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“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter....”
The true story of the romance between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne -- from Fanny's perspective! Still in her teens when they met, Fanny inspired Keats to write the great poems his reputation now rests on. Though disapproving parents and jealous friends attempted to keep them apart, they fought for a life together...but at what cost?
“Fanny, may I speak to you for a moment?” Mother called, knocking lightly on my door Christmas Eve.
“Of course, Mother.” I hid John’s present under my pillow as the door creaked open. “What is it?”
“I want to see you happy, Fanny,” she began without preamble. “I made some foolish choices in my youth and wish to spare you the heartache. Are you honestly happy with that poet or is it just one of your silly infatuations brought on by fancy and reading too much poesy?”
“I appreciate your concern but--”
“Don’t you wish to at least try to see other men?” she pressed.
“No, Mother, I don’t.” My tone left no room for discussion. “There’s more to love about John than just his poetry.”
“But he’s shorter than you, rather intense, and--”
“So I should jilt John because of his height?” I ran a hand across my weary eyes. “Mother, that is so insensitive.”
“He may already be ill, Fanny. Have you thought of that?”
“Of course I have,” I said. “How could I not? I know his family has a history of consumption but that doesn’t mean John has caught it. Father died of the disease and none of us are ill.”
“It takes time for the symptoms to manifest,” Mother pointed out. “Nobody knew your father was ill till the final stage. Don’t you remember how exhausting nursing him was? How you would ask me why I cried myself to sleep every night? Do you wish the same, dearest? Your father’s final illness almost broke me. I couldn’t bear it if the same occurred to you. Your nerves are so delicate, Fanny,” she added, tone needling. “What almost broke me may nigh well kill you. Can’t you take my advice, darling, and cool the attachment? You’ve broken hearts before. All it would take is--”
“I can’t believe you are even suggesting that!” I cried, jumping to my feet. “John is spending the day with us tomorrow to have a nice family Christmas and you’re casually asking me to break his heart? Approval or no, Mother, I love him and that’s never going to fade. This is not an infatuation! This is true!”
“I know you believe that now, Fanny,” Mother tried a new tactic. “But you are only eighteen and you mind is still so malleable. Try your options. Mr. Keats is poor as a church mouse, Fanny. He lives on Mr. Brown’s charity.”
“I don’t care,” I insisted, hands and legs beginning to shake as a fit of nerves came on. “We could eat dirt the rest of our lives and I wouldn’t care.”
“Willful girl, think about your actions.” Mother sighed, seeing she was making no head way in the argument. My knees buckled, forcing me to the bed. I lifted a shaking hand, watching as if it belonged to someone else. “Rest now,” Mother said as if I was ill with the flu instead of suffering a nervous attack. “I’ll bring you dinner in bed.”
She shut the door behind her with all the care she should have shown my feelings.
Molly Zenk was born in Minnesota but grew up in Florida. She currently lives in Colorado with her husband and two young daughters. Besides writing and raising her daughters, she teaches English 9-12 online with Kaplan Academy of Colorado. She can be found on the web at http://www.myspace.com/mjlz
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 262
Paper Weight (lb): 11.4
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