One of the kindest characters in Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist is Mrs. Bedwin.
Oliver meets Mrs. Bedwin when he is taken in by Mr. Brownlow. Mrs. Bedwin works as Mr. Brownlow's housekeeper. She is an elderly woman with a caring, loving, maternal personality.
After he is wrongfully accused of stealing Mr. Brownlow's handkerchief and brought before the magistrate, Oliver becomes ill and faints. Mr. Brownlow brings Oliver to his home, where he and Mrs. Bedwin care for the young boy.
Mrs. Bedwin nurses Oliver back to health, and he blossoms under her loving care. She teaches him how to play cribbage and has unwavering faith in his goodness. Even when Oliver seemingly takes off with Mr. Brownlow's money and books after being sent out on an errand, Mrs. Bedwin never doubts that Oliver is a good child and that there is an explanation for his apparent disappearance and theft (she later learns Oliver was kidnapped).
In a novel filled with cruel, abusive characters, Mrs. Bedwin is a breath of fresh air. She is one of the few characters to show kindness and love to Oliver, who is sadly accustomed to being mistreated and abused.
Although she is a minor character, Mrs. Bedwin stands out because of how much she differs from the other adult characters in the novel. Almost all of the adults in Oliver's life abuse, neglect, mistreat, and take advantage of him. They are quick to think and believe the worst about him and often misjudge him. Unlike these people, Mrs. Bedwin loves Oliver. She genuinely cares for him and wholeheartedly believes in him and his innocence, even in the face of damning evidence against him.