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One Lost Earring and a Touch of Blackmail Create Trouble for Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper…and Then There’s the Twin Brothers

Mrs Finnegan is ALARMED that yet again her own problems outdo those of her readers in BOTH quantity and severity.
She wishes she could return to the days when the worries of the DOYENNE of The Regency Town House were trivial compared to the those of the troubled SOULS who sought her Advice, but she CAN’T remember when that was.

I HAVE THE MISFORTUNE of being born a twin. My brother is identical to me in every feature, however, we are completely different in character.
I am quite shy, it is taking all my courage to write this letter.
He is bold and noisy, a head back laughing at the world kind of man when not in a temper.
None of this would matter if it were not for a young lady who is probably the most beautiful person in the whole world.
I would like to marry her.
Last week she complained that she didn’t want to go to local hostelry again as she found it rather loud and uncouth.
The thing is Mrs Finnegan, I have never taken her to such a place and I suspect my brother of impersonating me for his amusement.
What can I do?
Sensitive Suitor of Southwick

Mrs Finnegan replies

Although you are twins, it would be more accurate to describe you as identical strangers.
I have a plan that may set your friendship with the young lady back on the right course and PUT your brother in his place.

Invite your sweetheart to a concert or something EQUALLY pleasant and tasteful. Arrange to meet your brother there.
Escort her to the event – don’t let her arrive on her OWN, we don’t want any more confusion. Tell her she may meet some of your family. Tell your brother NOTHING.

See what happens when they are introduced.
(Come to think of it, I wouldn’t MIND seeing what happens. If you tell me what concert you’re attending I might be able to come along. I could do with an outing to lift my spirits.
I have straightforward musical tastes. Bach is ALWAYS acceptable and I’ll even sit for an hour of Beethoven, but only the early stuff. Afternoons are best for me.)

Yours sincerely and with the greatest regard
Mrs Finnegan


Last week I told you I was DOOMED.
New readers and those who DIP into these Chronicles as the mood TAKES them may believe I was exaggerating.
It cannot be! You doubtless thought, not to a woman of Mrs Finnegan’s standing.
But regular readers KNOW I am a stranger to HYPERBOLE and an enemy of fabrication. My faithful flock must have spent these past SEVEN days in trepidation and well might THEY tremble.

The awful truth is Mrs Hankey POKED around in my room and discovered in a dark and neglected corner of my writing table drawer

Her LOST pearl earring

I found it more than a year ago. You can read about it HERE

Dear Reader,

to a mild forgetfulness
to pre-occupation
to being BUSY (with the affairs of the HOUSE)

BUT to theft? Never!

And yet with a look MOST dreadful the Mistress was accusing me of the very worst crime a Housekeeper can commit. It is on a par with a cook keeping arsenic in the spice drawer.

In a moment my career was gone and my reputation destroyed. I knew that from now on ONLY the most gruelling of occupations would be open to me.

And when my strength fails, the FUTURE is all too clear.

I’ll be sent to the Workhouse to EAT gruel.
DOOMED is altogether too gentle a word.

I was tearful. The words tumbled out in my anxiety to EXPLAIN

Then Mrs Hankey dropped her cannon ball.

I was not to be dismissed.

I was to do EXACTLY as I was told and winkle the truth from Susan, the lady’s maid, without letting on that it was the Mistress who wanted to know who fathered her little girl.

Or else.

I was still crying (inside), but this time my tears were as hot as BOILING water in Ranthambore. At noon. In summer.

Dear reader, what would YOU do?

This is all HAPPENING because of the imminent arrival of Mrs Hankey’s darling BOY, her son Thomson:

Who MAY or may not have had a ROMANCE with Susan in the West Indies;
Who may or may not have PROMISED marriage;
Who may or MAY NOT have been an outright cad and DITCHED her when she was pregnant.

Mrs Hankey FEARS the worst and dreads a scandal.

All I know for sure is that Susan was not born to serve.

The dear girl had an AWFUL lot to learn when she first arrived, but she has taken to it with a good heart.

It is my belief that she would do anything for her daughter.

BUT what shall I do?

The Chronicles of Mrs Finnegan are a regular feature written by Bridget Whelan working with a host of volunteers at ThRegency Town House. This week a SPECIAL THANK YOU to Catherine Page and Jill Vigus

If you click HERE Mrs Finnegan will send you a note every TUESDAY to let you know when the ink is dry and her chronicle is ready to be read. This FIRST CLASS service is provided ENTIRELY FREE of charges, taxes and tips.

4 comments on “One Lost Earring and a Touch of Blackmail Create Trouble for Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper…and Then There’s the Twin Brothers

  1. Sarah Waldock
    March 22, 2022

    Dear, dear Mrs. Finnegan,
    Under no circumstances can a promise extracted under duress be considered binding.
    Make a clean breast of everything to Susan, taking her into your confidence, and asking her not to reveal that she Knows All; and then, between you, if she will be as confiding to you, the pair of you may concoct a plan of how much you should Reveal.
    If, as you feel certain, Susan is destined for Better Things, she will be grateful for your confidences; and indeed, if not destined to Rise in the World, her gratitude for your honesty may not manage to be as Material, but will be equally considerable.
    This coercion might conceivably cause a split between you and Susan, if you are not honest with her, and this is what Mrs. Hankey desires – to divide and conquer. Whilst you work together, you are far less likely to find yourselves in Jeopardy.

    • bridget whelan
      March 22, 2022

      Mrs Finnegan is very grateful for your interest in her plight.
      Mrs Finnegan is very grateful for your advice.
      Mrs Finnegan is going to lie down for awhile.

  2. beth
    March 22, 2022

    I sense a lot of drama coming

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This entry was posted on March 22, 2022 by in Mrs Finnegen ADVICE from the 1830 and tagged , , .


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