Victorian Slang: Quintessentially Historical

“By-the-bye, the dizzy and ungraceful practice of rocking in a rocking-chair is now discontinued by all genteel people, except when entirely alone. A lady should never be seen to rock in a chair, and the rocking of a gentleman looks silly.”

by Eliza Leslie (American 1864) 

1811 Slang ~ Quintessentially Historical

  • The Devil is beating his wife with a shoulder of mutton ~ it rains whist the sun shines.
  • The kidney clapped his persuaders to his prad but traps boned him; the highwaymen spurred his horse hard, but the officers seized him.
  • Scald miserables. A set of mock masons, who, AD 1744, made a ludicrous procession in ridicule of the Free Masons.
  • A girl who is got with child is said to have sprained her ankle.
  • That happened in the reign of queen Dick, i.e. never.
  • To cross the herring pond at the king’s expense; to be transported.
  • Nation ~ An abbreviation of damnation.
  • Spice islands ~ A privy.
  • Green sickness ~ A disease of maids occasioned by celibacy.
  • To bar the bubble. To except against the general rule, that he who lays the odds must alwyas be adjudged the loser: this is restricted to bets laid for liquor.

~ 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue

“If when about to ascend the stairs, you find that a gentleman is going up at the same time, draw back and make a sign for him to precede you. He will bow, and pass on before you. When coming down, do the same, that the gentleman may descend in advance of you.”

by Eliza Leslie (American 1864) 

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“Be not inquisitive as to the length of time consumed in writing this book or that—or how soon the work now on hand will be finished. It can scarcely be any concern of yours, and the writer may have reasons for keeping back the information. Rest assured that whenever a public announcement of a new book is expedient, it will certainly be made in print.”

Book News:
Joy’s Book Blog says of Etiquette & Espionage, “I enjoyed Etiquette & Espionage so much that I immediately downloaded the second book in the series, Curtsies & Conspiracies. Reading them back to back, the experience was more like one long book of spying adventure, crafty steampunk machine, and witty world-building.”

Quote of the Day:

“Substantial diet, that furnish nitrates for the muscles, and phosphates for the brain, and carbonates for the whole frame, prepare a man for effective work.”

~ Around the Tea Table, by T. De Witt Talmage (1875) 

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Posted by Gail Carriger

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