Introducing Chapter CDXLIV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular tackles the problem of the Vicar of Scurveyshire’s recurring conniptions.
“I am frequently asked to describe the vicar’s conniptions,” she writes, “but I have always held back from doing so because they’re such tacky conniptions! Dr. Fanabla has thrown up his hands in despair–and now he can’t bring them down again. People who see him on the street assume a robbery is in progress and throw up their hands, too. And now he finds it virtually impossible to put on his socks and tie his shoes.”
Constable Chumley interrupts his door-to-door search for legless amphibians to answer repeated summonses to stop a robbery on the High Street. The fact that there is no robbery never daunts him. “Fray nobbin to nobbin,” he explains, “sithen yon manny grue brach!” Many find his words reassuring. Some don’t.”
Meanwhile, the vicar’s new conniptions take on a form which will forever haunt all those who witness them. In desperation, Lady Margo Cargo suggests a folk remedy: tie a burlap bag over his head and sing “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” “It sometimes worked when our head house parlor maid had her conniptions,” she reverberates.
“We’ll have to wait for the next chapter to find out whether it works,” writes Ms. Crepuscular. “That’s how I heighten the suspense!”
I fear that means she doesn’t know.
P.S.: Reader Doris Magnoon of Inchworm Township, Kuwait, objects to the use of Roman numbers as chapter heads. “We have been cheated out of the magical numeral, 444, which has massive therapeutic properties!” she complains. It is Ms. Crepuscular’s plan to ignore her.