BRIDGET WHELAN writer

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Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper investigates PEAS and the strange ABILITY they possess

Mrs Finnegan is the Celebrated Authority in affairs of the heart, general etiquette and table manners. 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.

MINE HAS BEEN A SHELTERED childhood in the countryside and only lately have I come into the public world. I now work in a shop and lodge with three other young ladies with a nice family. All should be well but there is so much I still don’t know and I am scared to look foolish and ask.
I am so glad I can turn to you for guidance.
It is very nearly pea season and I am dreading it. I know you must never use a spoon (which is surely the sensible way) but I have no idea how you are supposed to eat them properly.
I fear I may have to pretend I do not like them when in truth they are the most wonderful things to come out of the good earth.
A Pea-Lover from Purley

Mrs Finnegan replies

Better than potatoes?
Oh, well there’s no accounting for TASTE.

Fear not, there’s no need to miss out BECAUSE peas have a strange ABILITY. Unlike all other vegetables, given half a chance peas herd together on the PLATE.

That means it is possible to push them towards the back of a fork as a group (never attempt to spoon them up by using the FRONT unless you’re from our former colonies in America). A steady hand is needed. You must contrive to BALANCE the herd as you lift the fork.

Some will make a bid for freedom. There is NO POINT in chasing one or two unsociable peas who have escaped. Let them go.

With a little concetration you should be able to deliver most to your mouth, but don’t be tempted to rush the last moments. It might look as though you are SHOVELLING them in.

I admit there is a KNACK to it.
I admit also that it is does not come easily.

The FACT is carrots offer much less resistance and pototoes almost LEAP to your lips unassisted.

I expect that your favourite way of enjoying peas is fresh from the pod. That’s a pleasure that will PROBABLY have to wait until your next visit home.

I remain your obedient servant (housekeeper)
Mrs Finnegan

PS

Revenge.
That’s all I’ve been thinking about.

I am convinced that Susan is SET on revenging her poor mother. And she will do it by exposing Master Thomas Senior as her father. And she will also expose the WANTON adventures of Mrs Hankey’s youth because she’s the mistress and because she can.

‘I can ruin both of them,’ Susan told me as we stared into the flames in my grate last week. I’ve never known a June for such cold nights and we were grateful for the warmth as we contemplated the fall of the House of Hankey.
Oh, but I worry it might ALSO ruin her.

How would I reply if Susan wrote to me for advice? (She knows nothing of my role as SAGE of the serving classes and guide to the gentry.)

Revenge is sweet, it is often said. But is sweet to LIVE with the consequences?

I have also heard it said that if you TAKE revenge on another you should dig two GRAVES, one for the person who wronged you and one for yourself.
Imagine that thought in your head late at night!

There must be regret.

And distress at the pain caused.

Not that I have any sympathy for the Master

I’m thinking of the others caught up in the TURMOIL. Dear little Theodora would grow up with a notorious mother, no matter that RIGHT is all on Susan’s side.

And that could FOLLOW mother and daughter all the days of their lives, CASTING such a SHADOW it would feel as though the sun had forgotten HOW to shine.

I made up my mind what to say when I had a chance to speak to her again. I’ve waited all week and it is almost as if Susan has been AVOIDING me, but that cannot be because we have ALWAYS been on very good terms. But at last an opportunity to exchange a few words came this morning.

I stopped her in the corridor with a load of washing in her hands. She is still working as though nothing has happened. The Master creeps along corridors with a silent tread, almost scared to ring the bell in case Susan is the one who answers it.

On the other hand, Mrs Hankey is a THUNDER storm of anger that is getting more electric by the day as she CANNOT let it out less it makes the SORRY situation worse. You can almost see the sparks emitting from her elbows as she ploughs along polished floor boards with her arms jerking forwards and back. There is so much energy inside the heaving bodice I’m afraid she is going to BURST.

She is STILL ignorant of the HARM Susan can do her. I’m not sure I want to be around when that BLIZZARD breaks (although it would be remiss of me to be absent at a time of crisis).

Master Thomas’ eyes actually LIGHT UP when I enter a room just because I am not his wife nor yet his daughter.

It’s an odd sensation.

But back to Susan.
I put a comforting hand on her shoulder when I told her that I had been doing a lot of thinking. ‘And I expect you’ve been doing a lot of writing too,’ she said.
I’m not sure what she was referring to but I put it out of mind as I had a SERIOUS message to deliver.

Weak people take revenge
But Strong people forgive

Only I spluttered over the word forgive because I’m not sure that’s what I felt and I couldn’t think of another to take its place.

Susan gave me a serene smile.
And intelligent people take advantage.”

What can she mean?

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 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.

2 comments on “Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper investigates PEAS and the strange ABILITY they possess

  1. Sarah Waldock
    June 7, 2022

    I hope Susan has availed herself of knowledge of the law before making any rash actions or naming names in any publication. Without proof positive, she may be had up for libel; and of course, blackmail is a crime. I still think her safest course is to write novels. She could, of course, invite her father and his wife to buy up every copy available.

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This entry was posted on June 7, 2022 by in Mrs Finnegen ADVICE from the 1830 and tagged , .
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