Study Guide

Howards End Chapter 37

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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.

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