Tag Archives: Oy Rodney

The One Thing Black Rodney Hates Most of All (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Violet Crepuscular introduces Chapter CCLXXXVII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney, with a flourish: “Dear reader, you have surely been wondering what Johnno the Merry Minstrel has been doing while Lord Gromleigh and Lady Petunia, who is Lord Jeremy’s aunt, married to the Marquess of Grone, have been visiting Lord Jeremy at Coldsore Hall. If you haven’t, I fear you may be losing the thread of the story.” To say nothing of the thread of that sentence.

Well, Johnno has been busy in Scurveyshire’s Library of Forbidden Books. No one is allowed to go in and see the books–they are, after all, forbidden–but Constable Chumley has been so busy studying moles, he has rather neglected his duty to watch over the library and see that no one enters. In fact, it has been quite a long time since he paid any attention to it at all.

At dinner that evening, Johnno is called upon to perform Lady Petunia’s favorite song, I’ve Got Rabies, singing it while also playing it on his harmonica. This puts everyone into a festive mood except for the marquess, who wanted kippers for supper and didn’t get them.

“Johnno, ol’ hoss, that was great!” exclaims Lord Jeremy’s friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad. “How’s about an encore?”

“Sir, I have something better than an encore!” Johnno replies. “I have discovered, through my perusal of certain ancient books whose titles are better left unsaid, the one thing most abhorrent to the spirit of Black Rodney–the one thing guaranteed to keep his evil presence from this house!”

“Kippers, I shouldn’t wonder!” grumbles Lord Gromleigh.

“Lord Jeremy, your troubles are over! Black Rodney will persecute you no more!”

“Well?” cries Lord Jeremy. “Speak up, man! What is it?”

Johnno takes a moment to beam beamingly, then answers.

“Antimacassars, my lord! Black Rodney can’t stand antimacassars! He won’t venture within 50 feet of one. All you have to do is place them on every piece of furniture in Coldsore Hall.”

“My word!” cries Lady Petunia. “But Jeremy–I don’t think you have any antimacassars.”

“That’s no problem, lady!” exults Twombley. “I sure hate them Babylonians, but you got to give the varmints credit for one thing–they make the best goldarn antimacassars in the world! I’m surprised old Queen Victwhatsername ain’t got a passell of ’em in her palace. There’s an English firm right there in London that imports ’em by the bloatload–Dombey & Son. Dirt cheap, too. Germy, old pal, we can order a whole cartful of ’em right away.”

Here Ms. Crepuscular accommodates the reader with a picture of an antimacassar. Three of them, in fact.

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Lord Jeremy’s Shameful Secret (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCLXXXIV of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Lord Jeremy Coldsore hosts a formal dinner for his Aunt, Lady Petunia, and her husband Lord Gromleigh, the Marquess of Grone. Also at the table we find Jeremy’s friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, and their fiancee, Lady Margo Cargo. They are served by Lady Margo’s crusty old butler, Crusty, Lord Jeremy’s butler having mysteriously disappeared, probably under the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard.

“The problem with aged relatives who knew you as a child,” Ms. Crepuscular confides in her readers, “is that they know things about you that will embarrass you if they trot them out in company. Alas for Lord Jeremy, he is about to be subjected to this.”

Having quaffed at least a quart of imported Philistine wine, Lady Petunia is in a festive mood and prone to reminisce.

“I remember one time when Jeremy was only four or five years old, and I was minding him while his mother and father went to Brighton to see The Four Churls play unfamiliar musical instruments. Poor little Jeremy came down with an earache, and I had to summon Dr. Flabb (I’m sure you must remember him, dear–he had the most unsightly nose in Britain), who prescribed some ear drops.

“Well, he had little Jeremy bend sideways so he could drip the drops into his ear. And imagine our surprise when the drops came right out the other ear! Dr. Flabb couldn’t believe his eyes! ‘Why, this child has no brain!’ he cried. ‘His head is completely empty!’ Oh, Jeremy, you remember how terribly funny that was!”

Jeremy cringes hypnotically. He does not think it was funny.

“No wonder he’s such a fool!” grumbles Crusty.

“Aunt, that story isn’t true!” Jeremy cries.

“Let me have a look, there, Germy,” Twombley says, leaning in his chair to peer into Jeremy’s ear. Jeremy pushes him away. Mortified beyond words, he suddenly leaps from his chair and flees the dining room.

“I thought we were going to have kippers,” mutters the marquess. “Not this muck.”

Lady Margo is aghast. She does not know whether she can, in good conscience, marry a man without a brain. “It might be catching!” she thinks.

“I now draw the curtain on this pitiable scene,” concludes Ms. Crepuscular. “We all have childhood secrets that we wish would stay buried forever. I certainly am not going to tell you mine.”

 


So Far, So Good

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This morning I’ve pasted in three images and a video, which I wasn’t able to do yesterday. I got Oy, Rodney out of the way while I thought there was a chance of being able to paste an image. But, voila! I have pasted another one.

I have no idea why these things have been happening. Has the problem simply gone away, as mysteriously as it came?

Well, don’t just stand there! Let’s have a few hymn requests while the computer’s actually working. Who knows how long it’ll last?


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.


Lord Jeremy Gets a Break (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCLXXX of Violet Crepuscular’s interminable–er, I mean “epic”–romance, Oy, Rodney, Lord Jeremy Coldsore has an unexpected visitor: his aunt, Lady Petunia, now a marchioness owing to her recent marriage to Ponsonby Lord Gwomleigh, eighth Marquess of Grone. They have invited themselves to spend a fortnight with Jeremy at Coldsore Hall.

Lord Gwomleigh is one of those annoying people who walks into a restaurant for the first time and perplexes the waiter by ordering “the usual.” He also has a rather jarring habit of hiding so that he can jump out at people and scare them: not the sort of thing one expects, normally, from an 86-year-old peer of the realm.

But he is also one of the richest men in England, having cornered the guano concession of Bleary Island, and famous for his liberality.

“This is the best luck I’ve ever had!” Lord Jeremy confides to his friend, the American adventurer Willis Twombley. “I’m Aunt Petunia’s only living kin, she’s always been quite fond of me, and I’m sure she can get the marquess to pay off most of my debt!”

“Are we still gonna marry Lady Margo, then, with you not needin’ her money after all, Germy, ol’ hoss?”

Lord Jeremy jacks himself up to his full height, despite stumbling over his two left feet. “Please, Willis! Do you want me sued for breach of promise? Am I such a cad, to break my engagement as soon as I come into money?”

But immediately there arises, as Ms Crepuscular puts it, “a snag.”

Hiding himself in one of the linen closets, Lord Gwomleigh emerges with an expression of mild disgust.

“I say, Coldsore! There appears to be a dead body in that closet! Rather a nasty odor, that!”

It’s one of the creditors shot by Willis Twombley, the discovery of which might prove to be a sticky wicket. (This is a cricket term. I don’t know what it means.) But Jeremy, thinking quickly on his two left feet, replies: “Oh, that’s just poor old Bango, my father’s favorite footman. His last wish was to be entombed in that particular closet–didn’t want to leave the house, don’t you know. There are plenty of other hiding places available, my lord.”

As the marquess ambles off, grumbling under his breath, Jeremy’s mind races frantically as he tries to remember how many other creditors are concealed on the premises, and where.

“We’ll jist have to dump ’em in the swamp,” says Twombley. “Relax, Germy–we’re practically home free.”


Plaguesby Declares War! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCLXXVIII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, the shooting of Black Rodney the sorcerer, by the American adventurer Willis Twombley, has all of Scurveyshire in what she has decided to call “a tizzy.” You may recall that when Tombley shot the black-robed sorcerer, the robes proved to be empty; and Black Rodney has laid a curse on Scurveyshire: no more happiness there, forever. So everyone is sad.

“There is a feeling among the community that Mr. Twombley is very much to blame for this,” writes Ms. Crepuscular. Constable Chumley, she adds, has said it best: “We’uns do gravin noo bleskit afore!” He couldn’t have said it more clearly.

Meanwhile Tom Squim, the Great Conquering Khan of the nearby hamlet of Plaguesby, is rather annoyed by Lady Margo Cargo’s escape from the Plaguesby jail and her refusal to marry him. He has ordered hand-written placards to be affixed to certain trees, declaring war on the rest of Scurveyshire.

“He can’t do that!” objects Lord Jeremy Coldsore, in his capacity as the whole shire’s justice of the peace. “I have half a mind to have him arrested!”

“A whole mind would be better, dear,” says Lady Margo, still confined to her bed after her exertions in the dreaded Scurveyshire fens.

It is well known that the Great Conquering Khan’s army consists of three rather foolish young men notorious for their inability to concentrate on whatever they are supposed to be doing. When Mr. Squim declared war on the hamlet of Pig’s Delight, the three soldiers wandered off and were found a week later, aimlessly turning over logs in Pocking Forest. No one expects them even to show up in Scurveyshire, much less conquer it.

“But I don’t see how we can stage a wedding with the whole shire feeling hopelessly sad and refusing to set foot outdoors,” says Jeremy. “Confound it! A whole community terrified of an empty suit of clothes! We’ll be the laughing stock of England.”

“We’d better find a way to cheer ’em up,” says Tombley. “If I could just lay my hands on some o’ that Philistine joy-juice we used to serve at my palace, I’d have ’em dancin’ in the streets.”

“And so,” concludes Ms. Crepuscular, “was launched the quest for Philistine Joy-Juice–surely Homeric in scope!” She’s getting that “be like Homer” itch again.

 


A Celebration Spoiled (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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We skip over two chapters dealing with scrubbing all the mud off Lady Margo and putting her to bed, and notifying Lord Jeremy Coldsore that his fiancee has returned from wherever she was. She has not told anyone that she was in the Plaguesby jail. Those two chapters were very badly written.

In Chapter CCLXXVII of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Lord Jeremy has proclaimed a holiday to celebrate Lady Margo’s return. This time he first consults the Wise Woman of the Woods before proceeding with his plan.

“Go right ahead, my lord,” says the Wise Woman of the Woods. “This time absolutely nothing will go wrong. Your troubles are over!”

And so all of Scurveyshire gathers on the village green to play swallow-the-pebble, to drink copious quantities of ale, and rejoice for Lady Margo and her upcoming wedding to Lord Jeremy and his friend, Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he’s Sargon of Akkad. Lady Margo believes them to be the same person and gets flustered when she sees them both together.

The merriment is interrupted by the sudden arrival of an ominously tall figure clad in an unimaginable (I wish she would stop using that word!) black cloak, out of which peers a dreadful papier-mache skull.

“Hear me, Scurveyshire!” bellows the stranger. “It is me–I mean I–Black Rodney! Woe to all of you! From now on, no happiness will ever be allowed again in Scurveyshire! You are hereby cursed, all of you!”

For Lord Jeremy, this is just too trying for words. “This is just too trying for words!” he exclaims, “and it’s time we put a stop to it.

“We have an ancient law in Scurveyshire, you villain, dating back to a time before the Romans came and made a hash of things. A native king named Porky decreed a law that anyone who brings bad news should be immediately put to death–a law which I, as justice of the peace, do now invoke. Black Rodney, I sentence you to death!”

“It’s about time!” mutters Twombley. He draws his Colt revolver and shoots the black-clad stranger where he stands. As the figure collapses on the sward (“I am so happy I finally got to use that word!” remarks Ms. Crepuscular, in an intimate aside), no one hears Jeremy mutter, “It really ought to have been a hanging, old boy.”

But wait! As all gather round the fallen sorcerer, it is soon discovered that the black cloak and the dreadful mask are… empty! Empty!

“I break the chapter here,” explains Ms. Crepuscular, “to heighten the suspense.”


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.”


The Survivors (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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In Chapter CCLXXI (nothing happens in Chapter CCLXX) of Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Lord Jeremy Coldsore is a bit cut up about having sent sixty men under the vicar’s backyard wading pool and getting back only one–Constable Chumley, whose explanation of what happened to the others is cloaked in his quaint rural dialect which no one understands.

All alone, in the dead of night, Johnno the Merry Minstrel sneaks out of Coldsore Hall and takes up a position near the wading pool and next to the full-size concrete Iguanodon pull-toy, which is too massive to be pulled away just now. He is wearing his special dancing pants and carrying his harmonica. “What he is about to do,” writes Ms. Crepuscular, “requires inimaginable courage.” Is it me, or is she getting rather too fond of that adjective?

Johnno, dancing all the while, strikes up a special tune known only to the merry minstrels of Scurveyshire and handed down for untold generations. This song is believed to have magical powers. It is called “The Old Oaken Bucket.” Only the merry minstrels know how to dance to “The Old Oaken Bucket.” Johnno dances, plays the harmonica, and sings, all at the same time. It takes much practice.

After several hours of this, the sinister rubber pool humps up and down, emits a terrifying burping noise–and out from under it, by twos and threes, hobble Constable Chumley’s lost bearers and askaris, seeming none the worse for wear. However, they now speak in an unknown language which is not pleasant to hear. “It is an unimaginable”–there she goes again–“babble which no one in Scurveyshire has attempted to speak since they all hid themselves under baskets to get out of having to help build Stonehenge.”

After a few moments of confusion, the survivors rush en masse to The Lying Tart, break down the door, and help themselves to the landlord’s stock of second-rate Scurveyshire Ale. They’re still at it when the next day breaks. When the villagers discover that their stout lads have returned alive, there is much celebration. When they discover that they can no longer communicate with them, it takes some of the edge off their rejoicing.

For a music video of Johnno performing “The Old Oaken Bucket,” contact your Congressman.

 


Yet More Unimaginable Peril (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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“I write this chapter under some duress,” Violet Crepuscular confides in her readers, introducing Chapter CCLXIX of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. “My neighbor Mr. Pitfall has forgiven me for poisoning him, but I fear he has developed some rather strange ideas about our relationship. I have written this chapter to distract him.”

Deeming it a potential public relations bonanza, Sir Henry Smedley-Foover has lent one of his life-size Iguanodon concrete pull-toys to Scurveyshire Village as a sacrifice to whatever entity lurks under the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard. Its enormous weight has required the combined efforts of every able-bodied villager to haul it into position by the wading pool.

“O, evil entity that lurks under this wading pool,” Sir Henry intones, with the whole village looking on and the vicar complaining about the damage to his lawn, “accept this sacrifice of our deluxe Iguanodon pull-toy, retail value 1,458 pounds and 13 shillings, and release your captives!”

“This is stupid,” mutters Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who believes himself to be Sargon of Akkad. Lord Jeremy Coldsore shushes him. “It’s the only way we’ve got to get Lady Margo back!”

For a full six hours, nothing happens. Just as everyone is preparing to go home before being called upon to drag the Iguanodon away, the pool gives a noisy shudder and out from under it struggles Constable Chumley–alone, without his bearers and askaris. He does look considerably the worse for wear.

“Constable!” cries Lord Jeremy. “Where the deuce is everybody else?”

Chumley replies in his quaint rural dialect which no one understands. “They be fair luftin’ all aboot yon cleefer blawn, m’lord!” he gasps. “Us fennies a reet great meshter.”

“I think he’s trying to say that unimaginable perils done ’em in,” says Twombley.

“But where is Lady Margo?” wails Jeremy. “Have you not rescued her?”

“Throck us nigh bittle ‘ee, m’lord!” The constable faints.

Meanwhile Lady Margo has finally emerged from the dreaded Scurveyshire Fens, never having been under the pool in the first place. Hopping all this way on one foot has gravely depleted her strength.

“I’m sure to be late for my own wedding!” she gasps.

At this point Ms. Crepuscular is interrupted by a peremptory pounding on her door, and most retreat to her hiding-place behind the sofa.


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