200 years ago Keats wrote about his neighbour’s cat

On Sunday 3 January 1819 Keats continued his journal letter to George and Georgiana Keats in America:
“There is another thing I must mention of the momentous kind… Mrs. Dilke [Keats’s next-door neighbour at Wentworth Place] has two Cats — a Mother and a Daughter — now the Mother is a tabby and the daughter a black and white like the spotted child. Now it appears to me, for the doors of both houses are opened frequently, so that there is a complete thoroughfare for both Cats (there being no board up to the contrary), they may one and several of them come into my room ad libitum. But no — the Tabby only comes — whether from sympathy for Ann the Maid or me I cannot tell — or whether Brown has left behind him any atmospheric spirit of Maidenhood I cannot tell. The Cat is not an old Maid herself — her daughter is a proof of it — I have questioned her — I have look’d at the lines of her paw — I have felt her pulse — to no purpose. Why should the old Cat come to me? I ask myself — and myself has not a word to answer. It may come to light some day; if it does you shall hear of it.”

On Monday 14th January 2019 at 6pm
Matthew Coulton will give a reading of
Keats’s ‘The Eve of St Agnes’ at:
The Art Gallery,
Gresham Street,
London EC2V 7HH


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