Monsters & Madness

Secret Lives in Victorian Literature

Lucy’s Secret Object

“She had never taken her left hand from the black ribbon at her throat. She drew it from her bosom as she spoke, and looked at the object attached to it” (Braddon 17)

Before arriving at this passage in Lady Audley’s Secret, Sir Audley had just proposed to Lucy Graham. After a moment of consideration Lucy accepted the proposal which excited Sir Audley, but also made him worrisome about her reasoning for accepting the proposal. They part ways and Lucy enters the privacy of her own room. This passage then follows, and the reader gets a glimpse into why Lucy may have been hesitant when responding to Sir Audley’s proposal.

Reading this passage, it appears that Lucy is having trouble letting go of something since she had “never” took her hand off the ribbon with the object. Also, she kept the object attached at her “bosom” which has an indication that this object is very near-and-dear to her heart and she wants to keep it close. The object is “attached” to the ribbon, and the ribbon, is attached to her so essentially this object is something she is attached or connected to.

The rhyming between “throat” and “spoke” may lead the reader to think more about what is happening in the lines indicated above. Drawing from those words, and the context around them, the object could be tied around her throat to influence her to think before she speaks.

The reader is meant to know that Lucy is clearly hiding the object from the people around her. But why? What is she hiding? The mystery of it all makes the reader eager to find out. 


  1. mostlypride/noprejudice

    September 6, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    I really liked your analysis of Lucy’s connection with her ribbon, and that it means she’s having trouble letting go of something. I definitely agree. What I want to ask is, was Lucy hesitant? It might have been just the way I read it, but it seemed to me that she was very enthusiastic and eager to accept. I think you are spot- on that the object being “at her bosom” means that it is close to her heart, and that the ribbon etc. is essentially part of her. I too, am eager to find out what is happening! The plot thickens!

  2. I hadn’t picked up on the “throat” and “spoke” rhyme representing the ring’s impact on Lady Audley’s words and thoughts. I think this is a great analysis and a much deeper interpretation of the text. In regards to the subject of secret objects I think it’s important to revisit the still unsolved mystery of the baby shoe and lock of hair found box back in Chapter 3. The ring around Lady Audley’s neck brings about the idea that she has been previously married and the baby shoe and lock of hair implies that she also had a child. Combining all the objects together ultimately supports the theory that Lady Audley is hiding something not only about her past but also who she is (Possibly Helen Talboys??).

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