Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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22 March, 1996

At this trying time in the life of one's family, it is truly a blessing to discover how strong are the ties of certain few and fast friends. One particularly would wish to thank Lord Frost of Locksley-Charmes, (and, of course, his lovely and caring wife, Lady Tiffany, who would have extended more of her own care, had not her prized Pekingese contracted a mysterious ailment after a feeding from Lord Frost, and required treatment at the New York Veterinary Hospital, where she, of necessity, accompanied the animal). His offer of accommodations for oneself, during these bleak days when one could not bear to face one's vast and magnificent home alone, was more than kindness itself. To take one's mind off the horrors of the past days, one's host has been regaling one with tales from his youth. Such exciting tales, too! I find myself laughing late into the evenings as I have not since childhood. What a delight to discover that Lord Frost of Locksley-Charmes is naturally loquacious!

Among the many letters one received this week were numerous exclamations of surprise that one would have turned to Edna Thistle, Mrs., for assistance in a time of crisis. "How particularly desperate you must have been last week," comments one perceptive reader, "to offer employ to that old slag." How true, how true. Another reader writes: "I hope you give that dried up old biddy what for!"

But readers, one would never stoop to mention the personal failings of a woman one has considered a friend ever since she was jilted by the young Sir Charles for oneself. One would never mention her recurrent problems with crab lice. One would never publicly discuss her bunions. And one certainly would never, ever, ever drop a word about the warts she sports in a most delicate area, for she would be mortified if anyone were to know of her Secret Shame. And thus one keeps her lips tightly sealed on all these matters, for that is the sort of friend one is.

One must admit that one was repulsed by the vicious annotations she attached to one's own photoengravure, and that was one was tempted to retort in the same vein. But one is not so childish and vicious that one would stoop to such crass extremes. One has requested that one's housekeeper do it, in one's stead.

Picture: Portrait of Edna Thistle, Mrs., Nasty Old Slag, as annotated by Mrs. Peters, Blandsdown Housekeeper (Note for readers without graphical browsers: Email wbricel@gopher.science.wayne.edu and the chap will send you the gif as an email attachment, if you wish.)

One believes one must give Mrs. Peters a rise in her wages. An excellent woman.

Serenely as ever, one remains,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

Picture: Garlicky and Depraved!

Pierre writes:

My dear Lady Thistle,

I'm completely captivated with your musings in the place of the dreadful Sir Charles. Could we meet. You know what they say about the French. I promise you, it is all true.

Mouth wateringly yours,
Pierre DuPew

The Lady Felicia replies:

Dear Mr. DuPew:

While one is not acquainted with what 'they' say about Frenchmen (thought one knows one's husband has feelings upon that particular sub-species), one feels compelled to caution you that the tastes of Mrs. (not Lady!) Thistle (if they have not changed since her school days) tends towards the Italian male.

One quotes from a diary, kept in diligence, while a student:

'. . . today Edna Flews cornered me to detail, in ghastly length, her ideal man. She said she found it positively titillating when a man walked by her, reeking with the sweat and scent of the fields. She went on, at length, of the pique which such aromas roused within her, but I fear my constitution was not strong enough to bear up, and I fainted. . . . It seems inevitable to me that Edna will marry badly and live a life of squalour, always envious of her betters and determined to glorify herself at their expense. . . .'

One still finds it difficult to read those pages of one's diaries, but one's youthful insight was uncanny, was it not?

Calling upon one's servants to bring one a restorative, one serenely remains,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

Picture: Chatsy, with a few improvements, courtesy of a certain housekeeper.

Chatsy writes:

My dearest Sir Charles,

I must sincerely beg your pardon for thoughtlessly announcing to all and sundry the wonders of your Noble generousity! I had, to my utter regret, forgotten that you are beholden of a such a sweet modesty... I beg of you to please forgive me my ill-mannered mistake!

I am not acquainted with this "Sir Frost" except by reputation. He sounds as though he is a thorough rogue, and undeserving of the Noble title you share. The only visitor (besides your much adored self, my lord) that I have had is your American assistant, Mr. Briceland, who has indeed been quite kind in his attempts to help me endure my solitude. . . .

I will conclude this with appreciation for the bonbons I received yester eve. I have been so bold as to refrain from indulging in them, in hopes that you will soon be here to share that pleasure with me...

With deepest adoration and gratitude,
Chatsy LaFleur

P.S. Yes, even the elusive 23rd has come into my possession!

P.P.S. I have studied the horrid picture of myself in your album, and can only hope that you will allow your Mr. Briceland to replace it with one that more pleasingly displays my 'enticements.' Yes, I am, as you have often teased, quite vainglorious about this mass of red tresses--but did you not enjoy their 'glorious cascade' during our last session of charades? (I quite enjoyed enacting scenes from your noble ancestry and would love to hear more of your founding family, Sir Adam and Lady Eve!)

The Lady Felicia replies:

My Dear Girl,

How fortunate one opened one's husband's letters in his unfortunate absence, is it not?

One was so heartened to learn that young Mr. Briceland had been paying you cordial visits. As he slips from giddy youth into a decrepit middle age without benefit of lawful marriage, one had gathered the impression--if one may be so indiscrete--that he has chosen the lavender-strewn path of some of our more 'artistic' monarchy. If one's readers know what one means.

One will have to pay a little visit to Dove Cottage one evening soon, love. We'll have a tete-a-tete together, won't we? Quite a chat. Oh no, do not protest. One feels it one's duty as preeminent social hostess of Fishampton to act as 'Welcome Wagon', as it were . . . especially with such as your type, dear.

As for the picture in your family album . . . do you really not find it to your satisfaction? How dreadful. One personally believes that many lower-class men--and let us 'girls' be blunt with each other, dear Chatsy, for although one's own destiny lies along the high road of wealth, honor, and prestige, there is no shame in admitting that yours lies along a quite, quite different and very muddy avenue--find a little 'baby fat' quite appealing. Or more than a little, in your case.

Ever so sweetly, one serenely remains,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

#1 Fan writes:

Dear Lady Felicia,

I was sooo shocked when I read that Sir Charles had been arrested. Is there anything that Sir Charles' loyal readers can do to help? Perhaps a "Free Sir Charles Defence Fund" set up so that one can donate to it at any branch of Lloyd's Bank? Or should we write letters protesting his innocence to members of the House of Lords?

How about a benefit concert?

Sincerely, Sir Charles' #1 Fan

The Lady Felicia replies:

Concerned Fan,

One needs to set the record straight. Sir Charles was not arrested. He was called in to answer a few questions about a matter which he may have some information. He is spending a good deal of time with the local constabulary as a personal favour to Detective Chief Inspector Cranwell Gyles, (a school chum of one's own brother), who has gone up to Scotland Yard to clear up any misunderstandings about Sir Charles' involvement with the criminal element.

One thanks the legions of faithful readers for their kind regards, but encourages them not to 'help' by writing members of the House of Lords. One has set the wheels in motion, so to speak, with that venerable body, by letting several select members know that Sir Charles is considering writing his Memoirs from Boys' School, which features many of the Lords currently sitting. Oh, the jolly tales Sir Charles has to tell! One has no doubts that he will emerge from this fracas with his reputation and honour intact.

As to the thoughts of a benefit concert, one considers them to be of value for the assistance of those less fortunate than oneself. Perhaps in the following weeks, a benefit concert should be held to remember our neighbour and erstwhile friend, Edna Thistle, Mrs., upon whom one would never cast aspersions, even though one will not shed tears when the constabulary come to take her away in shackles for her role in the despicable 'wire fraud' which she perpetrated Friday last.

One does acknowledge one's readers' kind thoughts and encouraging words.

Serenely, one remains,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

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