals ! What would he do 
with coals? Toast his cheese with 'em, and then come 
back for more. That's the way with these people, ma'am ; 
give 'em a apron full of coals to-day, and they'll come back 
for another, the day after to-morrow, as brazen as ala- 
baster." '^ 

The matron expressed her entire concurrence in this 
intelligible simile ; and the beadle went on. 

" 1 never," said Mr. Bumble, ** see anything like the 
pitch it's got to. The day afore yesterday, a man — you 
have been a married woman, ma'am, and I may mention 
it to you — a man, with hardly a rag upon his back (here 
Mrs. Corney looked at the floor), goes to our overseer's 
door when he has got company coming to dinner; and 
says, he must be relieved, Mrs. Corney. As he wouldn't 
go away, and shocked the company very much, our over- 
seer sent him out a pound of potatoes and half a pint of 
oatmeal. * My heart !' says the ungrateful villain, * what's 
the use of this to me? You might as well give me a pair 
of iron spectacles !' * Very good,' says our overseer, 
taking 'em away again, * you won't get anything else here.' 
' Then I'll die in the streets !' says the vagrant. ' Oh 
no, you won't,' says our overseer." 

" Ha! ha! That was very good! So like Mr. Gran- 
nett, wasn't it?" interposed the matron. " Well, Mr. 

" Well, ma'am," rejoined the beadle, "he went away; 
and he did die in the streets. There's a obstinate pauper 
for you ! " 

** It beats anything I co»u'ld have believed," observed the 

1 66 Oliver Twist 

matron emphatically. ** But don't you think out-of-door 
relief a very bad thing, any way, Mr. Bumble? You're a 
gentleman of experience, and ought to know. Come." 

** Mrs. Corney," said the beadle, smiling as men smile 
who are conscious of superior information, " out-of-door 
relief, properly managed : properly managed, ma'am : is 
the porochial safeguard. The great principle of out-of 
door relief is, to give the paupers exactly what they don't 
want; and then they get tired of coming." 

** Dear me!" exclaimed Mrs. Corney. ** Well, that is 
a good one, too !" 

" Yes. Betwixt you and me, ma'am," returned Mr. 
Bumble, ** that's the great principle; and that's the reason 
why, if you look at any cases that get into them owdacious 
newspapers, you'll always observe that sick families have 
been relieved with slices of cheese. That's the rule now, 
Mrs. Corney, all over the country. But, however," said 
the beadle, stopping to unpack his bundle, " these are 
official secrets, ma'am; not to be spoken of; except, as 
I may say, among the porochial officers, such as ourselves. 
This is the port wine, ma'am, that the board ordered for 
the infirmary; real, fresh, genuine port wine; only out of 
the cask this forenoon ; clear as a bell ; and no sediment !" 

Having held the first bottle up to the light, and shaken 
it well to test its excellence, Mr. Bumble placed them both 
on the top of a chest of drawers ; folded the handkerchief 
in which they had been wrapped; put it carefully in his 
pocket ; and took up his hat, as if to go. 

" You'll have a very cold walk, Mr. Bumble, ' said the 

" It blows, ma'am," replied Mr. Bumble, turning up his 
coat-collar, " enough to cut one's ears off." 

The matron looked, from the little kettle, to the beadle, 
who was moving towards the door; and as the beadle 
coughed, preparatory to bidding her good night, bashfully 
inquired whether — whether he wouldn't take a cup of tea? 

Mr. Bumble instantaneously turned back his collar again ; 
laid his hat and stick upon a chair; and drew another chair 
up to the table. As he slowly seated himself, he looked at 
the lady. She fixed her eyes upon the little tea-pot. Mr. 
Bumble coughed again, and slightly smiled. 

Mrs. Corney rose to get another cup and saucer from the 
closet. As she sat down, her eyes once again encountered 
those of the gallant beadle; she coloured, and applied 

Oliver Twist 167 

herself to the task of making his tea. A^ain Mr. Bumble 
coughed, — louder this time than he had coug-hed yet. 

" Sweet? Mr. Bumble?" inquired the matron, taking up 
the sugar-basin. 

** Very sweet, indeed, ma'am," replied Mr. Bumble. 
He fixed his eyes on Mrs. Corney as he said this ; and if 
ever a beadle looked tender, Mr. Bumble was that beadle 
at that moment. 

The tea was made, and handed in silence. Mr. Bumble, 
having spread a handkerchief over his knees to prevent the 
crumbs from sullying the splendour of his shorts, began to 
eat and drink ; varying these amusements, occasionally, by 
fetching a deep sigh ; which, however, had no injurious 
effect upon his appetite, but, on the contrary, rather seemed 
to facilitate his operations in the tea and toast department. 

*' You have a cat, ma'am, I see," said Mr. Bumble, 
glancing at one who, in the centre of her family, was bask- 
ing before the fire; ** and kittens too, I declare !" 

** I am so fond of them, Mr. Bumble, you can't think," 
replied the matron. ** They're so happy, so frolicsome, 
and so cheerful, that they are quite companions for 

" Very nice animals, ma'am," replied Mr. Bumble, ap- 
provingly; "so very domestic." 

" Oh, yes !" rejoined the matron with enthusiasm; ** so 
fond of their home too, that it's quite a pleasure, I'm 

" Mrs. Corney, ma'am," said Mr. Bumble, slowly, and 
marking the time with his teaspoon, ** I mean to say this, 
ma'am; that any cat, or kitten, that could live with you, 
ma'am, and not be fond of its home, must be a ass, 

"Oh, Mr. Bumble!" remonstrated Mrs. Corney. 

" It's of no use disguising facts, ma'am," said Mr. 
Bumble, slowly flourishing the teaspoon with a kind of 
amorous dignity which made him doubly impressive; ** I 
would drown it myself, with pleasure." 

" Then you're a cruel man," said the matron vivaciously, 
as she held out her hand for the beadle's cup; " and a very 
hard hearted man besides." 

" Hard-hearted, ma'am?" said Mr. Bumble. " Hard?" 
Mr. Bumble resigned his cup without another word; 
squeezed Mrs. Corney 's little finger as she took it; and 
inflicting two open handed slaps upon his laced waistcoat, 

1 68 Oliver Twist 

gave a mighty sigh, and hitched his chair a very little 
morsel farther from the fire. 

It was a round table; and as Mrs. Corney and Mr. 
Bumble had been sitting opposite each other, with no great 
space between them, and fronting the fire, it will be seen 
that Mr. Bumble, in receding from the fire, and still keeping 
at the table, increased the distance between himself and 
Mrs. Corney ; which proceeding, some prudent readers will 
doubtless be disposed to admire, and to consider an act of 
great heroism on Mr. Bumble's part : he being in some 
sort tempted by time, place, and opportunity, to give utter-^ 
ance to certain soft nothings, which however well they may 
become the lips of the light and thoughtless, do seem 
immeasurably beneath the dignity of judges of the land, 
members of parliament, ministers of state, lord mayors, 
and other great public functionaries, 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. 

Whatever were Mr. Bumble's intentions, however (and 
no doubt they were of the best) : it unfortunately happened, 
as has been twice before remarked, that the table was a 
round one; consequently Mr. Bumble, moving his chair 
by little and little, soon began to diminish the distance 
between himself and the matron ; and, continuing to travel 
round the outer edge of the circle, brought his chair, in 
time, close to that in which the matron was seated. Indeed, 
the two chairs touched ; and when they did so, Mr. Bumble 

Now, if the matron had moved her chair to the right, 
she would have been scorched by the fire; and if to the 
left, she must have fallen into Mr. Bumble's arms; so 
(being a discreet matron, and no doubt foreseeing these 
consequences at a glance) she remained where she was, 
and handed Mr. Bumble another cup of tea. 

** Hard-hearted, Mrs. Corney?" said Mr. Bumble, 
stirring his tea, and looking up into the matron's face; 
** are you hard-hearted, Mrs. Corney?" 

"Dear me!" exclaimed the matron, "what a very 
curious question from a single man. What can you want 
to know for, Mr. Bumble?" 

The beadle drank his tea to the last drop; finished a 
piece of toast ; whisked the crumbs off his knees ; wiped 
his lips ; and deliberately kissed the matron. 


Oliver Twist 169 

" Mr. Bumble!'* cried that discreet lady in a whisper; 
for the fright was so great, that she had quite lost her 
voice, ** Mr. Bumble, I shall scream !" Mr. Bumble made 
no reply ; but in a slow and dignified manner, put his arm 
round the matron's waist. 

As the lady had stated her intention of screaming, of 
course she would have screamed at this additional boldness, 
but that the exertion was rendered unnecessary by a hasty 
knocking at the door : which was no sooner heard, than 
Mr. Bumble darted, with much agility, to the wine bottles, 
and began dusting them with great violence : while the 
matron sharply demanded who was there. It is worthy 
of remark, as a curious physical instance of the efficacy 
of a sudden surprise in counteracting the effects of extreme 
fear, that her voice had quite recovered all its official 

" If you please, mistress," said a withered old female 
pauper, hideously ugly : putting her head in at the door, 
** Old Sally is a-going fast." 

** Well, what's that to me?" angrily demanded the 
matron. ** I can't keep her alive, can I?" 

*' No, no, mistress," replied the old woman, "nobody 
can ; she's far beyond the reach of help. I've seen a many 
people die ; little babes and great strong men ; and I know 
when death's a-coming, well enough. But she's troubled 
in her mind : and when the fits are not on her, — and that's 
not often, for she is dying very hard, — she says she has 
got something to tell, which you must hear. She'll never 
die quiet till you come, mistress." 

At this intelligence, the worthy Mrs. Corney m.uttered 
a variety of invectives against old women who couldn'i 
even die without purposely annoying their betters ; and, 
muffling herself in a thick shawl which she hastily caught 
up, briefly requested Mr. Bumble to stay till she came back, 
lest anything particular should occur. Bidding the mes- 
senger walk fast, and not be all night hobbling up the 
stairs, she followed her from the room with a very ill 
grace, scolding all the way. 

Mr. Bumble's conduct on being left to himseir, was 
rather inexplicable. He opened the closet, counted the 
teaspoons, weighed the sugar-tongs, closely inspected a 
silver milk-pot to ascertain that it was of the genuine 
metal, and, having satisfied his curiosity on these points, 
put on his cocked hat corner-wise, ^nd danced with much 

lyo Oliver Twist 

gravity four distinct times round the table. Having gone 
through this very extraordinary performance, he took off 
the cocked hat again, and, spreading himself before the 
fire with his back towards it, seemed to be mentally 
engaged in taking an exact inventory of the furniture. 



It was no unfit messenger of death, who had disturbed the 
quiet of the matron's room. Her body was bent by age; 
her limbs trembled with palsy; her face, distorted into 
a mumbling leer, resembled more the grotesque shaping 
of some wild pencil, than the work of Nature's hand. 

Alas ! How few of Nature's faces are left alone to 
gladden us with their beauty ! The cares, and sorrows, 
and hungerings of the world, change them as they change 
hearts ; and it is only when those passions sleep, and have 
lost their hold for ever, that the troubled clouds pass off, j 
and leave Heaven's surface clear. It is a common thing I 
for the countenances of the dead, even in that fixed and I 
rigid state, to subside into the long-forgotten expression 
of sleeping infancy, and settle into the very look of early 
life; so calm, so peaceful, do they grow again, that those 
who knew them in their happy childhood, kneel by the 
coffin's side in awe, and see the Angel even upon earth. 

The old crone tottered along the passages, and up the 
stairs, muttering some indistinct answers to the chidings 
of her companion ; being at length compelled to pause for 
breath, she gave the light into her hand, and remained 
behind to follow as she might : while the more nimble 
superior made her way to the room where the sick woman 

It was a bare garret-room, with a dim light burning at 
the farther end. There was another old woman watching 
by the bed; the parish apothecary's apprentice was stand- 
ing by the fire, making a toothpick out of a quill. . 

** Cold night, Mrs. Corney," said this young gentleman, 
as the matron entered. 

*' Very cold, indeed, sir," replied the mistress, in hei 
most civil tones, and dropping a curtsey as she spoke. 

Oliver Twist 171 

** You should get better coals out of your contractors," 
said the apothecary's deputy, breaking a lump on the top 
of the fire with the rusty poker; '* these are not at all the 
sort of thing for a cold night." 

"They're the board's choosing, sir," returned the 
matron. ** The least they could do, would, be to keep us 
pretty warm : for our places are hard enough." 

The conversation was here interrupted by a moan from 
the sick woman. 

"Oh!" said the young man, turning his face towards 
the bed, as if he had previously quite forgotten the patient, 

It's all U. P. there, Mrs. Corney." 

'* It is, is it, sir?" asked the matron. 

" If she lasts a couple of hours, I shall be surprised," 
said the apothecary's apprentice, intent upon the tooth- 
pick's point. " It's a break-up of the system altogether. 
Is she dozing, old lady?" 

The attendant stooped over the bed, to ascertain ; and 
nodded in the affirmative. 

"Then perhaps she'll o-o off in that way, if you don't 
make a row," said the young man. " Put the light on the 
floor. She won't see it there." 

The attendant did as she was told : shaking her head 
meanwhile, to intimate that the woman would not die so 
easily ; having done so, she resumed her seat by the side 
of the other nurse, who had by this time returned. The 
mistress, with an expression of impatience, wrapped her- 
self in her shawl, and sat at the foot of the bed. 

The apothecary's apprentice, having completed the 
manufacture of the toothpick, planted himself in front of 
the fire and made good use of it for ten minutes or so : 
when apparently growing rather dull, he wished Mrs. 
Corney joy of her job, and took himself off on tiptoe. 

When they had sat in silence for some time, the two 
old women rose from the bed, and crouching over the fire, 
held out their withered hands to catch the heat. The flame 
threw a ghastly light on their shrivelled faces, and made 
their ugliness appear terrible, as, in this position, they 
began to converse in a low voice. 

'^" Did she say any more, Anny dear, while I was gone?" 
inquired the messenger, 

" Not a word," replied the other. " She plucked and 
tore at her arms for a little time; but I held her hands, 
and she soon dropped off. She hasn't much strength in 

172 Oliver Twist 

her, so I easily kept her quiet. I ain't so weak for an old 
woman, although I am on parish allowance; no, no!" 

'* Did she drink the hot wine the doctor said she was to 
have?" demanded the first. 

" I tried to get it down," rejoined the other. " But her 
teeth were tight set, and she clenched the mug so hard that 
it was as much as I could do to get it back again. So 
/ drank it; and it did me good !" 

Looking cautiously round, t'^^ ascertain that they were 
not overheard, the two hags cowered nearer to the fire, and 
chuckled heartily. 

" I mind the time," said the first speaker, ** when she 
would have done the same, and made rare fun of it 

" Ay, that she would," rejoined the other; '* she had a 
merry heart. A many, many, beautiful corpses she laid 
out, as nice and neat as wax-work. My old eyes have 
seen them — ay, and those old hands touched them too ; for 
1 have helped her, scores of times." 

Stretching forth her trembling fingers as she spoke, the 
old creature shook them exultingly before her face, and 
fumbling in her pocket, brought out an old time-discoloured 
tin snuff-box, from which she shook a few grains into the 
outstretched palm of her companion, and a few more into 
her own. While they were thus employed, the matron, 
who had been impatiently watching until the dying woman 
should awaken from her stupor, joined them by the fire, 
and sharply asked how long she was to wait? 

** Not long, mistress," replied the second woman, look- 
ing up into her face. ** We have none of us long to wait 
for Death. Patience, patience ! He'll be here soon enough 
for us all." 

"Hold your tongue, you doting idiot!" said the 
matron, sternly. " You, Martha, tell me; has she been 
in this way before?" 

" Often," answered the first woman. 

" But will never be again," added the second one; " that 
is, she'll never wake again but once — and mind, mistress, 
that won't be for long !" 

"Long or short," said the matron, snappishly, "she 
won't find me here when she does wake; take care, both 
of you, how you worry me again for nothing. It's no 
part of my duty to see all the old women in the house die, 
and I won't — that's more. Mind that, you impudent old 

Oliver Twist 173 

harridans. If you make a fool of me again, I'll soon cure 
you, I warrant you !" 

She was bouncing away, when a cry from the two 
women, who had turned towards the bed, caused her to 
look round. The patient had raised herself upright, and 
was stretching her arms towards them. 

'* Who's that?" she cried, in a hollow voice. 

** Hush, hush!" said one of the women, stooping over 
her. ** Lie down, lie down !" 

"I'll never lie down again alive!" said the woman, 
struggling. *' I will tell her ! Come here ! Nearer ! Let 
me whisper in your ear." 

She clutched the matron by the arm, and forcing her 
into a chair by the bedside, was about to speak, when look- 
ing round, she caught sight of the two old women bending 
forward in the attitude of eager listeners. 

"Turn them away," said the old woman, drowsily; 
'* make haste ! make haste !" 

The two old crones, chiming in together, began pouring 
out many piteous lamentations that the poor dear was too 
far gone to know her best friends ; and were uttering 
sundry protestations that they would never leave her, when 
the superior pushed them from the room, closed the door, 
and returned to the bedside. On being excluded, the old 
ladies changed their tone, and cried through the keyhole 
that old Sally was drunk ; which, indeed, was not unlikely ; 
since, in addition to a moderate dose of opium prescribed 
by the apothecary, she was labouring under the effects of 
a final taste of gin-and-water which had been privily ad- 
ministered, in the openness of their hearts, by the worthy 
old ladies themselves. 

*' Now listen to me," said the dying woman aloud, as if 
making a great effort to revive one latent spark of energy. 
" In this very room — in this very bed — I once nursed a 
pretty young creetur', that was brought into the house with 
her feet cut and bruised with walking, and all soiled with 
dust and blood. She gave birth to a boy, and died. Let 
me think — what was the year again !" 

" Never mind the year," said the Impatient auditor; 
'* what about her?" 

"Ay," murmured the sick woman, relapsing into her 
former drowsy state, " what about her? — what about — I 
know!" she cried, jumping fiercely up: her face flushed, 
and her eyes starting from her head — " I robbed her, so 

174 Oliver Twist 

1 did ! She wasn't cold— I tell you she wasn't cold, when 
I stole it!" 

*' Stole what, for God's sake?" cried the matron, with 
a gesture as if she would call for help. 

**/t/" replied the woman, laying her hand over the 
other's mouth. ** The only thing she had. She wanted 
clothes to keep her warm, and food to eat; but she- had 
kept it safe, and had it in her bosom. It was gold, I tell 
you ! Rich gold, that might have saved her life !" 

** Gold !" echoed the matron, bending eagerly over the 
woman as she fell back. " Go on, go on — yes — what of i 
it? Who was the mother? When was it?" 

'* She charged me to keep it safe," replied the woman 
with a groan, ** and trusted me as the only woman about 
her. I stole it in my heart when she first showed it me 
hanging round her neck; and the child's death, perhaps, 
is on me besides ! They would have treated him better, 
if they had known it all !" 

** Known what?" asked the other. "Speak!" 

•'The boy grew so like his mother," said the woman, 
rambhng on, and not heeding the question, " that I could 
never forget it when I saw his face. Poor girl ! poor girl ! 
She was so young, too ! Such a gentle lamb ! Wait ; 
there's more to tell. I have not told you all, have I?" 

" No, no," replied the matron, inclining her head to 
catch the words, as they came more faintly from the dying 
woman. " Be quick, or it may be too late!" 

'* The mother," said the woman, making a more violent 
effort than before; *' the mother, when the pains of death 
first came upon her, whispered in my ear that if her baby 
was born alive, and thrived, the day might come when it 
would not feel so much disgraced to hear its poor young 
mother named. * And oh, kind Heaven !' she said, folding 
her thin hands together, 'whether it be boy or girl, 
raise up some friends for it in this troubled world, and 
take pity upon a lonely desolate child, abandoned to its 
mercy !' " 

" The boy's name?" demanded the matron. 

** They called him Oliver," replied the woman, feebly. 
" The gold I stole was " 

*' Yes, yes — what?" cried the other. 

She was bending eagerly over the woman to hear her 
reply ; but drew back, instinctively, as she once again rose, 
slowly and stiffly, into a sitting; posture ; then, clutching 

Oliver Twist 175 

the coverlid with both hands, muttered some indistinct 
sounds in her throat, and fell lifeless on the bed. 

* ^ * * * * 

** Stone dead !" said one of the old women, hurrying- in 
as soon as the door was opened. 

"And nothing to tell, after all," rejoined the matron, 
walking carelessly away. 

The two crones, to all appearance, too busily occupied 
in the preparations for their dreadful duties to make any 
reply, were left alone, hovering about the body. 



While these things were passing in the country work- 
house, Mr. Fagin sat in the old den — the same from which 
Oliver had been removed by the girl — brooding over a 
dull, smoky fire. He held a pair of bellows upon his knee, 
with which he had apparently been endeavouring to rouse 
it into more cheerful action ; but he had fallen into deep 
thought; and with his arms folded on them, and his chin 
resting on his thumbs, fixed his eyes, abstractedly, on the 
rusty bars. 

At a table behind him sat the Artful Dodger, Master 
Charles Bates, and Mr. Chitling : all intent upon a game 
of whist ; the Artful taking dummy against Master Bates 
and Mr. Chitling. The countenance of the first-named 
gentleman, peculiarly intelligent at all times, acquired 
great additional interest from his close observance of the 
game, and his attentive perusal of Mr. Chitling's hand ; 
upon which, from time to time, as occasion served, he 
bestowed a variety of earnest glances : wisely regulating 
his own play by the result of his observations upon his 
neighbour's cards. It being a cold night, the Dodger 
wore his hat, as, indeed, was often his custom within doors. 
He also sustained a clay pipe between his teeth, which he 
only removed for a brief space when he deemed it necessary 
to apply for refreshment to a quart pot upon the table, 
which stood ready filled with gin-and-water for the accom- 
modation of the company. 

Master Bates was also attentive to the play ; but being 
of a more excitable nature than his accomplished friend, it 

176 Oliver Twist 

was observable that he more frequently applied himself to 
the gin-and-water, and moreover indulged in many jests 
and irrelevant remarks, all highly unbecoming a scientific 
rubber. Indeed, the Artful, presuming upon their close 
attachment, more than once took occasion to reason gravely 
with his companion upon these improprieties : all of which 
remonstrances. Master Bates received in extremely good 
part; merely requesting his friend to be "blowed," or tor 
insert his head in a sack, or replying with some other 
neatly-turned witticism of a similar kind, the happy appli- 
cation of which excited considerable admiration in the mind ; 
of Mr. Chitling. It was remarkable that the latter gentle- 
man and his partner invariably lost; and that the circum- 
stance, so far from angering Master Bates, appeared to 
afford him the highest amusement, inasmuch as he laughed 
most uproariously at the end of every deal, and protested 
that he had never seen such a jolly game in all his born 

"That's two doubles and the rub," said Mr. Chitling, 
with a very long face, as he drew half-a-crown from his 
waistcoat-pocket. " I never see such a feller as you, Jack ; 
you win everything. Even when we've good cards, 
Charley and I can't make nothing of 'em." 

Either the matter or the manner of this remark, which 
was made very ruefully, delighted Charley Bates so much, 
that his consequent shout of laughter roused the Jew from 
his reverie, and induced him to inquire what was the 

"Matter, Fagin!" cried Charley. ** I wish you had 
watched the play. Tommy Chitling hasn't won a point; 
and I went partners with him against the Artful and dum. " 

"Ay, ay!" said the Jew, with a grin, which suffi- 
ciently demonstrated that he was at no loss to understand 
the reason. "Try 'em again, Tom; try 'em again." 

" No more of it for me, thankee, Fagin," replied Mr. 
Chitling; " I've had enough. That 'ere Dodger has such 
a run of luck that there's no standing again' him." 

" Ha! ha! my dear," replied the Jew, "you must get 
up very early in the morning, to win against the Dodger." 

" Morning !" said Charley Bates; " you must put your 
boots on over-night, and have a telescope at each eye, and 
a opera-glass between your shoulders, if you want to come 
over him. " 

Mr. Dawkins received these handsome compliments with 

Oliver Twist 177 

much philosophy, and offered to cut any gentlfeman in 
company, for the first picture-card, at a shilling a time. 
Nobody accepting the challenge, and his pipe being by this 
time smoked out, he proceeded to amuse himself by sketch- 
ing a ground-plan of Newgate on the table with the piece 
of chalk which had served him in lieu of counters; 
whistling, meantime, with peculiar shrillness. 

" How precious dull you are, Tommy !" said the Dodger, 
stopping short when there had been a long silence; and 
addressing Mr. Chitling. ** What do you think he's 
thinking of, Fagin?" 

" How should I know, my dear?" replied the Jew, look- 
ing round as he plied the bellows. ** About his losses, 
maybe ; or the little retirement in the country that he's just 
left, eh? Ha! ha! Is that it, my dear?" 

" Not a bit of it," replied the Dodger, stopping the sub- 
ject of discourse as Mr. Chitling was about to reply. 
" What do you say, Charley?" 

"7 should say," replied Master Bates, with a grin, 
** that he was uncommon sweet upon Betsy. See how 
he's a-blushing ! Oh, my eye ! here's a merry-go-rounder I 
Tommy Chitling 's in love ! Oh, Fagin, Fagin ! what a 
spree !" 

Thoroughly overpov^ered with the notion of Mr. Chitling 
being the victim of the tender passion, Master Bates threw 
himself back in his chair with such violence that he lost 
his balance, and pitched over upon the floor; where (the 
accident abating nothing of his merriment) he lay at full 
length until his laugh was over, when he resumed his 
former position, and began another laugh. 

*' Never mind him, my dear," said the Jew, winking at 
Mr. Dawkins, and giving Master Bates a reproving tap 
with the nozzle of the bellows. ** Betsy's a fine girl. 
Stick up to her, Tom. Stick up to her." 

"What I mean to say, Fagin," replied Mr. Chitling, 
very red in the face, " is, that that isn't anything to any- 
body here." 

** No more it is," replied the Jew; " Charley will talk. 
Don't mind him, my dear; don't mind him. Betsy's a fine 
girl. Do as she bids you, Tom, and you will make your 

*' So I do do as she bids me," replied Mr. Chitling; 
** I shouldn't have been milled, if it hadn't been for her 
advice. But it turned out a good job for you; didn't it, 

178 Oliver Twist 

Fagin ! And what's six weeks of it? It must come, some 
time or another, and why not in the winter time when you 
don't want to go out a-walking so much; eh, Fagin?" 
*' Ah, to be sure, my dear," rephed the Jew. 

" You wouldn't mind it again, Tom, would you," asked 
the Dodger, winking upon Charley and the Jew, ** if Bet 
was all right?" 

" 1 mean to say that I shouldn't," replied Tom, angrily. 
** There, now. Ah ! Who'll say as much as that, I should 
like to know; eh, Fagin?" 

"Nobody, my dear," replied the Jew; "not a soul, 
Tom. I don't know one of 'em that would do it besides 
you; not one of 'em, my dear." 

** I might have got clear off, if I'd split upon her;, 
mightn't I, Fagin?" angrily pursued the poor half-witted 
dupe. ** A word from me would have done it; wouldn't 
it, Fagin?" 

" To be sure it would, my dear," replied the Jew. 

** But I didn't blab it; did I, Fagin?" demanded Tom, 
pouring question upon question with great volubility. 

" No, no, to be sure," replied the Jew; ** you were too 
stout-hearted for that. A deal too stout, my dear!" 

** Perhaps I was," rejoined Tom, looking round; ** and 
if I was, what's to laugh at, in that; eh, Fagin?" 

The Jew, perceiving that Mr. Chitling was considerably, 
roused, hastened to assure him that nobody was laughing ; 
and to prove the gravity of the company, appealed to 
Master Bates, the principal offender. But, unfortunately, 
Charley, in opening his mouth to reply that he was never 
more serious in his life, was unable to prevent the escape 
of such a violent roar, that the abused Mr. Chitling, with- 
out any preliminary ceremonies, rushed across the room 
and aimed a blow at the offender; who, being skilful in 
evading pursuit, ducked to avoid it, and chose his time 
so well that it lighted on the chest of the merry old gentle- 
man, and caused him to stagger to the wall, where he 
stood panting for breath, while Mr. Chitling looked on in 
intense dismay. 

" Hark!" cried the Dodger at this moment, ** I heard 
the tinkler." Catching up the light, he crept softly up 

The bell was rung again, with some impatience, while 
the party were in darkness. After a short pause, the 
Dodger reappeared, and whispered Fagin mysteriously. 

Oliver Twist 179 

•' What !" cried the Jew, " alone?" 

The Dodger nodded in the affirmative, and, shading the 
flame of the candle with his hand, gave Charley Bates a 
private intimation, in dumb show, that he had better not 
be funny just then. Having performed this friendly office, 
he fixed his eyes on the Jew's face, and awaited his 

The old man bit his yellow fingers, and meditated for 
some seconds ; his face working with agitation the while, 
as if he dreaded something, and feared to know the worst. 
At length he raised his head. 

** Where is he?" he asked. 

The Dodger pointed to the floor above, and made a 
gesture, as if to leave the room. 

"Yes," said the Jew, answering the mute inquiry; 
"bring him down. Hush! Quiet, Charley! Gently, 
Tom! Scarce, scarce!" 

This brief direction to Charley Bates, and his recent 
antagonist, was softly and immediately obeyed. There was 
no sound of their whereabout, when the Dodger descended 
the stairs, bearing the light in his hand, and followed by 
a man in a coarse smock-frock; who, after casting a* 
hurried glance round the room, pulled off a large wrapper 
which had concealed the lower portion of his face, and 
disclosed : all haggard, unwashed, and unshorn ; the 
features of flash Toby Crackit. 

" How are you, Faguey?" said this worthy, nodding to 
the Jew. " Pop that shawl away in my castor. Dodger, 
so that I may know where to find it when I cut; that's the 
time of day ! You'll be a fine young cracksman afore the 
old file now." 

With these words he pulled up the smock-frock; and, 
winding it round his middle, drew a chair to the fire, gind 
placed his feet upon the hob. 

" See there, Faguey," he said, pointing disconsolately to 
his top-boots; " not a drop of Day and Martin since you 
know when ; not a bubble of blacking, by Jove ! But don't 
look at me in that way, man. All in good time. I can't 
talk about business till I've eat and drank; so produce the 
sustainance, and let's have a quiet fill-out for the first time 
these three days !" 

The Jew motioned to the Dodger to place what eatables 
there were, upon the table ; and, seating himself opposite 
the housebreaker, waited his leisure. 

i8o Oliver Twist 

To judge from appearances, Toby was by no means Ir 
a hurry to open the conversation. At first, the jew con- 
tented himself with patiently watching his countenance, a? 
if to gain from its expression some clue to the intelligence 
he brought; but in vain. He looked tired and worn, bul 
there was the same complacent repose upon his features 
that they always wore : and through dirt, and beard, anc 
whisker, there still shone, unimpaired, the self-satisfiec 
smirk of flash Toby Crackit. Then, the Jew, in an agony 
of irnpatience, watched every morsel he put into his mouth 
pacing up and down the room, meanwhile, in irrepressible 
excitement. It was all of no use. Toby continued to eat 
with the utmost outward indifference, until he could eal 
no more ; then, ordering the Dodger out, he closed the 
door, mixed a glass of spirits and water, and composed 
himself for talking. 

*' First and foremost, Faguey," said Toby. 

** Yes, yes," interposed the Jew, drawing up his chai 

Mr. Crackit stopped to take a draught of spirits and 
water, and to declare that the gin was excellent ; then 
placing his feet against the low mantelpiece, so as to bring 
his boots to about the level of his eye, he quietly resumed, 

** First and foremost, Faguey," said the housebreaker 
♦* how's Bill?" 

'* What!" screamed the Jew, starting from his seat. 

" Why, you don't mean to say " began Toby, turn 

ing pale. 

" Mean?" cried the Jew, stamping furiously on the 
ground. " Where are they? Sikes and the boy ! Where 
are they? Where have they been? Where are they 
hiding? Why have they not been here?" 

"The crack failed," said Toby, faintly. 

** I know it," replied the Jew, tearing a newspaper from 
his pocket and pointing to it. ** What more?" 

** They fired and hit the boy. We cut over the fields 
at the back, with him between us — straight as the crow 
flies — through hedge and ditch. They gave chase. 
Damme ! the whole country was awake, and the dogs upon 

"The boy!" 

" Bill had him on his back, and scudded like the wind. 
We stopped to take him between us; his head hung down, 
and he was cold. They were close upon our heels ; every 
man for himself, and each from the gallows ! We parted 

Oliver Twist i8i 

company, and left the youngster lying- in a ditch. Alive or 
dead, that's all I know about him." 

The Jew stopped to hear no more; but uttering a loud 
yell, and twining his hands in his hair, rushed from the 
room, and from the house. 


in ^vhtch a mysterious character appears upon the 
scene; and many things, inseparable from this his- 
tory, ARE done and performed 

The old man had gained the street corner, before he began 
to recover the effect of Toby Crackit's intelligence. He had 
relaxed nothing of his unusual speed ; but was still pressing 
onward, in the same wild and disordered manner, when 
the sudden dashing past of a carriage : and a boisterous 
cry from the foot passengers, who saw his danger : drove 
him back upon the pavement. Avoiding, as much as pos- 
sible, all the. main streets, and skulking only through the 
byways and alleys, he at length emerged on Snow Hill. 
Here he walked even faster than before; nor did he linger 
until he had again turned into a court; when, as if con- 
scious that he was now in his proper element, he fell into 
his usual shuffling pace, and seemed to breathe more freely. 
Near to the spot on which Snow Hill and Holborn Hill 
meet, there opens, upon the right hand as you come out of 
the City, a narrow and dismal alley leading to Saffron Hill. 
In its filthy shops are exposed for sale huge bunches of 
second-hand silk handkerchiefs, of all sizes and patterns; 
for here reside the traders who purchase them from pick- 
pockets. Hundreds of these handkerchiefs hang dangling 
from pegs outside the windows or flaunting from the door- 
posts; and the shelves, within, are piled with them. Con- 
fined as the limits of Feld Lane are, it has its barber, its 
coffee-shop, its beer-shop, and it fried-fish warehouse. It 
is a commercial colony of itself : the emporium of petty 
larceny : visited at early morning, and setting-in of dusk, 
by silent merchants, who traffic in dark back-parlours, and 
who go as strangely as they come. Here, the clothesman, 
the shoe-vamper, and the rag-merchant, display their 
goods, as sign-boards to the petty thief ; here, stores of old 

1 82 Oliver Twist 

ifon and bones, and heaps of mildewy fragments of woollen- 
stuff and linen, rust and rot in the grimy cellars. 

It was into this place that the Jew turned. He was well 
known to the sallow denizens of the lane ; for such of them 
as were on the look-out to buy or sell, nodded, familiarly, 
as he passed along. He replied to their salutations in thf 
same way ; but bestowed no closer recognition until he 
reached the further end of the alley; when he stopped, to 
address a salesman of small stature, who had squeezed 
as much of his person into a child's chair as the chair 
would hold, and was smoking a pipe at his warehouse 

" Why, the sight of you, Mr. Fagin, wouid cure the 
hoptalmy!" said this respectable trader, in acknowledg- 
ment of the Jew's inquiry after his health. 

** The neighbourhood was a little too hot, Lively," said 
Fagin, elevating his eyebrows, and crossing his hands 
upon his shoulders. 

** Well, I've heerd that complaint of it, once or twice 
before," replied the trader; ** but it soon cools down again ; 
don't you find it so?" f 

Fagin nodded in the affirmative. Pointing in the direc- i' 
tion of Saffron Hill, he inquired whether any one was up I'' 
yonder to-night. 

" At the Cripples?" inquired the man. 

The Jew nodded. 

** Let me see," pursued the merchant, reflecting. ** Yes, 
there's some half-dozen of 'em gone in, that I knows. I 
don't think your friend's there." 

" Sikes is not, I suppose?" inquired the Jew, with a 
disappointed countenance. 

*' Non istwentuSj as the lawyers say," replied the little 
man, shaking his head, and looking amazingly sly. ** Have 
you got anything in my line to-night?" 

** Nothing to-night," said the Jew, turning away. 

** Are you going up to the Cripples, Fagin?" cried the 
little man, calling after him. "Stop! I don't mind if 
I have a drop there with you !" 

But as the Jew, looking back, waved his hand to intimate 
that he preferred being alone ; and, moreover, as the little 
man could not very easily disengage himself from the 
chair; the sign of the Cripples was, for a time, bereft 
of the advantage of Mr. Lively's presence. By the time 
he had got upon his legs, the Jew had disappeared ; so 

Oliver Twist 183 

Mr. Lively, after ineffectually standing on tiptoe, in the 
hope of catching sight of him, again forced himself into 
the little chair, and, exchanging a shake of the head with 
a lady in the opposite shop, in which doubt and mistrust 
were plainly mingled, resumed his pipe with a grave 

The Three Cripples, or rather the Cripples : 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. Merely making 
a sign to a man at the bar, Fagin walked straight up stairs, 
and opening the door of a room, and softly insinuating 
himself into the chamber, looked anxiously about : shading 
his eyes with his hand, as ii in search of some particular 

The room was illuminated by two gas-lights ; the glare 
of which was prevented by the barred shutters, and 
closely-drawn curtains of faded red, from being visible 
outside. The ceiling was blackened, to prevent its colour 
from being injured by the flaring of the lamps ; and the 
place was so full of dense tobacco smoke, that at first it 
was scarcely possible to discern anything more. By 
degrees, however, as some of it cleared away through the 
open door, an assemblage of heads, as confused as the 
noises that greeted the ear, might be made out ; and as 
the eye grew more accustomed to the scene, the spectator 
gradually became aware of the presence of a numerous 
company, male and female, crowded round a long table : 
at the upper end of which, sat a chairman with a hammer 
of office in his hand ; while a professional gentleman, with 
a bluish nose, and his face tied up for the benefit of a 
toothache, presided at a jingling piano in a remote corner. 

As Fagin stepped softly in, the professional gentleman, 
running over the keys by way of prelude, occasioned a 
general cry of order for a song; which, having subsided, 
a young lady proceeded to entertain the company with 
a ballad in four verses, between each of which the accom- 
panyist played the melody all through, as loud as he 
could. When this was over, the chairman gave a sen- 
timent, after which, the professional gentlemen on the 
chairman's right and left volunteered a duet, and sang 
it, with great applause. 

It was curious to observe some faces which stood out 
prominently from among the group. There was the chair- 

184 Oliver Twist 

man himself, (the landlord of the house,) a coarse, roug-h, 
heavy built fellow, who, while the songs were proceeding, 
rolled his eyes hither and thither, and, seeming to give 
himself up to joviality, had an eye for everything that 
was done, and an ear for everything that was said — and 
sharp ones, too. Near him were the singers : receiving, 
with professional indifTerence, the compliments of the com- 
pany, and applying themselves, in turn, to a dozen prof- 
fered glasses of spirits and water, tendered by their morcf 
boisterous admirers ; whose countenances, expressive of 
almost every vice in almost every grade, irresistibly 
attracted the attention, by their very repulsiveness. Cun- 
ning, ferocity, and drunkenness in all its stages, were; 
there, in their strongest aspects ; 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, and presenting but one 
loathsome blank of profligacy and crime; some mere giris, 
others but young women, and none past the prime of life ; 
formed the darkest and saddest portion of this dreary 

Fagin, troubled by no grave emotions, looked eagerly 
from face to face while these proceedings were in pro- 
gress; but apparently without meeting that of which he 
was in search. Succeeding, at length, in catching the 
eye of the man who occupied the chair, he beckoned to 
him slightly, and left the room, as quietly as he had I 
entered it. 

"What can I do for you, Mr. Fagin?" inquired the 
man, as he followed him out to the landing. " Won't 
you join us? They'll be delighted, every one of 'em." 

The Jew shook his head impatiently, and said in a 
whisper, ** Is he here?" 

" No," replied the man. 

** And no news of Barney?" inquired Fagin. 

"None," replied the landlord of the Cripples; for it 
was he. " He won't stir till it's all safe. Depend on it, 
they're on the scent down there; and that if he moved, he'd 
blow upon the thing at once. He's all right enough, 
Barney is, else I should have heard of him. I'll pound it, 
that Barney's managing properly. Let him alone for 

" Will he be here to-night?" asked the Jew, laying the 
came emphasis on the pronoun as before. 

Oliver Twist 185 

" Monks, do you mean?" inquired the landlord, hesitat- 

" Hush!" said the Jew. ''Yes." 

" Certain," replied the man, d-rawing a gold watch 
from his fob; " I expected him here before now. If you'll 
wait ten minutes, he'll be " 

" No, no," said the Jew, hastily; as though, however 
desirous he might be to see the person in question, he was 
nevertheless relieved by his absence. ** Tell him I came 
here to see him ; and that he must come to me to-night. 
No, say to-morrow. As he is not here, to-morrow will 
be time enough." 

" Good !" said the man. " Nothing more?" 

'* Not a word now," said the Jew, descending the stairs. 

*' I say," said the other, looking over the rails, and 
speaking in a hoarse whisper; "what a time this would 
be for a sell ! I've got Phil Barker here : so drunk, that 
a boy might take him." 

** Aha ! But it's not Phil Barker's time," said the Jew, 
looking up. '* Phi! has something more to do, before we 
can afford to part with him ; so go back to the company, 
my dear, and tell them to lead merry lives — while they 
last. Ha! ha! ha!" 

The landlord reciprocated the old man's laugh; and 
returned to his guests. The Jew was no sooner alone, 
than his countenance resumed its former expression of 
anxiety and thought. After a brief reflection, he called 
a hack cabriolet, and bade the man drive towards Bethnal 
Green. He dismissed him within some quarter of a mile 
of Mr. Sikes's residence, and performed the short re- 
mainder of the distance on foot. 

*' Now," muttered the Jew, as he knocked at the door, 
" if there is any deep play here. I shall have it out of you, 
my girl, cunning as you are." 

She was in her room, the woman said. Fagin crept 
softly up stairs, and entered it without any previous cere- 
mony. The girl was alone ; lying with her head upon the 
table, and her hair straggling over it. 

" She has been drinking," thought the Jew, coolly, 
*' or perhaps she is only miserable." 

The old man turned to close the door, as he made this 
reflection; the noise thus occasioned, roused the girl. She 
eyed his crafty face narrowly, as she inquired whether there 
was any news, and as she listened to his recital of Toby 

1 86 Oliver Twist 

Crackit's story. When it was concluded, she sank into 
her former attitude, but spoke not a word. She pushed 
the candle impatiently away; and once or twice as she 
feverishly changed her position, shuffled her feet upon the 
ground ; but this was all. 

During the silence, the Jew looked restlessly about the 
room, as if to assure himself that there were no appear- 
ances of Sikes having covertly returned. Apparently satis- 
fied with his inspection, he coughed twice or thrice, and 
made as many efforts to open a conversation ; but the girl 
heeded him no more than if he had been made of stone. At 
length he made another attempt ; and rubbing his hands 
together, said, in his most conciliatory tone, 

" And where should you think Bill was now, my dear?" 

The girl moaned out some half intelligible reply, that 
she could not tell ; and seemed, from the smothered noise |' 
that escaped her, to be crying. !' 

" And the boy, too," said the Jew, straining his eyes |' 
to catch a glimpse of her face. ** Poor leetle child 1 Left 
in a ditch, Nance ; only think !" 

" The child," said the girl, suddenly looking up, " is 
better where he is, than among us; and if no harm comes 
to Bill from it, I hope he lies dead in the ditch, and that 
his young bones may rot there." 

'* What!" cried the Jew, in amazement. 

** Ay, I do," returned the girl, meeting his gaze. " I 
shall be glad to have him away from my eyes, and to 
know that the worst is over. I can't bear to have him 
about me. The sight of him turns me against myself, and 
all of you." 

"Pooh!" said the Jew, scornfully. "You're drunk." 

"Am I?" cried the girl, bitterly. "It's no fault of 
yours, if I am not! You'd never have me anything else, 
if you had your will, except now; — the humour doesn't 
suit you, doesn't it?" 

" No!" rejoined the Jew, furiously. " It does not." 

" Change it, then !" responded the girl, with a laugh. 

"Change it!" exclaimed the Jew, exasperated beyond 
all bounds by his companion's unexpected obstinacy, and 
the vexation of the night, " I will change it ! Listen to 
me, vou drab. Listen to me, who with six words, can 
strangle Sikes as surely as if I had his bull's throat be- 
tween my fingers now. If he comes back, and leaves the 
boy behind him ! if he gets off free, and dead or alive, 

Oliver Twist 187 

■ails to restore him to me; murder him yourself if you 
would have him escape Jack Ketch. And do it the moment 
ixe sets foot in this room, or mind me, it will be too late !" 

" What is all this?" cried the girl involuntarily. 

*' What is it?" pursued Fagin, mad with rage. 
' When the boy's worth hundreds of pounds to me, am 
[ to lose what chance threw me in the way of getting safely, 
:hrough the ^hims of a drunken gang that I could whistle 
away the lives of ! And me bound, too, to a born devil 
ihat only wants the will, and has the power to, to " 

Panting for breath, the old man stammered for a word ; 
ind in that instant checked the torrent of his wrath, and 
hanged his whole demeanour. A moment before, his 
:lenched hands had grasped the air; his eyes had dilated; 
md his face grown livid with passion ; but now, he shrunk 
nto a chair, and, cowering together, trembled with the 
apprehension of having himself disclosed some hidden 
irillany. After a short silence, he ventured to look round 
It his companion. He appeared somewhat reassured, on 
Deholding her in the same listless attitude from which he 
tiad first roused her. 

** Nancy, dear!" croaked the Jew, in his usual voice. 
'* Did you mind me, dear?" 

" Don't worry me now, Fagin !" replied the girl, raising 
aer head languidly. " If Bill has not done it this time, he 
will another. He has done many a good job for you, and 
will do many more when he can; and when he can't he 
won't; so no more about that." 

*' Regarding this boy, my dear?" said the Jew, rubbing 
the palms of his hands nervously together. 

"The boy must take his chance with the rest," inter- 
rupted Nancy, hastily; "and I say again, I hope he is 
dead, and out of harm's way, and out of yours — that is, 
if Bill comes to no harm. And if Toby got clear off. Bill's 
pretty sure to be safe; for Bill's worth two of Toby any 

" And about what I was saying, my dear?" observed the 
Jew, keeping his glistening eye steadily upon her. 

" You must say it all over again, if it's anything you 
want me to do," rejoined Nancy; " and if it is, you had 
better wait till to-morrow. You put me up for a minute ; 
but now I'm stupid again." 

Fagin put several other questions : all with the same drift 
ot ascertaining whether the girl had profited by his un- 

1 88 Oliver Twist 

guarded hints ; but, she answered them so readily, and was 
withal so utterly unmoved by his searching looks, that his 
original impression of her being more than a trifle in 
liquor, was confirmed. Nancy, indeed, was not exempt 
from a failing which was very common among the Jew's 
female pupils ; and in which, in their tenderer years, they 
were rather encouraged than checked. Her disordered 
appearance, and a wholesale perfume of Geneva which per- 
vaded the apartment, afforded strong confirmatory evi- 
dence of the justice of the Jew's supposition; and when, 
after indulging in the temporary display of violence above 
described, she subsided, first into dulness, and afterwards 
into a compound of feelings : under the influence of which 
she shed tears one minute, and in the next gave utter- 
ance 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, Mr. Fagin, 
who had had considerable experience of such matters in 
his time, saw, with great satisfaction, that she was very far 
gone indeed. 

Having eased his mind by this discovery; and having 
accomplished his twofold object of imparting to the gir* 
what he had, that night, heard, and of ascertaining, with! 
his own eyes, that Sikes had not returned, Mr. Fagin again 
turned his face homeward : leaving his young friend asleep,) 
with her head upon the table. 

It was within an hour of midnight. The weather being 
dark, and piercing cold, he had no great temptation tc 
loiter. The sharp wind that scoured the streets, seemed tc 
have cleared them of passengers, as of dust and mud, for 
few people were abroad, and they were to all appearance 
hastening fast home. It blew from the right quarter for 
the Jew, however, and straight before it he went : tremb- 
ling, and shivering, as every fresh gust drove him rudel> 
on his way. 

He had reached the corner of his own street, and was 
already fumbling in his pocket for the door-key, when a 
dark figure emerged from a projecting entrance which laj 
in deep shadow, and, crossing the road, glided up to him 
un perceived. 

" Fagin !" whispered a voice close to his ear. 

"Ah!" said the Jew, turning quickly round, "is 
that " 

" Yes !*' interrupted the stranger. ** I have been linger- 

Oliver Twist 189 

irjcr here these two hours. Where the devil have you 
been ? ' ' 

" On your business, my dear," replied the Jew, glanc- 
w^ uneasily at his companion, and slackening his pace as 
be ;spoke. ** On your business all night." 

'" Oh, of course!" said the stranger, with a sneer» 
** Well ; and what's come of it?" 

** Nothing good," said the Jew. 

" Nothing bad, I hope?" said the stranger, stopping 
short, and turning a startled look on his companion. 

1'he Jew shook his head, and was about to reply, whei? 
the stranger, interrupting him, motioned to the house, 
before which they had by this time arrived : remarking, 
that he had better say what he had got to say, undei 
cover : for his blood was chilled with standing about so 
long, and the wind blew through him. 

Fagin looked as if he could have willingly excused him- 
self from taking home a visitor at that unseasonable hour ; 
and, indeed, muttered something about having no fire ; but 
his companion repeating his request in a peremptory 
manner, he unlocked the door, and requested him to close 
it softly, while he got a light. 

" It's as dark as the grave," said the man, groping for- 
ward a few steps. *' Make haste !" 

" Shut the door," whispered Fagin from the end of the 
passage. As he spoke, it closed with a loud noise. 

" That wasn't my doing," said the other man, feeling 
his way. ** The wind blew it to, or it shut of its own 
accord : one or the other. Look sharp with the light, or 1 
shall knock my brains out against something in this con- 
founded hole. " 

Fagin stealthily descended the kitchen stairs. After a 
short absence, he returned with a lighted candle, and the 
intelligence that Toby Crackit was asleep in the back room 
below, and that the boys were in the front one. Beckoning 
the man to follow him, he led the way up stairs. 

" We can say the few words we've got to say in here, 
my dear," said the Jew, throwing open a door on the first 
floor; "and as there are holes in the shutters, and we 
never show lights to our neighbours, we'll set the candle 
on the stairs. There !" 

With those words, the Jew, stooping down, placed th« 
candle on an upper flight of stairs, exactly opposite to the 
room door. This done, he led the way into the apartment ; 

190 Oliver Twist 

which was destitute of all moveables save a broken arm- 
chair, and an old couch or sofa without covering, which 
stood behind the door. Upon this piece of furniture, the 
stranger sat himself with the air of a weary man ; and the 
Jew, drawing up the arm-chair opposite, they sat face to 
face. It was not quite dark ; the door was partially open ; 
and the candle outside, threw a feeble reflection on the' 
opposite wall. 

They conversed for some time in whispers. Though 
nothing of the conversation was distinguishable beyond a: 
few disjointed words here and there, a listener might easily 
have perceived that Fagin appeared to be defending himself 
against some remarks of the stranger; and that the latter 
was in a state of considerable irritation. They might have 
been talking, thus, for a quarter of an hour or more, when 
Monks — by which name the Jew had designated the strange 
man several times in the course of their colloquy — said, 
raising his voice a little, 

** I tell you again, it was badly planned. Why not have 
kept him here among the rest, and made a sneaking, 
snivelling pickpocket of him at once?" 

"Only hear him!" exclaimed the Jew, shrugging his 

" Why, do you mean to say you couldn't have done it, 
if you had chosen?" demanded Monks, sternly. " Haven't 
you done it, with other boys, scores of times? If you had 
had patience for a twelvemonth, at most, couldn't you have 
got him convicted, and sent safely out of the kingdom ; per- 
haps for life?" 

" Whose turn would that have served, my dear?" in- 
quired the Jew humbly. 

*' Mine," replied Monks. 

*' But not mine," said the Jew, submissively. ** He 
might have become of use to me. When there are two 
parties to a bargain, it is only reasonable that the interests 
of both should be consulted ; is it, my good friend?" 

*• What then?" demanded Monks. 

** I saw it was not easy to train him to the business," 
replied the Jew; ** he was not like other boys in the same 

"Curse him, no!" muttered the man, "or he would 
have been a thief, long ago." 

" I had no hold upon him to make him worse," pursued 
the Jew, anxiously watching the countenance of his com- 

Oliver Twist 191 

panion. ** His hand was not in. I had nothing to frighten 
him with ; which we always must have in the beginning, or 
we labour in vain. What could I do? Send him out with 
the Dodger and Charley? We had enough of that, at 
first, my dear; I trembled for us all." 

** That was not my doing," observed Monks. 

** No, no, my dear!" renewed the Jew. " And I don't 
quarrel with it now; because, if it had never happened, 
you might never have clapped eyes upon the boy to notice 
him, and so led to the discovery that it was him you were 
looking for. Well ! I got him back for you by means of 
the girl; and then she begins to favour him." 

" Throttle the girl !" said Monks, impatiently. 

** Why, we can't afford to do that just now, my dear," 
replied the Jew, smilinq;' ; " and, besides, that sort of thing 
is not in our way; or, one of these days, I might be glad 
to have it done. I know what these girls are. Monks, 
jwell. As soon as the boy begins to harden, she'll care no 
imore for him, than for a block of wood. You want him 
made a thief. If he is alive, I can make him one from this 
[time; and if- — if — "said the Jew, drawing nearer to the 
other, — " it's not likely, mind, — but if the worst comes 
to the worst, and he is dead " 

** It's no fault of mine if he is!" interposed the other 
man, with a look of terror, and clasping the Jew's arm 
with trembling hands. " Mind that, Faein ! I had no 
hand in it. Anything but his death, I told you from the 
first. I won't shed blood ; it's always found out, and haunts 
a man besides. If they shot him dead, I was not the 
cause; do you hear me? Fire this infernal den ! What's 

'* What !" cried the Jew, grasping the coward round the 
body, with both arms, as he sprung to his feet. " Where ?'^ 

"Yonder!" replied the man, glaring at the opposite 
wall. " The shadow ! I saw the shadow of a woman, in 
a cloak and bonnet, pass along the wainscot like a breath !"^ 

The Jew released his hold, and they rushed tumultuously 
from the room. The candle, wasted by the draught, was 
standing where it had been placed. It showed them only 
the empty staircase, and their own white faces. They 
listened intently : a profound silence reigned throughout 
the house. 

** It's your fancy," said the Jew, taking up the light and 
turning to his companion. 

192 Oliver Twist 

" ril swear I saw it!" replied Monks trembling. " It 
•was bending forward when I saw it first ; and when I spoke, 
it darted away." 

The Jew glanced contemptuously at the pale face of his 
:associate, and, telling him he could follow, if he pleased, 
-ascended the stairs. They looked into all the rooms ; they 
were cold, bare, and empty. They descended into the pas- 
-sage, and thence into the cellars below. The green damp 
hung upon the low walls ; the tracks of the snail and slug 
,glistened in the light of the candle; but all was still as 

** What do you think now?" said the Jew, when they had 
regained the passage. " Besides ouselves, there's not a 
•creature in the house except Toby and the boys ; and they're 
safe enough. See here!" 

As a proof of the fact, the Jew drew forth two keys from 
his pocket; and explained that when he first went down 
stairs, he had locked them in, to prevent any intrusion on 
the conference. 

This accumulated testimony effectually staggered Mr. 
Monks. His protestations had gradually become less and i 
5ess vehement as they proceeded in their search without j 
making any discovery; and, now, he gave vent to several i 
very grim laughs, and confessed it could only have been 
his excited imagination. He declined any renewal of the 
conversation, however, for that night : suddenly remember- | 
ing that it was past one o'clock. And so the amiable i 
couple parted. 



As it would be by no means seemly in a humble author 
to keep so mighty a personage as a beadle waiting, with 
his back to the fire, and the skirts of his coat gathered up 
under his arms, until such time as it might suit his pleasure 
to relieve him ; and as it would still less become his station, 
•or his gallantry, to involve in the same neglect a lady on 
whom that beadle had looked with an eye of tenderness and 
affection, and in whose ear he had whispered sweet words, 
which, coming from such a quarter, might well thrill the 

Oliver Twist 193 

bclsbm of maid or matron of whatsoever degree; the his- 
torian whose pen traces these words — trusting that he 
knows his place, and that he entertains a becoming rever- 
ence for those upon earth to whom high and important 
authority is delegated — chastens to pay them that respect 
which their position demands, and to treat them with all 
that duteous ceremony which their exalted rank, and (by 
consequence) great virtues, imperatively claim at his hands. 
Towards this end, indeed, he had purposed to introduce, 
in this place, a dissertation touching the divine right of 
beadles, and elucidative of the position, that a beadle can 
do no wrong : which could not fail to have been both 
pleasurable and profitable to the right-minded reader, but 
which he is unfortunately compelled, by want of time and 
space, to postpone to some more convenient and fitting 
opportunity ; on the arrival of which, he will be prepared 
to show, that a beadle properly constituted : that is to 
say, a parochial beadle, attached to a parochial workhouse, 
and attending in his official capacity the parochial church : 
Is, in right and virtue of his office, possessed of all the 
excellences and best qualities of humanity; and that to 
none of those excellences, can mere companies' beadles, or 
court-of-law beadles, or even chapel-of-ease beadles (save 
the last, and they in a very lowly and inferior degree), 
lay the remotest sustainable claim. 

Mr. Bumble had re-counted the tea-spoons, re-weighed 
th6 sugar-tongs, made a closer inspection of the milk-pot, 
and ascertained to a nicety the exact condition of the 
furniture, down to the very horse-hair seats of the chairs; 
and had repeated each process full half-a-dozen times ; be- 
fore he began to think that it was time for Mrs. Corney 
to return. Thinking begets thinking; as there were no 
sounds of Mrs. Corney 's approach, it occurred to Mr. 
Bumble that it would be an innocent and virtuous way of 
spending the time, if he were further to allay his curiosity 
by a cursory glance at the interior of Mrs. Corney 's chest 
of drawers. 

Having listened at the keyhole, to assure himself that 
nobody was approaching the chamber, Mr. Bumble, begin- 
ning at the bottom, proceeded to make himself acquainted 
with the contents of the three long drawers : which, being 
filled with various garments of good fashion and texture, 
carefully preserved between two layers of old newspapers, 
speckled with dried lavender : seemed to yield him exceed- 


194 Oliver Twist 

ing- satisfaction. Arrivingf, in course of time, at the right- 
hand corner drawer (in which was the key), and beholding 
therein a small padlocked box, which, being shaken, gave 
forth a pleasant sound, as of the chinking of coin, Mr. 
Bumble returned with a stately walk to the fireplace ; and, 
resuming his old attitude, said, with a grave and deter- 
mined air, '* I'll do it !" He followed up this remarkable 
declaration, by shaking his head in a waggish manner for 
ten minutes, as though he were remonstrating with himself 
for being such a pleasant dog ; and then, he took a view of 
his legs in profile, with much seeming pleasure and interest. 

He was still placidly engaged in this latter survey, when 
Mrs. Corney, hurrying into the room, threw herself, in a 
breathless state, on a chair by the fireside, and covering 
her eyes with one hand, placed the other over her heart, 
and gasped for breath. 

" Mrs. Corney," said Mr. Bumble, stooping over the 
matron, " what is this, ma'am? Has anything happened, 

ma'am? Pray answer me; I'm on — on " Mr. Bumble, 

in his alarm, could not immediately think of the word 
'* tenter-hooks," so he said ** broken bottles." 

" Oh, Mr. Bumble!" cried the lady, " I have been so 
dreadfully put out !" 

" Put out, ma'am !" exclaimed Mr. Bum.ble ; *' who has 
dared to ? I know !" said Mr. Bumble, checking him- 
self, with native majesty, " this is them wicious paupers !" 

*' It's dreadful to think of !" said the lady, shuddering. 

** Then don't think of it, ma'am," rejoined Mr. Bumble. 

** I can't help it," whimpered the lady. 

*' Then take something, ma'am," said Mr. Bumble 
soothingly. "A little of the wine?" 

" Not for the world !" replied Mrs. Corney. ** I couldn't, 
— oh! The top shelf in the right-hand corner — oh!" 
Uttering these words, the good lady pointed, distractedly, 
to the cupboard, and underwent a convulsion from internal 
spasms. Mr. Bumble rushed to the closet; and, snatching 
a pint green-glass bottle from the shelf thus incoherently 
indicated, filled a tea-cup with its contents, and held it to 
the lady's lips. 

"I'm better now," said Mrs. Corney, falling back, after 
drinking half of it. 

Mr. Bumble raised his eyes piously to the ceiling in 
thankfulness ; and, bringing them down again to the brim 
of the cup, lifted it to his nose. 

Oliver Twist 195 

'* Peppermint," exclaimed Mrs. Corney, in a famt voice, 
smiling gently on the beadle as she spoke. *' Try it ! 
There's a little — a little something else in it." 

Mr. Bumble tasted the medicine with a doubtful look ; 
smacked his lips; took another taste; and put the cup 
down empty. 

** It's very comforting," said Mrs. Corney. 

"Very much so indeed, ma'am," said the beadle. As 
he spoke, he drew a chair beside the matron, and tenderly 
inquired what had happened to distress her. 

*' Nothing," replied Mrs. Corney. ** I am a foolish, 
excitable, weak creetur. " 

" Not weak, ma'am," retorted Mr. Bumble, drawing 
his chair a little closer. "Are you a weak creetur, Mrs. 

" We are all weak creeturs," said Mrs. Corney, laying 
down a general principle. 

"So we are," said the beadle. 

Nothing was said, on either side, for a minute or two 
afterwards. By the expiration of that time, Mr. Bumble 
had illustrated the position by removing his left arm from 
the back of Mrs. Corney *s chair, where it had previously 
rested, to Mrs. Corney 's apron-string, round which it 
gradually became entwined. 

" We are all weak creeturs," said Mr. Bumble. 

Mrs. Corney sighed. 

" Don't sigh, Mrs. Corney," said Mr. Bumble. 

" I can't help it," said Mrs. Corney. And she sighed 

" This is a very comfortable room, ma'am," said Mr. 
Bumble, looking round. " Another room, and this, 
ma'am, would be a complete thing." 

" It would be too much for one," murmured the 

" But not for two, ma'am," rejoined Mr. Bumble, in 
soft accents. " Eh, Mrs. Corney?" 

Mrs. Corney drooped her head, when the beadle said 
this ; the beadle drooped his, to get a view of Mrs. Cor- 
ney 's face. Mrs. Corney, with great propriety, turned her 
head away, and released her hand to get at her pocket- 
handkerchief; but insensibly replaced it in that of Mr. 

" The board allow you coals, don't they, Mrs. Corney?" 
inquired the beadle, affectionately pressing her hand. 

196 Oliver Twist 

" And candles," replied Mrs. Corney, slightly return- 
ing the pressure. 

" Coals, candles, and house-rent free," said Mr. 
Bumble. ** Oh, Mrs. Corney, what a Angel you are!" 

The lady was not proof against this burst of feeling. 
She sank into Mr. Bumble's arms ; and that gentleman in 
his agitation, imprinted a passionate kiss upon her chaste 

"Such porochial perfection!" exclaimed Mr. Bumble, 
rapturously. " You know that Mr. Slout is worse to- 
night, my fascinator?" 

" Yes," replied Mrs. Corney, bashfully. 

" He can't live a week, the doctor says," pursued Mr. 
Bumble. ** He is the master of this establishment; his 
death will cause a wacancy : that wacancy must be filled 
up. Oh, Mrs. Corney, what a prospect this opens ! 
What a opportunity for a jining of hearts and housekeep- 

Mrs. Corney sobbed. 

**The little word?" said Mr. Bumble, bending over the 
bashful beauty. " The one little, httle, little wor.d, my 
blessed Corney?" 

' * Ye — ye — yes ! ' ' sighed out the matron. 

" One more," pursued the beadle; *' compose your dar- 
ling feelings for only one more. When is it to come off?" 

Mrs. Corney twice essayed to speak : and twice failed. 
At length summoning up courage, she threw her arms 
round Mr. Bumble's neck, and said, it might be as 
soon as ever he pleased, and that he was ** a irresistible 
duck. " 

Matters being thus amicably and satisfactorily arranged, 
the contract was solemnly ratified in another teacupful of 
the peppermint mixture; which was rendered the more 
necessary, by the flutter and agitation of the lady's spirits. 
While it was being disposed of, she acquainted Mr. Bumble 
with the old Vv^oman's decease. 

'* Very good," said that gentleman, sipping his pepper- 
mint; ** I'll call at Sowerberry's as I go home, and tell 
him to send to-morrow morning. Was it that as frightened 
you, love?" 

" It wasn't anything particular, dear," said the lady, 

** It must have been something, love," urged Mr. 
Bumble. "Won't you tell your own B. ?" 

Oliver Twist 197 

"Not now," rejoined the lady; "one of these days. 
After we're married, dear." 

"After we're married!" exclaimed Mr. Bumble. "It 
wasn't any impudence from any of them male paupers 
as " 

"No, no, love!" interposed the lady, hastily. 

" If I thought it was," continued Mr. Bumble; " if 1 
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, love," responded 
the lady. 

"They had better not!" said Mr. Bumble, clenching 
his fist. " Let me see any man, porochial or extra- 
porochial, as would presume to do it; and I can tell him 
that he wouldn't do it a second time !" 

Unembellished by any violence of gesticulation, this 
might have seemed no very high compliment to the lady's 
charms ; but, as Mr. Bumble accompanied the threat with 
many warlike gestures, she was much touched with this 
proof of his devotion, and protested, with great admiration, 
that he was indeed a dove. 

The dove then turned up his coat-collar, and put on his 
cocked hat; and, having exchanged a long and affectionate 
embrace with his future partner, once again braved the 
cold wind of the night : merely pausing, for a few minutes, 
in the male paupers' ward, to abuse them a little, with the 
view of satisfying himself that he could fill the office of 
workhouse-master with needful acerbity. Assured of his 
qualifications, Mr. Bumble left the building with a light 
heart, and bright visions of his future promotion : which 
served to occupy his mind until he reached the shop of the 

Now, Mr. and Mrs. 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, the shop was not 
closed, although it was past the usual hour of shutting-up. 
Mr. Bumble tapped with his cane on the counter several 
times ; but, attracting no attention, and beholding a light 
shining through the glass-window of the little parlour at 
the back of the shop, he made bold to peep in and see what 
was going forward ; and when he saw what was going 
forward, he was not a little surprised. 

198 Oliver Twist 

The cloth was laid for supper ; the table was covered with 
bread and butter, plates and glasses ; a porter-pot and a 
wine-bottle. At the upper end of the table, Mr. Noah 
Claypole lolled negligently in an easy-chair, with his legs 
thrown over one of the arms : an open clasp-knife in one 
hand, and a mass of buttered bread in the other. Close 
beside him stood Charlotte, opening oysters from a barrel : 
which Mr. Claypole condescended to swallow, with remark- 
able avidity. A more than ordinary redness in the region 
of the young gentleman's nose, and a kind of fixed wink 
in his right eye, denoted that he was in a slight degree 
intoxicated ; these symptoms were confirmed by the intense 
relish with which he took his oysters, for which nothing 
but a strong appreciation of their cooling properties, in 
cases of internal fever, could have sufficiently accounted. 

'* Here's a delicious fat one, Noah, dear!" said Char- 
lotte; "try him, do; only this one." 

"What a delicious thing is a oyster!" remarked Mr. 
Claypole, after he had swallowed it. " What a pity it is, 
a number of 'em should ever make you feel uncomfortable ; 
isn't it, Charlotte?" 

" It's quite a cruelty," said Charlotte. 

" So it is," acquiesced Mr. Claypole. " A'nt yer fond of 
oysters ? " 

" Not overmuch," replied Charlotte. *' I like to see you 
eat 'em, Noah dear, better than eating 'em myself." 

" Lor' !" said Noah, reflectively; " how queer !" 

" Have another," said Charlotte. " Here's one with 
such a beautiful, delicate beard !" 

" I can't manage any more," said Noah. "I'm very 
sorry. Come here, Charlotte, and I'll kiss yer." 

"What!" said Mr. Bumble, bursting into the room. 
** Say that again, sir." 

Charlotte uttered a scream, and hid her face in her apron. 
Mr. Claypole, without making any further change in his 
position than suffering his legs to reach the ground, gazed 
at the beadle in drunken terror. 

" Say it again, you wile, owdacious fellow!" said Mr. 
Bumble. " How dare you mention such a thing, sifr? 
And how dare you encourage him, you insolent minx? 
Kiss her!" exclaimed Mr. Bumble, in strong Indignation. 

"I didn't mean to do it!" said Noah, blubbering. 
" She's always a-kissing of me, whether I like it, or not." 

Oliver Twist 199 

'* Oh, Noah," cried Charlotte, reproachfully. 

*' Yer are; yer know yer are !" retorted Noah. ** She's 
always a-doin' of it. Mr. Bumble, sir; she chucks me 
under the chin, please, sir; and makes all manner of love !" 

'* Silence !" cried Mr. Bumble, sternly. *' Take yourself 
down-stairs, ma'am. Noah, you shut up the shop; say 
another word till your master comes home, at your peril ; 
and, when he does come home, tell him that Mr. Bumble 
said he was to send a old woman's shell after breakfast 
to-morrow morning. Do you hear, sir? Kissing !" cried 
Mr. Bumble, holding up his hands. ** The sin and wicked- 
ness of the lower orders in this porochial district is fright- 
ful ! If parliament don't take their abominable courses 
under consideration, this country's ruined, and the char- 
acter of the peasantry gone for ever !" With these words, 
the beadle strode, with a lofty and gloomy air, from the 
undertaker's premises. 

And now that we have accompanied him so far on his 
road home, and have made all necessary preparations for 
the old woman's funeral, let us set on foot a few inquiries 
after young Oliver Twist, and ascertain whether he be still 
lying in the ditch where Toby Crackit left him. 



"Wolves tear your throats!" muttered Sikes, grinding 
his teeth. "I wish I was among some of you; you'd 
howl the hoarser for it." 

As Sikes growled forth this imprecation, with the most 
desperate ferocity that his desperate nature was capable 
of, he rested the body of the wounded boy across his 
bended knee; and turned his head, for an instant, to look 
back at his pursuers. 

There was little to be made out, in the mist and dark- 
ness ; but the loud shouting of men vibrated through the 
air, and the barking of the neighbouring dogs, roused bv 
the sound of the alarm bell, resounded in every direction. 

"Stop, you white-livered hound!" cried the robber, 
sfiouting after Toby Crackit, who, making the best use 
of his long legs, was already ahead. ** Stop!" 

200 Oliver Twist 

The repetition of the word, brought Toby to a dead 
standstill. For he was not quite satisfied that he was 
beyond the range of pistol-shot ; and Sikes was in no mood 
to be played with. 

" Bear a hand with the boy," cri^.d Sikes, beckoning 
furiously to his confederate. "Come back!" 

Toby made a show of returning; but ventured, in a low 
voice, broken for want of breath, to intimate considerable 
reluctance as he came slowly along. 

" Quicker !" cried Sikes, laying the boy in a dry ditch at 
his feet, and drawing a pistol from his pocket. " Don't 
play booty with me." 

At this moment the noise grew louder. Sikes, again 
looking round, could discern that the men who had given 
chase were already climbing the gate of the field in which 
he stood ; and that a couple of dogs were some paces in 
advance of them. 

"It's all up, Bill!" cried Toby; "drop the kid, and 
show 'em your heels." With this parting advice, Mr. 
Crackit, preferring the chance of being shot by his friend, 
to the certainty of being taken by his enemies, fairly turned 
tail, and darted off at full speed. Sikes clenched his teeth; 
took one look around; threw over the prostrate form of 
Oliver the cape in which he had been hurriedly muffled ; 
ran along the front of the hedge, as if to distract the atten- 
tion of those behind, from the spot where the boy lay; 
paused, for a second, before another hedge which met it at 
right angles ; and whirling his pistol high into the air, 
cleared it at a bound, and was gone. 

" Ho, ho, there!" cried a tremulous voice in the rear. 
*' Pincher ! Neptune! Come here, come here!" 

The dogs, who, in common with their masters, seemed 
to have no particular relish for the sport in which they 
were engaged, readily answered to the command. Three 
men, who had by this time advanced some distance into the 
field, stopped to take counsel together. 

" My advice, or, leastways, I should say, my orders, is," 
said the fattest man of the party, " that we 'mediately go 
home again." 

" I am agreeable to anything which is agreeable to 
Mr. Giles," said a shorter man; who was by no means of 
a slim figure, and who was very pale in the face, and very 
polite : as frightened men frequently are. 

" I shouldn't wish to appear ill-mannered, gentlemen," 

Oliver Twist 201 

said the third, who had called the dogs back, * ' Mr. Giles 
ought to know." 

■*' Certainly," replied the shorter man; *' and whatever 
Mr. Giles says, it isn't our place to contradict him. No, 
no, I know my sitiwation ! Thank my stars, I know my 
sitiwation." To tell the truth, the little man did seem to 
know his situation, and to know perfectly well that it was 
by no means a desirable one ; for his teeth chattered in his 
head as he. spoke. 

"You are afraid, Brittles," said Mr. Giles. 

" I a'n't," said Brittles. . ■• 

"You are," said Giles. 

** You're a falsehood, Mr. Giles," said Brittles. 

"You're a He, Brittles," said Mr. Giles. 

Now, these four retorts arose from Mr. Gileses taunt; 
and Mr. Giles's taunt had arisen from his indignation at 
having the responsibility of going home again, imposed 
upon himself under cover of a compliment. The third man 
brought the dispute to a close, most philosophically. 

" I'll tell you what it is, gentlemen," said he-, " we're all 

" Speak for yourself, sir," said Mr. Giles, who was the 
palest of the party. 

"So I do," replied the man. " It's natural and proper 
to be afraid, under such circumstances. I am." 

" So am I," said Brittles; " only there's no call to tell 
a man he is, so bounceably. " 

These frank admissions softened Mr. Giles, who at once 
owned that he was afraid; upon which, they all three 
faced about, and ran back again with the completest 
unanimity, until Mr. Giles (who had the shortest wind of 
the party, and was encumbered with a pitchfork) most 
handsomely insisted on stopping, to make an apology for 
his hastiness of speech. 

" But it's wonderful," said Mr.^ Giles, when he had ex- 
plained, "what a man will do, when his blood is up. 
I should have committed murder— I know / should— if 
we'd caught one of them rascals/" 

As the other two were impressed with a similar presenti- 
ment; and as their blood, like his, had all gone down 
again ; some speculation ensued upon the cause of this 
sudden change in their temperament. 

" I know what it was," said Mr. Giles; " it was the 
gate." \ ' 

202 Oliver Twist 

•• I shouldn't wonder if it was," exclaimed Brittles, 
catching at the idea. 

' You may depend upon it," said Giles, '* that that gate 
btopped the flow of the excitement. I felt all mine sud- 
denly going away, as I was climbing over it." 

By a remarkable coincidence, the other two had been 
visited with the same unpleasant sensation at that precise 
moment. It was quite obvious, therefore, that it was the 
gate ; especially as there was no doubt regarding the time 
at which the change had taken place, because all three 
remembered that they had come in sight of the robbers at 
the instant of its occurrence. 

This dialogue was held between the two men who had 
surprised the burglars, and a travelling tinker who had 
been sleeping in an outhouse, and who had been roused, 
together with his two mongrel curs, to join in the pursuit. 
Mr. Giles acted in the double capacity of butler and steward 
to the old lady of the mansion ; Brittles was a lad of all- 
work : who, having entered her service a mere child, was 
treated as a promising young boy still, though he was 
something past thirty. 

Encouraging each other with such converse as this ; but, 
keeping very close together, notwithstanding, and looking 
apprehensively round, whenever a fresh gust rattled 
through the boughs ; the three men hurried back to a tree, 
behind which they had left their lantern, lest its light should 
inform the thieves in what direction to fire. Catching up 
the light, they made the best of their way home, at a good 
round trot ; and long after their dusky forms had ceased to 
be discernible, the light might have been seen twinkling 
and dancing in the distance, like some exhalation of the 
damp and gloomy atmosphere through which it was swiftly 

The air grew colder, as day came slowly on ; and the 
mist rolled along the ground like a dense cloud of smoke. 
The grass was wet; the pathways, and low places, were all 
mire and water ; the damp breath of an unwholesome wind 
went languidly by, with a hollow moaning. Still, Oliver 
lay motionless and insensible on the spot where Sikes had 
left him. 

Morning drew on apace. The air became more sharp 
and piercing, as its first dull hue — the death of night, 
rather than the birth of day — glimmered faintly in the sky. 
The objects which had looked dim and terrible in the dark- 

Oliver Twist 203 

ness, grew more and more defined, and gradually resolved 
into their familiar shapes. The rain came down, thick 
and fast, and pattered noisily among the leafless bushes. 
But Oliver felt it not, as it beat against him ; for he still 
lay stretched, helpless and unconscious, on his bed of clay. 

At length, a low cry of pain broke the stillness that 
prevailed ; and uttering it, the boy awoke. His left arm, 
rudely bandaged in a shawl, hung heavy and useless at his 
side : the bandage was saturated with blood. He was so 
weak, that he could scarcely raise himself into a sitting 
posture ; when he had done so, he looked feebly round for 
help, and groaned with pain. Trembling in every joint, 
from cold and exhaustion, he made an effort to stand 
upright ; but, shuddering from head to foot, fell prostrate 
on the ground. 

.After a short return of the stupor in which he had been 
so long plunged, Oliver : urged by a creeping sickness at 
his heart, which seemed to warn him that if he lay there, 
he must surely die : got upon his feet, and essayed to walk. 
His head was dizzy, and he staggered to and fro like a 
drunken man. But he kept up, nevertheless, and, with 
his head drooping languidly on his breast, went stumbling 
onward, he knew not whither. 

And now, hosts of bewildering and confused ideas came 
crowding on his mind. He seemed to be still walking 
between Sikes and Crackit, who were angrily disputing — 
for the very words they said, sounded in his ears; and 
when he caught his own attention, as it were, by making 
some violent effort to save himself from falling, he found 
that he was talking to them. Then, he was alone with 
Sikes, plodding on as on the previous day ; and as shadowy 
people passed them, he felt the robber's grasp upon his 
wrist. Suddenly, he started back at the report of fire-arms ; 
there rose into the air, loud cries and shouts ; lights 
gleamed before his eyes ; all was noise and tumult, as some 
unseen hand bore him hurriedly away. Through all thes? 
rapid visions, there ran an undefined, uneasy consciousness 
of pain, which wearied and tormented him incessantly. 
^Thus he staggered on, creeping, almost mechanically, 
between the bars of gates, or through hedge-gaps as they 
came in his way, until he reached a road. Here the rain 
began to fall so heavily, that it roused him. 

He looked about, and saw that at no great distance there 
was a house, which perhaps he could reach. Pitying his 

204 Oliver Twist 

condition, they might have compassion on him ; and if 
they did not, it would be better, he thought, to die near 
human beings, than in the lonely open fields. He sum- 
moned up all his strength for one last trial, and bent his 
faltering steps towards it. 

As he drew nearer to this house, a feeling came over 
him that he had seen it before. He remembered nothing 
of its details ; but the shape and aspect of the building 
seemed familiar to him. 

That garden wall ! On the grass inside, he had fallen 
on his knees last night, and prayed the two men's mercy. 
It was the very house they had attempted to rob. 

Oliver felt such fear come over him when he recognised 
the place, that, for the instant, he forgot the agony of his 
wound, and thought only of flight. Flight ! He could 
scarcely stand : and if he were in full possession of all the 
best powers of his slight and youthful frame, whither could 
he fly ? He pushed against the garden-gate ; it was un- 
locked, and swung open on its hinges. He tottered across 
the lawn ; climbed the steps ; knocked faintly at the door ; 
and, his whole strength failing him, sunk down against 
one of the pillars of the little portico. 

It happened that about this time, Mr. Giles, Brittles, and 
the tinker, were recruiting themselves, after the fatigues 
and terrors of the night, with tea and sundries, in the 
kitchen. Not that it was Mr. 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, which, while it gratified, could not fail to remind 
them of his superior position in society. But death, fires, 
and burglary, make all men equals ; so Mr. Giles sat with 
his legs stretched out before the kitchen fender, leaning 
his left arm on the table, while, with his right, he illus- 
trated a circumstantial and minute account of the robbery, 
to which his hearers (but especially the cook and house- 
maid, who were of the party) listened with breathless 

"It was about half-past two," said Mr. Giles, ** or I 
wouldn't swear that it mightn't have been a little near,er 
three, when I woke up, and, turning round in my bed, as 
it might be so, (here Mr. Giles turned round in his chair, 
and pulled the corner of the table-cloth over him to imitate 
bed-clothes,) I fancied I heerd a noise." 

At this point of the narrative the cook turned pale, and 

Oliver Twist 205 

asked the housemaid to shut the door : who asked Brittles, 
who asked the tinker, who pretended not to hear. 

" — Heerd a noise," continued Mr. Giles. " I says, at 
first, 'This is illusion;* and was composing myself off to 
sleep, when I heerd the noise again, distinct." 

*' What sort of a noise?" asked the cook. 

" A kind of a busting noise," replied Mr. Giles, looking 
round him. 

" More like the noise of powdering a iron bar on a 
nutmeg-grater," suggested Brittles. 

** It was, when you heerd it, sir," rejoined Mr. Giles; 
** but, at this time, it had a busting sound. I turned down 
the clothes;" continued Giles, rolling back the table-cloth, 
" sat up in bed ; and listened." 

The cook and housemaid simultaneously ejaculated 
**Lor!" and drew their chairs closer together. 

** I heerd it now, quite apparent," resumed Mr. Giles. 
** * Somebody,' I says, ' is forcing of a door or window; 
what's to be done? I'll call up that poor lad, Brittles, 
and save him from being murdered in his bed ; or his 
throat, ' I says, * may be cut from his right ear to his left, 
without his ever knowing it.' " 

Here, all eyes were turned upon Brittles, who fixed his 
upon the speaker, and stared at him, with his mouth wide 
open, and his face expressive of the most unmitigated 

*' I tossed off the clothes," said Giles, throwing away 
the table-cloth, and looking very hard at the cook and 
housemaid, "got softly out of bed; drew on a pair 
of " 

" Ladies present, Mr. Giles," murmured the tinker. 

** — Of shoes, sir," said Giles, turning upon him, and 
laying great emphasis on the word ; * * seized the loaded 
pistol that always goes up stairs with the plate-basket; and 
walked on tiptoes to his room. ' Brittles,' I says, when 
I had woke him, ' don't be frightened !' " 

" So you did," observed Brittles, in a low voice. 

** * We're dead men, I think, Brittles,' I says," continued 
Giles; " * but don't be frightened.' " 

" Was he frightened?" asked the cook. 

** Not a bit of it," replied Mr. Giles. " He was as firm 
—ah ! pretty near as firm as I was." 

" I should have died at once, I'm sure, if it had been 
me," observed the housemaid. 

2o6 Oliver Twist 

*' You're a woman," retorted Brittles, plucking up a 

" Brittles is right," said Mr. Giles, nodding his head, 
approvingly; *' from a woman, nothing else was to be ex- 
pected. VVe, being men, took a dark t-^ntern that was 
standing on Brittles 's hob, and groped our way down 
stairs in the pitch dark, — as it might be so." 

Mr. Giles had risen from his seat, and taken two steps 
with his eyes shut, to accompany his description with ap- 
propriate action, when he started violently, in common 
with the rest of the company, and hurried back to his chair. 
The cook and housemaid screamed. 

** It was a knock," said Mr. Giles, assuming perfect 
serenity. "Open the door, somebody." 

Nobody moved. 

*' It seems a strange sort of a thing, a knock coming 
at such a time in the morning," said Mr. Giles, surveying 
the pale faces which surrounded him, and looking very 
blank himself; "but the door must be opened. Do you 
hear, somebody?" 

Mr. Giles, as he spoke, looked at Brittles ; but that young 
man, being naturally modest, probably considered himself 
nobody, and so held that the inquiry could not have any 
application to him ; at all events, he tendered no reply. 
Mr. Giles directed an appealing glance at the tinker ; but 
he had suddenly fallen asleep. The women were out of the 

** If Brittles would rather open the door, in the presence 
of witnesses," said Mr. Giles, after a short silence, *' I am 
ready to make one." 

** So am I," said the tinker, waking up, as suddenly as 
he had fallen asleep. 

Brittles capitulated on these terms ; and the party being 
somewhat re-assured by the discovery (made on throwing 
open the shutters) that it was now broad day, took their 
way up stairs; with the dogs in front. The two women, 
who were afraid to stay below, brought up the rear. By 
the advice of Mr. Giles, they all talked very loud, to warn 
any evil-disposed person outside, that they were strong in 
numbers ; and by a master-stroke of policy, originating in 
the brain of the same ingenious gentleman, the dogs' tails 
were well pinched, in the hall, to make them bark savagely. 

These precautions having been taken, Mr. Giles held on 
fast by the tinker's arm (to prevent his running away, as 


Oliver Twist 207 

he pleasantly said), and gave the word of command to 
open the door. Brittles obeyed ; the group, peeping timor- 
ously over each other's shoulders, beheld no more for- 
midable object than poor little Oliver Twist, speechless and 
exhausted, who raised his heavy eyes, and mutely solicited 
their compassion. 

" A boy !" exclaimed Mr. Giles, valiantly pushing the 
tinker into the background. " What's the matter with 
the — eh? — Why — Brittles — look here — don't you know?" 

Brittles, who had got behind the door to open it, no 
sooner saw Oliver, than he uttered a loud cry. Mr. Giles, 
seizing the boy by one leg and one arm (fortunately not the 
broken limb) lugged him straight into the hall, and de- 
posited him at full length on the floor thereof. 

*' Here he is !" bawled Giles, calling, in a state of great 
excitement, up the staircase; "here's one of the thieves, 
ma'am ! Here's a thief, miss ! Wounded, miss ! I shot 
him, miss; and Brittles held the light." 

** — In a lantern, miss," cried Brittles, applying one 
hand to the side of his mouth, so that his voice might travel 
the better. 

The two women-servants ran up stairs to carry the intelli- 
gence that Mr. Giles had captured a robber ; and the tinker 
busied himself in endeavouring to restore Oliver, lest he 
should die before he could be hanged. In the midst of all 
this noise and commotion, there was heard a sweet female 
voice, which quelled it in an instant. 

" Giles !" whispered the voice from the stair-head. 

"I'm here, miss," replied Mr. Giles. " Don't be fright- 
ened, miss; I ain't much injured. He didn't make a very 
desperate resistance, miss! I was soon too. manv for 

"Hush!" replied the young lady; "you frighten my 
aunt as much as the thieves did. Is the poor creature 
much hurt?" 

" Wounded desperate, miss," replied Giles, with in- 
describable complacency. 

" He looks as if he was a-going, miss," bawled Brittles, 
in the same manner as before. " Wouldn't you like to 
come and look at him, miss, in case he should !" 

" Hush, pray; there's a good man !" rejoined the lady. 
" Wait quietly only one instant, while I speak to aunt." 

With a footstep as soft and gentle as the voice, the 
speaker tripped away. She soon returned, with the direc- 

2o8 Oliver Twist 

tion that the wounded person was to be carried, carefully, 
up stairs to Mr. Giles's room; and that Brittles was to 
saddle the pony and betake himself instantly to Chertsey : 
from which place he was to despatch, with all speed, a 
constable and doctor. 

** But won't you take one look at him, first, miss?" asked 
Mr. Giles, with as much pride as if Oliver were some bird 
of rare plumage, that he had skilfully brought down. '* Not 
one little peep, miss?" 

"Not now, for the world," replied the young lady. 
** Poor fellow! Oh! treat him kindly, Giles, for my 

The old servant looked up at the speaker, as she turned 
away, with a glance as proud and admiring as if she had 
been his own child. Then, bending over Oliver, he helped 
to carry him up stairs, with the care and solicitude of a 



In a handsome room : though its furniture had rather the 
air of old-fashioned comfort than of modern elegance : 
there sat two ladies at a well-spread breakfast-table. Mr. 
Giles, dressed with scrupulous care in a full suit of black, 
was in attendance upon them. He had taken his station 
some half-way between the sideboard and the breakfast- 
table; and, with his body drawn up to its full height, his 
head thrown back, and inclined the merest trifle on one 
side, his left leg advanced, and his right hand thrust into 
his waistcoat, while his left hung down by his side, grasp- 
ing a waiter, looked like one who laboured under a very 
agreeable sense of his own merits and importance. 

Of the two ladies, one was well advanced in years; but 
the high-backed oaken chair in which she sat, was not more 
upright than she. Dressed with the utmost nicety and 
precision, in a quaint mixture of by-gone costume, with 
some slight concessions to the prevailing taste, which rather 
served to point the old style pleasantly than to impair its 
effect, she sat, in a stately manner, with her hands folded 

Oliver Twist 209 

on the table before her. Her eyes (and age had dimmed 
but little of their brightness) were attentively fixed upon 
her young companion. 

The younger lady was in the lovely bloom and spring- 
time of womanhood; at that age, when, if ever angels be 
for God's good purposes enthroned in mortal forms, they 
may be, without impiety, supposed to abide in such as 

She was not past seventeen. Cast in so slight ana 
exquisite a mould ; so mild and gentle ; so pure and beauti- 
ful ; that earth seemed not her element, nor its rough 
creatures her fit companions. The very intelligence that 
shone in her deep blue eye, and was stamped upon her noble 
head, seemed scarcely of her age, or of the world ; and yet 
the changing expression of sweetness and good humour, 
the thousand lights that played about the face, and left no 
shadow there; above all, the smile, the cheerful, happy 
smile, were made for Home, and fireside peace and 

She was busily engaged in the little offices of the table. 
Chancing to raise her eyes as the elder lady was regarding 
her, she playfully put back her hair, which was simply 
braided on her forehead ; and threw into her beaming look, 
such an expression of affection and artless loveliness, that 
blessed spirits might have smiled to look upon her. 

** And Brittles has been gone upwards of an hour, has 
he?" asked the old lady, after a pause. 

" An hour and twelve minutes, ma'am," replied Mr. 
Giles, referring to a silver watch, which he drew forth by 
a black ribbon. 

** He is always slow," remarked the old lady. 

'* Brittles always was a slow boy, ma'am," replied the 
attendant. And seeing, by-the-by, that Brittles had been 
a slow boy for upwards of thirty years, there appeared no 
great probability of his ever being a fast one. 

** He gets worse instead of better, I think," said the 
elder lady. 

^ *' It is very inexcusable in him if he stops to play with 
any other boys," said the young lady, smiling. 

Mr. Giles was apparently considering the propriety of 
indulging in a respectful smile himself, when a gig drove 
up to the garden gate : out of which there jumped a fat 
gentleman, who ran straight up to the door : and who, 
getting quickly into the house by some mysterious process, 

2IO Oliver Twist 

burst into the room, and nearly overturned Mr. Giles and 
the breakfast-table together. 

" I never heard of such a thing!" exclaimed the fat 
gentleman. ** My dear Mrs. Maylie — bless my soul — in 
the silence of night, too — I never heard of such a thing 1" 

With these expressions of condolence, the fat gentleman 
shook hands with both ladies, and drawing up a chair, 
inquired how they found themselves. 

" You ought to be dead ; positively dead with the fright," 
said the fat gentleman. "Why didn't you send? Bless 
me, my man should have come in a minute ; and so would 
I ; and my assistant would have been delighted ; or any- 
body, I'm sure, under such circumstances. Dear, dear!] 
So unexpected ! In the silence of night, too !" 

The doctor seemed especially troubled by the fact of the 
robbery having been unexpected, and attempted in the 
night-time ; as if it were the established custom of gentle- 
men in the housebreaking way to transact business at noon, 
and to make an appointment, by post, a day or two 

** And you, Miss Rose," said the doctor, turning to the 
young lady, ** I " 

** Oh ! very much so, indeed," said Rose, interrupting 
him; ** but there is a poor creature up stairs, whom aunt 
wishes you to see." 

** Ah ! to be sure," replied the doctor, ** so there is. 
That was your handiwork, Giles, I understand." 

Mr. Giles, who had been feverishly putting the tea-cups 
to rights, blushed very red, and said that he had had that | 

** Honour, eh?" said the doctor; ** well, I don't know; 
perhaps it's as honourable to hit a thief in a back kitchen, 
as to hit your man at twelve paces. Fancy that he fired in 
the air, and you've fought a duel, Giles." 

Mr. Giles, who thought this light treatment of the matter 
an unjust attempt at diminishing his glory, answered 
respectfully, that it was not for the like of him to judge 
about that ; but he rather thought it was no joke to the 
opposite party. 

" Gad, that's true!" said the doctor. ** Where is he? 
Show me the way. I'll look in again, as I come down, 
Mrs. Maylie. That's the little window that he got in at, 
ch? Well, I couldn't have believed it!" 

Talking all the way, he followed Mr. Giles up stairs; 

Oliver Twist 211 

and while he is going up stairs, the reader may be in- 
formed, that Mr. Losberne, a surgeon in the neighbour- 
hood, known through a circuit of ten miles round as " the 
doctor," had grown fat, more from good-humour than 
from good living : and was as kind and hearty, and withal 
as eccentric an old bachelor, as will be found in five times 
that space, by any explorer alive. 

The doctor was absent much longer than either he or the 
ladies had anticipated. A large flat box was fetched out 
of the gig ; and a bed-room bell was rung very oft-en ; and 
the servants ran up and down stairs perpetually ; from 
which tokens it was justly concluded that something im- 
portant was going on above. At length he returned ; and 
in reply to an anxious inquiry after his patient, looked very 
mysterious, and closed the door carefully. 

*' This is a very extraordinary thing, Mrs. Maylie," said 
the doctor, standing with his back to the door, as if to keep 
it shut. 

"He is not in danger, I hope?'* said the old lady. 

'* Why, that would not be an extraordinary thing, under 
the circumstances," replied the doctor; "though I don't 
think he is. Have you seen this thief?" 

'* No," rejoined the old lady. 

** Nor heard anything about him?" 


"I beg your pardon, ma'am," interposed Mr. Giles; 

but I was going to tell you about him when Doctor 
Losberne came in." 

The fact was, that Mr. Giles had not, at first, been able 
to bring his mind to the avowal, that he had only shot 
a boy. Such commendations had been bestowed upon his 
bravery, that he could not, for the life of him, help post- 
poning the explanation for a few delicious minutes ; during 
which he had flourished, in the very zenith of a brief repu- 
tation for undaunted courage. 

•' Rose wished to see the man," said Mrs. Maylie, ** but 
r wouldn't hear of it." 

"Humph!" rejoined the doctor. "There is nothing 
v'ery alarming in his appearance. Have you any objection 
to see him in my presence?" 

" If it be necessary," replied the old lady, " certainly 

"Then T think it is necessary," said the doctor; *' at 
all events, I am quite sure that you would deeply regret not 

212 Oliver Twist 

having done so, if you postponed it. He is perfectly quiet 
and comfortable now. Allow me — Miss Rose, will you 
permit me? Not the slightest fear, I pledge you my 
honour I** 



With many loquacious assurances that they would be 
agreeably surprised in the aspect of the criminal, the doctor 
drew the young lady's arm through one of his ; and offering 
his disengaged hand to Mrs. Maylie, led them, with much 
ceremony and stateliness, up stairs. 

** Now," said the doctor, in a whisper, as he softly 
turned the handle of a bed-room door, " let us hear what 
you think of him. He has not been shaved very recently, 
but he don't look at all ferocious notwithstanding. Stop, 
though ! Let me first see that he is in visiting order." 
• Stepping before them, he looked into the room. Motion- 
ing them to advance, he closed the door when they had 
entered ; and gently drew back the curtains of the bed. 
Upon it, in lieu of the dogged, black-visaged ruffian they 
had expected to behold, there lay a mere child : worn with 
pain and exhaustion, and sunk into a deep sleep. His 
wounded arm, bound and splintered up, was crossed upon 
his breast; his head reclined upon the other arm, which 
was half hidden by his long hair, as it streamed over the 

The honest gentleman held the curtain in his hand, and 
looked on for a minute or so, in silence. Whilst he was 
watching the patient thus, the younger lady glided softly 
past, and seating herself in a chair by the bedside, gathered 
Oliver's hair from his face. As she stooped over him, her 
tears fell upon his forehead. 

The boy stirred, and smiled in his sleep, as though these 
marks of pity and compassion had awakened some pleasant 
dream of a love and affection he had never known. Thus, 
a strain of gentle music, or the rippling of water in a 
silent place, or the odour of a flower, or the mention of a 
familiar word, will sometimes call up sudden dim remem- 
brances of scenes that never were, in this life ; which vanish 
like a breath ; which some brief memory of a happier exist- 

Oliver Twist 213 

cnce, long gone by, would seem to have awakened ; which 
no voluntary exertion of the mind can ever recall. 

'* What can this mean?" exclaimed the elder lady. " This 
poor child can never have been the pupil of robbers !" 

** Vice," sighed the surgeon, replacing the curtain, 
** takes up her abode in many temples; and who can say 
that a fair outside shall not enshrine her?" 

** But at so early an age !" urged Rose. 

** My dear young lady," rejoined the surgeon, mourn- 
fully shaking his head; '* crime, like death, is not confined 
to the old and withered alone. The youngest and fairest 
are too often its chosen victims." 

** But, can you — oh ! can you really believe that this 
delicate boy has been the voluntary associate of the worst 
outcasts of society?" said Rose. 

The surgeon shook his head, in a manner which inti- 
mated that he feared it was very possible ; and observing 
that they might disturb the patient, led the way into an 
adjoining apartment. 

" But even if he has been wicked," pursued Rose, ** think 
bow young he is; think that he may never have known a 
mother's love, or the comfort of a home ; that ill-usage and 
3lows, or the want of bread, may have driven him to herd 
with men who have forced him to guilt. Aunt, dear aunt, 
for mercy's sake, think of this, before you let them drag 
this sick child to a prison, which in any case must be the 
3^rave of all his chances of amendment. Oh ! as you love 
me, and know that I have never felt the want of parents 
in your goodness and affection, but that I might have done 
50, and might have been equally helpless and unprotected 
with this poor child, have pity upon him before it is too 

** My dear love," said the elder lady, as she folded the 
weeping girl to her bosom, *' do you think I would harm 
a hair of his head?" 

'* Oh, no!" replied Rose, eagerly. 

" No, surely," said the old lady; " 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, sir?" 

"Let me think, ma'am," said the doctor; *Met me 

Mr. Losberne thrust his hands into his pockets, and took 
several turns up and down the room ; often stopping, and 
balancing: himself on his toes, and frowning frightfully. 

214 Oliver Twist 

After various exclamations of " I've got it now " and '* no, 
I haven't," and as many renewals of the walking and 
frowning, he at length made a dead halt, and spoke as 
follows : 

" I think if you give me a full and unlimited commission 
to bully Giles, and that little boy, Brittles, 1 can manage 
it. Giles is a faithful fellow and an old servant, I know ; 
but you can make it up to him in a thousand ways, and 
reward him for being such a good shot besides. You don't 
object to that?" 

'' Unless there is some other way of preserving the 
child," replied Mrs. Maylie. 

'* There is no other," said the doctor. ** No other, take 
my word for it." 

** Then my aunt invests you with full power," said Rose 
smiling through her tears ; '* but pray don't be harder upon 
the poor fellows than is indispensably necessary." 

" You seem to think," retorted the doctor, ** that every 
body is disposed to be hard-hearted to-day, except yourself, 
Miss Rose. I only hope, for the sake of the rising male 
sex generally, that you may be found in as vulnerable and! 
soft-hearted a mood by the first eligible young fellow whcj 
appeals to your compassion ; and I wish I were a young' 
fellow, that I might avail myself, on the spot, of such a 
favourable*opportunity for doing so, as the present." ' 

** You are as great a boy as poor Brittles himself," re- 
turned Rose, blushing. 

" Well," said the doctor, laughing heartily, ** that is nc 
very difficult matter. But to return to this boy. Thegreat:^ 
point of our agreement is yet to come. He will wake w( 
an hour or so, I dare say ; and although I have told that! 
thick-headed constable-fellow down-stairs that he mustn't] 
be moved or spoken to, on peril of his life, I think we may 
converse with him without danger. Now I make this stipu- 
lation — that I shall examine him in your presence, and 
that, if, from what he says, we judge, and I can show tc 
the satisfaction of your cool reason, that he is a real and 
thorough bad one (which is more than possible), he shall 
be left to his fate, without any farther interference on my 
part, at all events." 

** Oh no, aunt !" entreated Rose. 

" Oh yes, aunt !" said the doctor. "Is it a bargain? 

** He cannot be hardened in vice," said Rose. ** It is 


Oliver Twist 215 

" Very good," retorted the doctor; ** then so much the 
more reason for acceding to my proposition." 

Finally the treaty was entered into ; and the parties there- 
jnto sat down to wait, with some impatience, until Oliver 
should awake. 

The patience of the two ladies was destined to undergo 
1 longer trial than Mr. Losberne had led them to expect; 
for hour after hour passed on, and still Oliver slumbered 
heavily. It was evening, indeed, before the kind-hearted 
doctor brought them the intelligence, that he was at length 
sufficiently restored to be spoken to. The boy was very 
ill, he said, and weak from the loss of blood ; but his mind 
was so troubled with anxiety to disclose something, that 
he deemed it better to give him the opportunity, than to 
nsist upon his remaining quiet until next morning : which 
be should otherwise have done. 

The conference was a long one. Oliver told them all his 
simple history, and was often compelled to stop, by pain 
md want of strength. It was a solemn thing, to hear, in 
he darkened room, the feeble voice of the sick child re- 
:ounting a weary catalogue of evils and calamities which 
lard men had brought upon him. Oh ! if when we oppress 
md grind our fellow-creatures, we bestowed but one 
bought on the dark evidences of human error, which, like 
dense and heavy clouds, are rising, slowly it is true, but 
lot less surely, to Heaven, to pour their after-vengeance 
yn our heads ; if we heard but one instant, in imagination, 
he deep testimony of dead men's voices, which no power 
:an stifle, and no pride shut out : where would be the injury 
and injustice, the suffering, misery, cruelty, and wrong, 
:hat each day's life brings with it ! 

Oliver's pillow was smoothed by gentle hands that night ; 
and loveliness and virtue watched him as he slept. He 
elt calm and happy, and could have died without a 

The momentous interview was no sooner concluded, and 
Dliver composed to rest again, than the doctor, after wip- 
ng his eyes, and condemning them for being weak all at 
3nce, betook himself down stairs to open upon Mr. Giles. 
\nd finding nobody about the parlours, it occurred to him, 
:hat he could perhaps originate the proceedings with better 
iffect in the kitchen ; so into the kitchen he went. 

There were assembled, in that lower house of the domes- 
tic parliament, the women-servants, Mr. Brittles, Mr. 

2i6 OKver Twist 

Giles, the tinker (who had received a special invitation to 
regale himself for the remainder of the day, in consider- 
ation of his services), and the constable. The latter gentle- 
man had & large staff, a large head, large features, and 
large half-boots ; and he looked as if he had been taking 
a proportionate allowance of ale — as indeed he had. 

The adventures of the previous night were still under 
discussion ; for Mr. Giles was expatiating upon his pre- 
sence of ijiind, when the doctor entered; Mr. Brittles, with 
a mug of ale in his hand, was corroborating everything, 
before his superior said it. 

*' Sit still !" said the doctor, waving his hand. 

"Thank you, sir," said Mr. Giles. *! Misses wished] 
some ale to be given out, sir ; and as I felt no ways inclined 
for my own little room, sir, and was disposed for company, 
I am taking mine among 'em here." 

Brittles headed a low murmur, by which the ladies and 
gentlemen generally were understood to express the grati- 
fication they derived from Mr. Giles's condescension. Mr. 
Giles looked round with a patronising air, as much as to 
say that so long as they behaved properly, he would never] 
desert them. - 

** How is the patient to-night, sir?" asked Giles. 

** So-so;" returned the doctor. ** I am afraid you have 
got yourself into a scrape there, Mr. Giles." 

" I hope you don't mean to say, sir," said Mr. Giles, 
trembling, '* that he's going to die. If I thought it, I 
should never be happy again. I wouldn't cut a boy off r 
no, not even Brittles here : not for all the plate in the 
county, sir." 

** That's not the point," said the doctor, mysteriously. 
*' Mr. Giles, are you a Protestant?" 

"Yes, sir, I hope so," faltered Mr. Giles, who had 
turned very pale. 

"And what are you, boy?" said the doctor, turning 
sharply upon Brittles. 

"Lord bless me, sir !" replied Brittles, starting violently ; 
" I'm — the same as Mr. Giles, sir." 

"Then tell me this," said the doctor, "both of you, 
both of you! Are you going to take upon yourselves to 
swear, that that boy up stairs is the boy that was put 
through the little window last night ? Out with it ! Come ! 
We are prepared for you ! " 

The doctor, who was universally considered one of the 

Oliver Twist 217 

best-tempered creatures on earth, made this demand in 
such a dreadful tone of anger, that Giles and Brittles, who 
were considerably muddled by ale and excitement, stared 
at each other in a state of stupefaction. 

** Pay attention to the reply, constable, will you?" said 
the doctor, shaking his forefinger with great solemnity of 
manner, and tapping the bridge of his nose with it, to 
bespeak the exercise of that worthy's utmost acuteness. 
** Something may come of this before long." 

The constable looked as wise as he could, and took up 
his staff of office : which had been reclining indolently in 
the chimney-corner. 

" It's a simple question of identity, you will observe," 
said the doctor. 

" That's what it is, sir," replied the constable, coughing 
with great violence ; for he had finished his ale in a hurry, 
and some of it had gone the wrong way. 

'* Here's a house broken into," said the doctor, '* and a 
couple of men catch one moment's glimpse of a boy, in the 
midst of gunpowder-smoke, and in all the distraction of 
ilarm and darkness. Here's a boy comes to that very 
ame house, next morning, and because he happens to have 
lis arm tied up, these men lay violent hands upon him — 
3y doing which, they place his life in great danger — and 
wear he is the thief. Now, the question is, whether these 
nen are justified by the fact; if not, in what situation do 
;hey place themselves?" 

The constable nodded profoundly. He said, if that 
ivasn't law, he would be glad to know what was. 

' I ask you again," thundered the doctor, " are you, on 
^our solemn oaths, able to identify that boy?** 

Brittles looked doubtfully at Mr. Giles ; Mr. Giles looked 
doubtfully at Brittles ; the constable put his hand behind 
lis ear, to catch the reply ; the two women and the tinker 
eaned forward to listen ; the doctor glanced keenly round ; 
tfvhen a ring was heard at the gate, and at the same mo- 
nent, the sound of wheels. 

"It's the runners!" cried Brittles, to all appearance 
nuch relieved. 

'' The what?" exclaimed the doctor, aghast in his turn, 

'*The Bow Street officers, sir," replied Brittles, taking 
jp a candle; *' me and Mr. Giles sent for 'em this morn- 

" What?" cried the doctor. 

2i8 Oliver Twist 

*• Yes," replied Brittles; *' I sent a message up by the 
coachman, and I only wonder they weren't here before, 


You did, did you? Then confound your — slow coaches 
down here; that's all," said the doctor, walking away. 



** Who's that?" inquired Brittles, opening the door a; 
little way, with the chain up, and peeping out, shading; 
the candle with his hand. 

"Open the door," replied a man outside; "it's thci 
officers from Bow Street, as was sent to, to-day." 

Much comforted by this assurance, Brittles opened thet 
door to its full width, and confronted a portly man ir 
a great-coat; who walked in, without saying anything 
more, and wiped his shoes on the mat, as coolly as if he. 
lived there. 

*' Just send somebody out to relieve my mate, will you, 
young man?" said the officer; "he's in the gig, a-mind- 
ing the prad. Have you got a coach- 'us here, that youi 
could put it up in, for five or ten minutes?" 

Brittles replying in the affirmative, and pointing out the 
building, the portly man stepped back to the garden-gate, 
and helped his companion to put up the gig : while Brittles 
lighted them, in a state of great admiration. This done, 
they returned to the house, and, being shown into a par- 
lour, took off their great-coats and hats, and showed like 
what they were. 

The man who had knocked at the door, was a stout 
personage of middle height, aged about fifty : with shiny 
black hair, cropped pretty close; half-whiskers, a round 
face, and sharp eyes. The other was a red-headed, bon}) 
man, in top-boots ; with a rather ill-favoured countenance, 
and a tumed-up sinister-looking nose. 

" Tell your governor that Blathers and Duff is here, will 
you?" said the stouter man, smoothing down his hair, 
and laying a pair of handcuffs on the table. " Oh ! Gone 
evening, master. Can I have a word or two wiih you ic 
private, if you please?" 

Oliver Twist 2ig 

This was addressed to Mr. Losberne, who now made his 
appearance ; that gentleman, motioning Brittles to retire, 
brought in the two ladies, and shut the door. 

*' This is the lady of the house," said Mr. Losberne, 
motioning towards Mrs. Maylie. 

Mr. Blathers made a bow. Being desired to sit down, 
he put his hat on the floor, and taking a chair, motioned 
Duff to do the same. The latter gentleman, who did not 
appear quite so much accustomed to good society, or quite 
sO much at his ease in it — one of the two — seated himself, 
after undergoing several muscular affections of the limbs, 
md forced the head of his stick into his mouth, with some 

" Now, with regard to this here robbery, master," said 
Blathers. " What are the circumstances?" 

Mr. Losberne, who appeared desirous of gaining time, 
-ecounted them at great length, and with much circum- 
ocution. Messrs. Blathers and Duff looked very knowing 
neanwhile, and occasionally exchanged a nod. 

" I can't say, for certain, till I see the work, of course," 
;aid Blathers; *' but my opinion at once is, — I don't mind 
committing myself to that extent, — that this wasn't done 
)y a yokel; eh, Duff?" 

* Certainly not," replied Duff. 
" And, translating the word yokel for the benefit of the 

adies, I apprehend your meaning to be, that this attempt 
vas not made by a cotmtryman ? " said Mr. Losberne, with 


"That's it, master," replied Blathers. "This is all 
ibout the robbery, is it?" 
' All," replied the doctor. 

* Now, what is this, about this here boy that the ser- 
vants are a-talking on?" said Blathers. 

" Nothing at all," replied the doctor. ** One of the 
rightened servants chose to take it into his head, that he 
lad something to do with this attempt to break into the 
louse; but it's nonsense : sheer absurdity, '' 

* Wery easy disposed of, if it is," remarked Duff. 
'What he says is quite correct," observed Blathers, 

lodding his head in a confirmatory way, and playing care- 
essly with the handcuffs, as if they were a pair of castanets. 
' Who is the boy? What account does he give of him- 
lelf? Where did he come from? He didn't drop out of 
he clouds, did he, master?" 

220 Oliver Twist 

'* Of course not," replied the doctor, with a nervous 
g-Iance at the two ladies. ** I know his whole history: 
but we can talk about that presently. You would like, 
first, to see the place where the thieves made their attempt, 
I suppose?" I 

'* Certainly," rejoined Mr. Blathers. ** We had better 
inspect the premises first, and examine the servants arter- 
wards. That's the usual way of doing business." 

Lights were then procured; and Messrs. Blathers and,. 
Duff, .attended by the native constable, Brittles, Giles, andj 
everybody else in short, went into the little room at the,; 
end of the passage and looked out at the window; andl 
afterwards went round by way of the lawn, and looked injf 
at the window; and after that, had a candle handed out toj, 
inspect the shutter with ; and after that, a lantern to tracej, 
the footsteps with ; and after that, a pitchfork to poke the^, 
bushes with. This done, amidst the breathless interest ofjp 
all beholders, they came in again; and Mr. Giles andjQ 
Brittles were put through a melodramatic representation^ 
of their share in the previous night's adventures : whichjj 
they performed some six times over : contradicting each; 
other, in not more than one important respect, the first^, 
time, and in not more than a dozen the last. This con-j, 
summation being arrived at. Blathers and Duff cleared 
the room, and held a long council together, compared withjQ 
which, for secrecy and solemnity, a consultation of greatj 
doctors on the knottiest point of medicine, would be merej 
child's play. jrj 

Meanwhile, the doctor walked up and down the nextJQ 
room in a very uneasy state; and Mrs. Maylie and Rose 
looked on, with anxious faces. 

** Upon my word," he said, making a halt, after a great 
number of very rapid turns, " I hardly know what to do. ' 

** Surely," said Rose, ** the poor child's story, faithfullyj), 
repeated to these men, will be sufficient to exonerate him." 

" I doubt it, my dear young lady," said the doctor, 
shaking his head. " I don't think it would exonerate him, 
either with them, or with legal functionaries of a higher^,, 
grade. What is he, after all, they would say? A run 
away. Judged by mere worldly considerations and pro- 
babilities, his story is a very doubtful one." 

*' You believe it, surely?" interrupted Rose. 

" I believe it, strange as it is; and perhaps I may be an 
old fool for doing so," rejoined the doctor; ** but I don't 

Oliver Twist 221 

hink it is exactly the tale for a practised police-officer, 
evertheless. " 

"Why not?" demanded Rose. 

** Because, my pretty cross-examiner," replied the 
octor : " because, viewed with their eyes, there are many 
gly points about it ; he can only prove the parts that look 
1, and none of those that look well. Confound the fellov/s, 
ley will have the why and the wherefore, and will take 
othing for granted. On his own showing, you see, he 
as been the companion of thieves for some time past; he 
as been carried to a police-office, on a charge of picking a 
entleman's pocket; he has been taken away, forcibly, 
•om that gentleman's house, to a place which he cannot 
escribe or point out, and of the situation of which he has 
ot the remotest idea. He is brought down to Chertsey, 
y men who seem to have taken a violent fancy to him, 
hether he will or no; and is put through a window to 
>b a house; and then, just at the very moment when he 

going to alarm the inmates, and so do the very thing 
lat would set him all to rights, there rushes into the way, 
blundering dog of a half-bred butler, and shoots him ! 
s if on purpose to prevent his doing any good for himself 1 
on't you see all this?" 

I see it, of course," replied Rose, smiling at the 
actor's impetuosity; ** but still I do not see anything in 

to criminate the poor child." 

* No," replied the doctor; '* of course not! Bless the 
'ight eyes of your sex ! They never see, whether for 
Dod or bad, more than one side of any question ; and 
at is, always, the one which first presents itself to 

Having given vent to this result of experience, the 
)ctor put his hands into his pockets, and walked up and 
)wn the room with even greater rapidity than before. 
** The more I think of it," said the doctor, ** the more 
ee that it will occasion endless trouble and difficulty if we 
It these men in possession of the boy's real story. I am 
rtain it will not be believed; and even if they can do 
►thing to him in the end, still the dragging it forward, 
d giving publicity to all the doubts that will be cast upon 

must interfere, materially, with vour benevolent plan of 
scuing him from misery." 

Oh ! what is to be done?" cried Rose. ** Dear, dear I 
ly did they send for these people?" 

222 Oliver Twist 

"Why, indeed!" exclaimed Mrs. Maylie. "I wouh 
not have had them here, for the world." 

"All I know is," said Mr. Losbeme, at last: sittin 
down with a kind of desperate calmness, " that we mus 
try and carry it off with a bold face. The object is a goo« 
one, and that must be our excuse. The boy has strong 
symptoms of fever upon him, and is in no condition to b 
talked to any more; that's one comfort. We must mak 
the best of it ; and if bad be the best, it is no fault of ours 
Come in!" 

" Well, master," said Blathers, entering the roor 
followed by his colleague, and making the door fast, befor 
he said any more. " This warn't a put-up thing." 

" And what the devil's a put-up thing?" demanded th 
doctor, impatiently. 

" We call it a put-up robbery, ladies," said Blathers 
turning to them, as if he pitied their ignorance, but had 
contempt for the doctor's, " when the servants is in it." 

" Nobody suspected them, in this case/' said Mrs 

" Wery likely not, ma'am," replied Blathers; " bu 
they might have been in it, for all tliat. " 

" More likely on that wery account," said Duff. 

" We find it was a town hand," said Blathers, contini:?!' 
ing his report ; * * for the style of work is first-rate. ' ' 

" Wery pretty indeed it is," remarked Duff, in an undei 

" There was two of 'em in it," continued Blathers ; " an 
they had a boy with 'em ; that's plain from the size of th 
window. That's all to be said at present. We'll see thi 
lad that you've got up stairs at once, if you please." 

" Perhaps they will take something to drink first, Mrr 
Maylie?" said the doctor : his face brightening, as if son- 
new thought had occurred to him. 

" Oh! to be sure!" exclaimed Rose, eagerly. " Yc 
shall have it immediately, if you will." 

" Why, thank you, miss !" said Blathers, drawing h 
coatsleeve across his mouth; " it's dry work, this sort < 
duty. Anythink that's handy, miss; don't put yourse 
out of the way, on our accounts." ^^' 

"What shall it be?" asked the doctor, following tl '^; 
young lady to the sideboard. J 

" A little drop of spirits, master, if it's all the san-:e, 
replied Blathers. " It's a cold ride from London, ma'an 

Oliver Twist 223 

ind I always find that spirits comes home warmer to the 
eelings. " 

This interesting communication was addressed to Mrs. 
iaylie, who received it very graciously. While it was 
eing conveyed to her, the doctor slipped out of the room. 
Ah!" said Mr. Blathers: not holding his wine-glass 
y the stem, but grasping the bottom between the thumb 
nd forefinger of his left hand : and placing it in front of 
is chest; " 1 have seen a good many pieces of business 
ke this, in my time, ladies." 

That crack down in the back lane at Edmonton, 

llathers," said Mr. Duff, assisting his colleague's memory. 

'* That was something in this way, warn't it?" rejoined 

Ir. Blathers ; " that was done by Conkey Chickweed, that 


You always gave that to him," replied Duff. ** It 
as the Family Pet, I tell you. Conkey hadn't any more 
> do with it than I had." 

J " Get out!" retorted Mr. Blathers; *' I know better. 
>o you mind that time when Conkey was robbed of his 
loney, though? What a start that was! Better than 
ly novel-book / ever see !" 

"What was that?" inquired Rose: anxious to en- 
jy)urage any symptoms of good-humour in the unwelcome 

^^ '* It was a robbery, miss, that hardly anybody would 
ive been down upon," siiid Blathers. " This here Conkey 

hick weed ' ' 

jL *' Conkey means Nosey, ma'am," interposed Duff. 

^j ** Of course the lady knows that, don't she?" demanded 

r. Blathers. "Always interrupting, you are, partner! 

j lis here Conkey Chickweed, miss, kept a public-house 

^er Battlebridge way, and he had a cellar, where a good 

any young lords went to see cock-fighting, and badger- 

y awing, and that ; and a wery intellectual manner the 

lorts was conducted in, for I've seen 'em off 'en. He 

rarn't one of the family, at that time; and one night he 

■IS robbed of three hundred and twenty-seven guineas in 

canvas bag, that was stole out of his bedroom in the 

ad of night, by a tall man with a black patch over his 

e, who had concealed himself under the bed, and after 

mmitting the robbery, jumped slap out of the window : 

lich was only a story high. He was wery quick about 

But Conkey was quick, too; for he was woke by the 

224 Oliver Twist 

noise, and darting out of bed, he fired a blunderbuss arter 
him, and roused the neighbourhood. They set up a hue- 
and-cry, directly, and when they came to look about 'em, 
found that Conkey had' hit the robber; for there was 
traces of blood, all the way to some palings a good dis 
tance off; and there they lost 'em. However, he had 
made off with the blunt; and, consequently, the name ol 
Mr. Chickweed, licensed witler, appeared in the Gazette 
among the other bankrupts ; and all manner of benefits 
and subscriptions, and I don't know what all, was got uf 
for the poor man, who was in a wery low state of mine 
about his loss, and went up and down the streets, for thret 
or four days, a pulling his hair off in such a desperate! ' 
manner that many people was afraid he might be going ten 
make away with himself. One day he come up to th<| 
office, all in a hurry, and had a private interview with thtii 
magistrate, who, after a deal of talk, rings the bell, an(|i 
orders Jem Spyers in (Jem was a active oflScer), and tell;: J 
him to go and assist Mr. Chickweed in apprehending th«|^ 
man as robbed his house. * I see him, Spyers/ saidt 
Chickweed, 'pass my house yesterday morning.' * Wh;ii 
didn't you up, and collar him?' says Spyers. * I was s»|(l 
struck all of a heap, that you might have fractured mj' 
skull with a toothpick,' says the poor man; * but we'r o 
sure to have him; for between ten and eleven o'clock aa 
night he passed again.* Spyers no sooner heard this, thaU 
he put some clean linen and a comb, in his pocket, ijai 
case he should have to stop a day or two; and away h!pi 
goes, and sets himself down at one of the public-hous tc 
windows behind the little red curtain, with his hat on, a 
ready to bolt out, at a moment's notice. He was smokin 
his pipe here, late at night, when all of a sudden ChicI^ 
weed roars out * Here he is ! Stop thief ! Murder ! ' Jei 
Spyers dashes out ; and there he sees Chickweed, a-tearin 
down the street full cry. Away goes Spyers ; on go€ 
Chickweed ; round turns the people ; everybody roars oi 
* Thieves !' and Chickweed himself keeps on shouting, a 
the time, like mad. Spyers loses sight of him a minul 
as he turns a comer ; shoots round ; sees a little crowc 
dives in; 'Which is the man?' *D — me!' says Chicl 
weed, * I've lost him again r' It was a remarkable occu 
rence, but he warn't to be seen nowhere, so they wei 
back to the public-house. Next morning, Spyers took h 
old place, and looked out, from behind the curtain, for ben 

Oliver Twist 225 

tall man with a black patch over his eye, till his own two 
eyes ached again. At last, he couldn't help shutting 'em, 
CO ease 'em a minute; and the very moment he did so, he 
hears Chickweed a-roaring out, 'Here he is!' Off he 
starts once more, with Chickweed halfway down the street 
ahead of him; and after twice as long a run as the yester- 
day's one, the man's lost again ! This was done, once or 
twice more, till one-half the neighbours gave out that Mr. 
Chickweed had been robbed by the devil, who was playing 
tricks with him arterwards ; and the other half, that poor 
Mr. Chickweed had gone mad with grief." 

** What did Jem Spyers say?" inquired the doctor: who 
had returned to the room shortly after the commencement 
of the story. 

** Jem Spyers," resumed the officer, ** for a long time 
said nothing at all, and listened to everything without 
seeming to, which showed he understood his business. 
But, one morning, he walked into the bar, and taking out 
his snuff-box, says, * Chickweed, I've found out who done 
this here robbery.' * Have you?' said Chickweed. ' Oh, 
my dear Spyers, only let me have wengeance, and I shall 
die contented ! Oh, my dear Spyers, where is the villain !' 
Come !' said Spyers, offering him a pinch of snuff, * none 
of that gammon ! You did it yourself. ' So he had : and 
a good bit of money he had made by it, too ; and nobody 
would never have found it out, if he hadn't been so precious 
anxious to keep up appearances!" said Mr. Blathers, 
putting down his wine-glass, and clinking the handcuff's 

'* Very curious, indeed," observed the doctor. '* Now, 
if you please, you can walk up stairs." 

*' If you please, sir," returned Mr. Blathers. Closely 
following Mr. Losberne, the two officers ascended to 
Oliver's bedroom ; Mr. Giles preceding the party, with a 
lighted candle. 

Oliver had been dozing ; but looked worse, and was 
more feverish than he had appeared yet. Being assisted 
by the doctor, he managed to sit up in bed for a minute or 
so ; and looked at the strangers without at all understand- 
ing what was going forward — in fact, without seeming to 
recollect where he was, or what had been passing. 

"This," said Mr. Losberne, speaking softly, but with 
great vehemence notwithstanding, " this is the lad, who, 
being accidentally wounded by a spring-gun in some boyish 

226 Oliver Twist 

trespass on Mr. What-d'ye-call-him's grounds, at the back 
here, comes to the house for assistance this morning, and 
is immediately laid hold of and maltreated, by that ingenious 
gentleman with the candle in his hand : who has placed 
his life in considerable danger, as I can professionally 

Messrs. Blathers and Duff looked at Mr. Giles, as he 
was thus recommended to their notice. The bewildered 
butler gazed from them towards Oliver, and from Oliver 
towards Mr. Losberne, with a most ludicrous mixture of 
fear and perplexity. 

" You don't mean to deny that, I suppose?" said the 
doctor, laying Oliver gently down again. 

" It was all done for the — for the best, sir!" answered 
Giles. ** I am sure I thought it was the boy, or 1 wouldn't 
have meddled with him. I am not of an inhuman disposi- 
tion, sir." 

" Thought it was what boy?" inquired the senior officer. 

* The housebreaker's boy, sir!" replied Giles. *' They 
— they certainly had a boy." 

*' Well? Do you think so now?" inquired Blathers, f 

** Think what, now?" replied Giles, looking vacantly at 
his questioner. 

*' Think it's the same boy. Stupid-head?" rejoined 
Blathers, impatiently. 

** I don't know; I really don't know," said Giles, with 
a rueful countenance. ** I couldn't swear to him." 

** What do you think?" asked Mr. Blathers. 

** I don't know what to think," replied poor Giles. ** I 
don't think it is the boy; indeed, I'm almost certain that 
it isn't. You know it can't be." 

** Has this man been a-drinking, sir?" inquired Blathers, 
turning to the doctor. 

" What a precious muddle-headed chap you are !" said 
Duff, addressing Mr. Giles, with supreme contempt. 

Mr. Losberne had been feeling the patient's pulse durino- 
this short dialogue ; but he now rose from the chair by the 
bedside, and remarked, that if the officers had any doubts 
upon the subject, they would perhaps like to step into the 
next room, and have Brittles before them. 

Acting upon this suggestion, they adjourned to a neigli- 
bouring apartment, where Mr. Brittles, being called in, 
involved himself and his respected superior in such a 
vvonderful maze of fresh contradictions and impossibilities, 

Oliver Twist 227 

as tended to throw no particular light on anything, but th^e 
fact of his own strong mystification; except,- indeed, his 
declarations that he shouldn't know the real boy, if he 
were put before him that instant; that he had only ta^en 
Oliver to be he, because Mr. Giles had* said he was ; and 
that Mr. Giles had, five minutes previously, admitted i<i the 
kitchen, that he began to be very much afraid he had been 
a little too hasty. 

Among other ingenious surmises, the question was then 
raised, whether Mr. Giles had really hit anybody ; and 
upon examination of the fellow-pistol to that which he had 
fired, it turned out to have no more destructive loading than 
gunpowder and brown paper : a discovery which made 
a considerable impression on everybody but th« doctor, 
who had drawn the ball about ten minutes before. Upon 
no one, however, did it make a greater impression than on 
Mr. Giles himself; who, after labouring, for some hours, 
under the fear of having mortally wounded a fellow- 
creature, eagerly caught at this new idea, and favoured it 
to the utmost. Finally, the officers, without troubling 
themselves very much about Oliver, left the Chertsey con- 
stable in the house, and took up their rest for that night in 
the town ; promising to return next morning 

With the next morning, there came a rumour, that two 
men and a boy were in the cage at Kingston, who had been 
apprehended over night under suspicious circumstances ; 
and to Kingston Messrs. Blathers and Duff journeyed ac- 
cordingly. The suspicious circumstances, however, resolv- 
ing themselves, on investigation, into the one fact, that they 
had been discovered sleeping under a haystack ; which, al- 
though a great crime, is only punishable by imprisonment, 
and is, in the merciful eye of the English law, and its com- 
prehensive love of all the king's subjects, held to be no 
satisfactory proof, in the absence of all other evidence, that 
the sleeper, or sleepers, have committed burglary accom- 
panied with violence, and have therefore rendered them- 
selves liable to the punishment of death ; Messrs. Blathers 
and Duff came back again, as wise as they went. 

In short, after some more examination, and a great deal 
more conversation, a neighbouring magistrate was readily 
induced to take the joint bail of Mrs. Maylie and Mr. 
Losberne for Oliver's appearance if he should ever be 
called upon; and Blathers and Duff, being rewarded with a 
couple of guineas, returned to town with divided opiiiions 

228 Oliver Twist 

on the subject of their expedition : the latter g-entleman on 
a mature consideration of all the circumstances, inclining 
to the belief that the burglarious attempt had originated 
with the Family Pet; and the former being equally dis- 
posed to concede the full merit of it to the great Mr. 
Conkey Chickweed. 

Meanwhile, Oliver gradually throve and prospered under 
the united care of Mrs. Maylie, Rose, and the kind-hearted 
Mr. Losberne. If fervent prayers, gushing from hearts 
overcharged with gratitude, be heard in heaven — and if 
they be not, what prayers are ! — the blessings which the 
orphan child called down upon them, sunk into their souls, 
diffusing peace and happiness. 



Oliver's ailings were neither slight nor few. In addition 
to the pain and delay attendant on a broken limb, his 
exposure to the wet and cold had brought on fever and 
ague : which hung about him for many weeks, and reduced 
him sadly. But, at length, he began, by slow degrees, to 
get better, and to be able to say sometimes, in a few tearful 
words, how deeply he felt the goodness of the two sweet 
ladies, and how ardently he hoped that when he grew 
strong and well again, he could do something to show his 
gratit jde ; (only something which would let them see the 
love and duty with which his breast was full; something, 
however slight, which would prove to them that their 
gentle kindness had not been cast away; but that the poor 
boy whom their charity had rescued from misery, or death, 
was eager to serve them with his whole heart and soul. ^ 
** Poor fellow !' said Rose, when Oliver had been one 
day feebly endeavouring to utter the words of thankfulness 
that rose to his pale lips: " you shall have many oppor- 
tunities of serving us, if you will. We are going into the 
country, and my aunt intends that you shall accompany us. 
The quiet place, the pure air, and all the pleasures and 
beauties of spring, will restore you in a few days. V^'e 
will employ you in a hundred ways, when you can bear the 

Oliver Twist 229 

"The trouble!" cried Oliver. "Oh! dear lady, if I 
could but work for you ; if I could only give you pleasure 
by watering your flowers, or watching your birds, or run- 
ning up and down the whole day long, to make you happy ; 
what would I give to do it !" 

" You shall give nothing at all," said Miss Maylie, 
smiling; ** for, as I told you before, we shall employ you 
in a hundred ways ; and if you only take half the trouble 
to please us, that you promise now, you will make me very 
happy indeed. " 

" Happy, ma'am !" cried Oliver; " how^ kind of you to 
say so !" 

** You will make me happier than I can tell you," replied 
the young lady. * * 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, would be an unspeak- 
able pleasure to me; but to know that the object of her 
goodness and compassion was sincerely grateful and at- 
tached, in consequence, would delight me, more than you 
can well imagine. Do you understand me?" she inquired, 
watching Oliver's thoughtful face. 

*' Oh yes, ma'am, yes !" replied Oliver, eagerly; " but 
1 was thinking that I am ungrateful now." 

" To whom?" inquired the young lady. 

** To the kind gentleman, and the dear old nurse, who 
took so much care of me before," rejoined Oliver. " If 
they knew how happy I am, they would be pleased, I am 

" I am sure they would," rejoined Oliver's benefactress; 
" and Mr. Losberne has already been kind enough to pro- 
mise that when you are well enough to bear the journey, 
he will carry you to see them." 

** Has he, ma'am?" cried Oliver, his face brightening 
with pleasure. ** 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 under- 
go the fatigue of this expedition. (Dne morning he and 
Mr. Losberne set out, accordingly, in a little carriage 
which belonged to Mrs. Maylie. When they came to 
Chertsey Bridge, Oliver turned very pale, and uttered a 
loud exclamation. 

" What's the matter with the boy?" cried the doctor, 
as usual, all in a bustle. " Do you see anything — hear 
anything — feel anything — eh?" 

230 Oliver Twist 

** That, sir," cried Oliver, pointing out of the carriag-e 
window. " That house !" 

**Yes; well, what of it? Stop, coachman. Pull up 
here," cried the doctor. ** What of the house, my man; 

" The thieves — ^the house they took me to!" whispered 

" The devil it is !" cried the doctor. ** Halloa, there ! 
let me out !" 

But, before the coachman could dismount from his box, 
he had tumbled out of the coach, by some means or other ; 
and, runing down to the deserted tenement, began kicking 
at the door like a madman. 

** Halloa!" said a little ugly hump-backed man: open- 
ing the door so suddenly, that the doctor, from the very 
impetus of his last kick, nearly fell forward into the pas- 
sage. *' What's the matter here?" 

** Matter!" exclaimed the other, collaring him, without 
a moment's reflection. ** A good deal. Robbery is the 

" There'll be Murder the matter, too," replied the hump- 
backed man, coolly, ** if you don't take your hands off. 
Do you hear me?" 

" I hear you," said the doctor, giving his captive a 
hearty shake. ** Where's — confound the fellow, what's 
his rascally name — Sikes; that's it. Where's Sikes, you 

The hump-backed man stared, as if in excess of amaze- 
ment and indignation; then, twisting himself, dexterously, 
from the doctor's grasp, growled forth a volley of horrid 
oaths, and retired into the house. Before he could shut 
the door, however, the doctor had passed into the parlour, 
without a word of parley. He looked anxiously round ; 
not an article of furniture; not a vestige of anything, 
animate or inanimate; not even the position of the cup- 
boards ; answered Oliver's description I 

*' Now !" said the hump-backed man, who had watched 
him keenly, ** what do you mean by coming into my 
house, in this violent way? Do you want to rob me, or 
to murder me? Which is it?" 

*' Did you ever know a man come out to do either, in 
a chariot and pair, you ridiculous old vampire?" said the 
irritable doctor. 

" W^hat do you want, then?" demanded the hunchback. 

Oliver Twist 231 

** Will you take yourself off, before I do you a mischief? 
Curse you !" 

" As soon as I think proper," said Mr. Losberne, look- 
ing Into the other parlour; which, like the first, bore no 
resemblance whatever to Oliver's account of it. ** I shall 
find you out, some day, my friend." 

*' Will you?" sneered the ill-favoured cripple. '* If you 
ever want me, I'm here. I haven't lived here mad and 
all alone, for five-and-twenty years, to be scared by you. 
You shall pay for this; you shall pay for this." And so 
saying, the misshapen little demon set up a yell, and 
danced upon the ground, as if wild with rage. 

'* Stupid enough, this," muttered the doctor to himself; 
** the boy must have made a mistake. Here ! Put that 
in your pocket, and shut yourself up again." With these 
words he flung the hunchback a piece of money, and 
returned to the carriage. 

The man followed to the chariot door, uttering the 
wildest imprecations and curses all the way; but as Mr. 
Losberne turned to speak to the driver, he looked into the 
carriage, and eyed Oliver for an instant with a glance 
so sharp and fierce and at the same time so furious and 
vindictive, that, waking or sleeping, he could not forget 
it for months afterwards. He continued to utter the most 
fearful imprecations, until the driver had resumed his 
seat ; and when they were once more on their way, thej 
could see him some distance behind : beating his feet upon 
the ground, and tearing his hair, in transports of real or 
pretended rage. 

*' I am an ass!" said the doctor, after a long silence. 
** Did you know that before, Oliver?" 

"No, sir." 

*' Then don't forget it another time." 

** An ass," said the doctor again, after a further silence 
of some minutes. " Even if it had been the right place, 
and the right fellows had been there, what could I have 
done, single-handed? And if I had had assistance, I see 
no good that I should have done, except leading to my 
own exposure, and an unavoidable statement of the manner 
in which I have hushed up this business. That would 
have served me right, though. I am always involving 
myself in some scrape or other, by acting on impulse. Ii 
might have done me good." 

Now, the fact was that the excellent doctor had nevet 

232 Oliver Twist 

acted upon anything- but impulse all through his life, and 
it was MO bad compliment to the nature of the impulses 
which governed him, that so far from being involved in 
any peculiar troubles or misfortunes, he had the warmest 
respect and esteem of all who knew him. If the truth 
must be told, he was a little out of temper, for a minute or 
two, 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. He soon came 
round again, however; and finding that Oliver's replies to 
his questions were still as straightforward and consistent, 
and still delivered with as much apparent sincerity and 
truth, as they had ever been, he made up his mind toi 
attach full credence to them, from that time forth. 

As Oliver knew the name of the street in which Mr. 
Brownlow resided, they were enabled to drive straight 
thither. When the coach turned into it, his heart beat so 
violently, that he could scarcely draw his breath. 

" Now, my boy, which house is it?" inquired Mr. Los- 

" That ! That !" replied Oliver, pointing eagerly out of 
the window. ** The white house. Oh! make haste! 
Pray make haste ! I feel as if I should die ; it makes me 
tremble so." 

"Come, come," said the good doctor, patting him on 
the shoulder. ** You will see them directly, and they wiir 
be overjoyed to find you safe and well." 

*' Oh ! I hope so !" cried Oliver. ** They were so good 
to me; so very, very good to me." 

The coach rolled on. It stopped. No; that was the 
wrong house; the next door. It went on a-few paces, and 
stopped again. Oliver looked up at the windows, with 
tears of happy expectation coursing down his face. 

Alas ! the white house was empty and there was a bill 
in the window. ** To Let." 

** Knock at the next door," cried Mr. Losberne, taking 
Oliver's arm in his. '' What has become of Mr. Brown- 
low, who used to live in the adjoining house, do you 

The servant did not know ; but would go and inquire. 
She presently returned, and said, that Mr. Brownlow had 
sold off his goods, and gone to the West Indies, six 
weeks before. Oliver clasped his hands, and sank feebly 

Oliver Twist 233 

*' Has his housekeeper gone, too?" inquired Mr. Los- 
berne, after a moment's pause. 

" Yes, sir;" replied the servant. ** The old gentleman, 
the housekeeper, and a gentleman who was a friend of 
Mr. Brownlow's, all went together." 

"Then turn towards home again," said Mr. Losberne 
to the driver; ** and don't stop to bait the horses, till you 
get out of this confounded London !" 

" The book-stall keeper, sir?" said Oliver. "I know 
the way there. See him, pray, sir! Do see him !" 

" My poor boy, this is disappointment enough for one 
day," said the doctor. '* Quite enough for both of us. If 
we go to the book-stall keeper's, we shall certainly find 
that he is dead, or has set his house on fire, or run away. 
No; home again straight!" And in obedience to the 
doctor's impulse, home they went. 

This bitter disappointment caused Oliver much sorrow 
and grief, even in the midst of his happiness ; for he had 
pleased himself, many times during his illness, with think- 
ing of all that Mr. Brownlow and Mrs. 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 in bewailing his cruel 
separation from them. The hope of eventually clearing 
himself with them, too, and explaining how he had been 
forced away, had buoyed him up, and sustained him, under 
many of his recent trials ; and now, the idea that they 
should have gone so far, and carried with them the belief 
that he was an impostor and a robber — a belief which 
might remain uncontradicted to his dying day — was almost 
more than he could bear. 

The circumstance occasioned no alteration, however, in 
the behaviour of his benefactors. After another fortnight, 
when the fine warm weather had fairly begun, and every 
tree and flower was putting forth its young leaves and 
rich blossoms, they made preparations for quitting the 
house at Chertsey, for some months. Sending^ the plate, 
which had so excited Fagin's cupidity, to the banker's; 
and leaving Giles and another servant in care of the house, 
they departed to a cottage at some distance in the country, 
and took Oliver with them. 

Who can describe the pleasure and delight, the peace of 
mind and soft tranquillity, the sickly boy felt in the balmy 
air, and among the green hills and rich wood^, of an 

234 Oliver Twist 

inland village ! Who can tell how scenes of peace and 
quietude sink into the minds of pain-worn dwellers in close 
and noisy places, and carry their own freshness, deep into 
their jaded hearts ! Men who have lived in crowded, pent- 
up streets, through lives of toil, and who have never 
wished for change ; men, to whom custom has indeed been 
second nature, and who have come almost to love each 
brick and stone that formed the narrow boundaries of their 
daily walks ; even they, with the hand of death upon them, 
have been known to yearn at last for one short glimpse 
of Nature's face; and, carried far from the scenes of their 
old pains and pleasures, have seemed to pass at once 
into a new state of being. Crawling forth, from day to 
day, to some green sunny spot, they have had such 
memories wakened up within them by the sight of sky, 
and hill and plain, and glistening water, that a foretaste 
of heaven itself has soothed their quick decline, and they 
have sunk into their tombs, as peacefully as the sun whose 
setting they watched from their lonely chamber window 
but a few hours before, faded from their dim and feeble 
sight ! The memories which peaceful country scenes call 
up, are not of this world, nor of its thoughts and hopes. 
Their gentle influence may teach us how to weave fresh 
garlands for the graves of those we loved : may purify our 
thoughts, and bear down before it old enmity and hatred ; 
but beneath all this, there lingers, in the least reflective 
mind, a vague and half -formed consciousness of having 
held such feelings long before, in some remote and distant 
time, which calls up solemn thoughts of distant times to 
corne, and bends down pride and worldliness beneath it. 

It was a lovely spot to which they repaired. Oliver, 
whose days had been spent among squalid crowds, and in 
the midst of noise and brawling, seemed to enter on a new 
existence there. The rose and honeysuckle clung to the 
cottage walls ; the ivy crept round the trunks of the trees ; 
and the garden-flowers perfumed the air with delicious 
odours. Hard by, was a little churchyard ; not crowded 
with tall unsightly gravestones, but full of humble 
mounds, covered with fresh turf and moss : beneath which, 
the old people of the village lay at rest. Oliver often 
wandered here; and, thinking of the wretched grave in 
which his mother lay, would sometimes sit him down and 
sob unseen ; but, when he raised his eyes to the deep sky 
overhead, he would cease to think of her as lying ir 

Oliver Twist 235 

the ground, and would weep for her, sadly, but withr ut 

It was a happy time. The days were peaceful and 
serene ; the nights brought with them neither fear nor 
care ; no languishing in a wretched prison, or associating 
with wretched men; nothing but pleasant and happy 
thoughts. Every morning he went to a white-headed old 
gentleman, who lived near the little church : who taught 
him to read better, and to write : and who spoke so 
kindly, and took such pains, that Oliver could never try 
enough to please him. Then, he would walk with Mrs. 
Maylie and Rose, and hear them talk of books ; or perhaps 
sit near them, in some shady place, and listen whilst the 
young lady read : which he could have done, until it grew 
too dark to see the letters. Then, he had his own lesson 
for the next day to prepare; and at this, he would work 
hard, in a little room which looked into the garden, till 
evening came slowly on, when the ladies would walk out 
again, 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, or had forgotten anything he could 
run to fetch : that he could never be quick enough about 
it. When it became quite dark, and they returned home, 
the young lady would sit down to the piano, and play 
some pleasant air, or sing, in a low and gentle voice, some 
old song which it pleased her aunt to hear. There would 
be no candles lighted at such times as these; and Oliver 
would sit by one of the windows, listening to the sweet 
music, in a perfect rapture. 

And when Sunday came, how differently the day was 
spent, from any way in which he had ever spent it yet ! 
and how happily too; like all the other days in that most 
happy time ! There was the little church, in the morning, 
with the green leaves fluttering at the windows : the birds 
singing without : and the sweet-smelling air stealing in 
at the low porch, and filling the homely building with its 
fragrance. The poor people were so neat and clean, and 
knelt so reverently in prayer, that it seemed a pleasure, 
not a tedious duty, their assembling there together; and 
though the singing might be rude, it was real, and sounded 
more musical (to Oliver's ears at least) than any he had 
ever heard in church before. Then, there were the walks 
as usual, and many calls at the clean houses of the labour- 
ing men; and at night, Oliver read a chapter or two from 


Oliver Twist 

the Bible, which he had been studying all the week, and in 
the performance of which duty he felt more proud and 
pleased, than if he had been the clergyman himself. 

In the morning, Oliver would be a-foot by six o'clock, 
roaming the fields, and plundering the hedges far and 
wide, for nosegays of wild flowers, with which he would 
return laden, home ; and which it took great care and 
consideration to arrange, to the best advantage, for the 
embellishment of the breakfast-table. There was fresh 
groundsel, too, for Miss Maylie's birds, with which Oliver, 
who had been studying the subject under the able tuition 
of the village clerk, would decorate the cages, in the most 
approved taste. When the birds were made all spruce 
and smart for the day, there was usually some little com- 
mission of charity to execute in the village ; or, failing 
that, there was rare cricket-playing, sometimes on the 
green ; or, failing that, there was always something to do 
in the garden, or about the plants, to which OUver (who 
had studied this science also, under the same master, who 
was a gardener by trade,) applied himself with hearty 
goodwill, until Miss Rose made her appearance : when 
there were a thousand commendations to be bestowed on 
all he had done. 

So three months glided away ; three months which, in 
the life of the most blest and favoured of mortals, might 
have been unmingled happiness, and which, in Oliver's, 
were true felicity. With the purest and most amiable 
generosity on one side ; and the truest, warmest, soul-felt 
gratitude on the other; it is no wonder that, by the end of 
that short time, Oliver Twist had become completely 
domesticated with the old lady and her niece, and that 
the fervent attachment of his young and sensitive heart, 
was repaid by their pride In, and attachment to, himself. 



Spring fled swiftly by, and summer came. If the village 
had been beautiful at first it was now in the full glow and 
luxuriance of its richness. The great trees, which had 
looked shrunken and bare in the earlier months, had now 

Oliver Twist 237 

burst into strong life and health; and stretching- forth 
their green arms over the thirsty ground, converted open 
and naked spots into choice nooks, where was a deep and 
pleasant shade from which to look upon the wide prospect, 
steeped in sunshine, which lay stretched beyond. The 
earth had donned her mantle of brightest green ; and shed 
her richest perfumes abroad. It was the prime and vigour 
of the year; all things were glad and flourishing. 

Still, the same quiet life went on at the little cottage, 
and the same cheerful serenity prevailed among its in- 
mates. Oliver had long since grown stout and healthy: 
but health or sickness made no difference in his warm feel- 
ings to those about him, though they do in the feel- 
ings of a great many people. He was still the same 
gentle, attached, affectionate creature that he had been 
when pain and suffering had wasted his strength, and 
when he was dependent for every slight attention and 
comfort on those who tended him. 

One beautiful night, they had taken a longer walk than 
was customary with them : for the day had been unusu- 
ally warm, and there was a brilliant moon, and a light 
wind had sprung up, which was unusually refreshing. 
Rose had been in high spirits, too, and they had walked 
on, in merry conversation, until they had far exceeded their 
ordinary bounds. Mrs. Maylie being fatigued, they re- 
turned more slowly hom.e. The young lady merely throw- 
ing off her simple bonnet, sat down to the piano as usual. 
After running abstractedly over the keys for a few 
minutes, she fell into a low and very solemn air; and as 
she played it, they heard a sound as if she were weeping. 

" Rose, my dear !" said the elder lady. 

Rose made no reply, but played a little quicker, as 
though the words had roused her from some painful 

"Rose, my love!" cried Mrs. Maylie, rising hastily, 
and bending over her. "What is this? In tears! ?vTy 
dear child, what distresses you?" 

" Nothing, aunt; nothing," replied the voung lady. "I 
don't know what it is ; I can't describe it; but I feel " 

" Not ill, my love?" interposed Mrs. Maylie. 

"No, no! Oh, not ill!" replied Rose: shuddering as 
though some deadly chillness were passing over her, while 
she spoke; " I shall be better presently. Close the win- 
dow, pray !" 

238 Oliver Twist 

Oliver hastened to comply with her request. The 
young lady, making an effort to recover her cheerfulness, 
strove to play some livelier tune; but her fingers dropped 
powerless on the keys. Covering her face with her hands, 
she sank upon a sofa, and gave vent to the tears which 
she was now unable to repress. 

** My child!" said the elderly lady, folding her arms 
about her, ** I never saw you so before." 

" I would not alarm you if I could avoid it," rejoined 
Rose; " but indeed I have tried very hard, and cannot help 
this. I fear I am ill, aunt." 

She was, indeed ; for, when candles were brought, they 
saw that in the very short time which had elapsed since 
their return home, the hue of her countenance had changed 
to a marble whiteness. Its expression had lost nothing of 
its beauty ; but it was changed ; and there was an anxious, 
haggard look about the gentle face, which it had never 
worn before. Another minute, and it was suffused with a 
crimson flush ; and a heavy wildness came over the soft 
blue eye. Again this disappeared, like the shadow thrown 
by a passing cloud ; and she was once more deadly pale. 

Oliver, who watched the old lady anxiously, observed 
that she was alarmed by these appearances ; and so, in 
truth, was he; but seeing that she affected to make light 
of them, he endeavoured to do the same, and they so far 
succeeded, that when Rose was persuaded by her aunt to 
retire for the night, she was in better spirits ; and appeared 
even in better health : assuring them that she felt certain 
she should rise in the morning, quite well. 

** I hope," said Oliver, when Mrs. Maylie returned, 
** that nothing is the matter? She don't look well to- 
night, but " 

The old lady motioned to him not to speak; and sitting 
herself down in a dark corner of the room, remained silent 
for some time. At length, she said, in a trembling voice : 

** I hope not, Oliver. I have been very happy with her 
for some years : too happy, perhaps. It may be time that 
I should meet with some misfortune; but I hope it is not 

" What?" inquired Oliver. 

"The heavy blow," said the old lady, "of losing the 
dear girl who has so long been my comfort and happi- 

"Oh! God forbid!" exclaimed Oliver, hastily. 

Oliver Twist 239 

*' Amen to that, my child !" said the old lady, wringing 
her hands. 

** Surely there is no danger of anything so dreadful?" 
said Oliver. ** Two hours ago, she was quite well." 

"She is very ill now," rejoined Mrs. Maylie; "and 
will be worse, I am sure. My dear, dear Rose ! Oh, 
what should I do without her!" 

She gave way to such great grief, that Oliver, suppress- 
ing his own emotion, ventured to remonstrate with her ; 
and to beg, earnestly, that, for the sake of the dear young 
lady herself, she would be more calm. 

"And consider, ma'am," said Oliver, as the tears 
forced themselves into his eyes, despite of his efforts to the 
contrary; " oh ! consider how young and good she is, and 
what pleasure and comfort she gives to all about her. I 
am sure — certain — quite certain — that, for your sake, 
who are so good yourself; and for her own; and for the 
sake of all she makes so happy ; she will not die. Heaven 
will never let her die so young." 

" Hush !" said Mrs. Maylie, laying her hand on Oliver's 
head. " You think like a child, poor boy. But you teach 
me my duty, notwithstanding. I had forgotten it for a 
moment, Oliver, but I hope I may be pardoned, for I am 
old, and have seen enough of illness and death to know 
the agony of separation from the objects of our love. I 
have seen enough, too, to know that it is not always the 
youngest and best who are spared to those that love them ; 
but this should give us comfort in our sorrow ; for Heaven 
is just; and such things teach us, impressively, that there 
is a brighter world than this ; and that the passage to it is 
speedy. God's will be done! I love her; and He knows 
how well ! ' ' 

,)liver was surprised to see that as Mrs. Mayiie said 
these words, she checked her lamentations as though by 
one effort : and drawing herself up as she spoke, became 
composed and firm. He was still more astonished to find 
that this firmness lasted; and that, under all the care and 
watching which ensued, Mrs. Maylie was ever ready and 
collected : performing all 'he duties which devolved upon 
her, steadily, and, to all external appearance, even cheer- 
fully. But he was young, and did not know what strong 
minds are capable of, under trying circumstances. How 
should he, when their possessors so seldom know them- 

240 Oliver Twist 

An anxious night ensued. When morning- came, Mrs. 
May lie's predictions were but too well verified. Rose was 
in the first stage of a high and dangerous fever. 

" VVe must be active, Oliver, and not give way to use- 
less grief," said Mrs. Maylie, laying her finger on her lip, 
as she looked steadily into his face; " this letter must be 
sent, with all possible expedition, to Mr. Losberne. It 
must be carried to the market-town : which is not more 
than four miles off, by the footpath across the fields : and 
thence dispatched, by an express on horseback, straight' 
to Chertsey. The people at the inn will undertake to do 
this; and I can trust to you to see it done, I know." 

Oliver could make no reply, but looked his anxiety to be 
gone at once. 

'* Here is another letter," said Mrs. Maylie, pausing to)! 
reflect; " but whether to send it now, or wait until I see 
how Rose goes on, I scarcely know. I would not forward- 
it, unless 1 feared the worst." 

" Is it for Chertsey, too, ma'am?" inquired Oliver: im-- 
patient to execute his commission, and holding out hisi 
trembling hand for the letter. 

'* No," replied the old lady, giving it to him mechanic- 
ally. Oliver glanced at it, and saw that it was directed! 
to Harry Maylie, Esquire, at some great lord's house ini 
the country ; where, he could not make out. 

'* Shall it go, ma'am?" asked Oliver, looking up, im-- 

"I think not," replied Mrs. Maylie, taking it back. 
** I will wait until to-morrow." 

With these words, she gave Oliver her purse, and he? 
started ofi, without more delay, at the greatest speed he: 
could muster. 

Swiftly he ran across the fields, and down the little lanes- 
which sometimes divided them : now almost hidden by the 
high corn on either side, and now emerging on an open 
field, where the mowers and haymakers were busy at their 
work : nor did he stop once, save now and then, for a 
few seconds, to recover breath, until he came, in a great 
heat, and covered with dust, on the little market-place of 
the market-town. 

Here he paused, and looked about for the inn. There 
were a white bank, and a red brewery, and a yellow town- 
hall ; and in one corner there was a large house, with all 
the wood about it painted green : before which was the 

Oliver Twist 241 

sigftt <^ ** The George.*' To this he hastened, as soon aa 
it caught his eye. 

He spoke to a postboy who was dozing under the gate- 
way ; and who, after hearing what he wanted, referred 
him to the ostler; who after hearing all he had to say 
again, referred him to the landlord; who was a tall gentle- 
man in a blue neckcloth, a white hat, drab breeches, and 
boots with tops to match, leaning against a pump by the 
stable-door, picking his teeth with a silver toothpick. 

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, and paid, a horse had to be 
saddled, and a man to be dressed, which took up ten good 
minutes more. Meanwhile Oliver was in such a desperate 
state of impatience and anxiety, that he felt as if he could 
have jumped upon the horse himself, and galloped away, 
full tear, to the next stage. At length, all was ready ; and 
the little parcel having been handed up, with many injunc- 
tions and entreaties for its speedy delivery, the man set 

spurs to his horse, and rattling over the uneven paving of 
the market-place, was out of the town, and galloping 

along the turnpike-road, in a couple of minutes. 

As it was something to feel certain that assistance was 

sent for, and that no time had been lost, Oliver hurried 

up the inn-yard, with a somewhat lighter heart. He was 

turning out of the gateway when he accidentally stumbled 

against a tall man wrapped in a cloak, who was at that 

moment coming out of the inn door. 

" Hah!" cried the man, fixing his eyes on Oliver, and 

suddenly recoiling. "What the devil's this?" 

" I beg your pardon, sir," said Oliver; '* I was in a 

great hurry to get home, and didn't see you were coming." 
" Death!" muttered the man to himself, glaring at the 

boy with his large dark eyes. " Who would have thought 

it ! Grind him to ashes ! He'd start up from a stone 

coffin, to come in my way !" 

*' I am sorry," stammered Oliver, confused by the 

strange man's wild look. " I hope I have not hurt 

you 1" 

" Rot you !" murmured the man, In a horrible passion; 

between his clenched teeth ; '* if I had only had the courage 

to say the word, I might have been free of you in a night. 

Curses on your head, and black death on your heart, you 

imp I What are you doing her^?" 

242 Oliver Twist 

The man shook his fist, as he uttered these words in- 
coherently. He advanced towards Oliver, as if with the 
intention of aiming a blow at him, but fell violently on 
the ground : writhing and foaming, in a fit. 

Oliver gazed, for a moment, at the struggles of the mad- 
man (for such he supposed him to be) ; and then darted 
into the house for help. Having seen him safely carried 
into the hotel, he turned his face homewards, running as 
fast as he could, to make up for lost time : and recalling 
with a great deal of astonishment and some fear, the 
extraordinary behaviour of the person from whom he had 
just parted. 

The circumstance did not dwell in his recollection long, 
however : for when he reached the cottage, there was 
enough to occupy his mind, and to drive all considerations 
of self completely from his memory. 

Rose Maylie had rapidly grown worse; before midnight 
she was delirious. A medical practitioner, who resided on 
the spot, was in constant attendance upon her; and after 
first seeing the patient, he had taken Mrs. Maylie aside, 
and pronounced her disorder to be one of a most alarming 
nature. *' In fact," he said, ** it would be little short of a 
miracle, if she recovered." 

How often did Oliver start from his bed that night, and 
stealing out, with noiseless footstep, to the staircase, 
listen for the slightest sound from the sick chamber ! How 
often did a tremble shake his frame, and cold drops of 
terror start upon his brow, when a sudden trampling of 
feet caused him to fear that something too dreadful to 
think of, had even then occurred ! And what had been 
the fervency of all the prayers he had ever uttered, com- 
pared with those he poured forth, now, in the agony and 
passion of his supplication for the life and health of the 
gentle creature, who was tottering on the deep grave's 
verge ! 

Oh ! the suspense, the fearful, acute suspense, of stand- 
ing idly by while the life of one we dearly love, is trembling 
in the balance ! Oh ! the racking thoughts that crowd 
upon the mind, and make the heart beat violently, and the 
breath come thick, by the force of the images they conjure 
up before it ; the desperate anxiety to be doing something 
to relieve the pain, or lessen the danger, which we have 
no power to alleviate ; the sinking of soul and spirit, which 
the sad remembrance of our helplessness produces ; what 

Oliver Twist 243 

tortures can equal these ; what reflections or endeavours 
:an, in the full tide and fever of the time, allay them ! 

Morning- came; and the little cottage was lonely and 
still. People spoke in whispers ; anxious faces appeared 
It the gate, from time to time ; women and children went 
iway in tears. All the livelong day, and for hours after 
it had grown dark, Oliver paced softly up and down the 
3^arden, raising his eyes every instant to the sick chamber, 
and shuddering to see the darkened window, looking as 
if death lay stretched inside. Late at night, Mr. Los- 
Derne arrived. ** It is hard," said the good doctor, turn- 
ng away as he spoke; '* so young; so much beloved; bur 
there is very little hope." 

Another morning. The sun shone brightly : as brightly 
is if it looked upon no misery or care; and, with every leaf 
and flower in full bloom about her ; with life, and health, 
and sounds and sights of joy, surrounding her on every 
>ide : the fair young creature lay, wasting fast. Oliver 
;rept away to the old churchyard, and sitting down on one 
>f the green mounds, wept and prayed for her, in silence. 

There was such peace and beauty in the scene ; so much 
Df brightness and mirth in the sunny landscape ; such 
blithesome music in the songs of the summer birds; such 
Freedom in the rapid flight of the rook careering overhead ; 
50 much of life and joyousness in all ; that, when the boy 
•aised his aching eyes, and looked about, the thought in- 
stinctively occurred to him, that this was not a time for 
death ; that Rose could surely never die when humbler 
things were all so glad and gay ; that graves were for cold 
and cheerless winter : not for sunlight and fragrance. He 
almost thought that shrouds were for the old and 
shrunken ; and that they never wrapped the young and 
graceful form in their ghastly folds. 

A knell from the church bell broke harshly on these 
youthful thoughts. Another ! Again ! It was tolling 
for the funeral service. A group of humble mourners 
entered the gate : wearing white favours ; for the corpse 
was young. They stood uncovered by a gra\^e; and there 
was a mother — a mother once — among the weeping train. 
But the sun shone brightly, and the birds sang on. 

Oliver turned homeward, thinking on the many kind- 
nesses he had received from the young lady, and wishing 
that the time could come over again, that he might never 
cease showing her how grateful and attached he was. He 

244 Oliver Twist 

had no cause for self-reproach on the score of neglect, or 
want of thought, for he had been devoted to her service ; 
and yet a hundred little occasions rose up before him, on 
which he fancied he might have been more zealous, and 
more earnest, and wished he had been. We need be care- 
ful how we deal with those about us, when every death 
carries to some small circle of survivors, thoughts of so; 
much omitted, and so little done — of so many things for-- 
gotten, and so many more which might have been re- 
paired ! There is no remorse so deep as that which is : 
unavailing ; if we would be spared its tortures, let us > 
remember this, in time. 

When he reached home Mrs. Maylie was sitting in the 
little parlour. Oliver's heart sank at sight of her; for 
she had never left the bedside of her niece ; and he 
trembled to think what change could have driven her 
away. He learnt that she had fallen into a deep sleep, 
from which she would waken, either to recovery and life, 
or to bid them farewell, and die. 

They sat, listening, and afraid to speak, for hours. The 
untasted meal was removed, with looks which showed that 
their thoughts were elsewhere, they watched the sun as 
he sank lower and lower, and, at length, cast over sky 
and earth those brilliant hues which herald his departure. 
Their quick ears caught the sound of an approaching 
footstep. They both involuntarily darted to the door, as ; 
Mr. Losberne entered. 

"What of Rose?" cried the old lady. "Tell me at, 
once ! I can bear it ; anything but suspense ! Oh, tell 
me ! in the name of Heaven !" 

" You must compose yourself," said the doctor, sup- 
porting her. " Be calm, my dear ma'am, pray." 

" Let me go, in God's name ! My dear child ! She is 
dead ! She is dying !" 

"No!" cried the doctor, passionately. "As He is 
good and merciful, she will live to bless us all, for years 
to come." 

The lady fell upon her knees, and tried to fold her hands 
together; but the energy which had supported her so long, 
fled up to Heaven with her first thanksgiving ; and she 
sank into the friendly arms which were extended to receive 

Oliver Twist 245 



scene; and a new adventure which happened TO 


It was almost too much happiness to bear. Oliver felt 
stunned and stupefied by the unexpected intelligence; he 
:ould not weep, or speak, or rest. He had scarcely the 
DOwer of understanding anything that had passed, until, 
ifter a long ramble in the quiet evening air, a burst of 
ears came to his relief, and he seemed to awaken, all at 
)nce, to a full sense of the joyful change that had occurred, 
md the almost insupportable load of anguish which had 
)een taken from his breast. 

The night was fast closing in, when he returned home-, 
vard : laden with flowers which he had culled, with peculiar 
:are, for the adornment of the sick chamber. As he 
valked briskly along the road, he heard behind him, the 
loise of some vehicle, approaching at a furious pace, 
ooking round, he saw that it was a post-chaise, driven 
It great speed ; and as the horses were galloping, and the 
oad was narrow, he stood leaning against a gate until it 
ihould have passed him. 

As it dashed on, Oliver caught a glimpse of a man in 

white nightcap, whose face seemed familiar to him, 
dthough his view was so brief that he could not identify 
he person. In another second or two, the nightcap was 
:hrust out of the chaise-window, and a stentorian voice 
)ellowed to the driver to stop : which he did, as soon as 
le could pull up his horses. Then, the nightcap once 
igain appeared : and the same voice called Oliver by his 

' Here!" cried the voice. "Oliver, what's the news? 
Vliss Rose! Master O-li-ver!" 

"Is it you, Giles?" cried Oliver, running up to the 

Giles popped out his nightcap again, preparatory to 
Tiaking some reply, when he was suddenly pulled back 
)y a young gentleman who occupied the other corner of the 
ihaise, and who eagerly demanded what was the news. 

246 Oliver Twist 

*• In a word !" cried the gentleman, '* Better or worse?" 

"Better — much better!" replied Oliver, hastily. 

"Thank Heaven!" exclaimed the gentleman. ** Youi 
are sure?" 

"Quite, sir," replied Oliver. "The change took place 
only a few hours ago ; and Mr. Losberne says, that alli 
danger is at an end." 

The gentleman said not another word, but, opening the 
chaise-door, leaped out, and taking Oliver hurriedly by the 
arm, led him aside. 

" You are quite certain? There is no possibility of an) 
mistake on your part, my boy, is there?" demanded the 
gentleman in a tremulous voice. " Do not deceive me, b\ 
awakening hopes that are not to be fulfilled." 

" I would not for the world, sir," replied Oliver. " In- 
deed you may believe me. Mr. Losberne's words were, 
that she would live to bless us all for many years to come. 
I heard him say so." 

The tears stood in Oliver's eyes as he recalled the scene 
which was the beginning of so much happiness ; and the 
gentleman turned his face away, and remained silent, foi 
some minutes. OHver thought he heard him sob, more 
than once; but he feared to interrupt him by any fresh 
remark — for he could well guess what his feelings were— 
and so stood apart, feigning to be occupied with hif 

All this time, Mr. Giles, with the white nightcap on, hac 
been sitting on the steps of the chaise, supporting an elbo\A 
on each knee, and wiping his eyes with a blue cotton 
pocket-handkerchief dotted with white spots. That tin 
honest fellow had not been feigning emotion, was abun 
dantly demonstrated by the very red eyes with which he' 
regarded the young gentleman, when he turned round anc 
addressed him. 

" I think you had better go on to my mother's in the 
chaise, Giles," said he. " I would rather walk slowly on 
so as to gain a little time before I see her. You can saj 
I am coming.'* 

" I beg your pardon, Mr. Harry," said Giles : giving i 
final polish to his ruffled countenance with the handker 
chief; " but if you would leave the postboy to say that, '.^ 
should be very much obliged to you. It wouldn't be prope '' 
for the maids to see me in this state, sir ; I should nevei 
have any more authority with them if they did. ' ' 

Oliver Twist 247 

*' Well," rejoined Harrie Maylie, smiling, "you can do 
IS you like. Let him go on with the luggage, if you wish 
t, and do you follow with us. Only first exchange that 
lightcap for some more appropriate covering, or we shall 
>e taken for madmen." 

Mr. Giles, reminded of his unbecoming costume, snatched 
jfif and pocketed his nightcap; and substituted a hat, of 
jrave and sober shape, which he took out of the chaise. 
This done, the postboy drove off; Giles, Mr. Maylie, and 
31iver, followed at their leisure. 

As they walked along, Oliver glanced from time to time 
vith much interest and curiosity at the new-comer. He 
ieemed about five-and-twenty years of age, and was of the 
niddle height ; his countenance was frank and handsome ; 
md his demeanour easy and prepossessing. Notwith- 
;tanding the difference between youth and age, he bore so 
;trong a likeness to the old lady, that Oliver would have 
lad no great difficulty in imagining their relationship, if 
le had not already spoken of her as his mother. 

Mrs. Maylie was anxiously waiting to receive her son 
vhen he reached the cottage. The meeting did not take 
)lace without great emotion on both sides. 

** Mother !" whispered the young man; " why did you 
lot write before?" 

** I did," replied Mrs. Maylie; " but on reflection, I de- 
ermined to keep back the letter until I had heard Mr. 
^osberne's opinion." 

*' But why," said the young man, ** why run the chance 
►f that occurring which so nearly happened? If Rose had 
—I cannot utter that word now — if this illness had termi- 
lated differently, how could you ever have forgiven your- 
elf ! How could I ever have known happiness again !" 

'* If that had been the case, Harry," said Mrs. Maylie, 
* I fear your happiness would have been effectually 
)lighted, and that your arrival here, a day sooner or a day 
ater, would have been of very, very little import." 

" And who can wonder if it be so, mother?" rejoined 
he young man ; ** or why should I say, if? — It is— it is — 
jou know it, mother — you must know it!" 

** I know that she deserves the best and purest love the 
^eart of man can offer," said Mrs. Maylie; " I know that 
fie devotion and affection of her nature require no ordinary 
eturn, but one that shall be deep and lasting. If I did 
lot feel this, and know, besides, that a changed behaviour 


Oliver Twist 

in one she loved would break her heart, I should not feel 
my task so difficult of performance, or have to encounter 
so many struggles in my own bosom, when I take what 
seems to me to be the strict line of duty." 

"This is unkind, mother," said Harry. " Do you still 
suppose that I am a boy ignorant of my own mind, and 
mistaking the impulses of my own soul?" 

'* I think, my dear son," returned Mrs. May lie, laying 
her hand upon his shoulder, *' that youth has many gener- 
ous impulses which do not last; and that among them arc 
some, which, being gratified, become only the more fleet- 
ing. Above all, I think," said the lady, fixing her eyes on 
her son's face, ''* that if an enthusiastic, ardent, and am- 
bitious man marry a wife on whose name there is a stain, 
which, though it originate in no fault of hers, may be 
visited by cold and sordid people upon her, and upon his 
children also : and, in exact proportion to his success in the 
world, be cast in his teeth, and made the subject of sneers 
against him : he may, no matter how generous and gooc 
his nature, one day repent of the connexion he formed ir 
early life. And she may have the pain of knowing that hei 
does so." 

** Mother," said the young man, impatiently, ** he woulcf 
be a selfish brute, unworthy alike of the name of man anc 
of the woman you describe, who acted thus." , 

** You think so now, Harry," replied his mother. 

" And ever will !" said the young man. *' The menta 
agony I have suffered, during the last two days, wrings 
from me the avowal to you of a passion which, as youi 
well know, is not one of yesterday, nor one I have lightlj 
formed. On Rose, sweet, gentle girl ! my heart is set, as 
firmly as ever heart of man was set on woman. I have nc 
thought, no view, no hope in life, beyond her; and if you 
oppose me in this great stake, you take my peace and happi^ 
ness in your hands, and cast them to the wind. Mother, 
think better of this, and of me, and do not disregard the 
happiness of which you seem to think so little." 

'* Harry," said Mrs. Maylie, "it is because I think sc 
much of warm and sensitive hearts, that I would spare therr 
from being wounded. But we have said enough, and more 
than enough, on this matter, just now." 

" Let it rest with Rose, then," interposed Harry. ** Yot 
will not press these overstrained opinions of yours, so far, 
as to throw any obstacle in my way?" 

Oliver Twist 249 

'* I will not," rejoined Mrs. Maylie ; ** but I would have 
you consider " 

' I /la-z^e considered !" was the impatient reply ; ** Mother, 
I have considered, years and years. I have considered 
ever since I have been capable of serious reflection. My 
feelings remain unchanged, as they ever will ; and why 
should I suffer the pain of a delay in giving them vent, 
hich can be productive of no earthly good? No ! Before 
1 leave this place, Rose shall hear me." 

'She shall," said Mrs. Maylie. 

* There is something in your manner, which would 
almost imply that she will hear me coldly, mother," said 

he young man. 
" Not coldly," rejoined the old lady; " far from it." 
** How then?" urged the young man. ** She has formed 
10 other attachment?" 

* No, indeed," replied his mother; ** you have, or I 
Tiistake, too strong a hold on her affections already. What 
[ would say," resumed the old lady, stopping her son as 
he was about to speak, " is this. Before you stake your all 
Dn this chance; before you suffer yourself to be carried 
:o the highest point of hope ; reflect for a few moments, 
ny dear child, on Rose's history, and consider what effect 
the knowledge of her doubtful birth may have on her 
decision : devoted as she is to us, with all the intensity of 
ler noble mind, and with that perfect sacrifice of self which, 
n all matters, great or trifling, has always been her 

"What do you mean?" 

** That I leave you to discover," replied Mrs. Maylie. 
I must go back to her. God bless you !" 
*' I shall see you again to-night?" said the young man, 

* By and by," replied the lady; " when I leave Rose." 
'* You will tell her I am here?" said Harry. 

* Of course," replied Mrs. Maylie. 

* And say how anxious I have been, and how much I 
lave suffered, and how I long to see her. You will not 
efuse to do this, mother?" 

"No," said the old lady; ** I will tell her all." And 
Dressing her son's hand affectionately, she hastened from 
:he room. 

Mr. Losberne and Oliver had remained at another end 
)f the apartment while this hurried conversation was pro- 

250 Oliver Twist 

ceeding. The former now held out his hand to Harry 
Maylie ; and hearty salutations were exchanged between 
them. The doctor then communicated, in reply to multi- 
farious questions from his young friend, a precise account jil 
of his patient's situation; which was quite as consolatory 
and full of promise, as Oliver's statement had encouraged 
him to hope; and to the whole of which, Mr. Giles, who 
affected to be busy about the luggage, listened with greedy 

" Have you shot anything particular, lately, Giles?" 
inquired the doctor, when he had concluded. 

" Nothing particular, sir," replied Mr. Giles, colouringjg 
up to the eyes. jsi 

** Nor catching any thieves, nor identifying any house-Ji 
breakers?" said the doctor. In 

" None at all, sir," replied Mr. Giles, with muchta 
gravity. id 

** Well," said the doctor, " I am sorry to hear it, becausefci 
you do that sort of thing admirably. Pray, how ispl 
Brittles?" k 

** The boy is very well, sir," said Mr. Giles, recoveringjii 
his usual tone of patronage; *' and sends his respectful 
duty, sir." st 

** That's well," said the doctor. ** Seeing you here, 
reminds me, Mr. Giles, that on the day before that on whichii 
I was called away so hurriedly, I executed, at the requeslth 
of your good mistress, a small commission in your favour.ii 
Just step into this corner a moment, will you?" fi 

Mr. Giles walked into the corner with much importance,lo 
and some wonder, and was honoured with a short whisper-tia 
ing conference with the doctor, on the termination of which, Jo 
he made a great many bows, and retired with steps ofjii! 
unusual stateliness. The subject matter of this conferencejir 
was not disclosed in the parlour, but the kitchen was^i 
speedily enlightened concerning it; for Mr. Giles walked m 
straight thither, and having called for a mug of ale, an-iu 
nounced, with an air of majesty, which was highly effective, ix 
that it had pleased his mistress, in consideration of his el 
gallant behaviour on the occasion of that attempted rob- is 
bery, to deposit, in the local savin|D-s-bank, the sum of five-iw 
and-twenty pounds, for his sole use and benefit. At this, n 
the two women-servants lifted up their hands and eyes, and 
supposed that Mr. Giles would begin to be quite proud now It 
whereunto Mr. Giles, pulling out his shirt-frill, replied, la 

^ Oliver Twist 251 

* No, no;*' and that if they observed that he was at all 
laughty to his inferiors, he would thank them to tell him 
;o. And then he made a great many other remarks, no less 
llustrative of his humility, which were received with equal 
avour and applause, and were, withal, as original and as 
nuch to the purpose, as the remarks of great men com- 
nonly are. 

Above stairs, the remainder of the evening passed cheer- 
ully away ; for the doctor was in high spirits ; and how- 
ver fatigued or thoughtful Harry Maylie might have been 
t first, he was not proof against the worthy gentleman's 
food humour, which displayed itself in a great variety of 
allies and professional recollections, and an abundance of 
mall jokes, which struck Oliver as being the drollest things 
le had ever heard, and caused him to laugh proportion- 
Ltely : to the evident satisfaction of the doctor, who laughed 
nmoderately at himself, and made Harry laugh almost as 
eartily, by the very force of sympathy. So, they were as 
leasant a party as, under the circumstances, they could 
^ell have been ; and it was late before they retired, with 
ght and thankful hearts, to take that rest of which, after 
le doubt and suspense they had recently undergone, they 
tood much in need. 

Oliver rose next morning in better heart, and went about 
is usual early occupations with more hope and pleasure 
lan he had known for many days. The birds were once 
lore hung out, to sing, in their old places ; and the sweetest 
'ild flowers that could be found, were once more gathered 
) gladden Rose with their beauty. The melancholy which 
ad seemed to the sad eyes of the anxious boy to hang, 
)r days past, over every object, beautiful as all were, was 
ispelled by magic. The dew seemed to sparkle more 
rightly on the green leaves ; the air to rustle among them 
ith a sweeter music ; and the sky itself to look more blue 
nd bright. Such is the influence which the condition of 
ur own thoughts, exercises, even over the appearance of 
xternal objects. Men who look on nature, and their 
5llow-men, and cry that all is dark and gloomy, are in the 
ght; but the sombre colours are reflections from their 
wn jaundiced eyes and hearts. The real hues are delicate, 
ad need a clearer vision. 

It is worthy of remark, and Oliver did not fail to note 

at the time, that his morning expeditions were no longer 
lade alone- Harry Maylie, after the very first morning 

252 Oliver Twist 

when he met Oliver coming laden home, was seized with 
such a passion for flowers, and displayed such a taste in 
their arrangement, as left his young companion far behind. 
If Oliver were behindhand in these respects, however, he 
knew where the best were to be found ; and morning after 
morning they scoured the country together, and brought 
home the fairest that blossomed. The window of the young 
lady's chamber was opened now; for she loved to feel the 
rich summer air stream in, and revive her with its fresh- 
ness ; but there always stood in water, just inside the 
lattice, one particular little bunch, which was made up with 
great care, every morning. Oliver could not help noticing 
that the withered flowers were never thrown away, although 
the little vase was regularly replenished ; nor could he 
help observing, that whenever the doctor came into the 
garden, he invariably cast his eyes up to that particular 
corner, and nodded his head most expressively, as he set 
forth on his morning's walk. Pending these observations, 
the days were flying by ; and Rose was rapidly recovering. 

Nor did Oliver's time hang heavy on his hands, although 
the young lady had not yet left her chamber, and there 
were no evening walks, save now and then, for a short 
distance, with Mrs. Maylie. He applied himself, with 
redoubled assiduity, to the instructions of the white-headed 
old gentleman, and laboured so hard that his quick progress 
surprised even himself. It was while he was engaged in 
this pursuit, that he was greatly startled and distressed by 
a most unexpected occurrence. 

The little room in which he was accustomed to sit, when 
busy at his books, was on the ground-floor, at the back 
of the house. It was quite a cottage-room, with a lattice- 
window : around which were clusters of jessamine anc 
honeysuckle, that crept over the casement, and filled the 
place with their delicious perfume. It looked into 
garden, whence a wicket-gate opened into a small paddock 
all beyond, was fine meadow-land and wood. There was 
no other dwelling near, in that direction ; and the prospect 
it commanded was very extensive. 

One beautiful evening, when the first shades of twilighl 
were beginning to settle upon the earth, Oliver sat at this 
window, intent upon his books. He had been poring ovei 
them for some time; and, as the day had been uncommonl} 
sultry, and he had exerted himself a great deal, it is no 
disparagement to the authors, whoever they may have 

Oliver Twist 25;^ 

been, to say that gradually and by slow degrees, he fell 

There is a kind of sleep that steals upon us sometimes, 
which, while it holds the body prisoner, does not free the 
mind from a sense of things about it, and enable it to 
ramble at its pleasure. So far as an overpowering heavi- 
ness, a prostration of strength, and an utter inability to 
control our thoughts or power of motion, can be called 
sleep, this is it; and yet, we have a consciousness of all 
that is going on about us, and, if we dream at such a time, 
words which are really spoken, or sounds which really exist 
at the moment, acommodate themselves with surprising 
readiness to our visions, until reality and imagination be- 
come so strangely blended that it is afterwards almost 
matter of impossibility to separate the two. Nor is this, 
the most striking phenomenon incidental to such a state. 
It is an undoubted fact, that although our senses of touch 
and sight be for the time dead, yet our sleeping thoughts, 
and the visionary scenes that pass before us, will be 
influenced, and materially influenced, by the mere silent 
presence of some external object ; which may not have been 
lear us when we closed our eyes : and of whose vicinity we 
tiave had no waking consciousness. 

Oliver knew, perfectly well, that he was in his own little 
room ; that his books were lying on the table before him ; 
that the sweet air was stirring among the creeping plants 
outside. And yet he was asleep. Suddenly, the scene 
changed ; the air became close and confined ; and he 
thought, with a glow of terror, that he was in the Jew's 
bouse again. There sat the hideous old man, in his accus- 
tomed corner, pointing at him, and whispering to another 
nan, with his face averted, who sat beside him. 

" Hush, my dear!" he thought he heard the Jew say; 
" it is he, sure enough. Come away." 

"He!" the other man seemed to answer; ** could I 
Tiistake him, think you? If a crowd of ghosts were to 
Dut themselves into his exact shape, and he stood amongst 
uhem, there is something that would tell me how to point 
lim out. If you buried him fifty feet deep, and took me 
icross his grave, I fancy I should know, if there wasn't a 
Tiark above it, that he lay buried there !" 

The man seemed to say this, with such dreadful hatred, 
Lnat Oliver awoke with the fear, and started up. 

Good Heaven ! what was that, which sent the blood 

254 Oliver Twist 

tingling to his heart, and deprived him of his voice, and of 
power to move ! There — there — at the window — close 
before him — so close, that he could have almost touched 
him before he started back : with his eyes peering into the 
room, and meeting his : there stood the Jew ! And beside 
him, white with rage or fear, or both, were the scowling 
features of the very man who had accosted him in the inn-; 

It was but an instant, a glance, a flash, before his eyes ; 
and they were gone. But they had recognised him, and he 
them; and their look was as firmly impressed upon his 
memory, as if it had been deeply carved in stone, and set 
before him from his birth. He stood transfixed for a 
moment; then, leaping from the window into the garden, 
called loudly for help. 


venture; and a conversation of some IMPORTANCE 

When the inmates of the house, attracted by Oliver's cries 
hurried to the spot from which they proceeded, they founc ^' 
him, pale and agitated, pointing in the direction of the 
meadows behind the house, and scarcely able to articulatf^' 
the words, "The Jew! the Jew!" ^ 

Mr. Giles was at a loss to comprehend what this outcrj' 
meant; but Harry Maylie, whose perceptions were somei 
thing quicker, and who had heard Oliver's history from hi 
mother, understood it at once. 

" What direction did he take?" he asked, catching ujff 
a heavy stick which was standing in a corner. 

" That," replied Oliver, pointing out the course the mai 
had taken; '* I missed them in an instant." 

" Then, they are in the ditch !" said Harry. ** Follow 
And keep as near me as you can." So saying, he sprang 
over the hedge, and darted off with a speed which rendere< 
it matter of exceeding difficulty for the others to keep nea 

Giles followed as well as he could ; and Oliver follov/e< 
too ; and in the course of a minute or two, Mr, Losberne Pc 

Oliver Twist 255 

who had been out walking, and just then returned, tumbled 
aver the hedge after them, and picking himself up with 
more agility than he could have been supposed to possess, 
struck into the same course at no contemptible speed, 
shouting all the while, most prodigiously, to know what 
ivas the matter. 

On they all went ; nor stopped they once to breathe, 
mtil the leader, striking off into an angle of the field 
ndicated by Oliver, began to search, narrowly, the ditch 
md hedge adjoining ; which afforded time for the remainder 
Df the party to come up ; and for Oliver to communicate to 
Mr. Losberne the circumstances that had led to so vigorous 
I pursuit. 

The search was all in vain. There were not even the 
races of recent footsteps, to be seen. They stood now, 
m the summit of a little hill, commanding the open fields 
n every direction for three or four miles. There was the 
nllage in the hollow on the left ; but, in order to gain that, 
ifter pursuing the track Oliver had pointed out, the men 
nust have made a circuit of open ground, which it was 
mpossible they could have accomplished in so short a time. 
i thick wood skirted the meadow-land in another direction ; 
>ut they could not have gained that covert for the same 

* It must have been a dream, Oliver," said Harry 

'* Oh no, indeed, sir," replied Oliver, shuddering at the 
ery recollection of the old wretch's countenance; " I saw 
im too plainly for that. 1 saw them both, as plainly as 

see you now." 

** Who was the other?" inquired Harry and Mr. Los- 
erne, together. 

" The very same man I told you of, who came so suddenly 
pon me at the inn," said Oliver. *' We had our eyes fixed 
jll upon each other; and I could swear to him." 

'They took this way?" demanded Harry: "are you 

' As I am that the men were at the window," replied 
)Iiver, pointing down, as he spoke, to the hedge which 
livided the cottage garden from the meadow. " The tall 
lan leaped over, just there ; and the Jew, running a few 
aces to the right, crept through that gap." 

The two gentlemen watched Oliver's earnest face, as he 
poke, and lookino^ from him to each other, seemed to feel 


Oliver Twist 

satisfied of the accuracy of what he said. Still, in no 
direction were there any appearances of the trampling of 
men in hurried flight. The grass was long ; but it was 
trodden down nowhere, save where their own feet had 
crushed it. The sides and brinks of the ditches were of 
damp clay ; but in no one place could they discern the 
print of men's shoes, or the slightest mark which would 
indicate that any feet had pressed the ground for hours 

" This is strange !" said Harry. 

** Strange?" echoed the doctor. ** Blathers and Duff, 
themselves, could make nothing of it." 

Notwithstanding the evidently useless nature of their 
search, they did not desist until the coming on of night 
rendered its further prosecution hopeless ; and even then, 
they gave it up with reluctance. Giles was despatched to 
the different ale-houses in the village, furnished with the 
best description Oliver could give of the appearance and 
dress of the strangers. Of these, the Jew was, at all 
events, sufficiently remarkable to be remembered, supposing 
he had been seen drinking, or loitering about; but Giles 
returned without any intelligence, calculated to dispel or 
lessen the mystery. 

On the next day, fresh search was made, and the in- 
quiries renewed ; but with no better success. On the da} 
following, Oliver and Mr. Maylie repaired to the market-i 
town, in the hope of seeing or hearing something of the! 
men there ; but this effort was equally fruitless. After a : 
few days, the affair began to be forgotten, as most affairs 
are, when wonder, having no fresh food to support it, dies 
away of itself. 

Meanwhile, Rose was rapidly recovering. She had lefi 
her room : was able to go out ; and mixing once more 
with the family, carried joy into the hearts of all. 

But, although this happy chang^e had a visible effect on 
the little circle ; and although cheerful voices and merr} 
laughter were once more heard in the cottage ; there was a 
times, an unwonted restraint upon some there : even upor 
Rose herself : which Oliver could not fail to remark. Mrs 
Maylie and her son were often closeted together for a lon^ 
time ; and more than once Rose appeared with traces o 
tears upon her face. After Mr. Losberne had fixed a da; 
for his departure to Chertsey, these symptoms increased 
and it became evident that something was in progres 

Oliver Twist 257 

i vhich affected the peace of the young lady, and of somebody 
, ilse besides. 

j At length, one morning, when Rose was alone in the 
f jreakfast-parlour, Harry Maylie entered ; and, with some 
lesitation, begged permission to speak with her for a few 
I noments. 

; *' A few — a very few— will suffice, Rose," said the young 

' nan, drawing his chair towards her. " What I shall have 

say, has already presented itself to your mind ; the most 

:herished hopes of my heart are not unknown to you, 

hough from my lips you have not yet heard them stated." 

Rose had been very pale from the moment of his en- 
rance; but that might have been the effect of her recent 
Uness. She merely bowed ; and bending over some plants 
hat stood near, waited in silence for him to proceed. 

" I— I — ought to have left here, before," said Harry. 

" You should, indeed," replied Rose. ** Forgive me for 
;aying so, but I wish you had." 

'* I was brought here, by the most dreadful and agonising 
)f all apprehensions," said the young man; *' the fear of 
osing the one dear being on whom my every wish and hope 
ire fixed. You had been dying : trembling between earth 
md heaven. We know that when the young, the beautiful, 
md good, are visited with sickness, their pure spirits insen- 
iibly turn towards their bright home of lasting resi; we 
know. Heaven help us ! that the best and fairest of our 
dnd, too often fade in blooming." 

There were tears in the eyes of the gentle girl, as these 
vords were spoken ; and when one fell upon the flower 
)ver which she bent, and ghstened brightly in its cup, 
naking it more beautiful, it seemed as though the out- 
Douring of her fresh young heart, claimed kindred natur- 
illy, with the loveliest things in nature. 

'* A creature," continued the young man, passionately, 
* a creature as fair and innocent of guile as one of God's 
3wn angels, fluttered between life and death. Oh ! who 
:ould hope, when the distant world to which she was akin, 
half opened to her view, that she would return to the 
sorrow and calamity of this ! Rose, Rose, to know that 
you were passing away like some soft shadow, which a light 
from above, casts upon the earth ; to have no hope that you 
would be spared to those who linger here ; hardly to know 
a reason why you should be ; to feel that you belonged to 
that bright sphere whither so many of the fairest and the 

258 Oliver Twist 

best have winged their early flight ; and yet to pray, ami< [ 
all these consolations, that you might be restored to thosf 
who loved you — these were distractions almost too grea 
to bear. They were mine, by day and night; and witljl 
them, came such a rushing torrent of fears, and appre i 
hensions, and selfish regrets, lest you should die, and neve 
know how devotedly I loved you, as almost bore dowr ' 
sense and reason in its course. You recovered. Day b] 
day, and almost hour by hour, some drop of health cam< 
back, and mingling with the spent and feeble stream ol ' 
life which circulated languidly within you, swelled it agaii;' 
to a high and rushing tide. I have watched you chang(| 
almost from death, to life, with eyes that turned blind witl 
their eagerness and deep affection. Do not tell me thaijl 
you wish I had lost this ; for it has softened my heart tc|l 
all mankind." '! 

** I did not mean that," said Rose, weeping; " I only 
wish you had left here, that you might have turned to high; 
and noble pursuits again; to pursuits well worthy of you. ' j 

** There is no pursuit more worthy of me : more worth)' 
of the highest nature that exists : than the struggle to wini 
such a heart as yours," said the young man, taking her] 
hand. '* Rose, my own dear Rose ! For years — for yearsi 
— I have loved you ; hoping to win my way to fame, and 
then come proudly home and tell you it had been pursued 
only for you to share ; thinking, in my day-dreams, howi 
I would remind you, in that happy moment, of the many: 
silent tokens I had given of a boy's attachment, and claimi 
your hand, as in redemption of some old mute contract 
that had been sealed between us ! That time has notl 
arrived ; but here, with no fame won, and no young vision 
realised, I offer you the heart so long your own, and stake 
my all upon the words with which you greet the offer." 

" Your behaviour has ever been kind and noble," said 
Rose, mastering the emotions by which she was agitated. 
** As you believe that I am not insensible or ungrateful, so 
hear my answer." 

** It is, that I mav endeavour to deserve vou; it is, dear 

*' It is," replied Rose, ** that you must endeavour to 
forget me; not as your old and dearly-attached companion, 
for that would wound me deeoly; but, as the object of 
vour love. Look into the world ; think how many hearts 
you would be proud to gain, are there. Confide some other 

Oliver Twist 259. 

passion to me, if you will; I will be the truest, warmest, 
and most faithful friend you have." 

There was a pause, during which Rose, who had covered 
her face with one hand, gave free vent to her tears. Harry 
still retained the other. 

*' And your reasons. Rose," he said, at length, in a low 
voice; "your reasons for this decision?" 

"You have a right to know them," rejoined Rose. 
*' You can say nothing to alter my resolution. It is a duty 
that I must perform. I owe it, alike to others, and to 

"To yourself?" 

** Yes, Harry. I owe it to myself, that I, a friendless, 
portionless girl with a blight upon my name, should not 
give your friends reason to suspect that I had sordidly 
yielded to your first passion, and fastened myself, a clog, 
on all your hopes and projects. I owe it to you and yours, 
to prevent you from opposing, in the warmth of your 
generous nature, this great obstacle to your progress in the 

" If your inclinations chime with your sense of 
duty " Harry began. 

" They do not," replied Rose, colouring deeply. 

** Then you return my love?" said Harry. " Say but 
that, dear Rose ; say but that ; and soften the bitterness of 
this hard disappointment!" 

" If I could have done so, without doing heavy wrong to 
him I loved," rejoined Rose, " I could have " 

" Have received this declaration very differently?" 
said Harry. ** Do not conceal that from me, at least. 

" I could," said Rose. " Stay !" she added, disengaging 
her hand, " why should we prolong this painful interview? 
Most painful to me, and yet productive of lasting happiness, 
notwithstanding ; for it will be happiness to know that 
I once held the high place in your regard which I now 
occupy, and every triumph you achieve in life will animate 
me with new fortitude and firmness. Farewell, Harrv ! 
As we have met to-day, we meet no more ; but in other 
relations than those in which this conversation would have 
placed us, we may be long and happily entwined ; and mav 
every blessing that the prayers of a true and earnest heart 
can call down from the so'.^rce of all truth and sincerity, 
cheer and prosper you I" 

26o Oliver Twist 

** Another word, Rose," said Harry. ** Your reason in 
your own words. From your own lips let me hear it !'* 

** The prospect before you,*' answered Rose, firmly, "is 
a brilliant one. All the honours to which great talents 
and powerful connexions can help men in public life, are in 
store for you. But those connexions are proud ; and I will 
neither ming^Ie with such as may hold in scorn the mother 
who gave me life ; nor bring disgrace or failure on the son 
of her who has so well supplied that mother's place. In a 
word," said the young lady, turning away, as her tem- 
porary firmness forsook her, "there is a stain upon my 
name, which the world visits on innocent heads. I will 
carry it into no blood but my own ; and the reproach shall 
rest alone on me." 

"One word more. Rose. Dearest Rose! one more!" 
cried Harry, throwing himself before her. ** If I had been 
less — less fortunate, the world would call it — if some 
obscure and peaceful life had been my destiny — if I had : 
been poor, sick, helpless — would you have turned from 
me then? Or has my probable advancement to riches and! 
honour, given this scruple birth?" 

"Do not press me to reply," answered Rose. "The 
question does not arise, and never will. It is unfair, 
almost unkind, to urge it." 

" If your answer be what I almost dare to hope it is," 
retorted Harry, " it will shed a gleam of happiness upon 
my lonely way, and light the path before me. It is not an 
idle thing to do so much, by the utterance of a few brief 
words, for one who loves you beyond all else. Oh, Rose ! 
in the name of my ardent and enduring attachment ; in 
the name of all I have suffered for you, and all you doom 
me to undergo; answer me this one question !" 

" Then, if your lot had been differently cast," rejoined' 
Rose ; "if you had been even a little, but not so far, above 
me ; if I could have been a help and comfort to you in any 
humble scene of peace and retirement, and not a blot and 
drawback in ambitious and distinguished crowds ; I should 
have been spared this trial. I have every reason to be 
happy, very happy, now ; but then, Harry, I own I should 
have been happier." 

Busy recollections of old hopes, cherished as a girl, long 
ago, crowded into the mind of Rose, while making this 
avowal ; but they brought tears with them, as old hopes 
will when they come back withered ; and they relieved he»- 

Oliver Twist 261 

" I cannot help this weakness, and it makes my purpose 
stronger," said Rose, extending her hand. '* I must leave 
you now, indeed." 

** I ask one promise," said Harry. ** Once, and only 
once more, — say within a year, but it may be much sooner, 
— 1 may speak to you again on this subject, for the last 

" Not to press me to alter my right determination," re- 
plied Rose, with a melancholy smile; '* it will be useless." 

" No," said Harry ; "to hear you repeat it, if you will — 
finally repeat it 1 I will lay at your feet, whatever of station 
or fortune I may possess ; and if you still adhere to your 
present resolution, will not seek, by word or act, to change 

'* Then let it be so," rejoined Rose; " it is but one pang 
the more, and by that time I may be enabled to bear it 

She extended her hand again. But the young man 
caught her to his bosom ; and imprinting one kiss on her 
beautiful forehead, hurried from the room. 



" And so you are resolved to be my travelling companion 
this morning; eh?" said the doctor, as Harry Maylie 
joined him and Oliver at the breakfast-table. *' Why, you 
are not in the same mind or intention two half-hours to- 
gether !" 

** You will tell me a different tale one of these days," 
said Harry, colouring without any perceptible reason. 

" I hope I may have good cause to do so," replied Mr. 
Losberne; ** though I confess I don't think I shall. But 
yesterday morning you had made up your mind, in a great 
hurry, to stay here, and to accompany your mother, like 
a dutiful son, to the sea-side. Before noon, you announce 
that you are going to do me the honour of accompanying 
me as far as I go, on your road to London. And at night, 

262 Oliver Twist 

you urge me, with great mystery, to start before the ladies 
are stirring; the consequence of which is, that young 
Oliver here is pinned down to his breakfast when he ought 
to be ranging the meadows after botanical phenomena of 
all kinds. Too bad, isn't it, Oliver?" 

' ' I should have been very sorry not to have been at home 
when you and Mr. Maylie went away, sir," rejoined 

"That's a fine fellow," said the doctor; "you shall 
come and see me when you return. But, to speak seri- 
ously, Harry; has any communication from the great nobs 
produced this sudden anxiety on your part to be gone?" 

" The great nobs," replied Harry, " under which de- 
signation, I presume, you include my most stately uncle, 
have not communicated with me at all, since I have been 
here ; nor, at this time of the year, is it likely that anything 
would occur to render necessary my immediate attendance 
among them." 

** Well," said the doctor, " you are a queer fellow. But' 
of course they will get you into parliament at the election 
before Christmas, and these sudden shif tings and changes 
are no bad preparation for political life. There's some- 
thing in that. Good training is always desirable, whether 
the race be for place, cup, or sweepstakes." 

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; but he contented himself 
with saying, " We shall see," and pursued the subject no 
farther. The post-chaise drove up to the door shortly 
afterwards ; and Giles coming in for the luggage, the good 
doctor bustled out, to see it packed. 

** Oliver," said Harry Maylie, in a low voice, " let mci 
speak a word with you." 

Oliver walked into the window-recess to which Mr. 
Maylie beckoned him; much surprised at the mixture of 
sadness and boisterous spirits, which his whole behaviour 

** You can write well now?" said Harry, laying his hand 
upon his arm. 

" I hope so, sir," replied Oliver. 

" I shall not be at home again, perhaps for some time; 
1 wish you would write to me — say once a fortnight : every 
alternate Monday : to the General Post Office in London. 
Will you?" 

Oliver Twist 263 

" Oh I certainly, sir; I shall be proud to do it," ex- 

;laimed Oliver, greatly delighted with the commission. 

" I should like to know how — how my mother and Miss 

iflMaylie are," said the young man; " and you can fill up 

a sheet by telling me what walks you take, and what you 

alk about, and whether she — they, I mean — seem happy 

(jfind quite well. You understand me?" 

* Oh ! quite, sir, quite," replied Oliver. 

* I would rather you did not mention it to them,*' said 
Harry, hurrying over his words; " because it might make 
my mother anxious to write to me oftener, and it is a 
trouble and worry to her. Let it be a secret between you 

.and me; and mind you tell me everything! I depend 
upon you." 

Oliver, quite elated and honoured by a sense of his im- 
portance, faithfully promised to be secret and explicit in 
his communications. Mr. Maylie took leave of him, with 
many assurances of his regard and protection. 

The doctor was in the chaise; Giles (who, it had been 
arranged, should be left behind) held the door open in his 
hand; and the women-servants were in the garden, look- 
ing on. Harry cast one slight glance at the latticed 
window, and jumped into the carriage. 

'* Drive on !" he cried, " hard, fast, full gallop! No- 
thing short of flying will keep pace with me, to-day.*' 

"Holloa!" cried the doctor, letting down the front 
glass in a great hurry, and shouting to the postillion ; 
** something very short of flying will keep pace with me. 
Do you hear?" 

Jingling and clattering, till distance rendered its noise 
inaudible, and its rapid progress only perceptible to the 
eye, the vehicle wound its way along the road, almost 
hidden in a cloud of dust : now wholly disappearing, and 
now becoming visible again, as intervening objects, or the 
intricacies of the way, permitted. It was not until even 
the dusty cloud was no longer to be seen, that the gazers 

And there was one looker-on, who remained with eyes 
fixed upon the spot where the carriage had disappeared, 
long after it was many miles away ; for, behind the 
white curtain which had shrouded her from view when 
Harry raised his eyes towards the window, sat Rose 

" He seems in high spirits and happy," she said, at 

264 Oliver Twist 

length. ** 1 feared for a time he might be otherwise. 1 
was mistaken. I am very, very glad." 

Tears are signs of gladness as well as grief ; but those 
which coursed down Rose's face, as she sat pensively at 
the window, still gazing in the same direction, seemed to 
tell more of sorrow than of joy. 



Mr. Bumble sat in the workhouse parlour, with his eyes< 
moodily fixed on the cheerless grate, whence, as it wass 
summer time, no brighter gleam proceeded, than the re- 
flection of certain sickly rays of the sun, which were sent 
back from its cold and shining surface. A paper fly-cage 
dangled from the ceiling, to which he occasionally raised 
his eyes in gloomy thought; and, as the heedless insects 
hovered round the gaudy net-work, Mr. Bumble would' 
heave a deep sigh, while a more gloomy shadow over-- 
spread his countenance. Mr. Bumble was meditating; itt 
might be that the insects brought to mind some painfull 
passage in his own past life. 

Nor was Mr. Bumble's gloom the only thing calculated' 
to awaken a pleasing melancholy in the bosom of a spec- 
tator. There were not wanting other appearances, and 
those closely connected with his own person, which an- 
nounced that a great change had taken place in the posi- 
tion of his affairs. The laced coat, and the cocked-hat; 
where were they? He still wore knee-breeches, and dark 
cotton stockings on his nether limbs ; but they were not 
the breeches. The coat was wide-skirted ; and in that 
respect like the coat, but, oh, how different ! The mighty 
cocked-hat was replaced by a modest round one. Mr. 
Bumble was no longer a beadle. 

There are some promotions in life, which, independent of 
the more substantial rewards they offer, acquire peculiar 
value and dignity from the coats and waistcoats connected 
with them. A field-marshal has his uniform ; a bishop his 
silk apron ; a counsellor his silk gown ; a beadle his 
cocked-hat. Stno the bishop of his apron, or the beadle 

Oliver Twist 265 

of his hat and lace; what are they? Men. Mere men. 
Dignity, and even holiness too, sometimes, are more 
questions of coat and waistcoat than some people imagine. 

Mr. Bumble had married Mrs. Corney, and was master 
of the workhouse. Another beadle had come into power. 
On him the cocked-hat, gold-laced coat, and staff, had all 
three descended. 

"And to-morrow two months it was done!" said Mr. 
Bumble, with a sigh. ** It seems a age." 

Mr. Bumble might have meant that he had concentrated 
a whole existence of happiness into the short space of eight 
weeks ; but the sigh — there was a vast deal of meaning in 
the sigh. 

** I sold myself," said Mr. Bumble, pursuing the same 
train of reflection, " for six teaspoons, a pair of sugar- 
tongs, and a milk-pot; with a small quantity of second- 
hand furniture, and twenty pound in money. I went very 
reasonable. Cheap, dirt cheap!" 

"Cheap!" cried a shrill voice in Mr. Bumble's ear: 
* * you would have been dear at any price ; and dear enough 
I paid for you, Lord above knows that !" 

Mr. Bumble turned, and encountered the face of his 
interesting consort, who, imperfectly comprehending the 
few words she had overheard of his complaint, had 
hazarded the foregoing remark at a venture. 

*' Mrs. Bumble, ma'am !" said Mr. Bumble, with senti- 
mental sternness. 

"Well!" cried the lady. 

" Have the goodness to look at me," said Mr. Bumble, 
fixing his eyes upon her. (" If she stands such a eye as 
that," said Mr. Bumble to himself, "she can stand any- 
thing. It is a eye I never knew to fail with paupers. If 
it fails with her, my power is gone.") 

Whether an exceedingly small expansion of eye be suf- 
ficient to quell paupers, who, being lightly fed, are in no 
i^ery high condition ; or whether the late Mrs. Corney was 
particularly proof against eagle glances ; are matters of 
Dpinion. The matter of fact is, that the matron was in 
no way overpowered by Mr. Bumble's scowl, but, on the 
:ontrary, treated it with great disdain, and even raised a 
:augh thereat, which sounded as though it were genuine. 

On hearing this most unexpected sound, Mr. Bumble 
ooked, first incredulous, and afterwards amazed. He 
:hen relapsed into his former state ; nor did he rouse him- 

266 Oliver Twist 

self until his attention was agfain awakened by the voice of 
his partner. 

'* Are you going to sit snoring there, all day?" inquired 
Mrs. Bumble. 

" I am going to sit here, as long as I think proper, 
ma'am," rejoined Mr. Bumble; *' and although I was not 
snoring, I shall snore, gape, sneeze, laugh, or cry, as the 
humour strikes me; such being my prerogative." 

" Your prerogative!" sneered Mrs. Bumble, with in-- 
effable contempt. 

*' I said the word, ma'am," said Mr. Bumble. **The; 
prerogative of a man is to command." 

'* And what's the prerogative of a woman, in the name 
of Goodness?" cried the relict of Mr. Corney deceased. 

** To obey, ma'am," thundered Mr. Bumble. '* Your: 
late unfortunate husband should have taught it you; and; 
then, perhaps, he might have been alive now. I wish he 
was, poor man !" 

Mrs. Bumble, seeing at a glance, that the decisive mo- 
ment had now arrived, and that a blow struck for the 
mastership on one side or other, must necessarily be final 
and conclusive, no sooner heard this allusion to the dead 
and gone, than she dropped into a chair, and with a loud 
scream that Mr. Bumble was a hard-hearted brute, fell into 
a paroxysm of tears. 

But, tears were not the things to find their way to Mr. 
Bumble's soul; his heart was waterproof. Like washable 
beaver hats that improve with rain, his nerves were 
rendered stouter and more vigorous, by showers of tears, 
which, being tokens of weakness, and so far tacit admis- 
sions of his own pov/er, pleased and exalted him. He 
eyed his good lady with looks of great satisfaction, and 
begged, in an encouraging manner, that she should cry 
her hardest : the exercise being looked upon, by the 
faculty, as strongly conducive to health. 

'* It opens the lungs, washes the countenance, exercises 
the eyes, and softens down the temper," said Mr. Bumble. 
* * So cry away. ' ' 

As he discharged himself of this pleasantry, Mr. Bumble 
took his hat from a peg, and putting it on, rather rakishly, 
on one side, as a man might, who felt he had asserted his 
superiority in a becoming manner, thrust his hands into 
his pockets, and sauntered towards the door, with much 
ease and waggishness depicted in his whole appearance- 

Oliver Twist 267 

Now, Mrs. Corney that was, had tried the tears, because 
they were less troublesome than a manual assault; but, 
she was quite prepared to make trial of the latter mode of 
proceeding, as Mr. Bumble was not long- in discovering. 

The first proof he experienced of the fact, was conveyed 
in a hollow sound, immediately succeeded by the sudden 
flying off of his hat to the opposite end of the room. This 
preliminary proceeding laying bare his head, the expert 
lady, clasping him tightly round the throat with one hand, 
inflicted a shower of blows (dealt with singular vigour and 
dexterity) upon it with the other. This done, she created 
a little variety by scratching his face, and tearing his hair ; 
and, having, by this time, inflicted as much punishment 
as she deemed necessary for the offence, she pushed him 
over a chair, which was luckily well situated for the pur- 
pose : and defied him to talk about his prerogative again, 
if he dared. 

** Get up !" said Mrs. Bumble, in a voice of command. 

And take yourself away from here, unless you v^ant me 
to do something desperate." 

Mr. Bumble rose with a very rueful countenance : 
wondering much what something desperate might be. 
Picking up his hat, he looked towards the door. 

*' Are you going?" demanded Mrs. Bumble. 

** Certainly, my dear, certainly," rejoined Mr. Bumble, 
making a quicker motion towards the door. ** I didn't 
intend to — I 'm going, my dear ! You are so very violent, 
that really I " 

At this instant, Mrs. Bumble stepped hastily forward to 
replace the carpet, which had been kicked up in the scuffle. 
Mr. Bumble immediately darted out of the room, without 
bestowing another thought on his unfinished sentence : 
leaving the late Mrs. Corney in full possession of the 

Mr. Bumble was fairly taken by surprise, and fairly 
beaten. He had a decided propensity for bullying : de* 
rived no inconsiderable pleasure from the exercise of petty 
cruelty; and, consequently, was (it is needless to say) a 
coward. This is by no means a disparagement to his 
character; for many official personages, who are held in 
high respect and admiration, are the victims of similar 
infirmities. The remark is made, indeed, rather in his 
favour than otherwise, and with a view of impressing the 
reader with a just sense of his qualifications for office. 

268 Oliver Twist 

But, the measure of his degradation was not yet full. 
After making a tour of the house, and thinking, for the 
first time, that the poor-laws really were too hard on 
people; and that men who ran away from their wives, 
leaving them chargeable to the parish, ought, in justice, 
to be visited with no punishment at all, but rather rewarded 
as meritorious individuals who had suffered much; Mr. 
Bumble came to a room where some of the female paupers 
were usually employed in washing the parish linen : whence 
the sound of voices in conversation now proceeded. 

'* Hem !" said Mr. Bumble, summoning up all his native 
dignity. '* These women at least shall continue to respect 
the prerogative. Hallo ! hallo there ! What do you mean 
by this noise, you hussies?" 

With these words, Mr. Bumble opened the door, and 
walked in with a very fierce and angry manner : which 
was at once exchanged for a most humiliated and cowering 
air, as his eyes unexpectedly rested on the form of his 
bdy wife. 

" My dear," said Mr. Bumble, " I didn't know you were 

''Didn't know I was here!" repeated Mrs. Bumble. 
" What do you do here?" 

'* I thought they were talking rather too much to be 
doing their work properly, my dear," replied Mr. Bumble : 
glancing distractedly at a couple of old women at the 
wash-tub, who were comparing notes of admiration at the 
workhouse-master's humility. 

** You thought they were talking too much?" said Mrs. 
Bumble. "What business is it of yours?" 

'* W^hy, my dear — " urged Mr. Bumble submissively. 

"What business is it of yours?" demanded Mrs. 
Bumble, again. 

" It's very true, you're matron here, my dear," sub- 
mitted Mr. Bumble; "but I thought you mightn't be in 
the way just then." 

" I'll tell you what, Mr. Bumble," returned his lady. 
" We don't want any of your interference. You're a great 
deal too fond of poking your nose into things that don't 
concern you, making everybody in the house laugh, the 
moment your back is turned, and making yourself look like 
a fool ever)' hour in the day. Be off; come !" 

Mr. Bumble, seeing with excruciating feelings, the de- 
light of the two old paupers, who were tittering together 

Oliver Twist 269 

most rapturously, hesitated for an instant. Mrs. Bumble, 
whose patience brooked no delay, caueht up a bowl of 
soap-suds, and motioning- him towards the door, ordered 
him instantly to depart, on pain of receiving the contents 
upon his portly person. 

What could Mr. Bumble do? He looked dejectedly 
round, and slunk away; and, as he reached the door, the 
titterings of the paupers broke into a shrill chuckle of irre- 
pressible delight. It wanted but this. He was degraded 
in their eyes ; he had lost caste and station before the very 
paupers ; he had fallen from all the height and pomp of 
beadleship, to the lowest depth of the most snubbed hen- 

" All in two months !" said Mr. Bun. Me, filled with 
dismal thoughts. ** Two months ! No more than two 
months ago, 1 was not only my own master, but everybody 
else's, so far as the porochial workhouse was concerned, 
and now ! " 

It was too much. Mr. Bumble boxed the ears of the 
boy who opened the gate for him (for he had reached the 
portal in his reverie) ; and walked, distractedly, into the 

He walked up one street, and down another, until exer- 
cise had abated the first passion of his grief ; and then the 
revulsion of feeling made him thirsty. He passed a great 
many public-houses ; but, at length paused before one in 
a by-way, whose parlour, as he gathered from a hasty peep 
over the blinds, was deserted, save by one solitary cus- 
tomer. It began to rain, heavily, at the moment. This 
determined him. Mr. Bumble stepped in ; and ordering 
something to drink, as he passed the bar, entered the apart- 
ment into which he had looked from the street. 

The man who was seated there, was tall and dark, and 
wore a large cloak. He had the air of a stranger; and 
seemed, by a certain haggardness in his look, as well as 
by the dusty soils on his dress, to have travelled some 
distance. He eyed Bumble askance, as he entered, but 
scarcely deigned to nod his head in acknowledgment of his 

Mr. Bumble had quite dignity enough for two : sup- 
posing even that the stranger had been more familiar : so 
he drank his gin-and-water in silence, and read the paper 
with great show of pomp and circumstance. 

It so happened, however : as it will happen very often, 

270 Oliver Twist 

when men fall into company under such circumstances : 
that Mr. Bumble felt, every now and then, a powerful 
inducement, which he could not resist, to steal a look at 
the stranger : and that whenever he did so, he withdrew 
his eyes, in some confusion, to find that the stranger was 
at that moment stealing a look at him. Mr. Bumble's 
awkwardness was enhanced by the very remarkable ex- 
pression of the stranger's eye, which was keen and bright, 
but shadowed by a scowl of distrust and suspicion, unlike 
anything he had ever observed before, and repulsive to 

When they had encountered each other's glance several 
times in this w y, the stranger, in a harsh, deep voice, 
broke silence. 

**Were you looking for me," he said, ** when you 
peered in at the window?" 

" Not that I am aware of, unless you're Mr. " 

Here Mr. Bumble stopped short; for he was curious to 
know the stranger's name, and thought in his impatience, 
he might supply the blank. 

** I see you were not," said the stranger; an expressionn 
of quiet sarcasm playing about his mouth ; * * or you vvould^ 
have known my name. You don't know it. I would re- 
commend you not to ask for it." 

" I meant no harm, young man," observed Mr. Bumble,, 

"And have done none," said the stranger. 

Another silence succeeded this short dialogue : whichh 
was again broken by the stranger. 

** I have seen you before, I think?" said he. ** You 
were differently dressed at that time, and I only passed 
you in the street, but I should know you again. You were 
beadle here, once ; were you not ? ' ' 

** I was," said Mr. Bumble, in some surprise; ** poro- 
chial beadle." 

** Just so," rejoined the other, nodding his head. ** It 
was in that character I saw you. What are you now?" 

" Master of the workhouse," rejoined Mr. Bumble, 
slowly and impressively, to check any undue familiarity 
the stranger might otherwise assume. " Master of the 
workhouse, young man!" 

" You have the same eye to your own interest, that you 
always had, I doubt not?" resumed the stranger, looking 
keenly into Mr. Bumble's eyes, as he raised them in 

Oliver Twist 271 

astonishment at the question. *' Don't scruple to answer 
freely, man. I know you pretty well, you see." 

** I suppose, a married man," replied Mr. Bumble, shad- 
ing his eyes with his hand, and surveying- the stranger, 
from head to foot, in evident perplexity, ** is not more 
averse to turning an honest penny when he can, than a 
single one. Porochial officers are not so well paid that 
they can afford to refuse any little extra fee, when it comes 
to them in a civil and proper manner." 

The stranger smiled, and nodded his head again : as 
much as to say, he had not mistaken his man ; then rang 
the bell. 

** Fill this glass again," he said, handing Mr. Bumble's 
empty tumbler to the landlord. ** Let it be strong and 
hot. You like it so, I suppose?" 

" Not too strong," replied Mr. Bumble, with a delicate 

"You understand what that means, landlord!" said 
the stranger, drily. 

The host smiled, disappeared, and shortly afterwards 
returned with a steaming jorum : of which the first gulp 
brought the water into Mr. Bumble's eyes. 

'* Now listen to me," said the stranger, after closing 
the door and window. ** I came dov/n to this place to- 
day, to find you out; and, by one of those chances which 
the devil throws in the way of his friends sometimes, you 
walked into the very room I was sitting in, while you were 
uppermost in my mind. I want some information from 
you. I don't ask you to give it for nothing, slight as it is. 
Put up that, to begin with." 

As he spoke, he pushed a couple of sovereigns across the 
table to his companion, carefully, as though unwilling that 
the chinking of money should be heard without. When 
Mr. Bumble had scrupulously examined the coins, to see 
that they were genuine, and had put them up, with much 
satisfaction, in his waistcoat-pocket, he went on : 

" Carry your memory back — let me see — twelve years, 
last winter." 

"It's a long time," said Mr. Bumble. ** Very good. 
I've done it."' 

"The scene, the workhouse." 


" And the time, night.'* 


272 Oliver Twist 

" And the place, the crazy hole, wherever it was, ini 
which miserable drabs brought forth the life and health 
so often denied to themselves — gave birth to puling children 
for the parish to rear; and hid their shame, rot 'em, in; 
the grave !" 

** The lying-in room, I suppose?" said Mr. Bumble, not 
quite following the stranger's excited description. 

"Yes," said the stranger. "A boy was born there." 

** A many boys," observed Mr. Bumble, shaking his 
head despondingly. 

** A murrain on the young devils !" cried the stranger; 
"I speak of one; a meek-looking, pale-faced boy, who 
was apprenticed down here, to a coffin-maker — I wish he 
had made his coffin, and screwed his body in it — and who 
afterwards ran away to London, as it was supposed." 

"Why, you mean Oliver! Young Twist!" said Mr. 
Bumble; " I remember him, of course. There wasn't a 
obstinater young rascal " 

** It's not of him I want to hear; I've heard enough ot 
him," said the stranger, stopping Mr. Bumble in the outset 
of a tirade on the subject of poor Oliver's vices. " It's of 
a woman; the hag that nursed his mother. Where is 

'* Where is she?" said Mr. Bumble, whom the gin-and- 
water had rendered facetious. " It would be hard to tell. 
There's no midwifery there, whichever place she's gone to; 
so I suppose she's out of employment, anyway." 

" What do you mean?" demanded the stranger, sternly. 

** That she died last winter," rejoined Mr. Bumble. 

The man looked fixedly at him when he had given this 
information, and although he did not withdraw his eyes 
for some time afterwards, his gaze gradually became vacant 
and abstracted, and he seemed lost in thought. For some 
time, he appeared doubtful whether he ought to be relieved 
or disappointed by the intelligence ; but at length he 
breathed more freely; and withdrawing his eyes, obsen'-ed 
that it was no great matter. W^ith that he rose, as if to 

But Mr. Bumble was cunning enough ; and he at once 
saw that an opportunity was opened, for the lucrative 
disposal of some secret in the possession of his better half. 
He well remembered the night of old Sally's death, which 
the occurrences of that day had given him good reason to 
recollect, as the occasion on which he had proposed to 

Oliver Twist 273 

Mrs. Corney; and although that lady hi.>.d never confided 
to him the disclosure of which she had been the solitary 
witness, he had heard enough to know that it related to 
something that had occurred in the old woman's attend- 
ance, as workhouse nurse, upon the young mother of Oliver 
Twist. Hastily calling this circumstance to mind, he in- 
formed the stranger, with an air of mystery, that one 
woman had been closeted with the old harridan shortly 
before she died ; and that she could, as he had reason lo 
believe, throw some light on the subject of his inquiry. 

" How can I find her?" said the stranger, thrown ofT 
his guard ; and plainly showing that all his fears (whatever 
they were) were aroused afresh by the intelligence. 

" Only through me," rejoined Mr. Bumble. 

"When?" cried the stranger, hastily. 

"To-morrow," rejoined Bumble. 

"At nine in the evening," said the stranger, producing 

a scrap of paper, and writing down upon it, an obscure 

iddress by the water-side, in characters that betrayed his 

igitation ; " at nine in the evening, bring her to me there. 

needn't tell you to be secret. It's your interest." 

With these words, he led the way to the door, after stop- 
Ding to pay for the liquor that had been drunk. Shortly 
'emarking that their roads were different, he departed, 
vithout more ceremony than an emphatic repetition of the 
lOur of appointment for the following night. 

On glancing at the address, the parochial functionary 
)bserved that it contained no name. The stranger had 
lot gone far, so he made after him to ask it. 

" What do you want?" cried the man, turning quickly 
ound, as Bumble touched him on the arm. " Followin^f 

" Only to ask a question," said the other, pointing to 
he scrap of paper. " What name am I to ask for?" 

" Monks 1" rejoined the man; and strode hastily away. 

274 Oliver Twist 



It was a dull, close, overcast summer evening. The clouds, 
which had been threatening all day, spread out in a dense 
and sluggish mass of vapour, already yielded large drops 
of rain, and seemed to presage a violent thunder-storm, 
when Mr. and Mrs. Bumble, turning out of the main street 
of the town, directed their course towards a scattered little 
colony of ruinous houses, distant from it some mile and i 
a-half, or thereabouts, and erected on a low unwholesome; 
swamp, bordering upon the river. 

They were both wrapped in old and shabby outer gar-- 
ments, which might, perhaps, ser^-e the double purpose of 
protecting their persons from the rain, and sheltering them 
from observation. The husband carried a lantern, from 
which, however, no light yet shone; and trudged on, a 
few paces in front, as though — the way being dirty — to 
give his wife the benefit of treading in his heavy foot-prints. 
They went on, in profound silence; every now and then, 
JMr. Bumble relaxed his pace, and turned his head as if to 
'make sure that his helpmate was following; then, dis- 
covering that she was close at his heels, he mended his 
rate of walking, and proceeded, at a considerable increase 
of speed, towards their place of destination. 

This was far from being a place of doubtful character; 
for it had long been known as the residence of none but low 
ruffians, who, under various pretences of living by their 
labour, subsisted chiefly on plunder and crime. It was a 
collection of mere hovel's : some, hastily built with loose 
bricks: others, of old worm-eaten ship-timber; jumbled 
together without any attempt at order or arrangement, and 
planted, for the most part, within a few feet of the river's 
bank. A few leaky boats drawn up on the mud, and made 
fast to the dwarf wall which skirted it : and here and there 
an oar or coil of rope : appeared, at first to indicate thai 
the inhabitants of these miserable cottages pursued somr 
avocation on the river; but a glance at the shattered anc 
useless condition of the articles thus displayed, would havt 

Oliver Twist 275 

led a passer-by, without much difficulty, to the conjecture 
that they were disposed there, rather for the preservation 
of appearances, than with any view to their being actually 

In the heart of this cluster of huts ; and skirting the 
river, which its upper stories overhung ; stood a large build- 
ing, formerly used as a manufactory of some kind. It had, 
in its day, probably furnished employment to the inhabit- 
ants of the surrounding tenements. But it had long since 
gone to ruin. The rat, the worm, and the action of the 
damp, had weakened and rotted the piles on which it stood ; 
and a considerable portion of the building had already 
sunk down into the water; while the remainder, tottering 
and bending over the dark stream, seemed to wait a favour- 
able opportunity of following its old companion, and in- 
volving itself in the same fate. 

It was before this ruinous building that the worthy couple 
paused, as the first peal of distant thunder reverberated in 
the air, and the rain commenced pouring violently down. 

** The place should be somewhere here," said Bumble, 
consulting a scrap of paper he held in his hand. 

*' Halloa there !" cried a voice from above. 

Following the sound, Mr. Bumble raised his head, and 
descried a man looking out of a door, breast-high, on the 
second story. 

" Stand still, a minute," cried the voice; " Pll be with 
you directly." With which the head disappeared, and the 
door closed. 

" Is that the man?" asked Mr. Bumble's good lady. 

Mr. Bumble nodded in the affirmative. 

** Then, mind what I told you," said the matron : ** and 
be careful to say as little as you can, or you'll betray us at 
once. ' ' 

Mr. Bumble, who had eved the building with very rueful 
looks, was apparently about to express some doubts relative 
to the advisability of proceeding any further with the enter- 
prise just then, when he was prevented by the appearance of 
Monks : who opened a small door, near which they stood, 
md beckoned them inwards. 

'Come in!" he cried impatiently, stamping his foot 
Lipon the ground. ** Don't keep me here !" 

The woman, who had hesitated at first, walked boldly 
in, without any other invitation. Mr. Bumble, who was 
ashamed or afraid to lag behind, followed : obviously very 


Oliver Twist 

ill at ease and with scarcely any of that remarkable dignity 
which was usually his chief characteristic. 

" What the devil made you stand lingering there, in the 
wet?" said Monks, turning round, and addressing Bum- 
ble, after he had bolted the door behind them. 

" We — we were only cooling ourselves,*' stammered 
Bumble, looking apprehensively about him. 

** Cooling yourselves !" retorted Monks. '* Not all thei 
rain that ever fell, or ever will fall, will put as much of' 
hell's fire out, as a man can carry about with him. Youi 
won't cool yourselves so easily ; don't think it !" 

With this agreeable speech, Monks turned short upon>' 
the matron, and bent his gaze upon her, till even she, who 
was not easily cowed, was fain to withdraw her eyes, andi 
turn them towards the ground. 

"This is the woman, is it?" demanded Monks. 

"Hem! That is the woman," replied Mr. Bumble, 
mindful of his wife's caution. 

" You think women never can keep secrets, I suppose?" 
said the matron, interposing, and returning, as she spoke, 
the searching look of Monks. 

" I know they will always keep one till it's found out," 
said Monks. 

" And what may that be?" asked the matron. 

"The loss of their own good name," replied Monks. 
" So, by the same rule, if a woman's a party to a secret 
that might hang or transport her, I'm not afraid of hen 
telling it to anybody ; not I ! Do you understand, 

" No," rejoined the matron, slightly colouring as she< 

"Of course you don't!" said Monks. "How should 

Bestowing something half-way between a smile and a 
frown upon his two companions, and again beckoning them 
to follow him, the man hastened across the apartment, 
which was of considerable extent, but low in the roof. He 
was preparing to ascend a steep staircase, or rather ladder, 
leading to another floor of warehouses above : when a 
bright flash of lightning streamed down the aperture, and 
a peal of thunder followed, which shook the crazy building 
to its centre. 

" Hear it !" he cried, shrinking back. " Hear it I Roll- 
ing and crashing on as if it echoed through a thousanc: ^ 

Oliver Twist 277 

caverns where the devils were hiding from it. I hate the 
sound !" 

He remained silent for a few m.oments ; and then, re- 
moving his hands suddenly from his face, showed, to the 
unspeakable discomposure of Mr. Bumble, that it was much 
distorted, and discoloured. 

*' These fits come over me now and then," said Monks^ 
observing his alarm; *' and thunder sometimes brings them 
on. Don't mind me now; it's all over for this once." 

Thus speaking, he led the way up the ladder ; and hastily 
closing the window-shutter of the room into which it led, 
lowered a lantern which hung at the end of a rope and 
Dulley passed through one of the heavy beams in the 
:eiling : and which cast a dim light upon an old table and 
:hree chairs that were placed beneath it. 

" Now," said Monks, when they had all three seated 
hemselves, ** the sooner we come to our business, the 
setter for all. The woman knows what it is, does she?'* 

The question was addressed to Bumble ; but his wife 
mticipated the reply, by intimating that she was perfectly 
icquainted with it. 

" He is right in saying that you were with this hag the 
light she died; and that she told you something " 

* About the mother of the boy you named," replied the 
natron, interrupting him. '* Yes." 

' The first question is, of what nature was her communi- 
:ation?" said Monks. 

'That's the second," observed the woman with much 
leliberation. ** The first is, what may the commaunicatioo 
>e worth?" 

'* Who the devil can tell that, without knowing of what 
cind it is?" asked Monks. 

* Nobody better than you, I am persuaded," answered 
^Irs. Bumble : who did not want for spirit, as her yoke- 
ellow could abundantly testify. 

* Humph!" said Monks significantly, and with a look 
>f eager inquiry; "there may be money's worth to set, 

'* Perhaps there may," was the composed reply. 

" Something that was taken from her," saici Monks. 
* Something that she wore. Something that " 

** You had better bid," interrupted Mrs. Bumble. ** ! 
lave heard enough, already, to assure me that you are the 
nan I ought to talk to." 


Oliver Twist 

Mr. Bumble, who had not yet been admitted by his 
better half into any greater share of the secret than he had 
originally possessed, listened to this dialogue with out- 
stretched neck and distended eyes : which he directed to- ; 
wards his wife and Monks by turns, in undisguised aston- 
ishment ; increased, if possible, when the latter sternly 
demanded what sum was required for the disclosure. 

" What's it worth to you?" asked the woman, as col- 
lectedly as before. j 

" It may be nothing; it may be twenty pounds," replied 11 
Monks. " Speak out, and let me know which." 

" Add five pounds to the sum you have named; give me 
five-and-twenty pounds in gold," said the woman; "andlj 
I'll tell you all I know. Not before." ! 

'* Five-and-twenty pounds !" exclaimed Monks, drawing {| 

"I spoke as plainly as I could," repHed Mrs. Bumble. 
** It's not a large sum, either." 

" Not a large sum for a paltry secret, that may be nothing; 
when it's told!" cried Monks impatiently; "and which? 
has been lying dead for twelve years past or more !" 

" Such matters keep well, and, like good wine, often 
double their value in course of time," answered the matron, , 
still preserving the resolute indifference she had assumed. 
** As to lying dead, there are those who will lie dead for 
twelve thousand years to come, or twelve million, for any-- 
thing you or I know, who will tell strange tales at last !"' 

*' What if I pay it for nothing?" asked Monks,, 

** You can easily take it away again," replied that 
matron. ** I am but a woman; alone here; and un- 

" Not alone, my dear, nor unprotected neither," sub- 
mitted Mr. Bumble, in a voice tremulous with fear : ** / 
am here, my dear. And besides," said Mr. Bumble, his 
teeth chattering as he spoke, " Mr. Monks is too much 
of a §^entleman to attempt any violence on porochial per- 
sons. Mr. Monks is aware that I am not a young man, my 
dear, and also that I am a little run to seed, as I may say ; 
but he has heerd : I say I have no doubt Mr. Monks has 
heerd, my dear : that I am a very determined officer, with 
very uncommon strength, if I'm once roused. I only want 
a little rousing; that's all." 

As Mr. Bumble spoke, he made a melancholy feint of 

Oliver Twist 279 

grasping his lantern with fierce determination ; and plainly 
showed, by the alarmed expression of every feature, that 
he did want a little rousing, and not a little, prior to making 
any very warlike demonstration : unless, indeed, against 
paupers, or other person or persons trained down for the 

" You are a fool," said Mrs. Bumble, in reply; " and 
had better hold your tongue." 

*' He had better have cut it out, before he came, if he 
can't speak in a lower tone," said Monks, grimly. *' So ! 
He's your husband, eh?" 

"He my husband!" tittered the matron, parrying the 

" I thought as much, when you came in," rejoined 
Monks, marking the angry glance which the lady darted 
at her spouse as she spoke. '* So much the better; I 
have less hesitation in dealing with two people, when I 
find that there's only one will between them. I'm in 
earnest. See here !" 

He thrust his hand into a side-pocket ; and producing 
a canvas bag, told out twenty-five sovereigns on the table, 
and pushed them over to the woman. 

*' Now," he said, ''gather them up; and when this 
cursed peal of thunder, which I feel is coming up to break 
over the house-top, is gone, let's hear your story." 

The thunder, which seemed in fact much nearer, and to 
shiver and break almost over their heads, having subsided. 
Monks, raising his face from the table, bent forward to 
listen to what the woman should say. The faces of the 
three nearly touched, as the two men leant over the small 
table in their eagerness to hear, and the woman also leant 
forward to render her whisper audible. The sickly rays 
of the suspended lantern falling directly upon them, 
aggravated the paleness and anxiety of their countenances : 
which, encircled by the deepest gloom and darkness, looked 
ghastly in the extreme. 

**When this woman, that we called old Sally, died," 
the matron began, "she and I were alone." 

"Was there no one by?" asked Monks, in the same 
hollow whisper; "no sick wretch or idiot in some other 
bed? No one who could hear, and might, by possibility, 

"Not a soul," replied the woman; "we were alone. 
I stood alone beside the body when death came over it.'* 

28o Oliver Twist 

*' Good," said Monks, regarding her attentively. ** Go 

" She spoke of a young creature," resumed the matron, 
** who had brought a child into the world some years 
before ; not merely in the same room, but in the same bed, 
in which she then lay dying." 

" x\y?" said Monks, with quivering lip, and glancing 
over his shoulder. " Blood! How things come about!" 

" The child was the one you named to him last night," 
said the matron, nodding carelessly towards her husband ; 
** the mother this nurse had robbed." 

** In life?" asked Monks. 

** In death," replied the woman, with something like a 
shudder. *' She stole from the corpse, when it had hardly 
turned to one, that which the dead mother had prayed her, 
with her last breath, to keep for the infant's sake." 

" She sold it?" cried Monks, with desperate eagerness;; 
** did she sell it? Where? When? To whom? How 
long before?" 

*' As she told me, with great difficulty, that she had done: 
this," said the matron, ** she fell back and died." 

*' Without saying more?" cried Monks, in a voice which, 
from its very suppression, seemed only the more furious. 
'* It's a lie ! I'll not be played with. She said more. I'll 
tear the life out of you both, but I'll know what it was." 

" She didn't utter another word," said the woman, to 
all appearance unmoved (as Mr. Bumble was very far from 
being) by the strange man's violence; "but she clutched 
my gown, violently, with one hand, which was partly 
closed ; and when I saw that she was dead, and so removed 
the hand by force, I found it clasped a scrap of dirty 

'* Which contained " interposed Monks, stretching 


"Nothing," replied the woman; "it was a pawn- 
broker's duplicate." 

" For what?" demanded Monks. 

** In good time I'll tell you," said the woman. " I 
judge that she had kept the trinket, for some time, in the 
hope of turning it to better account; and then had pawned 
it; and had saved or scraped together money to pay the 
pawnbroker's interest year by year, and prevent its run- 
ning out; so that if anything came of it, it could still be 
redeemed. Nothing had come of it; and, as I tell you. 

Oliver Twist 281 

she died with the scrap of paper, all worn and tattered, in 
her hand. The time was out in two days ; I thought some- 
thing might one day come of it too; and so redeemed the 
pledge." "^ 

** Where is it now?" asked Monks quickly. 
*' There," replied the woman. And, as if glad to be 
relieved of it, she hastily threw upon the table a small kid 
bag scarcely large enough for a French watch, which 
Monks pouncing upon, tore open with trembling hands. 
It contained a little gold locket : in which were two locks 
of hair, and a plain gold wedding-ring. 

** It has the word ' Agnes ' engraved on the inside," said 
the woman. ** There is a blank left for the surname; and 
then follows the date ; which is within a year before the 
child was born. I found out that." 

*' And this is all?" said Monks, after a close and eager 
scrutiny of the contents of the little packet. 
" All," replied the woman. 

Mr. Bumble drew a long breath, as if he were glad to 
find that the story was over, and no mention made of 
taking the five-and-twenty pounds back again ; and now 
he took courage to wipe off the perspiration which had 
been trickling over his nose, unchecked, during the whole 
of the previous dialogue. 

** I know nothing of the story, beyond what I can guess 
at," said his wife, addressing Monks after a short silence; 
** and I want to know nothing; for it's safer not. But I 
may ask you two questions, may I?" 

'* You may ask," said Monks, with some show of 
surprise; "but whether I answer or not is another 

♦♦ — Which makes three," observed Mr. Bumble, essay- 
ing a stroke of facetiousness. 

** Is that what you expected to get from me?" demanded 
the matron. 

" It is," replied Monks. *' The other question?" 
*' What you propose to do with it? Can it be used 
against m€?" 

"Never," rejoined Monks; "nor against me either. 
See here ! But don't move a step forward, or your life is 
not worth a bulrush." 

With these words, he suddenly wheeled the table aside, 
and pulling an iron ring in the boarding, threw back a 
large trap-door which opened close at Mr. Bumble's feet, 

282 Oliver Twist 

and caused that gentleman to retire several paces back- 
ward, with great precipitation. 

** Look down," said Monks, lowering the lantern into 
the gulf. ** Don't fear me. I could have let you down, 
quietly enough, when you were seated over it, if that had 
been my game." 

Thus encouraged, the matron drew near to the brink; 
and even Mr. Bumble himself, impelled by curiosity, ven- 
tured to do the same. The turbid water, swollen by the 
heavy rain, was rushing rapidly on below; and all other 
sounds were lost in the noise of its plashing and eddying 
against the green and slimy piles. There had once been 
a water-mill beneath ; the tide foaming and chafing round 
the few rotten stakes, and fragments of machinery that yet 
remained, seemed to dart onward, with a new impulse, 
when freed from the obstacles which had unavailingly 
attempted to stem its headlong course. 

** If you flung a man's body down there, where would 
it be to-morrow morning?" said Monks, swinging the 
lantern to and fro in the dark well. 

** Twelve miles down the river, and cut to pieces be-, 
sides," replied Bumble, recoiling at the thought. 

Monks drew the little packet from his breast, where he 
had hurriedly thrust it ; and tying it to a leaden v/eight, 
which had formed a part of some pulley, and was lying on 
the floor, dropped it into the stream. It fell straight, and 
true as a die ; clove the water with a scarcely audible 
splash; and was gone. 

The three looking into each other's faces, seemed to 
breathe more freely. 

" There !" said Monks, closing the trap-door, which fell 
heavily back into its former position. ** If the sea ever 
gives up its dead, as books say it will, it will keep its gold 
and silver to itself, and that trash among it. We have 
nothing more to say, and may break up our pleasant party. " 

" By all means," observed Mr. Bumble, with great 

*' You'll keep a quiet tongue in your head, will you?" 
said Monks, with a threatening look. ** I am not afraid 
of your wife." 

"You may depend upon me, young man," answered 
Mr, Bumble, bowing himself gradually towards the ladder, 
with excessive politeness. " On everybody's account, 
young man; on my own, you know, Mr. Monks." 

Oliver Twist 283 

" I am glad, for your sake, to hear it," remarked Monks. 
" Light your lantern! And get away from here as last 
as you can." 

It was fortunate that the conversation terminated at this 
point, or Mr. Bumble, who had bowed himself to within 
six inches of the ladder, would infallibly have pitched 
headlong into the room below. He lighted his lantern 
from that which Monks had detached from the rope, and 
now carried in his hand ; and making no effort to prolong 
the discourse, descended in silence, followed by his wife. 
Monks brought up the rear, after pausing on the steps 
to satisfy himself that there were no other sounds to be 
heard than the beating of the rain without, and the rushing 
of the water. 

They traversed the lower room slowly, and with caution ; 
for Monks started at every shadow ; and Mr. Bumble, hold- 
ing his lantern a foot above the ground, walked not only 
with remarkable care, but with a marvellously light step 
for a gentleman of his figure : looking nervously about 
him for hidden trap-doors. The gate at which they had 
entered was softly unfastened and opened by Monks; 
merely exchanging a nod with their mysterious acquaint- 
ance, the married couple emerged into the wet and dark- 
ness outside. 

They were no sooner gone, than Monks, who appeared 
to entertain an invincible repugnance to being left alone, 
called to a boy who had been hidden somewhere below. 
Bidding him go first, and bear the light, he returned to 
the chamber he had just quitted. 



On the evening following that upon which the three 
worthies mentioned in the last chapter, disposed of their 
little matter of business as therein narrated, Mr. William 
Sikes, awakening from a nap, drowsily growled forth an 
inquiry what time of night it was. 

284 Oliver Twist 

The room in which Mr. Sikes propounded this question, 
was not one of those he had tenanted, previous to the 
Chertsey expedition, although it was in the same quarter 
of the town, and was situated at no great distance from 
his former lodgings. It was not, in appearance, so desir- 
able a habitation as his old quarters : being a mean and 
badly-furnished apartment, of very limited size*, lighted 
only by one small window in the shelving roof, and abut- 
ting on a close and dirty lane. 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, 
and total absence of comfort, together with the disappear- 
ance of all such small moveables as spare clothes and linen, 
bespoke a state of extreme poverty ; while the meagre and 
attenuated condition of Mr. Sikes himself would have fully 
confirmed these symptoms, if they had stood in any need of 

The housebreaker was lying on the bed, wrapped in his 
white great-coat, by way of dressing-gown, and displaying; 
a set of features in no degree improved by the cadaverous 
hue of illness, and the addition of a soiled nightcap, and! 
a stiflF, black beard of a week's growth. The dog sat att 
the bedside : now eyeing his master with a wistful look, 
and now pricking his ears, and uttering a low growl as> 
some noise in the street, or in the lower part of the house, , 
attracted his attention. Seated by the window, busily, 
engaged in patching an old waistcoat which formed a por- 
tion of the robber's ordinary dress, was a female : so pale 
and reduced with watching and privation, that there v/ould 
have been considerable difficulty in recognising her as the 
same Nancy who has already figured in this tale, but forr 
the voice in which she replied to Mr. Sikes 's question. 

** Not long gone seven," said the girl. ** How do you 
feel to-night, Bill?" 

** As weak as water," replied Mr. Sikes, with an imore- 
cation on his eyes and limbs. ** Here; lend us a hand, 
and let me get ofiF this thundering bed anyhow.** 

Illness had not improved Mr. Sikes 's temper; for, as the 
girl raised him up and led him to a chair, he muttered 
various curses on her awkwardness, and struck her. 

** Whining, are you?'' said Sikes. "Come! Don't 
©tand snivelling there. If you can't do anything better 
than that, cut off altogether. D'ye hear me?" 

" I hear you," replied the girl, turning her face aside, 

Oliver Twist 285 

and forcing a laugh. ** What fancy have you got in your 
head now?" 

" Oh ! you've thought better of it, have you?" growled 
Sikes, marking the tear which trembled in her eye. '* AIJ 
the better for you, you have." 

** Why, you don't mean to say, you'd be hard upon me 
to-night, Bill," said the girl, laying her hand upon his 

'♦No!" cried Mr. Sikes. "Why not?" 

** Such a number of nights," said the girl, with a touch 
of woman's tenderness, which communicated something 
like sweetness of tone, even to her voice : " such a number 
of nights as I've been patient with you, nursing and caring 
for you, as if you had been a child : and this the first that 
I've seen you like yourself; you wouldn't have served me 
as you did just now, if you'd thought of that, would you? 
Come, come; say you wouldn't." 

" Well, then," rejoined Mr. Sikes, " I wouldn't. Why^ 
damme, now, the girl's whining again!" 

" It's nothing," said the girl, throwing herself into a 
chair. *' Don't you seem to mind me. It'll soon be^ 

** What '11 be over?" demanded Mr. Sikes in a savage 
voice. ♦* What foolery are you up to, now, again? Get 
up and bustle about, and don't come over me with your 
woman's nonsense." 

At any other time, this remonstrance, and the tone in 
which it was delivered, would have had the desired effect; 
but the girl being really weak and exhausted, dropped her 
head over the back of the chair, and fainted, before Mr. 
Sikes could get out a few of the appropriate oaths with 
which, on similar occasions, he was accustomed to garnish 
his threats. Not knowing, very well, what to do, in this 
uncommon emergency ; for Miss Nancy's hysterics were 
usually of that violent kind which the patient fights and 
struggles out of, without much assistance ; Mr. Sikes tried 
a little blasphemy : and finding that mode of treatment 
wholly ineffectual, called for assistance. 

*' What's the matter here, my dear?" said Fagin, look- 
mg in. 

" Lend a hand to the girl, can't you?" replied Sikes 
impatiently. " Don't stand chattering and grinning at 

With an exclamation of surprise, Fagin hastened to th*- 

286 Oliver Twist 

girl's assistance, while Mr. John Dawkins (otherwise the 
Artful Dodger), who had followed his venerable friend into 
the room, hastily deposited on the floor a bundle with 
which he was laden ; and snatching a bottle from the grasp 
of Master Charles Bates who came close at his heels, un- 
corked it in a twinkling with his teeth, and poured a 
portion of its contents down the patient's throat : previ- 
ously taking a taste, himself, to prevent mistakes. 

'* Give her a whiff of fresh air with the bellov/s, 
Charley," said Mr. Dawkins; ** and you slap her hands, 
Fagin, while Bill undoes the petticuts. " 

These united restoratives, administered with great 
energy : especially that department consigned to Master 
Bates, who appeared to consider his share in the proceed- 
ings, a piece of unexampled pleasantry : were not long in 
producing the desired effect. The girl gradually recovered 
her senses ; and staggering to a chair by the bedside, hid 
her face upon the pillow : leaving Mr. Sikes to confront 
the new-comers, in some astonishment at their unlooked- 
for appearance. 

'' Why, what evil wind has blowed you here?" he asked 

*' No evil wind at all, my dear, for evil winds blow 
nobody any good; and I've brought something good with 
me, that you'll be glad to see. Dodger, my dear, open 
the bundle; and give Bill the little trifles that we spent alii 
our money on, this morning." 

In compliance with Mr. Fagin 's request, the Artful un- 
tied his bundle, which was of large size, and formed of an 
old table-cloth ; and handed the articles it contained, one by 
one, to Charley Bates : who placed them on the table, with 
various encomiums on their rarity and excellence. 

** Sitch a rabbit pie. Bill," exclaimed that young gentle- 
man, disclosing to view a huge pastv ; ** sitch delicate 
creeturs, with sitch tender limbs, Bill, that the wery bones 
melt in your mouth, and there's no occasion to pick 'em ; 
half a pound of seven and sixj^enny green, so precious 
strong that if you mix it with biling water, it'll go nigh 
to blow the lid of the tea-pot off; a pound and a-half of 
moist sugar that the niggers didn't v/ork at all at, afore 
they got it up to sitch a pitch of goodness, — oh no ! Two 
half-quartern brans ; pound of best fresh ; piece of double 
Glo'ster; and, to wind up all, some of the richest sort you 
ever lushed !" 

Oliver Twist 287 

Uttering this last panegyric, Master Bates produced, 
from one of his extensive pockets, a full-sized wine-bottle, 
carefully corked ; while Mr. Dawkins, at the same instant, 
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. 

*' Ah !" said Fagin, rubbing his hands with great satis- 
faction. "You'll do, Bill; you'll do now." 

** Do !" exclaimed Mr. Sikes ; ** I might have been done 
for, twenty times over, afore you'd have done anything to 
help me. What do you mean by leaving a man in this 
state, three weeks and more, you false-hearted waga- 

"Only hear him, boys!" said Fagin, shrugging his 
shoulders. *' And us come to bring him all these beau-ti- 
ful things." 

"The things is well enough in their way," observed 
Mr. Sikes : a little soothed as he glanced over the table ; 
" but what have you got to say for yourself, why you 
should leave me here, down in the mouth, health, blunt, 
and everything else; and take no more notice of me, all 
this mortal time, than if I was that 'ere dog? — Drive him 
down, Charley !" 

" I never see such a jolly dog as that," cried Master 
Bates, doing as he was desired. " Smelling the grub like 
a old lady a going to market ! He'd make his fortun 
on the stage that dog would, and rewive the drayma 

'* Hold your din," cried Sikes, as the dog retreated 
under the bed : still growling angrily. " What have you 
got to say for yourself, you withered old fence, eh?" 

'' I was away from London, a week and more, my dear, 
on a plant," replied the Jew. 

" And what about the other fortnight?" demanded 
Sikes. " What about the other fortnight that you've 
left me lying here, like a sick rat in his hole?" 

" I couldn't help it, Bill. I can't go into a long 
xplanatlon before company; but I couldn't help it, upon 
ny honour." 

" Upon your what?" growled Sikes, with excessive dis- 
>-ust. " Here! Cut me off a piece of that pie, one of 
/ou boys, to take the taste of that out of my mouth, or it'll 
;hoke me dead. " 

" Don't be out of temper, my dear," urged Fagin, sub- 

288 Oliver Twist 

missively. ** I have never forgot you, Bill ; never 

" No ! I'll pound it that you han't," replied Sikes, with 
a bitter grin. " You've been scheming and plotting away, 
every hour that I have laid shivering and burning here ; 
and Bill was to do this ; and Bill was to do that ; and Bill 
was to do it all, dirt cheap, as soon as he got well : and 
was quite poor enough for your work. If it hadn't been 
for the girl, I might have died." 

** There now, Bill," remonstrated Fagin, eagerly catch- 
ing at the word. *' 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 I" said Nancy, coming; 
hastily forward. " Let him be; let him be." 

Nancy's appearance gave a new turn to the conversa- 
tion ; for the boys, receiving a sly wink from the wary old 
Jew, began to ply her with liquor : of which, however, 
she took very sparingly ; while Fagin, assuming an un- 
usual flow of spirits, gradually brought Mr. Sikes into a 
better temper, by affecting to regard his threats as a littlee' 
pleasant banter ; and, moreover, by laughing very heartilyv 
at one or two rough jokes, which, after repeated applica- 
tions to the spirit-bottle, he condescended to make. f 

" It's all very well," said Mr. Sikes; ** but I must havef 
some blunt from you to-night." 

*' I haven't a piece of coin about me," replied the Jew. 

" Then you've got lots at home," retorted Sikes; ** and'} 
I must have some from there." 

" Lots !" cried Fagin, holding up his hands* ** I haven't 
so much as would " 


** I don't know how much you've got, and I dare say\ 
you hardly know yourself, as it would take a pretty long^ 
time to count it," said Sikes; ** but I must have some to- 
night; and that's flat." 

" Well, well," said Fagin, with a sigh, ** I'll send the 
Artful round presently." 

*' You won't do nothing of the kind,*" rejoined Mr. 
Sikes. " The Artful's a deal too artful, and would forgei 
to come, or lose his way, or get dodged by traps and so b( 
perwented, or anything for an excuse, if you put him up tc 
it. Nancy shall go to the ken and fetch it, to make all sure 
and I'll lie down and have a snooze while she's gone." 

After a great deal of haggling and squabbling, Fagii 


Oliver Twist 289 

Deat down the amount of the required advance frorii five 
)ounds to three pounds four and sixpence : protesting with 
nany solemn asseverations that that would only leave him 
jighteenpence to keep house with; Mr. Sikes sullenly re- 
narking that if he couldn't get any more he must be 
content with that, Nancy prepared to accompany him 
lome ; while the Dodger and Master Bates put the eatables 
n the cupboard. The Jew then, taking leave of his affec- 
ionate friend, returned homeward, attended by Nancy and 
he boys : Mr. Sikes, meanwhile, flinging himself on the 
)ed, and composing himself to sleep away the time until 
he young lady's return. 

In due course, they arrived at Fagin's abode, where they 
ound Toby Crackit and Mr. Chitling intent upon their 
ifteenth game at cribbage, which it is scarcely necessary to 
ay the latter gentleman lost, and with it, his fifteenth and 
ast sixpence : much to the amusement of his young 
riends. Mr. Crackit, apparently somewhat ashamed at 
)eing found relaxing himself with a gentleman so much his 
nferior in station and mental endowments, yawned, and 
nquiring after Sikes, took up his hat to go. 

** Has nobody been, Toby?" asked Fagin. 

** Not a living leg," answered Mr. Crackit, pulling up 
lis collar; "it's been as dull as swipes. You ought to 
tand something handsome, Fagin, to recompense me for 
:eeping house so long. Damme, I'm as flat as a juryman ; 
nd should have gone to sleep, as fast as Newgate, if I 
iadn't had the good natur' to amuse this youngster., 
lorrid dull, I'm blessed if I an't!" 

With these and other ejaculations of the same kind, 
At. Toby Crackit swept up his winnings, and crammed 
hem into his waistcoat pocket with a haughty air, as 
hough such small pieces of silver were wholly beneath the 
lonsideration of a man of his figure; this done, he swag- 
[•ered out of the room, with so much elegance and gen- 
ility, that Mr. Chitling, bestowing numerous admiring 
fiances on his legs and boots till they were out of sight, 
ssured the company that he considered his acquaintance 
iheap at fifteen sixpences an interview, and that he didn't 
^alue his losses the snap of his Httle finger. 

" Wot a rum chap you are, Tom !" said Master Bates, 
lighly amused by this declaration. 

'Not a bit of it," replied Mr. Chitling. "Am I, 

290 Oliver Twist 

*' A very -clever fellow, my dear," said Fagin, patting, 
him on the shoulder, and winking to his other pupils. 

"And Mr. Crackit is a heavy swell; an't he, Fagin?" 
asked Tom. 

" No doubt at all of that, my dear." 

'* And it is a creditable thing to have his acquaintance; 
an't it, Fagin?" pursued Tom. 

'* Very much so, indeed, my dear. They're only jealous,; 
Tom, because he won't give it to them." 

" Ah !" cried Tom, triumphantly, ** that's where it is ! 
He has cleaned me out. But I can go and earn some 
more, when I like; can't I, Fagin?" 

" To be sure you can, and the sooner you go the better; 
Tom; so make up your loss at once, and don't lose any^ 
more time. Dodger ! Charley ! It's time you were ori 
the lay. Come! It's near ten, and nothing done yet.' 

In obedience to this hint, the boys, nodding to Nancy 
took up their hats and left the room ; the Dodger and h\i 
vivacious friend indulging, as they went, in many witti 
cisms at the expense of Mr. Chitling ; in whose conduct, i 
is but justice to say, there was nothing very conspicuou: 
or peculiar : inasmuch as there are a great number o 
spirited young bloods upon town, who pay a much highe 
price than Mr. Chitling for being seen in good society 
and a great number of fine gentlemen (composing the good 
society aforesaid) who establish their reputation upon ver; 
much the same footing as flash Toby Crackit. 

'* Now," said Fagin, when they had left the room, " I'l 
go and get you that cash, Nancy. This is only the key o 
a little cupboard where I keep a few odd things the boy 
get, my dear. I never lock up my money, for I've got non 
to lock up, my dear — ha ! ha ! ha ! — none to lock up. It' 
a poor trade, Nancy, and no thanks ; but I'm fond of seeing 
the young people about me ; and I bear it all, I bear it all 
Hush!" he said, hastily concealing the key in his breast 
''who's that? Listen!" 

The girl, who was sitting at the table with her arm 
folded, appeared in no way interested in the arrival : or t 
care whether the person, whoever he was, came or went 
until the murmur of a man's voice reached her ears. Th 
instant she caught the sound, she tore off her bonnet an 
shawl, with the rapidity of lightning, and thrust them unde 
the table. The Jew, turning round immediately afterwards 
she muttered a complaint of the heat : in a tone of languo 

Oliver Twist 291 

hat contrasted, very remarkably, with the extreme haste 
nd violence of this action : which, however, had been 
nobserved by Fagin, who had his back towards her at the 

" Bah!" he whispered, as though nettled by the inter- 
uption ; "it's the man I expected before; he's coming 
lown stairs. Not a word about the money while he's here, 
^ance. He won't stop long. Not ten minutes, my dear. " 
Laying his skinny forefinger upon his lip, the Jew carried 
I candle to the door, as a man's step was heard upon the 
tairs without. He reached it, at the same moment as the 
isitor, who, coming hastily into the room, was close upon 
he girl before he observed her. 
It was Monks. 

" Only one of my young people," said Fagin, observing 
hat Monks drew back, on beholding a stranger. '* Don't 
nove, Nancy." 

The girl drew closer to the table, and glancing at Monks 
vith an air of careless levity, withdrew her eyes ; but as he 
urned his towards Fagin, she stole another look : so keen 
md searching, and full of purpose, that if there had been 
my bystander to observe the change, he could hardly have 
)elieved the two looks to have proceeded from the same 

' Any news?" inquired Fagin. 

'And — and — good?" asked Fagin, hesitating as 
though he feared to vex the other man by being too 

' Not bad, any way," replied Monks with a smile. " I 
have been prompt enough this time. Let me have a word 
With you." 

The girl drew closer to the table, and made no offer to 
leave the room, although she could see that Monks was 
pointing to her. The Jew : perhaps fearing she might say 
something aloud about the money, if he endeavoured to 
get rid of her : pointed upward, and took Monks out of the 

" Not that infernal hole we were in before," she could 
bear the man say as they went up stairs. Fagin laughed ; 
and making some reply which did not reach her, seemed, 
by the creaking of the boards, to lead his companion to 
th'e second story. 

Before the sound of their footsteps had ceased to echo 

292 Oliver Twist 

through the house, the girl had slipped off her shoes; andj 
drawing her gown loosely over her head, and muffling her^ 
arms in it, stood at the door, listening with breathless in-^, 
terest. The moment the noise ceased, she glided from the 
room ; ascended the stairs with incredible softness and 
silence ; and was lost in the gloom above. 

The room remained deserted for a quarter of an hour or 
more ; the girl glided' back with the same unearthly tread ; 
and, immediately afterwards, the two men were heard 
descending. Monks went at once into the street ; and the 
Jew crawled up stairs again for the money. When he 
returned, the girl was adjusting her shawl and bonnet, as 
if preparing to be gone. 

** Why, Nance," exclaimed the Jew, starting back as he 
put down the candle, ** how pale you are !" 

"Pale!" echoed the girl, shading her eyes with her 
hands, as if to look steadily at him. 

" Quite horrible. What have you been doing to your- 

** Nothing that I know of, except sitting in this close 
place for I don't know how long and all," replied the girl 
carelessly. *' Come ! Let me get back; that's a dear." 

With a sigh for every piece of money, Fagin told the 
amount into her hand. They parted without more con-( 
versation, merely interchanging' a '* good night." i 

When the girl got into the open street, she sat down! 
upon a doorstep; and seemed, for a few moments, wholly { 
bewildered and unable to pursue her way. Suddenly she! 
arose; and hurrying on, in a direction quite opposite tO| 
that in which Sikes was awaiting her return, quickened 
her pace, until it gradually resolved into a violent run. 
After completely exhausting herself, she stopped to take 
breath : and, as if suddenly recollecting herself, and de 
ploring her inability to do something she was bent upon 
wrung her hands, and burst into tears. 

It might be that her tears relieved her, or that she felt 
the full hopelessness of her condition ; but she turned back ; 
and hurrying with nearly as great rapidity in the contrary 
direction : partly to recover lost time, and partly to keep 
pace with the violent current of her own thoughts : soon 
reached the dwelling where she had left the house-breaker. 

If she betrayed any agitation, when she presented her- 
self to Mr. Sikes, he did not observe it; for merely inquir- 
ing if she had brought the money, and receiving a reply in 

Oliver Twist 293 

le affirmative, he uttered a growl of satisfaction, and 
placing his head upon the pillow, resumed the slumbers 
hich her arrival had interrupted. 

It was fortunate for her that the possession of money 

:casioned him so much employment next day in the way 

f eating and drinking ; and withal had so beneficial an effect 

smoothing down the asperities of his temper; that he 

jiad neither time nor inclination to be very critical upon 

1 er behaviour and deportment. That she had all the 

, Dstracted and nervous manner of one who is on the eve 

F some bold and hazardous step, which it has required no 

>mmon struggle to resolve upon, would have been obvi- 

, as to the lynx-eyed Fagin, who would most probably have 

iken the alarm at once ; but Mr. Sikes lacking the niceties 

f discrimination, and being troubled with no more subtle 

lisgivings than those which resolve themselves into a 

ogged roughness of behaviour towards everybody ; and 

eing, furthermore, in an unusually amiable condition, as 

as been already observed ; saw nothing unusual in her 

^1 emeanour, and indeed, troubled himself so little about 

er, that, had her agitation been far more perceptible than 

; was, it would have been very unlikely to have awakened 

Is suspicions. 

As that day closed in, the girl's excitement increased; 
nd when night came on, and she sat by, watching until 
tie house-breaker should drink himself asleep, there was 
n unusual paleness in her cheek, and a fire in her eye, 
hat even Sikes observed with astonishment. 

Mr. Sikes being weak from the fever, was lying in 
>ed, taking hot water with his gin to render it less inflam- 
natory ; and had pushed his glass towards Nancy to be 
eplenished for the third or fourth time, when these 
ymptoms first struck him. 

Why, burn my body!" said the man, raising himself 
>n his hands as he stared the girl in the face. ** You look 
ike a corpse come to life again. What's the matter?" 

" Matter!" replied the girl. ** Nothing. What do you 
00k at me so hard for?" 

What foolery is this?" demanded Sikes, grasping her 
)y the arm, and shaking her roughly. ** What is it? What 
io you mean? What are you thinking of?" 

*' Of many things, Bill," replied the girl, shivering, and 
as she did so, pressing her hands upon her eyes. " But, 
Lord [ What odds in that?" 

294 Oliver Twist 

The tone of forced gaiety in which the last words wer 
spoken, seemed to produce a deeper impression on Sike 
than the wild and rigid look which had preceded them. 

"I tell you wot it is," said Sikes ; "if you haven' 
caught the fever, and got it comin' on, now, there's some 
thing more than usual in the wind, and something danger 

ous too. You're not a-going to . No, damme! yoi; 

wouldn't do that !" 

'* Do what?" asked the girl. 

" There ain't," said Sikes, fixing his eyes upon hen 
and muttering the words to himself; ** there ain't i 
stauncher-hearted gal going, or I'd have cut her throai 
three months ago. She's got the fever coming on, 
that's it.'' 

Fortifying himself with this assurance, Sikes drainee 
the glass to the bottom, and then, with many grumbling! 
oaths, called for his physic. The girl jumped up, wit! f 
great alacrity; poured it quickly out, but with her bad! 
towards him ; and held the vessel to his lips, while ht 
drank off the contents. 

** Now," said the robber, ** come and sit aside of me; 
and put on your own face ; or I '11 alter it so, that yoi 
won't know it again when you do want it." 

The girl obeyed. Sikes, locking her hand in his, fell 
back upon the pillow : turning his eyes upon her face.i 
They closed ; opened again ; closed once more ; again 
opened. He shifted his position restlessly; and, aftei 
dozing again, and again, for two or three minutes, anc( 
as often springing up with a look of terror, and gazing 
vacantly about him, was suddenly stricken, as it were^; 
while in the very attitude of rising, into a deep and heavy 
sleep. The grasp of his hand relaxed ; the upraised arm 
fell languidly by his side ; and he lay like one in a pro-i 
found trance. 

" The laudanum has taken effect at last," murmured 
the girl, as she rose from the bedside. *' I may be toe 
late, even now." 

She hastily dressed herself in her bonnet and shawl ; 
looking fearfully round, from time to time, as if, despite 
the sleeping draught, she expected every moment to feel 
the pressure of Sikes 's heavy hand upon her shoulder ^ 
then, stooping softly over the bed, she kissed the robber's 
lips ; and then opening and closing the room-door with 
noiseless touch, hurried from the house. 


Oliver Twist 295 

A watchman was crying half-past nine, down a dark 
^'l^e assage through which she had to pass, in gaining the 
^' lain thoroughfare. 

^en' ** Has it long gone the half-hour?" asked the girl. 
Mi " It'll strike the hour in another quarter," said the 
P lan : raising his lantern to her face. 

yo '* And I cannot get there in less than an hour or more," 
nuttered Nancy : brushing swiftly past him, and gliding 

J^pidly down the street. 
Many of the shops were already closing in the back lanes 
id avenues through which she tracked her way, in 
aking from Spitalfields towards the West-End of London, 
he clock struck ten, increasing her impatience. She tore 
jong the narrow pavement : elbowing the passengers from 
lei ide to side; and darting almost under the horses' heads, 
nj Tossed crowded streets, where clusters of persons were 
iti lagerly watching their opportunity to do the like. 
cl " The woman is mad !" said the people, turning to look 
h( ifter her as she rushed away. 

When she reached the more wealthy quarter of the town, 
e, :he streets were comparatively deserted ; and here her 
)i leadlong progress excited a still greater curiosity in tlie 
stragglers whom she hurried past. Some quickened their 
l^ace behind, as though to see whither she was hastening 
;, it such an unusual rate ; and a few made head upon her, 
n ind looked back, surprised at her undiminished speed ; but 
irthey fell off one by one; and when she neared her place of 
destination, she was alone. 

It was a family hotel in a quiet but handsome street 
near Hyde Park. As the brilliant light of the lamp which 
burnt before its door, guided her to the spot, the clock 
struck eleven. She had loitered for a few paces as though 
irresolute, and making up her mind to advance; but the 
sound determined her, and she stepped into the hall. The 
oorter's seat was vacant. She looked round with an air 
of incertitude, and advanced towards the stairs. 

Now, young woman !" said a smartly-dressed female, 
looking out from a door behind her, *' who do you want 

A lady who is stopping in this house," answered the 

*' A lady !" was the reply, accompanied with a scornful 
look. "What lady?" 

** Miss Maylie," said Nancy. 


Oliver Twist 

The young- woman, who had by this time noted her 
appearance, replied only by a look of virtuous disdain ; and 
summoned a man to answer her. To him, Nancy repeated 
her request. 

" What name am 1 to say?" asked the waiter. 

** It's of no use saying any," replied Nancy. 

** Nor business?" said the man. 

** No, nor that neither," rejoined the girl. " I mustt 
see the lady." 

" Come !" said the man, pushing her towards the door. 
" None of this. Take yourself off. " 

" I shall be carried out, if I go !" said the girl violently; 
" and I can make that a job that two of you won't like 
to do. Isn't there anybody here," she said, looking 
round, *' 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, who with some other of the servants was look- 
ing on, and who stepped forward to interfere. 

" Take it up for her, Joe; can't you?" said this person. 

" What's the good?" replied the man. " You don't 
suppose the young lady will see such as her; do you?" 

This allusion to Nancy's doubtful character, raised a 
vast quantity of chaste wr-th in the bosoms of four house- 
maids, who remarked, with great fervour, that the creature 
was a disgrace to her sex ; and strongly advocated her 
being thrown, ruthlessly, into the kennel. 

'* Do what you like with me," said the girl, turning to 
the men again; *' but do what I ask you first, and I ask 
you to give this message for God Almighty's sake." 

The soft-hearted cook added his intercession, and the 
result was that the man who had first appeared under- 
took its delivery. 

" What's it to be?" said the man, with one foot on the 

" That a young woman earnestly asks to speak to Miss 
Maylie alone," said Nancy; "and that if the lady will 
only hear the first word she has to say, she will know 
whether to hear her business, or to have her turned out of 
doors as an impostor." 

'* I say," said the man, " you're coming it strong !" 

"You give the message," said the girl firmly; "and 
let me hear the answer." 

The man ran up stairs. Nancy remained, pale and 

Oliver Twist 297 

almost breathless, listening with quivering lip to the very 
audible expressions of scorn, of which the chaste house- 
maids were very prolific; and of which they became still 
more so, when the man returned, and said the young 
woman was to walk up stairs. 

" It's no good being proper in this world," said the 
first housemaid. 

" Brass can do better than the gold what has stood the 
fire," said the second. 

The third contented herself with wondering " what ladies 
was made of;" and the fourth took the first in a quartette 
of ** Shameful !" with which the Dianas concluded. 

Regardless of all this : for she had weightier matters at 
heart : Nancy followed the man, with trembling limbs, to 
a small antechamber, lighted by a lamp from the ceiling. 
Here he left her, and retired. 



The girl's life had been squandered in the streets, and 
among the most noisome of the stews and dens of London, 
but there was something of the woman's original nature 
left in her still ; and when she heard a light step approach- 
ing the door opposite to that by which she had entered, 
and thought of the wide contrast which the small room 
would in another moment contain, she felt burdened with 
the sense of her own deep shame, and shrunk as though 
she could scarcely bear the presence of her with whom 
she had sought this interview. 

But struggling with these better feelings was pride, — 
the vice of the lowest and most debased creatures no less 
than of the high and self-assured. The miserable com- 
panion of thieves and ruffians, the fallen outcast of low 
haunts, the associate of the scourings of the jails and 
hulks, living within the shadow of the gallows itself, — 
even this degraded being felt top proud to betray a feeble 
gleam of the womanly feeling which she thought a weak- 
ness, but which alone connected her with that humanity, 
of which her wasting life had obliterated so many, many 
traces when a very child. 


Oliver Twist 

She raised her eyes sufficiently to observe that the figure 
which presented itself was that of a sHght and beautiful 
girl ; then, bending them on the ground, she tossed her 
head with affected carelessness as she said : 

" It's a hard matter to get to see you, lady. If I had 
taken offence, and gone away, as many would have done, 
you'd have been sorry for it one day, and not without 
reason either." 

" I am very sorry if any one has behaved harshly tc 
you," replied Rose. *' Do not think of that. Tell me whj 
you wished to see me. I am the person you inquired for. ' 

The kind tone of this answer, the sweet voice, the gentk 
manner, the absence of any accent of haughtiness or dis- 
pleasure, took the girl completely by surprise, and she 
burst into tears. 

** Oh, lady, lady!" she said, clasping her hands pas* 
sionately before her face, " if there was more like you 
there would be fewer like me, — there would — therei 

" Sit down," said Rose, earnestly. " If you are in 
poverty or affliction I shall be truly glad to relieve you if 
can, — I shall indeed. Sit down." 

'* Let me stand, lady," said the girl, still weeping, *' anc( 
do not speak to me so kindly till you know me betterr 
It is growing late. Is — is — that door shut?" 

" Yes," said Rose, recoiling a few steps, as if to be 
nearer assistance in case she should require it. *' Why?' 

*' Because," said the girl, '* I am about to put my life 
and the lives of others in your hands. I am the girl tha' 
dragged little Oliver back to old Fagin's, on the night hti 
went out from the house in Pentonville. " 

** You !" said Rose Maylie. 

"I, lady !" replied the girl. ** I am the infamous crea- 
ture you have heard of, that lives among the thieves, anc 
that never from the first moment I can recollect my eyef 
and senses opening on London streets have known an} 
better life, or kinder words than they hav^e given me, sc 
help me God ! Do not mind shrinking openly from me 
lady. I am younger than you would think, to look at me 
but I am well used to it. The poorest women fall back 
as I make my way along the crowded pavement." 

" What dreadful things are these !" said Rose, involun 
tarily falling from her strange companion. 

'* Thank Heaven upon your knees, dear lady," cried th< 

Oliver Twist 299 

g^irl, '* that you had friends to care for and keep you in 
your childhood, and that you were never in the midst of 
cold and hunger, and riot and drunkenness, and — and — 
something- worse than all — as I have been from my cradle. 
I may use the word, for the alley and the gutter were 
mine, as they will be my death-bed." 

*' I pity you!" said Rose, in a broken voice. "It 
wrings my heart to hear you !" 

" Heaven bless you for your goodness!" rejoined the 
^irl. " If you knew what I am sometimes, you would 
pity me, indeed. But I have stolen away from those who 
would surely murder me, if they knew I had been here, 
to tell you what I have overheard. Do you know a man 
lamed Monks?" 

" No," said Rose. 

He knows you," replied the girl; "and knew you 
were here, for it was by hearing him tell the place that 

found you out." 

** I never heard the name," said Rose. 

** Then he goes by some other amongst us," rejoined 
he girl, ** which I more than thought before. Some time 
igo, and soon after Oliver was put into your house on the 
light of the robbery, I — suspecting this man — listened to 
i conversation held between him and Fagin in the dark. 

found out, from what I heard, that Monks — the man 
[ asked you about, you know — " 

'* Yes," said Rose, ** I understand." 

" — That Monks," pursued the girl, *' had seen him 
iccidentally with two of our boys on the day we first lost 
lim, and had known him directly to be the same child 
that he was watching for, though I couldn't make out why. 
A bargain was struck with Fagin, that if Oliver was got 
back he should have a certain sum ; and he was to have 
nore for making him a thief, which this Monks wanted 
For some purpose of his own." 

'* For what purpose?" asked Rose. 

** He caught sight of my shadow on the wall as I 
listened, in the hope of finding out," said the girl; " and 
there are not many people besides me that could have got 
out of their way in time to escape discovery. But I did ; 
and I saw him no more till last night." 

'* And what occurred then?" 

" I'll tell you, lady. Last night he came again. Again 
they went up stairs, and I, wrapping myself up so that 

300 Oliver Twist 

my shadow should not betray me, again listened at the 
door. 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, and the old hag that received them from the 
the mother is rotting in her cofhn. ' They laughed, and; 
talked of his success in doing this ; and Monks, talking on 
about the boy, and getting very wild, said that though he 
had got the young devil's money safely now, he'd rather 
have had it the other way ; for, what a game it would have 
been to have brought down the boast of the father's will, 
by driving him through every jail in town, and then hauling 
him up for some capital felony which Fagin could easily 
manage, after having made a good profit of him besides." 

" What is all this !" said Rose. 

" The truth, lady, though it comes from my lips," 
replied the girl. ** Then, he said, with oaths common 
enough in my ears, but strange to yours, that if he could' 
gratify his hatred by taking the boy's life without bring-- 
ing his own neck in danger, he would ; but, as he couldn't,, 
he'd be upon the watch to meet him at every turn in life; 
and if he took advantage of his birth and history, he might 
harm him yet. * In short, Fagin,' he says, ' Jew as you 
are, you never laid such snares as I'll contrive for my 
young brother, Oliver.' " 

*' His brother!" exclaimed Rose. 

" Those were his words," said Nancy, glancing uneasily 
round, as she had scarcely ceased to do, since she began 
to speak, for a vision of Sikes haunted her perpetually. 
'* And more. When he spoke of you and the other lady, 
and said it seemed contrived by Heaven, or the devil, 
against him, that Oliver should come into your hands, he: 
laughed, and said there was some comfort in that too, for- 
how many thousands and hundreds of thousands of pounds 
would you not give, if you had them, to know who your 
two-legged spaniel was." 

" You do not mean," said Rose, turning very pale, *' to 
tell me that this was said in earnest?" 

" He spoke in hard and angry earnest, if a man ever 
did," replied the girl, shaking her head. " He is an 
earnest man when his hatred is up. I know many who 
do worse things; but I'd rather listen to them all a dozen 
times, than to that Monks once. It is growing late, and 
I have to reach home without suspicion of having been 
on such an errand as this. I must get back quickly." 

Oliver Twist 301 

" But what can ] do?" said Rose. '* To what use can 
I turn this communication without you? Back! Why 
do you wish to return to companions you paint in such 
terrible colours? If you repeat this information to a 
gentleman whom I can summon in an instant from the 
next room, you can be consigned to some place of safety 
without half an hours' delay." 

** I wish to go back," said the girl. " I must go back, 
because — how can I tell such things to an innocent lady 
like you? — because among the men I have told you of, 
tliere is one : the most desperate among them all : that 
I can't leave J no, not even to be saved from the life I am 
leading now." 

" Your having interfered in this dear boy's behalf be- 
fore," said Rose; " your coming here, at so great a risk, 
to tell me what you have heard ; your manner, which con- 
vinces me of the truth of what you say ; your evident con- 
trition, and sense of shame; all lead me to believe that you 
might be yet reclaimed. Oh !" said the earnest girl, folding 
her hands as the tears coursed down her face, '* do not turn 
a deaf ear to the entreaties of one of your own sex; the 
first — the first, I do believe, who ever appealed to you in 
the voice of pity and compassion. Do hear my words, 
and let me save you yet, for better things." 

*' Lady," cried the girl, sinking on her knees, "dear, 
sweet, angel lady, you are the first that ever blessed me 
with such words as these, and if I had heard them years 
ago, they might have turned me from a life of sin and 
sorrow; but it is too late, it is too late !" 

"It is never too late," said Rose, " for penitence and 

"It is," cried the girl, writhing in the agony of her 
mind; "I cannot leave him now! I could not be his 

** Why should you be?" asked Rose. 

** Nothing could save him," cried the girl. ** If I told 
others what I have told you, and led to their being taken, 
he would be sure to die. He is the boldest, and has been 
so cruel !" 

"Is it possible," cried Rose, " that for such a man as 
this, you can resign every future hope, and the certainty 
of immediate rescue? It is madnicss. " 

" I don't know what it is," answered the girl; " I only 
know that it is so, and not with me alone, but with 

302 Oliver Twist 

hundreds of others as bad and wretched as myself. I must 
go back. Whether it is God's wrath for the wrong I have 
done, I do not know ; but I am drawn back to him through 
every suffering and ill usage ; and I should be, I belie\'e, 
if I knew that I was to die by his hand at last." 

** What am I to do?" said Rose. '* I should not let 
you depart from me thus." 

" You should, lady, and I know you will," rejoined the' 
girl, rising. " You will not stop my going because I have 
trusted in your goodness, and forced no promise from you, 
as I might have done." 

** Of what use, then, is the communication you have: 
made?"^' said Rose. ** This mystery must be investigated,, 
or how will its disclosure to me, benefit Oliver, whom youi 
are anxious to serve?" 

** You must have some kind gentleman about you that' 
will hear it as a secret, and advise you what to do," re- 
joined the girl. 

** But where can I find you again when it is necessary?" 
asked Rose. ** I do not seek to know where these dread-- 
ful people live, but where will you be walking or passing; 
at any settled period from this time?" 

*' Will you promise me that you will have my secrett 
strictly kept, and come alone, or with the only other per-- 
son that knows it; and that I shall not be watched orr 
followed?" asked the girl. 

'* I promise you solemnly,** answered Rose. 

" Every Sunday night, from eleven until the clocks 
strikes twelve," said the girl without hesitation, *' I wilH 
walk on London Bridge if I am alive." 

** Stay another moment," interposed Rose, as the girl!' 
moved hurriedly towards the door. *' Think once again 
on your own condition, and the opportunity you have of; 
escaping from it. You have a claim on me : not only as; 
the voluntary bearer of this intelligence, but as a woman 
lost almost beyond redemption. Will you return to this 
gang of robbers, and to this man, when a word can save 
you? What fascination is it that can take you back, and 
make you cling to wickedness and misery? Oh ! is there 
no chord in your heart that I can touch ! Is there nothing 
left, to which I can appeal against this terrible infatua- 

** When ladies as young, and good, and beautiful as 
you are," replied the girl steadily, "give away your 

Oliver Twist 303 

hearts, love will carry you all lengths — even such as you, 
who have home, friends, other admirers, everything, to 
fill them. When such as I, who have no certain roof but 
the coffin-lid, and no friend in sickness or death but the 
hospital nurse, set our rotten hearts on any man^ and let 
him fill the place that has been a blank through all our 
wretched lives, who can hope to cure us? Pity us, lady — 
pity us for having only one feeling of the woman left, and 
for having that turned, by a heavy judgment, from a 
comfort and a pride, into a new means of violence and 

" You will," said Rose, after a pause, *' take some 
money from me, which may enable you to live without 
dishonesty — at all events until we meet again?" 

" Not a penny," replied the girl, waving her hand. 

" Do not close your heart against all my efforts to help 
you," said Rose, stepping gently forward. ** I wish to 
serve you indeed." 

" You would serve me best, lady," replied the girl, 
wringing her hands, ** if you could take my life at once; 
for I have felt more grief to think of what I am, to-night, 
than I ever did before, and it would be something not to die 
in the hell in which I have lived. God bless you, sweet 
lady, and send as much happiness on your head as I have 
brought shame on mine!" 

Thus speaking, and sobbing aloud, the unhappy crea- 
ture turned away; while Rose Maylie, overpowered by this 
extraordinary interview, which had more the semblance of 
a rapid dream than an actual occurrence, sank into a chair, 
and endeavoured to collect her wandering thoughts. 



Her situation was, indeed, one of no common trial and 
difficulty. While she felt the most eager and burning 
desire to penetrate the mystery in which Oliver's history 
was enveloped, she could not but hold sacred the con- 
fidence which the miserable woman with whom she had 
just conversed, had reposed in her, as a young and guile- 

304 Oliver Twist 

less girl. Her words and manner had touched Rose 
Maylie's heart; and, mingled with her love for her young 
charge, and scarcely less intense in its truth and fervour, ., 
was her fond wish to win the outcast back to repentance 
and hope. 

They purposed remaining in London only three days, 
prior to departing for some weeks to a distant part of the; 
coast. It was now midnight of the first day. What course; 
of action could she determine upon, which could be adopted : 
in eight-and-forty hours? Or how could she postpone the 
journey without exciting suspicion ? 

Mr. Losberne was with them, and would be for the nexti 
two days; but Rose was too well acquainted with thc^ 
excellent gentleman's impetuosity, and foresaw too clearly* 
the wrath with which, in the first explosion of his in-- 
dignation, he would regard the instrument of Oliver's re-- 
capture, to trust him with the secret, when her represent-- 
ations in the girl's behalf could be seconded by no experi- 
enced person. These were all reasons for the greatest 
caution and most circumspect behaviour in communicating; 
it to Mrs. Maylie, whose first impulse would infallibly be^ 
to hold a conference with the worthy doctor on the subject. 
As to resorting to any legal adviser, even if she had known 1 
how to do so, it was scarcely to be thought of, for the; 
same reasons. Once the thought occurred to her of seek-- 
ing assistance from Harry; but this awakened the recol-- 
lection of their last parting, and It seemed unworthy of her 
to call him back, when — the tears rose to her eyes as she 
pursued this train of reflection — he might have by this time 
learnt to forget her, and to be happier away. 

Disturbed by these different reflections; inclining now to< 
one course and then to another, and again recoiling f rom 1 
all, as each successive consideration presented itself to herr 
mind; Rose passed a sleepless and anxious night. After 
more communing with herself next day, she arrived at the 
desperate conclusion of consulting Harry. 

** If it be painful to him," she thought, ** to come back 
here, how painful it will be to me ! But perhaps he will 
not come ; he may write, or he may come himself, and 
studiously abstain from meeting me — he did when he went 
away. I hardly thought he would ; but it was better for us 
both." And here Rose dropped the pen, and turned away, 
as though the very paper which was to be her messenger 
should not see her weep. 

Oliver Twist 305 

She had taken up the same pen, and laid it down again 
ifty times, and had considered and reconsidered the first 
ine of her letter without writing the first word, when 
Dliver, who had been walking in the streets, with Mr. 
jiles for a body-guard, entered the room in such breathless 
laste and violent agitation, as seemed to betoken some 
lew cause of alarm. 

** What makes you look so flurried?" asked Rose, ad- 
'ancing to meet him. 

** I hardly know how; I feel as if I should be choked," 
eplied the boy. ** Oh dear ! To think that I should see 
lim at last, and you should be able to know that I have 
old you all the truth !" 

* I never thought you had told us anything but the 
ruth," said Rose, soothing him. ** But what is this? — 
)f whom do you speak?" 

* I have seen the gentleman," replied Oliver, scarcely 
ible to articulate, ** the gentleman who was so good to 
ne — Mr. Brownlow, that we have so often talked about." 

' Where?" asked Rose. 

* Getting out of a coach," replied Oliver, shedding tears 
>f delight, " and going into a house. I didn't speak to 
lim — I couldn't speak to him, for he didn't see me, and 
\ trembled so, that I was not able to go up to him. But 

iles asked, for me, whether he lived there, and they said 
le did. Look here," said Oliver, opening a scrap of 
japer, ** here it is ; here's where he lives — I'm going there 
iirectly ! Oh, dear me, dear me ! What shall I do when 
" come to see him and hear him speak again !" 

With her attention not a little distracted by these and 
I great many other incoherent exclamations of joy, Rose 
ead the address, which was Craven Street, in the Strand. 
5he very soon determined upon turning the discovery to 

* Quick!" she said. " Tell them to fetch a hackney- 
:oach, and be ready to go with me. I will take you there 
iirectly, without a minute's loss of time. I will only tell 
Tiy aunt that we are going out for an hour, and be ready 
IS soon as you are." 

Oliver needed no prompting to dispatch, and in little 
nore than five minutes they were on their way to Craven 
Street. When they arrived there. Rose left Oliver in the 
:oach, under pretence of preparing the old gentleman to 
eceive him; and sending up her card by the servant. 

3o6 Oliver Twist 

requested to see Mr. Brownlow on very pressing business. 
The servant soon returned, to beg that she would walk up 
stairs ; and following him into an upper room, Miss Maylie 
was presented to an elderly gentleman of benevolent ap- 
pearance, in a bottle-green coat. At no great distance 
from whom, was seated another old gentleman, in nankeen 
breeches and gaiters ; who did not look particularly benevo- 
lent, and who was sitting with his hands clasped on the 
top of a thick stick, and his chin propped thereupon. 

** Dear me," said the gentleman, in the bottle-green 
.oat, hastily rising with great politeness, " I beg your 
pardon, young lady — I imagined it was some importunate 
person who — I beg you will excuse me. Be seated, pray." 

*' Mr. Brownlow, I believe, sir?" said Rose, glancing 
from the other gentleman to the one who had spoken. 

" That is my name," said the old gentleman. '* This is 
my friend, Mr. Grim wig. Grimwig, will you leave us for 
a few minutes?" 

'* I believe," interposed Miss Maylie, ** that at this 
period of our interview, I need not give that gentleman the 
trouble of going away. If I am correctly informed, he is 
cognizant of the business on which I wish to speak to 

Mr. Brownlow inclined his head. Mr. Grimwig, who) 
had made one very stiff bow, and risen from his chair,, 
made another very stiff bow, and dropped into it again, j 

" I shall surprise you very much, I have no doubt," saidi 
Rose, naturally embarrassed ; " but you once showed great; 
benevolence and goodness to a very dear young friend of 
mine, and I am sure you will take an interest in hearing ofl 
him again." 

"Indeed!" said Mr. Brownlow. 

** Oliver Twist you knew him as," replied Rose. 

The words no sooner escaped her lips, than Mr. Grim- 
wig, who had been affecting to dip into a large book that 
lay on the table, upset it with a great crash, and falling 
back in his chair, discharged from his features every ex- 
pression but one of unmitigated wonder, and indulged in a 
prolonged and vacant stare; then, as if ashamed of having 
betrayed so much emotion, he jerked himself, as it were, 
by a convulsion into his former attitude, and looking out 
straight before him emitted a long deep whistle, which 
seemed, at last, not to be discharged on empty air, but to 
die away in the innermost recesses of his stomach. 

Oliver Twist 307 

Mr. Brownlow was no less surprised, although his aston- 
ishment was not expressed in the same eccentric manner. 
He drew his chair nearer to Miss Maylie's, and said, 

" Do me the favour, my dear young lady, to leave 
entirely out of the question that goodness and benevolence 
of which you speak, and of which nobody else knows any- 
thing ; 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, in Heaven's 
name put me in possession of it." 

** A bad one ! I'll eat my head if he is not a bad one," 
growled Mr. Grimwig, speaking by some ventriloquial 
power, without moving a muscle of his face. 

" He is a child of a noble nature and a warm heart," 
said Rose, colouring; ** and that Power which has thought 
fit to try him beyond his years, has planted in his 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. Brown- 
lov.' ; " 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. 

"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 

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 inter- 
ested. Will you let me know what intelligence you have 
of this poor child : allowing me to premise that I ex- 
hausted 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 


Oliver Twist 

persuaded by his former associates to rob me, has beer 
considerably shaken." 

Rose, who had had time to collect her thoughts, at onc< 
related, in a few natural words, all that had befallen Olivei 
since he left Mr. Brownlow's house; reserving Nancy'f 
information for that gentleman's private ear, and concludv 
ing with the assurance that his only sorrow, for some 
months past, had been the 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 pardor 
my finding fault with you, — but why not have broughti 

" He is waiting in a coach at the door," replied Rose. 

" At this door !" cried the old gentleman. With whict^ 
he hurried out of the room, down the stairs, up the coach-i 
steps, 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 ol 
his chair into a pivot, described three distinct circles with 
the assistance of his stick and the table ; sitting in it al 
the time. After performing this evolution, he rose »ndl 
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'mi 
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 intcf 
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 re 
ward 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 by," 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 

" Why, you get blinder every day, Bedwin," said Mr. 
Brownlow, rather testily. 

Oliver Twist 309 

** Well, that I do, sir," replied the old lady. " People's 
yes, 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 
vhat you were wanted for, will you?" 

The old lady began to rummage in her pocket for her 
pectacles. But Oliver's patience was not proof against 
his new trial ; and yielding to his first impulse, he sprang 
nto her arms. 

' God be good to me !" cried the old lady, embracing 
lim; ** it is my innocent boy !" 

* My dear old nurse !" cried Oliver. 
' He would come back — I knew he would," said the old 
ady, holding him in her arms. ** How well he looks, and 
low hke a gentleman's son he is dressed again ! Where 
lave you been, this long, long while? Ah! the same 
jweet face, but not so pale ; the same soft eye, but not so 
ad. I have never forgotten them or his quiet smile, but 
lave seen them every day, side by side with those of my 
)wn dear children, dead and gone since I was a lightsome 
^oung creature." Running on thus, and now holding 
Dliver from her to mark how he had grown, now clasping 
lim to her and passing her fingers fondly through his hair, 
Jie 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, 
leard from Rose a full narration of her interview with 
Mancy, which occasioned him no little surprise and per- 
Dlexity. Rose also explained her reasons for not confiding 
n her friend Mr. Losberne in the first instance. The old 
gentleman considered that she had acted prudently, and 
•eadily 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 un- 
folded 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 

3IO Oliver Twist 

forth to obtain the assistance of those worthies. And 
doubtless, he would, in this first outbreak, have carrie< 
the intention into effect without a moment's consideratioi 
of the consequences, if he had not been restrained, in par 
by corresponding- violence on the side of Mr. Brownlow 
who was himself of an irascible temperament, and parth 
by such arguments and representations as seemed bes; 
calculated to dissuade him from his hotbrained purpose. 

** Then what the devil is to be done?" said the impetu 
ous doctor, when they had rejoined the two ladies. " An 
we to pass a vote of thanks to all these vagabonds, mal« 
and female, and beg them to accept a hundred pounds, o 
so, apiece, as a trifling mark of our esteem, and som< 
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. ** l\ 
send them one and all to " 

" Never mind where," interposed Mr. Brownlow. '* Bu 
reflect whether sending them anywhere is likely to attair 
the object we have in view." 

'* What object?" asked the doctor. 

'' Simply, the discovery of Oliver's parentage, and re-^ 
gaining 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 com- 
promising 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 
dbubt 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 
diflFiculty 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 

Oliver Twist 31 1 

s not surrounded by these people. For, suppose he were 
ipprehended, we have no proof against him. He is not 
iven (so far as we know, or as the facts appear to us) con- 
cerned with the gang in any of their robberies. If he 
vere not discharged, it is very unHkely that he could 
•eceive any further punishment than being committed to 
Drison as a rogue and vagabond ; and of course ever 
ifterwards his mouth would be so obstinately closed that 
le might as well, for our purposes, be deaf, dumb, blind, 
md an idiot." 

** Then," said the doctor impetuously, " I put it to you 
igaln, whether you think it reasonable that this promise 
:o 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 pro- 
cure from her such an account of his haunts and descrip- 
tion 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 

Although Mr. Losberne received with many wry faces 
a proposal involving a delay of five whole days, he w-as 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 w^as carried 

*' 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 dis- 
gust because he had only one brief and a motion of course, 
in twenty years, though whether that is a reco:rimendatton 
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. 

312 Oliver Twist 

" We must put it to the vote," replied Mr. Brownlow 
" who may he be?" 

" That lady's son, and this young lady's — very oh 
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 audibl< 
objection to this motion (possibly she felt in a hopelesj 
minority) ; and Harry Maylie and Mr. Grimwig werf 
accordingly added to the committee. 

** We stay in town, of course," said Mrs. Maylie, ** whih' 
there remains the slightest prospect of prosecuting thi; 
inquiry with a chance of success. I will spare neithei 
trouble nor expense in behalf of the object in which w« 
are all so deeply interested, and I am content to remair 
here, if it be for twelve months, so long as you assure mt 
that any hope remains." 

" Good !" rejoined Mr. Brownlow. ** And as I see or 
the faces about me, a disposition to inquire how it hap 
pened that I was not in the way to corroborate Oliver'i 
tale, and had so suddenly left the kingdom, let me stipui 
late that I shall be asked no questions until such time at 
I may deem it expedient to forestal them by telHng my own 
story. Believe me, I make this request with good reason i 
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 tc 
Mrs. Maylie, and escorted her into the supper-room. Mr. 
Losberne followed, leading Rose; and the council was, foi 
•the present, effectually broken up. 



Upon the night when Nancy, having lulled Mr. Sikes tc 
sleep, hurried on her self-imposed mission to Rose Maylicj 

Oliver Twist 313 

here advanced towards London, by the Great North Road, 
wo persons, upon whom it is expedient that this history 
hould bestow some attention. 

They were a man and woman ; or perhaps they would be 
)etter described as a male and female : for the former was 
)ne of those long-limbed, knock-kneed, shambling, bony 
)eople, to whom it is difficult to assign any precise age, — 
ooking as they do, when they are yet boys, like under- 
l^rown men, and when they are almost men, like over- 
;-rown boys. The woman was young, but of a robust and 
lardy make, as she need have been to bear the weight of 
he heavy bundle which was strapped to her back. Her 
ompanion was not encumbered with much luggage, as 
here merely dangled from a stick which he carried over 
lis shoulder, a small parcel wrapped in a common handker- 
hief, and apparently light enough. This circumstance, 
dded to the length of his legs, which were of unusual 
xtent, enabled him with much ease to keep some half- 
lozen paces in advance of his companion, to whom he occa- 
ionally turned with an impatient jerk of the head : as if re- 
iroaching her tardiness, and urging her to greater exertion. 

Thus, they had toiled along the dusty road, taking little 
eed of any object within sight, save when they stepped 
side to allow a wider passage for the mail-coaches which 
/ere whirling out of town, until they passed through 
lighgate archway; when the foremost traveller stopped 
nd called impatiently to his companion. 

" Come on, can t yer? What a lazybones yer are, 
harlotte. " 

" It's a heavy load, I can tell you," said the female, 
oming up, almost breathless with fatigue. 

* Heavy ! What are yer talking about ? What are yer 
lade for?" rejoined the male traveller, changing his own 
ttle bundle as he spoke, to the other shoulder. *' Oh, 
here yer are, resting again ! Well, if yer ain't enough to 
ire any body's patience out, I don't know what is !" 

' Is it much farther?" asked the woman, resting herself 
gainst a bank, and looking up with the perspiration 
treaming from her face. 

'* Much farther ! Yer as good as there," said the long- 
igged tramper, pointing out before him. ** Look there I 
'hose are the lights of London." 

" They're a good two mile off, at least," said thewoman 

314 Oliver Twist 

** Never mind whether they're two mile off, or twenty 
said Noah Claypole ; for he it was ; ** but jo-et up and comi 
on, or I'll kick yer, and so I g'ive yer notice." 

As Noah's red nose grew redder with anger, and as h< 
crossed the road while speaking, as if fully prepared tf 
put his threat into execution, the woman rose without an 
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 ! No 
near; so don't think it." 

''Why not?" 

'* When 1 tell yer that I don't mean to do a thing, that' 
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 sto 
at the very first public-house outside the town, so thai 
Sowerberry, if he come up after us, might poke in his oMj 
nose, and have us taken back in a cart with handcuffs on,' 
said Mr. Claypole in a jeering tone. "No! I shall g4{ 
and lose myself among the narrowest streets I can findcf 
and not stop till we come to the very out-of-the-wayes' j 
house I can set eyes on. 'Cod, yer may thank yer star 
I've got a head ; for if we hadn't gone, at first, the wron«i 
road a purpose, and come back across country, yer'd hav 
been locked up hard and fast a week ago, my lady. An 
serve yer right for being a fool." 

** I know I ain't as cunning as you are," replied Charl 
lotte; "but don't put all the blame on me, and say 
should have been locked up. You would have been if 
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, iind let me carry it like a dear 
and so you are," said the lady, chucking him under th 
chin, and drawing her arm through his. 

This was indeed the case ; but as it was not Mr. Clay 
|;ole's habit to repose a blind and foolish confidence in any 

Oliver Twist 315 

)ody, it should be observed, in justice to that gentleman, 
hat he had trusted Charlotte to this extent, in order that, 
f they were pursued, the money might be found on her : 
vhich would leave him an opportunity of asserting his inno- 
ence of any theft, and would greatly facilitate his chances 
»f escape. Of course, he entered at this juncture into no 
ixplanation of his motives, and they walked on very 
ovingly together. 

In pursuance of this cautious plan, Mr. Claypole went 
in, without halting, until he arrived at the Angel at Isling- 
on, where he wisely judged, from the crowd of passengers 
jid number of vehicles, that London began in earnest, 
ust pausing to observe which appeared the most crowded 
treets, and consequently the most to be avoided, he 
rossed into Saint John's Road, and was soon deep in the 
bscurity of the intricate and dirty ways, which, lying be- 
ween Gray's Inn Lane and Smithfield, render that part 
>i the town one of the lowest and worst that improvement 
las left in the midst of London. 

Through these streets, Noah Claypole walked, dragging 
/harlotte after him ; now stepping into the kennel to em- 
race at a glance the whole external character of some 
mall public-house ; now jogging on again, as some 
ancied appearance induced him to believe it too public 
or his purpose. At length, he stopped in front of one, 
lore humble in appearance and more dirty than any he 
lad yet seen ; and, having crossed over and surveyed it 
rom the opposite pavement, graciously announced his in- 
ention of putting up there, for the night. 

" So give us the bundle," said Noah, unstrapping it 
rom the woman's shoulders, and slinging it over his own ; 
* and don't yer speak, except when yer spoke to. What's 
he name of the house — t-h-r — three what?" 

** Cripples," said Charlotte. 

"Three Cripples," repeated Noah, "and a very good 
;ign too. Now, then ! Keep close at my heels, and 
ome along." With these injunctions, he pushed the 
attling door with his shoulder, and entered the house, 
ollowed by his companion. 

There was nobody in the bar but a young Jew, who, 
vith his two elbows on the counter, was reading a dirty 
lewspaper. He stared very hard at Noah, and Noah stared 
ery hard at him. 

If Noah had been attired In his charity-boy's dress, 

3IO Oliver Twist 

there mig-ht have been some reason for the Jew opening 
his eyes so wide ; but as he had discarded the coat an< 
badge, and wore a short smock-frock over his leathers 
there seemed no particular reason for his appearance ex> 
citing- so much attention in a public-house. 

" Ts this the Three Cripples?" asked Noah. 

" That is the dabe of this house," replied the Jew. 

" A gentleman we met on the road, coming up from th 
country, recommended us here," said Noah, nudginri 
Charlotte, perhaps to call her attention to this most ir'^ 
gfenious device for attracting respect, and perhaps to war 
her to betray no surprise. ** We want to sleep here tCi 

** I'b dot certaid you cad," said Barney, who was tW 
attendant sprite; ** but I'll idquire. " 

" Show us the tap, and give us a bit of cold meat anr 
a drop of beer while yer inquiring, will yer?" said Noatl 

Barney complied by ushering them into a small bacW 
room, and setting the required viands before them ; havino 
done which, he informed the travellers that they couli 
be lodged that night, and left the amiable couple to thes 

Now, this back-room was immediately behind the baa 
and some steps lower, so that any person connected witi 
the house, undrawing a small curtain which concealed 
single pane of glass fixed in the wall of the last-namei 
apartment, about five feet from its flooring, could ne 
only look down upon any guests in the back-room withov 
any great hazard of being observed (the glass being in . 
dark angle of the wall, between which and a large uprigt 
beam the observer had to thrust himself), but could, hi 
applying his ear to the partition, ascertain with tolerabj 
distinctness, their subject of conversation. The landloc 
of the house had not withdrawn his eye from this place < 
espial for five minutes, and Barney had only just returnc 
from making the communication above related, whe 
Fagin, in the course of his evening's business, came ini 
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 tl 
cuttry, but subthig in your way, or I'b bistaked. " 

Fagin appeared to receive this communication with gre: 
interest. Mounting a stool, he cautiously applied his e} 

Oliver Twist 317 

the pane of glass, from which secret post he coulcJ see 
Ir. Claypole taking cold beef from the dish, and porter 
rom the pot, and administering" homoeopathic doses of 
oth to Charlotte, who sat patiently by, eating and drink- 
ig at his pleasure. 

"Aha!" he whispered, looking round to Barney, ** I 
ke that fellow's looks. He'd be of use to us; he knows 
ow to train the girl already. Don't make as much noise 
s a mouse, my dear, and let me hear 'em talk — let me 
ear 'em. 

He again applied his eye to the glass, and turning his 
ar to the partition, listened attentively : with a subtle and 
ager look upon his face, that might have appertained to 
ome old goblin. 

" So I mean to be a gentleman," said Mr. Claypole, 
icking out his legs, and continuing a conversation, the 
ommencement of which Fagin had arrived too late to 
ear. ** No more jolly old coffins, Charlotte, but a gentle- 
lan's life for me : and, if yer like yer shall be a lady. 

' I should like that well enough, dear," replied Char- 
)tte ; ** but tills ain't to be emptied every day, and people 
3 get clear off after it. 

" Tills be blowed !" said Mr. Claypole; " there's more 
lings besides tills to be emptied. 

What do you mean?" asked his companion. 
Pockets, women's ridicules, houses, mail-coaches, 
anks !" 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,' 
epiied Noah. ** They'll be able to make us useful some 
/ay or another. Why, you yourself are worth fifty 
i^omen ; I never see such a precious sly and deceitful 
reetur as yer can be when I let yer." 

'* Lor, how nice it is to hear you say so !" exclaimed 
Dharlotte, imprinting a kiss upon his ugly face. 

There, that'll do : don't yer be too affectionate, in 
ase I'm cross with yer," said Noah, disengaging himself 
/ith great gravity. " I should like to be the captain of 
ome band, and have the whopping of 'em, and follering 
em about, unbeknown to themselves. That would suit 
ne, if there was good profit; and if we could only get in 
vith some gentleman of this sort, I say it would be cheap 
that twenty-pound note you've got, — especially as we 
^lon't very well know how to get rid of it ourselves. 

3i8 Oliver Twist 

After expressing this opinion, Mr. Claypole looked intc 
the porter-pot with an aspect of deep wisdom ; and having 
well shaken its contents, nodded condescendingly to Char 
lotte, and took a draught, wherewith he appeared greath 
refreshed. He was meditating another, when the suddei 
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, anc 
setting himself down at the nearest table, ordered some 
thing 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, 
see, sir?" 

" How do yer see that?" asked Noah Claypole. 

** We have not so much dust as that in London," repiiec 
Fagin, pointing from Noah's shoes to those of his comi 
panion, and from them to the two bundles. 

** Yer a sharp feller," said Noah. **Ha! ha! onlj 
hear that, Charlotte !" 

" Why, one need be sharp in this town, my dear," re 
plied the Jew, sinking his voice to a confidential whisper 
" and that's the truth." 

Fagin followed up this remark by striking the side o 
his nose with his right forefinger, — a gesture which Noali 
attempted to imitate, though not with complete success, h 
consequence of his own nose not being large enough fo 
the purpose. However, Mr. Fagin seemed to interpret th 
endeavour as expressing a perfect coincidence with hi 
opinion, and put about the liquor which Barney re-api 
peared with, in a very friendly manner. 

" Good stuff that," observed Mr. Claypole, smackinf 
his lips. 

** Dear !" said Fagin. ** A man need be always empty 
ing 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. Clavpole no sooner heard this extract from his ow: 
remarks than he fell back in his chair, and looked from th 
Jew to Charlotte with a countenance of ashy paleness an^ 
excessive terror. 

" Don't mind me, my dear," said Fagin, drawing hi 
chair closer. ** Ha ! ha ! it was lucky it was only me tha 
heard you by chance. It was very lucky it was only me. ' 

'* I didn't take it," stammered Noah, no longer stretch 

Oliver Twist 319 

\ng 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 

" No matter who's got it, or who did it, my dear !" re- 
plied 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 
^is new friend meanwhile with mingled fear and suspicion. 

** I'll tell you more," said Fagin, after he had reassured 
the girl, by dint of friendly nods and muttered encourage- 
ments. ** I have got a friend that I think can gratify 
your darling wish, and put you in the right way, where 
you can take whatever department of the business you 
think will suit you best at first, and be taught all the 

" Yer speak as if yer were in earnest," replied Noah. 

** What advantage would it be to me to be anything 
»Jse?" inquired Fagin, shrugging his shoulders. ** Here I 
Let me have a word with you outside." 

" There's no occasion to trouble ourselves to move,'* 
said Noah, getting his legs by gradual degrees abroad 
igain. '* She'll take the luggage up stairs the while, 
harlotte, see to them bundles !" 

This mandate, which had been delivered with great 
najesty, was obeyed without the slightest demur; and 
Dharlotte made the best of her way off with the packages 
vhile Noah held the door open and watched her out. 

' She's kept tolerably well under, ain't she?" he asked 
is he resumed his seat : in the tone of a keeper who has 
amed some wild animal. 

" Quite perfect," rejoined Fagin, clapping him on the 
ihoulder. "You're a genius, my dear." 

320 Oliver Twist 

" Why, I suppose if I wasn't, I shouldn't be here," re- 
plied Noah. " But, 1 say, she'll be back if yer lose time." 

" Now, what do you think?" said Fagin. " If you was 
to like my friend, could you do better than join him?" 

" Is he in a good way of business? that's where it is !" 
responded Noah, winking one of his little eyes. 

'* The top of the tree; employs a power of hands; has 
the very best society in the profession." 

" Regular town-maders?" asked Mr. Claypole. 

** Not a countryman among 'em ; and I don't think he'd' 
take you, even on my recommendation, if he didn't run 
rather short of assistants just now," replied Fagin. 

*' Should I have to hand over?" said Noah, slapping his 

*' It couldn't possibly be done without," replied Fagin i 
in a most decided manner. 

** Twenty pound, though, — it's a lot of money !" 

** Not when it's in a note you can't get rid of," retortec 
Fagin. " Number and date taken, I suppose? Paymen 
stopped at the Bank? Ah ! It's not worth much to him 
It'll have to go abroad, and he couldn't sell it for a grea 
deal in the market." 

" When could I see him?" asked Noah doubtfully. 

"To-morrow morning." 



" Um !" said Noah. " What's the wages?" 

" Live like a gentleman — board and lodging, pipes an( 
spirits free — half of all you earn, and half of all the younj 
woman earns," replied Mr. Fagin. 

Whether Noah Claypole, whose rapacity was none of th 
least comprehensive, would have acceded even to thes^ 
glowing terms, had he been a perfectly free agent, is ver; 
doubtful ; but as he recollected that, in the event of hi 
refusal it was in the power of his new acquaintance t« 
give him up to justice immediately (and more unlikel 
things had come to pass), he gradually relented, and sai' 
he thought that would suit him. 

'* But, yer see," observed Noah, ** as she will be abl 
to do a good deal, I should like to take something ver 

♦* A little fancy work?" suggested Fagin. 

" Ah ! something of that sort," replied Noah. " Wha 
do you think would suit me now? Something not toi 

Oliver Twist 321 

rying for the strength, and not very dangerous, you 
enow. That's the sort of thing!" 

*' I heard you talk of something in the spy way upon 
he others, my dear," said Fagin. " My friend wants 
iomebody who would do that well, very much." 

* Why, I did mention that, and I shouldn't mind turning 
ny hand to it sometimes," rejoined Mr. Claypole slowly; 

but it wouldn't pay by itself, you know." 

"That's true!" observed the Jew, ruminating or pre- 

ending to ruminate. "No, it might not." 

'What do you think, then?" asked Noah, anxiously 

egarding him. " Something in the sneaking way, where 

t was pretty sure work, and not much more risk than being 

It home." 

* What do you think of the old ladies?" asked Fagin. 

* There's a good deal of money made in snatching their 
jags and parcels, and running round the corner." 

" Don't they holler out a good deal, and scratch some- 
mes?" asked Noah, shaking his head. " I don't think 
hat would answer my purpose. Ain't there any other 
'|ine open?" 

** Stop !" said Fagin, laying his hand on Noah's knee. 

* The kinchin lay." 

"What's that?" demanded Mr. Claypole. 

"The kinchins, my dear," said Fagin, "is the young 
children that's sent on errands by their mothers, with 
ixpences and shillings ; and the lay is just to take their 
noney away — they've always got it ready in their hands, — 
then knock *em into the kennel, and walk off very slow, 
as if there were nothing else the matter but a child fallen 
down and hurt itself. Ha! ha! ha!" 

* Ha! ha!" roared Mr. Claypole, kicking up his legs 
in an ecstasy. " Lord, that's the very thing !** 

* To be sure It is," replied Fagin ; " and you can have 
a few good beats chalked out in Camden Town, and Battle 
Bridge, and neighbourhoods like that, where they're 
always going errands ; and you can upset as many kinchins 
as you want, any hour in the day. Ha ! ha ! ha !" 

With this, Fagin poked Mr. Claypole in the side, and 
they joined in a burst of laughter both long and loud. 

'Well, that's all right!" said Noah, when he had re- 
covered himself, and Charlotte had returned. " What 
time to-morrow shall we say?" 

' Will ten do?" asked Fagin, adding, as Mr. Claypole 


322 Oliver Twist 

nodded assent, '* What name shall I tell my gocxiri 
friend?'* f'c 

** Mr. Bolter,*' replied Noah, who had prepared himself 
for such an emergency. ** Mr. Morris Bolter. This is 
Mrs. Bolter." 

** Mrs. Bolter's humble servant," said Fag-in, bowingif 
with grotesque politeness. ** I hope I shall know her)n 
better very shortly. 

'* Do you hear the gentleman, Charlotte?" thundered^v 
Mr. Claypole. 

** Yes, Noah, dear !" replied Mrs. Bolter, extending het^\ 

** She calls me Noah, as a sort of fond way of talking,' 
said Mr. Morris Bolter, late Claypole, turning to Fagin 
*• You understand?" 

" Oh, yes, I understand — perfectly," replied Fagin, tell 
ing the truth for once. '* Good night ! Good night !" 

With many adieus and good wishes, Mr. Fagin wentjn 
his way. Noah Claypole, bespeaking his good lady's 
attention, proceeded to enlighten her relative to the ar-ge 
rangement he had made, with all that haughtiness and airj 
of superiority, becoming, not only a member of the sternerith 
sex, but a gentleman who appreciated the dignity of aj 
special appointment on the kinchin lay, in London and its^ 




" And so it was you that was your own friend, was it?" 
asked Mr. Claypole, otherwise Bolter, when, by virtue of 
the compact entered into between them, he had removed 
next day to Fagin 's house. " 'Cod, I thought as much last j,, 
night !*' 

" Every man's his own friend, my dear," replied Fagin, 
with his most insinuating grin. *' He hasn't as good a one 
as himself anywhere. ' ' 

** Except sometimes," replied Morris Bolter, assuming 
the air of a man of the world. " Some people are nobody's 
enemies but their own, yer know." 

'* Don't believe that," said Fagin. " When a man's his 
own enemy, it's only because he's too much his own 

Oliver Twist 323 

riend ; not because he's careful for everybody but himself. 
»ooh ! pooh ! There ain't such a thing in nature. " 

** There oughtn't to be, if there is," replied Mr. Bolter. 

" That stands to reason. Some conjurers say that num- 
er three is the magic number, and some say number 
even. It's neither, my friend, neither. It's number 

'Ha! ha!" cried Mr. Bolter. ** Number one for 


• In a little community like ours, my dear," said Fagm, 

rho felt it necessary to qualify this position, *' we havfe 

general number one; that is, you can't consider yourself 

s number one, without considering me too as the same, 

nd all the other young people." 

' Oh, the devil !" exclaimed Mr. Bolter. 

' You see," pursued Fagin, affecting to disregard this 
iterruption, ** we are so mixed up together, and identified 
1 our interests, that it must be so. For instance, it's 
our object to take care of number one— meaning your- 

elf." . , 

'Certainly," replied Mr. Bolter. *' Yer about right 


' Well ! You can't take care of yourself, number one, 
without taking care of me, number one." 

"Number two, you mean," said Mr. Bolter, who was 
argely endowed with the quality of selfishness. 

*' No, I don't!" retorted Fagin. "I'm of the same 
mportance to you, as you are to yourself." 

" I say," interrupted Mr. Bolter, " yer a very nice man, 
md I'm very fond of yer; but we ain't quite so thick 
ogether, as all that comes to." 

" Only think," said Fagin, shrugging his shoulders, and 
tretching out his hands; "only consider. You've done 
vhat's a very pretty thing, and what I love you for doing ; 
)ut what at the same time would put the cravat round 
rour throat, that's so very easily tied and so very difficult 
o unloose— in plain English, the halter!" 

Mr. Bolter put his hand to his neckerchief, as if he felt 
t inconveniently tight ; and murmured an assent, qualified 
n tone but not in substance. 

'The gallows," continued Fagin, "the gallows, my 
!ear, is an ugly finger-post, which points out a very short 
md sharp turning that has stopped many a bold fellow's 
areer on the broad highway. To keep In the easy road, 

324 Oliver Twist 

and keep it at a distance, is object number one witt 
you. ' ' 

'* Of course it is," replied Mr. Bolter. " What do yei 
talk about such things for?" 

** Only to show you my meaning clearly," said the Jewii 
raising his eyebrows. ** To be able to do that, you depend i' 
upon me. To keep my little business all snug, I depend T 
upon you. The first is your number one, the second my 
number one. The more you value your number one, the 
more careful you must be of mine; so we come at last toJ^^ 
what I told you at first — that a regard for number one 
holds us all together, and must do so, unless we would alii 
go to pieces in company." 

"That's true," rejoined Mr. Bolter, thoughtfully. 
" Oh ! yer a cunning old codger !" 

Mr. Fagin saw, with delight, that this tribute to his 
powers was no mere compliment, but that he had reallyfh 
impressed his recruit with a sense of his wily genius, whichjv 
it was most important that he should entertain in the out-lo 
set of their acquaintance. To strengthen an impression scl 
desirable and useful, he followed up the blow by acquaint-fi« 
ing him, in some detail, with the magnitude and extent ofj 
his operations ; blending truth and fiction together, as best 
served his purpose; and bringing both to bear, with soth 
much art, that Mr. Bolter's respect visibly increased, B.n6M 
became tempered, at the same time, with a degree of I" 
wholesome fear, which it was highly desirable to awaken Jo 
** It's this mutual trust we have in each other that con-'tli 
soles me under heavy losses," said Fagin. '* My bestAi 
hand was taken from me, yesterday morning." ha 

'* You don't mean to say he d'ed?'* cried Mr. Bolter. ur 
** No, no," replied Fagin, ** not so bad as that. Not^' 
quite so bad." wi 

** What, I suppose he was " mi 

" Wanted," interposed Fagin. " Yes, he was wanted." 
** Very particular?" inquired Mr. Bolter. M 

" No," replied Fagin, *' not very. He was charged withiiSj 
attempting to pick a pocket, and they found a silver snuff- 
box on him, — his own, my dear, his own, for he took snuff 
himself, and was very fond of it. They remanded him till 
to-day, for they thought they knew the owner. Ah ! he 
was worth fifty boxes, and I'd give the price of as many 
to have him back. You should have k^own the Dodger, 
my dear; you should have known the Dodger,** 

Oliver Twist 325 

*' Well, but I shall know him, I hope; don't yer think 
o?" said Mr. Bolter. 

* I'm doubtful about it," replied Fagin, with a sigh. 
' If they don't get any fresh evidence, it'll only be a 
ummary conviction, and we shall have him back again 
fter six weeks or so ; but, if they do, it's a case of lagging, 
hey know what a clever lad he is ; he'll be a lifer. They'll 
lake the Artful nothing less than a lifer." 

What do yer mean by lagging and a lifer?" demanded 
Ir. Bolter. ** What's the good of talking in that way 
me; why don't yer speak so as I can understand 

Fagin was about to translate these mysterious expres- 
lons into the vulgar tongue; and, being interpreted, Mr. 
Jolter would have been informed that they represented 
lat combination of words, *' transportation for life," when 
be dialogue was cut short by the entry of Master Bates, 
nth his hands in his breeches-pockets, and his face twisted 
ito a look of semi-comical woe. 

It's all up, Fagin," said Charley, when he and his 
ew companion had been made known to each other. 
** What do you mean?" 

** They've found the gentleman as owns the box; two or 
hree more's a coming to 'dentify him; and the Artful's 
ooked for a passage out," replied Master Bates. ** I 
lust have a full suit of mourning, Fagin, and a hatband, 
o wisit him in, afore he sets out upon his travels. To 
hink of Jack Dawkins — lummy Jack — the Dodger — the 
Artful Dodger — going abroad for a common twopenny- 
lalf penny sneeze-box ! I never thought he'd a done it 
inder a gold watch, chain, and seals, at the lowest. Oh, 
yhy didn't he rob some rich old gentleman of all his 
valables, and go out as a gentleman, and not like a com- 
non prig, without no honour nor glory !" 

With this expression of feeling for his unfortunate friend, 
blaster Bates sat himself on the nearest chair with an 
Lspect of chagrin and despondency. 

"* What do you talk about his having neither honour nor 
flory for?" exclaimed Fagin, darting an angry look at his 
)upil. ** Wasn't he always top-sawyer among you all ! Is 
here one of you that could touch him or come near him 
>n any scent? Eh?" 

** Not one," replied Master Bates, in a voice rendered 
lusky by regret; ** not one." 


Oliver Twist 

"Then what do you talk of?" replied Fagin angrily 
** what are you blubbering for?" 

" 'Cause it isn't on the rec-ord, is it?" said Charley 
chafed into perfect defiance of his venerable friend by th(wi 
current of his regrets; *' 'cause it can't come out in th< 
'dictment ; 'cause nobody will ever know half of what hi 
was. How will he stand in the Newgate Calendar? P'raprjbs 
not be there at all. Oh, my eye, my eye, wot a blov 
it is!" 

** Ha! ha!" cried Fagin, extending his right hand, anc 
turning to Mr. Bolter in a fit of chuckling which shool 
him as though he had the palsy; " see what a pride the] 
take in their profession, my dear. Ain't it beautiful?" 

Mr. Boiter nodded assent ; and Fagin, after contemplat 
ing the grief of Charley Bates for some seconds with 
evident satisfaction, stepped up to that young gentlemai 
and patted him on the shoulder. 

** Never mind, Charley," said Fagin soothingly; ** it'I 
come out, it'll be sure to come out. They'll all knov 
what a clever fellow he was; he'll show it himself, ano 
not disgrace his old pals and teachers. Think how young 
he is, too ! What a distinction, Charley, to be lagged a^ 
his time of life !" 

"Well, it is a honour that is!" said Charley, a littk 

*' He shall have all he wants," continued the Jew. ** H<! 
shall be kept in the Stone Jug, Charley, like a gentleman 
Like a gentleman ! With his beer every day, and mone; 
in his pocket to pitch and toss with, if he can't spend it.* 

" No, shall he though?" cried Charley Bates. 

" Ay, that he shall," replied Fagin, " and we'll have f 
big-wig, Charley : one that's got the greatest gift of the 
gab : to carry on his defence ; and he shall make a speed 
for himself too, if he likes ; and we'll read it all in the 
papers — * Artful Dodger — shrieks of laughter — here th( 
court was convulsed ' — eh, Charley, eh?" 

" Ha ! ha !" laughed Master Bates, " what a lark tha 
would be, wouldn't it, Fagin? I say, how the Artfu 
would bother *em, wouldn't he?" 

•• Would !" cried Fagin. ** He shall— he will !" 

** Ah, to be sure, so he will," repeated Charley, rubbing 
his hands. 

" I think I see him now," cried the Jew, bending his 
eyes upon his pupil. 

Oliver Twist 327 

• So do I," cried Charley Bates. ** Ha ! ha I ha ! so 
lo I. I see it all afore me, upon my soul I do, Fagin. 
I Vhat a game ! What a regular game ! All the big- 
v'lgs trying to look solemn, and Jack Dawkins address- 
ng of 'em as intimate and comfortable as if he was the 
udge's own son making a speech arter dinner — ha ! ha I 

In fact, Mr. Fagin had so well humoured his young 
riend's eccentric disposition, that Master Bates, who had 
(it first been disposed to consider the imprisoned Dodger 
li ather in the light of a victim, now looked upon him as the 
;hief actor in a scene of most uncommon and exquisite 
lumour, and felt quite impatient for the arri/al of the 
ime when his old companion should have so lavourable 
m opportunity of displaying his abilities. 

' ' We must know how he gets on to-day, by some handy 
neans or other," said Fagin. " Let me think." 
•* Shall I go?" asked Charley. 

** Not for the world," replied Fagin. ** Are you mad, 
ny dear, stark mad, that you'd walk into the very place 
vhere — No, Charley, no. One is enough to lose at a 

** You don't mean to go yourself, I suppose?" said 
Dharley with a humorous leer. 

'* That wouldn't quite fit," replied Fagin, shaking his 

" Then why don't you send this new cove?" asked 
Master Bates, laying his hand on Noah's arm. ** Nobody 
mows him." 

** Why, if he didn't mind " observed Fagin. 

" Mind !" interposed Charley. " What should he have 
:o mind?" 

" Really nothing, my dear," said Fagin, turning to Mr. 
Bolter, '* really nothing." 

" Oh, I dare say about that, yer know," observed Noah, 
backing towards the door, and shaking his head with a 
kind of sober alarm. ** No, no — none of that. It's not 
in my department, that ain't." 

*' Wot department has he got, Fagin?" inquired Master 
Bates, surveying Noah's lank form with much disgust. 
'* The cutting away when there's anything wrong, and the 
eating all the wittles when there's everything right; is that 
his branch?" 

** Never mind," retorted Mr. Bolter; ** and don't yer 


Oliver Twist 

take liberties with yer superiors, little boy, or yer'll find 
yerself in the wrong shop." 

Master Bates laughed so vehemently at this magnificent 
threat, that it was some time before Fagin could interpose, 
and represent to Mr. Bolter that he incurred no possible 
danger in visiting the police-office; that, inasmuch as no 
account of the little affair in which he had been engaged^ 
nor any description of his person, had yet been forwarded 
to the metropolis, it was very probable that he was not 
even suspected of having resorted to it for shelter; and 
that, if he were properly disguised, it would be as safe a 
spot for him to visit as any in London, inasmuch as it 
would be, of all places, the very last, to which he could bet' 
supposed likely to resort of his own free will. 

Persuaded, in part, by these representations, but over- 
borne in a much greater degree by his fear of Fagin, Mr. 
Bolter at length consented, with a very bad grace, to 
undertake the expedition. By Fagin 's directions, he im- 
mediately substituted for his own attire, a waggoner's]',! 
frock, velveteen breeches, and leather leggings : all of 
which articles the Jew had at hand. He was likewise 
furnished with a felt hat well garnished with turnpike 
tickets ; and a carter's whip. Thus equipped, he was to 
saunter into the office, as some country fellow from Covent 
Garden market might be supposed to do for the gratifica- 
tion of his curiosity ; and as he was as awkward, ungainly, 
and raw-boned a fellow as need be, Mr. Fagin had no fear 
but that he would look the part to perfection. 

These arrangements completed, he was informed of the; 
necessary signs and tokens by which to recognise the Artful 
Dodger, and was conveyed by Master Bates through darfc 
and winding ways to within a very short distance of Bow 
Street. Having described the precise situation of the 
office, and accompanied it with copious directions how he 
was to walk straight up the passage, and when he got into 
the yard take the door up the steps on the right-hand side, 
and pull off his hat as he went into the room, Charley Bates 
bade him hurry on alone, and promised to bide his return 
on the spot of their parting. 

Noah Claypole, or Morris Bolter as the reader pleases, 
punctually followed the directions he had received, 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 meeting with any 


Oliver Twist 329 

iterruption by the way. He found himself jostled among 

crowd of people, chiefly women, who were huddled to- 
ether in a dirty frowsy room, at the upper end of which 
'as a raised platform railed off from the rest, with a dock 
or the prisoners on the left hand against the wall, a box 
Dr the witnesses in the middle, and a desk for the magis- 
rates on the right; the awful locality last named, being 
creened off by a partition which concealed the bench from 
he common gaze, and left the vulgar to imagine (if they 
ould) the full majesty of justice. 

There were only a couple of women in the dock, who 
i^ere nodding to their admiring friends, while the clerk 
ead some depositions to a couple of policemen and a man 
1 plain clothes who leant over the table. A jailer stood 
eclining against the dock-rail, tapping his nose listlessly 
;ith a large key, except when he repressed an undue 
endency to conversation among the idlers, by proclaim- 
ig silence ; or looked sternly up to bid some woman 
'Take that baby out," when the gravity of justice was 
listurbed by feeble cries, half-smothered in the mother's 
hawl, from some meagre infant. The room smelt close 
nd unwholesome; the walls were dirt-discoloured; and 
he ceiling blackened. There was an old smoky bust 
ver the mantel-shelf, and a dusty clock above the dock — 
he only thing present, that seemed to go on as it ought; 
or depravity, or poverty, or an habitual acquaintance with 
>oth, had left a taint on all the animate matter, hardly 
ess unpleasant than the thick greasy scum on every inani- 
nate object that frowned upon it. 

Noah looked eagerly about him for the Dodger; but 
ilthough there were several women who would have done 
'ery well for that distinguished character's mother or 
ister, and more than one man who might be supposed to 
)ear a strong resemblance to his father, nobody at all 
mswering the description given him of Mr. Dawkins was 
o be seen. He waited in a state of much suspense and 
mcertainty until the women, being committed for trial, 
vent flaunting out; and then was quickly relieved by the 
ippearance of another prisoner who iie felt at once could 
)e no other than the object of his visit. 

It was indeed Mr. Dawkins, who, shuffling into the offlce 
^ith the big coat sleeves tucked up as usual, his left hand 
n his pocket, and his hat in his right hand, preceded the 
iailer, with a rolling gait altogether indescribable, and. 

330 Oliver Twist 

taking his place in the dock, requested in an audible voice 
to know what he was placed in that *ere disgraceful 
sitivation for. 

" Hold your tongue, will you?" said the jailer. 

"I'm an Englishman, ain't I?" rejoined the Dodger. 
** Where are my priwileges?" 

** You'll get your privileges soon enough," retorted thee 
jailer, " and pepper with 'em." 

** We'll see wot the Secretary of State for the Home 
Affairs has got to say to the beaks, if I don't," replied 
Mr. Dawkins. " Now then ! Wot is this here business? 
I shall thank the madg'strates to dispose of this here little 
affair, and not to keep me while they read the paper, for 
I've got an appointment with a genelman in the City, and 
as I'm a man of my word, and wery punctual in business 
matters, he'll go away if I ain't there to my time, and then 
pr'aps there won't be an action for damage against them 
as kep me away. Oh no, certainly not !" 

At this point, the Dodger, with a show of being very 
particular with a view to proceedings to be had thereafter, 
desired the jailer to communicate ** the names of them two 
files as was on the bench." Which so tickled the specta- 
tors, that they laughed almost as heartily as Master Bates 
could have done if he had heard the request. 

** Silence there!" cried the jailer. 

** What is this?" inquired on"e of the magistrates. 

"A pick-pocketing case, your worship." 

** Has the boy ever been here before?" 

** He ought to have been, a many times," replied the 
jailer. '* He has been pretty well everywhere else. / know 
him well, your worship." 

** Oh ! you know me, do you?" cried the Artful, making 
a note of the statement. ** Wery good. That's a case ofi 
deformation of character, any way." 

Here there was another laugh, and another cry of silence. 

"Now then, where are the witnesses?" said the clerk. 

"Ah! that's right," added the Dodger. "Where are 
they? I should like to see *em. " 

This wish was immediately gratified, for a policeman 
stepped forward who had seen the prisoner attempt the 
pocket of an unknown gentleman in a crowd, and indeed 
take a handkerchief therefrom, which, being a very old 
one, he deliberately put back again, after trying it on his 
own countenance. For this reason, he took the Dodger 

Oliver Twist 331 

into custody as soon as he could get near him, and the said 
Dodger, being searched, had upon his person a silver snuff- 
box, with the owner's name engraved upon the lid. This 
D^entleman had been discovered on reference to the Court 
I Guide, and being then and there present, swore that the 
I snuff-box was his, and that he had missed it on the pre- 
^'ious day^ the moment he had disengaged himself from the 
:rowd before referred to. He had also remarked a young 
^jg^entleman in the throng, particularly active in making his 
^ way about, and that young gentleman was the prisoner 
■ before him. 

^ " Have you anything to ask this witness, boy?" said the 
^ magistrate. 

" I wouldn't abase myself by descending to hold no con- 
versation with him," replied the Dodger. 

** Have you anything to say at all?" 

** Do you hear his worship ask if you've anything to 
say?" inquired the jailer, nudging the silent Dodger with 
bis elbow. 

I "I beg your pardon," said the Dodger, looking up with 
an air of abstraction. ** Did you redress yourself to me, 
my man?" 

** I never see such an out-and-out young wagabond, your 
worship," observed the oflftcer with a grin. ** Do you 
mean to say anything, you young shaver?" 

** No," replied the Dodger, ** not here, for this ain't the 
shop for justice; besides which, my attorney is a-break- 
fasting this morning with the Wice President of the House 
of Commons ; but I shall have something to say elsewhere, 
and so will he, and so will a wery numerous and 'spectable 
circle of acquaintance as '11 make them beaks wish they'd 
never been born, or that they'd got their footmen to hang 
'em up to their own hat-pegs, 'afore they let 'em come out 
this morning to try it on upon me. I'll " 

'* There ! He's fully committed !" interposed the clerk. 
"Take him away." 

** Come on," said the jailer. 

** Oh ah ! I'll come on," replied the Dodger, brushing 
his hat with the palm of his hand. " Ah ! (to the Bench) 
it's no use your looking frightened; I won't show you no 
mercy, not a ha'porth of it. You'll pay for this, my fine 
fellers. I wouldn't be you for something ! I wouldn't go 
free, now, if you was to fall down on your knees and ask 
me. Here, carry me off to prison! Take me away I" 

332 Oliver Twist 

With these last words the Dodger suffered himself to be 
led off by the collar ; threatening, till he got into the yard, 
to make a parliamentary business of it ; and then grinning 
in the ofiRcer's face, with great glee and self-approval. 

Having seen him locked up by himself in a little cell, 
Noah made the best of his way back to where he had left 
Master Bates. After waiting here some time, he was 
joined by that young gentleman, who had prudently ab- 
stained from showing himself until he had looked carefully 
abroad from a snug retreat, and ascertained that his new 
friend had not been followed by any impertinent person. 

The two hastened back together, to bear to Mr. Fagin 
the animating news that the Dodger was doing full justice 
to his bringing-up, and establishing for himself a glorious 



Adept as she was, in all the arts of cunning and dissimula- 
tion, the girl Nancy could not wholly conceal the effect 
which the knowledge of the step she had taken wrought ( 
upon her mind. She remembered that both the crafty Jew ^ 
and the brutal Sikes had confided to her schemes, which 
had been hidden from all others : in the full confidence ^ 
that she was trustworthy and beyond the reach of their 
suspicion. Vile as those schemes were, desperate as were ^ 
their originators, and bitter as were her feelings towards 
Fagin, who had led her, step by step, deeper and deeper 
down into an abyss of crime and misery, whence was no 
escape; still, there were times when, even towards him, 
she felt some relenting, lest her disclosure should bring 
him within the iron grasp he had so long eluded, and he 
should fall at last — richly as he merited such a fate — by 
her hand. 

But, these were the mere wanderings of a mind unable 
wholly to detach itself from old companions and associa- 
tions, though enabled to fix itself steadily on one object, 
and resolved not to be turned aside by any consideration. 
Her fears for Sikes would have been more powerful induce- 
ments to recoil while there was yet time ; but she had 
stipulated that her secret should be rigidly kept, she had 

Oliver Twist 333 

i^ Iropped no clue which could lead to his discovery, she had 
' efused, even for his sake, a refuge from all the guilt and 
S vretchedness that encompassed her — and what more could 

he do ! She was resolved. 
I' Though all her mental struggles terminated in this con- 
;lusion, they forced themselves upon her, again and again, 
md left their traces too. She grew pale and thin, even 
vithin a few days. At times, she took no heed of what 
vas passing before her, or no part in conversations where 
)nce, she would have been the loudest. At other times, 
)he laughed without merriment, and was noisy without 
:ause or meaning. At others — often within a moment 
ifterwards — she sat silent and dejected, brooding with her 
lead upon her hands, while the very effort by which she 
•oused herself, told, more forcibly than even these indica- 
ions, that she was ill at ease, and that her thoughts were 
occupied with matters very different and distant from those 
n course of discussion by her companions. 

It was Sunday night, and the bell of the nearest church 
struck the hour. Sikes and the Jew were talking, but they 
)aused to listen. The girl looked up from the low seat on 
vhich she crouched, and listened too. Eleven. 

" An hour this side of midnight," said Sikes, raising 
he blind to look out and returning to his seat. ** Dark 
ind heavy it is too. A good night for business this." 

"Ah!" replied Fagin. ** What a pity. Bill, my dear, 
hat there's none quite ready to be done." 

*' You're right for once," replied Sikes gruffly. *' It is 
I pity, for I'm in the humour too." 
Fagin sighed, and shook his head despondingly. 
** We must make up for lost time when we've got things 
nto a good train. That's all I know," said Sikes. 

'That's the Vv^ay to talk, my dear," replied Fagin, 
i^enturing to pat him on the shoulder. " It does me good 
to hear you." 

" Does you good does it !" cried Sikes. " Well, so be 

** Ha ! ha ! ha !" laughed Fagin, as if he were relieved 
by even this concession. ** You're like yourself to-night, 
Bill ! Quite like yourself." 

* I don't feel like myself when you lay that withered old 
claw on my shoulder, so take it away," said Sikes, casting 
off the Jew's hand. 

' It makes you nervous, Bill — reminds you of being 

334 Oliver Twist 

nabbed, does it?" said Fagin, determined not to be 

** Reminds me of being nabbed by the devil," returned 
Sikes. " There never was another man with such a face* 
as yours, unless it was your father, and I suppose he is 
singeing his grizzled red beard by this time, unless you 
came straight from the old 'un without any father at all 
betwixt you; which I shouldn't wonder at, a bit." 

Fagin offered no reply to this compliment; but, pulling 
Sikes by the sleeve, pointed his finger towards Nancy, who 
had taken advantage of the foregoing conversation to put 
on her bonnet, and was now leaving the room. 

"Hallo!" cried Sikes. ''Nance. Where's the gal 
going to at this time of night?" 

*' Not far." 

** What answer's that?" returned Sikes. ** Where are 
you going?" 

** I say, not far." 

** And I say where?" retorted Sikes. ** Do you hearr 

" I don't know where," replied the girl. 

** Then I do," said Sikes, more in the spirit of obstinacy? 
than because he had any real objection to the girl going; 
where she listed. ** Nowhere. Sit down." 

** I'm not well. I told you that before," rejoined the 
girl. ** I want a breath of air." 

** Put your head out of the winder," replied Sikes. 

"There's not enough there," said the girl. ** I wantt 
it in the street." 

** Then you won't have it," replied Sikes. With which 
assurance he rose, locked the door, took the key out, and 
pulling her bonnet from her head, flung it up to the top 
of an old press. " There," said the robber. ** Now stop 
quietly where you are, will you?" 

** It's not such a matter as a bonnet would keep me," 
said the girl turning very pale. ** What do you mean. 
Bill? Do you know what you're doing?" 

"Know what I'm Oh!" cried Sikes turning to 

Fagin, " she's out of her senses, you know, or she daren't 
talk to me in that way." 

" You'll drive me on to something desperate," muttered 
the girl, placing both hands upon her breast, as though 
to keep down by force some violent outbreak. " Let mc 
go, will you, — this minute — this instant." 

Oliver Twist 335 

"No!" said Sikes. 

"Tell him to let me go, Fagin. He had better. It'll 
)c better for him. Do you hear me?" cried Nancy stamp- 
ng her foot upon the ground. 

" Hear you !" repeated Sikes turning round in his chair 
confront her. ' ' Aye ! And if I hear you for half a 
ninute longer, the dog shall have such a grip on your 
hroat as '11 tear some of that screaming voice out. Wot 
las come over you, you jade! Wot is it?" 

"Let me go," said the girl with great earnestness; 
:hen sitting herself down on the floor, before the door, she 
>aid, ** Bill, let me go ; yoii don't know what you are doing. 
You don't, indeed. For only one hour — do — do!" 

** Cut my limbs off one by one !" cried Sikes, seizing her 
oughly by the arm, ** if I don't think the gal's stark 
raving mad. Get up. " 

** Not till you let me go — not till you let me go — Never 

never!" screamed the girl. Sikes looked on, fQr a; 
minute, watching his opportunity, and suddenly pinioning 
ler hands dragged her, struggling and wrestling with him 
Dy the way, into a small room adjoining, where he sat 
himself on a bench, and thrusting her into a chair, held her 
down by force. She struggled and implored by turns until 
twelve o'clock had struck, and then, wearied and ex- 
hausted, ceased to contest the point any further. With a 
caution, backed by many oaths, to make no more efforts 
to go out that night, Sikes left her to recover at leisure and 
rejoined Fagin. 

** Whew !" said the housebreaker, wiping the perspira- 
tion from his face. ** Wot a precious strange gal that 

" You may say that, Bill," replied Fagin thoughtfully. 

You may say that." 

*' Wot did she take it into her head to go out to-night 
for, do you think?" asked Sikes. "Come; you should 
know her better than me. Wot does it mean?" 

*' Obstinacy; woman's obstinacy, I suppose, my dear." 

" Well, I suppose it is," growled Sikes. ** I thought I 
had tamed her, but she's as bad as ever." 

"Worse," said Fagin thoughtfully. "I never knew 
her like this, for such a little cause." 

" Nor I," said Sikes. " I think she's got a touch of 
that fever in her blood vet, and it won't come out — eh?" 

"Like enough." 


Oliver Twist 

"I'll let her a little blood, without troubling the doctor, 
if she's took that way again," said Sikes. I 

Fagin nodded an expressive approval of this mode of 

" She was hanging about me all day, and night too, 
when I was stretched on my back; and you, like a black- 
hearted wolf as you are, kept yourself aloof," said Sikes. 
" We was very poor too, all the time, and I think, one: 
way or other, it's worried and fretted her ; and that being; 
shut up here so long has made her restless — eh?" 

** That's it, my dear," replied the Jew in a whisper. 

As he uttered these words, the girl herself appeared and^ 
resumed her former seat. Her eyes were swollen and red ; 
she rocked herself to and fro ; tossed her head ; and, af ten 
a little time, burst out laughing. 

** Why, now she's on the other tack !" exclaimed Sikes,; 
turning a look of excessive surprise on his companion. 

Fagin nodded to him to take no further notice just then ; 
and, in a few minutes, the girl subsided into her accus- 
tomed demeanour. Whispering Sikes that there was no 
fear of her relapsing, Fagin took up his hat and bade him 
good night. He paused when he reached the room-door, 
and- looking round, asked if somebody would light him 
down the dark stairs. 

" Light him down," said Sikes, who was filling his 
pipe. '* It's a pity he should break his neck himself, and 
disappoint the sight-seers. Show him a light." 

Nancy followed the old man down stairs, with a candle. 
When they reached the passage, he laid his finger on his 
lip, and drawing close to the girl, said, in a whisper, 

" What is it, Nancy, dear?" 

"What do you mean?" replied the girl, in the same 

" The reason of all this," replied Fagin. '* U he "—he 
pointed with his skinny fore-finger up the stairs — ** is so 
hard with you (he's a brute, Nance, a brute-beast), why 
don't you " 

** Well?" said the girl, as Fagin paused, with his mouth 
almost touching her ear, and his eyes looking into hers. 

** No matter just now. We'll talk of this again. You 
have a friend in me, Nance ; a staunch friend. I have the 
means at hand, quiet and close. If you want revenge oii 
those that treat you like a dog — like a dog ! worse than his 

Oliver Twist 337 

iogf for he humours him sometimes — come to me. I say, 
:ome to me. He is the mere hound of a day, but you 
know me of old, Nance." 

** I know you well," replied the girl, without manifest- 
ng the least emotion. " Good night." 

She shrank back, as Fagin offered to lay his hand on 
lers, but said good night again, in a steady voice, and, 
answering his parting look with a nod of intelligence,, 
closed the door between them. 

Fagin walked towards his own home, intent upon the 
thoughts that were working within his brain. He had 
conceived the idea — not from what had just passed, though 
that had tended to confirm him, but slowly and by degrees^ 
—that Nancy, wearied of the housebreaker's brutality, had 
conceived an attachment for some new friend. Her altered 
manner, her repeated absences from home alone, her com- 
parative indifference to the interests of the gang for which 
she had once been so zealous, and, added to these, her 
desperate impatience to leave home that night at a par- 
ticular hour, all favoured the supposition, and rendered it, 
to him at least, almost matter of certainty. The object 
5f this new liking was not among his myrmidons. He 
svould be a valuable acquisition with such an assistant as 
Nancy, and must (thus Fagin argued) be secured without 

There was another, and a darker object, to be gained. 
Sikes knew too much, and his ruffian taunts had not 
galled Fagin the less, because the wounds were hidden. 
The girl must know, well, that if she shook him off, she 
ould never be safe from his fury, and that it would be 
mrely wreaked — to the maiming of limbs, or perhaps the 
OSS of life — on the object of her more recent fancy. " With 
I little persuasion," thought Fagin, '* what more likely 
han that she would consent to poison him? Women have 
done such things, and worse, to secure the same object 
Defore now. There would be the dangerous villain : the 
nan I hate : gone ; another secured in his place ; and my 
nfluence over the girl, with a knowledge of this crime to 
Dack it, unlimited." 

These things passed through the mind of Fagin, during 
the short time he sat alone, in the housebreaker's room; 
md with them uppermost in his thoughts, he had taken 
he opportunity afterwards afforded him, of sounding the 
^irl in the broken hints he threw out at parting. There 


Oliver Twist 

was no expression of surprise, no assumption of an inability 
to understand his meaning. The girl clearly compre- 
hended it. Her glance at parting showed that. 

But perhaps she would recoil from a plot to take the life 
of Sikes, and that was one of the chief ends to be attained. 
" How," thought Fagin, as he crept homeward, *' can I 
increase my influence with her? what new power can I 

Such brains are fertile in expedients. If, without ex- 
tracting a confession from herself, he laid a watch, dis- 
covered the object of her altered regard, and threatened to 
reveal the whole history to Sikes (of whom she stood in 
no common fear) unless she entered into his designs, could 
he not secure her compliance? 

** I can," said Fagin, almost aloud. ** She durst not 
refuse me then. Not for her life, not for her life ! I have 
it all. The means are ready, and shall be set to work. I 
shall have you yet ! ' ' 

He cast back a dark look, and a threatening motion of 
the hand, towards the spot where he had left the bolder 
villain ; and went on his way : busying his bony hands in 
the folds of his tattered garment, which he wrenched 
tightly in his grasp, as though there were a hated enemy 
crushed with every motion of his fingers. 



The old man was up, betimes, next morning, and waited 
impatiently for the appearance of his new associate, who 
after a delay that seemed interminable, at length presented 
himself, and commenced a voracious assault on the break- 

** Bolter," said Fagin, drawing up a chair and seating 
himself opposite Morris Bolter. 

*' Well, here I am," returned Noah. " What's the 
matter? Don't yer ask me to do anything till I have done 
eating. That's a great fault in this place. Yer never get 
time enough over yer meals." 

** You can talk as you eat, can't you?" said Fagin, 

Oliver Twist 339 

cursing his dear young friend's greediness from the very 
bottom of his heart. 

" Oh yes, I can talk. I get on better when I talk,** 
said Noah, cutting a monstrous slice of bread. '* Where *s 

** Out," said Fagin. " I sent her out this morning with 
the other young woman, because I wanted us to be alone." 

** Oh 1" said Noah. " I wish yer'd ordered her to make 
some buttered toast first. Well. Talk away. Yer won't 
interrupt me." 

There seemed, indeed, no great fear of anything inter- 
rupting him, as he had evidently sat down with a deter- 
mination to do a great deal of business. 

** You did well yesterday, my dear," said Fagin. 
*' Beautiful ! Six shillings and ninepence halfpenny on the 
very first day ! The kinchin lay will be a fortune to you." 

" Don't you forget to add three pint-pots and a milk- 
can," said Mr. Bolter. 

** No, no, my dear. The pint-pots were great strokes of 
g-enius : but the milk-can was a perfect masterpiece." 

" Pretty well, I think, for a beginner," remarked Mr. 
Bolter complacently. ** The pots I took off airy railings, 
and the milk-can was standing by itself outside a public- 
house. I thought it might get rusty with the rain, or 
:atch cold, yer know. Eh? Ha! ha! ha!" 

Fagin affected to laugh very heartily; and Mr. Bolter 
tiaving had his laugh out, took a series of large bites, 
which finished his first hunk of bread and butter, and 
assisted himself to a second. 

** I want you. Bolter," said Fagin, leaning over the 
table, " to do a piece of work for me, my dear, that needs 
great care and caution." 

" I say," rejoined Bolter, " don't yer go shoving me into 
danger, or sending me to any more o' yer police-offices. 
That don't suit me, that don't; and so I tell yer." 

"There's not the smallest danger in it — not the verj 
smallest," said the Jew; ** it's only to dodge a woman." 

" An old woman?" demanded Mr. Bolter. 

" A young one," replied Fagin. 

** I can do that pretty well, I know," said Bolter. " I 
was a regular cunning sneak when I was at school. What 
am I to dodge her for? Not to " 

'* Not to do anything, but to tell me where she goes, 
who she sees, and, if possible, what she says ; to remember 

340 Oliver Twist 

the street, if it is a street, or the house, if it is a house; 
and to bring me back all the information you can." 

** What'll yer give me?" asked Noah, setting down his 
cup, and looking his employer, eagerly, in the face. 

'* If you do it well, a pound, my dear. One pound," 
said Fagin, wishing to interest him in the scent as much as 
possible. ** And that's what I never gave yet, for any job 
of work where there wasn't valuable consideration to be 

** Who is she?" inquired Noah. 

*'One of us." 

"Oh Lor!" cried Noah, curling up his nose. "Yer 
doubtful of her, are yer ? ' ' 

** She has found out some new friends, my dear, and II 
must know who they are," replied Fagin. 

" I see," said Noah. *' Just to have the pleasure of 
knowing them, if they're respectable people, eh? Ha ! ha ! 
ha I I'm your man." 

" I knew you would be," cried Fagin, elated by the 
•uccess of his proposal. 

" Of course, of course," replied Noah. ** Where is 
she? Where am I to wait for her? Where am I to go?" 

** All that, my dear, you shall hear from me. I'll point 
her out at the proper time," said Fagin. " You keep 
ready, and leave the rest to me." 

That night, and the next, and the next again, the spy sat 
booted and equipped in his carter's dress : ready to turn 
out at a word from Fagin. Six nights passed — six long 
weary nights — and on each, Fagin came home with a dis- 
appointed face, and briefly intimated that it was not yet 
time. On the seventh, he returned earlier, and with an; 
exultation he could not conceal. It was Sunday. 

** She goes abroad to-night," said Fagin, ** and on the 
right errand, I'm sure; for she has been alone all day, and 
the man she is afraid of will not be back much before 
daybreak. Come with me. Quick!" 

Noah started up without saying a word ; for the Jew was 
in a state of such intense excitement that it infected him. 
They left the house stealthily, and, hurrying through a 
labyrinth of streets, arrived at length before a public-house, 
which Noah recognised as the same in which he had slept, 
on the night of his arrival in London. 

It was past eleven o'clock, and the door was closed. Ii 
opened softly on its hinges as Fagin gave a low whistle. 

Oliver Twist 341 

They entered, without noise ; and the door was closed be- 
hind them. 

Scarcely venturing to whisper, but substituting dumb 
show for words, Fagin, and the young Jew who had 
admitted them, pointed out the pane of glass to Noah, and 
signed to him to climb up and observe the person in the 
adjoining room. 

" Is that the woman?" he asked, scarcely above his 
breath. Fagin nodded yes. 

" I can't see her face well," whispered Noah. " She is 
looking down, and the candle is behind her." 

* Stay there," whispered Fagin. He signed to Barney, 
who withdrew. In an instant, the lad entered the room 
adjoining, and, under pretence of snuffing the candle,| 
moved it in the required position, and, speaking to the girl, 
[paused her to raise her face. 

** I see her now," cried the spy. 


** I should know her among a thousand." 

He hastily descended, as the room-door opened, and the 

yirl came out. Fagin drew him behind a small partition 

tvhich was curtained off, and they held their breaths as she 

jassed within a few feet of their place of concealment, and 

merged by the door at which they had entered. 

'* Hist !" cried the lad who held the door. *' Dow." 

Noah exchanged a look with Fagin, and darted out. 

**To the left," whispered the lad; "take the left had, 
md keep od the other side." 

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

342 Oliver Twist 



The church clocks chimed three quarters past eleven, as two 
figures emerged on London Bridge. One, which advanced 
with a swift and rapid step, was that ctf a woman who 
looked eagerly about her as though in quest of some ex- 
pected object; the other figure was that of a man, who 
slunk along in the deepest shadow he could find, and, at 
some distance, accommodated his pace to hers : stopping 
when she stopped : and as she moved again, creeping 
stealthily on : but never allowing himself, in the ardour of 
his pursuit, to gain upon her footsteps. Thus, they crossed 
the bridge, from the Middlesex to the Surrey shore, \vhen 
the woman, apparently disappointed in her anxious 
scrutiny of the foot-passengers, turned back. The move- 
ment was sudden ; but he who watched her was not thrown 
off his guard by it; for, shrinking into one of the recesses 
which surmount the piers of the bridge, and leaning over 
the parapet the better to conceal his figure, he suffered her 
to pass on the opposite pavement. When she was about 
the same distance in advance as she had been before, he 
slipped quietly down, and followed her again. At nearly 
the centre of the bridge, she stopped. The man stopped 

It was a very dark night. The day had been unfavour- 
able, and at that hour and place there were few people 
stirring. Such as there were, hurried quickly past : very 
possibl> without seeing, but certainly without noticing, 
either the woman, or the man who kept her in view. Their 
appearance was not calculated to attract the importunate 
regards of such of London's destitute population, 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 ; they stood there in silence : neither speaking 
nor spoken to, by any one who passed. 

A mist hung over the river, deepening the red glare of 
the fires that burnt upon the small craft moored off the 
different wharfs, and rendering darker and more indistinct 
the mirky buildings on the banks. The old smoke-stained 
storehouses on either side, rose heavy and dull from the 


Oliver Twist • 343 

dense *mass of roofs and gables, and frowned sternly upon 
water too black to reflect even their lumbering shapes. 
The tower of old Saint Saviour's Church, and the spire of 
Saint Magnus, so long the giant-warders of the ancient 
bridge, were visible in the gloom ; but the forest of shipping 
below bridge, and the thickly scattered spires of churches 
above, were nearly all hidden from the sight. 

The girl had taken a few restless turns to and fro— 
closely watched meanwhile by her hidden observer — when 
the heavy bell of St. Paul's tolled for the death of another 
day. Midnight had come upon the crowded city. The 
palace, the night-cellar, the jail, the madhouse : the 
chambers of birth and death, of health and sickness, the 
rigid face of the corpse and the calm sleep of the child : 
midnight was upon them all. i 

The hour had not struck two minutes, when a young 
lady, accompanied by a grey-haired gentleman, alighted 
from a hackney-carriage within a short distance of the 
bridge, and, having dismissed the vehicle, walked straight 
cowards it. They had scarcely set foot upon its pavement, 
when the girl started, and immediately made towards 

They walked onward, looking about them with the air of 
Dersons who entertained some very slight expectation 
,vhich had little chance of being realised, when they were 
suddenly joined by this new associate. They halted with 
m exclamation of surprise, but suppressed it immediately ; 
or a man in the garments of a countryman came close up 
—brushed against them, indeed — at that precise moment. 

" Not here," said Nancy hurriedly, " I am afraid to 
jpeak to you here. Come away — out of the public road — 
lown the steps yonder !" 

As she uttered these words, and indicated, with her 
land, the direction in which she wished them to proceed, 
he countryman looked round, and roughly asking what 
hey took up the whole pavement for, passed on. 

The steps to which the girl had pointed, were those 
vhich, on the Surrey bank, and on the same side of the 
)ridge as Saint Saviour's Church, form a landing-stairs 
rom the river. To this spot, the man bearing the appear- 
mce of a countryman, hastened unobserved ; arid after a 
noment's survey of the place, he began to descend. 

These stairs are a part of the bridge ; they consist of 
hree flights. Just below the end of the second, going 

344 Oliver Twist 

down, the stone wall on the left terminates in an orna- 
mental pilaster facing towards the Thames. At this point 
the lower steps widen : so that a person turning that angle 
of the wall, is necessarily unseen by any others on the 
stairs who chance to be above him, if only a step. The 
countryman looked hastily round, when he reached this: 
point ; and as there seemed no better place of concealment, 
and, the tide being out, there was plenty of room, he? 
slipped aside^ with his back to the pilaster, and there 
waited : pretty certain that they would come no lower, and 
that even if he could not hear what was said, he could 
follow them again, with safety. 

So tardily stole the time in this lonely place, and so eager 
was the spy to penetrate the motives of an interview so 
dififerent from what he had been led to expect, that he more 
than once gave the matter up for lost, and persuaded him-tj 
self, either that they had stopped far above, or had resorted 
to some entirely different spot to hold their mysterious '^ 
conversation. He was on the point of emerging from hisf 
hiding-place, and regaining the road above, when he heard 
the sound of footsteps, and directly afterwards of voices 
almost close at his ear. 

He drew himself straight upright against the wall, and. 
scarcely breathed, listening attentively. 

" This is far enough," said a voice, which was evident!} 
that of the gentleman. " I will not suffer the young ladj'JJ 
to go any farther. Many people would have distrustec 
you too much to have come even so far, but you see I an: 
willing to humour you." 

" To humour me !" cried the voice of the girl whom ht 
had followed. ** You're considerate, indeed, sir. T( ^" 
humour me ! Well, well, it's no matter." P^J 

** Why, for what," said the gentleman in a kinder tone™ 
" for what purpose can you have brought us to this strange JJ 
place? Why not have let me speak to you, above there 
where it is light, and there is something stirring, instea< 
of bringing us to this dark and dismal hole?" 

" I told you before," replied Nancy, " that I was afrai< 
to speak to you there. I don't know why it is," said th 
girl, shuddering, ** but I have such a fear and dread upoi 
me to-night that I can hardly stand." 

** A fear of what?" asked the gentleman, who seemed t 
pity her. 

*' I scarcely know of what," replied the girl. " I wis) 


Oliver Twist 345 

: did. Horrible thoughts of death, and shrouds with blood 
ipon them, and a fear that has made me burn as if I was 
)n fire, have been upon me all day. I was reading a book 
o-night, to wile the time away, and the same things came 
nto the print.'* 

** Imagination," said the gentleman, soothing her. 

*• No imagination," replied the girl in a hoarse voice. 

rU swear I saw * cofhn ' written in every page of the 
)ook in large black letters, — aye, and they carried one close 
o me, in the streets to-night." 

** There is nothing unusual in that," said the gentleman. 
' They have passed me often." 

•* Real ones," rejoined the girl. *' This was not." 

There was something so uncommon in her manner, that 
he flesh of the concealed listener crept as he heard the girl 
itter these words, and the blood chilled within him. He 
lad never experienced a greater relief than in hearing the 
weet voice of the young lady as she begged her to be calm, 
md not allow herself to become the prey of such fearful 

Speak to her kindly," said the young lady to her com- 
>anion. " Poor creature ! She seems to need it." 

Your haughty religious people would have held their 
leads up to see me as I am to-night, and preached of flames 
nd vengeance," cried the girl. *VOh, dear lady, why 
r'n't those who claim to be God's own folks as gentle and 
s kind to us poor wretches as you, who, having youth, and 
eauty, and all that they have lost, might be a little proud 
istead of so much humbler?" 

Ah!" said the gentleman. ** A Turk turns his face, 
fter washing it well, to the East, when he says his 
irayers ; these good people, after giving their faces such a 
ub against the World as to take the smiles off, turn with 
o less regularity, to the darkest side of Heaven. Between 

e Mussulman and the Pharisee, commend me to the 

These words appeared to be addressed to the young lady, 
nd were perhaps uttered with the view of affording Nancy 
ime to recover herself. The gentleman, shortly after- 
wards, addressed himself to her. 

You were not here last Sunday night," he said. 
I couldn't come," replied Nancy: "I was kept by 
orce, ' * 

By whom?" 



Oliver Twist 

" Him that I told the young lady of before." 
** You were not suspected of holding any communication 
with anybody on the subject which has brought us here 
to-night, I hope?" asked the old gentleman. 

" No," replied the girl, shaking her head. " It's not 
very easy for me to leave him unless he knows why; I 
couldn't have seen the lady when I did, but that I gave 
him a drink of laudanum before I came away." 

"Did he awake before you returned?" inquired the 

"No; and neither he nor any of them suspect me." 
" Good," said the gentleman. " Now listen to me. " 
** I am ready," replied the girl, as he paused for c 

"This young lady," the gentleman began, "has com 
municated to me, and to some other friends who can b<, 
safely trusted, what you told her nearly a fortnight since 
I confess to you that I had doubts, at first, whether yoi 
were to be implicitly relied upon, but now I firmly believj 
you are. 

" I am," said the girl earnestly. L 

" I repeat that I firmly believe it. To prove to you thai 
I am disposed to trust you, I tell you without reserve, tha; ^ 
we propose to extort the secret, whatever it may be, from ^^ 
the fears of this man Monks. But if — if—" said the 
gentleman, " he cannot be secured, or, if secured, canna^jj 
be acted upon as we wish, you must deliver up th( '. 

" Fagin !" cried the girl, recoiling. ,^1 

"That man must be delivered up by you," said thi ^j^ 

gentleman. ,1 

" I will not do it ! I will never do it !" replied the gir! ,y| 

" Devil that he is, and worse than devil as he has bee p^^ 

to me, I will never do that." jp 

" You will not?" said the gentleman, who seemed full ^Jj 

prepared for this answer. J2^ 

" Never!" returned the girl. \^^^ 

"Tell me why." 5^5 

"For one reason," rejoined the girl firmly, " for or ^^^ 

reason, that the lady knows and will stand by me in, ,j^^ 

know she will, for I have her promise ; and for this oth< ^^ 

reason, besides, that, bad life as he has led, I have led 

bad life too; there are many of us who have kept tK^^j 

same courses together, and I'll not turn upon them, wt ,^^^ 

Oliver Twist 347 

might — any of them — have turned upon me, but didn't, 
bad as they are." 

"Then," said the gentleman, quickly, as if this had 
seen the point he had been aiming to attain; ** put Monks 
nto my hands, and leave him to me to deal with." 

"What if he turns against the others?" 

" I promise you that in that case, if the truth is forced 
rom him, there the matter will rest; there must be cir- 
cumstances in Oliver's little history which it would be 
gainful to drag before the public eye, and if the truth is 
)nce elicited, they shall go scot free." 

" And if it is not?" suggested the girl. 

"Then," pursued the gentleman, "this Fagin shall 
lot be brought to justice without your consent. In such a 
rase I could show you reasons, I think, which would in- 
luce you to yield it." 

' Have I the lady's promise for that?" asked the girl. 

'* You have," replied Rose. " My true and faithful 

' Monks would never learn how you knew what you 
lo?" said the girl, after a short pause. 

* Never," replied the gentleman. " The intelligence 
hould be so brought to bear upon him, that he could 
lever even guess." 

" I have been a liar, and among liars from a little 
hild," said the girl after another interval of silence, 
' but I will take your words." 

After receiving an assurance from both, that she might 
afely do so, she proceeded in a voice so low that it was 
»ften difficult for the listener to discover even the purport 
f what she said, to describe, by name and situation, the 
ublic-house whence she had been followed that night, 
i'rom the manner in which she occasionally paused, it 
ppeared as if the gentleman were making some hasty 
otes of the information she communicated. When she 
ad thoroughly explained the localities of the place, the 
est position from which to watch it without exciting 
■bservation, and the night and hour on which Monks was 
lost in the habit of frequenting it, she seemed to con- 
ider for a few moments, for the purpose of recalling his 
satures and appearance more forcibly to her recollection. 

* He is tall," said the girl, " and a strongly made man, 
ut not stout; he has a lurking walk; and as he walks, 
onstantly looks over his shoulder, first on one side, and 


Oliver Twist 

then on the other. Don't forget that, 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. His face is 
dark, like his hair and eyes; and, although he can't be 
more than six or eight and twenty, withered and haggard. 
His lips are often discoloured and disfigured with the 
marks of teeth; for he has desperate fits, and sometimes 
even bites his hands and covers them with wounds — why 
did you start?" said the girl, stopping suddenly. 

The gentleman replied, in a hurried manner, that he was 
not conscious of having done so, and begged her to pro- 

** Part of this,'* said the girl, ** I've drawn out fromr 
other people at the house I tell you of, for I have only- 
seen him twice, and both times he was covered up in a; 
large cloak. I think that's all I can give you to know 
him by. Stay though," she added. *' Upon his throat: 
so high that you can see a part of it below his necker- 
chief when he turns his face : there is " 

' * A broad red mark, like a burn or scald ? ' * cried the 

'• How's this?" said the girl. " You know him !" 

The young lady uttered a cry of surprise, and for a fevj 
moments they were so still that the listener could dis 
tinctly hear them breathe. 

" I think I do," said the gentleman, breaking silences 
" I should by your description. We shall see. Man} 
people are singularly like each other. It may not be the. 

As he expressed himself to this effect, with assumec 
carelessness, he took a step or two nearer the concealer 
spy, as the latter could tell from the distinctness witi 
which he heard him mutter, ** It must be he !" 

** Now," he said, returning : so it seemed by the sound 
to the spot where he had stood before, *' you have givei 
us most valuable assistance, young woman, and I wis! 
you to be the better for it. What can I do to serv 

** Nothing," replied Nancy. 

** You will not persist in saying that," rejoined th 
gentleman, with a voice and emphasis of kindness tha 
might have touched a much harder and more obdurat 
heart. '* Think now. Tell me." 

"Nothing, sir," rejoined the girl, weeping. *' Yo 



Oliver Twist 349 

:an do nothing to help me. I am past all hope, 

" You put yourself beyond its pale," said the gentle- 
nan. *' The past has been a dreary waste with you, of 
outhful energies mis-spent, and such priceless treasures 
avished, as the Creator bestows but once and never grants 
igain, but, for the future, you may hope. I do not say 
hat it is in our power to offer you peace of heart and 
nind, for that must come as you seek it; but a quiet 
isylum, either in England, or, if you fear to remain here, 
n some foreign country, it is not only within the com- 
)ass of our ability but our most anxious wish to secure 
^ou. Before the dawn of morning, before this river 
vakes to the first glimpse of daylight, you shall be placed 
IS entirely beyond the reach of your former associates, and 
eave as utter an absence of all trace behind you, as if 
^ou were to disappear from the earth this moment. Come ! 
would not have you go back to exchange one word with 
my old companion, or take one look at any old haunt, or 
)reathe the very air which is pestilence and death to you. 
^uit them all, while there is time and opportunity !" 
" She will be persuaded now," cried the young lady. 
She hesitates, I am sure." 
'* I fear not, my dear," said the gentleman. 
** No, sir, I do not," replied the girl, after a short 
itruggle. ** I am chained to my old life. I loathe and 
late it now, but I cannot leave it. I must have gone too 
ar to turn back, — and yet I don't know, for if you had 
poken to me so, some time ago, I should have laughed 
^t off. But," she said, looking hastily round, " this fear 
:( lomes over me again. I must go home. ' ' 
tl '* Home!" repeated the young lady, with great stress 

ipon the word. 
1 '* Home, lady," rejoined the girl. *' To such a home 
EI LS I have raised for myself with the work of my whole life. 
si ^et us part. I shall be watched or seen. Go ! Go ! If 
v( have done you any service, all I ask is, that you leave 
ne, and let me go my way alone." 
" It is useless," said the gentleman, with a sigh. ** We 
hcompromise her safety, perhaps, by staying here. We 
a nay have detained her longer than she expected already." 
tt( ** Yes, yes," urged the girl. " You have." 

** What," cried the young lady, " can be the end of 
01 his poor creature's life!" 

350 Oliver Twist 

** What!' repeated the girl. ** Look before you, lady 
Look at that dark water. How many times do you reac 
of such as I who spring into the tide, and leave no living 
thing to care for or bewail them. It may be years hence 
or it may be only months, but I shall come to that at last. ' 

" Do not speak thus, pray," returned the young lady; 

" It will never reach your ears, dear lady, and God for 
bid such horrors should ! * ' replied the girl. * ' Good night 
good night ! * * 

The gentleman turned away. 

** This purse," cried the young lady. ** Take it for m;i 
sake, that you may have some resource in an hour of neet 
and trouble." 

**No!" replied the girl. "I have not done this fo) 
money. Let me have that to think of. And yet — giv. 
me something that you have worn : I should like to havi 
something — no, no, not a ring — your gloves or handkerr 
chief — anything that I can keep, as having belonged tt 
you, sweet lady. There. Bless you ! God bless youi 
Good night, good night !" 

The violent agitation of the girl, and the apprehensio)|] 
of some discovery which would subject her to ill-usag?s 
and violence, seemed to determine the gentleman to leav 
her, as she requested. The sound of retreating footstepdti 
was audible and the voices ceased. c; 

The two figures of the young lady and her companion b: 
soon afterwards appeared upon the bridge. They stoppesii 
at the summit of the stairs. le 

**Hark!" cried the young lady, listening. "Did shn)i 
call! I thought I heard her voice." 

'* No, my love," replied Mr. Brownlow, looking sadl p( 
back. *' She has not moved, and will not till we ar^rf 
gone. ' ' 

Rose Maylie lingered, but the old gentleman drew he 
arm through his, and led her, with gentle force, awa> 
As they disappeared, the girl sunk down nearly at her fu 
length upon one of the stone stairs, and vented th 
anguish of her heart in bitter tears. 

After a time she arose, and with feeble and totterinj 
steps ascended to the street. The astonished listener rejifi 
mained motionless on his post for some minutes after )f 
wards, and having ascertained, with many caution (ini 
glances round him, that he was again alone, crept slowl 

Oliver Twist 351 

rom his hidingf-place, and returned, stealthily and in the 
hade of the wall, in the same manner as he had descended. 
Peeping out, more than once, when he reached the top, 
o make sure that he was unobserved, Noah Claypole 
larted away at his utmost speed, and made for the Jew's 
louse as fast as his legs would carry him. 



T was nearly two hqurs before day-break; that time 
s^hich in the autumn of the year, may be truly called the 
ead of night ; when the streets are silent and deserted ; 
/hen even sounds appear to slumber, and profligacy and 
iot have staggered home to dream ; it was at this still and 
ilent hour, that Fagin sat watching in his old lair, with 
ace so distorted and pale, and eyes so red and bloodshot, 
hat he looked less like a man, than like some hideous 
hantom, moist from the grave, and worried by an evil 

He sat crouching over a cold hearth, wrapped in an old 

[)rn coverlet, with his face turned towards a wasting 

andle that stood upon a table by his side. His right 

Hand was raised to his lips, and as, absorbed in thought, 

:(e bit his long black nails, he disclosed among his tooth- 

iss gums a few such fangs as should have been a dog's 

iir rat's. 

Stretched upon a mattress on the floor, lay Noah Clay- 
1 ole, fast asleep. Towards him the old man sometimes 
riirected his eyes for an instant, and then brought them 
ack again to the candle; which with a long-burnt wick 
erooping almost double, and hot grease falling down in 
y lots upon the table, plainly showed that his thoughts were 
ilusy elsewhere. 

K Indeed they wfere. Mortification at the overthrow of his 
otable scheme ; hatred of the girl who had dared to palter 
ij ith strangers ; an utte* distrust of the sincerity of her 
ejfusal to yield him up; bitter disappointment at the loss 
rf his revenge on Sikes ; the fear of detection, and ruin, 
ii nd death ; and a fierce and deadly rage kindled by all ; 
Ijiese were the passionate considerations which, following 

352 Oliver Twist 

close upon each other with rapid and ceaseless whirl, shot 
throug-h the brain of Fagin, as every evil thought and 
blackest purpose lay working at his heart 

He sat without changing his attitude in the least, or 
appearing to take the smallest heed of time, until his 
quick ear seemed to be attracted by a footstep in the 

"At last," he muttered, wiping his dry and feverec 
mouth. "At last!" 

The bell rang gently as he spoke. He crept up stairs tc 
the door, and presently returned accompanied by a mat 
muffled to the chin, who carried a bundle under one armi 
Sitting down and throwing back his outer coat, the mai 
displayed the burly frame of Sikes. 

"There!" he said, laying the bundle on the table 
" Take care of that, and do the most you can with it. It' 
been trouble enough to get ; I thought I should have bee: 
here, three hours ago." 

Fagin laid his hand upon the bundle, and locking it it 
the cupboard, sat down again without speaking. But hq 
did not take his eyes off the robber, for an instant, durim 
this action ; and now that they sat over against each otheijii 
face to face, he looked fixedly at him, with his lips quiyec 
ing so violently, and his face so altered by the emotion 
which had mastered him, that the housebreaker involur 
tarilv drew back his chair, and surveyed him with a look ( 
real affright. 

"Wot now?" cried Sikes. "Wot do you look at 
man so for?" 

Fagin raised his right hand, and shook his tremblinnjei 
fore-finger in the air; but his passion was so great, thi 
the power of speech was for the moment gone. 

"Damme!" said Sikes, feeling in his breast with 
look of alarm. " He's gone mad. I must look to myseffli 

" No, no," rejoined Fagin, finding his voice. " It 
not — you're not the person. Bill. I've no — no fault to fir 
with you." 

" Oh, you haven't, haven't you?" said Sikes, lookir 
sternly at him, and ostentatiously passing a pistol into 
more convenient pocket. " That's lucky — for one of u 
Which one that is, don't matter." ak 

" I've got that to tell you. Bill," said Fagin, drawir 
his chair nearer, " will make you worse than me.** 


Oliver Twist 353 

** Aye?** returned the robber with an incredulous air. 
Tell away ! Look sharp^ or Nance will think I *m 


Lost!" cried Fagin. "She has pretty well settled 
lat, in her own mind, already." 

Sikes looked with an aspect of great perplexity into the 
iw's face, and reading no satisfactory explanation of the 
ddle there, clenched his coat collar in his huge hand and 
look him soundly. 

Speak, will you !" he said ; " or if you don't, it shall 
for want of breath. Open your mouth and say wot 
>u've got to say in plain words. Out with it, you 
lundering old cur, out with it !" 

" Suppose that lad that's lying there " Fagin began. 

Sikes turned round to where Noah was sleeping, as if he 
ad not previously observed him. **Well!" he said, 
isuming his former position. 

Suppose that lad," pursued Fagin, ** was to peach — 

) blow upon us all — first seeking out the right folks for 

e purpose, and then having a meeting with 'em in the 

treet to paint our likenesses, describe every mark that 

ley might know us by, and the crib where we might be 

lost easily taken. Suppose he was to do all this, and be- 

des to blow upon a plant we've all been in, more or less 

-of his own fancy ; not grabbed, trapped, tried, earwigged 

y the parson and brought to it on bread and water, — ^but 

f his own fancy ; to please his own taste ; stealing out 

nights to find those most interested against us, and 

caching to them. Do you hear me?" cried the Jew, his 

yes flashing with rage. ** Suppose he did all this, what 


" What then !" replied Sikes; with a tremendous oath. 

If he was left alive till I came, I'd grind his skull under 

le iron heel of my boot into as many grains as there are 

airs upon his head." 

** What if / did it!'* cried Fagin almost in a yell. 

/, that know so much, and could hang so many besides 

lyself !" 

I don't know," replied Sikes, clenching his teeth and 
Lirning white at the mere suggestion. ** I'd do something 
1 the jail that 'ud get me put in irons ; and if I was tried 
long with you, I'd fall upon you with them in the open 
ourt, and beat your brains out afore the people. I should 
ave such strength," muttered the robber, poising his 


354 Oliver Twist 

brawny arm, ** that I could smash your head as if a loade 
waggon had gone over it." 

" You would?" 

"Would I!" said the housebreaker. "Try me." 

" If it was Charley, or the Dodger, or Bet, or " 

" I don't care who," replied Sikes impatiently. " VVhc* 
ever it was, I'd serve them the same." 

Fagin looked hard at the robber; and, motioning hir|tl 
to be silent, stooped over the bed upon the floor, and shoo 
the sleeper to rouse him. Sikes leant forward in his chair fc 
looking on with his hands upon his knees, as if wonderin|n? 
much what all this questioning and preparation was tt 
end in. 

"Bolter, Bolter! Poor lad!" said Fagin, looking u 
with an expression of devilish anticipation, and speakinjiiii 
slowly and with marked emphasis. " He's tired — tire 
with watching for her so long, — watching for her, Bill, "^t 

" Wot d'ye mean?" asked Sikes, drawing back. 

Fagin made no answer, but bending over the sleepe 
again, hauled him into a sitting posture. When his asjii 
sumed name had been repeated several times, Noah rubbeq' 
his eyes, and, giving a heavy yawn, looked sleepily abouli! 
him. f 

" Tell me that again — once again, just for him to hear, J 
said the Jew, pointing to Sikes as he spoke. 

" Tell yer what?" asked the sleepy Noah, shaking bin: 
self pettishly. 

" That about — Nancy," said Fagin, clutching Sikes b 
the wrist, as if to prevent his leaving the house before hljvi 
had heard enough. " You followed her?" 


"To London Bridge?" 


" W^here she met two people?" 

" So she did." 

* * A gentleman and a lady that she had gone to of he 
own accord before, who asked her to give up all her pah 
and Monks first, which she did — and to describe hin 
which she did — and to tell her what house it was that w 
meet at, and go to, which she did — and where it could b 
best watched from, which she did — and what time th|tli( 
people went there, which she did. She did all this. Sh 
told it all every word without a threat, without a murmi ''^i 
— she did — did she not?" cried Fagin, half mad with fur^ 

Oliver Twist 355 

' All right," replied Noah, scratching his head. *' That's 
ist what it was !" 
" What did they say, about last Sunday?" 
"About last Sunday!" replied Noah, considering. 
Why I told yer that before." 

"Again. Tell it again!" cried Fagin, tightening his 
rasp on Sikes, and brandishing his other hand aloft, as 
le foam flew from his lips. 

' They asked her," said Noah, who, as he grew more 
wakeful, seemed to have a dawning perception who Sikes 
as, " they asked her why she didn't come, last Sunday, 
J she promised. She said she couldn't." 
♦ ' Why— why ? Tell him that. ' ' 

" Because she was forcibly kept at home by Bill, the 
lan she had told them of before," replied Noah. 

What more of him?" cried Fagin. " What more of 
le man she had told them of before? Tell him that, tell 
im that." 

' Why, that she couldn't very easily get out of doors 

nless he knew where she was going to," said Noah; 

and so the first time she went to see the lady, she — ha ! 

a ! ha ! it made me laugh when she said it, that it did — 

le gave him a drink of laudanum." 

Hell's fire!" cried Sikes, breaking fiercely from the 
2w, ** Let me go !" 
Flinging the old man from him, he rushed from the 
>om, and darted, wildly and furiously, up the stairs. 

Bill, Bill!" cried Fagin, following him hastily. "A 
'ord. Only a word." 
The word would not have been exchanged, but that the 
ousebreaker was unable to open the door : on which he 
;as expending fruitless oaths and violence, when the Jew 
ame panting up. 

Let me out," said Sikes. " Don't speak to me; it's 
ot safe. Let me out, I say!" 

Hear me speak a word," rejoined Fagin, laying his 

and upon the lock. " You won't be " 

" Well," replied the other. 
" You won't be — too — violent, Bill?" 
The day was breaking, and there was light enough for 
be men to see each other's faces. They exchanged one 
rief glance; there was a fire in the eyes of both, which 
ould not be mistaken. 

I mean," said Fagin, showing that he felt all disguise 


Oliver Twist 

was now useless, ** not too violent for safety. Be crafty; 
Bill, and not too bold. " 

Sikes made no reply ; but, pulling open the door, 0( 
which Fagin had turned the lock, dashed into the silen: 

Without one pause, or moment's consideration ; withou 
once turning his head to the right or left, or raising hi 
eyes to the sky, or lowering them to the ground, but lookl 
ing straight before him with savage resolution : his teetlt 
so tightly compressed that the strained jaw seemed starting 
through his skin ; the robber held on his headlong course^ 
nor muttered a word, nor relaxed a muscle, until h( 
reached his own door. He opened it, softly, with a key\\ 
strode lightly up the stairs; and entering his own rooraii 
double-locked the door, and lifting a heavy table againsM 
it, drew back the curtain of the bed. 2 

The girl was lying, half-dressed, upon it. He had rouse^i 
her from her sleep, for she raised herself with a hurrieec 
and startled look. it 

" Get up !" said the man. jc 

** It 15 you. Bill !" said the girl, with an expression ocjs 
pleasure at his return. 

** It is," was the reply.. " Get up." 

There was a candle burning, but the man hastily drew 
from the candlestick, and hurled it under the grate. Seeinjila 
the faint light of early day without, the girl rose to undrav il 
the curtain. 

" Let it be," said Sikes, thrusting his hand before her 
** There's light enough for wot I've got to do." 

" Bill," said the girl, in the low voice of alarm, ** whT|ri 
do you look like that at me !" 

The robber sat regarding her, for a few seconds, witlr 
dilated nostrils and heaving breast; and then, graspinj 
her by the head and throat, dragged her into the middl 
of the room, and looking once towards the door, placed hi 
heavy hand upon her mouth. 

"Bill, Bill!" gasped the girl, wrestling with th 
strength of mortal fear, — " I — I won't scream or cry- 
not once — hear me — speak to me — tell me what I hav 

'* You know, you ,<hc devil !'* returned the robber, sup 
pressing his breath. ** You were watched to-night ; ever 
word you said was heard." 

** Then spare my life for the love of Heaven, as I spare( 

Oliver Twist 357 

'Ours,** rejoined the girl, clinging to him. " Bill, dear 
5ill, you cannot have the heart to kill me. Oh ! think of 
ill I have given up, only this one night, for you. You 
hall have time to think, and save yourself this crime; I 
vill not loose my hold, you cannot throw me off. Bill, Bill, 
or dear God's sake, for your own, for mine, stop before 
^ou spill my blood ! I have been true to you, upon my 
l^uilty soul I have !" 

The man struggled violently to release his arms ; but 
hose of the girl were clasped round his, and tear her as 
le would, he could not tear them away. 

* Bill," cried the girl, striving to lay her head upon his 
)reast, '* the gentleman and that dear lady, told me to- 
ight of a home in some foreign country where I could 
;nd my days in solitude and peace. Let me see them 
Lgain, and beg them, on my knees, to show the same 
nercy and goodness to you ; and let us both leave this 
Ireadful place, and far apart lead better lives, and forget 
low we have lived, except in prayers, and never see each 
ther more. It is never too late to repent. They told me 
o — I feel it now — but we must have time — a little, little 



The housebreaker freed one arm, and grasped his pistol. 
The certainty of immediate detection if he fired, flashed 
Lcross his mind even in the midst of his fury ; and he beat 
t twice with all the force he could summon, upon the up- 
urned face that almost touched his own. 

She staggered and fell : nearly blinded with the blood 
hat rained down from a deep gash in her forehead ; but 
■aising herself, with difficulty, on her knees, drew from 
ler bosom a white handkerchief — Rose Maylie's own — 
ind holding it up, in her folded hands, as high towards 
l-Ieaven as her feeble strength would allow, breathed one 
)rayer for mercy to her Maker. 

It was a ghastly figure to look upon. The murderer 
taggering backward to the wall, and shutting out the 
ight with his hand, seized a heavy club and struck her 

358 Oliver Twist 



Of all bad deeds that, under cover of the darkness, hacti 
been committed within wide London's bounds since nighlu 
hung over it, that was the worst. Of all the horrors tha:id 
rose with an ill scent upon the morning air, that was the 
foulest and most cruel. 

The sun — the bright sun, that brings back, not lighijr; 
alone, but new life, and hope, and freshness to man — burs? 
upon the crowded city in clear and radiant glory. Througl^ 
costly-coloured glass and paper-mended window, througViti 
cathedral dome and rotten crevice, it shed its equal ray^u 
It lighted up the room where the murdered woman lay. lii 
did. He tried to shut it out, but it would stream in. lifi 
the sight had been a ghastly one in the dull morning, whaan 
was it, now, in all that brilliant light ! 

He had not moved ; he had been afraid to stir. Therdii 
had been a moan and motion of the hand ; and, with terrojl 
added to rage, he had struck and struck again. Once hojti 
threw a rug over It; but it was worse to fancy the eyes^ 
and imagine them moving towards him, than to see thenr 
glaring upward, as if watching the reflection of the pocdo 
of gore that quivered and danced in the sunlight on thib 
ceiling. He had plucked it off again. And there was thu 
body — mere flesh and blood, no more — but such flesh, am 
so much blood ! 

He struck a light, kindled a fire, and thrust the club inttjo 
it. There was hair upon the end, which blazed and shruni 
into a light cinder, and, caught by the air, whirled up th^ 
chimney. Even that frightened him, sturdy as he was:p; 
but he held the weapon till it broke, and then piled it o; 
the coals to burn away, and smoulder into ashes. H 
washed himself, and rubbed his clothes ; there were spot 
that would not be removed, but he cut the pieces out, an^ 
burnt them. How those stains were dispersed about th 
room ! The very feet of the dog were bloody. 

All this time he had never once turned his back upo 
the corpse; no, not for a moment. Such preparation 
completed, he moved, backward, towards the door: drag 
ging the dog with him, lest he should soil his feet ane^ 

Oliver Twist 359 

nd carry out new evidences of the crime into the streets. 
[e shut the door softly, locked it, took the key, and left 
le house. 

He crossed over, and glanced up at the windov^r, to be 
ire that nothing- was visible from the outside. There 

as the curtain still drawn, which she would have opened 
) admit the light she never saw again. It lay nearly 
nder there. He knew that. God, how the sun poured 
own upon the very spot ! 

The glance was instantaneous. It was a relief to have 
ot free of the room. He whistled on the dog, and walked 
ipidly away. 

He went through Islington; strode up the hill at High- 
ate on which stands the stone in honour of Whittington ; 
urned down to Highgate Hill, unsteady of purpose, and 
ncertain where to go; struck off to the right again, 
Imost as soon as he began to descend it ; and taking the 
)ot-path across the fields, skirted Caen Wood, and so came 
ut on Hampstead Heath. Traversing the hollow by the 
^ale of Health, he mounted the opposite bank, and cross- 
ig the road which joins the villages of Hampstead and 
lighgate, made along the remaining portion of the heath 
o the fields at North End, in one of which he laid himself 
own under a hedge, and slept. 

Soon he was up again, and away, — not far into the 
ountry, but back towards London by the high-road — then 
ack again — then over another part of the same ground 
s he already traversed — then wandering up and down in 
elds, and lying on ditches' brinks to rest, and starting up 

make for some other spot, and do the same, and ramble 
^n again. 

Where could he go, that was near and not too public, to 
^et some meat and drink? Hendon. That was a good 
ilace, not far off, and out of most people's way. Thither 
e directed his steps, — running sometimes, and sometimes, 
i^ith a strange perversity, loitering at a snail's pace, or 
topping altogether and idly breaking the hedges with his 
tick. But when he got there, all the people he met — 
he very children at the doors — seemed to view him with 
uspicion. Back he turned again, without the courage to 
mrchase bit or drop, though he had tasted no food for 
nany hours ; and once more he lingered on the Heath, 

1 ncertain where to go. 

He wandered over miles and miles of ground, and still 

360 Oliver Twist 

came back to the old place. Morning- and noon hat 
passed, and the day was on the wane, and still he ramblec 
to and fro, and up and down, and round and round, anc 
still lingered about the same spot. At last he got away) 
and shaped his course for Hatfield. 

It was nine o'clock at night, when the man, quite tirec 
out, and the dog, limping and lame from the unaccustomet 
exercise, turned down the hill by the church of the quie? 
village, and plodding along the little street, crept int(t 
a small public-house, whose scanty light had guided then 
to the spot. There was a fire in the tap-room, and somi 
country-labourers were drinking before it. They madijs 
room for the stranger, but he sat down in the furthes 
corner, and ate and drank alone, or rather with his dog 
to whom he cast a morsel of food from time to time. 

The conversation of the men assembled here, turne< 
upon the neighbouring land, and farmers; and when thosijf 
topics were exhausted, upon the age of some old man whrjf 
had been buried on the previous Sunday ; the young mei |i 
present considering him very old, and the old men presen !\ 
declaring him to have been quite young — not older, omu 
white-haired grandfather said, than he was — with ten oi; 
fifteen year of life in him at least — if he had taken carej' 
if he had taken care. k 

There was nothing to attract attention, or excite alarn i 
in this. The robber, after paying his reckoning, sat silen 1 
and unnoticed in his corner, and had almost droppe< 
asleep, when he was half wakened by the noisy ent»-ano 
of a new-comer. 

This was an antic fellow, half pedlar and half mounte 
bank, who travelled about the country on foot to ven( 
hones, strops, razors, washballs, harness-paste, medicin- 
for dogs and horses, cheap perfumery, cosmetics, and such 
like wares, which he carried in a case slung to his back 
His entrance was the signal for various homely jokes witl 
the countrymen, which slackened not until he had mad< 
his supper, and opened his box of treasures, when h< 
ingeniously contrived to unite business with amusement. 

" And what be that stoof ? Good to eat, Harry?" aske( 
a grinning countryman, pointing to some composition 
cakes in one corner. 

** This," said the fellow, producing one, "this is th( 
infallible and invaluable composition for removing all sort; 
of stain, rust, dirt, mildew, spick, speck, spot, or spatter 

Oliver Twist 361 

rom silk, satin, linen, cambric, cloth, crape, stuff, carpet, 
nerino, muslin, bombazeen, or woollen stuff. Wine- 
tains, fruit-stains, beer-stains, water-stains, paint-stains, 
>itch-stains, any stains, all come out at one rub with the 
ifallible and invaluable composition. If a lady stains her 
onour, she has only need to swallow one cake and she's 
lured at cnce — for it's poison. If a gentleman wants to 
)rove this, he has only need to bolt one little square, and 
le has put it beyond question — for it's quite as satisfactory 
LS a pistol-bullet, and a great deal nastier in the flavour, 
;onsequently the more credit in taking it. One penny a 
;quare. With all these virtues, one penny a square !" 

There were two buyers directly, and more of the listeners 
)lainly hesitated. The vendor observing this, increased 
n loquacity. 

" It's all bought up as fast as it can be made," said the 
ellow. '* There are fourteen water-mills, six steam- 
mgines, and a galvanic battery, always a-working upon 
t, and they can't make it fast enough, though the men 
vork so hard that they die off, and the widows is pensioned 
lirectly, with twenty pound a-year for each of the children, 
ind a premium of fifty for twins. One penny a square ! 
Two halfpence is all the same, and four farthings is re- 
ceived with joy. One penny a square ! Wine-stains, 
Fruit-stains, beer-stains, water-stains, paint-stains, pitch- 
stains, mud-stains, blood-stains ! Here is a stain upon the 
bat of a gentleman in company, that I'll take clean out, 
before he can order me a pint of ale." 

" Hah !" cried Sikes, starting up. " Give that back." 

" I'll take it clean out, sir," replied the man, winking 
to the company, " before you can come across the room to 
get It. Gentlemen all, observe the dark stain upon this 
gentleman's hat, no wider than a shilling, but thicker than 
a half-crown. Whether it is a wine-stain, fruit-stain, 
beer-stain, water-stain, paint-stain, pitch-stain, mud- 
stain, or blood-stain " 

The man got no further, for Sikes with a hideous im- 
precation overthrew the table, and tearing the hat from 
(jhim, burst out of the house. 

With the same perversity of feeling and irresolution that 

had fastened upon him, despite himself, all day, the 

e murderer, finding that he was not followed, and that they 

most probably considered him some drunken sullen fellow, 

turned back up the town, and getting out of the glare of 


Oliver Twist 

the lamps of a stage-coach that was standing in the street,'^'' 
was walking past, when he recognised the mail from 
London, and saw that it was standing at the little post- 
office. He almost knew what was to come ; but he crossed"^ 
over, and listened. 'i 

The guard was standing at the door, waiting for the?' 
letter-bag. A man, dressed like a gamekeeper, came up"' 
at the moment, and he handed him a basket which lay "' 
ready on the pavement. 

"That's for your people," said the guard. *' Now, 
look alive in there, will you. Damn that 'ere bag, it warnM'^ 
ready night afore last; this won't do, you know !" 

" Anything new up in town, Ben?" asked the game-' 
keeper, drawing back to the window-shutters, the betteil 
to admire the horses. j^' 

" No, nothing that I knows on," replied the man, pull-i^^' 
ing on his gloves. " Corn's up a little. I heerd talk of a s' 

murder, too, down Spitalfields way, but I don't reckon 
much upon it 

" Oh, that's quite true," said a gentleman inside, whcl'' 
was looking out of the window. *' And a dreadful murdefl" 
it was 

" Was it, sir?" rejoined the guard, touching his hat;S 
** Man or woman, pray, sir? 

*' A woman," replied the gentleman. "It is sup-)^ 
posed " 

** Now, Ben," replied the coachman impatiently. 

" Damn that 'ere bag," said the guard; " are you gone 
to sleep in there?" 

"Coming!" cried the office keeper, running out. 

" Coming," growled the guard. " Ah, and so's the 
young 'ooman of property that's going to take a fancy to 
me, but I don't know when. Here, give hold. All! 
ri — ight !" 

The horn sounded a few cheerful notes, and the coach 
was gone. 

Sikes remained standing in the street, apparently un- 
moved by what he had just heard, and agitated by no 
stronger feeling than a doubt where to go. At length he 
went back again, and took the road which leads from 
Hatfield to St. Albans. 

He went on doggedly; but as he left the town behind 
him, and plunged into the solitude and darkness of the 
road, he felt a dread and awe creeping upon him which 

Oliver Twist 363 

hook him to the core. Every object before him, substance* 
r shadow, still or moving, took the semblance of some 
earful thing ; but these fears were nothing compared to 
he sense that haunted him of that morning's ghastly figure 
ollowing at his heels. He could trace its shadow in the 
loom, supply the smallest item of the outline, and note 
ow stiff and solemn it seemed to stalk along. He could 
ear its garments rustling in the leaves, and e-very breath 
f wind came laden with that last low cry. If he stopped 
: did the same. If he ran, it followed — not running too : 
hat would have been a relief : but like a corpse endowed 
vhh the mere machinery of life, and borne on one slow 
melancholy wind that never rose or fell. 

At times he turned, with desperate determination, re- 
olved to beat this phantom off, though it should look him 
lead ; but the hair rose on his head, and his blood stood 
till, for it had turned with him and was behind him then, 
le had kept it before him that morning, but it was behind 
low — always. He leaned his back against a bank, and 
elt that it stood above him, visibly out against the cold 
light-sky. He threw himself upon the road — on his back 
ipon the road. At his head it stood, silent, erect, and 
till — a living grave-stone, with its epitaph in blood. 

Let no man talk of murderers escaping justice, and hint 
hat Providence must sleep. There were twenty score of 
violent deaths in one long minute of that agony of fear. 

There was a shed in a field he passed, that offered shelter 
or the night. Before the door, were three tall poplar 
rees, which made it very dark within ; and the wind 
noaned through them with a dismal wail. He could not 
valk on, till daylight came again ; and here he stretched 
limself close to the wall — to undergo new torture. 

For now, a vision came before him, as constant and 
nore terrible than that from which he had escaped. Those 
videly staring eyes, so lustreless and so glassy, that he 
lad better borne to see them than think upon them, ap- 
Deared in the midst of the darkness; light in themselves, 
Dut giving light to nothing. There were but two, but 
hey were everywhere. If he shut out the sight, there 
2ame the room with every well-known object— some, in- 
deed, that he would have forgotten, if he had gone over 
its contents from memory — each in its accustomed place. 
The body was in its place, and its eyes were as he saw 
them when he stole away. He got up, and rushea into the 

364 Oliver Twist 

field without. The figure was behind him. He re-entered 
the shed, and shrunk down once more. The eyes were 
there, before he had laid himself along. 

And here he remained in such terror as none but he can; 
know, trembling in every limb, and the cold sweat starting 
from every pore, when suddenly there arose upon the night- 
wind the noise of distant shouting, and the roar of voices 
mingled in alarm and wonder. Any sound of men in thati 
lonely place, even though it conveyed a real cause of alarm, 
was something to him. He regained his strength and 
energy at the prospect of personal danger; and springing 
to his feet, rushed into the open air. 

The broad sky seemed on fire. Rising into the air with 
showers of sparks, and rolling one above the other, were, 
sheets of flame, lighting the atmosphere for miles round, 
and driving clouds of smoke in the direction where he 
stood. The shouts grew louder as new voices swelled the 
roar, and he could hear the cry of Fire ! mingled with the-^ 
ringing of an alarm-bell, the fall of heavy bodies, and thet 
crackling of flames as they twined round some new ob- 
stacle, and shot aloft as though refreshed by food. Thee 
noise increased as he looked. There were people there — 
men and women — light, bustle. It was like new life to! 
him. He darted onward — straight, headlong — dashing 
through brier and brake, and leaping gate and fence as^ 
madly as his dog, who careered with loud and soundinge 
bark before him. 

He came upon the spot. There were half-dressed figures- 
tearing to and fro, some endeavouring to drag the 
frightened horses from the stables, others driving the cattle 
from the yard and out-houses, and others coming ladem 
from the burning pile, amidst a shower of falling sparks, 
and the tumbling down of red-hot beams. The apertures, 
where doors and windows stood an hour ago, disclosed a 
mass of raging fire ; walls rocked and crumbled into the 
burning well ; the molten lead and iron poured down, white 
hot, upon the ground. Women and children shrieked, 
and men encouraged each other with noisy shouts and 
cheers. The clanking of the engine-pumps, and the spirt- 
ing and hissing of the water as it fell upon the blazing 
wood, added to the tremendous roar. He shouted, too, till 
he was hoarse; and flying from memory and himself, 
plunged into the thickest of the throng. 

Hither and thither he dived that night : now working 

Oliver Twist 365 

t the pumps, and now hurrying through the smoke and 
ame, but never ceasing to engage himself wherever noise 
nd men were thickest. Up and down the ladders, upon 
he roofs of buildings, over floors that quaked and trembled 
i^ith his weight, under the lee of falling bricks and stones, 
[1 every part of that great fire was he; but he bore a 
harmed life, and had neither scratch nor bruise, nor weari- 
less nor thought, till morning dawned again, and only 
moke and blackened ruins remained. 

This mad excitement over, there returned, with tenfold 
orce, the dreadful consciousness of his crime. He looked 
uspiciously about him, for the men were conversing in 
roups, and he feared to be the subject of their talk. The 
log obeyed the significant beck of his finger, and they 
rew off, stealthily, together. He passed near an engine 
t'here some men were seated, and they called to him to 
hare in their refreshment. He took some bread and 

'ffcieat ; and as he drank a draught of beer, heard the fire- 

'^nen, who were from London, talking about the murder. 
* He has gone to Birmingham, they say," said one : *' but 
hey '11 have him yet, for the scouts are out, and by to- 
norrow night there'll be a cry all through the country." 

He hurried off, and walked till he almost dropped upon 
he ground ; then lay down in a lane, and had a long, 
)ut broken and uneasy sleep. He wandered on again, 
rresolute and undecided, and oppressed with the fear of 
mother solitary night. 
Suddenly, he took the desperate resolution of going 

^back to London. 

*' There's somebody to speak to there, at all events," 
le thought. " A good hiding-place, too. They'll never 
xpect to nab me there, after this country scent. Why 
:an't I lie by for a week or so, and, forcing blunt from 
Fagin, eet abroad to France? Damme, I'll risk it." 

He acted upon this impulse without delay, and choosing 
he least frequented roads began his journey back, re- 
solved to lie concealed within a short distance of the 
netropolis, and, entering it at dusk by a circuitous route, 

•to proceed straight to that part of it which he had fixed on 

?Por his destination. 
"^The dog, though. If any descriptions of him were out, 
it would not be forgotten that the dog was missing, and 
had probably gone with him. This might lead to his ap- 
prehension as he passed along the streets. He resolved to 

366 Oliver Twist 

drown him, and walked on, looking- about for a pond : 
picking up a heavy stone and tying it to his handkerchief 
as he went. 

The animal looked up into his master's face while these* 
preparations were making; whether his instinct appre-^ 
hended something of their purpose, or the robber's side-" 
long look at him was sterner than ordinary, he skulkedi 
a little farther in the rear than usual, and cowered as be- 
came more slowly along. When his master halted at the 
brink of a pool, and looked round to call him, he stopped 

** Do you hear me call? Come here !" cried Sikes. 

The animal came up f romi the very force of habit ; buli 
as Sikes stooped to attach the handkerchief to his throat j 
he uttered a low growl and started back. 

' ' Come back ! ' * said the robber. 

The dog wagged his tail, but moved not. Sikes made 2< 
running noose and called him again. 

The dog advanced, retreated, paused an instant, turnedj 
and scoured away at his hardest speed. 

The man whistled again and again, and sat down anco 
waited in the expectation that he would return. Rut nci 
dog appeared, and at length he resumed his journey. 



The twilight was beginning to close in, when Mr. BrowU' 
low alighted from a hackney-coach at his own door, anci 
knocked softly. The door being opened, a sturdy man go 
out of the coach and stationed himself on one side of th< 
steps, while another man, who had been seated on the box 
dismounted too, and stood upon the other side. At a sigr 
from Mr. Brownlow, they helped out a third man, anc 
taking him between them, hurried him into the house 
This man was Monks. 

They walked in the same manner up the stairs withou 
speaking, and Mr. Brownlow, preceding them, led the wa} 
into a back-room. At the door of this apartment. Monks 
who had ascended with evident reluctance, stopped. The 

Oliver Twist 367 

wo men looked to the old gentleman as if for instruc- 

" He knows the alternative," said Mr. Brownlow. *' If 
le hesitates or moves a fing-er but as you bid him, drag him 
nto the street, call for the aid of the police, and impeach 
lim as a felon in my name." 

** How dare you say this of me?" asked Monks. 

" How dare you urge me to it, young man?" replied 
^r. Brownlow, confronting him with a steady look. " Are 
ou mad enough to leave this house? Unhand him. 
There, sir. You are free to go, and we to follow. But I 
varn you, by all I hold most solemn and most sacred, that 
he instant you set foot in the street, that instant will I 
lave you apprehended on a charge of fraud and robbery. 

am resolute and immoveable. If you are determined to 
>e the same, your blood be upon your own head !" 

'* By what authority am I kidnapped in the street, and 
►rought here by these dogs?" asked Monks, looking from 
me to the other of the men who stood beside him. 

"By mine," replied Mr. Brownlow. "Those persons 
ire indemnified by me. If you complain of being deprived 
>f your liberty — you had power and opportunity to retrieve 
t as you came along, but you deemed it advisable to remain 
juiet — I say again, throw yourself for protection on the 
aw. I will appeal to the law too; but when you have 
j-one too far to recede, do not sue to me for leniency, when 
he power will have passed into other hands ; and do not 
;ay I plunged you down the gulf into which you rushed, 
J yourself." 

Monks was plainly disconcerted, and alarmed besides. 
Fie hesitated. 

'* You will decide quickly," said Mr. Brownlow, with 
Derfect firmness and composure. ** If you wish me to 
Drefer my charges publicly, and consign you to a punish- 
nent the extent of which, although I can, with a shudder, 
oresee, I cannot control, once more, I say, you know the 
^ay. If not, and you appeal to my forbearance, and the 
■nercy of those you have deeply injured, seat yourself, with- 
>ut a word, in that chair. It has waited for you two whole 

Monk^ muttered some unintelligible u'ords, but wavered 

You will be prompt," said Mr. Brownlow. " A word 
rom me, and the alternative has gone for ever." 


Oliver Twist 

Still the man hesitated. 

** I have not the inclination to parley," said Mr. Brown-. 
low, *' and, as I advocate the dearest interests of others 
I have not the right." 

*' Is there — " demanded Monks with a faltering tongue 
— ** is there — no middle course?" 


Monks looked at the old gentleman, with an anxious eye 
but, reading in his countenance nothing but severity and( 
determination, walked into the room, and, shrugging his! 
shoulders, sat down. 

*' Lock the door on the outside," said Mr. Brownlow too 
the attendants, '* and come when I ring." 

The men obeyed, and the two were left alone together. 

*' This is pretty treatment, sir," said Monks, throwing^ 
down his hat and cloak, " from my father's oldest friend." 

** It is because I was your father's oldest friend, young 
man," returned Mr. Brownlow; ** it is because the hopes^ 
and wishes of young and happy years were bound up with, 
him, and that fair creature of his blood and kindred who 
rejoined her God in youth, and left me here a solitary, 
lonely man : it is because he knelt with me beside his only 
sister's death-bed when he was yet a boy, on the morning 
that would — but Heaven willed otherwise — ^have made hen' 
my young wife; it is because my seared heart clung to him, 
from that time forth, through all his trials and errors, till! 
he died ; it is because old recollections and associations* 
filled my heart, and even the sight of you brings with itt 
old thoughts of him ; it is because of all these things thattjl 
I am moved to treat you gently now — yes, Edward Leeford,! 
even now — and blush for your unworthiness who bear the 

*' What has the name to do with it?" asked the other, 
after contemplating, half in silence, and half in dogged 
wonder, the agitation of his companion. ** What is the 
name to me?" 

** Nothing," replied Mr. Brownlow, " nothing to you. 
But it was herSy and even at this distance of time brings 
back to me, an old man, the glow and thrill which I once 
felt, only to hear it repeated by a stranger. I am very glac 
you have changed it — very — very." 

** This is all mighty fine," said Monks (to retain his 
assumed designation) after a long silence, during which he 
had jerked himself in sullen defiance to and fro, and Mr, 

Oliver Twist 369 

rownlow had sat, shading his face with his hand. ** But 
'hat do you want with me?" 

You have a brother," said Mr. Brownlow, rousing 
imself, ** a brother, the whisper of whose name in your 
ar when I came behind you in the street, was, in itself, 
Imost enough to make you accompany me hither, in 
onder and alarm." 

"I have no brother," replied Monks. ''You know I 
as an only child. Why do you talk to me of brothers? 
'ou know that, as well as I." 

" Attend to what I do know, and you may not," said 
Ir. Brownlow. " I shall interest you by and by.^ I know 
lat of the wretched marriage, into which family pride, 
nd the most sordid and narrowest of all ambition, forced 
our unhappy father when a mere boy, you were the sole 
nd most unnatural issue." 

" I don't care for hard names," interrupted Monks with 

jeering laugh. ** You know the fact, and that's enough 
3r me." 

' But I also know," pursued the old gentleman, ** the 
lisery, the slow torture, the protracted anguish of that ill- 
ssorted union. I know how listlessly and wearily each of 
bat wretched pair dragged on their heavy chain through a 
^orld that was poisoned to them both. I know how cold 
ormaHties were succeeded by open taunts; how indiffer- 
nce gave place to dislike, dislike to hate, and hate to 
aathing, until at last they wrenched the clanking bond 
sunder, and retiring a wide space apart, carried each a 
ailing fragment, of which nothing but death could break 
he rivets, to hide it in new society beneath the gayest looks 
hey could assume. Your mother succeeded ; she forgot 
t soon. But it rusted and cankered at your father's heart 
or years." 

" Well, they were separated," said Monks, ** and what 
)f that?" 

* When they had been separated for some time," re- 

urned Mr. Brownlow, " and your mother, wholly given 

ip to continental frivolities, had utterly forgotten the 

;j r^oung husband ten good years her junior, who, with pro- 

jjpects blighted, lingered on at home, he fell among new 

"riends. This circumstance, at leasi, you know already." 

*' Not I," said Monks, turning away his eyes and beat- 
ng his foot upon the ground, as a man who is determined 
to deny everything. ** Not I." 

370 Oliver Twist 

" Your manner, no less than your actions, assures mt 
that you have never forgotten it, or ceased to think of v 
with bitterness," returned Mr. Brownlow. " I speak o: 
fifteen years ago, when you were not more than elever 
years old, and your father but one-and-thirty — for he was 
I repeat, a boy, when his father ordered him to marry 
Must I go back to events which cast a shade upon the 
memory of your parent, or will you spare it, and disclose 
to me the truth?" 

** I have nothing to disclose," rejoined Monks. " Yoij] 
must talk on if you will." 

'* These new friends, then," said Mr. Brownlow, ** werr 
a naval officer retired from active service, whose wife hac 
died some half-a-year before, and left him with two childrer 
— there had been more, but, of all their family, happil} 
but two survived. They were both daughters ; one i 
beautiful creature of nineteen, and the other a mere chik 
of two or three years old." 

•* What's this to me?" asked Monks. 

*' They resided," said Mr. Brownlow, without seemingt 
to hear the interruption, " in a part of the country t( 
which your father in his wandering had repaired, and wher< 
he had taken up his abode. Acquaintance, intimacy 
friendship, fast followed on each other. Your father wa; 
gifted as few men are. He had his sister's soul and per 
son. As the old officer knew him more and more, he grev 
to love him. I would that it had ended there. Hli 
daughter did the same." 

The old gentleman paused; Monks was biting his lips 
with his eyes fixed upon the floor; seeing this, he imme 
diately resumed : 

'* The end of a year found him contracted, solemnh 
contracted, to that daughter; the object of the first, true 
ardent, only passion of a guileless girl." 

" Your tale is of the longest," observed Monks, moving: 
restlessly in his chair. 

" It is a true tale of grief and trial, and sorrow, young 
man," returned Mr. Brownlow, ** and such tales usuall) 
are ; if it were one of unmixed joy and happiness, it woulc 
be very brief. At length one of those rich relations tc 
strengthen whose interest and importance your father hac 
been sacrificed, as others are often — it is no uncommor 
case — died, and to repair the misery he had been instru- 
mental in occasioning, left him his panacea for all griefs 

Oliver Twist 371 

—Money. It was necessary that he should immediately 
epair to Rome, whither this man had sped for health, 
ind where he had died, leaving his affairs in great confu- 
ion. He went; was seized with mortal illness there; 
vas followed, the moment the intelligence reached Paris, 
)y your mother who carried you with her ; he died the day 
ifter her arrival, leaving no will — no will — so that the 
vhole property fell to her and you." 

At this part of the recital Monks held his breath, and 
istened with a face of intense eagerness, though his eyes 
vere not directed towards the speaker. As Mr. Brownlow 
)aused, he changed his position with the air of one who 
las experienced a sudden relief, and wiped his hot face 
md hands. 
" Before he went abroad, and as he passed through 
ondon on his way," said Mr. Brownlow, slowly, and 
ixing his eyes upon the other's face, ** he came to me." 

' I never heard of that," interrupted Monks in a tone 
ntended to appear incredulous, but savouring more of 
lisagreeable surprise. 

' He came to me, and left with me, among some other 
hings, a picture — a portrait painted by himself — a likeness 
)f this poor girl — which 'he did not wish to leave behind, 
md could not carry forward on his hasty journey. He was 
vorn by anxiety and remorse almost to a shadow ; talked 
n a wild, distracted way, of ruin and dishonour worked by 
limself ; confided to me his intention to convert his whole 
)roperty, at any loss, into money, and, having settled on 
lis wife and you a portion of his recent acquisition, to fly 
he country — I guessed too well he would not fly alone — 
md never see it more. Even from me, his old and early 
riend, whose strong attachment had taken root in the 
arth that covered one most dear to both — even from me 
le withheld any more particular confession, promising to 
A'rite and tell me all, and after that to see me once again, 
"or the last time on earth. Alas ! That was the last time. 
I had no letter, and I never saw him more. 

I went," said Mr. Brownlow, after a short pause, ** I 
(vent, when all was over, to the scene of his — I will use 
the term the world would freely use, for worldly harshness 
3r favour are now alike to him — of his guilty love, re- 
solved that if my fears were realised that erring child 
should find one heart and home to shelter and compassion- 
ate her. The family had left that part a week before; 

372 Oliver Twist 

they had called in such trifling debts as were outstanding, 
discharged them, and left the place by night. Why, ore 
whither, none can tell." 

Monks drew his breath yet more freely, and looked' 
round with a smile of triumph. 

** When your brother," said Mr. Brownlow, drawing 
nearer to the other's chair, ** When your brother : a feeble,; 
ragged, neglected child : was cast in my way by a stronger 
hand than chance, and rescued by me from a life of vicefl} 
and infamy " 

" What?" cried Monks. 

'* By me," said Mr. Brownlow. ** I told you I should 
interest you before long. I say by me — I see that youriiv 
cunning associate suppressed my name, although for aughtt 
he knew, it would be quite strange to your ears. When hcfi) 
was rescued by me, then, and lay recovering from sick-|) 
ness in my house, his strong resemblance to this picture lie 
have spoken of, struck me with astonishment. Even wheiilc 
I first saw him in all his dirt and misery, there was a?) 
lingering expression in his face that came upon me like at 
glimpse of some old friend flashing on one in a vivid dream.i(e 
I need not tell you he was snared away before I knewif 
his history " |ii 

*• Why not?" asked Monks hastily. 

** Because you know it well." 
<< J ,,> 

** Denial to me is vain," replied Mr. Brownlow. ** 1 
shall show you that I know more than that." 

'* You — ^you — can't prove anything against me," stam- 
mered Monks. '* I defy you to do it !" 

** We shall see," returned the old gentleman, with a<jn 
searching glance. ** I lost the boy, and no efforts of mine si 
could recover him. Your mother being dead, I knew thai 
you alone could solve the mystery if anybody could, anc'« 
as when I had last heard of you you were on your own 
estate in the West Indies — whither, as you well know, yoi 
retired upon your mother's death to escape the conse- 
quences of vicious courses here — I made the voyage. Yoi 
had left it, months before, and were supposed to be ir 
London, but no one could tell where. ! returned. Youi 
agents had no clue to your residence. You came anc 
went, they said, as strangely as you had ever done: some- 
times for days together and sometimes not for months : 
keeping to all appearance the same low haunts and ming- 

Oliver Twist 373 

ng with the same infamous herd who had been your asso- 
iates when a fierce ungovernable boy. I wearied them 
^ith new applications. I paced the streets by night and 
ay, but until two hours ago, all my efforts were fruitless, 
nd I never saw you for an instant." 

" And now you do see me," said Monks, rising boldly, 

what then ? Fraud and robbery are high-sounding words 
-justified, you think, by a fancied resemblance in some 
oung imp to an idle daub of a dead man's. Brother! 
^ou don't even know that a child was born of this maudlin 
air; you don't even know that." 

** I did not," replied Mr. Brownlow, rising too; '* but 
within the last fortnight I have learnt it all. You have a 
rother ; you know it, and him. There was a will, which 
our mother destroyed, leaving the secret and the gain to 
ou at her own death. It contained a reference to some 
hild likely to be the result of this sad connection, which 
hild was born, and accidentally encountered by you, when 
our suspicions were first awakened by his resemblance to 
is father. You repaired to the place of his birth. There 

isted proofs — proofs long suppressed — of his birth and 
arentage. Those proofs were destroyed by you, and now, 
1 your own words to your accomplice the Jew, * the only 
roofs of the hoy's identity lie at the bottom of the river, 
nd the old hag that received them from the mother is rot- 
Ing in her coffin.* Unworthy son, coward, liar, — you, 
7ho hold your councils with thieves and murderers in dark 
ooms at night, — you, whose plots and wiles have brought 

violent death upon the head of one worth millions such 
s you, — you, who from your cradle were gall and bitter- 
ess to your own father's heart, and in whom all evil pas- 
ions, vice, and profligacy, festered, till they found a vent 
1 a hideous disease which has made your face an index 

en to your mind — you, Edward Leeford, do you still 
rave me?" 

No, no, no!" returned the coward, overwhelmed by 
hese accumulated charges. 

Every word !" cried the old gentleman, ** every word 
hat has passed between you and this detested villain, is 
nown to me. Shadows on the wall have caught your 
hispers, and brought them to my ear; the sight of the 
ersecuted child has turned vice itself, and given it the 
ourage and almost the attributes of virtue. Murder has 
een done, to which you were morally if not really a party. " 

374 Oliver Twist 

" Na, no/' interposed Monks. " I — I — know nothing, 
of that ; I was going- to inquire the truth of the story wher 
you overtook me. I didn't know the cause. I thought i 
was a common quarrel." 

" It was the partial disclosure of your secrets," replie; 
Mr. Brownlow. " Will you disclose the whole?" 

•* Yes, I will." 

•' Set your hand to a statement of truth and facts, ann 
repeat it before witnesses?" 

"That I promise too." 

•* Remain quietly here, until such a document is draw^ 
up, and proceed with me to such a place as I may decr\- 
most advisable, for the purpose of attesting it?" 

'* If you insist upon that, I'll do that also," repliee 

" You must do more than that," said Mr. BrownIow\ 
" Make restitution to an innocent and unoffending child 
for such he is, although the offspring of a guilty and moa 
miserable love. You have not forgotten the provisions a 
the will. Carry them into execution so far as your broth© 
is concerned, and then go where you please. In this world 
you need meet no more." 

While Monks was pacing up and down, meditating witlt 
dark and evil looks on this proposal and the possibilities oc 
evading it : torn by his fears on the one hand and hiii 
hatred on the other : the door was hurriedly unlocked 
and a gentleman (Mr. Losberne) entered the room in violeiir 

" The man will be taken," he cried. " He will be taket 
*■ to-night !" 

*' The murderer?" asked Mr. Brownlow. 

" Yes, yes," replied the other. ** His dog has beer 
seen lurking about some old haunt, and there seems littli 
doubt that his master either is, or will be, there, unde 
cover of the darkness. Spies are hovering about in ever; 
direction. I have spoken to the men who are charge* 
with his capture, and they tell me he cannot escape. / 
reward of a hundr'^d pounds is proclaimed by Governmen 

** I will give fifty more," said Mr. Brownlow, ** an< 
proclaim it with my own lips upon the spot, if I can read 
it. Where is Mr. Maylie?" 

'* Harry? As soon as he had seen your friend here 
safe in a coach with you, he hurried off to where he hean 

Oliver Twist 375 

lis," replied the doctor, " and mounting his horse sallied 
)rth to join the first party at some place in the outskirts 
o^reed upon between them." 

'* Fagin," said Mr. Brovvnlow ; "what of him?" 

*' When I last heard, he had not been taken, but he will 
e, or is, by this time. They're sure of him." 

" Have you made up your mind?" asked Mr. Brown- 
>w, in a low voice, of Monks. 

' Yes," he replied. " You — you — will be secret with 

I will. Remain here till I return. It is your only 
ope of safety. ' ' 

They left the room, and the door was again locked. 

** What have you done?" asked the doctor in a whisper. 

** All that I could hope to do, and even more. Coup- 
ng the poor girl's intelligence with my previous know- 
dge, and the result of our good friend's inquiries on the 
)Ot, I left him no loophole of escape, and laid bare the 
hole villany which by these lights became plain as day. 
i^rite and appoint the evening after to-morrow, at seven, 
)r the meeting. We shall be down there, a few hours 
efore, but shall require rest : especially the young lady, 
ho may have greater need of firmness than either you or 
can quite foresee just now. But my blood boils to avenge 
lis poor murdered creature. Which way have thev 

Drive straight to the office and you will be in time,'* 
2plied Mr. Losberne. '* I will remain here." 

The two gentlemen hastily separated ; each in a fever 
f excitement wholly uncontrollable. 



Jear to that part of the Thames on which the church at 
lotherhithe abuts, where the buildings on the banks are 
lirtiest and the vessels on the river blackest with the dust 
f colliers and the smoke of close-built low-roofed houses, 
hese exists the filthiest, the strangest, the most extra- 
rdinary of the many localities that are hidden in London, 
vholly unknown, even by name, to the great mass of its 


Oliver Twist 

To reach this place, the visitor has to penetrate througl; 
a maze of close, narrow, and muddy streets, thronged b; 
the roughest and poorest of waterside people, and dev^^ter 
to the traffic they may be supposed to occasion. Tht 
cheapest and least delicate provisions are heaped in th 
shops ; the coarsest and commonest articles of wearing 
apparel dangle at the salesman's door, and stream from th' 
house-parapet and windows. Jostling with unemployeeji 
labourers of the lowest class, ballast-heavers, coal-whiprjt 
pers, brazen women, ragged children, and the raff an( ' 
refuse of the river, he makes his way with difficulty along *( 
assailed by offensive sights and smells from the narrov;! 
alleys which branch off on the right and left, and deafenecji 
by the clash of ponderous waggons that bear great pW^fM 
of merchandise from the stacks of warehouses that ris^ji 
from every corner. Arriving, at length, in streets remotedi 
and less-frequented than those through which he haiji 
passed, he walks beneath tottering house-fronts projectinji 
over the pavement, dismantled walls that seem to tottel 
as he passes, chimneys half crushed half hesitating to fallli 
windows guarded by rusty iron bars that time and dirijc 
have almost eaten away, every imaginable sign of desola^\ 
tion and neglect. je 

In such a neighbourhood, beyond Dockhead in thnw 
Borough of Southwark, stands Jacob's Island, surroundeejs 
by a muddy ditch, six or eight feet deep and fifteen or twenttj( 
wide when the tide is in, once called Mill Pond, but knowit 
in the days of this story as Folly Ditch. It is a creek ojf 
inlet from the Thames, and can always be filled at higit 
water by opening the sluices at the Lead Mills from whic:|a 
it took its old name. At such times, a stranger, lookind 
from one of the wooden bridges thrown across it at Mi y 
Lane, will see the inhabitants of the houses on either sid 
lowering from their back doors and windows, buckets 
pails, domestic utensils of all kinds, in which to haul th 
water up ; and when his eye is turned from these operg si 
tions to the houses themselves, his utmost astonishmerja 
will be excited by the scene before him. Crazy woode 
galleries common to the backs of half-a-dozen houses, wit 
holes from which to look upon the slime beneath ; windowj 
broken and patched, with poles thrust out, on which t a 
dry the linen that is never there ; rooms so small, so filth} 
so confined, that the air would seem too tainted even fc 
the dirt and squalor which they shelter; wooden chambei 

Oliver Twist 377 

irusting^ themselves out above the mud, and threatening 
3 fall into it — as some have done; dirt-besmeared walls 
nd decaying- foundations ; every repulsive lineament of 
overty, every loathsome indication of filth, rot, and garb- 
ge ; all these ornament the banks of Folly Ditch. 

In Jacob's Island, the warehouses are roofless and 
mpty ; the walls are crumbling down ; the windows arc 
endows no more; the doors are falling into the streets; 
le chimneys are blackened, but they yield no smoke, 
hirty or forty years ago, before losses and chancery suits 
ame upon it, it was a thriving place; but now it is a 
esolate island indeed. The houses have no owners ; they 
re broken open, and entered upon by those who have the 
ourage; and there they live, and there they die. They 
lust have powerful motives for a secret residence, or be 
educed to a destitute condition indeed, who seek a refuge 
1 Jacob's Island. 

In an upper room of one of these houses — a detached 
ouse of fair size, ruinous in other respects, but strongly 
efended at door and window : of which house the back 
ommanded the ditch in manner already described — there 
ere assembled three men, who, regarding each other 
very now and then with looks expressive of perplexity and 
xpectation, sat for some time in profound and gloomy 
lence. One of these was Toby Crackit, another Mr. 
hilling, and the third a robber of fifty years, whose nose 
ad been almost beaten in, in some old scuffle, and whose 
ice bore a frightful scar which might probably be traced 
) the same occasion. This man was a returned transport, 
nd his name was Kags. 

* I wish," said Toby, turning to Mr. Chitling, ** that 
ou had picked out some other crib when the two old ones 
ot too warm, and had not come here, my fine feller." 

** Why didn't you, blunder-head !" said Kags. 

•* Well, I thought you'd have been a little more glad to 
ee me than this," replied Mr. Chitling, with a melancholy 

** Why look'e, young gentleman," said Toby, " when a 
lan keeps himself so very ex-clusive as I have done, and 
y that means has a snug house over his head with nobody 
prying and smelling about it, it's rather a startling thing 
o have the honour of a wisit from a young gentleman 
however respectable and pleasant a person he may be to 
lay cards with at conweniency) circumstanced as you are." 


Oliver Twist 

'* Especially, when the exclusive young man has got 
friend stopping with him, that's arrived sooner than wj 
expected from foreign parts, and is too modest to want 1 
be presented to the Judges on his return," added M 

There was a short silence, after which Toby Cracki 
seeming to abandon as hopeless any further effort to mai) 
tain his usual devil-may-care swagger, turned to Chitlir 
and said, 

" When was Fagin took then?" 

" Just at dinner-time — two o'clock this afternooi 
Charley and I made our lucky up the wash'us chimne 
and Bolter got into the empty water-butt, head dow 
wards ; but his legs were so precious long that they stuc 
out at the top, and so they took him too." 

"And Bet?" 

** Poor Bet ! She went to see the Body, to speak 
who it was," replied Chitling, his countenance fallin 
more and more, ** and went off mad, screaming and ra 
ing, and beating her head against the boards ; so they p 
a strait-weskut on her and took her to the hospital — aij 
there she is." 

" Wot's come of young Bates?" demanded Kags. 

*' He hung about, not to come over here afore dark, b 
he'll be here soon," replied Chitling. "There's nowhe 
else to go to now, for the people at the Cripples are i 
in custody, and the bar of the ken — I went up there at 
see it with my own eyes — is filled with traps. ' ' 

"This is a smash," observed Toby biting his lipi 
"There's more than one will go with this." 

"The sessions are on," said Kags: "if they get t\ 
inquest over, and Bolter turns King's evidence : as 
course he will, from what he's said already : they cj: 
prove Fagin an accessory before the fact, and get tl' 
trial on on Friday, and he'll swing in six days from thi 
byG— !" 

" You should have heard the people groan," said Ch 
ling; " the officers fought like devils, or they'd have to 
him away. He was down once, but they made a rii 
round him, and fought their way along. You should ha 
seen how he looked about him, all muddy and bleedin 
and clung to them as if they were his dearest friends, 
can see 'em now, not able to stand upright with the pres 
ing of the mob, and dragging him along amongst 'er 

Oliver Twist 379 

can see the people jumping up, one behind another, and 
jarling- with their teeth and making at him ; I can see the 
ood upon his hair and beard, and hear the cries with 

' hich the women worked themselves into the centre of 
le crowd at the street corner, and swore they'd tear his 
;art out!" 

The horror-stricken witness of this scene pressed his 
mds upon his ears, and with his eyes closed got up and 
iced violently to and fro, like one distracted. 
While he was thus engaged, and the two men sat by in 
lence with their eyes fixed upon the floor, a pattering 

■pise was heard upon the stairs, and Sikes's dog bounded 
to the room. They ran to the window, down stairs, and 
to the street. The dog had jumped in at an open win- 
)w; he made no attempt to follow them, nor was his 
aster to be seen. 

' What's the meaning of this?" said Toby, when they 
id returned. ** He can't be coming here. I — I — hope 


If he was coming here, he'd have come with the dog,'* 
lid Kags, stooping down to examine the animal, who lay 
mting on the floor. '* Here ! Give us some water for 
m; he has run himself faint." 

He's drunk it all up, every drop," said Chitling after 
atching the dog some time in silence. '* Covered with 
ud — lame — half-blind — he must have come a long way.'' 
"Where can he have come from!" exclaimed Toby. 
He's been to the other kens of course, and finding them 
led with strangers come on here, where he's been many 
time and often. But where can he have come from first, 
id how comes he here alone without the other !" 
" He " — (none of them called the murderer by his old 
ime) — ** He can't have made away with himself. What 
> you think?" said Chitling. 
Toby shook his head. 

** If he had," said Kags, " the dog 'ud want to lead us 
A^ay to where he did it. No. I think he's got out of 
le country, and left the dog behind. He must have given 
im the slip somehow, or he wouldn't be so easy." 
This solution, appearing the most probable one, was 
dopted as the right; the dog, creeping under a chair, 
:>iled himself to sleep, without more notice from anybody. 
It being now dark, the shutter was closed, and a candle 
ghted and placed upon the table. The terrible events of 


Oliver Twist 

the last two days had made a deep impression on all thrc? 
increased by the danger and uncertainty of their own po; 
tion. They drew their chairs closer together, starting 
every sound. They spoke little, and that in whispers, m 
were as silent and awe-stricken as if the remains of 
murdered woman lay in the next room. 

They had sat thus, some time, when suddenly was hea; 
a hurried knocking at the door below. 

•* Young Bates," said Kags, looking angrily round, 
check the fear he felt himself. 

The knocking came again. No, it wasn't he. He nev 
knocked like that. 

Crackit went to the window, and shaking all over, dre, 
in his head. There was no need to tell them who it wa^ 
his pale face was enough. The dog too was on the ale. 
in an instant, and ran whining to the door. 

** We must let him in," he said, taking up the candle. 

** Isn't there any help for it?" asked the other man 
a hoarse voice. 

" None. He must come in." 

'* Don't leave us in the dark," said Kags, taking dov 
a candle from the chimney-piece, and lighting it, with suu 
a trembling hand that the knocking was twice repeati 
before he had finished. 

Crackit went down to the door, and returned followed 
a man with the lower part of his face buried in a hanr 
kerchief, and another tied over his head under his ha 
He drew them slowly off. Blanched face, sunken eye 
hollow cheeks, beard of three days' growth, wasted flea 
short thick breath ; it was the very ghost of Sikes. 

He laid his hand upon a chair which stood in the midd 
of the room, but shuddering as he was about to drop in 
it, and seeming to glance over his shoulder, dragged] 
back close to the wall — as close as it would go— grouj 
it against it — and sat down. 

Not a word had been exchanged. He looked from a 
to another in silence. If an eye were furtively raised ai 
met his, it was instantly averted. When his hollow vo;i 
broke silence, they all three started. They seemed nev 
to have heard its tones before. 

•* How came that dog here?" he asked. 

*' Alone. Three hours ago." 

** To-night's paper says that Fagin's took. Is it tri 
or a lie?" 

Oliver Twist 381 


They were silent again. 

** Damn you all !" said Sikes, passing his hand across 

s forehead. " Have you nothing to say to me?" 

There was an uneasy movement among them, but nobody 


" You that keep this house," said Sikes, turning his face 

Crackit, ** do you mean to sell me, or to let me lie here 

1 this hunt is over?" 

** You may stop here, if you think it safe," returned the 
;rson addressed, after some hesitation. 

Sikes carried his eyes slowly up the wall behind him : 

ther trying to turn his head than actually doing it ; and 

id, ** Is— it — the body — is it buried?" 

They shook their heads. 

"Why isn't it!" he retorted with the same glance 
;hind him. " Wot do they keep such ugly things above 

e ground for? — Who's that knocking?" 

Crackit intimated, by a motion of his hand as he left 

e room, that there was nothing to fear ; and directly 
ime back with Charley Bates behind him. Sikes sat 
jposite the door, so that the moment the boy entered 
le room he encountered his figure. 

Toby," said the boy, falling back, as Sikes turned his 
res towards him, " why didn't you tell me this, down 

There had been something so tremendous in the shrink- 
g off of the three, that the wretched man was willing to 
•opitiate even this lad. Accordingly he nodded, and 
ade as though he would shake hands with him. 

Let me go into some other room," said the boy, re- 
eating still farther. 

'* Charley !" said Sikes, stepping forward. ** Don't you 

don't you know me?" 

** Don't come nearer me," answered the boy, still re- 
eating, and looking, with horror in his eyes, upon the 
urderer's face. '* You monster!" 

The man stopped half-way, and they looked at each 
ther; but Sikes 's eyes sunk gradually to the ground. 

Witness you three," cried the boy, shaking his 
enched fist, and becoming more and more excited as he 
Doke. "Witness you three — I'm not afraid of him — if 
ley come here after him, I'll give him up; I will. I tell 
Du out at once. He may kill me for it if he likes, or if 

382 Oliver Twist 

he dares, but if I am here I'll give him up. I'd give h 
up if he was to be boiled alive. Murder ! Help ! 
there's the pluck of a man among you three, you'll he 
me. Murder! Help! Down with him ! " 

Pouring out these cries, and accompanying them vv; 
violent gesticulation, the boy actually threw himself, sing 
handed, upon the strong man, and in the intensity of 1 
energy and the suddenness of his surprise, brought h 
heavily to the ground. 

The three spectators seemed quite stupefied. Th 
offered no interference, and the boy and man rolled on t 
ground together ; the former, heedless of the blows thi 
showered upon him, wrenching his hands tighter ai 
tighter in the garments about the murderer's breast, a^ 
never ceasing to call for help with all his might. 

The contest, however, was too unequal to last Ion 
Sikes had him down, and his knee was on his throat, wh 
Crackit pulled him back with a look of alarm, and point 
to the window. There were lights gleaming below, voic 
in loud and earnest conversation, the tramp of hurrii 
footsteps — endless they seemed in number — crossing i 
nearest wooden bridge. One man on horseback seemed 
be among the crowd; for there was the noise of hoc 
rattling on the uneven pavement. The gleam of ligli 
increased ; the footsteps came more thickly and noisily cl 
Then, came a loud knocking at the door, and then a hoai 
murmur from such a multitude of angry voices as woi 
have made the boldest quail. 

"Help!" shrieked the boy in a voice that rent t 

*' He's here! Break down the door!" 

"In the King's name," cried the voices without; a 
the hoarse cry arose again, but louder. 

" Break down the door!" screamed the boy. "It 
you they'll never open it. Run straight to the room wh( 
the light is. Break down the door !" 

Strokes, thick and heavy, rattled upon the door a 
lower window-shutters as he ceased to speak, and a lo 
huzzah burst from the crowd; giving the listener, for t 
6rst time, some adequate idea of its immense extent. 

" Open the door of some place where I can lock tls 
screeching Hell-babe," cried Sikes fiercely; running to al 
Fro, and dragging the boy, now, as easily as if he were 1 
empty sack. "That door. Quick!" He flung him , 

Oliver Twist 383 

:)lted it, and turned the key. " Is the down-stairs door 


" Double-locked and chained," repHed Crackit, who, 
ith the other two men, still remained quite helpless and 

*' The panels — are they strong?" 

"Lined with sheet-iron." 

** And the windows too?" 

** Yes, and the windows." 

" Damn you !" cried the desperate ruffian, throwing up 
,e sash and menacing the crowd. '* Do your worst ! I'll 
leat you yet !" 

Of all the terrific yells that ever fell on mortal ears, none 
mid exceed the cry of the infuriated throng. Some 
louted to those who were nearest to set the house on fire ; 
;hers roared to the officers to shoot him dead. Among 
lem all, none showed such fury as the man on horseback, 
ho, throwing himself out of the saddle, and bursting 
irough the crowd as if he were parting water, cried, 
meath the window, in a voice that rose above all others, 
Twenty guineas to the man who brings a ladder !" 

The nearest voices took up the cry, and hundreds echoed 

Some called for ladders, some for sledge-hammers ; 

)me ran with torches to and fro as if to seek them, and 

ill came back and roared again ; some spent their breath 

impotent curses and execrations ; some pressed forward 

J ith the ecstasy of madmen, and thus impeded the progress 

those below; some among the boldest attempted to 

imb up by the water-spout and crevices in the wall ; and 

1 waved to and fro, in the darkness beneath, like a field 

corn moved by an angry wind : and joined from time 
P time in one loud furious roar. 

"The tide," cried the murderer, as he staggered back 
to the room, and shut the faces out, " the tide was in as 
came up. Give me a rope, a long rope. They're all in 
ont. I may drop into the Folly Ditch, and clear off that 
ay. Give me a rope, or I shall do three more murders 
id kill myself." 

The panic-stricken men pointed to where such articles 

ere kept ; the murderer, hastily selecting the longest and 

[ rongest cord, hurried up to the house-top. 

11 All the windows in the rear of the house had been long 

"0 bricked up, except one small trap in the room where 

le boy was locked, and that was too small even for the 


Oliver Twist 

passage of his body. But, from this aperture, he 
never ceased to call on those without, to guard the bac 
and thus, when the murderer emerged at last on the hou 
top by the door in the roof, a loud shout proclaimed 
fact to those in front, who immediately began to pc 
round, pressing upon each other in an unbroken stream 

He planted a board, which he had carried up with h! 
for the purpose, so firmly against the door that it musti 
matter of great difficulty to open it from the inside ; ai 
creeping over the tiles, looked over the low parapet. 

The water was out, and the ditch a bed of mud. 

The crowd had been hushed during these few momerl 
watching his motions and doubtful of his purpose, but 
instant they perceived it and knew it was defeated, tlJ 
raised a cry of triumphant execration to which all th 
previous shouting had been whispers. Again and agair 
rose. Those who were at too great a distance to know 
meaning, took up the sound ; it echoed and re-echoed 
seemed as though the whole city had poured its populatl 
out to curse him. 

On pressed the people from the front — on, on, on, 
a strong struggling current of angry faces, with here c 
there a glaring torch to light them up, and show them 
in all their wrath and passion. The houses on the oppoj; 
side of the ditch had been entered by the mob ; sashes w 
thrown up, or torn bodily out ; there were tiers and tii 
of faces in every window ; cluster upon cluster of peo 
clinging to every house-top. Each little bridge (and tH 
were three in sight) bent beneath the weight of the cro 
upon it. Still the current poured on to find some nc 
or hole from which to vent their shouts, and only for: 
instant to see the wretch. 

** They have him now," cried a man on the near 
bridge. ''Hurrah!" 

The crowd grew light with uncovered heads ; and agi 
the shout uprose. 

" I will give fifty pounds," cried an old gentleman fr 
the same quarter, ** to the man who takes him alive, 
will remain here, till he comes to ask me for it." 

There was another roar. At this moment the word \ 
passed among the crowd that the door was forced at \i 
and that he who had first called for the ladder had mouni 
into the room. The stream abruptly turned, as this 
telligence ran from mouth to mouth ; and the people' 

; Oliver Twist 385 

\k windows, seeing those upon the bridges pouring back, 
i(j|itted their stations, and running into the street, joined 
J; concourse that now thronged pell-mell to the spot they 
I d left ; each man crushing and striving with his taeigh- 
)( ur, and all panting with impatience to get near the door, 
0, d look upon the criminal as the officers brought him out. 
l e cries and shrieks of those who were pressed almost to 
tl location, or trampled down and trodden under foot in 
a ; confusion, were dreadful ; the narrow ways were com- 
;tely blocked up; and at this time, between the rush of 
me to regain the space in front of the house, and the 

availing struggles of others to extricate themselves from 
t; mass, the immediate attention was distracted from the 
iirderer, although the universal eagerness for his capture 
1 LS, if possible, increased. 

The man had shrunk down, thoroughly quelled by the 
'ocity of the crowd, and the impossibility of escape; but 
;ing this sudden change with no less rapidity than it had 
purred, he sprang upon his feet, determined to make one 
;t effort for his life by dropping into the ditch, and, at 
5 risk of being stifled, endeavouring to creep away in the 
rkness and confusion. 

Roused into new strength and energy, and stimulated 
the noise within the house which announced that an 
trance had really been effected, he set his foot against the 
ick of chimneys, fastened one end of the rope tightly 
d firmly round it, and with the other made a strong run- 
ig noose by the aid of his hands and teeth almost in a 
cond. He could let himself down by the cord to within 
less distance of the ground than his own height, and had 
s knife ready in his hand to cut it then and drop. 
At the very instant when he brought the loop over his 
:ad previous to slipping it beneath his arm-pits, and when 
old gentleman before-mentioned (who had clung so 
^ht to the railing of the bridge as to resist the force of 
e crowd, and retain his position) earnestly warned those 
)0ut him that the man was about to lower himself down 
-at that very instant the murderer, looking behind him 

1 the roof, threw his arms above his head, and uttered a 
ill of terror. 

'* The eyes again !" he cried in an unearthly screech. 
Staggering as if struck by lightning, he lost his balance 
id tumbled over the parapet. The noose was on his neck, 
ran up with his weight, tight as a bowstring, and swift 


Oliver Twist 

as the arrow it speeds. He fell for five-and-thirty fe 
There was a sudden jerk, a terrific convulsion of the limi 
and there he hung, with the open knife clenched in 
stiffening hand. 

The old chimney quivered with the shock, but stooc 
bravely. The murderer swung Hfeless against the Wc 
and the boy, thrusting aside the danghng body wh, 
obscured his view, called to the people to come and t£, 
him out, for God's sake. 

A dog, which had lain concealed till now, ran backwai 
and forwards on the parapet with a dismal howl, and c. 
lecting himself for a spring, jumped for the dead mai 
shoulders. Missing his aim, he fell into the ditch, turni 
completely over as he went ; and striking his head agaii 
a stone, dashed out his brains. 



The events narrated in the last chapter were yet but tt 
days old, when Oliver found himself, at three o'clock 
the afternoon, in a travelling-carriage rolling fast towai 
his native town. Mrs. Maylie, and Rose, and Mrs. B( 
win, and the good doctor, were with him : and Mr. Bro\v 
low followed in a post-chaise, accompanied by one otr 
person whose name had not been mentioned. 

They had not talked much upon the way; for Oliv 
was in a flutter of agitation and uncertainty which depriv 
him of the power of collecting his thoughts, and almost I 
speech, and appeared to have scarcely less effect on } 
companions, who shared it, in at least an equal degre 
He and the two ladies had been very carefully made j 
quainted by Mr. Brownlow with the nature of the adm 
sions which had been forced from Monks ; and althou 
they knew that the object of their present journey was 
complete the work which had been so well begun, still t 
whole matter was enveloped in enough of doubt and m; 
tery to leave them in endurance of the most inter 

The same kind friend had, with Mr. Losberne's assi 

Oliver Twist 387 

^ice, cautiously stopped all channels of communication 

^ rough which they could receive intelligence of the dread- 

'1 occurrences that had so recently taken place. " It was 

lite true," he said, " that they must know them before 

^ ng, but it might be at a better time than the present, and 

5 could not be at a worse." So, they travelled on in 

'' lence : each busied with reflections on the object which 

^ id brought them together : and no one disposed to give 

terance to the thoughts which crowded upon all. 

But if Oliver, under these influences, had remained silent 

bile they journeyed towards his birth-place by a road he 

id never seen, how the whole current of his recollections 

n back to old times, and what a crowd of emotions were 

ikened up in his breast, when they turned into that which 

I had traversed on foot: a poor houseless, wandermg 

>y, without a friend to help him, or a roof to shelter his 

'• See there, there!" cried Oliver, eagerly clasping the 
md of Rose, and pointing out at the carriage wmdow ; 
that's the stile I came over; there are the hedges I crept 
ihind, for fear any one should overtake me and force me 
ick ! Yonder is the path across the fields, leading to the 
d house where I was a little child ! Oh Dick, Dick, my 
tar old friend, if I could only see you now !" 

"You will see him soon," replied Rose, gently taking 
s folded hands between her own. " You shall tell him 
)w happy you are, and how rich you have grown, and 
at in all your happiness you have none so great as the 
)ming back to make him happy too." 

"Yes, yes," said Oliver, "and we'll — we'll take him 
vay from here, and have him clothed and taught, and 
;nd him to some quiet country place where he may grow 
:rong and well,— shall we?" 

Rose nodded "yes," for the boy was smiling through 
ich happy tears that she could not speak. 

" You will be kind and good to him, for you are to 
i^ery one," said Oliver. " It will make you cry, I know, 
) hear what he can tell ; but never mind, never mind, it 
'ill be all over, and you will smile again— I know that too 
-to think how changed he is ; you did the same with me. 
le said * God bless you ' to me when I ran away," cried 
le boy with a burst of affectionate emotion; " and I will 
av ' God bless you ' now, and show him how I love him 


Oliver Twist 

As they approached the town, and at length drc 
through its narrow streets, it became matter of no sm 
difficulty to restrain the boy within reasonable boun< 
There was Sowerberry's the undertaker's just as it used 
be, only smaller and less imposing in appearance that 
remembered it — there were all the well-known shops a 
houses, with almost every one of which he had some sli^! 
incident connected — there was Gamfield's cart, the v(i 
cart he used to have, standing at the old public-house do 
— there was the workhouse, the dreary prison of 
youthful days, with its dismal windows frowning on t' 
street — there was the same lean porter standing at t' 
gate, at sight of whom Oliver involuntarily shrunk bac^ 
and then laughed at himself for being so foolish, th 
cried, then laughed again — there were scores of faces 
the doors and windows that he knew quite well — there wf 
nearly everything as if he had left it but yesterday, and 
his recent life had been but a happy dream. 

But it was pure, earnest, joyful reality. They dro 
straight to the door of the chief hotel (which Oliver us^ 
to stare up at, with awe, and think a mighty palace, b 
which had somehow fallen off in grandeur and size) ; a 
here was Mr. Grimwig all ready to receive them, kissi: 
the young lady, and the old one too, when they got out 
the coach, as if he were the grandfather of the whc; 
party, all smiles and kindness, and not offering to eat 1' 
head — no, not once ; not even when he contradicted a ve 
old postboy about the nearest road to London, and mai' 
tained he knew it best, though he had only come that w 
once, and that time fast asleep. There was dinner pi 
pared, and there were bed-rooms ready, and everythij 
was arranged as if by magic. 

Notwithstanding all this, when the hurry of the fir 
half -hour was over, the same silence and constraint pi 
vailed that had marked their journey down. Mr. Brow 
low did not join them at dinner, but remained in a separs 
room. The two other gentlemen hurried in and out wj 
anxious faces, and, during the short intervals when thi 
were present, conversed apart. Once, Mrs. Maylie 
called away, and after being absent for nearly an hot 
returned with eyes swollen with weeping. All these thin 
made Rose and Oliver, who were not in any new secrel 
nervous and uncomfortable. They sat wondering, 
silence ; or, if they exchang^ed a few words, spoke in whi 

Oliver Twist 389 

irors, as if they were afraid to hear the sound of their own 
sni ices. 

iD(At length, when nine o'clock had come, and they began 
think they were to hear no more that night, Mr. Los- 

rne and Mr. Grimwig entered the room, followed by Mr. 
a ownlow and a man whom Oliver almost shrieked witl\ 
lig rprise to see ; for they told him it was his brother, and it 
veis the same man he had met at the market-town, and 
do en looking in with Fagin at the window of his little 
lom. Monks cast a look of hate, which, even then, he 
tuld not dissemble, at the astonished boy, and sat down 
t ar the door. Mr. Brownlow, who had papers in his hand, 
ic dked to a table near which Rose and Oliver were seated. 
hi ** This is a painful task," said he, *' but these declara- 
i )ns, which have been signed in London before many 
ffintlemen, must be in substance repeated here. I would spared you the degradation, but we must hear them 

>m your own lips before we part, and you know why." 
** Go on," said the person addressed, turning away his 
s(Ce. *' Quick. I have almost done enough, I think. 
[) Dn't keep me here. " 

II ** This child," said Mr. Brownlow, drawing Oliver to 
jm, and laying his hand upon his head, ** is your half- 

other; the illegitimate son of your father, my dear 
|end Edwin Leeford, by poor young Agnes Fleming, who 

ed in giving him birth." 

"Yes," said Monks, scowling at the trembling boy: 

e beating of whose heart he might have heard. ** That 

their bastard child." 

** The term you use," said Mr. Brownlow, sternly, ** is 

reproach to those who long since passed beyond the 
eble censure of the world. It reflects disgrace on no 
le living, except you who use it. Let that pass. He 
as born in this town." 

** In the workhouse of this town," was the sullen reply. 

You have the story there." He pointed impatiently to 
le papers as he spoke. 

I must have it here, too," said Mr. Brownlow, rOoking 
)und upon the listeners. 

Listen then! You!" returned Monks. ** His father 
eing taken ill at Rome, was joined by his wife, my mother, 
•om whom he had been long separated, who went from 
aris and took me with her — to look after his property, 
3r what I know, for she had no great affection for him, 

390 Oliver Twist 

nor he for her. He knew nothing of us, for his sens 
were gone, and he slumbered on till next day, when 
died. Among the papers in his desk, were two, dated 
the night his illness first came on, directed to yourself 
he addressed himself to Mr. Brownlow ; ''and enclos 
in a few short lines to you, with an intimation on tl 
cover of the package that it was not to be forwarded 1 
after he was dead. One of these papers was a letter 
this girl Agnes; the other a will." 

** What of the letter?" asked Mr. Brownlow. 

** The letter? — A sheet of paper crossed and cross' 
again with a penitent confession, and prayers to God 
help her. He had palmed a tale on the girl that sor 
secret mystery — to be explained one day — prevented 1 
marrying her just then ; and so she had gone on, trustii 
patiently to him, until she trusted too far, and lost wh 
none could ever give her back. She was, at that tim 
within a few months of her confinement. He told her 
he had meant to do, to hide her shame, if he had lived, ai 
prayed her, if he died, not to curse his memory, or thii^ 
the consequences of their sin would be visited on her 
their young child; for all the guilt was his. He remind^ 
her of the day he had given her the little locket and the ri]^ 
with her christian name engraved upon it, and a blank U 
for that which he hoped one day to have bestowed up' 
her — prayed her yet to keep it, and wear it next her hea: 
as she had done before — and then ran on, wildly, in t 
same words, over and over again, as if he had gone d: 
tracted. I believe he had." 

•'The will," said Mr. Brownlow, as Oliver's tears f 

Monks was silent. 

"The will," said Mr. Brownlow, speaking for hii 
" w^as in the same spirit as the letter. He talked 
miseries which his wife had brought upon him; of t 
rebellious disposition, vice, malice, and premature bad pi 
sions of you his only son, who had been trained to ha 
him ; and left you, and your mother, each an annuity 
eight hundred pounds. The bulk of his property he < 
vided into two equal portions — one for Agnes Flemii 
and the other for their child, if it should be born alive, aj 
ever come of age. If it were a girl, it was to inherit t 
money unconditionally ; but if a boy, only on the stipulatit 
that in his minority he should never have stained his nar 

Oliver Twist 391 

th any public act of dishonour, meanness, cowardice, or 
•ong. He did this, he said, to mark his confidence in 
e mother, and his conviction — only strengthened by ap- 
oaching death — that the child would share her gentle 
art, and noble nature. If he were disappointed in this 
pectation, then the money was to come to you : for then, 
d not till then, when both children were equal, would he 
cognise your prior claim upon his purse, who had none 
)on his heart, but had, from an infant, repulsed him with 
Idness and aversion." 

My mother," said Monks, in a louder tone, ** did what 
woman should have done. She burnt this will. The 
iter never reached its destination ; but that, and other 
oofs, she kept, in case they ever tried to lie away the 
ot. The girl's father had the truth from her with every 
^gravation that her violent hate — I love her for it now — 
uld add. Goaded by shame and dishonour he fled with 
s children into a remote corner of Wales, changing his 
ry name that his friends might never know of his retreat ; 
id here, no great while afterwards, he was found dead 
his bed. The girl had left her home, in secret, some 
seks before ; he had searched for her, on foot, in every 
wn and village near; it was on the night when he re- 
rned home, assured that she had destroyed herself, to 
de her shame and his, that his old heart broke." 
There was a short silence here, until Mr. Brownlow took 
) the thread of the narrative. 

** Years after this," he said, ** this man's — Edward Lee- 
rd's — mother came to me. He had left her, when only 
ghteen; robbed her of jewels and money; gambled, 
[uandered, forged, and fled to London : where for two 
jars he had associated with the lowest outcasts. She was 
nking under a painful and incurable disease, and wished 
recover him before she died. Inquiries were set on 
ot, and strict searches made. They were unavailing for 
long time, but ultimately successful; and he went back 
ith her to France." 

"There she died," said Monks, ** after a lingering ill- 
;ss ; and, on her death-bed, she bequeathed these secrets 
» me, together with her unquenchable and deadly hatred of 
1 whom they involved — though she need not have left me 
lat, for I had inherited it long before. She would not 
slieve that the girl had destroyed herself, and the child 
)o, but was filled with the impression that a male child 

392 Oliver Twist 

had been born, and was alive. I swore to her, if ever 
crossed my path, to hunt it down; never to let it rest; 
pursue it with the bitterest and most unrelenting animi 
ity; to vent upon it the hatred that I deeply felt, and 
spit upon the empty vaunt of that insulting will by drt 
ging it, if I could, to the very gallows-foot. She w 
right. He came in my way at last. I began well; ai 
but for babbling drabs, I would have finished as: 
began ! ' ' 

As the villain folded his arms tight together, and m 
tered curses on himself in the impotence of baffled malr 
Mr. Brownlow turned to the terrified group beside hi 
and explained that the Jew, who had been his old acco; 
plice and confidant, had a large reward for keeping Oli^i 
ensnared : of which some part was to be given up, in t 
event of his being rescued : and that a dispute on this he 
had led to their visit to the country house for the purpc 
of identifying him. 

** The locket and ring?" said Mr. Brownlow, turning: 

** I bought them from the man and woman I told you 
who stole them from the nurse, who stole them from 1 
corpse," answered Monks without raising his eyes. ** Yl 
know what became of them." 

Mr. Brownlow merely nodded to Mr. Grimwig, who 6 
appearing with great alacrity, shortly returned, pushi 
in Mrs. Bumble, and dragging her unwilling consort af 

'* Do my hi's deceive me !" cried Mr. Bumble, with 
feigned enthusiasm, "or is that little Oliver? Oh O- 
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 1 
workhouse master. ** Can't I be supposed to feel — I 
brought him up porochially — when I see him a-setting h< 
among ladies and gentlemen of the very affablest descr 
tion ! I always loved that boy as if he'd been my — my 
my own grandfather," said Mr. Bumble, halting for 
appropriate comparison. ** Master Oliver, my dear, y 
remember the blessed gentleman in the white waistcoi 
Ah ! he went to heaven last week, in a oak coffin w 
plated handles, Oliver." 

" Come, sir," said Mr. Grimwig, tartly; ** suppress yc 

Oliver Twist 393 

" 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 
epped up to within a short distance of the respectable 
>uple. 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 
;r 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 
ng?" said Mr. Brownlow. 

Certainly not," replied the matron. ** Why are we 
'ought here to answer to such nonsense as this?" 
Again Mr. Brownlow nodded to Mr. Grimwig ; and 
j-ain that gentleman limped away with extraordinary 
adiness. But not again did he return with a stout man 
id wife ; for this time, he led in two palsied women, who 
look and tottered as they walked. 

** You shut the door the night old Sally died," said the 
remost one, raising her shrivelled hand, ** but you 
)uldn't shut out the sound, nor stop the chinks." 

No, no," said the other, looking round her and wag- 
ng her toothless jaws. ** No, no, no." 

We heard her try to tell you what she'd done, and 
w you take a paper from her hand, and watched you 
o, next day, to the pawnbroker's shop," said the 

Yes," added the second, " and it was a ' locket and 
Did ring. ' We found out that, and saw it given you. We 
ere by. Oh ! we were by." 

And we know more than that," resumed the first, ** for 
le told us often, long ago, that the young mother had 
)ld her that, feeling she should never get over it, she was 
1 her way, at the time that she was taken ill, to die near 
le grave of the father of the child." 

** Would you like to see the pawnbroker himself?" asked 
[r. Grimwig with a motion towards the door. 

No," replied the woman; "if he" — she pointed to 
[onks — " has been coward enough to confess, as I see he 
as, and you have sounded all these hags till you have 
>und the right ones, I have nothing more to say. I did 

o 2 

394 Oliver Twist 

sell them, and they're where you'll never get them. Wh 

*' Nothing," replied Mr. Brownlow, " except that it i 
mains for us to take care that neither of you is employi 
in a situation of trust again. You may leave the room 

" I hope," said Mr. Bumble, looking about him wi 
great ruefulness, as Mr. Grimwig disappeared with the tv* 
old women: " I hope that this unfortunate little circuii 
stance will not deprive me of my porochial office?" 

"Indeed it will," replied Mr. Brownlow. "You m 
make up your mind to that, and think yourself well < 

" It was all Mrs. Bumble. She would do it," urg 
Mr. Bumble; first looking round to ascertain that hi 
partner had left the room. 

"That is no excuse," replied Mr. Brownlow. " Y* 
were present on the occasion of the destruction of the 
trinkets, and indeed are the more guilty of the two, in t 
eye of the law; for the law supposes that your wife ac| 
under your direction." ' 

" If the law supposes that," said Mr. Bumble, squeeziir 
his hat emphatically in both hands, " the law is a ass- 
idiot. If that's the eye of the law, the law is a bachelc 
and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be open 
by experience — by experience." 

Laying great stress on the repetition of these two wore 
Mr. Bumble fixed his hat on very tight, and putting 1 
hands in his pockets, followed his helpmate down stairs. 

" Young lady," said Mr. Brownlow, turning to Ro« 
" give me your hand. Do not tremble. You need not fe 
to hear the few remaining words we have to say." 

" If they have — I do not know how they can, but if th' 
have — any reference to me," said Rose, " pray let me he 
them at some other time. I have not strength or spir: 

" Nay," returned the old gentleman, drawing her ai 
through his; "you have more fortitude than this, I a 
sure. Do you know this young lady, sir?" 

" Yes," replied Monks. 

" I never saw you before," said Rose faintly. 

" I have seen you often," returned Monks. 

" The father of the unhappy Agnes had two daughters 
said Mr. Brownlow. " What was the fate of the other 
the child?" 

Oliver Twist 395 

** The child," replied Monks, *' when her father died in 
strange place, in a strange name, without a letter, book, 
r scrap of paper that yielded the faintest clue by which 
is friends or relatives could be traced — the child was 
ken by some wretched cottagers, who reared it as their 
vn. " 

'' Go on," said Mr. Brownlow, signing to Mrs Maylie 
approach. ** Go on !" 

* You couldn't find the spot to which these people had 
jpaired," said Monks, ** but where friendship fails, hatred 
ill often force a way. My mother found it, after a year 
■ cunning search — ay, and found the child." 

She took it, did she?" 

No. The people were poor and began to sicken — at 
ast the man did — of their fine humanity; so she left it 
ith them, giving them a small present of money which 
ould not last long, and promised more, which she never 
eant to send. She didn't quite rely, however, on their 
scontent and poverty for the child's unhappiness, but told 
le history of the sister's shame, with such alterations as 
ilted her ; bade them take good heed of the child, for she 
ime of bad blood ; and told them she was illegitimate, and 
ire to go wrong at one time or other. The circumstances 
)untenanced all this ; the people believed it ; and there the 
lild dragged on an existence, miserable enough even to 
itisfy us, until a widow lady, residing, then, at Chester, 
iw the girl by chance, pitied her, and took her home, 
here was some cursed spell, I think, against us ; for in 
Dite of all our efforts she remained there and was happy. 
lost sight of her, two or three years ago, and saw her 
more until a few months back." 

Do you see her now?" 

Yes. Leaning on your arm." 

But not the less my niece," cried Mrs. Maylie, folding 
le fainting girl in her arms; "not the less my dearest 
lild. I would not lose her now, for all the treasures 
F the world. My sweet companion, my own dear 

The only friend I ever had," cried Rose, clinging to 
er. " The kindest, best of friends. My heart will burst, 
cannot bear all this." 

** You have borne more, and have been, through all, the 
est and gentlest creature that ever shed happiness on 
very one she knew." said Mrs. Maylie, embracing her 


Oliver Twist 

tenderly. ** Come, come, my love, remember who this 
who waits to clasp you in his arms, poor child ! See he 
— look, look, my dear !" 

" Not aunt," cried OHver, throwing his arms about h^ 
neck; ** I'll never call her aunt — sister, my own dear siste 
that something taught my heart to love so dearly fro 
the first ! Rose, dear, darling Rose !" 

Let the tears which fell, and the broken words whi( 
were exchanged in the long close embrace between tl 
orphans, be sacred. A father, sister, and mother, we 
gained, and lost, in that one moment. Joy and grief we 
mingled in the cup ; but there were no bitter tears : for ev< 
grief itself arose so softened, and clothed in such swe 
and tender recollections, that it became a solemn pleasur 
and lost all character of pain. 

They were a long, long time alone. A soft tap at tl: 
door, at length announced that some one was withoui 
Oliver opened it, glided away, and gave place to Har 

** I know it all," he said, taking a seat beside the love^ 
girl. " Dear Rose, I know it all." I 

** I am not here by accident," he added after a lengt 
ened silence; ** nor have I heard all this to-night, for 
knew it yesterday — only yesterday. Do you guess thatl, 
have come to remind you of a promise?" 

" Stay," said Rose. ** You do know all." 

*' All. You gave me leave, at any time within a yea:. 
to renew the subject of our last discourse." " 

*'I did." 

** Not to press you to alter your determination," pu 
sued the young man, " but to hear you repeat it, if yc 
would. I was to lay whatever of station or fortune I mig, 
possess at your feet, and if you still adhered to your form 
determination, I pledged myself, by no word or act, 
seek to change it. " 

"The same reasons which influenced me then, will i 
fluence me now," said Rose firmly. *' If I ever owed 
strict and rigid duty to her, whose goodness saved me fro 
a life of indigence and suffering, when should I ever fe 
it, as I should to-night? It is a struggle," said Ros 
" but one I am proud to make; it is a pang, but one n 
heart shall bear." 

** The disclosure of to-night, " Harry began. 

The disclosure of to-night," replied Rose softl 


Oliver Twist 397 

leaves me in the same position, with reference to you, 

that in which I stood before." 

* You harden your heart against me, Rose," urged hisr 


' Oh, Harry, Harry," said the young lady, bursting into 
ars ; " I wish I could, and spare myself this pain." 

"Then why inflict it on yourself?" said Harry, taking 
r hand. "Think, dear Rose, think what you have 
;ard to-night." 

And what have I heard ! What have I heard !" cried 
ose. " That a sense of his deep disgrace so worked upon 
y own father that he shunned all — there, we have said 
lOugh, Harry, we have said enough." 

Not yet, not yet," said the young man, detaining her 
1 she rose. ** My hopes, my wishes, prospects, feeling : 
^ery thought in life except my love for you ; have under- 
>ne a change. I offer you, now, no distinction among a 
istHng crowd; no mingling with a world of malice and 
itraction, where the blood is called into honest cheeks by 
ight but real disgrace and shame ; but a home — a heart 
id home — yes, dearest Rose, c>nd those, and those alone, 
■e all I have to offer." 

" What do you mean !" she faltered. 

** I mean but this — that when I left you last, I left you 
ith a firm determination to level all fancied barriers 
itween yourself and me; resolved that if my world could 
3t be yours, I would make yours mine ; that no pride of 
rth should curl the lip at you, for I would turn from it. 
his I have done. Those who have shrunk from me be- 
mse of this, have shrunk from you, and proved you so far 
ght Such power and patronage : such relatives of influ- 
ice and rank : as smiled upon me then, look coldly now ; 
Lit there are smiling fields and waving trees in England's 
chest county; and by one village church — mine. Rose, 
ly own ! — there stands a rustic dwelling which you can 
lake me prouder of, than all the hopes I have renounced, 
easured a thousandfold. This is my rank and station 
ow, and here T lay it down !" 

It's a trying thing waiting supper for lovers," said 
Ir. Grimwig, waking up, and pulling his pocket-handker- 
hief from over his head. 

Truth to tell, the supper had been waiting a most un- 
easonable time. Neither Mrs. May lie, nor Harry, nor 


Oliver Twist 

Rose (who all came in together), could offer a word i ^ 

** I had serious thoughts of eating my head to-night,lf^ 
said Mr. Grimwig, " for I began to think I should g 
nothing else. I'll take the liberty, if you'll allow me, (ft 
saluting the bride that is to be." 

Mr. Grimwig lost no time in carrying this notice in 
effect upon the blushing girl ; and the example, being co.|ft 
tagious, was followed both by the doctor and Mr. Brow 
low : some people affirm that Harry Maylie had bee 
observed to set it, originally, in a dark room adjoining 
but the best authorities consider this downright scanda 
he being young and a clergyman. 

** Oliver, my child," said Mrs. Maylie, ** where have yci 
been, and why do you look so sad? There are tears stea 
ing down your face at this moment. What is the matter: 

It is a world of disappointment; often to the hopes v 
most cherish, and hopes that do our nature the greate 

Poor Dick was dead ! i 


The court was paved, from floor to roof, with huma 
faces. Inquisitive and eager eyes peered from every inr 
of space. From the rail before the dock, away into tl 
sharpest angle of the smallest corner in the galleries, i 
looks were fixed upon one man — Fagin. Before him ar 
behind : above, below, on the right and on the left : 1 
seemed to stand surrounded by a firmament, all brig 
with gleaming eyes. 

He stood there, in all this glare of living light, with oi 
hand resting on the wooden slab before him, the oth 
held to his ear, and his head thrust forward to enable hi 
to catch with greater distinctness every word that fell fro 
the presiding judge who was delivering his charge to tl 
jury. At times, he turned his eyes sharply upon them 
observe the effect of the slightest featherweight in h 
favour ; and when the points against him were stated wi 
terrible distinctness, looked towards his counsel, in mu 
appeal that he would, even then, urge something in h 

Oliver Twist 399 

;half. Beyond these manifestations of anxiety, he stirred 
3t hand or foot. He had scarcely moved since the trial 
;gan; and now that the judge ceased to speak, he still 
rmained in the same strained attitude of close attention, 
ith his gaze bent on him, as though he listened still. 
A slight bustle in the court recalled him to himself, 
ooking round, he saw that the jurymen had turned to- 
jther, to consider of their verdict. As his eyes wandered 
• the gallery, he could see the people rising above each 
her to see his face : some hastily applying their glasses 
< their eyes : and others whispering their neighbours with 
oks expressive of abhorrence. A few there were, who 
;emed unmindful of him, and looked only to the jury, in 
ipatient wonder how they could delay. But in no one 
ce — not even among the women, of whom there were 
any there — could he read the faintest sympathy with 
mself, or any feeling but one of all-absorbing interest 
at he should be condemned. 

As he saw all this in one bevv^ildered glance, the death- 
ic stillness came again, and looking back, he saw that 
le jurymen had turned towards the judge. Hush ! 
They only sought permission to retire. 
He looked, wistfully, into their faces, one by one, when 
ey passed out, as though to see which way the greater 
imber leant; but that was fruitless. The jailer touched 
m on the shoulder. He followed mechanically to the end 
' the dock, and sat down on a chair. The man pointed 
out, or he would not have seen it. 

He looked up into the gallery again. Some of the people 
ere eating, and some fanning themselves with handker- 
liefs ; for the crowded place was very hot. There was 
le young man sketching his face in a little note-book. 
e wondered whether it was like, and looked on when the 
tist broke his pencil-point, and made another with his 
life, as any idle spectator might have done. 
In the same way, when he turned his eyes towards the 
idge, his mind began to busy itself with the fashion of 
|s dress, and wha*- it cost, and how he put it on. There 
as an old fat gentleman on the bench, too, who had gone 
it, some half an hour before, ^nd now come back. He 
ondered within himself whether this man had been to get 
is dinner, what he had had, and where he had had it ; and 
irsued this train of careless thought until some new object 
ught his eye and roused another. 



400 Oliver Twist 

Not that, all this time, his mind was, for an instant, fre 
from one oppressive overwhelming sense of the grave thj 
opened at his feet; it was ever present to him, but in 
vague and general way, and he could not fix his though 
upon it. Thus, even while he trembled, and turned bun 
ing hot at the idea of speedy death, he fell to counting tt 
iron spikes before him, and wondering how the head ( 
one had been broken off, and whether they would mend i 
or leave it as it was. Then, he thought of all the horro 
of the gallows and the scaffold — and stopped to watch 
man sprinkling the floor to cool it — and then went on 1 
think again. 

At length there was a cry of silence, and a breathlej| 
look from all towards the door. The jury returned, ar 
passed him close. He could glean nothing from the 
faces ; they might as well have been of stone. Perfe 
stillness ensued — not a rustle — not a breath' — Guilty. 

The building rang with a tremendous shout, and anothe 
and another, and then it echoed loud groans, then gathere 
strength as they swelled out, like angry thunder. It w 
a peal of joy from the populace outside, greeting the nev 
that he would die on Monday. 

The noise subsided, and he was asked if he had anythirj 
to say why sentence of death should not be passed upc 
him. He had resumed his listening attitude, and look( 
intently at his questioner while the demand was mad 
but it was twice repeated before he seemed to hear it, ar 
then he only muttered that he was an old man — an o- 
man — an old man — and so, dropping into a whisper, w;, 
silent again. 

The judge assumed the black cap, and the prisoner st 
stood with the same air and gesture. A woman in tl 
gallery uttered some exclamation, called forth by this drei 
solemnity; he looked hastily up as if angry at the inte 
ruption, and bent forward yet more attentively. The a 
dress was solemn and impressive ; the sentence fearful 
hear. But he stood, like a marble figure, without t] 
motion of a nerve. His haggard face was still thrust fc 
ward, his under-jaw hanging down, and his eyes starii 
out before him, when the jailer put his hand upon his an 
and beckoned him away. He gazed stupidly about him f 
an instant, and obeyed. 

They led him through a paved room under the coui 
where some prisoners were waiting till their turns cam 


Oliver Twist 401 

nd others were talking- to their friends, who crowded 
)und a grate which looked into the open yard. There was 
^body there, to speak to him; but, as he passed, the 
-isoners fell back to render him more visible to the people 
ho were clinging to the bars : and they assailed him with 
Dprobrious names, and screeched and hissed. He shook 
s fist, and would have spat upon them; but his con- 
jctors hurried him on, through a gloomy passage lighted 
■f a few dim lamps, into the interior of the prison. 
Here, he was searched, that he might not have about 
m the means of anticipating the law ; this ceremony per- 
►rmed, they led him to one of the condemned cells, and 
ft him there — alone. 

He sat down on a stone bench opposite the door, which 

rved for seat and bedstead ; and casting his blood-shot 

es upon the ground, tried to collect his thoughts. After 

vhile, he began to remember a few disjointed fragments 

what the judge had said : though it had seemed to him, 

the time, that he could not hear a word. These grad- 

illy fell into their proper places, and by degrees sug- 

sted more : so that in a little time he had the whole, 

most as it was delivered. To be hanged by the neck, 

11 he was dead — that was the end. To be hanged by the 

ick till he was dead. 

As it came on very dark, he began to think of all the 
en he had known who had died upon the scaffold ; some 
them through his means. They rose up, in such quick 
iccession, that he could hardly count them. He had seen 
>me of them die, — and had joked too, because they died 
ith prayers upon their lips. With what a rattling noise 
le drop went down ; and how suddenly they changed, 
om strong and vigorous men to dangling heaps of 
othes ! 

Some of them might have inhabited that very cell— sat 
3on that very spot. It was very dark; why didn't they 
ring a light? The cell had been built for many years. 
2ores of men must have passed their last hours there. It 
as like sitting in a vault strewn with dead bodies — the 
ip, the noose, the pinioned arms, the faces that he knew, 
ren beneath that hideous veil. — Light, light ! 
At length, when his hands were raw with beating against 
le heavy door and walls, two men appeared : one bearing 
candle, which he thrust into an iron candlestick fixed 
3^ainst the wall : the other dragging in a mattress on 

402 Oliver Twist 

which to pass the night; for the prisoner was to be le* 
alone no more. ! 

Then came night — dark, dismal, silent night. Oth( 
watchers are glad to hear the church-clocks strike, fc' 
they tell of life and coming day. To him they brougl 
despair. The boom of every iron bell came laden with t\: 
one, deep, hollow sound — Death. What availed the noij 
and bustle of cheerful morning, which penetrated eve' 
there, to him ? It was another form of knell, with mocketl 
added to the warning. 

The day passed off. Day ? There was no day ; it w 
gone as soon as come — and night came on again ; night s 
long, and yet so short; long in its dreadful silence, ar 
short in its fleeting hours. At one time he raved ar 
blasphemed; and at another howled and tore his hai 
Venerable men of his own persuasion had come to pn 
beside him, but he had driven them away with curse 
They renewed their charitable efforts, and he beat the 

Saturday night. He had only one night more to livJ 
And as he thought of this, the day broke — Sunday. 

It was not until the night of this last awful day, that 
withering sense of his helpless, desperate state came in i' 
full intensity upon his blighted soul ; not that he had ev 
held any defined or positive hope of mercy,, but that 1 
had never been able to consider more than the dim pro 
ability of dying so soon. He had spoken little to eith 
of the two men, who relieved each other in their attendan' 
upon him; and they, for their parts, made no effort 
rouse his attention. He had sat there, awake, but dreai 
ing. Now, he started up, every minute, and with gaspii 
mouth and burning skin, hurried to and fro, in such 
paroxysm of fear and wrath that even they — used to su 
sights — recoiled from him with horror. He grew 
terrible, at last, in all the tortures of his evil conscienc 
that one man could not bear to sit there, eyeing him alon 
and so the two kept watch together. 

He cowered down upon his stone bed, and thought 
the past. He had been wounded with some missiles fro 
the crowd on the day of his capture, and his head w 
bandaged with a linen cloth. His red hair hung do\; 
upon his bloodless face; his beard was torn, and twist 
into knots ; his eyes shone with a terrible light ; his u 
washed flesh crackled with the fever that burnt him u 

Oliver Twist 403 

ight — nine — ten. If it was not a trick to frighten him, 
nd those were the real hours treading on each other's 
;els, where would he be, when they came round again ! 
leven ! Another struck, before the voice of the previous 
our had ceased to vibrate. At eight, he would be the 
ily mourner in his own funeral train ; at eleven 

Those dreadful walls of Newgate, which have hidden so 
uch misery and such unspeakable anguish, not only from 
le eyes, but, too often, and too long, from the thoughts, 
f men, never held so dread a spectacle as that. The few 
ho lingered as they passed, and wondered what the man 
as doing who was to be hanged to-morrow, would have 
ept but ill that night, if they could have seen him. 

From early in the evening until nearly midnight, little 
roups of two and three presented themselves at the lodge- 
ate, and inquired, with anxious faces, whether any re- 
rieve had been received. These being answered in the 
egative, communicated the welcome intelligence to 
lusters in the street, who pointed out to one another the 
oor from which he must come out, and showed where the 
:affold would be built, and, walking with unwilling steps 
way, turned back to conjure up the scene. By degrees 
ley fell off, one by one ; and, for an hour, in the dead of 
ight, the street was left to solitude and darkness. 

The space before the prison was cleared, and a few 
trong barriers, painted black, had been already thrown 
cross the road to break the pressure of the expected 
rowd, when Mr. Brownlow and Oliver appeared at the 
icket, and presented an order of admission to the prisoner, 
igned by one of the sheriffs. They were immediately ad- 
litted into the lodge. 

*' Is the young gentleman to come too, sir?" said the 
lan whose duty it was to conduct them. ** It's not a 
ight for children, sir.** 

** It is not indeed, my friend," rejoined Mr. Brownlow; 

but my business with this man is intimately connected 
^ith him ; and as this child has seen him in the full career 

his success and villany, I think it as well — even at the 
ost of some pain and fear — that he should see him now." 

These few words had been said apart, so as to be in- 
udible to Oliver. The man touched his hat; and glanc- 
ig at Oliver with some curiosity, opened another gate, 
pposite to that by which they had entered, and led them 
n, through dark and winding ways, towards the cells. 

404 Oliver Twist 

"This," said the man, stopping in a gloomy passag ^^ 
where a couple of workmen were making some preparsj 
tions in profound silence — ** this is the place he passe fj 
through. If you step this way, you can see the door h 
gfoes out at." 

He led them into a stone kitchen, fitted with coppers fc 
dressing the prison food, and pointed to a door. Thei 
was an open grating above it, through which came tfc 
sound of men's voices, mingled with the noise of hammer 
ing, and the throwing down of boards. They were puttin 
up the scaffold. 

From this place, they passed through several stron 
gates, opened by other turnkeys from the inner side ; anc, 
having entered an open yard, ascended a flight of narro 
steps, and came into a passage with a row of strong dooi 
on the left hand. Motioning them to remain where the 
were, the turnkey knocked at one of these with his bunc 
of keys. The two attendants, after a little whispering 
came out into the passage, stretching themselves as 
glad of the temporary relief, and motioned the visitors 1 
follow the jailer into the cell. They did so. 

The condemned criminal was seated on his bed, rockin 
himself from side to side, with a countenance more lit 
that of a snared beast than the face of a man. His mir 
was evidently wandering to his old life, for he continue 
to mutter, without appearing conscious of their presenc 
otherwise than as a part of his vision. 

*' Good boy, Charley — well done " he mumblee 

** Oliver, too, ha ! ha ! ha ! Oliver too — quite the gentL 
man now — quite the — take that boy away to bed !" 

The jailer took the disengaged hand of Oliver; anci 
whispering him not to be alarmed, looked on withoi 

" Take him away to bed !" cried Fagin. *' Do yc 
hear me, some of you? He has been the — the — someho 
the cause of all this. It's worth the money to bring hi; 
up to it — Bolter's throat. Bill; never mind the girl- 
Bolter's throat as deep as you can cut. Saw his hes 

** Fagin," said the jailer. 

** That's me !" cried the Jew, falling, instantly, into tt 
attitude of listening he had assumed upon his trial. ** A 
old man, my Lord; a very old, old man !" 

" Here," said the turnkey, laying his hand upon hi 

Oliver Twist 405 

reast to keep him down. ** Here's somebody wants to 

ee you, to ask you some questions, I suppose. Fagin, 

agin ! Are you a man ? ' ' 
*' I shan't be one long," he replied, looking up with a 

ice retaining no human expression but rage and terror. 
Strike them all dead ! What right have they to butcher 

As he spoke he caught sight of Oliver and Mr. Brown- 

)w. Shrinking to the furthest corner of the seat, he 

emanded to know what they wanted there. 
*' Steady," said the turnkey, still holding him down. 

Now, sir, tell him what you want. Quick, if you please, 

>r he grows worse as the time gets on." 

You have some papers," said Mr. Brownlow advanc- 

ig, ** which were placed in your hands, for better security, 

y a man called Monks." 

It's all a he together," replied Fagin. ** I haven't 
ne — not one." 

** For the love of God," said Mr. Brownlow solemnly, 

do not say that now, upon the very verge of death; but 
;11 me where they are. You know that Sikes is dead; 
lat Monks has confessed; that there is no hope of any 

rther gain. Where are those papers?" 

" Oliver," cried Fagin, beckoning to him. " Here, 
ere! Let me whisper to you." 

" I am not afraid," said Oliver in a low voice, as he 
slinquished Mr. Brownlow's hand. 

"The papers," said Fagin, drawing Oliver towards 
im, ** are in a canvas bag, in a hole a little way up the 
himney in the top front-room. I want to talk to you, 
ly dear. I want to talk to you." 

Yes, yes," returned Oliver. ** Let me say a prayer. 
)o ! Let me say one prayer. Say only one, upon youi 
nees, with me, and we will talk till morning." 

" Outside, outside," replied Fagin, pushing the boy 
efore him towards the door, and looking vacantly over 
is head. ** Say I've gone to sleep — they'll believe you. 
fou can get me out, if you take me so. Now then, now 

Oh I God forgive this wretched man !" cried the boy 
/ith a burst of tears. 

''That's right, that's right," said Fagin. " That^l 
elp us on. This door first. If I shake and tremble, 
s we pass the gallows, don't you mind, but hurry o», 
Jow, now, now !" 


Oliver Twist 

'* Have you nothing else to ask him, sir?" inquired th 

*' No other question," replied Mr. Brownlow. ** If 
hoped we could recall him to a sense of his position 

** Nothing- will do that, sir," replied the man, shakini 
his head. ** You had better leave him." 

The door of the cell opened, and the attendants returnee 

** Press on, press on," cried Fagin. ** Softly, but nc* 
so slow. Faster, faster!" 

The men laid hands upon him, and disengaging Olivi- 
from his grasp, held him back. He struggled with ti: 
power of desperation, for an instant; and, then sent u 
cry upon cry that penetrated even those massive .walls, an 
rang in their ears until they reached the open yard. 

It was some time before they left the prison. Olivi 
nearly swooned after this frightful scene, and was so wea 
that for an hour or more, he had not the strength to wall 

Day was dawning when they again emerged. A gre; 
multitude had already assembled ; the windows were filk 
with people, smoking and playing cards to beg"uile tl 
time ; the crowd were pushing, quarrelling, joking. Ever|it 
thing- told of life and animation, but one dark cluster i 
objects in the centre of all — the black stage, the cros 
beam, the rope, and all the hideous apparatus of death. 



The fortunes of those who have figured in this tale a 
nearly closed. The little that remains to their historian 
relate, is told in few and simple words. 

Before three months had passed. Rose Fleming ai 
Harry Maylie were married in the village church whi 
was henceforth to be the scene of the young clergyman 
labours ; on the same day they entered into possession 
their new and happy home. 

Mrs. Maylie took up her abode with her son ar 
daughter-in-law, to enjoy, during the tranquil remainder ■ 
her days, the greatest felicity that age and worth a 
know — the contemplation of the happiness of those c 
whom the warmest affections and tenderest cares of a we) 
spent life, have been unceasingly bestowed. 




Oliver Twist 407 

It appeared, on full and careful investigation, that if the 
reck of property remaining in the custody of Monks 
^hich had never prospered either in his hands or in those 
his mother) were equally divided between himself and 
liver, it would yield, to each, little more than three 
ousand pounds. By the provisions of his father's will, 
liver would have been entitled to the whole; but Mr. 
["ownlow, unwilling to deprive the elder son of the op- 
>rtunity of retrieving his former vices and pursuing an 
>nest career, proposed this mode of distribution, to which 

young charge joyfully acceded. 

Monks, still bearing that assumed name, retired with his 

rtion to a distant part of the New World ; where, having 

lickly squandered it, he once more fell into his old courses, 

d, after undergoing a long confinement for some fresh 

t of fraud and knavery, at length sunk under an attack 

his old disorckr, and died in prison. As far from 

me, died the chief remaining members of his friend 

pgin's gang. 

Mr. Brownlow adopted Oliver as his son. Removing 

th him and the old housekeeper to within a mile of the 

rsonage-house, where his dear friends resided, he grati- 

d the only remaining wish of Oliver's warm and earnest 

art, and thus linked together a little society, whose 

ndition approached as nearly to one of perfect happiness 

can ever be known in this changing world. 

Soon after the marriage of the young people, the worthy 

)Ctor returned to Chertsey, where, bereft of the presence 

his old friends, he would have been discontented if his 

mperament had admitted of such a feeling; and would 

ive turned quite peevish if he had known how. For two 

" three months, he contented himself with hinting that he 

ared the air began to disagree with him; then, finding 

at the place really no longer was, to him, what it had 

;en, he settled his business on his assistant, took a 

ichelor's cottage outside the village of which his young 

iend was pastor, and instantaneously recovered. Here, 

; took to gardening, planting, fishing, carpentering, and 

irious other pursuits of a similar kind : all undertaken 

ith his characteristic impetuosity. In each and all, he 

IS since become famous throughout the neighbourhood, 

> a most profound authority. 

Before his removal, he had managed to contract a strong 
iendship for Mr. Grimwig, which that eccentric gentle- 


Oliver Twist 

man cordially reciprocated. He is accordingly visited 1: 
Mr. Grimwig a great many times in the course of the yea 
On all such occasions, Mr. Grimwig plants, fishes, and ca 
penters, with great ardour; doing everything in a vei 
singular and unprecedented manner, but always maintaii 
ing with his favourite asseveration, that his mode is tl 
right one. On Sundays, he never fails to criticise tt 
sermon to the young clergyman's face : always informir 
Mr. Losberne, in strict confidence afterwards, that he co;, 
siders it an excellent performance, but deems it as wt 
not to say so. It is a standing and very favourite jok^ 
for Mr. Brownlow to rally him on his old prophecy concer: 
ing Oliver, and to remind him of the night on which th< 
sat with the watch between them, waiting his return ; bi 
Mr. Grimwig contends that he was right in the main, an< 
in proof thereof, remarks that Oliver did not come haci 
after all ; which always calls forth a laugh on his side, ar 
increases his good humour. 

Mr. Noah Claypole : receiving a free pardon from tl^ 
Crown in consequence of being admitted approver again^ 
Fagin : and considering his profession not altogether ; 
safe a one as he could wish : was, for some little tim 
at a loss for the means of a livelihood, not burthened wi 
too much work. After some consideration, he went in 
business as an Informer, in which calling he realises , 
genteel subsistence. His plan is, to walk out once 
week during church time attended by Charlotte in respec 
able attire. The lady faints away at the doors of char 
able publicans, and the gentleman being accommodat 
with threepennyworth of brandy to restore her, lays ; 
information next day, and pockets half the penalty. Somt 
times Mr. Claypole faints himself, but the result is tl 

Mr. and Mrs. Bumble, deprived of their situations, we 
gradually reduced to great indigence and misery, ai 
finally became paupers in that very same workhouse 
which they had once lorded it over others. Mr. Bumh 
has been heard to say, that in this reverse and degradatio 
he has not even spirits to be thankful for being separatf 
from his wife. 

As to Mr. Giles and BrittleSj, they still remain in th( 
old posts, although the former is bald, and the last-nam 
boy quite grey. They sleep at the parsonage, but divi 
their attentions so equally among its inmates, and Olive 

Oliver Twist 409 

d Mr. Brownlow, and Mr. Losberne, that to this day the 
Uagers have never been able to discover to which estab- 
hment they properly belong". 

Master Charles Bates, appalled by Sikes's crime, fell into 
train of reflection whether an honest life was not, after 
the best. Arriving at the conclusion that it certainly 
is, he turned his back upon the scenes of the past, re- 
ived to amend it in some new sphere of action. He 
uggled hard and suffered much, for some time; but, 
ving a contented disposition, and a good purpose, suc- 
eded in the end ; and, from being a farmer's drudge, and 
carrier's lad, he is now the merriest young grazier in all 


And now, the hand that traces these words, falters, as it 
proaches the conclusion of its task; and would weave, 
" a little longer space, the thread of these adventures. 
I would fain linger yet with a few of those among whom 
have so long moved, and share their happiness by en- 
avouring to depict it. I would show Rose Maylie in all 
e bloom and grace of early womanhood, shedding on her 
eluded path in life soft and gentle light, that fell on all 
10 trod it with her, and shone into their hearts. I would 
int her the life and joy of the fire-side circle and. the 
ely summer group; I would follow her through the 
Itry fields at noon, and hear the low tones of her sweet 
ice in the moonlit evening walk; I would watch her in 

her goodness and charity abroad, and the smiling un- 
ing discharge of domestic duties at home; I would 
int her, and her dead sister's child happy in their love 
r one another, and passing whole hours together in 
:turing the friends whom they had so sadly lost ; I would 
mmon before me, once again, those joyous little faces 
at clustered round her knee, and listen to their merry 
attle; I would recall the tones of that clear laugh, and 
njure up the sympathising tear that glistened in the soft 
le eye. These, and a thousand looks and smiles, and 
rns of thought and speech — I would fain recall them 
ery one. 

How Mr. Brownlow went on, from day to day, filling 
e mind of his adopted child with stores of knowledge, 
d becoming attached to him, more and more, as his 
ture developed itself, and showed the thriving seeds of 
1 he wished him to become — how he traced in him new 
lits of his early friend, that awakened in his own bosom 

4IO Oliver Twist 

old remembrances, melancholy and yet sweet and soothii 
— how the two orphans, tried by adversity, remember 
its lessons in mercy to others, and mutual love, and ferve 
thanks to Him who had protected and preserved them 
these are all matters which need not to be told. I ha 
said that they were truly happy; and without stroi 
affection and humanity of heart, and gratitude to th 
Being whose code is Mercy, and whose great attribute 
Benevolence to all things that breathe, happiness can ne\ 
be attained. 

Within the altar of the old village church there stan 
a white marble tablet, which bears as yet but one wor< 
** Agnes. " There is no coffin in that tomb ; and may it 
many, many years, before another name is placed above i 
But, if the spirits of the Dead ever come back to earth, 
visit spots hallowed by the love — the love beyond the gra 
— of those whom they knew in life, I believe that t 
shade of Agnes sometimes hovers round that solemn noc 
I believe it none the less because that nook is in a Churc 
and she was weak and erring. 






In Cloth Binding 

In Special Library Binding 

Also Selected Volumes in Leather 



In each section of this list the volumes are arranged, as 
a general rule, alphabetically under the authors' names. 
Where authors appear in more than one section, a reference 
is given, viz. : [See also Fiction). The number at the end 
of each item is the number of the volume in the series. 
Volumes temporarily out of print are marked % 
Volumes obtainable in Leather are marked L 


Audubon the Naturalist, Life and Adventures of. By R. Buchanan. 601 
Barter (Richard), Autobiography of. Edited by Rev. J. M. Lloyd 

Thomas, 868 
Beaconsfield (Lord), Life of. By J, A. Froude. 666 
Berlioz (Hector), Life of. Translated by Katherine F. Boult. 602 
Blackwell (Dr. Elizabeth) : Pioneer Work for Women. With an Introduc- 
tion by Mrs. Fawcett. 667 
L Boswell'B Life of Johnson. 2 vols. 1-2 
(See also Travel) 
Browning (Robert), Life of. By E. Dowden. 701 
Buxton (Sir Thomas Fowell), Memoirs of. Edited by Charles Buxton. 

Introduction by Lord Buxton. 773 
Carey (William), Life of: Shoema.ker and Missionary. 395 
Carlyle's Letters and Speeches of Cromwell. 3 vols. 266-8 
Reminiscences. 875 
{See also Essays and History) 
L Cellini's (Benvenuto) Autobiography. 51 
Cibber's (Colley) An Apology for his Life. 668 
Constable (John), Memoirs of. By C. R. Leslie, R.A. 663 
Cowper (WUliam), Selected Letters of. Intro, by W. Hadley, M.A. 774 

{See also Poetry and Drajnia) 
De Quincey's Reminiscences of the Lake Poets. Intro, by E. Rhys. 163 

{See also Essays) 
De Retz (Cardinal): Memoirs. By Himself. 2 vols. 735-6 
Evelvn's Diary. 2 vols. Introduction by G. W. E. Russell. 220-1 
Forster's Life of Dickens. Intro, by G. K. Chesterton. 2 vols. 781-2 

{See also Fiction) 
Fox (George), Journal of. Text revised by Norman Penney, F.S.A.I 

Introduction by Rufus M. Jones, LL.D. 754 
Franklin's (Benjamin) Autobiography. 316 
Froude's Life of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield. 666 
L Gaskell'B (Mrs.) Life of Charlotte Bronte. Intro, by May Sinclair. 318 
Gibbon (Edward), Autobiography of. Intro, by Oliphant Smeaton. 511 

{See also History) 
Gladstone, Life of. By G. W. E. RusseU ('Onlooker'). 661 
Hastings (Warren), Life of. By Capt. L. J. Trotter. 452 
Helps' (Sir Arthur) Life of Columbus. 332 
Eodson, of Hodson's Horse. By Capt. L. J. Trotter. 401 
Holmes' Life of Mozart. Introduction by Ernest Newman. 564 
Houghton's Life and Letters of Keats. Introduction by Robert L3Tid. 801 ' 
Hutchinson (Col.), Memoirs of. Intro. Monograph by F. P. G. Guizot. 317 
Irving's Life of Mahomet. Introduction by Professor E. V. Arnold. 513 
Johnson's Lives of the Poets. Intro, by Mrs. Archer-Hind, M.A. 7 70-1 
Lamb (Charles), Letters of. 2 vols. 342-3 

{See also Essays and For Young People) 
Lewes' Life of Goethe. Introduction by Havelock Ellis. 269 
Lincoln (Abraham). Life of. By Henry Bryan Binns. 783 

{See also Oratory) 
Lockhart's Life of Robert Burns. Introduction by E. Rhys. 156 
L „ Life of Napoleon. 3 

Life of Sir Walter Scott (abridged). 65 
Mazzini, Life of. By Bolton King, M.A. 562 . 

Newcastle (First Duke of). Life of, aaad other writmgs by the Duchess ol 
Newcastle. 722 I 


BIOGRAPHY— continued 

Outram (Sir J.), The Bayard of India. By Capt. L. J. Trotter. 393 
Pepys' Diary. Lord Braybrooke's 1854 ed. 2 vols. 53-4 
Plutarch's Lives of Noble Greeks and Romans. Dryden's Translation. 
Revised, with Introduction, by Arthur Hugh Clough. 3 vols. 407-9 
Rousseau, Confessions of. 2 vols. 859-60 
Scott's Lives of the Novelists. Introduction by George Samtsbury. 331 

{See also Fiction and Poetkt) 
Seebohm (Frederic): The Oxford Reformers. With a Preface by Hugh 
E. Seebohm. 665 
! Smeaton's A Life of Shakespeare, with Criticisms of the Plays. 514 

Southey's Life of Nelson. 52 
I Strickland's Life of Queen Elizabeth. 100 

Swift's Journal to Stella. Newly deciphered and edited by J. K. Moor- 
! head. Introduction by Sir Walter Scott. 757 

(-See also Essays and For Young People) 
Vasari's Lives of the Painters. Trans, by A. B. Hinds. 4 vols. 784-7 
Voltaire's Life of Charles XII. Introduction by Rt. Hon. J. Burns. 270 
Walpole (Horace), Selected Letters of. Intro, by W. Hadley, M.A. 775 
Wellington, Life of. By G. R. Gleig. 341 

Wesley's Journal. 4 vols. Intro, by Rev. F. W. Macdonald. 105-8 
Woohnan's (John) Journal and Other Papers. Introduction by Vida D. 
Scudder. 402 


^schylus' Lyrical Dramas. Translated by Professor J. S. Blackie. 62 
Aristophanes' The Frogs, The Clouds, The Thesmophorians. 516 

„ The Acharnians, The Knights, and The Birds. Frere's 

Translation. Introduction by John P. Maine. 344 
Aristotle's Politics. Introduction by A. D. Lindsay. 605 

„ Poetics, etc., and Demetrius on Style, etc. Edited by 

(See also Philosophy) [Rev. T. A. Moxon. 901 

Caesar's The Gallic War and Other Commentaries. Translated by W. A. 

McDevitte. 702 
Cicero's Essays and Select Letters. Intro. Note by de Quincy. 345 
L Epictetus, Moral Discourses, etc. Elizabeth Carter's Translation. Edited 
by W. H. D. Rouse, M.A. 404 
Euripides' Plays in 2 vols. Introduction by V. R. Reynolds. Translated 
by M. Wodhidl and R. Potter, with Shelley's 'Cyclops' and Dean 
Milman's ' B acchanals ' . 63,271 
Herodotus. Rawlinson's Translation. Edited, with Introduction, by 
E. H. Blakeney, M.A., omitting Translator's Original Essays, and 
Appendices. 2 vols. 405-6 
L Homer's Iliad. Lord Derby's Translation. 453 

L „ Odyssey. WUliam Cowper's Translation. Introduction by Miss 
F. M. StaweU. 454 
Horace. Complete Poetical Works. 515 
Hutchinson's (W. M. L.) The Muses' Pageant. Vols. I, II, and III. 581. 

606 and 671 
Livy's History of Rome. Vols. I- VI. Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts. 

603, 669, 870, 749, 755, and 756 
Lucretius: On the Nature of Things. Translated by W. E. Leonard. 750 
L Marcus AureUus' Meditations. Introduction by W. H. D. Rouse. 9 
L Plato's Dialogues. 2 vols. Introduction by A. D. Lindsay. 456-7 
L „ Republic. Translated, with an Introduction, bv A. D. Lindsay. 64 
Plutarch's MoraUa. 20 Essays translated by Philemon Holland. 665 
Sophocles' Dramas. Translated by Sir G. Young, Bart. 114 
Thucydides' Peloponnesian War. Crawley's Translation. 455 
L Virgil's iEneid. Translated by E. Fairfax-Taylor. 161 

„ Eclogues and Georgics. Translated by T. F. Royds, M.A. 222 
Xenophon's Cyropasdia. Translation revised by Miss F. M. StaweU. 672 


L Anthology of Prose. Compiled and Edited by Miss S. L. Edwards. 675 
Arnold's (Matthew) Essays. Introduction by G. K. Chesterton. 115 
„ n Study of Celtic Literature, and other CriticalEssaya, 

with Supplement by Lord Strangford, etc. 458 
(See also Poetry) 
L Bacon's Essays. Introduction by Oliphant Smeaton. 10 
(-See also Philosophy) 
Bagehot's Literary Studies. 2 vols. Intro, by George Sampson. 520-1 
X Brooke's (Stopford, M.A.) Theology in the English Poets. 493 
L Brown's Rab and his Friends, etc. 116 


Burke's Reflections on the French Revolution and contingent Essaye 

Introduction by A. J. Grieve, M.A. 460 {See also Oratory) 

Canton's (William) The Inyisible Playmate, W. V., Her Book, and L 
(See also For Yottng People) [Memory of W. V. 56i 

Carlyle's Essays. 2 vols. With Notes by J. Russell Lowell. 703-4 
„ Past and Present. Introduction by R. W. Emerson. 603 
L „ Sartor Resartus and Heroes and Hero Worship. 278 

(See also Biography and History) 
Castiglione's The Courtier. Translated by Sir Thomas Hoby. Intro 
duction by W. H. D. Rouse. 807 
L Century of Essays. A. An Anthology of English Essayists. 653 

Chesterfield's (Lord) Letters to his Son. 823 
L Chesterton's (G. K.) Stories, Essays, and Poems. 913 

Coleridge's Biographia Literaria. Introduction by Arthur Symons. 1: 
„ Essays and Lectures on Shakespeare, etc. 162 

(See also Poetry) 
t Craik's Manual of English Literature. 346 
Curtis's Prue and I, and Lotus Eating. Introduction by H. W. Mabie. 41! 
De Quincey's (Thomas) Opium Eater Intro, by Sir G. Doui?las. 223 

„ The English Mail Coach and Other Writiuga 
Introduction by S. Hill Burton. 609 
(See also Biography) 
Dryden's Dramatic Essays. With an Introduction by W. H. Hudson. 56; 
Elyot's Gouernour. Intro, and Glossary by Prof. Foster Watson. 22' 
L Emerson's Essays. First and Second Series. 12 
L „ Nature, Conduct of Life, Essays from the 'Dial'. 322 

„ Representative Men. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 279 
„ Society and Solitude and Other Essays. 567 
(See also Poetry) 
Florio's Montaigne. Introduction by A. R. Waller, M.A. 3 vols. 440-: 
Froude's Short Studies. Vols. I and II. 13, 705 

(See also History and Biography) 
Gilfillan's Literary Portraits. Intro, by Sir W. Robertson Nicoll. 348 
Goethe's Conversations with Eckermann. Intro, by Havelock Ellii 

851. (See also Fiction and Poetry) 
Goldsmith's Citizen of the World and The Bee. Intro, by R. Church. 90: 

(See also Fiction and Poetry^ 
Hamilton's The Federalist. 519 { 

Hajzlitt's Lectures on the English Comic Writers. 411 
„ Shakespeare's Characters. 65 
„ Spirit of the Age and Lectures on English Poets. 459 

Table Talk, 321 
„ Plain bpeaicer. Introduction by P. P. Howe. 814 
L Holmes' Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. 66 
Poet at the Breakfast Table. 63 
Professor at the Breakfast Table. 67 
L Hudson's (W. H.) A Shepherd's Life. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 92( 

Hunt's (Leigh) Selected Essays. Introduction by J. B. Priestly. 829 
L Irving's Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon. 117 
(See also Biography and History) 
Lander's Imaginary Conversations and Poems: A selection. Edite( 
with Introduction by Havelock Ellis. 890 
L Lamb's Essays of Elia. Introduction by Augnstine Birrell. 14 
(See also Biography and For Young People) 
Lowell's (James Russell) Among My Books. 607 

Macaulay's Essays. 2 vols. Introduction by A. J. Grieve, M.A. 225-6 
L „ Miscellaneous Essays and The Lays of Ancient Rome. 439 

(See also History and Oratory) 
Machiavelli's Prince. Special Trans, and Intro, by W. K. Marriott. 28( 

(See also History) 
Martinengo-Cesaresco (Countess): Essays in the Study of Folk-Songs GT, 
Mazzini's Duties of Man, etc. Introduction by Thomas Jones, M.A. 22; 
l^lilton's Areopagitica, etc. Introduction by Professor C. E. Vaughan. 79; 
(-See also Poetry) 
L :Mitford's Our Villag-e. Edited, with Introduction, by Sir John Squire. 9 2; 
Montagu's (Lady) Letters. Introduction by R. Brimley Johnson. 69 
Newman's On the Scope and Nature of University Education, and £ 
paper on Christianity and Scientific Investigation. Introduction b] 
(-See aZso Philosophy) [Wilfred Ward. 7 2; 

Osborne's (Dorothy) Letters to Sir William Temple. Edited and con 

notated by Judge Parry. 674 
Penn's The Peace of Europe. Some Fruits of Solitude, etc. 724 
Prelude to Poetry, The. Edited by Ernest Rhys. 789 



RoTBold's Discourses. Introduction by L. March Phillipps. 11*1 
L RLys' New Book of Sense and Nonsense. 813 
r Eousseau's Enule. Translated by Barbara Foxley. 518 
{See also Philosopht and Theology ) 
Rnskin's Crown of Wild Olive and Cestus of Aglaia. 323 
„ Elements of Drawing and Perspective. 217 
„ Etbics of the Dust. Introduction by Grace Rhys. 282 
„ Modern Painters. 5 vols. Introduction by Lionel Oust. 208-12 
I „ Pre-Raphaelitism. Lectures on Architecture and Painting, 

Academy Notes, 1855-9, and Notes on the Turner Gallery. 
Introduction by Laurence Binyon. 218 
„ Sesame and LUies. The Two Paths, and The King of the Golden 

River. Introduction by Sir Oliver Lodge. 219 
„ Seven Lamps of Architecture. Intro, by Selwyn Image. 207 
„ Stones of Venice. 3 vols. Intro, by L. March PhUlipps. 213-15 
„ Time and Tide with other Essays. 450 

Unto This Last, The Pohtical Economy of Art. 216 
{See also For Young People) 
Spectator. The. 4 vols. Introduction by G. Gregory Smith. 164-7 
Spencer's (Herbert) Essays on Education. Intro, by C. W. Eliot. 504 
Sterne's Sentimental Journey and Journal and Letters to Eliza. Intro. 
{See also I'iction) [by George Saintsbury. 796 

Stevenson's In the South Seas and Island Nights' Entertainments. 769 
„ Virginibus Puerisque and Familiar Studies of Men and 

{See aZso Fiction, Poetry and Travel) [Books. 765 

Swift's Tale of a Tub, The Battle of the Books, etc. 347 

{See also Biography and For Youkg People) 
Table Talk. Edited by J. 0. Thornton. 906 

Taylor's (Isaac) Words and Place?], or Etymological Illustrations of 
Historv, Ethnology, and Geography. Intro, by Edward Thomas. 517 
Thackeray's (W. M.) The English Humourists and The Four Georges. 
Introduction by Walter Jerrold. 610 
(See also Fiction) 
Thoreau's Walden. Introduction by Walter Raymond. 281 
Trench's On the Study of Words and English Past and Present. Intro- 
duction by George Sampson. 788 
Tytler's Essav on the Principles of Translation. 168 
Walton's Compleat Angler. Introduction by Andrew Lang. 70 


Almard's The Indian Scout. 428 

Ainsworth's (Harrison) Old St. Paul's. Intro, by W. E. A. Axon. 522 

„ The Admirable Crichton. Intro, by E. Rhys. 804 

L „ „ The Tower of London. 400 

U ,, „ Windsor Castle. 709 

„ ,. Rookwood. Intro, by Frank Swinnerton. 870 

American Short Stories of the Nineteenth Century. Edited by John 

Cournos. 840 
Austen's (Jane) Emma. Introduction by R. B. Johnson, 24 

„ „ Mansfield Park. Introduction by R. B. Johnson. 23 

„ „ Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Introduction by 

R. B. Johnson. 25 
L „ „ Pride and Prejudice. Introduction by R. B. Johnson. 22 

I, „ „ Sense and Sensibility. Intro, by R. B. Johnson. 21 

Balzac's (Honor6 de) Atheist's Mass. Preface by George Saintsburv. 229 
„ „ Catherine de M6dici. Introduction by George 

Saintsbury. 419 
„ „ Christ in Flanders. Introduction by George 

Saintsbury. 284 
„ „ Cousia Pons. Intro, by George Saintsbury. 463 

„ „ Eugenie Grandet. Intro, by George Saintsburv. 169 

„ „ Lost Illusions. Intro, by George Saintsbury. 656 

„ „ Old Goriot. Introduction by George Saintsbury. 170 

„ „ The Cat and Racket, and Other Stories. 349 

., „ The Chouans. Intro, by George Saintsbury. 285 

„ „ The Country Doctor. Intro. George Saintsbury. 530 

„ „ The Country Parson. 686 

„ „ The Quest of the Absolute. Introduction by George 

Saintsbury. 286 
I, ., The Rise and Fall of C6sar Birotteau. 596 

„ „ TheWild Ass's Skin. Intro, by George Satatsbury. 26 

„ » Ursule Mirouet. Intro, by George Saintsbury. 733 

Barbuese's Under Fire. Translated by Fitz water Wray. 798 

TICVION— continued 

t Beaumont's (Mary) Joan Seaton. Intro, by R. F. Horton, D.D. 597 

L Bennett's (Arnold) The Old Wives' Tale. 919 

L Blackmore's (R. D.) Lorna Doone. 30* 

X „ „ Sprlnghaven. 350 

L Borrow's Lavengro. Introduction by Thomas Seccombe. 119 

L „ Romany Rye. 120 {See also Travel) 

L Bronte's (Anne) The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Agnes Grey. 685 

L „ (Charlotte) Jane Eyre. Introduction by May Sinclair. 287 

L ,. „ Shirley. Introduction by May Sinclair. 288 

„ „ The Professor. Introduction by May Sinclair. 417 

L „ „ Villette. Introduction by May Sinclair. 351 

L „ (Emily) Wuthering Heights. 243 

L Burney's (Fanny) Evelina. Introduction by R. B. Johnson. 352 

Butler's (Samuel) Erewhon and Erewhon Revisited. Introduction by 
Desmond MacCarthy. 881 
„ „ The Way of All Flesh. Introduction by A. J. Hopp6. 895 

Collins' (Wilkie) The Woman in White. 464 
L Conrad's Lord Jim. Introduction by R. B. Cunnlnghame Graham. £ 
L Converse's (Florence) Long Will. 328 

Dana's (Richard H.) Two Years before the Mast. 588 
Daudet's Tartarin of Tarascon and Tartarin on the Alps. 423 
Defoe's Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders. Introduction by 
G. A. Aitken. 837 
„ Captain Singleton. Introduction by Edward Garnett. 74 
„ Journal of the Plague Year. Introduction by G. A. Aitken. 289 
„ Memoirs of a Cavalier. Introduction by G. A. Aitken. 283 

(See also For Young People) [Chesterton. 

Chakles Dickens' Works. Each volume with an Introduction by G. K. 
L American Notes. 290 L Little Dorrit. 293 

L Barnaby Rudge. 76 L Martin Chuzzlewit. 241 

L Bleak House. 236 L Nicholas Nickleby. 238 

L Child's History of England. 291 L Old Cxuiosity Shop. 173 
L Christmas Books. 239 L Oliver Twist. 233 

L Christmas Stories. 414 L dir Mutual Friend. 294 

L David Copperfleld. 242 L Pickwick Papers. 235 

L Dombey and Son. 240 L Reprinted Pieces. 744 

Edwin Drood. 725 Sketches by Boz. 237 

L Great Expectations. 234 l Tale of Two Cities. 102 

Hard Times. 292 L Uncommercial Traveller. 536 

Disraeli's Conlngsby. Introduction by Langdon Davies. 535 
Dostoevsky's (Fyodor) Crime and Punishment. Introduction by 
Laurence Irving. 501 
„ „ Letters from the Underworld and Other Tales. 

Translated by C. J. Hogarth. 654 
^ „ Poor Folk and The Gambler. Translated by O. J. 

Hogarth. 711 
^ ,, The Possessed. Introduction by J. Middleton 

Murry. 2 vols. 861-2 [533 

„ „ Prison Life in Siberia. Intro, by Madame Stepniaii. 

„ „ The Brothers Karamazov. Translated by Con- 

stance Garnett. 2 vols. 802-3 
The Idiot. 682 
Du Maurier's (George) Trilby. Introduction by Sir Gerald du Maurier 

With the original Illustrations. 863 
Dumas' Black Tulip. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 174 
„ Chicot the Jester. 421 

„ Le Chevalier de Maison Rouge. Intro, by Julius Bramont. 614 
„ Marguerite de Valois ('La Reine Margot'). 326 

L „ The Count of Monte Cristo. 2 vols. 393-4 

„ The Forty-Five. 420 

L „ The Three Musketeers. 81 

„ The Vicomte de Bragelonne. 3 vols. 593-5 

L „ Twenty Years After. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 175 

Edgar's Cressy and Poictiers. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 17 
„ Runnymede and Lincoln Fair. Intro, by L. K. Hughes. 320 
{See also For Young People) 
Edgeworth's Castle Rackrent and The Absentee. 410 ; 

L Eliot's (George) Adam Bede. 27 1 

Felix Holt. 353 
Middlemarch. 2 vols. 854-5 
L „ „ Mill on the Floss. Intro. Sir W. Robertson NicoU. 325 

L „ „ Romola. Introduction by Rudolf Dircks. 231 

L „ „ Scenes of Clerical Life. 468 


j FICTION— coctinueJ 

Eliot'g (George) Silas Maxner. Introduction by Annie Matheaon. 121 
L English Short Stories. An Anthology. 743 

Erckmann-Chatrian's The Conscript and Waterloo. 354 

The Story of a Peasant. Translated l>y O. J. 
Hogarth. 2 vols. 706-7 
Fenimore Cooper's The Deerslayer. 77 

„ „ The Last of the Mohicansi. 79 

The Pathfinder. 78 
The Pioneers. 171 
The Prairie. 172 
Ferrier's (Susan) Marriage. Introduction by H. L. Morrow. 815 
Fielding's Amelia. Intro, by George Saintsbury. 2 vols. 852-3 

„ Jonathan WUd, and The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon. 

Introduction by George Saintsbury. 877 
„ Joseph Andrews. Introduction by George Saintsbury. 467 
L „ Tom Jones. Intro, by George Saintsbury. 2 vols. 355-6 

Flaubert's Madame Bovary. Translated by Eleanor Marx-Aveling. 
Introduction by George Saintsbury. 808 
SalammbS. Translated by J. S. Chartres. Introduction by 
Professor F. C. Green. 869 
French Short Stories ol the 19th and 20th Centuries. Selected, with 
an Introduction by Professor F. C. Green. 896 
L Galsworthy's (John) The Country House. 917 

Gait's Annals of a Parish. Introduction by Baillie Macdonald. 427 
Gaskell's (Mrs.) Cousin Phillis, etc. Intro, by Thos. Seccombe. 615 
L „ Cranford. 83 

Mary Barton. Introduction by Thomas Seccombe. 598 
North and South. 680 
„ Sylvia's Lovers. Intro, by Mrs. Ellis Chadwick. 524 

Gleig'B (G. R.) The Subaltern. 708 
Goethe's Wilhelm Meister. Carlyle's Translation. 2 vols. 599-600 

{iSee also Essats and Poetry) 
Gogol's (Nicol) Dead Souls. Translated by C. J. Hogarth. 726 
Taras Bulba and Other Tales. 740 
L Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield. Introduction by J. M. D. 295 
(See also Essays and Poetry) 
Goncharov's Oblomov. Translated by Natalie Duddington. 878 
Gorki's Through Russia. Translated by C. J. Hogarth. 741 
t Gotthelf's Ub-ic the Farm Servant. Ed. with Notes by John Ruskin. 228 
Harte's (Bret) Luck of Roaring Camp and other Tales. 681 
Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables. Intro, by Ernest Rhys. 176 
L „ The Scarlet Letter. 122 

The Blithedale Romance. 592 
„ The Marble Faun. Intro, by Sir Leslie Stephen. 424 

„ Twice Told Tales. 531 

(See also For young People) 
L Hugo's (Victor) Lea Mis6rables. Intro, by S. R. John. 2 vols. 363-4 
L „ „ Notre Dame. Introduction by A. C. Swinburne. 422 

L „ „ Toilers of the Sea. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 509 

Italian Short Stories. Edited by D. Pettoello. 876 
James's (G. P. R.) Richelieu. Introduction by Rudolf Dircks. 357 
L James's (Henry) The Turn of the Screw and The Aspem Papers. 912 

Kingsley's (Charles) Alton Locke. 462 
L „ „ Hereward the Wake. Intro, by Ernest Rhys. 296 

L „ „ Hypatia. 230 

L „ „ Westward Ho; Introduction by A. Q. Grieve. 20 

„ Yeast. 611 

(See also Poetry and For Young People) 
„ (Henry) Geoffrey Hamlyn. 416 

„ „ Ravenshoo. 28 

L Lawrence's (D. H.) The White Peacock. 914 

Lever's Harry Lorrequer. Introduction by Lewis Melville. 177 
L Loti's (Pierre) Iceland Fisherman. Translated by W. P. Baines. 920 
L Lover's Handy Andy. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 178 
L Lytton's Harold. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 15 
L „ Last Days of Pompeii. 80 

„ Last of the Barons. Introduction by R. G. Watkin. 18 
„ Rienzi. Introduction by E. H. Blakeney, M.A. 532 
(See also Travel) 
MacDonald's (George) Sir Gibbie. 678 

(See also Romance) 
Manning 'B Mary Powell and Deborah's Diary. Intro, by Katherine Tynan 
(Mrs. Hlnkson). 324 


FICTION— continued 

Manning's Sir Thomas More. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 19 
Marryat's Jacob Faithful. 618 
L „ Mr. Midshipman Easy. Introduction by R. B. Johnson. 82 

„ Percival Keene. Introduction by R. Brimley Johnson 358 

„ Peter Simple. Introduction by R. Brimley Johnson, "232 

„ The King-'s Own. 580 

(See also For Young People) 
Maupassant's Short Stories. Translated by Marjorie Laurie. Intro- 
duction by Gerald Gould. 907 
MelviUe's (Herman) Moby Dick. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 179 
„ „ Omoo. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 297 

,, ,, Typee. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 180 

L Meredith's (George) The Ordeal of Richard Feverel. 916 

M6rim6e's Carmen, with Provost's Manon Lescaut. Introduction by 

Philip Henderson. 834 
Mickiewicz's (Adamj Pan Tadeusz. 842 
t Morier's Hajji Baba. 679 

Mulock's John Halifax, Gentleman. Introduction by J. Shaylor. 123 

Neale's (J.M.) The Fall of Constantinople. 655 

t Oliphant's (Mrs.) Salem Chapel. Intro, by Sir W Robertson Nicoll. 244 

Paitock's (Robert) Peter WUkins; or. The Flying Indians. Introduction 

by A. H. BuUen. 676 
Pater's Marius the Epicurean. Introduction by Osbert Burdett. 903 
Peacock's Headlong Hall and Nightmare Abbey, 327 
L Poe's Tales of Mystery and Imagination. Intro, by Padraic Colum. 336 
(See al^o Poetry) 
Provost's Manon Lescaut, with M6run6e's Carmen. Introduction by 

Philip Henderson. 834 
Pushkin's (Alexander) The Captain's Daughter and Other Tales. Trans. 

by Natahe Duddington. 898 
Quiller-Couch's (Sir Arthur) Hetty Wesley. 864 

RadcLLfie's (Ann) Mysteries of Udolpho. Introduction by R. Austin 
Freeman. 2 vols. 865-6 
L Reade's (O.) The Cloister and the Hearth. Intro, by A. C. Swinburne. 29 
Reade's (C.) Peg Woffington and Christie Johnstone. 299 
Richardson's (Samuel) Pamela. Intro, by G. Saintsbury. 2 vols. 683-4 
„ Clarissa. Intro, by Prof. W. L. Phelps. 4 vols. 
Russian Authors, Short Stories from. Trans, by R. S. Townsend. 753 
Sand's (George) The Devil's Pool and Francois the Waif. 534 
Scheflel's Ekkehard: a Tale of the Tenth Century. 529 
Scott's (Michael) Tom Cringle's Log. 710 
Sir Walter Scott's Works : 
L Abbot, The. 124 L Ivanhoe. Intro, by Ernest Rhys. 16 

Anne of Geierstein. 125 L Kenii worth. 135 

L Antiquary, The. 126 L Monastery, The. 136 

Black Dwarf and Legend of L Old Mortality. 137 

Montrose. 128 Peveril of the Peak. 138 

Bride of Lammermoor. 129 Pirate, The. 139 

Castle Dangerous and The Sur- l Quentin Durward. 140 

geon's Daughter. 130 L Redgauntlet. 141 

Count Robert of Paris. 131 l Rob Roy. 142 

L Fau- Maid of Perth. 132 St. Ronan's Well. 143 

Fortunes of Nig-ol, 71 L Talisman, The, 144 

L Guy Mannering. 133 L Waverley. 75 

L Heart of Midlothian, The. 134 l Woodstock, Intro, by Edward 
Highland Widow and Betrothed. 127 Garnett. 72 

(See also Biographt and Poetry) 
Shchedriu's The Golovlyov Family. Translated by Natalie Duddington. 

Introduction by Edward Garnett. 90S 
Shelley's (Mary Wollstonecraft) Frankenstein. 616 
Sheppard's Charles Auchester. Intro, by Jessie M. Middleton. 505 
Sienkiewicz (Henryk). Tales from. Edited by Monica M. Gardner. 871 
Shorter Novels, Vol. I. Elizabethan and Jacobean. Edited by Philip 
Henderson. 824 
„ „ Vol. II. Jacobean and Restoration. Edited by Philip 

Henderson. 841 
„ „ Vol. Ill Eighteenth Century (Beckford'a Vathek, 

Walpole's Castle of Otranto, and Dr, Johnson's 
Smollett's Peregrine Pickle. 2 vols, 838-9 [Rasselas), 856 

„ Roderick Random. Introduction by H, W. Hodges. 790 

L Sterne's Tristram Shandy. Introduction by George Saintsbury. 617 
(See also Essays) 


ICTION— ci?ntinueJ 

J Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The Merry Men, and Other Tales. 
The Master of Ballantrae and The Black Arrow. 764 [767 
„ Treasure Island and Kidnapped. 763 

„ St. Ives. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 904 

{See also Essays, Poetry, and Teavkl) 
Surtees* Jorrocks' Jannts and Jollities. 817 

Tales of Detection. Edited, with Introduction, by Dorothy L. Sayers. 928 
Thackeray's Rose and the Ring and other stories. Introduction by Walter 
Jerrold. 359 
Esmond. Introduction by Walter Jerrold. 73 
,. Newcomes. Introduction by Walter Jerrold. 2 vols. 465-6 

Pendennis. Intro, by Walter Jerrold. 2 vols. 425-6 
„ Roundabout Papers. 687 

„ Vanity Fair. Introduction by Hon. Whitelaw Reid. 298 

„ Virginians. Introduction by Walter Jerrold. 2 vols. 507-8 

{See also Essays) 
: Tolstoi's Anna Karenina. Trans.byRochelleS. Townsend. 2 vols. 612-13 
Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth. Trans, by C. J. Hogarth. 591 
„ Master and Man, and other Parables and Tales. 469 

War and Peace. 3 vols. 525-7 
Trollope's (Anthony) Barchester Towers. 30 
„ „ Dr. Thorne. 360 

„ „ Framley Parsonage. Intro, by Ernest Rhys. 181 

J, ,. The Golden Lion of Granp^re. Introduction by 

Hugh Walpole. 761 
„ „ The Last Chronicle of Barset. 2 vols. 391-2 

Phineas Finn. Intro, by Hugh Walpole. 2 vols. 832-3 
The Small House at Allington. 361 
„ „ The Warden. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 182 

Turgenev's Fathers and Sons, Translated by C. J. Hogarth. 742 
Liza. Translated by W. R. S. Ralston. 677 
„ Virgin Soil. Translated by Rochelle S. Townsend. 528 

L Walpole's (Hugh) Mr. Perrin and Ivlr. Traill. 913 
L WeHs's (H. G.) The Tmie Machine and The Wheels of Chance. 915 
Whyte-Melville's The Gladiators. Introduction by J. Mavrogordato. 523 
Wood's (Mrs. Henry) The Channings. 84 
Yonge's (Charlotte M.) The Dove in the Eagle's Nest. 329 

„ The Heir of Redclyffe. Intro. Mrs. Meynell. 362 

(See also For Young People) 
Zola's (Emile) Germinal. Translated by Havelock Ellis. 897 


Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, The. Translated by James Ingram. 624 
Bede's Ecclesiastical History, etc. Introduction by Vida D. Scudder. 479 
Burnet's History of His Own Times. 85 
L Carlyle's French Revolution. Introduction by H. BeUoc. 2 vols. 31-2 

{See also Biography and Essays) 
L Creasy's Decisive Battles of the World. Introduction by E. Rhys. 300 
De Joinville {See ViUehardouin) . 

Duruy's (Jean Victor) A History of France. 2 vols. 737-8 
I'inlay's Byzantine Empire. 33 

„ Greece under the Romans. 185 
Fronde's Henry VIII. Intro, by Llewellyn Williams, M.P. 3 vols. 372-4 
Edv/ard VI. Intro, by Llewellyn Williams, M.P,, B.C.L. 375 
„ Mary Tudor. Intro, by Llewellyn Williams, M.P., B.C.L. 477 
„ History of Queen Elizabeth's Reign. 5 vols. Completing 
Froude's 'History of England', in 10 vols. 583-7 
{See also Essays and Biography) 
Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Edited, with Introduc- 
tion and Notes, by Ohphant Smeaton, M.A. 6 vols. 434-6, 474-S 
{See also Biography) 
Green's Short History of the English People. Edited and Revised by 
L. Cecil Jane, with an Appendix by R. P. Farley, B. A. 2 vols. 727-8 
Grote's History of Greece. Intro, by A. D. Lindsay. 12 vols. 186-97 
HaUam's (Henry) Constitutional History of England. 3 vols. 621-3 
Holinshed's Chronicle as used in Shakespeare's Plays. Introduction by 

Professor AUardyce NicoU. 800 
Irving's (Vv^ashington) ConcLuest of Granada. 478 

(See also Essays and Biography) 
Josephus' Wars of the Jews. Introduction by Dr. Jacob Hart. 712 
Liitzow's History of Bohemia. 432 
L Macaulay's History of England. 3 vols. 34-6 
iSee also Essays and Oratory) 

HISTORY— continued 

Machiavelli's History of Florence. 376 (See also Essats) 

Maine's (Sir Henry) Ancient Law. 734 

Meri vale's History of Rome. (An Introductory vol. to Gibbon.) 4S3 

Mignet'B (F. A. M.) The French Revolution. 713 

Milman's History of the Jews. 2 vols. 37 7-8 

Mommsen's History of Rome. Translated by W. P. Dickson, LL. 

With a review of the work by E. A. Freeman. 4 vols. 542-5 
L Motley's Dutch Republic. 3 vols. 86-8 

Parkman's Conspiracy of Pontiac. 2 vols. 302-3 

Pauston Letters, The. Based on edition of Knight. Introduction I 

Mrs. Archer-Hind, M.A. 2 vols. 752-3 
Pilgi'im Fathers, The. Introduction by John Masefleld. 480 
L Pinnow's History of Germany. Translated by M. R. Brailsford. 92L 
Political Liberty, The Growth of. A Source-Book of English Histor: 

Arranged by Ernest Rhys. 745 
Prescott's Conquest of Mexico. With Introduction by Thomas Seccomb' 
M.A. 2 vols. 397-8 
„ Conquest of Peru. Intro, by Thomas Seccombe, M.A. 301 
Sismondi's Italian Republics. 250 
Stanley's Lectures on the Eastern Church. Intro, by A. J. Grieve. 21 

„ Memorials of Canterbury. 89 
Tacitus. Vol. I Annals. Introduction by E. H. Blakeney. 273 

„ Vol. II. Agricola and Germania. Intro, by E. H. Blakeney. 21 
Thierry's Norman Conquest. Intro, by J. A. Price, B.A. 2 vols. 198- 
Villehardouin and De Joinville's Cbrouicles of the Crusades. Translate^ 

with Introduction, by Sir F. Marzials, C.B. 333 
Voltaire's Age of Louis XIV. Translated by Martyn P. Pollack. 780 


Anthology of British Historical Speeches and Orations. Compiled I 

Ernest Rhys. 714 
Bright's (John) Speeches. Selected with Intro, by Joseph Sturge. 252 
Burke's American Speeches and Letters. 340 

{See also Essavs) 
Demosthenes: Select Orations. 546 
Fox (Charles James): Speeches (French Revolutionary War Period 

Edited with Introduction by Irene Cooper Wiilis, M.A. 759 
Lincoln's Speeches, etc. Intro, by the Rt. Hon. James Bryce. 206 

(See also Biography) 
Macaulay's Speeches on Politics and Literature. 399 

(See also Essays and History) 
Pitt's Orations on the War with France. 145 


L A Kempis' Imitation of Christ. 484 

Ancient Hebrew Literature. Being the Old Testament and Apocrypl 

Arranged by the Rev. R. B. Taylor. 4 vols. 253-6 
Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics of. Translated by D. P. Chas 

Introduction by Professor J. A. Smith. 547 
(See aZso Classical) 
Bacon's The Advancement of Learning. 719 

(See also Essays) 
Berkeley's (Bishop) Principles of Human Knowledge, New Theory 

Vision. With Introduction by A. D. Lindsay. 483 
Boehme's (Jacob) The Signature of All Things, with Other Writing 

Introduction by CUfford Bax. 569 
Browne's Religio Medici, etc. Introduction by Professor C. H. Herford. ! 
Bunyan's Grace Abounding and Mr. Badman. Introduction by G. '. 

Harrison. 815 (See also Romance) 

Burton's (Robert) Anatomy of Melancholy. Introduction by Holbro( 

Jackson. 3 vols. 886-8 
Butler's Analogy of Religion. Introduction by Rev. Ronald Bayne. ! 
Descartes' (Rene) A Discourse on Method. Translated by Professor Jol 

Veitch. Introduction by A. D. Lindsay. 570 
L Ellis* (Havelock) Selected Essays. Introduction by J. S. CoUis. 930 
L Gore's (Charles) The Philosophy of the Good Life. 924 

Hobbes' Leviathan. Edited, with Intro, by A. D. Lindsay, M.A. 6' 
Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity. Intro, by Rev. H. Bayne. 2 vols. 201 
Hxune's Treatise of Human Nature, and other Philosophical Wort 

Introduction by A. D. Lindsay. 2 vols. 548-9 
James (William): Selected Papers on Philosophy. 739 
Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Translated by J. M. D. Meiklejoh 

Introduction by Dr. A. D. Lindsay. 909 


Keble's The Christian Year. IntrodTiction by J. C. Shairp. . 690 
King Edward VI. First and Second Prayer Books. Introduction by the 

Right Rev. Bishop of Gloucester. 448 
Koran, The. Rodwell's Translation. 380 
Latimer's Sermons. Introduction by Canon Beeching. 40 
Law's Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. 91 
Leibniz's Philosophical Writings Selected and trans, by Mary Morris. 

Introduction by O. R. Morris, M.A. 905 
Locke's Two Treatises of Civil Government. Introduction by Professor 

William S. Carpenter. 751 
Malthus on the Principles of Population. 2 vols. 692-3 
Maurice's Kingdom of Christ. 2 vols. 146-7 (Vol. 146t) 
Mill's (John Stuart) Utilitarianism, Liberty, Representative Government. 

With Introduction by A. D. Lindsay. 482 
„ Subjection of Women. {See Wollstoneoraft, Mary, under Science.) 
More's Utopia. Introduction by Judge O'Hagan. 461 
New Testament. Arranged in the order in which the books came to the 

Christians of the First Century. 93 
Newman's Apologia pro Vita Sua. Intro, by Dr. Charles Sarolea. 636 

{See also Essats) 
Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra. Translated by A. TiUe and 

M. M. Bozman. 892 
Paine's Rights of Man. Introduction by G. J. Holyoake. 718 
Pascal's Pens^es. Translated by W. F. Trotter. Introduction by 

T. S. Eliot. 874 
Ramayana and the Mahabharata, The. Translated by Romesh Dutt, 

CLE. 403 
Renan's Life of Jesus. Introduction by Right Rev, Chas. Gore, D.D. 805 
Robertson's (F. W.) Sermons on Religion and Life, Christian Doctrine, 

and Bible Subjects. Each Volume with Introduction by Canon 

Burnett. 3 vols. 37-9 
Robinson's (Wade) The Philosophy of Atonement and Other Sermons. 

Introduction by Rev. F. B. Meyer. 637 
Rousseau's (J. J.) The Social Contract, etc. 660 

(See also Ebsays) 
St. Augustine's Confessions. Dr. Pusey's Translation. 200 
St. Francis: The Little Flowers, and The Life of St. Francis. 485 
Seeley's Ecce Homo. Introduction by Sir Oliver Lodge. 305 
Spinoza's Ethics, etc. Translated by Andrew J. Boyle. With Intro- 
duction by Professor Santayana. 481 
Swedenborg's (Emmanuel) Heaven and Hell. 379 

„ „ The Divine Love and Wisdom. 633 

„ „ The Divine Providence. 658 

„ „ The True Christian Religion. 893 


Anglo-Saxon Poetrv. Edited by Professor R. K. Gordon. 794 
Arnold's (Matthew) Poems, 1840-66, including Thyrsis. 334 
1 Ballads, A Book of British. Selected by R. B. Johnson. 572 
Beaimaont and Fletcher, The Select Plays of. Introduction by Professor 

Baker, of Harvard University. 506 
Bjomson's Plays. Vol. I. The Newly Married Couple, Leonardo, A 
Gauntlet. Translated by R. Farquharson Sharp. 
„ „ Vol. n. The Editor, The Bankrupt, and The King. 

"Translated by R. Farqubarson Sharp. 696 
Blake's Poems and Prophecies. Introduction by Max Plowman. 792 
. Browning's Poems, 1833-44. Introduction by Arthur Waugh. 41 
Browning's Poems, 1844-64. 42 

„ The Ring and the Book. Intro, by Chas. W. Hodell. 602 

Bums' Poems and Songs. Introduction by J. Douglas. 94 
Byron's Poetical and Dramatic Works. 3 vols. 486-8 
Calderon: Six Plays, translated by Edward Fitzgerald, 819 
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Edited by Principal Burrell, M.A. 307 
Coleridge, Golden Book of. Edited by Stopford A. Brooke. 43 

{See also Essays) 
Cowper (William). Poems of. Edited by H. I' Anson Fausset. 872 
{See also Biography) 
. Dante's Divine Comedy (Gary's Translation). Specially edited by 
Edmund Gardner. 308 
Donne's Poems. Edited bv H. I' Anson Fausset. 867 
Dryden's Poems. Edited by Bonamy Dobr6e, 910 
Eighteenth-Century Plays. Edited by John Hampden. 818 


POETRY AND DRAMA— continued 

Kmerson'B Poems; Introdaotion by Professor Bakevreli, Yale, U.S.A. 71 

Eyeryman and other Interludes, includln}^ eight Jliracle Plays. Edite 

by Ernest Rhys. 381 

L Fitzg-erald's (Edward) Omar Khayyam and Sis Plays of Calderou. 81 

L Goethe's Faust. Parts I and II. Trans, and Intro, by A. G. Latham. 33 

{See also Essays and Fiction) [weU. 92 

L Golden Book of Modem English Poetry, The. Edited by Thomas Calc 

L Golden Treasury of Longer Poems, The. Edited by Ernest Rhys. 74 

Goldsmith's Poems and Plays. Introduction by Austin Dobson. 41 

(See also Essays and Fiction) 
Gray's Poems and Letters. Introduction by John Drinkwater. 628 
Hebbel's Plays. Translated with an Introduction by Dr. C K. Allen. 69 
Heine: Prose and Poetry. 911 

Herbert's Temple. Introduction by Edward Thomas. 309 
t Heroic Verse, A Volume of. Arranged by Arthur BurreU, M.A. .574 

Herrick's Hesperides and Noble Numbers. Intro, by Ernest Rhys. 31 
L Ibsen's Brand. Translated by F. E. Garrett. 716 
L „ Ghosts, The Warriors at Helgeland, and An Enemy of the Peoph 

Translated by R. Farquharson Sharp. 552 
L „ Lady Inger of Ostraat, Love's Comedy, and The Lea^ie ( 
Youth. Translated by R. Farquharson Sharp. 729 
„ Peer Gynt. Translated by R. Farquharson Sharp. 747 
L „ A DoU's House, The Wild Duck, and The Lady from the Set 

Translated by R. Farquharson Sharp. 494 
L ., The Pretenders, Pillars of Society, and Rosmersholm. Translate 
by R. Farquharson Sharp. 659 
Jonson's (Ben) Plays. Introduction by Professor ScheUing. 2 vols. 489-9 
Kalidasa: Shakuntala. Translated by Professor A. W. Ryder. 629 
L Keats' Poems. 101 

Kingsley's (Charles) Poems. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 793 
{See also Fiction and Fou Young People) 
L Langland's (WiUiam) Piers Plowman. 571 

Lessing's Laocoon, Minna von Barnhelm, and Nathan the Wise. 843 
L Longfellow's Poems. Introduction by Katherine Tynan. 382 
L Marlowe's Plays and Poems. Introduction by Edward Thomas. 383 
L Milton's Poems. Introduction by W. H. D. Rouse. 384 
{See also Essays) 
Minor Elizabethan Drama. Vol. I. Tragedy. Selected, with Introductioi 
by Professor Thorndike. Vol. II. Comedy. 491-2 
L Minor Poets of the 18th Centmr. Edited by H. I'Anson Fausset. 84 
Minor Poets of the 17th Century. Edited by R. G. Howarth. 873 
Moli^re's Comedies. Introduction by Prof. F. C. Green. 2 vols. 830- 
L New Golden Treasury, The. An Anthology of Songs and Lvrics. 69 

Old Yellow Book, The. Introduction by Charles E. Hodell. 503 
L Omar Khayyam (The Rubaiyat of). Trans, by Edward Fitzgerald. 819 
L Palgrave's Golden Treasury. Introduction by Edward Hutton. 96 
Percy's Reliques of Ancient Ena-iish Poetry. 2 vols. 148-9 
Poe's (Edgar Allan) Poems and Essays. Intro, by Andrew Lang. 791 

{See also Fiction) 
Pope (Alexander): Collected Poems. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 78 
Procter's (Adelaide A.) Legends and Lyrics. loO 

Restoration Plays, A Volume of. Introduction by Edmund Gosse. 69 
L Rossetti's Poems and Translations. Introduction by E. G. Gardner. G2 
Scott's Poems and Plays. Intro, by Andrew Lang. 2 vols. 550- 
{See also Biograpbts- and Fiction) 
L Shakespeare's Comedies. 153 

L M Historical Plays, Poems, and Sonnets. 154 

L „ Traigedies. 155 

L Shelley's Poetical Works. Introduction by A. H. Koszul. 2 vols. 257- 
L Sheridan's Plays. 95 

Spenser's Faerie Queene. Intro, by Prof. .1. W. Hales. 2 vols. 443- 
Shepherd's Calendar and Othor Poems. Edited by Phili 
Henderson. 879 
Stevenson's Poems — A ChUd's Garden of Verses, Underwoods, Songs c 
Travel, Ballads. 768 

{See also ESSAYS, Fiction, and Travel) 
L Tennyson's Poems. Vol. I, 1830-56. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 4 
L „ „ Vol. II, 1857-70. 626 [Harrison. 89 

Webster and Ford. Plavs. Selected, with Introduction, by Dr. G. E 
Whitman's (Walt) Leaves of Grass (I), Democratic Vistas, etc. 573 
Wilde (Oscar), Plays, Prose W^tings and Poems. 858 
L Wordsworth's Shorter Poems. Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 203 
L „ Longer Poems. Note by Editor. 311 



Atlas of Ancient and Classical Geography. Many coloured and ilii« 

Maps; Historical Gazetteer, Index, etc. 451 
Biographical Dictionary of Eng-lish Literature. 449 
Eiograptijcal Dictionary of Foreign Literatxire. 900 
I' ales. Dictionary of. 554 

iJictionary oi Quotations and Proverbs. 2 vols. 809-10. 
Everyman's English Dictionary. 776 

I :' cerary and Historical Atlas. I. Europe. Many coloured and lino Maps ; 

full Index and Gazetteer. 496 

„ „ „ II. America. Do. 553 

III. Asia. Do. 633 

„ „ „ IV. Africa and Axistralia. Do. 662 

Non-Classical Mythology, Dictionary of. 632 
Reader's Guide to Everyman's Library. By R. Farauharson Sharp. 

Introduction by Ernest Rhys. 889 
Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. 2 vols. 630-1. 
Smith's Smaller Classical Dictionary. Revised and Edited by E. H. 

Blakeney, M.A. 495 
Wright's An Encyclopaedia of Gardening. 555 


Aucassin and Nicoletto, with other Medieval Romances. 497 
Boccaccio's Decameron. (L^nabridged.) Translated by J. M. Rigg. 

Introduction by Edward Hutton. 2 vols. 845-6 
Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. Introduction by Rev. H. E. Lewis. 204 
Burnt Njal, The Story of. Translated by Sir George Dasent. 558 
I Cervantes' Don Quixote. Motteux' Translation. Lockhart'a Intro- 
duction. 2 vols. 385-6 
Chretien de Troyes : Eric and Enid, Translated, with Introduction and 

Notes, by William Wistar Comfort. 698 
French Medieval Romances. Translated by Eugene Mason. 557 
Geoffrey of Monmouth's Histories of the Kings of Britain. 577 
Grettir Sag'a, The. Newly Translated by G. Ainslie Hight. 699 
Gudrun. Done into English by Margaret Armour. 880 
Guest's (Lady) Mabinogion. Introduction by Rev. R. Williams. 97 
Heiiuskringla: The Olaf Sagas. Translated by Samuel Laing. Intro- 
duction and Notes by John Beveridge. 717 

„ Sagas of the Norse Kings. Translated by Samuel Laing. 

Introduction and Notes by John Beveridge. 847 
Holy Graal, The High History of the, 445 

KrJevala. Introduction by W. F, Kirby, F.L.S., F,E.S. 2 vols. 259-60 
Le Sage's The Adventures of Gil Bias. Introduction by Anatole La 

Bras, 2 vols. 437-8 
MacDonald's (George) Phantasfces: A Faerie Romance. 732 
(See also Fiction) 
, Malory's Le Morte d' Arthur. Intro, by Professor Rhys. 2 vols. 45-6 
. Morris (William) : Early Romances. Introduction by Alfred Noyes. 261 

„ „ The Life and Death of Jason. 575 

Morte d' Arthur Pi-omances, Two. Introduction by Lucy A. Paton, 634 
Nibelungs, The Fall of the. Translated by Margaret Armour, 312 
Rabelais' The Heroid Deeds of Gargantua and Pantagruel. Introduction 

by D. B. Wyndham Lewis. 2 vols. 826-7 
Wace's Arthurian Romance, Translated by Eugene Mason. Laya- 

mon's Brut, Introduction by Lucy A. Paton. 578 


Boyle's The Sceptical Chymist. 559 

Darwin's The Origin of Species. Introduction by Sir Arthur Keith. 811 

(See also Travel) [E. F. Bozman. 922 

. Eddington's (Sir Arthur) The Nature of the Physical World. Intro, by