200 years ago, Keats describes Oxford for his sister

Wednesday 10 September 1817
Keats writes to his sister:

My dear Fanny

Let us now begin a regular question and answer — a little pro and con; letting it interfere as a pleasant method of my coming at your favourite little wants and enjoyments, that I may meet them in way befitting a brother.

We have been so little together since you have been able to reflect on things that I know not whether you prefer the History of King Pepin to Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress — or Cinderella and her glass slipper to Moor’s Almanack. However in a few Letters I hope I shall be able to come at that and adapt my scribblings to your Pleasure. You must tell me about all you read if it be only six Pages in a Week, and this transmitted to me every now and then will procure you full sheets of Writing from me pretty frequently.— This I feel as a necessity, for we ought to become intimately acquainted, in order that I may not only, as you grow up, love your as my only Sister, but confide in you as my dearest friend…

This Oxford I have no doubt is the finest City in the world — it is full of old Gothic buildings — Spires — towers — Quadrangles — Cloisters Groves &c. and is surrounded with more clear streams than ever I saw together. I take a Walk by the Side of one of them every Evening and, thank God, we have not had a drop of rain these many days…

I have been writing very hard lately even till an utter incapacity came on, and I feel it now about my head: so you must not mind a little out of the way sayings — though by the bye were my brain as clear as a bell I think I should have a little propensity thereto.

[John Keats: Parts of a letter written 10 September 1817 to his 14-year-old sister Fanny. She had lived with their Guardian Richard Abbey in Walthamstow since the death of their grandmother in 1814, and was allowed very little contact with her family.]

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