Wentworth Place, Sunday Morning.
[February 6, 1820.]
My dear Sister — I should not have sent those Letters without some notice if Mr. Brown had not persuaded me against it on account of an illness with which I was attack’d on Thursday.113 After that I was resolved not to write till I should be on the mending hand; thank God, I am now so. From imprudently leaving off my great coat in the thaw I caught cold which flew to my Lungs. Every remedy that has been applied has taken the desired effect, and I have nothing now to do but stay within doors for some time. If I should be confined long I shall write to Mr. Abbey to ask permission for you to visit me. George has been running great chance of a similar attack, but I hope the sea air will be his Physician in case of illness — the air out at sea is always more temperate than on land — George mentioned, in his Letters to us, something of Mr. Abbey’s regret concerning the silence kept up in his house. It is entirely the fault of his Manner. You must be careful always to wear warm clothing not only in frost but in a Thaw. — I have no news to tell you. The half-built houses opposite us stand just as they were and seem dying of old age before they are brought up. The grass looks very dingy, the Celery is all gone, and there is nothing to enliven one but a few Cabbage Stalks that seem fix’d on the superannuated List. Mrs. Dilke has been ill but is better. Several of my friends have been to see me. Mrs. Reynolds was here this morning and the two Mr. Wylie’s. Brown has been very alert about me, though a little wheezy himself this weather. Everybody is ill. Yesterday evening Mr. Davenport, a gentleman of Hampstead, sent me an invitation to supper, instead of his coming to see us, having so bad a cold he could not stir out — so you see ’tis the weather and I am among a thousand. Whenever you have an inflammatory fever never mind about eating. The day on which I was getting ill I felt this fever to a great height, and therefore almost entirely abstained from food the whole day. I have no doubt experienced a benefit from so doing — The Papers I see are full of anecdotes of the late King: how he nodded to a Coal-heaver and laugh’d with a Quaker and lik’d boiled Leg of Mutton. Old Peter Pindar is just dead: what will the old King and he say to each other? Perhaps the King may confess that Peter was in the right, and Peter maintain himself to have been wrong. You shall hear from me again on Tuesday.
Your affectionate Brother
113 Hemorrhage from the lungs; in which Keats recognised his death-warrant, and after which the remainder of his life was but that of a doomed invalid. The particulars of the attack, as related by Charles Brown, are given by Lord Houghton, and in Keats (Men of Letters Series), p. 193.
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