Chapters 47–53 Summary
Fagin is outraged by Nancy’s betrayal and is consumed with hatred when Sikes arrives. Noah tells Sikes about Nancy’s meeting; Sikes is shocked to hear the report and leaves determined to act. Fagin warns him not to be “too violent” so as not to cast any suspicion on the crime ring.
Sikes returns to his apartment and orders Nancy to get out of bed. Nancy begs for his mercy and offers an alternate plan: they can leave the country together. She struggles and Sikes hits her twice on the head with his pistol. Nancy raises her hand above her clasping Rose’s handkerchief and praying to God before Sikes beats her with a club to be sure she is dead.
Sikes has stayed in the apartment for some time, afraid to move despite the extremely bloody scene. When he leaves, Sikes walks through town haphazardly, unsure what to do. He feels that other people are looking at him suspiciously. That night, he goes into a pub. Sikes keeps imagining Nancy’s eyes. Later, he hears people shouting about a fire, and he throws all of his energy into trying to help. Once it is over, though, he is haunted again by Nancy. Sikes decides to go back to London, thinking it may be the safest place to hide.
Brownlow brings Monks to his house and tells him that if he does not talk—or if he tries to escape—he will be taken to the police. Brownlow says Monks has a brother, which Monks denies. However, the gentleman knows that Monks’s history intersects with Oliver’s, so Monks cannot continue to plead ignorance.
Monks is the son of Brownlow’s friend, Leeford, and a woman ten years his senior. They had a miserable marriage after the man’s father forced him into the union. Once they had separated, the wife and son nursed a hatred for his father. Leeford later befriended a naval officer with two daughters. Leeford and one of the daughters fell in love, a circumstance Brownlow laments. After about a year, Leeford and the daughter planned to marry. Leeford went to Rome to claim his uncle’s inheritance but grew fatally ill there and left no will, so the inheritance passed to Monks and his mother. Before Leeford went to Rome, he visited Brownlow and left him a painting of Agnes, his beloved. Leeford anxiously wanted to change all of his property to money, leave some to Monks, and take the rest with him out of the country (Brownlow suspected he and Agnes would elope). Brownlow tried to find her family, but they had been evicted.
Brownlow recounts Oliver’s convalescence at Brownlow’s house. He recalls sensing something familiar about Oliver’s face and how he was able to connect the boy to the painting. Once Oliver disappeared, Brownlow investigated Oliver and his connection to Leeford. Brownlow went to the West Indies in search of Monks. Unfortunately, Monks had already departed for London. Brownlow knows that Monks’s mother destroyed Leeford’s will and that Monks threw evidence of Oliver’s parentage in the river.
Monks signs a statement admitting the truth. Brownlow pleads for Monks to right the wrongs he has done to Oliver. After this interview, Brownlow learns from Dr. Losberne that Sikes will be arrested for Nancy’s murder. Both men are eager to witness justice on Nancy’s behalf.
Some of the thieves from Fagin’s company have fled to a seedy neighborhood near the Thames to hide from the police. Fagin has been arrested, and Charley has escaped through the chimney. Sikes’s dog arrives, confusing the occupants of the room, who hope Sikes is not on his way. When Sikes arrives, he questions them about Fagin. Charley seems afraid of Sikes and won’t come near him. The boys lunge at Sikes and take him down, but Sikes is stronger and eventually escapes. An angry crowd has gathered outside to witness Sikes’s arrest. The murderer attempts to escape by going onto the roof. He tries to lower himself with a rope but ends up accidentally hanging himself.
Oliver and his friends travel to...
(The entire section is 1,341 words.)