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lectual than his other features. His countenance lives in my mind as one of singular beauty and brightness. It had an expression as if he had been looking on some glorious sight. The shape of his face had not the squareness of a man's, but more like some women's faces I have seen, it was so wide over the forehead and so small at the chin. He seemed in perfect health, and with life offering all things that were precious to him.” My grandmother's note upon this is: “A mistake. His eyes were dark brown, almost black, large, soft, and expressive, and his hair was a golden red.” As no other fault is found with the description given by Lord Houghton's informant, excepting in regard to the color of the eyes and hair, and judging by Severn's portrait, I fancy the description, with the exceptions noted, must be very good indeed.
Another error which Lord Houghton very naturally fell into was that of supposing that Fanny Brawne, for whom Keats had so unfortunate an attachment, was the East Indian of whom he wrote in a letter to George Keats and his wife:
She is not a Cleopatra, but is at least a Charmian. She has a rich Eastern look; she has fine eyes and fine manners. When she comes into the room she makes the same impression as the beauty of a leopardess, etc., etc.
This East Indian was not Fanny Brawne. The first mention I find of Fanny Brawne is in a letter in which he describes her in this way:
Shall I give you Miss Brawne? She is about my height, with a fine style of countenance of the lengthened sort; she wants sentiment in every feature; she manages to make her hair look well; her nostrils are very fine, though a little pain. ful; her mouth is bad and good; her profile is better than her full face, which, indeed, is not full, but pale and thin, without showing any bone; her shape is very graceful, and so are her movements; her arms are good, her hands badish, her feet tolerable. She is not seventeen, but she is ignorant; monstrous in her behaviour, flying out in all directions, calling people such names that I was forced lately to make use of the term,- Minx. This is, I think, from no innate vice, but from a penchant she has for acting stylishly.
This letter was written in December, 1818, about six months before the date of the first of the letters to Fanny Brawne; though, as I have pointed out in a foot-note to the passage where it occurs in the letter to his brother, he acknowledged to himself at the time this rather uncomplimentary letter was written that Miss Brawne had a great fascination for him. I take it for granted that no one who will care to read this book will care to be told anything more about Keats's love for Fanny Brawne than he himself tells in the painful and pathetic letters herein published.
I should like, however, to call attention to the fact that all of the letters and parts of letters now published for the first time were written after the coarse and brutal attack made by Gifford in the “ Quarterly Review” upon “ Endymion" and its author. If any reader of Lord Houghton's biography of Keats has any doubt left that his death was either caused or hastened by this attack of Gifford, these letters will certainly dispel such a doubt; for they show, not only that he was brave and hopeful when he wrote to his publisher, but that he expressed his confidence of his future as a poet in his most intimate correspondence with his brother.
In the “ Phelobebleon " for August, 1862, was published a part of a letter alleged to have been written by Keats to his sister-in-law. It is so obviously a forgery that I do not include it in this book.
FEATHERSTONE BUILDINGS, Monday. MY DEAR BROTHERS:
I ought to have written before, and you should have had a long letter last week, but I undertook the “Champion" for Reynolds, who is at Exeter. I wrote two articles, one on the Drury Lane pantomime, the other on the Covent Garden new tragedy, which they have not put in. The one they have inserted is so badly punctuated that, you perceive, I am determined never to write more without some care in that particular. Wells tells me that you are licking your chops, Tom, in expectation of my book coming out. I am sorry to say I have not begun my corrections yet : to-morrow I