almanacks
books of tables produced annually containing a calendar, astronomical data, ecclesiastical anniversaries and so on
astrakhan
the wool of still-born or very young lambs from Astrakhan in Russia, which resembles fur
Bass
'India Pale Ale' or 'Bitter Beer' manufactured by Messrs. Bass & Co. of Burton-on-Trent
battens
strips of wood which carry a series of stage-lights; also, a bar used for supporting scenery and curtains
bearded
having the rows of gills stripped away
beau
suitor or sweetheart
blanc de perle
pearl powder: a cosmetic used to impart whiteness to the skin
boiled shirt
a shirt made from material (e.g. wool) which has been subjected to boiling water
Brava
'well done' as a term of approbation addressed to a woman; the equivalent term for a man would be 'Bravo!' (It.)
brazier
a large flat pan or tray holding burning charcoal or coal
buffalo red
a brownish red, like the hide of a buffalo
carmined
reddened with carmine which is a crimson pigment obtained from the insect known as a cochineal
chaff
light-hearted banter or teasing
chamois
a soft, pliable leather made from the skins of various animals - originally from the hide of the chamois (wild antelope)
chattels
moveable possessions
cheesy
inferior; cheap and nasty
cressets
iron baskets in which material is burnt to give light - they are usually mounted on top of a pole or building, or suspended from a roof
cummerband
a sash or girdle worn around the waist
diamanté
material which is given a sparkling effect through the use of powdered glass or crystal
djinn
a spirit or demon in Arabian mythology
duds
items of clothing
ellipses
oval shapes
erotomaniac
someone addicted to sex; nymphomaniac
fagged
exhausted
faggots
balls or cakes, made of offal mixed with gray
fleshings
a tight, flesh-coloured garment worn on stage to represent natural skin
fly-gallery
possibly the area above the stage from which simulated flight could take place (?)
frigged
slang for 'had sex' or masturbated
frotting
rubbing against the body of another person for sexual pleasure
gasolier
a chandelier for gaslights
gavel
the hammer used by a master of ceremonies
grandes dames
great ladies; dignified ladies (Fr.)
gridiron
cooking utensil consisting of iron bars supported on legs, for grilling fish or meat
hawked
cleared the throat noisily
ingénues
innocent girls or young women, or actresses who play the part of such women
in masquerade
dressed up as a character for a masquerade
jabot
the frill on a man's shirtfront
japanned
lacquered so as to give a hard, black, glossy finish
josser
chap; silly old fool
knickerbockers
loose-fitting breeches gathered at the knee, worn by boys
limber
pliant, supple
limes
probably short for 'limelights' - the intense white lights which are used to light up particular scenes or characters on a stage
limes-men
probably the men who operate the limelights
lion comique
a leading comic singer in a music-hall or similar
macassar oil
an oil used as a hair treatment
mashed out on
having a crush on
masher
a fop or a dandy who fancies himself as a bit of a lady-killer (generally used in 'Tipping the Velvet' to mean a 'male impersonator')
masquerade
a masked ball, or a form of entertainment involving dressing up as a masked character who may mime or speak
mentalist
a mind-reader, or someone who claims telephathic powers
miasma
a poisonous or unpleasant vapour which emanates from something
minarets
tall, slender towers or turrets, which are usually part of a mosque
monkey parade
young people going out at night to show themselves off
muffler
scarf
nimbus
halo; a luminous, golden disc surrounding the head
ningle
a catamite (a young boy who has a sexual relationship with a man)
nom-de-guerre
literally a 'war-name'; a name used for a particular activity or enterprise (Fr.)
palsy
a muscular disease causing tremor or paralysis
pantaloons
long breeches of various types; may mean something similar to 'tights' in a theatre context
pasha
a Turkish chief
patina
a thin layer on the surface of something
penny-gaff
a low-class place of entertainment (such as a music-hall) which could be entered for a penny (or very cheaply)
philistine
someone devoid of cultural knowledge, or indifferent to culture
pigeon-stepping
picking ones way
plague-house
a house marked out as having inhabitants suffering from the plague
pomaded
having hair treated with a special ointment known as 'pomade'
porter
a kind of dark brown beer
privy
old-fashioned toilet
pullulating
teeming, swarming
rapid
fast; tending towards a dissipated lifestyle
sable
black or made from the fur of the sable (a small animal)
sashayed
strutted or paraded
serio
short for 'serio-comic': a performer who presents comic material in a serious way
shalloons
woollen fabrics with a closely woven texture, used mainly for linings.
spirit-lamp
a lamp that burns alcohol or other liquid fuel
spooning
making love to (in the old-fashioned sense) in a silly or sentimental way
tantivy
an imitation of the sound of galloping feet
tenement
a building, often over-crowded and run-down, where sections are rented out to different tenants
truckle bed
a low bed on castors, often pushed under another bed when not in use
unguents
ointments or salves
vampers
stockings
vie sexuelle
sex life (Fr.)
watch guard
a chain or ribbon which attaches a man's watch to his jacket