Summary: Chapter 23
Mr. Bumble visits Mrs. Corney, the widowed matron of the workhouse, to deliver some wine. Mrs. Corney offers him tea. Mr. Bumble slowly moves his chair closer to Mrs. Corney’s and kisses her on the lips. An old pauper woman interrupts them to report that Old Sally, a woman under Mrs. Corney’s care, is close to death and wishes to tell Mrs. Corney something. Irritated, Mrs. Corney leaves. Alone in Mrs. Corney’s room, Mr. Bumble takes “an exact inventory of the furniture.”
Summary: Chapter 24
Mrs. Corney enters Old Sally’s room. The dying woman awakens and asks that her other bedside companions be sent away. She then confesses that she once robbed a woman in her care. The woman had been found pregnant on the road, and Sally had attended the childbirth. The woman had given Sally a gold locket, saying it might lead to people who would care for the child. The child’s name was Oliver. Sally dies, and Mrs. Corney leaves. She tells the nurses who attended Sally that Sally had nothing to say after all.
Summary: Chapter 25
Crackit arrives at Fagin’s. Fagin has learned from the newspapers that the robbery has failed. Crackit informs Fagin that Oliver has been shot and claims that the entire population of the area then came after them. Crackit says that he and Sikes fled, leaving Oliver in a ditch.
Summary: Chapter 26
Fagin rushes into a pub called the Three Cripples to look for a man named Monks. Not finding him, he hurries to Sikes’s residence. At Sikes’s residence, he finds Nancy, who, in a drunken stupor, reports that Sikes is hiding. Fagin relates Oliver’s misfortune, and Nancy cries that she hopes Oliver is dead, because she believes that living with Fagin is worse than death. Fagin replies that Oliver is worth hundreds of pounds to him. He returns to his house to find Monks waiting for him. Monks asks why Fagin has chosen to send Oliver out on such a mission rather than make the boy into a simple pickpocket. It becomes clear that Monks has some interest in Oliver. Monks was looking for Oliver and saw him the day Oliver was arrested. Moreover, Fagin notes that Monks wants Oliver to be made into a hardened thief. Monks becomes alarmed, thinking he sees the shadow of a woman. The two stop talking and leave Fagin’s house.
Summary: Chapter 27
Mrs. Corney, flustered, returns to her room. She and Mr. Bumble drink spiked peppermint together. They flirt and kiss. Bumble mentions that the current master of the workhouse is on his deathbed. He hints that he could fill the vacancy and marry Mrs. Corney. She blushes and consents. Bumble travels to inform Sowerberry that his services will be needed for Old Sally. Bumble happens upon Charlotte feeding Noah Claypole oysters in the kitchen. When Noah tells Charlotte he wants to kiss her, Bumble lectures them for their immoral ways.
Summary: Chapter 28
The night after the failed robbery, Oliver awakens delirious. He gets up and stumbles over to the same house Sikes tried to get him to rob. Inside, Mr. Giles and Mr. Brittles, two servants, regale the other servants with the details of the night’s events, presenting themselves as intrepid heroes. Oliver’s feeble knock at the door frightens everyone. Brittles opens the door to find Oliver lying on the stoop. They exclaim that Oliver is one of the thieves and drag him inside. The niece of the wealthy mistress of the mansion calls downstairs to ask if the poor creature is badly wounded. She sends Brittles to fetch a doctor and constable while Giles gently carries Oliver upstairs.
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