Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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June 15, 1998 Picture: Mr Gouphous And Sir Gallant Letter after letter one receives, week after week. The resulting pile would quite astound one's readers (and one has it upon a firm authority that this select group is comprised of so many enthusiastic gentlemen and ladies that if one directed them to make purchases from the television shopping networks, the world's diamante mines would be emptied in mere seconds). Stalwart lover of one's readers that one is, one reads each and every one. Even the forty percent written with crayon. Or more precisely, one's secretary performs this menial task while one polishes one's collection of ancient Indian brass spittoons in the shapes of the Kama Sutra.

Yet how many of the missives one receives are abrupt in manner. How few lack in the graces that separate man from beast! We are genteel, are we not? Our deportment is fine and well-honed, upright and polite at all times--even in times of desperation.

The English gentleman, you see, is renowned for his cool politesse. Ever steady, ever gracious in a time of emergency, he not only assesses a dire situation with a calm and critical eye, but manages every crisis with panache and style. And who better to illustrate the contrast between the English gentleman and his lower-class counterpart, than our old friends:

Mr Gouphous and Sir Gallant
Encounter An Emergency

Picture: Our Gouphouses Note how in the face of adversity in our little drama, our Mr Gouphous becomes a quivering jelly, incapable of remembering the finer points of well-bred behavior that he has been attempting to buy with his New Money. Observe his behaviour as he encounters a servant who has cut his hand off in the thresher.

Mr Gouphous: Oy. Oi certainly am enjoying meself in this palatial estate oi bought from a nobly-bred family on the cheap wiv me ill-got gains, sittin' 'ere in me Saville Row duds drinkin' posh drinks while the former owners shiver in a cold water flat huggin' their titles to themselves, that oi am.
Mrs Gouphous: That's loverly, dear. Do you think th' Spice Girls will reunite?
Mr Gouphous: That Ginger Spice was a bit o' something, wot? Whoa-ho-ho!
The Gardener: Help! I've cut my hand off in the mower!
Mrs Gouphous: 'Ave a care! Don't be bleedin' on the parquet floor where I'm to throw me money about and 'ave vulgar dinner parties for cinema stars and super models.
Mr Gouphous: Call the doctor! Take 'im to 'ospital!
Mrs Gouphous: 'Urry! 'Urry! 'E's bleedin' all over me newly scrubbed hearth and unlike real gentry I know what it's like to scrub them tiles!

A shameful display, is it not? But do not pity Mr Gouphous and his wife. They will eventually learn that all the money in the world made from fried pork products might buy them expensive clothing, but it will never buy their gentility.

Picture: Ain't You Fresh, Sir? Now observe Sir Gallant, deep in consultation with a chambermaid in his country estate of Blandsdo . . . that is, Blondsdale. Observe his cool, studied reaction. Marvel at his utter aplomb. Learn from his elegant response in the face of disaster.

Sir Gallant: One has been watching you for a while, Colette.
Colette (blushing): Have you, Sir Gallant?
Sir Gallant: One has connections, as you may well know. Many of them in the music industry.
Colette: If you'd let me finish cleaning the grate, Sir Gallant. . . .
Sir Gallant: I think you'd be ideal as the new 'Spice' Girl. Is there any name you would prefer?
Colette: But I can't sing, Sir Gallant.
Sir Gallant: All the better, my dear. Now, what shall it be? Spanky Spice? Slinky Spice? Twice as Spice?
Colette: Oh no, sir, I couldn't.
Sir Gallant: Oh-ho, my saucy wench, you could.
The Gardener: I've cut my hand off in the mower!
Sir Gallant: Just a little kiss, then.
Colette: The gardener's cut his hand off in the mower, Sir Gallant.
Sir Gallant: Has anyone told you, you mischievous minx, how fetching you are?
Colette: I think he's in pain, sir. . . .
Sir Gallant: Thoroughly comely. Toothsome, rather.
Colette: Sir. . . .
Sir Gallant (unfurls a handkerchief and tosses it in the gardener's direction): There. Now. About you and oneself. . . .

Ah! What a paragon of level-headedness is Sir Gallant. Always doing the right thing while attending to the niceties. (And while one is on the subject, there is no truth at all to the horrid rumour that British scientists are using him to test the antidote to Viagra. One strongly suspects Miss M-nn-rs of spreading this infamous calumny.)

Reminding one's readers always to attend to their niceties, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Destitute writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

My husband and I are in the most embarrassing situation.  We have heard from a variety of sources so numerous that if they were blades of grass they would cover the entire globe many times over, that you are the authority to which we should apply. 

Due to some rather incautious investments on my husband's part, we are no longer what the lawyers call "financially solvent".  In an attempt to restore financial security to our household my husband placed our remaining funds on the long-shot in the Kentucky Derby horse, Rock and Roll, even though I favored the winning horse Real Quiet, because of his stoic name.

Well, naturally, we are now destitute.  My question to you is should I leave my husband, who is obviously an idiot, or do I remain with him, in abject poverty, for appearances?  Please assist me, before the Sultan of Omar leaves town without me.

One will always remain your most devoted servant, even in the Middle East,
Destitute in Louisville

Sir Charles replies:

My dear madam,

A condition of genteel poverty is nothing of which to be ashamed. Why, look at her Majesty. Do you suppose that when she travels, her purse is stuffed with pound notes? Nothing could be further from the truth. She scarcely has a tenner to her name.

And yet one doesn't exactly see The Queen at the dog races placing a split down on Happy Bowser and Lucky Canum when she has a 'hankering' for a packet of pork scratchings, does one? Indeed not.

However, if you have a wish to leave hearth and home to become a hothouse flower in a Sultan's seraglio, tended and cared for, fed exotic foods, dressed in silk, used only to satisfy the carnal cravings of a man whose appetites are boundless, set upon a pedestal, and worshipped for the delicate flower that you are. . . . Now, one intended there to be a dissuasive argument somewhere in there. Where in blazes did it go?

Flushing, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Twila writes:

Picture: He's Such A Scorpio Your reply to Phil, in the "Ask Sir Charles" of April 27th was most astute, especially in your computation of his Saggitarian Numerals. I fear that most persons these days would be quite at a loss to perform the necessary calculations. Your comparison of the Saggitarian Sum to the writer's intelligence quotient was most apropos.

However, you seem to have overlooked a most impressive confluence. In particular, this person of IQ 46 with Saggitarian Sum 46 will, in this very year, attain the age of 46! Surely one of your insight in these matters sees the significance of this congruence, and must be somewhat abashed to have failed to remark on it in the initial analysis.

Twila Baumgartner, President
Theosophical Numerology Society of Pennsylvania

Sir Charles replies:

Dear Mrs Baumgartner,

One must sincerely thank you for taking time from dusting your Precious Moments figurines and what I am certain is an extensive collection of 'Baywatch' commemorative plates courtesy of the Franklin mint, to send one a letter. And my, wasn't the purple ink on lime green paper ever so attractive. One can really appreciate it all the more now that one's eyes have ceased bleeding.

How clever of you, Mrs Baumgartner, to have realised the very special significance of the confluence of numbers. Forty-six, as you know, is the age at which your idol, Elvis Presley (one believes you may know him as 'The King,' though that particular phrase connotes something entirely different on this particular side of the Atlantic) died. That is, had he lived four more years.

Uncanny, is it not? But wait. If one adds the numbers four and six together, one obtains the sum of ten. And if one removes all the vowels from the phrase 'flying saucers!' and adds one more for the exclamation point, one obtains . . . sit down, Mrs Baumgartner, sit down! . . . the sum of ten.

Coincidence? Or conspiracy?

Certain that one will receive an opinion on that matter as soon as 'Friends' has finished its broadcast, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Betty Jean writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

Which wine would you suggest to be served with fresh mountain oysters? My new sister-in-law has asked that I bring the wine to her party. I want to make a good impression.

I am not as worldly as she and I am unsure. I appreciate your attention and answer to my quandary.

Betty Jean

Sir Charles replies:

Dear Miss,

One recalls vividly a delicious platter of mountain oysters in a garlic butter sauce being set before one on a tour to the United States, in the past. One's host was an American entrepreneur--one will not name names--whom, one must laughingly admit, one suspected of harbouring a grudge against one. You see, one had referred to him in the House of Lords as 'a boil on the buttock of humanity' and blocked his plans for something called an 'Anglo-Disney'.

Yet he received one graciously, and despite having an indigestive problem that prevented him from joining one, he served one the quite scrumptious mountain oysters followed by an earthy little dish known as 'cow pie mousse'. What a delight it must have been for him. The smile on his face was surely a sight to see.

A red wine will do.

Disavowing ever having watched Baywatch, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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