Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

The Library | Write to Sir Charles | Cast of Characters | Credits | This Week

28 July, 1995

One's holiday in the hinterlands was not the success one had envisioned. Should one's weekly followers (which are legion) suffer from wool-gathering, one will benevolently reiterate that one's noble family retired to the country cottage in Wales for relaxation this past fortnight. The Lady Felicia was distressed to find that the doughy village grocer lacked all the ingredients for the lobster vol-au-vent she had planned for one of her acclaimed Authentic Rustic Countryside Tuck-Ins with Full Silver Service and Individual Wedgewood Finger Bowls. Were she a more intemperate woman, I have no doubt she would have canceled the event--even after the pantry maid had polished the thirty-armed epergne. Yet showing the resourcefulness that cleaves the privileged from the mere rabble, she improvised, and served an easily digestible boiled mutton.

One's ward, the young and enviably accomplished Penelope Windsor-Smythe, suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune when a vulgar branch of her family produced offspring. One's heartstrings were very nearly tugged by her grievous sigh upon discovering she was but now eighty-fifth in line for the throne. One intends, however, to question the legitimacy of this allegedly 'joyous occasion'. She hails from Cheapside (and one suspects her mother is a greengrocer's daughter), while he attended school in (and here one shudders) Canada. With those sorts of backgrounds, there is little telling what cunning webs of intrigue the pair would weave in their plot to wrest the royalty from true Britons.

As for oneself, one quickly grew weary of the phalanx of quidnuncs and muckrakers positioned outside the cottage grounds (unhappily avoiding the two hundred bear traps one had ordered the gamekeeper to set). With their photographic equipment, their boxed lunches, and their constant demands of "'Ere guv'nor, let's 'ave a gander at that ugly priggish moue, go on!", one nearly succumbed--one is abashed to say--to one's own violent impulses and to flog these pepperoni (one believes it is the proper term for the vulgar sensational press corps, if a frenchified one) one and all with a riding whip! As one's manservant carried the whip, however, one allowed him to carry out this small duty, and then sternly ordered him to lead the servants in a short prayer that evening in repent of his misdeed.

Most contented to have returned, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: The Vagaries of Youth

Confused writes:

Distinguished Sir Charles:

I am 15 years old, and my father is driving me crazy. I can't go out with my friends, because my father has to know where we are going, who with, why, how long we'll be gone, the profile of every person we'll be with, and what we'll be doing. My friends no longer ask me if I want to go out with them, because my father always gives them an interrogation. How can I tell my father in the politest way possible that he is ruining my life?

Confused in Capetown.

Sir Charles replies:

Febrile Youth:

One's gorge rises at the thought of your father's indulgent laxity. "Ho!" one says. "The lad's father has done his duty as far as the verbal interpellation. Yet has he required the written materials? The letters of introduction? The appropriate page numbers in Debrett's? The handwriting analysis, the school standings, the essays? Has he truly followed up on the genealogies of these so-called 'chums'?" One thinks not!

One advises the correspondent to show this missive to his father, and avoid these plug-uglies lest the correspondent become a true and thorough lout.

Sternly, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Mulling writes:

Hey, Chuck,

I have this problem, actually we have this problem. Me and my roommate are moving in August and we don't know which one should get what room. One room is a little bigger than the other one I think and it has some windows but the other one doesn't have windows, but it has a sink in it. The big room with windows has a porch or something on it too. So we want to know how we should split up the rooms.

Mulling in Milwaukee

Sir Charles replies:


Do not tease one--a whole sink in the room? With running water? My, the conveniences of the colonies! One almost craves to leave Blandsdown to live in a hovel such as yours, for one only has a porcelain washbasin set in a polished rosewood stand, to which one's servants carry fresh spring water, culled from an artesian well, heated over the kitchen fireplace to the precise temperature of one hundred and fifteen degrees Fahrenheit, and conveyed in a polished silver bowl each morning at the designated time, accompanied by heated towels and a digestive biscuit. Yet how one would leap at the chance to forsake these inconsequentialities for the rugged adventure of a sink brimming with rust-colored cold water, however. Nor can one either forget the mysterious promise of the room with the 'something on it'. Oh no.

One believes that the traditional method of solving problems of this sort is to have both parties jump from a nearby third-story window. The contestant who is able to hobble to the shanty first may claim his choice of room.

Tallyho and view halloo,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: A Firm Foundation

Pathetic writes:

My dear sir,

I am in desperate need of guidance, your lordship! The love of my life, Robert, lives in Yorkshire while I dwell in Paris for most of the year. The long distance relationship appears to be flourishing--and it has been, for three years. However, there is a flaw in my tapestry (as they say in the village I've my youth). I am finding myself becoming more and more enamoured with my dearest friend, William. I am enraptured with my beloved Robert and do not wish to jilt him. However, I cannot deny the strong feelings I have for William. How can I find out, without hurting Robert, how William feels about me?

Pathetic in Paris

Sir Charles replies:


The natives of Paris are but unwashed dipsomaniacs, lewd women of doubtful reputation, and priapic 'gentlemen' who spend their afternoons eating unabashedly odiferous cheeses and staring at the nudes in the Louvre. It should be obvious to one and all that the correspondent's prolonged residence in the Augean stables of France--bah! Of all Europe!--has begun to transform yet another fresh English rose into an overblown garish poppy ripe for the picking, no doubt destined for an undignified sniffing by a mustachioed foreigner in an opium den.

O lost one! Forsake thy garish continental estate and return by third-class rail to the shores of Albion, where bloom so sweetly the fields of heather! Return to the arms of your Robert, who awaits you! Of course, should the English rose have molted somewhat upon her return, one would not blame the lad for discarding it to pluck a fresher bloom.

One remains, poetically,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Philosophic writes:

A minor point, for which one begs your wisdom: my lady friend and I disagree on the matter of whether Kierkegaarde and Sartre are of related schools and thus both deserving of the name "existentialist." She says that Kierkegaarde emphasized the personal relation to Providence, while Sartre showed the absurdity of existence, and that the two viewpoints belong together even less than the Queen Mum and "Sting." I say they are both foreigners and thus equally absurd. One trusts you can shed appropriate light on the matter.

Philosophic in Featherstonehaugh

Sir Charles replies:


Were one's lady friend truly learned, and not a mere parrot of her tutor, she would know that these so-called 'philosophers' were, in their own countries, mere ruffians and tatterdemalions. Why, then, should a modern gentleman or lady pay any more attention to these garlic-breathed harbingers of dissention and revolution than they would to the village gaffer who proceeds bandy-legged through the streets sans breeches, announcing that the end of the world is nigh?

Excessive thought has been the downfall of modern civilization. Thank heavens the British finished altogether with it centuries ago.

One remains, steadfastly,
Sir Charles Grandiose

The Library | Write to Sir Charles | Cast of Characters | Credits | This Week