A House-breaker’s Sixth Sense

22 Dec

     In the short time that he had had to collect his senses, the boy had firmly resolved that, whether he died in the attempt or not, he would make one effort to dart up stairs from the hall, and alarm the family.  Filled with this idea, he advanced at once, but stealthily.
     “Come back!”  suddenly cried Sikes aloud. “Back!  back!”
     Scared by the sudden breaking of the dead stillness of the place, and by a loud cry which followed it, Oliver let his lantern fall, and knew not whether to advance or fly.

Oliver Twist chapter XXII

Oliver is going to warn the family that they about to be robbed.  Out of nowhere Sikes shouts, “Come back!”?  In the margin of my copy I wrote in bold letters:  What warned Sikes? 

Did he see something that Dickens chose not to share with the reader?  Did Sikes “sense” that something was about to happen? 

Why did Sikes call?  He’s been threatening to shoot Oliver for two chapters.  My guess is that he feared the boy would implicate him and Toby Crackit in the attempted crime if caught.

What do you think?

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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in Oliver Twist


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