In Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret, Phoebe Marks is described “as a person who never lost her individuality. Silent and self-contained, she seemed to hold herself within herself” (pg 163). As readers, especially because of the description given, we should definitely pay close attention to Phoebe’s actions because she does seem a little skeptical. We get a feeling that she may be a good manipulator and may be up to some scheme as Robert suggests that Phoebe “is a woman who can keep a secret” (pg 164). What secret? Does he have a secret for her as well? We later learn during an encounter between Robert and Luke that Phoebe is extremely anxious and terrified of Luke saying something he is not supposed to say, that he may spill this “secret”, “you’re very anxious all of a sudden…I suppose you don’t want me to open my mouth to this gent” (pg 166). How bad is that secret that she is willing to be living on the edge of being revealed, she can’t leave Luke Marks and is willing to suffer through the marriage, “her pale eyes were still paler from the tears she had shed, and the red rims which surrounded them: (pg 144). Luke seems to care more about money and for his own image than he does for her.
Does Phoebe know something about the handwritten letters? Is that why Lady Audley and her seem frustrated at times? Is that what Luke and her are holding back? We’ll just have to wait and see as the novel continues unfolding. At this point in the novel, I would say Phoebe is not a minor character, but not a major character either. She is in between the spectrum, but leaning more towards major character. I predict that by the end of the novel she will be a major character and play a big part in the plot of Lady Audley’s Secret. Who knows she may be Lady Audley’s shadow.