Tag Archives: Lady Margo Cargo

‘Beware!’ (Oy, Rodney)

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“Now that the story makes sense,” writes Violet Crepuscular, we can proceed to Chapter CCXXXVIII of her epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, in which Lord Jeremy Coldsore and his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, prepare for their wedding to Lady Margo Cargo–who thinks they are the same person, and is troubled when she sees them together.

“It gets awfully confusing sometimes, Sargon, dear,” she confides to Twombley, who believes himself to be Sargon of Akkad.

“Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it, darlin’,” he replies. “It’s only ancient Akkadian magic, which I got to do because there’s a lot of Babylonian secret agents after me. Jist remember that I’m only Sargon when I’m me.” This answer satisfies her. Whether it satisfies the reader or not remains in question.

But wait! Lord Jeremy has received a cryptic warning from the Wise Woman of the Woods–written in Old Estonian, for security’s sake. Twombley translates:

“Dear Lord Jeremy, how are you? I am fine. It’s me, the Wise Woman of the Woods.

“Beware the wedding guest who has only one buttock. He will put a curse on your marriage! You must take decisive action to stop him.”

Responding with alacrity (a word I seldom get to use), Lord Jeremy orders Constable Chumley to arrest everyone in Scurveyshire who has only one buttock. “Frae the decken with a crooster, m’lord,” replies the constable. He makes a beeline for the pub, The Lying Tart.

“Unless I am much mistaken,” says Lord Jeremy, “this is more of Black Rodney’s work. But it ought to be pretty easy to find a man with one buttock.”

“I knew a man like that in Dodge City,” Twombley recalls, “but I bet it ain’t him.”

Ms. Crepuscular concludes the chapter with a recipe for wood.

 


The Annulment (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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“Now that the story makes sense,” writes Violet Crepuscular, introducing Chapter CCXXXV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, “we can proceed with the thorny business of annulling Lady Margo Cargo’s accidental marriage to Constable Chumley.” Meanwhile, her editor has failed to inform her that she has entirely skipped Chapter CCXXXIV. This omission will surely come back to haunt her.

The problem is not the constable, who has forgotten all about the marriage, but Lady Margo herself, who believes she is with child by the constable–which the doctor insists is medically impossible, the marriage never having been consummated. There is doubt that Chumley knows what “consummated” means.”I gae frather in a fairn!” he asserts.

Johnno the Merry Minstrel thinks he has the solution.

“That fool of an assistant justice of the peace, Master Roger Addlepate, my lord, who brainlessly performed the marriage, must be persuaded to un-perform it.”

“How is he to do that?” Lord Jeremy wonders. He needs to marry wealthy Lady Margo to save his ancestral home, Coldsore Hall, from a growing army of creditors.

“We must re-stage the ceremony,” Johnno explains, “and do the whole thing backwards. All the words must be spoken backwards, in reverse order from that in which they were originally spoken. So we start at ‘I do,’ which must be spoken as ‘do I,’ and work our way, backwards, all the way back to the beginning, when the A.J.P. will say, ‘God of sight the in together gathered are we.’ And then you declare the whole business undone and annulled!”

“Dontcha think that’ll be kinda complicated for the poor idjit who has to do it?” asks Lord Jeremy’s friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley. “Might be a far sight easier if I jist shoot him.”

“Let’s try the sane way first, old boy,” says Lord Jeremy. Happily, Lady Margo gives her consent to the procedure.

There is some trouble getting Chumley to participate, but a few tankards of rich brown ale do the trick. “He never said anything the first time out, anyhow,” Lord Jeremy remarks.

The backwards ceremony takes all day, owing to the participants getting confused about the word order, and Twombley suffers from an increasingly itchy trigger finger. Finally Addlepate is able to utter the words, ‘Wife wedded lawful your for woman this take do you?’, and the business is concluded. Imagine how much easier it would have been, had rewind buttons been invented in the 19th century.

Lady Margo jumps up and cheers, which causes her upholstered wooden leg to fall off. She doesn’t care. “I’m not with child by the constable anymore!” she exults. “Thank you, Johnno!” But Johnno already has his harmonica out, playing and singing (at the same time) “My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean.”

Ms. Crepuscular concludes with a gentle reminder that the movie rights to Oy, Rodney are still for sale.

 


Lady Margo’s Error (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCXXXI of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, laments, “I always manage to make a hash of things!” That’s putting it mildly.

Confused by the incessant delays of her marriage to Lord Jeremy Coldsore and his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley–she thinks they’re the same person, and gets bewildered when they’re both in the room at the same time–and another marriage proposal from her butler, Crusty, Lady Margo has mistakenly married Constable Chumley.

It only happened because Lord Jeremy, the shire’s justice of the peace, was indisposed with a toothache, probably due to a spell cast by the medieval necromancer, Black Rodney: this time Johnno the Merry Minstrel was unable to find the applicable cuss bag, cunningly concealed in one of the pockets of the billiard table. By the time Johnno finds it, the damage is done.

With Lord Jeremy groaning in his bed, and Twombley temporarily prostrate with strong drink, the assistant justice, Master Roger Addlepate, who is also the assistant village idiot, steps in to perform the wedding. He meets the constable on his way to Lady Margo’s opulent country house and recruits him as the groom: there are plentiful gaps in his understanding of the situation.

“Do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife, etc.?”

“Wore the weevil in a sorthing mole,” declares the constable. He is actually thinking of a correspondence course in mole-ology, but Master Roger takes his answer as a “yes” and then pressures Lady Margo into going along with it. “Will you please hurry!” he cries. “I am late for a darts match at The Lying Tart!” Flustered, Lady Margo blurts out “Yes!” without knowing what she’s yessing.

“I now pronounce you man and wife!”

Crusty bursts into the parlor to put a stop to this nonsense, but he’s too late.

“What have you done, my lady?” he cries. Meanwhile, Chumley departs with Master Roger because he’s scheduled to play darts tonight, too.

“I think I’ve just married that man,” admits Lady Margo, in a hushed tone. “I’m not even sure which one.”

“Words fail me to describe this lamentable scene any further,” adds Ms. Crepuscular.


The Annual Scurveyshire Fete (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCXXII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular treats us to the annual Scurveyshire Fete, which has been held every year since 742 A.D., when a Saxon lord named Fulda Basket had to sell off the contents of his castle and made festival of it.

Ancient games, whose meaning has been lost in the flow of centuries, abound: Hit My Hand, Throwing the Titmouse Nest, Dig That Hole, Stone-Swallowing, and many others. Colorful tents spring up everywhere. Booths sell old-time Scurveyshire snacks like grass, cricket pie, and incredibly foul-smelling foot cheese. A festive time is had by all.

Right up until the moment the local folk-singing group, The Five Churls, is sucked under the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard. This puts a damper on the occasion.

“I thought I told the constable to get rid of that pool!” Lord Jeremy Coldsore cries. He has been trying all day to romance his bride-to-be, Lady Margo Cargo, but she has been distracted by the disappearance of the Churls.

“I haven’t finished paying for it yet,” explains the vicar.

“Then we must skip the rest of this chapter,” decides Lord Jeremy.

In Chapter CCXXIII, villagers have begun to complain that the Old Bathhouse catty-corner from the pub, The Lying Tart, has become haunted. As Justice of the Peace, Lord Jeremy is expected to do something about it. Before he can, a mob of sulky peasants burns it down. Only the bathtubs are saved.

“What else can happen to our shire?” wails Lady Margo. She has all The Five Churls’ albums and was looking forward to purchasing the next one.


How Lady Margo Lost Her Husband and Her Leg (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Chapter CCXX of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, is something of a flashback.

Lady Margo Cargo seldom reads the local newspaper, The Scurveyshire Serf; so when a stranger asks her, “How did you come to lose your husband–and your leg?”, she answers candidly.

“I took my husband, Sir Largo Cargo, to London to see the monkeys in the zoo, and I’m afraid he just wandered off when I happened to let go of his hand to buy some peanuts. That was fifteen years ago, and I haven’t seen him since. As for my leg, a few days after that, I woke up one morning and it was gone. We looked all over the house for it, but it never turned up.”

Imagine her embarrassment when this story was reported by “The Inquiring Lackwit” in the Serf. She wrote a letter of complaint to the editor: “I thought I was talking to an inquiring lackwit. I didn’t know I was talking to The Inquiring Lackwit! Have you people no respect for someone’s privacy?”

Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who, along with his friend, Lord Jeremy Coldsore, is engaged to marry Lady Margo–she thinks they’re the same person–tries to comfort her. “You want me to shoot that varmint of an editor, li’l honey? We can dump the body in that abandoned mine over yonder.” But Lady Margo is not prepared to go that far.

Lord Jeremy, in his capacity as the only Justice of the Peace in England with two left feet, takes more positive action, ordering Constable Chumley to arrest the editor. “Lock him up and throw away the key! I will not have my fiancee made a subject of public comment.”

“Aith me sore unclunner, your lordship,” replies the constable, resorting to his quaint rural dialect. He obeys the order literally, and now can’t find the key.

Ms. Crepuscular concludes the chapter with an admonition to her readers to avoid conversing with lackwits of any kind.


‘Oy, Rodney’ Explodes with Action!

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I only wrote that headline because Violet Crepuscular introduces Chapter CCXIV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, with the teaser, “Chapter CCXIV of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney, explodes with action!” I suppose it had to, given the total lack of any action whatsoever in Chapter CCXIII, about which the less said, the better. I suspect she may have been impaired while writing it.

Before he can commandeer and hitch up a team of oxen to drag away the sinister wading pool in the vicar’s back yard, Constable Chumley has had to ask the vicar’s permission to do so. This should have happened in Chapter CCXIII. At any rate, the vicar demurs.

“My dear fellow, you can’t do that! I haven’t paid for it yet!”

“Yair, vicar, I screeve a delly mure,” says the constable.

“That’s exactly what I would say, if I were you,” replies the vicar.

At this point Ms. Crepuscular interjects a political observation. We shall pass over it.

Unable to get the vicar’s permission, Constable Chumley abandons that part of his assignment and returns to Coldsore Hall to search for clues that might lead him to Black Rodney’s hiding place. Lady Margo Cargo is present at Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s bedside, feeding him mealworms to speed his recovery. Both are disconcerted when the constable enters the bedroom and begin feeling about under the covers.

“What the deuce are you doing? Stop that!” cries Lord Jeremy.

“M’lord, ’tis nae fairthy twa’ wee trilling clues,” explains the constable.

“He’s right, my love,” says Lady Margo.

But there are no clues hidden in the bedclothes, and Lord Jeremy continues to complain. “Your hands are like ice, Constable! Go look for clues somewhere else!” No one minds when the constable departs to look for clues at the bottom of a tankard of ale at The Lying Tart.

Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad, enters the room. Lady Margo thinks he and Lord Jeremy are the same person, so it always dazzles her to see both of them at once. In deference to her feelings, he exits without a word.


At Last, Black Rodney! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Finally! In Chapter CCII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, we are vouchsafed a glimpse of the infamous sorcerer and necromancer, Black Rodney. “Vouchsafed” is Ms. Crepuscular’s word, not mine. I have no idea what it means.

It turns out that Coldsore Hall is full of cunningly concealed cuss bags: no wonder Lord Jeremy’s troubles seem to have no end. The mysterious stranger who looks like a famous game show host, but won’t reveal his name, has teamed up with the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, to find and get rid of all the cuss bags.

“I had a problem like this with some Sumerians,” recalls Twombley, who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad, “but they stopped doin’ it when I sicked the Elamites on ’em.”

Lord Jeremy cannot take part in the search. In his efforts to follow Dr. Fanabla’s regime of one-legged jumping jacks, he has injured his other foot. Lady Margo pays a comforting visit, complete with inedible toothpaste muffins baked by her aunt in Bedlam. “We’ll have our wedding yet, dear,” she consoles him.

But that night, as he makes his rounds of the hall in search of cuss bags, Twombley has a shattering experience. He staggers into Lord Jeremy’s bedroom. Startled, Lady Margo jumps up more suddenly than is good for her and her newly-upholstered wooden leg falls off.

“I seen him, I seen him!” Twombley gasps. “Black Rodney, as large as life! Hidin’ a cuss bag on top of that painting in the billiard room–the one of Queen Victoria on her pogo stick!” He then faints before he can say anymore. Unable to re-attach her leg, Lady Margo can only leave him sprawled on the floor.

“I wish he’d told us what Black Rodney looks like!” she complains.

The mysterious stranger bursts into the room, startling Lady Margo so badly that her wig falls off and her false teeth clatter to the floor.

“I can tell you what he looks like!” cries the stranger. “He wears a black sheet over his entire head and body, without eye-holes, and slinks about at night, avoiding light of any kind. That’s what Mr. Twombley saw in the billiard room.”

“Well, he couldn’t have seen much, then, could he?” snaps Jeremy, who has begun to feel annoyed. “How are we to identify someone who hides himself under a black sheet in the dead of night?”

The stranger tiptoes closer to the bed, looks all around for eavesdroppers, lowers his voice two full octaves, and whispers, “You will know him by his reaction to the words ‘polla-wolla-bing-bang’! Speak them in his presence, and he cannot help but have a tantrum! Anyone else would just look at you quizzically.”

The chapter concludes with a lengthy complaint about the customer service department at Scurveyshire’s Bureau of Unusual Hats–and Ms. Crepuscular’s apology for not including Constable Chumley in this chapter.

We suspect the constable says “polla-wolla-bing-bang” fairly often.


“I Love You, Stupid!” (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Chapter CC of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, is a real pistol. I’ve heard of a reader in Caithness, Scotland, who actually enjoyed it.

Lord Jeremy Coldsore has endless difficulties with Dr. Fanabla’s regime of jumping jacks, prescribed to heal his injured foot. He has to be tied in to a harness hanging from a tree, which is the only way he can do one-legged jumping jacks: a painful and troublesome procedure. He is also waiting for the other ingredient in his cure, earth from the grave of a regicide, to be shipped from a supply house in Bucyrus, Ohio. He cannot be married to Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, until he can stand on both feet.

“I still can’t think of any regicides who were buried in Ohio,” he complains.

“That’s where you’re wrong, ol’ hoss,” says his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley. Twombley still thinks he is Sargon of Akkad. “This stuff comes from the grave of a dude named Watson, who murdered a man who claimed to be the rightful Lost Dauphin of France.”

Twombley lapses into nostalgia. “I once visited the grave of King Bill, who was king of a little one-horse town on the Euphrates, Utu-Mashtu. He got killed playin’ strip poker with some crooked Amorites. I never had no use for Amorites.”

Meanwhile, Lady Margo is getting uneasy about her wedding. “I can’t understand why Lord Jeremy’s foot won’t heal!” she says.

“I can’t understand why you’d want to marry that loony in the first place,” says her crusty old butler, Crusty. “Why don’t you marry me instead, you old bat?”

She is shocked. “Oh, dear! Why would I want to do that?”

“Because I love you, stupid!”

“Oh, Crusty!”

“And stop calling me Crusty! You’ve been doing it for 36 years and I’m sick and tired of it! My name is Adelbert.”

“Adelbert?” She can hardly believe her ears. “I didn’t know your name is Adelbert. And titled ladies don’t generally marry their butlers, Crusty–I mean Adelbert!”

“Batty old cow!” mutters the suitor. “Well, think about it! Meanwhile, it’s time for my trombone lesson.” Crusty is teaching himself the trombone. Honk! Ooomph! Blaaaap! It is really quite intolerable, and it places Lady Margo in a state of confusion.

The chapter concludes with a recipe for cat food sandwich cookies.


Obstacles to the Wedding (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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As we learn in Chapter CLXXIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, the course of true love never did run smooth. “Everybody thinks Shakespeare said that,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “but I am sure this observation is original with me.”

Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, has consented to marry Lord Jeremy Coldsore of Coldsore Hall. She has also consented to marry Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who think he’s Sargon of Akkad. They have convinced her that they are one and the same person. And the vicar, having emerged from his conniptions with no memory of how he came to have them, is eager to perform the rites.

But the problem is, where to have the wedding. Lady Margo’s vast country house is being thoroughly re-upholstered, so they can’t go there. Coldsore Hall, because Twombley has concealed there the bodies of so many of Lord Jeremy’s creditors, now has a rather unpleasant smell to it. And The Lying Tart is out because everyone is afraid that the ancient sorceror, Black Rodney, will turn up as an uninvited guest and put a curse on the lot of them.

“I know the ideal place!” says the vicar. “Right here in my back yard, beside the wading pool. With nice weather, it’ll be perfect–an outdoor wedding.”

But Constable Chumley says the wading pool, scene of so many inexplicable tragedies, is off limits. “Thain a bickle maunty, goin’ by shimbly more!” is his ominous warning.

A mysterious stranger arrives with a cart purporting to contain the frozen body of a Pithecanthropus. He looks much like a Pithecanthropus himself. He sets up in the common without a word to anybody.

“Betcha he’s Black Rodney,” Twombley says. “We had a few of those Pitha-whatchamacallums back in Babylonia, and they was all fake. Yer the Justice of the Peace around here, Germy. Why don’t you have him thrown in jail?”

“Because I need this wedding, and I need it now!” growls Jeremy. “More creditors are coming out of the woodwork, and if I don’t marry into Lady Margo’s money, I’ll lose my ancestral home. My grandfather never should have invested all his money in that disastrous polar expedition in which everybody died and the ship wound up in Aruba!”

The chapter concludes with a recipe for boiled grass.


Election Results! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CLXXII of her epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular discovers that she has forgotten to report the results of Scurveyshire’s special election for a Member of Parliament. “Can you do any better?” she challenges the reader.

The good news is that Lady Margo Cargo has won the election, handily defeating the town drunkard, who received no votes. Lady Margo got three. It seems the voters forgot about the election, too. The bad news is that she will not be allowed to serve.

“It goes back to a law from the time of King Charles II,” explains the crown solicitor, whose name is not given, but he looks rather like Boris Karloff in The Mummy. The law states that no one with any Manchu ancestry can hold a seat in Parliament. It was passed in deference to the king’s bosom friend, Sir Alfred Bosom, who suffered from Manchuphobia. And the record shows that Lady Margo’s family tree includes one Liu Ching-Erh, a Manchu mountebank who visited the shire in 1631 and found time for an amorous dalliance with the Countess of Shrubb, a very distant relative of Lady Margo’s great-great-great aunt’s cousin twice removed. “Sorry, M’lady,” says the solicitor. He looks so awful when he says this, that Lady Margo’s newly-upholstered wooden leg falls off.

Meanwhile, the whole shire is abuzz with the news of a great black “R” burned into the back door of everybody’s favorite tavern, The Lying Tart–taken as a sure sign that the ancient necromancer, Black Rodney, has returned.

Dusting the door for fingerprints, but not finding any, Constable Chumley sadly shakes his head and soliloquizes, philosophically, “Shork my bains, ’tis a right true findle in meggidy droom, this time!” A hue and cry is gotten up, but it goes nowhere.


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