My Cousin Rachel | Study Guide

Daphne du Maurier

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My Cousin Rachel | Chapter 19 | Summary



Don the dog dies. Rachel cries for 10-year-old Philip who received the puppy as a birthday present. Philip's birthday is in three weeks, and he plans to give Rachel the pearl collar and all the jewels, but Rachel reminds him "they must remain in trust for your wife when you marry." He wants to say more but moves on. Rachel tells him she will leave for London after his birthday. Philip asks Rachel if she had inherited Ambrose's property, "Would you have lived here? ... We should be living here together, just as we are doing now?" She says yes. Philip reminds her the jewels and everything else should have been hers, and he has an idea that will come to pass in three weeks, he tells her.

He asks to see Ambrose's unsigned will, makes a copy of it, and asks why Ambrose never signed it. Rachel says he lost faith in her after they realized she could not have more children and after he became ill suspected her of infidelity and worse. Philip does not understand what could be worse. This incomprehension infuriates Rachel; Philip does not know why: "Why, in a sudden, had she changed? If Ambrose had known little about women, I knew less."

The next morning Philip goes to another attorney, not Nick, to draw up a document giving all his fortune to Rachel on his birthday. Philip agrees to include a marriage clause: "In the case of her remarriage ... the property reverts to me. That is most definite." He rides home from the errand filled with joy, believing she will not leave her property and thus cancel plans to go to London. But, when he arrives home, he sees an unfamiliar carriage; an unexpected guest has arrived: Rainaldi.


The symbol of the pearl collar now extends to all the jewels; the collar as a representation of marriage now expands to all the jewels as representing love, money, and control—the physical manifestation of ownership of the entire estate. Philip wants to give everything he has to Rachel, starting with the jewels. She wisely says no: wise because if she is innocent, it is wrong, and if she is guilty, it is not enough.

Rachel is irate when Philip asks, "What can be worse than infidelity?" It is sometimes difficult to believe Philip can be so obtuse. He knows Ambrose suspected her of poisoning him—he just buried the letter in Chapter 18—why does he ask as if oblivious? Rachel simply kicks him out, as if perhaps she does not want to put the idea of poisoning in his head, or perhaps she knows Rainaldi, the suspected lover, is soon to arrive. But she does not explain, and Philip assumes he does not understand women. When Rainaldi appears, the ensuing distraction prevents discussion or defense of the poisoning accusation.

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