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ing them, or rather by letting me know where our errandcart man shall call with my little box. I will endeavour to set myself selfishly at work on this poem that is to be. Your sincere friend
CXXVI.-TO FANNY KEATS.
Wednesday Morn-[November 17, 1819]. My dear Fanny-I received your letter yesterday Evening and will obey it to-morrow. I would come today—but I have been to Town so frequently on George's Business it makes me wish to employ to-day at Hampstead. So I say Thursday without fail.
I have no news at all entertaining—and if I had I should not have time to tell them as I wish to send this by the morning Post. Your affectionate Brother
CXXVII.—TO JOSEPH SEVERN.
Wentworth Place, Monday Morn
[December 6 ? 1819]. My dear Severn-I am very sorry that on Tuesday I have an appointment in the City of an undeferable nature; and Brown on the same day has some business at Guildhall. I have not been able to figure your manner of executing the Cave of despair,therefore it will be at any rate a novelty and surprise to me-I trust on the right side. I shall call upon you some morning shortly, early enough to catch you before you can get out—when we will proceed to the Academy. I think you must be suited with a good painting light in your Bay window. I wish you to return the Compliment by going with me to see a Poem I have hung up for the Prize in the Lecture Room of the Surry Institution. I have many Rivals,
1 Spenser's Cave of Despair was the subject of the picture (already referred to in Letter CXXIV.) with which Severn won the Royal Academy premium, awarded December 10 of this year.
the most threatening are An Ode to Lord Castlereagh, and a new series of Hymns for the New, new Jerusalem Chapel. (You had best put me into your Cave of despair.) Ever yours sincerely
CXXVIII.--TO JAMES RICE,
Wentworth Place [December 1819]. My dear Rice—As I want the coat on my back mended, I would be obliged if you would send me the one Brown left at your house by the Bearer-During your late contest I had regular reports of you, how that your time was completely taken up and your health improving—I shall call in the course of a few days, and see whether your promotion has made any difference in your Behaviour to 118. I suppose Reynolds has given you an account of Brown and Elliston. As he has not rejected our Tragedy, I shall not venture to call him directly a fool; but as he wishes to put it off till next season, I cannot help thinking him little better than a knave.—That it will not be acted this season is yet uncertain. Perhaps we may give it another furbish and try it at Covent Garden. "Twould do one's heart good to see Macready in Ludolph. If you
do not see me soon it will be from the humour of writing, which I have had for three days continuing. I must say to the Muses what the maid says to the Man“ Take me while the fit is on me.” Ever yours sincerely
CXXIX. -TO FANNY KEATS.
Wentworth Place, Monday Morn
[December 20, 1819.] My dear Fanny—When I saw you last, you ask'd me whether you should see me again before Christmas. You would have seen me if I had been quite well. I have not,
though not unwell enough to have prevented me—not indeed at all—but fearful lest the weather should affect my throat which on exertion or cold continually threatens me.—By the advice of my Doctor I have had a warm great Coat made and have ordered some thick shoes—50 furnish'd I shall be with you if it holds a little fine before Christmas day.—I have been very busy since I saw you, especially the last Week, and shall be for some time, in preparing some Poems to come out in the Spring, and also in brightening the interest of our Tragedy.–Of the Tragedy I can give you but news semigood. It is accepted
I at Drury Lane with a promise of coming out next season : as that will be too long a delay we have determined to get Elliston to bring it out this Season or to transfer it to Covent Garden. This Elliston will not like, as we have every motive to believe that Kean has perceived how suitable the principal Character will be for him. My hopes of success in the literary world are now better than ever.) Mr. Abbey, on my calling on him lately, appeared anxious that I should apply myself to something elseHe mentioned Tea Brokerage. I supposed he might perhaps mean to give me the Brokerage of his concern which might be executed with little trouble and a good profit; and therefore said I should have no objection to it, especially as at the same time it occurred to me that I might make over the business to George—I questioned him about it a few days after. His mind takes odd turns. When I became a Suitor he became coy. He did not seem so much inclined to serve me. He described what I should have to do in the progress of business. It will not suit I have given it up.
I have not heard again from George, which rather disappoints me, as I wish to hear before I make any fresh remittance of his property. I received a note from Mrs. Dilke a few days ago inviting me to dine with her on Xmas day which I shall do. Mr. Brown and I go on in our old dog trot of Breakfast, dinner (not tea, for we have left that off), supper, Sleep, Confab, stirring the fire and reading. Whilst I was in
the Country last Summer, Mrs. Bentley tells me, a woman in mourning calld on me,—and talk'd something of an aunt of ours—I am so careless a fellow I did not enquire, but will particularly: On Tuesday I am going to hear some Schoolboys Speechify on breaking up day—I'll lay you a pocket piece we shall have “My name is Norval.” I have not yet look'd for the Letter you mention’d as it is mix'd up in a box full of papers—you must tell me,
it you can recollect, the subject of it. This moment Bentley brought a Letter from George for me to deliver to Mrs. Wylie—I shall see her and it before I see you. The Direction was in his best hand written with a good Pen and sealed with a Tassie's Shakspeare such as I gave you—We judge of people's hearts by their Countenances ; may we not judge of Letters in the same way !if so, the Letter does not contain unpleasant news
-Good or bad spirits have an effect on the handwriting. This direction is at least unnervous and healthy. Our Sister is also well, or George would have made strange work with Ks and Ws. The little Baby is well or he would have formed precious vowels and Consonants—He sent off the Letter in a hurry, or the mail bag was rather a warm berth, or he has worn out his Seal, for the Shakspeare's head is flattened a little. This is close muggy weather as they say at the Ale houses. I am ever, my dear Sister, yours affectionately
CXXX.-TO FANNY KEATS.
Wentworth Place, Wednesday.
[December 22, 1819.] My dear Fanny—I wrote to you a Letter directed Walthamstow the day before yesterday wherein I promised to see you before Christmas day. I am sorry to say I have been and continue rather unwell, and therefore shall not be able to promise certainly. I have not
seen Mrs. Wylie's Letter. Excuse my dear Fanny this very shabby note. Your affectionate Brother
CXXXI.-TO GEORGIANA KEATS,
Thursday, January 13, 1820. My dear Sister—By the time you receive this your trouble will be over. I wish you knew they were half over. I mean that George is safe in England and in good health. To write to you by him is almost like following one's own letter in the mail. That it may not be quite so, I will leave common intelligence out of the question, and write wide of him as I can. I fear I must be dull, having had no good-natured flip from Fortune's finger since I saw you, and no sideway comfort in the success of my friends. I could almost promise that if I had the means I would accompany George back to America, and pay you a visit of a few months. I should not think much of the time, or my absence from my books; or I have no right to think, for I am very idle. But then I ought to be diligent, and at least keep myself within the reach of materials for diligence. Diligence, that I do not mean to say ; I should say dreaming over my books, or rather other people's books. George has promised to bring you to England when the five years have elapsed. I regret very much that I shall not be able to see you before that time, and even then I must hope that your affairs will be in so prosperous a way as to induce you to stop longer. Yours is a hardish fate, to be so divided among your friends and settled among a people you hate. You will find it improve. You have a heart that will take hold of your children ; even George's absence will make things better. His return will banish what must be your greatest sorrow, and at the same time minor ones with it. Robinson Crusoe, when he
1 George Keats had come over for a hurried visit to England on business.