In Chapter CLIX (which spells “clix”) of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular confides to her readers, “Now I wish I’d written this as a plantation novel. I love plantation novels!” And lets it go at that.
A new complication has arisen, a new obstacle to Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s ambition to marry the wealthy Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, and thus foil the creditors who are out to take Coldsore Hall.
Lady Margo thinks she is with child. The difficulty is compounded by Lady Margo’s house being full of upholsterers hard at work re-upholstering all the furniture.
“It’s just wind, you silly old bat,” says Crusty the butler.
“I’m sure I don’t know what it is,” she replies, “but I read somewhere that upholstering a woman’s wooden leg can cause a pregnancy.” Crusty nearly faints: that word is not lightly bandied about in Lady Margo’s circles. “I wonder whose child it is,” she adds wistfully. Crusty sends for Dr. Fanabla, the shire’s renowned phrenologist, who examines the bumps on Lady Margo’s head and pronounces her “not you-know-what–although she does have a slightly serious touch of Colbury’s Complaint. Call me at once if her other hand falls off.” He prescribes a daily morning regimen of jumping jacks. On his way out the door, he is espied by Miss Lizzie Snivel, the spider girl, who falls passionately in love with him and starts following him all around the countryside.
Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad, sulks because he has little to do in this chapter. He seeks out Constable Chumley for a companionable nip from the constable’s hip flask which he keeps under his policeman’s helmet. “Chumley, ol’ hoss, I been tryin’ every trick in the book to get this here weddin’ to come off, and we’re still stuck in the startin’ gate.”
“Dint feen thysel,” Chumley replies. “‘Tis a mickle gair as fenners no shough.”
“That’s what they told me back in Texas,” Twombley sighs.