Study Guide

Howards End Chapter 44

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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.

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