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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 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 a-half, or thereabouts, and erected on a low unwholesome swamp, bordering upon the river.

They were both wrapped in old and shabby outer garments, which might, perhaps, serve 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 footprints. They went on, in profound silence; every now and then, Mr. Bumble relaxed his pace, and turned his head as if to make sure that his helpmate was following; then, discovering 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 hovels: 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 that the inhabitants of these miserable cottages pursued some avocation on the river; but a glance at the shattered and useless condition of the articles thus displayed, would have 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 employed.

In the heart of this cluster of huts; and skirting the river, which its upper stories overhung; stood a large building, formerly used as a manufactory of some kind. It had, in its day, probably furnished employment to the inhabitants 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 favourable opportunity of following its old companion, and involving 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; ‘I’ll 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 eyed the building with very rueful looks, was apparently about to express some doubts relative to the advisability of proceeding any further with the enterprise just then, when he was prevented by the appearance of Monks: who opened a small door, near which they stood, and beckoned them inwards.

‘Come in!’ he cried impatiently, stamping his foot upon 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 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 Bumble, 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 the 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. You won’t cool yourself 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, and 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 her telling it to anybody; not I! Do you understand, mistress?’

‘No,’ rejoined the matron, slightly colouring as she spoke.

‘Of course you don’t!’ said Monks. ‘How should you?’

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! Rolling and crashing on as if it echoed through a thousand caverns where the devils were hiding from it. I hate the sound!’

He remained silent for a few moments; and then, removing 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 pulley passed through one of the heavy beams in the ceiling: and which cast a dim light upon an old table and three chairs that were placed beneath it.

‘Now,’ said Monks, when they had all three seated themselves, ‘the sooner we come to our business, the better for all. The woman know what it is, does she?’

The question was addressed to Bumble; but his wife anticipated the reply, by intimating that she was perfectly acquainted with it.

‘He is right in saying that you were with this hag the night she died; and that she told you something–‘

‘About the mother of the boy you named,’ replied the matron interrupting him. ‘Yes.’

‘The first question is, of what nature was her communication?’ said Monks.

‘That’s the second,’ observed the woman with much deliberation. ‘The first is, what may the communication be worth?’

‘Who the devil can tell that, without knowing of what kind it is?’ asked Monks.

‘Nobody better than you, I am persuaded,’ answered Mrs. Bumble: who did not want for spirit, as her yoke-fellow could abundantly testify.

‘Humph!’ said Monks significantly, and with a look of eager inquiry; ‘there may be money’s worth to get, eh?’

‘Perhaps there may,’ was the composed reply.

‘Something that was taken from her,’ said Monks. ‘Something that she wore. Something that–‘

‘You had better bid,’ interrupted Mrs. Bumble. ‘I have heard enough, already, to assure me that you are the man I ought to talk to.’

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 outstretched neck and distended eyes: which he directed towards his wife and Monks, by turns, in undisguised astonishment; 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 collectedly as before.

‘It may be nothing; it may be twenty pounds,’ replied 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; ‘and I’ll tell you all I know. Not before.’

‘Five-and-twenty pounds!’ exclaimed Monks, drawing back.

‘I spoke as plainly as I could,’ replied 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 anything you or I know, who will tell strange tales at last!’

‘What if I pay it for nothing?’ asked Monks, hesitating.

‘You can easily take it away again,’ replied the matron. ‘I am but a woman; alone here; and unprotected.’

‘Not alone, my dear, nor unprotected, neither,’ submitted Mr. Bumble, in a voice tremulous with fear: ‘_I_ am here, my dear. And besides,’ said Mr. Bumble, his teeth chattering as he spoke, ‘Mr. Monks is too much of a gentleman to attempt any violence on porochial persons. 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; bu 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 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 purpose.

‘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 question.

‘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, understand?’

‘Not a soul,’ replied the woman; ‘we were alone. _I_ stood alone beside the body when death came over it.’

‘Good,’ said Monks, regarding her attentively. ‘Go on.’

‘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.’

‘Ay?’ 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 paper.’

‘Which contained–‘ interposed Monks, stretching forward.

‘Nothing,’ replied the woman; ‘it was a pawnbroker’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 running out; so that if anything came of it, it could still be redeemed. Nothing had come of it; and, as I tell you, she died with the scrap of paper, all worn and tattered, in her hand. The time was out in two days; I thought something 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 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 question.’

‘–Which makes three,’ observed Mr. Bumble, essaying a stroke of facetiousness.

‘Is that what you expected to get from me?’ demanded the matron.

‘It is,’ replied Monks. ‘The other question?’

‘What do you propose to do with it? Can it be used against me?’

‘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, and caused that gentleman to retire several paces backward, 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 curiousity, ventured 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 besides,’ 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 weight, 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 alacrity.

‘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.’

‘I am glad, for your sake, to hear it,’ remarked Monks. ‘Light your lantern! And get away from here as fast 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, holding 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 acquaintance, the married couple emerged into the wet and darkness 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. 

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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CHAPTER XLVII : FATAL CONSEQUENCES

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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

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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

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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

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CHAPTER L : THE PURSUIT AND ESCAPE

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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

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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

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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

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CHAPTER LIII : AND LAST

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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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