فصل 07

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فصل 07

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  • زمان مطالعه 7 دقیقه
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Chapter seven

You Are So Very Different…

When I heard the sound of a car in the drive, I stood up in sudden fear. Beatrice and her husband had arrived. They were earlier than I expected. And Maxim had not come back. I could not meet them by myself.

I ran quickly out of the morning-room. I took a door to the left. I was in a stone corridor. A servant stared at me in surprise. I hurried up some stairs, hoping that I could find my way to my bedroom in the east wing. I could stay there until Maxim came back.

Somehow I lost my way. But I went on and came to a wide staircase. I went up it. All was quiet and dark. I was in a corridor with doors on either side. I walked on and at last I came to a long window. I looked out. Below me I could see green lawns and the sea. The sea was bright green, with white-topped waves. It was closer than I thought, much closer. I knew then that I had walked right round the house. I was standing in the corridor of the west wing. Yes, Mrs Danvers was right, you could hear the sea from here.

I was glad that my rooms were in the east wing. I loved the quiet beauty of the rose-garden. The sea was too near here. As I turned to go back to the stairs, I heard a door open behind me. Mrs Danvers stood there. We stared at one another for a moment without speaking.

‘I lost my way,’ I said, ‘I was trying to find my room.’

‘This is the west wing,’ she said. ‘Did you go into any of the rooms? If you wish to see them, please tell me. I could show them to you now.’

I shook my head. ‘No, no thank you,’ I said. ‘I must go downstairs.’ As I began to walk towards the stairs, Mrs Danvers followed me.

‘If you want to see the rooms in the west wing, I can show them to you at any time.’

‘It’s very kind of you, Mrs Danvers,’ I said. ‘I will let you know.’ Mrs Danvers walked beside me.

‘Major and Mrs Lacy have been here some time,’ she said. ‘Didn’t you hear their car? Frith took them to the morning-room. I think you know your way now, don’t you?’

‘Yes, Mrs Danvers,’ I said. I knew then that she had been watching me, laughing at my fear. As I went into the drawing-room, I looked back. Mrs Danvers was still watching me from the top of the stairs.

I could hear the sound of voices from the morning-room. I stood for a moment and then walked in.

‘Here she is at last,’ Maxim said. ‘Where have you been hiding? Here is Beatrice and this is Giles. And this is Frank Crawley, our agent.’

Beatrice was tall, broad-shouldered and very much like Maxim. She shook hands with me and said to Maxim, ‘She’s quite different from what I expected. Not like your description at all.’

Everyone laughed, but they seemed friendly. Giles was a big, heavy man. His eyes smiled at me from behind his thick glasses. Frank Crawley was a thin man with a pleasant, worried face. Maxim had told me how hard Frank Crawley worked for Manderley. The men began to talk together and I had to answer Beatrice’s questions.

‘What do you think of Manderley?’ she asked me.

‘I haven’t seen much of it yet,’ I said. ‘The house is beautiful, of course. I haven’t seen the gardens, but I’m sure I shall never get tired of them. I love walking. I can swim too, when the weather is warmer.’

‘My dear, the water is always far too cold here,’ said Beatrice.

‘I don’t mind that, I love swimming. Is it safe to swim in the bays?’ Everyone stopped talking. I realized what I had said. Rebecca had been drowned in the bay. I could not look at Maxim. I bent down to stroke the dog’s head. Then, thank God, Frith came in to say that lunch was ready. Beatrice walked with me through the hall.

‘You know,’ she said, ‘you are much younger than I expected. Tell me, do you love Maxim very much?’

Beatrice looked at my surprised face and laughed.

‘Don’t answer,’ she said. ‘I can see that you do. Maxim looks very well. We were all very worried about him last year. But of course, you know the whole story.’

But Beatrice was wrong. I did not know what had happened down in the bay. Maxim had told me nothing. I had never asked him about Rebecca’s death.

Beatrice talked to Maxim all through lunch. Frank Crawley told me a lot about Manderley. I could see that he loved it as much as Maxim did.

When lunch was over, I could see that Maxim was tired. I wished we hadn’t had visitors so soon. I took Beatrice out on to the terrace. She asked me how I had met Maxim. I told her about Mrs Van Hopper and how surprised she had been.

‘It was rather a shock to us too,’ Beatrice said. ‘Maxim said in his letter that you were very young and pretty. We expected a very modern sort of girl.’ Beatrice laughed and I laughed with her.

‘Poor Maxim. He had a terrible time,’ Beatrice said. ‘Let’s hope you have made him forget all about it. He loves Manderley so much. But you never know what he is thinking. How do you get on with Mrs Danvers?’

I was surprised by Beatrice’s question.

‘She frightens me a little,’ I said.

‘She may try to make things unpleasant for you,’ Beatrice went on. ‘She’s very jealous, of course. She must hate you being here.’

‘Why?’ I asked. ‘Why must she hate me being at Manderley?’

‘My dear child,’ Beatrice answered slowly, ‘I thought Maxim had told you. Mrs Danvers adored Rebecca. She still does.’

At that moment, the men came out of the house. A servant brought rugs and chairs and we all sat under the great tree on the lawn. I hoped everyone would go soon. I wanted to be alone with Maxim. I was sitting on a rug, leaning against Maxim’s chair. I listened to the others talking. The afternoon was sleepy and peaceful. Everything was quiet and still. Even the sea seemed far away.

This is what I wanted, I thought. This is how I thought life at Manderley would be.

This moment was safe. It could not be touched. Here we sat together, Maxim and I, hand in hand. The past and the future did not matter at all. At this moment I was not afraid.

The moment passed. Beatrice stood up.

‘We must be going,’ she said. ‘We’ve got people coming to dinner.’ We all got up and Giles looked up at the sky.

‘I’m afraid we’re going to have some rain,’ he said. We all walked slowly back to the drive.

Beatrice took my hand. Then she bent down and kissed me. ‘Forgive me if I’ve asked you a lot of rude questions, my dear. As I said before, you are not what we expected. You are so very different from Rebecca.’

As we reached the car, the sun went behind a cloud and a little rain began to fall. Maxim and I watched the car drive away. We turned and walked back into the house.

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