雾都孤儿
Oliver Twist


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    1 Oliver’s early life
    1 Oliver’s early life
    
    Oliver Twist was born in a workhouse,and when he arrived in this hard world,it was very doubtful whether he would live beyond the first three minutes.He lay on a hard little bed and struggled to start breathing.
    Oliver fought his first battle without much assistance from the two people present at his birth.One was an old woman,who was nearly always drunk, and the other was a busy local doctor,who was not paid enough to be very interested in Oliver’s survival. After all,death was a common event in the workhouse,where only the poor and homeless lived.
    However,Oliver managed to draw his first breath,and the n announced his arrival to the rest of the workhouse by crying loudly.His mother raised her pale young face from the pillow and whispered, ‘Let me see the child, and die.’
    The doctor turned away from the fire, where he had been warming his hands. ‘You must not talk about dying yet,’he said to her kindly.He gave her the child to hold.Lovingly,she kissed the baby on its forehead with her cold white lips,the n stared wildly around the room,fell back-and died. ‘Poor dear!’said the nurse,hurriedly putting a green glass bottle back in the pocket of her long skirt.
    The doctor began to put on his coat. ‘The baby is weak and will probably have difficulties,’ he said. ‘If so, give it a little milk to keep it quiet.’The n he looked at the dead woman. ‘The mother was a good-looking girl.Where did she come from?’
     ‘She was brought here last night,’replied the old woman. ‘She was found lying in the street. She’d walked some distance,judging by her shoes,which were worn to pieces.Where she came from,where she was going to,or what her name was,nobody knows.’
    The doctor lifted the girl’s left hand. ‘The old story,’he said sadly,shaking his head. ‘No wedding ring, I see.Ah!Good night.’
    And so Oliver was left with only the drunken nurse.Without clothe s,under his first blanket, he could have been the child of a king or a beggar.But when the woman dressed him later in rough cotton clothe s, yellow with age,he looked exactly what he was - an orphan in a workhouse, ready for a life of misery,hunger, and neglect.
    Oliver cried loudly.If he could have known that he was a workhouse orphan, perhaps he would have cried even more loudly.
    The re was no one to look after the baby in the workhouse,so Oliver was sent to a special ‘baby farm’ nearby. The re,he and thirty other children rolled around the floor all day,without the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing. Mrs Mann,the old woman who ‘looked after’ them, was very experienced.She knew what was good for children,and a full stomach was very dangerous to their health. She also knew what was good for herself, so she kept for her own use the money that she was given for the children’s food.The board responsible for the orphans sometimes checked on the health of the children, but They always sent the beadle,a kind of local policeman,to announce their visit the day before.So whenever the board arrived, of course,the children were always neat and clean.
    This was the way Oliver was brought up. Consequently, at the age of nine he was a pale,thin child and short for his age.But despite frequent beatings by Mrs Mann, his spirit was strong, which was probably the reason why he managed to reach the age of nine at all.
    On Oliver’s ninth birthday, Mr Bumble the beadle came to the house to see Mrs Mann.Through the front window Mrs Mann saw him at the gate, and turned quickly to the girl who worked with her.
     ‘Quick!Take Oliver and those others upstairs to be washed!’she said.The n she ran out to unlock the gate.(It was always kept locked to prevent official visitors walking in unexpectedly.)
     ‘I have business to talk about,’Mr Bumble told Mrs Mann as he entered the house.He was a big fat man, often bad-tempered, and was full of self-importance. He did not like to be kept waiting at a locked gate.
    Mrs Mann took his hat and coat, placed a chair for him,and expressed great concern for his comfort. ‘You’ve had a long walk,Mr Bumble’ she said, ‘and you must be thirsty.’She took out a bottle from the cupboard.
     ‘No, thank you, Mrs Mann. Not a drop.’He waved the bottle away.
     ‘Just a little drop, Mr Bumble, with cold water,’ said Mrs Mann persuasively.
    Mr Bumble coughed. ‘What is it?’ he asked, looking at the bottle with interest.
     ‘Gin.I keep it for the children’s medicine drink.’
     ‘You give the children gin,Mrs Mann?’asked Mr Bumble,watching as she mixed his drink.
     ‘Only with medicine, sir. I don’t like to see the m suffer.’
     ‘You’re a good woman, Mrs Mann.’ Mr Bumble drank half his glass immediately. ‘I’ll tell the board about you.Now - the reason why I’m here. Oliver Twist is nine years old today. We’ve never been able to discover anything about his parents.’
     ‘The n how did he get his name?’
     ‘I gave it to him,’said Mr Bumble proudly. ‘We follow the alphabet.The last one was an S-Swubble. The n it was T, so this one is Twist. The next one will be Unwin.Anyway,Oliver Twist is now old enough to return to the workhouse. Bring him here, please.’ While Mrs Mann went to get him, Mr Bumble finished the rest of his gin.
    Oliver, his face and hands now almost clean, was led into the room.
     ‘Will you come along with me,Oliver?’asked Mr Bumble in a loud voice.
    Oliver was very glad to be free of Mrs Mann’s violence, but he said nothing because she was angrily shaking her finger at him.However,as the gate closed behind Oliver,he burst into tears. He was leaving behind the other children, the only friends he had,and he realized at that moment how lonely he was in the world.
    Mr Bumble walked on with long steps,with Oliver on his short little legs running beside him.The feeling of contentment produced by gin-and-water had now disappeared,and the beadle was in a bad mood once more.
    Back at the workhouse, Oliver was taken to see the board. He stood in front of ten fat men who were sitting around a table.
     ‘What’s your name, boy?’ asked a particularly fat man with a very round, red face.
    Oliver was frightened at the sight of so many people, and started to cry.
     ‘Why are you crying?’
    The beadle hit him on the back,and so naturally Oliver cried even more.
     ‘The boy is a fool,’one member of the board announced.
     ‘You know you have no father or mother,’said the first man, ‘and that you have been brought up with other orphans?’
     ‘Yes, sir,’replied Oliver, crying bitterly.
     ‘Why is the boy crying?’repeated the other man, puzzled.
     ‘You have come here to be educated,’continued the fat man, ‘so you will start working here tomorrow at six o’clock.’
    Oliver was led away to a large room, where,on a rough hard bed,he cried himself to sleep.
    The room in the workhouse where the boys were fed was a large stone hall,and at one end the master and two women served the food.This consisted of a bowl of thin soup three times a day, with a piece of bread on Sundays.The boys ate everything and were always hungry.The bowls never needed washing.The boys polished the m with their spoons until They shone.After three months of this slow starvation,one of the boys told the others he was so hungry that one night he might eat the boy who slept next to him.He had a wild hungry eye,and the other boys believed him.After a long discussion,They decided that one of the m should ask for more food after supper that evening,and Oliver was chosen.
    The evening arrived;the soup was served,and the bowls were empty again in a few seconds.Oliver went up to the master,with his bowl in his hand.He felt very frightened,but also desperate with hunger.
     ‘Please,sir,I want some more.’
    The master was a fat,healthy man, but he turned very pale. He looked at the little boy in front of him with amazement.Nobody else spoke.
     ‘What?’ he asked at last, in a faint voice.
     ‘Please, sir,’ replied Oliver, ‘I want some more.’
    The master hit him with the serving spoon,the n seized Oliver’s arms and shouted for the beadle.The beadle came quickly,heard the dreadful news,and immediately ran to tell the board.
     ‘He asked for more?’ Mr Limbkins,the fattest board member, asked in horror. ‘Bumble - is this really true?’
     ‘That boy will be hanged!’ said the man who earlier had called Oliver a fool. ‘You see if I’m not right.’
    Oliver was led away to be locked up,and a reward was offered to anybody who would take him away and use him for work.
    
    1 奥利弗的童年
    
    奥利弗·特威斯特出生在一家济贫院里,他来到这个艰难的人世的那一刻,是否能活过三分钟都是很难说的。他躺在一张小硬板床上,挣扎着开始呼吸。
    他出生时在场的两个人没有给他什么帮助,这使得奥利弗要独自承当他的第一场战斗。其中一个是位老妇人,她几乎总是喝得醉醺醺的;另一个则是当地一位忙碌的医生,这位医生没有得到足够的报酬,所以对奥利弗能否活下来并不很在意。在济贫院这个只有穷人和无家可归的人待的地方,死亡毕竟是一件非常平常的事。
    不管怎样,奥利弗总算尽力吸进了第一口气,然后,他以响亮的哭声向济贫院里其他的人宣告自己的到来。他的母亲从枕头上抬起了年轻而苍白的脸,用微弱的声音说:“让我看一眼孩子,我就可以死了。”
    正在火炉上烤手取暖的医生转过身来,好心地对她说:“别说什么死不死的了。”他把孩子递过去让她抱在怀里。她用冰冷而毫无血色的嘴唇怜爱地在孩子的额头上亲了一下,然后急切地在屋里四处环顾一圈,便向后倒去,咽了气。“可怜的东西!”老看护说着,急忙将一个绿色的小玻璃瓶揣回长裙子的兜里。
    这时医生开始穿外衣。“这孩子太弱,恐怕会有麻烦,”他说,“如果真是这样,给他喂点牛奶,好让他别哭。”然后,他又转过脸看了一眼死去的女人,说:“这母亲长得还挺漂亮。她是从哪儿来的?”
    “她是昨天夜里被送到这儿来的,”老妇人回答道。“她倒在马路上,被人发现了。她脚上那双鞋子已经磨得破破烂烂的了,由此可以看出她是从很远的地方来的。她从哪儿来,要到哪儿去,叫什么名字,没人知道。”
    医生拉起那年轻女人的左手,摇摇头,伤心地说:“又是老一套。没有结婚戒指,果然如此。唉!晚安。”
    奥利弗就这样被留下了,由那位醉醺醺的看护一个人看着。他光着身子,裹在毕生第一块毯子里,既可以是国王的儿子,也可以是乞丐的儿子。可后来老妇人给他穿上了由于年头太久而发了黄的粗棉布衣服,这时,他看上去和他的身份完全一致了——一个济贫院的孤儿,准备好了去过一种充满苦难、饥饿和忽视的生活。
    奥利弗大声哭着。假如他已经知道自己是一个济贫院的孤儿,他可能会哭得更响些。
    在济贫院里没有专人照顾婴儿,所以奥利弗被送进了附近一家专门的“育婴堂”。在这里,奥利弗与其他三十多个孩子每天在地上滚爬着,没有过多的衣物和食物来麻烦他们。曼太太“照顾”着这些孩子,这老女人非常有经验。她知道什么对孩子们有好处,知道吃饱肚子对孩子们的身体是非常有害的。同时她也知道什么对她自己有好处,于是她把人家给孩子们的伙食费都留给自己。负责孤儿事务的地方董事会有时会来检查孩子们的健康状况,可他们往往在前一天派执事去通告他们要来访问,执事是一种地方警察。所以,无论他们什么时候来,孩子们准是个个头净脚净的。
    奥利弗就是这样长大的,因此,他到了九岁时,还非常苍白瘦小,比同龄孩子矮一大截。尽管常常遭到曼太太的毒打,他的意志却很坚强。这大概也是他竟然能活到九岁的缘故吧。
    奥利弗九岁生日的这天,执事班布尔先生来育婴堂看曼太太。曼太太透过楼前的窗户看见他站在大门口,慌忙转向和她一起干活的女孩,说道:
    “赶快!把奥利弗和其他孩子都带到楼上洗洗!”然后她匆忙跑去开大门。(为了防止官方人员料想不及的来访,这大门常常是锁着的。)
    “我有点事要跟你谈,”班布尔先生跟曼太太说着,走进了屋子。他是个身材肥胖、脾气暴躁、妄自尊大的人。他可不喜欢被关在门外长时间地等候。
    曼太太接过了他的帽子和外衣,替他端过—把椅子,并且对他是否舒适表示了极大的关心。“班布尔先生,您大老远地走来,一定是渴了。”她说着从橱子里拿出了一个瓶子。
    “不,谢谢,曼太太,我一滴都不喝。”他挥手推开瓶子。
    “只稍稍来一点儿,班布尔先生,这是加了冰水的,”她极力地劝说着。
    班布尔先生咳嗽了一声。“是什么?”他问道,并饶有兴趣地看着瓶子。
    “杜松子酒,我这是留着给孩子们吃药用的。”
    “曼太太,你给孩子们喝杜松子酒?”班布尔先生看着她给自己兑酒,问道。
    “只是吃药的时候给他们喝上一点儿,先生。我不忍心看着他们受罪。”
    “曼太太,你真是个好心的女人。”班布尔先生马上喝下了半杯。“我会在董事会那里替你美言的。现在言归正传,说说我今天来这儿的目的。奥利弗·特威斯特今天已经整整九岁了,迄今为止,我们没有打听到关于他父母的任何消息。”
    “那么,他是怎么有了这个姓的?”
    “这姓是我给他起的,”班布尔先生自豪地说,“我们是按照字母表的顺序给他们安排姓氏的,前一个是S,叫斯瓦勃(Swubble),轮到他是字母T,所以就叫特威斯特(Twist),下一个叫恩温(Unwin)。不管怎么说,奥利弗已经长大了,该回到济贫院去了。请把他带到这儿来。”曼太太去带奥利弗时,班布尔先生喝干了杯子里剩下的杜松子酒。
    奥利弗手和脸差不多洗干净了,他被带了进来。
    “你愿意跟我走吗,奥利弗?”班布尔先生大声问。
    奥利弗特别渴望能尽早逃脱曼太太的暴虐统治,可他却没吭声,因为这时她正恶狠狠地向他暗暗摇着手指头。可是当大门在奥利弗身后关上时,他突然涕泪横流。他就要离开其他的孩子们了,而这些孩子是他仅有的朋友,此刻,他顿时感到自己在这个世界上是多么孤独。
    班布尔先生在前面大步流星地走着,奥利弗挪动短腿一路小跑地跟在旁边。喝了加水的杜松子酒所产生的心满意足的感觉这会儿已荡然无存,这位执事的情绪又不好了。
    回到了济贫院,奥利弗被带去见董事会的人。十个体态臃肿、肥头大耳的人围坐在一张桌子周围,他站在他们面前。
    “小子,你叫什么名字?”其中一个长着滚圆红脸的特别胖的人问道。
    奥利弗被眼前这么多的人给吓哭了。
    “你哭什么?”
    执事在奥利弗的背上揍了一下,当然这一下使他哭得更厉害了。
    “他是个傻子。”一位董事大声说。
    “你知道你没有父母,是和那些孤儿一起长大的吗?”第一位先生说。
    “我知道,先生。”奥利弗伤心地回答道。
    “这孩子哭什么?”另外那位先生莫名其妙地问。
    “你是到这儿来受教育的,”那个胖子接着说,“所以从明天早晨六点钟起,你得在这儿干活。”
    奥利弗又从这儿被带到了一间大屋子里。他躺在屋里一张粗糙的木板床上,哭着哭着就睡着了。
    济贫院里男孩子们吃饭的地方是一间有石板墙石板地的大屋子,在屋子的一头,管事的和两位女佣负责给孩子们打饭。其实这一日三餐顿顿只是一碗稀粥,只有在星期天才加一片面包。孩子们把碗里的东西吃得一干二净,还是饥肠辘辘。他们的碗根本不用刷洗。孩子们用勺子把碗刮得锃亮。这样缓慢的挨饿持续了三个月后,一天,一个男孩跟别的男孩子说他太饿了,没准哪天晚上他会吃了睡在他边上的人。他那饥饿得发狂的眼神让别的男孩无法不相信他的话。经过长时间的商量,他们决定必须有一个人在当天晚饭后,去请求多给点儿吃的。结果,奥利弗被选中了。
    天黑了,开晚饭了,没有几秒钟,孩子们的碗就又一干二净了。奥利弗站了起来,手里捧着碗,心惊胆战地朝管事的走了过去。由于极度饥饿,他横下了一条心。
    “劳驾,先生。我还想要一点儿。”
    管事的是一个脑满肠肥的壮汉,但他一下子显得大吃一惊,脸都白了。他惊讶地看着站在他面前的这个小男孩。这时屋里鸦雀无声。
    “什么?”他终于回过味来,用无力的声音问道。
    “劳驾,先生,”奥利弗又说了一遍,“我还想要一点儿。”
    管事的用盛粥的勺子向奥利弗打去,过后又抓住他的胳膊大声地叫唤着执事。执事马上赶来了,得知了这件可怕的事,并立即跑去向董事会汇报。
    “他想要更多的饭吃?”董事会头号大胖子利姆金斯先生震惊地问,“班布尔——难道真是这样吗?”
    “这孩子将来是要上绞刑架的!”起初说奥利弗是个傻子的那位先生嚷嚷着,“你就看我说得对不对吧。”
    奥利弗被带走,锁在一间屋子里。董事会宣布,谁把这孩子领去干活,谁就会得到奖赏。
    

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