Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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October 31, 1997

Picture: Memento MoriOne is given to understand that in various parts of the world today, it is a time of 'pumpkins' and ghosts. It is a time in which young, impressionable, tender children are encouraged by their elders and betters to approach the private properties of strangers and extort sweets with implied threats of violence. One is reassured in the old truism that some things never change; among the commoners, hooliganism can never start too early.

But one is used to frights, within the ancient walls of Blandsdown. Oh yes. Oft one has stood chilled and horrified, feeling cold presences pass. Spectral skeletons, pale and white, shrieking with piercing ululations that curdle the blood. Apparations with the face of death, launching themselves at one's throat. The screams! The whimpers! The oaths and curses and the foul scent of Evil!

But then one apologizes to the Lady Felicia for stumbling into her bedchambers, and takes one's leave of her, and all is peace again.

One's secretary . . . yes, the one with porridge for brains, and only a teaspoon or two of that . . . has begged the day off so that he might himself intimidate an old gentlewoman or two into giving him a 'Poopsie Roll' or a 'Hershey Bar.' Personally, one thinks the holiday is apt for him. His head is as empty as a carved 'pumpkin,' and his smile is equally vacuous and insincere.

Thus, this week one presents a few choice letters for one's readers to think upon, after they have pulled out their molars with toffees.

Feeling rather sticky, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Two Sisters

Rose Petal writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I'm not what you would call one of those 'fast' women. That is, I've only been engaged three times, unlike my chum Nance down the lane who's been leading the blokes on since she's been fourteen. But then, she lives in a council flat, and that should tell you something. She keeps all the engagement rings, she does. Do you think that's right? I don't. I only kept the one from Mr. Moss with real diamonelle. How it shines in the right light! Almost like the real thing! Mr. Moss drove his own second-hand lorry, too.

Anyway, I've been seeing Mr. Hepplewhite, and his wife hadn't found out yet and everything is going so smooth, but lately our parish has been assigned the dishiest vicar. Oo, I could go on and on about his eyebrows, I could. When he rides by on his bicycle, it makes me want to get down on my knees and go all religious.

Sir Charles, do you think I'd make a good vicar's wife? Did I mention how dishy he was?

Ever so gratefully yours,
Rose Petal (Not my real name!)

Sir Charles replies:

O Would-Be Flower,

Rose Petal might not be your real name, but the sobriquet is surely most appropriate, as one is sure that the correspondent has been thoroughly plucked and discarded many a time. In point of fact, the only more suitable moniker of which one can think for you might be 'Kleenex'.

Frankly put: One suspects that the correspondent would be as good a vicar's wife as she would be a nun.

But before the correspondent interprets such a remark to mean one's approbation, let one remind her that one of the primary duties of a nun is to remain chaste. It's not all fancy headgear and guitars, you know.

Humming 'Dominique' to oneself, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Peggy writes:

Dear Sir Charles:

I have a very busy job, and I often send my assistant to get my lunch for me when she gets hers. I usually have soup. My problem is that she often lollygags and dawdles, and thus when I get the soup, it's cold.

What should I do?


Sir Charles replies:

My dear lady,

Other--and need I really say, lesser?--columnists would here insert a variety of 'practical' tips for your dilemma. "Use the microwave oven," they'll tell you, "and heat your soup to the perfect temperature!" Or perhaps they'll say, "Why not give the assistant a thermally-insulated conveyance for your soup, so that it arrives at your desk piping hot?" Or heaven forbid, they might even advise that you obtain your own soup.


Is not your assistant employed to serve you? Is that not the means by which she earns her daily bread? Well, then! Make her earn it, by gum! Tolerate not the lollygagging and dawdling!

My suggestion is the number three tanned leather horsewhip, shown on page forty-six of the current edition of Brinsley's Catalogue of Household Discipline Instruments. Why, it even comes in a lovely burgundy colour for the ladies.

With a cry of 'Happy Whipping!', one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: An Overexcited Sensibility

Distressed writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I have a rather disturbing oral fixation. What should I do to eliminate this potentially socially damaging condition?


Sir Charles replies:

Dear Distressed:

Turn off Hour of Power, or whatever that dreadful display of charismatic sensibilities is called.

Why Mrs. Roberts gave her son such a vulgar name is beyond one.

Pithy as ever, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Distressed writes:

Dear Sir,

Having perused the literature in your December preamble, I take with great disdain the manner by which you refer to the oh so jolly residence of Weston-Super-Mare. If you had ever taken the time to visit this resort of such stunning beauty you would surely see that the residents are far above the menial task of packing Harrods hampers. Surely this pitiful task befalls those who reside in Milton-Keynes!!

I trust your apology to the residents of Weston-Super-Mare will be gracious and rapid in delivery.

Yours Faithfully,
Mr Fortisque-Smythe
(Distressed in Weston-Super-Mare)

Sir Charles replies:

Mr. Fortisque-Smythe,

Of course one apologizes. Most humbly. See how one abases oneself before you, on bended knee, one's eyes bedewed by a moisture that bespeaks of true, honest, vivid sentiment. See how one even creases one's brow in an approximation of sincerity!

What one really meant to say, of course, is that the residents of 'jolly' Weston-Super-Mare would be only truly suited at Harrod's cleaning out the gerbil cages.

Most gratified to have made the apology, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Melancholy writes:

Dear Lady Felicia,

After a discreet courtship of five years, my intended and I entered into a state of respectable matrimony. Now that two additional years have passed, I find that a respectable union such as our own, while not lacking in dignity and certainly presenting an edifying example to those not similarly well espoused, may lack a certain excitement.

Is there any way for the well-bred matron to, as the vulgar say, "spice up" her marriage without descending into the depravity and indecency that mark (one is told) the demeanour of the common jade? Or must I stifle such yearnings as unbefitting my years and position in life and take to the kitchens with a cookery-book of jam recipes?

I am your most humble servant,
Married and melancholy

The Lady Felicia replies:

My Dear Lady,

One has naught but laud and honour for a woman so like oneself. And a five-year courtship is commendable in the extreme. To be sure, one would have also wished such a respectably protracted courtship for herself and Sir Charles, but accommodations needed to be made for one's Mater, who was, at the time, in failing health, and worried that her only daughter would be a spinster at her graveside. When one is well-bred, one often needs make such exceeding sacrifices of propriety for one's family.

As you are so very well aware, a true marriage of like minds is in no more need of spice than a perfectly boiled joint of mutton. But any good hostess will allow servants attending her table to pass the salt cellar, and perhaps, if she dares, grind pepper at the whim of her guests.

Picture: A Lass And Her Manly DefenderIf one may be allowed a recollection, one will note that there did exist a time during the heady early years of one's union with Sir Charles when one actually wondered if her spouse could use a good salting. One found, without much probing, that one's spouse responded with almost too much vigour, when one surreptitiously delivered specially rolled cigars to his rooms after dinner. One will repeat: A secret smile is all the spice that a truly dedicated and womanly wife ever needs to see on her husband.

On a related note, if one's correspondent still wishes to pursue the most honourable hobby of jam creation, one would encourage her to seek out 101 Prune Preserves, Mystery Spreads as Entertainment, and Mutton Chutneys: The Lost Art as indispensable references.

Serenely, one remains
Lady Felicia Grandiose

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