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by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca Chapter 19 Summary

  • Next, Mrs. de Winter hears Maxim calling for Frith. Maxim is saying that he watched a boat come in from the bay and head for the reef. He wants Frith to alert Frank Crawley of the situation and to make sure things are ready so that they can feed the people from the ship.
  • Mrs. Danvers tells Mrs. de Winter to come away from the window. She closes the shade and makes sure the room is tidy (always important in times like this).
  • The old housekeeper asks Mrs. de Winter to let Maxim know that there will be food at the house for anybody who wants it.
  • Mrs. Danvers leaves, and Mrs. de Winter takes some time to decompress. She's had quite a morning, after all. She has some brandy and watches the sea from the terrace.
  • As she zones out, she thinks about the dress incident. Suddenly it comes to her that things aren't as bad as she'd thought. Maxim's voice sounded totally normal just now. He didn't leave, and he's okay.
  • But what about the fact that she just considered killing herself? Well, she thinks, it was a hideous moment, but she'll try never to think of it again. Maxim is okay, and that's the only important thing.
  • It's after 1:00PM when she walks down to the beach.
  • She sees Frank, but not Maxim. There are lots of people around watching, and the coast guard tells her that a diver is checking out the damage. He loans Mrs. de Winter his binoculars so she can see. Apparently, the ship is stuck on the reef.
  • When Frank comes over, she learns that one of the crewmen is wounded and that Maxim has taken him into Kerrith, a neighboring town. He left five minutes before Mrs. de Winter got to the beach. Just missed him.
  • Frank and the coast guard talk about what a good man Maxim is, especially in a crisis. (We're not sure we agree, but that's a discussion for another time.)
  • It's time for lunch, but Mrs. de Winter decides to stay at the beach. Frank tries to convince her to come with him, but soon gives up. He invites her to his office if she needs him.
  • After he leaves, the coast guard mentions that Frank is a good guy who would "give his right hand for Mr. de Winter" (19.100). Our narrator agrees. (This may just be the first heartfelt compliment of the book.)
  • A little boy on the beach is watching the diver. Soon his mother and father, who are vacationing nearby with their son, come have a picnic. Mrs. de Winter "wishe[s] [she] could lose [her] own identity" (19.192) and join them. That's kind of sad.
  • She watches the diver coming up and going down. Around 3:00PM she walks over to the cove, and runs into Ben, who offers her some winkles (snails). She takes them and puts them in her shirt pocket so she doesn't hurt his feelings. Looks like someone else is a good guy – ahem, gal – as well.
  • The two of them chat about the boat, and eventually Ben says that this boat will fall apart piece by piece; it won't sink like that smaller boat. Then he remarks, "The fishes have eaten her up by now, haven't they?" (19.144).
  • Mrs. de Winter asks who he's talking about. (Is she playing dumb or is she really thick? You decide.) He tells her: "the other one" (19.146).
  • Taking her leave from Ben, Mrs. de Winter heads back to the house. She walks through the woods, and when she gets to Manderley, it feels calm. She feels like she belongs there. Oh, how quickly things can change.
  • Mrs. de Winter learns that Maxim came in to eat around 2:00PM. He asked for her, and was told she might be at the beach. She sits down for tea in the library and starts feeling a little better.
  • After three cups of tea, Robert tells her that Captain Searle, the harbor master, is on the phone and wants to come to Manderley to talk to Mr. de Winter.
  • Mrs. de Winter sends a message back asking him to call around 5:00PM. Apparently it's urgent, though, and if he can't see Mr. de Winter, he'd like to see her.
  • When Captain Searle arrives, he says he hasn't been able to find Frank or Maxim.
  • He actually has some difficult news for Maxim. He doesn't want to hurt Maxim or Mrs. de Winter, but he has to tell them what's happened. Uh oh.
  • It turns out the diver found Rebecca's boat while inspecting the damage to the boat stuck in the cove.
  • What's more, there's a body in the boat, which is strange because Rebecca was said to have been sailing alone (and they already found her body elsewhere). Whoa.
  • Mrs. de Winter asks if there's any way to keep the news from Mr. de Winter. (Again with the secrets! And this is kind of a big one…) Of course, it's impossible, though, because of the body.
  • Soon, Maxim comes in.
  • Mrs. de Winter leaves him alone in the library with Captain Searle, and she waits to come back until she hears Captain Searle's car drive away.
  • Maxim is at the window. She goes to him and tells him she's here to help him in his time of pain.
  • He puts his hand on her cheek. She kisses his cold fingers and apologizes to him, asking if she's been forgiven.
  • (Really, Mrs. de W? They just found the body of his beloved ex-wife and you're checking to see if you're off the hook?)
  • Her husband asks what she's done that needs forgiving. She reminds him about the dress, but he says he's already forgotten it. He admits he was mad, though. Hmm, we hadn't noticed.
  • She asks if they can have a fresh start together. Maxim – needy as ever – asks her, "How much do you love me?" (19.202).
  • Our narrator doesn't say anything. Maxim responds to the silence: he doesn't think they can be happy now. It's too late.
  • No way, says Mrs. de Winter. It's not too late.
  • He says that that now his worst fears have come true: "Rebecca has won" (19.210).
  • Maxim tells her that the body they found in Rebecca's boat is in fact Rebecca's body. The woman in Rebecca's grave is the body of an unknown person who washed up on the beach.
  • Now, are you sitting down?
  • Are you sure?
  • Okay, here goes:
  • He tells her that Rebecca didn't drown: he killed Rebecca. He shot her, put her in her boat, and sunk it with her body inside. (!!!)
  • After dropping that bomb, he says, "Will you look into my eyes and tell me that you love me now?" (19.224).

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