The Big Read: Rebecca -- Daphne du Maurier Chapters 22-24
Chapter 22 -- In which the boat builder lets loose at the inquest and our narrator faints.
"It seems so odd to us, Madam, that she should have let herself be trapped like that in the cabin. She was so experienced in a boat."
"Yes, Frith. That's what we all feel. But accidents will happen. And how it happened I don't suppose any of us will ever know."
Can you imagine a conversation like this taking place a few chapters ago? Everything Frith said would have sounded ominous, and Mrs.deW2 would have been all nervous and monosyllabic. But, now -- he's almost asking for guidance and telling her that he'll "do anything that might help the family" and she's in complete control of herself and of the conversation.
They talked about him as Max de Winter. It sounded racy, horrible.
Remember when she wanted to call him Max? When she was jealous that Rebecca had always called him Max? I wonder if Rebecca called him that to irritate him.
This was good:
I still avoided his eye, but I was more convinced than ever that he knew the truth. He had always known it. From the very first. . . . I understood it all. Frank knew, but Maxim did not know that he knew. And Frank did not want Maxim to know that he knew. And we all stood there, looking at one another, keeping us these little barriers between us.
At the inquest:
The coroner was a thin, elderly man in a pince-nez. There were people there I did not know. I glanced at them out of the tail of my eye. My heart gave a jump suddenly as I recognised Mrs. Danvers. She was sitting right at the back. And Favell was beside her. Jack Favell, Rebecca's cousin. He was leaning forward, his chin in his hands, his eyes fixed on the coroner, Mr. Horridge.
You know, I wondered if anyone was going to mention the holes in the bottom of the boat.
Chapter 23 -- In which our narrator faces down Jack Favell, we learn for very sure that Frank knows The Truth, and Colonel Julyan is called to Manderley.
Have you noticed that whenever Mrs.deW2 is in a dark place mentally, she starts thinking of Mrs. Van Hopper?
Wow. Jack Favell is a pig. If Rebecca was at all like him, I rather think that Maxim's actions were somewhat justified. (A divorce probably would have been a better move and all, but that wouldn't have been very Gothic, would it?) If he'd come to Manderley with the intent of killing Maxim, or of getting Maxim to admit to wrongdoing, that would be something. But, no. He came to blackmail him. Gross.
Chapter 24 -- In which Ben and Mrs. Danvers are questioned, and Rebecca's appointment diary is unearthed.
I do think that class -- or maybe, more simply, deportment -- has been a factor in the conversation between Favell, Maxim and Julyan. If Favell hadn't been drunk, had been able to keep himself calm and in check, if he'd, you know, repressed his urge to blackmail, he'd have come off as much more believable and sympathetic (not to mention honest), and Julyan would have probably taken him more seriously. OR, you know, he could have brought the note to the authorities before the inquest. Or even brought it up at the inquest.
But he's just horrible horrible horrible, and even if it is simple snobbery that is keeping him from being taken seriously, I can't say that I care very much.
Now, finally, Ben comes into it. And he is AWESOME.
Next up: Mrs. Danvers.
Oh wow, I did NOT see that coming. It was also pretty awesome, even though she did it for (I'd assume) very different reasons than Ben. She's... something, huh?
Phew. I feel like I held my breath all the way through that chapter. Sorry about the lack of notes. My head is spinning.