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mouse would starve upon it. Mrs. Wylie came yesterday. I have a very pleasant room for a sick person. A Sofa bed is made up for me in the front Parlour which looks on to the grass plot as you remember Mrs. Dilke's does. How much more comfortable than a dull room up stairs, where one gets tired of the pattern of the bed curtains. Besides I see all that passes- for instance now, this morning—if I had been in my own room I should not have seen the coals brought in. On Sunday between the hours of twelve and one I descried a Pot boy. I conjectured it might be the one o’Clock beer —Old women with bobbins and red cloaks and unpresuming bonnets I see creeping about the heath. Gipsies after hare skins and silver spoons. Then goes by a fellow with a wooden clock under his arm that strikes a hundred and more. Then comes the old French emigrant (who has been very well to do in France) with his hands joined behind on his hips, and his face full of political schemes. Then passes Mr. David Lewis, a very goodnatured, good-looking old gentleman who has been very kind to Tom and George and me. As for those fellows the Brickmakers they are always passing to and fro. I mus’n't forget the two old maiden Ladies in Well Walk who have a Lap dog between them that they are very anxious about. It is a corpulent Little beast whom it is necessary to coax along with an ivory-tipp'd cane. Carlo our Neighbour Mrs. Brawne's dog and it meet sometimes. Lappy thinks Carlo a devil of a fellow and so do his Mistresses. Well they may-he would sweep 'em all down at a run ; all for the Joke of it. I shall desire him to peruse the fable of the Boys and the frogs: though he prefers the tongues and the Bones. You shall hear from me again the day after to-morrow. Your affectionate Brother
CXXXIV.--TO FANNY KEATS.
Wentworth Place (February 11, 1820). My dear Fanny-I am much the same as when I last wrote. I hope a little more verging towards improvement. Yesterday morning being very fine, I took a walk for a quarter of an hour in the garden and was very much refresh'd by it. You must consider no news, good news —if you do not hear from me the day after to-morrow. Your affectionate Brother
CXXXV.-TO FANNY KEATS.
Wentworth Place, Monday Morn.
[February 14, 1820.] My dear Fanny—I am improving but very gradually and suspect it will be a long while before I shall be able to walk six miles—The Sun appears half inclined to shine ; if he obliges us I shall take a turn in the garden this morning. No one from Town has visited me since my last. I have had so many presents of jam and jellies that they would reach side by side the length of the sideboard. I hope I shall be well before it is all consumed. vexed that Mr. Abbey will not allow you pocket money sufficient. He has not behaved well—By detaining money from me and George when we most wanted it he has increased our expenses.
In consequence of such delay George was obliged to take his voyage to England which will be £150 out of his pocket. note-You shall hear from me again the day after tomorrow. Your affectionate Brother
I enclose you a
CXXXVI.-TO JAMES RICE.
Wentworth Place, February 16, 1820. My dear Rice—I have not been well enough to make any tolerable rejoinder to your kind letter.
I will, as you I am
advise, be very chary of my health and spirits. sorry to hear of your relapse and hypochondriac symptoms attending it. Let us hope for the best, as you say. I shall follow your example in looking to the future good rather than brooding upon the present ill. I have not been so worn with lengthened illnesses as you have, therefore cannot answer you on your own ground with respect to those haunting and deformed thoughts and feelings you speak of. When I have been, or supposed myself in health, I have had my share of them, especially within the last year.
I may say, that for six months before I was taken ill I had not passed a tranquil day. Either that gloom overspread me, or I was suffering under some passionate feeling, or if I turned to versify, that acerbated the poison of either sensation. The beauties of nature had lost their power over me. How astonishingly (here I must premise that illness, as far as I can judge in so short a time, has relieved my mind of a load of deceptive thoughts and images, and makes me perceive things in a truer light),-how astonishingly does the chance of leaving the world impress a sense of its natural beauties upon us ! Like poor Falstaff, though I do not “babble," I think of green fields; I muse with the greatest affection on every flower I have known from my infancy—their shapes and colours are as new to me as if I had just created them with a superhuman fancy. It is because they are connected with the most thoughtless and the happiest moments of our lives. I have seen foreign flowers in hothouses, of the most beautiful nature, but I do not care a straw for them. The simple flowers of our Spring are what I want to see again.
Brown has left the inventive and taken to the imitative art. He is doing his forte, which is copying Hogarth's heads. He has just made a purchase of the Methodist Meeting picture, which gave me a horrid dream a few nights ago. I hope I shall sit under the trees with you again in some such place as the Isle of Wight. I do not mind a game of cards in a saw-pit or waggon, but if ever you catch me on a stage-coach in the winter full against the wind, bring me down with a brace of bullets, and I promise not to 'peach. Remember me to Reynolds, and say how much I should like to hear from him; that Brown returned immediately after he went on Sunday, and that I was vexed at forgetting to ask him to lunch ; for as he went towards the gate, I saw he was fatigued and hungry. I am, my dear Rice, ever most sincerely yours
I have broken this open to let you know I was surprised at seeing it on the table this morning, thinking it had gone long ago.
CXXXVII.-TO FANNY KEATS.
[February 19, 1820.] My dear Fanny-Being confined almost entirely to vegetable food and the weather being at the same time so much against me, I cannot say I have much improved since I wrote last. The Doctor tells me there are no dangerous Symptoms about me, and quietness of mind and fine weather will restore me. Mind my advice to be very careful to wear warm cloathing in a thaw. I will write again on Tuesday when I hope to send you good news. Your affectionate Brother
CXXXVIII. -TO JOHN HAMILTON REYNOLDS.
[February 23 or 25, 1820.) My dear Reynolds--I have been improving since you saw me: my nights are better which I think is a very encouraging thing. You mention your cold in rather too slighting a manner—if you travel outside have some flannel against the wind—which I hope will not keep on at this rate when you are in the Packet boat. Should it rain do not stop upon deck though the Passengers should vomit themselves inside out. Keep under Hatches from all sort of wet.
I am pretty well provided with Books at present, when you return I may give you a commission or two. Mr. B. C. has sent me not only his Sicilian Story but yesterday his Dramatic Scenes—this is very polite, and I shall do what I can to make him sensible I think so. I confess they teaze me—they are composed of amiability, the Seasons, the Leaves, the Moons, etc., upon which he rings (according to Hunt's expression), triple bob majors. However that is nothing I think he likes poetry for its own sake, not his. I hope I shall soon be well enough to proceed with my faeries and set you about the notes on Sundays and Stray-days. If I had been well enough I should have liked to cross the water with you. Brown wishes you a pleasant voyage—Have fish for dinner at the sea ports, and don't forget a bottle of Claret. You will not meet with so much to hate at Brussels as at Paris. Remember me to all my friends. If I were well enough I would paraphrase an ode of Horace's for you, on your embarking in the seventy years ago style. The Packet will bear a comparison with a Roman galley at
Ever yours affectionately
CXXXIX.-TO FANNY KEATS.
Wentworth Place, Thursday.
[February 24, 1820.] My dear Fanny-I am sorry to hear you have been so unwell: now you are better, keep so. Remember to be very careful of your clothing—this climate requires the utmost care. There has been very little alteration in me lately. I am much the same as when I wrote last. When I am well enough to return to my old diet I shall get stronger. If my recovery should be delay'd