200 years ago Keats went to his sister’s birthday tea

On Thursday 3 June 1819, Keats was allowed to join his sister Fanny to celebrate her 16th birthday, which (as usual) she spent with her Guardian Richard Abbey. Writing to her on 8 June he first told her of his plans for the summer:

‘A Friend of Mine [James Rice] who has an ill state of health called on me … and proposed to spend a little time with him at the back of the Isle of Wight where he said we might live very cheaply. I agreed to his proposal.’

He then wrote about the reception he had from Mr and Mrs Abbey]:

‘They really surprised me with super civility—how did Mrs. A. manage it?…
‘How came miledi to give one Lisbon wine—had she drained the Gooseberry? Truly I cannot delay making another visit—asked to take Lunch, whether I will have ale, wine, take sugar,— objection to green—like cream—thin bread and butter—another cup—agreeable—enough sugar— little more cream—too weak—12 shillin &c &c &c—Lord I must come again.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *