The master was a fat, healthy man; but he turned very pale. He gazed in stupefied astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds; and then clung for support to the copper.
The assistants were paralysed with wonder, the boys with fear. "What!" said the master at length, in a faint voice.
"Please, sir,' replied Oliver, "I want some more."
The reaction of many of our politicians to the credit crunch and newly-arrived recession has me gritting my teeth. It's not so much the threat of half-rations that sticks in the craw but the humble pie that they insist forms part of our new diet.
There's more than a touch of the rather too well-fed Mr. Beadle in both Mr. Cowan and Mr. Lenihan as they lecture us for the over-indulgence of the last decade. The suggestion, not so subtly made, is that we've all been on the pig's back and it's high time for us to pay for our greed. In an instant, the same politicians who crowed over the success of the wonder economy are turning on those who worked hard to make it happen.
Maybe it's the circles where I move, but I've seen little of the gorging at the trough that they imply. I'm not suggesting that we've all been slaving in the workhouse but, in the main, our colleagues and clients have been working hard for a fair return. We'll tighten our belts if that's what's needed but we can do without the doling out of financial measures as though they were medicine, a sort of antacid for a greedy populace who's eyes have grown too big for its stomach.
I'm not surprised that our politicians and their well-nourished friends in property and finance are suffering more than a little heartburn. But I do think it a little rich that they rush to the same conclusion as their not-so-honourable predecessor Mr. Haughey and tell us that "we've" all been living beyond our means.
Please, sir, keep your nasty medicine for yourself.