Summary: Chapter XXIV
The hot season has begun, and everyone retreats indoors, away from the sun. The morning of Aziz’s trial, the Turtons drive Adela to the courthouse with a police escort. On the way, Mr. Turton thinks to himself that he does not hate Indians, for to do so would be to denounce his own career and the energy spent on them. He concludes that it is Englishwomen who really make matters worse in India.
In front of the courthouse, students jeer at the car. Rafi, hiding behind a friend, yells that the English are cowards. Inside, the English gather in Ronny’s office and loudly trade rumors about an Indian rebellion and Fielding’s traitorous behavior. Ronny expresses confidence in his subordinate, Das, who is acting as judge for the case. Major Callendar loudly denounces all Indians. He relates with satisfaction that the Nawab Bahadur’s grandson recently suffered severe facial injury from a car accident; all Indians should be similarly made to suffer. Everyone ignores Adela, who sits quietly, fearing she will have a breakdown during her examination.
When the case is called, the group files into the courtroom to their special chairs. Adela notices the lowly Indian servant operating the fan. He has a beautiful, godlike demeanor and appears aloof from everything taking place in the room.
McBryde opens the case for the prosecution. He presents as scientific fact his assertion that darker races lust after fairer races, but not vice versa. An Indian in the audience protests that Adela is ugly. Adela becomes flustered. Callendar requests that Adela be moved to the platform for better air. All of the English then move to the platform. Amritrao, the lawyer from Calcutta, protests that having all the English up on the platform will intimidate the witnesses. Das agrees that everyone but Adela must return to the floor. Outside the courtroom, word of this humiliation spreads, and the crowd jeers.
McBryde argues that Aziz lives a double life, simultaneously “respectable” and depraved. McBryde dwells on Aziz’s attempt to crush Mrs. Moore in the first cave. Mahmoud Ali objects to this accusation, as Mrs. Moore will not be testifying at the trial. Mahmoud Ali bemoans the fact that Ronny has sent Mrs. Moore away, as she knew Aziz was innocent. Despite Das’s attempts to restore calm, Mahmoud Ali shouts that the trial is a farce and all of them slaves. He leaves the courtroom in protest. The Indians begin chanting “Mrs. Moore” as if it were a charm, until the chant sounds like “Esmiss Esmoor.”
Adela goes up to the witness stand. She suddenly feels like she is back at Marabar, and that it seems more lovely this time. As McBryde questions her, she visualizes each step of that day. When he asks if Aziz followed her into the cave, she requests a minute to answer. Visualizing the caves, she cannot picture him following her. She states quietly that she has made a mistake, that Aziz never followed her. The courtroom erupts. Callendar tries to halt the trial on medical grounds, but Adela confirms that she withdraws all the charges. The enraged Mrs. Turton screams insults at Adela. Das officially releases Aziz.