Werewolf Wednesday: Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf by George W. M. Reynolds (1846-7) Part 25

Chapter 61 of Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf opens with Demetrius carrying out the scheems arranged by Wagner’s lover, Nisida. He sends hsi Ottoman allies into the lair of the brigands, where they throttle Antonio and his bandits with bowstrings: “Thus perished the wretch Antonio — one of those trecherous, malignant and avaricious Italians who bring dishonor on their noble nation”. In the process, they rescue Nisida’s brother Francisco; he is unaware of the fact that his lover Flora is also a target of Nisida’s scheming.

Francisco then accompanies the Ottomans on a scuffle with anotehr group of bandits, personally slaying Lomellino (as the novel reaches its end, the author appears eager to clear out excess members of the cast list). This job done, Francisco is finally reunited with Nisida — who, shortly afterwards, puts on male clothes and dashes off into the shadows. “Whither was the lady Nisida now hurrying through the dark streets of Florence?” asks the not-quite-omniscient narrator.

It turns out that she’s paying a visit to the mother of the late Antonio, Dame Margaretha. Nisida manages to lure the older woman out of her home on false pretences, telling her that Antonio is mortally wounded and needs to see her, only to send her through a tunnel and trap her in a vault:

“Holy God!” shrieked Margaretha, gazing wildly round the damp and naked walls of solid masonry, and then up at the lamp suspended to the arched ceiling, “is this the place? But no! you are ignorant of all that; it was not for that you brought me hither! Speak, lady, speak! Where is Antonio? What have I done to merit your displeasure? Oh, mercy! mercy! Bend not those terrible glances upon me! Your eyes flash fire! You are not Nisida—you are an evil spirit! Oh, mercy! mercy!”

And thus did the miserable woman rave, as, kneeling on the cold, damp ground she extended her tightly-clasped hands in an imploring manner toward Nisida, who, drawn up to her full height, was contemplating the groveling wretch with eyes that seemed to shoot forth shafts of devouring flame! Terrible, indeed, was the appearance of Nisida! Like to an avenging deity was she—no longer woman in the glory of her charms and the elegance of her disguise, but a fury—a very fiend, an implacable demoness, armed with the blasting lightnings of infernal malignity and hellish rancor! “Holy Virgin, protect me!” shrieked Margaretha, every nerve thrilling with the agony of ineffable alarm.

Nisida then stabs Margaretha to death before imploring her deceased mother for forgiveness. Back home, Nisida finds a note from Dr. Duras giving an update on Flora’s trial with the inquisition. Nisida sees a hole in her plan: she had Francisco rescued while there was still a chance of Flora being saved in turn.

Sure enough, a tearful Francisco runs into the room and announces that he will take arms against the Inquistion, onyl to suffer an abrupt and nasty accident: “overcome with excitement, he fell forward — dashing his head violently upon the floor”. Dr. Duras recommends that he be given several days’ rest.

Three chapters left.

One thought on “Werewolf Wednesday: Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf by George W. M. Reynolds (1846-7) Part 25”

  1. You can always tell Reynolds has decided to end one of his novels–or in the case of his bigger works, the particular ‘Series’ of the title–when he starts wrapping up plotlines en masse.

    Which puts him head and shoulders above his contemporaries in the Penny Bloods, most of whom just wrote a rushed conclusion to whatever story they were writing now and called it quits. Honestly, it’s hard not to suspect that Reynolds actually did things like ‘wrote outlines’, and ‘kept notes’–he’s surprisingly good at keeping track of his stories for a man who is churning this stuff out at a weekly rate. (And it’s worth noting that he was finishing Wagner he was also starting The Days of Hogarth AND in the middle of the second series of The Mysteries of London.)


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