Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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July 18, 1997

Picture: Naughty, Naughty! Long-term readers of one's weekly foray into good taste and exquisite prose know the general tenor of the missives one receives from the unfortunate and--let us be forthright about it--the deranged. "Sir Charles!" they write in florid crayon. "I am in love with a gorgeous man/heartless woman/sheep who loves another/lives abroad/doesn't even know I'm alive! How can I get his attention/make her love me/keep the bleats from being heard by the footmen?"

Let us face the facts, gentle readers. Many of one's correspondents seem to be ruled not by their heads, nor by good sense. Not even by their astroloogical signs. No indeed; given the slightest of breezes, they brazenly allow Captain Lust to unfurl all the masts of the Brigand Ship Strumpetbound, and off they go, sailing the Hormonal Straits into the Sea of Unfettered Licentiousness.

This parade of dazed, addled fools convinces one that Our Creator must have a sense of humour, or at least of irony. For would not our lives be much more pleasant, much more productive, free of this biological imperative? Would we not become more creative, more generous, more caring, without the addled symptoms commonly associated with the horrid thing called (and let us not be coy about it) s-x?

It is a pity that so many of us whittle away our existences obsessed with making ourselves attractive in order to lure others to love us; it is a shame that so many of us fritter hard-earned (or in one's own case, hard-inherited) pounds buying products to make ourselves look smoother, feel younger, and smell prettier. And time that could be spend bettering ourselves? All too many of us waste it wishing our stomachs thinner, dreaming of faces in the mirror more handsome than our own, and vainly hoping that our appropriately bulgy spots become more . . . bulgy.

Of course, one has mastered one's own baser instincts. One is immune to the Clutching Fingers Of Lust. The title helps. And after centuries of honing bloodlines--what the yobbos call 'inbreeding'--the British aristocracy have completely weeded out any carnal impulses from their constitution. The Prince of Wales is, as the technical term used by truly scientific geneticists everywhere goes, an 'icky throwback.'

Why, when one is walking through the country house of an acquaintance, and one sees a pretty maid bending to sweep out the grate, does one notice that she is barely seventeen, the flower of girlhood still upon her blushing cheek? Does one mark that the innocence in her eyes is tainted only slightly by the Curiosity of Eve, and imagine if she has yet tasted the lips of a true man, a nobleman, a gentleman in every sense of the words, and wonder if she observes him from the corner of her crystalline eyes as she bends, so sweetly, so temptingly, the round curves of her flesh inviting one to pause in one's course and admire her seductive invitation to indulge in a course of madness and folly--oh, sweet folly!--that would lead to sleepless nights, burning, burning, burning . . .

Ahem. Of course one doesn't. In fact, one scarcely noticed the girl at all. And despite the stories that circulated the servant's hall, one was merely trying to steady the wench, that morning. She looked as if she was about to fall. Besides, one believes the bruise on her bum only lasted for a fortnight.

Chastely, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Last Rites

Sister Chastity writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

Please reprint this poem, because your readers are so numerous (and such habitual drunkards) that if they were all to heed its advice, the lack of deaths due to drunk driving (and to the resultant dearth of executions of drunk drivers in certain Central American countries) would surely double the world's population in a matter of a few decades.

A Drunk Driver Killed My Mommy, Daddy, and Three Younger Brothers
by Lucy Chambers, age 9

I'm a little girl, cute as can be,
but behind my curls is a dark mystery.
I never met my mom and dad--
this makes me very sad.

When I was in my mommy's tummy,
my daddy was no dummy:
he knew I was coming pronto,
so they got into the family Bronco.

When they sped down the road,
they met a man who was like a toad.
He was at a party, and was really drunk:
if you ask me, he was a punk.

I know it happened really fast,
although mommy's coma did really last.
When I was born she wasn't awake,
so I write this for my family's sake.

When you're at a party, drinking beer,
that's okay, and we won't fear
if a teetotaler drives the car,
so another's life you won't mar.

Please tell everyone of the horrible things that can happen if we get behind the wheel after a smooth, dry Martini, Sir Charles. Or even a deliciously sour margarita, an excellently aged brandy, or some classic vintage wine. We don't want any more Lucys to be without their parents or siblings.

Sister Agatha Chastity
St. Sarah's Home for the Piteous, Adorable, and Orphaned.

Sir Charles replies:

Gentle Readers,

One must forego comment on the submitted poem, while one ponders upon whether to submit to the urge to weep, or to the overwhelming feelings of nausea that have overcome one's senses.

On the whole, one is tending to the latter.

Tiptoeing away from the scene of the literary crime, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Lady Rebecca Martingale-Bridoon writes:

Picture: Here Rover! Here Rover! My Dear Sir Charles,

Having just this day returned from an extended tour of the colonies, I read your column and noted that you too were affected by the sad state of British affairs. No, no! Not Chuck and Camilla. I am referring to Britain's loss of Hong Kong. Does it not sadden you to learn that instead of proper government, Hong Kong will now be ruled by some Chinese communalists without even proper titles? And, more importantly, wherever shall all those minor-titled British diplomats find suitable employment that, in keeping with their stations and breeding, requires very little actual physical work? Whatever shall they do now that they'll have to return to England? They'll become perpetual houseguests flitting from one estate to another, that's what they'll do! And those of us of the genteel, privileged classes shall be obligated to entertain them at our estates in a manner to which they've become accustomed with no return whatsoever on our investment! However, being the clever woman that I am, I think I have a plan which you, Sir Charles, being also exceedingly clever, must help implement.

First, some background: As you know, since early April I have been in the colonies as the houseguest of a number of rather distant friends who own estates suitable to my station, and I have it on quite good authority that, while some of those upstart Americans rebelled against taxation without representation two centuries ago, their descendants are not fond of taxation with representation either. (Let it be known that I been privy to this information while attending a rather strange ceremony that Americans have to celebrate the peculiar holiday of their successful rebellion. This ceremony involves some sort of burnt offering that the male of each household--without the assistance of servants, mind you--prepares in what is called the "back yard" of the estate. Much inedible food is served, noise is made, and sometimes groups of people parade about. It is a most pathetic celebration, if you ask me.)

Anyhow, I have been thinking--and trying to discuss it with Harriman, who is of the opinion that I should never discuss things political and therefore doesn't listen--that perhaps we should encourage Americans to give themselves back, as it were, and we could send all those left-over Hong Kong officials over there to govern! Why, it would even be nice if Prince Chuck himself were to go. Goodness knows, the lad needs something to do, and his mum appears likely to live forever.

Of course, the Americans would have to apologize for their rebellion, but being the polite people we are, we'd surely accept after making them grovel just a bit. (After all, groveling would not be unduly uncomfortable for people who so awkwardly drive upon the wrong side of the road--and without a chauffeur, no less!) Think of the examples Britain could set for them. Think of how their standards of dress, decorum, and culture--not to mention their automotive habits--could be elevated. What do you think, Sir Charles?

Hastily redesigning the American flag, I remain,
Lady Martingale-Bridoon

P.S. Do thank Lady Felicia for the case of cucumber-calf's-foot-prune chutney she sent as a bon voyage gift. Unfortunately, it fell overboard as the steward brought it up the gangplank, and, due to an unusually large number of dead fish that suddenly appeared on the surface of the sea, we were not able to successfully retrieve it.

Sir Charles replies:

My dear, dear Lady Martingale-Bridoon,

How funny it is when the clever little ladies of the realm take it upon themselves to influence political thought. How very amusing it is when a woman takes it into her wee little head to dictate affairs of state! Yes, yes, one knows about Margaret Thatcher. One is not convinced, however, that she was not one of those cross-dressing 'transtitevests'.

Lady Martingale-Bridoon, one once had a mastiff, as a boy. A childhood friend, named 'Reauvair.' Reauvair, being a hungry pup, would on occasion snatch from one's breakfast tray a rasher of bacon. He would run off with it, allow his canine juices to coat it, gnash it within his teeth, and finally swallow it only half-chewed. Within several minutes, he inevitably regurgitated it upon the hearthrug, whereupon he would sniff the grisly remains, lift his leg, and besprinkle it with eau du dog.

The bacon had been a very nice thing, when on one's plate. And one could, of course, have taken back the fouled bacon in its unsanitary state.

But Lady Rebecca, why would one want to, when it is much seemlier to have the help sweep it up, and sprinkle the hearthrug with a disinfecting powder?

One trusts you take one's point.

With a hearty farewell, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

P.S. Remind one sometime to tell you the amusing story of how the captain of the Q.E. II, during a holiday trip, begged Lady Felicia to lend him two three-quart containers of her infamous cabbage cream-cheese oxtail kiwi marmalade to replace the ship's anchors.

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