Picture: Advice from Anita Manceau-Baddeley

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I, Anita Manceau-Baddeley, have sworn to bring love and beauty and all that is absolutely fabu into this dreary world that needs my special touch oh-so-much! And if that means substituting for my dear, dear, dear, wealthy friend Sir Chuck once in a while, why, so be it!

October 11, 1996

Well! My dears, you have no idea how close you came to having that shrivelled old sultana of a shrew--and yes, I am talking about that Eunice, Duchess of Crabbe, creature!--substitute this week for my dear, dear, dear, titled friend Sir Charles Grandiose! Why, when she heard of the events of this week, she came striding into the manor, right into the Crusty Ballroom, where I was teaching the stableboys this charming little dance I picked up in the Big Apple--it's called 'The Macarena' and when it's done right, it's simply to die for, I tell you. Came striding in, I said, just like the divine Alexis Carrington (wasn't Dynasty the most fabulous show?) except without the shoulder pads or any of the makeup . . . actually, she wasn't much like Alexis Carrington at all. Perhaps Alexis Carrington's grandmother. And in that voice that sounds like an organ bellows wheezing she said, "Though we shun publicity, young lady, we shall assume the duties of the baronet in his weekly forum." Just like that! All without moving her lips!

Picture: No, It's Not a Lifesaver CandyThat kind of talk does not go down like a spoon full of sugar with Anita Manceau-Baddeley, I tell you. So I snapped my boa around back and said right to her face, "I am the dearest, closest, intimate friend of Sir Charles' nephew and heir, Chauncey Grandiose, and as far as I can see, I'm the only lady of this house and you can just bounce back to Crabbe on that inflatable rubber doughnut you rode in on, honey." And that was that! I tell you, I felt just like the divine Joan Crawford.

Now, Anita knows you all tune in each week hoping to glean pearls of wisdom from dear, dear, rich Sir Charles and his family, but this week Blandsdown has simply shut down. The only survivors are Pippin and La Fontaine (Lady Felicia's darling rotweilers), a few lucky staff, and myself. But maybe I should start at the beginning. . . .

Last week, sweet Chauncey and I motored down from the city to attend Colonel Jambly's annual Memoirs of the Raj Chutney Parade. In truth, dears, Anita needed a break from preparing for her new show, Speedo-Clad Police Chaps Versus the Evil Love Slaves of the Forbidden Planet Winkie. (It's a sweet little drama with musical numbers. I'm trying to break away from the silly revue roles I've been taking, lately, into something more serious. So in this production, I play the Evil Queen of Winkie!) Je was tres fatiguee from all the rehearsals. So after a lovely evening of doing young Penelope Windsor-Smythe's hair (while Sir Charles kept leering at me from the doorjamb and reminding me that she was ninetieth in line for the throne . . . as if I didn't know), I was revitalized enough to help around the house.

Since I love beautiful things (and beautiful things love Anita!), I went out to snip blossoms from Lady Felicia's climbing roses for the dining room. The most desireable roses looked to be up out of reach, so I got a step ladder, and there I was, happily snipping flowers outside the window of the second floor study that darling Colin Bates is currently using for his gymnasium. Now, Anita can hardly be blamed for losing her balance at the very moment when, as she peeped through the briars, Master Bates decided to strip off his wet and clingy tank top to reveal his muscular, glistening body, clad only in a tight pair of red compression shorts. Can she?

When I came to, it was short work to blame my fall on a naughty bird flying out of the briars into my face. With plasticine on my forehead and a minor concussion, the doctor insisted that I not be subjected to any troubling experiences (or foods, for that matter), and so I was spared the trip to the Chutney Parade. Such a pity.

While I recuperated at Blandsdown, the remainder of the household--including Sir Charles, Lady Felicia, poor Penelope, young Colin, Chauncey, all the minions, and most of the staff--was overcome out by the noxious fumes that were emitted when a jar of Mrs. Edna Thistle's Savoury Prune-Bean Spread was opened at the parade. Before the lot of them were carted off to hospital, wonderful, admirable Lady Felicia managed to hurry up the awards presentation from her stretcher, and received blue ribbons for her Sweetbread in Aspic, her Curried Split-Pea Jelly, her Mango-Mutton Curd, and her Seasoned Prune and Hamhock Marmalade. Oh, if only I had been there!

Perhaps it was fate, though, that Anita was left behind to carry on while the others had their stomachs pumped! The moment I heard of the disaster, I rallied the stable boys and what was left of the kitchen staff, and said, "Hey kids, the show must go on! We'll do it all ourselves!" Why, Anita felt just like the divine Judy Garland in an Andy Hardy movie!

So while the stable boys held my dictionary for me, Elsie the chambermaid and I have tackled a number of questions this week. But I only do it from duty, and devotion to my Chauncey, and to dear, sweet, fat-walleted Sir Charles. (Although frankly, dears, if he calls me 'Sweet-a, petite-a, Anita' one more time. . . .) Anita is a giving person, dears, and if she can bring a ray of light into the life of one, poor, solitary soul. . . . Well! Let's say that Anita is just people. And people who need people are the luckiest people in the world!

Feeling fabulous and looking even better,
Miss Anita Manceau-Baddeley

Picture: So Thick, You Can Eat It With A Fork

Honoria Campbell writes:

Dear Lady Felicia,

How quaint it was when Bitsy Shropsbury told me that you had made a 'name' for yourself in the press. And to think that I had heard rumours, after we graduated from Miss Dalyrimple's Finishing College, that you had found another 'profession'. The thought that you would become, along with your husband (a baronet, is he? My Giles is an Earl, you know), an 'agony columnist' is so, so . . . quaint.

Yes, my dear, 'tis Honoria Campbell. I see from one of your past scribblings that you apparently gave me the 'sobriquet' of 'Chunky Campbell' behind my back. How 'quaint' indeed. And to think I learned all about it in your little publicity-scratching 'column,' dear.

For the record, I am slim, slim, slim. And did I mention that I'm married to an Earl?

Lovingly, Lady Honoria Campbell (Not Chunky)

Anita Manceau-Baddeley replies:

Listen, girlfriend,

Anita's going to be frank with you. You should be happy that Lady Felicia even made mention of your cooking abilities in her past advice, sister. So get over it!

And I've seen pictures of you, 'Chunky' Campbell. The word 'heifer' comes to mind. My advice to you would be to try the Macarena. Every little bit helps to work off those saddlebags, you know. And you could surely use some toning in your upper arms. Why not hold a can of your soup in each hand while you dance? (Be careful when you bring your hands behind your head, though. I can tell you from experience that concussions are hell on the hair.)


Lady Millicent Wesley writes:

Dear Lady Felicia,

I now take pen and pad from my daughter, Lady Amanda Wesley 1st, to write to you. I was so glad to hear you were well and I trust this letter also finds you so.

I have no complaint or problem with my daughter, but it is her brother I wish to speak of. Sir Dewayne Wesley 2nd has been in and out of things. At the moment he and his ex-wife are expecting a new baby. This worries me and my daughter to no end, as it is obvious the girl does not love him but leads him on.

This has me worried, as I do not want to see him hurt. Might it be to much to ask for your gracious advice?

My memory fails me, as one does as one grows older. I believe I was near my last year of finishing school when you had started. I cannot remember and wondered if you did? After all, that was long ago.

As one who remembers her younger days, Lady Milly Wesley

Elsie the Chambermaid replies:

Your Ladyship:

I've never been one to understand the upper class and your need for numbering off your children like if they weren't on a list you might forget them. But if I was to give you some advice, I'd say: Don't name your next child Thirtythreeanda. Else they might get laughed at something cruel.

Elsie (the chambermaid)

Cary Z. writes:

Picture: A Lass And Her Manly DefenderDear Sir Charles,

I am affianced to a lovely girl. When I see her, I think of roses at dawn, of starlight upon snow, of a warm tropical breeze through the coconut trees. Her very name, 'Lola', gives me the shivers.

But she says she won't elope with me unless I do something about my teeth. But Sir Charles, the dentist frightens me. All that drilling and scraping and yanking . . . I'm afraid of the pain.

What should I do?

Cary Z.

Anita Manceau-Baddeley replies:


You want to talk about pain . . . you try squeezing your parts between your legs for hours at a time just so you can look divine onstage! Why, when I was in Buoys and Gulls (a divine nautical revue) there were times when I thought I'd simply fall over from the pain, especially during the numbers where I was wearing a lovely zebra-striped one-piece number with a broad-rimmed hat decorated with Spanish-style fringe, in patent leather black high heeled pumps (with feathers on the top) while I lip-synched 'Where the Boys Are.' Oh, Anita looked lovely in that little number, she did!

Of course, that outfit was nothing compared to my solo show last year at the Snappy Chappy. Oh, when I think of them! Especially my divine paisley-print silk sarong. . . . But that's neither here nor there.

Listen, ducks. I don't blame your girlie one bit. When I'm in a clutch with a fellow I don't want to thinking of the ten kindest ways to hint to him that he needs a permanent breath lozenge. You get those gums in order now, before your teeth drop out and you look like Bette Davis in Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte.


There now! Wasn't that fun, darlings? But no, no matter how much you beg, I simply can't take over on a weekly basis. For one thing, there's Speedo-Clad Police Chaps Versus the Evil Love Slaves of the Forbidden Planet Winkie to think of . . . the musical numbers just won't be the same without me, and Sir Charles has been good enough to give us the funds for the entire produc. . . . Oh, I wasn't supposed to talk about that. Ignore it, dears! And ta!

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