for writers and readers….

Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper has an answer for EVERY problem (but sometimes it’s I don’t know)

Mrs Finnegan is the Celebrated Authority in affairs of the HEART and HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT. Although she is busy maintaining the highest standards at The Regency Town House , she STILL has time for readers who bring their WOES and lay them at her feet.

I CANNOT MOVE in my own house.

My wife has the notion that we must dazzle and outblaze the keen eye of ridicule and use the weight of our purse to draw down the unlifted finger of scorn.

So now our rooms are littered, and lumbered with every species of trumpery, nick-nacks and curiosities. Our house has become a miserable museum.

Ebony stands and Japan tables are loaded with gongs, shells, figures in Jaspar, glass cases of hummingbirds and butterflies, huge China jars and bowls.

Conceive the horror of a stout gentleman, like myself, being obliged to move edgeways through my own rooms.

The servants are so frequently accused of purloining, breaking or misplacing some of our troublesome trumpery that I am constantly presented with sulky looks and new faces. Scarcely an hour elapses before I hear a smash, a shriek, and a squall.

Mrs Finnegan how can I convince my wife that our house is full?
Sir Fussed and Fretful from Fulking

Mrs Finnegan Replies

In truth I cannot tell if there is a difference in STYLE between you and your wife or if you house is too small for your family’s needs.
Or, to put it another way, perhaps gentle Sir you have BECOME too big for your boots, your dining room and your drawing room….

IS THIS WHAT people mean by a Ghost Writer?
I have seen a pale, almost transparent, hand moving across the desk when I write to my beloved. It doesn’t frighten me so much as arouse my curiosity.
What is happening?
Do you want to come and have a look?
Edna Rather-Excited from Exeter

Mrs Finegan replies

No, this is not a ghost writer. Don’t be silly, Edna.
I am not sure what is happening, but sadly my busy schedule prevents me from visiting on any day convenient to your good self. Such a shame.
However, if you are curious about SUCH matters I can recommend a MOST excellent book.

I must admit on occasion when I read it by candlelight it seems…

…as if something in the shadows is moving.

Or I fancy that someone is watching me.
Or I wonder if outside there might be lurking…no matter.
You see, it REALLY is rather good if you like being scared (a bit).

There are very good etchings in it too. And every farthing in proceeds goes to The Regency Town House (and not a PENNY to Mrs Hankey.) You may wish to find out more HERE

Yours with every good wish for a dreamless sleep without visitation by ghosts, ghouls or invisible hands moving in the dark
Mrs Finnegan


He has come!
He has come!
(If a sarcastic tone is CREEPING into these notes do not BLAME me, dear reader. If you want enlightening discourse you will have to go to a housekeeper WHO serves in an ENTIRELY different household.)

The mistress experienced PAROXYSMS of agitation and outbreaks of joy when a message reached us that Thompson Hankey junior had boarded a London coach: destination Brighton.
Clean windows had to be washed again (so he could enjoy every MOIST moment of the sea view), newly beaten rugs were beaten again (lest any mote should irritate delicate skin unaccustomed to English dust) and a freshly made bed was made up again (even Mrs Hankey couldn’t think of a reason for doing that).
Unaccountably, the stage coach arrived early (I suspect the driver had a wager on the time he made).

Mrs Hankey was STILL out spreading the news to deeply uninterested ladies of SOCIETY that her favourite son was about to GRACE the town with his presence.
It was for the best.
Having never MET the gentleman before, I didn’t know what he looked like at HIS best, but I was pretty sure this was not it.

Watching him walk up the steps, I suspected he was foxed. I was RIGHT. One sniff told me drink had been taken to soften the rattle of the coach and the LUMPS and bumps of the road and when he SPOKE I knew he was as drunk as a wheelbarrow.
I helped Miss Martha get her brother upstairs and tumble him into his twice-made bed. He was snoring BEFORE we closed the door.

He was much recovered by the next morning, helped no doubt by his mother’s CONSTANT fawning, and later the six course meal served in his honour. As I was ladling out the mock turtle soup he said he had vague memories of my TUCKING him up in bed and then winked with all the grace and charm of Mr Punch.

It was sad to watch.
There was so much work to do I asked Susan, the lady’s maid, to help me serve at table. I must admit I was ANXIOUS to see if there was flicker of recognition when she and young Mr Hankey saw each other. Mrs Hankey was observing them too and I think Susan, herself, was aware of our INTEREST.

It was an odd SCENE with only the two Hankey children, Miss Martha and Thompson Junior, oblivious to what was happening around them.
I can tell you there was not SO MUCH as a quiver between Susan and Mrs Hankey’s son until Thompson sat back in his chair and BEGAN relating story after story about the West Indies. Susan was keen to hear all he had to say, so much so there was danger that the plover’s eggs would END UP in Mrs Hankey’s lap had I not rushed to rescue them.
I’m not sure what grabbed her ATTENTION as the young man was a poor speaker who laughed at his own jokes and was the unconvincing hero of the tales he told. Really, he was as bacon-brained sober as he was drunk.

The next day I happened to chance on Mrs Hankey diary. (It was sandwiched between her fouth and fifth pillow)

I was so proud to walk about with my son and show him to my neighbours and friends. Even Mrs Finnegan seemes to appreciate Thompson’s finer points. (I do hope that she does not think she is still attractive. If I didn’t know better, I would swear that she was flirting with him.) 

Oh, The Hankey Family!
Oh. Oh!

The Chronicles of Mrs Finnegan are a regular feature written by Bridget Whelan working with a host of volunteers at The Regency Town House. This week a special thank you to Jill Vigus, Paul Couchman and Catherine Page.
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. That’s one less thing to worry about…
This service is provided ENTIRELY FREE of charges, taxes and tips.

6 comments on “Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper has an answer for EVERY problem (but sometimes it’s I don’t know)

  1. beth
    April 26, 2022

    he was as bacon-brained sober as he was drunk. – my favorite line of all

  2. Glen Available
    April 26, 2022

    ‘As drunk as a wheelbarrow.’ What a godamn classic expression!
    This five-star charming and entertaining series simply MUST be converted into a published book.

  3. Eileen Field
    April 26, 2022

    Love Mrs Finnigan’s take on life, I fear Mrs Hankkey does not realise what a treasure she has.

    • bridget whelan
      April 26, 2022

      Thank you, Eileen. I have a feeling you’re right about Mrs Hankey

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This entry was posted on April 26, 2022 by in Mrs Finnegen ADVICE from the 1830 and tagged , , .


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