Posted by Erin Knightley
Today, we Lady Scribes are pleased to welcome debut author, Ashlyn Macnamara. Ashlyn and I became fast friends when we finaled in the Regency category of the Golden Heart, and I couldn't be happier to host her here today. Oh, and if you feel like you've seen her here before, you probably have (lol). Without further ado, I give you Ms. Mcnamara:
|Photo Credit: Elyse Bergeron|
The majority of North Americans and the majority of the inhabitants of the British Isles may claim to speak the same language, but sometimes, you have to wonder. When I need to turn on the subtitles to get everything I can out of an episode of Downton Abbey, I realize there’s quite a gap between the variants.
When I was in university, I knew a young man who was born in England but moved to Connecticut around the age of ten. He liked to tell the story of his first day in American fifth grade and how he wasn’t quite prepared for class. Having made a mistake on his paper, he turned to the girl next to him and asked if he could borrow a rubber.
According to him, she nearly slugged him, when all the poor boy wanted was an eraser.
|Photo credit Justinc via Wikipedia commons|
And you all know about spotted dick, don’t you? Despite its name, it’s not a venereal disease but a steamed pudding. The spots are currents, but depending on your pudding mold, it might be cylindrical.
It goes both ways, though. An American who mentions knickers and pants to a Brit might come across as a pervert. To someone from across the pond, knickers are panties, while pants are men’s undergarments. Thankfully, I write historicals, and if you go back far enough, people just went commando under their clothes, which avoids the issue.
Unless you want to get into the subject of fag boys. Yep, I’m going there.
In spite of what it sounds like, the concept of a fag boy is a respected tradition at such public schools as Eton. Historically, the incoming first year students were each assigned to a boy in his final year at school. The younger boy was to perform such tasks as making the older boy breakfast, a cup of tea in the afternoon, blacking his boots, and keeping his room tidy. The idea was to teach the boys about service from both ends of the relationship.
|Courtesy of Wikipedia commons|
In theory, the senior boy, or fag master, was supposed to protect his charge and treat him with a certain level of decency. He was also responsible for his charge’s behavior, so if one’s fag got into a fight, the older boy was expected to deal with it, rather than bothering the teachers or headmasters about such trivialities.
Naturally, such a system was open to abuse. In his autobiography, Roald Dahl stated he was required to warm toilet seats for the older boys. And if an older boy had a propensity to bullying, his charge became a natural outlet.
In my debut Regency, A Most Scandalous Proposal, the practice of fagging gets a small mention when the hero and the villain recall their school days over a family supper.
Tell me, oh readers of English-set historicals, has the terminology ever tripped you up? One commenter will win a copies of Tracey Devlyn’s (who was kind enough to give me an awesome cover quote) two books.
Since resigning his Cavalry commission, Benedict Revelstoke has spent his time in London avoiding the marriage mart. But when he discovers that the Earl of Clivesden has set Julia in his sights, Benedict tries to protect his childhood best friend from the man’s advances—only to discover more than friendship driving his desire to defend her. He surprises them both with the force of his feelings, but when she refuses him and her father announces her betrothal, he fears he’s lost her forever—until Julia approaches him with a shocking scheme that will ruin her for all respectable society…
…and lead them into an exquisite world of forbidden pleasures.