BRIDGET WHELAN writer

for writers and readers….

What’s a Mother to do? Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper has the answer…

Mrs Finnegan, the CELEBRATED Housekeeper at The Regency Town House, wishes it to be KNOWN that she is able to offer discrete advice to those who WISH to remain hidden from the PUBLIC GAZE

I am the luckiest woman in the world to be the proud mother of the most darling little girl. But Rose Marie is such a sleepyboots!
She is always nodding off in the most inconvenient of moments, sometimes forcing me to carry her even though she is getting rather heavy. I don’t have the heart to wake her but I can’t continue much longer.
Rose Marie is getting bigger and I’m not getting any younger.
What shall I do?
Devoted Mama with Tired Arms

Mrs Finnegan replies:

Trust me, the problem will RIGHT itself.
Little Rose Marie is GROWING stronger and wiser EVEN as I write these words. Pretty soon she will be racing AHEAD, awake to the world and ready to swop your warm embrace for laughing, tumbling games with her companions.
Not SO long after that – although it will SEEM long at the time – she WILL shoot up when you AREN’T looking and you will be walking shoulder to shoulder side by side. And ONE DAY she will MATCH her pace with another’s and have a Sleepyboots of her OWN to care for and carry home in aching arms.
And she will know how to do it BECAUSE she will never forget what it FEELS like to be in the arms of a mother who loves her.
You are doing the MOST important job in the world, my dear, and you are being PAID the highest wages: hugs and kisses.
You have EVERY right to be proud.

Please EXCUSE the mess I am making of this letter. I believe I have SOMETHING in my eye.

My dear sweet little dog has sadly died through an unfortunate encounter with the coalman’s cart and I miss him so very, very dreadfully. 
You see I suffer from a delicate condition and until recently I was able to blame my dear sweet little dog. I now find myself in need of your advice about my incommodious situation.
Can you suggest remedies that might alleviate?
I so very much wish to avoid mortification in a public valley of humiliation.
Red-faced and Anonymous

Mrs Finnegan replies:

Peppermint Tea.
Long solitary walks after dinner.
Charcoal tablets.
Another dear sweet little dog.

Yours with the UTMOST sincerity
Mrs Finnegan

The dinner party planning goes on a pace. I see from Mrs Hankey’s diary that Beef Tremblonque is now on the menu. In my day that dish was called Trembling Beef but it’s got itself AIRS and graces now and a touch of French-ification. CALL it what you may, it REQUIRES an awful lot of beef…

…AND a lot of boiling – six hours if I remember rightly. I WONDER if it has to be doubled if you’re serving 18.
Reading on, I notice that we (I mean THEY) will also be having Roast Saddle of Mutton , one of my favourites.

Mrs Hankey is at work on the guest list.

I am assembling an invitation to be delivered presently and I intend to invite 18 people, so that will be 20 including Martha and myself.

TWENTY in All! Will that mean more beef? I think so if there’s to be a decent amount of leftovers.

I wonder if I could invite Prince Adolphus the Duke of Cambridge?
He is so eccentric, and truth be told so uncouth that his presence could easily be a hindrance, but it would be truly prestigious to have Royalty on the guest list.

I wonder what the Mistress knows that I don’t….

I will certainly invite my dear friends Lord and Lady Fitzherbert

Never HEARD of them

…also Sir William and Lady Georgiana Chatterton. Lady Georgiana is supposed to be writing a book but, of course, it is only rumour so far.
However, I might be able to question her more closely on the subject.

Irish gentry, charming no doubt.

I shall invite Frederick St John, whose father was notorious in having an affair with his own half-sister. Oh delicious, I simply love other people’s secrets

Yes, but he’s a general and I have it on GOOD authority that he is leading an ENTIRELY blameless life. Mrs Hankey will be DISAPPOINTED.
I think she may have forgotten that her original purpose was to find a SUITABLE suitor for her daughter. Does any of this lot sound remotely like a husband for Miss Martha?
(That’s a rhetorical question Dear Reader, a device where you can be sure I know the answer before I ask the question so there’s no need to write in. However, I WELCOME correspondence on almost any other SUBJECT.)
I am intrigued, however, by the last sentence in Mrs Hankey’s diary yesterday.

I will not invite the Beltbridges from Tunbridge Wells because they know a little bit too much about me in my previous life.

I share Mrs Hankey’s enjoyment of other people’s secrets.


I NOTE that there is no mention of finding a butler, but it is only a matter of time. A dinner party of these proportions without a butler is as UNTHINKABLE as Sunday without Church, a sermon without a yawn or the Mistress without a COMPLAINT.

Master Peregrine doesn’t often move quickly but today he did.

The weather has been so inclement of late that I had little opportunity to take the AIR in Brunswick Square, but today I did manage a turn. Master Peregrine FLEW out of the front door at NUMBER 61 when he saw me.
He has news, newly acquired. About Miss Martha.

And the French dancing master at number 60

Alas the heaven’s OPENED and he could say no more. Master P has a MORBID fear of catching a chill but he did say – while running for shelter – that he NOW knows what happened LAST summer.

A love affair?
Miss Martha left broken hearted?
The Monsieur CRUEL and careless of her feelings?
Or sweethearts DIVIDED by class and language and the FACT that she is better than him.

(These are not, dear reader, rhetorical questions. I am as EAGER as you to FIND out what really happened.)
By next week I should have some answers – providing it stops raining.

MRS FINNEGAN is a regular feature created and written by Bridget Whelan with Paul Couchman, The Regency Cook and a host of volunteers at The Regency Town House, readers and subscribers. This week a big thank you to Jill Vigus, Julia Pattinson and Catherine Page.

Want to know more about the CHARACTERS that populate Mrs Finnegan’s world? Just click HERE

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This entry was posted on October 5, 2021 by in Mrs Finnegen ADVICE from the 1830.
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