Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 1.djvu/65

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OLIVER TWIST.

CHAPTER IV.

Oliver, being offered another place, makes his first entry into public life.

In great families, when an advantageous place cannot be obtained, either in possession, reversion, remainder, or expectancy, for the young man who is growing up, it is a very general custom to send him to sea. The board, in imitation of so wise and salutary an example, took counsel together on the expediency of shipping off Oliver Twist in some small trading vessel bound to a good unhealthy port, which suggested itself as the very best thing that could possibly be done with him; the probability being, that the skipper would either flog him to death in a playful mood some day after dinner, or knock his brains out with an iron bar,—both pastimes being, as is pretty generally known,