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"Alicia, don't be German!": Lady Audley's Big Secret Continues


So last week I was totally taken in by Helen Talboys being dead, and then you all were like "SHE'S TOTALLY NOT THOUGH" and now I'm slightly disappointed in Braddon, but willing to see how this plays out, because it's honestly seeming more and more soap opera-y every second.

Again, not that that's a bad thing

 I had to look up what filberts were (they are nuts!) and who Izaak Walton was (a fisherman!) but otherwise things seemed all right, comprehension-wise. Except for the fact that everyone in this book is COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS and it makes you realize what an amazing writer Dickens was, because damn, this is dated.

What the hell is going on with George and his son? Because I do not like it ONE BIT. He goes to Australia for the boy's entire life, comes back and then is all "Naw, he's fine with his grandfather; that seems like a good thing, that relationship with a drunken old man. Probably'll give the boy character." What are you doing, George. Think about your life. Think about your choices.

Oh right, again...not Dickens.

Lucy is avoiding George in SRSLY CLEVER WAYS. Like, I immediately would've been like "Nope, sorry, don't come by. No. No, I just don't want to see you or meet you or really just have you look at my face ever. No, I'm not telling you why." But instead she was all "Of COURSE you should come round tomorrow," and she had her maid MAIL A FAKE TELEGRAM, which...actually confused me, because then her husband went with her, so.....but it had to be fake. Because...yeah. Hm.

Anyway, Robert Audley's the only really great character so far, and I've told myself he's lazily in love with George, because we always gay up Victorian lit and he's the only possible candidate so far IMO. Some fantastic Robertisms:

"I feel like the hero of a French novel."

Robert Audley stared at his friend in silent amazement; and, after a pause of profound deliberation, said solemnly, "George Talboys, I could understand this if you had been eating heavy suppers. Cold pork, now, especially if underdone, might produce this sort of thing."

"Don't be German, Alicia, if you love me. The picture is— the picture: and my lady is— my lady. That's my way of taking things, and I'm not metaphysical; don't unsettle me."

So Robert and George go down to the country where Audley Court is, Lady Audley assiduously avoids them, everything speaks with foreboding and you're laying it on a little thick, Braddon. No more "the leaves rustled with that sinister, shivering motion which proceeds from no outer cause, but is rather an instinctive shudder of the frail branches, prescient of a coming storm."

I HATE the pathetic fallacy. It's not real and it's overused and MAYBE NOT so much in 1862, but you know what, Wuthering Heights was old by then, so yes, it was done. Stop it now. Ruskin defended its use a bit by saying it was not that nature was conforming itself to the viewer but that the viewer was seeing nature through the warped lens of their emotions (so in this case, the leaves were moving about a bit and George -- probably not Robert -- interpreted them as foreboding through...some means).

But that's it. It's not even the pathetic fallacy is in terms of like, "I'm sad and the clouds are weeping." It's saying that nature knows something our characters don't, which is b.s. and boooo.

the pathetic fallacy: where man and nature meet

What were we talking about? Oh right. Alicia Audley.

Let's stop making her seem quite so sad of a character, because she's described as looking WAY more attractive than Lucy, and she's smart and funny:
"MY DEAR ROBERT— How cruel of you to run away to that horrid St. Petersburg before the hunting season! I have heard that people lose their noses in that disagreeable climate, and as yours is rather a long one, I should advise you to return before the very severe weather sets in.
But she's just pining after her cousin — AGAIN WITH THE COUSIN LOVE VICTORIANS YOU ARE THE WORST. And everyone's acting like they can ONLY marry their cousin! So we've got Phoebe Marks with her asshole cousin who I guess she's decided is the one guy for her, and then Alicia says: "To have only one cousin in the world, my nearest relation after papa, and for him to care about as much for me as he would for a dog!"

And you think, aw, family, but NO, she's in love with him and it's gross.

Don't you know what happens in these situations?

Next week! Was Lady Audley having a secret assignation with her probable first husband? Will Robert finally wake up enough to tell George he wouldn't mind if they were roommates forever? Will Alicia stop acting like a brat 24/7 (probably not). And how is there so much left of this novel? UNTIL NEXT WEEK, FRIENDS.

(P.S. totally forgot to mention that Phoebe looking like Lady Audley is going to be a THING, and piggybacking on Jenny's statement about someone being murdered in the well, MAYBE Phoebe'll be made up to look like Lady Audley and then murdered BY THAT SELFSAME WOMAN. maybe)


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