So secret that last week there was no post! I meant to finish early and post about both parts yesterday, but you see how that went. Nonetheless, I post now, belatedly on chapters 16 – 33. As you can see, this is a big chunk of the book. And we can safely say that Braddon is no Dickens, though she was an entertaining writer and certainly loads better than Ann Radcliffe. I compare her Sir Michael and Lady Hellucy’s marriage and it just isn’t at all real. In Bleak House Dickens portrayed a number of marriages all of which were far more complex, humane and charming than this one. Along with milady’s feathery ringlets (what the hell does a feathery ringlet look like anyway?) it’s just not a realistic relationship. Lady A isn’t terribly real either, but at least she has a number of characteristics. Robert and Alicia are the most lifelike.
But still stuff keeps happening. Mostly Bob filling Lady A in on every step of his investigation so that she can more effectively attempt to thwart him. He never learns. He darned near becomes a crispy critter because he keeps trying to warn her off, but she doesn’t see herself enjoying a life of penury and frankly, I don’t either. She didn’t like being poor before, she’d only hate it more now. Bob has fallen in love with his best friend’s sister who is dramatic and beautiful. I hope she’s more fun when vengeance has been exacted.
I looked up gunpowder tea. Apparently some poor sap in China gets to roll up each tiny individual leaf of green tea. Why that would make it taste different I don’t know. I strongly suspect it doesn’t.
I’m not sure if I’m understanding Hellucy’s note correctly. It makes it sound to me like there was a secret before she ran away, changed her name and became a bigamist. But that doesn’t seem to fit in with anything going on. Robert’s found out all he needs to know, tying the two of them together. But at least he’s not going to marry his cousin. I recently saw a new adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac in which there’s a layer of anti-cousin-marrying incorporated which I suspect is not in the original. Also off-topic, I didn’t know Cyrano was a real guy. But back to Lady A.
Why didn’t Phoebe know what a horrible person her cousin was? She grew up with him. Surely, she should have cottoned on to the fact that he’s an unmitigated boor? Damn fool thing to go and marry that bastard.
In another coincidence I saw an episode of Psych in which Shawn keeps making up portmanteaux to describe an arsonist/murderer. My favorite was arsassin. So Lady A is now an arsassin, although if she managed to kill Luke, I’d lighten her sentence. Maybe 20 years instead of life. Definitely wouldn’t hang her.
I suspect I’m forgetting something vital. I’ll come back after I’ve read the other comments.