Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 812
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...
(The entire section contains 812 words.)
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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 for some string; however, she now sees the man is rather simple and cannot help her. She enters the boarded-up boat-house and can see, though it is furnished, that no one lives or visits here. It feels dark and oppressive to her. After cutting a length of twine, she goes back to the beach and retrieves Jasper. The man tells her the woman will not come back again because she has gone into the sea; the girl is confused but tells him not to worry.
She sees her husband waiting for her when she and Jasper return; he is clearly displeased and turns toward home as soon as he sees them. Instead of walking back through the Happy Valley, he strides ferociously up the rocks; his wife and dog struggle to keep up with him. When he finally stops for a moment, he asks where she got the string. She tells him the boat-house was open and he is angry, assuming the man on the beach, Ben (the harmless son of a groundskeeper), has been in it though it should have been kept locked. His wife assures him that no one has been in the building and suggests that the books and furniture are likely to be ruined by such inattention.
She is surly and grumbling, accusing her husband of not wanting to climb the rocks with her to find Jasper. He tells her that if she had his memories, she would not want to go there, talk about it, or even think about it. He looks pale, strained, and wretched, as he did when she first met him.
She consoles him, but he says they should not have come back to Manderley. At the estate, de Winter shuts himself in the library and his wife hesitantly joins him. When she says she loves him, he is uncertain if he believes her. Tea arrives and some normalcy returns to their relationship. The girl finds a scented handkerchief in the pocket of the raincoat she had borrowed; it is monogrammed with an R and has a pink lipstick stain on it. The scent on the handkerchief is the same as the azaleas in the Happy Valley.