Regency Cant or Modern Parlance?
As a relatively new author of Regency-based fiction I often find myself agonizing over just how much langage of the time to introduce into my work. Should I go for authenticity, aided and abetted by the extensive dictionary of 'Regency-speak' which I've built up over the years? Could the use of obscure terms slow the pace of the plot and would I be better advised to leave the Regency dictionary gathering dust on its shelf and express myself in a manner that's more likely to be familiar to the modern-day reader?
For instance, most aficionados of the Regency period would have no difficulty in understanding me if I were to refer to a gentleman becoming 'leg-shackled' or 'falling prey to the parson's mousetrap', since they would immediately realize that he was about to be married. And if I were to refer to a charactger that had 'pockets to let' or indicated that he was 'on a repairing lease' then few readers would doubt that said unfortunate individual was short of funds.
On the other hand, supposing I accused someone of telling 'crammers', 'bamming' or becoming involved in a 'brangle', would those expressions be as easily understood and, morer to the point, would they slow the story down or, worse, cause the reader to lose interest?
I'd be interested to know what you think.