“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.