Sorry I missed the first batch of readalong posts, readalong friends! I have no excuse. I got distracted doing something else. I promise to faithfully post every Thursday from here on out. Sorry, lovely host Alice!
Have we already established the number of readalong participants whose awareness of Lady Audley’s Secret prior to this readalong was limited to / originated from that time Tacy’s father burned the copy of it that Betsy had borrowed from her maid and lent to Tacy? If not, can I get a show of hands in the comments? & some critical remarks about Mr. Kelly and what a huge jerk he is?
My predictions based on the first nine chapters are as follows:
1) Lucy is definitely Helen Talboys. She’s going to turn out to be much more evil than just wanted to marry bigamously, because duh, only an unnatural mother would abandon her child in such a way. The appropriate Victorian attitude toward motherhood is this one:
2) Robert realizes his true love for Alicia. Poor old Alicia. I sympathize with her. She’s got this rotten stepmother who everyone else thinks is smashing because she looks like a pretty dolly, but who is SECRETLY A WICKED BIGAMIST (see Prediction #1), and Alicia’s the only one who can see through her.
Plus, Alicia’s crush, Robert, thinks Lady Audley is the prettiest lady he’s even seen, and says so to Alicia like twelve times. Get a grip, Robert. Lady Audley is a wicked woman and an unnatural mother.
(“Unnatural mother” is a funny phrase to me, and I’m going to say it as often as possible in this readalong.)
(To be clear, I like Lady Audley. Why shouldn’t she try to improve her station in life after her husband has been MIA for three years? I think she is an awesomely cool customer also — I’d be much more jittery about George’s visit if I were she. She just sits in her carriage, as cool as a cucumber, and figures out how to to avoid him.)
3) Someone gets pushed down the well. Braddon has talked about the well way too much for somebody not to get pushed down it. In case you have forgotten about the well, can I quickly remind you of a few things? a) There is a well. b) It is semi-hidden amidst a big cluster of weeds. c) It is broken and nobody uses it. For sure, somebody goes into that well at some point.
4) Phoebe blackmails Lady Audley with that baby shoe she found. And maybe she gets pushed down the well. Poor Phoebe.
Here are some things that I would like to see happen but I know they won’t:
1) Somebody remarks upon what a whiny little fart George is. I’m not talking about when he’s in mourning, because, okay, once you’ve lost your wife, you get a little bit of leeway on the moping. But we have evidence that George was terrible long before he got some bad news about the wife, namely this business from when he was a-sailing home.
Would it be in ten days, in eleven, in twelve, in thirteen? Was the wind favorable? How many knots an hour was the vessel doing? Then a sudden passion would sieze him, and he would stamp upon the deck, crying out that she was a rickety old craft, and that her owners were swindlers to advertise her as the fast-sailing Argus. She was not fit for passenger traffic; she was not fit to carry impatient living creatures, with hearts and souls; she was fit for nothing but to be laden with bales of stupid wool, that might rot on the sea and be none the worse for it.
STFU, George. The sailors are doing their best. It’s not their fault you didn’t write a single letter to your supposedly beloved wife for three entire years. I hope you are the one to fall down the well.
2) Lady Audley gets away with it and lives happily ever after. Probably not, though. I feel like the best outcome for such an unnatural mother in a work of Victorian fiction is that she takes the easy way out by flinging herself down the well, once her bigamy has been uncovered and prosecuted. :/