absolutist
adhering to a political system which gives a monarch or dictator unrestricted power
agent provocateur
someone employed to stir up trouble
almshouses
cottages owned by charitable organisations and used to house the poor
anarchism
a doctrine built on the abolition of law and government; the promotion of chaos
ankylosis
a fibrous growth within a joint, restricting movement of the bones
barque
small sailing vessel
Belgravia
a relatively affluent district of London
biliousness
disorders related to the secretion of bile; associated with bad temper or anxiety
capitalism
an economic system built on the freedom of the individual to own property and commercial enterprises and to compete in the marketplace
cause célèbre
campaign or issue of great prominence
charabia
a French term meaning an obscure dialect or gibberish
cortège
a formal procession, often for a funeral
coruscations
striking displays of brilliance
cudgel
a short, thick stick used for fighting
disciple
follower
dispatch box
a case or box used to hold important documents and valuables
drapery establishment
shop selling fabrics and sewing materials.
encumbrance
a burden
errand-boy
a young man employed to carry messages and fetch goods
exigencies
pressing requirements
exordium
the introduction or beginning of a speech
fatalist
someone who believes that everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to escape our fate
gouty
affected by gout, a disease in which joints swell painfully
hansom cab
a two-wheeled carriage where the driver seats on a high outside seat at the rear. An early form of taxi named after its designer Joseph Hansom
havelock
a cape-backed overcoat like the one worn by Sherlock Holmes
hebetude
lethargy, mental dullness
hermitage
a place where a person can live apart from the world
hieratic
of or relating to old customs or religious practices
house-breaker
burglar
Hyperborean
of the far North, unsophisticated
influenza
flu
jocular
light-hearted; good-humoured
joiner
a person skilled in working with wood, similar to a carpenter
Knightsbridge
a wealthy part of London, where Harrods is
lackey
hanger on; low-paid employee or servant
licensed victualler
seller of food and alcoholic spirits
livery
uniform worn by servants
mansuetude
gentleness
Marienbad
a fashionable spa resort in what is now the Czech Republic
marking ink
indelible ink used for fabric
mazurka
a Polish dance in triple time
mendicants
beggars
moribund
close to death
nihilism
a denial of all authority and values
overmantel
an ornamental shelf above a fireplace
parvenu
someone who has acquired wealth or status quickly and lacks the refinement that should go with it; an upstart
patent medicine
a patented over-the-counter remedy
plutocracy
a political system in which the wealthy are in control
pocket-book
a pocket-sized folder or case used to hold money or documents
private-saloon bars
private lounge bars or gentlemen's clubs
proletariat
the wage earners in a capitalist society, traditionally considered to be down-trodden
prospects
chance of making a good living
providential
happening for the best, as if arranged by Fate
puritanism
single-minded adherence to principles without being distracted by sensual pleasures and luxuries
quiescent
quite, dormant
quixotic
fixed on an unrealistically idealistic approach to life (like Don Quixote - see bookmarks)
rampart
the embankment that surrounds a fort
sage
wise man
Secretary of State
the head of an important government department
socialism
an economic system where the means of production and distribution are owned collectively by the community and goods are produced for use rather than profit
Soho
a central, seedy entertainment district of London
somnolent
drowsy; sleepy
sonambulistic
like a sleepwalker
spinsters
unmarried women
stammer
to have trouble pronouncing words properly and to get stuck on certain consonants
stoicism
a philosophy built on indifference to pain and pleasure
talisman
a good luck charm
tec
short for detective
tenebrous
shadowy; dark
the Row
a carriage drive in Hyde Park
thoroughfare
street or throughway
timorousness
fear or timidity
topographical
to do with maps and the layout of streets
truculent
aggressive; savage
two-horse brougham
a four-wheeled closed carriage with a raised driver's seat in front, pulled by two horses
Under-Secretary
a high official who is second only to the minister in charge of a government department
victoria
a light four-wheeled carriage with a folding hood and room for two passengers
villegiature
a French term meaning holiday or vacation
wares
goods
well-to-do
wealthy