Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 2.djvu/58

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Oliver Twist.

CHAPTER XXIII.

Which contains the substance of a pleasant conversation between Mr. Bumble and a lady; and shows that even a beadle may be susceptible on some points.

The night was bitter cold. The snow lay upon the ground frozen into a hard thick crust, so that only the heaps that had drifted into byways and corners were affected by the sharp wind that howled abroad, which, as if expending increased fury on such prey as it found, caught it savagely up in clouds, and, whirling it into a thousand misty eddies, scattered it in air. Bleak, dark, and piercing cold, it was a night for the well-housed and fed to draw round the bright fire and thank God they were at home, and for the homeless starving wretch to lay him down and die. Many hunger-worn out-