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


200 years ago Keats had given up snuff — very nearly quite (!)

On Saturday 2 January 1819, Keats continued his journal letter to George and Georgiana:
“I never forget you except after seeing now and then some beautiful woman — but that is a fever — the thought of you both is a passion with me, but for the most part a calm one. …
“I have given up snuff very nearly quite — Dilke has promised to sit with me this evening, I wish he would come this minute for I want a pinch of snuff very much just now — I have none though in my own snuff box. My sore throat is much better to-day — I think I might venture on a pinch.”

The Keats bicentenary diary 1819/2019 is on sale at Keats House, Keats Grove, London NW3 2RR, price £15.

200 years ago Keats dined with Mrs Brawne (and her daughter Fanny)

On Friday 1 January 1819 Keats dined at Elm Cottage. In his letter to George and Georgiana Keats he seems to be trying to persuade them (or himself) how immune he was to Fanny Brawne’s charms:
“Mr. and Mrs. D[ilke] and myself dined at Mrs. Brawne’s — nothing particular passed. I never intend hereafter to spend any time with ladies unless they are handsome — you lose time to no purpose.”

1 January 2019 — have you got your John Keats Bicentenary Diary? Copies are still available at Keats House in Hampstead. Price £15.