CHAPTER XII

Charles need not have been anxious. Miss Schlegel had never heard of his mother's strange request. She was to hear of it in after years, when she had built up her life differently, and it was to fit into position as the headstone of the comer. Her mind was bent on other questions now, and by her also it would have been rejected as the fantasy of an invalid.

She was parting from these Wilcoxes for the second time. Paul and his mother, ripple and great wave, had flowed into her life and ebbed out of it for ever. The ripple had left no traces behind: the wave had strewn at her feet fragments torn from the unknown. A curious seeker, she stood for a while at the verge of the sea that tells so little, but tells a little, and watched the outgoing of this last tremendous tide. Her'friend had vanished in agony, but not, she believed, in degradation. Her withdrawal had hinted at other things besides disease and pain. Some leave our life with tears, others with an insane frigidity; Mrs. Wilcox had taken the middle course, which only rarer natures can pursue. She had kept proportion. She had told a little of her grim secret to her friends, but not too much; she had shut up her heart-- almost, but not entirely. It is thus, if there is any rule, that we ought to die -- neither as victim nor as fanatic, but as the seafarer who can greet with an equal eye the deep that he is entering, and the shore that he must leave.

The last word -- whatever it would be -- had certainly not been said in Hilton churchyard. She had not died there. A funeral is not death, any more than baptism is birth or marriage union. All three are the clumsy devices, coming now too late, now too early, by which

-102-

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Howards End
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Chapter I 3
  • Chapter II 6
  • Chapter III 13
  • Chapter IV 23
  • Chapter V 31
  • Chapter VI 45
  • Chapter VII 56
  • Chapter VIII 64
  • Chapter IX 73
  • Chapter X 79
  • Chapter XI 87
  • Chapter XII 102
  • Chapter XIII 107
  • Chapter XIV 115
  • Chapter XV 125
  • Chapter XVI 137
  • Chapter XVII 149
  • Chapter XVIII 157
  • Chapter XIX 167
  • Chapter XX 176
  • Chapter XXI 184
  • Chapter XXII 186
  • Chapter XXIII 193
  • Chapter XXIV 202
  • Chapter XXV 207
  • Chapter XXVI 217
  • Chapter XXVII 233
  • Chapter XXVIII 240
  • Chapter XXIX 244
  • Chapter XXX 250
  • Chapter XXXI 257
  • Chapter XXXII 262
  • Chapter XXXIII 266
  • Chapter XXXIV 276
  • Chapter XXXV 285
  • Chapter XXXVI 289
  • Chapter XXXVII 292
  • Chapter XXXVIII 303
  • Chapter Xxxix 309
  • Chapter XL 311
  • Chapter XLI 315
  • Chapter XLII 325
  • Chapter XLIII 329
  • Chapter XLIV 335
  • About the Author *
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