Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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October 4, 1999

Picture: Take That!One must begin one's latest safari into the dark, untamed wilds of Bad Behaviour and the jungles of the Untaught Illiterate with a word or hundred of thanks to one's readers. (Incidentally, one has it upon a rock-solid authority that  one's readers are so many in number that were each a single grain of sand, the resulting hourglass would be so large that one could start it and, years later, find that it was still running, much like the mouth of a typical member of the House of Commons when pontificating on the latest scheme to wrest away the natural-born rights of the aristocracy.) After one's two hundredth column, one received a myriad of congratulatory letters from admirers both highborn and low, united in their admiration for one so wise, so well-born so . . . well, one can scarcely summarize. It would be sound so much as though one were simply parroting the synonyms for 'brilliance' from the thesaurus.

One will merely reproduce these  below.

"When I realized that Sir Charles Grandiose had actually written two hundred columns, I just broke down and wept hot, wet tears."
--Abigail Van Buren, American agony aunt

"Sir Charles Grandiose . . . isn't he the fellow with the big thingummy?"
--Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister

"I rise every morning dreading to see what news will grace the front page of the Times. Then I saw something that made my heart stop. Was it the tragedy of so many dead after a third world earthquake? Was it the news of another senseless shooting? No, it was the fact that Sir Charles Grandiose had produced his two hundredth column."
--Germaine Greer, noted feminist

"Words, is what I meant to say, of course."
--Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister

"Sir Charles Grandiose is to philosophy what the Spice Girls have been to music."
--Tony Blair, Prime Minister

(Note from Sir Charles Grandiose: And let us not forget how popular the Spice Girls are.)

"If cultural imperialism is the craft in which Sir Charles Grandiose sails, let us hope for our sakes that it strikes an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic in the dead of night, and sinks quickly, before he can produce another two hundred columns."
--Toni Morrison, author

"I find the columns of Sir Charles Grandiose useful. The bottom of my parakeet's cage is immensely improved by them."
--Hilary Rodham Clinton, First Lady

"Of course I'm amazed at the fact Sir Charles Grandiose has written two hundred weekly columns. I didn't know he could count that high."
--Miss M______, a.k.a. Miss Born-in-A-Barn, etiquette columnist and arch-rival

Feeling rather self-satisfied now that one has brought even one's arch-rival to her knees, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Stars In Her EyesMiss Rice-Davies writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

After months of perusal, I have come to the conclusion that your reputation as a sage and noble (or at the very least deeply aristocratic) advice-giver is well deserved, and your fans so legion that were each to take a mere sip of champagne, the French gross national product would instantly triple. Being five hundred and seventy-eighth in line for the throne, I could not ask advice from just any common street urchin selling manners advice alongside the Page 3 Girl.  Thus I come to you.

Recently I became affianced to Lord Oliver Haughton-Mosely, who, as you know, is four hundred and thirtieth in line for the throne.  Not surprisingly, the match is generally regarded as a good one, as he is a wealthy and titled millionaire.  Lord Oliver is a kind and attentive fiance, and as long as I refrain from referring to his being born in 1907, we get along splendidly.  The nuptials are scheduled for December.  (It goes without saying that yourself and the entire Grandiose family is invited, including Miss Penelope Windsor-Smythe--especially Miss Penelope Windsor-Smythe--but it would be most understandable if you had already made plans, being the man in demand that you are.)  Our nuptials were previously scheduled for this past July--we were hoping Edward and Sophie would use it to make their debut as man and wife--but in June Lord Oliver suffered his seventeenth stroke, and has since been sequestered in Haughton House.  I try to come by every day with fruits and other tokens of my affection, but the servants are fanatically loyal to Lord Oliver, and reluctant to expose him to any potential germs.

The shock of Lord Oliver's recent illness left me deeply depressed and disheartened, and in my despair I made a terrible mistake.  I spent a good deal of time in our garden, picking flowers for my fiance, in the company of his gardener . . .  I will not trouble you with his name, but suffice to say it has neither hyphen nor title in it.   But he was young and strapping and muscular and usually covered with dirt.   The air was thick with the intoxicating smells of tropical plants.  The sun beat down mercilessly.  We came together like two animals, with nothing to protect us but our passionate, throbbing . . . ahem.

To be perfectly frank, Sir Charles, I fear that come my wedding in December, the waist of my dress (custom-made at Harrod's, of course) will have to be taken out a bit, if you catch my drift.

I am at a complete loss.  Until Lord Oliver is sentient again I cannot throw myself at his feet and beg for his forgiveness.  The gardener was recently spotted talking to the Mirror--not surprising, common as he was and is, but still I risk dragging my family's honorable name through the mud.  Meanwhile, bill collectors arrive every day demanding payment for the wedding accouterments, despite the fact that we have explained to them time and time again that we refuse to pay until the wedding in question has actually taken place.  And to top it all off, there have arisen hideous whispers that I am actually not five hundred and seventy-eighth in line for the throne--as if one could ever lie about something so important!

Sir Charles, I'll do anything for you if you will only help this poor benighted soul.

Most sincerely,
Miss Amanda Rice-Davies of Cherries-on-Top
Five hundred and seventy-eighth in line for the throne

Sir Charles replies:

Dear Miss Rice-Davies,

Yes, one knows exactly what you mean about the expanding waistline, dearie. A bit of a go at the bon-bon box will do that to even a British rose such as yourself.

Upon inquiry with one's ward, young Penelope Windsor-Smythe (who, as eighty-fifth in line with the throne, knows the trials and tribulations of others who might suddenly have to rule our green and pleasant isle, should the previous eighty-four be suddenly 'bumped off' by aeroplane or omnibus accident, or poisoned fish finger incident), one gleaned some interesting advice. "There's just one thing better than an old millionaire, and that's a young millionairess, and with a bit of creative thinking and a holograph last will and testament written in your favour, you're nearly there."

Just the sort of thing one would have said oneself, had one been seven hundred and thirty-sixth in line for the throne, or thereabouts.

Wishing you a pleasant widowhood, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Mrs Stoole writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

Love your column! You give such staunch advice . . . perfect for those of declining morals in America.

I was awfully sorry to read that you had gout, however. As it happens, I have a wonderful recipe for wild mushroom douche which might help out. It is a favorite concoction of one of my maiden aunts, and will cure anything.

Just let me know, and I'll send it along by mail.

Mrs. Luce Stoole

Sir Charles replies:

Mrs Stoole,

One instantly took the opportunity to buy IBM at three. One leapt at the chance to invest in a small company known as 'Microsoft' in the early years. One gratefully accepted an offer to invest in the musical Cats back in the days when Andrew Lloyd Webber was still a scruffy little git. When there was one final opening in the investor's group for the product known as Nutrasweet, one begged for it. And when one learned that one can produced 'Furbys' at Taiwanese factories for infinitely less than in a civilised country, one gave the nine-year-old workers there a bonus of tuppence apiece.

When it comes to your offer, however kindly meant, one feels strongly that one must do the right thing and (so to speak) pass it.

Having the feeling of a narrow escape, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Miss Born-in-a-Barn  writes:

Picture: Listen, BubSir Charles,

I am Miss Born-in-a-Barn. That's me. I do the weekly editorial for Country Living Magazine, where I cover dusty rose slipcovers, duck an' rabbit kitchen motifs, cannin' an' picklin', windmill yard ornaments, square dancin', how to milk a cow, how to keep your Daisy Dukes from frayin' too much, black velvet paintin's of Elvis, an' Precious Moments figurines.

I think you better think twice before usin' my name in your column again, as I write for the most read publication in the south part of the United States of America. Our country-bred, corn-fed lawyers, who, were they more numerous, would own enough cars up on blocks to outsize Nashville . . . or is it Texas? I fergit . . . will have your hide.

Anyway, there is a Miss Born-in-a-Barn, and I'm it, bubba. But ya know? When you argue with a fool, what're you doin'? The same thang.

Yours in Christ,
Miss Born-in-a-Barn

Sir Charles replies:

Dear Miss Born,

When one refers to 'Miss Born-in-a-Barn,' one refers to the columnist that one has been warned by one's solicitors to refer to only as 'Miss M______.' Apparently to use her real name or to mention that she is the author of books with self-serving titles such as Miss M______ Saves Civilisation would bring another of her defamation suits upon one. And one scarcely needs the bother.

However, now that one knows that there is an actual Miss Born-in-a-Barn who spends her days dispensing advice to the churn and Hee Haw set, one will of course act appropriately.

Of course, one means merely that one will try to erase the horrid knowledge from one's mind.

Wondering what on earth Daisy Dukes could be and how they would fray, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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