Chapters 41-44 Summary
Leonard Bast, who is the father of Helen’s child, is filled with remorse. He has cheated on his wife and done wrong by another great woman. He believes the relationship between him and Helen (which had lasted only one night) was all his fault. He is unaware of the role Helen played. She felt sorry for him. She built up an image of him that was much grander than the man himself. So many other emotions had played out inside her head that night of Evie’s wedding. She was angry at Henry Wilcox for having ruined Jacky Bast’s life. She was also angry that it was Henry who had forced his son, Paul, away from her. So she had allowed Leonard Bast to make love to her that night out of loneliness and regret.
But Leonard does not know these things. He feels he is to blame for everything. He cannot sleep. He cannot eat. He has not worked for a long time and must beg for money from his kin. One day he happens to see Margaret in town, but he misses his chance to speak to her. He feels obsessed with asking for forgiveness, so he tracks her down and discovers she has married Henry Wilcox. He finds out that Margaret and her husband have traveled to Howards End, so the night Helen spends at Howards End, Leonard is making his way to the house. He takes a train from London, walks through the village, and finally ends up at the house. The door is open, so he enters. Coincidentally, he hears someone mention his name. It is a man’s voice, and it sounds loud and angry.
Charles Wilcox walks into the room where Leonard is standing and asks if the man standing in front of him is Leonard Bast. When he discovers this to be true, Charles takes the sword hanging over the mantle and strikes at Leonard. He falls into the bookcase and the books fall on top of him. Believing the man has merely passed out, they carry Leonard out to the lawn and pour water on his face. But Leonard does not respond. Leonard Bast is dead.
When Charles reports back to his father, he tells what has happened at Howards End from his perspective. He tells his father he had gone to the house and was talking to Margaret and Helen and Mrs. Avery when Leonard Bast came out of hiding. Charles assumed that Leonard had spent the night with Helen. Henry, upon hearing this, cannot believe it. How could this have happened in his house?
Charles assures his father that the death of Leonard occurred naturally. The man must have had a weak heart, Charles says. He merely slapped the man with the side of the blade, which in Charles’s mind was not enough to kill him. Then Leonard fell against the bookcase and pulled it down...
(The entire section is 729 words.)