Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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July 10, 2000

Those readers who follow one's weekly safari into the jungles of bad manners wielding the machete of impeccable breeding know that one is loath to speak much of oneself. A lack of modesty is a lack of decorum. Unlike other pundits who utilize their forums to natter on endlessly about their personal lives, their families, and their homes, readers expect more from Sir Charles Grandiose. And Sir Charles Grandiose delivers.

However, the self-same readers might also realise that one has a number of pursuits dedicated to the higher glory of man (and coincidentally, the expansion of the Grandiose family purse). Speaking of them is more in the realms of public service than base self-promotion.

For example, one's readers may know that one runs a yearly summer camp for young boys, the Sir Charles Grandiose Summer Camp for Unbelievably Mighty Male Youth. Or as we like to call it, Camp SCUMMY. This elite and well-bred legion of young men gathers yearly in a hidden enclave in the Lake District to socialize and enjoy sport with other boys of similar background and breeding. Yet those of us in charge of this gay and carefree summer camp have always felt that it would be appropriate for the boys to learn something of what it is to represent the aristocracy in today's world. Some of our youth think that being a Baronet or a Duke or and Earl is nothing but rugger and fox-hunting. It is not. It is ninety percent rugger and fox-hunting, but the remaining ten percent of the time we spend in serious pursuits.

To this end we this year at Camp SCUMMY have instituted a number of elective courses designed to hone the boys' skill in these pursuits. We expect that the addition of these courses will also encourage more titled families to send their boys to us. After all, the fee for an entire month of fun and freedom (from the children, for the parents, we mean) is a mere twenty thousand guineas.

Elective Course Number One: Lessons in Industry
The tykes will have a jolly time setting up their own simulated Malaysian sweatshop! From an unlimited labour pool of under-twelves, the boys will select their labour force, learn to negotiate with a shady business manager, and discover the ins and outs of producing faux Gucci handbags and faux Gucci Poochy Collars, which will actually be sold on the streets of New York City, famed capital of gullibility! At the end of the summer, the boys will be able to take home both their earnings (minus a small eighty percent overhead commission by Camp SCUMMY) and slave labourers.

Elective Course Number Two: Lessons in Endurance
The young men of Camp SCUMMY will learn how to run the Paparazzi Gauntlet. Starting after breakfast, daily, the boys will practice ducking, crawling, and plowing through the lines leading to London's most fashionable clubs. Advanced evasion techniques will include the art of disguise, the instinctive location of back doors, and rappelling down the sides of baronial castles.

Elective Course Number Three: Lessons in Science
This course is especially designed for the younger brothers in families in which substantial amounts of land and property will eventually pass hands, or for those oldest sons who simply wish to get ahead a little more quickly. For special classes in chemical compounds, we will have on hand the current Earl of Ruckham, whose notoriety was established when his father, mother, and seven elder brothers all sadly passed away after a hearty dinner of bouef a la strychnine. After his acquittal when the murderer was found to be a disgruntled foreign employee who did not speak English, the Earl became a popular lecture speaker on his revolutionary new approach to making deadly and sometimes untraceable poisons . . . for rats, naturally . . . from common household substances.

Yes, Industry, Endurance, and Science. The three foundations upon which the Modern Peer firmly stands. And oh, what fun the kiddies will have. Won't yours join them?.

Taking a moment to turn down a dinner invitation from the Earl of Ruckham, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: What Do Milkmaids Wear At Blandsdown?Open writes:

Sir Charles,

Is E.S.P. real? What do you think? I'm curious for the educated opinion.

Open to the Spirit World

Sir Charles replies:

My dear girl,

Curious that you ask. One is a firm believer in the psychic realms. Oh, one scoffed before. But recently one had an experience that simply astounded one.

It was a rainy afternoon. One took refuge in the dairy, but as one was soaked, one removed all one's clothing so that it could dry. Suddenly a pretty milkmaid stepped into the barn. Naturally conscious of one's state, and wishing to remain modest, one picked up a nearby bucket and arranged it over one's more private parts. The milkmaid, however, screamed, and kept screaming as she stared at the bucket.

As ill luck would have it, the Lady Felicia stepped into the milk barn at that very moment. With arms crossed and a wry look on her lips, she stared first at the milkmaid, and then at oneself.

"My dear," I sputtered, in an attempt to explain. 

She, however, silenced me with a raised hand. "I can read minds, you know," she told me, her tone flown in at great expense from the land of penguins and baby seals.

"Wh-wh-whatever do you mean, my dear?" I asked. "How in the world could you know what I was thinking?"

She pursed her lips. "To begin with, husband, I know for a certainty that you think the bucket you are so desperately clutching to your mid-section has a bottom to it."

Amazed at her prescience, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Chris writes:

well my freind was writing in anotheer freinds webpage and what he was putting was isnt good....and i asked him if i could type and then he told me what to type and i did it for him i typed everything he told me to put.....and when my freind was reading it her mom saw it and printed it out and sent it to the boys house and is going to show my mom tonight....and i need some good advice thats i can say not to get into troubl at all cuz if i say i didnt do it there going to call his parents and talk to him so whats something i can say that wont get me in to trouble that much........like and excuse like was putting only what he told me to put.....i need ur advice


Sir Charles replies:

Gentle readers,

No doubt you all expect Sir Charles Grandiose to respond to this letter with a grand riposte. "Oh, go on, do!" you all cry. "Tell us about how when you were a lad and went to the coconut-shy at the church fete the coconut shells made a ripe plonk! noise that no doubt sounded just as this fellow's head might were you to toss an India rubber ball at it. Or, Sir Charles, tell us how you once knew a fellow in the town of Dumbston-on-Dumbington how had been born mute and later lost his tongue in a wild donkey accident and then had his vocal cords removed by a lynx, and how even he wasn't as dumb as this Chris fellow. We know you're tempted. Admit it."

But no, readers. You are witnessing the birth of a kindler, gentler Sir Charles Grandiose. A grandfatherly Sir Charles Grandiose. The sort of fellow who solves a problem with a wink and a smile, and a butterscotch candy afterwards.

Oh, hang it all. One will start with that nonsense next week. As for this reader, one suspects that if you held his head to your ear, you could hear the sound of the waves under the Brighton pier.

Returning to one's crusty old codger self, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Who Knows For Whom The Bell Tolls?Student writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I need your help on some genealogy research I'm doing. I need some information on a personality who lived in your vicinity named Sir Wilifred Hughes-Humphries. I can't find much about him over here in the U.S. Apparently he was present at the commemoration of the Fishampton Bell Tower in 1726. Legend has it that right before the ceremony, he accidentally tipped forward off the parapet, struck the biggest of the new bells with his head, causing it to give off a sonorous tone, and became entangled  in the ropes and hung himself. I've enclosed a copy of an engraving of him that was made after his death, if that helps. Can you discover his birth date for me?


Student of Genealogy

Sir Charles replies:

Dear Student,

Sir Wilifred Hughes-Humphries, eh? Ever so sorry to say that one can't help. But the face rings a bell.

Regretfully, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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