My Dear Sister,
I had resigned myself to quiet evenings of reading while Henry dwelt upon his Face Book when we received a note from Mr. Plumtre to say that he had once more secured a box to Part III in the series of Bella and Edward playlets – Part III is called Eclipse – and knowing how very curious you were to learn how the plight of these two young people would reach its resolution, I consented to lay aside my book.
The Twilight Saga, Part III, Eclipse begins with a dispute between Bella and Edward, whose schemes for the future have put them at variance, as Bella will not consent to take the name of Cullen unless she may share in that family’s gross Malady, which Edward is reluctant to inflict upon her. Bella’s insistence and Edward’s reluctance take up a great deal of The Twilight Saga, Part III, Eclipse and I could not help but feel some irritation toward the young people – to have such earnestness and yet no resolve! Their manner in everything is the same as ever it was, but for Edward’s willingness to venture into the sunlight now and again, though it has done little to alleviate his Pallor.
Meanwhile, in a distant town called Seattle, a young man has got himself in liquor and so is unable to ward off a violent Attack which inflicts upon him the same gross Malady as Edward and all his family, but without imparting any of their forbearance in regard to their Appetites. Yet, before we can work up any sympathy for this Unfortunate, his plight is quickly dropt and we are thrown back upon Bella and Edward once more.
Bella’s father (to whom she refers, quite impertinently, by his Christian name!) expresses dismay to learn that that she has slighted her friend Jacob, and reminds her that the old friendships must be kept up as well as the new. Edward objects to her continuing the Acquaintance, as Jacob, his family and his companions once Were Wolves and – though they may assume a human Form – they are at the mercy of Passions which have the effect of making them into Wolves once more.
Moreover, there are ancient Hostilities between those who Were Wolves and those who suffer the Cullens’ gross Affliction, and these hostilities have carried over in to the present Generation – and so for Bella to befriend one must be an affront to the other.
While in the company of their friends at school, Edward and Bella are struck by the pensiveness of his sister, Miss Alice Cullen, which is a Symptom of her peculiar Foresight. She declares that her family must ready themselves for some unhappy Trial, and that Bella will be a party to their Misfortune. It seems that the flame-haired villainess, Victoria, who bears ill will toward Bella and the Cullens (as she continues to hold them responsible for the death of her Beloved, which occurred in The Twilight Saga, Part I), has resolved to raise up an army of freshly Afflicted, making a particular protégé of the intoxicated young man who was pressed into Affliction at the beginning of the piece and charging him to seek out Bella’s whereabouts. Edward persuades Bella to take herself away, and she consents to make a brief visit to her Mother, who continues in a distant land with the cricket player of great renown.
This visit is not unmixed with sadness, as Bella anticipates that this must be their last meeting before she becomes one of the Afflicted. To ease her mother into the notion of separation, Bella declares that she means to go to University (as it seems in the town of Forks, ladies may also sit for the examinations!) in the distant country of Alaska, a place quite northward it seems. While Bella enjoys her time with her mother, the flame-haired villainess Victoria descends upon the town of Forks. Her presence is quickly rooted out, and she is set upon by the Cullens, but the pursuit carries them beyond their own borders and into the ancestral lands of those who Were Wolves, a breach of the prior Understanding that a strict division in territory between the Wolves and the Afflicted would always be maintained.
This transgression stirs up their ancient hostility, and throws a pall upon the younger generation, and this general dislike becomes a more particular resentment when Jacob is given to understand that Bella means to become one of the Afflicted as soon as she has finished with school. Jacob’s jealous hatred of Edward and his love for Bella brings pain to them both, for upon declaring his love for Bella, she strikes him a blow to the face which wounds him only so far as his pride, but leaves her with an injury to her hand that is tended to by Dr. Cullen (who is addressed as “Doctor” but, it seems, will also do the work of a surgeon when need be). Afterward, Bella is reproached by one of Edward’s sisters, Miss Rosalie for wishing to submit herself to Affliction, as she had this gross Malady imposed upon her most unwillingly, and laments the loss of a more conventional, mortal existence where one might have children and die.
Bella and her young friends now come to the end of their schooling, and at the ceremony which marks their all being out, one of Bella’s young friends gives a charming speech, instructing them to go forth into the world and to fall into error and to be as foolish as they like, assuring them that there will always be time for prudence and sense much later. In honour of their all now being out, the Cullens host a lively ball, but the revelry is interrupted by the news that the flame-haired villainess Victoria and her army of newly Afflicted (who are called Newborns, though all of them are quite grown save for one or two who might not yet be sixteen) have come to slay Bella, and so a scheme must be fixed upon for preserving Bella from harm and for preparing the Afflicted and the Wolves to band together, as the Newly Afflicted are greater in strength and numbers than the Cullens alone.
(Meanwhile, the Councillors of the prior episode, The Twilight Saga Part II The New Moon arrive in a state of great Agitation as it seems that both the Cullens and the Newborn Afflicted have broke the ancient pact not to call attention to themselves and thus cast Opprobrium upon their like, which is a cause for censure and even a sentence of irrevocable Death, which is not to be confused with that other state of everlasting Affliction).
On the eve of battle, Edward directs that Bella shall go to a place of safety upon a mountaintop, and they come away in such a hurry that they have nothing to safeguard them from the cold, and, caught up in a great snowstorm, they are left without any greatcoats or blankets, nor so much as a shawl. As the temperature of Edward and all of the Afflicted is many degrees below than it had been prior to the onset of their Malady, Jacob is summoned (as all who Were Wolves go about in a state of chronic fever) and so he has only to sit beside the sleeping Bella, to keep her from catching a chill. Her repose gives Edward and Jacob an opportunity to effect something of an accord, despite the conviction of each that they offer Bella a happier future than the other.
There is a dreadful battle wherein the Afflicted and the Wolves fight as one against the Newborns and there is a great loss of blood and tearing of limbs and general disarray until at last the Newly Ailing are conquered, but for the flame-haired Victoria who sets upon Edward. He is saved from certain death by Bella, who wounds herself in order to have her blood draw Victoria’s base appetites toward herself, which gives Edward the Opportunity to dispatch the villainess. (It was something on the order of the ruffians and Lady Blanche and St. Foix in Udolpho, yet while playlets may stir the blood, to stir the imagination, I should infinitely prefer a book).
The chapter ends with the demise of everyone who ought to be dead and a few innocents as well, and with Jacob lying abed in great pain from injuries inflicted in battle. He tells Bella that he will always love her but, as she has resolved upon marrying Edward, he no longer wishes to see her, and leaving him upon his sickbed, Bella and Edward set out to ask her father’s consent to their marriage.
Your affectionate sister,
PS – I had erred in thinking that three Parts must be sufficient to accomplish the tale – to continue on shows a want of something – sense or feeling – but, alas, it seems I can speak only for myself.