I finished early and am still writing late. I think I must defend poor old George from my fellow readaglongers’ wrath. George gets no credit for the letters he writes. For the good things he tries to do. All he gets is flack. It’s a good thing he’s a fictional character because he does not deserve so much flack. All right, he’s a dope. And not a good father. But he tried to be a good husband, he really did. He couldn’t find a job. What were his options? What was he supposed to do? All he’s good at is looking good in uniform and climbing. No one would hire him. So, he went to Australia where all you have to do (at the time) to get rich is dig a lot and be lucky. And dammit, he wrote Lucy a letter that he was doing this. Remember who we’re talking about here: Lucy. Spoiled brat who married him only because she thought he was rich. Lucy who didn’t give a rat’s ass about him, though he doted on her. (He was an idiot. It’s true. But not a bad person.) Lucy who’s one dream in life is to enchant the county with how pretty she is. Of course, she didn’t wait for him. Of course she abandoned her child to her drunken father and wrote them both off. (Why the hell she couldn’t manage to hide the money she earned from him, I cannot guess. She’s pretty clever and conniving otherwise.)
Then again at the end, George is accused of just abandoning his friend. No. He didn’t. He wrote. He made the mistake of giving the letter to Luke. But this is not really stupid. His entire experience of Luke was of someone helpful and friendly. Possibly the only time in his life Luke has ever been helpful and friendly. George trusted him to deliver the letters. This is a shame, but not George’s fault. It’s not like Robert who, fully knowing Hellucy’s character tells her everything over and over again. Robert’s a dope, too. Though not as big a dope as George.
I was very glad and excited to read the end. And astonished at how completely I had forgotten this book. Did I really read it? I thought I had, but you would think some of it would at least seem familiar. And apparently all Victorian fiction is totally gay in disguise. Robert and George are just the latest. And they end up living together! It’s so romantic. I expect Clara and Alicia (or whatever her name is. I’ve already forgotten it) can keep each other company.
Oh, and the doctor’s right. Lady Audley is not mad. Maybe she fears the taint in her blood, but really she just uses it as an excuse to do whatever she wants. Can anyone name anything mad truly mad that Lucy has done? Immoral, yes. Unethical, yup. But mad? No. She’s just looking out for number one, and has a few missteps along the way. Her mother does truly seem to have been mentally ill. She doesn’t know any of them when they visit her. But Lucy? Lucy is crazy like a fox. She is a narcissist, almost entirely without empathy. But Rochester’s wife, she ain’t.
I kind of want a sequel. She doesn’t really die of boredom in Belgium. She fakes her own death and escapes. Marrying a third time seems a bit risky, so she becomes a jewel thief. Yeah, that’s it. And somehow we’ll bring in that red herring about how much Phoebe looked like Lady A. Ooh, maybe in the faking her own death. At that point, who’d miss Phoebe? No one. That’s who.
I would like to thank Alice for another fun readalong. I hope we get to do it again! From the lone member of Team George.