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October 24, 1997

Picture: Oh, The Chutneys! The Chutneys!One was nearly prepared to write off the entire month of October as a loss. There was the Annual Memoirs of the Raj Chutney Parade and its unfortunate aftermath, and then a whole fortnight spent ridding Blandsdown of one's sister-in-law's 'redecorating' scheme, which primarily involved a number of cat-sprayed 'bean bag chairs.' And one will not even mention the cleansing of the Swami Ralph's room of five dozen empty bottles of Irish whiskey. (And to think that Melody Windover-Midden would have us believe that the clinking noise issuing from his quarters at regular intervals was the sound of his turban fastener on the ceiling as he levitated during his Yoga exercises.)

But one has been immensely flattered, this past week, to have entertained quite a famous house guest. One's Yank readers. . . . No. One begs one's pardon. One has sworn not to insult our gentle neighbours across the Atlantic by referring to them as 'Yanks.' One will begin again.

One's scruffy gun-totin' American readers will recognize the name instantly. Yes, it is Bruce Granit, star of such television programmes as the daily serial One Life to Lose, in which he plays the dashing Brunswick Cobbledick, the construction worker/symphony conductor with a Secret Past. One is, of course, reading from his resume. One would never actually watch such a programme, or any of the others in which he has appeared. Especially Denver and Gomorrah.

Young Bruce Granit is come to Blandsdown to study oneself. Oh yes. He has been asked to play the dual role of Sir . . . blast it all, one has quite forgotten the name. Apparently dashing Brunswick Cobbledick, unbeknownst to himself, is the twin brother of a British baronet in need of a bone marrow transplant. Sir Comsission, one believes. It is somewhat like that. At any rate, Brunswick takes the Concorde to London at the news, where he gasps at the sight of his twin, Sir Comsission. But who is that lovely English rose on his brother's shoulder? Why, it is his fiancee, Lady Champayne Glass, whose prim exterior hides a sultry, tempestuous secret. It seems that Lady Champayne was once a prostitute who. . . .

But one is giving away the plot. And one would hate for one's grubby Taco Bell eatin' American readers to lose one whit of the delightful shock when they discover that Lady Champayne's bodyguard, Beef, is really the one who shoots the evil socialite, Wylda Kane.

One has spent past week teaching young Mr. Granit the finer points of being a baronet. It is not an easy task. There is the walk, the talk, the air, the holding of the head to consider. There is the easy air of gentility. The gentle smile that conveys noblesse oblige. Mr. Granit has taken walks about the grounds with one, and eaten at one's table, scribbling notes all the while. And one must say he is really quite a quick study. Why, within an evening of his arrival, he and young Penelope Smythe (who is, one might mention in passing, eighty-fourth in line for the throne) were already excusing themselves to a quiet room so that they might work upon young Penelope's Great Rulers of Britain Lick and Stick Stamp Album. Their tongues were still quite sore the morning afterwards.

One believes the experiment to be a success, however. Mr. Granit no longer unconsciously grabs the admittedly substantial package he was given at birth upon standing up from a table. He no longer flips his back-length hair when speaking. His accent is . . . his accent is no worse than . . . very well, his accent is deplorable, but who will notice between all those adverts for laundry soap and malt liquor? Curious of his secret to quick learning, one managed to catch a quick glimpse at his notepad. Beneath the number to young Penelope Windsor-Smythe's private phone line (how did he get such a thing?), were the words, Keep your nose in the air and a pole up the. . . .

One has racked and racked one's brain, which one modestly admits is one of the finest in the land. And one can still not find a completion for that sentence. So one lets the shroud of mystery drop once more.

Happy to have returned, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Brother writes:

Picture: A Scurvier Kidney-Snatcher One Has Never SeenDear Sir Charles,

A bit of a sticky wicket manner-wise. Would like your input.

One's sister is in a terrible state. Against the wishes of Mater, she became serious with a fellow, who, while titled (minorly--a baronet or something) was considered by the family to be No Good. A ring was given . Family heirloom, princess-cut, and whatnot.

Then, what we knew all along (that he was a rotter) surfaced. Seems he was languishing on dialysis, and couldn't possibly 'make it official' until he was well again. Well, Sister was a trooper, and instantly (against family wishes again) offered him one of kidneys. And the d-mned medical establishment decided it was a match. So the operation went ahead as scheduled, and the fellow perked up to remarkable health.

The next thing we knew, he had run off to Penzance with his dialysis nurse. Now Sister's in a state. What should we do?

Concerned Brother in Birminghampshire

Sir Charles replies:

Dear Brother of 'One-Kidney,'

It's always 'me, me, me' with your sister, eh?

Still, the ruffian did neglect his duty. Every well-bred gentleman knows that when a girl donates one of her major organs to you, the least that a chap can do is sit down and pen a formal thank-you note.

Otherwise uninterested in the results of this petty affair, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Mr Trevithwick writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

As your overseas representative in Lower Bonchai, I must needs inform you that the pressures of International Work Parity groups may make your fiscal matters a bit sticky quite shortly.

There seem to be people that think everyone in the world deserves to be making a wage that would make a barrister proud. We might need to move our operations to a more backwater locale, should the press catch wind of where your Lady Abigail's Tiniest Miniature Gilded Tea Services and Opera Glasses actually come from.

Your business manager,
Henry Trevithwick

Sir Charles replies:

Mr Trevithwick,

The sale of Lady Abigail's Tiniest Miniature Gilded Tea Services and Opera Glasses, each adorned with a 'Made In Cornwall' sticker, to loathsome gift shops across the United States of America, fully constitutes three percent of one's yearly income. If the enterprise goes under, one will have to inform young Penelope Windsor-Smythe that her Christmas will be devoid of the supply of hair cleanser (made by a sect of nuns in France) known as 'Penelope-poo.' Would you have the girl who is eighty-fourth in line for the throne walk about with hair cleansed by a common shampoo?

Everyone knows that the natives of the Lower Bonchai are proud to work for Lady Abigail's Thrifty Gifties, Ltd. What sort of wage do they need? After a stimulating twelve-hour work day we give them enough to buy their nightly bowl of rice and grasshoppers, or whatever slop it is the buggers gobble down before they go home to beat their tom-toms and spit snuff in the communal pot. If we were to give them a rise in wages, their quaint and untouched way of life would be quite spoiled. They would insist on shoes. They would insist on breakfast. They would insist on a fifteen minute break. And we all know from these little things comes the downslide into imported cars, televisions, and Big Macs. Then the little native peoples of the Lower Bonchai will find themselves in debt, and then they will . . . excuse one while one takes a deep, calming breath . . . unionize.

Why, we're doing them a favour by giving them ten cents a day from the age of fourteen until they finally drop dead over the Miniature Gilded Thirty-Armed Epergnes.

Glowing from one's contributions to humanity, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Prunella writes:

Picture: One's Mother-in-Law in a Fine LatherDear Sir Charles:

We members of the Puxatawny Pussycat Society were shocked at some of the disparaging remarks you allegedly made about your sister-in-law Melody's felines.

Why, all of the Puxatawny Pussycat Society members simply couldn't do without our little pussies, and our husbands feel the same way. We could not respect a man who doesn't like a little pussy or two around the house.

Whatever do you hold against pussies?

Prunella Prescott Corresponding Secretary, Puxatawny Pussycat Society

Happily, one remains,

Sir Charles replies:

My dear Mrs. Prescott,

One's sister-in-law Melody, you must understand, is certifiably insane. Cat chiropractor, indeed.

One has nothing against a little pussy, now and again. What could be softer? What could be better to fondle, on a cold wintry morning? But when one lets one's life be ruled by Pussy, when one has Pussy on the brain, well . . . it's enough to make one itch.

And Melody Windover-Midden's obsession with things felinical is enough to make one wish for a less common household animal to pet. Beaver, for example.

Itching quite strongly, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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