BRIDGET WHELAN writer

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Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper is Confused and it is NOT her Fault

It’s ALL men, men, men this week for Mrs Finnegan. And one handsome brute…But you may READ ON, safe in the knowledge she is still taking care of The Regency Town House and is not neglecting her HOUSEKEEPING duties

MY DEARLY BELOVED no longer wants to wander around Brunswick Square with me, the reason given is that she feels she has no inkling of who I am.

Oddly enough, while escorting another young lady around the Square she, unprompted, said the same thing. Truthfully, I don’t know myself either.

On the outside I am a vigorous young buck of 36, but inside I’m unsure of my place in the world.

I fear that any girl will find me stifling dull, so I share as little as possible. What shall I do?

Uncertain Simon of Upper Uckfield

Mrs Finnegan replies

I am a LITTLE confused. Something that rarely happens on a Tuesday.

Are YOU habitually at a LOSS for something to say? Is your conversation boring AND lacking in lustre?

Or are you – as I STRONGLY suspect – wandering around Brunswick SQUARE attaching yourself willy NILLY to young females to whom you have NOT been introduced.

If it is the former, write again and I shall GUIDE YOU in the art of verbal intercourse. (More advanced students can study flattery, flummery and repartee.)

If it is the latter, STOP.

In passing I would like to add at the age of 36 such adjectives as young and vigorous usually no longer apply. I’m sorry to be the first to break the news (the mirror usually does that job), but the same PROBABLY goes for the word buck

Think of yourself as standing on the bank of the river of life. Like flotsam, youth floats past and, in your case, has gone round the bend and is now out of sight.

Another thought has struck me.

These young ladies can actually SEE you, can’t they?
You’re not a ghost by any chance?

PS

Last week I refrained from discussing matters of a personal nature. As REGULAR readers know, I never push myself forward, but I OUGHT mention that Master Owen Merryweather Talbot is now a FREQUENT visitor, his arrival usually coinciding with my cocoa making (at which time I also imbibe a tumbler of port for the sake of my digestion).


He seems to have given up on the idea of becoming butler in THIS establishment and yet still he comes. I cannot make it out, but worry we may BECOME the subject of gossip.

However, THE story which is gripping every house in Brunswick Square (at least in the servants’ quarters) is how our new neighbour spends HIS evenings.

He has a most pleasant companion in his Newfoundland dog who accompanies him whenever he goes out. If his Master is at home the dog – who has the unfortunate name of Brute (men make such a POOR fist of naming things) – has taken to RESTING under the trees in the middle of the Square. So good-natured an animal is he that the local children CLAMOUR to play with him and climb over his back.

The result is that in a PALTRY 10 days we already know our neighbour’s ROUTINE (if not his name. We are remiss on that score.) I can reveal that regardless of the weather MOST evenings he is out on his horse with his faithful dog running beside him. He returns very LATE indeed.

Some speak of nefarious activities.

The word highwayman has been whispered.

It is laughable, of course. In Brunswick Square!

And yet….

I was about to add my signature to this week’s chronicle when I was interrupted.

An urgent message arrives from Master Peregrine, the riding master (retired). He lives at number 61, next door to our new resident.
Can I come to tea this evening to discuss a very IMPORTANT MATTER?

I can. I will.

I WONDER what it is about.
And then I wonder why he has CHOSEN such an odd time for tea. I would call it cocoa (and port) time.

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

6 comments on “Brighton’s Regency Housekeeper is Confused and it is NOT her Fault

  1. Sarah Waldock
    September 6, 2022

    Perhaps Master Peregrine has uncovered some juicy knowledge about the new neighbour, and his odd choice of timing is to invite Mrs. Finnegan to witness something. It’s my belief the late hours of the fellow are because he is a paid ciscibeo at some assembly hall, being unable to take regular work because of his undoubted dyspeptic and costive habits.

    • bridget whelan
      September 6, 2022

      Mrs Finnegan appreciates your comments and the new additions to her vocabulary. She is especially taken with cisciebo and wonders on the correct pronunciation, although she doubts she will ever need to say it aloud (whispered maybe). At the moment she favours sis-see-bow and would be grateful for your views.

      • Sarah Waldock
        September 7, 2022

        I spelled the wretched word wrongly, I apologiste, cicisbeo and I concur with Mrs. Finnigan’s pronunciation though I’d shorten the middle syllable myself and maybe a byo not bow? It’s a foreign word, it needs Englishing appropriately. one should not, however, shorten that syllable too much to pronounce it sissy-beau, and impune the manliness of the gentleman escort.

      • Glen Available
        September 7, 2022

        Happy to oblige Mrs Finnegan for the reference if ever she feels the need to climb the housekeeping ladder, or apron, as it were.

  2. Glen Available
    September 6, 2022

    That Mrs Finnegan is such a wise one. The bit about standing on bank of the river of life and watching the flotsam of youth drift by is one of her best.

  3. bridget whelan
    September 6, 2022

    Mrs Finnegan has asked me to say she appreciates your comments, but the flotsam of youth remark was just one of those things that trip off her tongue or quill at every hour of the day or night and she hardly gave it any thought.

    She also wonders if she may call upon you for a reference if the need should arise

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This entry was posted on September 6, 2022 by in Mrs Finnegen ADVICE from the 1830 and tagged , .

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