Oliver Twist HTML version

Chapter 22
'Hallo!' cried a loud, hoarse voice, as soon as they set foot in the passage.
'Don't make such a row,' said Sikes, bolting the door. 'Show a glim, Toby.'
'Aha! my pal!' cried the same voice. 'A glim, Barney, a glim! Show the gentleman in,
Barney; wake up first, if convenient.'
The speaker appeared to throw a boot-jack, or some such article, at the person he
addressed, to rouse him from his slumbers: for the noise of a wooden body, falling
violently, was heard; and then an indistinct muttering, as of a man between sleep and
'Do you hear?' cried the same voice. 'There's Bill Sikes in the passage with nobody to do
the civil to him; and you sleeping there, as if you took laudanum with your meals, and
nothing stronger. Are you any fresher now, or do you want the iron candlestick to wake
you thoroughly?'
A pair of slipshod feet shuffled, hastily, across the bare floor of the room, as this
interrogatory was put; and there issued, from a door on the right hand; first, a feeble
candle: and next, the form of the same individual who has been heretofore described as
labouring under the infirmity of speaking through his nose, and officiating as waiter at
the public-house on Saffron Hill.
'Bister Sikes!' exclaimed Barney, with real or counterfeit joy; 'cub id, sir; cub id.'
'Here! you get on first,' said Sikes, putting Oliver in front of him. 'Quicker! or I shall
tread upon your heels.'
Muttering a curse upon his tardiness, Sikes pushed Oliver before him; and they entered a
low dark room with a smoky fire, two or three broken chairs, a table, and a very old
couch: on which, with his legs much higher than his head, a man was reposing at full
length, smoking a long clay pipe. He was dressed in a smartly-cut snuff-coloured coat,
with large brass buttons; an orange neckerchief; a coarse, staring, shawl-pattern
waistcoat; and drab breeches. Mr. Crackit (for he it was) had no very great quantity of
hair, either upon his head or face; but what he had, was of a reddish dye, and tortured into
long corkscrew curls, through which he occasionally thrust some very dirty fingers,
ornamented with large common rings. He was a trifle above the middle size, and
apparently rather weak in the legs; but this circumstance by no means detracted from his
own admiration of his top-boots, which he contemplated, in their elevated situation, with
lively satisfaction.