200 years ago Keats gave his sister advice when her schooling had been stopped

On Thursday 11 February 1819, Keats learned that Richard Abbey was taking his sister out of school — and objected to her receiving letters from Keats. He wrote to her:
My dear Fanny,
Your Letter to me at Bedhampton hurt me very much,—What objection can there be to your receiving a Letter from me? At Bedhampton I was unwell and did not go out of the Garden Gate but twice or thrice during the fortnight I was there—Since I came back I have been taking care of myself—I have been obliged to do so, and am now in hopes that by this care I shall get rid of a sore throat which has haunted me at intervals nearly a twelvemonth. I had always a presentiment of not being able to succeed in persuading Mr. Abbey to let you remain longer at School—I am very sorry that he will not consent. I recommend you to keep up all that you know and to learn more by yourself however little. The time will come when you will be more pleased with Life—look forward to that time and, though it may appear a trifle be careful not to let the idle and retired Life you lead fix any awkward habit or behaviour on you—whether you sit or walk endeavour to let it be in a seemly and if possible a graceful manner. We have been very little together: but you have not the less been with me in thought. You have no one in the world besides me who would sacrifice any thing for you—I feel myself the only Protector you have. In all your little troubles think of me with the thought that there is at least one person in England who if he could would help you out of them—I live in hopes of being able to make you happy.—I should not perhaps write in this manner, if it were not for the fear of not being able to see you often or long together. I am in hopes Mr. Abbey will not object any more to your receiving a letter now and then from me. How unreasonable!…
Your affectionate Brother
John ———

200 years ago Keats found dealing with money matters worse than Dante’s Inferno.

Around 7 January 1819, Keats replied to Haydon’s request for a loan (from his share of Tom’s inheritance):

“My dear Haydon — We are very unlucky — I should have stopped to dine with you, but I knew I should not have been able to leave you in time for my plaguy sore throat; which is getting well.

“I shall have a little trouble in procuring the Money and a great ordeal to go through — no trouble indeed to any one else — or ordeal either. I mean I shall have to go to town some thrice, and stand in the Bank an hour or two — to me worse than anything in Dante — I should have less chance with the people around me than Orpheus had with the Stones. I have been writing a little now and then lately: but nothing to speak of — being discontented and as it were moulting. Yet I do not think I shall ever come to the rope or the Pistol, for after a day or two’s melancholy, although I smoke more and more my own insufficiency — I see by little and little more of what is to be done, and how it is to be done, should I ever be able to do it. On my soul, there should be some reward for that continual agonie ennuyeuse. I was thinking of going into Hampshire for a few days.”

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, Guildhall, Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HH. Admission free.

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

200 years ago Keats had “a battle with celery stalks”

On Monday 4 January 1819 Keats wrote:
“Mrs. Dilke is knocking at the wall for Tea is ready — I will tell you what sort of a tea it is and then bid you Good-bye.”

It was the following day when he continued:
“nothing particular happened yesterday evening, except that when the tray came up Mrs. Dilke and I had a battle with celery stalks”.

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, Guildhall, Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HH.

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

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,
Guildhall,
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.