Constable Chumley’s Pets (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCCXXXVIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Constable Chumley is seen walking two baboons, on leashes, up and down on Scurveyshire’s High Street.

The baboons’ names are Fritzy and Bitzy and are a gift from the constable’s long-lost millionaire cousin, Sir Henry Blithering. Sir Henry has gotten rid of them because they tend to attack people, dogs, horses, and shade trees. Constable Chumley explains, “Thim’s fair throckin’ ye timbrith.”

In no time at all Lord Jeremy Coldsore, as justice of the peace, is snowed under with frantic demands to get rid of the baboons. He is sympathetic to those demands, having been severely bitten in the leg by Fritzy and pushed into a water-trough by Bitzy.

“Really, old boy, this won’t do!” he exclaims to the now-crestfallen constable. “I don’t often get the opportunity to describe anyone as ‘crestfallen,'” Ms. Crepuscular confides to the reader. “It’s quite exhilarating! And there’s another wonderful word that’s seldom published nowadays.”

Chumley has grown quite fond of the baboons, although they have bitten him innumerable times (“You should see all the bandages!”) and he has to lock them in the pantry overnight, or they will finish him off in his sleep. “Us medderin’ gree frath,” he answers Lord Jeremy. A tear trickles from his eye.

“Can’t you donate them to the circus?” Jeremy pleads. The suggestion reduces the constable to a sobbing fit, during which the baboons tear their leashes out of his hands and race off into the sunset. For the next four years they terrorize anyone foolhardy enough to try to pass through Plaguesby Wood.

“None of this is gettin’ us hitched to Lady Margo, Germy ol’ hoss,” remarks the American adventurer, Willis Twombley. Lady Margo thinks he and Lord Jeremy are the same person.

“I will end the chapter here,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “to heighten the suspense. But now it’s time for a cherry Coke with Frothee!”

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