for writers and readers….

A Little Peace and Quiet for Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper (but only a little)

Mrs Finnegan is CURRENTLY relishing the unusual sensation of not having anything to worry about. She is DELIGHTED to immerse herself in her BULGING mail bag and is BUSY answering letters when her onerous duties as HOUSEKEEPER at The Regency Town House allows. Fortunately, some require only a BRIEF response.

I AM A WELL-TO-DO resident of Brighton and until a recent encounter I have had little to do with the common TOWN folk.

You may imagine my surprise and horror when I was approached by a slovenly creature when I was visiting my dressmaker. This apparition asked, nay demanded! that I give her money to buy bread.  Of course, I refused and told her I would summon a member of the constabulary if she did not go away. 

The town is in moral decline when such people feel they may approach those who are quite clearly superior to them in every way.

My maid had to administer Sal volatile to me after the horrid experience. I need your advice on the best way to stop any future encounters with these creatures.

Mrs Susannah Spittleworth of Swell Corner, The-Better-Part-of-Town

Mrs Finnegan replies

To make sure nothing like this ever happens again I suggest three possible strategies:
A) Stay at home
B) Wear full body armour and horse blinkers when going out
C) Use your wealth & influence to ENSURE that the poor, the maimed, the halt and the blind have sufficient income to BUY their own bread.*

  • That’s from the Gospels that is, St Luke’s from memory but if you don’t know it you should really look it up for yourself. My answers are intended to be an education but I can’t be expected to do everything.
    And halt? That’s anyone who walks with a stick (as all the best people do).

THERE ARE TWO WAYS of cooking fruit, the right way and your way.

Your preferred method, I assume, is to FLING unceremoniously, and without regard for their feelings, your fruit into any saucepan handy.

Your saucepan is then placed on the stove and its content boiled up with more or less rapidity according to other work claiming your attention. When the mixture is done, or rather DONE FOR, it is emptied into a dish and served as “stewed fruit”.

How is it that fruit can present its best front under such cruelly adverse conditions? No self-respecting gooseberry could do so after having its tender flesh reduced to a messy pulp.

Fruit cooked this way is fine for servants’ tea but must NEVER reach the table upstairs. I am available for cookery lessons at a reasonable rate. But do bring along handkerchief (some cry at first) & leave at home your pitying smile.

Mrs I.M. Certain-Shure of Brunswick Cookery School

Mrs Finnegan replies

You assume too much, including that I have the SLIGHTEST interest in your opinion on ANY subject or that I am concerned about the hurt feelings of gooseberries (WHICH are nasty green things only fit for geese, hence their name and I don’t CARE if they are offended).


Ah, the balm of sweet summer evenings in a House where the sound of slamming doors is rarely heard and the bells summoning the servants are silent after seven.

Do not tell me it cannot last.
I KNOW that.

Do not predict in doom-heavy tones that trouble is BUILDING below the horizon.
I know that TOO.

But right now the sun is kind, the sea gentle and the SCENT of salt and roses is carried on every breeze. The Master and Mistress are away and Miss Martha is with friends.

It is a perfect evening and little Sissy and I sit in my room in happy companionship DARNING socks.

Sometimes the smallest things take up the MOST room in your heart.

The quiet is interrupted by a SHARP knock on the outside door nearest to my room. I look out the window and crane my neck every WHICH way, but I cannot make out who is demanding entrance.

Another knock. Sissy offers to go, but I bid her to stay where she is. My heart beats a little faster as I turn the door knob.

There before me stands Mister Owen Merryweather Talbot. I haven’t seen him in a good many months (in fact not since March when I was OVERCOME with embarrassment). If he tells me he is just passing I’m not sure if I will altogether believe him.

But that is not what he says.
Instead he FORGETS his manners and, without a how-do-you-do or even you’re-looking-in-the-pink, he comes straight OUT with it.

“Mrs Finnegan, you are in danger.”

And that, dear readers, is where I must leave you this week as MORE letters have arrived and I have discovered more socks requiring my attention….

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 big THANK YOU to Jenny Fraser-Smith and Paul Couchman
It occurs to Mrs F that you MIGHT like to subscribe to THE MOST excellent newsletter sent out at regular intervals from THE REGENCY TOWN HOUSE. It is sure to ENTERTAIN as well as inform. Click HERE and your name will be added to a subscriber list which will NEVER be sold, bartered or given away to the unscrupulous or even to those with a trunk of scruples in their possession.

In addition, a special service is available for DISCREET readersIf you click HERE Mrs Finnegan will send a note every TUESDAY to let you know when her chronicle is ready to be read. 

8 comments on “A Little Peace and Quiet for Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper (but only a little)

  1. Glen Available
    July 5, 2022

    The hurt feelings of gooseberries?
    This episode is another almighty crack-up!
    Love it.

    • bridget whelan
      July 5, 2022

      I gather cherries have something to say on the subject too….

  2. Sarah Waldock
    July 5, 2022

    I’m with Mrs. F. on gooseberries.
    It looks as though I’m losing the title my readers give me of the Queen of the Cliffie.

    • bridget whelan
      July 5, 2022

      Mrs F is pleased that you are as one on the subject of gooseberries and as for clifthanging really she has no idea what you mean…

  3. Luccia
    July 5, 2022

    Recuperating from surgery reading this, realizing, it me

    • bridget whelan
      July 5, 2022

      Mrs F admits that she could also fit under that description

  4. Eileen Field
    July 5, 2022

    Dear Mrs Finnigan I am agog to know what has befallen you. I can hardly wait for your next missive. Be careful
    From an avid follower

    • bridget whelan
      July 5, 2022

      Mrs F appreciates your comments but feels that “agog” isn’t as kind as perhaps you intended. She is not a runaway horse to be gawked at but you will be glad to hear she intends to be very careful indeed. Although it is too soon to know if that will do any good…

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This entry was posted on July 5, 2022 by in Mrs Finnegen ADVICE from the 1830 and tagged , , .


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