Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mrs Rat and her Friends

Nicknames were prevalent in the age of letters. In fact, whole new dialects seem to be created by the aristocracy, such as the "Cavendish drawl" which the Devonshire House circle spoke in. each member of the circle seemed to have a nickname. Although some origins are obvious, others are quite perplexing. These nicknames were the usual form of address in casual letters, although we cannot be so sure how often they were used vocally.

Duchess of Devonshire Mrs. Rat

Duke of Devonshire Canis, due to his affection for dogs.

Lady Bess Foster Racky

Duchess de Polignac Little Po

Marie Antoinette, Mrs. B[rown], Louis was, of course, Mr. B

Richard Brinsley Sheridan Argus

Charles James Fox The Eyebrow, due to his enormous eyebrows

Lady Jersey The Infernal

Duke of Richmond Goodwin

Prince of Wales Prinny

Charles, Earl Grey Black

Duke of Dorset Pride

Frederick, Viscount Duncannon (Harriet's husband) Harum, due to his love of pranks

Bess had her own unique nickname with the Spencers: the Chief Councellor.

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