Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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25 August, 1995

One apologizes to one's readers (the seething mass of them) for the brevity of this initial address, but the week has been one of social triumph for the family Grandiose. One has thus been spending more time than usual in self-congratulation.

The Lady Felicia, she who eclipses all others who dare to contest her status as Hostess Supreme of the county, easily carried off another of her famed Black Tie Four-Table Fork Luncheons and managed to produce a surprise guest of honor, Lord Downy of Charmes. One chuckles even now to recall the sonorous grinding of teeth clearly audible from the ill-shaped mouths of the Lady Felicia's would-be rivals, Honoria Furthington-Clump and Edna Thistle (Mrs), when Lord Downy staggered into the dining room.

These two also-rans had attempted for years to invite the reclusive Lord Downy to cream tea, with negligible results. One can thus say with confidence that 'twas only pettiness, their cries of wrong-doing on the Lady Felicia's part. How, one asks, could the Lady Felicia have known that the tyres of Lord Downy's motor would have been punctured by an unfortunate number of penny nails, mysteriously left scattered (sharp end up) upon the country road winding before Blandsdown itself, upon which Lord Downy travels each Monday without fail at 1:30 p.m. on his way to the train station for transport to the golf links? What prescience could account for this odd and totally unpredictable chain of events? It was only a coincidence that one of the chairs for the fork luncheon was left vacant through some oversight. Dame Fortune, abhorring a vacuum, saw fit to fill it with Lord Downy, by impelling him to walk up the garden path to Blandsdown in search of a telephone.

One maintains that it was most unfair of Edna Thistle (Mrs) to retort to this random happenstance with scurrilous defamations of character, preposterous calumny, and her demand to compare the penny nails with those being used by one's own servants to repair the fences of a nearby tenant (a charitable act on one's part!). She will not be invited to future Black Tie Four-Table Fork Luncheons. Oh no! One must put one's foot down somewhere, and one begins with Edna Thistle, (Mrs)!

Until next week, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Toad in the What?

Grossed Out writes:

Dear Sir Charles:

My mom tells me you English people eat different stuff from us. Like blood pudding. That's crazy, dude! And that stuff made of mooshed-up cow guts in oatmeal and onions. And toads! Hand me the Pepto Bismol man! No wonder we kicked your asses in that Evolutionary War thing. Spirit of 1766, man!!

Grossed Out in Grosse Pointe, MI!

Sir Charles replies:

Brain-spavined boy:

There are so many points to address. Where does one begin?

1. Haggis, the 'mooshed up cow guts in oatmeal and onions,' has always been a traditional specialty of Scotland. England has had nothing to do with the concoction. Its origin, however, does not excuse the dish. Nor does it excuse bagpipes, for that matter.

2. The correspondent was close to the target with the phrase 'Evolutionary War'. The overmatched royal armies did not have their 'arses' kicked during this kafuffle; we merely ceded the victory upon realizing that the colonists were better out of the British gene pool.

3. Unless the chip shops have changed practices since one was a lad, there is no actual toad, nor toad byproducts, in the dish toad in the hole.

4. And finally, for those smug in their superior national standards of eating, four words: Processed American Cheese Food.

Certain that one has said enough, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: A Musical Sensibility

Curved Fingers writes:

Oh, Dear, Dear Sir Charles!

Surely you can help me through an impending crise de nerfs!

Ever since I was a Young Lass I yearned to play the Pianoforte. Thanks to my father--since Sadly Passed Away--I began lessons at an Early Age, and my Skills progressed at Such A Rate that I quickly outstripped the Tutorial Abilities of the two Elderly Spinsters in my Country Town who traditionally offered lessons. My New Tutor is a--my Bosom heaves with Protest as I type the word--a Man!

Oh, fear not, my good, dear, noble Sir Charles! I have not behaved with Impropriety! Indeed, it is Quite The Opposite! Although I have been content to prepare my Mozart minuets, my divertimentos, and my Haydn, my Instructor has suggested I Branch Out into Other Styles. Sir Charles, it Flushes My Cheeks to repeat his Perfidious Suggestion that I Attempt Stravinsky, and Rachmaninoff! Every Lady Of Quality knows that these Russian Composers arouse nothing in both their performances and listeners but the most Sordid Sensations, Licentious Emotions, and Vile Passions! Why, then the Wretch even suggested I play Chopin!

Good good dear Sir Charles, what should A Lady Of Quality do?

Curved Fingers in Covington

Sir Charles replies:


One was most distressed by the correspondent's tale. Oh yes! Most distressed indeed. As the correspondent had included both her true name and address upon her missive, one was prepared to order the Rolls to Covington that very afternoon and have one's manservant flog the miscreant musical instructor, and to assure the curvaceous young correspondent of his admiration for her principles! But the Lady Felicia, discovering one's intentions (one does still not know how, having ordered the servants to keep quiet about the affair), forbade one--no doubt out of concern for one's personal health. One is not as young as one used to be, though one's figure is still virile and manly.

Dismiss this demonic tutor immediately, one declares. No doubt he hopes, through assignments cunningly devised to loosen both the fingers and the morals of the young lady, to seduce and desert her, or worse, to marry into her country gentry family. Such despicable intentions should be thwarted before they are carried any further.

One maintains that a pretty country dance is the best melody for a young lady's fingers. One happens to have a first edition of the priceless 1832 treasure, Lady Godley's Omnibus of Country Dances You Like To Play, that belonged to one's grand-dam. The correspondent is welcome to motor to Blandsdown and borrow it, if she likes.

In utmost sympathy, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

[Postscript: The Lady Felicia generously volunteers her time toiling tirelessly every third Thursday from two to two-thirty at St. Agnetha's Home for Wayward Women and Genteel Gentleladies Forced Into a Life of Degradation by Unfortunate Circumstances, a fact that the correspondent may wish to keep in mind in planning her visit.]

Aussie-Lover writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I see you give advice to the lovelorn. Well dress me up and call me lorn!

I was eating dinner in the off-campus pub when I saw him. Tall. Tanned. Curly, sun-kissed hair. Thighs for ages! Big, beefy biceps. Killer pecs. And a butt a gal could really grab onto and do something with! When he took a bite of his burrito, I almost swooned into my patty melt. (Which wouldn't have been a good thing, since I was wearing one hundred percent pure cotton.) He was so incredibly MALE!!!

Anyway, I finally got my nerve up and went to his table and 'accidentally' dropped my fruit punch in his lap. It turns out that he's a law student who's into working out and Thai cooking, same as me! (So they're my new hobbies as of Tuesday. Shoot me.) And he lives in the grad dorm over from me! AND he has an Australian accent! I just love Australian accents!

But he doesn't even know I'm alive! I made a pad thai out of ramen noodles and tabasco sauce and took it to his room and he didn't even know who I was! I was mortified! Oh your honor, what should I do?

Aussie-Lover in Atlanta

Sir Charles replies:

O one of few ideals,

One doubts that the correspondent has seriously thought through the consequences of such an attraction: Australians, both the male and female variety, are all tall, thickset, sturdy chaps with the sort of build that comes from two centuries of wrestling kangaroos. What else can one expect from a country completely populated by descendants of burly felons exiled in shame to this former penal colony?

As for the accent, I fear that although unique to your young American ignorant ears, it is but a vulgarized variation of the common British accents, and makes the most strident Cockney screech sound like harmonious tinkling in comparison.

Knowing, however, that one's lovelorn correspondents rarely take one's caveats to heart, one will merely shrug and say what the correspondent wishes to hear: Throw yourself upon the lad. Do not take no for an answer. Love will out. Etcetera. There. It is said. One washes one's hands of the whole thing, and will take small solace in the notion that perhaps the correspondent's romantic quarry is sterile from an unfortunate run-in with a dingo.

Until next week, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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