Benford's G&S Lexicon Entries for Ruddigore

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

Act I

Peppermint rock

Peppermint flavored hard candy. It usually comes in cylindrical form, perhaps an inch in diameter and a foot long. You find them for sale as souvenirs at seaside resorts.


A nice old rustic fellow, generally in need of false teeth. Supposedly derived from grandfather or godfather. It was a common prefix to the name of elderly men in rural communities. Walters (302) says it is the male counterpart of Dame.

Hereaway [Is there none hereaway whom thou couldst love?]

In these parts.

Verily [verily it would ill become]

Archaic for truly, or in truth.

Sorely [thy words pain me sorely]

Archaic for grievously.

Dish-cover [Hung in a plated dish-cover to the knocker of the workhouse door]

Stell (278) explained that a dish-cover is one of those dome-shaped metal covers placed over plates or platters to keep the food hot and steaming until ready to serve. Rose Maybud's dish-cover was presumably silver-plated. That would lead us to infer that her mother might have been an unmarried servant in some manor house. Who knows? Rose might even be the unwanted result of one of those daily crimes, hence a close relative of Robin's; so there is the germ of yet another Gothic plot. Perhaps you may recall that the eponymous hero of Melville's Billy Budd explains that, "I heard that I was found in a pretty silk-lined basket hanging one morning from the knocker of a good man's door in Bristol" (212). And Jack Worthing, in The Importance of Being Earnest, was found in a valise in London's Victoria Station (313).


A place where poor people were lodged and given work. Workhouses were little better than jails. Residents were in social disgrace. See also "Work'us" in Thespis.


Infant attire.

Monitor [my guide and monitor]

Something that serves to remind or give warning (250).

Precepts [By its solemn precepts]

Instructions intended as rules of conduct, especially moral behavior.

Bites his bread

In those days a refined person would not be caught picking up a slice of bread and biting off a chunk. No. One was expected to break off a wee bit and pop it into one's mouth in an inconspicuous manner.

Marquis [He combines the manners of a Marquis with the morals of a Methodist.]

Pronunciation: MAR-kwis

Sketch of Manners and morals

In Britain, a marquis is a nobleman ranking next below a duke. This assessment of Robin is something of a switch from what Samuel Johnson (45) had to say about Lord Chesterfield's Letters to his natural son: "They teach the morals of a whore and the manners of a dancing master."

Hallowed [the hallowed name of Robin]

Past participle of hallow, meaning sacred.

Passing [It is passing fine]

The term is ambiguous. It can mean passably (i.e., moderately), or surpassingly. Take your pick. See also entry for "Passing fair" in Trial By Jury.

Fain [I would fain consult you]

Like to.

Ban [the ban that compels all who succeed to the baronetcy]


Tom-Tit [his ship the Tom-Tit]
Sketch of the Tom-Tit

A small bird of the tit family, possibly a blue tit (something like a chickadee). As in H.M.S. Pinafore, Gilbert is deriving fun from the British Navy's inclination toward giving their fighting ships awe-inspiring names. Nelson's fleet at the battle of the Nile, for example, included ships named Goliath, Audacious, Minotaur, Theseus, and Majestic. More fun is derived from the reminder of Ko-Ko's pathetic little bird.

Welkin [Let the welkin ring]


Shipped [I shipped, d'ye see, in a Revenue sloop]

Sailed as a member of the crew.

Revenue sloop

A patrol boat that cruises along the coast to discourage smugglers who are intent upon evading customs and excise duties (taxes).