To Fanny Keats (Wentworth Place, March 13, 1819)
Wentworth Place, March 13, 1819
My dear Fanny
I have been employed lately in writing to George—I do not send him very short letters, but keep on day after day. There were some young Men I think I told you of who were going to the Settlement: they have changed their minds, and I am disappointed in my expectation of sending Letters by them.—I went lately to the only dance I have been to these twelve months or shall go to for twelve months again—it was to our Brother in law’s cousin’s—She gave a dance for her Birthday and I went for the sake of Mrs. Wylie. I am waiting every day to hear from George—I trust there is no harm in the silence: other people are in the same expectation as we are. On looking at your seal I cannot tell whether it is done or not with a Tassie—it seems to me to be paste. As I went through Leicester Square lately I was going to call and buy you some, but not knowing but you might have some I would not run the chance of buying duplicates. Tell me if you have any or if you would like any—and whether you would rather have motto ones like that with which I seal this letter; or heads of great Men such as Shakspeare, Milton, etc.—or fancy pieces of Art; such as Fame, Adonis, etc.—those gentry you read of at the end of the English Dictionary. Tell me also if you want any particular Book; or Pencils, or drawing paper—anything but live stock. Though I will not now be very severe on it, remembering how fond I used to be of Goldfinches, Tomtits, Minnows, Mice, Ticklebacks, Dace, Cock salmons and all the whole tribe of the Bushes and the Brooks: but verily they are better in the Trees and the water—though I must confess even now a partiality for a handsome Globe of gold-fish—then I would have it hold 10 pails of water and be fed continually fresh through a cool pipe with another pipe to let through the floor—well ventilated they would preserve all their beautiful silver and Crimson. Then I would put it before a handsome painted window and shade it all round with myrtles and Japonicas. I should like the window to open onto the Lake of Geneva—and there I’d sit and read all day like the picture of somebody reading. The weather now and then begins to feel like spring; and therefore I have begun my walks on the heath again. Mrs. Dilke is getting better than she has been as she has at length taken a Physician’s advice. She ever and anon asks after you and always bids me remember her in my Letters to you. She is going to leave Hampstead for the sake of educating their son Charles at the Westminster School. We (Mr. Brown and I) shall leave in the beginning of May; I do not know what I shall do or where be all the next summer. Mrs. Reynolds has had a sick house; but they are all well now. You see what news I can send you I do—we all live one day like the other as well as you do—the only difference is being sick and well—with the variations of single and double knocks, and the story of a dreadful fire in the Newspapers. I mentioned Mr. Brown’s name—yet I do not think I ever said a word about him to you. He is a friend of mine of two years’ standing, with whom I walked through Scotland: who has been very kind to me in many things when I most wanted his assistance and with whom I keep house till the first of May—you will know him some day. The name of the young Man who came with me is William Haslam.
Ever your affectionate Brother