While reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, I could not help but notice some similarities between it and Lady Audley’s Secret. Specifically, Miss Stapleton struck me as very similar to Lady Audley, both in how she is described and through her actions thus far.
Like Lady Audley, Miss Stapleton is described as very beautiful, and almost “exotic”, as we see from Watson’s narration: “I had heard someone describe her as being a beauty. The woman who approached me was certainly that, and of a most uncommon type…for Stapleton was neutral-tinted, with light hair and grey eyes, while she was darker than any brunette whom I have seen in England – slim, elegant, and tall” (Doyle 70). Watson is taken aback by Miss Stapleton’s beauty, and only becomes more shocked when she urgently tells him to go back to London. She tells him she cannot explain why he must leave, and when her brother comes near, she tells Watson to not speak of this to him. Already we can see there is some secret that Miss Stapleton is hiding, and she does not want Watson, or even her own brother, to know what it is (just like Lady Audley wanted to keep her secret from both Sir Audley as well as Robert). Miss Stapleton also shows she is quite capable of lying, when she gives her brother a fake explanation of what she and Watson were talking about.
Clearly, Miss Stapleton is actively interested in keeping her secret, as we see when she runs to apologize to Watson about the mixup. Watson expresses his doubts as she tries to brush off what she told him earlier: “‘Please forget the words I said, which have no application whatever to you.’ ‘But I can’t forget them, Miss Stapleton…Tell me why it was that you were so eager that Sir Henry should return to London.'” (73). This exchange reminds me of when Lady Audley pays a visit to Robert at the inn. Like Lady Audley with Robert, Miss Stapleton wants to make sure Watson does not know too much, but he is very intent on finding out what she is hiding. This idea of a character keeping secrets hidden behind a veneer of beauty reminds me exactly of Lady Audley.