OLIVER CONTINUES REFRACTORY
Noah Claypole ran along the streets at his swiftest pace, and paused not once for breath,
until he reached the workhouse-gate. Having rested here, for a minute or so, to collect a
good burst of sobs and an imposing show of tears and terror, he knocked loudly at the
wicket; and presented such a rueful face to the aged pauper who opened it, that even he,
who saw nothing but rueful faces about him at the best of times, started back in
'Why, what's the matter with the boy!' said the old pauper.
'Mr. Bumble! Mr. Bumble!' cried Noah, wit well-affected dismay: and in tones so loud
and agitated, that they not only caught the ear of Mr. Bumble himself, who happened to
be hard by, but alarmed him so much that he rushed into the yard without his cocked hat,
--which is a very curious and remarkable circumstance: as showing that even a beadle,
acted upon a sudden and powerful impulse, may be afflicted with a momentary visitation
of loss of self-possession, and forgetfulness of personal dignity.
'Oh, Mr. Bumble, sir!' said Noah: 'Oliver, sir, --Oliver has--'
'What? What?' interposed Mr. Bumble: with a gleam of pleasure in his metallic eyes. 'Not
run away; he hasn't run away, has he, Noah?'
'No, sir, no. Not run away, sir, but he's turned wicious,' replied Noah. 'He tried to murder
me, sir; and then he tried to murder Charlotte; and then missis. Oh! what dreadful pain it
Such agony, please, sir!' And here, Noah writhed and twisted his body into an extensive
variety of eel-like positions; thereby giving Mr. Bumble to understand that, from the
violent and sanguinary onset of Oliver Twist, he had sustained severe internal injury and
damage, from which he was at that moment suffering the acutest torture.
When Noah saw that the intelligence he communicated perfectly paralysed Mr. Bumble,
he imparted additional effect thereunto, by bewailing his dreadful wounds ten times
louder than before; and when he observed a gentleman in a white waistcoat crossing the
yard, he was more tragic in his lamentations than ever: rightly conceiving it highly
expedient to attract the notice, and rouse the indignation, of the gentleman aforesaid.
The gentleman's notice was very soon attracted; for he had not walked three paces, when
he turned angrily round, and inquired what that young cur was howling for, and why Mr.
Bumble did not favour him with something which would render the series of vocular
exclamations so designated, an involuntary process?