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by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca Chapter 14 Summary

  • Mrs. de Winter is in the entranceway to Rebecca's room in the west wing. She turns on the light and walks into the room.
  • She's very surprised to see that all the coverings are off the furniture, and the room's ready to use. There are even fresh flowers and Rebecca's dressing gown is out. Hmm.
  • For a minute, Mrs. de Winter thinks she's "seeing back into Time, and looking upon the room as it used to be, before [Rebecca] died" (14.3). Soon, Rebecca will come in and start brushing her hair. Now that would be creepy.
  • The clock on the wall says it's about 4:30PM, and Mrs. de Winter's watch says the same thing.
  • This brings her "back to reality" and "the present" (14.3).
  • The room has an old smell that even the flowers can't cover up. Okay, so no, nobody's been using it.
  • Our narrator knows that Mrs. Danvers can do whatever she wants with the room, but that won't bring back Rebecca. Her body is in the de Winter crypt in the church and it's not leaving any time soon.
  • The ocean is noisy, and Mrs. de Winter opens the shade to check it out. In the sunlight, the room comes to life, and once again, she gets the feeling that Rebecca will enter the room. (Wait, didn't we just nix that possibility?)
  • Mrs. de Winter notices that her legs are shaking and realizes how scared she is. She also realizes that this really is the loveliest room in Manderley.
  • She would love the expensive things in the room if they were hers, but they aren't. They are – wait for it – Rebecca's.
  • In the mirror, she sees how pale she is. Is she always this pale?
  • She touches the "RW" monogrammed on the bedspread. She touches Rebecca's gown and smells it. Smells like azaleas. As she folds it up, she realizes it hasn't been washed since it was last worn.
  • Mrs. de Winter goes back into the entranceway and checks out Rebecca's closets.
  • These smell old and funky. The azalea is still in the air, but it doesn't smell good anymore. It's just old.
  • Yikes. She suddenly realizes that Mrs. Danvers is behind her with a scary look on her face. She backs up.
  • Mrs. Danvers asks Mrs. de Winter if she's feeling okay. Her breath is on Mrs. de Winter's face. (Gross!) Mrs. de Winter says she saw the window shade up when she was on the lawn and came up to close it. (Wow, she's really full of excuses recently.)
  • The sun is going down now and the room looks "unreal and ghastly" (14.15).
  • Mrs. Danvers goes to the window and closes the shade. Aha! She knows the window shade wasn't open, because she closed it herself earlier!
  • She wants to know why Mrs. de Winter lied to her. It's because she wanted to see the room, isn't it?
  • Mrs. de Winter wants to flee, but she's frozen. Mrs. Danvers is being a little too sweet, using a very phony voice. She has Mrs. de Winter by the arm and is pulling her toward the bed. Time for the tour.
  • Mrs. Danvers says she hasn't washed Rebecca's gown since the last time she wore it. She'd laid it out for Rebecca to wear, but Rebecca never showed up to put it on.
  • (Okay, why didn't Mrs. Danvers wash the gown <em>before</em> she laid it out for Rebecca? When, we wonder, was the last time Rebecca wore it?)
  • Mrs. Danvers says she's the only maid who could ever satisfy Rebecca. She and Maxim both used to brush Rebecca's hair.
  • Next stop on the tour : Rebecca's dressers. Mrs. Danvers shows her all the fancy clothes, furs, and lingerie.
  • Now for some gory information: the housekeeper says Rebecca's body was all smashed up when it was found. Maxim was sick at the time, but he still went to identify the body.
  • She actually thinks it's her fault that Rebecca got in a boating accident; she should have been there to stop her from sailing.
  • Instead, that night, Mrs. Danvers thought Rebecca was in London, so she stayed out late with some friends. She didn't get the chance to tell Rebecca to stay in.
  • When she got home, she heard that Rebecca was back, and that she'd gone down to the boathouse, maybe for sailing.
  • Now Mrs. Danvers is digging her fingers into Mrs. de Winter's arm. Her face looks scary, the skin too tight.
  • Mrs. Danvers continues her story:
  • The night of Rebecca's death, Frank and Maxim were having dinner at Frank's place. Maxim came home sometime around 11:00PM, but Mrs. Danvers can't remember the exact time frame.
  • Around midnight, Mrs. Danvers told Maxim that she was worried about Rebecca. Maxim told her that Rebecca was probably planning to sleep down at the boathouse and not to worry about it.
  • Mrs. Danvers didn't press the issue but she was so worried, she couldn't sleep. A little after 5:00AM, when it was getting light, she went down to the beach. The boat was missing.
  • Mrs. de Winter doesn't want to hear the rest of the story. But Mrs. Danvers continues. At least she's stopped squeezing her arm so tightly.
  • The story continues: pieces of the boat were found later.
  • After Rebecca's death, Maxim moved out of the west wing. He didn't sleep much, and he spent his time pacing around and chain smoking cigarettes.
  • Back in the present, Mrs. Danvers is now opening the door and motioning for Mrs. de Winter to follow her.
  • The housekeeper dusts the west wing every day; in fact, she's the only person who comes into this wing.
  • Mrs. de Winter can look at these rooms any time she wants, but she has to let Mrs. Danvers know, so she can show her around. Possessive, much? This is Mrs. de Winter's house, after all.
  • Mrs. Danvers asks Mrs. de Winter if she can feel Rebecca in the room, if she can feel her all over the house. Mrs. Danvers says she can always feel Rebecca, everywhere. She even hears her footsteps. (Apparently this is a ghost story now.)
  • And then the older woman asks, "Do you think she can see us, talking to one another now? [...] Do you think the dead come back and watch the living?" (15.45).
  • Mrs. de Winter doesn't know. She does know, however, that Mrs. Danvers is staring at her with malice in her eyes.
  • Our narrator goes to her room and locks herself in, feeling sick enough to die.

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