In Chapter CCLXXX of Violet Crepuscular’s interminable–er, I mean “epic”–romance, Oy, Rodney, Lord Jeremy Coldsore has an unexpected visitor: his aunt, Lady Petunia, now a marchioness owing to her recent marriage to Ponsonby Lord Gwomleigh, eighth Marquess of Grone. They have invited themselves to spend a fortnight with Jeremy at Coldsore Hall.
Lord Gwomleigh is one of those annoying people who walks into a restaurant for the first time and perplexes the waiter by ordering “the usual.” He also has a rather jarring habit of hiding so that he can jump out at people and scare them: not the sort of thing one expects, normally, from an 86-year-old peer of the realm.
But he is also one of the richest men in England, having cornered the guano concession of Bleary Island, and famous for his liberality.
“This is the best luck I’ve ever had!” Lord Jeremy confides to his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley. “I’m Aunt Petunia’s only living kin, she’s always been quite fond of me, and I’m sure she can get the marquess to pay off most of my debt!”
“Are we still gonna marry Lady Margo, then, with you not needin’ her money after all, Germy, ol’ hoss?”
Lord Jeremy jacks himself up to his full height, despite stumbling over his two left feet. “Please, Willis! Do you want me sued for breach of promise? Am I such a cad, to break my engagement as soon as I come into money?”
But immediately there arises, as Ms Crepuscular puts it, “a snag.”
Hiding himself in one of the linen closets, Lord Gwomleigh emerges with an expression of mild disgust.
“I say, Coldsore! There appears to be a dead body in that closet! Rather a nasty odor, that!”
It’s one of the creditors shot by Willis Twombley, the discovery of which might prove to be a sticky wicket. (This is a cricket term. I don’t know what it means.) But Jeremy, thinking quickly on his two left feet, replies: “Oh, that’s just poor old Bango, my father’s favorite footman. His last wish was to be entombed in that particular closet–didn’t want to leave the house, don’t you know. There are plenty of other hiding places available, my lord.”
As the marquess ambles off, grumbling under his breath, Jeremy’s mind races frantically as he tries to remember how many other creditors are concealed on the premises, and where.
“We’ll jist have to dump ’em in the swamp,” says Twombley. “Relax, Germy–we’re practically home free.”