Harsh Harcourt

“My son did me an unpardonable wrong by marrying the daughter of a drunken pauper, and from that hour I had no longer a son. I wish him no ill. He is simply dead to me. I am sorry for him, as I am sorry for his mother who died nineteen years ago. If you talk to me of him as you would talk of the dead, I shall be ready to hear you. If you speak of him as you would speak of the living, I must decline to listen” (185)

This passage is from Robert’s trip to Harcourt Talboy’s mansion in search of assistance with his investigation into what happened to George. Before this quote from Harcourt, the narrator gives the reader some guidance on who Mr. Talboys is. Harcourt is described at the top of the page by the narrator saying, “his mind ran in straight lines … With him right was right and wrong was wrong”. The description we get of Harcourt before he speaks about his son is very accurate of what the reader experiences when he begins. Harcourt has absolutely no remorse or sympathy of how his relationship with his son ended, and has no intention of changing. He cast off his only son simply because he disobeyed him. 

Later in this passage the narrator says, “George never in his own person made any effort to soften his father’s verdict. He knew his father well enough to know the case was hopeless”. This moment in the book is very important and meaningful to George’s life. While, on the one hand, George knew what he was getting into by marrying Helen – it changed his life trajectory immensely. He knew it would be hard to live in poverty, though he thought that it would be worth it because of his love. This proved to be untrue as this moment in his life started the depression that we as the reader can see in George. Another reason why I believe that this passage is so significant, is it opens us to the regret and disappointment his wife felt after she believed she was marrying into a rich family. George would rather struggle for the rest of his life than to be an example of what not to do for his father’s sake. But his wife did not feel the same way, saying “I thought dragoons were always rich,” she used to say peevishly. 

It might sound crazy, but this passage becomes very significant as we get further into volume 2. We as a reader start to see where George’s depression came from and why. As we discover that Helen Maldon is slowly starting to be discovered as Lady Audley by Robert and Clara, we see her intentions shine through quite brightly. Helen was interested in her marriage with George for his status and money, so she could gain power. This also explains her motive for murdering George. He knew who Lady Audley really is and what she is about. The letter we see on page 248 from Helen, directly exposes Lady Audley as she creates a new life and a new fortune for herself as Lucy Graham. Lady Audley takes on many names, but no matter which name she gives herself, she is devious and dangerous.

*pop* Goes your Bubble

This Passage is from page 22/23 of the text, where we find George Talboys talking to Miss Morley on the ship back to London and we see George’s bubble burst. Miss Morley’s own doubts about coming back to London, slowly at first, starts to affect the mood of George. He asks her “why do you come and try to put such fancies into my head” (22), because he is realizing that he has been naive to believe that after 3 and ½ years of being gone without explanation – his wife could be ill, spiteful, or even worse dead. These are dark and dangerous thoughts for George because as his bubble pops, he has 3 years of anxiety and bad thoughts rushed into his head all at once. 

This passage changes the tone of the novel quickly. Before this passage, or this chapter, the author describes the beauty of Audley court and shows us a pretty romantic engagement speech. But this passage acts as a tone shift to the novel and contrasts against the light of the first chapter, with a dark and looming realization and thought pattern in this passage. George’s new doubts of his marriage affects him greatly, as well as adds conflict for the reader. “My pretty little wife! My gentle, innocent, loving, little wife! …. why her faithful husband had deserted her?” (23). Continues to add new information for us, and give us more about why his bubble popping shakes George up so much. This passage seems to be pretty important because in our first meeting of George he changes drastically. From a happy go lucky lover, to very sad and distraught. I believe this passage will create more problems than the mental distress George is under.