Tag Archives: Lady Margo Cargo

Lady Margo’s Hand (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CCCXXIX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “Dear reader, I wish to introduce Chapter CCCXXIX by reminding you that years ago, in her youth, Lady Margo Cargo had her hand chewed off by a goat. Which hand, I don’t rightly remember. But do keep it in mind, for it’s bound to be important later.”

Frantic to raise money to put a new roof on Coldsore Hall and stave off his legion of creditors, thus saving his centuries-old family heritage, Lord Jeremy Coldsore grows increasingly desperate to conclude his marriage with Lady Margo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire. His latest scheme is to have the marriage performed in secret. “We can elope,” he explains to her, “and get married in an abandoned warehouse in the quaint rural village of Mucklethorp. No one will interrupt us there.”

“Isn’t that the warehouse where they found all those skeletons, years ago?” she asks.

“I am sure they have removed the skeletons by now, my sweet!”

“I don’t know about this,” Lady Margo muses. “I have heard the place is haunted. Who would perform the ceremony?”

“Geoffrey the Unemployed Shepherd has been ordained a minister of a mail-order church somewhere in India. Treat him to a bottle of Col. Gamba’s Special Blend, and he’ll marry anyone.”

Lady Margo is shocked. “Why, it was one of Geoffrey’s goats that chewed my hand off!” she cries. “I find it very hard to trust him!”

The chapter breaks here with a telephone call: the local cable TV station has offered Ms. Crepuscular a position as host of a new cooking show. She is too excited to continue writing.

“Just in time for me to share with the world my Toothpaste Yule Log recipe!” she exults. “With leftover crab meat, no less! I must hasten to the studio and see to setting up a kitchen!”

There is no truth to the rumor that the show will be called The Suicidal Gourmet.

 


Constable Chumley Speaks English (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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We’ve been trying to discover why a policeman with an angry parent in tow knocked on Ms. Violet Crepuscular’s door last week–something to do with handing out toothpaste cookies for Trick or Treat, we suspect. But she has been uncharacteristically mum about it, saying only that “No sacrifice is too great, or too small, to make for good dental hygiene.”

In Chapter CCCXXVIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, we learn that Constable Chumley has been busy rounding up everyone in Scurveyshire who looks like an emoji, in case one of them turns out to be Sir Dorphin Magma, the ace cricketeer who disappeared 20 years ago and may be descended from the evil medieval sorcerer, Black Rodney. Here are some of the suspects.  Image result for images of emojis The jail–er, gaol–is getting a bit crowded.

“Can’t you find a roomier gaol in which to put them?” demands Lord Jeremy Coldsore. “They have a nice one in Plaguesby, maybe they’ll let us use it.”

The constable looks him in the eye and replies, as clear as a bell, “To climb the tree is enough, though the bough makes me cough.”

Lord Jeremy is astonished. “You finally speak a sentence in some comprehensible form of English,” he cries, “and this is it?”

“Feraeth, m’lord, whae bonnith yar grith,” the constable replies, reverting to his quaint rural dialect. It appears his supply of plain English has been exhausted.

Lord Jeremy is growing more and more desperate to marry Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, to confound his creditors and save Coldsore Hall, which still needs a new roof. Lady Margo is currently in bed with a bad cold, contracted by wandering around in the rain all night clad only in her undies–a sight which, regrettably, has caused a relapse of the vicar’s conniptions. Worse, a violent sneeze has sent her glass eye flying off to some unexplored region of her bedroom. “I can’t marry anyone until I get my eye back,” she declares. Lord Jeremy has searched all around the room for it but hasn’t found it yet.

“And here,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “I will break off the chapter in order to heighten the suspense. Really, one can hardly expect Lady Margo to appear for her wedding with an eye missing and the vicar spouting panicked gibberish.”

 


Lady Margo Feels Woozy (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CCCXXV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular shares an insight with her readers.

“Allow me to share this insight with you, dear readers,” she writes. “Medieval sorcerers, like Black Rodney, have a way of turning out to be real if you write about them often enough. Yesterday morning I simply couldn’t find my Acme False Facts catalogue, although I looked everywhere for it. Finally it turned up in my refrigerator, behind the toothpaste, and I know I didn’t put it there! I suspect black magic.”

We pick up the chapter with Lord Jeremy Coldsore trying to learn to sing I’ve Got Rhythm in classical Greek, for reasons which were made abundantly clear in Chapter CCCXXIII.

Meanwhile his bride-to-be, Lady Margo Cargo, has taken to her bed.

“I feel woozy,” she confides to her crusty old butler, Crusty. “I have to be careful, you know–my father died of hypochondria.”

“If you die of hypochondria,” snaps Crusty, “then it wasn’t really hypochondria, was it? Stupid old bat!”

Summoned to her bedside, Dr. Fanabla is able to find no symptoms at all. “It’s hypochondria, all right,” he declares, “and the only sure-fire cure for hypochondria is to get really sick. I recommend you stand around outside in your undies until you catch a proper cold. And you’re in luck–it’s going to rain all night.”

Faithfully following the doctor’s advice, Lady Margo, clad only in her unmentionables, spends the entire night wandering around her property in the rain; and the vicar, chancing to look out the window at just the right moment, sees a pale white figure slowly parading back and forth in the rain. This causes him to suffer a relapse into his conniptions. The only sense anyone can get out of him is “I saw the White Witch! And she was sneezing! Eeeyaaagh!”

Lady Margo takes the sneezes as a hopeful sign and goes back to bed.

 


The Exorcism of the Wading Pool (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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At last–Chapter CCCXIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney. I have skipped Chapter CCCXII because I couldn’t find it anywhere.

As instructed by the Wise Woman of the Woods, Lady Margo Cargo has hired three men who are each the seventh son of a seventh son, all expert morris dancers, and all named Squeeb MacTavish, to remove Black Rodney’s curse on the vicar’s backyard wading pool. If you don’t understand that sentence, welcome to the club.

All three are now in position to perform the magical ritual, each equipped with an orange beach ball. Looking on are Lady Margo and her fiancees, Lord Jeremy Coldsore and the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, whom she thinks are the same person.

“Ready?” cries Lord Jeremy.

“We are ready, my lord,” answers Squeeb MacTavish–well, answers one of them. Which one doesn’t really matter.

“Then do yer stuff!” shouts Twombley.

With their backs to the pool, all three toss their beach balls into the air, hopefully to land in the middle of the pool. They do, all three of them.

Out from under the pool, with blinding speed, shoot three slimy tentacles, instantaneously wrapping around the three morris dancers and snapping back under with the three men. Gone, all three of them.

“That wasn’t supposed to happen!” Lord Jeremy cries. Twombley laughs, earning a frown from Lady Margo.

“I deplore this man’s laughter at this manslaughter!” she declares.

“And I, dear reader,” exults Mr. Crepuscular, “have executed another crepuscularity!” She is sure this will catch on as a literary technique.

(“Toldja that so-called Wise Women of the Woods is full of it!” grumbles Lady Margo’s crusty old butler, Crusty. “She’s never been right about anything.”)

Here the chapter dissolves into an orgy of self-congratulation by Ms. Crepuscular, too shameful to repeat here.


The Arrival of a Rival (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CCCXI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular exults:

“I have introduced a new stylistic flourish to English prose, dear readers! I shall call it the Crepuscularity. ‘The Arrival of a Rival’ is a shining example of the technique! Allow me to provide two more. ‘A Man’s Laughter at Manslaughter,’ and ‘Where Is a Wombat’s Womb At?'” Here she inserts several kissing emojis, which I am unable to reproduce here. For that matter, I am also unable to define “crepuscularity.” What the dickens is she getting at?

We were all waiting to see what would happen when the three seventh sons of seventh sons, expert morris dancers and all named Squeeb MacTavish, attempted to lift the curse on the vicar’s backyard wading pool, following the instructions of the Wise Woman of the Woods. But do we get that?

“Bear with me, dear readers,” Ms. Crepuscular confides in her readers, “as I heighten the suspense by introducing a necessary complication into the plot.”

The complication takes the form of a well-dressed but also very rugged-looking man who shows up at the door of Lady Margo Cargo’s luxurious country house.

“Who the devil are you?” demands her crusty butler, Crusty.

“I was Lady Margo’s girlhood boyfriend, pledged to become her husband after I made good in the world. I then went off to seek my fortune. Now I have returned.” The man pauses to scratch at a livid scar in the shape of an exclamation point. “Please tell her that Mr. Agamemnon Frizzle is here to claim his bride.”

Crusty, whose own marital ambitions have been thwarted by Lord Jeremy Coldsore, is in no mood for the arrival of a rival. (“There! I did it again!”)

“I don’t see no fortune,” he drools. (I cannot explain why Ms. Crepuscular chose this verb.)

Mr. Frizzle grins, a horrifying sight. “And no one saw the lost city of Shopworth, either,” he declares–“until I found it!”

Crusty is perplexed. The city of Shopworth, Saskatchewan, has never been lost, to his knowledge.

Here the chapter breaks–again “to heighten the suspense,” explains Ms. Crepuscular. Or maybe she just doesn’t know what to write next.


Lady Margo Hires a Detective (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Coldsore Hall needs a new roof, people are packing up to flee the shire, and Lord Jeremy has to find the seventh son of a seventh son (who must also be an expert morris dancer) to lift the curse off the vicar’s backyard wading pool. Does that say “Pick me up and read me!”, or what?

Welcome to Chapter CCCV of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney. Chapter CCCIV didn’t get written because the police came over to take samples of Ms. Crepuscular’s toothpaste. The less said about that, the better.

As the richest widow in Scurveyshire, Lady Margo summons up enough public spirit–and money–to hire Sir Ranulph Toadsome, London’s premier consulting detective (Sherlock Holmes is still a schoolboy). Sir Ranulph is only some two feet tall, but people pretend not to notice that.

“The seventh son of a seventh son, expert morris dancer, lives on an island off the coast of Scotland which only appears on a map in a church that’s not a church.” Sir Ranulph sums up the case. “And you need him as soon as possible! Is that the mission?”

“In a nutshell, Sir Ranulph,” Lady Margo replies.

“You got it, shorty,” says the American adventurer, Willis Twombley. Lord Jeremy kicks him in the shin. Sir Ranulph Toadsome glares hypnotically.

“The last man who called me that died in Broadmoor,” he declares. He is, of course, referring to the notorious high-security psychiatric hospital; but Twombley thinks he means an almost equally notorious township in New Jersey. He is about to say something about that when Lord Jeremy kicks his other shin.

“Cases like this only appear to be difficult,” Sir Ranulph says. “To the experienced deductive reasoner, they present only slight difficulty. In the meantime, why don’t your people just keep their distance from the wading pool?” To this question no one has an answer. They are not big on answers in Scurveyshire, these days.

“I must break the chapter here,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “and clean up the mess those loutish policemen made of my bathroom. As if there could be anything wrong with my toothpaste!”


Lady Margo Gets Out of Bed (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCLXXXII of Violet Crepuscular’s monumental epic romance (just “epic” won’t suffice anymore), Oy, Rodney, Lady Margo Cargo finally gets out of bed, where she has been recovering from her ordeal in the dreadful Scurveyshire fens.

Lord Jeremy Coldsore and his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, have been taking turns to visit her. Because she believes them to be the same person, it troubles her when they show up together. She and Lord Jeremy are still engaged to be married, and Mr. Twombley still thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad.

What has motivated Lady Margo to roll out of bed and bounce painfully upon the floor, where she flops around and yells until Crusty the crusty butler can make his way up the stairs and struggle, with his failing strength, to sit her on the bed?

“Crusty, summon my lady’s maid to help me dress! I must visit Coldsore Hall before Lord Gwonleigh and Lady Petunia depart.”

“You don’t have a lady’s maid, you silly old trout.”

Lady Margo is perplexed. “But Rubella–”

“Rubella died two years ago, from a surfeit of lampreys,” Crusty reminds her. “Blimey, can’t you remember anything?”

“You mean I’ve been dressing myself every day, for two years?”

“Well, I flamin’ well ain’t been doing it!”

Lord Gwonleigh is the Marquess of Grone, one of the wealthiest men in England, and it won’t do, not to pay her respects while he’s in the neighborhood. As best she can, Lady Margo dresses herself. No one is there to tell her that in the process of pulling on her dress, she got her wig turned backwards. But in all other ways, her efforts are as successful as the wine-dark sea–

“I know what you’re thinking,” Ms. Crepuscular interrupts the narrative in an aside to the reader. “I will use this aside to the reader to put your mind at ease, dear reader.

“I realize the Homeric tag, ‘the wine-dark sea,’ may seem out of place in a lady’s private bedroom many miles from the sea. It’s my writer’s intuition that bids me use it. Besides which, my neighbor, Mr. Pitfall, has sworn to have a tantrum very soon if I don’t write something about the wine-dark sea.”

And now, having altogether lost the thread of the story, Ms Crepuscular breaks off the chapter with a recipe for boiled pizza slices.


The Return of Lady Margo (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Violet Crepuscular opens Chapter CCLXXIV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, with a Homeric flourish: “Just as rosy-fingered Dawn was parting the velvet curtains of the night, Lady Margo Cargo has arrived at the front door of her palatial country house. I have always wanted to use that particular Homeric touch. If only I could find a way to use ‘the wine-dark sea’!”

If you are wondering what became of the two intervening chapters, I cannot find them in my copy of the book. No pages have been torn out. It’s a mystery.

At the end of her strength, after having to hop on one foot all the way, and struggling out of the dreaded Scurveyshire Fens after escaping from the Plaguesby jail, Lady Margo finds she cannot stand up to open the door. She has to wait for two hours on the stoop before Crusty the crusty old butler opens the front door and finds her.

“You stupid old cow!” he cries. “Where have you been? We thought you were under the vicar’s backyard wading pool. What a nuisance you are!” The warmth of his greeting quite overcomes her. She is covered head to foot in thick black mud, so the fact that he has recognized her is a point in his favor.

“Help me into my bath, Crusty,” she gasps.

The bath being upstairs, lugging her up the grand spiral staircase practically kills him. With his last ounce of strength he rolls her into the tub, then crawls back to his butler’s pantry to recover. “I’d like some water, Crusty!” she cries. But he’s too worn-out to pay any attention.

“I really must pause here,” Ms. Crepuscular confides in her readers, “to confide in you, dear readers! My neighbor, the erratic Mr. Pitfall, now insists that he and I are man and wife. Really, it’s just too much! I am sure I never married him, but now he’s in my kitchen breaking dishes! Something tells me his eccentricities may be getting out of hand. Steps will have to be taken, I fear.”


Lady Margo’s Great Escape (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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“I have had a difficult time writing this chapter,” Violet Crepuscular admits, introducing Chapter CCLXVII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, “because my neighbor, Mr. Pitfall, was released from the hospital this week and is a bit put out with me for poisoning him, and I’ve had to lie low for several days. I must send him a Lobster-Gram to make it up to him. I do hope he remembers to cook the lobster before he eats it.”

Back to the story! Lady Margo Cargo, languishing in the Plaguesby jail, does not wish to marry Tom Squim, the Great Conquering Khan of Plaguesby; nor does she wish to experience any of the various “ways” they have in Plaguesby for forcing people to marry against their will. All she really wants to do is get back home to Scurveyshire Village and marry Lord Jeremy Coldsore and his boon companion, the American adventurer Willis Twombley. She still thinks the two of them are the same person.

And so the plucky dowager, the richest widow in all of Scurveyshire, manages to squirrel away a spoon and uses it to tunnel her way out of the jail. Ordinarily this would take several years. But because of the incredibly shoddy construction of the jail, she is able to tunnel through its easily crumbled wall in a single night. Before the next sunrise she is on her way back to her beloved–hopping on one leg because she has lost her upholstered wooden leg. She has resolved to ask Lord Jeremy to please do something about Tom Squim and his mad dream of conquering all England.

Everyone else, meanwhile, is waiting for the expedition under the vicar’s backyard wading pool to return, hopefully having rescued Lady Margo (who isn’t there), or else to perish valiantly in the attempt.

“I promise, in the next chapter, to tell of the adventures of this expedition, so bravely led by Constable Chumley,” Ms. Crepuscular confides in the reader. “But for the time being, I have just seen Mr. Pitfall emerge from his house with a shotgun, so it behooves me to resort to my hiding place behind the sofa.” I have always wanted to use that word, “behooves,” but Violet has beaten me to it.


The Expedition Under the Wading Pool (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Introducing Chapter CCLXVI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes–

Whoa! Hold it! What happened to Chapters CCLII through CCLXV? That’s fourteen chapters missing!

Ms. Crepuscular explains, “A few readers may be confused by the absence of the intervening fourteen chapters. Well, I removed them from the story because nothing happened in them. Really, we are all better off going directly to Chapter CCLXVI.”

Somewhere in the missing chapters, Lord Jeremy has organized an expedition to go under the vicar’s backyard wading pool and rescue Lady Margo Cargo so that he and she can have their wedding. In fact, Lady Margo is languishing in the Plaguesby jail; but no one in Scurveyshire Town knows that.

Pressed into service for the expedition, whether they wish to go or not, are fifty bearers to carry supplies and equipment, a dozen armed askaris for defense–

Where in Scurveyshire did they find askaris?

“In all those famous expeditions to find the source of the Nile,” Lord Jeremy explains, “bearers and askaris are a must. For our purposes, a dozen Scurveyshire lads with slingshots and rakes will have to serve. We don’t have time to order a dozen genuine, authentic askaris from Zanzibar, where they are always looking for work.”

Handicapped by having two left feet, Lord Jeremy cannot lead the expedition in person. This job he has given to Constable Chumley, admonishing the bearers and askaris to obey the constable’s every command as if their lives depended on it. “And probably they do!” he adds.

The constable’s first command is, “Arree, sumble yer batpins and grith bair lunnies!” Everyone just stands around staring at each other. A few shots from Willis Twombley’s Colt revolver, fired judiciously around their feet, get them moving. One by one, following Constable Chumley, sixty-two men march under the wading pool and disappear from sight. A dreadful calm descends on Scurveyshire.

Meanwhile, back in Plaguesby, Lady Margo does some more languishing in jail before that hamlet’s chief magistrate, Tom Squim, the Great Conquering Khan of Plaguesby, offers to let her out if she will marry him and help him to found a dynasty rivaling, he says, the Plantagenets. She scornfully rejects him. “The Plantagenets are highly overrated,” she sniffs.

“We have ways of making people get married, here in Plaguesby,” he sneers. He does not reveal what those ways are.


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