Jack Favell has just suggested that Maxim killed Rebecca. Favell laughs hysterically, and the narrator notices that Colonel Julyan, who’s been listening to Favell’s hypothesis, is taken aback. Julyan insists that Favell is drunk and delusional—nothing he says should be taken too seriously. Frank interjects that Favell is trying to blackmail Maxim. Julyan nods and asks Favell if he has any actually proof that Maxim killed Rebecca. Favell is forced to admit that he doesn’t. But he admits that he and Rebecca were lovers—therefore, Maxim killed Rebecca because he was jealous of Rebecca’s affair.
As the narrator listens to Favell and Colonel Julyan argue, she realizes that there is a witness to Rebecca’s murder: Ben. She remembers what Ben told her: “The fishes have eaten her, haven’t they?” Clearly, he was talking about Rebecca, not the ship. As the narrator realizes this, she’s dismayed to hear Favell arrive at the same conclusion: he tells Julyan that they should speak to Ben, who may well have seen Maxim with Rebecca on the night of her murder. Julyan nods and tells Robert to go find Ben.
For most of this scene (and in fact, for the rest of the novel!), the narrator doesn’t really participate in the action, except in the simplest of ways. Her function in this chapter is mostly to explain to us, the readers, what her thought process is, and to help reveal the series of secrets that lead to the novel’s conclusion.
While Frank, Favell, Julyan, Maxim, and the narrator wait for Robert to find Ben, Favell insults Frank. He says that Frank didn’t have much success with Rebecca, but that when Maxim is executed, Frank will be able to provide a “fraternal arm” for the narrator. Maxim, furious, attacks Favell, punching him in the face. Julyan tells the narrator that she needs to go upstairs, but the narrator refuses. The narrator thinks that Colonel Julyan is beginning to take Favell more seriously.
Jack Favell is caddish, but he vocalizes things that none of the other characters are brave enough to say. In the earlier chapters, du Maurier had seemed to be leaning towards a romantic relationship between the narrator and Frank, and there is now a real possibility that Maxim will be accused of murder. Because Maxim loses control and exhibits violence right in front of him, Julyan now begins to side with Jack Favell.
Robert returns to Manderley with Ben. Inside, Favell greets Ben and asks Ben if he remembers who he is. Before Ben can answer, Colonel Julyan interjects—he tells Ben he’s going to ask him some questions, and then send him home. Julyan asks Ben if he knows Favell, and Ben denies this. Favell, furious, says Ben does know him, and calls Ben a “half-witted liar.” Julyan next asks Ben if he remembers Rebecca de Winter. Ben seems hesitant. Favell asks Ben if he saw Rebecca on the night she died, but Ben replies, “I seen nothing.” Favell insists that someone is bribing Ben to keep quiet. Julyan, unconvinced, tells Ben to go home.
Du Maurier never reveals why Ben is suddenly silent at this crucial time. Maxim may have bribed Ben to keep quiet about what he saw on the night of Rebecca death (or threatened to send him to the asylum), or Ben may have just sensed what was happening and is now trying to help Maxim. The most important sign that Ben is lying to Julyan comes when Julyan asks him about Rebecca—though we’ve already witnessed Ben talking about Rebecca, Ben is now reluctant to say anything. In any case, Ben’s lack of information is a crushing blow for Jack’s case.
Colonel Julyan tells Favell the facts: Favell has no way whatsoever of proving his story. Favell smirks and says he has one “way” left. He rings a bell, and Frith enters the room. Favell tells Frith to ask Mrs. Danvers to come downstairs at once. In a few moments, Mrs. Danvers is downstairs, face to face with Colonel Julyan.
So far, we’re not sure how much Mrs. Danvers knows: she’d said that she admired Rebecca for being unrestrained and independent “like a boy,” but this doesn’t necessarily mean she knows about Favell, or about Rebecca’s other affairs in London.
Favell asks Mrs. Danvers to tell Colonel Julyan the truth about Rebecca: she’d been “living” with Favell for years during her marriage to Maxim, and was in love with him. Mrs. Danvers denies this without so much as a moment’s hesitation. But then she clarifies: Rebecca was not in love with Favell or Maxim—she didn’t really love anyone. Rebecca told her many times that love-making was only a “game” to her—she did it for a laugh. Mrs. Danvers begins to cry.
Mrs. Danvers only says that Rebecca didn’t love Favell—she doesn’t confirm or deny that they were living together. Rebecca seemingly manipulated everyone in her life, even her own cousin. This makes Jack seem like a more pathetic character than we’d imagined: he’s deluded himself into believing that he had a special relationship with Rebecca, when he was actually just another pawn for her.
Colonel Julyan asks Mrs. Danvers if she can think of any reason why Rebecca would kill herself. Danvers pauses for a long time, then says, “No.” Julyan shows Danvers the note Rebecca supposedly sent Favell before her death. Danvers insists that this note is a fabrication: if Rebecca had something important to tell Favell, she would have told Mrs. Danvers first. However, Mrs. Danvers also mentions that Rebecca kept a diary, in which she kept note of her upcoming appointments. Mrs. Danvers goes to fetch the diary. When she returns with the diary, she shows Colonel Julyan that Rebecca had written down her appointments for the day that she supposedly killed herself. Julyan notices a name written in the diary: “Baker,” with the telephone number “M 0488” written beside it. Julyan asks Danvers who this person could be, but Danvers says she has no idea.
It’s impossible to tell if Mrs. Danvers is purposefully lying to Julyan, or if she’s just lying to herself. Danvers presumes to be Rebecca’s closest confidante, even though the only suggestions that this was ever true come from Danvers herself. Although she faults Favell for deluding himself into believing that he was special to Rebecca, Mrs. Danvers is doing exactly the same thing. This is Mrs. Danvers’ last scene in the novel, and as it draws to a close we realize that she summarizes the “agonies and ecstasies” of knowing Rebecca: both the thrill of having her trust and the pain of knowing that she’s a manipulative liar.
Favell says that Frank should call all the phone numbers listed in the M-0488 format. Frank does so—the first number, he says, is for a woman who’s never heard of Baker. The second M-number links to a man named Baker, Frank discovers. He was a doctor in Bloomsbury, though he left about six months ago. Colonel Julyan decides that he’ll need to get in touch with Baker as soon as possible.
Du Maurier doesn’t linger long on the details of how Frank gets this information from his correspondent (it seems pretty implausible that he could learn so much about Baker over a simple phone call). Du Maurier’s purpose isn’t to be overly realistic—for now, it’s just to move the plot forward.