We skip over two chapters dealing with scrubbing all the mud off Lady Margo and putting her to bed, and notifying Lord Jeremy Coldsore that his fiancee has returned from wherever she was. She has not told anyone that she was in the Plaguesby jail. Those two chapters were very badly written.
In Chapter CCLXXVII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Lord Jeremy has proclaimed a holiday to celebrate Lady Margo’s return. This time he first consults the Wise Woman of the Woods before proceeding with his plan.
“Go right ahead, my lord,” says the Wise Woman of the Woods. “This time absolutely nothing will go wrong. Your troubles are over!”
And so all of Scurveyshire gathers on the village green to play swallow-the-pebble, to drink copious quantities of ale, and rejoice for Lady Margo and her upcoming wedding to Lord Jeremy and his friend, Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad. Lady Margo believes them to be the same person and gets flustered when she sees them both together.
The merriment is interrupted by the sudden arrival of an ominously tall figure clad in an unimaginable (I wish she would stop using that word!) black cloak, out of which peers a dreadful papier-mache skull.
“Hear me, Scurveyshire!” bellows the stranger. “It is me–I mean I–Black Rodney! Woe to all of you! From now on, no happiness will ever be allowed again in Scurveyshire! You are hereby cursed, all of you!”
For Lord Jeremy, this is just too trying for words. “This is just too trying for words!” he exclaims, “and it’s time we put a stop to it.
“We have an ancient law in Scurveyshire, you villain, dating back to a time before the Romans came and made a hash of things. A native king named Porky decreed a law that anyone who brings bad news should be immediately put to death–a law which I, as justice of the peace, do now invoke. Black Rodney, I sentence you to death!”
“It’s about time!” mutters Twombley. He draws his Colt revolver and shoots the black-clad stranger where he stands. As the figure collapses on the sward (“I am so happy I finally got to use that word!” remarks Ms. Crepuscular, in an intimate aside), no one hears Jeremy mutter, “It really ought to have been a hanging, old boy.”
But wait! As all gather round the fallen sorcerer, it is soon discovered that the black cloak and the dreadful mask are… empty! Empty!
“I break the chapter here,” explains Ms. Crepuscular, “to heighten the suspense.”