i have just been sent an old box from an anonymous source. Imagine my amazement when I looked inside and found a packet of dirty, worm-eaten letters which related to the chief character of my novel, Artful.
I thought that it was in the interests of historical accuracy to share these thoughts with the world.
The first missive was penned by his old mentor, Fagin.
MY FRIEND ARTFUL
Ah, Artful, what a boy was he? It was me what named him Artful Dodger because there was none who could dodge like him, none as fast on their feet or able to turn and swerve like a mongrel with an itch in his tail.
Not that he needed to dodge that much, oh no. You see he was the best I’ve ever knowed: the slyest, sneakiest, most swift-fingered pick-pocket I’ve ever had the pleasure to train. That’s why I called him Artful, ’cause he was. He was as cunning as a mother fox, as quick with his tricks as the Chancellor of the Chequer, the Hogarth of the filch.
He was clever, I give him that. Don’t know where he got it from but he was. Truth to tell I was beginning to think that it wouldn’t be long before he could outsmart me. Bit of a concern for the future that was, nagging, if you like, at the back of me head.
But I wasn’t worried yet, not really, not yet. Artful was loyal, you see. I knew that might not last ’cause they all turn nasty in the end. Look at Sikes, the villain, and he owed everything to me. But I knew that Artful would stay true to me for a good few years yet. I think he was grateful to me or perhaps he knew which side of the bread his dripping was on. You see, I looked after him. And he looked after me. Pals we were, almost, even though he was my employee. Someone, I think it may have been Toby Crackit, said that Artful was my Left-tenant, maybe ’cause he left all he pinched to me and he lived with me.
So imagine the blow when he made his one mistake. He was caught and sent to trial for one measly snuff-box. And now he’s gone. To New South Wales which is full of criminals. I worry my heart out for the boy. I do hope he’s all right and will come back to his old pal one day. I wonder what’s happening to the boy now?
Read Artful to find out what did happen to the Artful Dodger. Available on Amazon Kindle.