of the Society of Baronets (S.O.B.)
Tenth of March, the year of Our Lord Two Thousand
Convened to discuss the upcoming Charity Fair for
Orphans of St. Basingstoke Orphanage
Courteously hosted by the Hotel St. Claret, Little
Sir Garrett Featherstonehaugh, Bart., Wickets, Little Bumpford;
Sir Evelyn Marquet, Bart., Stone Manor, Stonehampton;
Sir Enid Bottomblossom, Bart., Trefoil, North Waughford;
Sir Alec DeVin, Bart., Rather House, Wyllewyn;
Sir Bradley Staubes, Bart., Landelier, Cludon.
Dreadfully Tardy: Sir Charles Grandiose, Bart., Blandsdown, Fishampton.
Item One: Sir Garrett Featherstonehaugh brings the meeting
to order after a forty-five minute wait for Sir Charles Grandiose,
who had assured the others he was just stepping into the Hotel'
bar for a mineral water. His opening address is interrupted by
the arrival of the concierge with Sir C.G., who apparently had
been scuffling with a hotel chambermaid. Sir Evelyn Marquet returns
the chambermaid's foundation garments to the concierge. The membership
votes to censure Sir C.G. for his tardiness. For: 5. Against:
1 (Sir C.G.)
Item Two: Sir Alec DeVin, treasurer, presents his report.
Someone in the group has issued an unauthorized cheque to 'Monsieur
LaBott's House of Swats' in the amount of four hundred pounds.
An itemised bill proved that the guilty party had purchased assorted
leather riding crops, whips, and and a wooden paddle inscribed
with the words, 'Spank me, mommy.' Sir Garrett Featherstonehaugh
requests that the culprit admit his crime immediately, and that
there will be no retribution if he promises to return the funds
by the end of the week. Several minutes of silence follow, while
the collected membership gazes at Sir Charles Grandiose, who
seemed to find something very interesting to look at on the tops
of his boots.
Item Three: Status report on the Charity Fair for the Orphans
of St. Basingstoke Orphanage. Sir Evelyn Marquet confirms that
the Petting Zoo will be in operation for the young orphans. Sir
Charles Grandiose inquires if there will be any toothsome young
orphan lasses looking for a bit of consoling upon their grievous
loss. Sir Evelyn Marquet tartly replies that he doubts it, and
proceeds to note that the Folkestone Pantomime Players will also
be providing entertainment, should we wish to engage their services.
Sir C.G. inquires if there will be any toothsome young pantomime
actresses looking for a bit of help with their costumes. The
group informs him that they sincerely hope not. Votes for engaging
the Folkestone Pantomime Players: 5. Against: 0. Abstentions:
0 (Sir Enid Bottomblossom, gently snoring)
Item Four: Sir Bradley Staubes inquires into the possibility
of using S.O.B. fiduciary assets in order to organize a dinner
for the society members and their families. Sir Garrett Featherstonehaugh
asks what sort of dinner Sir B.S. might mean. Sir C.G. notes
that if it's a rip-roaring tuck-in with beef and potatoes and
a real man's pudding and plenty of the old bubbly and whiskey
and cigars and some of those pretty little fillies from the local
pub who like to have a good time with a little of the right persuasion,
way-hey-hey, he's all for it to the hilt, my boys, to the hilt.
An embarrassed silence follows. Sir Bradley Staubes makes a motion
against his own proposal. For: 4. Against: 0. Abstentions: 2
(Sir Enid Bottomblossom, head on the table, and Sir C.G., steadfastly
looking out a window.)
Item Five: The concierge enters again, followed by an angry
looking chambermaid (presumably wearing her knickers by now),
and four security guards. The concierge is carrying a four foot
long wooden paddle inscribed in fancy script with the words,
'Spank me, mommy.' A vote is hastily taken to hire similar security
guards to prevent Sir C.G. from attending future meetings of
the S.O.B. For: 4. Against: 1 (Sir C.G.) Abstentions: 1 (Sir
Enid Bottomblossom, dragged out by a security guard).
The meeting is prematurely adjourned.
Sister Marie Claire writes:
As a modern nun I see the many evils to which men fall prey.
And in my neighborhood, I fear the evils of Drink are foremost.
I have seen Strong Drink ruin many a family.
Now, of course you and I both enjoy a nip now and then, and
there's nothing wrong with the sacramental wine, but it's moderation
that is the key word, Sir Charles. Moderation.
But Strong Drink in excess, Sir Charles, leads to blurred
vision, to impaired judgment, to shocking and to often regrettable
behavior.Why is it that our Lord and maker would permit man to
make and ingest this potable poison?
Sister Marie Claire of the Little Sisters of Fatima.
Sir Charles replies:
It is true that hard liquor blurs the vision and leads men
and women to perform acts they might not otherwise perform. However,
I think Our Lord had the less genetically gifted in mind, when
putting alcohol upon the earth. For without it, how would the
uglier among us ever compel others into the procreative act?
A firm believer in the theory of evolution, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose
To begin, I should like to praise you on the quality of your
column. Rarely does one find this kind of intelligence
and civility in the savage area known as the internet.
We, that is the world at large, are truly in your debt for raising
the standards of electronic communication.
However, I do find one trend rather disturbing. Would
you mind explaining your apparent disdain for Americans?
I will grant you that there is a great number of uncultured and
uneducated individuals here, but America has made many contributions
to western culture.
In closing, I would ask you only to recognise that there are
several of us here who are of good taste and distinction.
In friendship and civility,
Sir Charles replies:
When one was a lad and slightly more democratic than one is
now, one would on occasion visit the farmyards one one's Pater's
tenants, to watch the peasants at work. Of particular interest
to oneself were the pig pens--muddy, vile, disgusting stretches
of fenced-in earth constantly reeking of the effluvium produced
by the porcine species, intermingled with the rain and mud of
the English countryside.
Every morning Farmer Jameson would come out from his tiny
cottage, bearing a pail of pig slops. The slops contained trimmings
from the table, scraps of food too small to save, and the leftovers
of the previous day's baking. Now, Farmer Jameson's good wife
made a dashed fine rock sugar biscuit. One remembers them fondly.
And occasionally one or two of the stale (but still quite tasty)
biscuits would make its way into the slop pail, and one would
watch regretfully as it was trampled into the mire by the enormously
fat hogs Farmer Jameson kept.
Of course, the moral of the fable is that no matter how good
the biscuit might have been, when covered with mud and the vilest
of substances from a piggie's fundament, one was scarcely likely
to dive into the muck to rescue it.
With a lyrical metaphor, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose
Dear Lady Felicia,
Momma and Daddy were recently invited to the fiftieth wedding
anniversary of friends of the family, given by the grown kids
of the couple. So that no one else can figure out who they
might be (this town sure can talk, sugar!), let's just call them
the Boudreauxs. Daddy, a retired policeman, used to be
Mr. Boudreaux's partner. The kids spared no expense and threw
the party at Lucky's Diner downtown.
In the invitation, the Boudreaux kids suggested that, if the
invitees wanted to give their parents a gift, they were collecting
money to send them on a trip to Branson, Missouri (home of the
Osmond Theater), and would be glad to accept contributions.
Momma was shocked at their asking for money and said, "I'll
just bet Lady Felicia would have something to say about that!"
I pointed out to Momma that the children were not asking for
money for themselves but had good intentions of sending their
parents on a romantic getaway. (What could be more romantic than
the Capital of Country Music?) So they weren't doing nothing
What do you think, Felicia, hon? (Momma rebelled against the
suggestion and instead hand-crocheted them some pretty pink doilies
to protect their matching lazyboy recliners from hair oil.)
Margie Sue Farmer
Lake Charles, Louisiana
The Lady Felicia replies:
Dear Miss Farmer,
I feel for your mother, I certainly do. She seems to
have an instinctive sense of politesse, yet she lives among people
for whom the finer points of etiquette are a luxury. Yes,
it is a sad fact that many, many people less fortunate than the
family Grandiose are driven to such cooperative efforts as that
which you describe in your letter. I always assure my cottagers
that there is no shame in it. One must make the best of one's
lot in life.
Thus it was a fine and generous impulse on the part of your
friends to ask for money to send the happy couple on a "romantic"
trip to Branson, Missouri. Fine and generous, but still,
sadly misguided. The thought of encouraging romance in a marriage
of fifty - even twenty-five - years rather stuns me. Children
really have no notion.
And more importantly, no marriage of fifty years duration
should be subjected to the further strain of listening to the
driving rhythms of "A Little Bit Country & A Little
Bit Rock & Roll" at the Osmond Theater. It would
have been cruel. I'm afraid I cannot recommend it.
So your mother was absolutely correct in giving the hand-crocheted
antimacassars. As every lady who manages a household will tell
you, one can never have too many antimacassars, especially if
one's home is visited frequently by the comb-over crowd, who
apparently use gallons of hair oil to achieve their tonsorial
effects. Why, at Blandsdown, we have a parlourmaid
whose sole duty is to maintain our extensive antimacassar supply.
I'm quite sure that the golden bride will find that these useful
doilies will contribute infinitely more to her continued matrimonial
bliss and to the seamless running of her household than any romantic
getaway to the Capitol of Country Music.
Serenely, one remains
Lady Felicia Grandiose