Chapter 19 -- In which a ship runs aground and Maxim reveals a Big Secret.
Now that there's an outside crisis, it's as if Mrs. Danvers never tried to convince Mrs.deW2 to commit suicide:
"We had better go down," she said, "Frith will be looking for me to make arrangements. Mr. de Winter may bring the men back to the house as he said. Be careful of your hands, I'm going to shut the window."
Temporary insanity on both their parts? After the events of Chapter 18, seeing Mrs. Danvers act at all concerned about the narrator's welfare was rather jarring. And she seems to have no fear whatsoever that there will be any repercussions, either. Does she have a hold over Maxim, or does she just trust in Mrs.deW2's apparent inability to stand up for herself?
Maxim is down at the cove, smoking up a storm (I'm surprised the man still has lungs) and dealing with a ship that's run aground. He still hasn't spoken to Mrs.deW2 since before the dance.
Is it just me, or is Frith acting nicer? After being such a big jerk previously, it seemed odd to me that he's all chatty now. Maybe he's different when in crisis mode?
Ah, this makes it more understandable:
I thought how alike people were in a moment of common interest. Frank was Frith all over again, giving his version of the story, as though it mattered, as though we cared. I knew that he had gone down to the beach to look for Maxim. I knew that he had been frightened, as I had been. And now all this was forgotten and put aside, our conversation down the telephone, our mutual anxiety, his insistence that he must see me. All because a ship had gone ashore in the fog.
The paragraph beginning: "I wished I could lose my identity and join them" made me wonder how cross-class connections are treated in du Maurier's other books. They certainly haven't turned out very well in this one. So far, anyway.
Another run-in with Idiot Ben:
"She's run aground," I repeated. "I expect she's got a hole in her bottom."
His face went blank and foolish. "Aye," he said, "she's down there all right. She'll not come back again."
I rather suspect that Ben isn't talking about the ship. And is the narrator being deliberately obtuse? I hope so. Because if she's not, I've lost all hope.
The next page makes me think that she was willfully misunderstanding him -- for the first time, looking at Manderley gives her "a funny feeling of bewilderment and pride that it was my home". She feels as if she belongs. Maybe because talking with Ben really drove it home for her: Rebecca is dead.
Re: Captain Seale's visit: !!!!
It's amazing that incidents that are so completely devastating to Mrs.deW2 hardly even register with Maxim. He's so wrapped up in himself and oblivious.
Re: Maxim's secret: !!!!!! And even more !!!!!
Is it totally sick that now I actually like him a little bit? Probably. But I do. Because at least he's been all tormented about THAT, and not about Rebecca herself.
I'd guess that Ben saw it happen. But does Frank know? And does Mrs. Danvers suspect?
Chapter 20 -- In which we hear about The Other Side of Rebecca.
"I love you so much," he whispered. "So much."
What? WHAT?? Now he tells her?
"You were so aloof," he said, "always wandering into the garden with Jasper, going off on your own. You never came to me like this."
What? WHAT?? Now I hate him again. Jackassery unchained, man. Un. Chained.
"You remember the precipice. I frightened you, didn't I? You thought I was mad. Perhaps I was. Perhaps I am. It doesn't make for sanity, does it, living with the devil?"
Yeah, I'd agree with him. I think it's pretty clear that he snapped somewhere along the way.
If I don't find out what Rebecca said on that hilltop, I'm going to freak out. I mean, I've got plenty of guesses, but I want to know. Too bad there's not another version of the book from Maxim's perspective.
Are we talking orgies? Orgies? Yikes. And, in all probability, knocked up by her cousin? Awesome.
I did not say anything. I held his hands against my heart. I did not care about his shame. None of the things that he had told me mattered to me at all. I clung to one thing only, and repeated it to myself, over and over again. Maxim did not love Rebecca. He had never loved her, never, never. They had not known one moment's happiness together. Maxim was talking, and I listened to him, but his words meant nothing to me. I did not really care.
Yow. Don't let her anywhere near a cult leader.
Chapter 21 -- In which our narrator finally asserts herself.
I think that the narrator is a little bit crazy, too:
My heart, for all its anxiety and doubt, was light and free. I knew then that I was no longer afraid of Rebecca. I did not hate her any more. Now that I knew her to be evil and vicious and rotten I did not hate her any more. She could not hurt me.
I'm not saying that I don't understand what she's saying -- I do. But she still sounds crazed.
It occurred to me that she's the one with the power in their relationship. She might not have realized it yet. Heck, maybe she won't realize it at all.
Ah. Now that she's not worried about Rebecca, she's not having any trouble giving orders to the servants. Even to Mrs. Danvers:
"I'm not used to having messages sent to me by Robert," she said. "If Mrs. de Winter wanted anything changed she would ring me personally on the house telephone."
"I'm afraid it does not concern me very much what Mrs. de Winter used to do," I said. "I am Mrs. de Winter now, you know. And if I choose to sent a message by Robert I shall do so."
Oooooo, SNAP. An "Oh, and by the way, you're fired" would have been good, too, but I'm okay if we start small.
"It's gone forever, that funny, young, lost look that I loved. It won't come back again."
So, yeah. I was right about his reasons for marrying her -- or why he found her attractive in the first place -- she's Rebecca's opposite. I wonder if her new-found confidence will turn him off.