Monkalong 3: Ambrosio Is the Worst

the-monk-readalong

Annnnnnnd we’re back to Mr Monk. Here we see just how awful Ambrosio is and I have no sympathy for this guy at all.

Ambrosio, the Slut Shamer

Ambrosio feels guilty for knocking boots with Matilda and immediately blames her. “Dangerous woman!” said he; “Into what an abyss of misery have you plunged me!” To her credit she reminds him that it takes two to tango. “Have I not shared in YOUR guilt? Have YOU not shared in MY pleasure?” Damn straight! Then Ambrosio “rioted in delights” with her some more.

At some point he remembers that she’s about to die, though it hasn’t slowed down her bedroom prowess any, and tells her she ought to do that secret thing she needs to do. Not because he cares about her well-being but because he wouldn’t have a mistress any more. He’s a real stand up guy.

Even though she’s dying of poison, she sets out to do the secret thing in the burying grounds of St Clare at midnight. She tells him that he can’t watch, but he hears music and sees lights. It’s all very The Craft sounding. She reappears and tells him that everything is fine now.

nancy punk rock
Nancy would approve of this
Ambrosio gets bored with Matilda quickly. Having sex released some inner pervert in him. “He gazed upon every other female with more desire.” Unfortunately, one of those females is poor Antonia who comes to ask him for a confessor for her sick mother. Ambrosio hatches a plan to visit her, in secret because he vowed never to leave the abbey, under the guise of comforting the sick Elvira.

Ambrosio, the Creeper

Elvira is no dummy. She sees through him and knows that just because he’s supposed to be a holy man, he’s still a man. She’s right on the money about that when she catches him manhandling her daughter after he gets her alone. Antonia is so innocent that she doesn’t know what’s up with this guy until he lunges at her. She’s grown up reading a bible with all the naughty bits blacked out. C’mon, Elvira, a little knowledge is power.

Ambrosio despairs that he’ll never get his sweaty hands on Antonia again. He blames Elvira for walking in on him while he was assaulting her daughter. The nerve! Meanwhile, Matilda knows she’s been replaced by another. She still wants to be his friend and tells him she can help. Matilda used witchcraft to save herself from death and in doing so conjured up a daemon. The daemon tells her everything- about Ambrosio grabbing Antonia, Elvira catching him, even Antonia’s feelings for Lorenzo. She suggests using her new friend to procure Antonia for him.

orphan black digest
Matilda is the Editor in Chief 
At first he protests; then Matilda brings out a magic mirror (that's a thing) that will show him whatever he wishes to see. He wants to see Antonia, who at just that moment is getting in the bathtub. Of course she is! Now, here is my favorite part. As she’s getting in the tub, “a tame linnet flew towards her, nestled its head between her breasts, and nibbled them in wanton play. The smiling Antonia strove in vain to shake off the bird, and at length raised her hands to drive it from its delightful harbour.” Yes, that’s the thing they never tell you about womanhood, how many birds will fly at your boobs. It’s a real problem. I don’t know why there aren't more awareness campaigns about it. 

What were you smoking, Lewis?

Ambrosio gives in, rationalizing that as long as someone else is doing the witchcraft his soul is safe. Way to throw someone else under the bus! They head back to the burying ground where Matilda does her rendition of Black Magic Woman with lots of hair pulling and “frantic gestures.”

elaine dance
Frantic gestures

Her daemon appears and gives her some special herbs. She hands these to Ambrosio and tells him specific instructions to “deprive [Antonia] of the power of resisting your attempts” so that he can do what he wants with her.

That’s pretty disturbing. I hope that doesn’t happen, because that is the limit of what I think is acceptable in my reading.

It’s interesting that Matilda and Ambrosio go straight to Crazytown after having sex. Have sex without marriage and all bets are off. It leads right to breaking vows and performing witchcraft. Like, within seconds.

Some thoughts:

Ambrosio is all “why can’t Matilda be more innocent like Antonia?” There is so much wrong with this question. She wouldn’t have done the nasty with him if she was. He’s planning on corrupting Antonia, at which point she won’t be “innocent” anymore. Someone push this guy in a well.

My favorite quote from this week from Matilda to Ambrosio:
It is not virtue which makes you reject my offer: You WOULD accept it, but you dare not. 'Tis not the crime which holds your hand, but the punishment; 'Tis not respect for God which restrains you, but the terror of his vengeance!
She’s right. He’s a coward.

Elvira tells Antonia, “his voice is so familiar, yes?” Yeah, he probably sounds like your husband since he’s your son.

Poor Agnes is being tortured in the nunnery, I just know it.

I’d love to see a Matilda-Elvira showdown. Elvira needs to kick her evil ass.

I don’t know what was acceptable in 1796, but The Monk is quite raunchy! This section was risque, with the all the nudity, sex, and “voluptuous” this and that. Scandalous!

10 comments:

  1. Well, the birds flying at your boobs thing IS a serious problem for women everywhere, but because in modern Western nations we're mostly bathing INdoors, that's probably why people don't say more about it. It's really only, like, when you go camping that it becomes a problem.

    A+ Orphan Black gif usage madam.

    I would LOVE an Elvira-anyone showdown, but I'm not convinced it's going to happen. I think Elvira's going to die. (Boooo.)

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    1. That's why I have so many bird shirts. Camouflage. Those little bird brains get confused.

      Yeah, Elvira is going to get killed. I hope she sends a letter to Lorenzo or Raymond or someone before that happens.

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  2. I was pretty happy that Matilda did not let Ambrosio get away with the slut shaming. Or I guess a bit but at least was like "you were there too, buddy." Although, do you think Matilda is "helping" Ambrosio with Antonia so she can sell his soul to the devil as well? That'll show him, walking out on her. Cos I feel like Matilda was nuts from the start.

    The bird. I totally forgot to write about the birds attacking Antonia but wtf Lewis? You weirdo.

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    1. I can totally see Matilda being that devious. She wouldn't show her hand if revenge was on her mind, you are right.

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  3. M-Lew, the pulp novelist of his time.

    Someone push this guy in a well.

    I'll help! Ambro is such a complete and utter dick, it's incredible.

    I'm sure Matilda has her own agenda. She doesn't give Ambro the date rape drug out of the kindness of her heart. She needs to procure his soul for the devil.

    Have sex without marriage and all bets are off.

    I don't think that's the point M-Lew is trying to make, though. He had Matilda say earlier that celibacy is unnatural (which it is). He probably wants to show how repressed desires, when they are finally unleashed, can lead to excess.

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  4. Things we have learned about humans from this book:
    Sex makes you literally bonkers
    Birds will just randomly fly at your naked boobs for no reason
    Lewis is the worst
    Excellent recap, is what I'm trying to say. But seriously, what's with that bird thing?

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    1. The bird thing might be the weirdest thing I've read in a book ever.

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  5. If this was a book about Elvira outwitting everyone I would be so glad, but I think you are right about her doom. We already know that for reasons unknown she never writes back to Aunt L, the clear assumption is that she is killed by Ambrosio in a weird turn around of Oedipus Rex where instead of sleeping with his mother and killing his father, Ambrosio will kill his mother and rape his sister. UGH.

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  6. Birds and boobs. Finally, our problem is out in the open for all to read and understand. The terror of taking a bath and never knowing when a nasty bird is going to come flying right at you.

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