Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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March 23, 1998

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.

Picture: Manners Cards

Picture: Manners Cards

Picture: Manners Cards

R. Janus-Wexford writes:

Picture: Pirates to Constabulary YieldDear Sir Charles:

My wife and I, two of the many faithful readers of yours (who are rumored to be so numerous that if they were rabbits, they could cover every square inch of the Australian continent in fewer than two generations) would like you to settle a dispute, if you may.

During a (polite) discussion of British history, my wife and I found ourselves in disagreement regarding the legendary character of "Robin Hood". You, no doubt, find the notion of "stealing from the rich and giving to the poor" as repulsive as we do; however, we are not certain whether this character was based on an actual historical figure, or whether he was purely a figment of the author's imagination. We decided to turn the matter over to you - we would be honored if you would set us straight with one of your wise, pithy responses that we know and love so well.

Pray tell, Sir Charles: was there a real-life "Robin Hood"? If so, did the Grandiose family ever come into contact with this despicable fellow?

R. Janus-Wexford

Sir Charles replies:

Mr Janus-Wexford,

The quaint tale of 'Robin Hood' is, in curious fact, a reference to an ancestor of one's own, Cholmondeley Murgatroyd Peregrine Grandiose, whose chipper, bird-like cheerfulness and enormous beak caused others to give him the nickname 'Robin.'

Back at a time when the family fortunes were as depleted as the blood was blue (this was before the advent of inexpensive and easily exploitable foreign labour, you must understand), enterprising Cholmondeley Murgatroyd set up a roadside 'carriage inspection service', gratis, for travelers by coach. His motto of speedy quality service, ('Stand and deliver!') so alarmed the nouveaux riche, however, that they mistook him for a common highwayman. Perhaps it was his black mask. Perhaps it was the weaponry. We shall never know.

However, it was after only three very successful years of accepting fees (and the occasional diamonds) for his services and immediately donating it all to his poor wife Marian, that Cholmondeley Murgatroyd was immortalized in legend as 'Robin Hood.' And what a stroke of luck it was, eh, that Queen Elizabeth I happened to be in a mood to hand out baronetcies at the point of a broadsword, the night Cholmondeley (Sir Grandiose, after that) chanced upon her carriage?

Proud of one's heritage, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Vito writes:

Sir C.,

what do you mean, not answering my letters week after week? you think youre better than me? you think youre being smart with me? you think youre being smart with me?

Vito Ragusa

Sir Charles replies:


Am I being smart with you? How would you ever know?

Tersely, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Alfred writes:

Picture: Kitten With A FoilDear Sir Charles,

Something has gotten into my wife that I can't comprehend.

The other evening, as I lay abed perusing the Spectator, the Tatler, and the new copy of Debret's, the Lady Ophelia, attired in naught but boots and spurs--and brandishing a riding crop, I might add--burst into my chamber, leapt upon the bed, and, as her spurs became entangled in the brocade duvet, began thrashing about. I escaped before she could do serious damage to my person with the crop.

Fortunately, I suddenly remembered that, as secretary of the Tingleigh-Quim Hunt, I had become negligent in my duties of planning the annual hunt breakfast, and used that excuse to vacate my chamber. I spent the next several hours sequestered in my study where I finally worked out a suitable seating chart so as to avoid a repeat of last year's unfortunate incident involving Col. Wiggington, two of his ex-wives, and a large tureen of mock turtle soup.

When I returned to my chamber, there was no trace of the Lady Ophelia, save a solitary silver spur suspended from the somewhat shredded duvet. It occurs to me I haven't seen the Lady Ophelia for the last two days. Dash it all, Sir Charles, I suppose what I am inquiring of you is, What the deuce do women want?

Alfred, Lord Tingleigh-Quim

Sir Charles replies:

Lord Tingleigh-Quim,

As that blasted Frenchie, Freud, remarked, "What is it that women want? 'Appiness, that is what a woman wants." And do not we all want a handful or two of that?

In your case, however, one suspects that Lady Tingleigh-Quim is looking for a sturdy mount upon which to sit astride. Something she can really wrap her legs around. Why not find an Arabian stallion for the poor woman, so that she might have a vigorous ride or two on an afternoon before dinner?

Helpfully, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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