Mrs Van Hopper had been in bed for about ten days. She was borred now, and more bad tempered than usual. She asked me what I had been doing."You haven't got enough to do and so you are doing nothing", she said unpleasantly. "You never have any drawings to show me. When I ask you to do some shopping, you always forget something. You are getting lazy without me to watch you."
I did not reply. I could not tell Mrs Van Hopper thay every morning I drove with de Winter in his car. Every day I had lunch with him at his table.
I have forgotten the places we went to, but I have not forgotten the excitement of those mornings. I remember how I ran down the stairs because the lift was too slow. He was always waiting in his car, reading a paper. When he saw me, he would smile and say, "Well, how is the companion this morning? Where would you like to go?"
If we had driven round circles, I would not have cared. I was happy to sit next to him, to be alone with him. But the times always went too quickly. There was a clock in the car. I could not help looking at it as we drove along. "If only we could keep our memories like scent in a bottle", I said one day. "And then we could open the bottle when we wanted to remember the moment again."
"And what moment would you like to keep?" de Winter said with a smile.
"I'm not sure", I began. Then I said quicky, "I'd like to keep this moment and never forget it."
De Winter laughted. I suddenly felt very young and verry silly."I wish," I said angrily, ". . . I wish I was a woman of about thirty-six. I wish I was wearing a lot of make-up and had expensive clothes."
"You would not be in this car now if you were like that," he said.
"Why do you ask me to come out in you car, day after day?" I said. "I'm young, I know nothing. I am not an interesting person at all. You know all about me now. I have told you everything. But I know nothing about you, nothing - except that you live at Manderley and . . . and that your wife is dead."
I said the words, at last. Your wife. Your wife. He would never forgive me. I shall never drive with him again, I thought. He slowed down the car and we stopped by the side of the road. Then he tourned to me and spoke.
"A little while ago, you said you wanted to keep your memories. For me, it is different. All my memories are unhappy. I want to forget them. Something happened a year ago that changed my whole life. I want to forget everything that happened to me before that time. That's why I came to Monte Carlo. If you had not been here, I would have left long ago. I ask you to drive with me because I like you. I enjoy your company. If you don't belive me, you can get out of the car now."
I sat very still. I could not speak. I could feel the tears coming into my eyes. "I want to go home now", I said.
Without a word, he started the car and we drove on. The tears began to run down my cheeks. Suddenly de Winter took my hand and kissed it. Then he gave me his handkerchief. I wiped my red eyes. I had never felt more alone.
"To hell with this," he said and put his arm around my shoulders. "You are so young, I don't know how to speak to you. Forget everything I told you. Let's start again. My family always call Maxim. I'd like to call me that too."
I smiled then, and he laughed back at me. The morning was happy again. The afternoon with Mrs Van Hopper did not matter. I could look forward to tomorreow morning and the morning after. I could call him Maxim. He had kissed me.
I had to play cards with Mrs Van Hopper that afternoon, but I was stil happy. When we had finished our game, Mrs Van Hopper said, "Tell me, is Max de Winter still in the hotel?"
"Yes. Yes, I think so. He comes into the restaurants sometimes," I said.
Someone has told her, I thought. Someones has seen us together. I waited for her to ask more questions. But she did not.
"He's an attractive man," she said, "but not easy to know. I never saw his wife. People say she was very lovely. She was clever too, and always beautifully dressed, of course. Her death was very sudden. Everyone says he adored her."
I did not answer. I was thinking about Rebecca - beautifull and clever. People could not forget her. Somehow, she and her beauty had not died.
In my bedroom was a book that Rebecca had held in her hands. His family called him Maxim. Rebecca had called him Max. I thought of the writing on the page. It was bold and full of life. Rebecca was all the tihngs that I would never be. I thought of all the letters Rebecca had written to her husband. They must have been full of the life they had shared.
I thought I could hear her voice calling him. She called him Max. It was her special name for him. And I had to call him Maxim...
Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier