Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Monk part II: You possess my heart, but use not my gift ignobly

It's Thursday which means its time for another Monkalong post. Thank ya Alice, our fearless readalong leader.
I thought Part I of The Monk was nuts. Lewis wastes no time throwing us right into the temptation and craziness. So I thought maybe, just maybe, this next part would be calmer as we're dealing with the aftermath of Ambrosio and Matilda's transgressions.


Lewis doubles down on the insanity.
More insane than Neville looking like this
We spend most of the time with the Marquis Raymond (Agnes's baby daddy*) as he catches Lorenzo up with how exactly they got to where they are now. And OF COURSE the story is insane.

Raymond travels around under a fake name, so he can learn if people really like him for him, or just like him for his name/title. While traveling one night his chaise breaks down in the middle of the woods with nothing around for miles, because Lewis is the grandfather of urban legends. His servant tells him that coincidentally they are right near this guy he knows so don't worry, Raymond/Alphonse can spend the night there.

The man of the house, Baptiste, is very happy to have them, but the wife (Marguerite) seems cold and rude and Raymond tells Baptiste how sorry he is that this guy has to be married to such a bitch. Except that "bitch" later saves Raymond's life, so maybe she's owed an apology.

A baroness also gets a flat tire, or whatever is causing these breakdowns outside the house, and also ends up staying. Marguerite keeps acting weird, hissing at Raymond to check the sheets. Which he does and turns out THEY'RE COVERED IN BLOOD.
Marguerite does NOT fuck around when it comes to hints that something bad is going to happen. He then overhears his servant talking to Baptiste and they are the robbers everyone keeps talking about and they're planning on killing everyone and taking their stuff once the rest of the gang gets there.

Marguerite also warns Raymond not to drink the special champagne because it's drugged and he almost blows the whole thing but pretending to take a sip and then pretending to throw it all up (what?) and yet they still think he drank it all, which makes no sense. Then Marguerite has to remind Raymond to pretend to be passed out or they'll figure out he didn't actually drink it.

Marguerite and Raymond overpower Baptiste and murder him, and then get away with the passed out baroness, though sadly the servants staying in the barn are all murdered. But the rich people got out, and that's what matters.

Maggie then tells HER story about how she had married this other guy who was great, but a robber and that sucked and all. But then he died and the other robbers in the gang said she couldn't just leave and had to marry this asshole and she never got to see her kids and was kept a prisoner in the house. Now that she's free she decides to join a convent and asks that a couple strangers take care of the kids she LITERALLY JUST GOT BACK. And so her son Theo ends up traveling around with Raymond.

Raymond ends up hanging out with the baroness for awhile, where he meets Agnes. Agnes has been promised to the church since birth but they fall in love anyway. Except the baroness ALSO falls in love with Raymond. She declares her love for him but when he confesses that it's been a BIG misunderstanding and he's actually in love with someone else she gets RUHL pissed RUHL fast.
Agnes and Raymond make plans to run away together and the plans are insane. They involve Agnes dressing up like a BLOODY GHOST NUN and since everyone is super afraid of blood-drenched specters, nun or not, they figure this will totally work, and how convenient that this ghost apparently only shows up once every five years, but in a few days, it will be that time. Also they leave all the doors open for her so the ghost can move easily around the castle, even though she is a ghost. But it's for the best reason:

On that night the Porter always leaves the Gates of the Castle open, out of respect to the Apparition: Not that this is thought by any means necessary, since She could easily whip through the Keyhole of She chose it; But merely out of politeness, and to prevent her from making her exit in a way so derogatory to the dignity of her Ghost-ship.
"The Dignity of her Ghost-Ship" sounds like a song from a Mumford and Sons-like band.

They make plans to meet but instead of grabbing Agnes, Raymond grabs the ACTUAL ghost nun. He's not there to meet Agnes, who is super embarrassed that she has to go back to the castle and ask to be let back in, and everyone figures out what she was trying to do because ghosts don't need to knock.

Meanwhile, Raymond is now being haunted by this ghost. This mysterious figure shows up one day to tell Raymond that he knows how he can get rid of this ghost. It's actually an ancestor of Raymond's and she's pissed that she was never properly buried. Then we get bleeding ghost nun story, about how she was mistress for this one baron, but then decide she wanted his brother so she murdered baron number one and then was killed by baron's brother and her bones tossed in a pit. Raymond has to retrieve the bones and give them a proper burial at home in order to be free of her.

Agnes is now at this convent and Raymond finds her and disguises himself as a gardner. There are clandestine meetings and some sexy times but they are caught again! Agnes is pissed at Raymond and all seems lost until it turns out she's pregnant so she's decided to forgive him and they make the plans with the note left in the church where Lorenzo found him and now we're all caught up.

Lorenzo agrees to help Raymond (cos they're besties now) but the prioress won't let Lorenzo see his sister. Because she's busy torturing her because Ambrosio ratted her out. Eventually Lorenzo gets a note from a bull (or a papal bull, but I like my image of a bull pope) that will let Agnes not be a nun anymore but the prioress tells her "Oh yeah, sorry, I actually can't let you see your sister BECAUSE SHE'S DEAD."
Also there's a bit about Lorenzo going to ask Antonia's mom (Raymond's sister-in-law) if he can marry Antonia but Elvira says that he can but ONLY if Lorenzo's uncle agrees to the union and this part is so not interesting compared to ALL OF THE INSANITY THAT JUST HAPPENED.

I have no idea what's going to happen next. I assume Agnes isn't really dead. Actually, there were a few poems thrown in throughout this section and honestly they could (and prob did) tell the entire story but no, I did not read them. But beyond that I don't know that I can make any claims cos I would have never guessed "bleeding ghost nun" would be a major plot point, yet here we are.

There were so many good parts I highlighted to talk about but this is already super long so I will stop here. Will the insanity increase next week? I hope so.

*Right after I wrote this I turned to Tom to ask a "very important grammar question:" is "baby daddy" hyphenated? He looked at me, shook his head, told me he loved me, and went back to work. Which did not answer my question at all.

Title quote from location 2043

Lewis, Matthew Gregory. The Monk.