Hob-nobbing In London, Part 3 to the Life & Works of
On November 22nd, 1817, Keats wrote letters to two of his friends, John Reynolds and Benjamin Bailey. Both of these letters were postmarked Leatherhead, a place which is across the Thames in south London. "My Brother Tom is much improved -- he is going to Devonshire -- whither I shall follow him -- at present I am just arrived at Dorking [south again of Leatherhead] ..." By December 21st John is writing his brothers who were then located at Teignmouth. John's letter is dated at Hampstead.20 It would seem that a decision was made by the brothers to get Tom as far south as they might, as Tom, like their mother, seven years before, was now suffering from the effects of tuberculosis. John, it seems, accompanied his brothers Tom and George part way with the promise to join them as soon as he could. John Keats was obliged to return and stay at London as his work, Endymion, had reached the editing stage and there was a publisher waiting. With the opening of 1818, January 5th, we see where John wrote his brothers at Teignmouth. John heads up his letter, "Featherstone Building." During this time he is dealing with his publisher and revising his Endymion and making the rounds at London. He attends the lectures that William Hazlitt was then giving at London. Keats is a regular visitor at Haydon's who has moved from Great Marlborough Street to his new studio at Lisson Grove North, there to party with Wordsworth, Lamb, and others.21 On January 23rd, at London, Keats writes "I have sent my first book [Endymion] to the Press [Taylor and Hessey]." "I have seen a good deal of Wordsworth. Hazlitt is lecturing on Poetry at the Surrey institution -- I shall be there next Tuesday."22 On February 21st, in a letter from Hampstead, to his brothers, Keats gives us his feelings about Wordsworth: "Wordsworth has left a bad impression where ever he visited in town by his egotism, vanity, and bigotry." In a later letter, dated in March to Haydon, he writes, that "Wordsworth went [from London to the Lakes?]. I can't help thinking he has returned to his Shell -- with his beautiful Wife and his enchanting Sister." In another he writes, "I am afraid Wordsworth went rather huff'd out of Town -- I am sorry for it."23
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