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Rebecca

Rebecca

by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca Chapter 18 Summary

  • Mrs. de Winter is pretty sure it's around 7:00AM when she finally falls asleep. The clock-watching clearly didn't help.
  • She wakes up at 11:30AM, and the sun is shining. Clarice had apparently brought in tea and straightened the room without making a sound. She's not fully awake as she drinks the tea cold.
  • When she sees that Maxim hasn't slept in his bed, her heart starts hurting, and she remembers all the awfulness of the previous night. She hopes that Clarice doesn't tell anybody that Maxim never came to bed.
  • Mrs. de Winter now knows for sure that she's low class; she's even worried that the servants are gossiping about her.
  • She only went to the ball last night because she wanted to keep her and Maxim's fight a secret.
  • Okay, she can handle living with Maxim even if they never talk or kiss or love – as long as nobody else knows about it. They can pay off the servants and put up a false front for everybody else.
  • Mrs. de Winter thinks "there [is] nothing quite so shaming, so degrading as a marriage that had failed. Failed after three months, as mine [has] done" (18.5). Yikes, this is some worst-case-scenario thinking here.
  • She faces the bitter truth. Her marriage is a failure. They don't get along. She's not old enough, doesn't have the "experience" (18.5) to be his wife.
  • She doesn't even have the right kind of love for him. She was so silly to think it could work.
  • Thinking back, she thought Mrs. Van Hopper was being mean when she said the marriage wouldn't work and that Maxim didn't love her.
  • Now, she knows it's true; Maxim married her because she's young, and it was convenient. But, he's not hers. He's Rebecca's. He will always love Rebecca. Mrs. Danvers is right: Rebecca is everywhere here. (Talk about defeatist!)
  • She thinks, "Rebecca [is] still Mrs. de Winter. I [have] no business here at all" (18.6).
  • Our narrator wonders if she haunts Rebecca the way Rebecca haunts her. Maybe Rebecca watches her using all her stuff and gets annoyed.
  • Mrs. de Winter can do battle with a live person, she thinks. If Maxim cheats on her, she can confront his mistress. But she's powerless against someone who's dead.
  • After reading a quick farewell note from Beatrice, Mrs. de Winter showers, bathes, and goes downstairs. The party is almost totally cleaned up; it feels like an event from the distant past. (That's probably better, right?)
  • It looks like no one knows where Maxim is.
  • After all her freaking out, she frantically confesses to Frank over the phone that Maxim never came to bed. Frank isn't surprised, but he sounds very strange.
  • Mrs. de Winter tells Frank that she needs to find Maxim so she can explain that the dress was an accident. (Who knew a dress could cause so much fuss?)
  • Frank tries to convince her that Maxim knows it wasn't intentional; he wants to explain more, but she doesn't want to hear it.
  • She knows Maxim loves Rebecca and that he "thinks about her night and day" (18.72).
  • On hearing this, Frank makes a shocked sound (a gasp, perhaps?) and tells her that it's not true. He has "vitally important" (18.74) things to tell her, things that can't be talked about on the phone.
  • She hangs up on him. (How rude!) She's completely sure that she'll never see Maxim again. He's gone forever. (Especially because we know this isn't true, she's really starting to seem like a total drama queen.)
  • Mrs. de Winter goes outside, where it's foggy and wet. She walks out toward the woods and looks up at the west wing. The shade is open in Rebecca's bedroom. Somebody's standing there.
  • Maxim!
  • Nope. False alarm. It's Mrs. Danvers: she's watching her mope around.
  • Mrs. Danvers knows everything. She must have seen her crying and heard her on the phone with Frank.
  • Time to bite the bullet. Rebecca might be dead, but Mrs. Danvers is very much alive. She decides to confront her. She goes up to the Rebecca's room, and Mrs. Danvers is standing by the window with the shade opened.
  • She's surprised to see that Mrs. Danvers has been crying as well. Suddenly, Mrs. Danvers doesn't seem like an evil monster out to get her. She's just an old woman who is ill and exhausted.
  • Mrs. Danvers asks our narrator if she needs something done, or if she wants to change the menu. Not very intuitive, eh?
  • She tells Mrs. Danvers that, no, she's not here to discuss the menu.
  • Mrs. de Winter wants to know if Mrs. Danvers is satisfied, if the old lady likes the way everything turned out. Basically, she slaps a big fat "are you happy now?" on her.
  • The old housekeeper responds by asking her why she came to Manderley. She's not welcome and should've stayed away. Ouch.
  • Keeping her composure, Mrs. de Winter says she loves Maxim.
  • But Mrs. Danvers doesn't buy it: if our narrator really loved Maxim, she would have left him alone. She hated Mrs. de Winter for trying to take Rebecca's place, but now she feels nothing. She's totally numb.
  • Now our narrator confront Mrs. Danvers about the dress she made her wear. The dress.
  • Once again evading the issue at hand, Mrs. Danvers says that it's Maxim's fault: he is the one who hurt Mrs. Danvers by marrying again.
  • It's been so horrible for the old housekeeper to hear everyone call our narrator "Mrs. de Winter" and see her using Rebecca's things. Maxim is suffering now, and he deserves it for marrying again after only ten months. Bitter much?
  • And now, more Rebecca talk: Maxim knows that Rebecca is watching him and that she doesn't like what she sees.
  • Rebecca had the bravery of "a boy" and "should have been born a boy" (18.117). Mrs. Danvers knows because she took care of Rebecca from when she was a little girl.
  • Naturally, our narrator really doesn't want to hear all this. She asks Mrs. Danvers to stop.
  • Guess what? She doesn't. Mrs. Danvers says Rebecca was beautiful as a child, and when she was only eleven years old, she could manipulate men and women alike as if she was an older woman.
  • The stories continue: Rebecca and her cousin Jack Favell were "like a couple of wild cats" (18.118) when they fought and played together. Favell and Rebecca never did what anybody told them to do.
  • Rebecca was also very strong. She could ride horses that even the boys were afraid of. She would whip a defiant horse bloody. (Um…?) But the ocean is stronger than Rebecca in the end, it won.
  • Mrs. Danvers is crying, but it's that really creepy kind of crying where no tears come out of her eyes and no sound comes from her throat.
  • Through her non-tears, she says that when Rebecca first died, Mr. de Winter stayed in his room, pacing "like an animal in a cage" (18.128) because he was so upset. Makes sense.
  • Our narrator seriously doesn't want to hear this. She tells Mrs. Danvers to be quiet and go to her room. (Now who's in charge?)
  • Mrs. Danvers mocks her and asks if she's going to go tattle on her to Mr. de Winter if she doesn't obey, the way she tattled about Jack Favell visiting.
  • Wait a second, Mrs. de Winter wasn't the one who told Maxim about Favell's visit.
  • Of course, the old housekeeper doesn't believe her. She says that Maxim was jealous of any friendship Rebecca had when she was alive, and he's still jealous now that she's dead.
  • Mrs. Danvers says that Rebecca had lots of lovers, and that she brought some of them with her to the boathouse. She didn't care about men; Rebecca treated life "like a game" (18.135). Suddenly Rebecca is starting to sound a lot less glamorous…
  • For the zillionth time, our narrator asks the housekeeper to stop. (Why she doesn't just leave, we don't know.)
  • And for the zillionth time, Mrs. Danvers refuses. She comes toward her, telling her that she should leave Manderley. Mrs. de Winter backs up, getting closer and closer to the window behind her.
  • Maxim doesn't want her here anymore, she says. He wants to be here alone with Rebecca.
  • The two women are at the window. Then Mrs. Danvers pulls out the big guns: she tells Mrs. de Winter that the best thing she can do is – wait for it – jump out the window. Yep. Jump to her death.
  • She doesn't have any reason to stay alive now that she knows Maxim doesn't want her.
  • Mrs. de Winter holds tight to the window sill and thinks that it would be quick and painless if she jumped. She thinks about the idea of Maxim not loving her.
  • Mrs. Danvers holds her arm tightly and tells her again that she should jump. Not a great time to be pushy, but hey.
  • Our narrator closes her eyes and starts forgetting her sadness. Soon she won't have to worry about Rebecca or Maxim anymore.
  • Mrs. de Winter loosens her grip on the window sill, and…
  • BOOM. An explosion shakes the windows. Then another explosion.
  • Mrs. Danvers thinks the explosions are rockets, probably shot off by a ship in distress nearby. They can hear people running on the terrace below them.

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