فصل 05

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کتاب های فوق متوسط

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فصل 05

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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CHAPTER FIVE

Oliver’s life changes

Oliver was taken to the nearest police station. The officer at the gate looked at the boy. ‘Another young thief, eh?’ He turned to the old gentleman, ‘Are you the person who was robbed, sir-‘

‘Yes, I am,’ replied the old gentleman, ‘but I’m not sure that this boy actually took the handkerchief. I don’t really want to take him to court.’

‘Too late. He must go before the magistrate now.’

Oliver was locked in a small stone cell, which was disgustingly dim and smelly. As the key turned in the lock, the old gentleman said to himself thoughtfully, ‘There’s something in that boy’s face… He could be innocent. Where have I seen someone like him before?’ After thinking about this for a few minutes, he said, ‘No; it must be imagination.’ He sighed unhappily, and began reading the book again.

Sometime later, the officer touched his shoulder and told him that the court was ready. A magistrate was a judge who dealt with small crimes in local courts, and the magistrate for this district was well known. His name was Mr Fang and he was a disagreeable, bad-tempered man. Today he was in a particularly bad mood. He frowned angrily at the old gentleman, and asked sharply, ‘Who are you?’

My name, sir, is Brownlow.’

‘Officer! What is this man charged with?

‘He’s not charged, sir,’ answered the officer. ‘He’s accusing the boy.’

The magistrate looked at Mr Brownlow from head to foot. ‘And what have you got to say?’

Mr Brownlow began to explain. ‘I was standing outside a bookshop-‘

‘Be quiet, sir!’ shouted Mr Fang. ‘Policeman! Now -you arrested the boy. What happened?’

The policeman told the magistrate what he had heard, and how he had searched Oliver afterwards and found nothing.

‘Are there any witnesses?’ asked the magistrate.

‘None,’ answered the policeman.

Mr Fang then turned to Mr Brownlow and angrily told him to describe what had happened. Mr Brownlow explained that he had run after the boy only because he saw him running away. He did not think that the boy was the actual thief and he hoped that the boy would not be punished. ‘He’s been hurt already,’ he added, ‘and now I’m afraid he’s very ill.’

‘I don’t believe that for a moment,’ said Mr Fang unpleasantly. He turned to Oliver. ‘Come now, don’t try any clever tricks with me! What’s your name?’ he demanded.

Oliver tried to reply, but he was too weak to speak. He was deadly pale, and he felt the room spinning round him. At last he managed to whisper a request for water, but the magistrate refused angrily. Suddenly, Oliver fainted and fell to the floor.

Mr Fang stared at him angrily. ‘Three months’ prison,’ he said immediately. ‘Let him lie there. He’ll soon be tired of that.’ Mr Fang stood up. ‘This court is now closed.’

At that moment a man in an old black coat rushed in. ‘Stop!’ he shouted. ‘Don’t take the boy away. I saw it all. I’m the bookshop owner.’

Mr Fang’s face was black with anger at this unexpected interruption, but the bookshop owner demanded to be heard. He described exactly what had really happened. He had seen two boys steal the handkerchief and then run away, leaving Oliver to be arrested.

In a final burst of bad temper, Mr Fang said that his time had been wasted. He announced that Oliver was innocent, and ordered everybody out of the court.

The order was obeyed, and as Mr Brownlow turned to go down the street, he saw Oliver lying on the pavement, shaking, his face as white ns death.

‘Poor boy! Poor boy!’ said .Mr Brownlow, bending over him. He called a coach quickly, laid Oliver on the seat, and drove away.

The coach stopped at a neat house in a quiet, shady street in north London. Oliver was gently carried into a bed, and received more care and kindness than he had ever had in his life. But he had a fever, and for many days he lay there unconscious. When he eventually awoke, weak, thin and pale, he looked anxiously around the room.

‘What room is this? Where am I?’ he said. ‘This is not the place I fell asleep in.’

Mrs Bedwin, the motherly old housekeeper, heard his words, and instantly came to him. ‘Hush - be quiet, my dear, or you’ll be ill again. Lie down.’

He lay down, and woke up again much later. After a while, he was able to sit up in a chair, although he was still too weak to walk. In this new position he could see a picture of a woman hanging on the wall opposite. ‘Who is that, madam?’ he asked the old housekeeper.

‘I don’t know, my dear. Do you like it?’

‘The eyes look so sad, and they seem to be staring at me. As if the person was alive, and wanted to speak to me but couldn’t.’

‘You’re weak and nervous after your illness,’ Mrs Bedwin said kindly. ‘Don’t worry about things like that.’

Later that day Mr Brownlow came in, having heard that the boy was a little better at last. He was delighted to see that Oliver could sit up. But when he saw Oliver’s face clearly, Mr Brownlow stared hard at him.

‘I hope you’re not angry with me, sir,’ said Oliver anxiously.

‘No, no. Not in the least,’ he replied. Then he turned to the housekeeper. ‘But look, Mrs Bedwin, look there!’ He pointed to the picture of the woman above Oliver’s head and then to the boy’s face. It was a living copy of the picture; even the expression was the same. Oliver did not understand what was happening. He was so alarmed by Mr Brownlow’s excitement that he fainted once more.

The Dodger and Charley Bates had left the crowd which was chasing Oliver as soon as they could. They went back to their house through the narrow streets, using a complicated route in case anyone was following them. Once they were safely away from other people, Charley Bates rolled on the ground and laughed and laughed.

‘Ha! Ha! Ha! When I saw Oliver running away so fast, round all the corners, bumping into walls… and all the time I had the handkerchief in my pocket… Ha! Ha! Ha!’

‘But what’ll Fagin say?’ asked the Dodger.

‘What do you mean?’

The Dodger said nothing more but led Charley Bates into the house and up the stairs. When Fagin saw them enter, he rose to his feet.

‘Where’s Oliver?’ he asked them furiously.

The two boys looked uneasily at each other, but said nothing. Fagin took hold of the Dodger’s collar and shook him violently. ‘Tell me or I’ll kill you!’

The Dodger slid out of his coat in one smooth movement, leaving Fagin holding only the empty coat. ‘The police have got him,’ he said reluctantly. He looked round for a weapon to fight with, but Fagin already had a heavy metal pot in his hand. He threw it hard at the Dodger, but missed and hit Charley Bates, who started to shout with tear.

Suddenly, all this noise and confusion was silenced by a deep voice at the door.

‘What the devil’s going on here?’ the voice demanded.

The owner of the voice was a big man of about thirty-five in a black coat and very dirty trousers, with a brown hat on his head and a dirty handkerchief around his neck. He also had a three-day-old beard. A white dog with torn ears followed him into the room. The man kicked the dog into a corner and looked round at the signs of battle.

‘Are they trying to murder you, Fagin? I would if I was them. I’d have done it long ago. Now, give me some beer, and don’t poison it.’

It was said as a joke, but if the man had seen the evil look on Fagin’s face, he might have thought the warning was a necessary one.

Fagin produced some beer, and as the fight appeared to be over, everybody sat down. In the conversation that followed, Fagin told the newcomer that Oliver had been caught by the police. ‘I’m afraid, Mr Sikes,’ he said, the boy may say something which will get us into trouble.’

‘Very likely,’ said Bill Sikes, smiling unkindly. ‘You’ve got problems, Fagin.’

‘And I’m afraid,’ added Fagin, ignoring Sikes’ remark, ‘that if we’re in trouble, then a lot of other people will be in trouble too, if you understand me, my dear.’

Sikes turned angrily towards the old man. There was a silence. Then Sikes said, ‘Somebody must find out what’s happened. If he hasn’t said anything yet, we must catch him when he leaves the police station.’

Fagin nodded. But there was a difficulty. None of them wanted to go anywhere near a police station. The problem was solved with the arrival of the two young ladies whom Oliver had met one evening in Fagin’s house.

Nancy, my dear,’ Fagin said. He smiled sweetly at one of the young ladies. ‘Can you go to find out what’s happened to Oliver?’ The young lady answered calmly, ‘No, I won’t.’

‘You’re the only one here that the police in this district don’t know,’ said Sikes. ‘She’ll go, Fagin.’

‘No,’ repeated Nancy.

‘Yes, she will, Fagin.’ Sikes was right. With a mixture of threats and promises, he soon persuaded Nancy to go.

She set off at once, and it the police station pretended to be a shy, frightened girl. ‘Is my poor little brother Oliver here?’ she asked the officer with the keys.

‘He’s not here, the officer replied. ‘The gentleman’s got him.’

‘The gentleman? Oh no! What gentleman?’ cried Nancy, very upset.

The policeman explained that Oliver had become ill, and the old gentleman had taken him to his house in the Pentonville district of north London. Nancy, still looking terribly upset, left the station, and hurried back to Fagin’s house with this news. As soon as he heard it, Sikes called his white dog, put on his hat and left without saying goodbye to anyone.

‘We must find him,’ Fagin said urgently to the rest of them. ‘No one can stay here - it’s too dangerous now. All of you - walk around Pentonville and keep your ears open. Don’t come back until you have some news of Oliver! If you can, kidnap him! We’ve got to keep him quiet before he starts talking about us to his new friends.’ With these words, he pushed them all from his room and double-locked the door behind them. Then he took out his hidden box and very carefully hid all the watches and the jewellery beneath his clothes.

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