In Chapter CLXXII of her epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular discovers that she has forgotten to report the results of Scurveyshire’s special election for a Member of Parliament. “Can you do any better?” she challenges the reader.
The good news is that Lady Margo Cargo has won the election, handily defeating the town drunkard, who received no votes. Lady Margo got three. It seems the voters forgot about the election, too. The bad news is that she will not be allowed to serve.
“It goes back to a law from the time of King Charles II,” explains the crown solicitor, whose name is not given, but he looks rather like Boris Karloff in The Mummy. The law states that no one with any Manchu ancestry can hold a seat in Parliament. It was passed in deference to the king’s bosom friend, Sir Alfred Bosom, who suffered from Manchuphobia. And the record shows that Lady Margo’s family tree includes one Liu Ching-Erh, a Manchu mountebank who visited the shire in 1631 and found time for an amorous dalliance with the Countess of Shrubb, a very distant relative of Lady Margo’s great-great-great aunt’s cousin twice removed. “Sorry, M’lady,” says the solicitor. He looks so awful when he says this, that Lady Margo’s newly-upholstered wooden leg falls off.
Meanwhile, the whole shire is abuzz with the news of a great black “R” burned into the back door of everybody’s favorite tavern, The Lying Tart–taken as a sure sign that the ancient necromancer, Black Rodney, has returned.
Dusting the door for fingerprints, but not finding any, Constable Chumley sadly shakes his head and soliloquizes, philosophically, “Shork my bains, ’tis a right true findle in meggidy droom, this time!” A hue and cry is gotten up, but it goes nowhere.