for writers and readers….

A Mother NOT Entirely Happy with her Daughter Writes to Brighton’s Regency HouseKeeper

Mrs Finnegan is a celebrated EXPERT on MOST things and WELCOMES letters from all, no matter HOW grand or LOWLY. She does ALL this while still maintaing her daily duties as Housekeeper at The Regency Town House

My daughter paints ugly water colours, speaks French badly and Italian still worse. She has as much ear for music as a three day old red mullet. 

The backs of my chairs and the frames upon my walls are, for good reason, empty of her needlework. 

I come from a long line of strong-minded women of talent. My grandmother wrought the whole Bible in tapestry before her death at 81 and was the last woman in Sussex to denouce a neighbour for witchcraft. My mother was accomplished in meat carving and reading sermons to farm workers. I, myself, need only to hear a mumbled description in heraldic language to conjure up an entire coat of arms.

My daughter shows ability in one field only: looking innocent and writing spiteful little notes to the servants.

What do you make of her, Mrs Finnegan?
A Mother Hard Done BY and Sorely Irritated

Mrs Finnegan replies

It strikes me that the acorn hasn’t fallen far from the tree.


POOR dear Brutus is still missing.

We hardly know his master Daniel Dapper Esq, but everyone in Brunswick Square has fallen in love with his dog.

Miss Martha, an ardent animal lover, was GREATLY distressed and organised parties of young ladies to go door to door around Brunswick Square and Terrace asking residents to check their coal cupboards and stock rooms.

The day after he vanished an advertisement appeared in The Brighton Gazette.

LOST from Brunswick Square a remarkable Newfoundland of large build and noble disposition. He is unlikely to be of use to any but his owner. If coming into the possession of a gentleman he is relied upon to restore said animal to his home but if he wandered into the hands of a servant or poor person all reasonable expenses will be paid with a reward of half a Guinea.

Half a guinea could feed a family for a week, I said to Master Talbot and regretted it as soon as the words fell from my mouth.

He has been a regular visitor recently and not only to me, but to several houses in Brunswick Square where he has become acquainted with the cook or housekeeper. He said he needed scraps for his sister’s hound lately delivered of a litter and would be grateful for anything we could spare.

We had never heard of a sister or dog before and I noticed he was not wearing his good green frock coat. A tired old thing with greasey cuffs and see-through elbows had taken its place on his broad back. 

We conferred and agreed that Mr Owen Merryweather Talbot was going through impecunious TIMES. As a result, scraps have become larger and better. (…Tut, tut. These slices of roast beef are cluttering up the larder. Please do me a kindness and take them away.)

And all the time Brutus is still missing.

MRS FINNEGAN is a regular feature created and written by Bridget Whelan with the support of a WONDERFUL team of volunteers at The Regency Town House, along with the MOST charming of readers and subscribers. Today a special THANK YOU to Paul Couchman
Don’t miss next Tuesday’s thrilling episode. Will the dog be found? Is Master Talbot really hungry?
Need a reminder? Just click HERE and you’ll get a gentle nudge on Tuesday morning.
Not too early. We don’t go out until the streets are well-aired.

10 comments on “A Mother NOT Entirely Happy with her Daughter Writes to Brighton’s Regency HouseKeeper

  1. beth
    September 27, 2022

    love her one line answer to the mother. boom. and the dog….hmmm, probably someone close may have clue -)

    • bridget whelan
      September 27, 2022

      Mrs F is quite pleased with the one liner herself. She is missing dear Brutus already….

  2. lbeth1950
    September 27, 2022

    I like that lady!

    • bridget whelan
      October 7, 2022

      And Mrs Finnegan rather likes you and hopes you will visit often. (Apologies for the late response – Mrs F’s amanuensis has been on a short – but much needed – break)

  3. Sarah Waldock
    September 27, 2022

    oh, lovely one-liner!
    Do we suspect the sudden impecuniousness of Mr Talbot? is he being eaten out of house and home by a large dog?

    • bridget whelan
      October 7, 2022

      Mrs Finnegan couldn’t possibly comment on Merry’s change in eating habits or the lack of a decent jacket, although she has seen one very like it in a pawn shop in Western Road.

  4. Glen Available
    September 27, 2022

    I can always rely on the good Mrs Finnegan to expand my word knowledge (and general knowledge for that matter) and this time has been no exception.

    Talbot was going through ‘impecunious’ times. Was he really? Thanks to some finger-tapping on my part, I and this clever little, rarely-heard-from word are now well acquainted! I can even use it in a sentence! Of my own!

    Thankyou Mrs Finnegan. What with those practical house- keeping abilities of yours plus your generous advice-giving talents and naturally let’s forget all that obscure wordy wisdom you put to such good use, you are what I would definitely call a multi-talented individual, or if I may be so bold, a ‘well-rounded’ person of stature.

    • bridget whelan
      October 7, 2022

      Mrs Finnegan hopes that the word impecunious will now appear in your daily conversation whenever the opportunity occurs or you can shoe-horn it in, thus is EDUCATION spread across the word. However, she trusts it will never be applied to your good self.

  5. Glen Available
    September 27, 2022

    Oh, Mrs Finnegan… are you still there? I have need to add but one more thing! Let’s naturally not forget to include the word ‘not’ prior to ‘let’s forget’. Are you with me?

    I trust you can forgive me for that little slip, since minus the well-placed ‘not’ things may possibly take a turn for the nasty and quite the insult may be construed.

    And I would NEVER wish to do that to one so kind and wise and… ‘well-rounded’ (there I go again!) as yourself.

    Good day.

    • bridget whelan
      October 7, 2022

      If there was an unintended insult Mr F forgives it with a generous heart, but she admits she cannnot quite grasp it even on a second reading and wonders if it is because of her famously tolerant nature she never SEES an insult when none is intended.
      PS Sincere aplogies for the tardy response Mrs F’s amanuensis has been away.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


This entry was posted on September 27, 2022 by in Mrs Finnegen ADVICE from the 1830 and tagged , , , .


%d bloggers like this: