for writers and readers….

Recipe for a perfect marriage and can women write? Should they…? Advice of thorough probity from the 1830s

Mrs Finnegan’s Chronicles: the Celebrated Authority in affairs of the HEART and HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT staying indoors at The Regency Town House in the most salubrious of towns, Brighton and Hove

Now that I have reached an age when a gentleman ought consider marriage, pray tell me Dear Mrs Finnegan, wisest of all women in matters relating to the heart, what is the secret of a happy union?
Eligible and Interested from Portslade-by-Sea

York Museums Trust;

Follow these three steps Sir and you shall FOREVER live in a home of harmony and peaceful delight.

  • When in the wrong admit it.
  • When in the right keep quiet.
  • Never use sarcasm

Can women write? I mean something more than letters to relatives and notes to servants. I have a yearning to write a novel and have an extraordinary story half formed in my head. Do you think me foolish?
Literally Ambitious, Croydon village
You might be, of course. Your writing might be utter drivel and a pain to the reader, but it is not wrong to want to do it. And I am convinced that the more you write and the more you read the better the novelist you will prove to be. The GREAT PITY is that it is only the latter occupation that is deemed suitable for women. So, read in the open and write in secret until you’re ready to let others see it. And there is a rich trove of works penned by women to inspire you. But you have never heard of such books I hear you exclaim! You have, my dear, you have. Look for anything written by that great author ANON.
There is one recently come to my attention that I recommend to you. I don’t know if it is for the general reader, but it had me turning every page and reading late in the night. I am glad I do pay for my own candles!
Try Frankenstein. I swear it must by a woman’s hand be writ.

Yours MOST respectfully
Mrs Finnegan

P.S. No sight of my mistress’ lost earring or her daughter. I am terrified that the latter will turn up, weeping and wailing, demanding fancy dishes I have no desire to cook, ignoring all quarantine rules and inviting a crowd of gut-founded elbow-crookers to join her to raid the larder and the wine cellar. I want company. I crave social interaction with humanity. I do not want this.
P.P.S I have written to my mistress. Do you think this a fine turn of phrase?
Madam’s distress has touched my very soul and I have used every ounce of energy on your behalf. The house has been searched from attic to basement for your pearl earring and, although not found yet, I do not not give up hope as such tiny precious things have a way of rolling into dark places and hidey-holes. If it is this house, Madam, I will find it.
Miss Hankey has not arrived in Brighton. I trust she has now returned to your loving protection.

Follow @_Mrs_Finnegan on twitter. She writes daily and is eager to make new friends of good character and amiable disposition.
This is a regular feature created and written with Paul Couchman, The Regency Cook

3 comments on “Recipe for a perfect marriage and can women write? Should they…? Advice of thorough probity from the 1830s

  1. beth
    May 5, 2020

    i love the 3 steps to a happy union

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