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Thursday, April 9, 2009
Thursday Spotlight: Vanessa Kelly
Regency Cant: Gingerbread and vowels
It was not unusual for Regency men (and women) to get into financial trouble, in part because serious gambling was common--and cool. Women did most of their gaming in reputable society, but the men could gamble at their clubs, at cockfights, at dogfights, at the race track, or in low-rent gaming 'hells,' which were often brothels or the worst sort of public houses—specifically designed to part foolish young men and their money.
Naturally, there were lots of slang words and phrases for money, money issues--and the lack of money.
Money, by any other name…
I owe you…
In dun territory: a 'dun' is a particularly insistent creditor
Gullgroper: a professional moneylender, especially one who lends money to gamblers
Note of hand: IOUs
Tip over the dibs: to lend or give someone money
In the basket: having money troubles -- at cockfights, those who couldn’t cover their gambling debts were suspended over the pit in a basket
Brought to a point non plus: in an impossible financial situation
In deep: in deep debt
Dibs not in tune: lacking funds, in perilous monetary straits
Low ebb/at ebb-water/low water: lacking money
Pockets to let: penniless (you could rent out the empty space in your pockets)
Purse-pinched: low on cash
On the rocks: bankrupt
Rolled-up: in financial trouble
At a stand/standstill: having run out of money
Swallow a spider: to go bankrupt
In my next post, I'll let you into the Regency cant for all things naughty.