200 years ago Keats and his brother George witness high jinks at a dinner party.

On Sunday 9 January 1820 Keats and his brother George dined with Mrs Wylie (George’s mother-in-law). It must have been a challenging time for the brothers: it had been 18 months since they last saw each other. Back then they had both been full of hope — for John’s success as a poet with ‘Endymion’, and George’s success as a pioneer farmer in America. The reality for each of them was very different.
Also dining at Mrs Millar’s (Mrs Wylie’s sister) were Charles Wylie and Lacon (a Milliner of Albermarle Street). Writing to his sister-in-law Georgiana Keats:

“Last Sunday George and I dined at Millar’s  There were your mother and Charles with Fool Lacon, Esq., who sent the sly, disinterested shawl to Miss Millar, with his own heathen name engraved in the middle. Charles had a silk handkerchief belonging to a Miss Grover, with whom he pretended to be smitten, and for her sake kept exhibiting and adoring the handkerchief all the evening. Fool Lacon, Esq., treated it with a little venturesome, trembling contumely, whereupon Charles set him quietly down on the floor, from where he as quietly got up. This process was repeated at supper time, when your mother said, “If I were you Mr. Lacon I would not let him do so.” Fool Lacon, Esq., did not offer any remark. He will undoubtedly die in his bed. Your mother did not look quite so well on Sunday. Mrs. Henry Wylie is excessively quiet before people. I hope she is always so.”

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