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regency swearing

Swearing was vastly different during the Regency than it is today where pretty much anything goes. Gentlemen would have learned early on not to swear in the presence of ladies not matter how vexed they were. Ladies, by and large, were simply not exposed to swearing or vulgar language such as Cant. Do go thinking that servants would swear around them. That was a quick way to unemployment.

So, what words did gentlemen use when they swore? Here is a list of swear words and oaths I complied over the years”

Devil it, Bollocks, Bloody, Hell, Damn his eyes, Damme, (Egan uses Demmee), Devil a bit, Devil it, The devil’s in it, Hell and the Devil, Hell and damnation, Hell and the Devil confound it, How the devil . . ..

As opposed to words that could be used around a lady:

Perdition, By Jove’s beard, Zounds, Curse it, Balderdash, By Jove, Confound it, Dash it all, Egad, Fustian, Gammon, Hornswoggle, Hound’s teeth, Jove, Jupiter, Lucifer, ‘Pon my sou, Poppycock, Zeus.

Oaths appropriate for ladies were:

Dratted (man, boy, etc.), Fustian, Heaven forbid, Heaven forefend, Horse feathers, Humdudgeon, Merciful Heavens, Odious (man, creature, etc.), Piffle, Pooh, What a hobble (bumble-broth) we’re in.

You’ll notice that the word “bastard” is not listed. The first written usage appears to have been in 1830. Here are the examples from the OED:

1830   N. Scatcherd Hist. Morley 339   Bastard, a term of reproach for a mischievous or worthless boy.

1833   C. Lamb Let. 27 Apr. (1935) III. 367   We have had a sick child, who sleeping, or not sleeping, next me with a pasteboard partition between, killed my sleep. The little bastard is gone.

The first written usage of the word as it is used in modern day English is this:

1937   J. A. Lee Civilian into Soldier i. 29   ‘He’s a bastard.’ Guy used the term not for its dictionary meaning, but because among New Zealanders no term expressed greater contempt.

This makes sense. Being a bastard during the Regency was not a horrible thing. If one was fortunate to have been born to a king, he could become a duke.

So, it appears that the word as we use it today comes from New Zealand.

The word “bloody” was used frequently and was not considered offensive until sometime around 1750 when it began to be considered vulgar and profane. In 1755, Johnson calls it “very vulgar”, in 1888 the Oxford English Dictionary states “bloody now constantly in the mouths of the lowest classes, but by respectable people considered ‘a horrid word’, on par with obscene or profane language.”

It is unclear when the term “bloody hell” was first used, but during the Regency and beyond, it would only be used by the disreputable people.

Fuck is also not on the list. Although the word has been around forever, Shakespeare used it, it was not used in its current context until 1929.

Researching swear words take a lot of work as they were not normally used in written form. However, the OED online is a great source because they keep updating their dictionary.

Next – Insults

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We’re moving on to servants. In England it was also middle class employment. Servants were integral in every gentry home. If at all possible, even the poorest would hire a maid of all work. It was a sign of status. In large houses, they were a necessity. The number of servants a household required depended upon the size the house, the number of people in the family, and their budget. For example, in Georgette Heyer’s Friday’s Child, the hero and heroine have eschewed the family town house and hire a small residence. The young couple decided that the following servants were necessary to their comfort: A valet, lady’s maid, cook, butler, footman or page-boy, coachman, two grooms, two maids, and a tiger.

 

The way servants were treated depended on the family. In households like the Duke of Devonshire’s, maids were in danger of being seduced by him. In other households, the housekeeper kept vigilance over the maids, and if any of them turned up pregnant and not planning to marry, they were let go without a reference. Or, maybe a footman or groom was responsible, and the couple were made to wed.

 

In many families, generations of servants served the family. In the country, it was not unusual for servants to be related and to be related to servants in other households. After all the landowners were the largest employers in the area.

 

How familiar the servants would be with the master or mistress also differed widely. If a peer, as a lad, had been put on his first pony by a young groom, that groom would more than likely feel as if he could speak his mind on some subjects when they were older. Or perhaps, as children, they stole tarts from the kitchen, or muddied the floors and had been chastised by the older servant. This ease of interaction was probably more common if the gentleman inherited his title at a fairly young age. On the other hand, some families had houses with interior tunnels for the servants’ use so that they couldn’t be seen. There were also accounts of a family whose finances took a downturn and the older servants remained with the family out of loyalty. So you see the relationships were as varied and complex as the people themselves.

Still, no matter how close a mistress or master was with servants (particularly to the nurse, for example, who may have raised them) never think they were “best friends.” Being a friend requires that both individuals have an equal social status. That was never the case with servants and their mistresses or masters who had the power to let them go.

Book recommendations: Friday’s Child (setting up house) and the Grand Sophy (fun interactions with servants) by Georgette Heyer. The Temptation of Lady Serena (fun interactions with servants) and You Never Forget Your First Earl, (setting up house) by me. Only a Mistress, by Jenna Jaxon. I’ve put out feelers for other books, but haven’t received any recommendations yet. Please feel free to add your own.

 

 

#RegencyTrivia #HistorialRomance

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As you’ve probably noticed, internet has been spotty at best. I think I’ve got a handle on it now, though.

Let’s get things started by announcing book winners!!

Congratulations to Kimberlie Lange for winning Collette’s book! And Congratulations Linda Thumb for winning Eileen’s book!!

Anhonorablewish_2perf5.000x8.000.indd

 

 

 

 

I want to encourage you to pre-order the Passionate Promises box set that will release in February!

Passionate+Promises+Final+BOX+1000x640

Here is what you’ll get:

Nine Promises to Stir Your Passions from USA Today Bestselling and Award-Winning Authors.
Enter the dazzling world of brawny Vikings, Regency rogues, and sexy scoundrels as they take you on one romantic journey after the other in these tantalizing historicals filled with betrayal, intrigue, and passion.

Stirring Passions by Maggi Andersen

A Kiss for Miss Kingsley by Collette Cameron

To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood by Bronwen Evans

A Highwayman’s Honor by Michelle McLean

Lord Quickthorn’s Bargain by Barbara Monajem

A Promise of Love by Ella Quinn

Wanted by the Warrior by Violetta Rand

A Pledge of Passion by Victoria Vane

Never Tempt a Rogue by Christy Carlyle

Buy links:

  • Buy for Amazon Kindle
  • Buy at Amazon.com Canada
  • Buy at Amazon.com UK
  • Buy for Barnes and Noble Nook
  • Buy from iTunes / iBooks
  • Buy from Kobo

 

I don’t have a blurb yet, but I can give you an excerpt of A Promise of Love!

April 1817, London

Lord Francis (Frank) Trevor glanced around the brilliantly lit ballroom wondering what the devil he was doing there. As the second son of the Duke of Somerset, one might suppose he would be used to the ton. And one would be mistaken. Other than the brief period of time he’d spent on the town during a university holiday, he had been acting as his father’s factor. A job that by rights belonged to his eldest brother Damon, Marquis of Hawksworth. His father’s heir.

Frank hadn’t even had a holiday from running the dukedom’s estates. He was chafing at running in his father’s harness. It was not in his nature to be constantly under another man’s boot. Lately, he had been searching for a way to change his life. He had also become a bit short tempered. Perhaps that was the reason that as soon as Father had departed for Scotland with a few of his cronies Mama had decided Frank could benefit from a touch of Town bronze. How the hell that was supposed to help him when he dealt mainly with crops and animals, he had no idea.

He might as well realize he was trapped in a life he did not want and had no hope of employment outside of slaving for his father. If he even attempted to find another position, the duke would ensure he never got it. And after Damon’s marriage to Meg Featherton at Christmas, their father had made very clear that in the future he would be making any necessary matches for his children.

Ergo, being here was a waste of time and money, though, thankfully, not his own.

A glass of wine was pressed into his hand. “Frank, you are supposed to be having fun.” His brother, Damon had the same a lazy smile on his face he’d worn since marrying Meg. “Not looking as if you’re facing a hanging.”

Frank took a long pull on the wine. “I am merely having trouble knowing where to start. How did you manage to talk father into this visit?”

“Ah, well.” Rather than answering his question, his brother scanned the crowd. “Your mother decided it was time you were introduced to some of the ladies. I believe she also felt you were due for a little time away from the estate.”

As if he would really be allowed to choose his own bride. “Did she happen to send you a list of ladies of whom father would approve?”

“Ah, no.”

Damon languidly raised his hand, and they were almost immediately joined by Meg, his wife of four months, and the young lady she had in tow.

On to boat news. We’re still sailing around the Virgin Islands, US and British. It looks as if we’ll be here for Christmas.

Race Horses swimming Red Hook anchorage Red Hook 2 Rainbow from STYC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday we’re back to the BVI for a week or so.

How have you been?

Ella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s finally here, and I’m all over the place!! I’m also giving away books! Please join me. I’ll post the links here and on my Facebook page as they become live!!

Just to make things more interesting, I’m giving away five copies of A Kiss for Lady Mary. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me why you love historical romance!

For more chances to win a copy of Lady Mary, check out Tasty Tours http://bit.ly/1F9JLYq

Ella

Lady Mary Tour

5/26/15 Miss Ivy’s Book Nook Take II

5/26/15 Romance Divas  http://bit.ly/1J2ahm4

5/26/15 Readers Entertainment http://bit.ly/1cXEmaf

5/26/15 Romance at Random

5/26/15 Mary Gramlich http://bit.ly/19RLRsp

5/26/15 SOS Aloha http://bit.ly/1Kk4TcL – Giveaway

5/26/15 Karen’s Killer Book Bench http://bit.ly/1cg0ege

5/26/15 USA Today HEA http://usat.ly/1HHZZZJ

5/26/15 Fresh Fiction

5/26/15 Shelley K Wall http://bit.ly/1Rkx4ML

5/27/15 Manic Readers

A Kiss for Lady Mary

 

 

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