Robert Audley Quotes in Lady Audley’s Secret
Robert Audley was supposed to be a barrister…He was a handsome, lazy, care-for-nothing fellow, of about seven-and-twenty…Sometimes, when the weather was very hot, and he had exhausted himself with the exertion of smoking his German pipe and reading French novels, he would stroll into the Temple Gardens.
“How charmingly she sits her horse! What a pretty figure, too, and a fine, candid, brown, rosy face; but to fly at a fellow like that, without the least provocation! That’s the consequence of letting a girl follow the hounds…If ever I marry, and have daughters…they shall never go beyond the gates till they are marriageable, when I will take them straight across Fleet Street to St Dunstan’s Church, and deliver them into the hands of their husbands.”
“Lady Audley,” answered the young man gravely. “I have never practiced as a barrister…I have shrunk from those responsibilities and duties, as I have from all the fatigues of this troublesome life: but we are sometimes forced in the very position we have most avoided, and I have found myself lately compelled to think of these things. Lady Audley, did you ever study the theory of circumstantial evidence?”
“What a wonderful solution to life’s enigma there is in the petticoat government! A man might lie in the sunshine and eat lotuses…if his wife would let him! But she won’t, bless her impulsive heart and active mind! She knows better than that…She drags her husband on to the woolsack, or pushes him into Parliament.”
“I hate women…They’re bold, brazen, abominable creatures, invented for the annoyance and destruction of their superiors. Look at this business of poor George’s! It’s all woman’s work from one end to the other. He marries a woman, and his father casts him off, penniless and professionless. He hears of the woman’s death and he breaks his heart…He goes to a woman’s house and he is never seen alive again.”
Lucy Audley looked up from her occupation amongst the fragile china cups, and watched Robert rather anxiously, as he walked softly to his uncle’s room, and back again to the boudoir. She looked very pretty and innocent, seated behind the graceful group of delicate opal china and glittering silver. Surely a pretty woman never looks prettier than when making tea. The most feminine and most domestic of all occupations imparts a magic harmony to her every movement, a witchery to her every glance.
“A conspiracy concocted by an artful woman, who had speculated upon the chances of her husband’s death, and had secured a splendid position at the risk of committing a crime…but a foolish woman, who looked at life as a game of chance, in which the best player was likely to hold the winning cards, forgetting that there is a Providence about the pitiful speculators, and that wicked secrets are never permitted to remain long hidden.”
“Mr. Audley may be as you say, merely eccentric; but he has talked to me this evening in a manner that has filled me with absolute terror, and I believe that he is going mad. I shall speak very seriously to Sir Michael this very night…I shall only put him on his guard, my dear Alicia.”
“But he’ll never believe you,” said Miss Audley, “He will laugh at such an idea.”
“No, Alicia; he will believe anything that I tell him.”
“I killed him because I AM MAD! because my intellect is a little way upon the wrong side of that narrow boundary-line between sanity and insanity; because when George Talboys goaded me, as you have goaded me; and reproached me, and threatened me; my mind, never properly balanced, utterly lost its balance; and I was mad!”
“The place was indeed select. I had not been there a month before I discovered that even the prettiest girl might wait a long time for a rich husband. I wish to hurry over this part of my life: I dare say I was very despicable. You and your nephew, Sir Michael, have been rich all your lives, and can well afford to despise me; but I knew how far poverty can affect a life, and I looked forward with a sick terror to a life so affected.”
Two years have passed since the May twilight in which Robert found his old friend; and Mr Audley’s dream of a fairy cottage had been realized…Here amongst the lilies and the rushes on the sloping bank, a brave boy of eight years old plays with a toddling baby…
Mr Audley is a rising man upon the home circuit by this time, and has distinguished himself in the great breach of promise case of Hobbs v. Nobbs.
I hope no one will take objection to my story because the end of it leaves the good people all happy and at peace. If my experience of life has not been very long, it has at least been manifold; and I can safely subscribe to that which a mighty king and a great philosopher declared, when he said that neither the experience of his youth nor of his age had ever shown him ‘righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging their bread.’