Study Guide

Where Angels Fear to Tread Chapter 4

By E. M. Forster

Chapter 4

  • It takes some time for Lilia to realize that she isn't in love her husband and could never be happy with him, and that he had only married her for her money. Oh, ouch.
  • But back then, you couldn't fly to Reno for a quickie divorce.
  • Now that the honeymoon period is over, Lilia and Gino find themselves bickering all the time. And the topic of most of their fights is about Lilia going out alone. Gino forbids her to leave the house unaccompanied, but Lilia argues that in England she used to go out by herself whenever she pleased.
  • During one of these heated arguments, Lilia pulls out the money card, saying that if Gino doesn't stop ordering her around, she'll stop supporting him. But Lilia immediately wishes she could take back her words—Gino's personality suddenly changes completely.
  • His eyes become hard and expressionless, and he starts raising his arm, as if to strike Lilia. Perfetta the maid happens to come into the room at just that moment, snapping Gino back to his senses. But from then on, Lilia never attempts to challenge Gino's authority again.
  • Gosh, this marriage sucks.
  • Even when she finds out that Gino has been cheating on her, she is too scared to mention it for fear of seeing his temper flare up. Lilia becomes more and more depressed as she realizes that she has no one to turn to. The Herritons have practically disowned her; she will never be able to return to English society.
  • Lilia's last hope for saving her marriage is to have a child, and she knows that Gino desperately wants a son.
  • As her suffering continues, Lilia finally reaches her breaking point one evening when Gino is out. She can't stand being stuck at home any longer, and decides to take a walk. During her stroll, she hears a stagecoach approaching her on the road—the driver is picking up passengers heading to the train station and asks if Lilia wants a ride. At first, she declines, but as the stagecoach starts driving away, she suddenly feels a surge of panic. Overwhelmed by her desire to escape her miserable life, Lilia calls for the driver to stop. But it's too late… he's out of earshot, and Lilia faints from exhaustion.
  • When she wakes up, she finds herself lying on the road, covered in dust. It's now well after dark, and she realizes with dread that Gino will be furious with her.
  • When she arrives home, the fight begins full force with Gino screaming at her at the top of his lungs. But this time, Lilia doesn't keep quiet. She lashes out at Gino, letting out all of her pent-up emotions and leaving Gino completely speechless. The fight ends in a stalemate, with neither side conceding victory.
  • The days pass without any change. Once, when Lilia feels especially distraught, she writes to Irma about her unhappiness, but the letter is intercepted by Mrs. Herriton, and nothing comes of it.
  • Lilia becomes ill, and for the entire fall season, she stays in bed (the narrator doesn't come right out and say it, but Lilia's "illness" actually refers to her pregnancy—we're told next to nothing about her pregnancy, except that Gino pays more attention to her and keeps saying how much he wants a son). One night, Lilia gives birth to a baby boy, but it all happens very quickly (we're not given any details about her delivery) and when Gino comes inside to meet his son, he finds out that Lilia has died during childbirth.
  • Bummer.

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