for writers and readers….

The DANGER of Slovenly ways if you are self-isolating PLUS a letter from the ICY North – ADVICE from the 1830s BRIGHTON housekeeper

Mrs Finnegan is the Celebrated Authority on affairs of the HEART and HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT as well as housekeeper at The Regency Town House.

She is PLEASED to note that letters arrive at her door from every corner of the Brighton metropolis, the noble county of Sussex and INDEED the world (see below).

There’s a danger in isolation that worries me greatly and that is the risk of letting oneself go. Why bother to change your apron if no one can see the stains? Why rise early if all chores are complete before midday? I fear I shall slide into a slovenly ways if left alone again. How can I stop myself from slipping?

You are not alone. I confessed elsewhere* that on sultry days this summer when the afternoon air seemed to to stick to the walls I roamed around the Town House in nothing but my chemise. Of course, I was terrified of discovery and lived in fear of a knock on the front door, but did that stop me? No! And I think the spiritual and physical freedom gave me the heart to carry on in difficult times.

Be kind to yourself. Some rules are set in stone, but others can bend with the times. An hour longer in bed will hurt no one when the rest of the household is absent and there are worse things than being a day late with the laundry.
For example, I have noticed in the environs of Brunswick Square that a number of young ladies have too much time on their hands and are spending it on their hair.

I did this quick sketch when I NOTICED a lady emerge from 37 Brunswick Terrace. How do you put a hat on that?
Miss Martha drew this from memory after attending a dinner party. The young lady had to keep her head in ONE FIXED POSITION throughout the night and only nibbled on dry toast passed to her in small segments by a footman. .
A lady seen visiting number 62 Brunswick Square last week. I admire the SHINE on her curls, but oh, I did wish for a damp sea breeze.
Just plain silly.
Not as extreme as the others perhaps, but DESERVES to be included in the list for the self-satisfied look on her face.

My dear dormouse, you are SO MUCH better than you know!

*Where were such confessions made? In the proper place – my correspondence circle. Are you following me on twitter? You ought. You really ought. My address is @_Mrs_Finnegan. I say without shame that I am quite addicted to it. Join me dear reader and what larks we will have!


My dear old friend is lively in her enthusiasm and original in her conversation. She has wit and learning that goes far beyond the few years she spent in education. She is Bold. She is Brave. She is absolutely exhausting. She attacks every new activity like a runaway sideboard going downhill with an east wind behind her.
I am the ink in her pen. The crust on her bread. The suet in her pudding.
I long to see her, but dread the next invitation. After a cup of tea in her pantry I am left wrung out like a kitchen cloth that’s wiped too many greasy tables. What to do?

Treat HER like a find brandy. Take her in small doses.

Yours Respectfully
Mrs Finnegan

PS I have had a letter! Not a rare OCCURRENCE you may think and you are RIGHT but this one crossed a storm-tossed ICY OCEAN to get to me. This one is from Regin. In Saskatchewan. In Upper Canada. And the author is an AVID READER – see for yourself

Gasp! Miss Finnegan! (It’s MRS) What could that woman mean by pretending to be dead?! (She means Madam D’Albert last week)

They are a sneaky lot. Please lock your doors when you are unexpectedly rushed away from your dear house. Leaving it unattended and vulnerable to thieves! (That NEVER OCCURED to me! O think what might have been…)

Where is the riding instructor? (She means Mr Peregrine Hilderbrace) Why would they come for Miss Martha rather then fetch a doctor or the riding instructor who lives there? (Ah, no. He lives next door at Number 61 and I do believe he was out riding at the time. But in any case the “Professor of Dancing” said that only a woman would do for his mother in such an emergency, only Miss Martha and her kind nature and her handsome dowry. He didn’t say the last bit, but it was IMPLIED. )

Please, dear Miss Finnegan, (it’s MRS) find a way to distract Miss Martha away from their company. I do wish there were more decent young eligible men about for her to meet. (So do I.)

These two people seem to be a bit of a traveling circus type. (Well put.)
You are such a good, helpful and kind housekeeper. (Very well put.) I hope your employers know how lucky they are to have you in their employ. (VERY very well put.)
Kindest regards, TC

You may wonder how a letter can reach me from the FROZEN north and not a line from Mrs Hankey – Miss Martha’s mother and my mistress. I wonder too.

Mrs Finnegan is the creation of Bridget Whelan  and Paul Couchman, The Regency Cook  Not had enough of Mrs Finnegan? You can now watch her on YouTube (yes, how strange is that! She doesn’t know how it happened either)
Becoming Mrs Finnegan via @YouTube

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This entry was posted on October 6, 2020 by in Mrs Finnegen ADVICE from the 1830 and tagged , , , , , , .


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