Tag Archives: Lord Jeremy Coldsore

The Peasants Are Revolting (‘Oy, Rodney)

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We must skip the next three chapters of Violet Crepuscular’s remarkable epic romance, Oy, Rodney, in which nothing happens. I don’t know why she wrote them. And she is fresh out of Estonian folk tales. These three chapters, she hints slyly, are the result of very bad weather in Scurveyshire.

In Chapter CLXXXIV, Lord Jeremy’s foot has healed after being accidentally shot by his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, and he is ready to proceed with their wedding to Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire. But then another problem crops up, which Lord Jeremy, as Justice of the Peace, must deal with: a full-scale peasant revolt.

“I didn’t even know we still had peasants in Scurveyshire!” he complains. “Where were they, all this time?”

“Constable Chumley says they came swarming out from under the vicar’s backyard wading pool,” his clerk informs him.

“What did he say exactly, man?”

The clerk pauses to search his memory. “As near as I can reconstruct them, sir, the constable’s exact words were ‘A farthy night, I thwill, yare greechins forthered a grambly riot up out of Arth itself, an’ wicky sump!'”

Meanwhile, the peasant mob, under the leadership of a masked man who looks like Desi Arnaz without the makeup, has overturned the ancient statue of Colonel Sanders in the village common and now surrounds The Lying Tart, demanding free beer. The landlord has been out of beer since Ms. Crepuscular ran out of folk tales, and fears for his life.

“This is Rodney’s doing,” opines Lady Margo. “If only I weren’t so busy with all the new upholstering at home, I’d flee to someplace nice.”

“Ol’ hoss,” says Twombley, “you better order the constable to disperse them peasants before somebody gits hurt. I ain’t got enough ammunition left to shoot ’em all.”

The constable having gone into hiding, a search ensues. They finally locate him at the constabulary’s station house, playing Scrabble with the prisoners. He has just gotten a triple word score for “Quixzorj.”

“Constable, I order you to disperse that mob of crazed homicidal peasants!” cries Lord Jeremy. Constable Chumley indicates by eloquent gestures that they will disperse themselves as soon as the town blacksmith blows The Great Horn of Pokesleigh.

“We shoulda thought of that,” remarks Twombley.

Even as he speaks, a horrible noise reminiscent of half a dozen giant ground sloths trapped in a tar pit comes roaring and grumbling across the landscape. As if by magic, the peasants drop what they’re doing and stampede out of the story. Scurveyshire is saved.

Adds Ms. Crepuscular, “I will not listen to carping comments to the effect that I have chosen a cheap way out of this dilemma. The Great Horn of Pokesleigh has a long history of being used in emergencies, and it’s not my fault if this fact is poorly known outside of Scurveyshire.”


The Return of Lord Nodule (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Lord Nodule, former Justice of the Peace for Scurveyshire, has threatened to interfere with Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s wedding to Lady Margo Cargo, and is rather miffed that the wedding keeps getting postponed. In Chapter CLXXX of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, he has just returned from an inspection of the Andaman Island penal colony.

“They do things right, out there,” he says. “The place is a regular hell-hole.” To make his point more telling, he bounces up and down on a pogo stick. The owner of the local bicycle shop fears that this may start a fad and impact adversely on his business.

“Germy, we got to do somethin’ about old Nodule,” says Jeremy’s friend, Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad. “What say I plug him one?” He flourishes his trusty Colt. It goes off accidentally and shoots Lord Jeremy in the foot.

“Now see what you’ve done!” cries Lord Jeremy, hopping on his uninjured foot. “How am I supposed to get married on one foot?”

“I’m awful sorry, ol’ hoss. Well, maybe it’ll grow back. I seen that once. The king of Assyria cut off his foot while he was peelin’ onions, and eventually it growed back. ‘Tweren’t as good as the old foot, but he could hobble around on it okay. But that’s why they ain’t allowed to sell onions in Assyria.”

Lady Margo has a better idea. “You should have the bad foot amputated, my dear, and replaced with a nice new wooden one, beautifully upholstered, like my leg.” Her upholstered leg has a bad habit of falling off at inopportune moments, but Lord Jeremy is too tactful to mention that.

Lord Nodule hops all the way to the hospital on his pogo stick, just so he can threaten Lord Jeremy some more. “I can hardly wait for your wedding night!” he sneers. “Will I have a surprise for you!”

So Twombley shoots him. They explain it away as a pogo stick accident. Constable Chumley is sympathetic. “Many’s the loor in a fathin’ veeth,” he says, quoting a wise old Scurveyshire proverb.

“I promise to present the wedding as soon as Jeremy’s foot is healed,” Ms. Crepuscular reassures her readers. “Meanwhile, the next chapter will tide you over with a pleasant little folk tale from Estonia.”

We can hardly wait.

 

 


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.


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.


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 Ambassador’s Geisha Party (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Chapter CLV of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, should have told us what happened at the gala party thrown for the Japanese ambassador, Walt Dropo, at Lady Margo Cargo’s opulent drawing room. Instead, we are treated to several recipes utilizing Frothee and sauerkraut, none of which seems particularly appealing. We have to move on to Chapter CLVI to get to the party.

With the members of the Scurveyshire Ladies’ Garden Club done up as middle-aged geishas dressed like cowgirls, and square dance music played inexpertly on traditional Japanese instruments, the only hope of making this event a success lies in Willis Twombley’s strategy of getting Dropo-san roaring drunk as soon as possible. This is accomplished with terrifying ease.

“Now I demonstrate my skill with sword!” he bellows, clumsily drawing his samurai sword and laying about the decorations. Crusty the butler disapproves. Everyone else panics. Dropo-san blunders out of the house, crashing through the unopened French window and out into the night. No one seems disposed to follow him.

“I say! This is a disaster!” exclaims Lord Jeremy Coldsore.

“Guess we better catch him before he beheads somebody,” says Twombley. “Heck, this never happened at any of the parties at my royal palace.” He still thinks he is Sargon of Akkad. Flourishing his six-gun, he sets out after the Japanese ambassador. Jeremy follows. It would be a regrettable incident if Twombley were to shoot the Emperor’s favorite cousin.

It’s a dark and moonless night. Jeremy immediately loses sight of his friend. Suddenly, several shots ring out. With a sense of foreboding, Jeremy follows the sound of the gunshots–to find Twombley standing a safe distance from the vicar’s backyard wading pool.

“Too late, ol’ hoss!” says the American. “I got here jist in time to see poor Whatsisname disappearin’ under the pool, still swingin’ his sword. There was big slimy tentacles wrapped all around him, and my shootin’ didn’t do no good. He’s a goner.”

They sit down, sighing, on an antique marble bench. “I shall be hard put to explain this, old boy,” says Jeremy.

They are joined by Constable Chumley, who offers them a pull from the flask he carries under his helmet. “I throck it were mickle gree,” the constable remarks philosophically. He has been longing, for years, to deliver a philosophical remark, and now that he has the opportunity, makes the most of it.


Bring on the Geishas! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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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.


Japan Declares War on Scurveyshire (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CLII of Violet Crepuscular’s romance masterpiece, Oy, Rodney, it turns out that the Japanese ambassador who keeps getting snubbed and trampled on is a favorite cousin of the Emperor, and they are mighty mad over the treatment he’s been getting in this book. Consequently, Japan has declared war on Scurveyshire. Rumor has it that a Japanese fleet is on its way.

“Everything happens while you’re trying to arrange a wedding!” Lord Jeremy Coldsore complains. He and his friend, Willis Twombley the American adventurer, are to be married to Lady Margo Cargo, who has been tricked into believing they are one and the same person. Lady Margo’s wealth will save Coldsore Hall from its creditors.

In the absence of any undertaking by Her Majesty’s government to defend Scurveyshire–“Let them sort it out!” says Queen Victoria–Lord Jeremy, as Justice of the Peace, finds himself saddled with the responsibility to defend Scurveyshire. “With what?” he cries.

“Germy, you worry too much,” says Twombley. “All we gotta do is throw a nice party for the ambassador, and it’ll all blow over. Only thing is, first we got to find him.”

Together they pore over the chapters of the book related so far. Finally, late at night, they locate the Japanese ambassador. His name is Walt Dropo.

He enters Coldsore Hall with a samurai sword in his belt and bows stiffly from the waist, as far as his tight corset will allow.

“You have treated me very badly!” he declares.

“My dear fellow, we’re going to make it up to you!” says Jeremy. “You are to be the guest of honor tomorrow night at Lady Margo Cargo’s lavish country house.”

“I don’t have a date.”

“We’ll set you up with one, ol’ hoss!” says Twombley.

“Will there be geishas?”

In fact, Scurveyshire is clean out of geishas. There hasn’t been one in the shire since 1602, and she was only passing through. Twombley assures the ambassador that there will be geishas galore. Dropo-san is greatly pleased.

“I will immediately contact my government to call off the war,” he says. Bowing, he takes his leave, promising to return when they have his date ready for him.

“Where are we supposed to get geishas?” cries Jeremy.

“We got a whole chapter to scare some up,” says Twombley.

 


I Am Not Violet Crepuscular (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Just because Ms. Violet Crepuscular’s books are so hard to find doesn’t mean I’m writing them. I am not Violet Crepuscular. I have a beard; she doesn’t. I’ve never read a romance novel, except for her inimitable Oy, Rodney. That having been settled, we move on to

CHAPTER CL

Every trial in Scurveyshire is the Trial of the Century. This time the defendant is the merry poacher known as Mickle the Merry Poacher and the plaintiff is Lord Nodule, demanding justice. This is the first case to be tried by Lord Jeremy Coldsore as Justice of the Peace.

“I demand justice!” barks Lord Nodule. “This peon, this excrescence on the body politic, this walking bubo known has Mickle the Merry Poacher, has been poaching on my land for 15 years and I want him stopped! I demand he be punished by drowning!”

The first witness is Constable Chumley, the arresting officer. “Oh, aye,” he testifies, “Mickle been doddlin’ the cairns swofty-like aforementioned deedle.” He is dismissed from the witness stand as soon as possible.

Several of Mickle’s neighbors, and six of Lord Nodule’s tenants, testify that the Merry Poacher has never actually succeeded in poaching anything. “He couldn’t catch a cold,” swears the Widow Flibbert. But the defendant, when he is finally sworn in, insists he has been very successful indeed.

“Caught me a centaur, once’t!” he boasts. “Let’s see anyone top that!”

“What did you do with it?” Lord Jeremy wonders.

“Was gunner eat it, wasn’t I! Only then I found a note on my door from Black Rodney tellin’ me I had to let it go, so that’s what I done.” The crowd gasps.

“I object!” Lord Nodule roars. “Ask him about the badgers!”

“Badgers? Ain’t never caught no badger,” Mickle admits.

“My lord, there are no badgers in Scurveyshire!” interjects the shire’s game warden, Officer Foffle.

“Caught me a Elf once’t, too,” says Mickle.

The public defender, Mr. Potash, moves that all charges be dismissed. “My client is obviously mad, my lord.” He produces a notably ridiculous-looking gadget. “This absurd contraption is one of Mr. Mickle’s homemade snares. You can see it’s perfectly useless for any purpose whatsoever.” Mickle scowls at him.  “I call on you to find him Not Guilty by reason of demonstrable idiocy.”

“He still ought to be drowned,” grumbles Lord Nodule. “What’s this shire coming to, anyway?”

Lord Jeremy sees no alternative but to dismiss the charges. Lord Nodule glares at him.

“You haven’t heard the last of this, Coldsore!” he declares. “I shall be with you on your wedding night!” [Editor’s Note: I think that’s what Frankenstein’s monster said to his creator, Victor Frankenstein, in Mary Shelly’s classic horror novel. What was Ms. Crepuscular thinking when she penned that line?]

The chapter ends abruptly with a recipe for aphid jelly. I cannot bring myself to repeat it.


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