Study Guide

Howards End Chapter 34

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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.

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