Rules of Regency

When I first read Janet Mullany’s top 10 lists from the back of her book The Rules of Gentility, I laughed out my nose in an indelicate fashion.

Then Bitchery reader Melissa sent me a link to an LJ that had reprinted the set of top 10 lists in their entirety. I emailed Janet Mullany and asked her permission, and she says that if Avon comes after me for reprinting them here, I should…well, never mind what she said I should do. Either way, the lists are funny enough that they hurt me to read them.

Top 10 Things No One Would Ever Say in a Regency Romance
Taken from the back of the novel Rules of Gentility by Janet Mullany

The heroine:

1. Hell with Almack’s. I think I’ll stay home and entertain myself with the footmen.
2. I might as well marry the first man who offers for me. I can always have passionate love affairs afterward.
3. I never really wanted to be a writer/surgeon/spy/scientist/explorer/archaeologist/herbalist
/highwayperson/governess/publisher/artist/balloonist/acrobat /pirate/opera singer/engineer. It just seemed to make me more attractive to eligible men.
4. Oh, Papa, what a shame you gambled away the family fortune. I’m afraid I can’t think of anything I could possibly do to help out.
5. A devastatingly handsome, notorious, wicked rake? Eeeew.
6. I know it’s our wedding night, but would you mind terribly if I got on with my knitting?
7. I don’t care if that adorable lisping child is the apple of the hero’s eye. If she doesn’t shut up I’ll slap her.
8. Pay no attention to my siblings. They’re only here for the sequels.
9. Would you mind using one of those things made from animal intestines?
10. You don’t have any? Look in my reticule.

The hero:

1. No brandy for me, thank you. It gives me terrible wind.
2. But I always wear a nightshirt and nightcap. Why should it be any different tonight?
3. Butler, remove this strange woman from my bed immediately.
4. All this striding around is giving me groin injuries.
5. No, no. I insist, madam. You take the floor. I’ll be quite comfortable in this huge bed.
6. Send my valet for some Rogaine. I have been indulging in overmuch hair raking.
7. I’m afraid some women have complained it’s rather on the small side.
8. I am Everard Dominic Benedict Ashford Alexander Artichoke FitzGrennan, Duke of Hawkraven, known and feared as Satan’s Elbow, but you may address me as…Cuddles.
9. I really don’t want to go to a gambling hell tonight. Couldn’t we just stay home and read up on the bills we’re supposed to vote on tomorrow in the House?
10. Waterloo? Oh, it was quite fun, actually.

To the heroine list, I would offer the following addenda:

a. “Raining? I should certainly not wear a pelisse. I need a heavier jacket.”
b. “I have a bit of a sniffle but I should be just fine. Tea will help.”
c. “Boys clothing? I am afraid I’d never fit in them. And why would I wear them, anyway?”

To the hero list:

a. “Laudanum? Yes, please. It hurts like the devil.”
b. “Bother the news – lets talk about sports.”
c. “Actually, I find estate management positively scintillating.”



Fun And Games

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    monimala says:

    LOL! I love the originals and your additions, Sarah.

    Now I can’t help but weigh in.

    The Hero:
    1) “Hessians? I loathe them, they give me calluses.”
    2)“I do not need a valet. I can put on my own clothes and lurk outside my own doors.”
    3)“I’m an absolute idiot at cards and dice. Want to play Scrabble?”

    The Heroine:
    1)“Latin? Why would I be able to read Latin? Telegu, however, I’m quite accomplished in.”

  2. 2
    Sandra D says:

    Ok now I KNOW the spaminator words are rigged, I was only going to read the comment already left but had to post myself when I saw my ‘word’ was british56.

  3. 3
    Lauren says:

    Oh I’m pretty sure there’s a Cynster or five who find estate management scintillating. When they aren’t having fourteen pages of sex with the heroine a love scene of course.

  4. 4

    The Hero:
    1. A large steed? Oh no, this small mule will be fine
    2. I believe in staying pure until marriage

    The Heroine:
    1. I’d have sex with you in this swing/field/horseback/bed/carriage if I weren’t on my period
    2. Would you like to invite your brother/valet/butler/sister to join us in bed?

  5. 5
    Emily says:

    For the hero: “Oh, but trousers are so scandalous.  I’ll wear knee-breeches instead.”

  6. 6
    Anna says:

    Too funny.  Thanks for sharing.  If Avon comes after you, we can pool our resources for your legal defense :)

  7. 7
    Chrissy says:

    Sudden thunderstorm?  Let’s not retire to that conveniently placed hunting lodge where we will be forced to remove our clothing to dry it by the fire but, in stead, get bloody good and soaking wet on our swift return to the manor, poopkins.

    No, sorry, you look quite able to manage your own horse.  This is a one-seater saddle.

  8. 8
    sartorias says:

    1.  This vat of frosting and batter?  If you’ll just shimmy out of that ruffled shirt and those biscuit-coloured breeches, I’ll show you how *I* “make a cake of” someone.  A hint: it involves lots of tongue.

  9. 9
    Teddypig says:

    Cuddles? He was this huge guy I used to climb whenever I did too many shots of Jager at the DC Eagle.

    He had wonderful hands.

  10. 10
    vanessa jaye says:

    Hero: “The fill-in-the-servant’s christian name? How the bloody hell should I know? And why should I care?”

    Heroine: “I’d rather have my one night of passion *after* I wed, if you please.”

  11. 11
    Dr. Strangelove says:

    Hero:  I’ve terrible aim with a pistol my dear.  No, I think we should just let the highwayman have his way with you.

    Heroine:  Dainty sleeves?  Don’t be ridiculous.  It’s freezing outside.

  12. 12
    Kassiana says:

    Sex? Are you kidding? Do you want me to get the French pox?**

    **Note: if French, replace with “English pox”

  13. 13
    JaniceG says:

    My favorite in the lists above is the one about the siblings only being there for the sequel :-> Followed closely by the desire to slap the hero’s small child. Can’t resist my own additions.


    “I know the rules tell me that certain behavior is required so even though I become faint and weak at the knees at the sight of my one True Love, I’m still not going to have sex/run away/visit him in his rooms without a maid/stay in a room alone overnight with him.”

    “You might be kinder to me and truly understand me but I’m still going to marry the man my family chose for me.”

    “After the wedding you’re going to keep your mistress and we’re going to have a marriage of convenience? No problem – sex with you isn’t that great anyway”


    “What?!?!? You slept with men to save your family from ruin/slept with your former fiance out of true love just before the wedding but he got killed in the war/ran away with a seducer and were away overnight but nothing happened and you were brought back home the next day? Get out of my sight, you tramp, and never darken my door again!”

    “What?!?!? You secretly read Latin and Greek/help manage your family’s estate for your goof-off brother/wrote the current novel that is scandalizing London? Get out of my sight, you bluestocking, and never darken my door again!”

    “I’m afraid I’m hopeless at tying my own neckcloth, everyone always beats me up at Jackson’s, and I can barely control my horses.”

  14. 14
    Kalen Hughes says:

    I loved TROG (and the acronym isn’t bad either, LOL!).

  15. 15
    YorkshireLass says:

    This is so funny! 

    How about: “What’s that you say?  Stay in my room/carriage/hidden whilst you apprehend the bad guy/take part in a duel/venture into a particularly hazardous situation?  Of course I will, I’m not stupid enough to risk getting myself killed.”

    “Oh look a pirate ship.  I’d better hide below deck to avoid getting raped and murdered.”

    Or from the hero: “Pistols at dawn? No thanks, I’m a rubbish shot and I don’t really care that much about the lady’s honour.”

  16. 16

    This list (and all the additions) is too funny! Almost makes me want to go pick up a few regencies next!

  17. 17
    Lorelie says:

    Hero:  “Perhaps I should have told you this before marriage, but I have the French pox.  Sorry but you’ve got a wonderful dowry.”

    Heroine:  “Oh Hawk/Devil/Lucien/Sin you’re a nice guy but I’m just not that into you.”

  18. 18
    Carrie Lofty says:

    Hero: “Her eyes? Fine? I hadn’t noticed.”

  19. 19

    I love these!  And I’m so inspired!  I just want to go out and slap some hero’s annoying little kid.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  20. 20
    Gwynnyd says:

    Heroine:  I feel faint.  I need a slug of brandy and cyanide. 

    (Ratafia is bitter almonds steeped in sweetened brandy.  Yep. Those bitter almonds.  Why sweet young things are always being plied with mildly poisonous brandy is beyond me.)

    Hero: You feel faint?  Stick your head between your knees while I fetch your mother/maid/sister/competent female.


  21. 21
    Robyn says:

    Butler, remove this strange woman from my bed immediately. Just once, I’d love to see that.

    Heroine: “It is almost dawn. I must stop the duel between my brother and my husband! Let me dress in this simple sprigged muslin with tiny blue flowers that accentuates my figure and perfectly matches my eyes, then I’ll brush my long blond curls until they shine.”

  22. 22
    Rana says:

    I love it!
    The book itself is pretty damn marvellous too!

  23. 23
    shaunee says:

    Hero:  “Your cold-hearted father, the Duke of Something ruined my family!  If I were a real man I’d seduce you then visciously dump you only to realize that I kinda actually dig you.  Except, you’re really not that cute.”

    Heroine:  “Look, your attempts to radically change my appearance by dressing me in scads of female frippery are in vain.  I really am this unattractive.  Deal with it.”

  24. 24
    Melissa says:

    Reading all these comments reminded me of one more for the hero:

    “You want to know how I managed to tuck a 36” long shirt into my skintight pants without a single wrinkle to mar the line of my manly hips?  Damned if I know.” 


  25. 25
    Caroline says:

    Hero: “You had my child years ago after an anonymous one night affair and now you expect me to fall in love with you and marry you just because I am a wealthy earl and you are a penniless nobody? HA! I know a paternity fraud when I see one.”

    Heroine: “What do you mean, only loose women wear undergarments? It’s bloody freezing in this thin muslin dress! We live in England! Give me those long woolen drawers, and the socks, too.”

  26. 26
    Deb says:

    OMG, these are hysterical.  And I had to comment just so I could get the follow-up comments.  Because I’m shallow like that.

  27. 27
    Katie says:

    Oh, (insert insipid maid’s name here). The first dress you selected will be perfect. You know I love pastels. And the more ruffles, the better. And lace? Yes, of course. An elegant lady always wear ruffles and lace in pastel

    My mother loves me. In fact, I had a wonderful childhood.

    *snort* verification word: “congress73”

  28. 28
    timepiece says:

    I have to admit, one of my favorite things about Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series is that one of the boys was a HORRIBLE shot, and admitted it to the heroine (Gregory?, yes, I think it was Gregory). And the best shot in the family was Eloise.

  29. 29

    All you bitches are so smart and funny I wouldn’t even dare to follow-up on myself!

  30. 30
    Eunice says:

    Thanks for posting these, Sarah! This really made my day.

    Which I’m sure will be a great comfort once Avon descends…

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