One who serves to divert suspicion or attention from another.
It's quite possible that in fact, the term "beard" *is* the out-of-use term for Decoy and I just don't know it. I worked FAR too many years at Renaissance and Victorian Faires and often use terms from the wrong century without realizing it.
It is, for obvious reasons, bloody hard to google.
So - a gentleman of the British Isles (rather more Scottish than English if it matters) who's MUCH older than he looks (because he's not quite human) would use? Something Victorian is what I'm hoping for.
Thanks for any help!
EDIT: Two things - first, I'm very familiar with the use of Beard as a "cover" used in some gay circles - which is in itself a decoy - I'm also familiar with the whole "Beard the lion in his den" for "get up the courage" meanings - what I'm looking for here is closer to the first meaning. I've a gentleman character who is considerably older than he looks and his language is often out of date - as old as Victorian on a regular basis.
For him to describe someone tailing them as "a beard" - meaning they were there to distract the them from noticing the other people really tailing them is what I'm going for. What I'm not clear on is whether "beard" works as an old enough term - or if there's an older term I can use.