It was not, in appearance, so desirable a habitation as his old quarters: being a mean and badly-furnished apartment, of very limited size; lighted only by one small window in the shelving roof, and abutting on a close and dirty lane . . . a great scarcity of furniture, and total absence of comfort, together with the disappearance of all such small moveables, as spare clothes and linen, bespoke a state of extreme poverty; while the meagre and attenuated condition of Mr. Sikes himself would have fully confirmed these symptoms, if they had stood in any need of corroboration.
The girl’s life had been squandered in the streets, and among the most noisome of the stews and dens of London, but there was something of the woman’s original nature left in her still[.]
“I, lady!” replied the girl. “I am the infamous creature you have heard of, that lives among the thieves, and that never from the first moment I can recollect my eyes and senses opening on London streets have known any better life, or kinder words than they have given me, so help me God!”
When such as I, who have no certain roof but the coffin-lid, and no friend in sickness or death but the hospital nurse, set our rotten hearts on any man, and let him fill the place that has been a blank through all our wretched lives, who can hope to cure us?
Simply, the discovery of Oliver’s parentage, and regaining for him the inheritance of which, if this story be true, he has been fraudulently deprived.