Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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October 4, 1996

After this past week, one is most familiar with the interior of one's smoking room. Oh yes, one knows every ancient plank in its glossy flooring. One is so utterly familiar with the pattern of the Persian carpet that were it made into a hedge-maze, one could traverse it blindfolded. For it is this room of the house that is one's impenetrable sanctuary--it is only in this room of the house that the Lady Felicia will not come a-searching for one with a spoonful of her latest experimental preserves for Colonel Jambly's Annual Memoirs of the Raj Chutney Parade (her latest concoction, Savoury Prune-Mutton Butter, felled several servants in one swoop, leaving unsightly marks in the parquet).

Mad for diversion in one's exile, one was forced to seek entertainment. And thus one hit upon the scheme of actually reading the letters that one's readers have been sending one (in truth, there are so many that one tends to give them to the servants to use as tinder). However, as with many such brilliant concepts, the execution proved poorer than the concept, for one's tray of correspondence was full of missives similar to the following (and thank you oh so much, Josie in Jersey):

Dear Sir Charles!!!
Youre too cool for words! :) :) :) I hope you will be visiting America soon because I want to show you off to my high school class one of these day's. They never seen a fat rich man before. [|:-)-OOOQ-.

Shuddering at this vile example of uncouth and untutored raw persuasive ability (or lack thereof), one attempted to escape the grounds completely by ordering one's chauffeur to bring 'round the Rolls. One thought a pleasant motor through the countryside, so picturesque as the leaves change from green to their myriad and festive paintbox colours, would clear one's mind.

Yet no sooner was one on the motorway than the Rolls was caught behind one of those miniature motors that the commoners know no better than to buy . . . a Ford or a Vulva or a Vulcanswagon. One remembers not which. But surely one's readers can sympathize with the frustration one felt when this automobile, this wee scrap of metal running on petrol and elastic bands, travelled at a speed so low as to make a horse and buggy seem like a bullet train in comparison. One's chauffeur could not pass it, on the busy two-lane country road, and worse, the driver of the minute motor seemed to divine every turn one's motor intended to take. So for mile upon weary mile, one's vehicle followed the other, while one stared at its back end. Affixed to this wee wagon was a sign (one believes the commoner call them 'humper stickers' or some such thing) that proclaimed: "Ask me about" St. Regis Cathedral School.

During one's purgatory upon the motorway, one had much time to reflect. Notably, one was maddeningly puzzled why the words "Ask me about" were in quotation marks. Did the driver really not want others to inquire into the school? Was the humper sticker a sign of insincerity? Had four small insects from the road died upon the humper sticker at precisely those strategic points?

One finally came to the conclusion that this inane legend was merely yet another example of the deadening wits of a populace spoon-fed their literature through made-for-TV adaptations, whose idea of a 'good read' is the back of a packet of crisps, and whose attitude toward correct grammar and punctuation is as haphazard as so called 'artists' like Jackson Pollock were with their paint.

Picture: Poor Loona, Beset By the Dreaded Apostrophe of Ill Repute in the Moors of ReputationSo therefore one has these little tidbits to share with one's readers. (Especially you, Josie.)

    One will not repeat it here. Nor will one utter one's condemnation of the bizarre 'smiley' that appeared at the end of Miss Josie's letter. (One's parlourmaid was of the opinion that it was a 'hat-wearing fat smiley wearing a colostomy bag on roller skates', and one cannot say one disagrees with her.)

  • Upon birth, each person is given by the Powers That Be a limited supply of exclamation points to use during their lifetime. If one uses them up, one has no recourse but to be a dull old man or woman for the rest of one's life. Therefore, it would be wise to use them but one at a time, and not in sets of three or five.
  • Generations of speakers and writers of the English language have managed to do without the abhorred 'smiley.' One suggests gently that one's readers do the same. (Unless they enjoy the public humiliation one will give them in one's column, of course.)
  • This final point is the most important: An apostrophe is not to be used to imply: Danger! Danger! S approaching!

Trusting that one will not see these grievous errors in future correspondence, one, one remain's for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Ho! It's That Garlicky Little Frenchie Again

Pierre DePew writes:

Mon Amie,

As you know I pride myself in representing only the highest quality erotic art. But, pour moi, any degree of success can only be measured by one thing, "satisfaction du client". I owe a tremendous sense of gratitude to you for letting a select few of your intimate friends know of my service. Your suggestion of "giving that garlicky little Frenchman a ring", has resulted in a beaucoup sales and satisfied customers, ma raison d'etre.

So, it is with the heaviest of hearts I now must write to you and tell of my failure. I have not been able to obtain a first edition copy of Maid For Pain as you requested. I regret to inform you that the limited edition was a sell-out. You may reserve an autographed copy of Maid For Pain II, the second volume in the trilogy. I am acquainted with the author and he tells me it should be done by Friday. S'il vous plait, respond tout de suite, as you know one must act quickly when dealing with these exclusive limited works of art.

As always, I remain humble servant,
Pierre (Pepi) DePew

Sir Charles replies:

Bun jeer, you odious petit poofster,

Je do not comprende non but le Queen's English, which ought to be bon enough for toot le frogs en France to comprendez, given that you'd sell your cordon bleu little souls for a British pound note.

En le future, un requests that vous write un avec la plume de ma tante only in a language that un can comprehend.

Disgustedly, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Postscript: Le autographe had best be authentique.

Royce St-John Smythe writes:

As the Earl of Brestfordshire, one wonders at a remark you made in your letter to Lord Musgrave Beckham. I quote, "It will be a sad, sad day indeed, the day a Peer of the Realm no longer needs to know the proper way to fasten a Four-In-Hand, or a Double Windsor. Mark one's words!"

If one should ever be in the unfortunate circumstance where this knowledge is necessary, one need only ask one's valet. I should hope that one would not stoop to dressing oneself, as (so I've been told) common "people" do.

Keeping One's Station,
Royce St-John Smythe

Sir Charles replies:

My dear Royce,

Were you not the third cousin twice removed of young Penelope Windsor-Smythe (who wishes one to send you her regards . . . she is, as you might recall, ninetieth in line for the throne and therefore thoughtful about these things), one might be tempted to snub your dubious and laughably silly opinion and expose it for the faulty sham that it is, built upon centuries of self-importance and snobbery of the worst sort. But of course, one will refrain.

No argument has divided the British peerage more than the schism between the Tie-It-Yourselfers and the Laissez-as-Ties. The Laissez-as-Ties, of course, have felt for years that it is the servant's place to dress his master completely, from head to foot, and even allow the servants to put their grubby little common fingers on that most exquisite creation of modern dress, the cravat.

The rugged Tie-It-Yourselfer, however, prefers a touch of personal finesse in his wardrobe. He will tie his own cravat in the traditional styles, allowing his own fingers to add that touch of perfection to his dress for the day--much as the Lady of The House will place a sprig of mint upon a perfect twenty-three layer trifle, to let her guests know that although the dish was exquisitely prepared in the bowels of the house for hours by an unseen staff whose names she likely does not know, the trifle is really and most truly hers and hers alone.

One will not venture to say which group is better, of course. Of course, the Laissez-as-Ties never get into the best clubs, do they, Roycie?

Penning one's signature without mentioning the vermin problem at the Twillery Club, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Peter writes:

Picture: A Mushroom . . . Why, What Did You Think It Was?Dear Sir Charles,

My sweet Aunt Viola, a country spinster (but very well-to-do . . . arguments have erupted family-wide over who gets her Constable sketches when she finally bites the crumpet, so to speak), recently invited my wife and down for something called 'The Crimini Hunt.' Naturally, we packed our riding togs and my wife her side-saddle.

The next morning, we arose before dawn, as bid, and emerged into the bracing early autumn air ready to ride to hounds. Instead, we found ourselves slogging behind Aunt Viola and her pet pig, Babe, in the woods, while Babe sniffed out mushrooms. As you can imagine, eight hours of forest mulch and bogs in the search for dubious fungi was hell upon one's best leathers.

Is Aunt Viola past it? Can we safely commit her? (I have first dibs upon the sketches . . . I know where she hides them, the old biddy.)

Yours with curiosity,
Peter in Portsmouth

Sir Charles replies:


Consider the mushroom. True, it is of the same stuff that flourishes upon tree bark and between one's toes. (Not that one is admitting to a problem of that sort, one assures you.) (One believes that sort of ailment belongs exclusively to athletes.) (And as one has stated before, athletes are a sweaty, common sort, and one is most decidedly not an athletic supporter.)

Where was one? Ah yes. Consider the mushroom. Unlovely it blooms, amongst the filth and the dung. Yet when plucked with loving fingers and sauteed in butter and served upon toast points, what could make a finer savoury?

One is certain, that when one started this metaphor, one had a point to make about the correspondent's Aunt Viola. However, 'tis of no great import. One suspects that our young 'Peter' has already incarcerated the poor woman in a Home for the Aged, and that he and his family are busily researching kitchen recipes that utilize vast quantities of bacon and ham.

Rather hungrily, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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