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Summary: Chapter XXII

Adela, in shock, remains at the McBrydes’. Miss Derek and Mrs. McBryde treat Adela’s sunburn and pick out the hundreds of cactus spines stuck in her skin from her run down the hill. Adela’s emotions swing wildly. She sobs, then tries to logically review what happened—she entered, started the cave echo by scratching the wall with her fingernail, then saw a dark shadow move toward her. She hit at him with her field-glasses, he pulled her around the cave, then she escaped. She was never touched. Adela still hears the upsetting echo from the cave. She hopes Mrs. Moore will visit her and make her feel better.

When Adela’s condition improves, Ronny retrieves her. McBryde and Ronny inform her that there was a near riot when the procession of the Mohurram festival attempted to enter the civil station. They explain to Adela that Das, Ronny’s Indian assistant, will try her case. McBryde shows Adela a letter from Fielding, which has been opened. McBryde explains that Fielding has betrayed the English. Adela skims the letter and reads the line “Dr. Aziz is innocent.”

Ronny takes Adela home. Adela is happy to be reunited with Mrs. Moore, but Mrs. Moore remains on the couch, withdrawn from Adela’s advances. Adela tells Mrs. Moore about the echo she has been hearing, and Mrs. Moore responds knowingly. Adela asks Mrs. Moore what it is, but the older woman refuses to put it in words, and she predicts morbidly that Adela will hear it forever.

Mrs. Moore tells Ronny she will leave India sooner than planned. She will not testify at the trial. She will see her other two children into marriage, then retreat from the world. Mrs. Moore is sick of marriage—she sees little difference between love in a church and love in a cave.

Mrs. Moore leaves the room. Adela weeps, wondering aloud if she has made a mistake about Aziz. Adela thinks she heard Mrs. Moore say, “Dr. Aziz never did it,” but Ronny insists Mrs. Moore never said such words. Ronny finally convinces Adela that she is remembering lines from Fielding’s letter. Ronny urges her not to wonder aloud if Aziz might be innocent.

Mrs. Moore returns, and Ronny asks her to confirm that she never said Aziz was innocent. Indeed, Mrs. Moore never made such a statement, but she nonetheless responds matter-of-factly that Aziz is innocent. Ronny asks for evidence. Mrs. Moore replies that Aziz’s character is good. Adela wishes she could call off the trial, but she realizes how inconsiderate that would be to the men who have gone to so much trouble for her. Ronny decides to have his mother leave India as quickly as possible.