Oliver Twist: by Charles Dickens Story Book - Chapter 38-39

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New Mambers for the Gang

      On the very night that Nancy visited Rose, Noaha Claypole and Charlotte set out on the road to London. They carried on their backs whatever belongings they could manage. After traveling along the main road for a while, they turned off into narrow streets so that no one could follow their trail.

      "I'm so tired," complained Charlotte. "When we will get there?"

"Don't whine, Charlotte. If it aren't for me, ya never would have escaped from that place. Ya took the money from Sowerberry's till, didn't ya?"
New Mambers for the Gang

      "Don't whine, Charlotte. If it aren't for me, ya never would have escaped from that place. Ya took the money from Sowerberry's till, didn't ya?"

      "I took it for you, Noah dear."

      "Well, I'm lettin' ya hold it, aren't I?" said Noah.

      In fact, Noah had planned for her to hold it, so that if they were caught, she would go to jail and he would go free!

      "Here's The Three Cripples," said Noah. "I heard that it's a good tavern."

      He took the heavy bundle off Charlotte's back and carried it himself to make a better impression when they walked in. Seated at the bar was an old man who the bartender called Fagin. Noah and Charlotte sat down at a table in a small back room and ordered some beer and cold meat.

On the Road to London.....

      Look, we got visitors from the country," said Barney, the bartender, letting Fagin look through a small opening between the two rooms.

      "I'm interested in those people," said Fagin. "Look how the girl obeys the man; he knows how to train 'em. Don't make any noise. I want to hear what they're saying!"

A Good Tavern.....

      "So I mean to live like a gentleman," Noah was telling Charlotte. "No more coffin making. And you should live like a lady."

      "That sounds find, Noah, but it's not every day that we can empty tills and get away with it!"

      "Theres other things besides tills that can be emptied-people's pockets, house's, mail coaches, banks..."

      "You can't do all that by youself, Noah!"

Fagin Overhears Noah's Plans.....

      "Well, I mean to get in with some gang that does them sort of things. You'd be helpful too, Charlotte. You're a clever woman."

      That was all Fagin needed to hear. He entered the room, bowed to the couple, and sat down at the nearest table. He took a long drink from the mug Barney had set before him and whispered in Noah's direction. "One has to empty a lot of tills to eat and drink like this all the time!"

      Noah froze and turned pale.

      "Don't worry!" added Fagin with a laugh. "I'm the only one that heard ya talkin'. You're lucky that it was only me!"

      "Well, she took the money, not me."

      "Doesn't matter who took it. I'm that way myself, and I've taken a fancy to you and the young woman. All the people at The Cripples are in the same kind of business as I am. You're in a perfectly safe place! In face, if you want to join us, I can recommend you. We don't usually take country people, but we need some helpers. What part of the business are you interested in?"

      "Would I have to hand over our money if we wanted to join?" asked Noah.

      "That's the only way," replied Fagin. "You couldn't spend it anyway. The police and the bank probably have the numbers on the bills. We'd have to send them out of the country."

      "Well, what are your wages?" Noah asked.

      Live like a gentleman-board and lodging, pipes and spirits free-half of all you earn and half of all the young woman earns," replied Fagin.

I Heard Ya Talkin.....

      "I'd like to start with something very easy, said Noah. "Not too dangerous."

      "How about spying on some people?"

      "That's okay, but it wouldn't pay by itself."

      "How about the old ladies, then? You can snatch their pocketbooks and parcels and run right around the corner."

      "The problem with that is they scream and scratch a good deal. Isn't there something else?"

Fagin Has the Perfect Idea!.....

      "I have it!" cried Fagin, slapping Noah's knee. "The children! Their mothers always send them on errands with sixpence and shillings. All you have to do is grab the money from their hands, knock them down, and walk away."

      "That sounds perfect," cried Noah. "Now what time shall I come to meet your friends?"

      "Tomorrow at ten," said Fagin. "See you then!"

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