Study Guide

Where Angels Fear to Tread Chapter 2

By E. M. Forster

Chapter 2

  • Philip arrives in the small town of Monteriano, where Lilia and Caroline have been staying for the past month. He is tired and worried about how to clean up the mess Lilia has gotten herself into.
  • Miss Abbott meets Philip at the station, and the two of them take a carriage back to the hotel. Philip gets straight to the point and asks Caroline how long Lilia has been engaged. Eleven days, to be exact (definitely a love-at-first-sight romance).
  • Miss Abbott then confesses that she was the one who brought up the idea of marriage (maybe not the best idea, Caroline; just saying). To his further dismay, Philip is told that Lilia's fiancĂ©, Gino Carella, is not a nobleman, but rather the son of a dentist in Monteriano. For a wealthy, upper-class family like the Herritons, the social position of a dentist is pretty low on the totem pole.
  • At dinner, Philip is even more disgusted when he meets Gino. Although Gino has his looks going for him, everything else about him (in Philip's opinion) is crude and uncouth. Welcoming Gino as part of the family would certainly not be an option.
  • When Philip finally manages to get Lilia alone, the conversation does not go well. Lilia tries to convince Philip that Gino's position as a dentist is improving and that he's climbing up the social ladder. Dismissing Lilia's praise of Gino, Philip says that he has come to rescue Lilia from certain disgrace. But Lilia insists that this time she will marry for love and calls Gino into the room.
  • Philip bluntly offers Gino money in exchange for breaking off the engagement, but Gino merely laughs defiantly and drops the big news: He and Lilia are already married! They got married as soon as they heard Philip was coming. Oh, goodness! Where are those smelling salts?
  • In the confusion that ensues, Gino gives Philip a friendly shove and then rushes off to tell Lilia the joke. Imagining that he has been physically assaulted, Philip immediately tells Miss Abbott that he will be returning to Sawston the next day. Caroline pleads with him to take her back to England with him.

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