E. M. Forster: Howards End

42. CHAPTER XLII (continued)

Charles did not like it; he was uneasy about his father, who did not seem himself this morning. There was a petulant touch about him--more like a woman. Could it be that he was growing old? The Wilcoxes were not lacking in affection; they had it royally, but they did not know how to use it. It was the talent in the napkin, and, for a warm-hearted man, Charles had conveyed very little joy. As he watched his father shuffling up the road, he had a vague regret--a wish that something had been different somewhere-- a wish (though he did not express it thus) that he had been taught to say "I" in his youth. He meant to make up for Margaret's defection, but knew that his father had been very happy with her until yesterday. How had she done it? By some dishonest trick, no doubt--but how?

Mr. Wilcox reappeared at eleven, looking very tired. There was to be an inquest on Leonard's body to-morrow, and the police required his son to attend.

"I expected that," said Charles. "I shall naturally be the most important witness there."

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