for writers and readers….

When Your Suitor is One of the Last Great Romantics…Advice from Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper

Mrs Finnegan attends to a BULGING mail bag after the Christmas festivities but WITHOUT neglecting any of her duties at The Regency Town House

MY HANDSOME fiancé Maurice is a generous giver of fine presents but his Christmas gift has got me in a dither.
He has given me a small bird, and yes, it is a real bird.
While I love birds and would have adored a pretty brooch or maybe a dainty handkerchief depicting such a delicate creature, I rather think that keeping a real bird in the house is very wrong, especially as he didn’t supply a cage.
Shall I open the window and set it free?
Or will Maurice just purchase another?
Pragmatic Priscillia of Pevensey

Mrs Finnegan replies

Maurice is the KIND of romantic who really does believe that the BLUE bird of happiness can perch on your shoulder without making messes all DOWN your dress.
Do not try to reason with him or use SCIENCE to win him around. It will not work. You can only communicate through the language of romance.

In this instance I suggest on his next visit you STEER him towards the idea of birds having an INATE love of open skies etc etc flying upwards to be closer to the angels or Apollo or whoever etc etc.

Then leave him ALONE with the bird, having first made sure that the window is ajar.
When the bird does what comes naturally, thank Maurice for his NOBLE decision making. Add that you could never have done it because you LOVED the little thing so, but now he has gone to a bigger & better future you would rather like to have a small rememberance of the sweet DARLING. (I suggest something in gold rather than embroidery.)

Rest easy. Maurice’s state of mind is not a permanent condition. It will evaporate SHORTLY after you are wed never to return. I’d give it two weeks after the church service…


I LOVE BEING asleep, so much so that I really can’t abide being awake.
As soon as I open my eyes in the morning I am longing to be back floating in a wonderful world of wonder and make believe.
My dreams are the most marvelous form of entertainment and waking life is dull by comparison.
My mother is concerned that I will never meet a suitable young man and marry.
I really don’t care. Bring on the cocoa, a cosy bed and leave me alone.
Dozy Dora of Dover

Mrs Finnegan replies

Take less Laudanum with your cocoa.
Seriously, Dora, a lot less.


MY COUSIN has been teaching me a new parlour game.
He calls it Hide and Seek. I cover my eyes and he goes and hides.
The only problem is that I can never find him. Where do you think he may be hiding?
I spend a great deal of time searching for him only to find out later that he has departed for the local tavern.
I find no joy in this game and yet he tells me that it is all the rage in polite society. I don’t dare suggest that I do the hiding, he can be such a grumpy bumps.
Sweetly Simple Soo of Stoke Poges

Mrs Finnegan replies

Ony ever play Hide and Seek with SOMEONE who wants to be found.

(And ONLY then when there is a chaperone in attendance – that’s for future reference. You don’t need to worry at the moment.)


The Regency Town House is running like a well-oiled machine.
It is a pleasure to hear our new maid of all work clatter up and down the stairs and the dear child actually sings in the morning. Truly!
Of course, I have had to instruct Sissy that she can only do it when the Mistress CANNOT hear her. (Downstairs Maids are made of light and air, don’t you know. Their prodigious work is performed by unseen hands to ALLOW those who live UPSTAIRS to remain undisturbed by their existance…)
I find I now have time to READ and at this of time of YEAR when the shadows are LONG there is no greater ENJOYMENT than sitting by a fire and reading GHOST STORIES by candlelight.
And I’ve acquired a MOST excellent book.

As recommended by Mrs Finnegan!

It is quite unnerving and deliciously scary.
I don’t know if I am being fanciful, but I think I recognise some of the streets and terraces described and perhaps even some of the people…
It is, of course, just my imagination. I have probably been eating too much cheese and staring too long into the flames and the patterns they make on the wall BUT the finely ETCHED illustrations put me in mind of…but no, that cannot be.
(ONE is terribly like the corridor outside my room, the very room I am sitting in now…)
You will just have to READ it for yourself and you can do that by CLICKING Here. My dears! It is what WINTERS are for.
Every farthing of profit goes towards the maintenance and restoration of The Regency Town House, and all the pennies and shillings too.

MRS FINNEGAN is a regular feature created and written by Bridget Whelan with the support of a WONDERFUL team of volunteers at The Regency Town House, along with the MOST charming of readers and subscribers.
This week a special thank you to JILL VIGUS
Don’t miss next Tuesday’s thrilling episode.
Need a reminder? Just click HERE and you’ll get a gentle nudge on Tuesday morning.
Not too early. We don’t go out until the streets are well-aired.

8 comments on “When Your Suitor is One of the Last Great Romantics…Advice from Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper

  1. Sarah Waldock
    January 4, 2022

    what an idiot your mistress is. What a joy it would be to have a dear little maid who sings about her work, bringing the light of her personality into a house! But if the fool woman, who does not know when she is well off, complains, I recommend you to the psalms to quote, taking your pick of the many which adjure us to make a joyful noise unto the Lord and come before him with singing.

    • bridget whelan
      January 4, 2022

      Mrs F has added the psalms to her reading list!

      • Sarah Waldock
        January 4, 2022

        there is much to recommend in reading the psalms, comfort that one’s enemies will be crushed, [28] general comfort [46] and for gloating when all has gone well [47]. The irritation to those less well versed in the Bible is also as balm to the spirit as there can surely be no recriminations to those who quote the Good Book.

  2. beth
    January 4, 2022

    she is so amazing with her advice, especially the bird situation – brilliant

    • bridget whelan
      January 4, 2022

      So glad you approve of Mrs F’s advice. Do feel free to write in yourself – worried about etiquette perhaps or how to boil linen?

      • beth
        January 4, 2022

        so many things….

  3. Maria Gardiner
    January 4, 2022

    By a strange coincidence I too have a copy of those Curious Tales, though I haven’t read it yet because I am currently engaged in reading The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins, (which also features doses of laudanum) and which perhaps you might also have read, Mrs Finnegan.

    • bridget whelan
      January 4, 2022

      What a coincidence! I do hope you enjoy it and tell everyone about it.
      I haven’t heard of Wilkie Collins but shall look out for him. I am a great devotee of the novels of Sir Walter Scott and rather like some of the stories by Benjamin Disraeli. Have you come across him? I fear he is a rather flamboyant young man.

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This entry was posted on January 4, 2022 by in Mrs Finnegen ADVICE from the 1830 and tagged , , , , , .


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