Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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November 14, 1997

More Official Sir Charles Grandiose Manners Cards

Gentle readers,

One hopes that you all will discreetly tuck a few of these cards away in your wallets, purses, or (heaven forfend) hatbands for those occasions in which your very sensibilities are outraged by horrid behavior, yet in which discretion requires closed lips, and a quick get-away from the parties in question.

For the lady or gentleman who cannot visit the public washroom without leaving behind a whirlwind of waste, water, and paper:

Picture: Manners for the Loo

For the lady or gentleman with table manners so deplorable that you cannot tear your eyes from them:

Picture: Manners for the Piggy Eater

For the lady or gentleman who cannot seem to dispose of their waste anywhere but upon the ground:

Picture: Manners for the Litterbug

Richard writes:

Picture: A Corking Good Time!Dear Sir Charles,

I have written to you before, and, since your advice to me was so well-considered and thoughtful, my mind immediately turned to everyone's favourite aristocrat when a most vexing and troubling problem arose.

You see, Sir Charles, unlike the filthy masses who usually read your column (and I have it on good authority that they are so numerous that if each were a particularly disgusting chutney, it would take Lady Felicia at least three millennia to make each one), I wish to better myself through higher education. Naturally, there are only two institutions I would consider attending, namely Oxford and Cambridge.

My question is, assuming that they accept me, which they undoubtedly will, for I am almost as intelligent and perceptive as your good self, which one should I choose? Cambridge, or Oxford?

Yours fretfully,
Richard Worthington Mansell

Sir Charles replies:

Mr Mansell,

Ah, the old days up at University. The memories! Snoggy and the incident with the Reluctant Cow. Pippy Banks and the Most Definitely Unreluctant Undergraduette. Old Doctor Don, and the Leaky Pipette.

Unlike many chaps who merely attend one college and matriculate with their firsts or seconds and take up a profession or somesuch, one was fortunate to be expelled from both Cambridge and Oxford, and therefore one has a broader perspective than most. Oxford has the better punting, of course. But the buttery cheese at Cambridge is dashed good. Of course, at Oxford they're less tetchy if a lad keeps a sheep in his chambers.

Does that help?

Wishing the lad a jolly good time, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Bardly writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

As a man of great literary ability, both a poet and a playwright (who can forget the tantalizing references to your musical, Baronet!?), as well as a member of the English aristocracy, you seem peculiarly well-suited to clearing up a little matter that has been troubling me lately.

Who wrote the plays of Shakespeare? Was it the middle-class man from Stratford--a man whom I have heard was actually driven to work for money? Was it the noble Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford and a veritable flower of the aristocracy? Or was it someone else entirely?

Do help me, please; I am losing sleep over this.

Bardly Worrying

Sir Charles replies:

Shakespeare? Writing his own plays? A lower-class buffoon . . . an actor, no less . . . composing without assistance the greatest dramatic works ever to issue from the literary pen? One might as well imagine that Moses, upon achieving the peak of Mount Ararat, was handed a tablet of the Ten Commandments still hot from the chisel of an orangutan.

It is a certainty that the peers of England (a shy, retiring group, with no need for grubby self-promotion or self-congratulation . . . and I am thankful to count myself among them) have often used noms de plume when putting forth their own works. A 'friend' of one's own, for example, is a baronet with a fine if chilly wife and a lovely young ward who would be shocked to see their lord and master's name associated with the stirring, if somewhat steamy and sensuous prose that flows from his pen late at night. So what does he do? He takes these sizzling tomes (they have stimulating titles such as My O.B.E., My Obsession, My Duchess, My Dream and Baronet Bawdy, Baronet Wild), signs them with the pen name 'Scarletina St. Jessamine,' and sends them on a regular basis to literary agents. Unfortunately, these agents must think these ripping tales too stimulating for the common man, for they are routinely sent back. With form letters of rejection, no less. And a whopping lot of postage they're costing one, too!

It is a certainty that the works of Shakespeare were written by a nobleman such as Edward de Vere or Sir Francis Bacon. Or even perhaps an aristocratic baronet of the family Grandiose? It would explain so, so much.

Modestly, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Major Confusion writes:

My Dear Penelope Windsor-Smythe:

What exactly are the cockles of the heart and how does one go about warming them?

Militarily Yours,
Major General Confusion [USMC Ret.]

Young Penelope replies:


La, but how long it has been since I've had the opportunity to satisfy a military man!

Picture: Aw, NutsA cockle, of course, is a bivalve mollusk, which has a heart-shaped shell and several internal chambers, just like our own heart. So when someone refers to the cockles of the heart, it is only a metaphor for our innermost feelings, our emotions, those sensations of heady desire and inflamed passion that separate man from beast. Or if one is lucky, turns one's man into one.

But I have some questions for you, that only a broad-shouldered, hard-bodied military officer such as yourself can address. How do you get your privates to stand erect so early in the morning? And why do all the officers I know perpetually complain of the blue-coloured balls they receive while in the military? Is it some sort of sport?

Always hungry for answers, one remains,
Penelope Windsor-Smythe

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