I saw them often, the housekeeper and the new wife.
The housekeeper always pinned and pressed, neat and stiff as a mannequin. The new wife trotting along behind, stockings runkled, collar tucked in. Far too young for that suave husband, don’t you think? Young enough to be his daughter.
So different from the first wife. All fur stoles and satin gowns and diamonds. Flinty, though, a cruel twist to her mouth. What happened to her? Drowned? She didn’t look the boating type.
Well, this evening as I was putting Dotty to bed, I smelled burning, sharp and bitter – very close. I pulled back the curtain and there it was – Manderley burning, flames licking the window frames, the roof a blaze of red, tiles shattering to the ground.
I do hope … Do you think anyone was inside?
I saw this view and it looked as if the white house was watching the grand one in the foreground, spying almost. Then for some reason I thought of the novel Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, of a neighbour watching the comings and goings at Manderley, Maxim and the second Mrs de Winter and Mrs Danvers …
The title is taken from the opening line of the novel – Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.