Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

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never mind the girl--Bolter's throat as deep as you can cut. Saw
his head off!'

'Fagin,' said the jailer.

'That's me!' cried the Jew, falling instantly, into the attitude
of listening he had assumed upon his trial. 'An old man, my
Lord; a very old, old man!'

'Here,' said the turnkey, laying his hand upon his breast to keep

him down. 'Here's somebody wants to see you, to ask you some
questions, I suppose. Fagin, Fagin! Are you a man?'

'I shan't be one long,' he replied, looking up with a face

retaining no human expression but rage and terror. 'Strike them
all dead! What right have they to butcher me?'

As he spoke he caught sight of Oliver and Mr. Brownlow. Shrinking

to the furthest corner of the seat, he demanded to know what they
wanted there.

'Steady,' said the turnkey, still holding him down. 'Now, sir,

tell him what you want. Quick, if you please, for he grows worse
as the time gets on.'

'You have some papers,' said Mr. Brownlow advancing, 'which were

placed in your hands, for better security, by a man called

'It's all a lie together,' replied Fagin. 'I haven't one--not


'For the love of God,' said Mr. Brownlow solemnly, 'do not say

that now, upon the very verge of death; but tell me where they
are. You know that Sikes is dead; that Monks has confessed; that
there is no hope of any further gain. Where are those papers?'

'Oliver,' cried Fagin, beckoning to him. 'Here, here! Let me

whisper to you.'

'I am not afraid,' said Oliver in a low voice, as he relinquished

Mr. Brownlow's hand.

'The papers,' said Fagin, drawing Oliver towards him, 'are in a

canvas bag, in a hole a little way up the chimney in the top
front-room. I want to talk to you, my dear. I want to talk to

'Yes, yes,' returned Oliver. 'Let me say a prayer. Do! Let me

say one prayer. Say only one, upon your knees, with me, and we
will talk till morning.'

'Outside, outside,' replied Fagin, pushing the boy before him

towards the door, and looking vacantly over his head. 'Say I've
gone to sleep--they'll believe you. You can get me out, if you
take me so. Now then, now then!'

'Oh! God forgive this wretched man!' cried the boy with a burst

of tears.

'That's right, that's right,' said Fagin. 'That'll help us on.

This door first. If I shake and tremble, as we pass the gallows,
don't you mind, but hurry on. Now, now, now!'

'Have you nothing else to ask him, sir?' inquired the turnkey.

'No other question,' replied Mr. Brownlow. 'If I hoped we could
recall him to a sense of his position--'

'Nothing will do that, sir,' replied the man, shaking his head.

'You had better leave him.'

The door of the cell opened, and the attendants returned.

'Press on, press on,' cried Fagin. 'Softly, but not so slow.
Faster, faster!'

The men laid hands upon him, and disengaging Oliver from his

grasp, held him back. He struggled with the power of
desperation, for an instant; and then sent up cry upon cry that
penetrated even those massive walls, and rang in their ears until
they reached the open yard.

It was some time before they left the prison. Oliver nearly

swooned after this frightful scene, and was so weak that for an
hour or more, he had not the strength to walk.

Day was dawning when they again emerged. A great multitude had

already assembled; the windows were filled with people, smoking
and playing cards to beguile the time; the crowd were pushing,
quarrelling, joking. Everything told of life and animation, but
one dark cluster of objects in the centre of all--the black stage,
the cross-beam, the rope, and all the hideous apparatus of death.



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 Fleming and Harry Maylie

were married in the village church which was henceforth to be the
scene of the young clergyman's labours; on the same day they
entered into possession of their new and happy home.

Mrs. Maylie took up her abode with her son and daughter-in-law,

to enjoy, during the tranquil remainder of her days, the greatest
felicity that age and worth can know--the contemplation of the
happiness of those on whom the warmest affections and tenderest
cares of a well-spent life, have been unceasingly bestowed.

It appeared, on full and careful investigation, that if the wreck

of property remaining in the custody of Monks (which had never
prospered either in his hands or in those of his mother) were
equally divided between himself and Oliver, it would yield, to
each, little more than three thousand pounds. By the provisions
of his father's will, Oliver would have been entitled to the
whole; but Mr. Brownlow, unwilling to deprive the elder son of
the opportunity of retrieving his former vices and pursuing an
honest career, proposed this mode of distribution, to which his
young charge joyfully acceded.

Monks, still bearing that assumed name, retired with his portion

to a distant part of the New World; where, having quickly
squandered it, he once more fell into his old courses, and, after
undergoing a long confinement for some fresh act of fraud and
knavery, at length sunk under an attack of his old disorder, and
died in prison. As far from home, died the chief remaining
members of his friend Fagin's gang.

Mr. Brownlow adopted Oliver as his son. Removing with him and

the old housekeeper to within a mile of the parsonage-house,
where his dear friends resided, he gratified the only remaining
wish of Oliver's warm and earnest heart, and thus linked together
a little society, whose condition approached as nearly to one of
perfect happiness as can ever be known in this changing world.

Soon after the marriage of the young people, the worthy doctor

returned to Chertsey, where, bereft of the presence of his old
friends, he would have been discontented if his temperament had
admitted of such a feeling; and would have turned quite peevish
if he had known how. For two or three months, he contented
himself with hinting that he feared the air began to disagree
with him; then, finding that the place really no longer was, to
him, what it had been, he settled his business on his assistant,
took a bachelor's cottage outside the village of which his young
friend was pastor, and instantaneously recovered. Here he took
to gardening, planting, fishing, carpentering, and various other
pursuits of a similar kind: all undertaken with his
characteristic impetuosity. In each and all he has since become
famous throughout the neighborhood, as a most profound authority.

Before his removal, he had managed to contract a strong

friendship for Mr. Grimwig, which that eccentric gentleman
cordially reciprocated. He is accordingly visited by Mr. Grimwig
a great many times in the course of the year. On all such
occasions, Mr. Grimwig plants, fishes, and carpenters, with great
ardour; doing everything in a very singular and unprecedented
manner, but always maintaining with his favourite asseveration,
that his mode is the right one. On Sundays, he never fails to
criticise the sermon to the young clergyman's face: always
informing Mr. Losberne, in strict confidence afterwards, that he
considers it an excellent performance, but deems it as well not
to say so. It is a standing and very favourite joke, for Mr.
Brownlow to rally him on his old prophecy concerning Oliver, and
to remind him of the night on which they sat with the watch
between them, waiting his return; but Mr. Grimwig contends that
he was right in the main, and, in proof thereof, remarks that
Oliver did not come back after all; which always calls forth a
laugh on his side, and increases his good humour.

Mr. Noah Claypole: receiving a free pardon from the Crown in

consequence of being admitted approver against Fagin: and
considering his profession not altogether as safe a one as he
could wish: was, for some little time, at a loss for the means
of a livelihood, not burdened with too much work. After some
consideration, he went into business as an Informer, in which
calling he realises a genteel subsistence. His plan is, to walk
out once a week during church time attended by Charlotte in
respectable attire. The lady faints away at the doors of
charitable publicans, and the gentleman being accommodated with
three-penny worth of brandy to restore her, lays an information
next day, and pockets half the penalty. Sometimes Mr. Claypole
faints himself, but the result is the same.

Mr. and Mrs. Bumble, deprived of their situations, were gradually

reduced to great indigence and misery, and finally became paupers
in that very same workhouse in which they had once lorded it over
others. Mr. Bumble has been heard to say, that in this reverse
and degradation, he has not even spirits to be thankful for being
separated from his wife.

As to Mr. Giles and Brittles, they still remain in their old

posts, although the former is bald, and the last-named boy quite
grey. They sleep at the parsonage, but divide their attentions
so equally among its inmates, and Oliver and Mr. Brownlow, and
Mr. Losberne, that to this day the villagers have never been able
to discover to which establishment they properly belong.

Master Charles Bates, appalled by Sikes's crime, fell into a

train of reflection whether an honest life was not, after all,
the best. Arriving at the conclusion that it certainly was, he
turned his back upon the scenes of the past, resolved to amend it
in some new sphere of action. He struggled hard, and suffered
much, for some time; but, having a contented disposition, and a
good purpose, succeeded in the end; and, from being a farmer's
drudge, and a carrier's lad, he is now the merriest young grazier
in all Northamptonshire.

And now, the hand that traces these words, falters, as it

approaches the conclusion of its task; and would weave, for a
little longer space, the thread of these adventures.

I would fain linger yet with a few of those among whom I have so

long moved, and share their happiness by endeavouring to depict
it. I would show Rose Maylie in all the bloom and grace of early
womanhood, shedding on her secluded path in life soft and gentle
light, that fell on all who trod it with her, and shone into
their hearts. I would paint her the life and joy of the
fire-side circle and the lively summer group; I would follow her
through the sultry fields at noon, and hear the low tones of her
sweet voice in the moonlit evening walk; I would watch her in all
her goodness and charity abroad, and the smiling untiring
discharge of domestic duties at home; I would paint her and her
dead sister's child happy in their love for one another, and
passing whole hours together in picturing the friends whom they
had so sadly lost; I would summon before me, once again, those
joyous little faces that clustered round her knee, and listen to
their merry prattle; I would recall the tones of that clear
laugh, and conjure up the sympathising tear that glistened in the
soft blue eye. These, and a thousand looks and smiles, and turns
fo thought and speech--I would fain recall them every one.

How Mr. Brownlow went on, from day to day, filling the mind of

his adopted child with stores of knowledge, and becoming attached
to him, more and more, as his nature developed itself, and showed
the thriving seeds of all he wished him to become--how he traced
in him new traits of his early friend, that awakened in his own
bosom old remembrances, melancholy and yet sweet and
soothing--how the two orphans, tried by adversity, remembered its
lessons in mercy to others, and mutual love, and fervent thanks
to Him who had protected and preserved them--these are all
matters which need not to be told. I have said that they were
truly happy; and without strong affection and humanity of heart,
and gratitude to that Being whose code is Mercy, and whose great
attribute is Benevolence to all things that breathe, happiness
can never be attained.

Within the altar of the old village church there stands a white

marble tablet, which bears as yet but one word: 'AGNES.' There
is no coffin in that tomb; and may it be many, many years, before
another name is placed above it! But, if the spirits of the Dead
ever come back to earth, to visit spots hallowed by the love--the
love beyond the grave--of those whom they knew in life, I believe
that the shade of Agnes sometimes hovers round that solemn nook.
I believe it none the less because that nook is in a Church, and
she was weak and erring.

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