The surgeon had been sitting with his face turned towards the fire, giving the palms of his hands a warm and a run alternately…
“Oh, you must not talk of dying yet.”
“Lor, bless her heart, no!... Lor, bless her dear heart, when she has lived as long as I have, sir, and had thirteen children of her own, and all on ‘em dead except two, and them in the workus with me, she’ll know better than to take on in that way, bless her dear heart! Think of what it is to be a mother, there’s a dear young lamb, do.”
The surgeon deposited it (the baby) in her arms. She imprinted her cold white lips passionately on its forehead, passed her hands over her own face, gazed wildly round, shuddered, fell back- and died…
The medical gentleman walked away to dinner; and the nurse, having once more applied herself to the green bottle, sat down on a low chair before the fire, and proceeded to dress the infant.
What an excellent example of the power of dress, young Oliver Twist was! Wrapped in a 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. 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.
Oliver cried lustily. If he could have known that he was an orphan, left to the tender mercies of churchwardens and overseers, perhaps he would have cried the louder.
Activities for Mr. Dickens: