Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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12 April, 1996

One's readers (and one has it on the greatest of authority that they are so numerous that if they were all to post one a single pence, one would have inside of a week enough money to purchase Luxembourg, with enough change left to purchase a packet of kettle crisps for the Lady Felicia . . . not that one is advocating that one's readers do such a foolhardy yet generous thing) will recall that during her last visit to Blandsdown, one's wealthy neighbour, Eunice, Duchess of Crabbe, had something of an unpleasant experience upon discovering her nephew unceremoniously stuffed in a remote dumbwaiter.

Although the Lady Felicia and oneself have written invitation after invitation to this most respected and esteemed personage, we had met with naught but refusals until this week, when the Duchess deigned to present herself at one of the Lady Felicia's Candlelit Dinners, featuring a Full Silver Service and the fifteen-armed epergne (our family saves the thirty-armed epergne for special occasions featuring at which Archbishops or the Royal Family themselves are present). Ah! All was perfection. The silver glittered, the food melted in the mouth, the epergne overflowed with choice tidbits. Even the servants were at their most mannered, murmuring the names of the dishes in the Latin Vulgate taught them by Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe (who, if one's readers do not remember, for one does not make an issue of the matter, is seventieth in line for the British throne). "Ishdae itwae upwae ickquae, ouyae oldway umpetcrae," they would say, meaning "I hope you enjoy the fruits of our labours." Charming, charming.

Taking deep breaths from her oxygen mask between bites, the Duchess seemed to be enjoying herself. "We were not encouraged by our last visit here, Sir Charles," she said, feeding tidbits to her two small dogs under the table. "We thought that evening in the Crusty Ballroom would be our last visit to Blandsdown altogether." (A note to one's readers, the swarming masses they are: It really is the 'Crystal Ballroom.' One does not know why the old bat refers to it by any other name.)

"Most pleased we have made amends," one said, though not at all in a toadying manner. Eunice, Duchess of Crabbe, may have a grander title than oneself. But one has better blood, and breeding. "It would have been sticky, what, meeting at the Fishampton Eel and Strawberry Fete, next week, would it not, without doing so?"

A slight hesitation. "We believe, Sir Charles," said the Duchess, "that we have asked Lord Frost of Locksley-Charmes to serve as host for the Fishampton Eel and Strawberry Fete this year." A great gasp from the direction of the Lady Felicia. "We believe it would be for the best."

"But Duchess!" one cried. "The Family Grandiose has hosted the Fishampton Eel and Strawberry Fete for nigh upon two centuries!"

"There will be fish served at the festival, as you well know, Sir Charles. And with the unpleasant associations of your family and fish. . . ." Well, one must declare that if one then had at hand a fish finger or two, they would have gone straight up the old wrinkly's nostrils. As it was, one was forced merely to slip her dear puppies a few pheasant bones. Upon which they did not choke, blast them.

One now sees quite clearly that the only way to erase from the minds of the local gentry this shame, this vicious calumny of the Poisoned Fish Fingers Fracas (of which one is totally innocent), will be to unite one's family with that of the Duchess. Yes, one speaks of a marriage between one's ward and the Duchess's nephew, Sir Colin Bates. The lad has been mooning about the lands at a distance (he carries the curious notion that one wishes to shoot him with a fowling piece), hoping for a glimpse of his beloved Penelope. Well, one has solved that. One installed him in the bedroom suite next to her own, under the pretense that young Colin might do 'research' in the Blandsdown library. One has also gummed up the latch to young Penelope's door. One believe the plan to be a subtle one.

As for Lord Frost of Locksley-Charmes . . . bah! One has always found him morally suspicious. If this is his method of 'worming his way' into Fishampton society . . . well, one has plans for him. One invites one's readers only to see what lies in wait for him at the hands of

Their most humble correspondent,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Demmed Continentals and their Wandering Lips

Pierre writes:

Mon Amie,

I was so pleased to hear that you have overcome the "unpleasantness" of late. As a man of the world, I also have known more than my share of slanderous accusations. I write to you at the suggestion of Lord Frost, who has become a regular satisfied customer. I will be sending you a sample of my exquisite adult literature, wrapped in plain brown packaging of course. If this outstanding erotic material meets with your approval, I will send an additional package on a monthly basis. All monetary transactions will be handled with the utmost discretion. Thank you for your consideration.

Pierre DePew

Sir Charles replies:

Garlicky Frenchy,

If one had the urge, sirrah, to paw through smudged photographic ten-penny postcards of thigh-heavy Continental women brazenly showing their bare ankles and forearms from behind enormous Japanese fans, all while screwing their faces up into an approximation of wild desire--or indigestion, for one finds the expressions indistinguishable among French women--why, sirrah, one would merely have to pay a visit to one's Uncle Philbin. At the Home for the Crumblies in which one has immured him, he manages to smuggle them in by the shoebox. And no, one does not desire to visit Uncle Philbin. One has not had one's suits drool-proofed.

As a matter of record, it is generally considered good business practice for an entrepreneur to enclose a list of titles and prices for his wares. One might pay a visit to Lord Frost of Locksley Charmes, to see if he has received one from you. All for--ahem--Uncle Philbin, of course.

Dismissively, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Left writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

Do you know of any solution to electronic extramarital affairs?

For years I supported my husband with his computer hobby. I didn't mind when the online service bills mounted. But then one day out of the clear blue sky, he told me he was going to California to meet "Julie," the woman he had met on the Internet. Our 12-year-old and I were stunned. He returned four days later and announced he was quitting his job of 16 years and moving to California to be with his "dream woman." Did I mention she is a single parent of three?

Left with Only a Modem

Sir Charles replies:


How quick are wives to say that they support their husband's hobbies! But oh, when the hobby takes on an exciting new development, how the worm turns, as this letter proves.

By way of example, one will tell the sad story of a 'friend', a baronet of no little influence in his community--let us call him 'Sir Chuck'. How proud was Sir Chuck of his prized collection of antique brass spittoons in the shapes of the positions of the Kama Sutra. How fond he was of spending a quiet Thursday afternoon amongst them, rubbing and rubbing and rubbing . . . er, that is, giving them a fine polish. He thought his wife approved. But hist! When the slightest pebble spread ripples of discord upon the pond of domestic harmony, what, one asks, happened? The devious vixen took my--that is, my friend's--beloved spittoons and donated them to the church jumble sale!

So much, madam, for your 'support'. Perfidious is the woman jealous of her husband's hobby!

Brusquely, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: A Mesmerizing Sight Indeed

Distressed writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

My neighbour, a young lady of twenty years, is overfond of exercise. Oh, most assuredly it does her good. Why, in less than a year she has gone from a rather chubby lass to a fetching young wench of ample proportions. One merely finds that, after watching her stretch, and relax, and stretch, and relax, and flex, and bend, and flex, and bend, and spread, and spread, and spread, and then to repetitively build the general area of her bosom, all while wearing a scanty tunic . . . well, after several hours of gazing out one's back window into her garden, where she performs these eye-catching gyrations, one finds that one has simply frittered the day away.

How can I solve this problem?

Distressed in Downlevy

Sir Charles replies:


One man's distraction is another man's boredom. That is, without further corroborative proof, one cannot adequately determine whether the young lady in question is genuinely the cause of the correspondent's mesmerization, or whether the correspondent is merely a gormless, randy old clot. Accordingly, if the correspondent will forward to oneself the address of the tunic-wearing seductress, one will spend a morning--two, if necessary--observing her and her flexible limbs, in order to draw a more accurate assessment of the true situation. Nay, do not thank one. One has a duty, in these matters.

Always obliged to help those in true nude--er, that is, need,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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