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E. M. Forster: Howards End
2. CHAPTER II
Margaret glanced at her sister's note and pushed it over the breakfast-table to her aunt. There was a moment's hush, and then the flood-gates opened.
"I can tell you nothing, Aunt Juley. I know no more than you do. We met--we only met the father and mother abroad last spring. I know so little that I didn't even know their son's name. It's all so--" She waved her hand and laughed a little.
"In that case it is far too sudden."
"Who knows, Aunt Juley, who knows?"
"But, Margaret, dear, I mean, we mustn't be unpractical now that we've come to facts. It is too sudden, surely."
"But, Margaret, dear--"
"I'll go for her other letters," said Margaret. "No, I won't, I'll finish my breakfast. In fact, I haven't them. We met the Wilcoxes on an awful expedition that we made from Heidelberg to Speyer. Helen and I had got it into our heads that there was a grand old cathedral at Speyer--the Archbishop of Speyer was one of the seven electors--you know--'Speyer, Maintz, and Koln.' Those three sees once commanded the Rhine Valley and got it the name of Priest Street."
"I still feel quite uneasy about this business, Margaret."
"The train crossed by a bridge of boats, and at first sight it looked quite fine. But oh, in five minutes we had seen the whole thing. The cathedral had been ruined, absolutely ruined, by restoration; not an inch left of the original structure. We wasted a whole day, and came across the Wilcoxes as we were eating our sandwiches in the public gardens. They too, poor things, had been taken in--they were actually stopping at Speyer--and they rather liked Helen's insisting that they must fly with us to Heidelberg. As a matter of fact, they did come on next day. We all took some drives together. They knew us well enough to ask Helen to come and see them--at least, I was asked too, but Tibby's illness prevented me, so last Monday she went alone. That's all. You know as much as I do now. It's a young man out of the unknown. She was to have come back Saturday, but put off till Monday, perhaps on account of--I don't know."
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