by Charles Dickens
Oliver Twist Chapter 9 Summary
READ THE BOOK: Chapter 9
"Containing Further Particulars Concerning the Pleasant Old Gentleman, and his Hopeful Pupils."
- Oliver wakes up the next morning to find that he’s alone in the room with Fagin. Fagin’s making coffee for breakfast, and seems to be nervous about something—he’s continually looking around to make sure that he’s alone, besides the (apparently still sleeping) Oliver.
- Oliver’s only half awake, so Fagin thinks he’s still sleeping. After checking, Fagin opens a trap door in the floor of the room and pulls out a box.
- He pulls various jewels and fancy watches out of the box to admire and then put back, talking to himself all the while (remember Scrooge in A Christmas Carol? Dickens was fond of having misers in his books, apparently).
- When he realizes that Oliver’s awake and has seen him, he flies into a rage, asking Oliver what he’s seen. When Oliver answers innocently that he’s only seen the pretty things in the box, Fagin pretends that his rage was all a joke, and puts down the bread knife he’s been threatening Oliver with.
- Just then the Dodger comes back with one of the other boys, who is introduced as Charley Bates. The four of them sit down to a breakfast of hot rolls and coffee.
- Fagin asks the Dodger and "Master Bates" (yes, we’re sure the pun was intended—ha, ha, ha) if they’d been working that morning, and the Dodger produces a couple of wallets, and Charley comes up with four handkerchiefs.
- Oliver assumes that the boys have made the things they show to Fagin, and Charley laughs and calls him "green."
- After breakfast, Fagin (ironically called "the merry old gentleman"), Charley, and the Dodger play a "game"—or so Dickens calls it, because that’s what it looks like to Oliver. The boys are practicing picking Fagin’s pockets (9.43).
- Two young ladies arrive, named Bet and Nancy. They’re described from Oliver’s point of view as "free and agreeable in their manners," and "stout and hearty," so Oliver assumes that they are "very nice girls indeed" (9.44).
- After drinking some liquor (what is it now, maybe ten or eleven in the morning?), Fagin gives the girls some money, and they go out, accompanied by the Dodger and Charley.
- Fagin tells Oliver to "make ’em your models," and then plays the pickpocket game with Oliver.
- The chapter ends with Oliver learning how to "take the marks out of the handkerchiefs"—in other words, he’s learning how to pull the embroidered initials out of handkerchiefs so that they can be resold at a pawnshop (fancy handkerchiefs were expensive, and relatively easy to steal).
READ THE BOOK: Chapter 9