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Summary Chapter 11


Oliver is near the police station when he is apprehended, and the crowd follows the officer who arrests him. The robbery victim says he isn’t sure that Oliver took the handkerchief, and he’d rather not press charges. However, the case is in the magistrate’s hands now.

Oliver is lead to a cell and searched. He reminds the robbery victim of someone, but he can’t quite recall who.

Oliver and the robbery victim appear before the magistrate. The magistrate, Mr. Fang, is rude and insults Mr. Brownlow by treating him disrespectfully. Mr. Brownlow is angry, but he restrains himself—fearing he’ll hurt Oliver’s chances by provoking the magistrate.

Mr. Brownlow, when given the opportunity, states his case. He went after Oliver because he saw him running away. He thinks the boy is connected with thieves, though not a thief himself. He asks for leniency for Oliver. He fears the boy is ill.

Mr. Fang questions Oliver, but Oliver can’t find his tongue to answer. The police officer, realizing that the magistrate will become more infuriated by Oliver’s silence, answers for him. He tells the magistrate that Oliver’s name is Tom White. He lives where he can. His parents died when he was a baby.

Oliver asks for some water. Mr. Fang thinks Oliver is trying to trick him. The police officer comments that the boy is ill. Oliver faints. Thinking it is an act, Mr. Fang orders that no one is to tend to him. He sentences Oliver to three months of hard labor.

An elderly man rushes in when two officers go to take Oliver away. Mr. Fang orders the man out. The man is the owner of the book stall the victim had been at, and he witnessed the whole thing. He asks to be heard. Fang has him sworn in grudgingly.

The book stall owner says he saw three boys. Another boy committed the theft, and the prisoner had been stunned by what he saw. Fang asks why the man hadn’t come before. The man said he only just now got someone to mind his shop.

Fang discharges Oliver. When he finds out Mr. Brownlow failed to pay for the book he was reading and still holding, he tells Mr. Brownlow he has no right to charge someone else with robbery. Brownlow is outraged but doesn’t get the opportunity to vent, for Fang has his office cleared out.

Oliver Twist is still unconscious in the yard. Mr. Brownlow’s anger disappears. He calls for a coach. He takes Oliver with him. The bookstall owner asks to join him. Mr. Brownlow agrees and gives back the book.  

Charles Dickens