After being shot during the burglary at the Maylie residence, Oliver is in desperate need of rest and recuperation. Oliver has had a lucky escape; not only has he narrowly avoided being killed, he's also been spared prison. Children in Oliver's day were regularly sent to prison to serve lengthy sentences for a variety of crimes, including theft. But because the Maylies are such kindhearted people, and because they've been so deeply moved by Oliver's story, they're going to help him instead of handing him over to the police. The Maylies clearly believe that Oliver's participation in the burglary was unwilling, his criminality the product of an unhappy environment.
That being the case, Mrs. Maylie and Miss Rose take Oliver to the countryside in the belief that the pleasant rural surroundings will turn him away from a life of crime and allow him to develop normally as a child. Their hopes are amply fulfilled as Oliver positively thrives in the midst of all that fresh air and the wondrous joys of nature. As well as enjoying the peace and calm of life in the countryside, Oliver also makes good progress in his learning. A kindly white-haired old gentleman teaches him to read better and to write, and Miss Maylie reads to Oliver while they sit together in some quiet, shady place. After his idyllic stay in the country, Oliver is a boy transformed.