Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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29 March, 1996

Most pleased is one, most pleased indeed, to have returned home after a brief holiday in the city. If one's readers (who, one is assured, are so numerous that were they to crave a cup of tea all in one moment, would empty Darjeeling of yearly annual export) do not recollect the circumstances, one was unfortunately detained in the past fortnight in London.

Although certain local gossips (one will not name names, but should one's readers whisper 'Edna Thistle, Mrs.,' one might nod discreetly) have spread the most vicious of stories that one was carted off by representatives of Scotland Yard in handcuffs and disgrace both, one assures one's readers (the teeming battalions of them) that nothing could be further from the truth. One was so eager and flattered to have been asked for one's expert assistance in the matter of the 'Fish Finger Murders' plaguing the royal family that one's enthusiasm had to be dampened, so to speak, through steel reinforced wrist restraints. (As if they are not employed in the finest of noble families!)

Nor was one amused, upon one's return, to discover that the countryside was abuzz with the intelligence that one had been 'rotting in gaol' until one 'bought one's way out'. Again, falsehoods, the lot of them. One was put up (at no little expense to the British taxpayer, one is proud to say) in a small, private apartment, cunning in its efficient juxtaposition of the sleeping quarters and the privy. One had a bracing fresh breeze redolent of cabbage and athletic stocking feet through one's front door, and a most educational view through the window of a calisthenics yard surrounded by an electrified fence. And though one's manservants for the period were somewhat brusque and unimpressed by one's stature in society, they proved perfectly willing to bring one one's meals thrice daily.

As for the latter charge--why, 'tis indeed the unkindest cut of all. One can assertively say, however, that one wrote not a single cheque during one's entire holiday. (The faithful to the column will instinctively know, of course, that one would never stoop to so loathsome an experience as handling actual currency. Why, anyone might have touched it.) One merely spent one's time in a most relaxing manner, enjoying the precious memories of one's youth, as one penned an outline of one's Memoirs of Boy's School. Quite astonishing, it was, how no few members of the House of Lords and the country's judicial system one knew in those happy days. And how speedily the details of their boyhood romps, their affections, and their 'mashes' for other youths, flew from one's quill! It was after circulating amongst the pris--that is, the hotel staff--a (rather vividly told, if one says so oneself) chapter entitled 'Lord L------ and the Kneeling Cow of Pottersdown Field' that one was informed by Scotland Yard that one's consultation was no longer required.

One was naturally disappointed, but one had done all one could. Why, in abject gratitude, Lord L------ himself gave one a handsome cheque for one's services! As one was only attempting to shed light upon these shocking, shocking deaths that have taken so many of the Royal Family of late (though thankfully, only those in the middle ranges of succession sparing young Penelope Windsor-Smythe, who must now bear the increased pressures that accompany being seventieth in line for the throne), and not offering one's insights for personal gain, one will be donating all that money to one's favorite charities, where it might do some true good amongst so much despair.

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

N.B. to one's secretary: Deposit the cheque into one's secret 'holiday in Bali' account. And be certain to destroy this note, or it will be the knackers' yard for you.

Picture: Two of the So-Called 'Lipstick Lebanese'.

Unmanned writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

A question of a delicate nature, one which your well-travelled and world-wise family may have an answer for.

We live in a very fine neighbourhood, and we find that our new neighbours are causing a small buzz in the community. They are two ladies, in their early middle years. One is a botanical librarian at the Kew Gardens, and the other a physical education instructor at one of our finest Ladies' Colleges. They keep mostly to themselves, and we have yet to see any gentlemen call on their home. When they go out, it is always together.

Could they be Lebanese?

Unmanned in Manswell Gardens

Sir Charles replies:

Dear Mental Defective,

Ah, one knows exactly of the sort of woman you speak. One's dear maiden aunt was also of the type. Fond of horses and Radclyffe Hall. Yet blatant ignorance disgusts one infinitely more than these lady neighbours could ever disturb one's correspondent. They are not 'Lebanese.' Gracious, no! 'Lebanese' is a descriptive term reserved for dark-skinned, spice-imbued foreigners who indulge in the vicious and wicked practice of sun-bathing. The correspondent's neighbours are thespians. Make not this mistake again!

Shortly, one remains,
Sir Charles

Bride-to-be writes:

Dear Lady Felicia,

My mother has gotten it into her head that she should make a match for me with a member of the Queen's Armed Forces. My question is what rank should she pursue for me? We are a family of some social standing.


The Lady Felicia replies:

Dear Girl,

One advises that the mother of one's correspondent look as high as possible. Admiral would be an admirable catch, though 'Rear' Admiral should be avoided, except as a promotion after matrimony.

Also, one advises against some of the lesser ranks, noble as they may be. One still remembers the stir when one's niece brought home her intended to a Christmastide feast. He was a 'Chief Petting Officer' and the mere mention of his title caused her weak-hearted mother to faint.

One serenely remains,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

Picture: I Just Had Them Done, Do You Like Them?

Taloned writes:

Dear Lady Felicia:

What is the maximum length one should keep her fingernails?


The Lady Felicia replies:

Dear madam,

At one's finishing college for the frightfully high-born, a thorough knowledge of personal grooming was drilled into our well-coiffed heads until it became second nature. Any well-bred woman knows, therefore, that if one's manicure shows white nails wider than the platinum band on the salad plate of Royal Worchestershire's Empress Devan china pattern, one is 'letting oneself go.'

Serenely inspecting one's perfect manicure,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

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