Lucy Audley- Murderer?

“‘You shall never live to do this,” she said. “I will kill you first. Why have you tormented me so?… Do you know what it is to wrestle with a madwoman?” (273).

As volume two comes to an end, readers can gather more knowledge about the mystery behind George’s wife Helen and George’s disappearance. After Robert confronts Lucy about his theory, it becomes clear that she is hiding something big. Throughout the book, Lucy is often described as having childlike manners, but, as Robert continues to aggravate Lucy, she begins to show a side that we as readers haven’t seen before. Even though Lucy claims innocence during her talk with Robert, her actions suggest otherwise. Lucy acts aggressively towards Robert once he tells Lucy about his theory. Her aggressive manner continues to build throughout the confrontation and comes to a head when Lucy says that she would kill him before he could tell anyone about what he knows about her past. Personally, if I was being accused of murder and living a double life, I would not threaten death to my accuser. This ‘new’ side of Lucy reveals that there is something more sinister under her childlike actions.

Slowly throughout the book, Lucy started to show her true nature, beginning with her manipulation of the Audley’s. Lucy was easily able to convince Michael to not have George over while he was visiting. Later, Lucy planted the idea in Michael’s mind that Robert was mad and belonged in an asylum, even though he had his doubts about the validity of this “fact” when Lucy first brought it up. But her true nature really comes to light when she threatens Robert. I believe that throughout the book, these hints about Lucy were dropped so that readers could see that Lucy isn’t what she says she is. Now that she has revealed that she would be willing to kill Robert to protect herself, I think that others may start to see what Robert saw in Lucy during their talk. I think that Lucy did play a role in George’s disappearance and that she might carry out more sinister acts to hide whatever secret she has. The duality of her personality has started to show, and I think that her childlike appearance will start to fade away.

The Secrets of the Black Ribbon

 “She wore a black ribbon round her neck, with a locket or a cross, or a miniature, perhaps, attached to it; but whatever the trinket was, she always kept it hidden under her dress” (Braddon 14).

Even though Lucy always wears this ribbon around her neck, she does not disclose what hangs from the ribbon. It is only revealed to be a ring wrapped in paper when Phoebe looks around in Lucy’s things. The secrecy of the ribbon connects to the previously established patterns of secrecy, which were especially detailed on page 9. The narrator describes this grassy area as the perfect place for a hidden meeting, whether between lovers or conspirators. However, this area is only 20 paces from the house, putting this ‘private’ spot in a delicate balance of secrets and public knowledge.

I think that the black ribbon reflects on this contrast between secrets and yet the proximity to being revealed. Even though the ring hides behind the neckline of Lucy’s dresses, one small slip up and the secret would be out as it is so close to being prominently displayed on Lucy’s chest. I believe that this ribbon is a physical representation of Lucy’s past that she is clearly trying to be kept out of the spotlight. But, since the ring at the end of the ribbon is on the verge of being seen, I believe that this means that there is a threat of Lucy’s secret being revealed. While Lucy may believe that her secret that manifests itself in the ring at the end of the ribbon will never be revealed, there is a looming danger that could expose Lucy’s lies. Since Phoebe was able to discover the ring kept on the ribbon, I believe that this acts as foreshadowing, meaning that the tightly woven secret that Lucy is hiding will soon start to unravel.