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Is it Cricket to go Husband-Hunting at The County Ground? Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper investigates

Mrs Finnegan, housekeeper at THE REGENCY TOWN HOUSE  and confidant to the woe-begotten, always WELCOMES constructive criticism…

ALTHOUGH I DEARLY TREASURE your advice, I am not convinced that you have necessarily ever attended a cricket match.
I spend rather too much of my time watching cricket and I have to tell you that the gentlemen there are extremely reluctant to enter into any conversation, especially with anyone who is not a man.
I am also far from certain that any of them would make suitable marriage partners.

Teresa (One-Who-Knows)

Mrs Finnegan replies

What is this reader COMPLAINING about? You may well ask and I must admit I had to take off my cap and scratch my head for a good THREE minutes before coming up with an answer.

Nearly two years AGO I replied to a Wistful Spinster of Southwick who was searching for a husband. I was rather pleased with the 10 point plan I came up with (and you can read it in full HERE).
I believe Miss Teresa is refering to points 7 and 8. Namely:

Learn the RULES of cricket

Watch a cricket MATCH.

Why was Miss Teresa so TARDY in responding?
I can only surmise that she is either an EXCEEDINGLY slow reader or the post is lamentably BAD in her neighbourhood.
No matter, she raises an interesting point regarding that AGE-OLD problem of how one goes about getting introduced to suitable gentlemen in an appropriate manner.
I was not ALTOGETHER certain Miss Teresa was correct in her assessment of the cricket ground offering such poor hunting opportunities. After all, my logic was impeccable: learn about a male pursuit and then go to where they gather to watch that pursuit.
I conducted my OWN research this last week and DISCOVERED that Miss Teresa is right in every particular.
The men only talk to other men.
They very often don’t talk at all.
They do not IGNORE ladies. They SIMPLY do not see them.
And alas, I don’t think this is a way of winning their attention.

The actual cricketers SEEM quite admirable. I do like a man in white. The top hat is a triumph.

Like Miss Teresa, I ALSO wonder if the spectators are the marriageable sort. The top hatted gentlemen in the picture at the top of this Chronicle appear HIGHLY respectable. The crowd I actually saw on Saturday rather less so.

Never let it be said that Mrs Finnegan REFUSES to acknowledge her mistakes when she is proved WRONG. (It has only happened once before when there was an unfortunate incident with a Dutch sailor and four day old black pudding.) I admit them freely and openly. No, I do more than that. I PUBLISH them.
So, dear readers, I must amend my 10 point PLAN for finding a husband. I’ve given the matter some thought and have decided you really cannot depend on men to BEHAVE in the way they ought.
Therefore my REVISED list now reads:
Number 7
Cultivate more women friends in the hope they have a spare brother they don’t know what to with.
Number 8
Cultivate EVEN more women friends in the HOPE that you can all live together happily in a spinster cluster when you come to realise that no man is going to ask the question/be suitable/is worth troubling over.

And that’s the way The List is going to stay UNLESS dear reader YOU have an alternative to suggest.

Yours faithfully
Mrs Finnegan


Walker Art Gallery

He’s here.
We’ve had the son and now the father has DESCENDED upon us. Within minutes of his ARRIVAL Thompson Senior became known as the Old One below stairs, and something ruder in the stables.
With suspicious eye and DRIBBLING mouth, it’s hard to credit that he is Mrs Hankey’s husband let alone dear Miss Martha’s father.
When I greeted him at the door he passed by as if he couldn’t see or hear me. I didn’t feel ignored, it was more that my presence HADN’T registered just as he wouldn’t notice a fly battling against a window pane until it became annoying.
(If anyone of your acquaintance has become boastful and too FULL of their own importance, arrange for them to spend half an hour in the company of Mr Hankey. It will RESULT in a great improvement in their character.)

When he entered the parlour he BARELY acknowledged his wife’s existence. There was a fluttering blue-veined hand raised in her GENERAL direction and a muttered ‘Yes, yes. Don’t fuss, woman,’ before he instinctively found the MOST comfortable chair in the room. He then ordered brandy and dinner, addressing the air above his head, CONFIDENT that some underling would pick up the message. I did.

The cellar was FULL now that I’ve ordered in all his requirements and there was PLENTY of brandy. I suspected that was the ONLY blessing I would be able to count during his stay.
An unpleasant thought STRUCK ME and I could tell the same uneasiness had ALSO taken hold of Mrs Hankey. Supposing he’s not here for a visit but INTENDS to take up permanent residence! He is the Master after all, it is his books in the library that have been such an EDUCATION for me, it his wine I sip in the evening (for medicinal purposes).

Miss Susan was in the kitchen when I went down to finish off the dinner. That was unusual. “Is he here?”she asked with a kind of hiccup in her voice.

You may remember last week I was interupted while reading Mrs Hankey’s diary. It was the most tantalising entry I’ve read so far

…I should stop complaining about Thompson. After all, he rescued me when I needed rescuing. What would my life be like now if…

I’ve searched high and low since then, but have been unable to find it. I thought I would try again after I served dinner.

The first course was on the table when I mounted the stairs to the first floor. As Mrs Hankey was expecting her husband to arrive at any moment she might have been careless and left her diary lying around. I was hoping I would have time to finish reading that sentence.

The dining room door opened. Thompson Senior was surprisingly nimble. And LOUD.

“Call that soup! It’s dishwasher with all the goodness taken out!” he bellowed. “Cook woman, where are you? A man needs sustanance.”

I was almost temped to hide, but I didn’t. I turned around and came down the stairs. Miss Susan was passing in the hall when the Old One turned to face her, mouth open ready for another shout. He stopped, his face white and his hand clutching his chest. I thought he was having a heart attack.

“My own sweet darling girl,’ he said in wonder. “Is it you?”
“No,” said Miss Susan, as she calmly struck him across the face.

MRS FINNEGAN is a regular feature created and written by Bridget Whelan and a host of volunteers at The Regency Town House, readers and subscribers. This week a big thank you to CATHERINE PAGE

Would you like every episode of Mrs Finnegan’s adventures delivered directly to your mail box?
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6 comments on “Is it Cricket to go Husband-Hunting at The County Ground? Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper investigates

  1. Sarah Waldock
    May 10, 2022

    Well, that’s a suggestive comment. “My own darling sweet girl” sounds as if Susan is his natural daughter.

    I cannot think that it does a woman any harm to learn the rules of cricket, for men love to boast of their own prowess, and nothing is more likely to make a man spurn a woman if she asks him if he has seen a physician about his short square legs, or his googlies, not to mention his silly-mid-off. To understand such things is to follow his flow of excited prattle, with a look of spurious interest such as one assumes when the very young are telling you all about the disgusting habits of earthworms or parasitic wasps.

    • bridget whelan
      May 10, 2022

      Love your comments. (The parasitic wasps were a master stroke)

  2. Glen Available
    May 10, 2022

    I nominate Sarah’s expressed thoughts here for ‘Comment of the Year’.

  3. beth
    May 10, 2022

    a dramatic and suspenseful ending to this one!

    • bridget whelan
      May 10, 2022


      Make sure you read next week’s exciting episode

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This entry was posted on May 10, 2022 by in Mrs Finnegen ADVICE from the 1830 and tagged , .


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