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 10th letter, written on 20 June 1821. The people mentioned in the letter were to be used as advocates for more freedom for Fanny Keats, who was living with guardians at the time.
This extract is read by Darcy Keeble Watson, for the #Keats200 bicentenary programme.
My dear Fanny
I should have written to you a week ago but I waited to see if any thing could be done towards Mr or Mrs Abbeys good opinion. How little we know what we may one day come to. If any one could have told me, a year ago that I should ever be angling for Mr Abbeys good opinion, I should have been surprized – Miss Robinson is so seldom in town that I am obliged to wait weeks, before I can get hold of her, but today I went with her to call on Mrs Cornish to whom I gave a pressing invitation to come and see me at Hampstead. Miss Robinson knows my reason for wishing her acquaintance and has promised to bring her some evening to drink tea which I hope will take place before she visits Walthamstow where, though she has a pressing invitation she cannot go at present as she has a great wash coming. God help us! great washes, no doubt take place in other families but are never mentioned in company – And now my dear make the most of her if you see her. I am told she is very good natured. Of course we must be careful not to let her know our reasons for courting her so much – Miss Rowcroft is the name of my other friend through whom perhaps something might be done by the Whitehursts, but though I am sure she would do anything in her power, I do not like to say any thing to her about it. Miss Robinson has offered her services and is almost as much interested in the cause as I am, she is very intimate with Mrs Whitehurst and I have no doubt will mention it to her, but Miss Rowcroft I believe knows Mrs Goss and perhaps you can make some use of her name – It is unlucky that the Goss’s have lately moved farther from you it may make you less intimate –
God bless you my dearest girl I have written a short note but I came from town very late and tomorrow am going early to stay with Mrs Dilke so if you write to me within the week direct to No. 5, Great Smith Street Westminster once more
God bless you dear Fanny
Tell me when you write what is Mrs Abbeys opinion of Mrs Cornish –
Postmark: Hampstead, Ju. 21. 1821. Ev.
Address: For/ Miss Keats / Richard Abbeys Esq. / Walthamstow
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.
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