Chapter Sixteen – Carlisle

Chapter Number: Sixteen

Chapter Name: Carlisle

Page Numbers:  334-347 (Hardcover)

Date of Chapter: Sunday March 13th , 2005

Summary: While at the Cullens’ house, Edward takes Bella to Carlisle’s office to learn more about his very ancient past. He starts by showing her a picture of London in the sixteen – fifties, which was when Carlisle was growing up, and asking Carlisle to tell Bella his story. In a comment that reminds Bella that these particular vampires have a life amongst normal humans, Carlisle declines Edwards request as he has been asked to cover for a colleague at the hospital who is sick.

When Carlisle has left the room, Edward continues his story and succeeds for almost the first time, in shocking Bella with the information he gives her. He describes how on discovering what he had become, Carlisle tried to destroy himself by jumping from great heights and drowning, but as a new vampire he was just too strong. Edward also describes how Carlisle tried to kill himself through starvation, which must have taken great presence of mind, as the feeding instincts are so much stronger when a vampire is first ‘born’.

In response to a question from Bella, Edward explains that there are very few ways a vampire can be killed, and continues to explain how Carlisle eventually discovered that a vampire can survive on blood from animals rather than humans.

After making this discovery, Carlisle rediscovered himself and turned his attentions to developing his education. In the search for knowledge, Edward explains that Carlisle swam to France – an easy feat for Vampires, as they don’t really need to breathe. Once again, Bella registers shock at this fact, although the shock turns to curiosity as she questions Edward about how long vampires can go without breathing. He replies that there is no time scale to it, but without breathing they have no sense of smell.

Bella’s reactions to Edward’s information cause him to pause in his narration. He is still worried that there will come a point when he tells Bella something she cannot take in and that she will run screaming from him. Despite her continued reassurances, Edward is still not entirely convinced that Bella will stay with him.

Returning to his narration of Carlisle’s story, Edward directs Bella’s attention to a new painting of a scene in Italy. Carlisle had travelled there to continue his medical studies – an area in which he found he had a calling, one where he could atone in some way for what he had become. In describing this, Edward expresses his own high level of respect for Carlisle and the strength that was required for his ‘father’ to repress his natural instincts as a vampire.

While in Italy, Carlisle met with other vampires – more sophisticated and educated than those Carlisle had initially hunted in London. While there Carlisle, along with the other vampires Aro, Marcus and Caius, was immortalised in the painting that Edward and Bella were standing in front of in his office. Edward explains that, despite enjoying the more civilised company, Carlisle ultimately left Italy for the New World because the Italian Vampires insisted on trying to ‘cure’ Carlisle’s dislike of feeding on humans and Carlisle desperately wanted to find other vampires like himself.

Living in America, Carlisle discovered that he was able to interact with humans as if he was one of them and was working as a doctor in Chicago when the influenza epidemic struck. It was there that he discovered Edward, orphaned and dying of the illness. It is also at this point that Edward ends his story without entering into any details of how Carlisle changed him.

As they leave Carlisle’s office and head towards Edward’s own room, he tells Bella that he has not always stayed with Carlisle. Edward explains that about ten years after Carlisle ‘made’ him, he went through a rebellious period where he went off on his own and turned to feeding from humans – like a traditional vampire.

Although this should have frightened Bella, as it is proof that Edward is capable of giving into his vampyric urges, she finds herself more curious than anything else. Edward is surprised that this information does not repulse Bella and goes on to try to reassure her that he only killed humans who were truly evil. He would follow them in their pursuit of their victims and then kill them before they could commit the crime they were planning. It was in circumstances like this that Edward’s ability to mind read came in useful. However, as Edward explains, it was his mind reading that prevented him from leaving Carlisle for so long as he could understand exactly why he lead the life he did and how much it would hurt Carlisle if Edward were to leave.

Bella finds herself thinking about the reaction the potential victims would have had to Edward’s interference. She questions whether they would have felt grateful or just more frightened by him; it is possible that she sees herself in this role and questions whether she should feel more frightened or safe with Edward. She does not answer the question.

Edward continues to explain that he ultimately decided to return to Carlisle and Esme because he realised that he was nothing more than a monster, he refers to seeing the ‘monster in my eyes’, a reference to how the eyes of a vampire go red after feeding on humans.

Entering his own room lifts Edwards’s spirits.  As with the rest of the rooms on this side of the house, Edward’s has a window across one entire wall. Bella is overwhelmed by the amount of music CDs and the size and sophistication of his sound system. She also notices that the walls are covered with a thick material to improve the acoustics.

As Bella looks at his CD collection, she realises that Edward is not concentrating. He has realised that in revealing all his family secrets to Bella he feels so much more than the relief he expected. Knowing that Bella knows everything now has made him happy, and despite still expecting Bella to run screaming, his behaviour following this realisation reveals this happiness. Bella is pleased with his reaction as she was worried he might regret telling her these things, once again not worrying about her own safety.

In response to Bella’s slightly fraudulent comment that she doesn’t find him the least bit scary, Edward proceeds to leap at Bella and propel her through the air and into his sofa. Once settled on the sofa, Edward holds Bella a lot more closely than normal, proving through his relaxed expression that he is more than comfortable and happy in her company. As they are curled on the sofa they are interrupted by Alice and Jasper. While Alice finds nothing strange in seeing a vampire in an embrace with a human, and makes a joke about Edward sharing his food, (a comment that actually succeeds in alarming Bella), Jasper initially seems a little startled.

Alice and Jasper inform Edward that, because of the storm Alice has predicted for that night, Emmett has decided that he wants to play baseball. She also says that Bella could come although Edward points out that she will not be playing but will watch.

While the vampires are all excited about the prospect of a ball game, Bella is left slightly bemused at the image of vampires playing baseball. This comment reveals Edwards sense of humour as he replies that of course they play baseball as it’s ‘the American pastime.’

Characters involved: Edward Cullen, Carlisle Cullen, Bella Swan, Alice Cullen, Jasper Hale

Characters Mentioned: Aro, Marcus, Caius, Esme Cullen, Emmett Cullen

Places visited: The Cullen residence

Memorable quotes:
“I’m not running anywhere.”
~ Bella after Edward explains that he is waiting for her to run away screaming.

“There are very few ways we can be killed.”
~ Edward answering Bella’s question.

“Technically we don’t have to breathe.”
~ Edward explaining more of vampire physiology.

‘I was intrigued rather than frightened, as I perhaps should have been.’
~ Bella describes her reaction to Edward’s revelation that he hunted humans.

“It sounded like you were having Bella for lunch, and we came to see if you would share.”
~ Alice upon entering Edward’s room.

Important Information Learned:
There are very few ways Vampires can be killed.

Vampires do not have to breathe, however, without breathing they have no sense of smell.

Edward spent a number of years away from Carlisle and Esme, living as a normal vampire and feeding off humans – but only those who were evil.

Edward believes he didn’t deserve to have been welcomed back so easily by Carlisle and Esme as he sees himself as a monster.

Edward does not have a bed. 

Edward takes his music really seriously, having his room designed to achieve better acoustics from a particularly sophisticated sound-system.

Edward is becoming increasingly more comfortable being physically close to Bella.

The Cullens like to play baseball.