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6  O liver is found again

 

O liver began to recover and slowly regain his strength. The picture that had caused Mr  Brown low 's excitement was taken down from the wall, and was not mentioned again. O liver was disappointed at the disappearance of the picture, since he liked the woman's face, but he had many other things to think about now.

They were happy days, while O liver was getting better. He played cards with Mrs Bed win and listened to stories about her family. The days were all so quiet and relaxing, after the hardships and poverty of his previous life. Mr  Brown low  bought him a new suit and new shoes, and O liver's dirty old clothe s were given away.

One day Mr  Brown low  asked him to come to his study for a little talk.

O liver went in and sat down. He looked at Mr  Brown low 's serious face in alarm. 'Don't tell me you're going to send me away, sir, please! 'he exclaimed. 'Let me stay here! I could help with the houseworkplease, sir! '

'My dear child, don't be afraid, 'said Mr  Brown low  kindly. 'I won't desert you. I believe that you're a good boy, not a common thief. You told me you're an orphanthat seems to be the truth. But I want to hear now the whole story of your life, and how you came to be with the boys I saw you with that day. '

O liver began his story but was soon interrupted by the arrival of Mr Grimwig, an old friend of Mr  Brown low 's. Mr Grimwig was a fierce old gentleman and very fond of arguments. He clearly knew all about O liver and inspected him closely.

'So this is the boy, is it? 'he said at last.

O liver bowed politely and was introduced by Mr  Brown low . Tea was the n brought in, and during the meal Mr Grimwig stared so hard at O liver that the boy felt rather confused. Eventually, Mr Grimwig whispered to Mr  Brown low , 'He may be a good-looking boy, but I think he's deceiving you, my good friend, '

'Nonsense! 'said Mr  Brown low , becoming angry.

'Well, we'll see, answered his friend. 'We'll see. '

Later that afternoon Mr  Brown low  wanted to return some books to a bookseller, and to send some money for new books that he had already collected. Mr Grimwig suggested that O liver should go. 'He'll be sure to deliver everything safely, 'he said with a smile.

'Yes, please let me take the m, 'said O liver, delighted to be of use.

Mr  Brown low  hesitated, but Mr Grimwig's smile had annoyed him. 'Very well, 'he said. 'Here are the books, O liver, and a five-pound note. The bookseller will give you ten shillings change. '

'I won't be ten minutes, 'replied O liver eagerly, and he ran out into the street.

'So you expect him to come back, do you? 'enquired Mr Grimwig.

'Yes, I do, 'said Mr  Brown low , smiling confidently. 'Don't you? '

'No, He has a new suit of clothe s, some valuable books, and a five-pound note in his pocket. He'll join his old friends the thieves, and laugh at you. If he comes back, I'll eat my hat. '

The two men sat by the window with a pocket-watch between the m, and waited for O liver's return.

O liver hurried through the streets to the book shop, thinking how lucky he was. Suddenly the re was a loud scream behind him. 'Oh, my dear brother! 'Before be could look round, a pair of arms was thrown tightly around his neck.

'Don't! 'he cried, struggling. 'Let go! Why are you stopping me? Who is it? '

The young woman holding him started to cry loudly. 'I've found him! Oh! O liver! You naughty boy, to make me suffer so much! Come home immediately, you cruel boy! 'She burst into tears and several people stopped to stare at what was happening.

'What's the matter? 'asked one of the watching women.

'He ran away from his parents a month ago, 'The young woman said. 'They're hard-working, respectable people, and he left the m to join a gang of thieves and bad characters, and almost broke his mother's heart. '

'Go home, you horrible child, 'said another woman.

'Yesgo back to your parents, 'said a third.

'But I haven't got any! 'replied O liver, greatly alarmed. 'I haven't got a sister, either. I'm an orphan. I live in Pentonville. '

'Listen to him! Make him come home, 'The young woman said to the crowd, 'or he'll kill his dear mother and father, and break my heart. '

Suddenly O liver recognized the woman he had seen in Fagin's house. 'It's Nancy! 'he said, without thinking.

'You see? 'cried Nancy to the crowd. 'He knows me! '

Just the n a big man ran out of a beer shop, followed by a white dog. 'What's this? Young O liver! Come home to your poor mother, you young devil! And what books are the se? You've stolen the m, haven't you? Give the m to me. 'The man, who was Bill Sikes, seized O liver with one strong hand  and hit him on the head with the other.

'That'll do him good! 'shouted some of the crowd. 'It's the only way to treat boys like him. '

Bill Sikes held onto O liver's arm. 'Come on, you young thief! '

Still weak from illness, and terrified by the growling dog, O liver could not resist. He was taken through the dark narrow streets at great speed. Sikes and Nancy gave him no chance to escape and O liver had no breath to call out for help. All too quickly, he was back in Fagin's house, where his old friends were waiting for him.

'Delighted to see you looking so well, my dear, 'Fagin said, bowing politely. 'Why didn't you write, and say you were coming? We'd have got something warm for supper. '

The Dodger and Charley Bates roared with laughter, and the Dodger began looking through the books O liver had with him.

'Give the m back! 'O liver cried. 'Those books belong to the kind old gentleman who took me into his home. Send him back the books and the moneyhe'll think I stole the m! '

'You're right, 'laughed Fagin. 'He will think that! '

O liver jumped to his feet and ran wildly from the room, shouting for help. The Dodger and Fagin caught him easily, and brought him back. The n the old man picked up a long piece of wood.

'So you wanted to get away, my dear, did you? Wanted to call the police and get help? We'll cure you of that. '

He hit O liver hard on the shoulders with the stick. He was raising it for a second hit when Nancy rushed forward and, seizing the piece of wood, threw it into the fire.

'I won't let you do it, Fagin! 'she shouted. 'You've got him again. Isn't that enough? Now leave him alone. '

Fagin and Sikes looked at each other, shocked by her reaction.

 

'You'd better keep quiet, my girl, 'growled Sikes.

'No, I won't! ' cried the girl wildly. 'Now you've got the boy, you'll turn him into a thief and a liar. Isn't that enough, without killing him too? '

She rushed at Fagin and would have hit him if Sikes had not held her arms so tightly that she couldn't move. She struggled wildly for a while, the n, exhausted, she fainted. Sikes laid her down in the corner, as surprised as Fagin at her anger.

'She can be really wild when she's angry, 'Sikes said.

Fagin wiped his forehead. 'That's the trouble with women, 'he said, 'but she's a clever girl in her work. '

The n Charley Bates and the Dodger took away O liver's expensive new suit, gave him some old clothe s, and locked him up in a dark room. O liver felt tired and ill, and was soon fast asleep.


 

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