1082.  EBB to Mary Russell Mitford

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 6, 214–215.


Dec. 9 [sic, for 10]. 1842– [1]

Only a few words—rather because I cannot write tomorrow from the post regulations, than for another reason: and I like you to know my beloved friend how continually I think of you while you continually suffer.

Your little note apprizes me that you stand nearer & nearer to the end, & are supported (oh may God be praised!) in proportion to the grief. I had hoped that it might be so! “Be not far from me when affliction is near”. [2] In proportion to the need, is the grace. And then, you who are generous, & have always preferred to bear the trial & the struggle yourself rather than either shd fall on him, .. you in your tenderness & selfsacrifice my beloved friend, will not fail at last nor murmur that he shd be taken into rest while you are left … though it be, as you say, ‘alone’. For his sake you will be glad & grateful, up to the capacity of suffering Human Nature, that he cannot be troubled any more. It has been a long dying—without much suffering we may hope & believe,—but still & certainly with a suspension of nearly all enjoyments connected with the healthy use of the body or the mind– And thus, the change will be whenever it occurs a most infinite gain to him—beyond proportion greater than even your loss: & you are the last in the world not to think of this–

My dearest friend, I might as well while I am writing mention to you that after a consultation between me & myself on the subject of getting a few French books to you, I sent a note to the Parisian Repository yesterday with an enclosure & the names of certain naughtinesses, desiring Mr Delaporte [3] to send them to you by the railroad, without any account & paying the carriage. I put no name to the note & sent it by the penny post—that nobody here or elsewhere shd know a word of the sending. Only as I am by this contrivance, at the mercy of Mr Delaporte, you must tell me (presently .. when your mind is more at liberty) what books were sent & whether the carriage was paid &c. They may serve to amuse you when you can attend to such things,—& afterwards you can put them into the fire for reputation’s sake, or hide them somewhere with yr Beaumont & Fletcher, & other irrespectabilities.

Here is poor Mrs Dupuy’s letter, which I pretended to send to you yesterday.

And now, once more may God bless you, my ever dearest friend! ‘Pray for you both’! I do—I do! There is no help except from above—& except for my trust in its sufficiency for you, I shd be more unhappy on account of your anguish than I am.

Your EBB–

Address: Miss Mitford / Three Mile Cross / near Reading.

Publication: EBB-MRM, II, 115–116.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. If “the post regulations” prevent EBB from writing “tomorrow,” tomorrow must be Sunday, and the date of the letter, Saturday, 10 December 1842. The envelope bears a London postmark of 10 December 1842.

2. Cf. Psalms, 22:11.

3. P.M. Delaporte, French book- and print-seller, had premises at 37 Burlington Arcade.


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