Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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November 1, 1996

Though of course one would not go as far as saying that one is an author--for of course, that would imply that one wrote for a living, and one has no intention of joining the proletariat--one would certain agree that one is a man of letters. A literary chap, with a zest for a deft metaphor and a zeal for a well-turned phrase.

Picture: The Yearning, Yearning, Yearning Poet in a Moment of ReposeOne's readers (and one has it on the greatest of authorities that they are so literate a group that if one cast before them the complete works of Alexandre Dumas, the books would be consumed and done with more quickly than even 'Fergie' could finish off a roast duck) know well that one has been praised as a man of letters far and wide, from Canadian newsprint to the American glad rag, Entertainment Wiggly, to the British conservative journal, Ramrod Times (from which one quotes: "Sir Charles Grandiose's exercise in literary flatulence obtusely manages to convey the impression that British conservatives are staunchly lost in the nineteenth, if not the eighteenth, century." High praise indeed!)

But now, Readers, one has at last been recognized by one's peers. Yes, one has been singled out, one man among many, as a premiere wordsmith of one's generation. One wishes to share with one's readership a letter one received just this week. One begs one's readers to suppress their envy.

Dear Esteemed Occupant of Blandsdown,

We of the International Index of Absolutely Fabulous Poetry are positive that there lurks within you a poetic soul. So sure are we of this that we invite you to submit one of your original poems (of no greater than nineteen lines) to our next International Index of Absolutely Fabulous Poetry Contest, in which your poem --yes, YOUR POEM, Occupant!--might indeed win our grand prize of 1,000 pounds, or one of our numerous smaller prizes of 2 shillings, sixpence.

Not only do you, Occupant, with your poet's sensitive soul and astute literary acumen--which we at the International Index of Absolutely Fabulous Poetry are sure you possess or we wouldn't send you this letter--have an excellent chance to win our grand prize, but your poem--yes, YOUR POEM, Occupant! --will be examined closely and critically by our panel of distinguished expert judges (many of whom have attended a college or university) and considered for publication in our next absolutely fabulous volume, DREAMS OF POETIC POSTERITY IN THE ESSENCE OF THE ETHEREAL SANDS OF TIME, VOL. 6.

Think of the thrill you'll receive each time you see your poem-- yes, YOUR POEM, Occupant!--prominently displayed on a parchment-like page in the exclusive absolutely fabulous DREAMS OF POETIC POSTERITY IN THE ESSENCE OF THE ETHEREAL SANDS OF TIME, VOL. 6. Think of how envious your friends and neighbors and business associates and other members of your family and people at Blandsdown who have heretofore been unaware of your existence will be when they see that your poem--yes, YOUR POEM!, Occupant--has been published!

Of course you are under no obligation whatsoever to purchase this lovely simulated leatherette-bound volume with faux gold edging, but we think that you--with your poet's sensitive soul and astute literary acumen--wouldn't want to pass up the chance to own this absolutely fabulous unique volume for only thirty-four pounds, twelve shillings, and sixpence (plus postage). Of course you are under no obligation whatsoever to buy this collector's edition, but we at the International Index of Poetry are sure you'll want to order several copies in order to guarantee publication of your poem--yes, YOUR POEM, Occupant!

We at the International Index of Absolutely Fabulous Poetry eagerly await your entry which our distinguished panel of judges will peruse for expressions of wit, cleverness, aesthetic appeal, artistic expression, creative depth and/or imagery, originality, sensitivity, perkiness, legibility, sufficient postage, adherence to the 19 line limit, and various other ethereal poetic qualities too numerous to mention. Don't delay--send your poem today!

Eagerly awaiting your submission,
Your literary colleagues at the International Index of Absolutely Fabulous Poetry

One is indeed thrilled at the prospect of having one's literary pennings published. For one is, naturally, as the correspondent pointed out in his knowing letter, an aching, sensitive, yearning (yet thoroughly manly) poet of exquisite skills and sensibility.

Secretly, these past twelve years, one has been working upon a dramatic poem of such proportions that 'epic' does not begin to describe it. Grander than Paradise Lost it is. Chaster than The Cenci. More beautiful than 'Trees'. And certainly it contains fewer stray body parts than in Beowoof.

But the time is nigh that it must come forth. The complete title is From the Shores of Albion A Baronet Arises Dressed Impeccably Dressed in His Smoking Jacket to Slay the Dragon Myrmidon And Her Sister Bad Manners. When set to music and presented for the first time to West End audiences, one expects it will be simply called Baronet! (One begs one's audience not to snigger. After all, the cat poems of a Poet Laureate have given hairballs to many a West End and Broadway audience for years now.)

One quite pictures Mr. Jeremy Irons as The Baronet, with Miss Rula Lenska as The Baronet's Wife. Miss Sarah Brightman, a personal favorite of oneself, has already been asking to play the specially-written part of The Ingenue Who Rescues The Baronet From Despair And Shows Him The True Meaning Of Love (for the theatrical run, the name of T.I.W.R.T.B.F.D.&.S.H.T.T.M.O.L will be shortened to 'Trudy').

But keeping the 19-line rule in mind, one offers these lines, the concluding stanzas of one's epic, for publication. They are perhaps the tenderest things one has ever written.

A Baronet's Lament
excerpted from From the Shores of Albion A Baronet Arises Dressed Impeccably Dressed in His Smoking Jacket to Slay the Dragon Myrmidon And Her Sister Bad Manners
By A Baronet

Lo! Though grimness and greyness has spread both a-near and far-a,
And starvation has settled 'cross the great Sahara
None of these compare with my lonely plight
A baronet by day, and baronet by night.

Though thousands die in Bosnia from rebels bearing axes,
Are not they the truly lucky, evading this year's taxes?
And though there are the mendicants, begging in the streets
Who is truly neediest, at night 'twixt velvet sheets?

Though one has home and family (or at least a ward and mate,
The former will inherit, should ninety royals expirate
The latter is an iceberg, frosty, by and by)
Is't not the greatest tragedy, a baronet's poor cry?

Like Ozymandias, ruined and wreck'd, one day my fame will be.
But at least my blood will be carried on by my nephew Chaun-a-cey.
And visitors, gazing upon my ashes in the spittoon of gleaming brass,
Will say, 'To this poor undervalued saint, let us raise a brimming glass!'

Wiping tender tears of self-pity from one's eyes, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose


Losing My Religion write:

Dear Sir Charles,

I have been most troubled by a question of faith of late, and I fear it is shaking the foundations of my belief in the Good Lord and his Omniscience and Purpose.

I cannot believe that Our Lord put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden without benefit of clothing. And yet in every pictoral rendition of that idyllic retreat, there they are, naked as jaybirds, flaunting what should be well hidden under a good suit or at least several layers of crinoline.

Please assure me that the nakedness is just a lurid 'artistic' interpretation by drink-sozzled, lewd, depraved artists who wouldn't recognize a true God-fearing soul if one of us went and attacked their paintings and murals with a stiletto. Which I am tempted to do.

Losing My Religion

Picture: Properly Clad, Courtesy of Dr. Bey's Guaranteed Extra-Support Trusses

Sir Charles replies:

Troubled Soul,

Fear not. One feels, oneself, a certain quivering sensation when one contemplates the figure of Mother Eve, bereft of clothing, cavorting in the Garden of Eden as she lets the warm, tropical breezes play over her supple, innocent, porcelain skin . . . her only protection from the probing, questing, aching tendrils of sun being the shade of the Tree of Life . . . bathing in the rivers, rising upon the banks to shake jewel-like droplets of moisture from her goose-pimpled, reddening body. . . . Oh yes. One thinks of things of this sort often. For one is a religious, contemplative man.

However, the Good Lord did not creature our ancestors without sense. One believes the correspondent may rest easy, knowing that Lady Eve and Sir Adam's dangly bits were well girdled. Why, without the proper foundational garments, our first Mother and Father would have sagged, bulged, and drooped in a way that would have even convinced the Serpent to suggest a reducing plan, instead of an apple.

An avid fan of Dr. Bey's Guaranteed Extra-Support Trusses, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose


Worried Mother writes:

Dear Lady Felicia,

As one mother to another, I am desperately hoping that you can assist me out of a terrible bind that I find myself in with my only daughter.

It has always been my desire to watch her finish politely, at the best schools, and then become an accomplished hostess at the estate of her equally accomplished husband. I never thought she would openly defy me, but she has gone and gotten herself a full and complete academic scholarship to Oxford where she will be studying a subject of dubious lady-likeness.

I do so worry about her future, and the decreased potential of a lettered woman to make a suitable match.

If only you could advise me.

Worried Mother in Wyrms


The Lady Felicia replies:

My dear woman,

It would appear that the Ladies' College that you sent your daughter to, (with the best intentions, no doubt), was remiss in educating its students in the Laws of the Iceberg.

Picture: A Frigate, About To RamIt was the mandate of one's own alma mater, Lady Beatrice's Finishing School for the Frightfully Highborn, to instruct all students in the intricacies of these laws during the first week of each session, regardless of how often an individual student may have been exposed to them. One will recite the Laws (from memory) for the benefit of one's vast readership.

1. Like the Iceberg, a True Lady is looked upon with awe and majesty, yet is admired only from afar.

2. Like the Iceberg, a True Lady always exudes an aura of chill calm.

3. Like the Iceberg, a True Lady's heart never melts.

4. Like the Iceberg, a True Lady will sink any frigate that dares to ram against her frigid submerged mysteries.

5. Like the Iceberg, a True Lady's brain is only ever one-fifth exposed.

Lady Beatrice was renowned for graduating only the most icy of Icebergs. And how proud we were to be known as her chilliest glaciers! While it is perhaps too late for your daughter to become an iceberg (the scholarship would disqualify her in any event), it may not be too late for other mothers to instill these values in their malleable adolescent daughters. One hopes for the best.

Serenely, one remains,
Lady Felicia Grandiose


Josh writes:

Dear Lady Felicia,

I am but a lad caught in love's folly. As you can see, I suffer from a deplorable excess of personality, but fate has struck me down. I am extremely shy, yet my heart drives me on towards a young maiden in my class who for the most part is as brilliant and unfortunately, just as shy as myself. I have to get to know her better, but I can't figure out how.

Please help me, fair Lady Felicia, and thank you.



The Lady Felicia replies:

Young Misguided Lad,

If you truly desire to capture the attention of a Young Lady of Quality, one will suggest a few courses of action:

1. The Musical Evening, Performance: The next time the young lady's parents throw a Musical Soiree, attend with your instrument. One assumes you have one. Sir Charles had a small organ which he brought to such events, and which he attacked with great vigour. One will assure one's readers that the sight of a gentleman playing with his organ amongst friends in the Violet Conservatory is a picture not soon forgotten.

2. The Musical Evening, Appreciation: Even if one's correspondence is not a man with an organ, he can still woo his Young Lady of Quality by showing his appreciation of her touch upon the pianoforte. Be the first to applaud her delicate interpretations. Comment to her parents upon her obvious musical charms, undoubtedly inherited from her mother.

3. The Aristocratic Pique-Nique: Occurring once per season, this event is designed to allow Peers to witness the co-mingling of their offspring in a social setting. One advises one's correspondent to avoid the jellied salads, and the aspics, as they are the devil to eat with one hand whilst holding a lady's punch glass in the other.

If one could be permitted to be motherly to one's correspondent for just a moment, one would say, candidly and frankly, that if she were the mother of said Young Lady of Quality, she would be cloistering the child from any man who claimed to have a deplorable excess of personality. After all, Howard Stern has a deplorable excess of personality. A Young Gentleman of Quality remains understated at all times.

Serenely, one remains,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

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