Chapters 3-4 Summary
Aunt Juley steps off the train and asks questions about the location of Howards End. Coincidentally, Charles Wilcox is at the train station. He has just put his father on the same train from which Aunt Juley has gotten off. When Aunt Juley asks a porter about Howards End, he introduces her to Charles Wilcox. Aunt Juley asks if Charles is “the younger Mr. Wilcox or the elder.” Charles thinks she is referring to his father as “the elder,” so he states that he is “the younger.” Aunt Juley mistakenly takes him to be his younger brother, Paul.
Charles offers Aunt Juley a ride to Howards End. In the course of their journey, Aunt Juley cannot stop herself from asking him questions about his relationship with Helen. Charles is confused at first, but finally he understands the mistaken identity. He then curses his younger brother’s stupidity in becoming involved with a woman who is of lower social status than he is. This humiliates Aunt Juley, who claims that her niece is of exceptional quality and stature and that and if any one has tried to elevate himself, it is Paul. This begins an argument, and insults are exchanged between Charles and Aunt Juley during the remainder of the trip to Howards End. By the time they arrive, Aunt Juley is frustrated and Charles is very angry.
Helen runs out to meet her aunt. She has just received a telegram from Margaret, telling her of her aunt’s imminent arrival. Helen whispers to her aunt that the relationship is over. Then she begs her aunt not to tell any of the Wilcoxes about the affair. Aunt Juley bursts into tears. Charles, in the meantime, yells out for Paul. When Paul appears, Charles asks if he is involved with Helen.
Before Paul can answer, Mrs. Wilcox appears. She understands what is happening by reading the facial expressions of the people in front of her. She tells Paul to go into the house and make arrangements for lunch. Then she suggests that Helen take her aunt upstairs. Charles is still adamant about finding out if Paul has indeed made any declarations of love to Helen. Mrs. Wilcox interrupts and tells Charles that the engagement has been broken.
Upon arriving back in London, Helen attempts to explain to Margaret what happened at Howards End. Upon reflection, Helen sees that what she had fallen in love with was not so much a person but rather the whole environment that surrounded the Wilcoxes. She loved the way they lived and how unified they appeared. By the time Paul arrived home, Helen was ready to fall in love with him no matter what his character or personality. One night she was in the garden with him. When he leaned close and kissed her, she believed him when he said he loved her.
The next morning, however, was quite different. Helen felt the change immediately upon going downstairs to...
(The entire section is 739 words.)