A Lovers’ Quarrel (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter DCII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “We are still waiting for the wedding of Lord Jeremy Coldsore to Scurveyshire’s richest widow, Lady Margo Cargo. Because she can’t tell the two of them apart, some of the wooing must be done by Lord Jeremy’s boon companion, Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who think he’s Sargon of Akkad. We join Willis and Lady Margo under a romantic grape arbor full of bees.”

“Once we’re married,” Lady Margo asks, “will I be Queen of Akkad? I mean, I’m still trying to find the place, it’s not on any of my maps.”

“Well, sweetness, there must be somethin’ wrong with them maps,” said Willis. “Heck, it’s right next door to Babylon and then some–it’s kind of an umpire.”

“An umpire? You mean like in a cricket match? Surely you should have said ’empire.'”

This rubs Willis the wrong way. “Umpire, empire, what’s the difference? You ain’t gonna turn into one o’ them know-it-all womenfolks who’s always correctin’ her husband, are you? I won’t stand for that!”

Lady Margo removes her upholstered wooden leg and uses it to knock Willis off his stool. “And I can’t stand an ignorant boor, Jeremy Coldsore!” she expostulates. (“I love that word!” declares Violet.)

“I oughta shoot you right now!” erupts Willis. “Erupts”? We are getting stylish here!

“Oh, go shoot yourself, you swaggering lout!” revolves Lady Margo. (This is getting out of hand.) “And as far as I’m concerned, our marriage is off, off, off! You’ll be smirking out of the other side of your face when you see me marry that nice Mr. Twombley!”

“That’s me, you numbskull! Jeremy’s the other one!” expectorates Mr. Twombley.

And so on. The marriage is now in critical danger. Lord Jeremy is not pleased.

“You had to threaten to shoot her, didn’t you?” growls Jeremy. “You know she hates that!”

“Well, old hoss, she got my dander up!” Mr. Twombley pauses to adjust his monocle (which Ms. Crepuscular has not mentioned up till now).

“And here, dear reader, I will break the chapter to heighten the suspense,” adds Violet. “Besides which, too much passion gives me the vapors. I must have a cup of fish-flavored tea.”