Lessons in Mercy to Others

Chapter L
Crackit, Chitling, and Kags, hiding out together in an dirty, abandoned building, discussing the end results of all the lives of those involved, either dead, in custody, or on the run, are startled when Sikes’ shows up; and when Bates enters shortly after, he attacks Sikes.  Immediately following, a search party arrives, and in an attempt to escape from the roof, Sikes accidentally hangs himself, and his poor dog follows suit and dashes his brains out on a stone below.  Poor, dog!  (But Dickens had to destroy the dog because he is stained by a life of crime.  He is one of them.)

Chapter LI
This is the chapter where all is explained, the entire twisted story of all involved and how it came to be. 

All characters are assembled, Mr. Brownlow begins: Oliver, half-brother to Monks, is the illegitimate son of Brownlow’s friend, Edwin Leeford, by Agnes Flemming, who died, we know

Monks continues: When his father, Mr. Leeford, became ill and died, his wife, of whom he was separated, found a letter addressed to Mr. Brownlow admitting his affair with Agnes; the other paper, a will. 

The letter to Brownlow (for Agnes) was a promise to divorce his wife and marry Agnes if he should outlive his illness, which he did not.  He had already given Agnes the locket and ring, and asked her to hold on to it.

Brownlow spoke of the will: how it mentioned his painful marriage to Monk’s mother, and how she raised (Monks) to hate him, his father.  His property was to be reserved for Agnes and Oliver, if he survived birth and avoided a life of crime; otherwise, Monks and his mother would receive the fortune.  Ah ha!

Monks replies: my mother burned the will.  Agnes’ father, who learned of her pregnancy, fled to Wales with Agnes and her sister, and changed their names, to hide her shame and his.  Agnes fled, however, and her father died of a broken heart.

Monks continues: He was at his ill mother’s bedside when she told him these secrets, and he swore to find his half-brother and seek revenge.

Brownlow: Fagin, an accomplice of Monks, had a monetary interest in keeping Oliver trapped in a life of crime.

And Monks admits to buying the locket from the Bumbles, who were also present in the room, along with the two old women present at Sally's death, the nurse who took the locket from Agnes.  (Are you following?)

It gets better.

Monks admits that he knows Rose.  Brownlow reminds the audience that Agnes’ father had two daughters. What was the fate of the second girl?

Obviously, it is ROSE!  Come on!  You saw that coming, right?

And then Harry arrives to save the day.  Ok, well, he leaves the door open for Rose to return her love to him, now that he has sacrificed his ambitions of political office for one of the church, and you know what is going to happen next…

                                                               Chapter LII
A long description of what it must be like to await your fate of death after a miserable life of hurting others; Fagin is going to hang, but not before he sees Oliver for the last time, who is most forgiving, and Fagin admits to Mr. Brownlow the location of the papers Monks gave to him concerning Oliver’s identity.
 Chapter LIII
And the happy ending of how Mr. Brownlow adopts Oliver; Harry and Rose are married; Monks dies in prison, although there was hope he would change his ways, but he did not; Noah Claypole was given immunity for being a witness against Fagin; Mr. and Mrs. Bumble became paupers in the very workhouse they managed; and Bates did better for himself after realizing a life of crime not for him.

* * *

...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...


  1. ". . . the entire twisted story . . ." Love it.

    1. I suspect that Mr. Dickens chose names for his characters to suit them for some reason that I have not yet figured out. But Oliver did live a twisted identity - and twisted not the way we consider the word today - but probably some 19 th c. English term.

  2. And all the loose ends were neatly tied up. No room for Oliver Twist II.

  3. I did some research on the names idea, and he obviously did use names to represent his characters, and I learned that Twist referred to the action a body makes when it hangs. How sad, that he would use such a name for little Oliver. But I guess that is what a poor, little orphan was good for.

    1. Oh that's terrible! I never did like that beadle.

    2. Oh, true, Mr. Bumble named Oliver! I was thinking of Dickens' play on names.

    3. That's really interesting, doesn't the man in the White Waistcoat continually predict that Oliver will hang one day?

    4. They naturally assumed that an orphan would end up there. The officer who brought Oliver to the magistrate after the pick pocket incident called him "Young Gallows," too.