Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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

4 August, 1995

The Lady Felicia, once more prevailed upon to lend her womanly sapience to these belles-lettres, reveals a soupcon more than is truly ladylike about the length of one's marriage. Yet 'tis true; the time approaches that one has been married to the Lady Felicia for nearly a score and five years. In recognition of her many years of service, therefore, one shall indulge in a catalogue of one's wife's virtues, for the Lady Felicia is all one could ever ask in an adjunct.

She is able to slice bacon (at charity events only, of course), to roust hart from their covert with a single thrilling clearing of her throat, and to inspect the quaint thatched roofs of ungrateful tenants who find the harmonious and picturesque plashings of the falling rain somehow a nuisance. As a woman, she is unparalleled, able to dance the sarabande at the Hunt Ball with as much ease as she can unman the goatish young suitors of young Penelope, our ward.

And as a l-ver . . . ah! What testimonials can one utter without defiling the sanctity of the marriage bond? One will only reveal that in all the nine thousand, one hundred, and twenty five nights we have spent under the eaves of Blandsdown, the Lady Felicia has not once thrust herself upon one in a bestial way. One anticipates that this lucky course will continue for another twenty-five years.

Until next week, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Youthful writes:

I come to you, Sir, a modest young woman, deeply in need of your sagacious counsel. My apologies that no letter of introduction precedes this request but I hope that you will understand that the utmost discretion is essential.

Having entered in to my twenty-third year at the end of this past February, I was instructed by my mother, a woman of unequaled dignity, that the time had come for me to marry. Father chose an unparalleled match and after a somewhat lengthy courtship of three months, our impending nuptials (an invitation to which is the event of season), were announced. My dilemma is this, my betrothed has informed me that he no longer wishes to marry me.

Picture: The Prepared Damsel My behavior throughout our courtship has been beyond reproach; I assure you, my virtue is unquestionable. All attempts at physical proximity have been greeted with frigid disdain while any conversations of a personal nature have been met with either an icy reproach or bored indifference. Additionally, churlish declarations of everlasting love I soundly derided in a manner taught to me by my mother, a woman of uncompromising decorum. I have done everything right, conducted myself in a manner appropriate to a woman of my social position--and yet I stand on the brink of ruin, soon to be relegated to a social Siberia.

Sir Charles, what am I to do?

Youthful But Damned

Sir Charles replies:


One is alarmed at the correspondent's precarious position. It is most certainly true that, should the suitor decide to break the engagement, the correspondent will find herself shunned and isolated from all she once held dear. And--let us be concise--once her social position slips, a young lady might as well walk into the ocean until her brine-soaked bustles drag her to a watery tomb, or else must become a governess. One will not render an opinion as to which is the more dreadful.

To avoid such an end, therefore, one suggests a radical remedy. As most men--sad to say--can be easily gulled into marriage by a combination of tender caresses, moist whispers, and languishing doe-eyes, one suggests employing these feminine wiles in a manner that will suggest to the young man Promises Of Things To Come. After several longing glances, and perhaps after allowing him to plant a chaste kiss upon your porcelain cheek (one would not suggest going so far as to allow spooning, of course) one would almost bank upon the young swain begging to hasten the nuptials.

Of course, after the correspondent has murmured the final vows and received the ring upon her finger, she may instantly settle back into the icy hauteur that is a blessing in a wife.

Sympathetically, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Disconcerted writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I was dining in our office cafeteria when the head librarian, a rather mannish woman, came over and asked to "check my stacks". I wasn't quite sure what she meant, so I followed her to her private office.

What happened then I will draw the veil of privacy over; however, it suggests a question: Are office friendships appropriate?

Disconcerted in Denver

Sir Charles replies:


If one's correspondent is with such ill luck fraught that one unavoidably must moil in the fetid and graveolent menagerie that is the modern office, one advises the correspondent to take such friends as present themselves to her. After all, one must make do, when one is sure to be forevermore shunned by truly polite society for having to spend one's days--nay, one's very life--performing menial tasks for a widow's mite.

Lest one's readers (which are legion) suppose this to be the casual verdict of one unessayed in drudgery, one must interject that one knows what it is, to labor. One knows what it is, to work like a Trojan. One has endured the sweat and grime of toil. Oh yes! To wit: One once sealed three dozen penny Christmas cards as a lad, one right after the other. One's parents justly punished the misdeed, capricious as it was, and one must admit that following the stunt one did not think of himself with the usual high regard for nigh upon a fortnight!

One remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: A Firm Foundation

Lady T---- writes:

My Dear Sir Charles,

I fear I must seek your noble advice in regards to my beloved little sister. Although, yours truly is filled with good and sound advice, the child (a mere 31) does not listen. I want only the best for her. And I certainly do know what's best. While she dresses decently and keeps herself (somewhat) respectable . . . she has taken to showing her elbows in public and seeing a cad that I do not feel can even be called "gentleman" as he encourages this shocking and wanton behavior. I fear things will only get worse!

What is a Lady to do??

Lady T---- in Tilling

Sir Charles replies:


In more enlightened times, guardians were able to employ a number of practical devices to keep the young from straying down the road of excess and self-gratification. Sadly, the time of bilboes and chastity belts has faded (although one hears rumors that they are available in certain counties, one's family has not found a reliable supplier), and protectors are left to fend for the virtue of their loved ones with only what wits they must summon.

One suggests, then, that the correspondent employ the services of a duenna. These elderly hens attach themselves to a young woman with the whisker-faced vigour of limpets, all to ensure she does not make a disgrace of herself. In fact, one believes a competent, persistent, leech of a chaperon would prove to be such a boon that one doubts the young lady would leave the house after but two weeks of constant 'companionship.' At that point, the elder sister might consider the cheaper alternative of marrying her off to some available, inoffensive member of the lesser aristocracy.

One remains, most practically,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Once again, one relinquishes one's grasp on the quill to the Lady Felicia.

Anticipating writes:

Dear Lady Felicia,

Perhaps your feminine romantic touch may be of assistance. We will soon arrive at our 20th wedding anniversary. I would like it to be very romantic, memorable, and an expression of my deepest eternal love. What would you wish for on such an occasion?

Anticipating an Anniversary in Antwerp

Lady Felicia replies:

My Dearest Madam,

Ah, a wedding anniversary. A time for reflections, and, in these days of such marital indiscretions, a time for congratulations. As fate would have things, this author will be observing a twenty-fifth wedding anniversary with Sir Charles this year, and, as such, is well suited to advise one on appropriate aspirations for such an event.

Perhaps some perspectives on one's own twentieth anniversary may give the reader some suggestions. In many Esteemed Families, tradition plays a large role, and the lineage of the eminent name of Grandiose is no different. On the occasion of our twentieth wedding anniversary, therefore, very few things were left to chance. The requisite members of nobility and royalty were invited to a afternoon tea under the fall-coloured palate of the spreading chestnuts at Blandsdown, and husband and wife exchanged twentieth anniversary brass spittoons before all the guests.

Picture: A Secret SmileWhile much anniversary protocol is highly orchestrated, this writer still believes in seasoning the marriage with romance. To that end, she had the valet slip one of the baronet's favourite imported cigars onto a tray to be taken to his rooms after he had retired that evening. And believe me, there are few things more satisfying than sitting down to breakfast, secretly knowing the source of the smile on one's husband's face.

One graciously remains,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

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