Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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3 May, 1996

One's readers (and one has it upon the mightiest of scientific authorities that this legion of the faithful is so immense in number that were they all to make toast at the same moment, the resultant instantaneous global warming would instantly melt the mighty polar ice caps) know that one abhors a snob. Oh yes! Snobbery is an indulgence of the petty middle classes, the untitled, and the boorish. And when one is as educated, cultured, and--ah, let us not mince words--wealthy as one indubitably is, one does not adopt the uppity, snobbish mannerisms of the bourgeoisieoiseis.

With this small fact in mind, one's readers (who are undoubtedly as fond of toast as is the one they admire) must imagine how one reacted when one read the following feature article in one of those rubbishy tabloids so lamentably common to these Isles (one believes it was the London Times or some such trash):

Maternity Room Rush from Randy Royals!

Bouquets of flowers littered the floor of the private hospital room. If one were to examine the cards hidden amongst the almost overpowering blossoms--and this humble reporter of course refers here to the sweet scents of these fragrant, delicate blooms--it might even be possible to find a bouquet from Her Majesty herself . . . but surely that might be the arrangement of lupines and lilies ensconced in a place of honour at the foot of the bed? [How these so-called 'journalists' go on and on about nothing. One detests the sort who blather on without a point!]

More radiant than the ruddiest primrose, however, is Lady Cressida Cholmondley, but one of the ten new royal mothers. Arrayed around her in a fetching fashion are the fruit of her fertile loins--the quadruplets, young Cassandra Anne Elizabeth Cholmondley, wee Carlotta Beth Margaret Cholmondley, darling Catherine Bess Brittania Cholmondley, and tiniest of all, master Cuthbert Edward Charles Philip Cholmondley. This humble reporter could not resist cooing over the quartet of babies while inquiring into the remarkable coincidence that resulted in no less than nineteen royal births--many of them multiple!--from the ten young royal couples this week.

"Oh, it's no coincidence at all," said the lovely young woman (commonly referred to as 'Cissy') with a gay cascade of motherly laughter, as she fondled the sweet cheek of baby Cuthbert. "The other couples attended Spitsy's Secret Seafood Supper with Seven Snappy Salads"--referring, of course, to famed socialite and hostess Lady Spizzacatti--"and the electric went out, and what else could we all do? After all, there were oysters for din."

One gave the rest of the newspaper to the Lady Felicia's dogs, Pippin and La Fontaine, to chew. Of course, one had to break the news to Young Penelope Windsor Smythe, who at that very moment of discovery was asleep in bed, little wonting that she was no longer seventieth in line for the throne. Oh, how to tell her that she would have to abandon her sweet slumbers for the less fortunate dreams of one who was now--and one trembles to say the words--eighty-ninth in line for the throne?

One did it very gently. The shrieks were not too intolerable, with cotton firmly wedged into the ears. And once the Lady Felicia had done with her fit, we proceeded as a pair to impart the news to young Penelope. Oh, the tears! Oh, the weeping! Fortunately, the Lady Felicia and young Penelope lent one their handkerchiefs, so one could regain one's composure.

Oh, how one rues the day when young Penelope Windsor-Smythe's parents met their eternal fate in the guise of a runaway Tandoori Take-Away pedal cart! For surely, looking down from heaven, they, too, would weep for the child. One must count one's blessings, however. Had it not been for the Royal Fish Finger Fright, which 'took out' more than a dozen of the strychnine-intolerant royal family, young Penelope would now be languishing in the one-hundred and five range, and totally ineligible for any sort of decent marriage.

Sadly, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: A Very Good Queen Indeed

Monarchist writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

It is with great trepidation that I write to such a great statesman as yourself, but I have seen news of recent that causes me much consternation since it seems at odds with information that your good self provides.

I speak of recent news where Princess Margaret has her first grandchild and who ranks higher in line to the throne than your youthful ward. However, I note in your correspondence that Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe is still seventieth in line. [Note from Sir Charles: Bah!] Do you foresee future adjustments in the lineage to the throne or will we perhaps see Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe relocated in the list?

Monarchist in Montreal

Sir Charles replies:

Dear Sirrah or Madam:

One hopes the correspondent is thoroughly happy, now. There is a lump on young Penelope Windsor-Smythe's forehead (she is a sensitive lass, and fainted upon hearing the news, having extremely delicate sensibilities despite being only ninetieth in line for the throne of the British Empire) with 'Montreal' written all over it.

Disgustedly, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Enlightened writes:

Having happened upon thy most eloquent and, indeed, witty epistles, I and my colleague have determined to embark upon a Quixotic quest: namely, to provide a similar font of enlightenment to educate the heathen commoners among whom we have been forced to dwell.

Naturally, we cannot hope to produce sparkling snippets of wisdom to rival the likes of thine own [Note from Sir Charles: How true, how true!], nor might we reasonably expect the locals here within "The Colonies" to grasp the sterling truths behind thy divinely-inspired musings. Nevertheless, since it is our God-given duty to teach the ignorant, we do greatly desire to know they words of advice upon this matter.

Your obedient servants.
Enlightened Among Heathens

Sir Charles replies:

Sirrahs or Mesdames:

Ah, what a delicate undertaking you have undertaken to undertake. For not only must an 'agony columnist' command the rich nuances of the English language with an iron hand and a flourishing flourish of style and subtlety, but he must also be a geographer--a geographer of the human heart.

Oh yes! One must aspire to the universal truths that apply to all men and women, from high to low, from weak to strong. One considers oneself much like Shakespeare (as written by Sir Francis Bacon) in this respect; each morsel of good advice is a masterpiece unto itself, its resonance echoing throughout the ages. Excuse one. One must daub away a tear from the eye.

One must be strong, and paternal, and wise. Yet, when one senses that the soul in question is a young lady, delicate of sensibility and comely of frame, one must not be too stern; one must be gentle, even loving, one's words heartening the young woman as she reads, tenderly supporting the young vixen e'en as her corset supports her supple, ample bosom. . . .

Ah. Ahem. Excuse one. One must be level-headed, moderate, at all times, never letting one's impartiality falter. And above all, one must never, never, never insult one's correspondents, unless they really deserve it. (And many do. It is one of the 'perks' of the profession.)

Wish the correspondents the best of luck, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Sinewy Arms And All

Hooked Up writes:

Dear Lady F!

Something horrible has happened! My skinflint husband finally decided to let me get cable, and the cable guy came last week! He was so cute, my jaw hit the floor! I couldn't stop thinking about him, and even though I really wanted to watch a movie on the Lifetime channel, I used my sewing shears to cut the cable so he'd have to come back! He fixed it again, and now I don't know what strategies to employ! What am I doing? I have a loving husband and three kids! Please help!

All Hooked Up in Altoona!

The Lady Felicia replies:

Confused reader,

Oh what a tangled web you weave,
When you use the telly your boredom to relieve.

Had one's reader not seen her spouse as a 'skinflint' (a metaphor which escapes one), but rather as the figurehead of the house, who holds erudition and culture above all, the correspondent would not now be in the conundrum she finds herself.

For surely, a strong, masculine spouse who balks at the introduction of the telly (complete with all its moral bankruptcies), is also one who would encourage those in his charge to frequent the local lending libraries, wherein, one assures one's reader, there are far more eligible and promising gentlemen to be found. One thinks of the renowned libraries scattered around the environs of Fishampton, and the crop of young barristers which can be found therein on a Thursday afternoon, their chiseled jaws clenched as their large tanned hands reach for volumes of juris prudence, the sun glinting through the venerable stained glass windows through the hush, to reflect off their well-coiffed auburn waves and the fine hair that speckles their sinewy forearms. . . . but one digresses.

One suggests one's reader forego the wit-dulling cosmic rays from her telly, and make a pilgrimage to the local lending library. One never knows what insights await within.

Calling for the car to be brought about,
One serenely remains,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

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