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by Charles Dickens
Oliver Twist Chapter 32 Summary
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"Of the Happy Life Oliver Began to Lead with his Kind Friends" Oliver really is sick—it isn’t just the broken arm from being shot, he also caught a nasty fever from spending the night in a ditch. As he’s first recovering, he spends a lot of energy trying to express his gratitude to Rose and Mrs. Maylie. He says that once he’s well, he’ll work for them (especially Rose) night and day running errands to make them happy. She says that just getting well and being good will make her very happy. Aww. Oliver is sad that his old friends (Mr. Brownlow and Mrs. Bedwin) don’t know how happy he is. Mr. Losberne says that he’ll take Oliver to go see them as soon as he’s up to the journey. So when Oliver’s well, he and Mr. Losberne set out for Pentonville in Mrs. Maylie’s carriage. On their way there, Oliver sees a house that he thinks is the one Sikes took him to back in Chapter 21. Mr. Losberne goes totally berserk: he jumps out of the carriage and starts banging on the door of the house. An ugly little man opens the door, and Mr. Losberne grabs him and asks for Sikes. The man doesn’t answer about Sikes, but starts yelling at Mr. Losberne (understandably, really), and backs into the house—and Mr. Losberne follows. A quick look around the house, though, shows that it doesn’t match up with Oliver’s description of it, and the little man is insisting that he’s been living there like a hermit for twenty-five years. Mr. Losberne figures Oliver made a mistake, and goes back to the carriage. The little man follows, stamping his feet and yelling curses after him. Mr. Losberne says that he’s a fool—what could he have done by himself, anyway? Arrested the thieves? Taken on Bill Sikes single-handedly? When they get to Mr. Brownlow’s house, they find that it’s all boarded up, with a "to let" sign in the window. They ask a servant what’s up, and find out that Mr. Brownlow, his housekeeper (Mrs. Bedwin), and his friend (Grimwig) had all set off for the West Indies together about six weeks before. Oliver is very disappointed. But a few weeks later, Mrs. Maylie and Rose close up the house outside of London and head to their country cottage. It’s springtime in the country—flowers! Baby animals! Oliver loves it, and regains his health quickly. He spends a lot of time in the country churchyard, thinking about his mother, and although he’s sad about her, it’s not painful anymore. Everyday he goes walking with Rose and Mrs. Maylie, and likes to run errands for them, and pick flowers for them, and basically do anything he can think of for them to show how grateful he is. He’s also learning to read and write from an old guy who lives nearby, and he’s learning some stuff about gardening from the village clerk. He spends his evenings doing homework and listening to Rose sing and play the piano. Pretty much, Oliver is living Dickens’s idea of heaven at this idyllic little cottage in the country.
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