for writers and readers….

Gripped by Fear! Can Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper Help?

When you have a problem who else are you going to turn to except Mrs Finnegan?
The celebrated housekeeper at THE REGENCY TOWN HOUSE will reflect, empathise and DELIVER her answer, although it may not be the ONE you are expecting.

MY THOUGHTS TORTURE ME by day and keep me awake at night.
My dear husband tells me that I am worrying over nothing.
He says that never would he allow anything to hurt me and yet I am convinced in every ounce of my being that I will suffer the most terrible of disasters.
What, you ask could trouble a happy and healthy young woman so?
It is the dread that I will be buried alive!
Please write something that will allow me to sleep.
Wretched Wife of Wivelsfield

Mrs Finnegan replies

I will do my best, dear lady.
Let us be rational. What are the chances of slowly suffocating in a coffin while you attempt to CLAW your way out?
Surely, it could ONLY occur if you were KNOCKED down in an accident.
And yes, such MISHAPS are a daily occurrence, but still it is not VERY likely. Remember, you would also have to fall so deeply unconscious that the medical men are FOOLED into thinking you have departed this life, (although most of the ones I’ve met are fools).

I admit that a deep trance, catalepsy and other forms of SUSPENDED animation may also result in PREMATURE BURIAL, the technical term for when you awake after the mourners have left and only THE DEAD can hear your screams.

However, I KNOW of two CERTAIN ways to prevent it.

  • Arrange for your husband to plunge a dagger into your corpse before burial. True, he might be arrested for murder if you should SUDDENLY start screaming, but it means you won’t wake up with a shroud covering your face or the timbers of a coffin PRESSING in on all sides.
  • Tell your husband that your funeral should NOT take place until long after your “death”. That means a fortnight at a minimum or – as an undertaker acquaintance describes it – until your complexion turns the colour of rhubarb leaves in spring.

I hope I have set your mind at rest.
In closing, I should add that you ought to be grateful that you are not a widow woman with no one to carry out such instructions – a thought that has only NOW struck me.
Still, your husband might die before you which means we would be both in the same pickle.

As for a good night’s sleep, after the age of 30 I don’t think anything can beat gin.

Yours with warmest wishes
Mrs Finnegan

Is the HOT weather getting you DOWN?

Don’t reach for a beer. Instead try the cooling waters of Fennel and of Chervil, made according to MY OWN recipe and approved by Mrs Hankey, the mistress at The Regency Town House.

You may remember that she is now a SUBSCRIBER to my humble chronicles and is KIND ENOUGH to offer advice on the content which is why LAST WEEK’S episode was missing on the grounds that:

No one is interested in that sort of thing


It only encourages the lower orders

Back to the drink that refreshes, which I am certain will suit EVERYONE.

Seep fennel or chervil (whichever you prefer) in hot water till the taste is strong enough to clean a farmer’s boots (there’s no pont in being wishy washy about these things).
Add what quantity of sugar you think proper.
Store in a cool place at least until the following day so the FLAVOUR has a chance to grow, however, it should be drunk within five DAYS because you do NOT want it to grow mould.
Dilute if so desired.
Add ice if you can AFFORD it.

The result is SUMMER contentment.

Would you like to see MY housekeeper’s room?

You will find it all spick and span with a PLEASING ambiance which I like to call The Finnegan Touch, although Mrs Hankey reminds me that it is ENTIRELY due to the generosity of my employers.
We are THROWING our doors OPEN on Saturday August 20th and you can join a mini tour of the building ENTIRELY free and whithout ANY fee whatsoever.

Now, isn’t that exciting?
Do come. Book HERE to be sure of your place

Would you LIKE to meet me?

No booking required because if you are VERY fortunate our paths will cross in the Square as I will be particpating in the Brunswick Festival (held to celebrate the harvest and August and…I’m not ENTIRELY sure what else, but it is a highlight of the YEAR and not to be missed).
When I say participating I mean walking around, greeting neighbours, that sort of thing.

AND Mrs Hankey?

I am, of course, leaving the BEST to last.
The Mistress and her cousin Amelia have been GRACIOUS enough to indicate that they will also be taking the AIR in the Square, greeting the better class of neighbour and sitting down or, as Mrs Hankey likes to call it, holding court. (Set your expectations accordingly.)

MRS FINNEGAN is a regular feature created and written by Bridget Whelan working with a host of volunteers at The Regency Town House, readers and subscribers.
This week a special thank you to Paul Couchman.

4 comments on “Gripped by Fear! Can Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper Help?

  1. Sarah Waldock
    August 9, 2022

    My father was sailmaker when he was in the navy, mostly ceremonial at that point, but he was in charge of sewing up corpses for burial at sea; traditionally the last stitch goes through the septum of the nose. Because if the corpse isn’t dead, it will bleed a lot and should make the corpse scream. Happily he only had to do this once when they sailed on a Friday and the bosun was killed by a falling crate.

    • bridget whelan
      August 9, 2022

      Well, that’s by far the best solution. I shall let Mrs Finnegan know. I wonder if it will persuade her to enlist…

  2. beth
    August 9, 2022

    problem solver! brilliant fail-safe methods for not being buried alive )

    • bridget whelan
      August 9, 2022

      Mrs F is always ready to help with practical advice and she’s pleased that she has cleared up this problrm for you, although in light of the comment above perhaps enlisting in the navy is an alternative.

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