Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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

June 6, 1997

Picture: Mr. Gouphous and Sir Gallant From time to time, in the unending river of drivel that wends its way into one's correspondence, a true gem of a letter leaps out, like a salmon making its determined way upstream to sp-wn. (And one must apologize to the ladies for the use of the last word of that sentence. Though indelicate, we are all adults, and we all know that even fish make b-bies, so why mask the fact with inappropriately coy language?) One can endure only so many letters that begin, "Dear Sir Charles, I am torn between two loves. . . ." you know. One alone tests one's limits.

And that is why, this week, one was most pleased to open a wax-sealed missive from a reader that simply read:

Dear Sir Charles,

My mother is taking me to Madama Butterfly next week. How should one behave at the opera?

Opera Newbie in New Jersey

Well, Mr Newbie, what a fortunate question, for it affords one the opportunity to trot out one's old friends,

Mr Gouphous and Sir Gallant

as they

Go to the Opera

As usual, let us examine common Mr Gouphous, who believes that by the mere amount of money he has made in his grubby mercantile dealings that he is the equal of any man, including the elite crust of society typically wont to frequent high-browed cultural affairs such as the opera.

Picture: Hock-Ptooie!Mr Gouphous: Oy, what's this 'hopera-ama on this 'ere stage, me dear wife who's no better than she ought to be?
Mrs Gouphous (consulting program): Gotterdammerschweinernieibelparsifalerung, me 'usband who 'as paid for me dress but not for me soul with his grotty labour-stained pound notes.
Mr Gouphous: Say, ain't that Tony Banks? TONY!
Mrs Gouphous: Settle down, dear, it ain't done 'ere. See 'ow them toffs sits in their seats and pretends to like the music that is beyond me simple child-like comprehension?
Mr Gouphous: Gar, next ye'll be telling me I can't spit me 'baccy from this balcony onto the floor below.
Mrs Gouphous: Oh, did ye bring a wad o' 'baccy with ye? Ye demmed migglewart, 'and me a good chunk. 'Olding out on your own wife, though she might be rough and common . . . nice!
Mr Gouphous (begrudgingly): 'Ere then.
Mrs Gouphous: Demmed if you haven't gotten lint in it again.
Mr Gouphous: That's the best part, me dear. Oy, let's see if I can spit a gob on that there bassitone singing that there arier.
Mrs Gouphous (wincing): Gor blimey, good try, me dear! Ever so sorry, Mr Cellophone player!

Rather frightening, was it not? Readers, take a deep breath. Cleanse the soul of that horrid, squalid experience. Breathe. Breathe. There. Better? Now let us uplift the spirit with a look at Mr Gouphous's vastly superior counterpart, Sir Gallant, as he walks the streets of London.

"What?" One hears the chorus ring true. "Why is Sir Gallant walking the streets of London instead of attending the Gotterdammerschweinernieibelparsifalerung?" But hist, readers. Sir Gallant is a modest baronet. He has indeed told his lady wife that he will be up in town attending the Frenchy opera, but in reality, he has left his hotel in search of Good Works To Do. How vain it would be for him to announce to all and sundry his true mission: to bring light and gentility to those whose lives are lived in squalid darkness. Better for him to work incognito.

Picture: Hock-Ptooie!Woman of the Streets: Fresh ripe juicy melons, who will buy my round, ripe melons?
Sir Gallant: Hallo there, you sweet young vixen. Might one have a squeeze?
Sweet Young Vixen: 'Sortainly, sir . . . oo! Not too 'ard, now! Oo, sir!
Sir Gallant: They seem quite firm and plump, my fetching wench . . . just another quick squeeze, eh?
Fetching Wench: Yes, 'arder . . . oh yes . . . 'arder . . . see 'ow they don't bruise? That means they're reaching the veritubble peak of readyness. Would ye like to unwrap one and 'ave a taste?
Sir Gallant: Of course, my dear. I'll pay top price for those. Why not step into the Rolls and loosen your. . . .
Constabulary: Oy there! (shining lantern within) What's going on 'ere?
Fetching Wench: Blimey! (she flees)
Sir Gallant: Officer, I. . . .
Constabulary: 'Ere, don't I know you? I've seen your face loitering about these streets before.
Sir Gallant: You may have, sirrah. I am. . . .
Constabulary: Oh, beggin' ye pardon, sir. Sir Gallant, of course. You should be more careful about these parts, me lord, what with these 'ere transvestrite working gels flaunting their melons all about.
Sir Gallant: Er . . . I was just offering the poor gel a ride home in one's Rolls.
Constabulary: Blessed if ye ain't the most thoughtful man in this district, sir. It's been a shame, to see the streets crowded late on a night with these working girls, 'ollywood actors, Kennedys, and the royal family. You lend the place a bit o' tone, that you do.
Sir Gallant: There are many young women such as that poor girl in need of a gentle hand and a bit of charity, my fine fellow. It is my duty as a concerned citizen of this green and pleasant land to do my part for each of them.
Constabulary (wiping tears from eyes): You've touched this old copper's 'eart, sir. 'Ere! Alice Bowes! Get yer crumpet over 'ere for 'is Lordship!

Ah, Sir Gallant. Such a figure of sublime gentility, is he not? And such a happy ending (although admittedly dicey for a moment there) for his tale, for the next morning, he arrived home to his estate in the countryside, secure in the knowledge he had done his best for many, many spiritually and physically impoverished young women that night, while his wife was secure in her assumption that her husband was among the most cultured and musical of men.

Sighing at the memory, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: I See London, I See France

Star Crossed writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I have a moral dilemma that I do not know how to solve. In love, should one be true to their heart, or family connections?

The man I have fallen in love with is below my social rank. He is a good man, with many redeeming qualities, yet his family is not the best. In fact I believe that the correct term for describing them is "white trash". I hesitate to use this colloquialism in the presence of such an august gentleman as yourself, but I am at my wit's end.

Should I marry the man that my parents have chosen for me, though he is ill-kempt and boorish, so that I may maintain my social situation, or should I follow my heart and marry the man who lights my life, and live in a trailer with him for eternity?

Sincerely, your faithful servant,
Star crossed in love

Sir Charles replies:

Dear Cross-eyed:

One twitches. One squirms. One fidgets. One looks at one's nails. And one thinks, "Oh, good G-d. Here one goes again."

The correspondent, of course, wishes one to exhort her to follow her heart. "Run after the yobbo," she desires one to say. "Run after him, and satisfy your yearnings in his sweaty, muscular arms, his masculine arms used for manual labour under an unforgiving sun with only a minimal pay at the end of a weary week. Exercise your unceasing lusts with him until you are both too exhausted to rise from the kitchen table/ground/stable floor/picnic blanket, and live knowing you are with The Man You Love." Well, let one just say that one shudders at the prospect.

Long-time readers of oneself (the teeming masses of them) might expect quite the opposite reaction. "Forget the sweatmonger," they will expect one to say. "Be true to your class. Marry the man your parents have selected." But one has a shred of pity, one's readers should know. One would not wish to inflict a loveless marriage on the poor man. Why must he live a loveless life, never knowing the gladsome kiss of his wife? Why must he suffer a lifetime knowing that he can never bring a certain light and life into his lovely's eyes? Why must he spent year after countless year watching her stiffen at his every caress? Why . . . oh, blast it all, one must daub one's eyes and evacuate one's nose. (It must be the allergies.)

There. One is composed again. Frankly, one is suggesting sterilization. Ask any reputable veterinarian.

Abruptly, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Wondering writes:

Picture:If One Was King of the Forest.... Dear Sir Charles,

One finds one's evenings in the large draughty manor house of one's ancestors to be interminable. Or at least, one did, until one discovered one's valet's 'stash d'amour' under the back stairs.

Now, Sir Charles, you being 'Un Homme du Le Monde', you are undoubtably aware of the type of implements that one might find in such a secret cache. What one is confused about is this: Several of the potions smell decidedly culinary, and one was wondering, do you imagine that one could in particular use the 'Cinnamon Flavoured Motion Lotion' to flavour one's spouse's pudding, thereby effecting some subtle change, and perhaps unleashing the lioness within? Or are some things better left alone?

Wondering in Wickhamshire

Sir Charles replies:


Lionesses, for the record, were not meant to be unleashed. Goodness gracious, no. Why do you think they're kept behind bars at the more reputable zoological gardens? Unleash the lioness within your wife, my man, and you'll be sprawled flat on your back, your shirt lying in ribbons, with your chest marked by her red-taloned claws and. . . . er. . . . One actually did have an objection, when one began this train of thought, but dash it all if one hasn't forgotten it along the way.

Word to the wise: Oral ingestion seems not to have any effect, old bean, and the cinnamon flavouring disrupts the subtle taste of the old roly-poly pudding.

Regretfully, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Puzzled writes:

Dear Lady Felicia,

I'm an 18 year old female and I am in a bind. Recently I had received a phone call from a gentleman where I live. He wouldn't tell me his name, but only that he had seen me on-line and was interested in meeting me, secretly. He said that he had liked me from a distance for years. He is 25 or so.

The next day I received another call from him asking me to meet him. He knows that I am attached to a wonderful man in the Navy, but he would still like to meet with me. During this phone call he also revealed his identity. He has a girlfriend and wants to keep it confidential.

Help me! What should I do? Should I meet this "secret admirer"?


The Lady Felicia replies:

My girl,

Oh, what a titillating joy it is, to be the secret light in another's gloomy landscape.

And how the excitement must build as one ponders whether to meet said admirer, or to remain at a distance, worshiped from afar. But if one were to advise, one would indeed caution that public meetings can have grave gossip-laden consequences. One will speak from experience.

In haste, once, one agreed to meet an admirer, who would only sign his letters 'Sir Reel'. Why, one's heart was all aflutter at the thoughts of what elaborate gifts and baubles the chivalrous suitor might proffer, as one was driven in the Rolls to the Fishampton Legal Lending Library, where the 'chance' meeting was to occur.

But alas, no meeting was to be, for before one could scan the crowd for a likely Knight-like figure, one was accosted from behind, stripped of one's chunky necklace, and forced to watch the miscreant scamper off, followed not-terribly-closely by one's faithful driver!

One now shuns such meetings but does not, as a result, discourage others from similar 'chance' meetings where the chaste and true admirer might present his offerings of homage. However, do see if you can espy the gifts from your transport, before stepping from the car. Sapphires are always nice.

Wiser, yet still serene, one remains,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

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