Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lady Audley's Secretalong!

I've said this in the comments of basically half of last week's posts but I totally thought Helen Talboys was Lucy, even after George saw the obituary I was like,

death faked, obv

but then he met with her father and they were like, And then she went into a decline and died, and I am like, That is harder to pull off, especially for a woman of little means in Victorian England. But THEN George noted that the lock of hair was different than his wife's and the landlady was like, Oh yes, an illness can change the nature of the hair, so now I am firmly in Camp Body Swap (which, seriously, if Helen/Lucy/Hellucy managed to pull this off, I will like her so much more now matter HOW perfect her every curl is).

(Also making me suspicious is every time Lady Audley narrowly misses having to meet with George Talboys face to face, or Robert is like, Come check out the sexy penmanship on this letter, George [Victorians, you were SO WEIRD], and he is like, Doo be doo, no thanks. Although the portrait scene, where he notably DOESN'T holler HOLY SHIT THAT IS MY DEAD WIFE, gives me pause. M.E. Braddon, keeping me guessing.)


So George returns to reclaim his son, or something, and is all, 'I am your father, come across the sea to find you. Will you love me?' and his son is (very sanely) like, 'I don't know you.' So, no. Stop saying he's spoiled, Helen's Father, that is a very practical and sage reaction.

I'm warming up to Robert Audley, who can only understand feelings of foreboding as the result of a heavy supper. Also, Robert on marriage: 'Who is to say which shall be the one judicious selection out of nine hundred and ninety-nine mistakes? Who shall decide from the first aspect of the slimy creature, which is to be the one eel out of the colossal bag of snakes?'


I also really enjoy things like 'If any one could at that moment have told the young barrister that so simple a thing as his cousin's brief letter would one day come to be a link in that terrible chain of evidence afterward to be slowly forged in the only criminal case in which he was ever to be concerned, perhaps Mr Robert Audley would have lifted his eyebrows a little higher than usual.' So, good work on the foreshadowing and the wryness, Ms Braddon.

I know I said I'd like Lucy more if she'd turned out to have faked her own death, but the 'innocence and candor of an infant' in her 'large and liquid blue eyes' and her 'fragile figure, which she loved to dress in heavy velvets, and stiff, rustling silks, till she looked like a child tricked out for a masquerade' are just killing me. The Victorians were so gross about their infantilization of women and I feel like Lucy does it on purpose and even if it's part of some nefarious scheme I'm still throwing up in my mouth a little bit.

Me when faced with basically a lot of Victorian shit.

Also, the dog doesn't like her, and when the dog doesn't like someone...

So. Is Lucy Helen? Is Robert adorable? Do we pity George? HOW SHORT ARE THESE CHAPTERS, AMIRITE?

11 comments:

Reading Rambo said...

"Come check out the sexy penmanship on this letter, George [Victorians, you were SO WEIRD]"

Favorite.

Also I totally liked her more based on her interaction with the dog. Because how many people are just straight up like "I fucking hate your dog."

Megs said...

I'm pleased that many of us are giving due credence to the opinion of Caesar the Dog. I hope Lucy doesn't send him on a hunting trip, on which he will have a fatal clash with a wild boar and be silenced forevermore.

The infantilization. Yes. But I really do think Lucy is doing it on purpose so as to appear as helpless and benign as possible. And if so, you have to admit...that's pretty crafty.

Red said...

Lucy trying to seem so childlike, and everyone LOOOOVING her for it is just...eww. Stop that, Victorians. That's weird. I'm putting my trust in Caeser that she is up to no good.

I am very interested to see what she IS up to cos I thought we were all set on the whole Lucy = Helen thing but then WHY didn't George say anything when he saw her painting if that really was her? Of course, if Lucy = Helen now I'm going to be annoyed.

Megs said...

Mebbe George wasn't sure about what he was seeing. Because the way he describes Helen is a little different from the way people describe Lucy, which is a lot different from the way she looks in that painting. The similarity could've been enough to keep him pacing up and down all night but different enough to make him doubt himself. So when he stomps over to Audley Court the next day, it could be just to set his suspicions to rest by seeing the lady in the flesh.

Chris bookarama said...

I don't know why George wouldn't yell WTF and walk up to Sir Michael and inform him that he married a bigamist. Maybe it's a Victorian thing.

Baby Lucy is an act, I think, to throw people off the scent of her evil.

Laura said...

I'm definitely going with Lucy having more going on underneath the childishness and the 'I can't STAND reading!' and all of the bullshit, but I'm also scared that what's going on under there is PURE EVIL, so.

I forgot that the hair had completely changed! Ah, details. Love them.

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

I pity George zero, even if he is indeed dead down a well right now (which I like to think that he is -- screw you, George). And I am squicked out at ten by Victorian infantilization of women. (One of many, many reasons that I continue to love Jane Eyre so much is what a boss Jane Eyre is, even when she's eight years old. That is a girl who WILL NOT be infantilized.)

Ellie said...

'Hellucy'... perfect. The fact that George didn't fall off his chair/faint/yell (in typical Braddon style) was disappointing. I wanted the shit to hit the fan and it DIDN'T. It sort of sailed PAST the fan and disappeared. Okay this metaphor just got weird. Also, YES I don't trust anyone who is instantly and actively disliked by animals. THEY HAVE INSTINCTIVE KNOWLEDGE OF BAD HUMANS.

P.S. You definitely win this week's award for 'Best Gifs'. I stole two of them. :)

Chelsea Outlaw said...

"So George returns to reclaim his son, or something, and is all, 'I am your father, come across the sea to find you. Will you love me?' and his son is (very sanely) like, 'I don't know you.' So, no. Stop saying he's spoiled, Helen's Father, that is a very practical and sage reaction."

That is just the best thing ever, and so true.

I also thought "body swap" until he saw the painting and was just like *crickets* because, I mean, come on. IF THAT'S YOUR WIFE YOU SHOULD SAY IT.

I also loved that Alicia was like "doesn't she look like she's totally hiding her demonic character but it's coming through in the painting" and Robert was just all "meh, pretty auntie."

ONLY ENOUGH WITH THE FAMILY LOVE, MEB. Really.

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Phinnea Ravenscroft said...

Hellucy = genius