Oliver Twist was an orphan. His mother died giving birth to him. He was sent to a workhouse where he was hardly fed. When he was nine, he was sent to a bigger workhouse where he had to work to earn his living but the food was very scarce.
The boys of the workhouse were so hungry that they asked Oliver to ask for more soup after supper. There was general alarm because of this, and Oliver was locked up at once. Next morning, a notice was put up offering a reward to anyone who would take Oliver away from the workhouse.
The first person who wanted to take Oliver as an apprentice was Mr. Ganfield, a chimney sweep but the magistrate refuse to sign the papers for his apprenticeship because Oliver was frightened of leaving the workhouse with Mr. Ganfield.
Next morning the notice was put up again.
The person who took Oliver away was Mr. Sowerberry the undertaker.
Mr. Sowerberry´s wife and daughter treated Oliver unkindly.
Oliver´s bed was under the counter among the coffins.
Oliver met Noah Claypole, a charity-boy who worked with Mr. Sowerbery. Oliver worked under Noah and for several months Oliver suffered Noah´s ill treatment of him without complaint until one day Noah began saying bad things about Oliver's mother. Oliver got angry and knocked him to the ground. Mrs. Sowerberry slapped him and Noah beat him with a steak. Then, they locked him up into a cellar.
After Mr. Sowerberry freeded him from the cellar and sent him to bed, Oliver run away from the house and decided to go to London.
After walking seven days, he arrived into a little place called Barnet where he knew Jack Dawkins also known as “the Artful Dodger”. Jack Dawkins took him to a house in London. There, he met Fagin and other boys who treated him very kindly.
Fagin was a very mysterious man. When Oliver saw he had many jewels in a small box, he told the boy that they were all he had to live on and that people used to call him a miser.
Fagin, the Artful Dodger and Charley Bates taught him a very strange game in which Fagin was an old man with many valuable things in his clothes that the boys tried to take. If the old Jew felt a hand in any of the pockets, he shouted out its position and the game began all over again.
Fagin asked Oliver to make the Dodger and Charley bates his models/samples and take their advice in all matters.
One day, Oliver accompanied/ joined the Dodger and Charley Bates to work. That day Oliver discovered the whole mystery of the game already described: the Artful Dodger and Charley Bates followed very closely an old gentleman who was standing by a book-shop, and when he got involved enough in his reading, the two boys took his handkerchief away and then run away at full speed.
When Oliver realized what was going on, it was too late. He ran away until at last the crowd caught him.
Oliver and the old gentleman called Mr. Brownlow were taken to the magistrate who, having no witnesses, sentenced Oliver to three months in prison with hard labor despite Mr. Brownlow's wishes. But the boy was not taken to prison because the owner of the book-shop rushed into office and related how he had seen other children committing the robbery. The magistrate ordered the boy to be released.
Mr. Brownlow, feeling sorry for the boy's weakness, took him to his house where he took care of Oliver for several days. When Oliver had recovered, Mr. Brownlow asked him to tell him his story and promised him not to be friendless any more. Mr. Brownlow was confident on Oliver so he asked the boy to go back some books to the book-shop. The man believed Oliver would return but the boy didn't.
Bill Sikes, a Fagin's thief friend, and a girl called Nancy caught him to an unoccupied shop where Fagin, Jack Dawkins and Charley Bates were waiting for him.
Fagin was afraid of Oliver telling about his band of thieves to the police.
When Oliver tried to escape, Nancy protected him from Bill Sikes' blows. Bill Sikes wanted to rob a house, but for this he needed a small boy to enter the house and unlock the street door.
When Bill Sikes planted Oliver safely on the floor, and though the man had threaten him, the boy resolved that he would warn the family. But he couldn't because the servant of the house shot him down.
Bill Sikes took Oliver out through the window and carried him for some distance. The pursuers and their dogs were coming nearer, so the thieves left Oliver on the ground and escaped.
The three pursuers returned home as they didn't notice the poor boy lying on the ground.
Next day, Oliver woke up crying in pain; he was so weak that he walked unsteadily, without knowing it, to the house where the robbery had been attempted.
Mr. Giles, the man who had shot him down, recognized the child at once and informed the owner of the house, an old lady called Mrs. Maylie.
Mrs. Maylie sent for a doctor and the police. The doctor, whose name was Dr. Losborne, was a very kind and cheerful man. He attended Oliver and convinced Mr. Giles that the boy had nothing to do with the housebreakers.
The police officers went back to town and Oliver stayed with the Maylies three months. During that period he learnt to read and write.
When Toby Crackit, the Bill Sikes' partner, told Fagin how the attempt had failed, the old Jew got desperate and went to a public bar to look for a man called Monks.
Monks blamed Fagin for losing Oliver. The stranger wanted him to become a thief but he reminded the old man that he had no hand in his death, because nobody knew if Oliver was alive.
The master of the workhouse where Oliver had been brought up since he was nine met Monks in a public house. Monks asked Mr. Bumble (former workhouse official) about the old woman who had nursed Oliver's mother. The woman had died but Mr. Bumble's wife was in possession of a secret relating to that old woman. So, they arranged a meeting by the waterside.
Mrs. Bumble told Monks her secret: the old nurse called Old Sally robbed Oliver's mother in death a bit of jewelry that the dying woman had begged her to keep for her son. Mrs. Bumble gave Monks the jewelry, which consisted in a gold chain and plain gold wedding ring, Monks threw everything to the water.
Mr. and Mrs. Bumble were paid for keeping the secret by Monks.
Bill Sikes was ill, so he sent Nancy to the Fagin's house to get money. Fagin was about giving the money to her when Monks arrived, longing to chat with the Jew. Nancy listened to the conversation hidden. Next day, she went where the Maylies were staying and told to the Mrs. Maylies' niece, whose name was Rose, what she had heard from Fagin and Monks' conversation. Rose, after listening to Nancy very carefully, asked her to stay with them and never return to the gang of robbers but Nancy didn't accept her request and went back to Bill Sikes, the one she was in love with.
Nancy promised to walk on London Bridge every Sunday.
Rose took Oliver to Mr. Brownlow's house who received them in great surprise. Oliver was so happy of meeting his old friends that didn't notice Mr. Brownlow and Rose left him with the nurse; the man heard from Rose a full account of her meeting with Nancy and promised to find out a solution.
Meanwhile, the Artful Dodger had been arrested of picking a pocket. The thief was taken to the courtroom where the magistrate sentenced him to prison.
After almost a fortnight of the meeting with Nancy, Rose and Mr. Brownlow met her at the London Bridge. Nancy told them about Monks and the public house where he used to be.
The gentleman listened to Nancy very carefully and realized that he already knew Monks.
Nancy had been followed by one of Fagin's boy, who, then, told him about the secret conversation below London Bridge.
Fagin, afraid and angry, told what he had heard from the boy to Bill Sikes.
Bill Sikes, mad with anger, and despite Nancy's pleas, struck her down. After murdering Nancy, Bill Sikes left his house accompanied by his dog and both wandered in the streets all night long. Bill Sikes was very afraid and he believed that Nancy's spirit was following him.
Bill Sikes tried to drown his dog because it might lead to his arrest if people knew about the dog. The dog run away and never came back to its master.
At last, Mr. Bronlow found Monks and took him, by force, to his house where they had a deep chat.
Mr. Brownlow was Monks' father's oldest friend. Monks' real name was Edward Leeford and he was Oliver's brother.
Monks' parents were forced to marry but their marriage was so dislike by both parties that, at last, they were separated. When they had been separated for some time, Monks' father found new friends, which one of these was a retired naval officer who had a nineteen-years-old daughter. Monks' father fell deeply in love with her and the result of this guilty love was Oliver.
One of Monks' father relations dead and left him considerable property; the man had to go to Rome where he fell ill. When the news reached them, Monks and his mother followed him. Monks' father died the day after their arrival leaving no will, so that the whole property fell to Monks and his mother.
Mr. Leeford (Monks' father), before going abroad, went to Mr. Brownlow and told him just a little of his love story, and promised him to write and tell him everything but he died before he could keep his promise. Mr. Brownlow resolved to find the poor girl and give her shelter but the family had left the country a week before. When he saved Oliver from a life of crime, he was struck by his strong similarity to a picture painted by Mr. Leeford of the girl, which he had left to Mr. Brownlow before leaving.
After losing Oliver, Mr. Brownlow knew that the only person who could solve the mystery was Monks.
In the end, Mr. Brownlow learnt all the truth: Mr. Leeford had left a will which Monks' mother destroyed leaving the secret and the gain to him. It contained a reference to Oliver who was to have all his father's property if he grew up to a worthy man, but if he did not, the property was to be equally shared between both.
Monks was so afraid of the results of the murder he had committed that he decided to sign a true statement of facts and restore to Oliver the money and the property he had stolen from him.
Sikes went to Jacob's Island where Toby Crackit and the Fagin's boys were hidden of the police. He was looking for shelter but the people found him. Some people wanted to climb into the house and get Sikes but he thought of dropping into the water at the back of the house and escaping that way.
He took a long and strong rope and climbed onto the roof. The crowd noticed him and surrounded the house.
But the river had dried and instead of water, was mud.
Sikes was thoroughly frightened by the violence of the crowd but he determined to save his life by dropping into the mud, even at the risk of drowning in it. He fixed one end of the rope tightly round the chimney. With the other end he made a noose. He was about to place the noose round his body when he suddenly saw the Nancy's ghost. He lost his balance and dropped from the roof. He died, hung.
As to Fagin, he was caught by the police, taken to the court and sentenced to be hanged till he was dead.
Mr. Brownlow adopted Oliver as his son and moved with him and old Mrs. Bedwin to within a mile of Mrs. Maylie and Rose.
Monks took the share of the money Mr. Brownlow allowed him to keep and traveled to the New World. He quickly wasted his wealth and once more he felt into his old life of crime. Soon he found himself in prison, where he died.
Charley Bates, shocked by Sikes's crime, turned his back on his past life and succeeded at last in becoming a farmer's boy.
Mr and Mrs. Bumble lost their positions in the workhouse and were gradually reduced to great poverty.
ZERO HOUR and other modern stories
YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THE MESS
Lorna was more than glad because she didn't pass into the Grammar School (old and dusty). She went to the Secondary School (new, one year, light and airy)
Dusty and chipped window ledges
Lorna thought that it was a good thing to have an education behind you.
Solicitor's The offices were far from clean
Office Two senior shorthand-typists and she was a junior one
Mr. Gresham was far from smart in appearance.
Mr. Heygate (he had letters after his name) made her out to be uneducated
Mum keeps it spotless
Dad keeps doing thing to it
Lorna's Dad got permission from the council to remodernize the
“You could eat off your floor”, said the Health Visitor to mum
At any hour of the day or night you will find every corner pick and span
Low's A modern block with a quarter of an hour rest period,
Chemical morning and afternoon
Co. Special lighting over the desks
The typewriters are the latest models
Mr. Marwood is very smart in appearance
Lorna has met people of an educated type and it has opened her eyes.
The There were broken toys on the carpet
Darby's The ash trays were full up
House Contemporary pictures on the walls
Old fashioned furniture with covers which were standing up to another wash
Paintwork all chipped
Lorna liked the Darbys but she did not like the mess in which they lived and the way they talked to each other. But she also kept in with them for the opportunity of meeting people.
The Darbys had an idea to make a match for her with a chemist's assistant.
Assistant Good-looking boy
He was quite clean in appearance
There was only hot water at the weekend at his place, and
he said that a bath once a week was sufficient
He did not have much money
The Darbys had lots of friends coming and going and they had interesting conversation; sometimes they had people who were very down and out although there is no need to be.
Mrs. Darby didn't go away to have her baby, but would have it at home, in their double bed. Lorna was sure that the room was not hygienic for having a baby. One day, they took her to the country, to see Mr. Darby's mother.
Dr. Darby's A fourteenth-century cottage
Mother's Tumble-down cottage
House There was a carpet hanging on the wall, maybe hiding a
A good T.V set
The walls were bare brick
The facilities were outside
The furniture was far from new
One Saturday the Darbys took her to Curzon Cinema and afterwards they went to a flat in Curzon Street.
Curzon It was a very clean block
Street Good carpets at the entrance
The couple there had contemporary furniture
They also spoke about music
No Welfore Centre
People go for
There she met Willy Morley
He was an artist
Willy His place
Morley The most unhygienic place she had seen
Light was very dim
Bed had not been made
The sheets were far from clean
He did not take Lorna's opinions very seriously
A very nice but dirty car
Came from a good family
Wouldn't change his clothes very often
Went round like a tramp
Lent people money
Never tried to go to the full extent
Gave her several gifts
People thought Willy and she were getting married but one night, looking round her house which was kept tidy and beautiful, Lorna realized what a fool she was going with Willy.
She thought it would break her heart to sink so low.
A MESSAGE FROM THE PIG MAN
He was never called Ekky now. His name was Eric.
He was getting to be a real boy, nearly six, with grey flannel trousers that had separate belt and were kept by elastic. This was just one of those changes brought about naturally, not a disturbing alteration.
“Nothing will be changed” mum had promised. It was all going to go on as before, except Dad wouldn't be there, and Donald would be there instead. He felt all right about Donald though it seemed mad and pointless that Donald's coming should mean that Dad had to go.
The house was quite big, so if he had had any brothers or sisters, he wouldn't have minded sharing his bedroom in order to leave the spare room free for Dad to sleep in, but he hadn't.
Eric didn't understand grown-ups; they told him not to be silly but they were silly themselves in a useless way.
When grown-ups did give you something to go on, it was impossible to know how to take it.
Now that he was Eric, he was sensible and grown-up.
He was afraid of too many things but he didn't ask questions that would probably turn out to have quite simple answers because he didn't want to show his fear.
Eric was afraid of the Pig-man. None of the grown-ups acted like the pig-man was anything to be afraid of. Once, he intended to see him but he didn't encourage.
No one ever warned him about the pig-man in any way so the pig-man had to be harmless. People (including mum) helped the pig-man by leaving peelings, tealeaves, eggshells and that sort of thing to him in the bucket. Eric wondered himself how the pig-man looked and talked like.
One night, Eric was playing with the train, `just for once', in the dining room when his mother asked him to take the garbage out to the pig-man. He didn't want to because that night was when the pig-man came but, even though, he did it. But the bucket was not in its place, so the pig-man had already been there. Eric came back joyously but his happiness disappeared as soon as his mother told him to hurry up and catch the pig man up. Before mum had finished talking, Eric was outside the door and running. This was a technique he knew (because it sooner started, sooner it finished). The back view of the pig-man was much as he had expected to be. A slow, rather lurching gait, hunched shoulders, al old hat crushed down on his head and the pail in his hand. Plod as if he were tired. Perhaps this was just a ruse, though probably he could pounce quickly enough when he saw a tasty little boy or something.
Eric was very afraid but he called to the pig-man. The jogging figure turned and looked at him. Eric could not see properly from where he stood but when he came to the pig-man he saw that the pig-man was just an ordinary old man.
Eric gave to him the paper carrier and asked for who it was. The pig-man told him that he had some pigs that he looked after.
Eric came back home happy and satisfied. If there was a question that he wanted to know the answer to, and he had always just felt he couldn't ask, the thing to do was to ask it.
So, he decided to ask mum why Dad couldn't be there with them even Donald was there but his mother didn't answer. She let him down.
Eric was certain that grown-ups were mad and silly and he hated them all.
This store happens in the future.
Mink, a seven-years-old girl is playing with her friends a new game called `Invasion', in which only participate younger children.
Mrs. Morris, Mink's mom, thinks it's very funny the way her daughter plays and tells her about the invasion: her new friend, Drill, who's from up, Venus or Jupiter, wants to invade Earth through kids and their imagination. He has told Mink that they must kill parents because they don't believe in Martians and that's why they're dangerous. Drill has also told her that Martians are going to let children run the world. Zero hour is five o' clock.
Later, Helen, a Mrs. Morris' friend, tells her that her boy has got a crush on Drill, the same Mink's friend. Helen also tells Mrs. Morris that other friend's children, far away from them, were playing `Invasion' too.
When Zero hour comes, the children that were playing outside are in absolutely silent. A buzzing starts and Mrs. Morris, nervously, tells Mr. Morris to ask the children to put their invasion off.
There are many explosions in the streets. They go to the attic and she locks themselves. Mr. Morris doesn't understand what she is doing until they hear an electric humming and heavy footsteps coming up (the) stairs lead by Mink.
Mink is looking for them and her voice sounds with rear eagerness.
Someone or something melts the attic-lock and the door opens.
Mr. and Mrs. Morris are found by Mink, who appears at the door with tall blue shadows behind her.
THE PEOPLE BEFORE
The main character of this story is the land, a farm which belonged to the story-teller's father.
The farmer was a very hard-working man and was very rigorous with his two sons, making them work in the farm too. With the pass of time he let his youngest son be at home and go to school, though.
The man had bought the place cheaply (`for a song') but the improvements had put the property value up until the depression.
At the time of the depression the prices had fallen and the properties had lost their value. The farmer would go out frequently shooting wild pigs for meat. He was gripped by the idea that he might have failed; for him, the land was synonymous of independence and now his land worthed less than nothing.
That's why when Jim, the youngest son, found some greenish and triangular stones back in the hills and in a cave up the river, his father showed interest and thought of selling them. The stones were Jade and, as he told to the family, they used to belong to the Maoris. The Maoris used to fight about greenstones.
That meant there had been Maoris in their land in the old days. Jim did some research and found out that the land about their part of the river had been confiscated from Maoris after the wars.
For there was no place to find a buyer for those Maoris adzes, it was all forgotten and Jim kept the stones.
The two brothers tried to find the cave in which Jim had found the stones but they couldn't. Instead, they found bones and a human skull propped on the ledge of a cave. They didn't talk about it when they reached home.
One day, the people who were there before called saying that they wanted to have a look around. The farmer was baffled because he didn't know what those people really wanted. If they wanted to buy the land, he would sell it, although he and his family didn't have anywhere to go.
It turned out that the people that were in the farm before were Maori. They were carrying an old man in a rough litter. The man was the last great man of their tribe. The man had not so long to live so he wanted to see again the land where he was born.
The Maoris spent the night in the largest hill behind the farm, where their tribe had lived for thousands of years ago. Jim liked them and learnt many Maoris stories from the chief of the tribe, who turned the Jade adzes down when the boy offered him.
Next day, they came down off the hill but they were no more/longer burdened. The man had died. The farmer got angry and tired to make them understand that they couldn't leave a dead man anywhere. But they didn't understand and went away.
The farmer sent for the police and a health officer but they discovered no trace of a burial nor did they find anything in the caves. Someone suggested they might have imagined it all. So the farmer produced the launch man (who had taken the Maoris up to their land) and people from the township as witness to the fact that an old Maori, dying, had been brought to the farm. That convinced them. They traced the remnant of the tribe and found out that indeed and old man was missing. No one denied that there had been a visit to the farm but they maintained that the old man had just wandered off into the bush. He might, they added, still be alive. Just to be on the safe side, the police put the old man on the missing persons register.
The farmer lost all taste for the farm. After two years, when the land values improved, the man had no hesitation in selling out.
The farmer and his eldest son, the narrator, went on working in the new farm but Jim became a lecturer at the university.
Both brothers fought in the desert.
When the eldest asked Jim if he had ever fixed his mind on something when he was under fire, Jim said he had thought of the old farm. He still got the greenstones he had found, and he was glad he didn't give them away to the Maoris because they were the only souvenirs he had from there.
The narrator would ever forgive him. (…To whom? His father, because he made them leave that place or his brother, who also thought about the farm?)
It's the story of a fifty-three-years-old-man, Tom Sponson that enters in a crisis and leaves his house, his family and his business.
He was convinced that his life had no sense: his wife didn't care about anything else but her children, the house and herself; his son and his daughter were the same and the three of them excluded him from the thing they liked. Tom was aware that he was working very hard for very little so, one day, he decided to leave his house and his business and went to the beach.
There, he stayed four days. During this time he intended to write a letter to his wife in which he explained the reasons for leaving them. His family didn't need him anymore and he was living in a kind of lie.
He was happy living that free life, he was happy noticing how many nonsense he had picked up.
At the fourth day, he was found by his family: first, he met his brother. Fred, for that was the name of the brother, tried to take him back to home by smoothing him down. Tom was raged with his brother and realized that everybody in that little town was spying on him.
He went to Liverpool, because he wanted to go abroad but there he met his wife, his children, his chief clerk and a stranger.
His family had found out where he was staying by a letter he had sent to his chief clerk asking for money. Tom tried to make his wife understand why he had run away but neither his wife nor the children did.
The stranger helped him to go away again. Tom recognized him as his wife's psychiatrist. The psychiatrist seemed to understand him, to know what he was talking about. He drew him to a madhouse where he stayed a week.
His family pretended interest on him the first week he was back at home. His wife's affection and the children's sympathetic had almost driven him really mad. He knew it was all nonsense.
Neither Tom nor his family has ever admitted the he has had a breakdown. And there is no nonsense in their lives. God forbid.
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