By David Payne (auth.)
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The first mention of a sketch featuring this character dates from the dawn of Dickens's success: his response to Macrone's 1835 offer to publish a collection of his sketches, in which he assured Macrone that he had an abundance of materials for the project, including a paper called "The Hospital" (PL 1: 81-4). With the advent of Pickwick, it was not until a year later that "The Hospital Patient" appeared in the Carlton Chronicle of 6 August 1836, part of yet another project called "Leaves from an unpublished Volume by Boz," but buried under the avalanche of work Dickens created for himself in the autumn.
Instantly, Nancy's body begins to emit messages which only Oliver and the reader are in a position to decode: The girl burst into a laugh; drew her shawl more closely round her; and they walked away. But Oliver felt her hand tremble; and, looking up in her face as they passed a gas lamp, saw that it had turned a deadly white. (OT 99) The entire narrative procedure is repeated a few pages later, when Fagin beats Oliver for attempting to escape; and this time, Nancy's "transport of frenzy" prefigures the moment of violent unanimity to come: "'I wish I had been struck dead in the street, or had changed places with them we passed so near to-night, before I had lent a hand,"' she exclaims, The Cockney and the Prostitute 39 and faints shortly afterward (104).
It is true that as early as 1776, at the conclusion of The Wealth ofNations, Adam Smith had speculated on the deleterious effects of the historical tendency towards industrial specialization, or "the division of labor," with which he had begun his discussion. " 4 But qualifying comments like these, buried at the back of Smith's treatise, are an exception to the British rule of "political economy" after 1789. Though radical writers of the 1790s such as Cobbett and Blake inveighed against what the latter called the "dark Satanic Mills," they were no less affected than their counterparts on the center and right by a nationalist political idiom, mastered by Burke, which deplored social theory in general, and its systematic and critical (meaning French and Revolutionary) varieties in particular.