Alice! How could you?! I know you didn’t know, but how could you anyway!?! Argggh! Reading ended at a moment of tremendous suspense. Not even suspense really – mid-action! Which is Lewis’ fault or the publishers, but since last reading I read past and almost wrote about what happened in this part which I don’t want to spoil for anyone who might ever read this so, stop reading this now!
This was labelled as the Bleeding Nun, but I don’t think the illustrator read the book.
Anyway, The Monk turns out to be even more horrible than believed as in a fit of pique he kills Elvira. Antonia, the dumb bunny, is, of course, doomed at this point. Poor girl. He feels bad for about a minute, but quickly returns to figuring out how to make her unhappiness complete. Having destroyed his magical myrtle he now needs to rely on drugs. What a wretched excuse for a human being. It seems like Antonia might have a chance because her maid or whatever takes Elvira’s injunction against the Monk seriously, but he is too slippery for her and Antonia succumbs to the drug which makes you seem dead for two days, beloved of literature. So, when is this Monk getting sucked down to hell, another scene beloved of literature?
Meanwhile, Don Raymond the useless is lying around in a stupor while his enterprising young servant invades the convent and tries to get word about Agnes. He sings and charms all the nuns with his good looks. His plan works and he gets word about Agnes’ fate. Don Lorenzo rushing around to save Agnes does not realize The Monk is taking out his beloved and her mother. There is a secretly decent nun in the convent who knows the fate of Agnes (or thinks she does) and in a spectacular bit of theater denounces the Prioress. This works all too well and the crowd rips her limb from limb. Okay, he doesn’t say that, he says they harrass her until she gets hit with a rock, but naturally, I don’t believe that for a minute.
So, Lorenzo sees an escaping nun go down into the cloister and follows her and finds all the nuns around a statue that must never be touched which is groaning. Brave, brave Lorenzo goes down into the pit and rescues a poor nun and her deceased baby (Time in this novel is extremely vague. It really didn’t seem like months had gone by. The Ambrosio/Antonia timeline seems like a few weeks maybe, then meanwhile Agnes has had her baby though she was not visibly pregnant at the time and now they’re both near death or dead. Agnes talks a heckuva lot for someone who hasn’t had water in two days. Will she live? Will Virginia the interesting and beautiful get Lorenzo?
As this rescue is taking place Lorenzo & Co. go back into the pit to make sure there aren’t any more when there is a Shriek! and he goes charging off to save whoever. We don’t know who or what because the reading ends here! Alice!!
But actually it’s quite page turny these past couple of sections. As I mentioned I didn’t stop at the end of part III because I was keen to know what happened next. And that made me stop now to write it up so I wouldn’t spoil more than part 4 for anyone. I still think this book is a hoot and if he’d written some more he might have gotten much better at the aspects of it which make it not quite work in some ways, like a sensible timeline. But Lewis was good at characters and definitely wrote an entertaining read. And I am grateful to Alice for picking this one. I think all our reads should have ghost nuns in ’em. Next week — the end!