Some water-side heads, which (like the water) were none of the clearest, harboured muddled notions that, because of her dignity and firmness, she was named after, or in some sort related to, the Abbey at Westminster. But Abbey was only short for Abigail, by which name Miss Potterson had been christened at Limehouse Church, some sixty and odd years before.

(Charles Dickens, Our Mutual friend, 1864-5)


“You need not call me by that detestable name! Whatever else I might forgive Papa, that I never could! Abigail! Mashams and maidservants!”

“Some people think it a charming name! . . . . It is from the Hebrew and means father rejoiced.”

.. . “Papa can’t have known that!”

(Georgette Heyer, Black Sheep, 1966)