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by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca Chapter 22 Summary

  • When Frith brings the local newspaper in to Mrs. de Winter that night, the story of Rebecca is on the front page. The two talk about how awful all of this is, especially for Maxim.
  • Mrs. de Winter learns that Mrs. Danvers is having a rough time dealing with the situation and has been in her room since lunch.
  • Our narrator hides the evening paper from Maxim, but she can't hide the morning one. This is big news – Manderley and Maxim are such celebrities anyway, this is just the icing on the cake.
  • The papers make it sound really scandalous that Maxim married a very young woman only nine months after Rebecca drowned. What's more a big fuss is made of the fact that Rebecca's boat and body were found the day after the costume ball held to honor the new Mrs. de Winter. Coincidence? They think not.
  • It sounds really terrible, but she can see how it makes "a good story" (22.25).
  • Mrs. de Winter watches Maxim's face get paler and paler as he reads. He says, under his breath, "Damn them, damn them, damn them" (22.25).
  • Mrs. de Winter imagines what the papers would say "if they knew the truth" (22.25). It would be huge news. She imagines the use of "[t]hat frightful word of six letters" (22.26). (Of course, the word is "murder.")
  • Frank comes in after breakfast looking like he didn't get enough rest. He passes along a few messages: some local people have called to offer Maxim and Mrs. de Winter their sympathies, and Beatrice called and wants to come up.
  • Maxim says is not psyched about this, but luckily, Frank convinced her not to come.
  • Frank wants to help Maxim go over his statement. Maxim isn't worried about it, but Frank tells him that Horridge, the coroner, is a tricky guy, and he doesn't want Maxim to let Horridge "rattle" him (22.33). Maxim responds, "Why the devil should I be rattled? I have nothing to be rattled about" (22.34). (There sure is a lot of lying going on here.)
  • Fine, says Frank. But he just wants to make sure Maxim doesn't get the guy mad. Mrs. de Winter agrees.
  • As she watches Frank, it again becomes obvious to her that Frank knows the truth, but Maxim doesn't know he knows, and Frank doesn't want Maxim to know he knows. (You still with us?)
  • After lunch, Maxim, Frank, and Mrs. de Winter get in the car and drive out toward the inquest in Kerrith. Mrs. de Winter decides to wait in the car instead of going inside. What happened to Mrs. Tough Guy?
  • After sitting in the car for a while, Mrs. de Winter gets out and walks around. A policeman is eyeing her, and eventually, she comes to the building where the inquest is being held. Because she's Mrs. De Winter, she's allowed to wait inside. Ah, the power of a name.
  • She learns that they are currently taking the last witness in the inquest, the man who converted Rebecca's boat, James Tabb.
  • Our narrator decides to watch this final phase, so she goes in and sits toward the back. She's a bit shocked to see Mrs. Danvers and Jack Favell here, sitting together.
  • Tabb is being questioned by Horridge, the coroner. He says the boat was ready for sailing when he worked on it in April of the previous year. The boat never capsized, and it wasn't difficult to sail, especially for someone as experienced as Rebecca.
  • The witness continues: Rebecca has sailed it in weather much worse than the night of her death. Tabb was actually really surprised when he heard it wrecked on a relatively mild night.
  • Horridge tells this guy that nobody is blaming him for the incident. Instead, they believe that Mrs. de Winter went into the cabin to get something and was stuck inside, unable to steer the boat.
  • Not so fast. Tabb has something to say about that.
  • After Rebecca's accident, he lost a lot of business because people thought he didn't take care of Mrs. de Winter's boat properly. So yesterday, with Captain Searle's permission, Tabb inspected the boat.
  • He found a few irregularities. Somebody had driven spikes through the floor of the boat, and turned on the seacocks, which caused the cabin to flood, and the boat to capsize and sink.
  • Uh oh.
  • Mrs. de Winter starts to feel very hot, and the room seems too small.
  • Tabb final comes out and says it: he thinks the boat was deliberately sunk.
  • Now Mrs. de Winter feels the way she did when Mrs. Danvers tried to make her jump out the window. All her confidence is gone.
  • Horridge immediately asks Maxim if he knows anything about the holes in the boat or the open seacocks.
  • Nope, he doesn't.
  • So, Horridge wants to know, is it a "shock" (22.104) to learn of these holes and open seacocks?
  • Yep. He's actually starting to sound really irritated, and Mrs. de Winter prays that he doesn't "lose his temper" (22.105).
  • In an attempt to calm things, Mr. Horridge says that he is just trying to get to the bottom of things, for everybody's benefit, and he's not here doing this for fun.
  • He just wants to know if Maxim believes Tabb's statement about the holes and the seacocks.
  • Sure, why not? Maxim thinks Tabb is an experienced, knowledgeable boat builder and so he probably knows what he's talking about.
  • Using his Law and Order skills, Horridge asserts that since the boat would sink after only fifteen minutes, nobody could have made the holes and opened the seacocks before Rebecca went out sailing. Someone on board had to have done it. Dun dun dun.
  • Then it happens: Horridge asks Maxim if he and Rebecca were happily married. Yikes.
  • Mrs. de Winter sees dark spots in front of her eyes, and the room seems very hot and crowded. The faces of the people blur and she sees the floor of the room coming up to her…
  • Through the blur, she hears Maxim's voice: "Will someone take my wife outside? She is going to faint" (22.138).

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