Chapter 19 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 807

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...

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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 life and nothing will ever be the same again. Last night seems a lifetime ago to her now.

Captain Searle, the local harbor master, wants to speak personally with de Winter about an urgent matter, and the girl invites him to come to Manderley. After he arrives and they are waiting for de Winter, the captain tells the girl that the grounded boat has a large hole in it and will never sail again; however, he is here about another matter. He is distraught because he likes de Winter, but he cannot “let the past lie quiet.”

The captain tells Mrs. de Winter that the diver discovered something else: Rebecca’s little boat. The diver also found a decomposed body in the sealed cabin of the boat. The girl is shocked and bewildered, wondering aloud who might have been with Rebecca on the boat when she drowned. All the harbor master knows is that the body must be reported and that there will be publicity, though he wishes de Winter could be spared such a public spectacle.

When de Winter enters the room, his wife leaves, unwilling to observe her husband’s pain when he hears the shocking news.  When she finally sees him, she tells him she loves him and asks his forgiveness. He is puzzled until she explains that she did not choose her costume on purpose. He has forgotten that he was angry with her; he takes her face in his hands and asks how much she loves him. The girl cannot answer and de Winter says it is too late; they have “lost their chance at happiness.”

Finally he explains that Rebecca’s “damned shadow” is always between them. He remembers Rebecca’s treacherous eyes and smile as she looked at him before she died, knowing she would live in the end. He confesses that the woman buried in the crypt is not Rebecca. Rebecca’s body is in the sunken ship. He shot Rebecca in the cottage, carried her body to the small boat that night, and sank the boat. Then he asks his wife if she still loves him. 

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