The Return of Dr. Fanabla (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CLXXXX of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s injured foot is not healing properly, which has caused the postponement of his marriage to Lady Margo Cargo.

“I don’t get it, Germy,” says Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad. It was Twombley who accidentally shot Lord Jeremy. “All I did was shoot a bullet through your foot. It ought to be better by now.”

Lord Jeremy is briefly examined by a man who strongly resembles William Shakespeare. He shrugs his shoulders and leaves. Now there is nothing to be done but to send for Dr. Fanabla, who has taken up unicycle riding. We are not told where he has been all this time.

“Your case is almost identical to that of a patient whom I encountered in Brazil some 60 years ago,” says Dr. Fanabla. “We shall treat your wound as I treated his.”

“How long did it take him to recover, doctor?”

“Oh, he died. But it wasn’t my fault. He refused to follow my instructions, and an anaconda got him.”

Lord Jeremy does not find this reassuring, but he gamely asks, “What is the treatment, sir?”

Striking a pose, Dr. Fanabla replies, “The wound must be sprinkled daily with earth from the grave of a regicide.”

“Oh, is that all?” cries Twombley, striking a pose of his own. Posing has become very big in Scurveyshire.

“No–there’s more. For a full hour, twice a day, Lord Jeremy, you must perform jumping-jacks. No jumping-jacks, no cure.”

“What–on one leg?” Lord Jeremy is distraught. “How am I supposed to perform one-legged jumping-jacks?”

“Follow my instructions,” says the doctor, “and the cure is guaranteed.” With this bon mot, Dr. Fanabla departs for parts unknown.

“I don’t think there are any regicides buried in Scurveyshire,” mopes Jeremy.

“Don’t fret, ol’ hoss,” says Twombley. “We can send away for it. I know a supply house in Ohio where they sell this stuff. People use it for lumbago, too. The big thing just now is to get you started on them jumping-jacks. Here, I’ll help you out of bed.”

“You cannot believe how difficult it is to do this,” adds Ms. Crepuscular. “I have never been able to do it without falling on my face.”

The chapter ends with a descriptive poem about popcorn.

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