To James Rice (Well Walk (Hampstead), Novr. 24, 1818)
Well Walk (Hampstead), Novr. 24, 1818
My dear Rice
Your amende Honorable I must call “un surcroît d’Amitié,” for I am not at all sensible of anything but that you were unfortunately engaged and I was unfortunately in a hurry. I completely understand your feeling in this mistake, and find in it that balance of comfort which remains after regretting your uneasiness. I have long made up my mind to take for granted the genuine-heartedness of my friends, notwithstanding any temporary ambiguousness in their behaviour or their tongues, nothing of which however I had the least scent of this morning. I say completely understand; for I am everlastingly getting my mind into such-like painful trammels—and am even at this moment suffering under them in the case of a friend of ours.—I will tell you two most unfortunate and parallel slips—it seems down-right pre-intention—A friend says to me, “Keats, I shall go and see Severn this week.”—“Ah! (says I) you want him to take your Portrait.”—And again, “Keats,” says a friend, “when will you come to town again?”—“I will,” says I, “let you have the MS. next week.” In both these cases I appeared to attribute an interested motive to each of my friends’ questions—the first made him flush, the second made him look angry:—and yet I am innocent in both cases; my mind leapt over every interval, to what I saw was per se a pleasant subject with him. You see I have no allowances to make—you see how far I am from supposing you could show me any neglect. I very much regret the long time I have been obliged to exile from you: for I have one or two rather pleasant occasions to confer upon with you. What I have heard from George is favourable—I expect a letter from the Settlement itself.
Your sincere friend
I cannot give any good news of Tom.