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Summary Chapter 51

Two days later, Oliver is traveling to his native town. Mrs. Maylie, Rose, and Dr. Losberne ride with him. Mr. Brownlow is following them in a post-chaise.

Oliver is agitated in thought. The others are also disoriented by the recent events, and all are quiet. Mr. Brownlow has disclosed the details about Monks.

Oliver feels emotions flooding in as he remembers his travels. He remembers Dick and wishes to see him. Rose says they will visit Dick. Oliver wants to take Dick away, and Rose agrees.

They go to a hotel, and Mr. Grimwig greets them. Rose and Oliver are not told anything. The others confer with each other in another room. Mrs. Maylie often looks weepy. Rose and Oliver are uneasy.

Oliver shrieks when they come out with Monks, for he recognizes the man. Monks acknowledges hatefully that Oliver is his half brother, the child of Edwin Leeford and Agnes Fleming.

Monks discuses how he arrived in Rome with his mother. His father was senseless and died soon after. They found a letter to Brownlow, and one to Agnes. Agnes was already pregnant. Edwin hadn’t told her why he couldn’t marry her right away, but he gave her a locket and a ring to represent his promise to marry her. He begs her, if he dies, not to curse him. He takes full blame for her ruin.

The will left his wife and son, both whom he condemned for their bad dispositions, with 800 pounds a year. Agnes and Oliver were his main beneficiaries. If Agnes’ child was a girl, she got the inheritance. If the child was a boy, though, he could be disinherited if he stained his name with any act of dishonor. Edwin was confident the child would be like Agnes. He would only acknowledge Monks as his heir if he was disappointed in the second child.

Monks’ mother burnt the will. She contacted Agnes’ father and threatened him. He fled with his daughters to Wales, where he changed their names and cut off contact with all friends. Agnes left home. He searched for her. He thought she killed herself to hide her shame. He died soon after.

Monks’ mother came to Mr. Brownlow after Monks robbed her when he was 18 years old. He fled and associated with the dredges of society. She was dying and wanted to find him. Monks returned to France with her. That is when she revealed the story to him. He vowed to find the child and bring it down the criminal path until it swung from the gallows. He would have succeeded if not for Nancy blabbing. He had offered Fagin a large reward to accomplish this task.

Monks admitted having bought the locket from Mrs. Bumble, who had gotten it from the nurse who had robbed Agnes’ corpse. Mr. Grimwig brings in the Bumbles. Mr. Bumble is happy to see Oliver.

The Bumbles initially deny knowing Monks or ever having the locket. Mr. Grimwig brings in the nurses who tended Sally when she was dying. They had overheard the conversation between Sally and Mrs. Bumble. They had seen Mrs. Bumble take the paper to the pawnshop. They had followed her and saw the locket and ring.

Sally had told them that Agnes had been traveling to die near the grave of Edwin Leeford.

Mrs. Bumble finally admits to selling the locket. Mr. Brownlow says he will see that the couple are no longer employed in a position of trust again. Mr. Bumble says it was all his wife’s idea. Mr. Brownlow tells him that he is more guilty, for he was present. Under law, he is supposed to control his wife’s actions.

Rose doesn’t wish to hear any more, even though they tell her they have something to reveal about her. Brownlow asks Monks if he recognizes Rose. He says she is Agnes’ sister. She was found without any papers identifying her relatives. Some cottagers reared her.

Monks’ mother found her. She told the cottagers that the child was illegitimate and came from bad blood. The people believed it and made Rose’s existence miserable. However, Mrs. Maylie found her and adopted her. He lost track of her until a few months ago.

Rose faints. When she recovers, she and Mrs. Maylie embrace. Oliver embraces Rose, calling her his sister.

Harry enters, saying he knows the story. He asks Rose to marry him again. She refuses, though she wants to, for the circumstances are the same. Harry tells her he has changed his life. He has abandoned Parliament for a different life, one Rose can be a part of.

They become engaged. Oliver is unhappy, though, for he has learned that Dick is dead. 

Charles Dickens