I don’t understand Violet Crepuscular’s literary technique. I was expecting to read, in Chapter CLIII, all about the preparations for the party to be held in honor of the Japanese ambassador, Walt Dropo. Instead, she gives us a digression about her sister-in-law’s atrocious table manners. This is most unedifying.
Moving on to Chapter CLIV, we find Lord Jeremy Coldsore trying to recruit geishas to serve at the party. He has to settle for members of the Scurveyshire Ladies’ Garden Club, who agree to do it in return for a zoning variance that would allow them to erect a colossal statue of their founder, Mrs. Elefanta Williams, in a statue-free zone.
“I hope this works,” says Lord Jeremy. “Not one of those women is a day under fifty, and not one of them knows the first thing about being a geisha.”
“Get the ambassador drunk in a hurry, and he’ll never notice,” replies Willis Twombley, the American adventurer.
With the vicar still laid up with conniptions, his gardener, Jock the Crotchety Gardener, takes it upon himself to empty the controversial wading pool and put it away. Jock and all his crotchets is promptly sucked under the wading pool, never to be seen again. Constable Chumley arrests the one eyewitness on the scene, charging her with Not Watching.
“But I saw some octopus kind of thing shoot out and grab him, and pull him under!” she protests. “Ain a fair vymin’ wi’ me hatriff,” counters the constable.
Lord Jeremy has no time for this: he is desperately trying to find half a dozen geisha costumes. Jo-Jo the Carefree Tailor, in complete ignorance of what constitutes a geisha costume, has created six outfits can only be described as rather like cowgirl clothes. This makes Twombley nostalgic for the plains of Texas.
“If we throw a square dance instead of one of those Japanese tea parties, we’re home free,” he assures Lord Jeremy. “Sort of a Japanese square dance, with that funny-soundin’ music that they like.”
There is no time left to pursue alternatives. The party must be held this very night.