Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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October 26, 1998 Picture: The Lady Felicia. One Thinks One Will Keep HerThose who have remained loyal readers of this weekly foray against the Jungles of Bad Breeding (and one has it upon an unshakable authority that one's readers are so many in number that were each a single page in the Book of Love, the world's presses would just be producing the three hundred thousand four hundred and fifteenth volume in the year two thousand and ninety-eight) know that one is a modest baronet. One does not stoop to vain self-promotion. Why, one is such the antithesis of proudness that many of one's readers probably do not realise that one's ward, young Penelope Windsor-Smythe, happens to be eighty-fifty in line for the throne, for one scarcely ever mentions the fact.

It is for this reason that one rarely reproduces the accolades that pour into one's post box on a daily basis. And oh, readers, how they do pour. If one were a vain man, one might relish them the way a thirsty man luxuriates in quenching his thirst. If one were a touch conceited, one might bandy them about as one's just desserts. If one were neurotically needy, one might even go so far as to leave them in conspicuous spots about one's bedchamber. But the chambermaids tend to toss them into the rubbish when does that.

Yet one must indulge. One of America's foremost agony columnists, Miss Ann Landers, wrote one this week to gush, 'I suppose that, given the choice between Chinese Water Torture and your column, I should have to choose your column.' And one realised, just like that, that one owes it to one's readers to respond to their raves. If one might borrow a vulgar phrase, one can 'feel the love.'

So, without an odious display of egotism, one will just respond simply to many of one's 'fans'. One finds that a word to two generally suffices. And they are so grateful for it.

Your Biggest Fan writes:
Sir Charles, You're the greatest! I read you weekly and you ROCK, man! When I get to be an adult or fourteen, whichever is first, I want to be just like you.

Dear Fan,
You should.

Wanda writes:
You are truly wise and witty and all that and a bag of chips. I have pictures of you posted around my room so that your face is the first thing I see every morning and the last thing I see at night!

Dear Wanda,
One does as well.

James MacKee, Professor of Psychology, Yale University, writes:
Sir Charles: Whenever the world is low and my students make me crazy, I know I can rely upon your column for a smile and a chuckle, and all the world is right again. You're the best, you know?

Dear Mr MacKee,
One knows.

Kate writes:
Sir Charles: You are so learned and wonderful. After I read your column, I feel as if I'm a little toad and you're like this great god up on a pedastal and that I'm not worthy even to admire you.

Dear girl:
That's as it should be.

Modestly, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Ewan writes:

Picture: In Fine VoiceDear Sir Charles,

I write to you with the urgency that can only be fired by a monumental, embarrassing and scandalous discovery! More embarrassing, even, than the time Bleys Bullock (one's enthusiastic driver) discovered the half-eaten remains of a liquorice whip and a pair of female knickers which could only have been made in France in the back of one's car.   We at the McEwan Estate are quite used to our automobile apparition leaving bizarre articles on the leather-clad seats of the car, sadly, however, Reverent Rogers, who was with me at the time Bullock decided to present these trophies, was less sure of their ectoplasmic origins.

I must return to the main thrust of the letter, I must return to it with haste, with no beating about the shrubbery or further delay. I must outline this shocking discovery without delaying the process any longer with pointless prolegomena. Sir William Barclay, my good friend, and I were safely enjoying a spot of whisky tasting; we had to taste, of course, a number of fine whiskies but there where two bottles which held a special importance and we had cunningly saved the tasting of those two for last.  The despicable Rodrick Ralph Cameron had declared that Glenscrumpitotty was the most divine whisky that had ever past his lips.  I, keen to expose the scallywag as nothing more than a poorly educated twit had sought out a bottle of the extremely rare Double Matured Highland Kelpie. 

Sir Charles, as I am sure you are aware, the extremely rare Double Matured Highland Kelpie is more expensive then the Glenscrumpitotty, sufficiently more expensive as to guarantee it to be a better whisky than Cameron's Glenscrumpitotty. Willie and I had been delighted in our experiences together up until this point but our ecstatic tasting session was about to end cruelly! Alas, alas! The cheaper, yes, the cheaper of the two whiskies tasted better. Surely this can not be! If it is proven to be true then the very foundations of the whisky world could shake.

Sir Charles, I suspect that the trauma of having to comfort Reverent Rogers while my idiot of a driver held a half eaten liquorice whip and a pair of French knickers before him, has had a more pernicious and lasting effect on me than I could first admit. I write to you to seek both advice and reassurance.

Still testing whisky.
Ewan McEwan

Sir Charles replies:

Begorrah, Mister McEwan,

How comforting life would be if we could live it by scientific principles. The quality of a whiskey would be proportional to its cost. The more noble a peer, the better his or her behavior. The more important and responsible a person, the less of a chance for a scandal involving infidelity, telephone nooky, and a hand-rolled Cuban cigar.

Alas, Mister McEwan. Life is messy, and full of unpleasantness. As the trees in autumn shed their leaves not in neat piles, but in untidy waves of decay, occasionally you may find that disappointment can be harboured behind even the best things in life. In fact, one believes one has heard another metaphor most apropos for the season: Life's a birch, and then one dies.

Philosophically, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Childless writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I was both heartened and vindicated by your response last column to that odious Frenchman, but it raises a rather delicate question which I would like to submit to your superior wisdom and diplomacy.

Being a man's man and maintaining something of a reputation as a 'bully boy' myself, I would appreciate your advice on an appropriate and dignified manner in which to inform persons, particularly those parental in nature, of this fact, in order to reduce the occurrence of incidents in which a person of the female persuasion is presented as an apparently apt solution to the, to me, non-problem of my ongoing gay bachelorhood.

I anxiously await your tutelage.

Sincerely, Childless in Chelsea Heights

P.S. Do give my regards to Chauncey. It was divine running into him again after all these years - dressed like a man, and all.

Sir Charles replies:

My lad,

One advises you to do nothing. Why, everyone can spot a gay young bachelor from a distance, and how everyone envies him. What exactly is it that allows us to spot him so easily? Is it his ineffable dress sense? His daring taste in neckties? The bottle of champagne and the delicious appetizers in his market basket? The WWLD bracelet attached to his wrist?

No, my boy. One thinks it is something one's nephew and heir, Chauncey Grandiose, personifies. It is a devil-may-care insouciance that says to the world, 'Accept me as I am, and ladies, beware!'

Of course, one's nephew, at his swanky soirees, solves the problem of importunate females thrusting themselves upon him by inviting only single bachelors like himself, and a few handfuls of that breed of female better known as Lipstick Lebanese.

Having been a gay young bachelor in one's own youth, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Mr Rumbole writes:

Picture: A Knife In The BackDear Chuck,


Allow me to introduce myself. Rodney Rumpole's me name. Selling fish pies is me game. Don't mind me callin' ye 'Chuck', do ye? Feel as if we're old mates already, I do!

Let me cut right to the chase, so to speak. If you get my drift, that is. Me wife, Louise (we calls her Lu-lu) recently lost her cousin, which has made us the guardians of me wife's little neice, who as it happens, is some sort of distant relation of your own -- The Honourable Helena Umbriquot Addlington. We call her Little Nell. But 'ere's the funny bit: Little Nell, as it happens, is eighty-sixth in line for the throne! They've got good connections, on me wife's side, they do.

As your own ward, this Lady Penny Winser-whatsis, is eighty-fifth in line for the throne, I thought it only right that our dear gels should get to know one another. We'd so like to introduce ourselves to her. . . in a natural setting, so Lulu says. Where we can all be seen to our best advantage.

So, to better get a chance of where to meet her, tell me, does the little Miss Penelope take many walks by herself? Is she fond of walking through the traffic on the busy streets of London? Perhaps she occasionally goes for a bit of a swim on a deserted beach?

Just dying to out hands on her,

R. Rumbole

Sir Charles replies:

Mr Rumbole,

As ecstatic as one is for young Penelope Windsor-Smythe (who is indeed, as you mention, eighty-fifth in line for the thone) to meet her distant relatives, one fears that between her sharp-shooting lessons and her spear-throwing practising, she is thoroughly occupied these days.

Her Ju-jube instructor informs one that she is coming along quite nicely on the killer throat crush.

Noting that blood is thicker than water, yet thinner than a steady stream of boiling oil poured from the parapets of Blandsdown upon uninvited guests, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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