Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lady Audley's Secret Readalong 2: George Meets Well

I have a sneaking suspicion that we've seen the last of George Talboys (poooor George); so let’s look back fondly on his friendship with Robert Audley. And, oh, what a friendship it was.

George swooned, and Rob was there to pick him up and tuck him into bed. George wanted to go to a cemetery in the middle of the night, and Rob said that was dumb. George was sad that his son didn't love him immediately, and Rob said, "Manage your expectations, man."
The young man looked at him with a pitiful, bewildered expression. The big dragoon was as helpless as a baby; Robert Audley, the most vacillating and unenergetic of men, found himself called upon to act for another. He rose superior to himself and equal to the occasion.
And a professional underachiever who had avoided responsibility his whole life suddenly found himself tied to this mopey, heartsick fellow.

George is forever talking about his emotional wounds, and Rob is forever talking about the value of a good cigar, and between the two of them, we get conversations that vacillate between poignancy and absurdity, which is just how I like my conversations.

George: “I am like a man standing upon a long low shore, with hideous cliffs frowning down upon him from behind, and the rising tide crawling slowly but surely about his feet. It seems to grow nearer and nearer every day, that black, pitiless tide; not rushing upon me with a great noise and a mighty impetus, but crawling, creeping, stealing, gliding towards me, ready to close in above my head when I am least prepared for the end.”

Rob: “Are you quite sure you haven’t just eaten some bad pork?”

Things that Rob has attributed to indigestion: 
  1. Love
  2. Feelings of existential dread
  3. Ghosts

Rob has a very particular way of viewing the world. If there’s only one candle, you’ll take turns viewing the portrait, and if he says you’re afraid of the lightning, then you’re afraid of the lightning DO YOU HEAR ME?

Where this will work against Rob the most, I’m afraid, is when he has to start seeing Lucy Audley for what she is . . . and I think what she may be is a sociopath. Unless this is all clever misdirection on Braddon’s part, Lucy clearly arranged matters so she wouldn’t come face-to-face with George. But she hasn’t seemed particularly panicked about any of this. Every action is calm and calculated. And if she has, as I’m sure we’re supposed to believe, just returned to the house from offing George, she does so with a bounce in her step and a pile of flowers in her skirts.

Don't fight it, George. I have flower-picking to do.

And Caesar knows something is wrong with Lucy. Always listen to the dog.

Alicia (beautiful, clever Alicia, let me love thee in Robert's stead) knows something is off, too, but I don’t think she’s taking it very seriously. Aside from her brilliant theory about the painter capturing Lucy’s true, dark self (which Rob did not appreciate: “Don’t be German, Alicia, if you love me…I’m not metaphysical; don’t unsettle me.”), she seems to think Lucy is just a vapid, cheerful bore who hates reading and loves pretty dresses.

But what if Lucy is playing the child to disarm everyone? If she hates reading so much, why was she taking a book out to the lime walk the night George paid Audley Court an unscheduled visit?

And why does she try to give compliments when she’s so bad at it?
Not at all, Phoebe; you are like me, and your features are very nice; it is only colour that you want. My hair is pale yellow shot with gold, and yours is drab; my eyebrows and eyelashes are dark brown, and yours are almost—I scarcely like to say it, but they’re almost white, my dear Phoebe; your complexion is sallow, and mine is pink and rosy.


  1. OMG it's so Boy Meets World. Their friendship/bromance.

    "Things that Rob has attributed to indigestion:


    Feelings of existential dread


    I love you. And omg is this Gone Girl BEFORE THERE WAS GONE GIRL.

  2. I got legit emotional looking through Boy Meets World GIFs. That was a hall-of-fame bromance.

    OMG IS IT? It might be.

  3. Aaaaand I love this post. Well done.

    Lucy pushed George down that well, didn't she? I hope Caeser bites her. And she's going to prob fake her death again and use Phoebe as the stand-in corpse. Although Phoebe is planning to blackmail her, so I guess this works out.

  4. I love the image of Lucy murdering George and being all, "Tra-la-la-la-la! Flowers!"

  5. I seriously can't remember...which I find increasingly hilarious. Brains are silly.

    I am GUESSING George is now a permanent resident in that well, because I thought I saw that the next chapter is titled "Missing."

  6. The Merry Murderess and Other Stories.

  7. But but but George! Actually, I was about to say I don't want him to be gone, but I guess it'll stop 1) his moping, 2) my conflicted feelings about him. so it's fine.

    What about Robert and George being more than just good friends though, huh? ARE YOU EVEN TRYING TO MAKE THIS GAY?!

  8. I want to see Lady Audley doing openly sociopathic things. Perhaps Robert will attribute those to indigestion as well -- "Oh dear, she's gone and pushed my friend/lover George down a well with a cackle of vicious glee; I suppose she ate some bad fish, poor thing!"

  9. Lady Audley DOES seem like a sociopath, now you mention it. She is just far too unfazed by these near misses and possibly murderous walks in the grounds of Audley Court. Alicia rocks. Caesar has Knowledge. George is SO down that well. Robert needs to write a book about the effects of poor diet and dodgy foodstuffs on the human brain. I need to steal all of these GIFs immediately. HAVE WE COVERED EVERYTHING? Good. Onto next week's reading. :D

  10. Oh man. I was seeing a lot of GoT GIFs for this section, but this Boy Meets World take on Lady Audley is just THE BEST thing ever. Ever. Even better than the actual reading for this week.

    Because George is just SO SAD and there are just SO MANY RINGLETS and while I love Robert and all his pork-based wisdom, I'm just SO OVER the cousin/aunt love and the inability of *anyone* to see just how incredibly sucky and sketchy Lucy is because OMG it's just so out there.

    Also, that speech to Phoebe. I don't even like Phoebe, but after reading that I was just like "You don't need to take that, sister suffragete, you're beautiful just the way you are". Which is apparently an incest-y thief, but still. BEAUTY ON THE INSIDE.

  11. Don't fight it, George. I have flower-picking to do

    I love this.