“Oh yes, you will though,” answered Luke, with quiet insolence, that had a hidden meaning. “You’ll make it a hundred, my lady.” Lady Audley rose from her seat, looked at the man steadfastly in the face till his determined gaze sank under hers; then walking straight up to her maid, she said in a high, piercing voice, “Phoebe Marks, you have told this man!” (Braddon 113)
From the first appearance of Lady Audley, I have questioned her motives towards the Audley household. Obviously, we all question if she is who she says she is, along with guessing the meaning of the ring and strands of hair she keeps with her. But what else she could she be hiding, and what caused her to share such secrets with Phoebe?
Lady Audley had presumed that what she was doing was a good deed by offering Luke money to drop the presumed marriage between him and Phoebe. She did not expect that he would be aware of her secret, or that Phoebe would go behind her back to tell him. The overall conflict had Luke demand more money and silently hinted at blackmail. The big question to be taken from this is, what is Lady Audley’s secret?. Is it so bad that it would allow someone to extort her for money?
The passage reverts back to the main questions we have all had about the novel so far. What is Lady Audley hiding? This passage only deepens curiosity about what she may be hiding. When Lady Audley confronted Phoebe about why she told, all phoebe had to say was, “He forced it from me, or I would never, never have told!” How Luke even knew the secret was questionable. Phoebe telling him possibly out of her own will may be an abstract thought, but may just be possible as there are some inconsistencies within the story.
Overall, I see this short text as another form of drama arising due to Lady Audley who seems to be inciting it with her sketchy past and questionable motives towards her choices of becoming Lady Audley.