In which I’m not here

Well, technically I am, but I’m packing to leave for New Mexico which ought to be a HOOT since I don’t do well at altitude and I have to give this creativity workshop for the first time…but I think we’re going to have a great time and I’m really looking forward to it. Also, I’m signing at Page One Books on November 8 at 6:30pm, so please stop by if you’re in the Albuquerque area!

In the meantime, I’m answering a reader question. Jaye wanted to know why Nicholas is referred to as Brisbane. There’s a short answer–that’s just how I hear it in my head–and a longer, hopefully more satisfactory answer. In Victorian times it was perfectly common for people, even family members, to use surnames when referring to a person. Now, the most polite usage would be to say “Mr. Brisbane” but I think we all know we’re not always perfectly formal when referring to or addressing family members and close friends. The people who use just “Brisbane” are either intimate enough with him to be casual or elevated enough to feel it’s acceptable. Certainly he doesn’t mind. And there is the occasional whiff of classism from some characters in the more casual usage. It isn’t difficult to imagine Bellmont using it because it seems a trifle dismissive of a man he doesn’t always like.

As for Julia, she uses her husband’s surname because it is how she came to know him first and it evokes memories of their uncertain courtship. I don’t show their most intimate conversation to the reader, but you can rest assured, the occasional “Nicholas” is used, as well as a few other endearments he would no doubt blush to have shared with the world.

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5 Responses to In which I’m not here

  1. Jaye says:

    Thanks! This is great information. I feel like I am getting a history lesson, and I mean that in the nicest way!, while I am reading your blog. it is such a relief he is called Nicholas on occasion as well. 😉

  2. Blush?! Now that is an interesting thought.

  3. Christina says:

    How kind of you to respect their privacy! 🙂

  4. Lynne says:

    Deanna, your usage is dead on accurate. The use of a gentleman’s last name by close friends was very common in their era (and still is in certain circles – i.e. the aristocracy). In fact, wives and mothers were often the only people in their circle that used a first name. Close male friends would definitely call him Brisbane – and if he had a title, then by that name. (Good example – in Downton Abbey, the Earl would be simply “Grantham” to his contemporaries.) Very English:) Considering Julia’s wit and humor, I’ll bet those endearments are…hmmm… never mind.

  5. Sophia Rose says:

    See, now you have me curious about what are the other names behind the blushing.

    Hope New Mexico is enjoyable.

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