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OLIVER TWIST, ILLUSTRATED ***




Produced by David Widger from page images generously
provided by the Internet Archive









OLIVER TWIST,

Or, The Parish Boy’s Progress

By Charles Dickens




CONTENTS


I TREATS OF THE PLACE WHERE OLIVER TWIST WAS BORN AND OF THE
CIRCUMSTANCES ATTENDING HIS BIRTH

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

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

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

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

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

VII OLIVER CONTINUES REFRACTORY

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

XIX IN WHICH A NOTABLE PLAN IS DISCUSSED AND DETERMINED ON

XX WHEREIN OLIVER IS DELIVERED OVER TO MR. WILLIAM SIKES

XXI THE EXPEDITION

XXII THE BURGLARY

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

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

XXV WHEREIN THIS HISTORY REVERTS TO MR. FAGIN AND COMPANY

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

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

XXVIII LOOKS AFTER OLIVER, AND PROCEEDS WITH HIS ADVENTURES

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

XXX RELATES WHAT OLIVER’S NEW VISITORS THOUGHT OF HIM

XXXI INVOLVES A CRITICAL POSITION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

XLIII WHEREIN IS SHOWN HOW THE ARTFUL DODGER GOT INTO TROUBLE

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

XLV NOAH CLAYPOLE IS EMPLOYED BY FAGIN ON A SECRET MISSION

XLVI THE APPOINTMENT KEPT

XLVII FATAL CONSEQUENCES

XLVIII THE FLIGHT OF SIKES

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

L THE PURSUIT AND ESCAPE

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

LII FAGIN’S LAST NIGHT ALIVE

LIII AND LAST





CHAPTER I - TREATS OF THE PLACE WHERE OLIVER TWIST WAS BORN AND OF
THE CIRCUMSTANCES ATTENDING HIS BIRTH

Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many
reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which
I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common
to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and in this
workhouse was born; on a day and date which I need not trouble
myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence
to the reader, in this stage of the business at all events; the item
of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of this chapter.

For a long time after it was ushered into this world of sorrow and
trouble, by the parish surgeon, it remained a matter of considerable
doubt whether the child would survive to bear any name at all; in
which case it is somewhat more than probable that these memoirs
would never have appeared; or, if they had, that being comprised
within a couple of pages, they would have possessed the inestimable
merit of being the most concise and faithful specimen of biography,
extant in the literature of any age or country.

Although I am not disposed to maintain that the being born in a
workhouse, is in itself the most fortunate and enviable circumstance
that can possibly befall a human being, I do mean to say that in
this particular instance, it was the best thing for Oliver Twist
that could by possibility have occurred. The fact is, that there was
considerable difficulty in inducing Oliver to take upon himself the
office of respiration, - a troublesome practice, but one which custom
has rendered necessary to our easy existence; and for some time
he lay gasping on a little flock mattress, rather unequally poised
between this world and the next: the balance being decidedly in
favour of the latter. Now, if, during this brief period, Oliver had
been surrounded by careful grandmothers, anxious aunts, experienced
nurses, and doctors of profound wisdom, he would most inevitably
and indubitably have been killed in no time. There being nobody by,
however, but a pauper old woman, who was rendered rather misty by
an unwonted allowance of beer; and a parish surgeon who did such
matters by contract; Oliver and Nature fought out the point between
them. The result was, that, after a few struggles, Oliver breathed,
sneezed, and proceeded to advertise to the inmates of the workhouse
the fact of a new burden having been imposed upon the parish, by
setting up as loud a cry as could reasonably have been expected
from a male infant who had not been possessed of that very useful
appendage, a voice, for a much longer space of time than three
minutes and a quarter.

As Oliver gave this first proof of the free and proper action of his
lungs, the patchwork coverlet which was carelessly flung over the
iron bedstead, rustled; the pale face of a young woman was raised
feebly from the pillow; and a faint voice imperfectly articulated
the words, ‘Let me see the child, and die.’

The surgeon had been sitting with his face turned towards the fire:
giving the palms of his hands a warm and a rub alternately. As the
young woman spoke, he rose, and advancing to the bed’s head, said,
with more kindness than might have been expected of him:

‘Oh, you must not talk about dying yet.’

‘Lor bless her dear heart, no!’ interposed the nurse, hastily
depositing in her pocket a green glass bottle, the contents of which
she had been tasting in a corner with evident satisfaction.

‘Lor bless her dear heart, when she has lived as long as I have,
sir, and had thirteen children of her own, and all on ‘em dead
except two, and them in the wurkus with me, she’ll know better than
to take on in that way, bless her dear heart! Think what it is to be
a mother, there’s a dear young lamb do.’

Apparently this consolatory perspective of a mother’s prospects
failed in producing its due effect. The patient shook her head, and
stretched out her hand towards the child.

The surgeon deposited it in her arms. She imprinted her cold white
lips passionately on its forehead; passed her hands over her face;
gazed wildly round; shuddered; fell back - and died. They chafed her
breast, hands, and temples; but the blood had stopped forever. They
talked of hope and comfort. They had been strangers too long.

‘It’s all over, Mrs. Thingummy!’ said the surgeon at last.

‘Ah, poor dear, so it is!’ said the nurse, picking up the cork of
the green bottle, which had fallen out on the pillow, as she stooped
to take up the child. ‘Poor dear!’

‘You needn’t mind sending up to me, if the child cries, nurse,’ said
the surgeon, putting on his gloves with great deliberation. ‘It’s
very likely it _will_ be troublesome. Give it a little gruel if it
is.’ He put on his hat, and, pausing by the bed-side on his way to
the door, added, ‘She was a good-looking girl, too; where did she
come from?’

‘She was brought here last night,’ replied the old woman, ‘by the
overseer’s order. She was found lying in the street. She had walked
some distance, for her shoes were worn to pieces; but where she came
from, or where she was going to, nobody knows.’

The surgeon leaned over the body, and raised the left hand. ‘The
old story,’ he said, shaking his head: ‘no wedding-ring, I see. Ah!
Good-night!’

The medical gentleman walked away to dinner; and the nurse, having
once more applied herself to the green bottle, sat down on a low
chair before the fire, and proceeded to dress the infant.

What an excellent example of the power of dress, young Oliver Twist
was! Wrapped in the blanket which had hitherto formed his only
covering, he might have been the child of a nobleman or a beggar;
it would have been hard for the haughtiest stranger to have assigned
him his proper station in society. But now that he was enveloped in
the old calico robes which had grown yellow in the same service, he
was badged and ticketed, and fell into his place at once - a
parish child - the orphan of a workhouse - the humble, half-starved
drudge - to be cuffed and buffeted through the world - despised by
all, and pitied by none.

Oliver cried lustily. If he could have known that he was an orphan,
left to the tender mercies of church-wardens and overseers, perhaps
he would have cried the louder.



CHAPTER II - TREATS OF OLIVER TWIST’S GROWTH, EDUCATION, AND BOARD

For the next eight or ten months, Oliver was the victim of a
systematic course of treachery and deception. He was brought up by
hand. The hungry and destitute situation of the infant orphan
was duly reported by the workhouse authorities to the parish
authorities. The parish authorities inquired with dignity of the
workhouse authorities, whether there was no female then domiciled
in ‘the house’ who was in a situation to impart to Oliver Twist, the
consolation and nourishment of which he stood in need. The workhouse
authorities replied with humility, that there was not. Upon this,
the parish authorities magnanimously and humanely resolved, that
Oliver should be ‘farmed,’ or, in other words, that he should be
dispatched to a branch-workhouse some three miles off, where twenty
or thirty other juvenile offenders against the poor-laws, rolled
about the floor all day, without the inconvenience of too much
food or too much clothing, under the parental superintendence of
an elderly female, who received the culprits at and for the
consideration of sevenpence-halfpenny per small head per week.
Sevenpence-halfpenny’s worth per week is a good round diet for
a child; a great deal may be got for sevenpence-halfpenny, quite
enough to overload its stomach, and make it uncomfortable. The
elderly female was a woman of wisdom and experience; she knew what
was good for children; and she had a very accurate perception of
what was good for herself. So, she appropriated the greater part
of the weekly stipend to her own use, and consigned the rising
parochial generation to even a shorter allowance than was originally
provided for them. Thereby finding in the lowest depth a deeper
still; and proving herself a very great experimental philosopher.

Everybody knows the story of another experimental philosopher who
had a great theory about a horse being able to live without eating,
and who demonstrated it so well, that he had got his own horse down
to a straw a day, and would unquestionably have rendered him a very
spirited and rampacious animal on nothing at all, if he had not
died, four-and-twenty hours before he was to have had his first
comfortable bait of air. Unfortunately for, the experimental
philosophy of the female to whose protecting care Oliver Twist was
delivered over, a similar result usually attended the operation of
_her_ system; for at the very moment when the child had contrived
to exist upon the smallest possible portion of the weakest possible
food, it did perversely happen in eight and a half cases out of ten,
either that it sickened from want and cold, or fell into the fire
from neglect, or got half-smothered by accident; in any one of which
cases, the miserable little being was usually summoned into another
world, and there gathered to the fathers it had never known in this.

Occasionally, when there was some more than usually interesting
inquest upon a parish child who had been overlooked in turning up a
bedstead, or inadvertently scalded to death when there happened to
be a washing - though the latter accident was very scarce, anything
approaching to a washing being of rare occurrence in the farm - the
jury would take it into their heads to ask troublesome questions,
or the parishioners would rebelliously affix their signatures to a
remonstrance. But these impertinences were speedily checked by the
evidence of the surgeon, and the testimony of the beadle; the former
of whom had always opened the body and found nothing inside (which
was very probable indeed), and the latter of whom invariably swore
whatever the parish wanted; which was very self-devotional. Besides,
the board made periodical pilgrimages to the farm, and always sent
the beadle the day before, to say they were going. The children were
neat and clean to behold, when _they_ went; and what more would the
people have!

It cannot be expected that this system of farming would produce any
very extraordinary or luxuriant crop. Oliver Twist’s ninth birthday
found him a pale thin child, somewhat diminutive in stature, and
decidedly small in circumference. But nature or inheritance had
implanted a good sturdy spirit in Oliver’s breast. It had had plenty
of room to expand, thanks to the spare diet of the establishment;
and perhaps to this circumstance may be attributed his having any
ninth birth-day at all. Be this as it may, however, it was his ninth
birthday; and he was keeping it in the coal-cellar with a select
party of two other young gentleman, who, after participating
with him in a sound thrashing, had been locked up for atrociously
presuming to be hungry, when Mrs. Mann, the good lady of the house,
was unexpectedly startled by the apparition of Mr. Bumble, the
beadle, striving to undo the wicket of the garden-gate.

‘Goodness gracious! Is that you, Mr. Bumble, sir?’ said Mrs. Mann,
thrusting her head out of the window in well-affected ecstasies of
joy. ‘(Susan, take Oliver and them two brats upstairs, and wash ‘em
directly.) - My heart alive! Mr. Bumble, how glad I am to see you,
sure-ly!’

Now, Mr. Bumble was a fat man, and a choleric; so, instead of
responding to this open-hearted salutation in a kindred spirit, he
gave the little wicket a tremendous shake, and then bestowed upon it
a kick which could have emanated from no leg but a beadle’s.

‘Lor, only think,’ said Mrs. Mann, running out, - for the three boys
had been removed by this time, - ‘only think of that! That I should
have forgotten that the gate was bolted on the inside, on account
of them dear children! Walk in sir; walk in, pray, Mr. Bumble, do,
sir.’

Although this invitation was accompanied with a curtsey that might
have softened the heart of a church-warden, it by no means mollified
the beadle.

‘Do you think this respectful or proper conduct, Mrs. Mann,’
inquired Mr. Bumble, grasping his cane, ‘to keep the parish officers
a waiting at your garden-gate, when they come here upon porochial
business with the porochial orphans? Are you aweer, Mrs. Mann, that
you are, as I may say, a porochial delegate, and a stipendiary?’

‘I’m sure Mr. Bumble, that I was only a telling one or two of the
dear children as is so fond of you, that it was you a coming,’
replied Mrs. Mann with great humility.

Mr. Bumble had a great idea of his oratorical powers and his
importance. He had displayed the one, and vindicated the other. He
relaxed.

‘Well, well, Mrs. Mann,’ he replied in a calmer tone; ‘it may be
as you say; it may be. Lead the way in, Mrs. Mann, for I come on
business, and have something to say.’

Mrs. Mann ushered the beadle into a small parlour with a brick
floor; placed a seat for him; and officiously deposited his cocked
hat and cane on the table before him. Mr. Bumble wiped from his
forehead the perspiration which his walk had engendered, glanced
complacently at the cocked hat, and smiled. Yes, he smiled. Beadles
are but men: and Mr. Bumble smiled.

‘Now don’t you be offended at what I’m a going to say,’ observed
Mrs. Mann, with captivating sweetness. ‘You’ve had a long walk, you
know, or I wouldn’t mention it. Now, will you take a little drop of
somethink, Mr. Bumble?’

‘Not a drop. Nor a drop,’ said Mr. Bumble, waving his right hand in
a dignified, but placid manner.

‘I think you will,’ said Mrs. Mann, who had noticed the tone of the
refusal, and the gesture that had accompanied it. ‘Just a leetle
drop, with a little cold water, and a lump of sugar.’

Mr. Bumble coughed.

‘Now, just a leetle drop,’ said Mrs. Mann persuasively.

‘What is it?’ inquired the beadle.

‘Why, it’s what I’m obliged to keep a little of in the house, to put
into the blessed infants’ Daffy, when they ain’t well, Mr. Bumble,’
replied Mrs. Mann as she opened a corner cupboard, and took down a
bottle and glass. ‘It’s gin. I’ll not deceive you, Mr. B. It’s gin.’

‘Do you give the children Daffy, Mrs. Mann?’ inquired Bumble,
following with his eyes the interesting process of mixing.

‘Ah, bless ‘em, that I do, dear as it is,’ replied the nurse. ‘I
couldn’t see ‘em suffer before my very eyes, you know sir.’

‘No’; said Mr. Bumble approvingly; ‘no, you could not. You are a
humane woman, Mrs. Mann.’ (Here she set down the glass.) ‘I shall
take a early opportunity of mentioning it to the board, Mrs. Mann.’
(He drew it towards him.) ‘You feel as a mother, Mrs. Mann.’
(He stirred the gin-and-water.) ‘I - I drink your health with
cheerfulness, Mrs. Mann’; and he swallowed half of it.

‘And now about business,’ said the beadle, taking out a leathern
pocket-book. ‘The child that was half-baptized Oliver Twist, is nine
year old to-day.’

‘Bless him!’ interposed Mrs. Mann, inflaming her left eye with the
corner of her apron.

‘And notwithstanding a offered reward of ten pound, which was
afterwards increased to twenty pound. Notwithstanding the most
superlative, and, I may say, supernat’ral exertions on the part of
this parish,’ said Bumble, ‘we have never been able to discover
who is his father, or what was his mother’s settlement, name, or
condition.’

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

The beadle drew himself up with great pride, and said, ‘I inwented
it.’

‘You, Mr. Bumble!’

‘I, Mrs. Mann. We name our fondlings in alphabetical order. The last
was a S, - Swubble, I named him. This was a T, - Twist, I named _him_.
The next one comes will be Unwin, and the next Vilkins. I have got
names ready made to the end of the alphabet, and all the way through
it again, when we come to Z.’

‘Why, you’re quite a literary character, sir!’ said Mrs. Mann.

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

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

‘Make a bow to the gentleman, Oliver,’ said Mrs. Mann.

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

‘Will you go along with me, Oliver?’ said Mr. Bumble, in a majestic
voice.

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

‘Will she go with me?’ inquired poor Oliver.

‘No, she can’t,’ replied Mr. Bumble. ‘But she’ll come and see you
sometimes.’

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

Mr. Bumble walked on with long strides; little Oliver, firmly
grasping his gold-laced cuff, trotted beside him, inquiring at the
end of every quarter of a mile whether they were ‘nearly there.’



Online LibraryCharles DickensOliver Twist, Illustrated → online text (page 1 of 25)