““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”” (Braddon 17).
I found this sentence most strange because it shows Lucy’s main motive for marrying Sir Michael is not out of love or to be rich, but rather to escape her “old life.” Escaping from something and erasing it implies that it has a negative association. However, it then opens up the questions of, what is Lucy escaping from? Why does she want her “old life melted away?” It’s also interesting that these are her thoughts contemplating if she should marry Sir Michael or not because they’re all aimed towards finding safety in a sheltered nest. Since Lucy uses words such as, “every trace” and “every clue” it is apparent that she has something to hide from her “old life.” Therefore, it seems as if Lucy wants to find safety from her secret past. By marrying Sir Michael she would find safety from whatever she is running from or escaping by taking on his name. Therefore she would have a new literal identity. Lucy Graham would become Lady Audley. Lucy even stated that herself as a reason to marry Sir Michael—“identity buried and forgotten.” She then goes on to say, “except these, except these.” Which brings up the question of what is she talking about? What are these things? Why are they so important to keep if they could risk her identity and secret?
This sentence is related to the whole of the novel so far in that the words “every trace” “every clue” and “identity buried and forgotten” suggest that there is something suspicious about Lucy’s behavior. Her exterior is seen as “lovely and innocent” (Braddon 13) whereas her interior, which is expressed in this sentence, is more complex and dishonest.