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CHAPTER L : THE PURSUIT AND ESCAPE

22 May 2023

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Near to that part of the Thames on which the church at Rotherhithe abuts, where the buildings on the banks are dirtiest and the vessels on the river blackest with the dust of colliers and the smoke of close-built low-roofed houses, there exists the filthiest, the strangest, the most extraordinary of the many localities that are hidden in London, wholly unknown, even by name, to the great mass of its inhabitants.

To reach this place, the visitor has to penetrate through a maze of close, narrow, and muddy streets, thronged by the roughest and poorest of waterside people, and devoted to the traffic they may be supposed to occasion. The cheapest and least delicate provisions are heaped in the shops; the coarsest and commonest articles of wearing apparel dangle at the salesman’s door, and stream from the house-parapet and windows. Jostling with unemployed labourers of the lowest class, ballast-heavers, coal-whippers, brazen women, ragged children, and the raff and refuse of the river, he makes his way with difficulty along, assailed by offensive sights and smells from the narrow alleys which branch off on the right and left, and deafened by the clash of ponderous waggons that bear great piles of merchandise from the stacks of warehouses that rise from every corner. Arriving, at length, in streets remoter and less-frequented than those through which he has passed, he walks beneath tottering house-fronts projecting over the pavement, dismantled walls that seem to totter as he passes, chimneys half crushed half hesitating to fall, windows guarded by rusty iron bars that time and dirt have almost eaten away, every imaginable sign of desolation and neglect.

In such a neighborhood, beyond Dockhead in the Borough of Southwark, stands Jacob’s Island, surrounded by a muddy ditch, six or eight feet deep and fifteen or twenty wide when the tide is in, once called Mill Pond, but known in the days of this story as Folly Ditch. It is a creek or inlet from the Thames, and can always be filled at high water by opening the sluices at the Lead Mills from which it took its old name. At such times, a stranger, looking from one of the wooden bridges thrown across it at Mill Lane, will see the inhabitants of the houses on either side lowering from their back doors and windows, buckets, pails, domestic utensils of all kinds, in which to haul the water up; and when his eye is turned from these operations to the houses themselves, his utmost astonishment will be excited by the scene before him. Crazy wooden galleries common to the backs of half a dozen houses, with holes from which to look upon the slime beneath; windows, broken and patched, with poles thrust out, on which to dry the linen that is never there; rooms so small, so filthy, so confined, that the air would seem too tainted even for the dirt and squalor which they shelter; wooden chambers thrusting themselves out above the mud, and threatening to fall into it–as some have done; dirt-besmeared walls and decaying foundations; every repulsive lineament of poverty, every loathsome indication of filth, rot, and garbage; all these ornament the banks of Folly Ditch.

In Jacob’s Island, the warehouses are roofless and empty; the walls are crumbling down; the windows are windows no more; the doors are falling into the streets; the chimneys are blackened, but they yield no smoke. Thirty or forty years ago, before losses and chancery suits came upon it, it was a thriving place; but now it is a desolate island indeed. The houses have no owners; they are broken open, and entered upon by those who have the courage; and there they live, and there they die. They must have powerful motives for a secret residence, or be reduced to a destitute condition indeed, who seek a refuge in Jacob’s Island.

In an upper room of one of these houses–a detached house of fair size, ruinous in other respects, but strongly defended at door and window: of which house the back commanded the ditch in manner already described–there were assembled three men, who, regarding each other every now and then with looks expressive of perplexity and expectation, sat for some time in profound and gloomy silence. One of these was Toby Crackit, another Mr. Chitling, and the third a robber of fifty years, whose nose had been almost beaten in, in some old scuffle, and whose face bore a frightful scar which might probably be traced to the same occasion. This man was a returned transport, and his name was Kags.

‘I wish,’ said Toby turning to Mr. Chitling, ‘that you had picked out some other crib when the two old ones got 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 see me than this,’ replied Mr. Chitling, with a melancholy air.

‘Why, look’e, young gentleman,’ said Toby, ‘when a man keeps himself so very ex-clusive as I have done, and by that means has a snug house over his head with nobody a prying and smelling about it, it’s rather a startling thing to have the honour of a wisit from a young gentleman (however respectable and pleasant a person he may be to play cards with at conweniency) circumstanced as you are.’

‘Especially, when the exclusive young man has got a friend stopping with him, that’s arrived sooner than was expected from foreign parts, and is too modest to want to be presented to the Judges on his return,’ added Mr. Kags.

There was a short silence, after which Toby Crackit, seeming to abandon as hopeless any further effort to maintain his usual devil-may-care swagger, turned to Chitling and said,

‘When was Fagin took then?’

‘Just at dinner-time–two o’clock this afternoon. Charley and I made our lucky up the wash-us chimney, and Bolter got into the empty water-butt, head downwards; but his legs were so precious long that they stuck out at the top, and so they took him too.’

‘And Bet?’

‘Poor Bet! She went to see the Body, to speak to who it was,’ replied Chitling, his countenance falling more and more, ‘and went off mad, screaming and raving, and beating her head against the boards; so they put a strait-weskut on her and took her to the hospital–and there she is.’

‘Wot’s come of young Bates?’ demanded Kags.

‘He hung about, not to come over here afore dark, but he’ll be here soon,’ replied Chitling. ‘There’s nowhere else to go to now, for the people at the Cripples are all in custody, and the bar of the ken–I went up there and see it with my own eyes–is filled with traps.’

‘This is a smash,’ observed Toby, biting his lips. ‘There’s more than one will go with this.’

‘The sessions are on,’ said Kags: ‘if they get the inquest over, and Bolter turns King’s evidence: as of course he will, from what he’s said already: they can prove Fagin an accessory before the fact, and get the trial on on Friday, and he’ll swing in six days from this, by G–!’

‘You should have heard the people groan,’ said Chitling; ‘the officers fought like devils, or they’d have torn him away. He was down once, but they made a ring round him, and fought their way along. You should have seen how he looked about him, all muddy and bleeding, and clung to them as if they were his dearest friends. I can see ’em now, not able to stand upright with the pressing of the mob, and draggin him along amongst ’em; I can see the people jumping up, one behind another, and snarling with their teeth and making at him; I can see the blood upon his hair and beard, and hear the cries with which the women worked themselves into the centre of the crowd at the street corner, and swore they’d tear his heart out!’

The horror-stricken witness of this scene pressed his hands upon his ears, and with his eyes closed got up and paced violently to and fro, like one distracted.

While he was thus engaged, and the two men sat by in silence with their eyes fixed upon the floor, a pattering noise was heard upon the stairs, and Sikes’s dog bounded into the room. They ran to the window, downstairs, and into the street. The dog had jumped in at an open window; he made no attempt to follow them, nor was his master to be seen.

‘What’s the meaning of this?’ said Toby when they had returned. ‘He can’t be coming here. I–I–hope not.’

‘If he was coming here, he’d have come with the dog,’ said Kags, stooping down to examine the animal, who lay panting on the floor. ‘Here! Give us some water for him; he has run himself faint.’

‘He’s drunk it all up, every drop,’ said Chitling after watching the dog some time in silence. ‘Covered with mud–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 filled with strangers come on here, where he’s been many a time and often. But where can he have come from first, and how comes he here alone without the other!’

‘He’–(none of them called the murderer by his old name)–‘He can’t have made away with himself. What do you think?’ said Chitling.

Toby shook his head.

‘If he had,’ said Kags, ‘the dog ‘ud want to lead us away to where he did it. No. I think he’s got out of the country, and left the dog behind. He must have given him the slip somehow, or he wouldn’t be so easy.’

This solution, appearing the most probable one, was adopted as the right; the dog, creeping under a chair, coiled himself up to sleep, without more notice from anybody.

It being now dark, the shutter was closed, and a candle lighted and placed upon the table. The terrible events of the last two days had made a deep impression on all three, increased by the danger and uncertainty of their own position. They drew their chairs closer together, starting at every sound. They spoke little, and that in whispers, and were as silent and awe-stricken as if the remains of the murdered woman lay in the next room.

They had sat thus, some time, when suddenly was heard a hurried knocking at the door below.

‘Young Bates,’ said Kags, looking angrily round, to check the fear he felt himself.

The knocking came again. No, it wasn’t he. He never knocked like that.

Crackit went to the window, and shaking all over, drew in his head. There was no need to tell them who it was; his pale face was enough. The dog too was on the alert 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 in a hoarse voice.

‘None. He _must_ come in.’

‘Don’t leave us in the dark,’ said Kags, taking down a candle from the chimney-piece, and lighting it, with such a trembling hand that the knocking was twice repeated before he had finished.

Crackit went down to the door, and returned followed by a man with the lower part of his face buried in a handkerchief, and another tied over his head under his hat. He drew them slowly off. Blanched face, sunken eyes, hollow cheeks, beard of three days’ growth, wasted flesh, short thick breath; it was the very ghost of Sikes.

He laid his hand upon a chair which stood in the middle of the room, but shuddering as he was about to drop into it, and seeming to glance over his shoulder, dragged it back close to the wall–as close as it would go–and ground it against it–and sat down.

Not a word had been exchanged. He looked from one to another in silence. If an eye were furtively raised and met his, it was instantly averted. When his hollow voice broke silence, they all three started. They seemed never 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 true, or a lie?’

‘True.’

They were silent again.

‘Damn you all!’ said Sikes, passing his hand across his forehead.

‘Have you nothing to say to me?’

There was an uneasy movement among them, but nobody spoke.

‘You that keep this house,’ said Sikes, turning his face to Crackit, ‘do you mean to sell me, or to let me lie here till this hunt is over?’

‘You may stop here, if you think it safe,’ returned the person addressed, after some hesitation.

Sikes carried his eyes slowly up the wall behind him: rather trying to turn his head than actually doing it: and said, ‘Is–it–the body–is it buried?’

They shook their heads.

‘Why isn’t it!’ he retorted with the same glance behind him. ‘Wot do they keep such ugly things above the ground for?–Who’s that knocking?’

Crackit intimated, by a motion of his hand as he left the room, that there was nothing to fear; and directly came back with Charley Bates behind him. Sikes sat opposite the door, so that the moment the boy entered the room he encountered his figure.

‘Toby,’ said the boy falling back, as Sikes turned his eyes towards him, ‘why didn’t you tell me this, downstairs?’

There had been something so tremendous in the shrinking off of the three, that the wretched man was willing to propitiate even this lad. Accordingly he nodded, and made as though he would shake hands with him.

‘Let me go into some other room,’ said the boy, retreating still farther.

‘Charley!’ said Sikes, stepping forward. ‘Don’t you–don’t you know me?’

‘Don’t come nearer me,’ answered the boy, still retreating, and looking, with horror in his eyes, upon the murderer’s face. ‘You monster!’

The man stopped half-way, and they looked at each other; but Sikes’s eyes sunk gradually to the ground.

‘Witness you three,’ cried the boy shaking his clenched fist, and becoming more and more excited as he spoke. ‘Witness you three–I’m not afraid of him–if they come here after him, I’ll give him up; I will. I tell you out at once. He may kill me for it if he likes, or if he dares, but if I am here I’ll give him up. I’d give him up if he was to be boiled alive. Murder! Help! If there’s the pluck of a man among you three, you’ll help me. Murder! Help! Down with him!’

Pouring out these cries, and accompanying them with violent gesticulation, the boy actually threw himself, single-handed, upon the strong man, and in the intensity of his energy and the suddenness of his surprise, brought him heavily to the ground.

The three spectators seemed quite stupefied. They offered no interference, and the boy and man rolled on the ground together; the former, heedless of the blows that showered upon him, wrenching his hands tighter and tighter in the garments about the murderer’s breast, and never ceasing to call for help with all his might.

The contest, however, was too unequal to last long. Sikes had him down, and his knee was on his throat, when Crackit pulled him back with a look of alarm, and pointed to the window. There were lights gleaming below, voices in loud and earnest conversation, the tramp of hurried footsteps–endless they seemed in number–crossing the nearest wooden bridge. One man on horseback seemed to be among the crowd; for there was the noise of hoofs rattling on the uneven pavement. The gleam of lights increased; the footsteps came more thickly and noisily on. Then, came a loud knocking at the door, and then a hoarse murmur from such a multitude of angry voices as would have made the boldest quail.

‘Help!’ shrieked the boy in a voice that rent the air.

‘He’s here! Break down the door!’

‘In the King’s name,’ cried the voices without; and the hoarse cry arose again, but louder.

‘Break down the door!’ screamed the boy. ‘I tell you they’ll never open it. Run straight to the room where the light is. Break down the door!’

Strokes, thick and heavy, rattled upon the door and lower window-shutters as he ceased to speak, and a loud huzzah burst from the crowd; giving the listener, for the first time, some adequate idea of its immense extent.

‘Open the door of some place where I can lock this screeching Hell-babe,’ cried Sikes fiercely; running to and fro, and dragging the boy, now, as easily as if he were an empty sack. ‘That door. Quick!’ He flung him in, bolted it, and turned the key. ‘Is the downstairs door fast?’

‘Double-locked and chained,’ replied Crackit, who, with the other two men, still remained quite helpless and bewildered.

‘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 the sash and menacing the crowd. ‘Do your worst! I’ll cheat you yet!’

Of all the terrific yells that ever fell on mortal ears, none could exceed the cry of the infuriated throng. Some shouted to those who were nearest to set the house on fire; others roared to the officers to shoot him dead. Among them all, none showed such fury as the man on horseback, who, throwing himself out of the saddle, and bursting through the crowd as if he were parting water, cried, beneath 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 it. Some called for ladders, some for sledge-hammers; some ran with torches to and fro as if to seek them, and still came back and roared again; some spent their breath in impotent curses and execrations; some pressed forward with the ecstasy of madmen, and thus impeded the progress of those below; some among the boldest attempted to climb up by the water-spout and crevices in the wall; and all waved to and fro, in the darkness beneath, like a field of corn moved by an angry wind: and joined from time to time in one loud furious roar.

‘The tide,’ cried the murderer, as he staggered back into the room, and shut the faces out, ‘the tide was in as I came up. Give me a rope, a long rope. They’re all in front. I may drop into the Folly Ditch, and clear off that way. Give me a rope, or I shall do three more murders and kill myself.’

The panic-stricken men pointed to where such articles were kept; the murderer, hastily selecting the longest and strongest cord, hurried up to the house-top.

All the window in the rear of the house had been long ago bricked up, except one small trap in the room where the boy was locked, and that was too small even for the passage of his body. But, from this aperture, he had never ceased to call on those without, to guard the back; and thus, when the murderer emerged at last on the house-top by the door in the roof, a loud shout proclaimed the fact to those in front, who immediately began to pour round, pressing upon each other in an unbroken stream.

He planted a board, which he had carried up with him for the purpose, so firmly against the door that it must be matter of great difficulty to open it from the inside; and 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 moments, watching his motions and doubtful of his purpose, but the instant they perceived it and knew it was defeated, they raised a cry of triumphant execration to which all their previous shouting had been whispers. Again and again it rose. Those who were at too great a distance to know its meaning, took up the sound; it echoed and re-echoed; it seemed as though the whole city had poured its population out to curse him.

On pressed the people from the front–on, on, on, in a strong struggling current of angry faces, with here and there a glaring torch to lighten them up, and show them out in all their wrath and passion. The houses on the opposite side of the ditch had been entered by the mob; sashes were thrown up, or torn bodily out; there were tiers and tiers of faces in every window; cluster upon cluster of people clinging to every house-top. Each little bridge (and there were three in sight) bent beneath the weight of the crowd upon it. Still the current poured on to find some nook or hole from which to vent their shouts, and only for an instant see the wretch.

‘They have him now,’ cried a man on the nearest bridge. ‘Hurrah!’

The crowd grew light with uncovered heads; and again the shout uprose.

‘I will give fifty pounds,’ cried an old gentleman from the same quarter, ‘to the man who takes him alive. I will remain here, till he come to ask me for it.’

There was another roar. At this moment the word was passed among the crowd that the door was forced at last, and that he who had first called for the ladder had mounted into the room. The stream abruptly turned, as this intelligence ran from mouth to mouth; and the people at the windows, seeing those upon the bridges pouring back, quitted their stations, and running into the street, joined the concourse that now thronged pell-mell to the spot they had left: each man crushing and striving with his neighbor, and all panting with impatience to get near the door, and look upon the criminal as the officers brought him out. The cries and shrieks of those who were pressed almost to suffocation, or trampled down and trodden under foot in the confusion, were dreadful; the narrow ways were completely blocked up; and at this time, between the rush of some to regain the space in front of the house, and the unavailing struggles of others to extricate themselves from the mass, the immediate attention was distracted from the murderer, although the universal eagerness for his capture was, if possible, increased.

The man had shrunk down, thoroughly quelled by the ferocity of the crowd, and the impossibility of escape; but seeing this sudden change with no less rapidity than it had occurred, he sprang upon his feet, determined to make one last effort for his life by dropping into the ditch, and, at the risk of being stifled, endeavouring to creep away in the darkness and confusion.

Roused into new strength and energy, and stimulated by the noise within the house which announced that an entrance had really been effected, he set his foot against the stack of chimneys, fastened one end of the rope tightly and firmly round it, and with the other made a strong running noose by the aid of his hands and teeth almost in a second. He could let himself down by the cord to within a less distance of the ground than his own height, and had his knife ready in his hand to cut it then and drop.

At the very instant when he brought the loop over his head previous to slipping it beneath his arm-pits, and when the old gentleman before-mentioned (who had clung so tight to the railing of the bridge as to resist the force of the crowd, and retain his position) earnestly warned those about him that the man was about to lower himself down–at that very instant the murderer, looking behind him on the roof, threw his arms above his head, and uttered a yell of terror.

‘The eyes again!’ he cried in an unearthly screech.

Staggering as if struck by lightning, he lost his balance and tumbled over the parapet. The noose was on his neck. It ran up with his weight, tight as a bow-string, and swift as the arrow it speeds. He fell for five-and-thirty feet. There was a sudden jerk, a terrific convulsion of the limbs; and there he hung, with the open knife clenched in his stiffening hand.

The old chimney quivered with the shock, but stood it bravely. The murderer swung lifeless against the wall; and the boy, thrusting aside the dangling body which obscured his view, called to the people to come and take him out, for God’s sake.

A dog, which had lain concealed till now, ran backwards and forwards on the parapet with a dismal howl, and collecting himself for a spring, jumped for the dead man’s shoulders. Missing his aim, he fell into the ditch, turning completely over as he went; and striking his head against a stone, dashed out his brains. 

53
Articles
Oliver Twist
4.7
The story follows the titular orphan, who, after being raised in a workhouse, escapes to London, where he meets a gang of juvenile pickpockets led by the elderly criminal Fagin, discovers the secrets of his parentage, and reconnects with his remaining family.
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Chapter I : TREATS OF THE PLACE WHERE OLIVER TWIST WAS BORN AND OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES ATTENDING HIS BIRTH

15 May 2023
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Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to mo

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Chapter II : TREATS OF OLIVER TWIST’S GROWTH, EDUCATION, AND BOARD

15 May 2023
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For the next eight or ten months, Oliver was the victim of a systematic course of treachery and deception. He was brought up by hand. The hungry and destitute situation of the infant orphan was duly r

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Chapter III : RELATES HOW OLIVER TWIST WAS VERY NEAR GETTING A PLACE WHICH WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A SINECURE

15 May 2023
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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 m

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Chapter IV : OLIVER, BEING OFFERED ANOTHER PLACE, MAKES HIS FIRST ENTRY INTO PUBLIC LIFE

16 May 2023
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In great families, when an advantageous place cannot be obtained, either in possession, reversion, remainder, or expectancy, for the young man who is growing up, it is a very general custom to send hi

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Chapter V : OLIVER MINGLES WITH NEW ASSOCIATES. GOING TO A FUNERAL FOR THE FIRST TIME, HE FORMS AN UNFAVOURABLE NOTION OF HIS MASTER’S BUSINESS

16 May 2023
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Oliver, being left to himself in the undertaker’s shop, set the lamp down on a workman’s bench, and gazed timidly about him with a feeling of awe and dread, which many people a good deal older than he

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Chapter VI : OLIVER, BEING GOADED BY THE TAUNTS OF NOAH, ROUSES INTO ACTION, AND RATHER ASTONISHES HIM

16 May 2023
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The month’s trial over, Oliver was formally apprenticed. It was a nice sickly season just at this time. In commercial phrase, coffins were looking up; and, in the course of a few weeks, Oliver acquire

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Chapter VII : OLIVER CONTINUES REFRACTORY

16 May 2023
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Noah Claypole ran along the streets at his swiftest pace, and paused not once for breath, until he reached the workhouse-gate. Having rested here, for a minute or so, to collect a good burst of sobs a

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Chapter VIII : OLIVER WALKS TO LONDON. HE ENCOUNTERS ON THE ROAD A STRANGE SORT OF YOUNG GENTLEMAN

16 May 2023
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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 h

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Chapter IX : CONTAINING FURTHER PARTICULARS CONCERNING THE PLEASANT OLD GENTLEMAN, AND HIS HOPEFUL PUPILS

16 May 2023
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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 boiling some coffee in a saucepan for breakfast, and whistling soft

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Chapter X : OLIVER BECOMES BETTER ACQUAINTED WITH THE CHARACTERS OF HIS NEW ASSOCIATES; AND PURCHASES EXPERIENCE AT A HIGH PRICE. BEING A SHORT, BUT VERY IMPORTANT CHAPTER, IN THIS HISTORY

16 May 2023
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For many days, Oliver remained in the Jew’s room, picking the marks out of the pocket-handkerchief, (of which a great number were brought home,) and sometimes taking part in the game already described

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Chapter XI : TREATS OF MR. FANG THE POLICE MAGISTRATE; AND FURNISHES A SLIGHT SPECIMEN OF HIS MODE OF ADMINISTERING JUSTICE

16 May 2023
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The offence had been committed within the district, and indeed in the immediate neighborhood of, a very notorious metropolitan police office. The crowd had only the satisfaction of accompanying Oliver

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Chapter XII : IN WHICH OLIVER IS TAKEN BETTER CARE OF THAN HE EVER WAS BEFORE. AND IN WHICH THE NARRATIVE REVERTS TO THE MERRY OLD GENTLEMAN AND HIS YOUTHFUL FRIENDS.

17 May 2023
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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 different way when it reached the Angel a

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Chapter XIII : SOME NEW ACQUAINTANCES ARE INTRODUCED TO THE INTELLIGENT READER, CONNECTED WITH WHOM VARIOUS PLEASANT MATTERS ARE RELATED, APPERTAINING TO THIS HISTORY

17 May 2023
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‘Where’s Oliver?’ said the Jew, rising with a menacing look. ‘Where’s the boy?’ The young thieves eyed their preceptor as if they were alarmed at his violence; and looked uneasily at each other. But

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Chapter XIV : COMPRISING FURTHER PARTICULARS OF OLIVER’S STAY AT MR. BROWNLOW’S, WITH THE REMARKABLE PREDICTION WHICH ONE MR. GRIMWIG UTTERED CONCERNING HIM, WHEN HE WENT OUT ON AN ERRAND

17 May 2023
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Oliver soon recovering from the fainting-fit into which Mr. Brownlow’s abrupt exclamation had thrown him, the subject of the picture was carefully avoided, both by the old gentleman and Mrs. Bedwin, i

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Chapter XV : SHOWING HOW VERY FOND OF OLIVER TWIST, THE MERRY OLD JEW AND MISS NANCY WERE

17 May 2023
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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 e

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Chapter XVI : RELATES WHAT BECAME OF OLIVER TWIST, AFTER HE HAD BEEN CLAIMED BY NANCY

17 May 2023
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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 re

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Chapter XVII : OLIVER’S DESTINY CONTINUING UNPROPITIOUS, BRINGS A GREAT MAN TO LONDON TO INJURE HIS REPUTATION

17 May 2023
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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 h

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Chapter XVIII : HOW OLIVER PASSED HIS TIME IN THE IMPROVING SOCIETY OF HIS REPUTABLE FRIENDS

17 May 2023
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About noon next day, when the Dodger and Master Bates had gone out to pursue their customary avocations, Mr. Fagin took the opportunity of reading Oliver a long lecture on the crying sin of ingratitud

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Chapter XIX : IN WHICH A NOTABLE PLAN IS DISCUSSED AND DETERMINED ON

17 May 2023
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It was a chill, damp, windy night, when the Jew: buttoning his great-coat tight round his shrivelled body, and pulling the collar up over his ears so as completely to obscure the lower part of his fac

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Chapter XX : WHEREIN OLVER IS DELIVERED OVER TO MR. WILLIAM SIKES

18 May 2023
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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 fi

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Chapter XXI : THE EXPEDITION

18 May 2023
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It was a cheerless morning when they got into the street; blowing and raining hard; and the clouds looking dull and stormy. The night had been very wet: large pools of water had collected in the road:

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Chapter XXII : THE BURGLARY

18 May 2023
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‘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

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Chapter XXIII : WHICH CONTAINS THE SUBSTANCE OF A PLEASANT CONVERSATION BETWEEN MR. BUMBLE AND A LADY; AND SHOWS THAT EVEN A BEADLE MAY BE SUSCEPTIBLE ON SOME POINTS

18 May 2023
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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 byways and corners were affected by the sharp wind that howled abroa

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Chapter XXIV : TREATS ON A VERY POOR SUBJECT. BUT IS A SHORT ONE, AND MAY BE FOUND OF IMPORTANCE IN THIS HISTORY

18 May 2023
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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

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Chapter XXV : WHEREIN THIS HISTORY REVERTS TO MR. FAGIN AND COMPANY

18 May 2023
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While these things were passing in the country workhouse, 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 bello

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Chapter XXVI : IN WHICH A MYSTERIOUS CHARACTER APPEARS UPON THE SCENE; AND MANY THINGS, INSEPARABLE FROM THIS HISTORY, ARE DONE AND PERFORMED

18 May 2023
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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

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Chapter XXVII : ATONES FOR THE UNPOLITENESS OF A FORMER CHAPTER; WHICH DESERTED A LADY, MOST UNCEREMONIOUSLY

18 May 2023
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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 t

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CHAPTER XXVIII : LOOKS AFTER OLIVER, AND PROCEEDS WITH HIS ADVENTURES

19 May 2023
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‘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 feroc

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CHAPTER XXIX : HAS AN INTRODUCTORY ACCOUNT OF THE INMATES OF THE HOUSE, TO WHICH OLIVER RESORTED

19 May 2023
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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

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CHAPTER XXX : RELATES WHAT OLIVER’S NEW VISITORS THOUGHT OF HIM

19 May 2023
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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.

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CHAPTER XXXI : INVOLVES A CRITICAL POSITION

19 May 2023
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‘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 the officers from B

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CHAPTER XXXII : OF THE HAPPY LIFE OLIVER BEGAN TO LEAD WITH HIS KIND FRIENDS

19 May 2023
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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 man

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CHAPTER XXXIII : WHEREIN THE HAPPINESS OF OLIVER AND HIS FRIENDS, EXPERIENCES A SUDDEN CHECK

19 May 2023
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Spring flew 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 t

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CHAPTER XXXIV : CONTAINS SOME INTRODUCTORY PARTICULARS RELATIVE TO A YOUNG GENTLEMAN WHO NOW ARRIVES UPON THE SCENE; AND A NEW ADVENTURE WHICH HAPPENED TO OLIVER

19 May 2023
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It was almost too much happiness to bear. Oliver felt stunned and stupefied by the unexpected intelligence; he could not weep, or speak, or rest. He had scarcely the power of understanding anything th

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CHAPTER XXXV : CONTAINING THE UNSATISFACTORY RESULT OF OLIVER’S ADVENTURE; AND A CONVERSATION OF SOME IMPORTANCE BETWEEN HARRY MAYLIE AND ROSE

19 May 2023
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When the inmates of the house, attracted by Oliver’s cries, hurried to the spot from which they proceeded, they found him, pale and agitated, pointing in the direction of the meadows behind the house,

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CHAPTER XXXVI : IS A VERY SHORT ONE, AND MAY APPEAR OF NO GREAT IMPORTANCE IN ITS PLACE, BUT IT SHOULD BE READ NOTWITHSTANDING, AS A SEQUEL TO THE LAST, AND A KEY TO ONE THAT WILL FOLLOW WHEN ITS TIME ARRIVES

19 May 2023
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‘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

37

CHAPTER XXXVII : IN WHICH THE READER MAY PERCEIVE A CONTRAST, NOT UNCOMMON IN MATRIMONIAL CASES

20 May 2023
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Mr. Bumble sat in the workhouse parlour, with his eyes moodily fixed on the cheerless grate, whence, as it was summer time, no brighter gleam proceeded, than the reflection of certain sickly rays of t

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CHAPTER XXXVIII : CONTAINING AN ACCOUNT OF WHAT PASSED BETWEEN MR. AND MRS. BUMBLE, AND MR. MONKS, AT THEIR NOCTURNAL INTERVIEW

20 May 2023
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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 pre

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CHAPTER XXXIX : INTRODUCES SOME RESPECTABLE CHARACTERS WITH WHOM THE READER IS ALREADY ACQUAINTED, AND SHOWS HOW MONKS AND THE JEW LAID THEIR WORTHY HEADS TOGETHER

20 May 2023
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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, dro

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CHAPTER XL : A STRANGE INTERVIEW, WHICH IS A SEQUEL TO THE LAST CHAMBER

20 May 2023
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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 h

41

CHAPTER XLI : CONTAINING FRESH DISCOVERIES, AND SHOWING THAT SUPRISES, LIKE MISFORTUNES, SELDOM COME ALONE

20 May 2023
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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 h

42

CHAPTER XLII : AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE OF OLIVER’S, EXHIBITING DECIDED MARKS OF GENIUS, BECOMES A PUBLIC CHARACTER IN THE METROPOLIS

20 May 2023
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Upon the night when Nancy, having lulled Mr. Sikes to sleep, hurried on her self-imposed mission to Rose Maylie, there advanced towards London, by the Great North Road, two persons, upon whom it is ex

43

CHAPTER XLIII : WHEREIN IS SHOWN HOW THE ARTFUL DODGER GOT INTO TROUBLE

20 May 2023
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‘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

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CHAPTER XLIV : THE TIME ARRIVES FOR NANCY TO REDEEM HER PLEDGE TO ROSE MAYLIE. SHE FAILS.

20 May 2023
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Adept as she was, in all the arts of cunning and dissimulation, the girl Nancy could not wholly conceal the effect which the knowledge of the step she had taken, wrought upon her mind. She remembered

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CHAPTER XLV : NOAH CLAYPOLE IS EMPLOYED BY FAGIN ON A SECRET MISSION

20 May 2023
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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 vora

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CHAPTER XLVI : THE APPOINTMENT KEPT

22 May 2023
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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 of a woman who looked eagerly about her as thoug

47

CHAPTER XLVII : FATAL CONSEQUENCES

22 May 2023
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It was nearly two hours before day-break; that time which in the autumn of the year, may be truly called the dead of night; when the streets are silent and deserted; when even sounds appear to slumber

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CHAPTER XLVIII : THE FLIGHT OF SIKES

22 May 2023
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Of all bad deeds that, under cover of the darkness, had been committed within wide London’s bounds since night hung over it, that was the worst. Of all the horrors that rose with an ill scent upon the

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CHAPTER XLIX : MONKS AND MR. BROWNLOW AT LENGTH MEET. THEIR CONVERSATION, AND THE INTELLIGENCE THAT INTERRUPTS IT

22 May 2023
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The twilight was beginning to close in, when Mr. Brownlow alighted from a hackney-coach at his own door, and knocked softly. The door being opened, a sturdy man got out of the coach and stationed hims

50

CHAPTER L : THE PURSUIT AND ESCAPE

22 May 2023
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Near to that part of the Thames on which the church at Rotherhithe abuts, where the buildings on the banks are dirtiest and the vessels on the river blackest with the dust of colliers and the smoke of

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CHAPTER LI : AFFORDING AN EXPLANATION OF MORE MYSTERIES THAN ONE, AND COMPREHENDING A PROPOSAL OF MARRIAGE WITH NO WORD OF SETTLEMENT OR PIN-MONEY

22 May 2023
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The events narrated in the last chapter were yet but two days old, when Oliver found himself, at three o’clock in the afternoon, in a travelling-carriage rolling fast towards his native town. Mrs. May

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CHAPTER LII : FAGIN’S LAST NIGHT ALIVE

22 May 2023
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The court was paved, from floor to roof, with human faces. Inquisitive and eager eyes peered from every inch of space. From the rail before the dock, away into the sharpest angle of the smallest corne

53

CHAPTER LIII : AND LAST

22 May 2023
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The fortunes of those who have figured in this tale are nearly closed. The little that remains to their historian to relate, is told in few and simple words. Before three months had passed, Rose Flem

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