Chapters 34-37 Summary
Aunt Juley is gravely ill. She has been sick for a long time with a series of colds and coughs. She has grown weaker and is now fighting a serious case of pneumonia. She is not expected to live. Margaret, Tibby, and Helen are called in. Helen was still in Germany but has wired that she is on her way back to London. Margaret and Tibby go immediately to their aunt’s home in Swanage.
Although the doctors had assumed that Aunt Juley would not recuperate, she does. She is weak but will eventually recover. Margaret and Tibby are thankful, but when they receive another telegram from Helen, Margaret must face another quandary. Helen is in London and asks about Aunt Juley’s health. If her aunt is feeling better, she will complete some business in London and return to Germany. If her aunt is not well, she will come out to Swanage. Margaret asks Tibby how she should respond. Both Tibby and Margaret want to see Helen. Margaret considers lying to Helen that Aunt Juley is still ill, but her sense of honor will not allow her to lie. She telegrams Helen the truth. Aunt Juley is better and is expected to fully recover.
Helen responds, telling her sister that she does not intend to visit but would like to know where their possessions have been stored. There are a few books she would like to take with her back to Germany. In an attempt to see their sister, Tibby and Margaret arrange to meet Helen. Helen agrees but then does not show up as planned.
Tibby and Margaret take the problem to Henry; they hope that his objective and rational way of thinking might help them understand what is going on with Helen. Tibby and Margaret fear that Helen might be sick. Henry suggests that they write a letter to Helen, telling her that her books are being stored at Howards End. She must go there if she wants them. Margaret and Tibby can be there to surprise her, but they must not tell Helen of their plans. At first Margaret refuses to go along with this scheme, but in the end she gives in.
Henry and Margaret are staying at Charles’s house, which is near Howards End. They have just finished lunch when because Henry is told that a woman got off the train in the village and has rented a car. Henry assumes this to be Helen. They prepare to leave and Henry tells Margaret to tidy up. As she does, Henry goes out to the car to go to Howards End by himself. He believes Margaret is not up to the task. Margaret realizes Henry’s plan and runs out and catches up with the car. She is angry at Henry’s deceit but realizes she has no right to judge him. She, too, is being deceitful with Helen.
On their way to Howards End, they stop to pick up a young doctor because they fear Helen is ill. As they continue on their way, the doctor asks questions about Helen. Margaret becomes angrier still when she listens to how Henry describes her sister. He makes Helen sound mad. Margaret quietly defends her sister. If Helen is mad, Margaret concludes, then she is mad too.
The car stops right before it reaches the house. Margaret jumps out when she sees her sister sitting on the porch, waiting for someone to come unlock the door. Helen stands awkwardly, and Margaret sees at once what the problem is. She hugs her sister and quickly pushes her into the house and closes the door. Helen is pregnant.
After closing the door behind Helen, Margaret turns to face Henry and the doctor. She is ready to fight for what she believes to be her...
(The entire section is 958 words.)