Chapters CCXLI and CCXLII are taken up with author Violet Crepuscular’s current personal problems, which she insists on sharing with her readers. We gather she has heard from an old high school boy friend, whom she hadn’t heard from at all in over 40 years. He phoned her from a state prison somewhere in Utah and invited her to come and see him. “He wants me to sell my house and donate the money to his legal defense fund,” writes Ms. Crepuscular. “I don’t know where he got the idea that I own a house.”
As if that weren’t distressing enough, she laments the disaster of the “tricky tray” she organized for her chapter of the Daughters of Wombat–does anybody out there know what a “tricky tray” is?–and apologizes for all the injuries incurred. It takes her halfway into Chapter CCXLIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, to pick up the thread of the narrative.
At last we have the wedding! Lord Jeremy Coldsore is to be wed to Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in all of Scurveyshire, in an outdoor ceremony at Gibbering Jessie Park (where they hold the annual crab races), the vicar officiating–he is temporarily free of conniptions–and the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, serving as best man and a kind of co-groom: Lady Margo believes he and Lord Jeremy are the same person.
Everything is ready! All that is lacking is the presence of the bride. She is already three and a half hours late, and the vicar’s cheek has begun to twitch.
Suddenly Lady Margo’s crusty old butler, Crusty, comes running up to the wedding party, gasping frantically and brandishing Lady Margo’s newly-upholstered wooden leg.
“She’s gone! She’s gone!” he cries. “I’ve looked everywhere, I’ve turned the whole house inside-out for her, and I can’t find her! Lady Margo is gone!”
Lord Jeremy is exasperated: he needs this marriage to keep creditors from seizing Coldsore Hall. “Oh, bother!” he hisses under his breath. “Only place in the whole dashed world where a man can’t have a bally wedding!”
The vicar topples over, and begins to make noises reminiscent of a steam locomotive about to give birth to several little locomotives.
“Where could she go, and leave her leg behind?” Twombley wonders.
At that moment one of the small crowd assembled, but not invited, for the wedding, is exposed as a man with only one buttock.
“The curse!” cries Jeremy. “The curse has struck! We couldn’t avoid it, after all!” He then faints, falling down beside the vicar.
“Gettin’ kinda crowded down there,” Twombley muses.