Oliver Twist HTML version

Chapter 41
Her situation was, indeed, one of no common trial and difficulty.
While she felt the most eager and burning desire to penetrate the mystery in which
Oliver's history was enveloped, she could not but hold sacred the confidence which the
miserable woman with whom she had just conversed, had reposed in her, as a young and
guileless girl. Her words and manner had touched Rose Maylie's heart; and, mingled with
her love for her young charge, and scarcely less intense in its truth and fervour, was her
fond wish to win the outcast back to repentance and hope.
They purposed remaining in London only three days, prior to departing for some weeks
to a distant part of the coast. It was now midnight of the first day. What course of action
could she determine upon, which could be adopted in eight-and-forty hours? Or how
could she postpone the journey without exciting suspicion?
Mr. Losberne was with them, and would be for the next two days; but Rose was too well
acquainted with the excellent gentleman's impetuosity, and foresaw too clearly the wrath
with which, in the first explosion of his indignation, he would regard the instrument of
Oliver's recapture, to trust him with the secret, when her representations in the girl's
behalf could be seconded by no experienced person. These were all reasons for the
greatest caution and most circumspect behaviour in communicating it to Mrs. Maylie,
whose first impulse would infallibly be to hold a conference with the worthy doctor on
the subject. As to resorting to any legal adviser, even if she had known how to do so, it
was scarcely to be thought of, for the same reason. Once the thought occurred to her of
seeking assistance from Harry; but this awakened the recollection of their last parting,
and it seemed unworthy of her to call him back, when--the tears rose to her eyes as she
pursued this train of reflection--he might have by this time learnt to forget her, and to be
happier away.
Disturbed by these different reflections; inclining now to one course and then to another,
and again recoiling from all, as each successive consideration presented itself to her
mind; Rose passed a sleepless and anxious night. After more communing with herself
next day, she arrived at the desperate conclusion of consulting Harry.
'If it be painful to him,' she thought, 'to come back here, how painful it will be to me! But
perhaps he will not come; he may write, or he may come himself, and studiously abstain
from meeting me--he did when he went away. I hardly thought he would; but it was
better for us both.' And here Rose dropped the pen, and turned away, as though the very
paper which was to be her messenger should not see her weep.
She had taken up the same pen, and laid it down again fifty times, and had considered
and reconsidered the first line of her letter without writing the first word, when Oliver,