The narrator and the man she's with can't go back to Manderley. There are too many awful things from their past that would make them afraid, and they don't want to live with fear like they did back then.
She can tell the man remembers when his face seems to lose life and when he begins chain-smoking cigarettes.
She and this unnamed guy have already faced the biggest battle of their lives, and they've managed to win.
Now they are happy, and they are together. Even though they sometimes get depressed, they share the same thoughts and feelings now. They don't have secrets.
The two of them live a simple life. For entertainment, they keep track of sports, like cricket and dog racing. (This is England, after all.)
Sometimes they read Fieldmagazine, which reminds the narrator of England in the spring.
She remembers all the beauty of the woods at Manderley and the excitement of walking there with Jasper the dog.
The narrator keeps her memories of the beauty of Manderley to herself, because it will hurt her male companion if she shares with him. (No secrets, eh?)
She can indulge in her memories and then join the man for tea with a pleasant face.
Every day, they have a simple tea, consisting bread, butter, and, well, tea. At Manderley, tea was extravagant, with fancy silver and all kinds of fabulous cakes.
The narrator used to worry that there was a lot of food wasted, but was always afraid to ask Mrs. Danvers what was done with the leftovers.
She wonders where Mrs. Danvers is now and where a person named Favell is.
The first time she met Mrs. Danvers, she could see that Mrs. Danvers is comparing her to Rebecca.
The narrator doesn't have to worry about that anymore. She and the man are now "free" (2.15).
Jasper the dog is dead, and Manderley doesn't exist. It's now "like an empty shell" (2.15) taken over by the woods, like in the narrator's dreams.
She thinks there is probably still something scary there; something like the sound of a woman walking around. (Creepy!) When she thinks about this, she's sure glad she is where she is now.
Now she's a brave, strong person, so different from that shy girl who first came to Manderley.
She begins to remember the past, to remember herself as she was those years ago:
(Because we're jumping into the past for an extended period of time, we're going to keep our summary in the present tense. But remember, she's telling us about something that happened in the past!)
So, the past: her hair is straight, and her clothes are homemade. She follows Mrs. Van Hopper to lunch.
When they get to their table, Mrs. Van Hopper looks through her lorgnette (glasses with a handle – cool, we know) and remarks on the lack of famous people in the dining room of the hotel Côte d' Azur at Monte Carlo (in the French Riviera). No famous people? What a travesty!
Mrs. Van Hopper, a large woman, looks back and forth between her plate and the narrator's, obviously worried that the narrator might have a better meal.
But she shouldn't worry, because the kitchen staff made sure to give the narrator a plate of food another patron had sent back to the kitchen.
Servants resent our narrator and look down on her. Unfortunately, she's really sensitive to their rude treatment.
The narrator doesn't want to eat the icky "ham and tongue" (2.19) on her plate, but is afraid to seem rude.
Mrs. Hopper is having the ravioli, which looks much better.
All of the sudden, Mrs. Hopper picks up her lorgnette, puts it to her eye, and says she sees Max de Winter, the owner of Manderley. Apparently, she says, Max de Winter is still tormented by the death of his wife. Wow, these chapter endings sure are downers.