Pursuing Happiness?

Chapter 1

“He was glad of her reply; and yet that and the strange laugh jarred upon his feelings. He was silent for some moments, and then said with a kind of effort – ‘Well, Lucy, I will not ask too much of you. I dare say I am a romantic old fool; but if you do not dislike me, and if you do not love anyone else, I see no reason why we should not make a very happy couple. Is it a bargain, Lucy?’” (17).

I found this passage rather strange because Lucy Graham is asked not to be happy with Mr. Audley as her husband, but if she will be satisfied being him since she doesn’t love anybody else. Since his previous wife’s death, Mr. Audley has not taken interest in any women except Lucy Graham, and he was clearly taken aback by her response when first asked if he would be his significant other. However, the passage provided above is, essentially, just another way of once again asking Lucy to be his wife, just without the feeling of true love. Specifically, the word “bargaining” in this passage stands out among the others because it is clear the Lucy Graham is not in love with Mr. Audley, but Sir Michael Audley so desperately wants her to be his partner. This could cause conflict in the future because, as humans know all too well, the feelings of love and passion can easily change overtime. Lucy is described as one of the most beautiful women in all the land, but in the bargain, she made with Mr. Audley, she did not love anybody else only at that time in the story. As mentioned before, she has admitted not to being in love with Sir Michael, but to essentially not dislike him enough for the time being to be his wife and the woman of Audley Court. What I really think this passage is about is relinquishing happiness for status, power, and wealth. Humans, as a species, constantly must make decisions that influence out societal status and perceived wealth and, often, we aren’t happy with the decisions we make. In the case of Lucy Graham, she may be happy for the time being with her newfound wealth, jewelry, and travels, but it is likely she will eventually need more than just the old Sir Michael providing for her to make her truly happy in life without having internal conflicts.

3 thoughts on “Pursuing Happiness?”

  1. I really like your analysis of the power dynamic between Michael Audley and Lucy even before their marriage. The idea that Michael would almost serve more as a guardian than a loved one in Lucy’s life. Your description of Lucy’s future with her future husband as one of comfort rather than passion is something that we see throughout the first volume, especially when the couple is in front of an audience. We repeatedly see Lucy pulling Michael aside to speak to him and deal an issue indirectly through him.

  2. While this blog sort of bounces around a little bit and doesn’t stick with one main point, the general theme of it interests me and has provoke a reaction for sure. The idea behind the “bargain” is very important and intriguing because it does make me think that Lucy is only allied with the older Sir Michael due to his wealth and status. This passage reveals that the two may have a respectable partnership, but that they are not deeply in love, at least Lucy is not. On another note, this makes me think of Robert’s interest in Lucy and Lucy’s inability to ignore Robert as well and what that may lead to.

  3. I was also struck by this passage, as it marks a shift for Sir Michael. Earlier, Sir Michael tells Lucy that there is “no greater sin…than that of the woman who marries a man she does not love” and “nothing but misery can result from a marriage dictated by any motive but truth and love” (15). Yet, even after learning that Lucy does not really love him, he still asks her to marry him, phrasing it, as you noted, like a “bargain” (17). This phrasing reminds me of our class discussions about the nature of Victorian marriages — it is more like a business contract than an emotional commitment.

Leave a Reply