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Chapter 11

TREATS OF MR. FANG THE POLICE MAGISTRATE; AND FURNISHES A SLIGHT SPECIMEN OF HIS MODE OF ADMINISTERING JUSTICE

The offence had been committed within the district, and indeed in the immediate neighborhood of, a very notorious metropolitan police office. The crowd had only the satisfaction of accompanying Oliver through two or three streets, and down a place called Mutton Hill, when he was led beneath a low archway, and up a dirty court, into this dispensary of summary justice, by the back way. It was a small paved yard into which they turned; and here they encountered a stout man with a bunch of whiskers on his face, and a bunch of keys in his hand.

'What's the matter now?' said the man carelessly.

'A young fogle-hunter,' replied the man who had Oliver in charge.

'Are you the party that's been robbed, sir?' inquired the man with the keys.

'Yes, I am,' replied the old gentleman; 'but I am not sure that this boy actually took the handkerchief. I--I would rather not press the case.'

'Must go before the magistrate now, sir,' replied the man. 'His worship will be disengaged in half a minute. Now, young gallows!'

This was an invitation for Oliver to enter through a door which he unlocked as he spoke, and which led into a stone cell. Here he was searched; and nothing being found upon him, locked up.

This cell was in shape and size something like an area cellar, only not so light. It was most intolerably dirty; for it was Monday morning; and it had been tenanted by six drunken people, who had been locked up, elsewhere, since Saturday night. But this is little. In our station-houses, men and women are every night confined on the most trivial charges--the word is worth noting--in dungeons, compared with which, those in Newgate, occupied by the most atrocious felons, tried, found guilty, and under sentence of death, are palaces. Let any one who doubts this, compare the two.

The old gentleman looked almost as rueful as Oliver when the key grated in the lock. He turned with a sigh to the book, which had been the innocent cause of all this disturbance.

'There is something in that boy's face,' said the old gentleman to himself as he walked slowly away, tapping his chin with the cover of the book, in a thoughtful manner; 'something that touches and interests me. _Can_ he be innocent? He looked like--Bye the bye,' exclaimed the old gentleman, halting very abruptly, and staring up into the sky, 'Bless my soul!--where have I seen something like that look before?'

After musing for some minutes, the old gentleman walked, with the same meditative face, into a back anteroom opening from the yard; and there, retiring into a corner, called up before his mind's eye a vast amphitheatre of faces over which a dusky curtain had hung for many years. 'No,' said the old gentleman, shaking his head; 'it must be imagination.

He wandered over them again. He had called them into view, and it was not easy to replace the shroud that had so long concealed them. There were the faces of friends, and foes, and of many that had been almost strangers peering intrusively from the crowd; there were the faces of young and blooming girls that were now old women; there were faces that the grave had changed and closed upon, but which the mind, superior to its power, still dressed in their old freshness and beauty, calling back the lustre of the eyes, the brightness of the smile, the beaming of the soul through its mask of clay, and whispering of beauty beyond the tomb, changed but to be heightened, and taken from earth only to be set up as a light, to shed a soft and gentle glow upon the path to Heaven.

But the old gentleman could recall no one countenance of which Oliver's features bore a trace. So, he heaved a sigh over the recollections he awakened; and being, happily for himself, an absent old gentleman, buried them again in the pages of the musty book.

He was roused by a touch on the shoulder, and a request from the man with the keys to follow him into the office. He closed his book hastily; and was at once ushered into the imposing presence of the renowned Mr. Fang.

The office was a front parlour, with a panelled wall. Mr. Fang sat behind a bar, at the upper end; and on one side the door was a sort of wooden pen in which poor little Oliver was already deposited; trembling very much at the awfulness of the scene.

Mr. Fang was a lean, long-backed, stiff-necked, middle-sized man, with no great quantity of hair, and what he had, growing on the back and sides of his head. His face was stern, and much flushed. If he were really not in the habit of drinking rather more than was exactly good for him, he might have brought action against his countenance for libel, and have recovered heavy damages.

The old gentleman bowed respectfully; and advancing to the magistrate's desk, said, suiting the action to the word, 'That is my name and address, sir.' He then withdrew a pace or two; and, with another polite and gentlemanly inclination of the head, waited to be questioned.

Now, it so happened that Mr. Fang was at that moment perusing a leading article in a newspaper of the morning, adverting to some recent decision of his, and commending him, for the three hundred and fiftieth time, to the special and particular notice of the Secretary of State for the Home Department. He was out of temper; and he looked up with an angry scowl.

'Who are you?' said Mr. Fang.

The old gentleman pointed, with some surprise, to his card.

'Officer!' said Mr. Fang, tossing the card contemptuously away with the newspaper. 'Who is this fellow?'

'My name, sir,' said the old gentleman, speaking _like_ a gentleman, 'my name, sir, is Brownlow. Permit me to inquire the name of the magistrate who offers a gratuitous and unprovoked insult to a respectable person, under the protection of the bench.' Saying this, Mr. Brownlow looked around the office as if in search of some person who would afford him the required information.

'Officer!' said Mr. Fang, throwing the paper on one side, 'what's this fellow charged with?'

'He's not charged at all, your worship,' replied the officer. 'He appears against this boy, your worship.'

His worship knew this perfectly well; but it was a good annoyance, and a safe one.

'Appears against the boy, does he?' said Mr. Fang, surveying Mr. Brownlow contemptuously from head to foot. 'Swear him!'

'Before I am sworn, I must beg to say one word,' said Mr. Brownlow; 'and that is, that I really never, without actual experience, could have believed--'

'Hold your tongue, sir!' said Mr. Fang, peremptorily.

'I will not, sir!' replied the old gentleman.

'Hold your tongue this instant, or I'll have you turned out of the office!' said Mr. Fang. 'You're an insolent impertinent fellow. How dare you bully a magistrate!'

'What!' exclaimed the old gentleman, reddening.

'Swear this person!' said Fang to the clerk. 'I'll not hear another word. Swear him.'

Mr. Brownlow's indignation was greatly roused; but reflecting perhaps, that he might only injure the boy by giving vent to it, he suppressed his feelings and submitted to be sworn at once.

'Now,' said Fang, 'what's the charge against this boy? What have you got to say, sir?'

'I was standing at a bookstall--' Mr. Brownlow began.

'Hold your tongue, sir,' said Mr. Fang. 'Policeman! Where's the policeman? Here, swear this policeman. Now, policeman, what is this?'

The policeman, with becoming humility, related how he had taken the charge; how he had searched Oliver, and found nothing on his person; and how that was all he knew about it.

'Are there any witnesses?' inquired Mr. Fang.

'None, your worship,' replied the policeman.

Mr. Fang sat silent for some minutes, and then, turning round to the prosecutor, said in a towering passion.

'Do you mean to state what your complaint against this boy is, man, or do you not? You have been sworn. Now, if you stand there, refusing to give evidence, I'll punish you for disrespect to the bench; I will, by--'

By what, or by whom, nobody knows, for the clerk and jailor coughed very loud, just at the right moment; and the former dropped a heavy book upon the floor, thus preventing the word from being heard--accidently, of course.

With many interruptions, and repeated insults, Mr. Brownlow contrived to state his case; observing that, in the surprise of the moment, he had run after the boy because he had saw him running away; and expressing his hope that, if the magistrate should believe him, although not actually the thief, to be connected with the thieves, he would deal as leniently with him as justice would allow.

'He has been hurt already,' said the old gentleman in conclusion. 'And I fear,' he added, with great energy, looking towards the bar, 'I really fear that he is ill.'

'Oh! yes, I dare say!' said Mr. Fang, with a sneer. 'Come, none of your tricks here, you young vagabond; they won't do. What's your name?'

Oliver tried to reply but his tongue failed him. He was deadly pale; and the whole place seemed turning round and round.

'What's your name, you hardened scoundrel?' demanded Mr. Fang. 'Officer, what's his name?'

This was addressed to a bluff old fellow, in a striped waistcoat, who was standing by the bar. He bent over Oliver, and repeated the inquiry; but finding him really incapable of understanding the question; and knowing that his not replying would only infuriate the magistrate the more, and add to the severity of his sentence; he hazarded a guess.

'He says his name's Tom White, your worship,' said the kind-hearted thief-taker.

'Oh, he won't speak out, won't he?' said Fang. 'Very well, very well. Where does he live?'

'Where he can, your worship,' replied the officer; again pretending to receive Oliver's answer.

'Has he any parents?' inquired Mr. Fang.

'He says they died in his infancy, your worship,' replied the officer: hazarding the usual reply.

At this point of the inquiry, Oliver raised his head; and, looking round with imploring eyes, murmured a feeble prayer for a draught of water.

'Stuff and nonsense!' said Mr. Fang: 'don't try to make a fool of me.'

'I think he really is ill, your worship,' remonstrated the officer.

'I know better,' said Mr. Fang.

'Take care of him, officer,' said the old gentleman, raising his hands instinctively; 'he'll fall down.'

'Stand away, officer,' cried Fang; 'let him, if he likes.'

Oliver availed himself of the kind permission, and fell to the floor in a fainting fit. The men in the office looked at each other, but no one dared to stir.

'I knew he was shamming,' said Fang, as if this were incontestable proof of the fact. 'Let him lie there; he'll soon be tired of that.'

'How do you propose to deal with the case, sir?' inquired the clerk in a low voice.

'Summarily,' replied Mr. Fang. 'He stands committed for three months--hard labour of course. Clear the office.'

The door was opened for this purpose, and a couple of men were preparing to carry the insensible boy to his cell; when an elderly man of decent but poor appearance, clad in an old suit of black, rushed hastily into the office, and advanced towards the bench.

'Stop, stop! don't take him away! For Heaven's sake stop a moment!' cried the new comer, breathless with haste.

Although the presiding Genii in such an office as this, exercise a summary and arbitrary power over the liberties, the good name, the character, almost the lives, of Her Majesty's subjects, expecially of the poorer class; and although, within such walls, enough fantastic tricks are daily played to make the angels blind with weeping; they are closed to the public, save through the medium of the daily press.(Footnote: Or were virtually, then.) Mr. Fang was consequently not a little indignant to see an unbidden guest enter in such irreverent disorder.

'What is this? Who is this? Turn this man out. Clear the office!' cried Mr. Fang.

'I _will_ speak,' cried the man; 'I will not be turned out. I saw it all. I keep the book-stall. I demand to be sworn. I will not be put down. Mr. Fang, you must hear me. You must not refuse, sir.'

The man was right. His manner was determined; and the matter was growing rather too serious to be hushed up.

'Swear the man,' growled Mr. Fang. with a very ill grace. 'Now, man, what have you got to say?'

'This,' said the man: 'I saw three boys: two others and the prisoner here: loitering on the opposite side of the way, when this gentleman was reading. The robbery was committed by another boy. I saw it done; and I saw that this boy was perfectly amazed and stupified by it.' Having by this time recovered a little breath, the worthy book-stall keeper proceeded to relate, in a more coherent manner the exact circumstances of the robbery.

'Why didn't you come here before?' said Fang, after a pause.

'I hadn't a soul to mind the shop,' replied the man. 'Everybody who could have helped me, had joined in the pursuit. I could get nobody till five minutes ago; and I've run here all the way.'

'The prosecutor was reading, was he?' inquired Fang, after another pause.

'Yes,' replied the man. 'The very book he has in his hand.'

'Oh, that book, eh?' said Fang. 'Is it paid for?'

'No, it is not,' replied the man, with a smile.

'Dear me, I forgot all about it!' exclaimed the absent old gentleman, innocently.

'A nice person to prefer a charge against a poor boy!' said Fang, with a comical effort to look humane. 'I consider, sir, that you have obtained possession of that book, under very suspicious and disreputable circumstances; and you may think yourself very fortunate that the owner of the property declines to prosecute. Let this be a lesson to you, my man, or the law will overtake you yet. The boy is discharged. Clear the office!'

'D--n me!' cried the old gentleman, bursting out with the rage he had kept down so long, 'd--n me! I'll--'

'Clear the office!' said the magistrate. 'Officers, do you hear? Clear the office!'

The mandate was obeyed; and the indignant Mr. Brownlow was conveyed out, with the book in one hand, and the bamboo cane in the other: in a perfect phrenzy of rage and defiance. He reached the yard; and his passion vanished in a moment. Little Oliver Twist lay on his back on the pavement, with his shirt unbuttoned, and his temples bathed with water; his face a deadly white; and a cold tremble convulsing his whole frame.

'Poor boy, poor boy!' said Mr. Brownlow, bending over him. 'Call a coach, somebody, pray. Directly!'

A coach was obtained, and Oliver having been carefully laid on the seat, the old gentleman got in and sat himself on the other.

'May I accompany you?' said the book-stall keeper, looking in.

'Bless me, yes, my dear sir,' said Mr. Brownlow quickly. 'I forgot you. Dear, dear! I have this unhappy book still! Jump in. Poor fellow! There's no time to lose.'

The book-stall keeper got into the coach; and away they drove.


   这桩案子发生在与首都警察局的一个赫赫有名的分局的辖区内,而且与这个分局近在咫尺。人群得到的满足仅仅是簇拥着奥立弗走过两三条街,到一个叫做玛当山的地方为止。他被人押着走过一条低矮的拱道,登上一个肮脏的天井,从后门走进即决裁判庭。这是一个石砌的小院,他们刚进去就迎面碰上一个满脸络腮胡,拎着一串钥匙的彪形大汉。

    “又是什么事啊?”他漫不经心地问。

    “抓到一个摸包的。”看管奥立弗的警察答道。

    “先生,你就是被盗的当事人?”拎着钥匙的汉子又问。

    “是的,我正是,”老绅士回答,“不过,我不能肯定就是这孩子偷走了手绢。我――我不想追究这事了。”

    “得先去见见推事再说,先生,”拎钥匙的汉子回答,“长官他马上就忙完了,过来,你这个小家伙,真该上绞架。”

    这番话是向奥立弗发出的一道邀请,他一边说一边打开门,要奥立弗进去,在里边一间石砌的牢房里,奥立弗浑身上下给搜了一通,结果什么也没搜出来,门又锁上了。

    这间牢房的形状和大小都有些像地窖,只是没那么亮,里边龌龊得叫人受不了。眼下是星期一上午,打星期六夜里开始,这里关过六个醉汉,现在都关到别的地方去了。不过,这不是什么问题。在我们的警察局里,每天夜里都有无数男男女女因为芝麻绿豆大的罪名――这个说法真不算一回事――就给关进了地牢,与此相比,新门监狱那些经过审讯、定罪、宣判死刑的最最凶暴残忍的在押重罪犯的囚室简直算得上宫殿了。让怀疑这一点的人,无论是谁,来比较一下吧。

    钥匙在锁孔里发出咔哒一声响,这时候,老绅士看上去几乎与奥立弗一样沮丧,他长叹了一口气,看了看手里的书,书是无辜的,然而所有的乱子又都是因它而起。

    “那孩子长相上有一种什么东西,”老绅士若有所思地缓步踱到一边,用书的封皮敲击着自己的下颚,自言自语地说,“某种触动我、吸弓我的东西。他会不会是无辜的呢?他似乎有些像――这个,这个,”老绅士骤然停住了,两眼凝视着天空,紧接着又高声说道,“天啦――我从前在哪儿见过的,跟他的长相很相似?”

    老绅士沉吟了半晌,带着同样苦苦思索的神色走进后边一间面向院子的接待室,默默地走到一个角落,将多年来一直掩藏在沉沉大幕后边的无数张面孔唤回到心目中。“不,”他摇了摇头说,“这一定是想像。”

    他又一次回顾这些面孔。他已经将它们召唤到了眼前,要把遮挡了它们如此之久的这层幕布重新拉上可不是件容易的事。一张张面孔,有亲友的,也有仇敌的,还有许多几乎已经完全不认识的面孔也不期而至地挤在人群中。往昔如花似玉的少女而今已到了风烛残年。有几张脸长眠在地下,已经变了样,可是心灵超越了死亡,使它们依旧像昔日一样美好,呼唤着当年炯炯的目光,爽朗的笑貌,透过躯壳的灵魂之光仿佛在娓娓低语,黄土底下的美虽然已面目全非,但却得到了升华,她超脱尘世,只是为了成为一盏明灯,在通往天国的路途上洒下一道柔和清丽的光辉。

    老绅士到底没有想起谁的相貌与奥立弗有些相像。他长叹一声,向自己唤醒过来的往事告别,幸好他只是有些恍榴。老绅士把这一切重新埋进那本书的宇里行间,那本帮不上什么忙的书。

    有人碰了一下他的肩膀,他顿时醒悟过来,拎钥匙的汉子要老绅士随他一道进法庭去。他赶紧合上书,当下便被领去拜见声威赫赫的范昂先生。

    法庭是一间带有格子墙的前厅。范昂先生坐在上首的一道栏杆后边,可怜的小奥立弗已经给安顿在门边的木栅栏里,叫这副场面吓得浑身发抖。

    范昂先生很瘦,中等身材,腰板细长,脖子不大灵便。他头发不多,大都长在后脑勺和头的两侧。面容严厉而又红得过头了些。如果他确确实实没有饮酒无度的习惯,他完全可以起诉自己的长相犯有诽谤罪敲它一大笔损失费。

    老绅士毕恭毕敬地鞠了一躬,朝推事的写字台走过去,递上一张名片,说道:“先生,这是我的姓名和住址。”说罢,他退后两步,又彬彬有礼地点了一下头,静候对方提问。

    范昂先生那功夫刚好正在研读当天早报上登载的一篇社论,文章谈到了他最近作出的一次裁决,第三百五十次提请内政大臣对他特别加以注意。他火透了,抬起头来的时候满脸的不高兴。

    “你是谁?”范昂先生发话道。

    老绅士带着几分惊愕,指了指自己的名片。

    “警官,”范昂先生傲慢地用报纸把名片挑开,“这家伙是谁?”

    “先生,我的名字么,”老先生拿出了绅士风度,“我名叫布朗罗,先生。请允许我问一声长官大名,长官居然倚仗执法者的身份,无缘无故地羞辱一个正派人。”布朗罗先生说着,眼睛在法庭里扫了一周,好像是在寻找一个能给他以圆满答复的人似的。

    “警官,”范昂先生把报纸扔到一边,“这家伙犯了什么案?”

    “大人,他没犯案。”警官回答,“是他告这个小孩,大人。”

    推事大人明知故问。这一手也太气人了,又用不着担风险。

    “看来是告这个小孩,是吗?”范昂先生盛气凌人,将布朗罗先生从头到脚打量了一番。“叫他起誓。”

    “起誓之前,我必须声明一句,”布朗罗先生说,“就是说,要不是亲身经历,我的的确确不敢相信――”

    “先生,住嘴。”范昂先生专横地说。

    “先生,我非说不可。”老绅士毫不示弱。

    “立刻给我住嘴,不然我可要把你赶出法庭。”范昂先生说道,“你这个傲慢无礼的家伙,你怎么敢威胁一位推事?”

    “什么!”老绅士涨红了脸,大叫一声。

    “叫这个人起誓。”范昂朝书记员说道,“别的话我一概不听。叫他起誓。”

    布朗罗先生大为光火,然而,或许是考虑到发泄一通只会伤害到那孩子,便强压住自己的感情,立刻照办了。

    “噢,”范昂说,“指控这孩子什么?你有什么要说的,先生?”

    “当时,我正站在一个书摊边上――”布朗罗先生开始讲述。

    “先生,停一停。”范昂先生说,“警官。警官在哪儿?喏,叫这位警官起誓。说吧,警官,怎么回事啊?”

    那名警察相当谦恭地讲了一遍,他如何抓住奥立弗,如何搜遍全身,结果一无所获,他所知道的也就是这些了。

    “有没有证人?”范昂先生问。

    “大人,没有。”警官回答。

    范昂先生默默地坐了几分钟,然后向原告转过身去,声色俱厉地说:

    “喂,你倒是想不想对这个孩子提出控告,唔?你已经起过誓了,哼,如果你光是站在那儿,拒不拿出证据来,我就要以蔑视法庭罪惩治你,我要――”

    要干什么,或者说找谁来干,没有人知道,因为就在这当儿,书记员和那名警察一齐大声咳嗽起来。前者又将一本沉甸甸的书掉到了地板上,就这样,那句话没听完整,纯粹是出于偶然。

    尽管遇到无数的胡搅蛮缠与翻来覆去的凌辱责骂,布朗罗先生还是想尽办法将案情说了一遍,他说,由于一时感到意外,见那孩子一个劲地跑,自己便追了上去,他表示了自己的希望,虽然孩子并不是在行窃时被拿获的,假如庭长相信他与几个小偷有牵连,也请在法律允许的范围内从宽发落。

    “他已经受伤了,”布朗罗先生最后说道,“而且我担心,”他望着栏杆那边,郑重其事地补充了一句,“我确实担心他有病。”

    “噢,不错,也许是吧。”范昂先生冷笑一声,“哼,少来这一套,你这个小流氓,骗是骗不了我的,你叫什么名字?”

    奥立弗竭力想回答一声,可是说不出话。他脸色惨白,周围的一切似乎都在他的眼前旋转起来。

    “你这个厚脸皮的无赖,叫什么名字?”范昂先生追问道,“警官,他叫什么名字?”

    这句话是冲着站在栏杆旁边的一个身穿条纹背心的热心肠老头说的。老头弯下腰来,又问了一遍,发现奥立弗已确实无力对答。他知道不回答只会更加激怒推事,加重判决,就大着胆子瞎编起来。

    “大人,他说他名叫汤姆怀特。”这位好心的警察说道。

    “喔,他不是说出来了,是吧?”范昂先生说道,“好极了,好极了。他住在什么地方?”

    “大人,没个准儿。”他又装作听到了奥立弗的答话。

    “父母双亲呢?”范昂先生问。

    “他说在他小时候就都死了,大人。”警官铤而走险,取了一个常见的答案。

    问到这里,奥立弗抬起头来,以哀求的目光看了看四周,有气无力地请求给他一口水喝。

    “少胡扯。”范昂先生说道,“别当我是傻瓜。”

    “大人,我想他真的有病呢。”警官进了一言。

    “我比你清楚。”推事说道。

    “警官,快扶住他,”老绅士说着,情不自禁地扬起了双手。“他就要倒下去了。”

    “站一边去,警官,”范昂嚷道,“他爱倒就倒。”

    承蒙推事恩准,奥立弗一阵晕眩,倒在地板上。法庭里的人面面相觑,谁也不敢动一动。

    “我就知道他在装疯卖傻,”范昂说,仿佛这句话便是无可辩驳的事实根据。“由他躺在那儿吧,要不了多久他就会躺得不耐烦了。”

    “您打算如何断案,大人?”书记员低声问道。

    “即决裁判,”范昂先生回答,“关押三个月――苦工自然是少不了的。退庭。”

    房门应声打开,两个汉子正准备把昏迷不醒的奥立弗拖进牢房,这时,一位身穿黑色旧礼服的老人匆匆闯进法庭,朝审判席走去。他面带一点凄苦的神色,但看得出是个正派人。

    “等一等,等一等。别把带他走。看在上帝的分上,请等一会儿。”这个刚刚赶到的人上气不接下气地叫道。

    尽管法律的各位守护神在这类衙门里对女王陛下的臣民,尤其是对较为贫困的臣民的自由、名誉、人品,乃至于生命滥施淫威,尽管在这四壁之内,荒唐得足以叫天使们哭瞎双眼的把戏日复一日,衍演无穷,这一切对于公众却始终是秘而不宣的,除非通过每天的报纸泄漏出去。范昂先生看见一位不速之客这般唐突无礼地闯进门来,顿时勃然大怒。

    “这是干什么?这是谁呀?把这家伙赶出去,都给我出去。”范昂先生吼声如雷。

    “我就是要说,”那人大声说道,“别想把我撵出去。事情我都看见了。书摊是我开的,我请求起誓,谁也别想封住我的嘴巴。范昂先生,你必须听听我的陈述,你不能拒绝。”

    那人理直气壮,态度十人强硬,事情变得相当严重,马虎过去是不行的了。

    “让这人起誓,”范昂先生老大不高兴地喝道,“喂,讲吧,你有什么要说的?”

    “是这样的,”那人说道,“我亲眼看见三个孩子,另外两个连同这名被告,在马路对面闲逛,这位先生当时在看书,偷东西的是另一个孩子,我看见他下手的,这个孩子在旁边给吓呆了。”说到这里,可敬的书摊掌柜缓过气来了,他比较有条理地将这件扒窃案的经过情形讲了一遍。

    “你干吗不早点来?”范昂顿了一下才问。

    “没人替我看铺子,所有能给我帮忙的全撵上去了,五分钟以前我才找着人,我是一路跑来的。”

    “起诉人正在看书,是不是啊?”范昂又顿了一下,问道。

    “是的,那本书还在他手里哩。”

    “呵,是那本书么,哦?”范昂说道,“付钱了没有?”

    “没有,还没付呢。”摊主带着一丝笑意答道。

    “天啦,我全给忘啦。”有些优惚的老绅士天真地高声叫道。

    “好一位正人君子,还来告发一个可怜的孩子。”范昂作出滑稽的样子,希望借此能显得很厚道。“我想,先生,你已经在一种非常可疑、极不光彩的情形之下把那本书据为己有了,你兴许还自以为运气不错吧,因为产权人不打算提出起诉。喂,你就当这是你的一次教训吧,否则法律总有一天会找上你的。这个小孩子以释放。退庭。”

    “岂有此理。”布朗罗先生强压多时的怒气终于爆发了。“岂有此理。我要――”

    “退庭。”推事不容他分说。“诸位警官,你们听见没有?退庭。”

    命令执行了。一手拿着书,一手握着竹杖的布朗罗先生虽说忿忿不平,还是给轰了出去。激奋与受到的挑衅使他怒不可遏。他来到院子里,怒气立刻烟消云散。小奥立弗退斯特仰面躺在地上,衬衫已经解开,太阳穴上洒了些凉水,脸色惨白,身上不住地抽动,发出一阵阵寒颤。

    “可怜的孩子,可怜的孩子。”布朗罗先生朝奥立弗弯下腰来,“劳驾哪一位去叫辆马车来,快一点。”

    马车叫来了,奥立弗给小心翼翼地安顿在座位上,布朗罗先生跨进马车,坐在另一个座位上。

    “我可以陪您一块儿去吗?’书摊老板把头伸了进来,说道。

    “哎呀,可以可以,我亲爱的先生,”布朗罗先生连声说道,“我把您给忘了,天啦,天啦。我还拿着这本倒霉的书呢。上来吧。可怜的小家伙。再不能耽误时间了。”

    书摊掌柜跳上去,马车开走了。



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