BRIDGET WHELAN writer

for writers and readers….

ACTORS, BUNIONS and the arrival of SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED Advice from the Brighton housekeeper from the 1830s

Mrs Finnegan INVITES ALL TO WRITE TO HER FOR ADVICE – NO CHARGE IS MADE – NOT EVEN A FARTHING
All relies are grammatically correct and written in well-crafted copperplate

Theatre is my great passion in life and I go wherever I am and as often as I can.
I enjoyed a recent production at The Theatre Royal in Brighton immensely . I am sending you the programme. Please furnish me with details of the ages of all the cast.
I would also like to receive any other information you have been able to obtain viz.
height,
whether married or not,
favourite colour,
favourite monarch etc
THESPIAN ADMIRER OF THEYDON BOIS

I neither know nor care about the ages of actors and actresses and as for the other personal details I consider it an impertinence to enquire.

I am a martyr to the bunion on my left foot. When once I glided, I now hobble. When once a star of the quadrille I am now forced to sit in the shadows. Is there any remedy?
DANCE NO-MORE of DURRINGTON

I am not a doctor, nor yet a nurse. However, a friend of a friend had a similar ailment so have considerable knowledge of this condition.

Bunions are bony lumps that appear on the side of the foot. Protect the area with a moleskin patch and the application of a oatmeal and linseed poultice.

Do you have access to ice? It was well known that cold can be a pain-killer and if you can get hold of quantities of frozen water dowse your foot in it twice a day – for no longer than 20 minutes a time.

Finally, avoid high heels and hard leather. Buy bigger shoes.

Yours Respectfully
Mrs Finnegan

PS
Dear Reader,
She’s BACK.

Mrs Hankey swept up the steps at the very moment Miss Martha and I were about to cross the Square and attend an art class with Madam D’Albert  at Number 60. (I have a pressing need to visit that establishment – more anon.) She has come ahead of the rest of the household (the others are travelling via a cheaper and slower conveyance) and was most annoyed that we should even consider leaving The Town House when she was expected, although we had not been informed of the day of her arrival and weren’t entirely certain of the week.
‘Why is Mrs Finnegan going with you ?
As my chaperone,’ said quick thinking Miss Martha. I’m not quite sure how to interpret the gruff Hah! Mrs Hankey emitted. Let us just say that an unequivocal display of gratitude it was not.

She then threw me a random list of tasks that required my immediate attention.

It began with a white linen boil wash; went down an INTERESTING CUL DE SAC involving the making of several batches of SOAP and preparing an almond oil HAND MASSAGE; included strewing used tea leaves on the drawing room carpet & brushing the same; making up sufficient ink for Mrs H’s heavy load of CORRESPONDENCE; buying, cooking and serving VEAL CUTLETS for supper and unpacking Mrs H’s 17 cases, cleaning and mending the clothes within.
I suspect she was rather BORED on her journey.

In this order, Madam I ENQUIRE as she began to climb the stair to her room.
Of course!
In that case the veal cutlets should be ready a week next Tuesday, I think, but do not say.
I really do not get SUFFICIENT CREDIT for the things I manage to avoid saying.
Miss Martha was a little bolder. This is work for a household of servants, Mama.
What of it?
Nothing, Mama, except they’re not here yet.

That was two days ago. On tidying Mrs Hankey’s room this morning I happened upon HER DIARY whereupon it fell open on yesterday’s entry. I avoided looking and yet my eyes would not obey. It’s strange how your own name LEAPS OUT of the page and bites your ANKLES.

 ...Finally I arrived in Brunswick and to my satisfaction Martha was here to greet me, as was Mrs Finnegan….seemed in good spirits, indeed perhaps in too good spirits… I even detected some collusion between them…asked Mrs F to supervise my daughter surreptitiously, I did not expect them to be on familiar terms.  Martha must not forget her position in society….

Life at Number 13 Brunswick Square is about to change. I am homesick for the good old days already. The diary fell open on the next entry. There was a noise outside and I only had time to read one sentence.

I am sure that my missing earring – about which I wrote some time ago – is here and she has not looked properly.  

O Lordy, the earring again.
I am under no illusion about who the “SHE” must be.

P.P.S
I have not forgotten MY HUNT for the thief who is attempting to steal my GOOD NAME (and cash in on my reputation). I’ve been hampered by Mrs Hankey’s arrival but I will not rest until I find the self-styled “Mrs F” who purports to give advice at a farthing a go. Dear Reader, I suspect Madam D’Albert. TELL NO ONE!

Don’t miss next week’s “thrilling” installment.
Will Mrs Finnegan discover the identity of the “other” Mrs F in Brunswick Square who is selling advice at a farthing a shot.
Will there be more diary entries? And veal cutlets for supper?
Mrs Finnegan is the creation of Bridget Whelan  and Paul Couchman, The Regency Cook 

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This entry was posted on October 27, 2020 by in Mrs Finnegen ADVICE from the 1830 and tagged , , , .
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