Oliver Twist: Story Book - Chapter 3-4, Learning A Trade

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Learning A Trade

      Mr. Bumble spanked Oliver every day with his cane. The poor boy couldn't wait to get away from the workhouse!

      One day Mr. Gamfield, a chimney sweep, was walking by the workhouse. He saw the sign on the wall.

      "I could teach this boy how to be a chimney sweep," he told Mr. Limbkins.

      That's a nasty job," Mr. Limbkins replied.

      "Young boys can smother in chimneys."

      "You won't let me have him, then?"

"I'll give him to you for three pounds. It's a good deal. You won't have to spend much to take care of the boy-he's never had much to eat! And if he gives you any trouble, just spank him!"
Learning A Trade

      "I'll give him to you for three pounds. It's a good deal. You won't have to spend much to take care of the boy-he's never had much to eat! And if he gives you any trouble, just spank him!"

      Mr. Bumble asked the judge top sign papers transferring Oliver to Mr. Gamfield.

      "You're going to be an apprentice, Oliver, Mr. Bumble explained.

      "What's that, sir?"

      "Mr. Gamfield is going to teach you a trade and make a man out of you."

      Suddenly, the judge saw a look of great fear on Oliver's face and tears in his eyes.

      "What's the matter?" asked the judge.

Mr. Gamfield Needs a Chimney Sweep.....

      Oliver got down on his knees, sobbing bitterly. He begged the judge not to give him over to such a mean man as Mr. Gamfield. The judge tore up the papers and ordered Mr. Bumble to return Oliver to the workhouse and to treat him better.

      Mr. Sowerberry, the undertaker, was the next man to read the sign on the workhouse wall. "I can use somebody to help me in my business of burying dead people," he thought. So Mr. Sowerberry called upon Mr. Bumble.

Oliver Begs the Judge.....

He Looks Like a Bag of Bones.....

      "Would you like to have the boy?" asked mr. Bumble. "For five pounds, he's yours!"

      Oliver gathered up his belongings, which were so few in number that they all fitted into one small paper bag. Then he went with Mr. Bumble to the undertaker's house He cried all the way over there.

"What's wrong with you?" snapped Mr. Bumble. "You should be glad that the undertaker is giving you a home."

      "I'm sorry, sir," mumbled Oliver, "but I'm so lonely. Nobody likes me. Plese don't be mean to me!"

      Mrs. Sowerberry, a short, plump woman with a wrinkled face, opened the door.

      "He's so small," she said, looking at Oliver. "Looks like a bag of bones.

      The undertaker's wife took Oliver into a cold little kitchen.

      "Charlotte," she ordered the maid, "give this boy some of the cold meat that was put out for the dog!"

      Anyone who could have seen the half starved boy clutch at the strips of leftover meat would have been horrified. When Oliver had finished, Mr. Sowerberry came for him.

      "Come to your bed," she said. "It's under the counter among the coffins. Hurry along!"

      Oliver's new room was even more lonely and frightening than the one at the workhouse. All around him were coffins waiting for dead bodies to fill them. There were also wooden boards to build more coffins. Oliver slept on a hard mattress. The room was very dark and hot.

      In the morning, someone kicked at the door.

      "Do you need a coffin, sir?" Oliver asked.

      "Shut up!" said a young man as he entered. "I'm Noah Claypole, and you'll be working under me"

A Lonely, Frightening Place to Sleep.....

Noah was a charity boy but not a workhouse orphan. He knew who his parents were, but they were too poor to take care of him.

      Mr. Sowerberry showed Oliver what undertakers do. One day they went to the house of a woman who had just died. Her husband and children stood crying over the body. Mr. Sowerberry brought a coffin, and he and Noah carried the body to the churchyard and buried it. They asked Oliver if he would like to be an undertaker.

      "No!" replied the boy firmly.

      "Well, you'll get used to it," said Mr. Sowerberry. "You'll have to."

Oliver Hurls Noah to the Ground.....

      Oliver was badly treated by Mr. Sowerberry and Charlotte, but especially by Noah. One day, Noah insulted Oliver's dead mother. The little boy, who looked too weak to swat a fly, grabbed Noah by the throat and shook him violently. Then he hurled him to the ground with a fierce blow.

Dragging Oliver off Noah.....

      "Oliver is going to kill me!" cried Noah. "Help me, Charlotte! Help me, Mrs. Sowerberry! Get him off me!"

      The two women dragged Oliver into the cold, dark cellar and locked the door.

      "Go get Mr. Bumble!" Mr. Sowerberry told Noah. "Tell him what Oliver did!"

      "Mr. Bumble!" cried Noah upon reaching the workhouse. "Come quickly! Oliver...."

      "Ran away?" asked Mr. Bumble.

      No, sir, but he tried to kill me!"

      "I knew that boy would come to no good!"

      "Noah called my mother bad names," Oliver explained to Mr. Bumble when he reached the undertaker's house.

      She deserved it!" Snaffed the boy.

      That's a lie!" said Noah.

      Mr. Sowerberry spanked Oliver and shut him in his room with nothing but a stale piece of bread. When the boy was alone, he let the tears fall. Later, in the middle of the night, he slipped softly out of the house forever.

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