The Letters of John Keats

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

I have visited,--but why should I ask a man to pay vigentiple postage? In one word then, --that is to the end of the letter,--let me tell you I have seen one half of the Lakes in Westmoreland & Cumberland,--I have travelled over the whole of the coast of Kirkcudbrightshire, and skudded over to Donaghadee. But I did not like Ireland,--at least that part,--and would go no farther than Belfast. So back came I in a whirligig,--that is in a hurry,--and trotted up to Ayr; where I had the happiness of drinking Whiskey in the very house that Robin Burns was born 〈in〉,--and I saw the banks of bonny Doon,--and the brigs of Ayr,--and Kirk Alloway,--I saw it all! After this we went to Glasgow, & then to Loch Lomond,--but you can read all about that place in one of the fashionable guide-books. Then to Loch Awe and down to the foot of it,--oh, what a glen we went thro' to get at it! At the top of the glen my Itinerary mentioned a place called "Rest and be thankful" nine miles off; now we had set out without breakfast, intending to take our meal there, when, horror and starvation! "Rest and be thankful" was not an Inn, but a stone seat!1


83. To FANNY KEATS. Tuesday 18 August 1818.

Address: Miss Keats ∣ Miss Tucker's ∣ Walthamstow.

Postmarks: HAMPSTEAD and 19 AU 1818.

Hampstead August 18th.

My dear Fanny,

I am affraid you will 〈think〉 me very negligent in not having answered your Letter--I see it is dated June 12-- I did not arrive at Inverness till the 8th2: of this Month so I am very much concerned at your being disappointed so long a time. I did not intend to have returned to London so soon but have a bad sore throat from a cold I caught in the island of Mull: therefore I thought it best to get home

____________________
1
This incomplete letter is printed from the original in the Dilke Collection at Hampstead. In 'Papers of a Critic', i. 5, there are two notes of Mrs. Dilke's connected with the termination of Keats's Scotch tour: under date the 16th of August 1818 she writes--' John Keats' brother is extremely ill, and the doctor begged that his brother might be sent for. Dilke accordingly wrote off to him, which was a very unpleasant task. However, from the journal received from Brown last Friday, he says Keats has been so long ill with his sore throat, that he is obliged to give up. I am rather glad of it, as he will not receive the letter, which might have frightened him very much, as he is extremely fond of his brother. How poor Brown will get on alone I know not, as he loses a cheerful, good-tempered, clever companion.' And again, on the 19th of August, Mrs. Dilke writes--' John Keats arrived here last night, as brown and as shabby as you can imagine; scarcely any shoes left, his jacket all torn at the back, a fur cap, a great plaid, and his knapsack. I cannot tell what he looked like.'
2
This is a mistake for the 6th--see Letter 82, p. 208, written from Inverness to Mrs. Wylie.

-212-

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