For the next eight or ten months, Oliver was the victim of a systematic
course of treachery and deception. He was brought up by hand. The
hungry and destitute situation of the infant orphan was duly reported
by the workhouse authorities to the parish authorities. The parish
authorities inquired with dignity of the workhouse authorities, whether
there was no female then domiciled in 'the house' who was in a
situation to impart to Oliver Twist, the consolation and nourishment of
which he stood in need. The workhouse authorities replied with
humility, that there was not. Upon this, the parish authorities
magnanimously and humanely resolved, that Oliver should be 'farmed,'
or, in other words, that he should be dispatched to a branch-workhouse
some three miles off, where twenty or thirty other juvenile offenders
against the poor-laws, rolled about the floor all day, without the
inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing, under the parental
superintendence of an elderly female, who received the culprits at and
for the consideration of sevenpence-halfpenny per small head per week.
Sevenpence-halfpenny's worth per week is a good round diet for a child;
a great deal may be got for sevenpence-halfpenny, quite enough to
overload its stomach, and make it uncomfortable. The elderly female was
a woman of wisdom and experience; she knew what was good for children;
and she had a very accurate perception of what was good for herself.
So, she appropriated the greater part of the weekly stipend to her own
use, and consigned the rising parochial generation to even a shorter
allowance than was originally provided for them. Thereby finding in
the lowest depth a deeper still; and proving herself a very great
experimental philosopher.

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