Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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26 May, 1995

The Lady Felicia, she who exhibits all the feminine graces, deigns to contribute another item to one's weekly column. In it, I fear that she refers to our ward, young Penelope Windsor-Smythe (who, though one is never a braggart, is eighty-eighth in line for the throne), as a daughter.

Lest that emotion-ridden appellation confuse one's gentle readers, one hastens to assert that although young Penelope Windsor-Smythe (who, one reminds one's American readers, should not be properly addressed as 'Princess', although she is eighty-eighth in line for the throne) has been nurtured in the hospitality of Blandsdown for nigh upon sixteen years, after the unfortunate demise of her parents in a Guy Fawkes Day accident, she is not one's progeny.

One will admit, however, that Penelope has attained the two most prized posessions one would wish in a daughter (as she should, as she is, one might remind one's readers, eighty-eighth in line for the throne): She plays whist, and knows her cutlery.

One chastely remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Fasting writes:

Dear Sir Charles:

It is with great trepidation that I write you, as the nature of my plight may cut too close to home, especially if this missive finds you hovering near the dinner hour. Our problem: Cook is one of the finest kitchen wizards in the land, and we were thrilled when Papa won him from the Count at a game of Baccarat. His specialty--braised rabbit, Hunter Style.

In recent wanderings through the grounds of the summer estate, I stumbled onto a small, fur lined abode which housed three of the most adorable little animals I have ever seen. I was shocked when the stable master told me that they were rabbits, and that it was from thither that Cook had been culling our most beloved main course. I was, needless to say, shocked and appalled, and fainted dead away, as any lady is wont.

Now the dilemma. How does a gentle citizen hold her head up in polite society when her fondest food requires the despatching of such adorable denizens of the garden?

Fasting in Featherstonehaugh

Sir Charles replies:


It is all very well for the Lady of the House to garden. One wonders, however, why one's correspondent was close enough to the ground to notice the infestation of rodents--for such they certainly are, no matter how adorable. A rule of thumb to follow in the future: A True Lady never bends from the waist. That is why one employs a fleet of servants.

One is rather fond of braised rabbit, hunter style. Perhaps one's correspondent would be interested in an evening of whist? At the usual stakes, of course.

Shuffling the cards, one remains
Sir Charles Grandiose

Unnerved writes:

Dear Sir Charles:

Never has one been in such need of your advice! I am in such confusion, I hardly know where to look. Indeed, I am suffering a severe megrim! For a cruel, fiendish enemy has put it about that I am . . . oh, that worst class of females! . . . that I am--gasp!--a Reader of Novels! I, who have never read anything less unexceptionable than the improving works of Miss Hannah More!

O cruel enemy! My reputation is thoroughly destroyed; when I ventured outside today, many erstwhile friends gave me the Cut Direct! My sensibilities are quite overset! O esteemed Sir Charles, how am I to recover my tattered reputation? Pray bestow your estimable advice upon this most unfortunate of gentlewomen!

Unnerved in New Jersey

Sir Charles replies:

Gentle woman:

One's sensibilities are shattered upon learning that one as obviously refined as one's correspondent has had to weather the cruel jibes and the vicious scoffing mockery of one's so-called 'friends'. To receive the Cut Direct! A shocking thing indeed for a blameless woman.

One advises, however, that one must set a good example. One must continue to behave as if one is unaware of the scandalous rumors circulating. One must hold one's head high.

If one's correspondent has a young male admirer, he will no doubt be so outraged at the spiteful bile of the tale bearers that he might be prompted to perform any number of small services to console one. He might also persuade himself to do any number of horrid labors that one's correspondent might loathe to do for herself--a dirtying of the chatterbox's white kid gloves, for example, or punctures in the tyres of her conveyance, or the disappearance of her lap dog. One should only allow one's fourth- or fifth-best admirer to perform these duties, however, so one may discard him afterwards, with a properly shocked expression.

Hoping one keeps a brave heart and a noble chin up, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Shameless writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

Say it ain't so. Say you haven't shaked and baked for the last time out on the Suns court which you've dominated for so long. I understand your keen disappointment. In high school that vacuous Bess Maroonich was voted Most-Likely-To-Succeed over yours truly and if success be copping a sinecure at the home-town Wal-Mart owned by your dad, then I must bow before the wisdom of the student body voters. My definition of success, however, involves more than commerce in unnecessary plastic objects. So you understand that I empathize with your defeat.

But hey, you're a roundball god. Go ahead, mope around for a month. Take two months. Then see how the physical machine is running. If it's humming, then please return. The game needs you. Think about it Sir Charles.

I Love this Game,

Shameless Fan in San Francisco

Sir Charles replies:

To one's gentle readers:

One finds it a pity that Bedlam is no longer in operation.

Shaking one's head, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Gentle Readers:

One now hands the pen to one's fair spouse, the Lady Felicia, for a subject matter too delicate for the Male Sex.

Worried writes:

Dear Lady Felicia,

Today I caught my only daughter winking at the stable boy. And all this time I thought she was interested in horses in the same way as our beloved Princess Anne is. How shall I introduce the concepts of love and marriage to her to discourage her from this most unseemly display?

Worried in Worchestershire

Lady Felicia replies:

My Dear Madam,

Far be it from one to lower oneself to the level of stablehands when it comes to the concepts of love and marriage. In your shoes, one would be inclined to sit down with one's daughter (as this writer did with her own daughter [Note from Sir Charles: One believes his lady fair means ward.] [Note from Lady Felicia: I most certainly do not.] upon her 13th birthday) and discuss the fine points of love--the importance of marrying at or above one's station, how to behave while on a motor outing, or while at a chaperoned event, or when visiting the prospective gentleman's family.

But surely it is not the responsibility of the mother to lower herself to speak of the basest elements of the tawdry relationships of the lower classes--that is, the c-rn-l -ct. If your daughter insists on exploring the logistics of coupling, one suggests you have a trusted female member of your staff do the honours. But please, not the chambermaid who had to be dismissed after she was unable to fit into the uniform mere months after the unfortunate events in the pantry with the cook.

Lady Felicia Grandiose

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