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'Yes,' said the old lady, looking up for a moment from the broth;
'that's a portrait.'
'Whose, ma'am?' asked Oliver.
'Why, really, my dear, I don't know,' answered the old lady in a
good-humoured manner. 'It's not a likeness of anybody that you
or I know, I expect. It seems to strike your fancy, dear.'
'It is so pretty,' replied Oliver.
'Why, sure you're not afraid of it?' said the old lady: observing
in great surprise, the look of awe with which the child regarded
'Oh no, no,' returned Oliver quickly; 'but the eyes look so
sorrowful; and where I sit, they seem fixed upon me. It makes my
heart beat,' added Oliver in a low voice, 'as if it was alive,
and wanted to speak to me, but couldn't.'
'Lord save us!' exclaimed the old lady, starting; 'don't talk in
that way, child. You're weak and nervous after your illness.
Let me wheel your chair round to the other side; and then you
won't see it. There!' said the old lady, suiting the action to
the word; 'you don't see it now, at all events.'
Oliver DID see it in his mind's eye as distinctly as if he had
not altered his position; but he thought it better not to worry
the kind old lady; so he smiled gently when she looked at him;
and Mrs. Bedwin, satisfied that he felt more comfortable, salted
and broke bits of toasted bread into the broth, with all the
bustle befitting so solemn a preparation. Oliver got through it
with extraordinary expedition. He had scarcely swallowed the
last spoonful, when there came a soft rap at the door. 'Come
in,' said the old lady; and in walked Mr. Brownlow.
Now, the old gentleman came in as brisk as need be; but, he had
no sooner raised his spectacles on his forehead, and thrust his
hands behind the skirts of his dressing-gown to take a good long
look at Oliver, than his countenance underwent a very great
variety of odd contortions. Oliver looked very worn and shadowy
from sickness, and made an ineffectual attempt to stand up, out
of respect to his benefactor, which terminated in his sinking
back into the chair again; and the fact is, if the truth must be
told, that Mr. Brownlow's heart, being large enough for any six
ordinary old gentlemen of humane disposition, forced a supply of
tears into his eyes, by some hydraulic process which we are not
sufficiently philosophical to be in a condition to explain.
'Poor boy, poor boy!' said Mr. Brownlow, clearing his throat.
'I'm rather hoarse this morning, Mrs. Bedwin. I'm afraid I have
'I hope not, sir,' said Mrs. Bedwin. 'Everything you have had,
has been well aired, sir.'
'I don't know, Bedwin. I don't know,' said Mr. Brownlow; 'I
rather think I had a damp napkin at dinner-time yesterday; but
never mind that. How do you feel, my dear?'
'Very happy, sir,' replied Oliver. 'And very grateful indeed,
sir, for your goodness to me.'
'Good by,' said Mr. Brownlow, stoutly. 'Have you given him any
nourishment, Bedwin? Any slops, eh?'
'He has just had a basin of beautiful strong broth, sir,' replied
Mrs. Bedwin: drawing herself up slightly, and laying strong
emphasis on the last word: to intimate that between slops, and
broth will compounded, there existed no affinity or connection
'Ugh!' said Mr. Brownlow, with a slight shudder; 'a couple of
glasses of port wine would have done him a great deal more good.
Wouldn't they, Tom White, eh?'
'My name is Oliver, sir,' replied the little invalid: with a
look of great astonishment.
'Oliver,' said Mr. Brownlow; 'Oliver what? Oliver White, eh?'
'No, sir, Twist, Oliver Twist.'
'Queer name!' said the old gentleman. 'What made you tell the
magistrate your name was White?'
'I never told him so, sir,' returned Oliver in amazement.
This sounded so like a falsehood, that the old gentleman looked
somewhat sternly in Oliver's face. It was impossible to doubt
him; there was truth in every one of its thin and sharpened
'Some mistake,' said Mr. Brownlow. But, although his motive for
looking steadily at Oliver no longer existed, the old idea of the
resemblance between his features and some familiar face came upon
him so strongly, that he could not withdraw his gaze.
'I hope you are not angry with me, sir?' said Oliver, raising his
'No, no,' replied the old gentleman. 'Why! what's this? Bedwin,
As he spoke, he pointed hastily to the picture over Oliver's
head, and then to the boy's face. There was its living copy. The
eyes, the head, the mouth; every feature was the same. The
expression was, for the instant, so precisely alike, that the
minutest line seemed copied with startling accuracy!
Oliver knew not the cause of this sudden exclamation; for, not
being strong enough to bear the start it gave him, he fainted
away. A weakness on his part, which affords the narrative an
opportunity of relieving the reader from suspense, in behalf of
the two young pupils of the Merry Old Gentleman; and of
That when the Dodger, and his accomplished friend Master Bates,
joined in the hue-and-cry which was raised at Oliver's heels, in
consequence of their executing an illegal conveyance of Mr.
Brownlow's personal property, as has been already described, they
were actuated by a very laudable and becoming regard for
themselves; and forasmuch as the freedom of the subject and the
liberty of the individual are among the first and proudest boasts
of a true-hearted Englishman, so, I need hardly beg the reader to
observe, that this action should tend to exalt them in the
opinion of all public and patriotic men, in almost as great a
degree as this strong proof of their anxiety for their own
preservation and safety goes to corroborate and confirm the
little code of laws which certain profound and sound-judging
philosophers have laid down as the main-springs of all Nature's
deeds and actions: the said philosophers very wisely reducing
the good lady's proceedings to matters of maxim and theory: and,
by a very neat and pretty compliment to her exalted wisdom and
understanding, putting entirely out of sight any considerations
of heart, or generous impulse and feeling. For, these are matters
totally beneath a female who is acknowledged by universal
admission to be far above the numerous little foibles and
weaknesses of her sex.
If I wanted any further proof of the strictly philosophical
nature of the conduct of these young gentlemen in their very
delicate predicament, I should at once find it in the fact (also
recorded in a foregoing part of this narrative), of their
quitting the pursuit, when the general attention was fixed upon
Oliver; and making immediately for their home by the shortest
possible cut. Although I do not mean to assert that it is
usually the practice of renowned and learned sages, to shorten
the road to any great conclusion (their course indeed being
rather to lengthen the distance, by various circumlocations and
discursive staggerings, like unto those in which drunken men
under the pressure of a too mighty flow of ideas, are prone to
indulge); still, I do mean to say, and do say distinctly, that it
is the invariable practice of many mighty philosophers, in
carrying out their theories, to evince great wisdom and foresight
in providing against every possible contingency which can be
supposed at all likely to affect themselves. Thus, to do a great
right, you may do a little wrong; and you may take any means
which the end to be attained, will justify; the amount of the
right, or the amount of the wrong, or indeed the distinction
between the two, being left entirely to the philosopher
concerned, to be settled and determined by his clear,
comprehensive, and impartial view of his own particular case.
It was not until the two boys had scoured, with great rapidity,
through a most intricate maze of narrow streets and courts, that
they ventured to halt beneath a low and dark archway. Having
remained silent here, just long enough to recover breath to
speak, Master Bates uttered an exclamation of amusement and
delight; and, bursting into an uncontrollable fit of laughter,
flung himself upon a doorstep, and rolled thereon in a transport
'What's the matter?' inquired the Dodger.
'Ha! ha! ha!' roared Charley Bates.
'Hold your noise,' remonstrated the Dodger, looking cautiously
round. 'Do you want to be grabbed, stupid?'
'I can't help it,' said Charley, 'I can't help it! To see him
splitting away at that pace, and cutting round the corners, and
knocking up again' the posts, and starting on again as if he was
made of iron as well as them, and me with the wipe in my pocket,
singing out arter him--oh, my eye!' The vivid imagination of
Master Bates presented the scene before him in too strong
colours. As he arrived at this apostrophe, he again rolled upon
the door-step, and laughed louder than before.
'What'll Fagin say?' inquired the Dodger; taking advantage of the
next interval of breathlessness on the part of his friend to
propound the question.
'What?' repeated Charley Bates.
'Ah, what?' said the Dodger.
'Why, what should he say?' inquired Charley: stopping rather
suddenly in his merriment; for the Dodger's manner was