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Howards End by E. M. Forster by Ian Milligan (auth.)

By Ian Milligan (auth.)

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Cooled her brain'. Whatever heredity has made her, the old woman who descends the stairs with an eerie unexpectedness sees her as Ruth Wilcox. CHAPTER 24 Summary The old woman is Miss Avery who was a friend of Mrs Wilcox. Henry, hearing what has happened, is protective since he believes Margaret has been frightened. He has shown Margaret round Howards End, explaining how he rescued and improved the property which had been left to Mrs Wilcox and her grandmother. Margaret is specially impressed by the wych-elm which appears to bend over the house like a comrade.

Here, it is a fact which will come to be recognised as one of the glories of human creativity. Love is a force that stands in opposition to both time and death, but it is not certain from the account given in this chapter whether Margaret has found the precious jewel of absolute love. In its public form, love is a business arrangement. As a husband, Henry would be little different from the man she had come to know. Besides, Margaret realises that a proposal of marriage is 'a suggestion, a seed' - the beginning, not the end, of a relationship.

In London, she displays her sense of the value of the personal by calling Mr Wilcox's chauffeur by name and by remembering the name of his parlour maid. Margaret's mention of the servants is not taken up by Mr Wilcox; her reference to Parliament, which is surely positive, though brief, is responded to dismissively. For a moment Margaret is ashamed of her responsiveness: She could not concentrate on details. Parliament, the Thames, the irresponsive chauffeur, would flash into the field of house-hunting, and all demand some comment or response.

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