Sunday, April 14, 2013

What Did Regency People Name Their Pet Ducks?

In my Regency comedy romance, An Inheritance for the Birds, the "birds" in the title are mallard ducks.

Why ducks? Well, I like ducks. They're very pretty birds and they're large enough to see easily. I selected mallards because they're the most widespread ducks in the northern hemisphere and would be common in Regency England. Also, I feel sorry for them. We take mallards for granted because they're all over, but they're among the best looking of the ducks. And I like their "quack".

An Inheritance for the Birds is a variation on the theme of the elderly lady willing her possessions to her cats. Duck nut that I am, I substituted ducks. In my twist on the story, the hero and heroine must compete to win an inheritance. Their task: make the deceased lady's pet ducks happy.

There are fourteen ducks in the story.

The drakes are:
Thaddeus, Theodore, Ulrick, Busick, Bamber, Obadiah, Ethelred and Alwyne

The hens are:
Felizarda, Albina, Esmeralda, Horatia, Urania and Dulcibella

Note that there are eight drakes and six hens. Among the brightly colored ducks in the wild, the spectacular-looking drakes are more plentiful than the drab brown hens. Just think, all those avian hotties competing for the erstwhile hens' attention. A female heaven.

I took most of the names from Regency historical romance author Jo Beverley's list of names common in the Georgian and Regency eras ( The names may have been common then, but they sound a little odd to our ears.

To introduce the ducks a little more, Ulrick and Urania are mates, Thaddeus and Theodore are brothers, and the heroine beans Felizarda with a piece of bread (accidentally, of course) when she feeds them.

The duck stars are Obadiah, who likes the hero, and Esmeralda, who doesn't. The others add their quacking chorus to the comedy.

I love my ducks. What do you think of the names I selected?

An Inheritance for the Birds, available at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance Ebooks and other places where ebooks are sold.


Make the ducks happy and win an estate!

Mr. Christopher "Kit" Winnington can't believe the letter from his late great-aunt's solicitor. In order to inherit her estate, he must win a contest against her companion, Miss Angela Stratton. Whoever makes his great-aunt's pet ducks happy wins.

A contest: What a cork-brained idea. This Miss Stratton is probably a sly spinster who camouflaged her grasping nature from his good-natured relative. There is no way he will let the estate go to a usurper.

Angela never expected her former employer to name her in her will. Most likely, this Mr. Winnington is a trumped-up jackanapes who expects her to give up without a fight. Well, she is made of sterner stuff.

The ducks quack in avian bliss while Kit and Angela dance a duet of desire as they do their utmost to make the ducks--and themselves--happy.


Yawning, he shut the door behind him. Enough ducks and prickly ladies for one day. After dropping his satchel by the bed, he dragged off his clothes and draped them over the chair back. He dug a nightshirt from the valise and donned the garment before he blew out both candles.

Bates had already drawn back the bedclothes. The counterpane was soft under Kit's palm, and covered a featherbed. He grinned. By any chance, had they used the down from the pet ducks to stuff the mattress and pillows?

After tying the bed curtains back, he settled into the soft cocoon and laced his fingers behind his head. Tomorrow, he would have it out with Miss Stratton about the steward's residence, but that was tomorrow. He fluffed up his pillow and turned onto his side…


A bundle of flapping, squawking feathers exploded from the depths of the covers and attacked him. Throwing his arms over his head for protection, Kit fell out of bed. He scrambled to his feet and bolted for the door, the thrashing, quacking explosion battering him. A serrated knife edge scraped over his upper arm. "Ow!" Batting at the avian attacker with one hand, he groped for the latch with the other.

The door swung open. Miss Stratton, her candle flame flickering, dashed into the chamber. "Esmeralda, you stop that right now!"

The feathered windstorm quacked once more and, in a graceful arc, fluttered to the floor.

Kit lowered his arms and gave a mental groan. A duck. He should have known.

Thank you all,


Ann Herrick said...

Those are great names!

I'm a fan of ducks too--the Oregon Ducks! :D

Maddy said...

There are so many associations with names. I was explaining this to my daughter about 'old fashioned' names and how they differ depending upon which side of the pond you're on, whether duck or human.

Linda Banche said...

Thanks, Anne. And ducks is ducks! Whether they have feathers or not.

Maddy, styles change all the time, and more quickly now than they did 200 years ago. A name that sounds normal to our ears now, will sound "old-fashioned" only 10 years from now.