My Cousin Rachel | Study Guide

Daphne du Maurier

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Course Hero. "My Cousin Rachel Study Guide." Course Hero. 3 Aug. 2017. Web. 21 Oct. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/My-Cousin-Rachel/>.

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Course Hero. "My Cousin Rachel Study Guide." August 3, 2017. Accessed October 21, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/My-Cousin-Rachel/.

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My Cousin Rachel | Chapter 25 | Summary

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Summary

Philip is a ghost of himself; he thinks Rachel will leaving soon, seeing her sort through her possessions in preparation. Rachel orders the carriage several times a week for shopping and banking, but the groom, Jimmy, reveals she has been going to the Rose and Crown pub. Philip goes into town and asks a boy who helps at the pub for information. The boy says an Italian is in the parlor, so Philip waits and watches to confirm it is Rainaldi, "with that air of putting a price on all he saw."

At home, Philip confronts Rachel and claims Rainaldi loves her. Rachel says Rainaldi stands by her, referring to him as "my only friend." Philip insists Rainaldi visit instead of Rachel having to sneak around pubs. Rainaldi comes to dinner and continues his habit of referring to himself and Rachel as "we," a continuing irritant to Philip, and Rainaldi privately confesses he has "good reason ... to use it in a sense more intimate. But that ... is in the laps of the gods."

Philip's tisana has "a bitter unaccustomed tang," and his fever returns. He thinks Rachel will be annoyed to stay longer and nurse him again; she is "brusque" and seems to hold him in "mute reproach." When she tells Philip of Rainaldi's departure, she uses the word "we" and calls Italy "home."

Philip dreams of Ambrose's letter under the stone. He digs it up and reads of Ambrose's symptoms, similar to his own. After Rainaldi appeared, Ambrose's symptoms returned, same as Philip's. Ambrose suspects poison. Philip tears up the letter and grinds it into the ground. Back at the house, a letter from Rainaldi arrives for Rachel. While she sleeps, Philip snoops in her room to read the letter but finds instead a packet of laburnum seeds and pods.

Analysis

Rachel is secretly meeting Rainaldi at the pub, giving their friendship even more cause for suspicion. Philip concludes, as Ambrose did, Rainaldi loves her. Rainaldi confirms it. He probably does not consider Philip a threat because he confides his expectation of a more intimate relationship with Rachel. Philip then notices Rachel saying "we" about Rainaldi and herself, calling Italy "home," and he realizes Rainaldi will be getting his way.

Sickened by seeing Rachel and Rainaldi together, "her change of manner with him," Philip's food "tasted of dust." When Philip's tisana tastes strange, he becomes ill again, just as Ambrose became ill again when Rainaldi visited the villa. Coincidence or poison? Perhaps he has not seen the connection before, but readers may recall Rachel's mixing herbal remedies and cures throughout the story. And her specialty is the nightly tisana, helpful for a good sleep, which Philip has been drinking throughout her time in his house. A dream of Ambrose's letter helps Philip see "it was strange that his illness, from another cause, could have been, in symptoms, so much similar to mine." But the letter draws his attention more to Rainaldi's presence precipitating a relapse. Ambrose got sicker again when Rainaldi had visited, just like Philip. If these coincidences were not damning enough, Philip finds the poisonous laburnum seeds and pods in Rachel's locked drawer. What is one to believe? Could it be Rainaldi, not Rachel, is a poisoner?

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