Trial By Jury

Is this the Court of the Assizes? … Beware my heart advises – periodical sessions of court for civil and criminal cases. This is the GSLVOC’s replacement for Gilbert’s original line, “Is this the court of the Exchequer? … Be firm, be firm, my pecker.” Gilbert was, of course, referring to the mouth, or lips, and the word is derived from peck, meaning a perfunctory kiss. “Be firm, my pecker” is another way of saying to maintain a “stiff upper lip,” referring to the very British display of fortitude in the face of adversity. Unfortunately, while our British friends might understand Gilbert’s intent, American audiences understand the word to mean something entirely different, necessitating the revision. As the saying goes, “England and America are two countries divided by a common language!”

Your evil star’s in the ascendant – your astrological timing couldn’t be worse

Tink-a-tank – onomatopoeic sound of a guitar (or ukulele)

love unchanged will cloy – become too much, or too sweet, for pleasure

never be reversed in banc – overturned by a superior court

I was… an impecunious party – one who is short of money

a brief which I’d bought of a booby – papers summarizing a court case; a fool

in Westminster Hall I danced a dance like a semi-despondent fury – the site of the High Court of Justice from 1755 to 1884;  in mythology, furies were female avenging spirits

at the Bailey and Middlesex Sessions – the names of courts in London

an incubus then I thought her – a nightmarish oppressor

I threw over that rich attorney’s elderly ugly daughter – abandoned, jilted

it is patent to the mob – obvious to everyone

my being made a nob was effected by a job – a nob is a person of wealth or distinction; a job means a dirty trick, or string-pulling

O’er the season vernal time may cast a shade – springtime; metaphorically, youth

Camberwell became a bower, Peckham an Arcadian vale – prosaic, working-class suburbs of London

Breathing concentrated otto – from attar of roses, i.e., perfume made of rose petals

An existence à la Watteau – Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) painted idyllic scenes

for the maid had bought her trousseau – bride’s collection of clothing, linens, etc.

a nice dilemma – demanding great precision and delicacy

I’m not prepossessing, as you may be guessing – attractive

if, when in liquor, he would kick her, that is an abatement – something which subtracts from the value (here, the damages to be awarded for the loss of such a fiancé)

I’ll reward him from my fob – small waistband pocket (the reward is presumably small)