“I have been – in Yorkshire… glancing at his cousin, who stood a little way behind my lady, watching this confidential little dialogue.” (pg. 261)
I chose this passage because it was obvious that this is where it’s all coming to a head. When Robert Audley says that he has been in Yorkshire, where George used to live during his marriage, the response from Lady Audley was revealing. Braddon uses adjectives like faint and sickly to describe the smile that Lady Audley gives Robert in response, showing the switch of emotion she has. Through the entirety of George’s disappearance, Lady Audley has been a main suspect to Robert and this is where he finally has enough evidence to confront her and condemn her. Lady Audley, as expected, tries to act dumbfounded about why Robert wants to speak to her, she tries to stay calm and composed, and continue the façade she has held throughout the novel. This pertains to the theme of appearance vs reality, but this time there is no appearance she can keep up because she knows that Robert knows the truth, and who she really is, Helen Talboys. It is obvious that Lady Audley is finally out of her comfort zone, because she could soon be completely exposed and vulnerable to everyone, which she cannot fathom. Every conflict she has found herself in thus far, she has been able to squeeze her way out of it, but now she knows that Robert knows. This is essential to the novel because this whole time we’ve been suspicious of her, but now we know, even though she won’t admit it, what her secret is, and now it is a question of what she will do to Robert in order to have her secret contained.