Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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10 May, 1996

One's secretary, the dissipated sot of a creature that one has employed solely out of the kindness of one's heart (and it is a kind heart, one fancies . . . perhaps too kind) this week placed a trunk call to Blandsdown with reversed charges that will surely be the ruin of one, claiming that some diversion would force him to neglect his duties for the week. A funeral, or some such rot. As if the addle-witted lad knows anyone worth burying. One suspects the mealy-mouthed boy of 'playing hookah,' as they say.

At any rate, knowing that the one thin guinea one gives him a week is but the only thing keeping the lad from 'the dole', one gave him a stern lecture on the necessity of hard labour, of keeping one's chin to the waterwheel, of squaring one's shoulders and wiping the sweat from one's brow deep in the salt mines. It was a grand speech, a noble speech . . . . and what did the wretch do? When one had concluded one's orations, some minutes later, one heard a not-so-gentle snoring at the other end of the line! At least disconnecting would have saved one the grievous expense!

In stead of fresh letters this week, then, from one's readers (the teeming masses of them), one will share more of one's favourite moments from past months. One advises one's readers sternly to give one's secretary The Cut Direct, should they see him in the street. Although one suspects that one's readers would have better taste than to frequent those sorts of avenues.

Thoroughly disgusted, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: If Music Be the Food of Love . . .

Songless writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

Please help me with a most delicate trouble. I belong to a most auspicious vocal ensemble, and our performances are met with great critical acclaim. Our problem is the Gentleman Friend of one of the ensemble, who insists on reading the trashiest of literature, snoring, and occasionally making bodily sounds, whilst the concerts are underway! It is most distracting to those of us performing. Why, one of the altos burst out into tears when he began reading Jacqueline Susann during our (if I must say) exquisite performance of the Lachrymosa!

Short of trussing the fellow up in an old corset, (which has been put forward as a solution) what shall we do?

Songless in Southmeadington

Sir Charles replies:

Such vile rudeness is today commonplace in public assemblies. Where in the past one could attend an artistic event certain of three things (a decent box, tolerable entertainment, and a fine cheroot and a glass of port during the intermission), one today must cope with patrons talking during the performance, toe-tapping, and worst of all, the inevitable crinkling of the peppermint wrapper.

In order to return to the glorious days when concerts were attended only by lovers of Art and Culture, and not by odious vulgarians intent upon their own satisfaction at the expense of others, we must make examples of these loathsome creatures. One suggests stopping the performance immediately, marching forward to the chair where the Friend (one refuses to employ the word 'Gentleman' in an instance where that quality is so obviously lacking) sits, and denouncing him on the spot.

As one is aware that few are as technically skilled as oneself in the art of denunciation, one offers several phrases that may be handily committed to memory and employed in the heat of the moment:

  • "Detestable blackguard! Away with you and your senseless idiocies! Away, say I!"
  • "Faugh! Repugnant debaser! He who would befoul and deflower the delicate Muses themselves! Begone!"
  • "Degenerate son of a thousand impure women! One movement, one motion, one more turn of the page, and the shame will be yours, sirrah, the shame will be yours!"
One is certain that one or more of these phrases will convince the miscreant to take his misdeeds elsewhere . . . to the concerts of a rival chorus, perhaps? One can only hope.

Wishing one luck, one remains,
Sir Charles

Bewildered Beauty writes:

Dear Lady Felicia,

What do you think of these new alpha hydroxide creams? I am toying with the idea of buying a jar or two (one for day and one for nighttime), but there are so many different types out there! For example, there are chemical creams and natural creams which are made out of the same acids as those found in fruit and milk. What do you think? Are there any you endorse? And what about those eye gels with lipsomes in them? Do you think I could use those on my lips like that beauty article suggested or should I just use them on my eyes?

Bewildered Beauty

The Lady Felicia replies:

Gentle Reader,

While this author finds no need for chemical enhancements to her own beauty regimen, she recognizes that not all people were born with the gentried skin. To that end she would suggest the following: If one must augment one's visage, one should do so only at the hands of the most highly skilled facial experts, who are to be found at Spa La Visage in the Alps (this author knows for a fact that certain members of the upper crust, namely Princess S--- and Ladies A---, R---, and P---, swear by this treatment). Under no circumstances should one try either self-application, OR any product or service rendered in the colonies, as one knows that Americans are single-minded when it comes to the possibility of making a profit at the expense of good taste.

This author highly recommends that one think first of attempting to remedy any of the tiniest signs of the approach of Dame Age by her tried and true method: rinsing with Evian water, and applying either moss green shadow (for every day), or peacock blue shadow (for evening).

Also remember that the eyes of others will be drawn away from any tiny lines by a multi-stranded pearl choker with 3 carat sapphire drops, OR by any tiara of more than 10 carats.

Serenely yours,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

Picture: A Winning Hand?

Lori writes:

Dear Sir Charles:

Tell me, in the game of "strip poker", can the participants "take off" jewelry as part of their loss or is it restricted to articles of clothing?


Princess Lori

Sir Charles replies:


One was somewhat aware that 'poker' was one of a number of vulgar card wagering games popular in the colonies, but one confesses a total apathy in learning more.

Out of a sober sense of duty, however, one traversed the halls of Blandsdown, questioning the scullerymaids and the footmen, the parlourmaids and the servingmaids, the stable boys and the boot boys alike. These dull minds could produce no answer for one's correspondent.

However, one received the answer from the Lady Felicia, she whose mind outshines all others of her sex. How lax of one not to have first asked the question of this paragon of feminine education and propriety! She blushingly assured one that in the 'strip' poker, one might wager one's jewelry if the gemstones have been certified by a qualified jeweler, and if the gold is eighteen carats or more. Like any true, modest wife, she did not attempt to bore one with the dull details of the sport. Such consideration! Such natural reticence! Such is the Lady Felicia. One thinks one will keep her.

Sincerely hoping that the correspondent will not again indulge in four exclamation points when one will do, if that, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Some Troubles Are Too Heavy For One To Bear

Worried writes:

Dear Lady Felicia,

I write in confidence, as my physician has just informed me that I have contracted a 'social disease'. I do not know whether I received it from my husband (there is some 'concern' on this point, yet I will not elucidate), but it is more than possible that I have transmitted it to him by now. Whatever shall I do?

Worried in Worcester

The Lady Felicia replies:

Constance! How lovely to hear from you after all these years. (For the benefit of one's audience, Lady Constance Chatterley (nee Highmen), wife of Lord Chatterley of Tynedale. Lady Constance was a schoolmate of this author during fondly remembered years at Miss Beatrice's Finishing School for the Frightfully High-Born.)

My dear, and I use that phrase with a feeling approaching sincerity, one has found over the years that unless one's physician lists Harley Street as his address, his diagnoses are often at fault. And certainly a physician, regardless of his address, is in no position to judge a lady (especially of your calibre) as to the quality of her manners.

A pox on the diagnosis, I say! While one's social manners can fall into a decline, if allowed to, the manners of the aristocracy can never be said to be 'diseased'. One has always looked with approval upon the bearing and public conduct of one's correspondent, and those of her spouse, and can imagine no situation in which this 'social disease' of poor manners (though one wonders what gaffe would lead a mere physician to speak so bluntly) could be transmitted from spouse to spouse in well-bred circles.

Do not give it a second thought, dear Constance. Hold your head up high, seek refuge often in the tender embraces of your husband, and this will pass.

Lady Felicia Grandiose

Picture: Who, Indeed?Wondering writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

Who put the bomp in the bomp-bomp-bomp-sh-bomp? Who put the ram in the ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong? Who put the dip in the dip-di-dip-di-dip? Who is that man--I'd like to shake his hand. He made my baby fall in love with me.


Sir Charles replies:


Some garlicky Frenchman, most likely, from the sound of it.

Dismissively, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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