Chapter 24 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 756

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,...

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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 than cousins. When the housekeeper hesitates, Favell asks her to confirm that Rebecca was in love with him. Danvers thinks for a moment; then she says that Rebecca was not in love with Favell. When he protests, she interrupts and says Rebecca was not in love with anyone: “she despised all men.” She only amused herself with Favell, and Rebecca told Danvers love was “only a game” for her. After being with him, Rebecca would sit on her bed and shake with laughter.

Danvers’ “sudden torrent of words” is horrible to hear, unexpected and revolting. Suddenly Danvers begins to cry; after she composes herself, Julyan asks if she can think of any reason why Rebecca might have wanted to take her own life. She nervously says no, and then Julyan gives Danvers the note Favell has from Rebecca. He asks Danvers if she knows what Rebecca might have wanted to tell Favell that night. She does not, but she does retrieve Rebecca’s appointment diary which might contain something helpful. The girl is the most frightened she has been all night.

On the day she died, Rebecca had her hair done and had lunch at the club. She had an appointment with someone named Baker at two o’clock, but none of them know who Baker might be. Whoever Baker is, Rebecca would not have been afraid of him, for she was only afraid of getting an illness and growing old—of dying in her bed, according to Danvers. She told Danvers that when she died she wanted to go quickly. Danvers has always taken comfort in the fact that drowning is a quick death.

As Danvers turns the pages of the diary, she sees Baker’s name and partial number in the back of the book. Crawley calls the number and discovers that Baker is a doctor. Baker quit practicing six months ago, but they have his address.

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