for writers and readers….
Shocking news from Brunswick Square! The Hankey Household MOVES without their housekeeper Mrs Finnegan. Then an UNEXPECTED turn of events leaves residents dumbfounded.
I oversaw the move.
I wasn’t going with The Hankey family to the handsome and MUCH larger residence a few doors down at Number 10 but I wouldn’t let that small detail PREVENT me from packing the French glassware in straw, counting the linen sheets going out the door or the workmen coming in. They were here to do the heavy lifting and a cross-eyed shifty LOOKING lot they were too.
I kept my EYE on them.
Mrs Hankey has a new staff to go with her new home: a butler, a cook, two upstairs maids, a lady’s maid, a kitchen maid and a laundry girl (with strong arms. She’ll need them.) You may have NOTICED that someone is missing.
A new housekeeper!
There have been interviews.
And I may have caught a word or two as I HAPPENDED to pass by the parlour.
None of them seemed very PROMISING but I’m not one to judge
Mrs Hankey called me to the parlour. We had words. (Not the usual kind where she is shrieking like a broken fiddle in the hands of a drunken pork-butcher or thumping the table like something that THUMPS very hard. We’ve had plenty of those kind of WORDS in our time.)
On this occasion the Mistress spoke softly.
She was WORRIED about me.
She was concerned for my welfare and WHAT the future will hold.
We live in dangerous, uncertain times, she said.
Investments can go DOWN as well as up. Was I aware of that, she wanted to know.
Retired riding masters were especially vulnerable, she said shaking her head .
I kept quiet. There was ONLY one way this conversation was going and I wanted to hear it with BOTH ears.
Out of the beating GOODNESS of her troubled heart she could not SEE me jump into the state of Holy Matrimony UNPROTECTED from the vagaries of an economy sailing adrift on the sea of financial incompetence.
I told her I didn’t know what she meant, but could assure her that I’ve done very LITTLE jumping in my life and don’t intend to take it up as a hobby now. Perhaps she could put the rest of her speech more plainly for the BENEFIT of a simple (former) housekeeper.
She smiled the smile of a lizard with indigestion. I could have my old job back on a six month’s contract and £15 reduction in my annual wage as I would be living OUT.
I countered with my old job back, a year’s contract and AND an increase of £10 on account of my experience.
We finally agreed on no reduction as I wouldn’t be wearing out her sheets.
We parted. I won’t say happily because Mrs Hankey’s face tells a DIFFERENT story. (And the last time someone put a hand on my shoulder like that I was being arrested.)
I thought of the housekeeper’s room where my new reign would begin.
And then I remembered Master Peregrine. Would he agree? Who ever heard of a gentleman with a working WIFE.
I was turning over all the arguments in my HEAD as I hurried to my betrothed. I would tell him about all the MONEY we could save on food (provided I am on good terms with the cook) I decided and show him how it will be just as it was before only now I will return to my new home in the evenings. Gentlemen as a rule DISLIKE change so I think I am on safe ground there, but I fear I may NEED something more persuasive.
Mrs Hankey called out from the parlour as I prepared to leave.
“There’s one blessing. At least you can’t carry on with your scribblings after this. You’ll be far too busy. No more pontificating on romance and cleaning and parenthood and the 101 other things you know ABSOLUTELY nothing about.”
I stood in the hallway in shock. I WONDER if Master Peregrine will EXPECT the same thing.
I wonder if next week – the week before our wedding – I will have to say goodbye to you, DEAR READERS before I start a new life.
Will it be FAREWELL from Mrs Finnegan?
Is NEXT WEEK the end?
Or the beginning of the end. Or only the tedious middle bit?
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