Tag Archives: Lord Jeremy Coldsore

The Looming Curse (‘Oy, Rodney)

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Having been warned by the Wise Woman of the Woods to beware of a man with one buttock, Lord Jeremy has ordered Constable Chumley to find such a man and arrest him; but as we see in Chapter CCXL of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, this proves to be a rather difficult assignment.

“The constable’s already found four men with only one buttock,” reports Lord Jeremy’s friend, the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, “and one fellow in Farfield with none–and there’s a guy in Plaguesby who has three buttocks. Poor Chumley ain’t sure what he ought to do about it.”

“Well, arrest them all!” cries Lord Jeremy. “If a man with only one buttock shows up at our wedding to Lady Margo, it’ll put a curse on the marriage!”

“This thross’ll be yer flomin’ gragg,” mutters the constable, as he attempts to carry out his orders. He is concerned that the Scurveyshire jail is getting overcrowded.

To make a bad business worse, Lady Margo Cargo has begun to see this as a “reign of terror” launched by her prospective bridegroom. “I shouldn’t want our marriage to be remembered as a bad time for the shire, dear,” she says. “And, you know, it’s a funny thing about curses: the harder you try to avoid a curse, the more certain it is to overtake you.”

“That’s not funny!” growls Jeremy.

So now the jail is full to bursting, no room for the prisoners to sit down–not that the man with no buttocks can sit down, as we understand the act of sitting down–and the talk at The Lying Tart is beginning to turn nasty.

“Don’t worry about it, Germy,” Twombley consoles his friend. “We always had a whole lot of curses goin’ around in my Akkadian kingdom–” Twombley still thinks he is Sargon of Akkad–“and we learned to pay ’em no heed.”

“And that’s probably why there’s no more kingdom of Akkad,” growls Jeremy under his breath. He has never been married before, and the whole thing so far has been something of a disappointment.


‘Are Centaurs Really Real?’ (2014)

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This young woman’s choice is ill-advised…

The controversy over the reality of centaurs remains as lively as it’s ever been. I think that’s a true statement.

https://leeduigon.com/2014/10/14/are-centaurs-really-real/

Note the first appearance of Jeremy Coldsore as a NASA scientist, before Violet Crepuscular promoted him to the lordship of Coldsore Hall.

If anybody really knows about centaurs, he does.


‘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 Chapter IV Do-Over (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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From Chapter CCXXXIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, we pass on to–Chapter IV? Hey! What gives?

“Looking back,” the author explains, “I am most unsatisfied with my earlier presentation of Chapter IV, and I beg the reader to disregard it. Cross out those 57 pages! Pretend I never wrote it, and you never read it! I am deeply ashamed of its unedifying content, and hereby replace it.”

The substitute Chapter IV takes us back to 1818, the year of Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s birth at Coldsore Hall and a rather bad year for Scurveyshire, what with a plague of locusts, a wave of inexplicable divorces, cattle behaving like tree frogs, and other afflictions. Jeremy’s father, Lord Weeping (how did she ever come up with a name like “Lord Weeping Coldsore?”), sends for the ancient crone who doubles as the shire’s one and only Wise Woman of the Woods.

“How are we to bring this endless series of troubles to an end?” Lord Weeping demands.

“I have given this a great deal of thought,” the Wise Woman replies, “and all the omens tell me there is only one way out: you, my lord, must leave your palatial ancestral home… to go a-whaling. Proceed to the nearest port and sign up for the next available whaling voyage. This will snap Scurveyshire’s run of bad luck.”

Settling his affairs unsatisfactorily, Lord Weeping bids farewell to his wife, Lady Francesca–she is the daughter of an Italian nobleman who is, in reality, a shoemaker–and sets out for the nearest port. Here he pays for the inattention he gave his tutor as a child, when he ought to have been learning his geography. Unaware that ports are commonly located on or near the sea, it takes him several years to make his way to Bristol. There he signs up as a harpooner on the jinxed whaling vessel, Jonah Jones, just before it sets sail for the whaling grounds off Greenland.  Within minutes of the ship leaving harbor, Scurveyshire returns to normal. But the Jonah Jones, having taken a wrong turn off the coast of Ceylon, is never seen again.

Lady Francesca leaves Jeremy to be raised by servants and traveling mountebanks and returns to her family in Italy somewhere.

“This is altogether better than my original Chapter IV,” concludes Mr. Crepuscular. “Now the book makes sense!”


Lady Margo, Mrs. Chumley (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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As we enter Chapter CCXXXIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, we find Lady Margo Cargo trying to adapt to her new role as the wife of Constable Chumley, to whom she was accidentally married two chapters ago. She has yet to discover the constable’s first name. So have we.

“This must be undone!” Lord Jeremy Coldsore declares. It had been his plan to marry Lady Margo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, and so save his ancestral home, Coldsore Hall, from a growing legion of creditors.

“Germy, ol’ hoss, we’re runnin’ out of places to hide the bodies,” says Jeremy’s friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley. Twombley has been shooting creditors and hiding them around the hall and grounds. “If we don’t marry Lady Margo, we’re sunk.”

Meanwhile the constable goes about his duties and enjoys his evenings at The Lying Tart as if he weren’t married at all. It may be he has forgotten the incident. But then–

“I believe I’m with child by the constable,” Lady Margo confides in Twombley. “Dr. Fanabla says it’s all in my head, the marriage has not been consummated, and why don’t I just shut up about it–but I can’t!”

“Why don’t you jist get the marriage annulled?” asked Twombley. “I’m sure the vicar will be happy to do it for you.” He is not aware that the vicar has relapsed into more conniptions. “And if he can’t do it, Lord Germy can: he’s the justice of the peace, ain’t he?”

“But I gave my word to the constable!” cries Lady Margo.

Later, over enormous tankards of ale at the pub, Twombley tries to persuade the constable to disavow the marriage. “Mayhap the furthin be thwall a-beedle,” replies the constable. He has begun his  correspondence course in mole-ology and is preoccupied by it.

Lord Jeremy is almost frantic. “We’ve got to get that so-called marriage annulled by the next chapter at the latest! Or, as you said, old boy, we’re sunk!” He could, of course, declare the whole thing null and void, and have the assistant justice removed from his post and thrown in jail; but at the moment he is too upset to think clearly.

 


Bram Stoker Visits Scurveyshire (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCXXX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney–we’re still waiting for Chapter CCXXIX–Violet Crepuscular writes of a visit to Scurveyshire by Bram Stoker, the famed author of Dracula. It is vain to protest that Stoker wasn’t born until 1847 and would have been only three years old in 1850. “I do not believe the dates commonly given,” asserts Ms. Crepuscular. Nor do we get anywhere by denying that Stoker spoke fluent Pidgin with a broad Irish accent. “My sources are impeccable,” she says. We are not sure she knows what “impeccable” means.

Stoker comes to Scurveyshire to do research for Dracula, which was not published until 1897. He is immediately informed that “We ain’t had but one vampire in Scurveyshire, and he retired from it long ago to go into the tea business. Last we heard, he had a big plantation in Norway.” But before he can leave, he learns that Scurveyshire is being terrorized by the long-dead necromancer, Black Rodney. His interest is piqued.

Stoker interviews Constable Chumley at The Lying Tart, where the local brew goes straight to his head and incites him to entertain the night’s customers by reciting rather lurid nursery rhymes. “Yer flothering bandy fair made a clogger that brawsty night,” the constable recalls.

The next night, Stoker disappears. Forever. It is discovered that the itinerant spider girl, Lizzie Snivel, fell madly in love with Scurveyshire’s exotic visitor: and also that he took advantage of her infatuation to purchase from her a rare Tasmanian blow-dried spider at a shamefully low price. Miss Lizzie, the only witness, insists that Mr. Stoker, hunting for traces of Black Rodney, ventured dangerously close to the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard. “I fear he was dragged under by them tentacles!” she cries. “Oh, I should have stopped him!”

Still trying to plan his wedding to Lady Margo Cargo, Lord Jeremy Coldsore finds it hard to do his duty as Scurveyshire’s justice of the peace. “I don’t have time to investigate the disappearance of a Pidgin-speaking Irishman!” he cries. So there is no investigation, and the wading pool has claimed another victim.

We are promised that in Chapter CCXXXI, Lord Jeremy will acquire a new cravat especially for the wedding.


‘Oy, Rodney,’ the Missing Chapter

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“Something magical” was supposed to happen in Chapter CCXXIX of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, but for the time being she has noticed that she’d left Chapter CCXXVII unwritten, so she has gone back to that. “The only reason I can think of for having left Chapter CCXXVII unwritten,” she confides in the reader, “is that I was having trouble with my toilet flapper.”

In Chapter CCXXVII, Johnno the Merry Minstrel discovers the biggest cuss bag yet cunningly hidden in the Fourth Earl’s suit of armor, which he wore during the Wars of the Roses and then couldn’t get it off. The presence of the large cuss bag suggests that the earl’s skeleton is not, after all, still inside the armor. Which probably means that the ghost that occasionally appears, and likes to fill the upstairs bath tub with fried gloves, is not the Fourth Earl, as has been long believed.

The cuss bag contains cat hair and other detritus. “The other contents cannot be mentioned in polite society,” adds Ms. Crepuscular.

“It’s a good thing I’ve found this, my lord,” Johnno tells Lord Jeremy Coldsore, debt-ridden master of Coldsore Hall. “If I hadn’t, you would have had a fatal accident involving cat hairs. Only Black Rodney could have thought of that!”

“Well, how the deuce are we to be rid of him!” cries Jeremy. “What have I ever done to Black Rodney, that he should plague me with his sorceries?”

“I think he’s after Coldsore Hall, my lord,” says Johnno. “But let me soothe you with my rendition of ‘Down by the Old Mill Stream,'” which he sings while accompanying himself on the harmonica.

“I still expect something magical to happen in Chapter CCXXIX,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “but I can’t write it until I get this confounded flapper replaced.”

 


Crusty’s Lament (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCXXVI of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular has detoured into an examination of the life of Crusty, Lady Margo Cargo’s crusty butler.

Born Ignatius Mangrove Crusty in 1782, Crusty’s hard-up parents traded him for a chicken. His new master had a thing for frogs and taught Crusty to imitate their mating calls. Tiring of this, Crusty ran away to join the circus but wound up in butler school. He has been Lady Margo’s butler since 1808.

“That is all I wish to say about his life,” adds Ms. Crepuscular, and moves on to Chapter CCXXVIII, leaving Chapter CCXXVII unwritten.

We take up the thread of the story as Lord Jeremy Coldsore, now disadvantaged by having two left feet, hires an Austrian dancing master named Cliff to teach him how to waltz on two left feet: there’s sure to be a waltz danced at the wedding. Little does he know that Cliff is a fugitive wanted for masterminding the theft of several Prussians.

“You know virtually nothing about dancing!” declares Cliff. “Ach, will you please get your hips into it?” That he has to practice with Cliff is embarrassing. “On the count of three, both your feet must leave the floor, coming down again on the count of four. And then, on the count of one, your partner must jump–like so!” He springs a good ten inches into the air. How Lady Margo is to manage this on her upholstered wooden leg is more than Jeremy can imagine.

“It sure don’t look like no waltz to me,” mutters the American adventurer, Willis Twombley. “Looks like some kinda Egyptian polka to me.” To liven things up, he draws his six-gun and fires several bullets at the floor, occasioning more jumping from both dancers.

“That is not how we do it in Vienna!” Cliff complains.

The waltz lesson leaves Lord Jeremy bruised and exhausted.

“In the next chapter,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “something magical is sure to happen.” We can’t even guess what that might be.

 


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.


The Legend of Rodney (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCXVII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, Lord Jeremy Coldsore is up and around again, carefully negotiating stairways with his two left feet and trying to get in shape for his wedding to Lady Margo Cargo, whose wealth will save the ancestral country house of Coldsore Hall from its legion of creditors.

Johnno the Merry Minstrel continues to find cuss bags hidden all throughout the house, evidence that Black Rodney–or someone–is still sneaking in and planting them. Johnno has also found a number of dead bodies, but Jeremy has convinced him to ignore them: “Not an unusual thing in a house as old as this, don’t you know.”

Johnno knows the legend of Black Rodney inside-out, and here shares it with the reader.

“In the days of Henry VIII, before James I made it into something of a fad, witchcraft was but little practiced in this country. Here in Scurveyshire, an otherwise obscure little man named Rodney Swill began to acquire a reputation as a sorceror.

“He started small, with card tricks, but after he made a pact with the devil, his power was such as to terrorize the whole shire. When he forced the people to pay their taxes to him instead of to the crown, King Henry was annoyed and sent his most fearsome executioner to treat Rodney, in the king’s words, to ‘a really fancy hanging.’ But as soon as the executioner arrived, as he was passing under a grove of venerable oak trees, two monstrous tentacles shot down, wrapped around him, and yanked him up into the foliage, never to be seen or heard from again.”

After several more such incidents–now he was running out of executioners–the king sent to Finland for the most feared witch-finder in all of Europe, a Lapp named Mimble. This man was known far and wide as “the Devil’s brother-in-law.”

Mimble coerced a dull-witted peasant woman to present Rodney with a witch-pie; and Rodney had no sooner chewed on a piece of it when he was suddenly consumed in a dreadful fire. The last anyone heard of him was a disembodied voice crying, “I’ll be back!”

“That ain’t the way I heared it,” grumbles Jeremy’s friend and co-groom, the American adventurer, Willis Twombley.

“But that is the way it was!” says Johnno. “And I ought to know, because I’m descended from that very same peasant woman who served Rodney the witch-pie.” [Ms. Crepuscular warns the reader to be suspicious of Johnno: “He may be more than just a merry minstrel who can sing and play the harmonica at the same time.” How much more than that anyone can be, perplexes me.]

Meanwhile, the rat-catcher hired by the vicar has disappeared under the fateful wading pool in the vicar’s back yard…


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