The Letters of John Keats

By Maurice Buxton Forman; John Keats | Go to book overview

generally at a very low ebb from such a protracted illness-- I shall be here for a little time and at home all and every day. A Journey to Italy is recommended me, which I have resolved upon and am beginning to prepare for. Hoping to see you shortly

I remain

Your affectionate friend

John Keats


226. To FANNY KEATS. Monday 14 Aug. 1820.

Address: Miss Keats | Rd Abbey's Esq re | Walthamstow--

Postmarks: HAMPSTEAD and 14 AU 1820

Wentworth Place

My dear Fanny,

'Tis a long time since I received your last. An accident of an unpleasant nature occur〈r〉ed at Mr Hunt's and prevented me from answering you, that is to say made me nervous. That you may not suppose it worse I will men

replies to a message received later on the same day. Writing after Keats's death, Haydon says--'The last time I ever saw him was at Hampstead, lying in a white bed with a book, hectic and on his back, irritable at his weakness and wounded at the way he had been used. He seemed to be going out of life with a contempt for the world and no hopes of the other. I told him to be cairn, but he muttered that if he did not soon get better he would destroy himself. I tried to reason against such violence, but it was no use; he grew angry, and I went away deeply affected.'

226. The beginning of this letter does not quite explain itself, as the incident of the opened letter at Hunt's had occurred as recently as Thursday the 10th of August, and had not been known by Keats till Saturday the 12th. This is quite clear from the following entry in Mrs. Gisborne's journal: 'Sunday 20th Aug. Yesterday Mrs Gisborne and Emma dined with us; Mrs Hunt came in to tea; she called to apologise for herself and Mr. Hunt, for not having kept their appointment on the Saturday before; they were prevented by an unpleasant circumstance that happened to Keats. While we 〈were〉 there on Thursday a note was brought for him after he had retired to his room to repose himself; Mrs Hunt being occupied with the child desired her upper servant to take it to him, and thought no more about it. On Friday the servant left her, and on Saturday Thornton produced this note open (which contained not a word of the least consequence), telling his mother that the servant had given it to him before she left the house with injunctions not to show it to his mother till the following day. Poor Keats was affected by this inconceivable circumstance beyond what can be imagined; he wept for several hours, and resolved, notwithstanding Hunt's entreaties, to leave the house; he went to Hampstead that same evening.'

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