Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 1.djvu/125

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

of meekness and self-devotion in her voluntarily remaining under Mr. Bumble's heavy accusation, of which, to do her justice, she was wholly innocent in thought, word, or deed.

"Ah!" said Mr. Bumble, when the lady brought her eyes down to earth again. "The only thing that can be done now, that I know of, is to leave him in the cellar for a day or so till he 's a little starved down, and then to take him out and keep him on gruel all through his apprenticeship. He comes of a bad family—excitable natures, Mrs. Sowerberry. Both the nurse and doctor said that that mother of his made her way here against difficulties and pain that would have killed any well-disposed woman wrecks before."

At this point of Mr. Bumble's discourse, Oliver just hearing enough to know that some further allusion was being made to his mother, recommenced kicking with a violence which rendered every other sound inaudible. Sowerberry returned at this juncture, and Oliver's offence having been explained to him, with such exaggerations as the ladies thought best calcu-