An answer so different from the one he had expected to elicit,and was in the habit of receiving, staggered Mr. Bumble not alittle. He stepped back from the keyhole; drew himself up to hisfull height; and looked from one to another of the threebystanders, in mute astonishment.。， 'Do you know this here voice, Oliver?' said Mr. Bumble.
。， The Jew grinned; and, making a low obeisance to Oliver, took himby the hand, and hoped he should have the honour of his intimateacquaintance. Upon this, the young gentleman with the pipes cameround him, and shook both his hands very hard--especially the onein which he held his little bundle. One young gentleman was veryanxious to hang up his cap for him; and another was so obligingas to put his hands in his pockets, in order that, as he was verytired, he might not have the trouble of emptying them, himself,when he went to bed. These civilities would probably be extendedmuch farther, but for a liberal exercise of the Jew'stoasting-fork on the heads and shoulders of the affectionateyouths who offered them.
。， 'Yer know, Work'us,' continued Noah, emboldened by Oliver'ssilence, and speaking in a jeering tone of affected pity: of alltones the most annoying: 'Yer know, Work'us, it can't be helpednow; and of course yer couldn't help it then; and I am very sorryfor it; and I'm sure we all are, and pity yer very much. But yermust know, Work'us, yer mother was a regular right-down bad 'un.'
。， With the first ray of light that struggled through the crevicesin the shutters, Oliver arose, and again unbarred the door. Onetimid look around--one moment's pause of hesitation--he hadclosed it behind him, and was in the open street.
。， 'Come near the fire, Noah,' said Charlotte. 'I saved a nicelittle bit of bacon for you from master's breakfast. Oliver,shut that door at Mister Noah's back, and take them bits thatI've put out on the cover of the bread-pan. There's your tea;take it away to that box, and drink it there, and make haste, forthey'll want you to mind the shop. D'ye hear?'
'No!' replied Oliver, boldly.。， And now, I come to a very important passage in Oliver's history;for I have to record an act, slight and unimportant perhaps inappearance, but which indirectly produced a material change inall his future prospects and proceedings.
For the combination of both these blessings in the one simpleprocess of picking oakum, Oliver bowed low by the direction ofthe beadle, and was then hurried away to a large ward; where, ona rough, hard bed, he sobbed himself to sleep. What a novelillustration of the tender laws of England! They let the paupersgo to sleep!。， For the next eight or ten months, Oliver was the victim of asystematic course of treachery and deception. He was brought upby hand. The hungry and destitute situation of the infant orphanwas duly reported by the workhouse authorities to the parishauthorities. The parish authorities inquired with dignity of theworkhouse authorities, whether there was no female then domiciledin 'the house' who was in a situation to impart to Oliver Twist,the consolation and nourishment of which he stood in need. Theworkhouse authorities replied with humility, that there was not.Upon this, the parish authorities magnanimously and humanelyresolved, that Oliver should be 'farmed,' or, in other words,that he should be dispatched to a branch-workhouse some threemiles off, where twenty or thirty other juvenile offendersagainst the poor-laws, rolled about the floor all day, withoutthe inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing, underthe parental superintendence of an elderly female, who receivedthe culprits at and for the consideration of sevenpence-halfpennyper small head per week. Sevenpence-halfpenny's worth per weekis a good round diet for a child; a great deal may be got forsevenpence-halfpenny, quite enough to overload its stomach, andmake it uncomfortable. The elderly female was a woman of wisdomand experience; she knew what was good for children; and she hada very accurate perception of what was good for herself. So, sheappropriated the greater part of the weekly stipend to her ownuse, and consigned the rising parochial generation to even ashorter allowance than was originally provided for them. Therebyfinding in the lowest depth a deeper still; and proving herself avery great experimental philosopher.
， 'Well!' said Mr. Bumble, raising his hands and eyes with mostimpressive solemnite. 'Well! of all the artful and designingorphans that ever I see, Oliver, you are one of the mostbare-facedest.'。， 'Oliver!'