One may as well begin with Helen's letters to her sister.
"Howards End, "Tuesday. "Dearest Meg,
"It isn't going to be what we expected. It is old and little, and altogeth-
er delightfulÑred brick. We can scarcely pack in as it is, and the dear
knows what will happen when Paul (younger son) arrives to-morrow.
From hall you go right or left into dining-room or drawing-room. Hall it-
self is practically a room. You open another door in it, and there are the
stairs going up in a sort of tunnel to the first-floor. Three bed-rooms in a
row there, and three attics in a row above. That isn't all the house really,
but it's all that one noticesÑnine windows as you look up from the front
"Then there's a very big wych-elmÑto the left as you look upÑleaning
a little over the house, and standing on the boundary between the
garden and meadow. I quite love that tree already. Also ordinary elms,
oaksÑno nastier than ordinary oaksÑ pear-trees, apple-trees, and a
vine. No silver birches, though. However, I must get on to my host and
hostess. I only wanted to show that it isn't the least what we expected.
Why did we settle that their house would be all gables and wiggles, and
their garden all gamboge-coloured paths? I believe simply because we
associate them with expensive hotelsÑMrs. Wilcox trailing in beautiful
dresses down long corridors, Mr. Wilcox bullying porters, etc. We fe-
males are that unjust.
"I shall be back Saturday; will let you know train later. They are as
angry as I am that you did not come too; really Tibby is too tiresome, he
starts a new mortal disease every month. How could he have got hay
fever in London? and even if he could, it seems hard that you should
give up a visit to hear a schoolboy sneeze. Tell him that Charles Wilcox
(the son who is here) has hay fever too, but he's brave, and gets quite
cross when we inquire after it. Men like the Wilcoxes would do Tibby a
power of good. But you won't agree, and I'd better change the subject.
"This long letter is because I'm writing before breakfast. Oh, the beauti-
ful vine leaves! The house is covered with a vine. I looked out earlier,