“Dear reader, we have come to a stressful time in Scurveyshire…” Thus Violet Crepuscular introduces Chapter CCCLII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. She then devotes several paragraphs to the feasibility of writing “a dental romance,” whatever that may be. A series of anonymous threats drags her back to the story line.
Scurveyshire’s beloved vicar having chained himself to his night-stand and refusing to leave, the Bishop of Booh arrives by oxcart to remove the vicar by force. Because he’s not a real bishop, he has to make do with an ordinary bathrobe and a birthday party hat. He wears a stern expression that would be unbearably daunting, but for the fact that he carries a stuffed monkey doll which he talks to from time to time. Lord Jeremy Coldsore, justice of the peace, Constable Chumley, representing all that is inarticulate and confusing in the law of England, and Willis Twombley, the American adventurer, are on hand to welcome the alleged bishop.
“Now that you’re here,” says Twombley, “you can turn right around and go back to wherever you came from. We like our vicar jist the way he is, conniptions and all, and we aim to keep him.”
“See how the naughty man talks to Booh-Booh!” The bishop is addressing the doll. “But we know what to do with nefandous people, don’t we, Winkie?” He turns to Lord Jeremy. “I am here to repossess the vicar’s backyard wading pool for non-payment and to pack him off to Manchuria. Take me to the vicarage at once!”
Not knowing what else to do, Lord Jeremy conducts the bishop to the vicarage. The vicar seems them coming and starts screaming imprecations that really must not be repeated here. But the bishop has espied the wading pool and decides to inspect it. Constable Chumley tries to dissuade him.
“Noo, noo, yer thwither! Tis a mortal grathwy syne!”
“Out of my way, you pedipalp!” He clouts the constable with the monkey. There must be a brick in it or something: down for the count goes Chumley.
“I say!” cries Lord Jeremy. But the bishop is already on his way to the pool.
“I can barely describe the infernal horror of this scene!” writes Ms. Crepuscular. “I can’t bear it, I tell you!”
Here she interposes a chapter break to heighten the suspense. But we can probably guess what happens next.