for writers and readers….

A Wife Finds Something in her Husband’s Luggage that Makes her Turn to Brighton’s Regency Houskeeper

Mrs Finnegan remains the loyal, reliable and hard-working Housekeeper at The Regency Town House and continues to GIVE pithy and pertinent advice to readers. She is nothing if NOT consistent

I FOUND SOMETHING in my husband’s luggage after a trip to London for a tea tasting at Twinings in The Strand.
At first I thought I should pretend not to have seen it. Surely as a good wife that is my sorry and lonely duty?
But then the slow burn of resentment seeped into my soul.
How tired I am of being a good wife.

So, I decided to write to you, Mrs Finnegan. You see I have a most distressing problem. I love my husband.

The book fell open at page 7. I read no further. Is this Guide what I think it is?

Mrs Finnegan replies

Oh dear.

Oh very DEAR.

I think it PROBABLY it is what you think it is.
But bear in mind it is ONLY directions, not the destination itself. There’s nothing to SAY that he has FOLLOWED the INSTRUCTIONS contained in THESE pages.

MY ADVICE is to say NOTHING, but let the book slip softly from your fingers. It should land some where your husband is BOUND to find it before a maid can tidy it away.

Let him be CONSUMED with worry that you may have seen it.
Let him ITCH with guilt.
And be TORTURED by uncertainty. He can no longer be sure of the ground upon which he walks which is just as it should be.
He is a very foolish and very fortunate man (fortunate in his choice of wife) and needs to be reminded of BOTH conditions.

Some magazines for ladies propose that shopping provides the perfect OPPORTUNITY to get your own back in SUCH situations.

I say FIE! to that IDEA.

This is not a bonnet-buying problem. It is degrading to suggest it can be made better with a bit of silk and tulle.

A degree of torment has to be involved, although I’ve no OBJECTION to the acquisition of a bonnet at the same time.

Of course, your husband should NEVER be allowed to go to London on his own again.

Yours faithfully
Mrs Finnegan


Brutus is sill missing.

Today Dan Dapper declared war.
His weapon is another advertisment in The Brighton Gazette, but this one has teeth. And claws.

To The thief who stole my dog from Brunswick Square. A guinea if you return him. No greater reward will be offered. You will remain a free man. No prosecution will be sought or harm come to you.

To everyone else. If you have information about the thief  five guineas payable when the dog is found.
A further five guineas when the thief is convicted.

Master Talbot whistled as I read the advertisement ALOUD. Master Peregrine had brought the newspaper over, keen to share the latest development.

“That’s a powerful amount of money,” said Master Talbot. He looked thoughtful as if he had found a lump of gristle stuck in his teeth and couldn’t remember where it might have come from.

Master Peregrine agreed and the TWO men shared a LOOK. Try as I MIGHT I couldn’t UNWIND the meaning, but it meant something, of that I’m certain.

“Ten guineas could turn brother against brother; father against son,” said Master Peregrine.

It occured to me that is you shouldn’t judge the Riding Master (retired) on his poetry.

Of Daniel Dapper, I can tell you little, excepting that he is a BROODING restless presence. He no longer rides his horse out in the evening to return in the early hours of the morning (thus leading to rumours about POSSIBLE highwayman activities which I NEVER believed). 

Instead he WANDERS around the Square, looking as though he could KICK the sun into the sea and prosecute a chrysanthemum for daring to flower.

A commotion in the street roused me from QUIET reflection by the fire this afternoon. Sissy ran in telling me to come see! Come! I did so as soon as I straightened my cap and FULLY understood where I was and who I was.

At first I could’nt TAKE IN the scene that greeted me. Stable boys were waving their caps in the air, women were crying and GROWN men discovered they had something in their eye.

Brutus was sitting in his usual spot in Brunswick Square.

And the hand on his collar belonged to Master Peregrine.

The Chronicles of Mrs Finnegan are a regular feature written by Bridget Whelan working with a host of absolutely OUTSTANDING volunteers at The Regency Town House.

Make sure you don’t MISS the next THRILLING episode!
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11 comments on “A Wife Finds Something in her Husband’s Luggage that Makes her Turn to Brighton’s Regency Houskeeper

  1. beth
    October 11, 2022

    I love her no-nonsense torture him suggestion.

    • bridget whelan
      October 11, 2022

      When you haven’t the power to do anything else, it’s an option…

  2. Glen Available
    October 11, 2022

    The sage-like advice about letting ‘the book slip softly from your fingers’ I myself have enacted many times. Most frequently when presented with droll, slow-moving and over-hyped novels.

  3. Sarah Waldock
    October 11, 2022

    Good advice to the beleaguered wife. Of course, he might have had the pamphlet forced onto him, and kept it for the useful information about tea buying and coffee houses. And then felt shy of sharing it with his wife because of the… other material.
    It looks a useful book for the author, is there a reprint version at all? I couldn’t find it on the archive.
    Well, well, I have to say Mr Peregrine’s activities look fishy.

    • Joan MacGregor
      October 12, 2022

      And not just Mr P’s: it looks as though Merry and he have been partners in a crime of dog abduction.

      • bridget whelan
        October 12, 2022

        All will be revealed next week (perhaps)

    • bridget whelan
      October 12, 2022

      I can’t remember where I found The Swell’s Guide (which I expect is what the husband would also say)

  4. Anna Hopkins
    October 12, 2022

    What a marvellous TURN of phrase, Mrs Finnegan – ” looking as though he could KICK the sun into the sea and prosecute a chrysanthemum for daring to flower.” Truly, you are a POET among housekeepers.

    • bridget whelan
      October 12, 2022

      Poet among housekeepers….Mrs Finnegan endorses that description and intends to use it every appropriate opportunity

    • Sarah Waldock
      October 12, 2022

      it is a delightful comment, isn’t it?

      As to the Swell’s Guide, I could not find a reprint of it, if you have the original, it might be worth scanning and publishing…

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This entry was posted on October 11, 2022 by in Mrs Finnegen ADVICE from the 1830 and tagged , , .


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