Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 3.djvu/312

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OLIVER TWIST.

towards the judge, his mind began to busy itself with the fashion of his dress, and what it cost, and how he put it on. There was an old fat gentleman on the bench, too, who had gone out some half an hour before, and now came back. He wondered within himself whether this man had been to get his dinner, what he had had, and where he had had it, and pursued this train of careless thought until some new object caught his eye and roused another.

Not that all this time his mind was for an instant free from one oppressive overwhelming sense of the grave that opened at his feet; it was ever present to him, but in a vague and general way, and he could not fix his thoughts upon it. Thus, even while he trembled and turned, burning hot at the idea of speedy death, he fell to counting the iron spikes before him, and wondering how the head of one had been broken off, and whether they would mend it or leave it as it was. Then he thought of all the horrors of the gallows and the scaffold, and stopped to watch a man sprinkling the floor to cool it—and then went on to think again.