Thursday 29 May 2014

"'She knew how to keep her own secrets in spite of her innocent ways and her curly hair.'"

Blessed folk of the readalong! I am back! My deepest apologies for missing last week, I was busy plotting nefarious murders investigating missing friends and whatnot because clearly, I'm more of a Robert than a Lucy.* Especially if this is anything to go by:
"Sir Michael Audley made that mistake which is very commonly made by easy-going, well-to-do observers, who have no occasion to look below the surface. He mistook laziness for incapacity. He thought that because his nephew was idle, he must necessarily be stupid. He concluded that if Robert did not distinguish himself it was because he could not."
I DO NOT DISTINGUISH MYSELF BECAUSE I AM LAZY. This is my biggest flaw (probably). I'm not saying I'm the geniusest genius, but I am better than the minimum wage job I currently have. I am feeling more and more akin to Robert every week (that's Robert with the amazing job that he doesn't have to work at. But eh.)

ENOUGH ABOUT ME AND MY TROUBLED LIFE. I can't even remember what happened last week, because of that not writing it down thing, but let's go back to the start of this week's section... Ah. Ok. Can we please talk about women and this book? Obviously it's written by a woman, but MEB seems to be the kind of woman who doesn't like other women very much. There's the evil Lucy, the fab but unmarriable Alicia, the perfect Clara Tallboys who, let's face it, looks like a man, and... That's it. Plus, there's Robert, her mouthpiece, who has decided that he doesn't like women very much (DUH) and says shit that I can't tell if I like very much or not, like this:
"To call them the weaker sex is to utter a hideous mockery. They are the stronger sex, the noisier, the more persevering, the most self-assertive sex. They want freedom of opinion, variety of occupation, do they? Let them be lawyers, doctors, preachers, teachers, soldiers, legislators- anything they like- but let them be quiet- if they can."
Because like... Yay to women being capable of such jobs, but boo to us having to sit down and shut up just because we're allowed to do them? Robert goes off on a few rants like this in this section, and with every one, I can feel my love for him withering and dying, which is cool because he's still like this with George:
Oh, poor George.

Plotwise- Robert is pretty good at the sleuthing, I have to say. He's traced Lucy back preeeeetty far, and she's basically admitted everything to him with her face and is now going to have him sectioned, which seems like a cool plan (or, sorry, a 'cool plan') AND THEN we get to see things from Lucy's POV. DO WE LIKE THIS? I think I do- it's interesting that, although she's clearly a villain (DUH) there's a definite sense that the things she's done, at least in her mind, haven't been extremely premeditated and have been spur of the moment decisions for her own advancement. Spur of the moment like pushing George down the well? I THINK SO.
ALTHOUGH- even though we clearly all believe this is definitely true, the way she talks about murder in her own brain does make me the tiniest bit doubtful that this is what has happened (I know!) because she still seems so horrified by it. Pre-burning the pub down, that is.

Let's talk about that for a sec- can we make predictions? I think Luke is totally going to burn to death (side note on Luke: How much is he a wife-rapist? He totally is. I am so sad for Phoebe and that is why I long for his death) while Robert will escape by heroically smashing through a window and falling to the ground with barely a scratch on him. Or he'll go blind and then Clara/Alicia will love him so much that his sight returns. Whatever.

"Poor little creature; poor unhappy little golden-haired sinner; the battle between us seems terribly unfair. Why doesn't she run away while there is still time?"
Yes, Robert. The battle between you and a woman you suspect is capable of murder is incredibly unfair. Why don't YOU run away now, before she MURDERS YOU? Moron.

*Typing this has actually amused me quite a bit because my two managers are called Rob and Lucy and I've only just realised this. In a real life scenario... I'm probably still more of a Robert, to be fair.


  1. Ugh, Robert. I did not like his comments about women this week. I think MEB must have hated other women. She's being a real jerk about it.
    I would not be sorry at all about Luke dying. He's the WORST!

    1. MEB IS being a jerk. Stupid jerky MEB.

      Luke is this kind of stupid kind of evil. Like when people are stupid but they don't give a shit and want to drag everyone down to their level and just UGH no Luke, go away. Hopefully he's dead. Is he dead?

  2. LUKE IS TOTALLY A WIFE-RAPIST and I keep thinking about it because he sucks so much and you can't outright SAY it in Victorian lit, but the fact is right theeeere.

    Phoebe Marks is an interesting lady-character. Although it does basically call her ambitious and grasping, so...I dunno what you're doing, Braddon.

    1. Oh yeah, they totally can't talk about it and wife-rape didn't even exist, legally, in the Victorian times (sigh) but it's become VERY UPSETTING to me. Do not want.

      Phoebe is interesting in that she's the only one keeping the pub afloat and is generally more capable than Stupid Luke. But MEB definitely doesn't seem to like her much. Maybe she's just a misogynist.

  3. "the perfect Clara Tallboys who, let's face it, looks like a man" hahaha. Hence Robert's love.

    I felt worse for Lady Audley before she VERY EASILY burned down the inn and assumed she killed at least 3 people. And was all "Ugh Phoebe, what are you even WHINING about? You didn't even like the inn and your husband was a jerkface." Which, yes he was, but damn you are casual about this triple homicide.

    1. Oh Robert. So gay. I love it.

      I get the feeling bad for Lady Audley because of her abandonment and whatnot, but I feel like there's a point where you have to be like 'actually... you can't just DO that, no matter what your damage.' What about the poor bailiff guy, he hasn't done anything!

  4. Robert JUST is the worst. Except for Luke, who is the actual worst and is totally a rapist. I wish Lady Audley had given Phoebe some money to take off for Sussex or something. Phoebe deserves better than this.

    1. Phoebe does deserve better than this. FINGERS CROSSED Luke is actually dead and then Phoebe can be Sir M's new wife when Lady A goes to jail (Lady A IS going to jail, right? RIGHT?!)

  5. I think that Lucy might be ACTUALLY mentally ill. That whole internal battle she was having with herself in her bedroom was so disturbing to watch, because she was spending a good deal of time justifying her actions to herself (I've never done anything TRULY horrible except for that one thing, and I totally had a reason to do that), and then she finished it all off by saying out loud to herself that Rob is mad and Rob is the problem, like a mantra.

    And ALSO when she's trying to convince Sir Michael that Rob is crazy, doesn't she sound like she's describing herself with this: "People are insane for years and years before their insanity is found out. They know that they are mad, but they know how to keep their secret. Sometimes a paroxysm seizes them, and in an evil hour they betray themselves. They commit a crime, perhaps. The horrible temptation of opportunity assails them, the knife is in their hand, and the unconscious victim by their side."

    OMG...what if Lucy's big secret is that she's clinically insane???

    I will be so mad if this ends up being a Victorian madwoman tale. SO MAD.

    1. OH MY GOD. This is the BEST hypothesis ever. It makes so much sense!!!

    2. I have maybe three chapters left to the end, and I'm SO MAD.

  6. ALTHOUGH- even though we clearly all believe this is definitely true, the way she talks about murder in her own brain does make me the tiniest bit doubtful that this is what has happened (I know!) because she still seems so horrified by it.

    YES! Exactly this! I mean clearly she's not a shining angel but she was so hesitant and self-doubty and if she'd killed before surely it would be old hat now? Unless this is MAB's tricking us to throw us off the scent and she really did kill George?

    I can't help thinking she didn't though. She's so weak and frail and he's a burly man (as we're frequently reminded on both points).