” ‘Do you know, Phoebe, I have heard some people say you and I are alike?’ ‘I have heard them say so too, my lady…but they must be very stupid to say it, for your ladyship is a beauty, and I’m a poor plain creature.’ ‘Not at all, Phoebe…you are like me…it is only colour that you want. My hair is pale yellow shot with gold, yours is drab…Why, with a bottle of hair dye, such as we see advertised in the papers, and a pot of rouge, you’d be as good-looking as I any day, Phoebe.’ “(Braddon 60)
While both the surrounding environment of the outdoors/ house and other characters vividly described with multiple colors, Phoebe Marks is introduced as a stark contrast. Most notably is the pattern of drained colors: the lack of physical vibrance and life significantly dampen her features that would otherwise make her beautiful. However, you would never guess Phoebe was intelligent and hungry enough to try and blackmail Lady Audley simply because she has the image of an unhealthy lower class person. But Lady Audley herself mentions that Phoebe is similar in appearance to herself. So what if this passage is about Phoebe being an exception to Victorian social class?
It becomes more evident through the continuing chapters that Phoebe is capable of placing herself at the same level as an aristocrat. By this I mean that she defies the emphasis on desirable physical appearances (we see repeated throughout the book) that differentiate upper class from lower class. Gold hair, bright blue eyes, a dazzling smile, the most prized women are all upper class and have bright, glowing, and angelic-like faces.