by E.M. Forster
Howards End Chapter 6 Summary
- We learn immediately that the young man with the umbrella's name is Leonard Bast. He's not exactly poverty-stricken yet, but he's also certainly not in the same class as the Schlegels. He's undernourished in every possible way – physically, intellectually, emotionally.
- Leonard feels like his pride is a little bruised as he walks away from the Schlegel's house; he decides that they're not real ladies after all.
- Leonard runs into a colleague from his job (he's a clerk), and walks home to the rather miserable-sounding street where he lives. He runs into another acquaintance, then arrives in his apartment.
- The place really doesn't sound too appealing, even though Forster tells us that it's "amorous" and "not unpleasant." Still, it has a seedy feel to it.
- Leonard knocks over a framed photo when he takes off his boots, and the glass breaks. The picture is of a girl called Jacky – in it, her smile is dazzling, but the narrator notes a certain anxiety in her eyes.
- Leonard cuts his finger and blunders about the flat (which he's renting furnished – it's not actually his stuff). He settles down to read The Stones of Venice by John Ruskin.
- Leonard tries to imitate Ruskin's style, and tries to truly understand Culture, just as he was in the concert.
- His reverie is interrupted by the arrival of a tackily dressed woman – a floozy, one might even say. It's Jacky, the woman from the photograph (though much older).
- Leonard and Jacky talk half-heartedly – obviously, their relationship is not an intellectual one.
- Jacky forces Leonard to tell her he loves her; he responds that he can't marry her until he's 21 in November (she's 33), but promises to keep his word.
- Leonard goes off on a tirade about how he's not one to leave a girl in the lurch, and about how he's on a campaign of self-improvement through Art and Literature.
- Jacky doesn't care about this. She just wants to know that he loves her.
- The couple sits down to a depressing dinner of basically artificial food.
- After supper, they chill awkwardly in the sitting room – it sounds horrifying. Leonard plays the piano badly and Jacky flees to bed. It doesn't take a genius to see that this is not a couple in love.
- Alone, Leonard ponders the Miss Schlegels. He's fascinated by them and jealous that he'll never be like them.
- Leonard continues with Ruskin, ignoring Jacky's calls for him to come to bed.
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