the item of mortality

sami33

Senior Member
arabic
HI

Please, what exactly is "the item of mortality"?

Among other public buildings in a certain town, which for many reasons it will be prudent to refrain from mentioning, and to which I will assign no fictitious name, there is one anciently common to most towns, great or small: to wit, a workhouse; and in this workhouse was born; on a day and date which I need not trouble myself to repeat, inasmuch as it can be of no possible consequence to the reader, in this stage of the business at all events; the item of mortality whose name is prefixed to the head of this chapter.

Source: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.
Thanks.
 
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  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Please, what exactly is "the item of mortality"?
    This is a term coined by Dickens as an alternative to 'morsel of humanity' which is a bit of a cliché meaning 'little piece of the human race' which in turn means 'small person'.
     
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