Oliver Twist chapter III


‘Yes, Oliver,’ said Mr Bumble. ‘The kind and blessed gentleman which is so many parents to you, Oliver, when you have none of your own: are a going to ‘prentice’ you: and to set you up in life, and make a man of you: although the expense to the parish is three pound ten!—three pound ten, Oliver!—seventy shillins—one hundred and forty sixpences!—and all for a naughty orphan which nobody can’t love.’

As Mr Bumble paused to take breath, after delivering this address in an awful voice, the tears rolled down the poor child’s face, and he sobbed bitterly.

‘Come,’ said Mr Bumble, somewhat less pompously, for it was gratifying to his feelings to observe the effect his eloquence had produced; ‘Come, Oliver! Wipe your eyes with the cuffs of your jacket, and don’t cry into your gruel; that’s a very foolish action, Oliver.’ It certainly was, for there was quite enough water in it already. On their way to the magistrate, Mr Bumble instructed Oliver that all he would have to do, would be to look very happy, and say, when the gentleman asked him if he wanted to be apprenticed, that he should like it very much indeed; both of which injunctions Oliver promised to obey: the rather as Mr Bumble threw in a gentle hint, that if he failed in either particular, there was no telling what would be done to him. When they arrived at the office, he was shut up in a little room by himself, and admonished by Mr Bumble to stay there, until he came back to fetch him. There the boy remained, with a palpitating heart, for half an hour. At the expiration of which time Mr Bumble thrust in his head, unadorned with the cocked hat, and said aloud:

‘Now, Oliver, my dear, come to the gentleman.’ As Mr Bumble said this, he put on a grim and threatening look, and added, in a low voice, ‘Mind what I told you, you young rascal!’


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