The fortunes of those who have figured in this tale are nearly closed.
The little that remains to their historian to relate, is told in few
and simple words.
Before three months had passed, Rose Fleming and Harry Maylie were
married in the village church which was henceforth to be the scene of
the young clergyman's labours; on the same day they entered into
possession of their new and happy home.
Mrs. Maylie took up her abode with her son and daughter-in-law, to
enjoy, during the tranquil remainder of her days, the greatest felicity
that age and worth can know—the contemplation of the happiness of
those on whom the warmest affections and tenderest cares of a
well-spent life, have been unceasingly bestowed.
It appeared, on full and careful investigation, that if the wreck of
property remaining in the custody of Monks (which had never prospered
either in his hands or in those of his mother) were equally divided
between himself and Oliver, it would yield, to each, little more than
three thousand pounds. By the provisions of his father's will, Oliver
would have been entitled to the whole; but Mr. Brownlow, unwilling to
deprive the elder son of the opportunity of retrieving his former vices
and pursuing an honest career, proposed this mode of distribution, to
which his young charge joyfully acceded.
Monks, still bearing that assumed name, retired with his portion to a
distant part of the New World; where, having quickly squandered it, he
once more fell into his old courses, and, after undergoing a long
confinement for some fresh act of fraud and knavery, at length sunk
under an attack of his old disorder, and died in prison. As far from
home, died the chief remaining members of his friend Fagin's gang.
Mr. Brownlow adopted Oliver as his son. Removing with him and the old
housekeeper to within a mile of the parsonage-house, where his dear
friends resided, he gratified the only remaining wish of Oliver's warm
and earnest heart, and thus linked together a little society, whose
condition approached as nearly to one of perfect happiness as can ever
be known in this changing world.
Soon after the marriage of the young people, the worthy doctor returned
to Chertsey, where, bereft of the presence of his old friends, he would
have been discontented if his temperament had admitted of such a
feeling; and would have turned quite peevish if he had known how. For
two or three months, he contented himself with hinting that he feared
the air began to disagree with him; then, finding that the place really
no longer was, to him, what it had been, he settled his business on his
assistant, took a bachelor's cottage outside the village of which his
young friend was pastor, and instantaneously recovered. Here he took
to gardening, planting, fishing, carpentering, and various other
pursuits of a similar kind: all undertaken with his characteristic
impetuosity. In each and all he has since become famous throughout the
neighborhood, as a most profound authority.
Before his removal, he had managed to contract a strong friendship for
Mr. Grimwig, which that eccentric gentleman cordially reciprocated. He
is accordingly visited by Mr. Grimwig a great many times in the course
of the year. On all such occasions, Mr. Grimwig plants, fishes, and
carpenters, with great ardour; doing everything in a very singular and
unprecedented manner, but always maintaining with his favourite
asseveration, that his mode is the right one. On Sundays, he never
fails to criticise the sermon to the young clergyman's face: always
informing Mr. Losberne, in strict confidence afterwards, that he
considers it an excellent performance, but deems it as well not to say
so. It is a standing and very favourite joke, for Mr. Brownlow to
rally him on his old prophecy concerning Oliver, and to remind him of
the night on which they sat with the watch between them, waiting his
return; but Mr. Grimwig contends that he was right in the main, and, in
proof thereof, remarks that Oliver did not come back after all; which
always calls forth a laugh on his side, and increases his good humour.
Mr. Noah Claypole: receiving a free pardon from the Crown in
consequence of being admitted approver against Fagin: and considering
his profession not altogether as safe a one as he could wish: was, for
some little time, at a loss for the means of a livelihood, not burdened
with too much work. After some consideration, he went into business as
an Informer, in which calling he realises a genteel subsistence. His
plan is, to walk out once a week during church time attended by
Charlotte in respectable attire. The lady faints away at the doors of
charitable publicans, and the gentleman being accommodated with
three-penny worth of brandy to restore her, lays an information next
day, and pockets half the penalty. Sometimes Mr. Claypole faints
himself, but the result is the same.
Mr. and Mrs. Bumble, deprived of their situations, were gradually
reduced to great indigence and misery, and finally became paupers in
that very same workhouse in which they had once lorded it over others.
Mr. Bumble has been heard to say, that in this reverse and degradation,
he has not even spirits to be thankful for being separated from his
As to Mr. Giles and Brittles, they still remain in their old posts,
although the former is bald, and the last-named boy quite grey. They
sleep at the parsonage, but divide their attentions so equally among
its inmates, and Oliver and Mr. Brownlow, and Mr. Losberne, that to
this day the villagers have never been able to discover to which
establishment they properly belong.
Master Charles Bates, appalled by Sikes's crime, fell into a train of
reflection whether an honest life was not, after all, the best.
Arriving at the conclusion that it certainly was, he turned his back
upon the scenes of the past, resolved to amend it in some new sphere of
action. He struggled hard, and suffered much, for some time; but,
having a contented disposition, and a good purpose, succeeded in the
end; and, from being a farmer's drudge, and a carrier's lad, he is now
the merriest young grazier in all Northamptonshire.
And now, the hand that traces these words, falters, as it approaches
the conclusion of its task; and would weave, for a little longer space,
the thread of these adventures.
I would fain linger yet with a few of those among whom I have so long
moved, and share their happiness by endeavouring to depict it. I would
show Rose Maylie in all the bloom and grace of early womanhood,
shedding on her secluded path in life soft and gentle light, that fell
on all who trod it with her, and shone into their hearts. I would
paint her the life and joy of the fire-side circle and the lively
summer group; I would follow her through the sultry fields at noon, and
hear the low tones of her sweet voice in the moonlit evening walk; I
would watch her in all her goodness and charity abroad, and the smiling
untiring discharge of domestic duties at home; I would paint her and
her dead sister's child happy in their love for one another, and
passing whole hours together in picturing the friends whom they had so
sadly lost; I would summon before me, once again, those joyous little
faces that clustered round her knee, and listen to their merry prattle;
I would recall the tones of that clear laugh, and conjure up the
sympathising tear that glistened in the soft blue eye. These, and a
thousand looks and smiles, and turns of thought and speech—I would
fain recall them every one.
How Mr. Brownlow went on, from day to day, filling the mind of his
adopted child with stores of knowledge, and becoming attached to him,
more and more, as his nature developed itself, and showed the thriving
seeds of all he wished him to become—how he traced in him new traits
of his early friend, that awakened in his own bosom old remembrances,
melancholy and yet sweet and soothing—how the two orphans, tried by
adversity, remembered its lessons in mercy to others, and mutual love,
and fervent thanks to Him who had protected and preserved them—these
are all matters which need not to be told. I have said that they were
truly happy; and without strong affection and humanity of heart, and
gratitude to that Being whose code is Mercy, and whose great attribute
is Benevolence to all things that breathe, happiness can never be
Within the altar of the old village church there stands a white marble
tablet, which bears as yet but one word: 'AGNES.' There is no coffin
in that tomb; and may it be many, many years, before another name is
placed above it! But, if the spirits of the Dead ever come back to
earth, to visit spots hallowed by the love—the love beyond the
grave—of those whom they knew in life, I believe that the shade of
Agnes sometimes hovers round that solemn nook. I believe it none the
less because that nook is in a Church, and she was weak and erring.
End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens