Benford's G&S Lexicon Entries for Princess Ida

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Enter part of a term; e.g., "gill" for Gillow's.

Act I

Baleful [baleful prophecies were rife]

Pertaining to sorrow, misery, and doom.


Abundant and widespread.

Forsworn [Ida has forsworn the world]

Renounced, meaning she has turned her back on worldly affairs.

Bib and tucker [All bib and tucker, frill and furbelow]

A tucker is an "ornamental frill of lace or muslin worn by women of the 17th and 18th centuries round the top of their dresses to cover the neck and shoulders. Hence, with clean bib and tucker, nicely dressed, looking fresh and spruce" (54). Stedman (274) says Louisa May Alcott's girls of the nineteenth century also wore tuckers.


A flounce or wide ruffle (or pleats) used to trim a dress.

Recumbent [recumbent in her foster mother's arms]

Lying on her back.


Wet nurse; i.e., a woman other than the mother who breast-feeds a baby.

Hireling [the hireling mother-for-the-nonce]

One who serves for wages, in this case a wet nurse


For the moment; i.e., temporarily. See also The Yeomen of the Guard.


A room in a church in which ecclesiastical vestments are hung when not in use. In this case, a secluded retreat in which the wet nurse can feed her little charge with all due modesty. After the wedding ritual the register of marriage would be signed in the vestry (245).

Speak [For at that age I had not learnt to speak.]

Hilarion is like the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah who said, "Ah, Lord God! behold I cannot speak; for I am a child."

Heralds [They are heralds evidently]

Official conveyors of important announcements or royal proclamations.


Shielded by diplomatic immunity (but not for long, as it turns out).

Rex [Sons of Gama, Rex]


Bent [They are not our bent]

An inclination or strong point.

Doughty [But with doughty heart]

Pronunciation: DOW-tee


Philanthropist [I'm a genuine philanthropist]

One who does good deeds out of a love for mankind. A splendid example would be an enlightened person who buys bales of this lexicon to place in hotel rooms.

Erring [In my erring fellow creatures]

Pronunciation: Rhymes with purring.

Departing from the correct way.

Snub [little plans to snub the self-sufficient]

To treat scornfully, coldly, or with contempt. To bring up short with rudeness or indifference. Let me cite an example of snub and counter-snub. Back in 1707 the nations of Europe were concerned with the brash King Charles of Sweden, who had conquered Saxony and stood poised to upset the balance of power throughout the continent. England's most powerful leader was John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough. He requested an audience with Charles and was invited to meet the king in his temporary residence in central Germany. Since Churchill was not a monarch, diplomatic protocol demanded that his initial contact should be with Count Piper, Charles's de facto prime minister. When the duke in his carriage arrived at the palace, Piper sent word that he was busy and kept the duke waiting half an hour. Finally, as Piper came forward, the duke stepped out of his carriage, donned his hat, and walked right past the count without acknowledging his presence. Then, a few feet away, the duke calmly urinated against a wall, then turned and greeted Piper "in courtly fashion" (202). Next time someone snubs you, keep this riposte in mind.


Self-satisfied, conceited.