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acter in the piece, is as much to be admired and emulated by weak beholders, as any fine gentleman in a red coat who has purchased, as VOLTAIRE says, the right to command a couple of thousand mer, or so, and to affront death at their head. Johnson's question, whether any man will turn thief because Macheath is reprieved, seems to me beside the matter. I ask myself, whether any man will be deterred from turning thief, because of Macheath's being sentenced to death, and because of the existence of Peachum and Lockit; and remembering the captain's roaring life, great appearance, vast success, and strong advantages, I feel assured that nobody having a bent that way will take any warning from him, or will see anything in the play but a flowery and pleasant road, conducting an honorable ambition—in course of time—to Tyburn Tree.

In fact, Gay's witty satire on society had a general object, which made him quite regardless of example in this respect, and gave him other and wider aims. The same may be said of Sir Edward Bulwer's admirable and powerful novel of Paul Clifford, which cannot be fairly considered as having, or as being intended to have, any bearing on this part of the subject, one way or other.

What manner of life is that which is described in these pages, as the every-day existence of a Thief? What charms has it for the young and ill-disposed, what allurements for the most jolter-headed of juveniles? Here are no canterings on moonlit heaths, no merry-makings in the snuggest of all possible caverns, none of the attractions of dress, no embroidery, no lace, no jack-boots, no crimson coats and ruffles, none of the dash and freedom with which “ the road” has been time out of mind invested. The cold wet shelterless midnight streets of London; the foul and frowsy dens, where vice is closely packed and lacks the room to turn ; the haunts of hunger and disease; the shabby rags that scarcely hold together; where are the attractions of these things ?

There are people, however, of so refined and delicate a nature, that they cannot bear the contemplation of such horfors. Not that they turn instinctively from crime; but that criminal characters, to suit them, must be, like their meat, in delicate disguise. A Massaroni in green velvet is an enchanting creature; but a Sikes in fustian is insupportable. A Mrs Massaroni, being a lady in short petticoats and a fancy dress, is a thing to imitate in tableaux and have in lithograph on pretty songs; but a Nancy, being a creature in a cotton gowŋ

and cheap shawl, is not to be thought of. It is wonderful how Virtue turns from dirty stockings; and how Vice, married to ribbons and a little gay attire, changes her name, as wedded ladies do, and becomes Romance.

But as the stern truth, even in the dress of this (in novels) much exalted race, was a part of the purpose of this book, I did not, for these readers, abate one hole in the Dodger's coat, or one scrap of curl-paper in Nancy's dishevelled hair. I had no faith in the delicacy which could not bear to look upon them. I had no desire to make proselytes among such people. I had no respect for their opinion, goosì or bad ; did not covet their approval; and did not write for their amusement.

It has been observed of Nancy that her devotion to the brutal house-breaker does not seem natural. And it has been objected to Sikes in the same breath—with some inconsists ency, as I venture to think—that he is surely overdrawn, because in him there would appear to be none of those redeeming traits which are objected to as unnatural in his mistress. Of the latter objection I will merely remark, that I fear there are in the world some insensible and callous natures, that do become utterly and incurably bad. Whether this be so or not, of one thing I am certain : that there are such men as Sikes, who, being closely followed through the same space of time and through the same current of circumstances, would not give, by the action of a moment, the faintest indication of a better nature. Whether every gentler human feeling is dead within such bosoms, or the proper chord to strike has rusted and is hard to find, I do not pretend to know ; but that the fact is as I state it, I am sure.

It is useless to discuss whether the conduct and character of the girl seems natural or unnatural, probable or improbable, right or wrong.

IT IS TRUE. Every man who has watched these melancholy shades of life, must know it to be so. From the first introduction of that poor wretch, to her laying her blood-stained head upon the robber's breast, there is not a word exaggerated or over-wrought. It is emphatically God's truth, for it is the truth He leaves in such depraved and miserable breasts; the hope yet lingering there ; the last fair drop of water at the bottom of the weed-choked well. It involves the best and worst shades of our nature; much of its ugliest hues, and something of its most beautiful ; it is a contradic. tion, an anomaly, an apparent impossibility ; but it is a truth

I am glad to have had it doubted, for in that circumstance I should find a sufficient assurance (if I wanted any) that it needed to be told.

In the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty, it was publicly declared in London by an amazing Alderman, that Jacob's Island did not exist, and never had existed. Jacob's Ísland continues to exist (like an ill-bred place as it is) in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, though improved and much changed.


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1. Treats of the place where Oliver Twist was born,

and of the circumstances attending his birth..... 7

11. Treats of Oliver Twist's growth, education, and



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 unfavorable

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 impor-

tant chapter, in this history...


XI. Treats of Mr. Fang, the police magistrate; and

furnishes a slight specimen of his mode of admin-

istering 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. 81

XIII. Some new acquaintances are introduced to the intel-

ligent reader, connected with whom, various pleas-

ant matters are related, appertaining to this history 90

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..... 122

XVIII. How Oliver passed his time in the improving society

of his reputable friends..


XIX. In which a notable plan is discussed and determined


XX. Wherein Oliver is delivered over to Mr. William



XXI. The expedition.


XXII. The burglary..


XXIII. Which contains the substance of a pleasant conver-

sation between Mr. Bumble and a lady; and

shows that even a beadle may be susceptible on

some points.


XXIV. Treats of a very poor subject. But is a short one,

and may be found of importance in this history. 173

XXV. Wherein this history reverts to Mr. Fagin and



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.... 195

XXVIII. Looks after Oliver, and proceeds with his adven-


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. 215

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



XXXV. Containing the unsatisfactory result of Oliver's ad-

venture; 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. 263

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.


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