Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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7 June, 1996

During the many months that one has invested in this exercise of educative supreme good taste, one has always used one principle as sextant, beneath the myriad stars of wisdom by which one steers. Oh yes! On one's personal craft, H.M.S. Bon Advice, this one guiding light has kept one's hull from cracking upon the Coral Reef of Irrelevance; it has kept the vessel from floundering in the Shallow Waters of Self-Indulgence; it has kept one's sails filled with the sweet winds of inspiration, and one's rudder unencrusted of the Barnacles of Bolshevikism. And what is this principle, this motto to which one adheres unswervingly? Why, simply put: One sticks to the point!

One's readers (and one has it upon infallible authority that were they each actually to turn their thoughts momentarily to personal hygiene--a Herculean effort for some, one will admit--and tame their coiffures with a single spritz of Dame Gregory's Aerosol Hair Pomade, the resulting hole in the ozone layer over Australia would be sufficient to fry to a crisp each and every barbecued-shrimp eating, sun-worshipping, body-flaunting southern ruffian . . . a prospect that does, upon reflection, have a certain appeal!) know all too well that one's judgment, once rendered, is impeccable. They know that one is firm and logical, and never swayed by such trivial considerations as wealth, beauty, and rank.

Which is why one is ever amused to receive letters such as the following.

Dear Sir Charles,

I don't get it.


Were one to succumb to the dangerous lure of testiness, one would shortly retort that indeed, one is certain it is not the only thing the correspondent doesn't get. But one is generous. One is forgiving. One will not say any such thing. One will merely post the letter in one's preamble for all to ridicule privately, as they wish. 'Tis the kindest thing, really.

Where was one? Ah yes. One sticks to the point! One was having a conversation with one's ward, young Penelope Windsor-Smythe, upon this very subject recently. (And if one has not reminded one's readers of this pertinent fact in recent weeks--for one does not care for braggadocio--one will remind them now that young Penelope is ninetieth in line for the British throne.) "Young Penelope," one said. "As ninetieth in line for succession, your judgment is unerring. Would you say that one is direct and to the point?"

The young miss smiled, and with her natural regality (mistaken by some as disdain) replied, "There are many things that one would say about you, Papa. Indeed, the servants have much to say about you, all the time." One blushed, to be so well-regarded.

Yes, one sticks to the point! One despises these so called 'journalists' who ramble on, seemingly in love with the sound of their literary voice, stringing together sentence after sentence with only the benefit of the most tenuous of punctuation, gabbling on and on about something or another until one's head begins to spin. Worse yet are those who feel the necessity to lard their discourse with examples from private life.

A personal anecdote will illustrate the previous point. During the past week, one mistakenly received the impression that one's wife, the Lady Felicia, had become, as they say, With Child. En famille. Enciente. 'Twas a mistake, one assures one's readers. She had been eating cabbage. One bethought it so uncharacteristic a craving, that no other conclusion could be drawn. Oh, one is aware that in order for the Lady Felicia to bear one an heir, she would have to be int-m-ate with one. And there is no chance of that! But one was willing to overlook that small requirement, as the Virgin Mary seemed to have bypassed it completely. And she wore (and one asks delicate ladies to sit down, here. . . .) sandals!

The Lady Felicia was mortified, of course, at one's assumptions, and said sternly, "One hopes that this latest folly of yours will not be fodder for your literary hobby this week." One meekly reassured her that they would not, for one despises a man who would share such an intimate, private affair with the world in column read by so many.

Which brings one back to one's point . . . ah, what was it, again?

As ever, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Sirrah, Wouldst Thou Clutch My Stick for the Nonce?

Expatriate in Edsel writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

Like yourself, I am a native of British soil. My childhood was spent among the hedgerows of the countryside, reading the Great Poets . . . Milton, Wordsworth, and Shelley.

Alas, my profession has required I uproot myself from my beloved England and move to a place . . . well, if it is not exactly forsaken by Our Lord and Master, he has at least neglected it for a few millennia. The better to attend to our glorious homeland, one presumes.

I have not been long in the States, and although my son and daughter have acclimated themselves like the proverbial fish to water, I am still unclear as to some of the local customs. The chocolate pastry named Ho-Ho, for example. What is so dashedly funny about it?

My real question, however, revolves around my son. He wishes to take up a sport called 'baseball'. What is it? Why is it so base? I have asked him if there is such a sport as 'well-bredball', but he only rolls his eyes and drawls "Craaaaaazy, pops!"

I must have an answer from a man of sense.

Expatriate in Edsel (Utah)

Sir Charles replies:


One understands your confusion. Even after two hundred years, it is difficult for a true gentleman to paddle in the shallow puddles of Colonial culture without expressing disgust at the flotsam, jetsam, and occasional toxic waste that pollute these backwaters.

One does, however, know something of the sport of 'baseball'. Miss Anita Manceau-Baddeley, the dazzling and Amazonian actress friend of one's nephew, Chauncey, once told one that she once had a beau who indulged in the sport. (And one's readers will recall that Miss Manceau-Baddeley's impression of the 'Barbarous Trysand' is without parallel . . . how vividly one can recall her Adam's apple bobbing in the spotlight as she sang that lovely song, 'People Who Need Peepholes'!) Professionally, in fact. One believes he was associated with the 'Green Bay Slackers' or the 'Baltimore Oreos' or some such organization.

At any rate, the game is played with a large 'diamond'--news that excited the Lady Felicia considerably. However, our hopes for a new sport to liven our summer afternoons were dampened when the ravishing Anita informed us that once the player had the diamond, he must spit tobacco, scratch his nether regions, and throw his balls as hard and far as he can.

The Lady Felicia had to be revived with smelling salts.

Advising strongly against the sport, for the sake of the gentleman's future bloodlines, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: But Where Are Her Dogs?

Curious American writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I've been seeing an awful lot about the British Royals in the papers lately. We don't seem to get that RoyaltyWatch! magazine you're always talking about here, so I've never seen a picture of your family, but that Diana and Charles and that Fergie always seem to be up to something!

Is it so tough to be royalty? You'd think with all that money and fame they'd be happy as clams in their . . . well, happy clam things.

Curious American

Sir Charles replies:


One is not royalty oneself, of course. One is a baronet . . . a title guaranteed to evoke a thrilling quiver in the hearts of every true British denizen. One's ward, young Penelope Windsor-Smythe, is of course ninetieth in line for the throne, and thus one of the 'young royals' one hears so much about. But her upbringing in the heart of the countryside, far away from the immoralities and carnalities of the cities, far away from the sophisticated 'cocktail' parties and West End 'musicals' that have reduced the brains of many young royals to mush, far away from the runaway Tandoori Takeaway Palace carts that claimed the lives of her parents--yes, this has kept her innocent and pure.

A most coincidental occurrence ensures that one is ably prepared to answer this very question, however. Last night, following dinner, one discovered the Lady Felicia perusing a volume in the library with the curious title of Princess Bitch! by the authoress Jacquie St. Jude. For a moment, one thought by the garish paper cover that one's lady wife was reading . . . and one must fan oneself at the outrageous thought . . . a novel. But the Lady Felicia coolly assured one that the volume in question was a most serious and earnest biography, and offered to lend it to one.

And oh, as one learned between the hours of ten-thirty at night and five in the morning, it is indeed difficult to grow up a Royal. For Eleanora--the heroine of the biography--is indeed, as the back cover proclaims, "trapped between two blazing, wanton loves . . . the love of a rough-edged masculine commoner, and a love for her country!" Oh! Sirrah! One cannot express the sorrows that this young princess (of the country 'Genovana' . . . no doubt one of those Balkan territories) experienced at such a tender age. Her parents murdered! Her governess cruel! The Pretender to the Throne . . . lustful and depraved! One was in tears upon reading the gripping account of her flight from a pack of ravaging wolves across the icy tundra in an attempt to catch the Last Train to Paris! How she triumphed in the end, summoning a steely core and an icy exterior that no man could touch as she ascended to her right place upon the throne! And oh, how she ached, inwardly, for the one man who could melt the ice that had imprisoned her! Had not one's lady wife assured one that all the events were factual, one would have sworn one was reading (and one must fan oneself again at the notion) fiction!

One has requested that Whiting and Whiting, Ltd., the Fishampton booksellers' establishment, order the sequel to the biography, Queen Bitch!. One has also instructed one's secretary to establish tentative diplomatic contact with Queen Eleanora of Genovana immediately. It is never too late to become an ambassador.

As ever, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Darnice writes:

Dear Penelope:

Why don't you like this Colin fellow any more? He sounds dreamy. And a knight, too. He doesn't have to wear that suit of armor all the time, you know!

If you really don't want him, are you interested in a trade? My Buddy is only slightly worn, mostly house trained, and I think it would only take maybe two-three months for him to work off that spare tire, if he'd get off that lazy butt of his. He still has some hair left, too (on his shoulders, that is, hah-hah!).

Let me know if you want to give old Buddy a test drive!

Your friend,
Darnice Wills, Hamburg, N.Y., U.S. of A.

Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe replies:

Dear Darnice Wills:

One would like to thank you for the kind offer of your family's motor vehicle, but it would not be proper for one to accept such a gift. Indeed, if one were to accept all the gifts one has been so liberally offered these past few weeks, one's tender frame would surely peak in exhaustion!

Further, one could not possibly barter Colin for a previously owned vehicle, c'est pas comme il faut . . . unless your family vehicle is a vintage luxury model along the sleek lines of a 1932 Rolls roadster? For only last week, one's milksop would-be suitor, Percy, crashed one's beloved silver convertible into a ditch. Gone are those steamy days and evenings spent driving one's Rolls up and down the bumpy countryside roads, one's hand firmly clutched around the thick stick shift, while one's golden hair whipped untamed in the wild, wild wind!

As for That Other, dear reader, one confesses that as the days pass, one has looked upon the cad with a relenting eye. It is true that the lying ingrate kept secret his true identity, hiding behind the honest anvil of a blacksmith. It is true that the faithless cad expected one to fall into his muscled arms at the mere evocation of his knighthood. Yet, one cannot ignore (though one has admittedly tried--it is difficult when Papa has given him the suite next door), the way the golden, afternoon sun caresses his honey tanned skin as he plays cricket upon the green, nor can one ignore his sunkissed brown hair, teased and caressed by the gentle wind, which in itself cannot possibly cool the ardour of his brooding, brooding, brooding dark eyes . . . !

Yes, perhaps one will permit Colin to court one once again. And one's mechanic does assure one that the Rolls will be ready by the weekend. (That blasted Percy!)

Thinking of the possibilities, one remains
Penelope Windsor-Smythe

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