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Thursday, 1 October 2009

One Annoyance Too Many (Summer 1820)



Haydon, demonstrating characteristic pettiness, lack of perspective and poor timing, asks to have back some books loaned years earlier, in happier days. And Haydon still owes him money. Shelley writes offering to pick him up at Leghorn and take him back to Pisa, but makes condescending comments about Endymion. A note written to him at Hunt's by Fanny is opened and read by the servant girl, who half-maliciously delays its delivery. One annoyance too many, and he breaks down and weeps for hours. Then he sets out on foot for Hampstead, dragging himself like a dead weight trundled by resurrection men. He goes to Well Walk, and is seen at the end of the road on which Poor Tom has passed away, sobbing into a handkerchief. "I think there is a core of disease in me not easy to pull out," he writes to Brown, who then declines to accompany him to Rome in his last days.

John CONSTABLE | Hampstead Heath with London in the distance

La lettre d'amour: Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1770 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)
Hampstead Heath with London in the distance: John Constable, c. 1827-30 (National Gallery of Australia)

from TC: Junkets on a Sad Planet: Scenes from the Life of John Keats

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