You might wonder how often these words were written into first chapters and I'll give you the answer. Invariably. Only the good stories avoided situations where that question arose. Last week, I almost read a published historical romance that began that way. The writer also used the snapping-barking-groaning dialogue tags. Her hero fisted quite a few things but not the, cough, expected thing. The heroine had a fear of men which was clearly her conflict, but she described her terror so often that I wanted to punch her, which is embarrassing to admit.
Wondering if I'm unnecessarily picky, today I started reading another historical romance astonishing enough to cause me to look up the writer, and I read her reviews. Enlightening. She had all five star reviews, except for a couple of twos. One said, and I'll paraphrase, I normally don't like historical romances but this one is good. The characters just talk normally, and the story doesn't give any historical details. This makes people read historicals because then they're not boring.
That was good to know. By the same logic, the reviewer would prefer mysteries without any mysterious parts to fret about, and suspense with no scary bits. This clearly makes a writer's job easier. So, now I intend to accept that English aristocrats in every era ate scones for breakfast, mainly topped with jam, butter, and cream. I will not flinch when I read that in the olden days, people added sweet cream to tea and I will not raise my eyebrows to hear that in Regency times, people had three meals a day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the latter with two or three courses, ending with dessert.
Why would I quibble about gentlemen standing around ballroom floors with glasses of champagne in hand? That's what they do now, or they would if they had balls. And if I'm ever confused as to women's fashion in the 1860s, I will be safe in the knowledge that as soon as the Regency ended, women wore bustles, sometimes with horsehair crinolines, skipping those in between times when they didn't, because I wouldn't want to bore a reader.
As to aristocratic titles, if the father had a title, of course the daughter would be Lady Whoever, and if a man was a duke - well, they all are these days - naturally the heroine wouldn't want to treat him too formally and so she could call him Lord Someone, or by his first name.
I'm not going to bother about research. It's much more fun to guess.
And, yes. I'm fine, even if you haven't asked if I'm all right.