May 2, 2011

Wedding bells are ringing...

by Emily May

Reading: Under Your Spell by Lois Greiman
Listening to: Satie
Watching: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 3
Making me smile:
I have
finally finished writing my next Regency!

It's not surprising that I've been thinking about weddings and marriages recently, given all the excitement of the royal wedding! I had a quick flick through one of my favourite Regency reference books -- The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue -- and found some amusing Regency slang associated with marriage that I'd like to share with you.

First up is this one: 'to read a curtain lecture' ... which means the scolding given by a wife to her husband when they're in bed. I can just imagine Wickham saying 'For heaven's sake, Lydia, don't read me another curtain lecture!'

Then there's this gem
: 'to have a colt's tooth in one's head' .. which refers to an older man who marries a young girl. I wonder whether anyone said it about Colonel Brandon when he married Marianne? 'Lucky Brandon! Has a colt's tooth in his head.' Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.

And I love this one: 'To cuckold the Parson' ... which means to have sex with one's future wife before the marriage. Exactly what Wickham did with Lydia! (And exactly what all of my heroines have done, come to think of it. Shameless creatures!)

And finally, here's a wee test for those of you who read Regencies: Which of the following phrases do you think means ‘to be married’?

a) to be leg-shackled
b) to fall into the Parson’s mousetrap
c) to be riveted

d) to be a tenant for life

e) all of the above

If you picked 'e', you were right!

But enough about Regency marriage slang. Tell me, did you watch the royal wedding?

(All images are from the BBC productions of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. If you haven't watched them, do!)


  1. Great post Emily

    And yes I watched the Royal wedding and loved it that dress was so elegant and beautiful I had a tear in my eye while watching I do hope they will cope with all the pressure and remain very happy

    Have Fun

  2. Hi Helen - yes, I think you've put your finger on the most crucial thing for them: coping with the pressure that comes with being royal and in the spotlight. When I was a kid, I used to think that marrying a prince would be the ultimate dream. As an adult, I think the exact opposite. I'd hate to be in the public eye all the time!

  3. Emily, I love all those tidbits from the Regency weddings! Thanks for them. :)

    I did watch this one and surprised myself by staying up for the balcony scene (the day before I hadn't even known what day the wedding was!).

    But my favourite royal wedding is Frederik and Mary of Denmark - we had a lot of coverage here because Mary is Australian.

  4. I confess that I actually missed the wedding, Rachel, being immersed in my deadline -- I have no idea what the dress looked like, and nor did I know that there was a balcony! I'm sure the mags will give me plenty of pics, though, so I won't miss out!

    Ah, yes, Frederik and Mary -- that's a nice love story. Girl next door, royal prince... Sounds like a Mills & Boon!

  5. Emily, what a fun post! I love that 1811 Dictionary of yours - the terms are priceless! I especially enjoyed the "colt's tooth"! Actually, it could be applied in lots of cases couldn't it not just for marrying some one younger... for instance I over did it in the garden yesterday... a bad case of a "filly's tooth" perhaps?!

    I watched the wedding! Right up to the balcony kiss! Both Kate and William looked fabulous and I hope they have great happiness together.


  6. You are so right, Sharon -- multiple uses possible. If there's a 'colt's tooth', then there most definitely should be a 'filly's tooth'!

    Yes, I wish them great happiness in their marriage -- it's what everyone deserves!

  7. Hi Emily!

    I too watched the wedding, and immediately paired up Harry and Pippa? who both looked gorgeous =)

    Actually went to my mother's to watch the coverage LOL - and yes, right up to the balcony scene where she said 'Oh Wow'. You really would have to pinch yourself I think.

  8. I stayed up all night to watch the wedding. I still get the warm fuzzies just thinking about it. I really hope they have a great marriage.

  9. Mel, a second balcony comment -- clearly I have to look it up on youtube! Sorry I missed it!

    Pippa? Who's she..? Something else to look up!

  10. All night, Kaelee?! It must have been a fabulous wedding -- I'm sorry I missed it! (But hey, it's all there on the internet for me to find :-))

    Yes, I second what you say: I hope they have a great marriage!

  11. I'm late (as usual!) Which of the four mean to get married, Em? Or is it all of them? Falling into a Parson's mousetrap is the a ouch! kind of way. =)

    My dh said he definitely was not going to watch the RW. No way. Flicking channels (as men do), he came upon it...the part where Kate was walking down the aisle. She did look beautiful and I'm glad I was saw William murmur just that across to her as she joined him at the alter.

  12. Hi Robbie! Yeah, they all mean to get married. Falling into the Parson's mousetrap is the cutest -- but it makes it sound like an accident, don't you think? "Oops, just fell into the Parson's mousetrap. How did that happen?"

    That's such a nice comment about the wedding. I really do need to find it on youtube and watch!