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21 April, 1995

A number of readers have written to question my authority. 'What right,' they grubbily pen, 'have you, Sir Charles Grandiose, to dispense advice to us, the unwashed? What degrees have you? What psychological training?' (One paraphrases, for their inquiries are usually not so well put.) To which one replies: One has no degrees. One knows nothing of psychology. One needs neither, if one is titled.

One thus indubitably remains,
Sir Charles

Soiled writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

Owing to a most piteous chain of lamentable circumstances, a course of events which would dismay even one hardened, by prolonged exposure to Mr. Dickens' stories, to cruel twists of fate, I find myself (though a woman of tender temperament and fragile disposition) forced to engage in the pursuit of filthy, though necessary, lucre.

Yes Sir Charles, I must "hold down" a job. I'm unable to wear gloves as they become irreparably soiled by WD40 and a chapeau of any other than the "gimmee cap" variety is impracticable. Overalls are a wardrobe essential. So you see, I've made many concessions to fate and do not court your understanding, only your advice in one matter: May I speak of any sporting events within my admittedly vulgar place of employ without losing all claim to the ideal of womanly gentility that sustains me through the dark, greasy (though profitable) hours of the work week?

Soiled in Savannah

Sir Charles replies:


Pardon one if one deviates from one's routine. One must expound for a moment on your plight, that of The Distressed Gentlewoman. Heed, my readers.

The Distressed Gentlewoman, through no fault of her own, often finds herself in such dire straits that she, like her common brethren, must obtain employment for herself. Perhaps her father, a titled lord like oneself, has imbibed the family fortune. Perhaps she has been orphaned. Perhaps she is a well-bred clergyman's daughter. Typically The Distressed Gentlewoman obtains employ as a governess.

The Distressed Gentlewoman Governess is not to be despised for her poor fortune. Dame Etiquette (sweet muse!) would frown upon such behavior. Rather, she is to be treated as a part of one's family (albeit a poor and weakened branch), and given stockings to darn. Yet how lucky is she! For she is not required to undertake the onerous duty of inheriting entire fortunes, nor is she required to attend dreary fancy dress balls or consort with royalty. And one hears that the brisk air of The Distressed Gentlewoman's attic quarters is most bracing, in mid-winter.

To attend to Soiled's question, then. One advises you that The Distressed Gentlewoman may speak, in hushed, calm tones, of the following sporting activities: badminton, lawn tennis, and croquet. If you are married, you are permitted to add equestrian activities to the list.

As a final note, one is gratified to note that despite your straits, you recognize the importance of the most lady-like practice of wearing gloves at all times. One knows not what a 'gimmee cap' is, however. One is ever-so-frightened to inquire.

Chin up, says
Sir Charles

Personal to Just Curious In Jackson


I must insist your obvious attempts at extortion cease, blackguard. The matter of 'Sir Charles' and 'Cool Cruel Carla' is one of public record. The Philadelphia police assure one that the impersonators were apprehended and are still in gaol. One is miffed that the people of America are willing to believe that a true scion of Britain, a titled lord, would stoop so low as to endorse a brand of mail-order yoghurt.

Washing one's hands of filth such as yourself, one remains,
Sir Charles

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