I’m jumping on the Robert + George Bandwagon that the other Readalongers are driving because later in this section Robert meets Clara. Clara is George’s sister and looks just like him, and even has his handwriting and Robert can’t stop thinking about her. Goodness! If these two hook up and get married, you know he’ll have her wearing trousers, cutting her hair, and gluing on a beard. He’ll take her down to the ole fishin’ hole for “naps.” Maybe she’ll be into that, I don’t know, I don’t judge, but she’d probably be down for anything to get away from that terrible father. More on that later.
First, there’s some yada-yada about Alicia and her suitor whocareszzzzzzz. Lucy gets her husband to kick Robert to the curb by telling him he’s been making eyes at her. Eyes of Revenge, maybe! Robert stays at the Inn of the Damned instead, which is worse news for Lucy because Luke can’t keep his stupid mouth shut even when it would benefit him.
Robert plays metal games with Lucy and totally tips his hand when he tells her he has Helen’s letters in George’s room. She’s all, “Oh reallllllly?” and trots off to London where she bribes a blacksmith to break in and steal them. Robert, I’m so disappointed in you. You were outwitted and it wasn’t even that hard. Lucy should have hired an arsonist to burn that motherfucker to the ground though, because she forgot about her old school books she wrote in. Busted! Lucy=Helen
Robert tries to get to the bottom of things by going to see The Captain. He finds Georgy living in squalor with a nervous old lady watching over him. She’s Matilda’s mother, Mrs Plowson. Who’s Matilda? Probably the dead girl, aka “Helen Talboys” deceased. Robert packs up little Georgy and sends him to school and away from his drunk Grandpa.
At this point, Robert has a crisis of conscience. When Lucy is revealed as a bigamist and a murderer, Uncle Mike’s reputation is going to be ruined. He’s going to look like a horny fool, which is the truth. I think Alicia would be the most likely to suffer for this. Get her married, quick!
Robert decides that if George’s family doesn’t care then he’s out. So, he heads to the Heath Grange or whatever, where George’s dear old dad lives. This guy. How have the servants not poisoned his brandy? He is the worst! He tells everyone George is “dead to me” but when Robert says that that’s probably literal now, he’s all, “Noooo, he isn’t. It’s a trick!” Here is where Robert meets Clara and comes to the conclusion that she doesn’t care about George. He can tell this from her posture as she sits 20 feet away from him, with her back turned, and hasn’t said a word to him. That’s totally how I get to know a person too.
Robert is all, “Okay, I’m outtie,” when Clara comes running (*gasp*) out of the house and begs him to get justice for George. He asks her what if he says no? She says:
"Then I will do it myself," she exclaimed, looking at him with her bright brown eyes. "I myself will follow up the clew to this mystery; I will find this woman—though you refuse to tell me in what part of England my brother disappeared. I will travel from one end of the world to the other to find the secret of his fate, if you refuse to find it for me. I am of age; my own mistress; rich, for I have money left me by one of my aunts; I shall be able to employ those who will help me in my search, and I will make it to their interest to serve me well. Choose between the two alternatives, Mr. Audley. Shall you or I find my brother's murderer?"Scoop her up, Robert, and take her with you! Don’t you want to see a showdown between her and Lucy?
|My name is Clara Talboys. You killed my brother. Prepare to die.|
Finally, Robert at Home sits contemplating how much he hates women and thinking about his ruined complexion. He’d like us all in Parliament and out of his hair. He’s a very strange feminist. Just then a letter from Clara arrives and Robert thinks, “Oh here we go! She’s going to go on and on about George and draw hearts over her i’s.” Instead, he’s surprised that she just sent George’s letters with a note to send them back when he’s done. Obviously, Clara is not like other girls! One letter contains a description of Helen. I wonder who she looks like?
Will Robert fall for Clara/George? Will Alicia give up on men and perhaps help Phoebe escape her awful husband Thelma and Louise style? Will Lady Audley get away with muuuuuuuurder? Stay tuned.