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by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca Chapter 12 Summary

  • Mrs. de Winter and Mrs. Danvers don't get in one another's way. Mrs. Danvers calls our narrator in the morning-room to get approval on the menus, and that's about it.
  • The new bride also has new maid, a young girl named Clarice. Mrs. de Winter is psyched about it, because the regular housemaid, Alice, is a total snob. Clarice is way better.
  • Mrs. de Winter doesn't worry about Mrs. Danvers liking her anymore. She figures Mrs. Danvers' dislike isn't personal; she'd feel the same about any wife of Maxim.
  • Actually, it must be painful for Mrs. Danvers to see her and call her Mrs. de Winter; she's sure it reminds her of Rebecca. (Heck, it reminds our narrator of Rebecca!)
  • Rebecca feels very "real" (12.7) to Mrs. de Winter. Frank said not to think of the past, but it's easier said than done: Frank doesn't have to hang out in the morning-room looking at Rebecca's things every day.
  • Mrs. de Winter wants to be happy; she wants the old Mrs. de Winter out of her head, but it seems Rebecca is everywhere, even in her dreams.
  • Our narrator still feels like she's just visiting Manderley, and that Rebecca will come to take over again.
  • She can't even ask for a vase for flowers without hearing from Frith which vase the other Mrs. de Winter used, and where she put the vase after.
  • She knows she could change it up and do things her way, but she keeps following the traditions.
  • One day, Beatrice's wedding present comes: it's a set of big art books. (No KitchenAid? What the heck?)
  • She lines up the books on the desk in the morning-room. One of them falls and the rest slide, creating a major domino effect and knocking off a "little china cupid" (12.22).
  • Mrs. de Winter puts the broken pieces in an envelope and stashes the envelope in her desk drawer. Something tells us this isn't going to end well.
  • The next day, Frith tells Maxim that Mrs. Danvers accused Robert of stealing the cupid.
  • After Frith leaves, Mrs. de Winter confesses to breaking the cupid. Maxim doesn't understand why she didn't tell Frith and why she's afraid to tell Mrs. Danvers; he accuses her of being frightened of the servants. Um, duh?
  • She is about to explain, when Mrs. Danvers comes in. Maxim explains what happened, and Mrs. de Winter apologizes to the housekeeper.
  • Mrs. Danvers wants to know if the cupid can be fixed, but it's not looking likely.
  • The old housekeeper says she'll tell Robert she's sorry for accusing him, and she asks Mrs. de Winter to tell her about things like this in the future.
  • Oh, and by the way, this is the first thing that's ever been broken at Manderley. Rebecca never broke anything. Just sayin'.
  • When Mrs. Danvers leaves, Mrs. de Winter apologizes to Maxim, and he tells her to forget about it. No biggie.
  • She says she feels terrible, and she's worried that Mrs. Danvers is mad at her.
  • Her husband wants to know why she cares what Mrs. Danvers thinks. Why is she so afraid of her? Why does she act like she's the maid?
  • She says that, actually, sometimes she does feel like the maid. Oddly enough, she feels most comfortable around people like Clarice.
  • Maxim, never the subtle type, implies that she dresses sloppy sometimes that she acts like she's on a job interview when she meets people.
  • Mrs. De Winter defends herself (this seems to be a common occurrence): she's just shy, and she can't do anything about that.
  • Of course, that's not good enough for Maxim. He doesn't love visiting either, but it's part of what they do.
  • It's different for Mrs. de Winter, she says. She feels like everybody is scrutinizing her, like she's some kind of show piece. Her husband tells her not to let that bother her; let them have their fun.
  • Why, she asks, does she have to be the one to give them their kicks?
  • Manderley is the most fascinating thing in most people around here's lives, Maxim explains.
  • Mrs. de Winter says that the people must be pretty disappointed with her. She's pretty boring and doesn't give them anything to "gossip" (12.96) about.
  • Maxim freaks when she says "gossip" – his face goes dark, and his voice gets rough. (Interesting.)
  • He wants to know who has been gossiping to her. She says there's no gossip; she didn't mean it. (Good try, Mrs. de W.)
  • Maxim says that he wonders if marrying Mrs. de Winter was the best thing for her; maybe she should have married a young man. She replies that she doesn't care about age; they "are companions" (12.111) and that's what matters.
  • Her husband isn't so sure, though. She says, "you know I love you more than anything in the world. There has never been anyone but you. You are my father and my brother and my son. All those things" (12.113). Okay, gross.
  • Then they go back and forth a bit, bickering over whether they rushed things, if she's happy, if things will be okay (no; yes; definitely). She even tells him he smells nice.
  • Mrs. de Winter wants to know if he feels the same confidence in their relationship, but he can't answer, because he doesn't know.
  • Once again, she brings up her shyness and her coarse manners. If only she hadn't broken that dumb cupid.
  • Not the cupid again, Maxim says. He doesn't care a thing about it. But of course, they continue to talk about it.
  • Turns out the cupid was a (probably pretty expensive) wedding present to Rebecca.
  • Mrs. de Winter thinks Maxim is thinking about Rebecca now; she figures he's imagining Rebecca receiving the angel. But when she asks him what he's thinking about, he says sports. Yeah, sports; that's the ticket.

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