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Summary Chapter 17


Mr. Bumble goes to Mrs. Mann’s farm. Mrs. Mann is not pleased to see him, but she doesn’t reveal this in her greeting to him. Mr. Bumble tells her he is going to London to handle a legal settlement. He hands her the monthly stipend she is owed. He asks after the children. Mrs. Mann tells him that two have died, and that Dick is ill.

Dick is brought before Mr. Bumble. Dick asks for someone to dictate a message and keep it for him after he is buried. He wants to give his love to Oliver Twist. Dick is glad he is dying young. If he lived, his dead little sister might have forgotten him—or they wouldn’t have much in common when they met in heaven. However, they will both meet as children in heaven.

Mr. Bumble believes that Oliver has demoralized Dick and the other children. He sends Dick away and plans to tell the board about the incident. Mrs. Mann protests it is not her fault.

Mr. Bumble goes to London and reads an article asking for information about Oliver Twist, which is offering a five guinea reward for it. He goes to the address, where he is greeted by Mrs. Bedwin. He is taken up to see Mr. Brownlow and Mr. Grimwig.

Mr. Bumble gives Oliver’s history. He was an orphan, born of lowly parents. He was treacherous, ungrateful, and malicious. He had ruined his apprenticeship by assaulting another servant, and then he ran away.

Mr. Brownlow rings for Mrs. Bedwin after Mr. Bumble leaves. He tells her Oliver is a villain. She refuses to believe it. Mr. Grimwig criticizes her for being gullible. She says she knows children, and Mr. Grimwig has no experience in the matter. Mr. Brownlow tells her he never wants to hear about the boy again.  

Charles Dickens