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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 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 was possible, all the main streets, and skulking only through the by-ways 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 conscious 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, 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. Confined as the limits of Field Lane are, it has its barber, its coffee-shop, its beer-shop, and its 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 iron 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 the 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 door.

‘Why, the sight of you, Mr. Fagin, would cure the hoptalmy!’ said this respectable trader, in acknowledgment 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?’

Fagin nodded in the affirmative. Pointing in the direction of Saffron Hill, he inquired whether any one was up 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 istwentus_, 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 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 demeanour.

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 upstairs, and opening the door of a room, and softly insinuating himself into the chamber, looked anxiously about: shading his eyes with his hand, as if in search of some particular person.

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 accompanyist played the melody all through, as loud as he could. When this was over, the chairman gave a sentiment, after which, the professional gentleman 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 chairman himself, (the landlord of the house,) a coarse, rough, 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 indifference, the compliments of the company, and applying themselves, in turn, to a dozen proffered glasses of spirits and water, tendered by their more boisterous admirers; whose countenances, expressive of almost every vice in almost every grade, irresistibly attracted the attention, by their very repulsiveness. Cunning, ferocity, and drunkeness in all its stages, were there, in their strongest aspect; and women: some with the last lingering tinge of their early freshness almost fading as you looked: others with every mark and stamp of their sex utterly beaten out, and presenting but one loathsome blank of profligacy and crime; some mere girls, others but young women, and none past the prime of life; formed the darkest and saddest portion of this dreary picture.

Fagin, troubled by no grave emotions, looked eagerly from face to face while these proceedings were in progress; 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 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 that.’

‘Will _he_ be here to-night?’ asked the Jew, laying the same emphasis on the pronoun as before.

‘Monks, do you mean?’ inquired the landlord, hesitating.

‘Hush!’ said the Jew. ‘Yes.’

‘Certain,’ replied the man, drawing 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!’

‘Ah! But it’s not Phil Barker’s time,’ said the Jew, looking up.

‘Phil 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 remainder 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 upstairs, and entered it without any previous ceremony. The girl was alone; lying with her head upon the table, and her hair straggling over it.

‘She has been drinking,’ thought the Jew, cooly, ‘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 to his recital of Toby 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 appearances of Sikes having covertly returned. Apparently satisfied 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! 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, you drab. Listen to me, who with six words, can strangle Sikes as surely as if I had his bull’s throat between my fingers now. If he comes back, and leaves the boy behind him; if he gets off free, and dead or alive, fails to restore him to me; murder him yourself if you would have him escape Jack Ketch. And do it the moment he 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 I to lose what chance threw me in the way of getting safely, through the whims of a drunken gang that I could whistle away the lives of! And me bound, too, to a born devil that only wants the will, and has the power to, to–‘

Panting for breath, the old man stammered for a word; and in that instant checked the torrent of his wrath, and changed his whole demeanour. A moment before, his clenched hands had grasped the air; his eyes had dilated; and his face grown livid with passion; but now, he shrunk into a chair, and, cowering together, trembled with the apprehension of having himself disclosed some hidden villainy. After a short silence, he ventured to look round at his companion. He appeared somewhat reassured, on beholding her in the same listless attitude from which he had 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 her 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,’ interrupted 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 time.’

‘And about what I was saying, my dear?’ observed the Jew, keeping his glistening eye steadily upon her.

‘Your 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 of ascertaining whether the girl had profited by his unguarded 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 pervaded the apartment, afforded strong confirmatory evidence of the justice of the Jew’s supposition; and when, after indulging in the temporary display of violence above described, she subsided, first into dullness, and afterwards into a compound of feelings: under the influence of which she shed tears one minute, and in the next gave utterance to various exclamations of ‘Never say die!’ and divers calculations as to what might be the amount of the odds so long as a lady or gentleman was happy, 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 girl 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 to loiter. The sharp wind that scoured the streets, seemed to 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: trembling, and shivering, as every fresh gust drove him rudely 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 lay in deep shadow, and, crossing the road, glided up to him unperceived.

‘Fagin!’ whispered a voice close to his ear.

‘Ah!’ said the Jew, turning quickly round, ‘is that–‘

‘Yes!’ interrupted the stranger. ‘I have been lingering here these two hours. Where the devil have you been?’

‘On your business, my dear,’ replied the Jew, glancing uneasily at his companion, and slackening his pace as he 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.

The Jew shook his head, and was about to reply, when 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, under 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 himself 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 forward a few steps. ‘Make haste!’

‘Shut the door,’ whispered Fagin from the end of the passage. As he spoke, it closed with a loud noise.

‘That wasn’t my doing,’ said the other man, feeling his way. ‘The wind blew it to, or it shut of its own accord: one or the other. Look sharp with the light, or I shall knock my brains out against something in this confounded hole.’

Fagin stealthily descended the kitchen stairs. After a short absence, he returned with a lighted candle, and the intelligence that Toby Crackit was asleep in the back room below, and that the boys were in the front one. Beckoning the man to follow him, he led the way upstairs.

‘We can say the few words we’ve got to say in here, my dear,’ said the Jew, throwing open a door on the first floor; ‘and as there are holes in the shutters, and we never show lights to our neighbours, we’ll set the candle on the stairs. There!’

With those words, the Jew, stooping down, placed the candle on an upper flight of stairs, exactly opposite to the room door. This done, he led the way into the apartment; which was destitute of all movables save a broken 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 shoulders.

‘Why, do you mean to say you couldn’t have done it, if you had chosen?’ demanded Monks, sternly. ‘Haven’t you done it, with other boys, scores of times? If you had had patience for a twelvemonth, at most, couldn’t you have got him convicted, and sent safely out of the kingdom; perhaps for life?’

‘Whose turn would that have served, my dear?’ inquired the Jew humbly.

‘Mine,’ replied Monks.

‘But not mine,’ said the Jew, submissively. ‘He might have become of use to me. When there are two parties to a bargain, it is only reasonable that the interests of both should be consulted; is it, 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 circumstances.’

‘Curse him, no!’ muttered the man, ‘or he would have been a thief, long ago.’

‘I had no hold upon him to make him worse,’ pursued the Jew, anxiously watching the countenance of his companion. ‘His hand was not in. I had nothing to frighten him with; which we always must have in the beginning, or we labour in vain. What could I do? Send him out with the Dodger and Charley? We had enough of that, at first, my dear; I trembled for us all.’

‘_That_ was not my doing,’ observed Monks.

‘No, no, my dear!’ renewed the Jew. ‘And I don’t quarrel with it now; because, if it had never happened, you might never have clapped eyes on the boy to notice him, and so led to the discovery that it was him you were looking for. Well! I got him back for you by means of the girl; and then _she_ begins to favour him.’

‘Throttle the girl!’ said Monks, impatiently.

‘Why, we can’t afford to do that just now, my dear,’ replied the Jew, smiling; ‘and, besides, that sort of thing is not in our way; or, one of these days, I might be glad to have it done. I know what these girls are, Monks, well. As soon as the boy begins to harden, she’ll care no more for him, than for a block of wood. You want him made a thief. If he is alive, I can make him one from this time; and, if–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. Fagin! I had no hand in it. Anything but his death, I told you from the first. I won’t shed blood; it’s always found out, and haunts a man besides. If they shot him dead, I was not the cause; do you hear me? Fire this infernal den! What’s that?’

‘What!’ cried the Jew, grasping the coward round the body, 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.

‘I’ll swear I saw it!’ replied Monks, trembling. ‘It was bending forward when I saw it first; and when I spoke, it darted away.’

The Jew glanced contemptuously at the pale face of his associate, and, telling him he could follow, if he pleased, ascended the stairs. They looked into all the rooms; they were cold, bare, and empty. They descended into the passage, and thence into the cellars below. The green damp hung upon the low walls; the tracks of the snail and slug glistened in the light of the candle; but all was still as death.

‘What do you think now?’ said the Jew, when they had regained the passage. ‘Besides ourselves, there’s not a creature in the house except Toby and the boys; and they’re safe enough. See here!’

As a proof of the fact, the Jew drew forth two keys from his pocket; and explained, that when he first went downstairs, he had locked them in, to prevent any intrusion on the conference.

This accumulated testimony effectually staggered Mr. Monks. His protestations had gradually become less and less vehement as they proceeded in their search without making any discovery; and, now, he gave vent to several very grim laughs, and confessed it could only have been his excited imagination. He declined any renewal of the conversation, however, for that night: suddenly remembering that it was past one o’clock. And so the amiable couple parted. 

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

18

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

19

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

20

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

21

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:

22

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

23

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

24

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

26

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

27

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

28

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

29

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

30

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.

31

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

32

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

33

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

34

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

35

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,

36

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

38

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

39

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

40

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

44

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

45

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

46

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

48

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

49

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

51

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

52

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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