Although I am not di...

Although I am not disposed to maintain that the being born in a
workhouse, is in itself the most fortunate and enviable circumstance
that can possibly befall a human being, I do mean to say that in this
particular instance, it was the best thing for Oliver Twist that could
by possibility have occurred. The fact is, that there was considerable
difficulty in inducing Oliver to take upon himself the office of
respiration,--a troublesome practice, but one which custom has rendered
necessary to our easy existence; and for some time he lay gasping on a
little flock mattress, rather unequally poised between this world and
the next: the balance being decidedly in favour of the latter. Now,
if, during this brief period, Oliver had been surrounded by careful
grandmothers, anxious aunts, experienced nurses, and doctors of
profound wisdom, he would most inevitably and indubitably have been
killed in no time. There being nobody by, however, but a pauper old
woman, who was rendered rather misty by an unwonted allowance of beer;
and a parish surgeon who did such matters by contract; Oliver and
Nature fought out the point between them. The result was, that, after
a few struggles, Oliver breathed, sneezed, and proceeded to advertise
to the inmates of the workhouse the fact of a new burden having been
imposed upon the parish, by setting up as loud a cry as could
reasonably have been expected from a male infant who had not been
possessed of that very useful appendage, a voice, for a much longer
space of time than three minutes and a quarter.

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