Things are heating up! Hahaha. You’ll see what I mean.
Robert puts on his thinking cap and tries to make the connection between Lucy Graham and Helen Talboys. He starts with Mr Dawson, her former employer, and works back. Guess who he finds? The “dying” governess, Mrs Vincent, who is surprise-surprise not dying and hasn’t communicated with Lucy in years. How many years? Oh, she can’t remember. But Tonks can! TONKS?! Who is Tonks? Tonks is the roommate(???) of Mrs Vincent and she remembers EVERYTHING. Seriously, everything. She knows exactly when Lucy arrived. She also has some old box of Lucy’s with an old label on it. The label tells Robert nothing but underneath that label is another label. What does it say?
Annoyingly we don’t find out right away. Robert follows the Talboys’ trail to Wintersea, Yorkshire, where they first lived. This leads him to a Mrs Barkham, who just happens to have an old letter from The Captain. Why do people keep letters? Even stranger is how The Captain gives the lady his daughter’s “I’m running away” letter. WHY? In it is this sentence: “You know the secret which is the key to my life.”
Oh, yes. The Secret.
Robert returns to Audley Court and he and Lucy take a spin on the lime walk. Braddon harps on the well so much I thought for sure Robert was about to meet George’s corpse. He confronts Lucy with an I Know What You Did Last September, but she is a cool customer. Even though he now has proof that Lucy is Helen. The label: Helen Talboys. She looses her cool for a moment and threatens to kiiiiiiiiiilllll him but she see another way she can be rid of Robert. By having him declared mad!
Robert was getting on my nerves with his sexist shit. First, he thinks Miss Tonks is a cruel woman to other women because she never trusted Lucy. And how like a woman to turn on a pretty woman. Even though HE suspects her of murder! Maybe Tonks was just good at smelling a rat.
Then he goes on and on about the cruelty of women and Eve and evil and blah! Here I feel sorry for Lucy. It makes me livid to hear men complain about women when they created the world. The women are just trying to live within the perimeters they’re given and when they do, they’re judged for it. Robert goes on about Poor George. Poor George who abandoned his wife and child, leaving them with a drunk, and no money. She couldn’t divorce him, or declare him dead so that she could move on with her life. She was stuck where she was until George took it upon himself to come home.
Come at me, bro!
Anyway, after hinting to everyone that Robert has lost it over George (not far from the truth), Phoebe sneaks in asking for money. Loser Luke is getting his drunk on and spending the rent on gin. They must pay the rent! Phoebe confesses that Luke gets so drunk that he’s going to burn the inn down. Ding-Ding-Ding! Burn the inn down, eh? The inn where Robert is staying, you don’t say. So finally Lucy commits arson and I’m just a little okay with that.
Lucy spends all day wringing her hands, waiting to hear of Robert’s death. Only, Robert APPEARS. Drat!
Other observations from this week’s reading.
- Clara is in Essex and Robert runs into her in church. Of course at church, she’s his angel! His saint! She’s also figured out that Lady Audley is Helen Talboys.
- Lucy is way smarter than anyone knows. “The big words sounded strange from my lady’s rosy lips; but her newly-adopted wisdom had a certain quaint prettiness about it, which charmed and bewildered her husband.”
- Alicia is getting on my nerves with her bouncing. I wish she would bounce right out! “It seemed very hard to be a handsome, gray-eyed heiress, with dogs and horses and servants at her command, and yet to be so much alone in the world as to know of not one friendly ear into which she might pour her sorrows.” Aw.
- Phoebe also mentions “the secret.”
- Tonks, though. Tonks.
Next week is the last week of Lady Audley’s Secret Readalong. Can’t wait to see how this ends!