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hand; "I'm better now. Come home directly, you cruel boy, come." "What's the matter, ma'am?" inquired one of the women.

"Oh, ma'am," replied the young woman, "he ran away near a month ago from his parents, who are hard-working and respectable people, and joined a set of thieves and bad characters, and almost broke his mother's heart."

"Young wretch !" said one women.

"Go home, do, you little brute," said the other.

"I'm not," replied Oliver, greatly alarmed. "I don't know her. I haven't got any sister, or father and mother either. I'm an orphan; I live at Pentonville,"


"Oh, only hear him, how he braves it out!" cried the young woman. Why, it's Nancy!" exclaimed Oliver, who now saw her face for the first time, and started back in i: repressible astonishment.

"You see he knows me," cried Nancy, appealing to the bystanders. "He can't help himself. Make him come home, there's good people, or he'll kill his dear mother and father, and break my heart!"

"What the devil's this?" said a man bursting out of a beer shop, with a white dog at his heels; "young Oliver! Come home to your poor mother, you young dog! come home directly."

"I don't belong to them. I don't know them. Help! help! cried Oliver, struggling in the man's powerful grasp.


"Help!" repeated the man. "Yes; I'll help you, you young rasWhat books are these? You've been a stealing 'em, have you? Give 'em here!" With these words the man tore the volumes from his grasp, and struck him violently on the head.

"That's right!" cried a looker-on, from a garret window.

the only way of bringing him to his senses!"


"To be sure," cried a sleepy-faced carpenter, casting an approving look at the garret window.

man, administering an"Come on, you young mind him!"

"It'll do him good," said the two women. "And he shall have it too!" rejoined the other blow, and seizing Oliver by the collar. villain! Here, Bull's-eye, mind him, boy! Weak with recent illness, stupified by the blows and the suddenness of the attack, terrified by the fierce growling of the dog and the bru tality of the man, and overpowered by the conviction of the bystanders that he was really the hardened little wretch he was described to be, what could one poor child do? Darkness had set in; it was a low neighbourhood; no help was near; resistance was useless. In another moment he was dragged into a labyrinth of dark, narrow courts, and forced along them at a pace which rendered the few cries he dared to give utterance to, wholly unintelligible. It was of little moment, indeed, whether they were intelligible or not, for there was nobody to care for them had they been ever so plain.

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The gas-lamps were lighted; Mrs. Bedwin was waiting anxiously at the open door; the servant had run up the street twenty times, to see if there were any traces of Oliver; and still the two old gentlemen sat perseveringly in the dark parlour, with the watch between them.

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