In Chapter CCXLIV of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Lady Margo Cargo mysteriously disappears on her way to her wedding to Lord Jeremy Coldsore. In Chapter CCXLV, Ms. Crepuscular devotes 40 pages to the replacement of the light bulb that burned out while she was writing. This is high literary art, if you like that sort of thing.
In Chapter CCXLVI, the American adventurer Willis Twombley suggests forming a search party. “It ought to be pretty easy to track down an old lady with a wooden leg,” he says. Lord Jeremy does not like to hear his bride described as an old lady with a wooden leg, but he lets it slide. And Sardanapalus Tingleworth, the man with one buttock who has been blamed for all this, volunteers to lead the party. This persuades Lord Jeremy not to have him executed on the spot. Scurveyshire’s local hangman, Will Slopp, is disappointed.
Lady Margo’s trail leads from her lavish country house to the vicar’s back yard and peters out a few yards from the vicar’s wading pool. This is where Crusty the Butler found Lady Margo’s upholstered wooden leg. It is evident to all that Lady Margo has been sucked under the wading pool.
Twombley checks his revolver to make sure it’s loaded. “We gotta follow her under the pool if we want to get her back,” he says.
One by one, the members of the search party suddenly remember important errands that they have to do, make excuses, and leave. Soon it’s only Lord Jeremy, Twombley, Crusty, and Mr. Tingleworth standing in front of the pool.
“I don’t like that name, ‘Sardanapalus,'” says Twombley. “It sounds like an Assyrian name. Maybe I better just shoot this varmint.”
“Please, sir! It’s not an Assyrian name at all!” cries Tingleworth. “Besides, I volunteer to search for Lady Margo under the pool.”
No sooner does he say this than a huge, slimy, black-and-blue tentacle shoots out, lashes itself around Crusty’s legs, and whisks him under the pool.
“I am running out of patience with the vicar’s hemming and hawing about getting rid of this blasted pool!” declares Lord Jeremy. In his heart of hearts, he is reluctant to follow Lady Margo and her butler into unimaginable peril.
“And here I must end the chapter,” writes Violet Crepuscular, “or I won’t have anything to write about in Chapter CCXLVII.” We suspect she has not yet decided how to imagine an unimaginable peril.