Lady Audley’s Super Secret Readalong: In which I learn the word “conge”

It means “dismissal.” The more you know!

In the first chapter of this segment of readalong, Robert gets chucked out of the Audley house for paying too much attention to Lady Audley. Here is Braddon’s representation of how the conversation went down. I, um, it sounds like Sir Audley could have minced his words a little bit more.

Sir Michael Audley told his nephew that the Court was no home for him, and that my lady was too young and pretty to accept the attentions of a handsome nephew of eight-and-twenty.

Deprived of the ability to spend all day saying “I know what you did” to Lady Audley, Robert hies himself to Phoebe and Luke’s inn so that he can spend all day saying “I know what you did” to Phoebe and Luke. This seems like particularly hard luck on poor little Phoebe, who really has done very little wrong, but who is now implicated in a blackmail scheme, and who probably also knows that George is down a well.

Anyway, Lady Audley comes to visit Robert at the inn, giving him the opportunity to tip his hand by explaining how he intends to reveal her infamy. This is foolish of Robert. Lady Audley may be babyish and prone to fainting, but she has shown herself to be not-terrible at covering her tracks. She takes off for London and either steals George’s letters or arranges for them to be stolen. It’s not clear yet how she manages this.

Robert goes to question the locksmith who apparently changed one of his locks (?at Lucy’s bequest? ?after Lucy broke the locks when she broke in herself?). The guy doesn’t know anything, but Robert does take the opportunity to make a posh-lad-sneery face at his having a drink in the middle of the day. Then he goes to George’s father-in-law’s place to organize schooling for George’s son (fuckin finally — it has been bothering me all along that the child is living in this ridiculous situation), whereupon he makes another posh-lad-sneery face at George’s father-in-law for drinking, then takes Little Georgey out to get him started on a raging alcohol dependency.

[Little Georgey] drank Bass’ pale ale to an extent which considerably alarmed his entertainer, and enjoyed himself amazingly, showing an appreciation of roast pheasant and bread-sauce which was beyond his years.

How shocked am I supposed to be about this? Did little kids drink beer all the time back then, or does it bother Robert to see the child for whom he is now responsible downing pints?

WOULD YOU, ROBERT?

Anyway, the section ends with Robert meeting the Society-Approved-George-Talboys-Proxy that he can marry at the end of the book. (I guess this means Alicia will relent and marry Lord Harry after all.) It’s George’s sister! He has a sister who looks just like him! Robert thinks she’s beautiful!

what I would be doing to Robert right now if he weren’t fictional

PS this doesn’t really apply to us right now, but I wanted to share it with you anyway because it rocks: How to Tell You’re Reading a Gothic Novel.

10 thoughts on “Lady Audley’s Super Secret Readalong: In which I learn the word “conge”

  1. I assumed that Lucy had the blacksmith do it since the landlady didn’t see a lady at his place. I noticed that Robert is a jerk to his landlady, what is his problem?
    I’m not surprised at all that George has a sister who looks just like him. SO convenient though.

  2. Supernatural whyyyyyyyyy

    Oh man. I didn’t even think Alicia marrying Lord Harry was a possibility but I HOPE IT HAPPENS. Because he was gonna build her a gazebo or something. And that was cute.

  3. I can’t tell yo how much I am enjoying watching all of you read this book. It cracks me up. You have so many of the thoughts I did! Braddon is hilarious.

  4. More to the point, did children NOT eat roast pheasant and bread-sauce (which the internet tells me is just milk infused with onion and spices and things and then thickened with breadcrumbs, which….mmmmm) before a certain age? Because Robert seems more shocked at that than at all the ale.

  5. HOW CONVENIENT that George has a sister that looks a lot like him for Rob to fall in love with. Although I’m sort of all for this if it means less cousin marrying.

  6. Hi! Was able to open/get to a comment box after opening the post. But I can’t recall what I was going to say… “great post” maybe? :D

  7. Sir Michael Audley: “No, of course I shan’t be rude to Robert, my lady wife.”

    [10 minutes later]

    *is totally rude*

    On another topic, I thought Rob was commenting on the blacksmith’s alcohol situation because he was drinking such an EXPENSIVE alcohol in what was clearly an impromptu daytime celebration most likely occasioned by being paid off to “accidentally” visit Rob’s rooms.

  8. Okay, so I have a question about Supernatural. I’m about 2/3 of the way through the second season, and so far 1) there’s no strong central female character, 2) every person of color is either evil or dead within 5 minutes, and 3) the brothers are real itchy about being occasionally presumed to be gay. So I’m just not sure what’s in it for me and maybe I should just go back and watch Firefly again. Thoughts?

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