© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist


by Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist Chapter 37 Summary

READ THE BOOK: Chapter 37

"In Which the Reader, if He or She Resort to the Fifth Chapter of This Second Book, Will Perceive a Contrast not Uncommon in Matrimonial Cases"

  • Mr. Bumble is sitting in the workhouse parlor, being moody.
  • He’s no longer the beadle—he’s now the master of the workhouse, because he married Mrs. Corney, who was the mistress of the workhouse.
  • He sighs to himself about it—he’s clearly unhappy—and Mrs. Corney (henceforth to be known as Mrs. Bumble) walks in and hears him.
  • Mr. Bumble gets in some trouble with the new Mrs. Bumble.
  • They have a spat, and she tries crying to get him to back down.
  • Tears don’t work, since Mr. Bumble actually kind of likes making people cry (it makes him feel powerful), and so instead, she smacks him around and throws things at him. That has more the desired effect—Mr. Bumble is a big coward, and runs away in defeat.
  • Shortly after their scuffle, Mr. Bumble is feeling the need to lord over someone, and the paupers of the workhouse are a convenient target.
  • Unfortunately, he goes into the workhouse to yell at the paupers doing the laundry, and finds his wife there.
  • She humiliates him in front of the paupers, and he runs away in shame to a nearby pub.
  • While having his drink there, Mr. Bumble notices a stranger who seems to be staring at him.
  • The stranger recognizes Mr. Bumble as the man who used to be the beadle, and asks if he remembers anything about a specific child who was born in the workhouse and ran away to London.
  • Of course he means Oliver, and Mr. Bumble realizes it, too.
  • The stranger wants to know about the old woman who nursed Oliver’s mother and helped when Oliver was born.
  • Mr. Bumble admits that that woman (old Sally) is dead, but that someone had been there when she died to hear a confession.
  • The stranger is eager to meet with that person, and Mr. Bumble agrees to bring the person to meet him the next day at nine in the evening at a rather dodgy house by the river.
  • At the very end of the chapter, as he is scurrying away, the stranger says that his name is "MONKS."
READ THE BOOK: Chapter 37

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...