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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
This chapter casts its cloud of gloom on the happiness Oliver had experienced in the past few months. The bright rays of summer show Oliver in high spirits and robust health. He loves the company of his friends and does his best to walk with the two women. Engrossed in their conversation, they cross the normal limits of their walk and return home exhausted. When Rose sits down to play on the piano, she experiences a chill and soon falls ill.
Mrs. Maylie looks distraught and fears the worst. Oliver consoles her and hopes for the best. When Rose shows no sign of improving the next morning, Mrs. Maylie sends Oliver on an errand to the market in town to post a letter to Dr. Losborne. The boy feels happy to be of help to his benefactors and thus happily runs across the fields to reach the place of his destination. He reaches the inn and hands over the letter to the carrier on horse back to reach Chertsey at the earliest.
Returning in a hurry, he bangs against a tall man in a cloak who recognizes him and threatens to hit him. Luck favors Oliver as the man falls down in a fit and Oliver runs back home to security.
The condition of Rose Maylie deteriorates by night. The local physician shows his helplessness in curing the her. The next morning brings no comfort to the members of the house. Oliver prays fervently for the speedy recovery of his friend. Dr. Losborne arrives in the night and pronounces the condition of Rose to be serious. Another morning comes but brings little hope. The church bell rings and Oliver contemplates philosophically on the shadow of death over a beautiful person like Rose. The day passes slowly but brings hope when Dr. Losborne, coming out of the room of the patient, announces that Rose is out of danger.
Oliver's happiness is short-lived as his dear friend, Rose, falls ill suddenly. Though dejected, the boy shows maturity in handling the crises in his life. He hopes for the best and believes in the justice of God. Though young in age, he consoles Mrs. Maylie and offers her comfort. He also helps the old woman in posting a letter to Dr. Losborne. The boy thus reveals his strength of character beneath his tender heart.
The chapter also brings to memory an earlier episode in the boy's life when he was ensnared by a member of the underworld. Oliver runs on an errand for Mr. Brownlow but almost gets caught in the process. Next time, when he runs an errand for Mrs. Maylie, he almost falls into the hands of the wicked Monks on his return. However, luck favors him and he escapes the clutches of the wicked man. By creating two such similar situations, Dickens suggests that evil forces are on the prowl to pounce upon innocent beings like Oliver and take them into their jaws.
The pent up emotions in Oliver burst forth in a volley of tears. As night closes in, a carriage draws near the house bringing with it Mr. Giles and Mr. Harry Maylie, the son of his benign hostess. They look as concerned as they approach. Soon they reach the house. Harry reprimands his mother for not informing him earlier and professes his love for Rose. Mrs. Maylie then reveals the dubious identity of the young girl and cautions him about marrying the girl, only to apologize later. Harry stands firm on his decision and decides to talk to Rose on the matter.
Mr. Losborne announces a reward of twenty five pounds to Giles for his bravery on the night of the robbery. The servant celebrates the occasion with the rest of the staff. Oliver enjoys the company of the doctor and Harry. While the doctor amuses him with anecdotes from his past, the young man gives him company. Rose recovers rapidly though she does not resume her normal activities immediately. Oliver, finding time on his hands, resumes reading books as instructed by his old teacher. One evening, while busy in this activity, Oliver forgets time and falls asleep. He has a frightening dream and imagines himself to be in the company of Fagin. Opening his eyes, much to his shock, he stares at Fagin standing near the window of his room along with the weird gentleman who had cursed him in the market town. However, before Oliver can react, they disappear from the scene. They had recognized him. This discovery makes Oliver shudder and shout for help.
Just when Oliver recovers from a crisis, he is haunted by visions from the past.
Oliver feels relieved when Dr. Losborne informs them about the improvement in Rose's health. Soon the mists of the gloom disperse from his life as the girl recovers and he finds himself in the enjoyable company of the doctor and Harry Maylie. He resumes his studies which had been disrupted because of Rose's illness. One day when he dozes off to sleep after studying for a while, he is awakened by sounds near the window. He looks out with horror at the faces of Fagin and his new friend. However, the two men disappear as he recovers from his shock.
Through a series of incidents in the story Dickens emphasizes the fact that life has in store both the good and the bad and the individual has to face them both.