Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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19 July, 1996

True, one remembers a number of kisses from one's youth--from the chaste planting of one's baby lips upon one's mother's cheeks, to the curiously exciting make-up kiss from Nurse after she had roundly spanked one's naughty self, to kisses stolen from the milkmaids in the fevers of burgeoning boyhood. And equally true, one is always fond of instructing others, or of using one's verbal aptitude to disseminate useful information and to perpetuate order. Yet one has ne'er combined the two. That is, one has never been the sort of fellow to, as it is rudely put, 'kiss and tell'.

It is because one is a staunch adherent to one's high moral principles that one will not be devoting this particular portion of one's weekly exercise in good breeding and taste to sordid memories that verge on the libellous. Indeed not. And one will stand firm, despite the pleadings of one's readers (who, if they were all to write at once, would so overburden Mr. Arbuthnot, the town's sole postal carrier, that his bunions would swell to the size of yams, and the town would have to hear about it for years afterwards--and trust one, we all endure tales enough of them already), which have arrived by the dozens this last week. Typically, they read:

Dear Sir Charles!

Give us the dirt on you and Miss Manners! Why the feud? Why do you call her Miss 'Born in a Barn'? Are you jealous of her success? C'mon, give us the whole scoop!

Thoroughly Nosy Reader

No, one will not stoop to so low a level as to even dignify the assertion that there is a 'feud' between oneself and that capricious minx whose pretensions to good breeding are so wispy as to make her 'birthday suit' seem amply dressy in comparison. Nor will one ask one's readers (the teeming legions of them) to indulge one while one tells a story. For one has no intention of telling any story whatsoever.

And if one were to tell a story, it would certainly not be of a summer some twenty-odd years ago, when one hosted at Blandsdown a young girl from the colonies, the friend of one's distant cousin. And if one were to be telling the tale, one would of course protect her privacy by referring to her as Miss M____.

Picture: The Odious Miss M____!Oh, how Miss M_____ came tripping into the yellow parlour that morning of her arrival, carrying her own valise and wearing dungarees and a variety of footwear known, one believes, as the 'sandull.' "Hiya!" she exclaimed with a vulgar American accent (one realizes the two adjectives are redundant, thank you very much). Without warning, she grabbed our hands and shook them vigorously, flopped down upon the Louis Quinze divan and put her feet upon the serving table, helped herself to the sugared violets, and then spat them out into the Lady Felicia's hall-full hand-painted Spode teacup with a cry of 'Man, what the h--- is that c---?!' One looked at the Lady Felicia (who was having palpitations and taking quick sniffs from her sal volatile) and knew one had a problem on one's hands.

But oh, one will not tell of how torturous one's summer was with young Miss M____ as a guest. It would be impolite, for example, to mention how she attempted to 'democratize' the servants and to organize a game of 'beach blanket bongo' at the quarry with the local gentry. It would shed a scurrilous light upon a lady's character to mention that she caused scandals by asking men to dance at the Lady Felicia's Midsummer Madness Moonlight Ball, instead of waiting politely for an invitation. And oh, one would shudder to think what would happen if word got out of Miss M____'s unbreakable habit of . . . well, let us say politely, her habit of excavating for stalactites in the twin caverns of Nosthiryl. (For one's denser readers, one merely states that one is not talking about a tourist attraction in Kent.)

But jealous? Jealous of one whose every mannerism, whose very demeanour betrays her common and base breeding? Jealous of one who slyly watched the Lady Felicia and oneself, aped our good manners, and then hoodwinked her countrymen to build her own personal empire? Jealous of one who actively seeks publicity for her writings and her appearances upon the 'telly'? One would as soon be jealous of a parrot who could recite all of 'The Wreck of the Hesperus.'

But one will not speak of this Miss M____ in this column, for the simple fact that one does not wish to malign a lady. In fact, one has in mind a little 'giftie' for her garden. But it would be a pity were the vial of five thousand Snapping Red African Ants to break during its overseas shipping. . . .

Generous and thoughtful as always, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: A Good Man Is Hard To Find

Mr. Moon writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

As you will know, one often finds that the best word to use, the mot juste as it were, is one derived from another tongue. It displays such savoire faire to borrow linguistic gems from other cultures.

But I wonder whether it is taking things too far to include American terms in one's vocabulary. Is it appropriate to describe one's butler as a swell guy?

Je vous embrace.

Mr. P. Moon

Sir Charles replies:


Ah, the colonies. One very nearly understands the attraction they have for quaint old-worlders such as ourselves. After all, what is more irresistible than the latest movie from the States, bathed in a scarlet wash of gore and blood, as Mr. Sylvester Schwartzengogger dispatches ballistic missiles from automatic weapons into a sea of innocent bystanders? What can sparkle more brightly than the latest series imported to Channel Four featuring a clan of pretty Californians whose never-ending chains of relentless inter-apartmental adulteries and affairs make the inbreeding in the royal family seem positively haphazard and carefree in comparison? How can the letters and literature of this green and pleasant land compete with such pleasant novelty?

But this is most likely of no interest whatsoever to the correspondent, who, no doubt, desires an answer to his question. Luckily, there is a rather short answer that one can provide to it. It follows.


With that off one's chest, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Lumberjack writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I'm a lumberjack. I've been one for nearly 20 years and never had a bit of trouble with my wood.

But last week I heard an interesting question: If a tree falls in the woods and there's no one around to hear it does it make a sound? This question has inhabited my every thought, I can't sleep, I can't eat, I can't cut down trees and load them on to big trucks. I need to know the answer and I thought who better to ask than the scholarly Sir Charles himself. If you can tell me the answer I will be a much happier man.

Sir Charles replies:

Dear Commoner,

How reassuring it is to know that while many of the great problems of the planet remain unsolved--specifically, world hunger, war between nations, and that pesky 'Ask Ivana' column in the American tabloids--how reassuring it is to know that the little minds of the world are working away upon problems just outside the range of their minute capabilities.

Tell one: When the winter winds whistle through your ears, is there room in your skull to chill a 'can of beer' beside the walnut-sized lump that is your cerebellum? How handy for you!

Hoping to hear from the correspondent again soon (one is jesting, of course), one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, I Swear My Husband Looks Like A Sheep

Rochelle writes:

Dearest Lady Felicia,

I have a very unique problem. I am twenty-nine years of age and still a virgin. I am afraid to have sex. Please help me overcome my fear.


The Lady Felicia replies:

My dear girl,

Your letter reminded one very much of a similar missive, received several months back:

Dear Lady Felicia,

Sometimes I just lie awake at night unable to sleep, worrying and bucking the sheets around. What if a meteor strikes the earth while I sleep? What if I have a cancer? What if tomorrow is my last day on earth? What if my husband gets the boys in the divorce? What if they grow up and have his ears and teeth and none of my fashion sense? What if he takes my title away? What if mum-in-law refuses to let me visit at Christmas? What if my husband's in the next bedchamber right that minute calling that C-m-lla bitch again? Why couldn't he want to be my tampon, dash it all? I gave him the best years of my life! Oo, I could kill him!

Bucked Out in Buckingham

And to you one gives the same advice that one gave the princess. . . one means, as one gave to 'Bucked Out.'

As a women of character, it is incumbent upon you not to worry over those things which may never occur in your lifetime. Think of the damage even one fretful thought can do to a smooth and unlined forehead over the span of a generation.

Serenely, one remains,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

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