Study Guide

Rebecca Chapter 6

By Daphne du Maurier

Chapter 6

  • The narrator can't stand packing. Even now, as she packs up the villa where she and the man she's with have stayed for two nights, there's a sense of "sadness" and "loss" (6.1). (By the way, we can safely assume the man is Maxim now, right? The whole Manderley thing tipped us off.)
  • She sees herself in the "cracked mirror" (6.2) trapped in the past. Soon she'll join Maxim for lunch, and she will be "older, more mature" than she is at this moment.
  • She's read that the Hotel Côte d'Azur has a new name and new management, and she starts to think about her last days there:
  • Mrs. Van Hopper announces that they are leaving, heading for New York City tomorrow. She tells the narrator she'll be able to meet lots of people who are poor like her, so she can start to have a social life. Nicely put, Mrs. VH.
  • The narrator locks herself in the bathroom. She can't imagine the horrible journey to New York, each moment taking her farther away from Maxim.
  • She imagines saying goodbye to him and him making a false promise to write her letters.
  • She pictures herself saying silly things to him in their last moments, and then leaving, never to see him again. Then she envisions the gross young guys she'll be meeting in New York.
  • Mrs. Van Hopper calls to her, knocking on the bathroom door, and the narrator comes out.
  • She knows that Maxim will go back to Manderley, and she won't get any letters from him, until Christmas when she'll get a hideously impersonal card. (We're all guilty of that one.)
  • Full of dread, the narrator has lunch with Mrs. Van Hopper in the dining room. Maxim is at Cannes today, and she half expects the waiter to come up and ask her if she's having dinner with him again tonight.
  • She spends the rest of the day packing. In the evening, the front desk guy tells her with a smirk that Maxim is spending the night at Cannes.
  • The narrator cries all night.
  • After breakfast, she gathers her courage, goes to Maxim's room, and knocks. He tells her to come in, and she does. She finds him shaving by the window.
  • She says she's here to say farewell (way cooler than goodbye) and explains that she's leaving with Mrs. Van Hopper to go to New York.
  • Maxim says he'll get dressed in the bathroom, and asks her to wait for him. When he comes out, he asks her to talk to him while he eats his breakfast on the balcony.
  • He asks if she'd rather go to New York, or to Manderley. Yep, that's right.
  • She thinks he's kidding, but he says he never kids at breakfast time. (He's so cute!) She asks him if he's trying to hire her as a secretary or something. He says, "No, I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool" (6.57). Best proposal ever.
  • First, she protests. She's not high class enough for him; he can't really want her; he just feels sorry for her.
  • He says he is the one to decide if class matters; he doesn't do things out of charity; and he does want her. She is totally blown away. She never even dreamed of being married to him. (Well, maybe a little.)
  • He says he's surprised; he thought she loved him. She says she does; duh, she's been bawling her eyes out all night over him.
  • Finally, she agrees to marry him. He apologizes for the unromantic proposal and promises to make it up to her on their honeymoon. Yowza.
  • He says their honeymoon will have to be short, because he's excited for her to see Manderley.
  • Then it hits her – she is going to be his wife and live with him at Manderley, as if that postcard of Manderley from her child had somehow predicted her future.
  • Her imagination goes wild as she pictures herself as Mrs. de Winter.
  • The narrator goes with Maxim back to Mrs. Van Hopper's suite. They've decided that Maxim will tell Mrs. VH that she's losing her companion.
  • As they are going, Maxim asks the narrator if she thinks his age, forty-two, is "very old" (6.80). She assures him it's not and says she has no interest in younger guys.
  • He asks her if they can get married right away, legally, but without a fancy wedding. His last wedding was all fancy, and he doesn't want to repeat the experience. She agrees.
  • At the suite, the narrator waits in the bedroom while Maxim tells Mrs. Van Hopper the news.
  • She can't hear them and wonders what they're saying. (So do we; this is something we'd love to see.) She thinks she should have gone with him to tell Mrs. Van Hopper, but she was too nervous.
  • Oops. She notices the book of poems. She'd almost forgotten it. Wanting to look at Rebecca's dedication again, she picks it up, but trips, dropping it. It opens to the title page; the dedication looms up at her. She knows it's not right to think about the dead.
  • Using her nail scissors, she cuts out the page, tears it up, and then burns it. That's pretty drastic, don't you think?
  • Ahh. Now she feels better. Maxim comes in and tells her everything's okay. She can talk to Mrs. Van Hopper now.
  • Mrs. Van Hopper is surprised and – shocking! – rude. She tells the narrator she doesn't think she'll be able to handle running a place like Manderley. Rebecca threw the best parties around, and the narrator knows nothing about throwing parties.
  • She says the narrator is "making a big mistake" and will "bitterly regret" (6.116) her decision. Okay, we get the point.
  • The narrator doesn't care what Mrs. Van Hopper says. She gets to be Mrs. de Winter and live at Manderley and Mrs. Van Hopper doesn't.
  • Mrs. Van Hopper tells her that Maxim isn't in love with her; he's marrying her because he can't live at Manderley alone – it's driving him crazy…