On Tuesday 8 February Keats wrote to his sister:
My dear Fanny — I had a slight return of fever last night, which terminated favourably, and I am now tolerably well, though weak from the small quantity of food to which I am obliged to confine myself: I am sure a 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 good-natured, 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
[Mrs Wylie was their brother George’s mother-in-law.]
[Mrs Dilke’s “grass plot” had been Mrs Brawne’s “grass plot” since April 1819, but Keats kept that a secret from his sister, as well as his attachment for Miss Brawne.]