The Lovers’ Quarrel, and the Art of Dowsing

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Introducing Chapter CDIV (what happened to CDIII?) of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular cites a fan letter she has received from Geoffrey the Dowser, of Ginseng Corners, Australia.

“Dear Mrs. Cripustuler,” he writes, “I have been reading your epic romance novel Oy Rodney for sevrul years and I could not help notcing youve got nothing in it about the ancient and Romantic art of dowsing. Please correct this, or i will stop reading!!”

In a confidential aside to the reader, Ms. Crepuscular rises to the challenge. “It’s as if Geoffrey has read my mind!” she ululates. “I can think of no better way to resolve a lovers’ quarrel than for the offending lover to appease the injured party by presenting her with an Acme Official Dowsing Kit! I had a lovers’ quarrel once, some 30 years ago, and when my boyfriend gave me a dowsing kit, I was off to the races!”

She has quite forgotten that today is Valentine’s Day. Oh, well.

With his author’s example to inspire him, Lord Jeremy has bought Lady Margo Cargo a fully-equipped dowsing kit, complete with Y-shaped willow dowsing rod and an instruction pamphlet.

“Oh, Jeremy!” she gushes. “I’m going to go out right away and find underground water, oil, treasure, and gold!”

Neither of them has thought of what perils might accrue to anyone dowsing in the vicinity of the vicar’s backyard wading pool: follow the flexing dowsing rod to an indescribably horrible doom.

Lady Margo’s crusty old butler, Crusty, has to accompany her with pick and shovel to dig wherever the dowsing rod points to. It has put him in a bad mood. Neither of them notices that the rod’s gyrations are leading them closer and closer to the fateful wading pool–which, when last heard of, sucked down a locomotive and several cars full of passengers.

“And here,” writes Violet, “in the interests of suspense, I must break the chapter. Think of it, dear reader! Will Margo and Crusty be sucked down under the wading pool? Or will they first uncover buried treasure–perhaps a hoard of gold coins deposited by a prehistoric king?” What this really means is that she doesn’t know what happens next.

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