A Regency Lexicon – And Then There Was “D”
The Daily Courant – England’s first daily newspaper; founded in 1702
Damask – a fancy silk or linen fabric used for table linen; usually had a flower design raised
“Dark Lady” – sometimes used to refer to the character of Marianne Dashwoood in “Sense and Sensibility”; it is a term Leslie Fiedler uses in “Love and Death in the American Novel”; a woman of deep feelings and sensibilities
Debt of Honor – a gambling debt; not enforceable by law
Decree Nisi – a provisional divorce decree; the couple had to wait 6 months to see if the circumstances changed, only then was the decree final
Demesne – land upon which the manor house is built (as opposed to tenants’ cottages)
Derby – the greatest of the horse racing venues; pronounced “Darby”; held at Epsom Downs, which is some 15 miles outside of London
Divan – a public smoking room
Divorce – the ending of a marriage; granted only by an Act of Parliament; was very expensive, very public, and quite shameful
Doctors’ Commons – where the ecclesiastical and admiralty courts met; south of St. Paul’s Cathedral; marriage licenses were issued and wills written there
Don – head of a college at Oxford or Cambridge; another name for a “tutor”
Double First – the title given to the person who received first prize in both the classics and in mathematics honor exams at Oxford
Dowager – a title given to a widow of rank
Dowry – the monetary settlement the woman brings to the marriage
Drag – a private stagecoach; usually pulled by four horses
Dragoon – cavalrymen who rode into battle on horseback and then dismounted to fight; shot a pistol that send out a “flame” like a dragon
Drawers – long underpants; originally were two separate leggings tied together at the waist; generally knee length
Drawing Room – room used for after-dinner gatherings; usually large enough for informal dancing, a pianoforte, etc.
Dressing for Supper – Supper was a formal meal; ladies and gentlemen don their best clothing for dinner.
Dropsy – having fluid build up in the joints in such diseases as diabetes or emphysema
Ducks and Drakes – skipping stones across the surface of a river, lake, etc.
(This post went up early, and several of my followers saw it then. One of them was LordBeariOfBow. Brian assures me the correct term is “withdrawing room,” not “drawing room.” I told him in Regency novels, the “withdrawing room” was the room set aside for the ladies to see to a torn hem or their personal needs during a ball. He was kind enough to send me these links to illustrate his point. I bow to his British heritage…
Here’s some interesting links to the ……….room. the last of the 3 is the most interesting to my mind.