Oliver Twist HTML version

Chapter 32
Oliver's ailings were neither slight nor few. In addition to the pain and delay attendant on
a broken limb, his exposure to the wet and cold had brought on fever and ague: which
hung about him for many weeks, and reduced him sadly. But, at length, he began, by
slow degrees, to get better, and to be able to say sometimes, in a few tearful words, how
deeply he felt the goodness of the two sweet ladies, and how ardently he hoped that when
he grew strong and well again, he could do something to show his gratitude; only
something, which would let them see the love and duty with which his breast was full;
something, however slight, which would prove to them that their gentle kindness had not
been cast away; but that the poor boy whom their charity had rescued from misery, or
death, was eager to serve them with his whole heart and soul.
'Poor fellow!' said Rose, when Oliver had been one day feebly endeavouring to utter the
words of thankfulness that rose to his pale lips; 'you shall have many opportunities of
serving us, if you will. We are going into the country, and my aunt intends that you shall
accompany us. The quiet place, the pure air, and all the pleasure and beauties of spring,
will restore you in a few days. We will employ you in a hundred ways, when you can
bear the trouble.'
'The trouble!' cried Oliver. 'Oh! dear lady, if I could but work for you; if I could only give
you pleasure by watering your flowers, or watching your birds, or running up and down
the whole day long, to make you happy; what would I give to do it!'
'You shall give nothing at all,' said Miss Maylie, smiling; 'for, as I told you before, we
shall employ you in a hundred ways; and if you only take half the trouble to please us,
that you promise now, you will make me very happy indeed.'
'Happy, ma'am!' cried Oliver; 'how kind of you to say so!'
'You will make me happier than I can tell you,' replied the young lady. 'To think that my
dear good aunt should have been the means of rescuing any one from such sad misery as
you have described to us, would be an unspeakable pleasure to me; but to know that the
object of her goodness and compassion was sincerely grateful and attached, in
consequence, would delight me, more than you can well imagine. Do you understand
me?' she inquired, watching Oliver's thoughtful face.
'Oh yes, ma'am, yes!' replied Oliver eagerly; 'but I was thinking that I am ungrateful
'To whom?' inquired the young lady.
'To the kind gentleman, and the dear old nurse, who took so much care of me before,'
rejoined Oliver. 'If they knew how happy I am, they would be pleased, I am sure.'