On 27 February 1819 Keats wrote to his sister with tips for coping with the prison-like existence she had with her Guardian Richard Abbey and his family:
“My dear Fanny…
You must pay no attention to Mrs. Abbey’s unfeeling and ignorant gabble. You can’t stop an old woman’s crying more than you can a Child’s. The old woman is the greatest nuisance because she is too old for the rod. Many people live opposite a Blacksmith’s till they cannot hear the hammer. I have been in Town for two or three days and came back last night. I have been a little concerned at not hearing from George—I continue in daily expectation. Keep on reading and play as much on the music and the grassplot as you can. I should like to take possession of those Grassplots for a Month or so; and send Mrs. A. to Town to count coffee berries instead of currant Bunches, for I want you to teach me a few common dancing steps… You did not say a word about your Chilblains. Write me directly and let me know about them—Your Letter shall be answered like an echo.
Your affectionate Brother
[the music = the piano]