Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 3.djvu/286

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

houses, with almost every one of which he had some slight incident connected—Gamfield's cart, the very cart he used to have, standing at the old public-house door—the workhouse, the dreary prison of his youthful days, with its dismal windows frowning on the street—the same lean porter standing at the gate, at sight of whom Oliver involuntarily shrunk back, and then laughed at himself for being so foolish, then cried, then laughed again—scores of faces at the doors and windows that he knew quite well—nearly everything as if he had left it but yesterday and all his recent life had been but a happy dream.

But it was pure, earnest, joyful reality. They drove straight to the door of the chief hotel (which Oliver used to stare up at with awe, and think a mighty palace, but which had somehow fallen off in grandeur and size); and here was Mr. Grimwig all ready to receive them, kissing the young lady, and the old one too, when they got out of the coach, as if he were the grandfather of the whole party, all smiles and kindness, and not offering to eat his head—no, not once; not even when he contradicted a very old postboy