Howards End
Howards End
by E.M. Forster
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Howards End Chapter 13 Summary

  • Two years pass. The Schlegels go about their business as usual, in the midst of a changing cityscape – London is getting bigger and badder.
  • The narrator goes off on a little diatribe about the development of the city; he's distraught by the changes wrought by modern times.
  • Margaret is also distraught – the lease on Wickham Place is finally up, which means they have to find a new house.
  • Tibby is visiting from Oxford, and Margaret takes the opportunity to ask him his opinion, both about the house situation and about his future. He has no answers to either question.
  • It turns out that Tibby doesn't want to do anything at all in life, even though Margaret holds up two examples of their acquaintances who don't have professions, and don't seem happy.
  • Tibby complains, but Margaret presses on, saying that all men (and, she thinks, women in the future) should work. Margaret likes men in general much better than women, and Tibby distracts her by asking why she doesn't just get married.
  • Margaret says that her proposals all came from "ninnies" – men who didn't have anything else to do (oh snap!). She emphasizes the importance of work (or at least seeming like you work) to Tibby, and brings up the example of the Wilcoxes, who she claims are "the right sort."
  • Margaret has more traditional views than her brother or sister, and thinks that the Wilcox urge to earn money and do one's duty is a good thing. Neither Tibby nor Margaret care much for what London has become, but she admires the activity that goes into it.
  • They abandon the futile subject of Tibby's career, and go back to house hunting. It's clear that they should stay in London, but Helen and Margaret thought that they might get a house in the country and keep a flat in the city.
  • Helen busts into the room in a tizzy. Apparently, there's been some excitement downstairs – a woman came by seeking her husband.
  • The siblings wonder if it's Bracknell, a newly employed servant, but it seems that it's not. Who could it be?
  • Helen can't believe how hilarious this is. She calls the mystery woman "Mrs. Lanoline" (on account of her husband's name being either Lan or Len). Nobody knows why she thought her husband was at Wickham Place, but she insists that she has her reasons.
  • Helen advised Mrs. Lanoline to go to the police, and she leaves – but Helen's sure that she suspected the Schlegels all along of…something.
  • To Helen this is all a joke to write to Aunt Juley about, but Margaret is worried that it might be something more serious. Margaret worries about leaving Wickham Place. What will await them out in the city? The whole episode leaves a bad taste in her mouth.

Next Page: Chapter 14
Previous Page: Chapter 12

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