BRIDGET WHELAN writer

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Which Sister Will He Choose? Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper Gives The Matter Serious Thought

Mrs Finnegan, the illustrious housekeeper at The Regency Town House, is ALWAYS willing to hand out advice, even if the recipient is NOT as pleased to get it as she ought to be.

BE KIND to us dear, darling Mrs Finnegan!
A gentleman of our acquaintance calls most Wednesday afternoons for 15 minutes (once he stayed for 22 minutes, but that was an exception). We are sisters and look forward to his company but wonder which of us he prefers.
Can you tell?
Anxiously awaiting your reply
Annabella and Amaryllis

Mrs Finnegan replies

On this evidence, I would hazard a guess that he prefers
1) His walking stick
2) His silk stockings

It’s hard to tell whether his coat or his shoes are in THIRD place.

A SWEETLY PRETTY painting, don’t you agree?
I adore kittens and their cute little ways but I sneeze terribly whenever a cat comes near so I cannot have them in the house.
As other readers may also have this problem, I thought I would share my solution.
In addition to buying artistic gems like this (personally, I think masterpiece is not too strong a word), I also have kitty tableaux scattered tastefully around the drawing room under glass. They look so charming! And no sniffles or scratches on the furniture.
Also I can always take a kitten out of the glass case and stroke it whenever I’m in the mood, as if it was real.
Miss Sissy Soppy of Sompting

Mrs Finnegan replies

It is real. Dead, but real.
PERSONALLY I prefer my cats alive, unstuffed and purring by the fire at night.

PS

No sooner had Mr Owen Merryweather Talbot DECLARED his intention of becoming our butler than a string of other gentlemen (I use the term AS loosely as a costermonger ties up his neckerchief) arrived at my door to announce their candidacy for a job that DOES NOT exist.

This lot were actors who THOUGHT they could “play” the part. The one on the end made believe he was the youngest son of the youngest son of Sir Someone-or-other and the fellow in the checked trousers PRETENDED he could sing. He couldn’t.

This “applicant” was more interested in sampling the contents of MY larder than discussing the finer points of butlering.

And I actually had a soft spot for this young lad until I noticed the TRAIL of black hand and foot prints he left behind.

But the truth is he would never have done, even if there was a job to be had and he SCRUBBED up well. A butler MIGHT fall from his position and become a chimney sweep, but it is HARD to imagine a sweep rise so FAR above his station.

I sent them all packing, of course. I do hope that the Mistress doesn’t find out about the ODD FELLOWS who have come knocking at our door. I’m bound to get the blame. Or it might GIVE her ideas about hiring a butler. That would never do. He’d only get in my way even if it was my old friend Merry. If there is to be NEW staff Sissy and I have our hearts set on a laundry maid.

It takes a POWERFUL amount of work to run this house and I’ll take all the HELP I can get now that Miss Susan has gone.

What I don’t understand is how so MANY men heard that our STAFF had been reduced. I wonder if someone overheard Merry talking about it in a tavern or some such DARK and shady place where men gather.

I’m day-dreaming of dark and shady places myself today. It’s already HOTTER than sausages in a frying pan. Right now all I want to do is lie on my bed in a chemise. A wet chemise. A dripping wet…

O

O!

A thought has just struck me. HARD. A most uncomfortable thought.

Could it be that Merry PERSUADED those men to come, knowing that he would LOOK good in comparison?

I’m not a gambling woman but I’d WAGER three pounds of Stewing Shank that is EXACTLY what happened.

I’m not quite so EASY to get around as Mister Owen Merryweather Talbot thinks.

Or as GREEN as I am cabbage looking.

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6 comments on “Which Sister Will He Choose? Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper Gives The Matter Serious Thought

  1. Glen Available
    July 19, 2022

    Oh my!
    These illustrations are exquisite.
    And I agree – it IS hard imagine a chimney sweep rise far above his station.
    Unless of course he was in possession of some considerable writing talent on the side, of course!

  2. Sarah Waldock
    July 19, 2022

    Lovely pictures. A gentleman who needs to suck his walking stick as he doesn’t dare suck his thumb is not worth having for either sister.
    Cats look better in motion. the person who sneezes should take honey with cider vinegar every day to combat all allergies, and should take in a short-haired kitten and get it used to being bathed monthly to deal with the allergenic dander. And moreover, unless the allergy is very bad, in 3 months one adapts to any particular cat. I should know, I’m allergic to cats and it doesn’t stop me taking in rescues.

    • bridget whelan
      July 19, 2022

      You’re right! He is sucking it – that or it’s not a cane at all, but a very long cigarette holder

  3. beth
    July 19, 2022

    Ah, the tangled webs behind the scenes. No one dare outsmart her! Bring on the laundry maid and leave all the faux butlers in the dust

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This entry was posted on July 19, 2022 by in Mrs Finnegen ADVICE from the 1830 and tagged , , , .

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