When Mrs. de Winter gets up on her first day at Manderley, she realizes that there's a tight schedule here at the house.
Maxim gets up early and starts doing his correspondence. There is a buffet style breakfast set up with everything you could possibly want.
She and Maxim don't eat much, and she wonders what happens to the leftovers. (We've heard this before, right?)
Maxim tells her that he's going to be busy all morning, and that his sister Beatrice is coming to lunch; so is a man named Crawley, who is Maxim's business agent.
After breakfast, Mrs. de Winter goes to her rooms, but they are being cleaned. When she sees the look on the maids' faces, she realizes it must not be proper for her to come to her room at this hour.
Hmm, where to? She heads to the library. There's no fire lit yet and it's cold, so she goes on a hunt for matches.
She finds Frith with the young footman Robert, and she learns that they usually don't heat the library until the afternoon. She also learns that there is a fire in the "morning-room" (8.18). It turns out Rebecca always went into the morning-room in the morning and wrote her letters.
Mrs. de Winter decides to go to the morning-room, but then she realizes she doesn't know the way. After getting some complicated directions, she finds her way and is happy to see the dogs already in there.
From the window, she can see the "blood-red" (8.26) rhododendrons that you have to go through to get to the house. The furniture and objects in the morning-room look fancy, expensive, and carefully picked out. The room seems feminine and very "alive" (8.28) like the rhododendrons out the window.
As she looks around the room, she realizes that it's filled with freshly cut rhododendrons in water. No other flowers are in the room. What's with all the rhododendrons, people?
Mrs. de Winter sits down at the desk. She finds a menu, a filing system for correspondence, and a guestbook where the names and dates of all of Manderley's visitors are recorded.
She finds the stationery and envelopes that say "Mrs. de Winter" on them.
The phone on the desk rings. She answers it harshly. A voice says, "Mrs. de Winter?" (8.33).
She responds, "I'm afraid you have made a mistake […]. Mrs. de Winter has been dead for over a year" (8.34). Oops. She quickly realizes that she is Mrs. de Winter.
It's Mrs. Danvers on the phone. She wants to know if our narrator has looked at the menu, and if she likes it, and what kind of sauce she wants with the roast veal. Apparently, Rebecca always picked the sauces.
Mrs. de Winter says the menu looks fine and that she'll leave the sauce to Mrs. Danvers.
Mrs. Danvers tells her that she should give all the letters she's writing to Robert and he will mail them for her. Mrs. de Winter realizes how different she is from Rebecca. And it's only day one.
Rebecca must have been the one to give orders to Mrs. Danvers, not the one to take them.
She imagines Rebecca here, writing her letters with her fancy handwriting. Mrs. de Winter can't think of anybody to write to but Mrs. Van Hopper. That's no fun.
She starts writing, thinking of how crude (messy) her handwriting is.