The Little Robber Girl
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES
Animal Sketches And Stories
Blondine Bonne Biche and Beau Minon
BRER RABBIT and HIS NEIGHBORS
CHINESE MOTHER-GOOSE RHYMES
FABLES FOR CHILDREN
FABLES FROM INDIA
FATHER PLAYS AND MOTHER PLAYS
FIRST STORIES FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK
For Classes Ii. And Iii.
For Classes Iv. And V.
For Kindergarten And Class I.
FUN FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK
Good Little Henry
JAPANESE AND OTHER ORIENTAL TALES]
Jean De La Fontaine
King Alexander's Adventures
KINGS AND WARRIORS
LAND AND WATER FAIRIES
Lessons From Nature
LITTLE STORIES that GROW BIG
MODERN FAIRY TALES
MOTHER GOOSE CONTINUED
MOTHER GOOSE JINGLES
MOTHER GOOSE SONGS AND STORIES
Myths And Legends
NEGLECT THE FIRE
ON POPULAR EDUCATION
PLACES AND FAMILIES
Poems Of Nature
RESURRECTION DAY (EASTER)
RHYMES CONCERNING "MOTHER"
RIDING SONGS for FATHER'S KNEE
ROMANCES OF THE MIDDLE AGES
SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY
Selections From The Bible
SLEEPY-TIME SONGS AND STORIES
Some Children's Poets
Songs Of Life
STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS
STORIES FOR CHILDREN
STORIES for LITTLE BOYS
STORIES FROM BOTANY
STORIES FROM GREAT BRITAIN
STORIES FROM IRELAND
STORIES FROM PHYSICS
STORIES FROM SCANDINAVIA
STORIES FROM ZOOLOGY
STORIES _for_ LITTLE GIRLS
THE DAYS OF THE WEEK
The King Of The Golden River; Or, The Black Brothers
The Little Grey Mouse
THE OLD FAIRY TALES
The Princess Rosette
THE THREE HERMITS
THE TWO OLD MEN
UNCLES AND AUNTS AND OTHER RELATIVES
VERSES ABOUT FAIRIES
WHAT MEN LIVE BY
WHERE LOVE IS, THERE GOD IS ALSO
A Brave And Honest Boy Oliver Twist
from Dickens Stories About Children Every Child Can Read
LITTLE Oliver Twist was an orphan. He never saw his mother or his
father. He was born at the workhouse, the home for paupers, where his
poor heart-broken mother had been taken just a short time before baby
Oliver came; and, the very night he was born, she was so sick and weak
she said: "Let me see my child and then I will die." The old nurse said:
"Nonsense, my dear, you must not think of dying, you have something now
to live for." The good kind doctor said she must be very brave and she
might get well. They brought her little baby boy to her, and she hugged
him in her weak arms and she kissed him on the brow many times and
cuddled him up as close as her feeble arms could hold him; and then she
looked at him long and steadily, and a sweet smile came over her face
and a bright light came into her eyes, and before the smile could pass
from her lips she died.
The old nurse wept as she took the little baby from its dead mother's
arms; and the good doctor had to wipe the tears from his eyes, it was
so very, very sad.
After wrapping the baby in a blanket and laying him in a warm place, the
old nurse straightened out the limbs of the young mother and folded her
hands on her breast; and, spreading a white sheet over her still form,
she called the doctor to look at her--for the nurse and the doctor were
all who were there. The same sweet smile was on her face, and the doctor
said as he looked upon her: "Poor, poor girl, she is so beautiful and so
young! What strange fate has brought her to this poor place? Nurse, take
good care of the baby, for his mother must have been, at one time, a
kind and gentle woman."
The next day they took the unknown woman out to the potter's field and
buried her; and, for nine months, the old nurse at the workhouse took
care of the baby; though, it is sad to say, this old woman, kind-hearted
though she was, was at the same time so fond of gin that she often took
the money, which ought to have bought milk for the baby, to buy drink
Nobody knew what the young mother's name was, and so this baby had no
name, until, at last, Mr. Bumble, who was one of the parish officers
who looked after the paupers, came and named him Oliver Twist.
When little Oliver was nine months old they took him away from the
workhouse and carried him to the "Poor Farm," where there were
twenty-five or thirty other poor children who had no parents. A woman by
the name of Mrs. Mann had charge of this cottage. The parish gave her an
allowance of enough money to keep the children in plenty of food and
clothing; but she starved the little ones to keep the money for herself,
so that many of them died and others came to take their places. But
young Oliver was a tough little fellow, and, while he looked very pale
and thin, he was, otherwise, healthy and hung on to his life.
Mrs. Mann was also very cruel to the children. She would scold and beat
them and shut them up in the cellar and treat them meanly in many ways
when no visitors were there. But, when any of the men who had control or
visitors came around, she would smile and call the children "dear," and
all sorts of pet names. She told them if any of them should tell on her
she would beat them; and, furthermore, that they should tell visitors
that she was very kind and good to them and that they loved her very
Mr. Bumble was a very mean man, too, as we shall see. They called him
the Beadle, which means he was a sort of sheriff or policeman; and he
was supposed to look after the people at the workhouse and at the poor
farm and to wait on the directors who had charge of these places. He had
the right to punish the boys if they did not mind, and they were all
afraid of him.
Oliver remained at the cottage on the poor farm until he was nine years
old, though he was a pale little fellow and did not look to be over
On the morning of his birthday, Mrs. Mann had given Oliver and two other
boys a bad whipping and put them down in a dark coal-cellar. Presently
she saw Mr. Bumble coming and she told her servant to take the boys out
and wash them quick, for she did not let Mr. Bumble know she ever
punished them, and was fearful he might hear them crying in the dark,
damp place. Mrs. Mann talked very nicely to Mr. Bumble and made him a
"toddy" (a glass of strong liquor) and kept him busy with her flattering
and kindness until she knew the boys were washed.
Mr. Bumble told her Oliver Twist was nine years old that day, and the
Board (which meant the men in charge) had decided they must take him
away from the farm and carry him back to the workhouse. Mrs. Mann
pretended to be very sorry, and she went out and brought Oliver in,
telling him on the way that he must appear very sorry to leave her,
otherwise she would beat him. So when Oliver was asked if he wanted to
go, he said he was sorry to leave there. This was not a falsehood, for,
miserable as the place was, he dearly loved his little companions. They
were all the people he knew; and he did feel sad, and really wept with
sorrow as he told them good-by and was led by Mr. Bumble back to the
workhouse, where he was born and where his mother died nine years ago
that very day.
When he got back there he found the old nurse who remembered his mother,
and she told him she was a beautiful sweet woman and how she had kissed
him and held him in her arms when she died. Night after night little
Oliver dreamed about his beautiful mother, and she seemed sometimes to
stand by his bed and to look down upon him with the same beautiful eyes
and the same sweet smile of which the nurse told him. Every time he had
the chance he asked questions about her, but the nurse could not tell
him anything more. She did not even know her name.
Oliver had been at the workhouse only a very short time when Mr. Bumble
came in and told him he must appear before the Board at once. Now Oliver
was puzzled at this. He thought a board was a piece of flat wood, and he
could not imagine why he was to appear before that. But he was too much
afraid of Mr. Bumble to ask any questions. This gentleman had treated
him roughly in bringing him to the workhouse; and, now, when he looked a
little puzzled--for his expressive face always told what was in his
honest little heart--Mr. Bumble gave him a sharp crack on the head with
his cane and another rap over the back and told him to wake up and not
look so sleepy, and to mind to be polite when he went before the Board.
Oliver could not help tears coming into his eyes as he was pushed along,
and Mr. Bumble gave him another sharp rap, telling him to hush, and
ushered him into a room where several stern-looking gentlemen sat at a
long table. One of them, in a white waistcoat, was particularly
hard-looking. "Bow to the Board," said Mr. Bumble to Oliver. Oliver
looked about for a board, and, seeing none, he bowed to the table,
because it looked more like a board than anything else. The men laughed,
and the man in the white waistcoat said: "The boy is a fool. I thought
he was." After other ugly remarks, they told Oliver he was an orphan
and they had supported him all his life. He ought to be very thankful.
(And he was, when he remembered how many had been starved to death.)
"Now," they said, "you are nine years old, and we must put you out to
learn a trade." They told him he should begin the next morning at six
o'clock to pick oakum, and work at that until they could get him a
Oliver was faithful at his work, in which several other boys assisted,
but oh! so hungry they got, for they were given but one little bowl of
gruel at a meal--hardly enough for a kitten. So one day the boys said
they must ask for more; and they "drew straws" to see who should venture
to do so. It fell to Oliver's lot to do it, and the next meal, when they
had emptied their bowls, Oliver walked up to the man who helped them and
said very politely, "Please, sir, may I not have some more? I am very
hungry." This made the man so angry that he hit Oliver over the head
with his ladle and called for Mr. Bumble. He came, and when told that
Oliver had "asked for more," he grabbed him by the collar and took him
before the Board and made the complaint that he had been very naughty
and rebellious, telling the circumstance in an unfair and untruthful
way. The Board was angry at Oliver, and the man in the white waistcoat
told them again as he had said before. "This boy will be hung sometime.
We must get rid of him at once." So they offered five pounds, or
twenty-five dollars to anyone who would take him.
The first man who came was a very mean chimney-sweeper, who had almost
killed other boys with his vile treatment. The Board agreed to let him
have Oliver; but, when they took him before the magistrates, Oliver fell
on his knees and begged them not to let that man have him, and they
would not. So Oliver was taken back to the workhouse.
The next man who came was Mr. Sowerberry, an undertaker. He was a very
good man, and the magistrates let him take Oliver along. But he had a
very cross, stingy wife, and a mean servant-girl by the name of
Charlotte, and a big overbearing boy by the name of Noah Claypole, whom
he had taken to raise. Oliver thought he would like Mr. Sowerberry well
enough, but his heart fell when "the Mrs." met him and called him "boy"
and a "measly-looking little pauper," and gave him for supper the scraps
she had put for the dog. But this was so much better than he got at the
workhouse, he would not complain about the food; and he hoped, by
faithful work, to win kind treatment.
They made him sleep by himself in the shop among the coffins, and he was
very much frightened; but he would rather sleep there than with the
terrible boy, Noah. The first night he dreamed of his beautiful mother,
and thought again he could see her sitting among those black, fearful
coffins, with the same sweet smile upon her face. He was awakened the
next morning by Noah, who told him he had to obey him, and he'd better
lookout or he'd wear the life out of him. Noah kicked and cuffed Oliver
several times, but the poor boy was too much used to that to resent it,
and determined to do his work well.
Mr. Sowerberry found Oliver so good, sensible, and polite that he made
him his assistant and took him to all the funerals, and occasionally
gave him a penny. Oliver went into fine houses and saw people and sights
he had never dreamed of before. Mr. Sowerberry had told him he might
some day be an undertaker himself; and Oliver worked hard to please his
master, though Noah and Mrs. Sowerberry and Charlotte grew more unkind
to him all the time, because "he was put forward," they said, "and Noah
was kept back." This, of course, made Noah meaner than ever to
Oliver--determined to endure it all rather than complain, and try to
win them over after while by being kind. He could have borne any insult
to himself, but Noah tried the little fellow too far when he attacked
the name of Oliver's mother, and it brought serious trouble, as we shall
One day, Oliver and Noah had descended into the kitchen at the usual
dinner-hour, when, Charlotte being called out of the way, there came a
few minutes of time, which Noah Claypole, being hungry and vicious,
considered he could not possibly devote to a worthier purpose than
aggravating and tantalizing young Oliver Twist.
Intent upon this innocent amusement, Noah put his feet on the
tablecloth; and pulled Oliver's hair; and twitched his ears; and
expressed his opinion that he was a "sneak;" and furthermore announced
his intention of coming to see him hanged, whenever that desirable event
should take place; and entered upon various other topics of petty
annoyance, like a malicious and ill-conditioned charity-boy as he was.
But, none of these taunts producing the desired effect of making Oliver
cry, Noah began to talk about his mother.
"Work'us," said Noah, "how's your mother?" Noah had given Oliver this
name because he had come from the workhouse.
"She's dead," replied Oliver; "don't you say anything about her to me!"
Oliver's color rose as he said this; he breathed quickly; and there was
a curious working of the mouth and nostrils, which Noah thought must be
the immediate precursor of a violent fit of crying. Under this
impression he returned to the charge.
"What did she die of, Work'us?" said Noah.
"Of a broken-heart, some of our old nurses told me," replied Oliver:
more as if he were talking to himself than answering Noah. "I think I
know what it must be to die of that!"
"Tol de rol lol lol, right fol lairy, Work'us," said Noah, as a tear
rolled down Oliver's check. "What's set you a sniveling now?"
"Not you," replied Oliver, hastily brushing the tear away. "Don't
"Oh, not me, eh?" sneered Noah.
"No, not you," replied Oliver, sharply.
"There, that's enough. Don't say anything more to me about her; you'd
"Better not!" exclaimed Noah. "Well! Better not! Work'us, don't be
impudent. Your mother, too! She was a nice 'un, she was. Oh, Lor'!"
And here Noah nodded his head expressively and curled his small red
"Yer know, Work'us," continued Noah, emboldened by Oliver's silence, and
speaking in a jeering tone of affected pity. "Yer know, Work'us, it
can't be helped now; and of course yer couldn't help it then. But yer
must know, Work'us, yer mother was a regular-down bad 'un."
"What did you say?" inquired Oliver, looking up very quickly.
"A regular right-down bad'un, Work'us," replied Noah, coolly. "And it's
a great deal better, Work'us, that she died when she did, or else she'd
have been hard laboring in the jail, or sent out of the country, or
hung; which is more likely than either, isn't it?"
Crimson with fury, Oliver started up; overthrew the chair and table;
seized Noah by the throat; shook him, in the violence of his rage, till
his teeth chattered in his head; and, collecting his whole force into
one heavy blow, felled him to the ground.
A minute ago, the boy had looked the quiet, mild, dejected creature that
harsh treatment had made him. But his spirit was roused at last; the
cruel insult to his dead mother had set his blood on fire. His breast
heaved; his form was erect; his eye bright and vivid; his whole person
changed, as he stood glaring over the cowardly tormentor who now lay
crouching at his feet; and defied him with an energy he had never known
"He'll murder me!" blubbered Noah. "Charlotte! missis! Here's the new
boy a-murdering of me! Help! help! Oliver's gone mad! Char--lotte!"
Noah's shouts were responded to by a loud scream from Charlotte and a
louder from Mrs. Sowerberry; the former of whom rushed into the kitchen
by a side-door, while the latter paused on the staircase till she was
quite certain that it was safe to come farther down.
"Oh, you little wretch!" screamed Charlotte, seizing Oliver with her
utmost force, which was about equal to that of a moderately strong man
in particularly good training. "Oh, you little un-grate-ful,
mur-de-rous, hor-rid villain!" And between every syllable Charlotte gave
Oliver a blow with all her might.
Charlotte's fist was by no means a light one; and Mrs. Sowerberry
plunged into the kitchen and assisted to hold him with one hand, while
she scratched his face with the other. In this favorable position of
affairs, Noah rose from the ground and pommeled him behind.
When they were all wearied out, and could tear and beat no longer, they
dragged Oliver, struggling and shouting, but nothing daunted, into the
dust-cellar, and there locked him up. This being done, Mrs. Sowerberry
sunk into a chair and burst into tears.
"Oh! Charlotte," said Mrs. Sowerberry. "Oh! Charlotte, what a mercy we
have not all been murdered in our beds!"
"Ah! mercy indeed, ma'am," was the reply. "I only hope this'll teach
master not to have any more of these dreadful creatures, that are born
to be murderers and robbers from their very cradle. Poor Noah! he was
all but killed, ma'am, when I come in."
"Poor fellow!" said Mrs. Sowerberry, looking piteously on the
"What's to be done!" exclaimed Mrs. Sowerberry. "Your master's not at
home; there's not a man in the house, and he'll kick that door down in
ten minutes." Oliver's vigorous plunges against the door did seem as if
he would break it.
"Dear, dear! I don't know, ma'am," said Charlotte, "unless we send for
the police officers."
"Or the millingtary," suggested Noah.
"No, no," said Mrs. Sowerberry: bethinking herself of Oliver's old
friend. "Run to Mr. Bumble, Noah, and tell him to come here directly,
and not to lose a minute; never mind your cap! Make haste!"
Noah set off with all his might, and paused not once for breath until he
reached the workhouse gate.
"Why, what's the matter with the boy!" said the people as Noah rushed
"Mr. Bumble! Mr. Bumble!" cried Noah, with well-pretended alarm. "Oh,
Mr. Bumble, sir! Oliver, sir--Oliver has--"
"What? What?" interposed Mr. Bumble, with a gleam of pleasure in his
steel-like eyes. "Not run away; he hasn't run away, has he, Noah?"
"No, sir, no! Not run away, sir, but he's turned wicious," replied Noah.
"He tried to murder me, sir; and then he tried to murder Charlotte; and
then missis. Oh! what dreadful pain it is! Such agony, please, sir!" And
here Noah writhed and twisted his body into an extensive variety of
eel-like positions, by which the gentleman's notice was very soon
attracted; for he had not walked three paces, when he turned angrily
round and inquired what that young cur was howling for.
"It's a poor boy from the free-school, sir," replied Mr. Bumble, "who
has been nearly murdered--all but murdered, sir--by young Twist."
"By Jove!" exclaimed the gentleman in the white waistcoat, stopping
short. "I knew it! I felt from the very first that that terrible young
savage would come to be hung!"
"He has likewise attempted, sir, to murder the female servant," said Mr.
Bumble, with a face of ashy paleness.
"And his missis," interposed Noah.
"And his master, too. I think you said, Noah?" added Mr. Bumble.
"No! he's out, or he would have murdered him," replied Noah. "He said he
"Ah! Said he wanted to, did he, my boy?" inquired the gentleman in the
"Yes, sir. And please, sir," replied Noah, "missis wants to know whether
Mr. Bumble can spare time to step up there, directly, and flog
him--'cause master's out."
"Certainly, my boy; certainly," said the gentleman in the white
waistcoat, smiling benignly and patting Noah's head, which was about
three inches higher than his own. "You're a good boy--a very good boy.
Here's a penny for you. Bumble just step up to Sowerberry's with your
cane, and see what's to be done. Don't spare him, Bumble."
"No, I will not, sir," replied the beadle as he hurried away.
Meantime, Oliver continued to kick, with undiminished vigor, at the
cellar-door. The accounts of his ferocity, as related by Mrs. Sowerberry
and Charlotte, were of so startling a nature that Mr. Bumble judged it
prudent to parley before opening the door. With this view he gave a kick
at the outside, by way of prelude; and then, putting his mouth to the
keyhole, said, in a deep and impressive tone:
"Come, you let me out!" replied Oliver, from the inside.
"Do you know this here voice, Oliver?" said Mr. Bumble.
"Yes," replied Oliver.
"Ain't you afraid of it, sir? Ain't you a-trembling while I speak, sir?"
said Mr. Bumble.
"No!" replied Oliver, boldly.
An answer so different from the one he had expected to hear, and was in
the habit of receiving, staggered Mr. Bumble not a little.
"Oh, you know, Mr. Bumble, he must be mad," said Mrs. Sowerberry. "No
boy in half his senses could venture to speak so to you."
"It's not madness, ma'am," replied Mr. Bumble, after a few moments of
deep meditation. "It's meat."
"What?" exclaimed Mrs. Sowerberry.
"Meat, ma'am, meat," replied Bumble, with stern emphasis. "You've
overfed him, ma'am."
"Dear, dear!" ejaculated Mrs. Sowerberry, piously raising her eyes to
the kitchen ceiling; "this comes of being liberal!"
The liberality of Mrs. Sowerberry to Oliver had consisted in a bestowal
upon him of all the dirty odds and ends which nobody else would eat.
"Ah!" said Mr. Bumble, when the lady brought her eyes down to earth
again; "the only thing that can be done now, that I know of, is to leave
him in the cellar for a day or so, till he's a little starved down; and
then to take him out, and keep him on gruel all through his
apprenticeship. He comes of a bad family. Excitable natures, Mrs.
Sowerberry! Both the nurse and doctor said that that mother of his made
her way here, against difficulties and pain that would have killed any
well-disposed woman, weeks before."
At this point of Mr. Bumble's discourse, Oliver, just hearing enough to
know that some new allusion was being made to his mother, recommenced
kicking, with a violence that rendered every other sound inaudible.
Sowerberry returned at this moment. Oliver's offense having been
explained to him, with such exaggerations as the ladies thought best
calculated to rouse his ire, he unlocked the cellar-door in a twinkling,
and dragged his rebellious apprentice out by the collar.
Oliver's clothes had been torn in the beating he had received; his face
was bruised and scratched; and his hair scattered over his forehead. The
angry flush had not disappeared, however; and when he was pulled out of
his prison, he scowled boldly on Noah, and looked quite undismayed.
"Now, you are a nice young fellow, ain't you?" said Sowerberry, giving
Oliver a shake and a box on the ear.
"He called my mother names," replied Oliver.
"Well, and what if he did, you little ungrateful wretch?" said Mrs.
Sowerberry. "She deserved what he said, and worse."
"She didn't," said Oliver.
"She did," said Mrs. Sowerberry.
"It's a lie!" said Oliver.
Mrs. Sowerberry burst into a flood of tears.
This flood of tears left Mr. Sowerberry nothing else to do; so he at
once gave Oliver a drubbing, which satisfied even Mrs. Sowerberry
herself. For the rest of the day he was shut up in the backs kitchen, in
company with a pump and a slice of bread; and, at night, Mrs.
Sowerberry, after making various remarks outside the door, by no means
kind to the memory of his mother, looked into the room, and, amidst the
jeers and pointings of Noah and Charlotte, ordered him up-stairs to his
It was not until he was left alone in the silence and stillness of the
gloomy workshop of the undertaker that Oliver gave way to the feelings
which the day's treatment may be supposed likely to have awakened in a
mere child. He had listened to their taunts with a look of contempt; he
had borne the lash without a cry; for he felt that pride swelling in his
heart which would have kept down a shriek to the last, though they had
roasted him alive. But now, when there was none to see or hear him, he
fell upon his knees on the floor; and, hiding his face in his hands,
wept bitter tears and prayed in his bleeding heart that God would help
him to get away from these cruel people. There, upon his knees, Oliver
determined to run away, and, rising, tied up a few clothes in a
handkerchief and went to bed.
With the first ray of light that struggled through the crevices in the
shutters, Oliver arose and unbarred the door. One timid look around--one
moment's pause of hesitation--he had closed it behind him, and was in
the open street.
He looked to the right and to the left, uncertain which way to fly. He
remembered to have seen the wagons, as they went out, toiling up the
hill. He took the same route; and arriving at a foot-path across the
fields, which he knew, after some distance, led out again into the road,
struck into it, and walked quickly on.
Along this same foot-path, Oliver well remembered he had trotted beside
Mr. Bumble when he first carried him to the workhouse from the farm. His
heart beat quickly when he bethought himself of this, and he half
resolved to turn back. He had come a long way though, and should lose a
great deal of time by doing so. Besides, it was so early that there was
very little fear of his being seen; so he walked on.
He reached the house. There was no appearance of the people inside
stirring at that early hour. Oliver stopped, and peeped into the garden.
A child was weeding one of the little beds; as he stopped, he raised his
pale face and disclosed the features of one of his former companions.
Oliver felt glad to see him before he went; for, though younger than
himself, he had been his little friend and playmate. They had been
beaten, and starved, and shut up together many and many a time.
"Hush, Dick!" said Oliver, as the boy ran to the gate, and thrust his
thin arm between the rails to greet him. "Is anyone up?"
"Nobody but me," replied the child.
"You mustn't say you saw me, Dick," said Oliver. "I am running away.
They beat and ill-use me, Dick; and I am going to seek my fortune some
long way off. I don't know where. How pale you are!"
"I heard the doctor tell them I was dying," replied the child, with a
faint smile. "I am very glad to see you, dear; but don't stop, don't
"Yes, yes, I will to say good-by to you," replied Oliver. "I shall see
you again, Dick. I know I shall. You will be well and happy!"
"I hope so," replied the child. "After I am dead, but not before. I know
the doctor must be right, Oliver, because I dream so much of heaven and
angels, and kind faces that I never see when I am awake. Kiss me," said
the child, climbing up the low gate, and flinging his little arms
around Oliver's neck: "Good-by, dear! God bless you!"
The blessing was from a young child's lips, but it was the first that
Oliver had ever heard invoked upon his head; and through the struggles
and sufferings, and troubles and changes of his after-life, he never
once forgot it.
Oliver soon got into the high-road. It was eight o'clock now. Though he
was nearly five miles away from the town, he ran, and hid behind the
hedges, by turns, till noon, fearing that he might be pursued and
overtaken. Then he sat down to rest by the side of the mile-stone.
The stone by which he was seated had a sign on it which said that it was
just seventy miles from that spot to London. The name awakened a new
train of ideas in the boy's mind, London!--that great large
place!--nobody--not even Mr. Bumble--could ever find him there! He had
often heard the old men in the workhouse, too, say that no lad of spirit
need want in London; and that there were ways of living in that vast
city which those who had been bred in the country parts had no idea of.
It was the very place for a homeless boy, who must die in the streets
unless some-one helped him. As these things passed through his
thoughts, he jumped upon his feet and again walked forward.
He had made the distance between himself and London less by full four
miles more, before he thought how much he must undergo ere he could hope
to reach the place toward which he was going. As this consideration
forced itself upon him, he slackened his pace a little, and meditated
upon his means of getting there. He had a crust of bread, a coarse
shirt, and two pairs of stockings in his bundle. He had a penny too--a
gift of Sowerberry's after some funeral in which he had acquitted
himself more than ordinarily well--in his pocket. "A clean shirt,"
thought Oliver, "is a very comfortable thing; and so are two pairs of
darned stockings; and so is a penny; but they are small helps to a
sixty-five miles' walk in winter-time."
Thus day after day the weary but plucky little boy walked on, and early
on the seventh morning after he had left his native place, Oliver limped
slowly into the little town of Barnet, and sat down on a doorstep to
rest. Some few stopped to gaze at Oliver for a moment or two, or turned
round to stare at him as they hurried by; but none helped him, or
troubled themselves to inquire how he came there. He had no heart to
beg. And there he sat for some time when he was roused by observing
that a boy was watching him most earnestly from the opposite side of the
way. He took little heed of this at first; but the boy remained in the
same attitude so long that Oliver raised his head and returned his
steady look. Upon this, the boy crossed over, and, walking close up to
"Hullo, my covey! What's the row?"
The boy who had spoken to the young wayfarer was about his own age: but
one of the queerest-looking boys that Oliver had ever seen. He was a
snub-nosed, flat-browed, common-faced boy enough; and as dirty a youth
as one would wish to see; but he had about him all the airs and manners
of a man. He was short for his age; with rather bow-legs, and little,
sharp, ugly eyes. His hat was stuck on the top of his head so lightly
that it threatened to fall off every moment. He wore a man's coat, which
reached nearly to his heels.
"Hullo, my covey! What's the row?" said the stranger.
"I am very hungry and tired," replied Oliver: the tears standing in his
eyes as he spoke. "I have walked a long way. I have been walking these
"Walking for sivin days!" said the young gentleman. "Oh, I see. Beak's
order, eh? But," he added, noticing Oliver's look of surprise, "I
suppose you don't know what a beak is, my flash com-pan-i-on."
Oliver mildly replied that he had always heard a bird's mouth described
by the word beak.
"My eyes, how green!" exclaimed the young gentleman. "Why, a beak's a
madgst'rate; and when you walk by a beak's order, it's not straight
"But come," said the young gentleman; "you want grub, and you shall have
it. Up with you on your pins. There! Now then!"
Assisting Oliver to rise, the young gentleman took him to a near by
grocery store, where he bought a supply of ready-dressed ham and a
half-quartern loaf, or, as he himself expressed it, "a fourpenny bran!"
Taking the bread under his arm, the young gentleman turned into a small
public-house, and led the way to a tap-room in the rear of the premises.
Here a pot of beer was brought in by direction of the mysterious youth;
and Oliver, falling to at his new friend's bidding, made a long and
hearty meal, during which the strange boy eyed him from time to time
with great attention.
"Going to London?" said the strange boy, when Oliver had at length
"Got any lodgings?"
The strange boy whistled, and put his arms into his pockets as far as
the big coat-sleeves would let them go.
"Do you live in London?" inquired Oliver.
"Yes, I do, when I'm at home," replied the boy. "I suppose you want some
place to sleep in to-night, don't you?"
"I do, indeed," answered Oliver. "I have not slept under a roof since I
left the country."
"Don't fret your eyelids on that score," said the young gentleman. "I've
got to be in London to-night; and I know a 'spectable old genelman as
lives there, wot'll give you lodgings for nothink, and never ask for the
change--that is, if any genelman he knows interduces you. And don't he
know me? Oh, no! not in the least! By no means. Certainly not!" which
was his queer way of saying he and the old gentleman were good friends.
This unexpected offer of shelter was too tempting to be resisted,
especially as it was immediately followed up by the assurance that the
old gentleman referred to would doubtless provide Oliver with a
comfortable place, without loss of time. This led to a more friendly and
free talk, from which Oliver learned that his friend's name was Jack
Dawkins--among his intimate friends better known as the "Artful
Dodger"--and that he was a peculiar pet of the elderly gentleman before
As John Dawkins objected to their entering London before nightfall, it
was nearly eleven o'clock when they reached the small city street, along
which the Dodger scudded at a rapid pace, directing Oliver to follow
close at his heels.
Although Oliver had enough to occupy his attention in keeping sight of
his leader, he could not help bestowing a few hasty glances on either
side of the way as he passed along. A dirtier or more wretched place he
had never seen.
Oliver was just considering whether he hadn't better run away, when they
reached the bottom of the hill. His conductor, catching him by the arm,
pushed open the door of a house, and, drawing him into the passage,
closed it behind them.
"Now, then!" cried a voice from below, in reply to a whistle from the
"Plummy and slam!" was the reply.
This seemed to be some watchword or signal that all was right; for the
light of a feeble candle gleamed on the wall at the remote end of the
passage, and a man's face peeped out from where a balustrade of the old
kitchen staircase had been broken away.
"There's two of you," said the man, thrusting the candle farther out,
and shading his eyes with his hand. "Who's the t'other one?"
"A new pal," replied Jack Dawkins, pulling Oliver forward.
"Where did he come from?"
"Greenland. Is Fagin up-stairs?"
"Yes; he's a sortin' the wipes. Up with you!" The candle was drawn back,
and the face disappeared.
Oliver, groping his way with one hand, and having the other firmly
grasped by his companion, ascended with much difficulty the dark and
broken stairs; which his conductor mounted with an ease and expedition
that showed he was well acquainted with them. He threw open the door of
a back-room, and drew Oliver in after him.
The walls and ceiling of the room were perfectly black with age and
dirt. There was a deal table before the fire, upon which were a candle
stuck in a ginger-beer bottle, two or three pewter-pots, a loaf and
butter, and a plate. Seated round the table were four or five boys,
none older than the Dodger, smoking clay pipes and drinking spirits,
with the air of middle-aged men. These all crowded about their friend as
he whispered a few words to the Jewish proprietor; and then turned round
and grinned at Oliver. So did the Jew himself, toasting-fork in hand.
"This is him, Fagin," said Jack Dawkins; "my friend, Oliver Twist."
The Jew grinned, and, making a low bow to Oliver, took him by the hand,
and hoped he should have the honor of a closer acquaintance. Upon this,
the young gentlemen with the pipes came round him and shook both his
hands very hard.
"We are very glad to see you. Oliver, very," said the Jew. "Dodger, take
off the sausages, and draw a tub near the fire for Oliver. Ah! you're
a-staring at the pocket-handkerchiefs! eh, my dear! There are a good
many of 'em, ain't there? We've just looked 'em out, ready for the wash:
that's all, Oliver--that's all. Ha! ha! ha!"
The latter part of this speech was hailed by a noisy shout from all the
pupils of the merry old gentleman; in the midst of which they went to
Oliver ate his share, and the Jew then mixed him a glass of hot gin and
water, telling him he must drink it off directly, because another
gentleman wanted the tumbler. Oliver did as he was desired. Immediately
afterward he felt himself gently lifted on to one of the sacks; and then
he sunk into a deep sleep.
It was late next morning when Oliver awoke from a sound, long sleep.
There was no other person in the room but the old Jew, who was boiling
some coffee in a saucepan for breakfast, and whistling softly to himself
as he stirred it round and round with an iron spoon. He would stop every
now and then to listen when there was the least noise below; and when he
had satisfied himself, he would go on, whistling and stirring again, as
Although Oliver had roused himself from sleep, he was not thoroughly
Oliver was precisely in this condition. He saw the Jew with his
half-closed eyes; heard his low whistling; and recognized the sound of
the spoon grating against the saucepan's sides.
When the coffee was done, the Jew drew the saucepan to the hob, looked
at Oliver, and called him by his name. He did not answer, and was to all
After satisfying himself upon this head, the Jew stepped gently to the
door, which he fastened. He then drew forth, as it seemed to Oliver,
from some trap in the floor, a small box, which he placed carefully on
the table. His eyes glistened as he raised the lid and looked in.
Dragging an old chair to the table, he sat down; and took from it a
magnificent gold watch, sparkling with jewels.
"Aha!" said the Jew, shrugging up his shoulders and distorting every
feature with a hideous grin. "Clever dogs! Clever dogs! Stanch to the
last! Never told the old parson where they were. Never peached upon old
Fagin! And why should they? It wouldn't have loosened the knot, or kept
the drop up, a minute longer. No, no, no! Fine fellows! Fine fellows!"
With these and other muttered remarks of the like nature, the Jew once
more laid the watch in its place of safety. At least half a dozen more
were severally drawn forth from the same box, and looked at with equal
pleasure; besides rings, bracelets, and other articles of jewelry, of
such magnificent materials, and costly workmanship, that Oliver had no
idea even of their names.
As the Jew looked up, his bright dark eyes, which had been staring at
the jewelry, fell on Oliver's face; the boy's eyes were fixed on his in
mute curiosity; and although the recognition was only for an instant, it
was enough to show the old man that he had been observed. He closed the
lid of the box with a loud crash; and, laying his hand on a bread-knife
which was on the table, started furiously up.
"What's that?" said the Jew. "What do you watch me for? Why are you
awake? What have you seen? Speak out boy! Quick--quick! for your life!"
"I wasn't able to sleep any longer, sir," replied Oliver, meekly. "I am
very sorry if I have disturbed you, sir."
"You were not awake an hour ago?" said the Jew, scowling fiercely.
"No! No, indeed!" replied Oliver.
"Are you sure?" cried the Jew, with a still fiercer look than before,
and a threatening attitude.
"Upon my word I was not, sir," replied Oliver, earnestly.
"Tush, tush, my dear!" said the Jew, abruptly resuming his old manner,
and playing with the knife a little, before he laid it down; to make
Oliver think that he had caught it up in mere sport. "Of course I know
that, my dear. I only tried to frighten you. You're a brave boy. Ha! ha!
you're a brave boy, Oliver!" The Jew rubbed his hands with a chuckle,
but glanced uneasily at the box, notwithstanding.
"Did you see any of these pretty things, my dear?" said the Jew, laying
his hand upon it after a short pause.
"Yes, sir," replied Oliver.
"Ah!" said the Jew, turning rather pale. "They--they're mine, Oliver: my
little property. All I have to live upon in my old age. The folks call
me a miser, my dear. Only a miser; that's all."
Oliver thought the old gentleman must be a decided miser to live in such
a dirty place, with so many watches; but, thinking that perhaps his
fondness for the Dodger and the other boys cost him a good deal of
money, he only looked kindly at the Jew, and asked if he might get up.
"Certainly, my dear, certainly," replied the old gentleman. "There's a
pitcher of water in the corner by the door. Bring it here, and I'll give
you a basin to wash in, my dear."
Oliver got up, walked across the room, and stooped for an instant to
raise the pitcher. When he turned his head the box was gone.
He had scarcely washed himself, and made everything tidy by emptying the
basin out of the window, agreeably to the Jew's directions, when the
Dodger returned, accompanied by a very sprightly young friend, whom
Oliver had seen smoking on the previous night, and who was now formally
introduced to him as Charley Bates. The four sat down to breakfast on
the coffee and some hot rolls and ham which the Dodger had brought home
in the crown of his hat.
"Well," said the Jew, glancing slyly at Oliver, and addressing himself
to the Dodger, "I hope you've been at work this morning, my dears?"
"Hard," replied the Dodger.
"As nails," added Charley Bates.
"Good boys, good boys!" said the Jew. "What have you, Dodger?"
"A couple of pocket-books," replied that young gentleman.
"Lined?" inquired the Jew, with eagerness.
"Pretty well," replied the Dodger, producing two pocket-books.
"Not so heavy as they might be," said the Jew, after looking at the
insides carefully; "but very neat and nicely made. A good workman, ain't
"Very, indeed, sir," said Oliver. At which Mr. Charles Bates laughed
uproariously, very much to the amazement of Oliver, who saw nothing to
laugh at in anything that had passed.
"And what have you got, my dear?" said Fagin to Charley Bates.
"Wipes," replied Master Bates; at the same time producing four
"Well," said the Jew, inspecting them closely; "they're very good ones,
very. You haven't marked them well, though, Charley; so the marks shall
be picked out with a needle, and we'll teach Oliver how to do it. Shall
us, Oliver, eh? Ha! ha! ha!"
"If you please, sir," said Oliver.
"You'd like to be able to make pocket-handkerchiefs as easy as Charley
Bates, wouldn't you, my dear?" said the Jew.
"Very much, indeed, if you'll teach me, sir," replied Oliver.
Master Bates burst into another laugh.
"He is so jolly green!" said Charley when he recovered, as an apology to
the company for his impolite behavior.
The Dodger said nothing, but he smoothed Oliver's hair over his eyes,
and said he'd know better by-and-by.
When the breakfast was cleared away, the merry old gentleman and the two
boys played at a very curious and uncommon game, which was performed in
this way: The merry old gentleman, placing a snuff-box in one pocket of
his trousers, a note-case in the other, and a watch in his waistcoat
pocket, with a guard-chain round his neck, and sticking a mock-diamond
pin in his shirt, buttoned his coat tight around him, and putting his
spectacle-case and handkerchief in his pockets, trotted up and down the
room with a stick, in imitation of the manner in which old gentlemen
walk about the streets any hour in the day.
Now during all this time the two boys followed him closely about,
getting out of his sight, so nimbly, every time he turned round that it
was impossible to follow their motions. At last the Dodger trod upon his
toes or ran upon his boot accidentally, while Charley Bates stumbled up
against him behind; and in that one moment they took from him, with the
most extraordinary rapidity, snuff-box, note-case, watch-guard, chain,
shirt-pin, pocket handkerchief, even the spectacle-case. If the old
gentleman felt a hand in any one of his pockets, he cried out where it
was, and then the game began all over again.
When this game had been played a great many times, Charley Bates
expressed his opinion that it was time to pad the hoof. This, it
occurred to Oliver, must be French for going out; for, directly
afterward, the Dodger and Charley went away together, having been kindly
furnished by the amiable old Jew with money to spend.
"There, my dear," said Fagin. "That's a pleasant life, isn't it? They
have gone out for the day."
"Have they done work, sir?" inquired Oliver.
"Yes," said the Jew; "that is, unless they should unexpectedly come
across any when they are out; and they won't neglect it, if they do, my
dear, depend upon it. Make 'em your models, my dear. Make 'em your
models," tapping the fire-shovel on the hearth to add force to his
words; "do everything they bid you, and take their advice in all
matters--especially the Dodger's my dear. He'll be a great man himself,
and will make you one too, if you take pattern by him. Is my
handkerchief hanging out of my pocket, my dear?" said the Jew, stopping
"Yes, sir," said Oliver.
"See if you can take it out, without my feeling it, as you saw them do
when we were at play this morning."
Oliver held up the bottom of the pocket with one hand, as he had seen
the Dodger hold it, and drew the handkerchief lightly out with the
"Is it gone?" cried the Jew.
"Here it is, sir," said Oliver, showing it in his hand.
"You're a clever boy, my dear," said the playful old gentleman, patting
Oliver on the head approvingly. "I never saw a sharper lad. Here's a
shilling for you. If you go on in this way, you'll be the greatest man
of the time. And now come here, and I'll show you how to take the marks
out of the handkerchief."
Oliver wondered what picking the old gentleman's pocket in play had to
do with his chances of being a great man. But, thinking that the Jew,
being so much older must know best, he followed him quietly to the
table, and was soon deeply at work in his new study.
For many days Oliver remained in the Jew's room, picking the marks out
of the pocket-handkerchiefs (of which a great number were brought home),
and sometimes taking part in the game already described, which the two
boys and the Jew played, regularly, every morning.
At length, one morning, Oliver obtained the permission to go out with
the boys. There had been no handkerchiefs to work upon for two or three
days, and the dinners had been rather meager. Perhaps these were reasons
for the old gentleman giving his assent; but, whether they were or no,
he told Oliver he might go, and placed him under the joint care of
Charley Bates and his friend, the Dodger.
The three boys started out; the Dodger with his coat-sleeves tucked up
and his hat cocked, as usual; Master Bates sauntering along with his
hands in his pockets; and Oliver between them, wondering where they were
going, and what they would teach him to make first.
They were just coming from a narrow court not far from an open square,
which is yet called "The Green," when the Dodger made a sudden stop,
and, laying his finger on his lip, drew his companions back again, with
the greatest caution.
"What's the matter?" demanded Oliver.
"Hush!" replied the Dodger. "Do you see that old cove at the
"The old gentleman over the way?" said Oliver. "Yes, I see him."
"He'll do," said the Dodger.
"A prime plant," observed Master Charley Bates.
Oliver looked from one to the other with the greatest surprise, but he
was not permitted to make any inquiries; for the two boys walked
stealthily across the road and slunk close behind the old gentleman.
Oliver walked a few paces after them, and, not knowing whether to
advance or retire, stood looking on in silent amazement.
The old gentleman was a very respectable-looking personage, with a
powdered head and gold spectacles, as he stood reading a book; and what
was Oliver's horror and alarm as he stood a few paces off, looking on
with his eyelids as wide open as they would possibly go, to see the
Dodger plunge his hand into the old gentleman's pocket and draw from
thence a handkerchief! To see him hand the same to Charley Bates; and
finally to behold them both running away round the corner.
In an instant the whole mystery of the handkerchiefs, and the watches,
and the jewels, and the Jew, rushed upon the boy's mind. He stood, for a
moment, with the blood so tingling through all his veins from terror
that he felt as if he were in a burning fire; then, confused and
frightened, he took to his heels, and, not knowing what he did, made off
as fast as he could lay his feet to the ground.
This was all done in a minute's space. In the very instant when Oliver
began to run, the old gentleman, putting his hand to his pocket, and
missing his handkerchief, turned sharp round. Seeing the boy scudding
away at such a rapid pace, he very naturally concluded him to be the
thief; and, shouting "Stop thief!" with all his might, made off after
him, book in hand.
But the old gentleman was not the only person who raised the
hue-and-cry. The Dodger and Master Bates, unwilling to attract public
attention by running down the open street, had merely retired into the
very first doorway round the corner. They no sooner heard the cry, and
saw Oliver running, than, guessing exactly how the matter stood, they
issued forth with great quickness; and shouting "Stop thief!" too,
joined in the pursuit like good citizens.
Away they ran, pell-mell, helter-skelter, slap-dash; tearing, yelling,
screaming, knocking down the passengers as they turn the corners,
rousing up the dogs, and astonishing the fowls; and making streets,
squares, and courts re-echo with the sound.
At last a burly fellow struck Oliver a terrible blow and he went down
upon the pavement; and the crowd eagerly gathered round him, each
newcomer jostling and struggling with the others to catch a glimpse.
"Stand aside!" "Give him a little air!" "Nonsense! he don't deserve it!"
"Where's the gentleman?" "Here he is, coming down the street." "Make
room there for the gentleman!" "Is this the boy, sir?"
Oliver lay covered with mud and dust, and bleeding from the mouth,
looking wildly round upon the heap of faces that surrounded him, when
the old gentleman was officiously dragged and pushed into the circle by
the foremost of the pursuers.
"Yes," said the gentleman, "I am afraid it is the boy."
"Afraid!" murmured the crowd. "That's a good 'un!"
"Poor fellow!" said the gentleman, "he has hurt himself."
"I did that, sir," said a great lubberly fellow, stepping forward; "and
preciously I cut my knuckle agin his mouth. I stopped him, sir."
The fellow touched his hat with a grin, expecting something for his
pains; but the old gentleman, eyeing him with an expression of dislike,
looked anxiously round, as if he contemplated running away himself;
which it is very possible he might have attempted to do, and thus have
afforded another chase, had not a police officer (who is generally the
last person to arrive in such cases) at that moment made his way through
the crowd, and seized Oliver by the collar.
"Come, get up," said the man, roughly.
"It wasn't me, indeed, sir. Indeed, indeed, it was two other boys," said
Oliver, clasping his hands passionately and looking round. "They are
"Oh no, they ain't," said the officer. He meant this to be ironical, but
it was true besides; for the Dodger and Charley Bates had filed off down
the first convenient court they came to. "Come, get up!"
"Don't hurt him," said the old gentleman, compassionately.
"Oh no, I won't hurt him," replied the officer, tearing his jacket half
off his back, in proof thereof. "Come, I know you; it won't do. Will you
stand upon your legs, you young devil?"
Oliver, who could hardly stand, made a shift to raise himself on his
feet, and was at once lugged along the streets by the jacket-collar at a
rapid pace. The gentleman walked on with them by the officer's side.
At last they came to a place called Mutton Hill. Here he was led beneath
a low archway, and up a dirty court, where they saw a stout man with a
bunch of whiskers on his face and a bunch of keys in his hand.
"What's the matter now?" said the man carelessly.
"A young fogle-hunter," replied the officer who had Oliver in charge.
"Are you the party that's been robbed, sir?" inquired the man with the
"Yes, I am," replied the old gentleman; "but I am not sure that this boy
actually took the handkerchief. I would rather not press the case."
"Must go before the magistrate now, sir," replied the man. "His worship
will be disengaged in half a minute. Now, young gallows!"
This was an invitation for Oliver to enter through a door which he
unlocked as he spoke, and which led into a stone cell. Here he was
searched, and, nothing being found upon him, locked up.
The old gentleman looked almost as unhappy as Oliver when the key grated
in the lock.
At last this gentleman, Mr. Brownlow, was summoned before the
magistrate--a very mean man, whose name was Fang. Oliver was brought in,
and the magistrate, after using very abusive language to Mr. Brownlow,
had him sworn, but would not let him tell his story. He flew into a rage
and told the policeman to tell what happened.
The policeman, with becoming humility, related how he had taken the boy;
how he had searched Oliver, and found nothing on his person; and how
that was all he knew about it.
"Are there any witnesses?" inquired Mr. Fang.
"None, your worship," replied the policeman.
Mr. Fang sat silent for some minutes, and then, turning round to Mr.
Brownlow, said in a towering passion:
"Do you mean to state what your complaint against this boy is, man, or
do you not? You have been sworn. Now, if you stand there, refusing to
give evidence, I'll punish you for disrespect to the bench."
With many interruptions, and repeated insults, Mr. Brownlow contrived to
state his case; observing that, in the surprise of the moment, he had
run after the boy because he saw him running away.
"He has been hurt already," said the old gentleman, in conclusion. "And
I fear," he added, with great energy, looking toward the bar, "I really
fear that he is ill."
"Oh! yes, I dare say!" said Mr. Fang, with a sneer. "Come, none of your
tricks here, you young vagabond; they won't do. What's your name?"
Oliver tried to reply, but his tongue failed him. He was deadly pale;
and the whole place seemed turning round and round.
"What's your name, you hardened scoundrel?" demanded Mr. Fang.
At this point of the inquiry, Oliver raised his head, and, looking
round with imploring eyes, asked feebly for a drink of water.
"Stuff and nonsense!" said Fang; "don't try to make a fool of me."
"I think he really is ill, your worship," said the officer.
"I know better," said Mr. Fang.
"Take care of him, officer," said the old gentleman, raising his hands
instinctively; "he'll fall down."
"Stand away, officer," cried Fang; "let him, if he likes."
Oliver availed himself of the kind permission, and fell to the floor in
a fainting fit. The men in the office looked at each other, but no one
dared to stir.
"I knew he was shamming," said Fang, as if this were enough proof of the
fact. "Let him lie there; he'll soon be tired of that."
"How do you propose to deal with the case, sir?" inquired the clerk in a
"Summarily," replied Mr. Fang. "He stands committed for three
months--hard labor, of course. Clear the office."
The door was opened for this purpose, and a couple of men were preparing
to carry the insensible boy to his cell, when an elderly man of decent
but poor appearance, clad in an old suit of black, rushed in.
"Stop! stop! Don't take him away! For heaven's sake stop a moment!"
cried the newcomer, breathless with haste.
"What is this? Who is this? Turn this man out. Clear the office," cried
"I will speak," cried the man; "I will not be turned out. I saw it
all. I keep the book-stall. I demand to be sworn. I will not be put
down. Mr. Fang, you must hear me. You must not refuse, sir."
The man was right. His manner was determined; and the matter was growing
rather too serious to be hushed up.
"Swear the man," growled Mr. Fang, with a very ill grace. "Now, man,
what have you to say?"
"This," said the man: "I saw three boys--two two others and the prisoner
here--loitering on the opposite side of the way, when this gentleman was
reading. The robbery was committed by another boy. I saw it done; and I
saw this boy was perfectly amazed and stupefied by it."
"Why didn't you come here before?" said Fang, after a pause.
"I hadn't a soul to mind the shop," replied the man. "Everybody who
could have helped me had joined in the pursuit. I could get nobody till
five minutes ago; and I have run here all the way to speak the truth."
"The boy is discharged. Clear the office!" shouted the angry magistrate.
The command was obeyed; and as Oliver was taken out he fainted away
again in the yard, and lay with his face a deadly white and a cold
tremble convulsing his frame.
"Poor boy! poor boy!" said Mr. Brownlow, bending over him. "Call a
coach, somebody, pray. Directly!"
A coach was obtained, and Oliver, having been carefully laid on one
seat, the old gentleman got in and sat himself on the other.
"May I go with you?" said the book-stall keeper, looking in.
"Bless me, yes, my dear sir," said Mr. Brownlow quickly. "I forgot you.
Dear, dear! I have this unhappy book still! Jump in. Poor fellow! No
time to lose."
The book-stall keeper got into the coach, and it rattled away. It
stopped at length before a neat house, in a quiet shady street. Here a
bed was prepared, without loss of time, in which Mr. Brownlow saw his
young charge carefully and comfortably laid; and here he was tended
with a kindness and solicitude that knew no bounds.
At last the sick boy began to recover, and one day Mr. Brownlow came to
see him. You may imagine how happy Oliver was to see his good friend;
but he was no more delighted than was Mr. Brownlow. The old gentleman
came to spend a short time with him every day; and, when he grew
stronger, Oliver went up to the learned gentleman's study and talked
with him by the hour and was astonished at the books he saw, and which
Mr. Brownlow told him to look at and read as much as he liked.
Oliver was soon well, and no thought was in Mr. Brownlow's mind but that
he should keep him, and raise him and educate him to be a splendid man;
for no father loves his own son better than Mr. Brownlow had come to
Now, I know, you want to ask me what became of Oliver Twist. But I
cannot tell you here. Let us leave him in this beautiful home of good
Mr. Brownlow; and, if you want to read the rest of his wonderful story,
get Dickens' big book called Oliver Twist, and read it there. There
were many surprises and much trouble yet in store for Oliver, but he was
always noble, honest, and brave.
Famous Standard Juveniles
* * * * *
THE JOHN C. WINSTON CO.
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