Dolly pays Margaret a visit, and Margaret shows her the plans for the big house she and Henry are planning to build in Sussex. Dolly is now pregnant with her fourth child, and her husband struggles to provide for his growing family. Margaret pities her and has been asking Henry to help his son’s family more. Henry believes Charles must fend for himself, financially, but Charles is not the businessman his father was. He may even have to sell his beloved car.
Henry still shows no desire to move back into Howards End, even though the property is empty and Margaret’s belongings are already there. He must have a new, extravagant, house, even as he neglects the needs of his children and grandchildren. Perhaps sacrificing the car is not such a great loss for Charles, but it suggests how troubled he must be for money.
Dolly tells Margaret that Miss Avery has unpacked some of the Schlegels’ belongings being stored at Howards End. Margaret is particularly disturbed to hear that their books may have been unboxed and strewn about.
Margaret is worried by this potential threat to the welfare of her possessions. While not a materialistic woman, she cares for the legacy and sentimental value of her family’s furniture and books.
Dolly says that “old maids” like Miss Avery can be slightly crazy. Miss Avery gave Evie a very nice necklace as a wedding present, but everyone believed it was too expensive a gift to accept from a farm woman, and Evie returned it. Miss Avery was extremely insulted and threw the necklace into her duck pond. Margaret agrees that returning the necklace was rude of Evie, given that it was probably presented in honor of Ruth Wilcox, but Dolly says Evie’s father, brother, fiancé, and in-laws all told her to do it.
Dolly echoes the misogynistic prejudices of her husband and father-in-law. Henry and Charles believe they know what’s in an elderly farmwoman’s best interest better than the old woman herself. Infuriated by their rude and patronizing behavior, Miss Avery demonstrates her own formidable force of will by shockingly throwing the returned necklace into the pond, just like Margaret threw herself out of Charles’s moving car.