Before he parted from Fanny Brawne and left Wentworth Place, Keats asked her to write to his sister, Fanny Keats. They began a correspondence of 31 letters over a four-year period.
This is Fanny Brawne’s fifth letter, written on 15 January 1821.
This letter is read by Darcy Keeble Watson, for the #Keats200bicentenary programme.
15 Jan 1821
My dear Miss Keats
I am almost ashamed to write to you though I have been waiting for above three weeks to do so, but I hope you will forgive me, for it is not quite my fault. On the 23rd of December, Mr Brown received a letter from your brother in which he desired that someone would write to you, to say he was as well as he could expect, and that we should hear from him in a few days. This letter I waited for some time, but as we have received since that a letter from Mr Severn, in which no mention is made of it. I conclude he changed his mind fearful that the exertion might fatigue him. When Mr Severn wrote, they were in Rome after a most wretched journey. They lodged opposite an English Physician to whom they were recommended, and who paid them the greatest attention. Your brother went out on horseback every day. I am extremely glad they have chosen Rome instead of Naples for their winter residence. I am sure the climate is far preferable besides the disturbed state Naples seems likely to be in, and which no doubt induced them to quit it. Do, my dear Girl, if you have any intelligence of them, let me know it, however trifling we shall feel it of the greatest consequence. The time is so long before either party can receive letters, that it makes me very impatient. My Mother desires her best remembrances to you, and believe me to remain
Yours most affectionately
Postmark: Hampstead, Jan. 16. 1821.
Written inside cover in pencil in Fanny Keats’s hand –
‘Tuesday, / Rabbits Tuesday, / January 16th 1821.’
The Keats200 bicentenary is a celebration of Keats’s life, works and legacy, beginning in December 2018 through to February 2021 and beyond. It is led by three major partners – Keats House, Hampstead, The Keats Foundation and the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association – and is open to all individuals and organisations who have an interest in Keats or poetry. The bicentenary of Keats’s most productive years as a poet, and the period when he found inspiration, friendship and love, is an exciting opportunity to (re)discover and enjoy his works as well as engage with poetry and its ongoing relevance to us all today.