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 dogs. She knows the price of cattle, the condition of the crops, the sicknesses of pigs—and she loves all of it.
Because she has these things to consume her thoughts, she is able to enjoy her afternoons. They have tea at precisely the same time every day, just as they did in Manderley. Each tea there was a sumptuous affair, and often she worried about their wastefulness, though she never dared...
(The entire section is 769 words.)