Summary (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Rebecca is the novel that made Daphne du Maurier famous and that remains her best-known work. Rebecca has been called a modern Jane Eyre, and there are certainly striking similarities between the two novels. In each there is a shy, poor, and rather plain heroine who takes up residence in a grand country house. Once there she is terrorized by strange goings-on, falls in love with the master of the house (an older man), and lives to see the house burned to the ground by a deranged woman. The differences are few but important. Du Maurier’s heroine is not a governess but the second wife of a man whose tempestuous first wife died under questionable circumstances. The new wife’s shyness is made more painful when she compares herself with the exotic Rebecca.
In Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester’s first wife is alive but mad and stands in the way of his marrying Jane. In the du Maurier story, Rebecca is dead but her spirit haunts the halls of Manderley and puts a strain on the marriage between Maxim and his new wife. Throughout the novel the new wife is convinced that her husband is brooding over the death of Rebecca. This misconception is reinforced by Mrs. Danvers, the sinister housekeeper who keeps Rebecca’s boudoir exactly as it used to be. She does her best to poison the heroine’s mind, even to the point of encouraging her to jump from a high window.
Maxim is distraught because the truth is that he killed...
(The entire section is 523 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Rebecca Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Manderley is gone. Since the fire had destroyed their home, Mr. and Mrs. de Winter have lived in a secluded hotel away from England. Occasionally, Mrs. de Winter recalls the circumstances that had brought Manderley and Maxim de Winter into her life.
A shy, sensitive orphan, Mrs. de Winter had been traveling about the Continent as companion to an overbearing American social climber, Mrs. Van Hopper. At Monte Carlo, Mrs. Van Hopper forced herself upon Maxim de Winter, owner of Manderley, one of the most famous estates in England. Before approaching him, Mrs. Van Hopper informed her companion that Mr. de Winter had been recovering from the shock of the tragic death of his wife, Rebecca, a few months previously.
During the following days, the young woman and Mr. de Winter become well acquainted; when Mrs. Van Hopper decides to return to America, Maxim de Winter unexpectedly proposes to her companion. Already deeply in love with him, the young woman accepts, and they are married shortly afterward.
After a long honeymoon in Italy and southern France, Mr. and Mrs. de Winter return to Manderley. Mrs. de Winter is extremely nervous, fearing that she will not fit into the life of a great estate like Manderley. The entire staff gathers to meet the new mistress. Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper, who had been devoted to her former mistress, immediately begins to show her resentment toward the new Mrs. de Winter.
Gradually, Mrs. de...
(The entire section is 1219 words.)
Rebecca chronicles the nameless narrator's marriage to Maxim de Winter, a marriage which is overshadowed by the memory of Maxim's first wife, Rebecca, who was killed in a mysterious sailing accident. As Maxim's second wife learns more about Rebecca, she becomes more intimidated and jealous, until Maxim reveals the intriguing details of the marriage. The reader, along with the narrator, slowly unravels the events that had previously taken place at Manderley, the de Winter residence.
As the novel progresses, Rebecca's underlying evil and the previous events at Manderley become more and more apparent. The obsessive nature of both Maxim and Mrs. Danvers begin to overpower the central love story. With peripheral characters supplying minor details of the past, the narrator starts to piece together past events, and this knowledge changes her life.
(The entire section is 132 words.)
The first two chapters of Rebecca take place at some undetermined time in the future. The narrator remembers events that happened in the past at Manderley, an English country estate. She and an unidentified male companion are traveling around foreign countries, reminding themselves of the life they once lived by reading the English news in newspapers. This section gives readers a description of Manderley and vaguely mentions other characters that will be important as the story progresses: Mrs. Danvers, Favell, and, of course, Rebecca.
The final paragraphs of the second chapter take the action back in time, to the very start of the story, when the narrator was a companion to Mrs. Van Hopper and was staying at the hotel Cote d'Azur at Monte Carlo.
The Hotel Cote d'Azur
Mrs. Van Hopper is presented as a greedy, vain, patronizing woman who likes to think of herself as entering European high society, although she clearly is too ill-mannered to do so. Her companion is a poor young woman who could never afford to be in such an expensive resort by herself. When Mrs. Van Hopper sees Maxim de Winter, she recognizes him and asks to sit at his table, using the excuse that he and her nephew know each other. She does not recognize his impatience with her, although the narrator does. Later, after they have gone back to their room, de Winter sends a note to the narrator, apologizing if he has been rude.
(The entire section is 1339 words.)
Chapter 1 Summary
A woman dreams she is standing outside the iron gate of the driveway and for a while, she is not allowed to enter. She calls to the lodge keeper but can see that the lodge is empty; however, with the ability so often given to dreamers, she exhibits supernatural powers and passes through the gate. The drive looks like it always has, yet it is narrower, unkempt, and overgrown as it had never been when she lived there. The woods, which had always been menacing, have finally encroached on the property.
She walks the winding drive, sometimes losing the path in the overgrowth, and her walk is so prolonged that she thinks it may lead into wilderness rather than to the house. Then she comes upon the house suddenly and tears prick her eyes. Manderley is there, “secretive and silent as it had always been.” The gray stone shines in her dream and even time has not ruined the perfect symmetry of its walls. Though the house stands untouched, the garden is as overgrown as the driveway. What was once a beautiful and colorful place is now overrun with weeds and nettles.
Because she is a spirit in her dream, she walks through the nettles and onto the terrace. As she stands in the silence and moonlight, she can believe the house is not just an empty shell but a living, breathing entity. Light comes from the windows and curtains blow softly in the air; in the library, the door is open as she left it, and her handkerchief is sitting by a bowl of autumn roses. In the fireplace, embers are still smoldering from their log fire, and Jasper the dog is lying on the floor, tail thumping as he hears his master approaching.
A cloud passes over the moon and suddenly every sign of life in the house is extinguished. It is once again a “desolate shell, soulless at last, unhaunted, with no whisper of the past about its staring walls.” The house is a tomb where all her fear and suffering are buried, and there will be no resurrection. When she thinks of Manderley in her waking hours, she will no longer be bitter. She will think of it as it might have been if she could have lived there without fear. She will remember the rose garden in summer and the birds singing at dawn. She will remember enjoying her tea under the chestnut tree and the whisper of the sea coming up from the lawns below the house.
These memories are permanent and cannot be damaged or dissolved. These are the memories that have no power to hurt her. All of this...
(The entire section is 551 words.)
Chapter 2 Summary
It is certain that they can never go back to Manderley again, for the past is still too close to them. Everything they have tried to put behind them would be stirred up again; the unrest and “blind, unreasoning panic” would again be their constant companions. De Winter is patient and uncomplaining, but she knows he remembers more often than he tells her.
Suddenly he will look puzzled and a cold, lifeless mask will close over his face; he will smoke ceaselessly and talk quickly about anything in an attempt to ease the pain. It is said that people who endure great suffering emerge stronger and better for having experienced it, and this has happened to them. Both of them have known fear and tragedy. At some point in life, everyone experiences a tribulation that must be battled through and endured, and they have done this and conquered the thing that most tormented them. They are not unscathed from the battle and have paid dearly for their freedom, but they currently have peace.
They have no more secrets between them. The woman and de Winter are living a simple life in a small hotel. If they stayed in any of the grand hotels, he would certainly meet too many people he knows. Even if they are sometimes bored, they know that boredom is a “pleasing antidote to fear.” In their simple routine, she reads aloud to him, and the only time he gets impatient is when the postman is late in delivering their mail from England.
They are entertained by even the most insignificant news found in the papers and magazines from England, and so often are transported in their minds from this “indifferent island” to the English spring countryside. Once she read an article about wood pigeons and was amazed that it took her immediately back to the deep woods of Manderley, where she once saw a family of pigeons agitated into flight by Jasper’s loping gait as he came to find her. Once the birds were gone, she grew uneasy for no apparent reason and walked with the dog back to the house, hating her need to walk quickly and take one quick glance behind her.
She has learned to keep these memories to herself; she will read him all manner of English news but will not share what she remembers. Her hobby is not an exciting one, but she is a fount of information about the English countryside: every owner of every British moor, everything about the animals and fish, every meet and run, and even the names of those who walk their...
(The entire section is 769 words.)
Chapter 3 Summary
Every year, Mrs. Van Hopper vacations at the Cote d’Azur and pursues her two passions: playing bridge and claiming all distinguished visitors as her friends. Even if she only saw them once from a distance at the post office, she manages to introduce herself to them and invite them to her suite. It is all done so quickly that her victims rarely have an opportunity to escape.
Every day she claims a sofa in the hotel lounge, where she has coffee after lunch and dinner, and everyone in the hotel must pass by her. Sometimes she sends the girl as “bait to draw her prey.” The girl hates her task but does what she is told, asking the unsuspecting target for the address of a shop or some other ruse to get the notable person to pay attention to Van Hopper. The woman prefers people with titles, but anyone whose face was in the paper or whose name was in the gossip columns will do.
The young girl comes to resent being used in such a way, knowing the person will resent the intrusion into his life; even in her inexperience, she knows this is especially true of de Winter. Van Hopper sends the girl to the room to retrieve a letter. Once she finds it, the girl hesitates for a moment; it seems to her that she is giving de Winter another moment of peace. When she returns to the dining room, she sees that he has already left the dining room. Van Hopper has not waited for the letter and forced an introduction on her own.
De Winter stands when she arrives and Van Hopper mumbles her name and waves her away, a signal to de Winter the relationship between them. It is always helpful for everyone to see her as a servant right away so no one has to treat her with courtesy. This time, though, de Winter remains standing and insists she join them for coffee. For a moment, the older woman looks annoyed, as this was not her intention, but she thrusts her imposing self between them and reminds de Winter of their first casual meeting. He has not forgotten.
He looks to the girl like a medieval portrait, though he is wearing English tweed. Van Hopper is talking about Manderley, comparing it to an enchanting fairyland belonging to the family since the Conquest. As she continues talking, de Winter smokes and remains silent. When he does finally speak, he is harsh, but Van Hopper does not even feel the sting of his retort. The woman’s outrageous behavior somehow creates a bond between the girl and de Winter; she is ashamed but he...
(The entire section is 802 words.)
Chapter 4 Summary
Mrs. Van Hopper is sick with influenza and will be bedridden for two weeks; during that time, she will be under the care of a skilled nurse, leaving the girl free to pursue her own interests. After canceling her employer’s obligations for the fortnight, she feels lighthearted and liberated. She goes to the dining room a bit earlier than usual and is surprised to see de Winter already seated at his usual table next to her (she thinks perhaps he is dining early so he can avoid nosy Van Hopper).
The young girl is nervous and does the kind of thing she often does: she tips over the vase of flowers as she unfolds her napkin, spilling water all over the tablecloth and herself. De Winter gallantly asks if she would like to dine with him; when she demurs, he tells her he would have made the offer even if the vase had not spilled. He assures her they have no need to speak unless they “feel like it,” and there is no strain between them as they begin their meal.
Finally he asks about Van Hopper, apologizing again for his rude behavior yesterday. She explains that the older woman is too forward with anyone she considers to be important, and Manderley makes him important. De Winter is silent for a while before asking how the two women are related. The young girl explains that she is a paid companion-in-training at ninety pounds a year. Everyone in her family is dead and ninety pounds is a lot of money to her.
De Winter tells her she has a “lovely and unusual” name; she explains that she had a lovely and unusual father. She is usually reticent to talk about herself or her family, but he is a sympathetic listener and her “shyness falls away” as they dine. She shares her childhood secrets, pleasures, and pains, and he seems to understand. An hour and a half later, she realizes that she has done all of the talking and is embarrassed; de Winter assures her that he has enjoyed their time together as much as he has enjoyed anything for a long time, since for the last year, he has fought “despondency and introspection.” They are both alone in the world, though he does have a sister he rarely sees and an “ancient grandmother.”
During this two-week holiday, she wants to go sketch, and de Winter offers to drive her. Now that someone important has taken an interest in her, the girl suddenly receives deferential treatment from the servants and staff. The girl is mortified that she might be...
(The entire section is 772 words.)
Chapter 5 Summary
The girl is glad that first love can happen only once, because it is a fever and a burden. Whenever Van Hopper asks what she has been doing with her time, she lies to her employer and tells her she is taking tennis lessons. Though she does not remember much about Monte Carlo, the girl does remember her days there were filled with passion: trembling fingers, impatient elevator rides, de Winter’s smile as he waited for her in his car. She remembers the schoolgirl thrill of wearing his jacket when it got a little chilly. Whether they talk or not does not matter to them.
She tells de Winter she wishes memories could be bottled up so they would never grow stale and could be relived any time. He is silent but finally asks which moments in her young life she would save. Now, she tells him, this moment. The girl decides never to tell Van Hopper about any of her time with de Winter; the woman would be condescending and assume that de Winter was only taking pity on her, degrading the entire experience.
The girl tells de Winter that he knows everything about her and she knows nothing about him. He is silent for a while but then pulls the car over and tells her he does not want to save any of his memories. Something bad happened a year ago and he wants to forget everything about his life up to that time. He must begin his life all over again, and he is in Monte Carlo to try to forget, though it does not always work.
He and his wife were once at the summit he drove the girl to, the one on which he was lost in thought. What he discovered was that there was absolutely no record of their having been there together. Now, he says, the young girl has done more to ease his past than anything else; he would have left long ago if she had not been here. He has not been offering her charity, and if she thinks that, he tells her to walk home. After some silence, she asks him to take her back to the hotel. Their romantic drive has lost its glow and she silently cries, too proud even to reach for the handkerchief in her pocket.
Suddenly de Winter takes her hand and kisses it; he says nothing, but he puts his handkerchief in her lap. She is too ashamed to touch it. The thought of going back to the rumpled, disheveled sickroom is stifling, and she knows she will soon become the slave of her employer again. Finally she blows her nose, feeling an enormous gap between the two of them. He tells her she may be young enough...
(The entire section is 660 words.)
Chapter 6 Summary
Even now, she hates everything about packing. She has heard that the Cote d’Azur has been remodeled and is under new management, and she wonders whether the suite of her former employer, Van Hopper, even still exists.
The evening before the two weeks of Van Hopper’s convalescence are up, she announces that they will be leaving tomorrow. They will eventually go to New York, and the misery on the girl’s face must be visible because Van Hopper scolds her for being ungrateful for the opportunity to travel the world without having any money of her own. Finally Van Hopper sends the girl to the office to make the arrangements, but the girl stops in the bathroom and mourns at having to leave de Winter. She fears they will have to say their good-byes in passing, like casual strangers, “meeting for the last and only time,” while her mind screams out that she loves him and is miserable because she is certain love will never come to her again. Sitting on the bathroom floor, she sees her future, and it is horrible in every way.
The girl is busy packing all day and visitors come to tell Van Hopper goodbye. The girl invents a reason to go to the front desk, but the clerk knows she is looking for de Winter and tells her he will not be returning to the hotel until midnight. That night, she cries youthful, bitter tears.
In the morning, Van Hopper sends her on an errand; instead the girl goes straight to de Winter’s room. He is shocked when she tells him that she and Van Hopper are leaving today. She tells him she is going to hate New York, and he asks her why she is going. Obviously, she tells him, she cannot afford not to go. He tells her to wait while he changes, and they go to breakfast; he tells her he must talk to her. He says that both he and Van Hopper are leaving Monte Carlo; one is going to New York and one is going to Manderley. Casually, he asks her which place she would prefer to go.
She assumes he is asking her to be his secretary, but he is asking her to be his wife and has to assure her he is not doing so just to save her from New York: “philanthropy is not his strongest quality.” He had assumed she loves him, and she assures him she does. He knows she would have preferred something more romantic, so they will go to Venice for their honeymoon—but he is anxious to show her Manderley.
She imagines herself as Mrs. de Winter, and he interrupts her reverie by asking...
(The entire section is 809 words.)
Chapter 7 Summary
Maxim de Winter and his new wife arrive at Manderley in early May, after seven weeks of marriage. The young girl envisions a perfect homecoming, but the closer they get the more she begins to panic. Her husband reassures her that she has been the topic of conversation on Manderley for weeks and everyone will love her if she just acts herself. She will not have to do anything to run the house, as Mrs. Danvers “does everything.”
The young girl envies her husband’s comfortableness with Manderley and wishes she felt the same immediately rather than sometime in the future. The drive twists and turns, and around each bend she hopes to get a glimpse of her new home; however, she is disappointed at every turn and is soon frustrated despite the luxurious beauty all around her. Suddenly there is a clearing ahead of them and she is shocked to see a wall of blood-red rhododendrons rising high above them on either side of the car.
The sight is shocking, as nothing about the drive has prepared her for the sight. The flowers startle her “with their crimson faces, massed one upon the other in incredible profusion, showing no leaf, no twig, nothing but the slaughterous red, luscious and fantastic,” unlike anything she has ever seen. To the girl the rhododendrons are monsters, too beautiful and powerful to be plants at all.
Finally Manderley is ahead of them, and de Winter swears at what he sees, explaining that Danvers has done exactly what he did not want her to do: she has assembled the entire Manderley staff to greet them. He assures his wife that he will do everything and she will not have to say anything at all. Still nervous, she fumbles for the door just as the butler reaches it to help her out; de Winter greets the man, Firth, and asks if everyone is well. Firth assures his employer that this gathering is Danvers’ doing.
She looks and feels nervous as she observes the sea of assembled faces overflowing the main entryway into the galleries above and dining room below the staircase. A tall, gaunt figure dressed in black advances toward her out of the crowd, her parchment-white face and skeleton-like figure making a clear impression on the young girl. She holds out her hand and the emaciated woman takes it, though her hand is limp, lifeless, and heavy in the young girl’s grasp.
As de Winter introduces Danvers to his wife, the older woman’s hollow eyes never leave her new...
(The entire section is 794 words.)
Chapter 8 Summary
The new Mrs. de Winter had not realized that life at Manderley would be so “orderly and planned.” On her first morning on the estate, she is downstairs for breakfast a little after nine o’clock and discovers that her husband is nearly finished eating. He dismisses her apology and explains that running the estate is a full-time job and he cannot afford to get off to a late start. He points her to the sideboard where a sumptuous breakfast is ready and tells her this is a meal which they serve themselves.
While they were in Italy, de Winter ate only a croissant and fruit for breakfast, and his new wife sees this grand array of breakfast foods as being wasteful, wondering why he does not see this wastefulness as ridiculous and what happens to all the leftovers after they have eaten their small breakfasts. Perhaps the servants eat it, or perhaps it will all be thrown away; she will never know because she is too afraid to ask.
De Winter’s sister, Beatrice, has invited herself over for lunch to meet her new sister-in-law, and he says that she is a very direct woman and will say so right away if she does not like his young wife—a fact which the young girl does not find very comforting. He apologizes for not taking her to see the gardens, as he would have liked; however, he has to spend the morning with Frank Crawley, his estate manager, after his long absence. Though she is dismayed at the thought of being left alone, his young wife lies and says she will be “quite happy.” This is not how she had envisioned their first morning at Manderley.
She lingers over her meager breakfast until she sees Firth waiting discreetly to clear the meal and apologizes for dallying. There is a look of surprise in his eyes, and once again the girl wonders if he, like Danvers, can see that she lacks Rebecca’s poise, grace, and assurance, things she will only acquire over time. As she leaves the room, she trips over the rug and Firth catches her while the young footman, Robert, turns away to hide his smile.
When she returns to her rooms, she finds a housekeeping crew already working and realizes she is disrupting the household routine, so she creeps quietly down to the library. It is chilly now, unlike last night, and she wants to light the fire; unfortunately, she cannot find any matches. When she thinks no one is there, she sneaks back into the dining room and grabs some matches. Firth re-enters before she can...
(The entire section is 806 words.)
Chapter 9 Summary
Suddenly the young girl hears a car and realizes Beatrice and her husband must have arrived. It is earlier than she expected and de Winter has not returned to the house yet. As the guests enter the house, she is suddenly struck with fear and races away, despising herself for her cowardice. In her confusion, she finds herself in the west wing of the house rather than her own rooms in the east wing.
It is quiet and dark, and the silence seems oppressive to her. She opens one of the bedroom doors and all the furniture is covered in white sheets; the room smells stale and dusty from disuse. After shutting the door behind her, the girl walks to an alcove at the end of the hallway and is shocked to see how close the ocean is to Manderley; the water is less than a five-minute walk from the house.
As she is preparing to go back downstairs, she hears a door open behind her. When she turns around, she is startled to see Danvers who asks if she wants to see the rooms in the west wing. The girl hurriedly says no, but Danvers insists she can have any of the rooms ready for the girl’s inspection or use immediately. Danvers walks next to her down the stairs and the young girl feels as if she is a prisoner in the custody of the warden.
In the morning room she finds her husband, Crawley, Beatrice Lacy, and her husband Major Giles Lacy. Beatrice appears to be a practical, earthy woman, and she examines her new sister-in-law straightforwardly. Crawley has a look of relief in his eyes when he meets the new Mrs. de Winter. After scolding her brother for how bad he looked six months ago and remarking about how well he looks now, the group goes to the dining room for lunch.
Beatrice invites the girl to come for a visit. There is an awkward silence when the girl asks if it is safe to bathe nearby in the ocean, but soon the meal is served and it is forgotten. It is an uncomfortable meal, and when the young girl gets up from the table she shakes it, spilling Lacy’s wine glass. Her husband tells Beatrice to take her out to the gardens and seems irritable; she, too, is feeling tired and wishes they did not have to entertain guests on their first day back.
Beatrice says she hopes her new sister-in-law will be happy here, and the girl wonders why Beatrice is not certain they will be. Beatrice also says she had assumed the girl would be a vapid socialite and was pleasantly surprised at her brother’s new wife;...
(The entire section is 689 words.)
Chapter 10 Summary
As the Lacys’ car leaves the driveway, de Winter grabs his wife’s arm and asks her to join him on a walk, despite the rain. She wonders why a visit with his own sister and brother-in-law has made her husband so tired and impatient. He explains that a little time with family “goes a very long way” and Beatrice “invariably puts her foot in it.” When his wife tells him that Beatrice was surprised that she was not a “social butterfly,” de Winter says his sister “can sometimes be infernally unintelligent.”
Jasper the dog accompanies them on their walk and at one point along the trail veers right out of habit; de Winter explains that the path leads to a small cove in which he used to keep a boat. They continue their walk down the path to the left, and the girl notices that her husband has become himself once again. He stops on the slope of a hill, next to a stream and overlooking a valley, and urges her to look.
It is a stunning sight, without any tangled undergrowth or dark trees. There are no blood-red flowers here; instead there are graceful, aromatic azaleas and rhododendrons in natural colors such as salmon, white, and gold. The air is sweetly scented and the water moves quietly at their feet. Finally de Winter speaks and says he calls this place the Happy Valley. After a time of silent reflection, the couple continues their walk and she understands now that this is the magic of Manderley.
Suddenly they arrive at a narrow cove, a startling and unexpected sight considering what is behind them. Jasper runs off to retrieve the stick de Winter threw for him, but he does not return. Soon they hear him barking from some distance, and the girl is concerned enough to go after him despite her husband’s grouchy protests that the foolish dog should make his own way back. She climbs some rocks and is surprised to discover an adjoining cove.
The beach is the same but steeper as it slides into the water, and the woods border the beach. At the edge of the woods is a low building, part cottage and part boat house, and there is a man on the beach wearing boots and a sou’wester. Jasper is running in circles around him but the man does not even seem to notice the dog’s presence as he roots in the sand.
When the man hears her approaching, he offers her a toothless smile and says he has had no luck searching for shells. When Jasper will not obey her command to come, she asks the man...
(The entire section is 812 words.)
Chapter 11 Summary
The weather is bad for the next week. Being unable to see or hear the sea from her rooms in the east wing allows the young girl’s thoughts to be peaceful, though she thinks often about the cottage on the beach and these thoughts disturb her. Though the couple spends their time together doing ordinary things, that place has somehow created a barrier between them. She is now nervous and fearful that any casual mention of the sea will trigger another episode of melancholy in her husband.
This nervousness intensifies her “shyness and gaucherie,” making her “stolid and dumb” in front of visitors who come to call on the newlyweds. The guests coming to pay their respects always look doubtfully at the new Mrs. de Winter, rather bewildered by de Winter’s choice. She comes to dread these visitors who look at her knowingly, only coming to see her in order to assuage their curiosity about her; to her it is prying and she wishes she did not have to see any of them again. All they want to do is compare her to Rebecca. Despite that, each visit always adds a new bit of knowledge to the girl’s meager store of information about Rebecca, including the existence of a Manderley tradition—a fancy dress ball.
After doing some necessary visiting of her own one day, the girl walks back to the house and meets Crawley along the way. He is shy, like her, and she feels comfortable with him. She talks with him about the Manderley ball; he tells her that everyone in the county, and even some people from London, used to attend the galas. The girl thinks Crawley speaks of Rebecca as if he might have loved her. She asks Crawley to speak to de Winter about reviving the Manderley fancy dress ball.
Being able to speak Rebecca’s name freely gives the young girl a curious sense of satisfaction, and she tells Crawley about discovering the cottage on the beach. He explains that Rebecca converted the boat-house into a cottage and furnished it with all her favorite things. She used the building often, for moonlight picnics and such. Her boat used to be moored in the bay. The girl feels badly about Crawley’s obvious discomfort as he talks about these things, but she cannot remain silent. She has to know.
She asks if Rebecca was sailing her own boat when she drowned. She was. The boat must have capsized and sunk and her body washed overboard. No one could have helped her because no one knew she had left. The girl had always...
(The entire section is 718 words.)
Chapter 12 Summary
Mrs. Danvers keeps to herself most of the time. The young girl’s new maid is Clarice, the daughter of someone on the estate. Clarice has never been a maid before, so her expectations are low; she is the only person in the house who is on awe of the new mistress. It is easier for the new Mrs. de Winter now, knowing the cause of Danvers’ resentment and dislike: the housekeeper had adored Rebecca.
Beatrice told her sister-in-law this fact over lunch one day, and from that moment everything begins to make sense to the girl. Everything the new Mrs. de Winter does is a painful reminder to Danvers of her beloved Rebecca. Even the smallest things must be painful to the older woman. Every small change the young girl wants to make, such as moving a flower vase to a different table, is dismissed because it is not what Rebecca did or preferred.
Beatrice gives her sister-in-law art books for a wedding gift, knowing the girl is fond of painting. After the girl puts the heavy volumes on the desk in the morning room, one of them topples over and upsets a small cupid figurine which had adorned the desk. She carefully sweeps up the fragments and places them in an envelope which she places in the back of one of the desk drawers.
The next day Firth asks to speak to her, explaining that there has been a row between Danvers and the footman, Robert. Robert is distraught because Danvers accused him of stealing, or braking and hiding, a “valuable ornament” from the morning room. The footman has vehemently denied the charge, claiming he did nothing to the cupid figurine which had been on the desk. Frustrated at having to deal with such a trivial matter, de Winter concedes that the matter must be settled since the figurine was valuable.
After Firth leaves the room, the girl explains to her husband that she was the one who accidentally broke the cupid; she did not say so before because she is afraid of Firth and Danvers, a notion de Winter thinks is silly. He explains the truth to the servants, and Danvers does not seem surprised that the girl is responsible. If such a thing happens again, the young girl is to speak to one of the servants immediately. There has never been a breakage in the morning room until now, Danvers says condescendingly, and this was a particularly valuable item. The housekeeper finally ceases her scolding, and de Winter tells his wife all is well, though he is still amazed at how fearful she is of...
(The entire section is 642 words.)
Chapter 13 Summary
At the end of June, de Winter has to spend several days in London, and he leaves his wife at Manderley alone. She worries about her husband and fears something dreadful will happen to him. Robert brings her the message that de Winter arrived safely and she is tremendously relieved. Now she feels free to do what she likes and is shocked at the feeling.
She and Jasper walk through the Happy Valley to the cove and enjoy the solitude, though she feels guilty for doing so. Jasper again escapes to the adjoining cove, and she follows him. It looks less intimidating at low tide, and she can now read the name on the buoy: Je Reviens (“I come back”). It seems to her an ill-fitting name for Rebecca’s boat.
Jasper does not obey her and noses his way through the partially opened door of the cottage, a door she is sure she closed when she was here last. She convinces herself there is nothing to be afraid of and discovers the simple-minded man from the beach, Ben. He is frightened but denies he is doing anything. He has taken some fishing line, which he tries to hide, and the girl tells Ben he must not take what does not belong to him. She retrieves Jasper and they go back outside; Ben is visibly shaking and asks her not to send him to an asylum.
He explains that one day he looked into the cottage window when a woman was in there; she was tall and dark and gave him the feeling of a snake. She told him she would have him put in an asylum if she ever caught him looking at her again. Ben gives the girl a shell before asking her if that woman is gone now. The girl tells him she does not know who the woman is but no one is going to put him in an asylum.
The walk home is unpleasant for her, and now she understands why her husband dislikes this path and that cove. As she nears Manderley, she notices an unfamiliar sports car in the driveway, parked around a bend from the house. She looks up and is surprised to see a man standing at one of the windows in the west wing. He seems to see her and then someone behind him closes the shutter; it is Danvers.
The girl ponders the odd episode as she retrieves her knitting from the morning room. When she hears voices in the hallway, the girl ducks behind the door where she cannot be seen. She hears Danvers say that the girl has probably gone into the library, so he can leave now without being seen. Jasper gives the girl away, though, and the man discovers...
(The entire section is 796 words.)
Chapter 14 Summary
Once she is in the west wing, the young girl is unsure where to go. She calculates the room in which she saw Favell and Danvers; she enters and turns on the light. The girl is shocked because the room is fully furnished, as though it is in current use. At first, she expects Rebecca herself to appear; then she remembers the woman has been dead for a year.
This is, indeed, the room in which Favell and Danvers had been standing, and suddenly she feels like an uninvited guest. The slippers, brushes, and coverlet are all so vivid, and this is the most beautiful room in the house, just as Danvers had told her. As the girl explores a bit more, she is startled by Danvers who appears and asks her if anything is wrong. The girl makes an excuse for being in the room, but Danvers says she is always eager to show this room to the new Mrs. de Winter.
In a queer voice, the housekeeper talks about Rebecca as she explains the significance of each item in the room. Rebecca was tall and thin, and de Winter was always “laughing and gay” with her. Danvers tells the girl about a famous painting of Rebecca, and her clothes were stunning. When her body was found, though, she was naked and battered by the rocks; her face was unrecognizable and both arms were missing.
Danvers had been gone the night Rebecca died; if she had been there, Rebecca would not have gone out, for she always listened to Danvers. Late that night Danvers told de Winter that she was worried about Rebecca and did not sleep that entire night for worrying about her beloved Rebecca. The young girl does not want to hear anything more about that night, but Danvers maintains a firm grip on the girl’s arm and continues.
Early the next morning, Danvers could not wait any longer and discovered the boat was missing and the tide was rising. Since that night, de Winter has never used any of rooms in the west wing. Danvers dusts this room every day, and the housekeeper’s manner now is fawning, unpleasant, and overly intimate. Her smile is a “false, unnatural thing.” If the girl ever gets lonely, Danvers offers to let her come sit in this room, a place which makes Danvers feel as if Rebecca has only left for a bit and might return shortly.
The young girl forces a smile but cannot speak. Danvers whispers that she often imagines Rebecca’s footsteps everywhere around her and can sometimes hear the swish of her dress on the stairway as she comes...
(The entire section is 586 words.)
Chapter 15 Summary
Frith takes the message that de Winter will return at about seven o’clock this evening, and the girl is disappointed that her husband did not ask to speak to her. She had slept badly and had bad dreams when she did sleep. This morning she looks tired and drawn. At ten o’clock, Beatrice calls and asks her to go visit Gran, and the girl is eager to go, hoping the visit will make the day pass more quickly.
Beatrice tells the young girl she does not look well—too thin and no color—and wonders what is wrong with her. After the girl convinces the older woman that she is not pregnant, Beatrice assures her sister-in-law it would be a wonderful thing if she and de Winter had a child. Beatrice drives to her grandmother’s, chattering about many things. The girl takes the opportunity to ask Beatrice if she knows Jack Favell. Beatrice recalls that he is Rebecca’s cousin and a scoundrel. The family connection surprises the girl, for she did not expect the perfect Rebecca to be associated with such a person. Beatrice is abrupt and clearly does not want to talk about Favell or Rebecca any more, and the girl remains silent, as well.
Beatrice reminds her sister-in-law that their grandmother is nearly blind and “not very bright these days.” The girl immediately sees a strong resemblance between her husband and his grandmother as Beatrice introduces her to the old woman and talks to her about her son and her dogs. The girl finds the conversation exhausting and wonders if the forgetful old woman ever thinks about Manderley.
During tea, the grandmother forgets that Rebecca is dead and de Winter has remarried, asking where her “dear Rebecca” is. When no one answers her, she asks querulously what they have done with Rebecca. The nurse can see that her patient is getting overly excited and suggests the visitors should leave. After some silence, Beatrice apologizes for her grandmother’s behavior, puzzled since the old woman was perfectly aware that her grandson had gotten remarried while he was abroad. The girl understands, of course, but Beatrice is upset and says she should have anticipated this.
Rebecca used to make a “great fuss” over the old woman, inviting her often to Manderley. Rebecca had an amazing gift “of being attractive to people,” and obviously the old woman has not forgotten her. All the young girl cares about is that her husband never learns of this incident. Beatrice drops her...
(The entire section is 573 words.)
Chapter 16 Summary
One Sunday afternoon, while a crowd of people are gathered for tea at Manderley, the topic of the fancy dress ball is broached. In front of their guests, de Winter makes no objection as long as his wife and Crawley (who would have to do most of the work) agree. Once the three of them are alone, de Winter is disgruntled because everyone expects Manderley to provide the grand entertainments for the county.
His wife is a bit humiliated that neither man thinks she is capable of doing anything to prepare for the ball. As host, de Winter never dresses up, but his wife says she will surprise the men with her choice of costume for the ball. She feels as if she is being treated a bit like a child by her husband and wishes something would happen to make her seem wiser and more mature. She hopes this inequality will not always be part of her marriage.
The girl wonders if the rooms in the west wing are being kept “furnished and untouched” because her husband ordered it and if he, like Danvers, reveres Rebecca’s belongings.
The news of Manderley’s fancy dress ball spreads quickly, and the young girl’s maid, Clarice, is among the most excited. The girl is curious to learn what Danvers’ reaction to the upcoming gala will be; she still remembers the look on the housekeeper’s face after being reprimanded by de Winter in the library. The girl shudders at the thought of Danvers’ grip on her arm and dreads any repeat of that day in Rebecca’s room.
As preparations for the dance are made, the young Mrs. de Winter has nothing to do but decide on her own costume. She spends a morning with her art books for inspiration, sketching ideas for the perfect dress. That evening before dinner, Danvers knocks on the girl’s door and has the discarded drawings from the library. Danvers is afraid the sketches should not have been discarded, but the girl assures her the drawings are trash.
Danvers derisively asks the girl if she has decided on her costume; the girl feigns indifference as she tells her no. Danvers acts surprised that the girl has not decided to emulate one of the dresses from the portraits in Manderley’s picture gallery, particularly the one of the young lady in a white dress holding a hat in her hands. Danvers casually makes the case for that particular outfit and even suggests a dressmaker in London who would reproduce the dress for the girl. Danvers also promises not to tell, and the...
(The entire section is 782 words.)
Chapter 17 Summary
Clarice, pale and scared, is waiting for her mistress. As Clarice unhooks the offending dress with trembling fingers, she asks the girl what she will wear now. The young Mrs. de Winter says she wants to be alone and will manage without help. She tells her weeping maid not to let the others see her so upset or to speak to the others about what just happened. Clarice leaves and Beatrice arrives to console the girl, saying the girl could not possibly have known what a tragic mistake she was making: she is wearing the exact dress Rebecca wore at the last fancy dress ball.
Seeing the girl at the top of the stairs in that dress had made Beatrice think, for “one ghastly moment,” that the dead woman had come to life. The girl is stunned and can only repeat stupidly that she ought to have known. Even worse, Beatrice reveals that de Winter thinks that his wife chose the dress deliberately. Colonel Lacy is informing the guests that their hostess is unfortunately without a costume tonight; however, the girl insists she will not be attending the ball. When Lacy finally comes to the door to see what is happening, Beatrice tells him that the girl refuses to come downstairs, despite Beatrice’s insistence that she will explain the misunderstanding to de Winter.
Lacy unwillingly leaves to make the new announcement, and soon Beatrice has to leave because dinner is being held for her. The girl knows Beatrice would have stood by her husband’s side if this had happened to her, but the girl simply sees her cowardice as another indication of her own “bad breeding.” All she can see is de Winter’s eyes blazing while the others stared at her. She looks out the window and sees men still working on the outdoor lights. She imagines all the dismayed guests whispering that the second Mrs. de Winter is nothing like their Mrs. de Winter, their Rebecca.
Finally, she irons a blue dress from her closet and dresses to go downstairs. The hum in the dining room is a sharp contrast to the empty silence in the rest of the house. She feels a draft and sees the door to the west wing has blown open. She stands in the dark corridor for a moment to collect herself before joining the party.
It is the girl’s first and last party at Manderley, and she remembers many isolated moments about the evening: costumes, music, dancing, and great kindness from Lacy and Crawley. Her husband neither speaks to her nor touches...
(The entire section is 570 words.)
Chapter 18 Summary
The young Mrs. de Winter is “blurred and stupid from her short, heavy sleep,” so it takes her a while to realize that her husband did not come to bed last night. She put on her blue dress and attended the ball not for noble reasons but to keep her guests from thinking the de Winters had quarreled. She could bear anything as long as the outside world does not know about it. Now she realizes her marriage is a failure and the kind of love she has for de Winter is not the kind of love he needs. He is still in love with Rebecca, and “Rebecca is still the mistress of Manderley.”
The girl sees a note under her door. It is from Beatrice, apologizing for leaving without saying goodbye. Though de Winter had an early breakfast, no one has seen him since. Beatrice asks the girl to give him her love and thanks her for a fine evening. The time on the note was two hours ago, and the girl finally gets dressed and goes downstairs.
The party took such a long time to prepare, but the cleanup was swift. She tries to find her husband, but no one knows where he has gone. She tells Crawley over the telephone that she must find her husband so she can explain that she had not chosen her dress as some “beastly, damnable joke.” Unable to hold back, the girl finally explains her belief that de Winter is still in love with Rebecca and she should not have married him. Crawley gives a startled cry at this revelation and says he must come see her; however, the girl slams the receiver down and cannot bear to see him. Now she is certain she will never see de Winter again.
As she walks the grounds in her grief, she sees Danvers watching her from a window above her and knows the housekeeper heard her cries and saw her tears: they are Danvers’ and Rebecca’s triumph. The girl walks to Rebecca’s room where she knows she will find Danvers; when the housekeeper turns to face her she sees that the older woman’s eyes are red and swollen from crying, much like her own. It is an unexpected sight, but the girl still asks what she came there to ask: is Danvers happy with herself for arranging this awful thing to happen?
Danvers says she thought she hated the girl for trying to take Rebecca’s place, but her hatred has spent itself. The girl is no longer afraid of the housekeeper and accuses the woman of deliberately trying to hurt de Winter; however, Danvers cares nothing about his suffering because he has never...
(The entire section is 761 words.)
Chapter 19 Summary
Below Danvers and the girl, de Winter is running and shouting for Frith. He tells the butler that a ship, in the fog, must have mistaken their small bay for the larger harbor. Frith is to tell everyone in the house to prepare food and drink and inform Crawley about what has happened. As de Winter heads back to the bay to help, Danvers turns from the window, her face once more an expressionless mask, and shuts the window. The girl is still in a daze, unsure of herself or the housekeeper. Danvers makes the arrangements for food to be prepared as the girl walks down to the terrace.
Looking up, she sees the window where she and Danvers had just been and notes how high and remote it seems. Suddenly she feels feverish and “black dots jump about in the air” in front of her; she is about to faint. The heat is oppressive, and it is difficult for her to believe that just twenty-four hours ago she and the others had been joyfully anticipating the fancy dress ball. She feels sick at the memory but suddenly realizes that her husband must not have left her, as she had feared.
Finally she walks to the beach where she sees the ship, tilting at an awkward angle. Crawley is speaking to a coast guard and waves her over to him. She learns that a diver will be sent down to see if the ship has “broken her back,” and they watch him disappear. Both men remark that de Winter is “splendid in anything like this,” offering food and beds at Manderley to any of the victims and doing what he can to ease the crisis.
Nothing will be determined for hours, but the girl does not want to walk back to the estate with Crawley. Eventually the girl walks to the adjacent cove where she finds Ben gathering winkles (snails). The simple man knows the foundering ship will break apart where it lies, but he says it will happen bit by bit rather than “sink like a stone like the little ‘un.” He thinks the fish have eaten “the other one” up by now, but the girl does not understand any of what he is saying and excuses herself.
As she approaches Manderley, the young girl’s heart is heavy with foreboding though the house looks peaceful. She is filled with bewilderment and pride as she realizes for the first time that this is her home. Inside, she looks at all the food; however, she feels empty, not hungry. She sits in the library and senses something unforeseen is about to happen, as if she has entered a new phase of her...
(The entire section is 807 words.)
Chapter 20 Summary
A long, shocked silence reigns in the library after de Winter’s startling confession until he begins to kiss his wife passionately and tell her loves her. She has dreamed of his saying these words to her, but she is stunned to hear them now. He stops, assuming her lack of response means the girl does not love him.
Finally the girl is able to speak and assures her husband that she does love him, but he does not believe her. Neither of them speaks as they ponder what will happen when the body in the sunken boat is identified as Rebecca. After he murdered Rebecca, de Winter thought he would go mad waiting for something to happen and pretending to grieve. He answered letters of sympathy and tried to act sane and normal in front of the servants; he did not send Danvers away, afraid she would guess the awful truth because of her closeness to Rebecca. He had to face everyone knowing that every word he spoke was a lie.
When de Winter tells his wife that she has always seemed so aloof to him, she explains that she had not expected him to love her because he still loved Rebecca. He is dumbfounded and tells the girl clearly that he hated Rebecca. Their marriage was a farce from the beginning; they never loved one another or shared a moment of happiness together: “Rebecca was incapable of love, of tenderness, of decency. She was not even normal.” Rebecca was clever, though, and everyone saw her as the kindest, most generous and gifted person they knew. She had a gift for making other people worship her.
A picture of the real Rebecca takes shape before the girl’s eyes as de Winter continues. Just a week after the wedding, Rebecca told de Winter all about herself, things he will never repeat. When he realized what he had married, de Winter considered killing her on their drive in the hills of Monte Carlo, the same drive he and the girl had made before their marriage. Instead, Rebecca bargained with her husband: she would be the model wife and run his home, and they would be the envy of everyone in the county as long as he let her pursue her own interests. She knew de Winter’s pride would keep him from admitting, just a week after they were married, the kind of person she was.
It was a poor trade. Though Manderley became the beautiful estate it is now because of Rebecca, everything about their lives was a lie. Rebecca often left to spend days in debauchery, but soon she brought her shameful friends and...
(The entire section is 799 words.)
Chapter 21 Summary
De Winter takes the telephone call in an adjoining room, and his wife hears the murmur of his voice as fear settles into the pit of her stomach. She is afraid that de Winter’s secret is about to be revealed; however, her overwhelming emotion is relief, knowing her husband has never loved Rebecca. She no longer hates Rebecca now that she knows how vicious, rotten, and evil the woman had been. Her husband had never loved Rebecca, so Rebecca can no longer hurt her and she is free of the woman forever.
The telephone call is from Colonel Julyan, the local magistrate. He asked if it were possible de Winter made a mistake in identifying his wife’s body; de Winter said of course it was possible. Julyan will join de Winter and Captain Searle when Rebecca’s boat is raised tomorrow, as will Inspector Welch.
The telephone rings again. It is a reporter who wants to confirm that Rebecca’s body has been discovered in the sunken boat; de Winter does not confirm the rumor. The couple sits in the library, has dinner, and returns to the library, all without much talking. For once it is a comfortable silence between them, unmarred by Rebecca’s shadow.
It rains overnight, and it is early when de Winter joins the men at the bay. The girl takes firm control, for the first time, over household matters while she waits for her husband to return; she wonders why she ever thought it was such a difficult thing to do. Danvers confronts the girl with the rumors that Rebecca’s boat and body were found by the diver, but the girl firmly dismisses the housekeeper’s questions. The girl knows Danvers is her enemy and does not mind; however, she suspects Danvers may soon become de Winter’s enemy as well.
The girl receives a call from her husband telling her he will bring all the men and Crawley to lunch at Manderley but tells her nothing except that they were able to raise the boat. When the men arrive, Julyan seeks her out to express his sympathy and concern over the misidentification; the girl reacts as if the information is all new to her.
At lunch, the group talks about inconsequential things until Julyan again expresses the awkwardness of de Winter’s false identification of his wife. Crawley quickly says it is not surprising, as de Winter was not fit, at the time, to undertake such an emotionally draining task, a fact de Winter claims is ridiculous. There will be a formal hearing and outrageous...
(The entire section is 668 words.)
Chapter 22 Summary
The news of Rebecca’s body being discovered headlines the local paper, and the staff at Manderley is distressed and shocked. The young girl knows she cannot ignore the news. Frith tells her the staff is willing to help however, they can, but Danvers has taken the news badly; the housekeeper went to her room right after lunch and has not been down since. Danvers seems quite ill.
After Frith leaves, the girl reads the awful newspaper story. It is true enough to be factual, yet it is “sprinkled with little inaccuracies” which give readers the titillation they so desire. All the papers make mention of the story, as both de Winter and Manderley are important to the region. As de Winter reads each account, he gets paler and curses them, but all his wife thinks about is how much worse the reaction would be if everyone knew the truth.
Crawley has had all calls to Manderley sent through to his office where he can deal with them and de Winter is not bothered. Crawley looks tired as he explains that he is telling their friends that the de Winters wish to be alone during this difficult time. All de Winter must worry about is the inquest and the coroner, a “sticky sort of chap” who likes to delve into irrelevant details to prove how thorough he is. Crawley just reminds his friend not to antagonize the man so everything will run smoothly and life can return to normal.
The more the girl thinks about it, the more convinced she is that Crawley has known the truth about Rebecca’s death from the beginning and has always tried to protect de Winter—though de Winter does not seem to realize this. All they can do now is wait. Danvers does not appear, and Clarice tells her mistress that the housekeeper does her work but stays to herself and speaks to no one.
It is still oppressively hot and the air is full of pent-up thunder. After a hurried lunch, the de Winters drive to the inquest and Crawley follows them. When they arrive, the girl decides she will not attend the proceedings; she waits in the car instead. After the men leave and she sits in the car for a while, she gets out of the car and walks for a bit. Soon she is inexorably drawn to the building where the inquest is being held. She is allowed in only because she is Mrs. de Winter. Since her husband has already testified, she does not mind hearing the rest of the evidence being given.
The inquest is nearly over, and she is startled to see...
(The entire section is 791 words.)
Chapter 23 Summary
Crawley and a policeman attend to the girl after she nearly fainted in the courtroom. Crawley takes her home as de Winter asked, since de Winter may be at the inquest for a long time. She is worried that if the coroner continues harping at de Winter, her husband will lose his temper and say things he does not mean.
Crawley is driving fast, something the careful man never does, and the girl tells him she does not trust Danvers and Favell and is afraid they might “make mischief.” Neither Crawley nor the girl is certain how much the other knows, so they do not have much to discuss on the drive to Manderley. As she goes to her room to lie down, the girl wonders how the estate manager will be able to help. All she can think about is de Winter having to go away and perhaps even be hanged. The girl wakes with a start at five o’clock when she hears thunder booming. Lightning splits the sky but there is still no rain. The men have not returned from the inquest.
Finally de Winter arrives looking old and tired. He tells her the results of the inquest; the coroner ruled that Rebecca committed suicide by drowning, though no motive was apparent. De Winter explains that if he had not seen his wife’s face as she was about to faint, he would have lost his temper during the hearing; however, seeing her there reminded him of what he had to do.
Crawley is making the awful arrangements to have Rebecca’s body buried. Still the heavy rain does not fall and the oppressive heat continues. Once everything is over, de Winter tells his wife, they will start their lives together again. As he leaves for the burial, the rain finally begins and is soon falling in torrents.
Firth tells the young girl that someone is here to see her husband. It is Favell and she agrees to see him. As always, Favell is smug and arrogant, accusing her of staging a faint to help her husband at the inquest. When the footman, Robert, brings the guest a drink, Favell teases him mercilessly about girls and then makes sly advances toward the young girl. The man’s speech is growing “slurred and thick” as he tells the girl he admires her for putting up with her moody husband.
Unsteady now, Favell says this has all been an awful shock to him, too, since he was “damn fond” of his cousin Rebecca. Now he is no longer smiling, and he asks what de Winter is going to do now that the “sham inquest” is over. The drunken Favell...
(The entire section is 820 words.)
Chapter 24 Summary
Colonel Julyan is repulsed by Favell, and his disgust puts the magistrate on the de Winters’ side. He asks the raving Favell why he did not speak up at the inquest if he felt so strongly about de Winter’s guilt. It is clear that the man’s primary interest is blackmail, and Julyan asks Favell if he has any proof to support his accusations. In an arrogant rant, Favell admits he and Rebecca were lovers and that is why de Winter killed her.
Julyan again asks for proof, such as a witness who saw the murder. It takes him a moment, but Favell finally says he might be able to produce such a witness. Crawley looks at de Winter, but de Winter’s eyes never leave Favell. Suddenly the girl knows who Favell might mean and, in a “flash of horror,” she knows Favell is right: Ben saw the murder. Every cryptic remark the simple-minded man made to her now becomes clear, and she is certain he saw de Winter dispose of Rebecca’s body on that awful night.
Though Crawley is suddenly nervous, de Winter does not waver; after Favell explains about Ben, de Winter asks Robert to get Ben. While they wait, the arrogant Favell taunts de Winter and, when the man goes too far, de Winter knocks Favell swiftly to the floor. Julyan suggests the girl should leave, knowing she is horrified by everything that is happening, but she refuses to go. Favell demands another drink and the girls sees Julyan look at de Winter; “his gaze is curious, intent,” and she wonders why the magistrate is looking at her husband that way. Perhaps he is beginning to suspect the truth.
As he watches the rain outside, de Winter breathes heavily and seems unaware of anything else in the room. Crawley arrives with a frightened Ben, and Favell approaches him immediately. Finally Julyan quietly begins to question the terrified man. Each time Ben denies seeing anyone, Favell curses and screams at him. Ben does not want to be taken to the asylum and does not respond differently until Julyan gently asks about the lady who had the boat. Ben says she is gone, and he never saw the lady and Favell together in the woods.
After Ben leaves, Julyan notes that Favell’s witness did not help his case at all. Suddenly Favell smiles and rings for Danvers to join them; de Winter allows it. Danvers arrives and stands nervously by the door. Julyan asks the questions. He asks Danvers if she knew about the relationship between Favell and Rebecca, a relationship closer...
(The entire section is 756 words.)
Chapter 25 Summary
Finally, for the first time that evening, de Winter looks at his wife: “In his eyes she reads a message of farewell.” Everyone else in the room disappears for the couple as they share a silent, poignant moment of parting. Danvers still does not recall anyone in her beloved Rebecca’s life named Baker; she says that Rebecca never needed a doctor. In fact, she despised them.
Favell is dismissive, sure that this Baker fellow will not prove to be helpful to Rebecca’s case. Crawley says Baker is a well respected women’s specialist, and it seems odd that Rebecca would see a doctor but not tell anyone. Favell says he told Rebecca she was too thin, but Danvers says nothing. She seems dazed and bewildered by the existence of Baker; this is something she did not know about Rebecca, and the realization upsets her because Rebecca told her everything.
Because of the note, Danvers suddenly realizes that Rebecca was going to tell Favell whatever she learned from Baker. Only de Winter and his wife realize what the news must have been—that Rebecca was going to have a baby—but neither of them speaks. Danvers was unaware of Favell’s accusation that de Winter murdered Rebecca, but she begins to understand it now.
As she ponders the idea, Danvers shows doubt, wonder, hatred, and finally conviction as she stares unwaveringly at de Winter. The girl is thankful Danvers can do no more damage, and de Winter does not even seem to notice the housekeeper’s glare. Now Favell begins to perceive some faint idea of the truth and grows quite pale. He looks at de Winter triumphantly and asks to go with the men tomorrow when they visit Baker. Julyan grants him permission but insists the man must be sober. Favell grins and guarantees he will be sober, adding that Baker will probably help make his case for murder against de Winter.
They make plans to meet at nine o’clock the next morning, and Favell wonders if de Winter will “bolt in the night.” When de Winter asks Julyan if his word is enough assurance, the magistrate hesitates. A chagrined de Winter asks Danvers to lock him and his wife into their bedroom from the outside, an arrangement that seems to satisfy everyone. Julyan says goodnight to the girl, reminding her how badly he feels about all of this—though he is not able to look her in the eyes when he says it.
When the arrogant Favell holds out his hand to bid the girl goodnight, she puts both...
(The entire section is 694 words.)
Chapter 26 Summary
A beautiful new day is beginning at Manderley, a day of peace, quietude, and grace. Whatever else happens today, Manderley will stay at peace. The girl is up early, but she lets her husband sleep, as the day ahead of them will “be a weary thing and long.” Their future lies in the hands of an unknown doctor named Baker.
After her bath, the girl hears Danvers quietly unlock the bedroom door and the day becomes real to the girl. After Clarice brings tea, the girl wakes her husband. As he bathes, his wife packs a suitcase, knowing they might have to stay in London tonight. As the girl leaves her bedroom and goes downstairs, she feels emptiness all around her and it saddens her. Crawley will wait at Manderley until de Winter calls him with any news from London. After speaking with Baker, de Winter might need his estate manager to come to London.
The girl tells Crawley to take Jasper to the office with him because he looks so sad. Frith and Robert stand on the steps to see the couple off, and the girl’s eyes inexplicably fill with tears. When they meet Julyan, he wonders if the girl should come along on such a difficult day, but she assures him she wants to be with her husband today. They meet Favell at the crossroads, and he follows them to London.
Julyan sleeps some, they stop to eat, and the hours pass. Just as they reach the suburbs of London, the girl begins to grow tired. The drive though London “seems endless” and it makes the girl irritable without cause. They have difficulty finding Baker’s house, and the frustration is making de Winter look very tired. A postman finally points them in the right direction, and the de Winters and Julyan sit quietly in the car for a weighty moment after they arrive. They wait for a bit so they will not disturb the Bakers’ tea, but all of them eventually make their way to the doctor’s door.
A young maid greets them and takes the group through the house to a room where they wait for the doctor. The girl feels as if she is living someone else’s life; it is a feeling unlike anything else she has experienced. Julyan introduces the group to Baker and says the doctor may have seen the story about Rebecca and de Winter in the newspapers. He has. Favell inserts himself into the conversation, demanding to know why his cousin sought the doctor’s services.
In a calm, reasonable tone, de Winter explains to the confused doctor why they have come....
(The entire section is 728 words.)
Chapter 27 Summary
Outside the doctor’s house, no one speaks for several moments. Favell looks gray and ill. He speaks first, asking if anyone knows whether cancer is contagious. No one answers him. Favell is so shaken that de Winter asks him if he will be able to drive, and Julyan tells the man to collect himself and quit making “an exhibition of himself in the street.”
Favell is bitter, saying that none of the others have anything to worry about any more; de Winter has been exonerated and Julyan will be considered family to the de Winters from now on. The magistrate warns Favell that he has the power to ensure that Favell is dealt with if he tries to blackmail de Winter again. Favell only looks at de Winter with his “old unpleasant smile” on his lips. He tells de Winter the law can still get him—and so can he.
As de Winter begins to drive, Julyan says he was sure Baker would clear up the matter and at least Rebecca was spared the pain of a lingering illness. He keeps talking, mostly about insignificant things, but the only talking de Winter does is occasionally agreeing with the magistrate. When Julyan invites the couple to have dinner with him and his sister, de Winter thanks him for the offer but declines, saying they will probably stop at an inn for the night. Julyan’s final advice to the couple is that they should go somewhere, perhaps somewhere abroad, until the sensationalism over this case has time to fade into obscurity.
After dropping Julyan at his sister’s, the de Winters are alone and the strain is finally over for them. “The sensation is one of almost unbearable relief.” The girl is certain that nothing can touch them anymore; “they have come through their crisis.” They stop for dinner, and de Winter says he is certain Julyan knows the truth but will remain silent. His own theory is that Rebecca goaded him into killing her by lying about being pregnant. She laughed as she died because she saw how it would all happen. The girl does not speak, relieved that everything is settled and sure that her husband no longer needs to worry; however, de Winter still senses that Rebecca may have defeated him, even now.
He finally calls Crawley and returns minutes later; the estate manager had been waiting by the phone and was relieved to hear how things have turned out for them. There is one odd thing, though; Danvers has disappeared, taking all of her belongings with her. Someone must have...
(The entire section is 680 words.)