Aziz and Adela continue their expedition, but the caves they visit are not very
interesting to either of them. Adela's mind is occupied by her approaching
marriage, and she realizes that she does not love Ronny, which vexes her. She
asks Aziz whether he is married, and he tells her of his wife (pretending she is
still alive) and his three children. She asks him whether he has more than one
wife, a question which shocks Aziz. Feeling confused, he mutters an answer and
disappears into a cave. Adela, unaware that she has offended him, follows him
and also goes into a cave.
When Aziz comes out of the cave, he finds the guide outside, alone. Down below
he sees a car approaching, and runs back to tell Adela. But the guide says she
has gone into a cave. He does not know which one. Aziz is horrified because he
assumes Adela is lost. Then he sees her down in the gully, and assumes she
has joined up with whoever was in the car. He is relieved. As he starts to return
to his camp, he finds Adela's field glasses lying at the verge of a cave, with the
strap broken. He puts them in his pocket. When he reaches the camp, he finds
Fielding there, who had come with Miss Derek in the car. No one knows where
Adela is, until Miss Derek's chauffeur announces that Adela and Miss Derek
have returned to Chandrapore. Aziz is not disturbed by this news, but Fielding
feels that something is wrong. When he had arrived with Miss Derek, there had
been no talk of a speedy return to Chandrapore. Fielding asks Aziz how and
where he left Adela. Aziz explains what happened, not realizing that he is
misremembering the facts. He thinks he saw Adela climb down from the cave
with the guide and go off to meet her friend. Happy with this version of events, he
feels content because he has given his guests a good time. It does not bother
him that Adela left early.
The train arrives, and they all return to Chandrapore. When they arrive, Mr. Haq,
the Inspector of Police, arrests Aziz. He will not say what the charge is. Fielding
assumes that a mistake has occurred, and restrains Aziz, who has tried to
escape. All is confusion in the railway station. Fielding wants to accompany Aziz,
but he is called away by Mr. Turton, and Aziz goes to prison alone.
The Collector (Mr. Turton) tells Fielding that Miss Quested has been "insulted" in
one of the caves, and has accused Aziz of the crime. Fielding insists that Aziz is
not capable of such an act; he must be innocent. But the Collector will not
disbelieve the word of an Englishwoman, and he is worried about the
consequences. He thinks the good name of his District will be sullied for a
generation because of what has happened. While the Collector gives way to his
emotions, Fielding decides that he must search for facts.
He goes to see Mr. McBryde, the District Superintendent of Police. McBryde
explains the charge against Aziz: he is alleged to have followed Miss Quested
into the cave and made "insulting advances." She hit him with her field glasses,
and he pulled at them, breaking the strap. The glasses have been found in Aziz's
pocket. Miss Derek says there was no guide with Miss Quested when she came
down from the gully (contradicting Aziz's account).
In spite of the apparent evidence, Fielding continues to believe in Aziz's
innocence. McBryde is taken aback. Fielding tries to get to see Miss Quested, to
see if he can persuade her to recant her story before the trial, or at least to ask
her if she is absolutely certain it was Aziz who followed her into the cave. But first
McBryde and then Callendar denies him permission to see her. McBryde tells
Fielding that all the English should stick together because the situation in
Chandrapore over the next few weeks is going to get very nasty. He refuses to
let Fielding visit Aziz.
Outside McBryde's office, Fielding and Hamidullah discuss how to get bail for
Aziz. Hamidullah also wants to get a prominent anti-British Hindu lawyer,
Amritao, to defend Aziz, but Fielding worries that this will be seen as a political
challenge by the English.
Fielding then finds himself drawn into a tedious conversation with Professor
Godbole, who wants to return to his birthplace in Central India and start a school
there. When Fielding asks him whether he thinks Aziz is guilty or innocent,
Godbole gives a rambling answer about everyone being involved in the good and
evil actions of everyone else; good and evil are both aspects of God. Fielding
neither understands or sympathizes with this belief.
These chapters reveal that Aziz (and, by extension, India) has a different attitude
to truth than what English people would expect. He tells Adela that his wife is
alive, simply because "he felt it more artistic to have his wife alive for a moment."
Aziz is not consciously aware of telling lies. He just has a capacity for making the
truth what he needs it to be-a talent he uses to the full when he explains to
himself what happened regarding Adela's disappearance and sudden departure.
But the novel does not make a simple contrast between Aziz, for whom facts are
malleable, and the English. For all the English concern with justice, and a trial at
which the truth would be established, all the English people, with the exception
of Fielding, prejudge Aziz. Like Aziz, they too have the capacity to manipulate the
truth into what they believe it to be.
These chapters further characterize Fielding as the one Englishman who can
stand apart from the collective mindset of his "tribe."
But there is also a gulf between him and the Indians whose side he takes. They
always do something that disappoints him. He finds old Professor Godbole's
conversation almost unbearable and his religious views incomprehensible. The
fact that even Fielding has difficulty establishing ideal relationships with Indians
shows how wide the gap between the two cultures is. Fielding's developing
relationship with Aziz will further illustrate this point.