Monsters & Madness

Secret Lives in Victorian Literature

Lucy Loves No One

“She laughed aloud at his question. ‘I do not love any one in the world,’ she answered.”  (Braddon 17)

 

In this quote, from chapter one of Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret, Lucy Graham is replying in quite a peculiar way to Sir Michael’s question as to whom else she loves.  There are two parts that I find most intriguing in this quote.  The first is Lucy’s laugh that comes prior her reply.  When I imagine Lucy laughing, I hear it as more of a sarcastic laugh, as if she can hardly believe Sir Michael had even asked her such a question.  From the lines following this quote, it seems as though he hears this tone in the laugh as well.  The author could be using this as a helpful hint to the reader that Lucy is hiding something.  It is especially strange because one would typically not laugh about loving no one.  Michael is pleased by her answer, yet I believe this is where he first notices that there is something strange about the girl he admires.

The second part of this quote which caught my attention is in Lucy’s response where she claims to “not love any one in the world”.  I thought it was interesting how the author decided to use the spelling “any one” rather than “anyone”.  This tells me that Lucy is referring to any one person instead of just any person which could mean that Lucy has a specific person in mind who she had once loved but does no longer. I also believe there is some meaning behind her addition of “in the world”.  This small phrase places more emphasis on her response and makes me wonder if maybe Lucy is referring to not the actual world but a new world she is now living in.

4 Comments

  1. I agree with your thoughts on Lucy loving someone but not her current husband. It is said Lucy wanted a form of financial security as that was brought up a few times within the novel. Could it be she only “gained a new world” to achieve this, or is it possible she has a bigger secret she is hiding from everyone? When Lucy is laughing I had the exact same thought, she is being almost sarcastic when she does it.

  2. I consider this passage/quote to be the first and one of the most revealing clues into Lady Audley’s true character. Her reply to the question is strange in itself, but as you mentioned, her phrasing of her statement is equally as off putting. Another instance in which Lady Audley’s words are intriguing is when she says “‘I am tired to death, though, Phoebe,’”. The word ‘death’ obviously has a very strong, dark connotation and meaning. It is not a phrase that is thrown around casually and I believe Lady Audley’s use of it builds to the complexity and mystery of her personality.

  3. I agree, Lucy’s responses to Sir Michael are not only strange, but also suspect. The passage following the one you quoted really shows her secrecy and seeming devotion to some entity other than Michael: “‘No more dependence, no more drudgery, no more humiliations,’ she said; ‘every trace of the old life melted away – every clue to identity buried and forgotten – except these, except these.’ She had never taken her left hand from the black ribbon at her throat” (17). We can clearly see from this quote that Lucy very much wanted to abandon her old life and for her identity to be forgotten – to create this “new world” that you mentioned. We can also see her devotion to someone else – she held her hand to the black ribbon the entire time she spoke, showing that whoever is represented by the objects attached to the ribbon (ring and piece of paper) must be very important to her.

  4. I agree completely with your post. This is one of the most character revealing statements made by Lucy. During the industrialization periods of both the U.S and England, many individuals and families rapidly ascended the social class structure as a result of their respective businesses and investments. Lucy’s ascent is different. She is making her way up via relationships and networking. This marriage with Sir Micheal is simply another step in the right direction for Lucy and away from her mysterious past.

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