Author Violet Crepuscular has apologized, in advance, for Chapter CXLVIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. “A few readers, just a very few, but not to be ignored, have complained that the story I am telling strikes them as preposterous. For this I apologize, but it’s too late to change it. Besides which, I don’t think it’s preposterous!”
In this chapter, Sir Ector Fullovit, Queen Victoria’s Witch-Finder General, arrives in Scurveyshire to investigate rumors of strange events around the vicar’s backyard wading pool. The itinerant spider girl, Lizzie Snivel, promptly falls in love with him. She has a bad habit of falling hopelessly in love with unsuitable men.
Sir Ector first calls at Coldsore Hall, where he finds Lord Jeremy selling lemonade at the entrance to his palatial driveway. Lord Jeremy’s wedding to Lady Margo Cargo looms in the background. You can see it looming if you know where to look.
“This lemonade tastes horrible,” Sir Ector says. “Are you a practitioner of witchcraft?”
“If I were, sir, I’d have better lemonade.”
“Why haven’t you, as Justice of the Peace, put a stop to these goings-on around the vicar’s wading pool?”
This question is a poser, and Lord Jeremy has no answer for it. “Never mind,” says Sir Ector. “I suspect everyone.”
That night, he stakes out the wading pool, driving several stakes into the ground and waiting for something to happen. The following morning, Miss Lizzie finds his sneakers and his witch-finder’s hat on the ground beside the pool–but no Sir Ector. Her screams and lamentations bring Constable Chumley running to see what’s the matter.
“Black Rodney’s got Sir Ector!” she wails. “Look at these deep drag marks leading to the pool!”
“‘Tis a swaikful dreeg,” sighs the constable.
“Why don’t you do something? Why don’t you get some men to lift up the pool?”
Chumley shrugs. He has not thought of this. “‘Tain’t my hozza to feern a dibble con,” he answers, in his old-fashioned country dialect. What country, we are not told.