“I have anticipated great interest in the origins and history of the Great Horn of Pokesleigh,” writes Violet Crepuscular, introducing Chapter CLXXXV of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. In Chapter CLXXXIV, the village blacksmith blew the horn to disperse a dangerous peasant revolt throughout Scurveyshire.
“The Great Horn of Pokesleigh has been kept by the smiths of Scurveyshire–real smiths, I mean, not just people named Smith–since the year 818 A.D., when King Alfred the Great gave it to Mandrake, First Earl of Scurveyshire. He was also the last earl, as the result of a tragic accident with gumballs, and the Horn was left in his will to Horny Tom the Blacksmith, to make up for unpaid bills.
“Throughout history the Horn has been blown to ward off dire emergencies. It is said William the Conqueror was deathly afraid of it. Before the incident described so vividly in Chapter CLXXXIV of my epic romance, Oy, Rodney, the last time the horn was blown was in 1678, to end a plague of click beetles.
“The Horn is said to be a genuine prehistoric woolly rhinoceros horn overlaid with pure gold contributed by the Saxon Ladies’ Garden Club in 993 and engraved with mystic pictures of centaurs, unicorns, and strangely disturbing not-quite-human faces. It takes a mighty man to blow it, and he will never be the same afterward. In 1484, blacksmith Big Ned Wigwam blew it to avert a catastrophic battle in the Wars of the Roses and was hanged by Richard III, who had had big plans for that battle. Other smiths came to equally bad ends. This has discouraged them from blowing the horn just to whoop it up for New Year’s.”
All of this is very interesting, but it does nothing to get Lord Jeremy Coldsore’s foot healed so he can marry Lady Margo Cargo.
Meanwhile, the complete re-upholstering of Lady Margo’s sprawling country house continues, despite some over-zealousness on the part of the upholsterers. An attempt to upholster the aquarium housing Oswin the Crayfish had to be vetoed at the last minute, before any real damage could be done.
We are not told what “Pokesleigh” is or was.