for writers and readers….
Mrs Finnegan is to be married on Christmas Day. But will she continue working at The Regency Town House? Will she still be an author, a wit and the leading intellect of her generation of (Brunswick Square) housekeepers?
Dear readers, read on…perhaps for the last time. Prepare yourselves.
I have momentous announcements to make but first I MUST answer a BEVY of letters that have arrived over the last few weeks all of them seeking wisdom and solace, all of them on the SAME subject.
I am thinking it is about time I acquired a wife. What is your opinion?
Robert Wright from Rye
It may be too soon. You have the look of a contented, self-obsessed bachelor. You may want to hold onto that for awhile longer.
All the girls are after me. I tell them I’m too young to get married, but if Master Percival leaves you at the altar, tip me the wink and I’ll run up the aisle and cover your blushes.
Dick Diver of Ditchling
How kind (unless covering your blushes has another meaning of which I am totally unaware and wish to remain in ignorance of).
I’ve been walking out with Eddie for three months. Every Sunday afternoon he asks me to marry him. I think I might as well say yes.
Clarrie from Clayton Mill
You might as well, especially if you have been venturing into the countryside together UNACCOMPANIED. Eddie will probably scrub up quite well but do, PLEASE, take charge of his clothes.
I am twice widowed and a gentleman of my acquaintance would make an acceptable third husband. He is agreeable to the idea. Should I?
Mrs Hannah Sweet-Thompson of Amberley
Why not go for a hat-trick?
Although if your portrait is ACCURATE I am worried about your health. Your arms are remarkably thin and suggest a DELICATE fragility that might not withstand a dramatic change of circumstances.
However, now I’ve scrutinised the painting again I can see that your ARMS are also far too long. I suspect the artist is better at grey hair and ageing skin than he is an anatomy. He should stick to CLOSE-UPS and you can set the date.
When Master P heard I was STILL in Mrs Hankey’s employment, he baulked at having a WORKING wife – a very NATURAL reaction for a gentleman. He could not countenance it, would hardly allow the words to pass his lips until I was bold enough to CORRECT his vocabulary and say not working but a professional wife.
The colour returned to his cheeks.
While I was forced to be Jill of all Trades when housekeeper at Number 13, now Mrs Hankey has a decent amount of staff my role would be MORE supervisory. I would preside rather than serve, direct rather than comply, not so much a housekeeper as a DOMESTIC bureaucrat.
His breathing got a little easier.
Then I told him of the TANGIBLE benefits that would be ours. He began doing sums in his accounts books at this point but I KNEW I had not entirely won him over, HOWEVER, I still had two powerful weapons in my arsenal.
ONE I would retain the name of Finnegan for professional pursuits, using my married name for EVERY OTHER area of my life. (I didn’t explain that Miss Martha INSISTED I didn’t look like a Hildenbrace and had no intention of calling me anything but Mrs Finnegan until the day I died.)
TWO There were things of QUALITY that could NOT be made in a ordinary home but demanded the technology and equipment of a BIG HOUSE to wit: GRAVY.
I spoke to him of giblet gravy, onion gravy and red wine gravy nursed into existence by a dedicated kitchen maid; of gravy made over a SLOW flame with bunches of fresh rosemary and thyme and pinches of Eastern spice; of white wine gravy for pheasant and luscious meat juices simmering with carrots and roasted peppers, a meal in itself that whispered a reminder about every good DINNER he had ever tasted. And how it could all be transported from the Hankey kitchen to our hearth with the minimum of FUSS.
There is no such passion in human nature, as the passion for gravy among Brighton gentlemen.
AS soon as I had WON one battle, I was faced with another but this one concerns YOU, dear reader.
Last week the mistress said my FAMOUS correspondence service could not continue and Master P is of the same mind. While I’m well-known for my discretion, (although I don’t get enough PRAISE for the things I DON’T say) he may also be a LITTLE BIT sensitive about descriptions of our newly-wedded bliss being circulated.
Thinking it OVER, I realise I have been offering advice for nearly THREE years.
The well is not dry. I have much more to say on bunions and broken hearts and I have BARELY scratched the surface of mattress turning and yet I long for something more…substantial.
I can say no more NOW – I have Christmas and a wedding to prepare – but I CAN REVEAL that on Tuesday JANUARY 3rd an ENTIRELY NEW literary endeavour* will be LAUNCHED for your delight and gratification with the support and COMPLETE agreement of Master Peregrine. (Mrs Hankey knows nothing of it but that is neither here NOR there.)
Mrs Finnegan is NOT going away.
She REMAINS an author DEVOTED to your every need.
* It is neither poetry nor the serialisation of a three volume romance, so you can STOP worrying
Now would be an excellent time to sign up for Mrs Finnegan’s subscription service. Click HERE.
It cost nothing and alerts you to when the ink is dry on her latest MISSIVE
(Next week the wedding!)
so good to read her last bits of witty and wise advice, with just a bit of bite to them. glad to hear that we will still be privy to her new endeavors, alas in a different form. best to the soon to be wed couple and look forward to new things –
We shall, of course, miss Mrs. Finnegan’s advice and the ongoings of the square, which have delighted us through the difficult years of late, but look forward to the literary endeavours of Mrs. Hildenbrace, which will doubtless be informative and educational as always.
Well, all we can do is wish Mrs Finnegan every blessing for both Christmas and for forthcoming connubial bliss.
Mrs Finnegan appreciates your kind comments but regrets she can’t say more at the moment as she is busy altering a dress for tomorrow