Study Guide

Howards End

Howards End Summary

We begin by meeting two families, one rather odd, and one super conventional. The odd family is the Schlegels, three orphaned siblings – Margaret, Helen, and Tibby – of an academic, quirky, and liberal background. The ordinary family is the Wilcoxes, represented by Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox and their three children, Charles, Paul, and Evie. The Wilcoxes are wealthy and industrious, while the Schlegels inherited their money and spend most of their time talking about art, politics, and literature.

The two families encounter each other at various points, but things get awkward after Helen and Paul embarrassingly fall in and out of love over the span of 24 hours. However, Margaret and Mrs. Wilcox strike up an odd friendship, despite the awkwardness between the two clans, and before Mrs. Wilcox dies rather suddenly, she changes her will and leaves her beloved family home, Howards End, to Margaret. This upsets the Wilcoxes, who don't think that Margaret, a stranger, has any right to the house, so they ignore the change and go about their business.

Meanwhile, the Schlegels befriend a lower-middle class young man, Leonard Bast, who has ambitions of intellectualism, but is held back by his lack of funds (and by his trashy wife, Jacky). Leonard provides a kind of tragic counterpoint to the life of effortless bohemianism of the Schlegels, and to the businesslike, bustling Wilcoxes; instead, he's always yearning for more than is available to him. Through a rather complicated turn of events, Leonard loses his job as a clerk, and falls into even worse circumstances; this was caused by advice that Henry Wilcox gave the Schlegels, which they passed on to Leonard. Helen sees their young friend's fall as Henry's fault.

Against all odds, Henry and Margaret become friends – and then more than friends. They get married, despite the differences between the two of them. It later scandalously emerges that Leonard's lowbrow wife, Jacky, used to be Henry's mistress, and that he abandoned her abroad (contributing to her bottom-of-the-barrel social position), and Henry and Margaret have to work through the issues produced by this revelation. Helen and Margaret drift further and further apart as Margaret is absorbed into the Wilcox clan. Their relationship hits a low when Helen tries to get Henry to financially help the Basts (he refuses because of his former relationship with Jacky).

This is where things go a little crazy. Helen, caught up in her sympathy for Leonard, has an affair with him, the result of which is pregnancy. She flees to Germany, trying to hide her pregnancy from her family and friends, but ultimately is forced to return to England. There, Henry and Margaret ambush her at Howards End, where they discover the truth; Margaret forces Henry to forgive her sister for her scandalous affair, since she herself has forgiven him his (with Jacky). Charles, Henry's hot-headed son, accidentally kills Leonard with a sword (yep, you heard that right) for bringing shame upon the family, and is sentenced to prison for manslaughter.

It seems that everything is falling apart for the Wilcoxes and Schlegels – but, in fact, it's the beginning of a new life for them. Henry finally begins to sympathize and truly connect with other people, as Margaret's been encouraging him to do all along. In the end, the two of them, along with Helen and her baby, form a kind of new, unified family, out of the fragments of the old ones. We end up at Howards End, which Henry bequeaths to Margaret and her nephew, as a beautiful summer arrives, along with a tentative new hope for England.

  • Chapter 1

    • The narrator informs us that we're starting with Helen's letters to her sister, Meg.
    • The first letter describes a house – a nice, homey place surrounded by trees. Sounds pretty good to us.
    • Helen's apparently there, visiting some wealthy friends: Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox and their children. She plans to return to London that Saturday, where Margaret is detained at home with their feeble brother, Tibby. Helen claims that vigorous men like Mr. Wilcox and his son, Charles, would be a good influence on Tibby.
    • Helen describes the Wilcoxes, who sound like a nice family, albeit somewhat batty. They all love the outdoors, and occupy themselves there, despite their hay fever. The family is composed of Mrs. Wilcox, Mr. Wilcox, and three children, Charles, Evie, and the yet-to-arrive Paul.
    • Helen's second letter reveals that she's been won over completely by the Wilcoxes – they're apparently totally different from the liberal, wacky Schlegels, and she's intrigued by this glimpse into their lifestyle. For once, Helen (who seems like quite an opinionated young lady) is "knocked into pieces" in conversation by Mr. Wilcox, and she enjoys it.
    • Helen's third letter is short and dramatic – she is in love with Paul Wilcox.
  • Chapter 2

    • Upon reading her sister's last letter, Margaret is understandably freaked out, and expresses her concern to her Aunt Juley. After all, the sisters don't even know the Wilcoxes that well – they'd met them traveling in Germany, and were both invited to come visit the family. Margaret, as we already know, couldn't go because of Tibby's illness.
    • Margaret pauses to think and Aunt Juley takes over. She puts in her two cents about the encounter with the Wilcoxes in Germany (awkwardly insulting Germans, and by extension the Schlegels – she quickly covers it up by saying she thinks of them as English). She then pushes Meg gently about the Wilcoxes. Are they the right family for Helen? Do they care about the arts? Is marriage to Paul even possible?
    • Both women start talking, trying to figure out what should happen. Aunt Juley suggests that Margaret go to the Wilcoxes' house and work things out herself.
    • Then, Aunt Juley has another idea – why doesn't she go to see about this business herself instead of Margaret?
    • Margaret refuses, saying that she will go to Howards End (the house), and promises Aunt Juley that she won't offend anyone by asking too many questions.
    • Aunt Juley says that the engagement must be broken off – slowly. We're not sure what that means, exactly, and neither is Margaret. She tries to convince her niece once more that she should go instead.
    • Margaret thanks her aunt, then goes to check on Tibby, who's not at all well. Margaret feels obliged to stay with her brother, and changes her mind – Aunt Juley will go to Howards End after all, under strict instructions not to bring up the engagement to anyone but Helen.
    • Margaret and Aunt Juley set off for the train station at King's Cross, and Margaret ponders the sense of infinity and possibility that the station gives off. Aunt Juley departs, but when Margaret gets home, she discovers an urgent telegram from Helen, saying that everything is over with Paul – and that she shouldn't tell anyone anything. Well, it's too late for that.
  • Chapter 3

    • Aunt Juley (or rather, Mrs. Munt, as she's called for the most part in this chapter) thinks over her mission, and over her nieces' history as she travels.
    • We learn that the three Schlegel children lost their mother when Tibby was born, when the girls were both pretty young. They were raised by their German father, who died five years later. Margaret has been in charge of the family ever since, and handles everything, including their financial matters.
    • Helen and Margaret are both very independent women; they're friends with all kinds of interesting artistic types and foreigners, which rather alarms their aunt.
    • The train travels north through the countryside, and deposits Mrs. Munt at the village of Hilton, where Howards End is located.
    • In the station, an employee hooks Aunt Juley up with a certain Mr. Wilcox, who's on his way to Howards End. She asks if he's the older or younger Mr. Wilcox; when he replies the younger, she assumes that he's Paul (Helen's supposed lover).
    • The young man offers to drive her to Howards End, and she accepts. In the car, she goes against Margaret's command and brings up the engagement.
    • This is a BIG mistake, seeing as this isn't actually Paul, but is instead his older brother, Charles (who's still technically the "younger" Mr. Wilcox, compared to his father). He's confused – then enraged.
    • Charles goes into a fit, saying that the marriage is impossible. Mrs. Munt responds by being equally indignant. They fight the whole way back to Howards End, arguing about whose family is better than whose.
    • At the house, Helen rushes up to tell her aunt that it's all over (Margaret sent a telegram to make sure that Helen knew what was coming).
    • Paul comes out of the house, and Charles demands to know what's going on. Everyone is confused.
    • Mrs. Wilcox shows up and stops the fighting. The narrator offers a fascinating description of her: she somehow knows exactly what to do to put everyone out of their misery. She soothes Charles, telling everyone that the engagement is off.
  • Chapter 4

    • Back in the Schlegel home at Wickham Place, London, Helen and Aunt Juley both break down. Counting Tibby, Margaret has three people to take care of.
    • Aunt Juley quickly forgets that she herself was largely the cause of the troubles at Howards End, and starts to look at the situation in a more positive light – she tells herself that she's done all she can to help her nieces.
    • Helen, on the other hand, doesn't get over it quite so fast. Her whole life has been altered by the Wilcoxes, and it's hard for her to shake them off.
    • For the first time, Helen was among people with ideas different from her own – while the Schlegels live sheltered, academic, liberal lives, the Wilcoxes are people of business, and their conservative ideas about the world are vastly different. Helen actually enjoyed arguing with them, even when they shot her down.
    • Even before Paul arrived, Helen was ready to focus all of her love for the Wilcoxes on someone – and he was the right age and handsome enough, so she immediately allowed herself to fall in love with him.
    • Paul himself was in a flirtatious mode; he was waiting to go earn some money through business in Nigeria and he basically had nothing to lose. So, to cut to the chase, he kissed Helen and told her he loved her.
    • On Monday morning, though, things were different. As soon as Helen saw Paul in the morning, she noticed that he looked afraid – and for a man of the Wilcox sort, that's a pretty alarming thing.
    • Helen, horrified, defused the situation (for the time being) by having a little chat with Paul – they agree that they'd been silly the night before.
    • Helen gets Paul to send a telegram to Margaret for her, saying that there's nothing to worry about.
    • However, as we know, Aunt Juley was already on her way, and her dramatic arrival with Charles troubles Helen.
    • The Schlegels resolve to leave this episode behind them. They take up their ordinary lives again, entertaining interesting people and following liberal politics.
    • The narrator gives us a little background on the Schlegel sisters. They're half-German and their father was a romantic figure – an idealistic, academic type. He didn't believe in the aggressive, imperial kind of Germany he saw emerging, so he moved to England and married an Englishwoman. There, he educated his children in his philosophical ways, which explains why Margaret and Helen are the way they are.
    • Helen is prettier than Margaret, but similarly intelligent and forward. Margaret is more blunt than her sister and less of a social success.
    • Tibby, their younger brother, doesn't merit much mention – he's a smart sixteen year old boy, but is somewhat persnickety and difficult.
  • Chapter 5

    • The chapter opens on the scene of the extended Schlegel family attentively listening to a performance of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, each in their own way.
    • Helen romantically infuses the music with her own imagination, and sees a whole fantastical string of images that accompany it.
    • Margaret hears only the music.
    • Tibby, always academic, knowledgeably ponders the musical score as he listens.
    • They are accompanied by their cousin Frieda Mosebach, her "young man," Herr Liesecke, and Aunt Juley.
    • In between movements, Aunt Juley notices Margaret talking to an unknown young man, about whom she asks Helen. They're interrupted by the start of the second movement, the Andante.
    • We are treated to the narrator's observations of these various listeners, all of whom have different ways of responding to the music. To whimsical Helen, the movement speaks of pessimistic goblins walking around the world, only to be blown away by Beethoven's ending (though they might always come back).
    • Helen is overcome by the music, and she escapes during the applause to go home alone.
    • The young man Margaret's speaking to pipes up, noticing that Helen has stolen his umbrella in her quick escape.
    • Margaret tries to make Tibby run after Helen to fetch it, but he refuses. The next piece, the Four Serious Songs by Brahms, prevents anyone from going anywhere.
    • When the Brahms ends, Margaret gives her calling card to the young man, in case he'd like to come by and pick up his umbrella after the concert. The two of them make small talk, and Margaret comments that she doesn't like the next piece in the concert program, Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance. At this, Frieda and Herr Liesecke dash away to go meet up with some friends, to Aunt Juley's dismay.
    • Frieda leaves her bag behind, and the young man dashes out to give it to her. He feels good about the fact that Margaret trusted him with Frieda's purse, and decides to go with the Schlegels to pick up his umbrella from their house after the concert.
    • Margaret finds the young man quite intriguing, despite the fact that his over-eager manners make her feel their class difference (though it's not very distant), and she wants to invite him to tea. As they walk, they further discuss music, and Tibby and Aunt Juley steal the show, arguing about the music they've just heard.
    • The discussion spreads to Margaret, who asks whether or not music and other art forms (particularly painting) are the same or different. Helen, apparently, believes them to be the same, while Margaret maintains that there's a difference. The young man is intrigued by these odd siblings in turn.
    • Margaret goes on, trash talking German composer Richard Wagner for blending all of the arts together.
    • The young man, meanwhile, is overwhelmed by this high-flown discussion. He can't imagine what it must be like to be as cultured and knowledgeable as Margaret. He then begins to worry about his umbrella – apparently, he's quite a worrier.
    • The party arrives at Wickham Place, and Margaret asks the young man to come in and have some tea. He's distraught by this crazy family.
    • Helen flies downstairs to let them into the house, and apologizes for taking the man's umbrella. Apparently, the inadvertent theft of other people's hats and umbrellas is pretty commonplace for Margaret and Helen. She finds a particularly ratty umbrella in their collection, and, though she says it must be hers, it's actually the young man's. He takes it and dashes off.
    • Margaret blames Helen for scaring the stranger off, and she runs out to try and stop him, but it's no use. Aunt Juley thinks it's a good thing he left – after all, she reasons, he might have stolen some of the valuable knickknacks lying about the house, including a precious picture by the painter Charles Ricketts.
    • Tibby is bored by this and goes upstairs to tend to the tea and scones. He's obviously an expert at this duty.
    • On their way upstairs to join their brother, Helen remarks that she wishes they had a "real" boy in the house, not just the opera-loving Tibby. When they get to him, Margaret accuses Tibby of not making their visitor feel at home enough; the house, in her opinion, is too full of "screaming women." Tibby has no defense.
    • They argue over what kind of man they should have around the house – Margaret teases Helen that they might be better off with some men like the "W."s (the Wilcoxes, that is).
    • Margaret comes to the conclusion that their home is irrevocably feminine, but they should try and keep it from being effeminate, a fine distinction.
    • The sisters laugh about the idea of stuffy Queen Victoria hosting a dinner party full of Pre-Raphaelite artists, and the conversation is derailed.
    • Though they move onto other subjects, it's clear that the young man of the stolen umbrella left quite an impression.
  • Chapter 6

    • 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.
  • Chapter 7

    • The next morning, Aunt Juley has some bad news – the Wilcoxes are moving into a new building across the street at Wickham Place.
    • Aunt Juley, being more – well, for lack of a better word – normal than her nieces and nephew, always seems to be more up on the neighborhood gossip than they are, which is how she found out about the Wilcoxes.
    • Aunt Juley and Margaret worry about the possibility of Helen running into Paul. They decide that the Schlegels must be very careful with their new neighbors. Helen laughs it off, and says that there's nothing to worry about.
    • Frieda and Helen go to meet Bruno (Herr Liesecke), and Margaret and Aunt Juley continue to worry.
    • Margaret expresses a theory (new to the metaphysical Schlegels, but old to the rest of the civilized world) that money makes everything easier – things couldn't possibly get too bad between the Wilcoxes and Schlegels because they are both wealthy, and they have their wealth to rely upon, even when other things fall through.
    • Margaret and Aunt Juley go off on an errand (they notice Evie watching them from the Wilcox balcony as they go). Margaret worries that, between the meddling Frieda and Aunt Juley, Helen might be troubled again by the Wilcoxes.
    • Just in case, Margaret checks in with Helen, who says that it's absolutely fine that the Wilcoxes are there – she's traveling with Frieda for a while anyway.
  • Chapter 8

    • The narrator speculates as to the roots of the odd friendship of Mrs. Wilcox and Margaret Schlegel, which perhaps began before they even recognized it, when they first met in Germany.
    • Mrs. Wilcox unintentionally makes trouble at Wickham Place by calling on the Schlegels. Margaret and Helen aren't sure what to do – Margaret is especially concerned. Should she return the visit or not? How can they possibly be friends, given what's happened with Helen and Paul?
    • Margaret writes a letter telling Mrs. Wilcox that they shouldn't meet, just in case. Mrs. Wilcox immediately writes back to say that Paul has gone abroad, and Margaret instantly feels bad about her rejection of the other woman.
    • Margaret dashes off across the street to apologize in person. She's shown up to Mrs. Wilcox's bedroom, where they assure each other that there's no danger of Paul and Helen meeting.
    • They briefly discuss the Paul and Helen situation; Margaret wants to know how Mrs. Wilcox could tell that the young pair had fallen for each other. No answer is given.
    • Margaret makes like she's going to leave when the maid stops in to take away Mrs. Wilcox's breakfast tray, but she's invited to stay, and they chat a bit about Charles's recent wedding to Dolly, a pretty but silly young woman.
    • The talk turns to Howards End, and Mrs. Wilcox tells Margaret about a curious superstition – there's a set of hog's teeth stuck in the bark of the big wych elm tree at the house, and the locals think that chewing on a piece of bark will cure toothache. Margaret is intrigued.
    • It turns out that Howards End belongs to Mrs. Wilcox herself, not her husband – she was actually born there.
    • As the chatter moves away from Howards End, Margaret gets bored. She accidentally breaks a picture frame, and makes her excuses to go back home.
    • Mrs. Wilcox and Margaret say goodbye, and as they do, Mrs. Wilcox says rather an odd thing – she reminds Margaret that she's still just a "girl" (of 29), and is inexperienced. Margaret responds by admitting that she has a lot to learn, but she's already discovered that life is complicated and unexpected.
  • Chapter 9

    • Margaret, it is revealed, wasn't being entirely honest with her new friend – in fact, she thinks of herself as quite experienced.
    • Even so, she isn't experienced enough to foresee the disaster that arrives when she throws a luncheon party for Mrs. Wilcox. She invites some usual Schlegel guests over; these clever people with their witty, whimsical conversations are too much for Mrs. Wilcox, and she finds herself with nothing to contribute beyond small talk.
    • Margaret and her friends chatter on and on, but Mrs. Wilcox doesn't fit in with them at all. She makes herself rather unpopular with some old-fashioned statements about a woman's proper place, and excuses herself early. All the same, Margaret has the odd feeling that there's something more to her new friend than meets the eye (her old friends don't agree).
  • Chapter 10

    • After several days, Margaret worries that she and Mrs. Wilcox will never become close friends.
    • Then, just as Margaret is despairing, Mrs. Wilcox asks her to go Christmas shopping.
    • The two of them drive around all day, looking for Christmas presents. Margaret describes a typical Schlegel family Christmas, and mentions in passing that they'll be moving soon.
    • Apparently, the Schlegels will be forced to move out of Wickham Place in a few years, when their lease is up, despite the fact that they've lived there their whole lives.
    • Mrs. Wilcox chats with an acquaintance as Margaret efficiently helps her pick out some new Christmas cards.
    • As they return to their carriage, Mrs. Wilcox brings up the house again – she's clearly troubled by the fact that the Schlegels are going to be turned out. It emerges that the Wickham Place house is going to be demolished to make room for new flats; if Howards End were ever pulled down, Mrs. Wilcox would freak out. She gets carried away and asks Margaret to come to Howards End with her right then.
    • Margaret makes an excuse, and they return to Wickham Place – clearly, no was not the right answer. The atmosphere is decidedly awkward. Mrs. Wilcox attempts to make small talk, but now Margaret feels upset, too. They drive home in uncomfortable silence.
    • Back at Wickham Place, Margaret feels awful. How come she didn't say yes when Mrs. Wilcox asked her to come to Howards End?
    • Tibby, contrarily, sees that his sister is feeling quiet, so he feels like talking all of a sudden. He jabbers on and on, while Margaret agonizes about her missed opportunity to see the famous Howards End. As soon as lunch is over, she goes across the street, but finds that Mrs. Wilcox has left for the night.
    • She goes to the train station to see if she can find Mrs. Wilcox – as she's buying a ticket to Hilton to find Howards End, the two friends find each other, and it's decided that they'll go spend the night at the house.
    • As they're about to leave, though, they run into two unexpected arrivals – Evie and Mr. Wilcox are back early from their driving trip in Yorkshire, due to a car crash. The trip to Howards End is postponed.
  • Chapter 11

    • In an abrupt shift, we find ourselves leaving a funeral. We see the attendees milling around, and learn that this is a Wilcox family funeral, in Hilton – it turns out to be Mrs. Wilcox's. We see the goings on from the perspective of a wood-cutter, who's saddened by the events.
    • The people of the village obviously cared for Mrs. Wilcox, and for her husband, as well. Charles, however, is not as popular. There's a sense that the younger generation is somehow worse than their parents.
    • The wood-cutter keeps working as the people drift away, and, even though he disapproves of colored flowers at a funeral, takes one of the flowers from the grave and leaves (he later regrets not taking all of the flowers, since it freezes over that night).
    • At Howards End, the whole family is in mourning. Mr. Wilcox is overcome with memories of his dead wife's goodness and innocence, and he can't believe that she's gone – she didn't tell him of her illness, and died rather suddenly.
    • Evie comes in with the day's mail; she wants to help, but she's not sure what to do.
    • She goes back to Charles and Dolly, and Charles goes in to see their father next. He's equally unsuccessful at getting Mr. Wilcox to eat anything, but pretends to be in charge.
    • Dolly, Charles's new wife, is useless. She's frivolous and unfeeling, and she can't help but wish that Mrs. Wilcox had died before the wedding, so she wouldn't have to be in mourning.
    • Charles, Dolly, and Evie embark on some trivial conversation about the trees in the village – they can't face up to their real sorrow. It's the Wilcox way to avoid things that are deeply felt, even though they are truly sad at heart.
    • Even obnoxious Charles is full of feelings; everything around the house reminds him of his mother. Evie is also struck by her mother's absence, not just in the house, but in her life. As the narrator sadly comments, the children's sadness is different from their father's, for "a wife may be replaced; a mother never."
    • Charles thinks over his mother's will, which seems fair enough – all of her things are divvied up between her husband and children (Mr. Wilcox will get Charles End, and Charles will get it after him).
    • Charles decides that he and Dolly will return to London so he can go back to work, because to stick around Howards End would be too depressing.
    • Charles heads down to the garage, notices that there's some mud on his new car, and harasses the chauffeur for a while. While they're talking, Dolly comes out and tries (incoherently) to communicate something strange to him: Miss Schlegel (Margaret, that is), "has got" Howards End.
    • Everyone's all in a tizzy. Mr. Wilcox tries to clear things up by explaining: he's received a letter from the matron of the nursing home where Mrs. Wilcox died, in which a note from Mrs. Wilcox is enclosed. The note says that she wants Margaret to inherit Howards End.
    • The whole family is taken aback. Dolly foolishly tries to intervene, but is told not to meddle.
    • The note isn't legal, but that's not the issue. Mr. Wilcox clearly wants to do what is most loyal to the memory of his wife; Charles, on the other hand, thinks that Margaret must have interfered somehow in her own interest (he assumes that everyone is as selfish as he is).
    • The family deliberates for hours. The narrator steps in here and agrees that the Wilcoxes shouldn't give the house to Margaret, since the last minute change isn't legal – and, after all, it communicates something about their mother that they couldn't understand. To Mrs. Wilcox, the act was spiritual; Howards End was more than just a house to her, and she saw Margaret as a kindred spirit and an heir to what the house represents. To her husband and children, though, Howards End is simply an asset.
    • This final bequest seems treacherous to the Wilcoxes – they can't believe Mrs. Wilcox would do such a thing. They decide that the whole thing isn't at all like her, and dismiss it. There's more talk about Margaret – none of the Wilcoxes seem to like her, and Charles and Dolly put her down for sending the scandalous colored chrysanthemums, and even for coming to the funeral. They attribute her oddness to the fact that she's not "really English," but is instead a "German cosmopolitan." Mr. Wilcox puts his foot down and says that they are not to blame her, since she was just as in the dark about all of this as they were.
    • Charles brushes the incident off and diverts the conversation back to his new car and the chauffeur. It seems like this troublesome interlude is over.
  • Chapter 12

    • It turns out that Margaret didn't know about Mrs. Wilcox's bequest after all. She feels undone by her friend's death, and contemplates the way in which she disappeared from the world.
    • Margaret also thinks over the funeral – it was nothing but a ceremony, with nothing to do with Mrs. Wilcox's actual death.
    • Finally, she also thinks a lot about the Wilcoxes, who she can't understand; they live in a completely different world than her family, and she can't blame them for it (the way Helen and Tibby do).
    • Margaret and Helen exchange letters (the latter is still in Germany). Helen is unaffected by Mrs. Wilcox's death – she's a little sad, but that's it.
    • Helen returns from Germany, and has had another marriage proposal, which she rejected. The Schlegels' cousin Frieda keeps trying to set them up with potential German spouses to bring them back to their original homeland.
    • Tibby also has news – he's getting ready to go to Oxford, and he loves it for its aesthetic qualities. We get the feeling again that Tibby is rather an odd duck.
    • Margaret interrupts the pleasant family banter to bring up the Wilcoxes. We can tell from what she says that they made an effort to see if Mrs. Wilcox had told Margaret about leaving Howards End to her – obviously she didn't, and obviously they're not going to tell her. Mr. Wilcox ended up giving Margaret a silver vinaigrette (an ornate box, not a salad dressing) to remember Mrs. Wilcox by.
    • Helen isn't interested. She pauses to be polite, then goes on talking about her Germany trip.
    • Margaret sees that life isn't as linearly organized as history makes it seem; one can never really be prepared for things. She resolves to be less cautious in the future.
  • Chapter 13

    • 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.
  • Chapter 14

    • The next day, the mystery of Mrs. Lanoline is solved. Her missing husband turns out to be our old friend, Leonard Bast, who stops by to explain about his wife's visit.
    • The three Schlegels rush down, and though they expect a gallivanting philanderer, they instead find a downtrodden, pale young man. He has the air of someone who's been crushed by the city, though he should have grown up healthy and happy in the countryside.
    • Leonard explains that he still had Margaret's calling card from that fateful meeting at the concert two years ago – the Schlegels don't remember him. He says that he'd told his wife that he had a call to make, and she found the card and assumed that he was visiting Wickham Place.
    • Helen pushes further; it's obvious that he hasn't told them the whole truth.
    • It emerges that Leonard left home Saturday afternoon, but Mrs. Bast came looking for him Sunday afternoon. It all looks very fishy.
    • Leonard sees that the Schlegels assume the worst about him, and wants to clear his name. He asks if they've read a number of books that he finds inspirational, but Helen and Tibby have no patience for this literary justification – they (and we) want to know what he was really up to.
    • Apparently the answer is simple: he walked. And walked. And walked. Leonard walked all alone, all night.
    • At this point, Tibby gives up and leaves, but his sisters are enthused by the idea. They ask for the details – apparently he started in Wimbledon, and went through the woods, off the road. The women are impressed.
    • Leonard walked until dawn, found a train station, and took a train back to London. Unfortunately, the dawn was not as beautiful as poets would have us believe.
    • Leonard tries to explain what he was feeling as this all happened – mostly hungry and tired – but also determined. He's certain that there must be more to life than simply going to the office and living a limited existence. Overwhelmed, he retreats to his literary heroes, not fully understanding that there's something in him that doesn't just come from his reading.
    • Margaret and Helen reassure their new friend that they don't think he was being foolish – rather, they think his adventure was marvelous.
    • The Schlegels invite Leonard back, but he refuses, saying that this talk has been one of the best things in his life, and he doesn't want to spoil it.
    • Leonard rushes away, intoxicated by his interaction with these fascinating people.
    • We hear a bit about Leonard and Jacky's dull, unhappy marriage; apparently, Margaret's calling card has been a point of contention for the last two years. For Jacky, it's an infuriating mystery, while for Leonard (who never told her how he got it in the first place), it's a symbol of the kind of life he longs for, that Jacky will never understand.
    • When Leonard returned home Sunday night, he found the card missing, figured out what his wife was up to, and taunted Jacky by saying that he knows where she has been (to see the Schlegels), but she doesn't know what he's been up to. She halfheartedly demands an explanation, but he offers none to her.
    • Leonard walks home from Wickham Place gleefully, feeling as though his life has changed. He realizes that – shock and horror! – he's forgotten to put his hat on, and people are staring. He dons it, and continues on his way, with no outward sign of his inner turmoil showing.
  • Chapter 15

    • Helen and Margaret are also struck by their experience with Leonard, and they can't stop talking about him to their friends at dinner that night. They keep finding ways to bring him up in conversation, even in relation to a paper on philanthropy that's being presented that evening.
    • "Mr. Bast" becomes a stand-in for the lower classes in general, and everyone tries to decide what could be done to make his life better.
    • The Schlegels and their companions argue about how to "educate" the poor; Margaret claims that money is the only thing necessary for education, and that everything else (culture, morality, etc.) follows from it.
    • Everyone is shocked by this statement, but conversation goes on in a humorous and jovial fashion until the dinner guests leave, and the Schlegels walk home happily.
    • The Schlegels stroll along the Thames embankment, and sit to look at the river. The sisters wonder if they should stay in touch with Leonard.
    • Margaret brings up the problem of their housing situation and mentions Mrs. Wilcox and Howards End in passing. From a distance, Mr. Wilcox (who's sitting with some friends further down the embankment) hears his name and walks over – he recognizes the Schlegels and says hello. He sounds masculine and protective, seeing that they're two ladies sitting alone at night, and while Helen resents this, Margaret thinks it's fine.
    • The two sisters chat politely with Mr. Wilcox, and Margaret inquires about Paul; the Wilcoxes have business concerns in the colonial world, and Mr. Wilcox politely evades some tension about England's competition with Germany (remember, this is right before World War I).
    • Mr. Wilcox changes the topic and asks how they're doing; Helen tells him all about their evening with their debate club, and he's amused and charmed by their idealistic pastimes. We learn that he's become quite a powerful man over the past couple of years, and he's riding pretty high right now.
    • Mr. Wilcox rather dismissively says that he wishes Evie would join a club like theirs, instead of breeding terriers (her new hobby).
    • Helen responds rather irritably and defensively, and Mr. Wilcox tries to calm her down, saying that he agrees that debates are healthy and useful – he wishes he'd been more of a debater when he was younger, as being a bit quicker would be helpful to him now.
    • Margaret diffuses the tension, and Helen laughs off her ill-temper. She changes the topic to Leonard, and tells Mr. Wilcox all about the argument their friends were having about how best to help him. The suggestions ran the gamut from simply giving him an annual income to sending him away for a holiday every summer. She asks Mr. Wilcox what he would do.
    • Mr. Wilcox, ever the practical man, laughingly says he can't think of anything else beyond what's been suggested, except to tell him to leave his current employer (the Porphyrion Fire Insurance Company), since he knows that it's going to go under.
    • Mr. Wilcox recommends that Leonard look for a new job now, while he's still employed, to avoid getting laid off later.
    • The economy makes it very difficult for anyone to get a job these days (we know how that feels), and we have to wonder what Leonard could possibly do. Mr. Wilcox has no suggestions, and gets up to go back to his friends.
    • As he's leaving, Margaret asks how Howards End is doing. We hear that the Wilcoxes have rented it out and moved away – they're worried that it's getting too suburban. Mr. Wilcox and Evie live in London with a country house in Shropshire, and Charles and Dolly still live in Hilton at another house.
    • They part ways, and Margaret and Helen decide to share their advice about the Porphyrion Company with Leonard over tea.
  • Chapter 16

    • Leonard comes over for tea the next weekend, but it doesn't go well at all. Helen and Margaret start asking him questions about his job, and he gets suspicious immediately.
    • The women keep pushing the issue, asking if the Porphyrion is a good company. Leonard gets irate.
    • The fact of the matter is, he doesn't really know; to him, the company is like a giant, and he only does what the giant tells him to do.
    • The sisters come right out and tell him that a friend has told them that the company is going to go bust. Leonard denies it – kind of. He gets flustered by the Schlegels and doesn't really say anything either way.
    • Helen and Margaret continue to pursue the issue, and ask more and more questions. Leonard gets frustrated by the idea that they're wasting precious time talking about money, and he finally butts in with talk of books.
    • Unfortunately, they're interrupted right away by Evie and Mr. Wilcox, who bustle in with two adorable puppies.
    • Helen is captivated by the pups, which Evie bred and named Ahab and Jezebel.
    • Leonard is not amused by this interruption, and makes to leave. Helen absently tells him to come again, and he can't stand this. He bluntly says no, he won't, since it would be a failure.
    • This gets Helen's attention, and, insulted, she asks why he would say such a thing.
    • Leonard and Helen yell at each other – he thinks they're patronizing him, and she thinks they just want to help.
    • Leonard appeals to Mr. Wilcox, who agrees that it's not fair for him to show up to tea, only to have his "brain picked" by the Schlegels. Leonard thinks that the Schlegels only wanted to make use of him somehow to get inside information about the Porphyrion or something, and is highly insulted.
    • Margaret enters into the fray now, and explains the impulse that she and her sister felt to help him – it has to do with the connection they felt with him last week, when he talked about his walk and his struggle against the dullness of life.
    • Leonard responds huffily that they were pressing him for information and storms out. Helen goes to try and talk sense into him.
    • Margaret is left with the Wilcoxes, who agree that she was splendid. She explains that he was the friend of theirs who works at the Porphyrion and jokingly blames Mr. Wilcox for the row, since it was his advice in the first place.
    • Margaret blames herself and Helen for the fight, but the Wilcoxes think she's being too generous. They think Leonard is simply not of their "kind" – even Margaret agrees that he's not a gentleman, and that he suspected that they were taking advantage of him.
    • She tries to make them understand what's interesting and likable about Leonard – his ambitions to escape humdrum everyday life. Mr. Wilcox, the voice of practical reason, gently shoots down all of Margaret's idealistic views.
    • Mr. Wilcox and Evie assume that Leonard is cheating on his wife, and that he's fundamentally "naughty" and untruthful. Margaret holds out in her belief that he's honest in his desires to find something better, and that it makes him a "real man."
    • Margaret goes to find out what Helen's doing; apparently, Leonard left a while ago. Margaret brings her sister back to the Wilcoxes, and they pretend that everything's OK. The puppies are a good distraction.
    • As the Wilcoxes leave, Mr. Wilcox comments that he's worried about the Schlegels – they shouldn't be left on their own.
    • Evie admits that she likes Helen, but not Margaret. She's clearly not a kindred spirit; she is healthy, athletic, and attractive, but not a very poetic soul. A few days later, she suddenly but unromantically gets engaged.
  • Chapter 17

    • Margaret is still worried about the housing problem – what will she do with her siblings and all of their things next September when they're kicked out of Wickham Place? Losing the house they grew up in is like losing a kind of spiritual balance.
    • The siblings are due to visit Aunt Juley in Swanage, and Margaret really wants to fix the situation before they leave. But London doesn't seem to have anything to offer.
    • One day, Evie invites Margaret to dine at Simpson's, a famously traditional restaurant that Margaret had jokingly complained about never having been to. Margaret's a little confused as to why Evie would ask her, instead of Helen, but she goes in good faith, thinking that they'll get to know each other better.
    • Evie and her fiancé, Percy Cahill, are waiting for her at the restaurant. Margaret immediately feels patronized by them and feels like an old maid.
    • Lo and behold, it's not just the three of them – Mr. Wilcox also turns up for lunch. He and Margaret fall into a conversation as Evie and Percy chat lovingly to each other. We learn that Mr. Wilcox used to have business in the East (Greece and Cyprus), and we wonder what he used to get up to there.
    • Margaret enlists Mr. Wilcox's help in finding a house, to no avail.
    • During lunch, Margaret observes a kind of English society – imperialist, capitalist, and masculine – that is totally unlike that which she's familiar with. Mr. Wilcox himself is extremely domineering, and takes a firm hand with telling her what to order for lunch.
    • The conversation turns to Margaret's crowd and her beliefs. She jokes that Mr. Wilcox should come and have lunch with her at her friend Eustace Miles's, where the conversation is all about health food and auras. They chat a bit about spirituality, and he confirms – with some concern – that she doesn't actually believe in auras and astral planes.
    • Margaret turns the conversation to Howards End, as she always seems to do. She asks if Mr. Wilcox might be able to rent it to the Schlegels, but alas, it's impossible.
    • They talk about Leonard as well, and Margaret is disturbed by how well Mr. Wilcox seems to understand her. Their views on money, though they come from different philosophies, seem to converge.
    • After lunch, Margaret leaves the Wilcoxes. She suspects that lunch was Mr. Wilcox's plan all along, and wonders why he's seeking further intimacy with her.
    • Margaret actually takes Mr. Wilcox (and Tibby, for propriety's sake) to lunch at Eustace Miles's.
    • The Schlegels depart for Aunt Juley's, without having found a house.
  • Chapter 18

    • At Aunt Juley's house, Margaret receives a letter from Mr. Wilcox, saying that he's leaving his house in London – would the Schlegels like to rent it? If she's interested, she should come back to London right away to look at it.
    • Margaret wonders if this is actually a veiled attempt to get her to London so he can propose marriage.
    • Margaret presents the option of the Wilcoxes' house to her family. They are uncertain and argumentative, as usual. Tibby still doesn't really get the Wilcoxes and their importance.
    • Margaret bemoans the difficulties they're having, saying that their father, who moved from Germany, never had such petty troubles. Aunt Juley corrects her, saying that they can't remember how difficult it was for their parents to move into Wickham Place – houses, apparently, always cause trouble.
    • Margaret ends up going to London by herself to look at the house. She's worried that she's being a crazy spinster for thinking about the potential marriage proposal.
    • Mr. Wilcox meets her at the station, and she can immediately tell that something's up. He's super-sensitive today.
    • Mr. Wilcox seems kind of peevish – he complains of being lonely because Evie is always out with her fiancé. Margaret off-handedly comments that she's also lonely, and he seizes upon this. We begin to think that she's not so crazy after all – maybe a proposal is coming her way?
    • Margaret is impressed and a little put off by Mr. Wilcox's way of going through life without bothering to investigate the personal or private things that distract her so often.
    • She likes him nonetheless, and even finds him attractive, in his way.
    • The car is full of unspoken emotion – of some kind – and Margaret senses again that something's up with her companion.
    • They arrive at the Wilcoxes' house on Ducie Street, and go through the whole thing; Margaret wants to look over it before she can report back to Tibby and Helen.
    • The house exudes an air of masculine power – and colonial, capitalist power. Margaret loves it.
    • Finally, after they're done with the house, Mr. Wilcox does as expected: he pops the question. It's truly unromantic.
    • All the same, Margaret is suddenly, amazingly happy. Overwhelmingly so. But she reins in her emotions and tells Mr. Wilcox that she will answer him by letter.
    • Margaret goes home to Wickham Place and thinks over her proposal. She's been asked to marry men before, but none of them have ever had a chance. It seems that Margaret might actually be… in love.
    • She hasn't made up her mind, but it seems to us like she's going to accept. She has a rather odd attitude towards him – she doesn't want to push him to be emotional or overwhelm him with her emotions, since he's old and set in his ways.
    • Margaret feels the friendly presence of Mrs. Wilcox, her predecessor, who seems to approve. Creepy.
  • Chapter 19

    • The narrator waxes lyrical about the beauties of the English countryside for a little while. The reason, we learn, is that Frieda is visiting the Schlegels and Aunt Juley at Swanage, but she doesn't admire the scene as fervently as Aunt Juley would like.
    • Frieda and Aunt Juley have a silly almost-argument about the virtues of German salt marshes versus English lakes – this is clearly a national matter.
    • The party observes a train coming towards them, and Helen wonders if Margaret is on it. They wonder about the Wilcoxes' house – will it do for the Schlegels?
    • They have a little laugh over the Paul/Helen incident, and Helen declares that it doesn't matter anymore, as long as the Ducie Street house is nice.
    • Helen wishes absently that they might have Howards End, since it's such a nice house.
    • They discuss what Helen calls the "Great Wilcox Peril" of two summers ago as they wait for Tibby and Margaret to join them for tea on the hillside. Frieda makes a comment on the nature of love and emotional truth that reveals – to Helen and to the narrator – the essential difference between Germans and the English: the Germans are interested in Truth, while the English are interested in respectability. Or so it seems.
    • Margaret and Tibby approach in a pony cart, and Helen, who can't wait to hear the news, wants to know if she got them a house.
    • Margaret wearily says no, and explains quietly to Helen that she's had a marriage proposal from Mr. Wilcox.
    • Helen is amused – then distinctly unamused when she realizes that Margaret is having feelings for her suitor.
    • Helen throws a fit, telling Margaret that she mustn't marry Mr. Wilcox. Margaret thinks she's being a bit unreasonable.
    • Helen can't explain exactly why she is so upset. Both sisters take a minute to calm down. Margaret explains how it happened. She feels sure that he loves her, and that she has started to love him.
    • Helen tries to explain, in turn, her dislike for Mr. Wilcox, which began when she saw Paul frightened by his father – the Wilcoxes deal too much in the outside world of respectability and doing the proper thing, not the thing that one feels is right.
    • Margaret has no romantic illusions about her relationship; she knows that it will be prose, not poetry, as she phrases it. But she's OK with this – the important thing is that Mr. Wilcox is a good man, and a real man.
    • Margaret is determined not to let her marriage take over her whole life, and expects that he and she will continue to be independent characters.
    • She respects the Wilcoxes for what they've done – ancestrally, in a weird sense. They're the kind of people that make England what it is, and she values that. Helen tries to dismiss that impulse, but Margaret will have none of it.
    • Again, the narrator wonders poetically what makes England England – the land itself is somehow alive and animated by something.
  • Chapter 20

    • Margaret ponders the nature of love in relation to its legal validation, Matrimony. It's an odd relationship. She agrees to marry him, and their relationship, which is founded on "good humor" progresses to a new level.
    • Mr. Wilcox shows up at Swanage the next day with a ring for Margaret. He comes over for dinner, and they go on a walk alone afterwards. Margaret is surprised that love is not the way it's portrayed in books.
    • They go over the progress of their relationship from the day on the Chelsea Embankment (Chapter 15, if you want to look back) to the present. Only ten days have passed, but everything is different now.
    • Mr. Wilcox has already had a chat with Tibby about the marriage (and about a currant farm he owns in Greece – Tibby is interested in Greece for academic reasons, not business ones). Margaret is delighted about the idea of visiting the farm, but since there are no hotels there, Mr. Wilcox vetoes that idea – he thinks ladies should always travel like ladies, unlike Helen and Margaret's past lives of gallivanting around.
    • Mr. Wilcox hasn't yet talked to Helen about the marriage, and Margaret presses him to.
    • They also have to talk about some practical matters pertaining to money – Mr. Wilcox wants to make sure that all of his children get their fair share of the family fortune, but he also wants to be fair to Margaret.
    • Margaret is totally up front about her financial situation (she has plenty of money), and Mr. Wilcox is a little taken aback by it. Margaret brushes it off, saying that he's to decide how much to give to each to each of his children, bearing in mind that she has her own fortune.
    • They move on to practical arrangements about their living situation – where will they live? Margaret says they should keep the Ducie Street house, but now, all of a sudden (since he's not trying to get her to rent it), Mr. Wilcox has all kinds of problems with it. Margaret is amused.
    • The narrator observes that Mr. Wilcox and Margaret are both strong-willed, and that their mutual strength ensures that they will be happy.
    • Mr. Wilcox walks Margaret back to Aunt Juley's house, and – rather unexpectedly – they have their first kiss, and he flees the house. Margaret is unimpressed, and even displeased by it.
  • Chapter 21

    • Charles and Dolly are in a fight – or rather, Charles is berating Dolly for the situation the Wilcoxes are in. He blames her not only for Evie's coming marriage to Percy, but also for Mr. Wilcox's marriage to Margaret.
    • Charles assumes that Margaret was just out to get Howards End, and fatalistically thinks that she's accomplished her goal.
    • Dolly calms him down, and calms down the baby, who's upset by this parental strife. Charles subsides, muttering something about keeping an eye on "these Schlegels."
  • Chapter 22

    • Margaret feels particularly loving towards Mr. Wilcox the next day. She sees that he's not connected to his own feelings, and is even ashamed of them, and she hopes to cure him of that.
    • Margaret's mantra is simple: "only connect" (hint: this is the most important catch-phrase of the novel…if you only remember one thing about Howards End, make it this!). She wants for people to be able to join the disparate parts of their own souls, and thus to be able to connect to other humans, as well.
    • However, there's something in Mr. Wilcox that resists this commandment; he just doesn't notice things about other people. He focuses instead on "concentrating" and getting things to work out his way, despite the feelings of others. For example, he doesn't notice that the other Schlegels don't like him.
    • Helen shows up, and they talk about a letter she's had from Leonard Bast, saying that he left the Porphyrion, following Mr. Wilcox's advice. In passing, Mr. Wilcox mentions offhandedly that the Porphyrion's not a bad business after all.
    • Margaret is mortified: what does he mean, not a bad business? Didn't he just tell them a few weeks ago that it was going to crash?
    • Mr. Wilcox goes about his business greeting Aunt Juley and Frieda, but Helen and Margaret are upset.
    • Margaret asks about the Porphyrion once she gets Mr. Wilcox off on his own – he tells her that the new bank he has a job at is a safe bet, and she feels better.
    • The conversation shifts to the matter of Howards End; the guy leasing it has to go abroad, and wants to sublet it. Mr. Wilcox isn't cool with this, and is worried that the house might be damaged. He suggests that he and Margaret go and take a look at the house, and also visit Charles and Dolly.
    • Margaret agrees, but can't cut short her visit with Aunt Juley. Mr. Wilcox high-handedly says that he'll take care of Aunt Juley.
    • Margaret does really want to see Howards End. She mentions the pigs' teeth in the wych elm that Mrs. Wilcox told her about – Mr. Wilcox dismisses this as a fairytale.
    • He goes off to talk to Aunt Juley, and Helen stops him en route to confront him about the Porphyrion.
    • Helen is angry: she can't believe that Mr. Wilcox warned them off the Porphyrion, but it's good after all. It turns out that Leonard's new job has a much lower salary, and, acting upon Mr. Wilcox's advice, he's gone down in the world.
    • Helen and Mr. Wilcox just don't understand each other; she doesn't get that business is a gamble, and he doesn't get why she's upset about Leonard.
    • Mr. Wilcox continues to offend Helen by telling her not to worry about the poor – there's nothing she can do directly to help them.
    • Helen is upset, not just by Mr. Wilcox himself, but by all that he represents. She's also clearly upset by her own position as an old maid. She flees Margaret and goes into the house.
    • Aunt Juley comes up, also upset, because Mr. Wilcox has broken the news that they're leaving early. Margaret feels a surge of love for her fiancé, and, even though she doesn't understand him fully, it doesn't bother her.
  • Chapter 23

    • Margaret and Helen have something of an odd argument over Margaret's decision to marry Mr. Wilcox. Helen gives in and tells her sister to go ahead and marry him, but not to expect her to like him. Rather, she's determined to keep disliking him (and not hide it), and to fully go about things her own way from now on.
    • Helen at least grants that she will be civil to Mr. Wilcox in public, if Margaret will do the same with her friends.
    • Everything between the two sisters themselves is fine; Margaret is reassured that Helen will still love her, at least. She returns to London to meet Henry (Mr. Wilcox).
    • The next morning, she shows up at his office (the Imperial and West African Rubber Company). She's met by Charles, who, despite his indignation, is polite to her. He talks down Howards End, no doubt with the intention of putting Margaret off it.
    • Mr. Wilcox shows up as they're discussing the bad behavior of their lessor, Mr. Bryce, who's already started advertising for a subletter, even though they said not to. He put up a notice on the house, but Charles tore it down.
    • Mr. Wilcox and Margaret leave Charles at work and drive down to Hilton. The scenery is pretty, and presently, they arrive at the village.
    • Dolly meets them at their house, and offers them lunch, during which the conversation is pleasant and mocking, and Margaret meets her future step-grandchildren.
    • After lunch, they go to Howards End, and Margaret finally gets to see the house for the first time. Mr. Wilcox has forgotten the key, so he goes back to grab it, leaving Margaret on her own.
    • She first sees the trees and the garden, which she finds perfectly beautiful. She discovers that the house is actually open, and goes in. It's dirty and unkempt, but she still finds it all beautiful.
    • Margaret roams the house, thinking of the value of space and empire, and is interrupted by the appearance of a mysterious old woman, who simply says that Margaret reminded her of Ruth Wilcox. The old woman walks out into the rain, leaving Margaret mystified.
  • Chapter 24

    • Mr. Wilcox relates the tale of Margaret's odd encounter to Dolly over tea. The old woman is apparently called Miss Avery, and Mr. Wilcox thinks she's just a silly old maid.
    • Dolly asks if Margaret thought Miss Avery was a "spook" (Dolly is not the most spiritually informed of girls) and, though Margaret says that she wasn't frightened, Mr. Wilcox thinks that she was.
    • Mr. Wilcox and Dolly have a dismissive attitude towards Miss Avery, who they class as "uneducated." Mr. Wilcox complains about women like her; he doesn't like her at all, but Margaret thinks she might.
    • Dolly goes off on a tangent about Miss Avery's history with the family. Apparently, the first Mrs. Wilcox's brother, Tom Howard, proposed to her (which would have made her Charles and Evie's aunt), but she said no, and he died soon after.
    • Mr. Wilcox makes their excuses, and says that they've got to leave. Margaret smiles to herself, noting that the Wilcoxes can't possibly coexist near each other – they all have competitive colonial instincts.
    • Crane, the chauffeur, brings the car round, and they return to London.
    • Margaret, home alone at Wickham Place, thinks over the day she had. Mr. Wilcox showed her all around Howards End, telling her about the improvements he'd made on it, and, at the end of the day, they discovered that she was right about the pigs' teeth in the wych elm – Mr. Wilcox is shocked.
  • Chapter 25

    • Evie hears about Mr. Wilcox's engagement while she's playing tennis, and it totally throws her game off. She, Charles, and Dolly are all upset about their new stepmother, and in order to cope, Evie moves her own wedding up by a month, to August.
    • Margaret, it turns out, is expected to participate actively in Evie's wedding, and to meet all of Mr. Wilcox's friends and associates. This is not exciting to her – she loves Henry, but hates all of his friends. He doesn't seem to have any feelings himself for any of these people, but instead, has a sense of whether they're useful or not.
    • Evie decides to get married at the house at Oniton Grange, in Shropshire. Mr. Wilcox isn't too fond of the house, and intends to lease it out once Evie is married.
    • Margaret, however, thinks of it as her future home, and decides to make the best impression possible there.
    • There aren't many people at the wedding, considering that Paul can't make it, Dolly has to stay home and Tibby and Helen both refused to come. Margaret thinks forward rather wearily to her own wedding.
    • The group of guests coming from London travel together on the train, and when they get a rest stop at Shrewsbury before driving to Oniton, Margaret takes the opportunity to do some sightseeing. She overhears Charles complaining about how the women are making them late. Finally, they get on the road, and they chat about politics on the way.
    • Just before they arrive at the Grange, one of the cars hits a dog. Charles doesn't even stop – he doesn't care. Margaret, however, is horribly upset, and demands that they stop and go back. She gets so upset that she actually hurls herself out of the car.
    • It turns out that it was a cat, not a dog, and the little girl who owned it was understandably very upset.
    • When they get to the Grange, Margaret offers a little playful explanation to Henry, and when she goes away to change, Charles tells his father all about the incident. They agree that it was probably just "nerves."
    • Charles is upset – he can't stand any of the Schlegels, and he can't believe how crazy Margaret is.
    • Charles clearly has a chip on his shoulder about everything, and he feels quite put upon as he observes the wedding guests coming and going. He clearly really hates Margaret.
    • Secretly watched by her future son-in-law, Margaret wanders around the grounds, enchanted by the scenery. He's sure that she's up to trouble.
  • Chapter 26

    • The next morning, Margaret observes as the men of the party go for a swim, and is then summoned up to Evie's room to view the wedding dress.
    • The women are all practically hysterical over the dress – they're ecstatically screaming and fussing over Evie, and are generally acting like stereotypical silly women.
    • After breakfast, Margaret and Mr. Wilcox chat about the practicalities of the wedding. Margaret seems to really love him, albeit in a somewhat odd way. They go together through the house, looking for Burton, the butler.
    • Margaret is trying to get used to Oniton, and to figure out the workings of the house.
    • The wedding happens uneventfully, and everyone is pleased by everything. Evie and Percy leave on their honeymoon, and Margaret and Mr. Wilcox talk about their own wedding. Margaret doesn't want to talk about where they'll have their wedding; instead, she's interested in the evening, and looking out at Oniton.
    • Some unexpected visitors show up: it's Helen, with the Basts in tow. She's furious, and she tells Margaret angrily that Leonard and Jacky are "starving," and that it's their fault.
    • Margaret and Helen get into a fight: Margaret is justifiably angry that Helen has disrupted the wedding, and that she's embarrassed her sister in front of her new friends and family.
    • Margaret confronts the Basts. Jacky is confused by what's going on, and Leonard is embarrassed.
    • Helen explains her so-called logical reasons for this visit. She's convinced that it's the Schlegels' fault, and Mr. Wilcox's, for telling Leonard to leave the Porphyrion, and she wants Mr. Wilcox to fix the situation somehow.
    • Margaret basically says that there's no hope – in her opinion, it's not anyone's fault, and there's nothing to be done. She offers to put the Basts up at the local hotel, and says that they can pay her back later.
    • Leonard gets upset at this, saying that he'll never find another job, and that he and Jacky are destined for poverty – in the world they live in, if a lower-class man loses his job, he's lost for life. We're reminded again of the difference that being born with money makes.
    • Margaret doesn't know how to respond to this; she invites the Basts to eat something at the wedding party while she figures things out.
    • Margaret and Helen have a quick conference – the older sister convinces the younger to take the Basts to the hotel, and says that she will talk to Mr. Wilcox about it in her own way.
    • Margaret goes back to Mr. Wilcox, who wants to know what's up. She explains that Helen's here, and he thinks that she's there for Evie's wedding. Margaret says that she's sent them off to the hotel, and that she'll explain later.
    • This just makes Mr. Wilcox more curious, so Margaret explains right away about the Basts and their situation.
    • Mr. Wilcox says that he'll do what he can for Leonard, but can't guarantee anything – and furthermore, in the future, he can't always have room for her protégés.
    • Margaret is happy; as usual, she admires men and their capability. Despite Henry's flaws, she has confidence in him.
    • Henry and Margaret stumble upon Jacky, and Margaret is disturbed by her – she feels like the woman represents a kind of infringement upon the world that she knows, even though Jacky isn't at all malicious. She's eating wedding cake and is obviously drunk.
    • Mr. Wilcox sternly tries to send Jacky away – but she recognizes him, and calls him "Hen." They obviously know each other – but how?
    • Margaret, trying to be discreet, tells Mr. Wilcox in French that Mr. Bast isn't at all like his wife.
    • Jacky keeps trying to talk to Mr. Wilcox, and tells him that she loves him. Margaret is totally confused, for good reason.
    • Mr. Wilcox is sure that this is a set-up, and that Margaret and Helen have been plotting against him. He admits to having had "a man's past," and says that Margaret is set free from their engagement. She's still confused and horrified.
    • Margaret knows that life can be darker than she thinks…but she can't quite make herself comprehend the situation.
    • Colonel Fussell comes along and Margaret and Henry pretend that everything's OK. As soon as he goes away, though, they have a confrontation. Margaret asks if Jacky was Henry's mistress: she was, ten years ago. Margaret goes away, deciding that the affair was the last Mrs. Wilcox's problem, not hers.
  • Chapter 27

    • Helen begins to doubt herself – what's she doing, anyway? She figures that it'll all work out in the long run.
    • Helen strives to explain Mr. Wilcox to Leonard after they put the drunk Jacky to bed. She tells him that she believes in "personal responsibility," meaning that she thinks everyone should think of themselves in depth and come to a level of personal understanding.
    • The world, according to Helen, is divided into people who have this sense of responsibility and self (like Leonard, Helen, and Margaret), and those who don't – like Mr. Wilcox, and other powerful men of his ilk.
    • Leonard has rather complicated feelings about Helen – he feels somewhat proprietary of her, and is beginning to think that he doesn't like her sister (he wonders if Helen herself does).
    • Unbeknownst to Helen, Leonard already knows about Mr. Wilcox's relationship to Jacky, but doesn't want Helen to find out.
    • Helen asks about Jacky, which makes Leonard uncomfortable. The couple has been married for three years, and it clearly hasn't been a good marriage. Leonard's family has cut him off entirely because of it.
    • Helen, never one for discretion, asks about his family (his immediate family members are all lower-middle class and his grandparents were actually laborers – though Leonard is embarrassed, Helen doesn't look down on him). Helen asks why they don't approve of Jacky, and she figures out the truth – Jacky was a prostitute.
    • Leonard tries to get Helen to stop worrying about his problems, and tells her that he'll just settle down to ordinary life after they get back to London. Helen is troubled by this – after all, he's the man that used to walk at night and yearn for something more.
    • Leonard himself dismisses books, and says that he's learned not to have so many fantasies; in order to be a dreamer, one also has to be rich.
    • Helen explains that in her philosophy, things like money and practicality are the opposite of real life – and men like Mr. Wilcox don't really understand capital-L Life.
    • Leonard is confused by all of this; he wants to engage at this higher level, but he's still occupied by the very real troubles of his life. Where will he get a job? What will he do? Talk can only go so far.
    • Helen keeps talking about death, trying to explain that understanding the idea of it puts everything in perspective and teaches people to truly value love and life. Her generalizations are poetic, but, we suspect, extremely naïve.
    • A letter for Helen (from Margaret) arrives, as well as a note for Leonard.
  • Chapter 28

    • Margaret spends hours thinking over everything that's happened, then writes a bunch of letters.
    • The first is to Henry; she writes it instinctively, saying that everything will be fine between them, then edits it according to his taste. He's clearly changed her.
    • Margaret then reevaluates, and wonders if she really can deal with the fact that Mr. Wilcox had an affair with Jacky. She tears up the letter she just wrote.
    • Next, she writes a brief note to Leonard, saying that Mr. Wilcox can't get him a job.
    • She also writes a letter to Helen, telling her that they found Jacky drunk, and that the Basts are not worth her while – she should ditch them, and come to stay with the Wilcoxes at the house.
    • Margaret feels like she's handling the matters in a practical fashion. She delivers the letters to the hotel herself, and sees Helen watching her through the window.
    • She goes to inform Henry of what she's done, telling him that Helen is coming to spend the night.
    • They act like nothing's happened, but obviously, something important has.
    • Margaret tries to decide if she can stay with Henry or not. She goes back and forth between anger and pity – and ultimately decides to forgive him.
  • Chapter 29

    • The next morning, Margaret confronts Mr. Wilcox. She tells him it doesn't make any difference to her, and he gets angry at this – he thinks that she's not acting like a real woman, and that she should be upset.
    • Henry tries to push Margaret away, saying that he's not worthy of her love. He believes in the distinct difference between men and women, and the worlds they live in.
    • Margaret inquires about Helen, only to find that she didn't show up last night. She's worried that Helen will find out the truth about Henry and Jacky and spread the story. Mr. Wilcox thinks it's no use to try and stop it from getting out.
    • Henry gives in to emotion and tells Margaret the story of his relationship with Jacky. Ten years ago, they met in Cyprus – and the rest is history. Margaret makes him feel better by telling him that she's already forgiven him.
    • Margaret goes to the hotel to try and rustle up her sister. When she returns, Mr. Wilcox is recovered from his bout with emotion, and is his old, businesslike self.
    • Margaret has some bad news – the Basts and Helen have all gone from the hotel, with no word about their whereabouts.
    • Margaret and Henry take a walk around the garden. Henry makes her promise never to mention Jacky again; he's worried that they might blackmail him, and tells his fiancée that he'll take care of the situation.
    • When they get back to the house, Mr. Wilcox basically puts the matter out of his mind – Margaret has forgiven him, and his children must never hear about it. That's all that matters.
    • Margaret herself is worried about Leonard and, like Helen, feels responsible for his troubles. That being said, though, she doesn't want to do anything about it; she's made up her mind to continue loving Mr. Wilcox, and to become part of his world.
  • Chapter 30

    • Tibby lives in his own world at Oxford, and he clearly doesn't like to be troubled by the lives of others. He's a classic academic, and though he's not a particularly bad person, he never descends from his ivory tower. At present, he's learning Chinese, and it's his principal pastime.
    • Helen turns up one day, after warning Tibby of her arrival with a telegram. She tells him about her adventure in Oniton, and tells him that she's not going back home to Wickham Place.
    • Tibby is more concerned with lunch than with his sister's troubles.
    • Helen goes on, saying that he's to tell Margaret that she just wants to be alone – she's going to Germany. As for the house, her siblings can do what they like about it.
    • Tibby asks if something happened at Evie's wedding, and Helen starts to cry. He doesn't want her to ruin his lunch, so he goes right on eating.
    • Helen pulls herself together, and brings up Mr. Wilcox, hinting ominously that he's done something terrible and ruined lives. She mentions the Basts, and Tibby is exasperated.
    • Tibby assumes correctly that this means that Mr. Wilcox has had a mistress, and Helen launches into an attack on Mr. Wilcox's behavior towards the Basts. She thinks it's his fault that they're paupers. She then explains the Leonard situation.
    • Tibby admits that it's a very unfortunate series of events. Helen wants him to decide what to do about this knowledge about Mr. Wilcox, but Tibby has no opinion on what to do about Margaret's involvement in all of this. He prefers to deal with people in books, not in person.
    • Helen has given up on stopping Margaret's marriage, but now she's worried about compensating the Basts for Mr. Wilcox's wrongs. She wants to give them five thousand pounds.
    • Tibby is taken aback, but his sister is determined to give them this huge sum, and she puts him in charge of doling it out.
    • Tibby walks his sister to the train station, and he is quite affected by her distress – at least, until he gets distracted by a statue on his way home.
    • The next day, Margaret and Tibby meet. She asks if Helen was upset about a rumor about Henry, and Tibby, thankful to be relieved of his duties, says yes.
    • He takes care of the second task Helen set to him by sending a check for the Basts, but it's returned with a civil note that says the money is not needed. Helen is upset, and insists that Tibby go back and force the money upon the Basts.
    • However, the Basts are nowhere to be found – they were evicted, and nobody knows where they went.
    • Helen, dismayed, isn't sure what to do with her money. She takes it out of her stocks, but, not knowing what to do, ends up reinvesting it and becoming even richer than before.
  • Chapter 31

    • It's moving time at Wickham Place. The Schlegels' furniture is mostly moved to Howards End; the guy leasing the house actually died abroad, so it's empty until someone else comes along to rent it.
    • Right before the big move, Henry and Margaret are married quietly. There's no big wedding – Tibby gives Margaret away, and Aunt Juley organizes food and drink. The marriage goes off uneventfully.
    • Henry and Margaret spend their honeymoon in the Alps. Margaret hopes to see her sister, who's still in Germany, but Helen evades her sister and brother-in-law.
    • Margaret, thinking that Helen just doesn't want to see Mr. Wilcox, writes her a long, critical letter about how Helen shouldn't be so judgmental. Helen simply thanks her for her letter.
    • Mr. Wilcox doesn't mind being apart from Helen, since she reminds him of his shameful behavior in the past (with Jacky, and with another affair in his youth). He grows fonder and fonder of Margaret, who seems to be becoming more submissive and feminine in her married state. He enjoys her intellect, but in a condescending way – he always has to win an argument.
    • One real problem with the marriage, however, is where they're going to live. Henry has leased Oniton Grange out, which annoys Margaret, who'd assumed that they'd live there. They end up moving to the Ducie Street house for the winter.
    • Margaret and Henry move to Ducie Street and properly settle into married life. Margaret loses touch with her old friends and old life, and begins to lose track of her liberal agendas and intellectual concerns. We're informed that she's moved from "words to things" – is this a good thing?
  • Chapter 32

    • The Wilcoxes decide to build a new house in Sussex, and one day, as Margaret is examining the plans, Dolly bursts in.
    • Dolly has big news, but she's distracted for a bit as she relates the local gossip to Margaret. They discuss the new house, then Helen, then Charles and Dolly's financial situation (which isn't great).
    • Finally, Dolly remembers what she came to talk about: Miss Avery, the old lady who takes care of Howards End, has started unpacking all of the Schlegels' belongings and laying them out in the house, even their books.
    • At the mention of books, Margaret is in an uproar – some of them are Tibby's, and are valuable. She's justifiably upset at Miss Avery, who has no right to open up all of their things.
    • Dolly thinks Miss Avery's just crazy, and says that she hates all of the Wilcoxes since Evie's wedding. Apparently, she bought Evie a wedding present (a necklace) that everyone thought was too expensive to accept, and when Evie returned it, she got terribly upset and threw it into the pond.
    • Henry, apparently, knew about Miss Avery's battiness, but still wanted her to look after Howards End; he has infinite patience for people who are good at what they do.
    • After asking Henry's permission, Margaret writes a note to Miss Avery, asking her not to touch any of her things. She goes to Howards End herself to sort out the unpacked books situation and store them elsewhere. Though Tibby promises to go, he unsurprisingly backs out in the end, leaving his sister to visit the house alone.
  • Chapter 33

    • It's a beautiful day in Hilton, and the narrator ominously tells us that it's the last happy day Margaret will have for a while. She walks through the village, and as she does, the narrator muses about England and Englishness (we should be used to this by now), wondering why England doesn't have a national mythology.
    • Margaret gets to the Avery farm, where she stops to pick up the keys to Howards End. She's met by Miss Avery's young niece, who seems to hold her in great respect. Since Miss Avery is at Howards End (apparently she spends a lot of time there), the young lady insists on walking Margaret to the house.
    • Miss Avery is indeed at Howards End, and she's locked herself in. She sends her embarrassed niece, Madge, away, but lets Margaret into the house.
    • Miss Avery politely and sanely invites Margaret in, and she's alarmed to see that all of the furnishings of the house are her own. Miss Avery has even hung up the Schlegels' father's sword, which seems like rather an odd choice.
    • Margaret tries to explain that the cases were meant to stay packed up, and that they're not moving into the house.
    • Miss Avery simply states that the house has been empty for too long, and Margaret does her best to reason with the stubborn old lady.
    • There's some confusion about the "Mrs. Wilcoxes" that Miss Avery keeps referring to – is she referring to Ruth or Margaret? One thing is clear: she thinks that the house belongs to Mrs. Wilcox, whichever one.
    • Miss Avery walks Margaret through the house, which is almost completely furnished with the Schlegel belongings. Margaret protests that she and Mr. Wilcox aren't going to live at Howards End, but Miss Avery is not to be dissuaded – she says ominously that Margaret doesn't think she'll ever live at Howards End, but she will. She oddly states that Margaret has been living there for the last ten minutes. Seriously weird.
    • Miss Avery mocks the Wilcoxes for their hay fever – they're unfit to live in the country. She admits that Wilcoxes are better than nothing, but she clearly has real disdain for them.
    • For Ruth Wilcox and her family, the Howards, however, Miss Avery has great affection and respect. She thinks that Ruth shouldn't ever have married Henry; instead, she says, her old friend should have married "a real soldier," a statement that obliquely criticizes Mr. Wilcox.
    • Margaret tells Miss Avery once more that they're not moving in to Howards End, then makes her excuses and goes back to London, where Mr. Wilcox has some suggestions about what to do with the furniture.
    • Before she can sort it all out, though, she has an unfortunate surprise.
  • Chapter 34

    • Sadly, poor Aunt Juley is in bad health – this isn't actually entirely a surprise, but it's unfortunate nonetheless. She has pneumonia, and Tibby and Margaret go to Swanage to look after her. They send for Helen.
    • Aunt Juley is in a bad state, and Margaret worries that she will die.
    • Helen says she can only come to see Aunt Juley, and must return as soon as she's better – she can't stay and hang out in England, for some reason.
    • Aunt Juley, thankfully, doesn't actually die. Nobody can figure out why Helen didn't come back when her aunt was at risk. It's a mystery.
    • Margaret doesn't want to admit it, but she's really worried about Helen. It seems that Helen's dislike for Henry is the cause of her staying away. Margaret worries that this hatred of the Wilcoxes has driven her a little batty.
    • Margaret grows more and more worried, as all humans do – once we get a thought in our heads, it's impossible not to let it get out of hand.
    • Helen sends a letter saying that she'll be in London soon, but that she will only come to Swanage if Aunt Juley is absolutely in dire condition. She wants to know where their stuff is so she can reclaim some of her books. The letter is affectionate, but totally weird.
    • Margaret wants to lie and tell Helen that Aunt Juley really needs her, but she ends up telling the truth. Tibby, who's grown up a bit and has become rather a pleasant but cold human being (against all odds), thinks she's done the right thing. Furthermore, he thinks Margaret should tell Mr. Wilcox, but she doesn't want to.
    • Margaret tries to get Helen to meet with her at their bank, but Helen doesn't show up. Margaret feels desperate, and gives in and asks Henry what to do.
    • Mr. Wilcox at first just says it's just like Helen to act all crazy and lead them on a wild goose chase, but Margaret is dissatisfied by this answer. Tibby steps in to tell Mr. Wilcox that they're worried that Helen has gone insane. This alarms Charles.
    • Tibby calmly relates the facts: Helen is evading her siblings at every turn, but refuses to tell them why. Margaret emphasizes the fact that they don't think Helen is well – she may not be totally mad, but she's definitely not OK.
    • This gets Mr. Wilcox's attention. Sick people are a different matter; he immediately takes an interest and comes up with a devious plan to trick Helen into coming to Howards End under the pretense of getting her books, where Henry and Margaret will ambush her.
    • Margaret resists, but is won over by Tibby and Henry, who both think it's the right thing to do.
    • Charles is the only one who doesn't agree, as he doesn't want Howards End involved.
    • Margaret also still has misgivings, but she does as Mr. Wilcox says. The meeting is planned for Monday at 3.
    • Charles still has a very bad feeling about all of this. So do we.
  • Chapter 35

    • The fatal day arrives, and we find Mr. Wilcox and Margaret in Hilton with Dolly. Margaret is anxious, and Mr. Wilcox wants to go spring on Helen without her.
    • Margaret runs to the washroom to gather herself, and Mr. Wilcox sneaks out without her, telling Dolly to make an excuse.
    • The car starts on its way, but Dolly and Charles's little boy accidentally sits in the middle of the driveway, causing the chauffeur to swerve off course. Dolly screams, and Margaret comes running out.
    • Margaret confronts Henry about his attempt to cut her out of the plan, and he apologizes. The apology is accepted, and they embark again.
    • The car stops to pick up the doctor, and Henry emphasizes how important it is not to scare Helen. The doctor and Henry discuss Helen's case dispassionately, and Margaret is infuriated by the way they're busily labeling her character, as though she's not even human.
    • Margaret is determined to be on Helen's side, since it's obvious that nobody else is.
    • Helen is innocently waiting on the porch at Howards End. Margaret runs out of the car before Henry can stop her, and rushes to her sister. She discovers immediately why Helen has been avoiding everyone – she's pregnant.
    • In a rush, Margaret unlocks the door and pushes Helen into the house, then calls out to Mr. Wilcox that everything is OK.
  • Chapter 36

    • Henry tries to interfere, since Margaret looks so upset, but she won't let him into the house. She openly disobeys him for the first time, and feels like this is a fight of women against men.
    • The doctor then tries to intervene, saying that Helen might be having a nervous breakdown.
    • Margaret turns away both of them, saying that she and Helen don't need them – her sister still has a long while before the baby's due.
    • Margaret appeals to Henry, saying that it's all about love – she cares for Helen, and neither of them do.
    • The men give in and depart; Henry is confused by all of this, and Margaret tells him she will meet him at Charles and Dolly's.
    • Margaret goes back into the house, where she confronts Helen.
  • Chapter 37

    • Margaret tries to kiss Helen, but her sister resists, basically accusing her of dishonestly tricking her into coming to Howards End. She is justifiably annoyed, and Margaret admits that she shouldn't have done it.
    • Helen is businesslike, and describes her situation in full: the baby's due in June, and she is never going to return to England, since English people will never forgive her for her transgression. She intends to stay in Munich with Monica, a feminist Italian journalist that she's befriended.
    • Margaret imagines what Monica's like – the kind of "crude feminist" that the Schlegels used to make fun of.
    • Helen emphasizes the fact that she can't live in England anymore.
    • The talk turns to Howards End – they comment on how alive it feels with all of their things unpacked. Margaret is distracted for a short while, but gets to the point – she wants to know why Helen can't just come back. Is it because she hates Henry?
    • Helen admits that it's not Henry's fault, but society's. There's no way she, with her illegitimate child, can fit into English society again. Margaret can't disagree with this.
    • Margaret and Helen feel strangely and irrevocably separated – by what? By society, maybe, or the baby, or something else.
    • Helen prepares to leave, and the sisters part amicably. As Helen's on her way out, though, a card arrives from Mr. Wilcox, instructing her to keep Helen around and put her up in a hotel.
    • Helen, however, is suddenly not inclined to leave right away. She takes a look around the house, and can't believe how well all of their things fit there – as though they belong there.
    • The door bell rings. The idea that the Wilcoxes might be there to interrupt suddenly brings the sisters together again, and they rediscover their connection.
    • It's not the Wilcoxes, though – it's a little boy, Tom, who's come with some milk. He was sent by Miss Avery, who seems to think that the sisters will be staying at Howards End.
    • Tom goes away, and Margaret and Helen try to figure out what is so special about Howards End – it seems to make everything feel all right again.
    • Helen has an idea – why don't they spend the night at Howards End, before she leaves for Germany?
    • Margaret resists, knowing that Charles and Henry won't agree to it. But Helen insists – she feels a kind of kinship with the house.
    • Helen reiterates the difference between Schlegels and Wilcoxes – she and Margaret know about life in a way that Henry and Charles don't.
    • Margaret agrees to the plan, and goes off to talk to her husband. She worries that Miss Avery is watching, but she sees only little Tom.
  • Chapter 38

    • Margaret returns to Charles and Dolly's house, and settles into a discussion with Henry about Helen. He tries immediately to take control, and treat her like an ignorant, submissive wife – but she'll have none of that.
    • Margaret tries to jump straight in with her request about Howards End, but Henry's not done. He wants to know who Helen's "seducer" is, and Margaret doesn't know – she didn't even ask.
    • Henry has tried to rally all of the menfolk; he called Charles to tell him about the situation, and Charles, in turn, is paying Tibby a visit. They intend to make Helen's lover marry her, or to otherwise punish him.
    • Margaret gets to the point. She tells Henry that Helen's going to Munich tomorrow, but would like to sleep at Howards End that night. This is a more difficult question for him than it seems like it should be – he doesn't understand the impulse.
    • Margaret tries to explain that Helen wants to be among their things, as a kind of end to her youth and innocence.
    • Henry jumps to a negative conclusion – if Helen stays there one night, maybe she'll never leave.
    • This offends Margaret, who's upset about the implication. Would it be so bad if Helen stayed?
    • Margaret reveals that she wants to stay in Howards End with Helen, which upsets Henry even more. The two of them find themselves at an impasse.
    • Margaret is at the end of her rope. She demands that Henry answer her plainly, and restates all of the facts – can't he forgive Helen for having a lover, since Margaret has forgiven him for Jacky? Can't they just spend one night in Howards End?
    • Henry refuses, saying that he has to be respectful to his children and the first Mrs. Wilcox – Helen can't stay.
    • Margaret, desperate, mentions Jacky again, then comes right out and accuses Mr. Wilcox of all of his crimes – cheating on his first wife, casting Jacky off (to ruin Leonard, in turn), not being responsible for Leonard's job. She tells him that he's done just the same thing that Helen's done (and more), but he just can't face up to it.
    • Henry gathers his senses and flatly refuses once more, accusing Margaret of trying to blackmail him. He returns to the house; Margaret stays outside, fuming.
  • Chapter 39

    • Charles meets with Tibby at the house at Ducie Street. The two of them have nothing at all in common, and their conversation is a travesty.
    • Charles is determined to get rid of Helen, who he sees as nothing but a liability.
    • Tibby, however, has the luxury of wealth and freedom, and he thinks that Helen should be able to do whatever she perceives to be right. His life of leisure has made him unsympathetic to the struggles of others.
    • Charles tries to get Tibby riled up about Helen's pregnancy, and tries to get him to admit the identity of Helen's mystery man.
    • Tibby, menaced by Charles, mentions that Helen had brought up the Basts before – but he says nothing else.
    • Charles takes this to be an admission of guilt, and assumes that Tibby aided and abetted in Helen's affair with Leonard; disgusted, he storms out.
  • Chapter 40

    • Helen finally opens up to Margaret about Leonard, but Margaret is confused by how Helen fell in love – with an idea, rather than with a man.
    • The night is all about Helen coming clean and evaluating everything; she realizes that she'd blamed Mr. Wilcox for everything when she should have.
    • Helen also feels guilty about the way in which her relationship with Leonard fell out – after the fact, she never wanted to see him again.
    • Helen's clearly grown a lot; she says she now understands Margaret's marriage to Henry, and even if she never likes him, she'll always understand.
    • Margaret says that only Mrs. Wilcox can and ever understood everyone – there was something magical about her that allowed her to see through everything.
    • The sisters greet Miss Avery, and note that they are still like tourists at Howards End; they wonder if they will always be only tourists everywhere.
    • Helen invites Margaret to join her in Germany – her sister is tempted, but doesn't know if she can bear to leave England.
    • The two of them enjoy a moment of peace under the wych elm tree, and everything seems quiet and still. They embrace and say good night. Margaret wonders once again if everyone, even Leonard Bast, is a part of Mrs. Wilcox's mind.
  • Chapter 41

    • Poor Leonard is not having a good time; he, unlike Helen, hasn't been able to intellectually process their affair. He's full of remorse.
    • Leonard never once imagines that it might be Helen's fault, or that they might at least share the blame. We, however, see that she is just as responsible as he was, or perhaps more – she loves things that are absolute, and Leonard's total destruction appealed to her.
    • The morning after their tryst, Helen was gone. She left a note that meant to be kind, but broke Leonard's heart; he felt immediately terrified and guilty, as though he'd ruined her.
    • The trip to Evie's wedding really destroyed the Basts financially. Helen, in her fit of passion, forgot to pay the hotel bill, and also ran off with their return train tickets. Despite all of her talk about being responsible, we see that she was really careless, selfish, and destructive.
    • Leonard, desperate, was forced to ask his estranged family for money. He succeeds in wheedling some cash out of his two sisters and their husbands, but this just makes them hate each other more.
    • The only things that keep Leonard alive are his sense of really living, even if it means suffering, and his affection for Jacky. He seems to view her as a kind of pathetic animal who needs care; this sense of duty keeps him going.
    • One day, Leonard sees Margaret and Tibby from afar. He wants to come clean and tell them everything – he trusts Margaret, and decides that he must talk to her. He figures out where she lives, and stops by Ducie Street.
    • Leonard finds out from the maid, who finds out from Tibby that Margaret is at Howards End, in Hilton.
    • Leonard stays awake all night thinking about his confession. He's tormented by his imagination, and eventually gets up to go out, telling Jacky that he'll be back soon.
    • Leonard takes a train to Hilton overnight and reaches his destination in the morning. He feels more alive and optimistic in the countryside, far from the artifice of the city.
    • Leonard reaches Howards End, and finds himself with Margaret and some other people. He is totally disoriented and confused – and is attacked by a strange man, who grabs him by the collar and says that he's going to thrash him.
    • Confusion and violence ensues; Leonard is attacked by a bright stick, then collapses under a falling bookshelf. It's chaos.
    • Charles, the attacker, declares that Leonard is faking – but, in fact, he's dead. They carry him outside.
    • Margaret and Helen don't understand at first – they pour water on him, hoping to revive him. Miss Avery comes out and says that Charles murdered Leonard.
  • Chapter 42

    • Rewind – we go back to Charles's encounter with Tibby. After leaving Ducie Street, Charles returns home, not knowing about the whole Helen-at-Howards End debacle. Mr. Wilcox is worried about Margaret, who hasn't come home (she and her sister are Howards End, despite the fact that it's forbidden).
    • Late that night, Charles and Mr. Wilcox have a heart-to-heart. Mr. Wilcox is worried about Margaret, and he's certain now that she's disobeyed him and gone to Howards End. He asks his son to go to the house the next morning and sort things out – basically, to kick Helen and Margaret out of Howards End. He's very clear in telling Charles not to use violence.
    • OK, fast forward to the present moment – Leonard is dead by Charles's hand. Charles still thinks he didn't use violence. After all, he only struck Leonard with the flat part of the sword (the "bright stick" Leonard saw descending upon him). Miss Avery and Margaret both agree that Charles didn't use the edge, and he assumes that Leonard's death was due to a heart attack – of course, Charles himself isn't at fault.
    • Charles stops by the police station in Hilton on his way back home and informs them that there's a dead man at Howards End. He tells them his part of the story is thanked, and goes home to tell his father.
    • Charles informs Henry that he found Leonard at Howards End, and Henry is horrified – Charles makes it out as though Margaret and Helen were at fault somehow. The way he tells it, Leonard was in the last stages of heart disease, and just when Charles was going to show him what for, he just up and died.
    • Mr. Wilcox goes along with the story until Charles mentions the sword, at which point, his father freaks out. It certainly sounds suspicious… It's unclear as to what the real cause of death was.
    • Charles is anxious, and wonders what will happen in the aftermath of this scandal. Surely, they'll have to leave Hilton. He's just glad that, as he sees it, he's cleared the way for a breakup between Henry and Margaret.
    • Mr. Wilcox casually mentions that he's going to go to the police station. (Dolly, who hasn't been told anything, wonders why – and we feel bad for her, the poor little fool.) Mr. Wilcox shows an unusual tenderness towards Charles, which makes his son suspicious.
    • Mr. Wilcox returns, looking exhausted, and says that there'll be an inquest the next day, which Charles will have to attend. His son pompously and blindly assumes that he will naturally have to be there to act as the key witness.
  • Chapter 43

    • Margaret is confused and horrified by all of this. How could any of this have happened? All Leonard wanted was to experience the beauty in the world, and this is what he got.
    • Helen is also terrified, and all she can do is try to be calm and pick flowers to lay in poor Leonard's arms. Miss Avery tries to soothe her by reminding that Leonard never even knew about the child.
    • Margaret answers the policemen's questions, and tells them that, though Charles may have provoked Leonard's heart attack, it was bound to happen by some means. The doctor agrees that this is how Leonard died.
    • Margaret and Helen decide to return to Germany; Margaret hasn't heard from Henry, but assumes that their relationship is over for good. She peers into his future, imagining that he will recover from this incident, continue to prosper, and keep living life as he has so far.
    • At this moment, she's called back to meet with him – Crane comes to pick her up and take her to Charles's house.
    • Margaret informs her husband that she intends to go to Germany, and cannot forgive him for what he's said or done.
    • Mr. Wilcox is exhausted, and they sit on the grass to talk. Margaret coldly returns the keys to Howards End, and refuses to hear what he has to say – now, she thinks she can see through his façade of kindness, and knows that it's just a masculine trick to make her swoon.
    • She tells Henry that her life is with Helen now, and they're going to Munich the next day, right after the inquest.
    • Henry informs Margaret that the verdict at the inquest is not going to be heart disease – instead, it will be manslaughter. Charles is going to go to prison. Henry is totally heartbroken.
    • Margaret is not suddenly moved to change her mind – but as the day goes on, and Charles is sentenced to three years in prison, Henry himself breaks down. He gives himself up to Margaret, and she, relenting, takes him to Howards End.
  • Chapter 44

    • Tom and Helen are discussing whether or not the baby (which has been born, obviously – some time has passed) is old enough to play in the freshly mown hay. Helen agrees, and the little boy runs off with the baby.
    • Margaret and Helen agree that Tom and the baby will grow up to be lifelong friends, despite their difference in class.
    • We find out that fourteen months have passed, and Margaret is still living at Howards End. It's summer now, and the fields and meadows are full of life.
    • Helen speaks tenderly of Henry, and wishes he could be enjoying nature with them – unfortunately, his hay fever always keeps him inside. We learn that he's not doing so well; he's not ill, but he's exhausted and worried about the family, who's all there today for some reason.
    • Helen admits to Margaret that she likes Henry now – things have clearly changed with all of them.
    • Helen says that everything is peaceful now; she seems to have reached some new level of clarity. She says she will never get married. She feels terrible for the way she treated Leonard, and how she's forgetting him now.
    • Margaret stops her sister from worrying and blaming herself, saying that we must all remember that we're all together in a bigger picture – humanity and the world – and she shouldn't be hung up on the individual.
    • Helen tells Margaret that she has drawn everyone together by forgiving Henry and learning to understand each other. Margaret, it seems, has really become the new Mrs. Wilcox.
    • The sisters look out over the fields and see London creeping towards them – suburbanization and its dangers is still a threat.
    • Margaret is struck by the idea that everything is part of an evolving process; just because something is going strong now, it might not last. She feels hopeful, though, thinking that their home, Howards End, is both the past and the future.
    • The Wilcoxes come out of their family meeting. Paul emerges first, and roughly tells Margaret to go in to Henry. He kicks the door on his way back in.
    • Henry, Evie, and Dolly are inside. Some decisions have clearly been made: he wants to make sure that everyone is OK with the arrangements.
    • The deal is, Margaret will get Howards End, and the children will get all of Mr. Wilcox's money when he dies; Margaret, in turn, will leave the house to Helen's son.
    • Paul is feeling particularly insulted by the idea that the house will go to the illegitimate child, and Evie tries to calm him down before she leaves.
    • As the children leave, Dolly mentions that Mrs. Wilcox had wanted Margaret to have Howards End all along – something nobody ever revealed to Margaret.
    • Dolly, Evie, and Paul say goodbye and leave. Margaret asks Henry about Dolly's casual remark, and he tells her that his first wife had scribbled a note about Margaret and Howards End before she died.
    • Margaret is chilled by this – it's too eerie. She reassures Henry that he hasn't done anything wrong.
    • Henry, seeing Helen, Tom, and the baby, smiles for the first time and rushes out to them. Finally, we see a moment of joy and resolution.
    • Helen cries out gleefully that the hay field has been mown, and there will be a bountiful crop that year.