Chapter 9 Summary

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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; however, she thinks it might have been better if the couple had stayed away from Manderley for another few months.

When Beatrice suggests that de Winter is usually quite particular about how his wife is dressed, the girl is surprised; when Beatrice asks how she is getting along with Danvers, the girl hesitates and says she has never met a woman like Danvers. Beatrice tells her not to be intimidated by the housekeeper—and certainly not to let Danvers see it, if she is. Danvers is only jealous of her new mistress because she so adored Rebecca.

The two couples spend a quiet afternoon together, and they all go see the improvements to the east wing. It is odd for the girl to think that this is the home in which Beatrice and de Winter grew up together. The Lacys are impressed with what Danvers has done, and when the men leave the women alone, Beatrice ponders what to give the girl as a wedding gift. Before leaving, Beatrice asks the girl if she rides or shoots; she does not. Beatrice asks if the girl sails and is relieved when she says she does not; Beatrice offers an open invitation for the girl to visit and asks forgiveness for her blunt inquisitiveness. Tact is not one of her strengths, and the girl is nothing she had expected. The girl is nothing like Rebecca. 

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