My Cousin Rachel | Study Guide

Daphne du Maurier

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My Cousin Rachel | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Easter

    Ambrose's letter says he and Rachel are married in Florence.

    Chapter 2
  • Winter

    Ambrose's letters say he is often lonely and having headaches.

    Chapter 3
  • July

    Philip leaves for Italy after receiving disturbing letters from Ambrose.

    Chapter 3
  • Last week of July

    Philip visits Rachel's villa and learns Ambrose has died.

    Chapter 4
  • First week of September

    Suspicious of Rachel, Philip returns home and learns Ambrose's will excludes her.

    Chapter 6
  • Mid-September

    Rachel arrives at the Ashley estate with Ambrose's effects, unaware of Philip's hostility.

    Chapter 7
  • Sunday

    After church and a pleasant dinner in company, Philip feels intense emotion for Rachel.

    Chapter 11
  • Days later

    After Rachel mentions giving Italian lessons, Philip arranges a generous allowance for her.

    Chapter 12
  • Christmas Eve day

    Philip gives Rachel an heirloom pearl collar for Christmas, and they kiss.

    Chapter 16
  • That evening

    Nick informs Philip Rachel has overdrawn her allowance and must return the pearls.

    Chapter 17
  • Early spring

    Ambrose's letter reveals fear of poisoning, Rachel's miscarriage, and adviser Rainaldi loves her.

    Chapter 18
  • March 31

    Philip gives Rachel the family jewels and proposes to her.

    Chapter 21
  • April 1

    Philip gives Rachel ownership of the estate, if she doesn't remarry, and declares his love.

    Chapter 22
  • Later that day

    When Rachel says she will never marry him, he nearly strangles her.

    Chapter 22
  • Next day

    As Philip becomes ill with fever and delusions, Rachel recognizes his illness as meningitis.

    Chapter 23
  • Mid-May

    Philip revives, having been cared for and cured by Rachel, and discusses laburnum with the gardener.

    Chapter 24
  • June

    Coinciding with Rainaldi's visit, Philip's symptoms return, just like Ambrose's.

    Chapter 25
  • June

    Philip finds laburnum seeds and pods in Rachel's locked drawer.

    Chapter 25
  • Sunday in June

    Warned the bridge is unsafe, Philip does not relay the warning to Rachel.

    Chapter 26
  • Later that day

    Philip and Louise search Rachel's room for proof of poisoning while Rachel falls to her death.

    Chapter 26

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 "They used to hang men at Four Turnings in the old days" begins the narrator, Philip. He first looks back to a time when... Read More
Chapter 2 For three years, Ambrose has spent winters abroad for health reasons. When Ambrose first began this practice, Philip had... Read More
Chapter 3 As others convey congratulations, Philip pretends to be happy for Ambrose. Everyone speculates about what changes await ... Read More
Chapter 4 On August 15 Philip arrives at his hotel in Florence, unimpressed with anything he has seen so far. He is unaccustomed t... Read More
Chapter 5 Philip returns to Florence and wanders around the market stalls and cathedral as he comes to terms with Ambrose's death.... Read More
Chapter 6 Philip returns home during the first week of September. The neighborhood is in mourning, but Philip is grateful to be ba... Read More
Chapter 7 Nick hands Philip a letter from Rachel informing him of Ambrose's death, saying she is in Plymouth with all his possessi... Read More
Chapter 8 A low voice tells him to enter, and Philip finds Rachel sitting in the window seat looking out over the garden. As she a... Read More
Chapter 9 After breakfast, Philip and Wellington locate a sidesaddle for Rachel, who has no riding experience. Philip is surprised... Read More
Chapter 10 Rachel is surprised to learn Philip went to Florence. He tells the story of not hearing from Ambrose for a long while, t... Read More
Chapter 11 As they prepare for church on Sunday, Philip realizes a "kind of ease had come upon me ... and it seemed ... I could in ... Read More
Chapter 12 Everyone wants Rachel to visit. Nick suggests his home, Pelyn, is better equipped to host Rachel and she should come in ... Read More
Chapter 13 When Philip returns, Wellington scolds him about overworking the horse. The servants tell Philip how hard Rachel has wor... Read More
Chapter 14 Rachel works in the garden with an eye toward pleasing Philip and future heirs, although Philip is "quite resolved to re... Read More
Chapter 15 Philip looks up kleptomania, but he knows Ambrose meant something to do with spending. Rachel shows off the coverings sh... Read More
Chapter 16 Months go by. Philip enjoys their routine, joyful when it is time to see Rachel for lunch, enduring the hours before din... Read More
Chapter 17 The dinner is a success: plentiful and delicious food, laughter, and little presents left near everyone's plate by Rache... Read More
Chapter 18 On Christmas Day, Philip and Rachel visit the lodges to distribute Ambrose's clothes. Philip is angry with Nick for "che... Read More
Chapter 19 Don the dog dies. Rachel cries for 10-year-old Philip who received the puppy as a birthday present. Philip's birthday is... Read More
Chapter 20 Rainaldi will stay at the house. He looks appraisingly at everything: "In one glance he priced the timber, reckoned the ... Read More
Chapter 21 On March 31, Philip returns to the bank, this time for the jewels. He visits Nick to show him Ambrose's unsigned will an... Read More
Chapter 22 Philip picks camellias and showers them over Rachel. She tells him to go before the servants see him in her room. He say... Read More
Chapter 23 Philip receives a note from Louise in which she asks him to meet her if he wants to talk. Louise speaks of her concerns ... Read More
Chapter 24 Philip wakes from his illness in May. Spring has come, and his beard has grown. He cannot understand and does not rememb... Read More
Chapter 25 Philip is a ghost of himself; he thinks Rachel will leaving soon, seeing her sort through her possessions in preparation... Read More
Chapter 26 Philip checks the dregs of his and Rachel's drinks to compare. His tisana might be slightly different from hers but not ... Read More
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