Once upon a time, in a remote village somewhere on the English coast, there lived a very bad nobleman by the name of Sir Rupert Murgatroyd, First Baronet of Ruddigore. So bad was he that his only enjoyment in life was the persecution of witches. This self-appointed Witchfinder General regularly had these wretched women burnt at the stake. One day, in her agony, amidst the flames of torture, a witch yelled forth a curse:
'Each lord of Ruddigore, despite his best endeavour,
Shall do one crime, or more, once every day, for ever!
This doom he can't defy, however he may try,
For should he stay his hand, that day
In torture he too shall die!'
The House of Murgatroyd lived with this curse for many, many years and generations of Baronets of Ruddigore, trying to live blameless lives, perished in excruciating agony! But that was not all - the curse affected the lives of the whole community. Most of the inhabitants were either a little odd or else completely mad - after all, they sang choruses in public! It was the only village ever to possess a corps of professional bridesmaids always in readiness, waiting for a wedding - but no-one ever got married! And then there was the picture gallery at the manor house where, every now and then, the portraits would come alive!
||Sir Despard fails in his attempt to terrify the bridesmaids!|
But succeeds in a gymnastic manoeuvre with Mad Margaret
||Sir Despard considers his future...|