Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 1.djvu/167

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OLIVER TWIST.

Whenever the Dodger or Charley Bates came home at night empty-handed, he would expatiate with great vehemence on the misery of idle and lazy habits, and enforce upon them the necessity of an active life by sending them supperless to bed. Upon one occasion, indeed, he even went so far as to knock them both down a flight of stairs; but this was carrying out his virtuous precepts to an unusual extent.

At length one morning, Oliver obtained the permission he had so eagerly sought. There had been no handkerchiefs to work upon for two or three days, and the dinners had been rather meagre. Perhaps these were reasons for the old gentleman's giving his assent, but, whether they were or no, he told Oliver he might go, and placed him under the joint guardianship of Charley Bates and his friend the Dodger.

The three boys sallied out: the Dodger with his coat-sleeves tucked up and his hat cocked as usual. Master Bates sauntering along with his hands in his pockets, and Oliver between them, wondering where they were going, and what