Wagner The Wehr-Wolf, Part 3: “Mmmm, Girl, I Love The Way You Stab”

You guys know the drill: I’m recapping a thematically-appropriate book for Halloween. It’s an 1850s serial called Wagner the Wehr-Wolf by G.W.M. Reynolds, who was a really terrible but really popular writer. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here. The full text, if you want to read along, can be found here.

Where we left off, Wagner had just transformed into a Wehr-Wolf for the first time. His hot, evil, deaf-mute girlfriend Nisida had completely flipped her lid and stabbed his granddaughter/sister and then got her own maid kidnapped by evil nuns for making eyes at Nisida’s brother. Wagner got arrested for the murder of his granddaughter/sister.

*pause* This is the stupidest paragraph I have ever written. By a long way.

NOW WE ARE GOING TO BE INTRODUCED TO NEW CHARACTERS. Because this plot wasn’t convoluted enough.

Meanwhile, in a crime-ridden Florentine ghetto, there is a Jew named Isaachar. Reynolds tells us that Jews are pretty okay, they’ve just got a bad reputation. Stephano (Nisida’s servant, who is also a notorious bandit, who is planning to rob her by breaking into the Secret Room of Secrets) is there, getting ready to rob Isaachar. Stephano was hired by Giulia, the Countess of Arestino, to steal back her diamonds which she had pawned to Isaachar to pay off her lover’s gambling debts. Naughty, naughty, you’ll get caught-y. Isaachar is like, “Take the damn diamonds, just don’t kill me.”

Then Stephano reveals to his bandit friends that he saw a woman in a veil kill Agnes and he knows that Wagner is innocent. He’s going to find out who the woman is and . . . have sex with her. He admired the way she held that blade so much that he is all hot and bothered. So I guess the way to a man’s heart is through . . . another woman’s heart. Also, the bandit hide-out is right near the convent, so they hear lots of shrieking and can’t sleep. This chapter is a total info-dump plot-forwarder.

We are introduced to Giulia Arestino, the Countess who pledged her diamonds to Isaachar. She is (sing it if you know it)—totally hot. Hey, look, we just lost hot Agnes and maybe hot Flora. There is a severe deficit of hot in this story now, okay? Her husband is old and devoted to her, but she loves the handsome rake Orsini. Then Stephano shows up with her diamonds. But then Orsini shows up and she’s like, “Stephano, hide behind this tapestry!”

Little does Giulia know that her husband is also listening at the adjoining door. Orsini is like, “Uhhh, sorry babe, but I broke my promise to you and gambled and lost and now I need more money.” Then her husband bursts into the room.

Orsini and Giulia try to brazen it out and pretend like Orsini was there to see the Count, not Giulia. I mean, go big or go home. The Count is like, “Uh-huh. GTFO, Orsini.” After he leaves, the Count is like, “Wife, I don’t want that douche in my house again. Also, don’t forget that we have the Duke’s reception tomorrow, so why don’t I polish up your diamonds for you? You know. The diamonds I just heard you say you pawned.”

He thinks he’ll catch her in a trap, so he’s surprised when she is able to produce the diamonds. But then he discovers that the stones have been replaced with fakes. Giulia’s like, “Shit, the jig is up!” And he goes, “I am going to sent you to the Convent of Horrors!” He leaves the room. She remembers that Stephano is still hiding behind the tapestry and has overheard everything. Instead of telling him to kill her husband or to help her escape, she orders him instead to go tell Orsini what happened. Idiot. Then some nuns pop up out of hammer space about 3 seconds later and drag her off. The hell did they get there so fast? Oh my god. I bet they can FLY.

Meanwhile, Orsini is like, “Giulia said she pawned her diamonds, so I should figure out how to get them back to pay my debts,” not realizing, of course, that the jewelry had been brought back to her, but that the stones had been faked. So Orsini goes to poor Isaachar’s house and is like, “Give me her diamonds or I will have the Inquisition  . . . uh . . . inquisition you because you’re Jewish.” And Isaachar is like, “Stephano stole them back from me an hour ago!” And then Stephano shows up.

Stephano is like, “I gotta tell you something important about the Countess”, but before he can get her message out, the two men bandy insults and start a duel in Isaachar’s house, and poor Isaachar is like, “Oh, for fuck’s sake.” Then Orsini gets wounded, which shuts him up for five minutes so Stephano can accuse Isaachar of having swapped out the real diamonds. And Isaachar’s like, “Yup. But I wouldn’t have to do dishonest crap like that if you aristocrats stopped pulling all this bullshit, like HIRING A BANDIT TO ROB ME IN THE FIRST PLACE.” And Stephano and Orsini are like, “You know what? Fair enough.” And the two of them leave Isaachar finally the goddamn hell alone.

Stephano finally tells Orsini where his biddy got to. Orsini’s like, “Wow, I would totally rescue her, but, uh, my arm is wounded and, uh, that convent is impenetrable, so . . . sucks to be her.” Stephano is all, “No. We’re rescuing her.”

Isaachar is woken up AGAIN, this time by police. Giulia’s husband, the Count, is like, “Could I have back my wife’s diamonds which you took from their setting, please?” Isaachar gives them up. Then the police notice blood on the floor from Stephano and Orsini’s fight and think that Isaachar kills Christian babies so he can put their blood in his bread, because Jews feed off the life-force of the Christian young. I guess Jew = vampire in Renaissance logic. He gets arrested and brought to the Inquisition jail, which is also where Wagner is imprisoned.

In the middle of his rescue plan for Giulia, Stephano is like, “Oh, yeah, I was supposed to break into the Secret Room of Secrets over at Francisco and Nisida’s place.” Nisida is in her rooms getting all worked up about something and apparently gearing up to do yet another rash and ill-contemplated act of crazy. She grabs a knife and a bunch of sacks of gold, and then . . . goes and sits downstairs in her house in the dark because . . . okay . . . but then she sees Stephano breaking in, and she jumps up, and he’s like, “Hey, it’s that chick I saw who stabbed that other chick and now I love her!” Question: he recognizes her now. How did he not recognize her before? SHE IS HIS EMPLOYER. THEY LIVE IN THE SAME HOUSE.

She hands Stephano a slip of paper saying, “I know of your plan to rob me” and I go, “HOW???” and the paper also says, “There is no treasure, but if you come work for me, I will pay you a butt load of gold.” This chapter makes no goddamn sense. And Stephano is like, “Omg, I would do anything for this woman because I love the way she stabs. I am your slave, fair lady.” And she says, “If Wagner is condemned to death, please rescue him.”

Meanwhile, Flora has been in the Hell-convent for six days, but nothing particularly bad has happened. She’s just chilling in her room, convinced that Nisida is behind her captivity. Then Flora gets Giulia as a roommate. They braid each others hair and stay up late whispering secrets and become BFFs, until a night comes when the nuns get out their floggin’ sticks and bring them out to watch some fun torture.

While watching the torture floor show, Flora and Giulia hear a weird noise and the ceiling caves in. Orsini rushes in and is like, “Giulia, I totally saved you! This is all me!” One of the bandits had a girlfriend being tortured in the nunnery so the whole bandit troupe goes on a Nun-Scourge. It’s like a panty-raid gone horribly wrong.

They kill the crap out of some nuns and Orsini is like, “This is so totally against the noble sensibilities that I have never expressed until now.” Then guards come and kill most of the bandits and I don’t think any girls get rescued apart from Flora and Giulia, and oh my god this whole chapter is POINTLESS.

The convent burns to the ground, killing most of the innocent people inside. Stephano is like, “This work is too dangerous for me. I’m going to give up being a bandit because I found a woman who stabs real nice and we’ll settle down and have lots of terrifying babies.” Orsini is like, “I heard about Isaachar’s arrest, so I’m going to rescue him. The Count will think his wife died in the fire, so I’ll hide her and we’ll escape together later.”

Stephano thinks about Nisida’s request for him to rescue Wagner and concludes that she must love him. Wagner is therefore his enemy. When he meets up with Nisida to talk about the plan, Stephano kidnaps her to make her his mistress, bwahahaha *evil laugh* *thunderclap*. Guys, Stephano and Orsini have absolutely no personalities. They are noble and chivalric one minute, and slimy and evil the next. Consistency, please.


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