Robert is all annoyed that Lady Audley won't run away and save Sir Michael from embarrassment when Rob outs her as Helen Talboys. I know this is supposed to be Rob trying to make it so his beloved Uncle is shamed in this scandal but this really just feels like Rob severely underestimating her cos she's some wispy girl. Hey, remember when she killed your bestie? Yeah, stop giving her warnings.
Rob is refusing to let Georgey grandfather visit him at school AND is making sure his care packages don't get to the boy and dammit Rob, what the fuck? I mean, I KNOW Captain Malden wasn't the best guardian for the boy but you can't even let him have some supervised visits or at least let him send the kid some sweets. Are we supposed to think Rob is really great for saving Georgey here? Cos right now I sort of hate him.
Sir Michael gets sort of sick but the doctor tells him not that sick so I don't know why everyone is so worried. Other than it gives Rob the chance to creepily stare at Lady Audley until she'll make eye contact with him, while I'm SURE Alicia is giving Rob dirty looks. What I wouldn't give for a movie version of this.
Rob questions the doctor and then later tracks down Lady Audley's past to a couple school teachers and at this point, I'm tired of Rob's quest. Unless the whole Lady Audley = Helen Talboys turns out to be a BIG red herring, we got this figured out all ready so watching Rob shamble to the same conclusion is getting tedious. Can we skip ahead to Clara and Rob: vengeance duo? There is at least a Miss Tonks and she hates Lady Audley, because Tonkses know what's up
I'm not saying Lady Audley's murderiness is a good thing or George deserved to die, I feel like everyone in this story is glossing over his abandonment. And apparently it was only one or two weeks after Georgey was born. Not that this news has any effect on Rob because he's still super in love with his dead friend. Also because Rob is kind of a jerk and all about abandoning children as well (see leaving Georgey with random waiter and dumping him at school while refusing him the comforts of familiar faces, aka his grandfather).
"I will go into the churchyard," [Rob] thought, "and stare at the tombstones. There is nothing I can do that will make me more gloomy than I am." - and Rob goes into his emo teenager stage.
While I'm getting tired of Rob, Clara is still winning me over. Of course she's only been in two brief scenes BUT STILL. I appreciate her meeting with Rob in the church.
Rob: But what are YOU doing here?
Clara: ...I told you I'd be coming here. Come on, it wasn't even that long ago.
Rob: **stares awkwardly at Clara**
Clara: Right, so you said you were going to tell me if you had news about my brother. Have you even been doing anything?
Rob: ...What? OH! That. Yeah I found out some more stuff.
Clara: Were you going to bother to tell me?
Rob: Later. I need to make sure I tell the killer first. Then I'll tell you. I am GREAT at detective-ing.
Clara: It's Lady Audley, isn't it? Look, that took me like 3 seconds.
Rob tells Lady Audley everything he knows. Just...all of it. Lady Audley faked her death to take up this new life that she is a big fan of and she already killed one person to keep her life so why Rob thought this was going to work out well for him is anyone's guess, but she already told him she's going to work on having him committed to an insane asylum, and I heart those were a grand ol' time back then. Rob, what exactly was the upper hand you thought you had?
Lady Audley starts planting the seeds of Rob's insanity in Sir Michael's mind. Well, not so much a subtle planting as screaming in Sir Michael's face with a bullhorn that Rob is crazy and needs locked up. But MEB hasn't been great a subtly this whole time, so this is probably as close as we'll get.
Of course then Phoebe shows up and gives Lady Audley the opportunity to just burn the Castle Inn down with Rob locked inside. Also Luke and some other guy, but they were mean so they can die too. Lady Audley is not to be fucked with.
But Rob's fine. Of course. Which is too bad cos the story could have switched to Clara getting vengeance for everyone.
How did Rob get out of the Castle Inn in one piece? And did the others make it?
How great would it be if George isn't down the well and really did run off and then he shows up again and is all "Oh I just ran off cos that's what I do. I'm back now. I bet you didn't even realize I was missing"?
What's Phoebe going to do now that her Inn is burned down?
Will Alicia continue to say hilarious things? (calling Rob a peripatetic, patent refrigerator" and a "sluggish ditch-pond" and saying he would only care about her if she had inflamed lungs)
Title quote from page 171, location 3298
Braddon, Mary Elizabeth. Lady Audley's Secret. Amazon Digital Services. Originally published 1862.