I've just finished writing a scene set in a Regency brothel -- not a high-class establishment, but a very low-class and vulgar place! The sort of brothel you'd find in this picture below.
I had so much fun writing the brothel scene that I thought I'd share of the colourful language that was used in Regency times to describe brothels, the people who frequented them, and the activities that went on in them.
The following phrases are all taken from one of my favourite research books, the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Sit back and enjoy!
a mutton-monger -- a man addicted to wenching
to make a duchess -- to have sex with one's shoes on
to take a flyer or take a flourish -- to enjoy a woman in a hasty manner (i.e. with her clothes on or without going to bed)
feather-bed jig -- sex
a fire ship -- a wench who has venereal disease
to burn one's poker -- to catch venereal disease
laced mutton -- a prostitute
a Covent Garden nun -- a prostitute
to break one's shins against Covent Gardens' rails -- to catch venereal disease
a woman's commodity -- the private parts of a modest woman and the public parts of a prostitute [beautifully worded description, don't you think?] also known as crinkum crankum, the venerable monosyllable, and the mother of all saints
fruitful vine -- a woman's private parts, so called, because it flowers every month and bears fruit in nine months [I love it!]
to crack one's pitcher -- to lose one's virginity
pucker water -- water impregnated with alum or other astringents to counterfeit virginity
Of course, there were far cruder words and phrases used to describe sex, prostitutes and prostitution, and women's anatomy, but I'll spare your blushes!
So what's your view on historical accuracy? Would you prefer that authors kept to the glittering ballrooms of the ton, or would you like to see something of the seedier side of Regency England?