I was relieved to discover, in Chapter CXXXIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, that Lady Margo Cargo, fruitlessly searching for her detached wooden leg and coming by night upon the fateful wading pool in the vicar’s back yard–just as something unspeakable was emerging from beneath the pool–set an all-time speed record for one-legged runners. She made it back home somewhat the worse for wear.
Moving on to Chapter CXXXV, the good people of Scurveyshire have finally run out of patience with these goings-on, and the vicar’s housekeeper, Mrs. Dreary, has been hauled into court on charges of reckless endangerment. This could be tricky for her: Lord Nodule, the Earl of Turkeyham, has been named Justice of the Peace and already compiled a lurid reputation for judicial rigor.
“How do you plead, woman?” asks the bailiff.
“I’m sure it’s not my fault the vicar saw fit to have that blasted wading pool–”
Lord Nodule slams his gavel. “Enough!” he roars. Patience is not his long suit. “Wanda Dreary, I sentence you to be hanged, drawn, and quartered! Take her away!”
The bailiff approaches the bench and whispers, “M’lord, we don’t actually do that anymore, that drawing and quartering business. Not legal anymore, M’lord.”
“I’m dashed if I know what this country’s coming to!” remarks the judge.
“I thought her name was Olivia,” Lord Jeremy Coldsore whispers to Willis Twombley, the American adventurer. They are pressed against the back wall of the crowded courtroom. “Wanda was her mother, I believe.”
“Wanda was Lord Nodule’s mother!” whispers Lady Margo. Crusty the butler has found her wooden leg and reattached it, so she is in fine fettle.
Grumbling, Lord Nodule commutes the housekeeper’s sentence to transportation to Australia. Mrs. Dreary returns home with Lady Margo: no one expects the judge to remember anything he ever says or does.