Tag Archives: Lady Margo Cargo

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.


Crusty’s Trombone Lessons (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CLXX of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, Lord Jeremy Coldsore is back to courting Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire. They have to meet in Lady Margo’s kitchen: the upholsterers are busy re-upholstering all the furniture in the house, and there’s no room anywhere else. Lord Jeremy notices that even some of the bowls have been upholstered.

“We really must set a date for our marriage, my love,” says Lord Jeremy, who desperately needs Lady Margo’s wealth to save Coldsore Hall from his creditors. “My love for you is so intense, I can think of nothing else. Oh! Your eyes are like ripe olives in a martini mixed by Venus!”

“How romantic!” Lady Margo sighs–then pauses to re-adjust her wooden leg. It has not fit snugly since her crusty old butler, Crusty, had it reupholstered.

“My love, my pigeon, your elbows are–”

He is interrupted by what sounds like a dragon with its tail caught in a wringer.

“What the deuce is that!”

“It’s nothing, dear. Just Crusty teaching himself to play the trombone.” Blaaaap! Honk! “He wishes to play it at the wedding. He doesn’t want to spend money on hiring musicians.” Whonk! Oooop!

“It’s horrible!” Jeremy shudders.

Before he can say any more, the door slams open. It’s the vicar’s nursemaid, Mrs. Froth.

“Lady Margo! Lord Jeremy! The vicar has emerged from his conniptions! He’s wide awake, and calling for ox-tongue stew with marmalade–and we have no ox-tongues! Please come quickly, I don’t know what to do with him!”

They find him sitting up in bed with a pair of pinking shears, cutting his sheet into amusing but not altogether wholesome shapes.

“Ah, Lord Jeremy and Lady Margo!” he exclaims. “I trust your wedding ceremony was satisfactory–money back if it wasn’t.”

“We haven’t had it yet, sir,” says Jeremy. “You’ve been indisposed. Do you remember what you saw that gave you conniptions?”

The vicar thinks it over, shrugs. “Can’t say that I do. Had it something to do with an incredibly horrifying mass of staring eyes and writhing tentacles?”

At this point Ms. Crepuscular digresses, treating the reader to a list of her childhood playmates who turned out very badly when they grew up. We are unable to account for this, and here the chapter ends.


Scurveyshire’s Special Election (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CLXIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, Lady Margo Cargo has been persuaded by her crusty old butler, Crusty, to stand for Parliament. A special election is being held because the shire’s beloved old Member of Parliament, “Old Binky” Boggington, has been sucked under the vicar’s backyard wading pool.

“But what about our wedding, my sweet?” cries Lord Jeremy Coldsore.

“It’ll have to wait, my dear. One must do one’s duty! Although how I’m supposed to stand for Parliament, when I can hardly stand at all, what with all the upholstery Crusty has had put on to my wooden leg, is more than I know.” As if to illustrate her point, she falls over.

“Don’t worry, Germy, ol’ hoss,” says Willis Twombley, the American adventurer. He, too, is waiting to be wed to Lady Margo–who thinks he and Lord Jeremy are the same man. “All we got to do is find somebody to run against her who’ll be so popular with the voters, Lady Margo will just give up. Then we’ll get hitched right away.”

The problem is that no one seems to want to be a candidate. Finally Lord Jeremy’s search boils down to Grubby the town drunkard. There is some doubt whether Grubby was fully conscious when he agreed to run.

“I don’t want to give any speeches, though,” he says, after being dipped in ice-cold water several times. “I don’t know how to write no speeches.”

“Constable Chumley has offered to write them for you, old boy,” says Jeremy. He has had to pay the constable rather handsomely for this service.

“Aye, m’lord, ’tis mickle dowd I be.” It seems the constable already has a speech written, but as yet never delivered, entitled Yon Shire be Gimple Yair o’ Fuddle. It was originally intended for a police bar mitzvah several years ago.

“We’re in, ol’ hoss!” exults Twombley. “I got him to read the speech to me, and I do like the sound of it! Sort of reminds me of Millard Fillmore’s inaugural address, way back when. Anyone who sounds like President Fillmore can get elected any day of the week! We’ll be married before you can say ‘Hut to pee an’ smooth sailin’.”

The chapter closes with Lord Jeremy feeling rather confused.


Lady Margo’s Love Child (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CLIX (which spells “clix”) of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular confides to her readers, “Now I wish I’d written this as a plantation novel. I love plantation novels!” And lets it go at that.

A new complication has arisen, a new obstacle to Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s ambition to marry the wealthy Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, and thus foil the creditors who are out to take Coldsore Hall.

Lady Margo thinks she is with child. The difficulty is compounded by Lady Margo’s house being full of upholsterers hard at work re-upholstering all the furniture.

“It’s just wind, you silly old bat,” says Crusty the butler.

“I’m sure I don’t know what it is,” she replies, “but I read somewhere that upholstering a woman’s wooden leg can cause a pregnancy.” Crusty nearly faints: that word is not lightly bandied about in Lady Margo’s circles. “I wonder whose child it is,” she adds wistfully. Crusty sends for Dr. Fanabla, the shire’s renowned phrenologist, who examines the bumps on Lady Margo’s head and pronounces her “not you-know-what–although she does have a slightly serious touch of Colbury’s Complaint. Call me at once if her other hand falls off.” He prescribes a daily morning regimen of jumping jacks. On his way out the door, he is espied by Miss Lizzie Snivel, the spider girl, who falls passionately in love with him and starts following him all around the countryside.

Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad, sulks because he has little to do in this chapter. He seeks out Constable Chumley for a companionable nip from the constable’s hip flask which he keeps under his policeman’s helmet. “Chumley, ol’ hoss, I been tryin’ every trick in the book to get this here weddin’ to come off, and we’re still stuck in the startin’ gate.”

“Dint feen thysel,” Chumley replies. “‘Tis a mickle gair as fenners no shough.”

“That’s what they told me back in Texas,” Twombley sighs.

 

 

 


The Wedding’s Off Again (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Nothing much happens in Chapter CLVI of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney. In his capacity as Scurveyshire’s justice of the peace, Lord Jeremy Coldsore has released Jasper the Village Idiot from the local jail, on the condition that he impersonate the Japanese ambassador, Walt Dropo, to prevent the Emperor from learning that his favorite nephew has been sucked under the vicar’s backyard wading pool and is highly unlikely ever to be seen again.

In Chapter CLVII, the vicar comes to his senses but immediately relapses into conniptions when his housekeeper, Mrs. Przewalski, tactlessly asks him what exactly he saw peeking out from under the wading pool.

But the main thing is, Lady Margo Cargo’s wedding to Lord Jeremy and the American adventurer Willis Twombley, well, it’s off again, postponed indefinitely, because Crusty the crusty butler disapproves. He believes Lord Jeremy to be a foundling and Twombley to be an escaped mental patient. He also doesn’t like the idea of his mistress marrying both of these mountebanks at once. To stop the wedding, he has called in upholsterers to re-upholster every piece of furniture in Cargo Hall. Only when that project is finished, he decrees, can the wedding proceed.

“Oh, Crusty!” cries Lady Margo. “Is that really necessary? And I don’t see why my wooden leg has to be upholstered, too.”

“You must allow me to be the judge of that, my lady,” answers the butler.

“You want I should shoot that butler, Germy?” Twombley asks. “We can dump him in the well.”

“Please don’t do that, Sargon, old boy!” Jeremy replies. [Note: Twombley believes himself to be Sargon of Akkad, in case the reader has forgotten.] “Lady Margo’s quite fond of the blighter. He’ll come around when we let him accompany us on our honeymoon.”

“Then let’s have the honeymoon first,” Twombley suggests. “It’ll give us all something fun to do while the upholsterers do their stuff. Where are we goin’, by the way?”

“Lady Margo has always wanted to see Plaguesby.”

“Plaguesby? But that’s only the village next door to this one! What’s she want to go there for? What kind of honeymoon is that?”

Jeremy shrugged. “She’s never been to Plaguesby,” he explains.

“There ain’t nothin’ there, though! Couldn’t we at least go to Monte Carlo? And I hear Kizzuwatna’s nice, this time of year.”

“Where the devil is Kizzuwatna?” Lord Jeremy wonders.

“In Scotland, someplace,” Twombley says [editor’s note: he is badly mistaken].

Jeremy gives in. He always gives in to Twombley’s daft ideas. It’s easier that way.

 


The Wedding Rehearsal (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Now that he’s been elected justice of the peace, Lord Jeremy Coldsore can perform his own marriage to Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, and so save Coldsore Hall from its wolf-pack of creditors–some of whom have already been shot, and hidden away, by his friend Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad.

Welcome to Chapter CXLII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney. Here we adjourn to Lady Margo’s parlor for the wedding rehearsal. Present are Jeremy and Lady Margo, Twombley, and Lady Margo’s pet crayfish, Oswin, serving as a witness. The crusty old butler, Crusty, has refused to come up from his butler’s pantry: “I refuse to be a party to this monstrosity,” he says.

“I feel a bit strange about all this, Sargon,” Lady Margo says. “I find it hard to remember that you and my dear Jeremy are actually the same person.”

“Don’t you let it worry you, l’il gal,” says Twombley. “It took me a long time to learn how to be two different guys at once, but it’s the only way I can keep them pesky Babylonians from dry-gulchin’ me.” He points to the window. “See that gardener out there, with the wheelbarrow full of poison ivy? He don’t look it, but he’s two guys masqueradin’ as one–a Babylonian spy. I’ll deal with him later.”

Lord Jeremy, as justice of the peace, will perform the ceremony, with Twombley as best man. From time to time they must switch their positions. Like this:

“Do you, Lord Jeremy Coldsore, take this woman, Lady Margo Cargo, for your lawfully wedded wife?” He then moves to Lady Margo’s side to say “I do.” Meanwhile, Twombley takes his place as justice of the peace. After saying “I do,” Jeremy goes back to being the justice of the peace and Twombley takes his place next to Lady Margo. “Do you, Lady Margo Cargo, take his man, Lord Jeremy Coldsore, for your lawfully wedded husband?” Glancing at Twombley, she replies, “I do! I mean, I think I do. This would be so much easier if we had the vicar here!”

“He’s still down with the conniptions, l’il gal,” Twombley explains. “We can always fit him in if he snaps out of it.”

He and Jeremy trade places again, and Twombley says, “If there is anyone here who’s got any kind o’ tomfool reason why these two here should not be hitched, let him speak now or forever shut his trap.”

“I object!” peeps the crayfish.

And Lady Margo, having time only to mutter, “Black Rodney strikes again!” keels over in a swoon. Twombley, unable to catch both her wig and her glass eye, lets both drop to the floor. In fact, so does Lady Margo.

“We’ve got to do better than this!” cries Lord Jeremy.

“Practice makes perfect, Germy,” says Twombley. “And a certain crayfish is gonna wind up in a bowl of gumbo if he tries any more tricks!”

 


‘Oy, Rodney’: The Trial

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I was relieved to discover, in Chapter CXXXIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, that Lady Margo Cargo, fruitlessly searching for her detached wooden leg and coming by night upon the fateful wading pool in the vicar’s back yard–just as something unspeakable was emerging from beneath the pool–set an all-time speed record for one-legged runners. She made it back home somewhat the worse for wear.

Moving on to Chapter CXXXV, the good people of Scurveyshire have finally run out of patience with these goings-on, and the vicar’s housekeeper, Mrs. Dreary, has been hauled into court on charges of reckless endangerment. This could be tricky for her: Lord Nodule, the Earl of Turkeyham, has been named Justice of the Peace and already compiled a lurid reputation for judicial rigor.

“How do you plead, woman?” asks the bailiff.

“I’m sure it’s not my fault the vicar saw fit to have that blasted wading pool–”

Lord Nodule slams his gavel. “Enough!” he roars. Patience is not his long suit. “Wanda Dreary, I sentence you to be hanged, drawn, and quartered! Take her away!”

The bailiff approaches the bench and whispers, “M’lord, we don’t actually do that anymore, that drawing and quartering business. Not legal anymore, M’lord.”

“I’m dashed if I know what this country’s coming to!” remarks the judge.

“I thought her name was Olivia,” Lord Jeremy Coldsore whispers to Willis Twombley, the American adventurer. They are pressed against the back wall of the crowded courtroom. “Wanda was her mother, I believe.”

“Wanda was Lord Nodule’s mother!” whispers Lady Margo. Crusty the butler has found her wooden leg and reattached it, so she is in fine fettle.

Grumbling, Lord Nodule commutes the housekeeper’s sentence to transportation to Australia. Mrs. Dreary returns home with Lady Margo: no one expects the judge to remember anything he ever says or does.


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