Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse was born; on a day … There was a time—the same time that our story takes place—when too many cities … Wrapped in the blanket which had hitherto formed his only covering, he might have been the child of a nobleman or a beggar; it would have been hard for the haughtiest stranger to have assigned him his proper station in society. The surgeon deposited it in her arms. ‘It’s very likely it will be troublesome. The fact is, that there was considerable difficulty in inducing Oliver to take upon himself the office of respiration,—a troublesome practice, but one which custom has rendered necessary to our easy existence; and for some time he lay gasping on a little flock mattress, rather unequally poised between this world and the next: the balance being decidedly in favour of the latter. She was found lying in the street. There being nobody by, however, but a pauper old woman, who was rendered rather misty by an unwonted allowance of beer; and a parish surgeon who did such matters by contract; Oliver and Nature fought out the point between them. The result was, that, after a few struggles, Oliver breathed, sneezed, and proceeded to advertise to the inmates of the workhouse the fact of a new burden having been imposed upon the parish, by setting up as loud a cry as could reasonably have been expected from a male infant who had not been possessed of that very useful appendage, a voice, for a much longer space of time than three minutes and a quarter. Thingummy!' The patient shook her head, and stretched out her hand towards the child. ', The surgeon leaned over the body, and raised the left hand. TREATS OF OLIVER TWIST'S GROWTH, EDUCATION, AND BOARD. https://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/50/oliver-twist/932/chapter-1-treats-of-the-place-where-oliver-twist-was-born-and-of-the-circumstances-attending-his-birth/, Florida Center for Instructional Technology. What an excellent example of the power of dress, young Oliver Twist was! Give it a little gruel if it is.’ He put on his hat, and, pausing by the bed-side on his way to the door, added, ‘She was a good-looking girl, too; where did she come from?’, ‘She was brought here last night,’ replied the old woman, ‘by the overseer’s order. ', 'She was brought here last night,' replied the old woman, 'by the overseer's order. Now, if, during this brief period, Oliver had been surrounded by careful grandmothers, anxious aunts, experienced nurses, and doctors of profound wisdom, he would most inevitably and indubitably have been killed in no time. There being nobody by, however, but a pauper old woman, who was rendered rather misty by an unwonted allowance of beer; and a parish surgeon who did such matters by contract; Oliver and Nature fought out the point between them. But now that he was enveloped in the old calico robes which had grown yellow in the same service, he was badged and ticketed, and fell into his place at once—a parish child—the orphan of a workhouse—the humble, half-starved drudge—to be cuffed and buffeted through the world—despised by all, and pitied by none. Apparently this consolatory perspective of a mother's prospects failed in producing its due effect. The surgeon had been sitting with his face turned towards the fire: giving the palms of his hands a warm and a rub alternately.


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