January 22, 2001
The moment always comes. No matter how glittering the assembly, no matter how gay and intelligent your guests, a point arrives when conversation palls. Oh, you may have had sparkling patter over the meal. You might have been the perfect hostess. But after the dessert, after the cigars and sherry, the moment comes when the chatter ceases, and every looks at each other. It it far to early to invite your guests to order round their motors. What to do?
Why, it's time to try
Yes, this stimulating booklet of games, available at finer bookstores everywhere under the Grandiose Publishing imprint, contains no fewer than one hundred and one diverting and mirth-inspiring pastimes for gentlefolk everywhere. Forget the lewd depravity of such common games as Monopoloid and Scrapple. Bring a touch of class and intelligence into your parlour with games such as:
Aristocratic Lettuce: Have the servants cross-stitch one hundred epigrams and witty quotations upon one hundred squares of 48-count Irish linen. The linen is then attached to an equal number of lettuce leaves, which are arranged in a silver epergne. Each player removes a single leaf per turn, reads aloud the quotation, and attempts to identify it. If correct, she or he is allowed to keep the lettuce leaf! The player with the most leaves wins! Just stop the kiddies from trying to join in on this one!
My Liege Lord Bids Me: One player is designated as 'baronet,' while the rest of the players are 'servants.' The 'baronet' calls out a number of commands, preceded by the phrase, 'Your Liege lord bids you.' Common examples:
If the 'baronet' gives the 'servants' an instruction without the phrase 'Your Liege lord bids you. . . .', the servants are not to follow the instruction. Any servants who do, must sit on the sidelines. The last 'servant' left is the winner. Oh, how one's own guests love this game! If one issues a canny set of orders, one can clear the dining room table and not have to pay the real servants.
Whose Coat Of Arms Am I?: This game really tests the 'intelligence' and 'creativity' of your guests. The first player announces, "I have a terrier bitch rampant piddling upon Buckingham Palace. Whose coat of arms am I?" The player who guesses correctly may counter with his own riddle, such as "I have a crumpled Harrod's shopping bag banged against a pillar. Whose coat of arms am I?" Much amusement may arise from the inclusion of mutual friends and acquaintances. (Answers: Camilla Parker-Bowles, Princess Diana)
Who, Sir, I, Sir?: This uproarious game will keep everyone in stitches for hours. A savvy host may wish to have smelling salts on hand. One player is designated the 'hat wearer'. Amongst themselves, the other players designate a 'hat stealer'. The 'hat wearer' approaches the players, one by one, and asks, "Who stole my hat, sir? Did you steal my hat?" If the player is not the 'hat stealer,' he or she replies, "Who, sir? Not I sir." The hat stealer must reply, "Who, sir? Yes, I, sir!" Oh, what jolly times.
Of course, the entire booklet, available only for four pounds and twenty pence at the better establishments, contains rules for such amusing fare as Up Jenkins!, The Antimacassar Catch, Spank In Spank Out, Pinchy Winchy, Poor Pussy!, and the ever popular Pole in the Hole. One recommends ones readers immediately rush out and purchase it for their libraries, at once, lest social disaster be their fate.
Ever the gay japester, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Aubrey writes:
It is your old friend, Sir Aubrey Tierney of Withinsquire. I'm writing to you because I have on my hands a bit of a dilemma.
Last week, my darling wife Candida brought up an usual occurrence to me. It seems that, because of your example to your readers as a man of letters, sundry commoners have been addressing any and all questions to the any peer they happen to think of, including oneself. (And I have it on the highest authority that your readers are so numerous that were they to jump simultaneously, we could shake that pesky Australian colony off the Earth.)
While it is, I suppose, somewhat admirable of you to give the lower classes an example to which they might aspire (though not actually ever reach), it has resulted in an unprecedented amount of mail to my estate of Withinsquire detailing the most scatological details of the writers' love lives, and the repercussions thereof.
Candida took some of these letters to read before we quite knew the situation, and I must say she came out of her room both red-faced and gasping. They must have shocked her deeply! Many young men and women write of their exploits with almost photographic recall. Candida has been kind enough to underline parts for me which I know she must have been the mostly deeply offended by, and even my mechanic has had to take a look, in order to explain some of the more unusual concepts and colorful phrases. (Evidently, the lower classes do not make meals from floor coverings, as I originally thought.)
These letters have been arriving by the carload, especially in recent weeks, as pictures of your Mary Tidmarsh have inspired some of your more exhibitionistic readers to try their own hand at the photographic arts. I have letters spilling over my desk, I have piles in the W.C, and poor Candida has had to sleep with a mound of young men's pictures tucked beneath her pillow!
My question: All these letters are filling my house with their smut and innuendo, and general licentiousness. Should I have them bound in hard covers for easier storage, or paper covers for easier bedside reading?
Sir Aubrey Tierney, Withinsquire
Sir Charles replies:
My dear Sir Aubrey,
Hard covers, my boy. They're wiped down so much more easily.
With a word to the wise, one remains,
Michael Maxey writes:
My name is Michael Maxey and I a descendent of several Scottish warriors whom had faught for Scotland during the time of William Wallace and my family the Allisons (my mothers side of the family) made a terrible mistake by pledging loyalty to King Edward the first. But on the other hand, my father's side of the the family swore loyalty to William Wallace. But all I have to say is, Would you tell queen that Scotland will never surrender. Also that I think that she should just shut the hell up and leave the UK to the people.
Sir Charles replies:
My dear Michael Maxey,
Perhaps once you set down the bagpipes that sound like the death-cries of a thousand souls lost to a fiery perdition, and take that forkful of haggis out of your mouth, you might remember to have the chemist refill your Prozac prescription.
Oh, and by the way. One's nephew and heir, Chauncey Grandiose, begs one to inform you that plaid is so passe.
Och and begorrah, one remains,
I was pondering on how to take sweet and subtle revenge on my older sister by two years and found that I could not think of one suitable tactic.
If you have any ideas on how to so this, in response to her ruining my paranoid and insignificant life, I would be most obliged. Thank you.
Sir Charles replies:
What a practical young lady you are.
The art of enraging one's siblings--and it is an art, indeed--can be greatly enhanced by observation, my dear. Carefully watch your sister. Observe her weaknesses. Make a list of her shortcomings and tender spots. Then, when the moment is right, strike right at them.
For example, take one's younger brother, who happened to be the father to one's heir and nephew, Chauncey. A youth of crude sensibilities, he. Always gambling away his allowance. Sad to say, he fell into a bad crowd. There was alcohol. There were drugs. The poor boy.
But one's brother decided to put his life back together. Oh, it was difficult. It took years. There was the halfway house, the 12-step program, the brief term in jail. It was a shameful period for the family. But soon one's brother emerged clean and free of his demons, and ready to take on the responsibilities of the Grandiose name.
That, Jessica, is one left the case of whiskey and the kilo of cocaine in his bed chambers. Back to the booby hatch he went! Oh, what laughs one had!
Still chuckling, one remains,