‘Oy, Rodney’: The Wedding (Well, Almost)

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In Chapter CX of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, the author takes a break from storytelling to wax petulant to her readers, denouncing “certain brusque persons who keep demanding to know when the title character, Rodney, is going to appear in the story. Clearly these are persons who know nothing of the craft of the novelist. One must work up to these things gradually!” Well, gee, she’s already spent some 400 pages working up to it, and still no Rodney.

Chapter CXI finds us in St. Pablum’s Church for the wedding of Lady Margo Cargo and Lord Jeremy Coldsore, whom she thinks is the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad. Twombley, in fact, is serving as best man. He has assured Lady Margo that he and Lord Jeremy are one and the same man, made to appear as two different individuals simultaneously by his secret Akkadian power of illusion. In fact, Lady Margo has fallen asleep on her feet and is swaying gently back and forth. Lord Jeremy is worried. If this wedding doesn’t come off, the creditors grab Coldsore Hall. And there is Queen Victoria herself sitting in the front pew and whispering harshly to the vicar, “Get on with it, man!”

The vicar grins and says, “If there is anyone here who knows of any reason why these two should not be wed, let him speak now or forever hold his peace.”

Up from a middle pew rises a tall man with doom in his face. He has been eating something not so good for him.

But before he can speak, in through the door bursts the village idiot, Jasper. The prose does not leave us with any certainty that the door was open at the time.

“Stop! Stop!” he cries. All eyes turn to him. “It is I, Jasper, the village idiot!” Everybody knows that already. “Oh, lamentable tragedy! Come, come, quickly–it may not be too late to save him!”

“Oh, now what?” mutters Queen Victoria.

“I notice that no one here has said, ‘Save who?'” continues Jasper. “Indeed, it is none other than our esteemed public servant, Constable Chumley. With my own eyes I saw him dragged under the vicar’s backyard wading pool, leaving nothing behind but his helmet–ah, that was a sight to daunt the soul! I implore you, good people–”

But he gets no farther, because at this point the vicar relapses into the most awful conniptions, and it is quite a spectacle. The Queen is not amused, and lets out a loud, impatient sigh.

The chapter ends with some brief reminisces of Violet’s days as a Girl Guide in Greenland.

8 comments on “‘Oy, Rodney’: The Wedding (Well, Almost)

  1. Violet is quite correct in chastising her impatient readers. After all, Melville took 101 (CI) chapters before introducing the eponymous white whale into “Moby-Dick.” Violet is obviously going for a world record.

    I, for one, am not going to worry TOO much about Constable Chumley. It’s quite possible that who/whatever was under the wading pool overheard Chumley’s unintelligible dialect and recognized it as the language of his/her/its/their youth, so he/she/it/they invited Chumley in for a spot of conversation. (Aw, gee, have I spoiled the revelation being saved for chapter CXX?) 🙂

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