Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes
CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
Fagin is brooding in his den. Behind him on a table, Dodger, Master Bates, and Chitling are attentively playing a game of whist. Frivolous remarks passed by Bates from time to time to attract the attention of Fagin and make him participate in their conversation. He applauds Dawkins for his skill in the game. Soon the focus shifts on Mr. Chitling. They tease him about his liking for Betsy. Chitling is provoked and speaks to them in an offensive manner. Just then they hear the bell ringing. Dodger opens the door to let in Toby Crackit. The housebreaker asks for food and drinks before he can tell about their adventure. However, after finishing his meal, he inquires about Bill Sikes. All look puzzled and Fagin anxiously asks him to explain the absence of Sikes and Oliver. Toby tells about their unsuccessful mission. He describes how Oliver was wounded and left in the ditch before Bill and he parted ways. Fagin is shocked to hear the news and before others can react, rushes out of the house.
Anxiety, fear, and guilt are the after effects of crime. Fagin, who represents the criminal world, experiences these three emotions in this chapter.
Fagin looks restless and shows anxiety as he sits brooding over the fire. As the day passes by, thoughts about the robbery and the safety of his companions start haunting him. When Toby Crackit arrives alone and shows his ignorance about the whereabouts of Sikes, fear grips the old man's heart. He is afraid that Sikes might have been caught by the police.
Finally, when Toby confesses their inability to rob the house and tells about leaving Oliver in the ditch before Sikes and he had parted ways, Fagin is gripped with fear. He rushes out to hide his guilt from the man with whom he would interact in the next few chapters.
Fagin hurries down the street like a mad man and reaches Saffron Hill. Here he enters a commercial colony and has a conversation with the traders. He inquires whether they had noticed any stranger at "Cripples," the public house. When he doesn't get a clear answer, he proceeds towards the establishment to check in person. On questioning the landlord, he learns that Monks might arrive at the public house any moment. Relieved to hear this news, he asks the manager to convey the message that Monks should meet him the next day. Soon he leaves the place to walk towards the lodgings of Sikes. Here he meets Nancy and inquires about the whereabouts of Sikes. When she looks helpless he relates to her the incident as told by Toby Crackit. When Fagin expresses sympathy for the boy left in the ditch, Nancy tells him that Oliver was much safer in that ditch than in his den. Provoked, Fagin reveals in a fit of frenzy that the boy was worth hundreds of pounds to him. However, he recovers his composure and makes sure that Nancy does not comprehend his plan. He leaves her to her thoughts and walks towards his house in the shivering cold.
Just as he reaches his door, he is accosted by the dark figure of Monks. They move inside the house and pursue their conversation. The stranger reprimands Fagin for sending Oliver on the errand instead of training him to become a pick pocket. In the midst of their talk Monks notices the shadow of a woman following them. Fagin makes a wild search but fails to spot anyone else in the house. He convinces Monks that the vision he had seen was nothing but a figment of his imagination.
In this chapter it becomes obvious why Fagin feels guilty after hearing about Oliver's injury. In his excitement, he tells Nancy that Oliver was worth hundreds of pounds. Again when he meets Monks, he looks apologetic and defends himself against the stranger's accusations. When Monks blames him for sending Oliver on the mission, Fagin defends himself by saying that he had sent Oliver with the intention of making him a thief. Also, he reveals that he has sent Nancy to kidnap the boy only for the sake of Monks.
Fagin's unwitting revelation to Nancy and his conversation with Monks explain the fact that Fagin had struck a bargain with the stranger to rescue Oliver and make him a thief. The chapter emphasizes the wickedness of Fagin who snares Oliver into the underworld to fulfill his greed.