Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

The Library | Write to Sir Charles | Cast of Characters | Credits | This Week

2 August, 1996

Normally, one of the social functions most highly anticipated by the Family Grandiose each year is the Duchess of Yverness's Hampshire Beehives Royal Jelly Honey Tasting Fete. This sumptuous event, capped by cream tea and a cricket match on the 'back forty', and accompanied by pleasant rounds of wagers on which player will be the first stung by the Duchess's yellow and black-striped honeybees, never fails to enchant.

Picture: Dicky Is DismayedThe placid progression of one's week towards this ultimate consummation of summer teas was rudely interrupted this week by a most unfortunate incident on the motorway, however. The Lady Felicia and oneself were safely ensconced in the back of the Rolls, enjoying the quiet sights of the countryside, as Dicky drove us to the Duchess's summer estate of Floravera, when from nowhere, a sporty 'convertible' whizzed by at the outrageous speed of fully forty miles an hour! The Rolls instantly punctured a tyre. The driver of the vehicle passed us dangerously in the right hand lane, darted in front of the Rolls, decelerated so that we nearly collided with him, and then sped off at a high rate of speed leaving invective and a spray of gravel in his wake. And oh! What rude gestures! (One had no idea that the Lady Felicia knew quite so many of them.)

Naturally, one was quite unnerved at this appalling display of bad manners and poor roadsmanship. Such things may be common on the M-1, but they are not done in this part of the country. At least, they were not done, and should not be done. But distressingly, one has observed more unpleasantries upon the motorway of late than ever before; it would appear that, trapped in their small motors and forced to drive for themselves, increasing numbers of the populace are venting their petty frustrations upon the roads.

It is thus, readers (and one has it upon the greatest of authorities that one's readership is so deep, so vast, and so wide, that the very Pacific Ocean is but a thimbleful of eyewash in comparison), that we have upon our highways and byways the speeders. The lane-changers. The swerving cars. The motorists who choose their turns at the last possible moment and cut across multiple lanes in order to reach it. The motorists who ignore signs and markings altogether to do whatever in blazes they please. And if one is observing such disregard for law and life in one's own civilized country, one can only imagine the rampant hooliganism and lawlessness that must exist in the colonies. For it is there, you know, the words 'personal restraint' exist only in the context of leather wrist straps purchased from 'Doc Bach's Catalog of Pleasures' (a publication with which one has only a passing acquaintance, accidentally included as it was with a letter from one's friend Mr. DePue. It was instantly banished to the blazing parlour fire).

But why do we allow these outlaws to persist in their scurvy attempts to make life miserable for everyone? Why is that they feel that the rules that should apply to all do not apply to them?

Readers, one has no answers to these distressing questions. One has no solutions to them. One will do one's part, however, to right these wrongs. Oh no, one does not stoop vindictively. One remains an example of forthright dignity--a display of good breeding and perfect manners. For example, in the hunting blind one has erected by the roadside in order to shoot out the tyres of crazed drivers with one's fouling piece, tea is served in nothing less than the second-best china. When one tosses squibs into speeding convertibles from the treetops, one makes certain to pass out earplugs to the enthusiastic roadside audiences beforehand. And upon those occasions when one's instructive pranks reduce the erring automobiler's vehicle to a pile of smouldering rubble, one always has the servants pull the unconscious victim from the blaze before too many bits are burnt off. One feels 'tis always best, to take the higher road in these things.

Carefully spying upon a motorway near you, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: The Redoubtable Gusty

Lady Rebecca writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

Thank you for graciously answering my last letter so admirably and with such verbosity. Indeed, as I read your rather lengthy response, I found I had more than ample time to think on quite a number of unrelated matters before I was finished reading, one of which being an item I noticed in a tabloid.

Now do not think for a moment that I am the sort to go about idly reading tabloids (though they do have their place, furnishing as they do some slight amusement for the lower classes), but one of the servants happened to leave it about in a most careless manner. It being a hot day and I, finding myself without my fan, naturally picked the paper up, the better to stir the breeze, as it were. As I fanned, an item caught my eye--an item about a certain Augusta Windover-Midden, who had apparently made a rather unfortunate match with someone of bovine-related employment.

Believing this to be the same Augusta Windover-Midden who was involved in an incident at last fall's hunt races, an 'incident' involving her fox-fur neckpiece and my Jack Russell, Snookie, I must once again ask your erudite advice. I shan't bore you with unnecessary details, as you are no doubt a busy man, but this Windover-Midden woman, who--I feel quite sure--deliberately provoked Snookie, would not accept my verbal apologies (which were probably unwarranted on my part, for Snookie was so unnerved by the incident that he finished a dismal third in the terrier races later that day).

I tried to explain as best I could that even if a scar resulted, it would scarcely be noticeable (indeed, her jowls could cover quite a large scar!) and a really talented furrier could salvage enough of her neck-piece to make a pair of--what does one call them?--ear muffins! Since she continued to make quite a nasty scene, I was left with no choice but to immediately vacate my box seat which adjoined hers, so I determined to abandon attempts to reason with her and instead to write her a formal letter of apology, which I am just now getting around to composing.

However, given her rather changed social status, do you think that it is now I--who was unable to see the last two races and whose terrier's racing abilities were severely impaired--who ought to demand a letter of apology from her?

Awaiting your esteemed advice, I remain
Lady Rebecca Martingale-Bridoon

Sir Charles replies:


How pleasant to receive a letter from the civilised and gracious Lady Martingale-Bridoon. One hopes that she enjoyed the gift of gooseberry chutney from the Lady Felicia's private garden.

Far be it for one to utter an opinion on that horrid old bat that is one's mother-in-law, Augusta Windover-Midden. No, one is too neutral and loyal to one's wife ever to speak harshly of that despicable, incontinent, mummified crumply. Therefore, one must sadly decline to render an opinion on the incident with Snookie, though one has no doubt whatsoever that the fault lies entirely with that pig-nosed walnut-brained crumpet-breathed harridan whose grave one will gladly dance upon, should Lucifer ever gain the courage to come collect the mortal soul she no doubt tricked him into buying aeons ago.

One feels 'tis better, this neutrality, to preserve the family peace.

Like Switzerland, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Trapped writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I live far, far away from any civilising influences whatsoever. It is true, I am forced to reside--gasp!--in The Provinces. You can not--or perhaps you can with your delicate sensibilities - imagine what a godsend your stately column is to such a one as me. It fills an enormous hole in my life!

I am writing as I have heard a rumour that has me all atwitter and aglow! Is it true you are considering taking to the airwaves? That your sage advice might soon become available, not only courtesy the Internet, but as close as my radio dial?

Can this possibly be true? Will I, and other loyal fans, be able to thrill to your very own dulcet tones as you sagely cast your invaluable pearls of wit and wisdom before us? It is almost too much to be hoped for?!

Please, Sir Charles, please--is there something, anything I can do to hasten the day when my aural cavities will be vibrating to the enlightening ministrations of your extraordinarily deft (or so I picture it, in my girlish imagination) tongue?

Keep me in suspense no longer--I can barely contain myself in anticipation!

Breathlessly, Trapped in the Provinces

Sir Charles replies:


Yes, 'tis true. Although one has had offers to grace the airwaves with one's erudite observations many a time (specifically, once--but it turned out to be a ploy by one's secretary to meet some strumpet from that DABBA 'musical' rock-in-roll band that has so successfully melted what few brain cells he possessed to begin with into a puddle of warm jelly), one is currently negotiating with a major production company for such a project. One believes they are the people who have brought the stellar talents of Alf, 'Ernest Goes to Camp,' and Punky Brewster to the American peoples. (One is not personally acquainted with these celebrities, but one is assured that much like oneself, they do not pander to the lowest common denominator.) One's readers may expect 'Advice from Sir Charles Grandiose' to emerge like a bell-like note of serenity in a very noisy world from their wireless speakers soon.

On a side note, one warns against libidinously vibrating cavities. One has survived for many a year without vigorous oral vibrations, and one will continue so to do. One advises one's correspondent to do the same.

Sternly, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: A Sturdy Umbrella Is The Best Defense Against Wandering Hands

Lady Amanda writes:

Dear Lady Felicia,

I have a problem. Recently I met a charming gentleman over the Internet who lives in Singapore. I have never seen the man, of course, and I have never seen a picture or heard his voice yet I love him.

I've heard people say this is not safe to do this yet I can't help it. I felt instantly at ease with him. I spend hours talking with him and smiling to myself when we're apart. My heart's at ease and I don't worry quite as much. Is this love or infatuation? I'm I just in love with love? I'm confused and don't know what to do! Maybe you can help, sweet lady. My heart remembers him with every beat.

Yours in faith,
Lady Amanda Wesley the 1st

The Lady Felicia replies:

Lady Amanda,

How good it is to hear from you again. One so admired the evening gown you wore to the Somerset Ball, as photographed in RoyaltyWatch! magazine. Simply exquisite. And the nerve of Princess Anne, to show up in the same dress! Does she not realize that everyone expects her to arrive in pret a porter fashions?

How easy it is to fall in love! A young girl's fancy often sways with the changeable winds, one seems to remember. But Singapore, my dear. Is it not a trifle exotic? Or is the youth a diplomat? An ambassador, perhaps?

Try to keep in mind, as the beat of your heart sends passion-heated blood coursing through your every vein, the tenets your mother (sweet Milly! One remembers her fondly from Finishing College!) taught you. Love may warm the heart, but two hundred thousand a year keeps the forty-seven hearths of a country estate blazing very nicely indeed.

Serenely, one remains,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

The Library | Write to Sir Charles | Cast of Characters | Credits | This Week