Re-re-re reading Lady Audley's Secret - for the something or another time - is a very non-naive experience. Whereas re-reading To the Lighthouse is always a huge pleasure - there's a different angle, a different set of words that become visible each time, depending on what one's been reading or thinking about previously - LAS never changes much. What one can never re-capture, either, is not-knowingness. The text now seems stuffed full of obvious clues - repeated obvious clues - how many times can Braddon mention WELL in the first couple of pages? And since they now scream attention to themselves, is it ever possible to reconstruct the potential for overlooking them?
After a while, an unsold house becomes rather like Braddon's novel. Why haven't the last couple through - through twice - who even asked to see the disclosure form - made an offer? Is it the occasional crack or filled-in paint bubble on the wall? Is it the mysterious small dents on the door of the dishwasher? Is it the pale water stain on the bedroom floor? Or something even more beyond our control, like Squirrels? Not, perhaps, entirely beyond our control - we've just paid out $450 to the squirrel catcher to trap cages and cages of them and let them loose in a park three miles away - and then block up the hole that they were getting comfortable in. But I suspect them of scampering back from three miles away, since our animal lover neighbor (and I won't knock him for a minute, since he is a Cat Rescuer) puts out generous portions of fruit for them ... this is no edenic post-party scene, but apples chewed by squirrelly teeth. And they clearly glisten, green and red and golden, in full view of potential purchasers, who can probably read the scuttling implications behind such clues.