Dialect in British Fiction: 1800-1836Funded by The Arts and Humanities Research CouncilSupported by The University of Sheffield
Full record including Speech Extracts
Oakley, PeregrineAureus; or the Life and Opinions of a Sovereign, Written by Himself.
Author Details
First Names:Peregrine
Publication Details
Publisher:Printed for George Wightman, 46, Fleet-Street.
Novel Details
Genre:Biography; courtship; domestic; fantasy; manners/society; satirical
Despite the title, this is not actually an autobiography, rather it is a satire based on a 'found' manuscript. The sovereign of the title is a gold sovereign coin, and the whole narrative is related from the point of view of this coin, which passes through many hands, and is privy to numerous events and conversations.
Overview of the Dialect
A range of different language varieties appear, including West Indies, French accented English and Scots.
Displaying 6 characters from this novel    |    Highlight dialect features in each extract    |    Do not highlight dialect features in each extract
Speaker #1:M. Noyaux - Planter just returned from West Indies
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:The planter
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:1st person

Social Role
Social Role Description:Planter just returned from West Indies
Social Role Category:Trade or craft
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:West Indies (French-speaking)
Place of Origin Category:France
I overheard the following colloquy between two swarthy looking gentlemen, who had called for the purposes of refreshment. "Well, Monsieur Noyaux," said one of them, "I think you must acknowledge, that this is as good as any of Monsieur Verigo's potage." "Bon, bon !" was the reply of the other, who would not allow himself time to say more, till the soup had vanished from his sight; when he thus began: "It is not de first time I taste it.--When I came from West Indies to this country, I wish to see de novelty, de curiosity of de place. I learned de English language at Martinique--speak, as you hear, like de natif . In de first morning I go to de grand spectacle militaire: evolutions exact--General, I suppose, give de word of command. I ask, Who is dat Officier?--'Monsieur Poplar' they say.
" Ver well! Impatient to see more--peep in at de libraire --take up a pamphlet on political economy--read one, two, tree page .-- Ah, tres bien ! excellent!--Who is de author? They say, 'Monsieur Poplar.'
" Ver well! I stroll into de street--Ludgate hill--Cheapside--move on to de Poultry--then to Cornhill-- Ma foi! I stand still--hold my breath--sniff, sniff-- de smell delicieuse ! Stop at dis place--come in--taste de beer, excellent!--try de puff, superlatif ! Ah, le carosse ! de chariot drive furiously up to de door! Un gentilhomme step out--go up de stair. When I say, Who is dat ? They tell me, 'Monsieur Poplar.'
" Ver well. I take de glass limonade --pay for my puff,--Pray, who is de master of dis shop? They say, 'Monsieur Poplar.'
" Ver well! Lounge about some time--Look in at de Guilt-hall -- Von man in de scarlet robe and gold chain--give good advice to tree bad men that stand before him. Say I, " How you call that Justice on de bench? ' An Alderman. ' " Ah ! but how you call his name? They say, 'Monsieur Poplar.'
" Ver well! I go to my dinnere --after, I go to L'Assemblee Nationale , de House of Common .--Orator speaking much to de purpose all about avantage of de debt national. Ask again, "Who is that member on his leg? They say, 'Monsieur Poplar.'
" Ver well! I stop von , two half-hour --I go away--drop in at de Teatre --too late for de Comedie --enquire, "What is de Farce?" The Adopted Child . Ah ! but who is its father?. Who is de writer?" They tell me, 'Monsieur Poplar.'
" O mon Dieu ! I could stand it no longer.--Here, and there, and every where--from morning till night--nothing but Monsieur Poplar! General--Economy--Soup--Shariot--Alderman--Justice--Member of Parliament--and Father of the Adopted Child ! Ha, ha, ha!--It was too much!
(Vol. 1,p. 36-8)
Speaker #2:Jeanie Mackenzie - Ex-servant and wife of soldier
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Jeanie
Age:Adult - middle aged
Narrative Voice:1st person

Social Role
Social Role Description:Ex-servant and wife of soldier
Social Role Category:Servant
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Scottish
Place of Origin Category:Edinburgh, Scotland
The object of Mr. Gizzard's bounty, on the receipt of it, hastened to the public-house that had been pointed out to her, and asked for some thing which the woman who presided at the bar could not comprehend.
" Toot , woman, I dinna seek ony thing without paying for it. Here's the bit siller ,"--and she held her money up to the light. " Gude guide us. What de I see? The gentleman has made mistak and gien me GOLD instead of a shelling .
"Well, mistress," said the landlady, "I think you are greatly in luck, I'll give you change for it, and then you may have what you want."
" Nae nae , I'll want it a'thegither; siller never do weel with those who dinna come cannily ."
(Vol. 1,p. 114-15)
"Sit down, sit down; and let me have a little conversation with you. Come, be candid, and tell me your story. I am anxious to know your history and what brought you to London: for, by your discourse, you cannot have been long from the North."
"'Deed, Sir, I have been a gude bit in England; but, somehow or anither , the broad Scotch sticks to the roof o' my mouth, and I maun tell my ane story in my ane mither tongue.
You maun ken , then, Sir, I was yance a sarvant-lassie in Edinbro' , and about tan years agone I war married upon my Sandie, who was a soger and, whan we became acquaint , was quartered in the Pierce Hill Barracks at Porto Bello. He was as bra' a lad as ony you'll see in a simmer 's day, and was sent wi' his regiment to Spain; but they would na let me gang wi' him, you see. So I went awa hame to my mither , and bided there till Sandie cam back. She was a puir frail body and stayed at Kinghorn. It has lately pleased the Lord to tak her to himsel .
I went doon to see my aged parent in her last illness: I gied her a decent burial, and came up to join Sandie at the barracs at Rumford. But, aweel awa! I thought I war nae to haud nor to bind , when I fund he war dead and buried twa days before I arrived. His camrades tauld me, he war na himsel for days thegither , and he did naething but rave for his Jeanie baith night and day. When I heard this, I thought I would hae gane distract a'thegither; for I fancied, if I could hae nursed him mysel , I might hae saved his life-- puir dear Sandie! You dinna ken , Sir, you canna imagine what a tinder heart he had, though he war a soger ! And mony a bludy battle had he been in, beside Waterloo; and the tear would start in his bonnie blue een , when he wad tell me o' the sufferings of the wounded and the dying. And my heart is ready to brak , when I think I war nae wi' him in his last moments, puir fallow ! O Sir, you maun excuse my sobbing sae ; but you dinna ken what it is to lose the lad you loo sae weel ! But, the Lord's will be done! we munna repine. He's gane til a better place.
I hae twa childer , ye ken , and my eldest son, who is named after his father, war wi' him when he died, and the puir callant has scarcely lifted up his head sin . He war an ailing bairn , a stunted wee bit body, amaist nine year auld ; but he's an auld farrant chiel , an' a tinder -hearted laddie , like his faither . I left him at the Spread Eagle i' Romford; but he'll lam nae gude there. I war going yestreen to ca' upon Mistress Euphemia Mac Alister, who is housekeeper's sarvant-lassie at the Duchess of B's. Femmy is a discreet body; mayhap ye may ken her, Sir. Her mither 's gude sister was first cousin to my father's grandmither : and as we are sae near akin, and united thegither by natural blude , I thought she might speak to the Duchess about my lad Sandie. I see you smile, Sir, at my mention o' the Duchess; but she has a kind heart for a' the folks, muckle and sma', frae Scotland: The vary beasts o' the field, and the birds o' the air, wull come at her bidding, and feed out o' her ain hond , as she walks through the policy at the Palace o' D. And when ony o' the puir folk dee in her neighbourhood, this noble lady will be at their bed-side her ainsel , and do a' she can to soften the pangs of affliction at that awsome moment. She has the blessings o' the puir wharever she gaes ; and her gude deeds will live in their breasts lang after she is gane to heaven.
" Weel , weel , as I war saying, Sir, I had walked mony a mile upon the broad stanes till my feet began to blister. I could na mak mysel weel understood, and I lost my road. I war unco weary, and felt mysel faint and overcome; and I sat mysel down on the stair and fell asleep, but the greeting o' the bairn wakened me. I war heart-sick and very despairing like; but 'tis wrong to despair,--for the Lord befriended me in his mercy. I met wi' you, Sir,--and that's the whale o' Jeanie. Mackenzie's waefu' story, you ken ."
(Vol. 1,p. 119-22)
Speaker #3:Abigail - Chambermaid
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Abigail
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:1st person

Social Role
Social Role Description:Chambermaid
Social Role Category:Servant
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:French
Place of Origin Category:Paris, France
Speakers: All , Abigail, interlocutor
I had scarcely ceased speaking before this Lady of the Bedchamber , without being at all put out of countenance, turned to me with the affected grace of a French elegante, placing her hand upon my arm with the ease and familiarity of an old acquaintance, and, peering with her little grey eyes full in my face, lisped out, " Pardonnez moi, Monsieur , but don't you think she is rather too petite , too littelle ?"
"No, Mademoiselle, I consider her as the master-piece of nature."
"The chef-d'oeuvre of art, you mean."
"The most artless creature on earth. Her features pourtray every feeling of her mind!"
" O ciel! That's too much for a mere statue."
"A STATUE! She has all the softness of feminine delicacy, blended with the fire of animation!"
"If cold marble can express so much."
"She, cold marble --She has a heart warm and tender as the turtle dove; and, give me leave to tell you, Ma'am, that you have a strange vitiated taste.
" Tout au contraire, Monsieur . Every body of taste agrees with me."
"Pshaw, nonsense! you are no judge."
"No Judge, Sir! I know that the best judges in the world give the preference to my Apollo"
"Your Apollo! and pray who is he?"
"Why, Sir, every body allows that the Venus de Medicis is not so perfect as the Apollo Belvidere ."
"What is it the Apollo Belvidere , then, that you have been talking about all this time?"
"To be sure it is, and were you not speaking of the Venus de Medicis ?"
"Not I, upon my honour! I never had the felicity of seeing her goddess-ship."
" Oh barbare ! Then you know nothing. You have never been at Paris, at least when it was worth while to be there."
"My dear little soubrette, I am more satisfied with the sight of your divine mistress, than I should be with all the goddesses in heaven or earth."
[some dialogue omitted]
This was drawled out, with a vulgar imitation of a true Parisian accent; and I was highly diverted with the little Frenchified amphibious Abigail.
(Vol. 1,p. 158)
Speaker #4:Gold coin (narrator) - Individual
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Narrator (first person)
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:1st person
Dialect Features:Metalanguage

Social Role
Social Role Description:
Social Role Category:
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:
Place of Origin Category:Unspecified
Extract #1 dialect features: Metalanguage
Though unable to write or spell two words of English with correctness, he can speak French and Italian fluently enough to converse with foreigners at the gaming-table .
(Vol. 1,p. 96)
Speaker #5:Mrs Dory - Wife of fish seller
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Fishwife
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:1st person

Social Role
Social Role Description:Wife of fish seller
Social Role Category:Trade or craft
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Unspecified (visiting London)
Place of Origin Category:England
Extract #1 dialect features: Grammar, Orthographical Contraction, Vocabulary
"No, my dear, that is the King's Yerb -woman and her six maids of honour: are not they, Sir?" said the lady, addressing herself to Mr. Wily.-- "As far as any thing I know to the contrary, Ma'am," was the reply.
"My goodness!" exclaimed Mrs. Dory, "wonders and wiseacres will never cease! if there ben't the two Aldermen W's marching before the King! And see, see, Jackey! there's your old acquaintance, the Alderman of Portsoken Ward, with all his blushing honours flushing in his face!"
(Vol. 1,p. 238)
Speaker #6:Maid - Maid
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Maid
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:1st person

Social Role
Social Role Description:Maid
Social Role Category:Servant
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:London (Cockney)
Place of Origin Category:London, South East England, England
Speakers: All , Maid, interlocutor
" Lauk , Ma'am ! he is a fine helegant man of fashion."
"Do as you are bid, girl, and don't exhibit any of your Tower-street vulgarity here! "
" Wulgarity , vell , I likes that," --said this highly offended lady's maid, when she bounced indignantly out of the room.
(Vol. 1,p. 406-7)
Displaying 6 characters from this novel    |    Highlight dialect features in each extract    |    Do not highlight dialect features in each extract
Version 1.1 (December 2015)Background image reproduced from the Database of Mid Victorian Illustration (DMVI)