Lady Audley’s golden curls represent the deceptive nature of appearances. Characters such as Sir Michael and Robert Audley interpret Lady Audley’s bouncy curls as evidence of her innocent, childlike nature. Braddon often describes Lady Audley’s hair as looking like a halo, further underscoring the notion of her looks as reflective of her supposedly angelic spirit. In reality, Lady Audley uses the beautiful and childlike elements of her appearance, like her curls, to make socially advantageous yet doomed marriages with both George Talboys and Sir Michael. As Robert reveals the secrets of Lady Audley’s past, the reader sees how her beautiful curls hide the sinister, scheming mind underneath. In fact, as the plot reveals more details about Lady Audley’s deceptions, Braddon even describes Lady Audley’s hair, once deemed a halo, as looking like fire—a comparison the evokes images of rage and hell, and which suggests how much the perception of Lady Audley’s appearance has changed with the revelation of her sins.
Lady Audley’s Golden Curls Quotes in Lady Audley’s Secret
Lucy was better loved and more admired than the baronet’s daughter [Alicia]. That very childness had a charm which few could resist. The innocence and candour of an infant beamed in Lady Audley’s fair face, and shone out of her large and liquid blue eyes. The rosy lips, the delicate nose, the profusion of fair ringlets, all contributed to preserve to her beauty the character of extreme youth and freshness.
“Do you know, Phoebe, I have heard some people say you and I are alike?”
“I have heard them say so too, my lady…but they must be very stupid to say it, for your ladyship is a beauty, and I’m a poor plain creature.”
“Not at all, Phoebe…you are like me…it is only colour that you want. My hair is pale yellow shot with gold, yours is drab…Why, with a bottle of hair dye, such as we see advertised in the papers, and a pot of rouge, you’d be as good-looking as I any day, Phoebe.”
No one but a pre-Raphaelite would have painted, hair by hair, those feathery masses of ringlets with every glimmer of gold, and every shadow of pale brown. No one but a pre-Raphaelite would have so exaggerated every attribute of that delicate face as to give a lurid lightness to the blonde complexion and a stranger, sinister light to the deep blue eyes. No one but a pre-Raphaelite could have given to that pretty pouting mouth the hard and almost wicked look it had in the portrait.