openly from me!"' invites Nancy; '"I pity you! It wrings my heart to hear you!"' counters Rose). Rose and Losberne eventually promise Nancy that Fagin and Sikes will be immune from prosecution in the event of the enigmatic Monks's arrest.

Fagin, meanwhile, has a new recruit: Noah Claypole, who has absconded from the Sowerberrys with Charlotte and such money as he could steal. Claypole is ordered to spy on Nancy, who has aroused Fagin's suspicion. He follows her and eavesdrops on a meeting she has with Brownlow and Rose on the steps of London Bridge. He faithfully recounts this to Fagin, who duly relays it to Sikes; enraged by Nancy's presumed treachery, Sikes savagely clubs her to death in the novel's most lurid scene ('he beat [her] twice with all the force he could summon... she staggered and fell: nearly blinded with the blood that rained from a deep gash in her forehead... she breathed one prayer for mercy to her Maker'). Sikes promptly flees to the countryside, where he tries to kill his trusty dog Bullseye. When he returns to the gang's headquarters he is treated with revulsion by such gang-members as have escaped a police raid in which Fagin and Noah have been arrested ('"Don't come nearer me!" answered [Charley]... looking, with horror in his eyes, upon the murderer's face. "You monster!"'). Bates raises the alarm and Sikes attempts to escape across the rooftops, but slips and inadvertently hangs himself. Bullseye leaps to his death in an attempt to join Sikes. Following a sensational trial Fagin is condemned to death for unspecified crimes- 'Guilty. The building rang with a tremendous shout, and another, and another, and then it echoed loud groans, then gathered strength as they swelled out, like angry thunder'- and the Dodger is cheerily transported. Noah escapes justice only by testifying for the prosecution.

Back at the Maylies', Brownlow takes custody of Oliver and reveals all. It transpires that Monks is in fact Edward Leeford, Oliver's half-brother. Their father seduced and promised to marry Agnes Fleming, Oliver's mother, whilst still married to Leeford's mother. Their father's will stipulates that Oliver can only inherit his half of the inheritance if he maintains a spotless reputation- hence Monks's efforts to discredit him. Monks emigrates with his half of the inheritance to America, where he dies in prison. Bumble, now married unhappily to Mrs. Corney, is implicated in the plots against Oliver and therefore reduced to dependency on the cruel workhouse system that he so zealously enforced on Oliver ('deprived of their situations [they] were gradually reduced to indigence and misery'). Finally, Brownlow reveals that Rose and Oliver's mother are sisters, and that Rose is therefore legitimate. As a result she can marry Harry, who abandons a burgeoning political career in order to become a country parson at Rose's behest, and raises a memorial to Agnes in his churchyard. At the end we are told that everyone is 'truly happy'.

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