In chapter 17 of Oliver Twist, Mr. Bumble takes a coach to escort two of the cold, inadequately dressed pauper boys to London. When he reaches his lodgings in the city, after a good dinner, he sits down in front of the fire with a drink and reads the newspaper.
What immediately catches his eye is an advertisement that begins with a headline offering “five guineas reward.” The notice seeks information about a boy named Oliver Twist, who had disappeared the previous week. Bumble is especially intrigued by the offer of a reward for useful information regarding the boy’s current whereabouts, mentioning that he may have “absconded, or … [been] enticed” to leave home. Asking as well for information illuminating his earlier life, the ad provides a description of the boy. The person who has offered the reward is identified as Mr. Brownlow, and his address is also provided.
Bumble reads and rereads the ad, and he grows eager to claim the money. Bumble wastes no time in seeking out Brownlow at Pentonville. Within three minutes, he is on his way, leaving the lodgings so quickly that he does not even drink his gin. Once he reaches Brownlow’s house, Bumble gives him an elaborate account. He tells Brownlow and the others present that Oliver had run away because he attacked another boy, leading Brownlow to conclude that “their” Oliver is an imposter.