Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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

22 September, 1995

As surely as the golden hairs turn to silver, as surely as the sands drift silently through the slender neck of the hourglass, the last sunny days of summer flee soundlessly under autumn's chilly embrace. And with those last days of that warmest and most joyful of seasons, left Blandsdown three of the sprightliest young minxes ever a Baronet did see.

One refers, of course, to the house guests one's nephew Chauncey invited for his annual visit to the demesne he will one day inherit (far, far in the future, one assures one's protesting mass of readers--for one intends to live to a ripe old age and make the servants miserable, as one's father did before one)--the singular Miss LaTina N. Dragge, the redoubtable Miss Shirley Fonda Boyce, and the lovely and compassionate Miss Anita Manceau-Baddeley. Like verdant blossoms in an oasis, these fragrant damsels brought light, wit, and an astonishing volume of high-heeled slippers and feather boas to the final summer days of Blandsdown.

On their last night at the estate, nephew Chauncey, the Lady Felicia, young Penelope Windsor-Smythe, and the three cooing maidens accompanied oneself to the annual Fishampton Harvest Fete--an exclusive event to which, one assures one's readers (the e'er-increasing swarm they are), no actual farmers or unwashed produce are allowed. No, it would not do. The Fete is a glittering assemblage of the best and the brightest of local society, or failing that, those with mere titles or wealth. Why, even the luminous presence of Lord Downy from Charmes was eclipsed by the unexpected appearance of Eunice, Duchess of Crabbe, who smiled upon the festivities the entire evening from atop her doughnut-shaped inflatable seat cushion.

The Lady Felicia, who until the evening of the fete had not warmed much to our young visitors, discovered in the young ladies a kinship she had not expected--an eye for flaws in the costumes of others and a tongue sharp enough to express a displeasure for them. The Lady Felicia does not dance, but she did not lack for company that evening. One or another of the three young ladies stayed by her side the entire night. One was pleased to note the gleam in the Lady Felicia's eye when young LaTina expressed a frank opinion of one of the local matrons (a certain Edna Thistle, Mrs.)--that LaTina 'could tell that nasty old Christmas cracker ain't been popped and never would be, with that butt' (delightfully earthy, our LaTina). One knew at once that the Lady Felicia had found a true ami de coeur.

Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe, allowed for this special occasion to wear lip colouring in public (though one feels that the blue blood coursing through her veins is colouring enough), quietly spent the evening observing the merriment from the sidelines with nephew Chauncey and the lovely Miss Boyce. Despite her Theatrical associations (one's readers will recall that nephew Chauncey impersonates the role of 'Nancy Buoy' with the three lasses as the 'Swinging Sisters Grim' on the London Stage), sweet Shirley Fonda proved a teetotaller, and shared with young Penelope throughout the evening tots of her 'special lemonade' from the thigh flask she had secreted beneath her sequined evening gown. Young Penelope seemed most properly appreciative, for before the evening had far progressed, her cheeks flushed with a naturally rosy glow.

As for oneself, one shouldered the brunt of disappointment in a manful way. One had hoped for a last, lingering dance with that magnificent Amazon, Miss Anita Manceau-Baddeley. Sadly, during the final waltz, one found that the young miss had been monopolized by Lord Downy himself! Before G-d and all, dancing with a woman who was not his wife! One attempted to spare Lord Downy the Shame and Humiliation of his misstep by 'cutting in', as it were, but his blunt refusal to release Miss Anita from his grubby, albeit titled, clutches angered one so. Oh yes! One nearly summoned one's manservant to challenge Lord Downy's man! Miss Manceau-Baddeley, however, abhorring a scene (as should any proper lady!), efficiently 'slammed the vault on the Charmes family jewels', as they say, stepped over Lord Downy's wheezing form, and demanded to return to Blandsdown.

Ah, if only the Lady Felicia had not mistakenly locked one into one's bed chamber, that next morning, and misplaced the key until after the visitors had departed. One would have liked to have said his farewells to the enchanting Miss Manceau-Baddeley.

Until next week, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: A Cold Shower

all fluttery writes:

me lord--

Pardon to trubal ya me lord but I ave a delicat fing to confess wich aint arf wurreeing me tonsles like. Ope yu dont me bein comon an blunt an all but its me abowt me manhood. mosttimes it be aves itself, and lies there, proper like, doing nuffing. but SOMETIMES when i see sum birds it goes all ard an lord if i aint scared im gonna die. i seen dead uns go stiff like that cept all over an when it appens to me i pray like a pope until it goes away. the lads say im soft inthe ead an that i shud play with the fillys they say but i dont go near them orses coz they kick they do. elp me sir lord gawd bless you and let me able to pass a chicken coop wiv out passing out wiv the swets.

all fluttery in avon

Sir Charles replies:

Unwashed and ungodly one:

Though it is indisputable that the correspondent's class is so relatively low to one's own illustrious rank as to make the Titanic seem sunk in a mere wading pool, one sympathizes. Oh yes! There are no few times when one's own manhood is stirred--at the sight of the Union Jack, gallantly waving in the breezes, it leaps to attention! At the thought of the green and pleasant fields, the hedge-rows, the thatched roofs of our countryside, it pulses with pride! At the sound of the martial strains of 'Rule Britannia' it throbs with. . . .

One takes pause, upon the realization that one is not discussing quite the same thing. One suddenly recognizes the correspondent in all his proud depravity. Old Willie, is it? Sirrah, one has informed you to keep away from the estate of Blandsdown and all its inhabitants! Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe, at the sight of your frolic al fresco in the Blandsdown aviary, was forced at the tender age of thirteen to espy a display that one who is eighty-fifth in line for the throne should never see. (Admittedly, she was at the time only ninety-third in succession, yet still, the point is cogent.)

One had hoped that the pistol-whipping had done you good. One has informed the constabulary of your presence in the neighborhood once more. Blandsdown will not be buying its eggs from you again. Good day, sirrah. Good day!

Washing one's hands of your manhood, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Respects for a Loved One, Though the Silver He Did Not Finish

Stymied writes:

My Dear Sir Charles:

Parker, my faithful valet, has come down with a nasty case of arthritis, making it nigh unto impossible for him to perform his duties. What appropriate course of action can one take to both acquire a new hale valet, while still not tossing the faithful Parker into the path of an oncoming Bentley?

Stymied in Stoatswood

Sir Charles replies:


It is a truth universally acknowledged that a faithful valet who is so addled as not to recognize that he is, to put it delicately, 'ready for the knackers yard', is no valet at all.

One can scarcely suppress a sigh at a childhood memory. One's Pater, Sir Theodore Grandiose, was once confronted with a similar situation. He thought to retire Old Marley--senile, bent, and oft forgetful of his zipper--with a handsome pension to the Littlehampden Home for Discarded Domestics. The day before his departure, Pater--always the sentimental chap!--begged a last boon of his old trusted manservant; he asked only that Old Marley give a quick whitewash to the Blandsdown grotto (a mere two-mile walk, at the far end of the estate).

One's family never saw the old servant after that day. Until the following spring, that is, when Jelly Withring-Hold's mount (always a flighty beast) uncovered him in a melting snow drift during the Westfield Winter Hunt. Poor Marley! His liver-spotted hands even in death still bravely clutched the can of whitewash. Who knew the great blizzard of '49 had been nigh that afternoon he left to perform his last task? Who knew that poor Marley's only winter coat had been packed into a steamer trunk and the key lost? As it was, Jelly's mount, which had trampled his erstwhile impressively preserved corpse, had to be retired for the entire afternoon of the hunt. Oh, the tragedy of it all!

Much cheered at these memories, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Mabel writes:

Darling Snuffy,

Remember, don't you, those simply lovely nights in Covent Garden? It's been ages, ducks. We haven't got together nor anyhow since you came into the title.

Yours, Mabel

Sir Charles replies:


This obvious attempt at blackmail is rendered all the more pathetic by the indubitable fact that one has never attended a performance at the sink of sin known as 'Covent Garden,' as all twelve of the doormen assure one they will attest. No, one most certainly does not remember the correspondent. Nor does one recall her large brother, who attempted to extort one's spleen in the cloak room of the British Museum. Nor does one possess any memory of 'Mr. Blinkie', either. It is no use trying, one tells you.

One does, however, seem to recall the address of the correspondent's odious cold-water flat. One has turned it and the correspondent's original letter to the good fellows at New Scotland Yard. (Hullo, Cousin James!)

Utterly disgusted at this smear campaign against the British aristocracy, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

One passes the quill to one's ward, young Penelope Windsor-Smythe (eighty-fifth in line for the throne).

Studious writes:

Dear Mlle. Penelope,

I am desperate for some advice. You see, I recently returned to the classroom. I am utterly horrified by my peers--they are so unsophisticated. What do you recommend I do to make myself content in this battlefield of sorts?

Studious in Southwark

Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe replies:

My dear gentlewoman,

As one's mama, the Lady Felicia, has oft told me: Close your eyes and think of England. I believe this is the sort of thing she was on about.

With best wishes,
Penelope Windsor-Smythe

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