Study Guide

Howards End Chapter 42

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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.

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