Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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14 June, 1996

As one stated oh-so-succinctly last week--and is it not true that once one has said a thing, it hardly needs to be repeated? But one has one's dull-witted readers, so one plays it safe with a subtle reminder such as this--one despises writers who lard their weekly essays with personal stories. But let us be frank. One's own family is ever so much more interesting than anyone else's, especially one's readers (who are reportedly so many in number that were they all to indulge in a chocolate Cadbury flake with the extreme vigour they invest in reading one's own prose, the purses of dentists and launderers world-wide would suddenly be heavy with coin).

It is with trepidation that one approaches the topic of this week's preamble, for one knows how much one's readers (the caries-suffering lot of them) adore, worship, and admire one's ward, young Penelope Windsor-Smythe. And rightly so! For although one despises those snobs who seek to impress with their alleged 'high connections' to the glitterati of Great Britain, one must confess that young Penelope is ninetieth in line for the throne. Has one mentioned this fascinating fact before? One thought not.

One will proceed with one's tale, then, shocking as it is. Ladies, please be seated. One refuses to be responsible for any injuries incurred while reading the following distressing events in a standing position.

'Twas Tuesday of this week. The Lady Felicia was out at the Fishampton Lending Library, where she presides over quite an intellectual circle with several of the young barristers-to-be studying at the Fishampton College of Law and Greengrocery. One had been polishing one's secret collection of ancient Indian brass spittoons (note to Chatsy: You are a marvel, my dear, an absolute marvel! One had thought them permanently lost!) in the deserted wine cellar, and was returning to the manor proper by way of the stable cinder path, when one saw young Penelope waving and flailing over the shoulder of Percy Prudhomme, nephew to Eunice, Duchess of Crabbe.

One admits that one thought one heard her screeching the words 'Help! Help!' and 'Murder! Murder!', but at the time one gave it no thought. Why should one? Young Penelope is as fond of fun as is the next person in line of succession. After all, how many times did one find the young minx playfully bouncing on the laps of the stablehands, as a child? So one waved heartily as Percy trundled her into the boot of her silver Rolls convertible, closed it upon her, and drove off. One returned to the library to peruse a particularly lively collection of ancient erotic Persian engravings (purely for historical interest).

It was not until the next morning, when one noticed that young Penelope had not descended from her chambers to partake of the morning meal, that one suspected something was awry. Young Penelope never misses breakfast. She is most fond of sausages. One mentioned the curious circumstances of Penelope's departure to the Lady Felicia and young Penelope's swain, Colin Bates (the former blackguard blacksmith of Bath). Young Colin jumped up suddenly, shouting, 'Dash it all! She has been kidnapped!' and ran off in search of his beloved. Had one not been particularly enraptured by one's exquisitely smoked kippers, one might have cheered.

Readers, one will not belabour one's description of the anxious hours that followed. The Lady Felicia was as tense as any worried mother, and several times was quite peevish with one. (One believed at one point that she had employed the invective, 'Stupid old git', but as one's ears were ringing from the boxing she had given them, one might have been mistaken.) The maternal instinct in action.

When dusk approached, the silver Rolls careened down the drive to Blandsdown once more. Young Colin held the wheel with one masculine hand, the other arm of burnished muscle clinging tightly to--and one's heart gave an anxious start--none other than young Penelope! Returned to the bosom of her family once more!

One shudders to think of the terrible ritual to which Percy had subjected the lass. One never knew that this eldest scion of the House of Crabbe could be so Diabolical, so calculatedly Evil--a handservant of Satan himself! Yes, Readers, the cad took the girl and forced her . . . one must take a deep breath to finish the sentence. . . .forced her to attend a meeting of the Labour Party. The physician has given her a healing draught to erase the wicked memories. Yet we were pleased to see the grateful eyes she turned to her saviour, young Colin. . . .

Of course, the Duchess of Crabbe has taken steps to disinherit that swine, Percy. Sir Colin will inherit in his stead. Young Penelope is returned to us. And as for oneself . . . well, the black eye the Lady Felicia administered to one will heal. One hopes.

Calling for a steak to use as a cold compress, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Stick Another Nickel In? Ones Sticks Nothing!

Not Yet Rich writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I imagine that you have buckets of cash, and, undoubtably, your funds grow daily, due to your keen financial sense. I too, would like to one day have no money-worries, and so was wondering. Do you find your best investments to be in CD's? Or IRA's? I've only got a few hundred to play with right now, but I may have closer to a thousand dollars by year end.

Not Yet Rich in Richmond

Sir Charles replies:


One's gramophone recently 'bit the dust', as the patois goes (though one hardly understands how the ingestion of dirt particles at all relates to an unfortunate incident involving waxed Elizabethan planks, an ancient Indian brass spittoon, and one's priceless Victrola), and to one's surprise, one discovered that the 'wind-up' models are no longer made.

So one had the help recently install the latest sound system in the burgundy study, and has found that the sound of a 'CD' is quite tolerable to the ears. Furthermore, a firm education in classical music, such as one's indisputable own--and what could delight the ear more than an opera by Chopin, or Bock's 'Brandenberger' Concertos?--is a first step on the ladder to success. Invest freely in the 'CD', lad!

But as to the IRA! How dare the correspondent mention that spud-addicted organization to a peer of Great Britain! One will excuse it as a youthful indiscretion. But any more such traitorous nonsense, and begone with you!

Soothing one's soul with the immortal refrains of Mendeleev's 'Songs Without Words', one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Confused writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

Hi. I have a problem.

I am a 25 year old married lesbian with a child. I am involved with another lesbian, who is my lover, who I just found out is engaged to her platonic girlfriend (who has a boyfriend of 2 years).

Should I continue this relationship??!!


Sir Charles replies:


Ah, the theatrical profession! One admires it immoderately. One thinks of the famous lesbian Sarah Bernhardt. Her Queen Mary! Her Hamlet! What divinity! One thinks of other famous actors who have plied their lesbic arts throughout the ages: Keane! Cibber! And of course, the greatest lesbian ever to write for the stage . . . Britain's own Shakespeare (as written by Sir Francis Bacon)!

But madam, however much one admires the theatrical arts, one has no interest whatsoever in the lives of the players who produce it. They are known to breed like rabbits and indulge in any number of vices . . . not excluding strong drink! One is not an agony columnist, madam. Off with you, now. Off with you.

Feeling slightly begrimed at this near-brush with theatrical sorts, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Hell Hat No Fury

Amanda writes:

Dear Lady Felicia,

I have come to realize that I am in need of advice from an older woman. Therefore, I have set about to write you this letter.

A year ago, I fell in love with a bright, witty boy at my school. I, not wanting to seem unladylike, told my friend of this matter. I asked her to judge with her eye and see if the gentleman had a kind eye to me too. Instead of being a good friend, she went and told him all about my heavy problem. The man, instead of being flattered, made jest of my heart.

I have forgiven my friend since, but the gnawing thought comes to my mind that perhaps this was a grievous error on my part. Plus, the man will not tolerate my presence anymore and I am still deeply in love with him. Can you help me?

The Lady Felicia replies:

My Dear Miss Wesley,

After reading your most poignant letter, this thought came to mind: Herein lies the opportunity for the cad (and the most un-ladylike lady friend) to discover the truths in the maxim "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned".

It is not entirely true, my dear, what one's mother whispered in your ear the night when one discovered what it truly mean to Be A Lady. (And one here refers not to one's wedding night, when one finally is allowed to dress in one's luxurious trousseau and to lay one's cheek upon the damask pillowcases embroidered with the legend, 'Lady Grandiose'.) Contrary to what she may have told you, a Lady is not always gentle and pliant. A Lady is not always made to be bent, or broken.

One has been perusing several 'biographies' of late (and, woman to woman, one thinks you know the sorts of 'biographies' one means . . . those written by such 'biographers' as Jackie Collins and Jacquie St. Jude and Jude Devereaux and Rose Jacquilenne). Do the women in these romanc. . . . that is, do the subjects of these considered and well-documented biographies remain down at heart when thwarted? Does Eleanora of Genovana, sublime heroine of Princess Bitch, wilt when the Duchess of Little Humpstead steals her Clodrick? Nay! She fights back, and with a vengeance!

In the event that Miss Wesley lacks the resources of clever Eleanora, however, and is unable to find a handy Venetian expert in undetectable poisons, one can lend her the address of the establishment 'Dung-B-Gon', which has proudly disposed of barnyard waste products in 'appropriate venues', shall we say, within the greater Fishampton metropolitan area for more than thirteen years.

Serenely, one remains,
Lady Felicia Grandiose.

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