“The curse of true love never did run smooth,” philosophizes Violet Crepuscular, introducing Chapter CDXXIX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. “Here Cupid must deal with a recalcitrant crayfish and a whelk with a chip on its shoulder!”
Resuming his courtship of Lady Margo Cargo, Lord Jeremy Coldsore is dismayed to find his pet Whelk, Stuart, and her pet crayfish, Oswin, just don’t get along. This could prove to be an obstacle to their marriage.
When Stuart and Oswin are put in the same aquarium, they sulk. “This is terrible!” expostulates Lady Margo. “How can you and I live together in wedded bliss, if our pets are going to detest each other?”
Her crusty old butler, Crusty, offers a novel solution. “Normal people,” he says, “would just leave the two bugs in separate aquariums.” Lady Margo removes her upholstered wooden leg and clouts him with it. “You have no romance in your soul, Crusty!” she aviates.
This is an astonishingly feeble chapter, even for Violet Crepuscular. Has her well of invention finally run dry?
“I am not the kind of writer whose well of invention runs dry!” she confides to the reader. “What I’m doing, actually, is setting the stage for a well-nigh indescribable catastrophe which puts the planet itself at risk!
“Remember what Constable Chumley always says: ‘Yair flivvick ma’ wye when yair groptie fain cry!’ It is the guiding principle that guides me from one chapter to the next.”
Who can argue with that?