Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 2.djvu/70

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Oliver Twist.

aries but more particularly beneath the stateliness and gravity of a beadle, who (as is well known) should be the sternest and most inflexible among them all.

Whatever were Mr. Bumble's intentions, however,—and no doubt they were of the best,—whatever they were, it unfortunately happened, as has been twice before remarked, that the table was a round one; consequently Mr. Bumble, moving his chair by little and little, soon began to diminish the distance between himself and the matron, and, continuing to travel round the outer edge of the circle, brought his chair in time close to that in which the matron was seated. Indeed, the two chairs touched; and when they did so, Mr. Bumble stopped.

Now, if the matron had moved her chair to the right, she would have been scorched by the fire, and if to the left she must have fallen into Mr. Bumble's arms; so (being a discreet matron and no doubt foreseeing these consequences at a glance) she remained where she