فصل 21

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فصل 21

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Chapter twenty one

A Visit From Jack Favell

It was after six when I heard the sound of Maxim’s car. I tried to stand up but my legs were so weak that I had to lean against a chair. Maxim came into the room and stood by the door. He looked tired and old.

‘It’s all over,’ he said. I waited. I could not speak or walk towards him.

‘Suicide,’ Maxim said. ‘That’s the verdict. They said that Rebecca killed herself.’

I sat down. ‘Suicide,’ I repeated. ‘Why do they think Rebecca did that?’

‘God knows,’ Maxim said. He went and stood by the window. ‘There’s one more thing to be done. Rebecca’s body has to be buried. I’m going down to the church now. We’ll talk about everything when I get back. We’ve got to start our lives all over again. The past can’t hurt us if we are together. We’ll have children too, I promise you. I must go now. I’m meeting Frank and Colonel Julyan at the church.’ He left the room quickly and then I heard the sound of his car driving away.

It was quiet in the library. I thought about the church where Rebecca was being buried at last.

Just before seven, the rain began to fall heavily. I opened the windows to let in the cold, clean air. The rain was falling so heavily that I did not hear Frith come in.

‘Excuse me, Madam,’ he said. ‘There’s a gentleman to see Mr de Winter. It’s Mr Favell.’

I was very surprised.

‘I think I had better see Mr Favell,’ I said. ‘Bring him in here, please, Frith.’ I hoped that Favell would go before Maxim came back. I could not think why Favell had come.

‘I’m afraid Maxim is not here,’ I said, when Favell walked into the room. His eyes were red. I wondered if he had been drinking.

‘I don’t mind waiting,’ Favell replied. ‘Max will be back for dinner, I’m sure.’

‘Mr Favell,’ I said. ‘I don’t want to be rude, but I am very tired. It will be better if you come back in the morning.’

‘No, no,’ he said, coming towards me, ‘I’ve got something to say to Max. This has been a shock to me, you know. I was very fond of Rebecca.’

‘Yes, of course,’ I said. ‘I’m very sorry for you.’

‘I was fonder of Rebecca than of anyone else in the world,’ Favell went on. ‘And she was fond of me. That’s why I’ve come here to find out the truth. Suicide… my God. You and I know it wasn’t suicide, don’t we?’

As Favell was speaking, the door opened and Maxim and Frank came in.

‘What the hell are you doing here?’ Maxim said to Favell.

‘Why, hello, Max, old man,’ Favell said. ‘You must be feeling very pleased with yourself.’

‘Do you mind leaving the house?’ said Maxim coldly. ‘I don’t want you here.’

‘Now, wait a minute, Max,’ Favell answered. ‘You’ve been very lucky. But I can still make life unpleasant for you. And dangerous too, perhaps.’ Maxim stared hard at Favell.

‘Oh yes?’ he said. ‘In what way can you make things dangerous?’

‘I’ll tell you, Max,’ said Favell with an unpleasant smile. ‘You know all about Rebecca and me. Her death was a great shock. Then I read about Rebecca’s boat and the body in the cabin. So I went to the inquest. I heard the boat-builder’s evidence. What about those holes in the boat, Max?’

‘You heard the verdict,’ Maxim told him. ‘I have nothing more to say.’ Favell laughed.

‘You know Rebecca didn’t kill herself. I’ve a note here that may interest you. I kept it because it was the last thing Rebecca ever wrote to me. Listen.’

Favell took a piece of paper from his pocket. I recognized Rebecca’s hard, black writing.

“I tried to phone you,” Favell read, “but you were out. I’m leaving London now and going back to Manderley. I’ll wait for you in the cottage. Come down as soon as you can. I’ve got something to tell you.” ‘ Favell put the note back in his pocket.

‘I found that in my London flat. It was too late to drive down to Manderley. When I phoned the following day, Rebecca was dead. Do you really think Rebecca killed herself after writing that note?’

Maxim said nothing.

‘Now, Max, old man,’ Favell said at last, ‘you know I’m not a rich man. If I had two or three thousand pounds, I could live quite well. I’d never come back, I promise you.’

‘I’ve already asked you to leave the house,’ Maxim said. ‘The door is behind you.’

Favell laughed again.

‘Think again, Max,’ said Favell. ‘I don’t suppose your new bride wants to be known as the wife of a murderer.’

‘You can’t frighten me, Favell,’ Maxim answered. ‘Shall I phone Colonel Julyan? You can tell your story to him.’

‘You wouldn’t dare, Max,’ said Favell. ‘I have enough evidence to hang you, Max.’

Maxim walked slowly towards the telephone in the next room.

‘Stop him,’ I said to Frank. ‘Stop him for God’s sake.’ But it was too late. Maxim was already speaking.

‘Is that Colonel Julyan? It’s de Winter here. Could you come over to Manderley at once? No - I can’t say anything over the phone. Thank you very much, goodbye.’

Maxim came back again into the room.

‘Colonel Julyan will be here in ten minutes,’ he said.

We waited in silence. The rain was so heavy that we did not hear the sound of the car. We were taken by surprise when Frith brought the magistrate into the library.

‘Good evening, Colonel Julyan,’ Maxim said at once. ‘This is Jack Favell, my late wife’s cousin. He has something to say to you.’

Favell went up to Colonel Julyan. ‘I’m not happy about the verdict. I want you to read this note. Tell me whether you think the writer had decided to kill herself.’ Colonel Julyan took the note and read it slowly.

‘I see what you mean,’ he said. ‘But the note is not clear. What do you think really happened to Mrs de Winter?’ Favell looked at Maxim.

‘I’ll tell you what I think,’ he said slowly. ‘Rebecca never opened those sea-cocks. She didn’t make those holes in the boat. Rebecca didn’t kill herself. I say she was murdered. Do you want to know who the murderer is? He’s there, standing by the window. Mr Maximilian de Winter - he’s your murderer. Take a good look at him.’

Favell began to laugh, a high stupid laugh, as he twisted the note round and round in his fingers.

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