Chapters 31–35 Summary
The officers look around the crime scene and then question the servants, who cannot seem to agree on what happened. Rose contends that if the officers were to hear Oliver’s history, they would be sympathetic. Dr. Losberne replies that the child’s story is unlikely to be true. Ultimately he feels it would be too risky to reveal Oliver’s background to the police. One of the officers concludes that the robbery was not an inside job. The officers sit down for a drink and tell Rose, Mrs. Maylie, and the doctor about some of their previous cases.
The police then want to see the injured boy, so the doctor brings them up to Oliver and repeats an alternate story about how he was shot and arrived at the house. Giles begins to doubt himself, and when Brittles is questioned again, he gives a contradictory account. By this point, the police have no conclusive reason to believe Oliver is the thief. In the morning, the officers learn that two men and a boy are being held in Kingston jail, so they suspect that those three must be the robbers. The officers leave, and Oliver continues to recover.
Having begun to recover from his numerous injuries, Oliver’s first priority is to express his deep gratitude to Rose and Mrs. Maylie. The older lady mentions that they will have work for him when he is better, and he is ecstatic at the thought of serving them. Oliver wants to contact Brownlow, and the doctor agrees to bring Oliver to the gentleman’s house. In the coach, Oliver sees a house that he thinks is the place where the thieves stayed the night of the robbery. Dr. Losberne goes in and demands to see Sikes, but there is only an old man who claims to have lived there for twenty-five years. The doctor is upset when he returns to the cart, anxious to find some proof to support Oliver’s story. They next arrive at Brownlow’s house, only to discover that the gentleman has left for the West Indies. Oliver suggests they visit the bookseller, who could identify him and corroborate his innocence in the earlier theft, but the doctor cannot handle another disappointment, so they return to Mrs. Maylie’s house.
Oliver is devastated by the idea that Brownlow and Mrs. Bedwin will never know the truth and will believe him to be ungrateful and dishonest. However, his current caretakers continue to treat him very kindly, and the company moves to a country cottage for the warmer months. Oliver enjoys the fresh air and peace of his surroundings, which are markedly more idyllic than his experiences in London. Oliver learns to read and write from an old man of the village, enthusiastically performs any task required by his benefactors, and enjoys going to church on Sundays. Oliver can hardly believe his good fortune.
Spring progresses into summer, deepening the beauty of the village’s natural surroundings. One night after Oliver and the ladies take a walk, Rose is suddenly overcome by emotion and weeps at the piano. She is upset because she feels very ill, and her companions notice the quick changes in her demeanor and expression. Rose goes to bed, and Mrs. Maylie worries what will happen. Oliver tries to assure her that someone as good as Rose would never be taken from them in this way, but Mrs. Maylie thinks Oliver is just too innocent to know better.
When Rose awakens, she has a high fever, and Mrs. Maylie sends Oliver to request the doctor. In town, Oliver has a strange encounter with a man who curses him and implies that he thought the boy was dead; Oliver does not know who the man is but finds his speech disturbing. Oliver and Mrs. Maylie continue to worry about Rose, whose health seems to be deteriorating quickly. Dr. Losberne arrives that night and gives a terrifying prognosis: it will be a miracle if Rose recovers. Oliver prays for Rose and laments that he wasn’t kinder and more grateful to Rose. Back at the house, the doctor proclaims that Rose will either wake up improved or will only rise to say goodbye....
(The entire section is 1,300 words.)