Chapter 13 -- In which Mrs. Danvers has a super-sketchy visitor.
"You must be very brave," he would say, "I am afraid you must be prepared for a great shock."
AS IF. As if Frith would break anything to her gently. Rather, he'd dump it on her, and then when she freaked out, he's say, "Ah. Yes. Well, the first Mrs. de Winter was always so stalwart at times like this."
Also, was that just one of those random, uncontrollable thoughts, or was that a semi-attractive daydream?
Now she's sneaking cookies, and she's afraid the servants will see:
I went and ate them in the woods, in case one of the servants should see me on the lawn from the windows, and then go and tell the cook that they did not think Mrs. de Winter cared for the food prepared in the kitchen, as they had just seen her filling herself with fruit and biscuits. The cook would be offended, and perhaps go to Mrs. Danvers.
I can't imagine living in such fear. And the fear is so much of her own making. I realize that much of it originally stems from her personality and the class issues, but if she wants it to change, she's got to stand up. I also feel like her fears are snowballing.
One of the odd things I'm discovering about reading this so slowly is that each time I pick the book up, a good amount of time has gone by for me, so I keep expecting the narrator to have had a revelation in the meantime. I know that makes absolutely zero sense, but I feel a little jolt every time I start again and discover that she's still stuck in the same place I left her. (Makes me think of the story "Red wolf, red wolf" by W. P. Kinsella.)
Rather telling that she's so happy with Maxim away from Manderley. And that she realizes it. There's something off about the way she describes it, though -- as if Maxim is a schoolteacher. Again, yick.
She totally brought Jasper on her walk so he'd run off to The Beach of Death. (And, yes, for companionship, since he's one of the few at Manderley she's comfortable with...)
"I done nothing," he repeated, "I never told no one. I don't want to be put to the asylum." A tear rolled down his dirty face.
AH HA! What has Ben never told, and who threatened him with the asylum? ?? ???
Oh. That's who threatened him. Yikes. But what hasn't he told?
The scene with Mr. Favell STRESSED. ME. OUT. Why would Mrs. Danvers have anything to do with him? He doesn't seem like the sort she'd spend time with. He sounded so... fleshy. Is he a blackmailer? Why did he keep trying to get Mrs.deW2 to go for a ride with him? Was it so that other people would see them together, as a way to start gossip about her? Am I the most paranoid person on the planet?
On to the west wing...
Chapter 14 -- In which Mrs. Danvers gives our narrator the Grand Tour of Rebecca's room.
Why are there fresh flowers in Rebecca's room? Is it because Maxim can't let go, or is it because Mrs. Danvers can't? Or is Mrs. Danvers using the room as a Secret Love Nest? (Okay, that last one was just ridiculous.)
Then I heard a step behind me and turning round I saw Mrs. Danvers. I shall never forget the expression on her face. Triumphant, gloating, excited in a strange unhealthy way. I felt very frightened.
No kidding. I'm terrified, and I'm just reading it. It's funny that I question the narrator's reliability when it comes to almost everything else, but when Mrs. Danvers does stuff like this, I take her at her word.
I couldn't take notes at all during that scene. Yow. Mrs. Danvers wins, man. She's way scarier than Hannibal Lecter.
"Sometimes I wonder," she whispered. "Sometimes I wonder if she comes back here to Manderley and watches you and Mr. de Winter together."
A ghostly Rebecca would be less frightening than what is suggested by this whole scene, which is that Mrs. Danvers is doing the watching for her dead mistress.
Chapter 15 -- In which our narrator meets Maxim's grandmother and overhears a blowout in the library.
Beatrice drives like Agatha Raisin.
This is the first time she's made me laugh in ages and ages, and it was probably inadvertent. (On the narrator's part, I mean, not du Maurier's):
I had an uneasy feeling we might be asked to spend the approaching Christmas with Beatrice. Perhaps I could have influenza.
Ooooooooh. Mr. Favell was Rebecca's cousin. So what was her background? He had money, what with that car and all, but he sure didn't strike me as Maxim's type, class-wise. Or are we talking New Money vs. Old Money? There's clearly something going on there -- Beatrice didn't want to talk about him (which seems odd in itself) and:
"I did not take to him much," I said.
"No," said Beatrice. "I don't blame you."
And she mentions that she was very seldom at Manderley when Rebecca was alive. What's THAT all about? Holy cow, these three chapters were HUGE.
The only thing that mattered to me was that Maxim should never come to hear of it. One day I might tell Frank Crawley, but not yet, not for quite a while.
Again, she doesn't feel that she can talk with her own husband. (Not that I can really blame her -- it isn't as if he's reacted very well in the past when she's tried to talk to him.)
Whoa. What do you want to bet that Mrs. Danvers'll blame Mrs.deW2 for the scene with Maxim?
Nice to see that Maxim was so happy to be reunited with his new wife. Yeesh.