Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon: Read-a-long Chapters 33-END!

The final installment of Lady Audley’s Secret – can you believe it? I’m sad that I won’t be posting along with you all after tonight but I’m also quite glad to finally know that Lady Audley’s secret actually is.

Speaking of which, one of you actually guessed it last week, in a comment on somebody else’s blog. I can’t remember who it was or locate the comment now, but I wish I had your super–psychic-deduction skills because you were BANG ON.

I’m once again writing this as I read it, so excuse any stream-of-consciousness.

Oh my God, I loathe Robert Audley. He’s so smug and interfering about things that DO NOT CONCERN HIM. Nobody asked him to get involved (aside from Clara, but she’s a woman and we learned last week how they’re all sneaky, horrible creatures) but he’s acting like he’s judge, jury and executioner. So high and mighty.

Unless you will confess what you are and who you are in the presence of the man you have deceived so long, and accept from him and from me such mercy as we may be inclined to extend to you, I will gather together the witnesses who shall swear to your identity…

My friend thought this gif was me. I may henceforth only use Clueless gifs.

Umm, excuse me? Such mercy as you may extend? I don’t think so, bitch. Once her husband knows everything, your participation in this is over. The arrogance of his assumption that he now controls everything irks me. 

In addition, I know Lady Audley has confessed to killing George but I still doubt that she did. She is mad, after all. I think she dreamt it, fantasised about it or maybe accidentally witnessed the crime but that’s all. I mean, she was so hesitant and guilt-ridden about the fire last week that it was clearly the first time she’d done anything like it, not to mention her actual physical strength.

He had no right to do what he did – no confont Lady Audley, to demand she tell her husband and definitely not to run right off and tell Alicia! God. He goes on about preserving Sir Michael’s dignity and then babbles about it condescendingly to the first person he meets in the corridor!

   “He is going away; but he must not go alone, must he, Alicia?”
   “Alone? no! no! But I suppose my lady-”
   “Lady Audley will not go with him,” said Robert, gravely; “he is about to separate himself from her.”
   “For a time?”
   “No, forever.”
   “Separate himself from her forever!” exclaimed Alicia. “Then this grief-”
   “Is connected with Lady Audley. Lady Audley is the cause of your father’s sorrow.”

Things Robert Audley did not know whilst making this statement:

  • That Sir Michael was going away
  • That Sir Michael was separating from Lady Audley forever
  • That Sir Michael may have wished to communicate the news himself
  • That Sir Michael wanted Alicia to know at all 

 “Surely this awful responsibility has been forced upon me in order that I may humble myself to an offended Providence…”

 Oh shut up; you love it.
And then (this is my last Robert Rant, I swear) he sits by the fire praising himself and hoping that Clara has been told his life was in danger. He hasn’t avenged her brother’s killer and his spirit may not be at rest – he’s proved that Robert’s wife is Lucy Audley, but not that she killed him! He’s made no effort in investigating that part of it – just sits back and smugly assumes.

I really object to Lady Audley being bundled off to the mad house. We’ve already established that Robert has no right to do so, but nor does anybody. I know it’s a different time period with different values but she’s a person, not an inconvenient sack of potatoes to be hidden away without her consent.

I wish she’d stuck up for herself a little more. She eventually does have a go at Robert but only once they’ve arrived at her new home. She could have piped up when they left her own damn country, but no. And then it turns out that she did kill Robert. Damn it, I suck at this stuff – that was the one thing I was adamant about!

I still don’t see how she could have though. I know I should probably just admit defeat at this point, but the man is strong enough to bruise her arm by holding it!
On the bright side, bye bye Luke! I think it’s safe to say that the world will hardly be a darker place without him. I’m sorry that he seems to be dying slowly, but still. And then Robert is all smug because he assumes Luke has summoned him so he can confess Lady Audley’s secret – but he already knows because HE IS SUPERIOR, DAMMIT.

Luke even angers me on his death bed. He just can’t stop insulting and abusing Phoebe for a second, can he? And then we find out that he knew what happened to George all along but just didn’t bother to mention it because… well, because that’s what he’s like. He actually blames Lady Audley for it too. I’d look at him like a dog too! Hell, I’m looking at my Kindle like it’s a dog just for making me read this stuff.

YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES! George Talboys is ALIVE. Alright, not for the reasons I supposed, but I was right! Small victories, people.

I’m glad that Robert wrote to Lady Audley and told her what happened – he didn’t need to and I wouldn’t have been surprised if he hadn’t. It does render his treatment of her unfair, however – now she’s only guilty of assuming her abdent husband (of three years) was dead, remarrying and choosing to continue her life. Oh, and GBH maybe.

This just shows what I’ve been saying all along! Robert should have got the facts first before running off, making accusations and assuming everything. He’s ruined Sir Audley’s life because he won’t be able to tell him that is wife isn’t a murderer and he’s exiled Lady Audley because HE IS A BAD PERSON. ARRRRRGH.

Then Robert and Clara declare their love, George reappears and everything is just wonderful. Apart from Lady Audley dying, but who cares about that?

___________________________________________________________

So. Final thoughts.

I know I’ve gone kind of off-track here by loathing Robert Audley and feeling sorry for Lady Audley. But I really cannot stand that man and I think that makes me like her by default. ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ that kind of thing.

But seriously, she has been badly done to in this book. Robert had no authority other than his own moral uppity-ness and actually turned out to be wrong. He acted on false assumptions but doesn’t bother to make things right. I admit he at least told her what happened, but Sir Michael should have been made aware as well.

*cough*

I’m done now.

As for the book itself, I enjoyed it but I don’t think I’d want to read it again. I think the writing style improved as the book went on but certain things were never explained, like the baby shoe that Phoebe and Luke stole. I think I was also expecting that certain plot points would turn out to be red herrings (like Helen/Lucy turning out to be different people) and therefore not be as obvious, but then again the mystery novel hadn’t really developed to be what we now know it as.

However, the… umm… depth of my feelings for Robert Audley indicate that Lady Audley’s Secret brought up some strong feelings and a book can’t be all bad if it makes you care, even if it’s not the way you’re intended to.

So that’s it! A massive thank you to Alice for running this – I’ve had a great time reading all your thoughts and learning how much more inuitive you are than I am. See you next time!

Comments

  1. Oh yeah the BABY shoe. And the fact that Phoebe and Lucy looked alike! WHY WAS NOTHING DONE ABOUT THAT. Oh wait. Maybe she said that because she was thinking of using Phoebe but then she found that other lady.

    1. admin says:

      Ohhhhh, I forgot about Lucy and Phoebe looking alike!

      It really does seem as though MAB didn't really know where the story was going and so dropped in lots of plot points in case she wanted to use them later… and then didn't.

    2. Red says:

      Oh yeah, I forgot about Lucy & Phoebe looking alike. I'll assume MEB forgot as well.

    3. Yes! I wondered the same thing about Phoebe looking like Helen. Why did this not become a thing?

    4. Megs says:

      I think the baby shoe was a thing Phoebe had planned to use to work on Lucy and get the money for the public house, because she told Luke that it might take a long time to get the money out of her. But THEN she saw the killing-George thing and didn't need the shoe anymore.

  2. Red says:

    I feel like Lady A suddenly giving up and just giving in when Rob was like "I HAVE YOU NOW!" was mostly shoddy writing cos it really didn't fit with how she's dealt with being backed into a corner before.

    1. admin says:

      I completely agree. I actually meant to write that in my post but I guess I was too busy ranting about all the other things :p

  3. Robert disappears Helen. Did anyone tell her Dad? It's just like, oh let's forget her now.

    1. Megs says:

      Ugh…her dad! That poor guy never gets to know about ANYTHING.

  4. raych says:

    One more Robert rant: Luke is like, Remember so and so who did such and such, and Robert is like, HOW LONG WILL I HAVE TO SIT HERE AND LISTEN TO THE RAMBLINGS OF A DYING MAN ABOUT PEOPLE I DON'T KNOW and I'm like, Chill, it's been like eight seconds. And he's dying. Shut up your face.

    1. admin says:

      That's true! Especially when the narrative is so down on Lady Audley for not wanting to listen to other people's stories. Double standards!

  5. Laura says:

    Just because George isn't dead doesn't mean Lady Audley didn't murder him. Which is a stupid thing to say, I realise, but Lucy THOUGHT she had murdered him, which obviously wasn't quite right, but then why make her all hand-wringy and weird about doing it again? Dammit, MEB.

    I still kind of love Robert and his undying love for George. I'm sorry, but it's how I feeeeeeel!

    1. admin says:

      Haha, it's okay – you ARE allowed to love Robert even though I don't, dear!

      I understand what you're saying – she meant to murder him even if she didn't succeed, which is just as bad. However, I went down a fun legal mental route with it and decided it was voluntary manslaughter due to provocation and loss of control and decided there's a possibility she'd not get very long in prison at all.

  6. Hahaha, you know, I didn't even think about how ridiculous it is that Robert packs Lady Audley off to the madhouse for killing George, when in fact she did no such thing. Robert is JUST THE WORST.

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