On Wednesday 12 January 1820 John Keats and his brother George dined with John Taylor (Keats’s publisher).
On Tuesday 11 January 1820 Keats and his brother attended
“a pianoforte hop” given by his former neighbours Mr & Mrs Charles Dilke. Describing it to his sister-in-law:
“There was very little amusement in the room, but a Scotchman to hate. Some people, you must have observed, have a most unpleasant effect upon you when you see them speaking in profile. This Scotchman is the most accomplished fellow in this way I ever met with. The effect was complete. It went down like a dose of bitters, and I hope will improve my digestion…
George has introduced to us an American of the name of Hart. I like him in a moderate way. He was at Mrs. Dilke’s party — and sitting by me; we began talking about English and American ladies. The Miss Reynolds’ and some of their friends made not a very enticing row opposite us. I bade him mark them and form his judgment of them. I told him I hated Englishmen because they were the only men I knew. He does not understand this.”
[The Miss Reynolds’ = Jane, Marian and possibly Eliza and Charlotte. Keats was on very friendly terms with the family until he fell for Miss Brawne in December 1818.]
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.”
On Sunday 8 January 1820 George Keats arrived at Wentworth Place without warning. He had travelled from America to sort out his finances (something which Keats had been unable to do).