1498.  EBB to Julia Martin

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 8, 151–153.


Jan: 8. 1844.

Thank you again & again my dearest Mrs Martin for your flowers, & the verses which gave them another perfume!– The “incense of the heart”[1] lost not a grain of its perfume in coming so far—& not a leaf of the flowers was ruffled—and to see such gorgeous colours all on a sudden at Christmas time, was like seeing a vision; & almost made Flush & me rub our eyes. Thank you! dearest Mrs Martin, how kind of you!– The grace of the verses & the brightness of the flowers were too much for me altogether! And when George exclaimed “why she has certainly laid bare her greenhouse,” I had not a word to say in justification of myself for being the cause of it.

Papa admired the branch of Australian origin so much that he walked all over the house with it. Beautiful it is indeed—but my eyes turn back to the camelias. I do believe that I like to look at a camelia better than at a rose—& then these have a double association.

I break off from my flowers to say how delighted I am to hear of the probability George opens to us, of your & Mr Martin’s coming to London almost immediately. Oh—do, do come! And do manage to stay a long time––two months at least. Think of the good it will do you, & us. Think of the pleasant fag end of winter you may clip close like box here, so as to look over it straight into the summer. London must be the best in the cold weather, if it is not best at other times. Do take counsel of me,—you & Mr Martin; & come & live here a little time; & let us share in Georgie’s pleasure, or not hear impotently from him all day long, how some people are “delightful” & other people are ‘in high force,’ while we personally profit from neither, in anything whatever.

I meant to write a long letter to you today, but Mr Kenyon has been to see me & cut my time short before post-time. You remember perhaps how his brother married a German, &, after an exile of many years in Germany, returned last summer to England to settle. Well—he cant bear us any longer! His wife is growing paler & paler with the pressure of English social habits or rather unsocial habits; & he himself is a German at heart,—and besides; being a man of a singularly generous nature, & accustomed to give away in handfuls of silver & gold, one third of every year’s income, he dislikes the social obligation of spending it here. So they are going back. Poor Mr Kenyon––I am full of sympathy with him. This returning to England was a dream of all last year to him. He gave up his house to the new comers & bought a new one,[2]—& talked of the brightness secured to his latter years by the presence of his only remaining near relative: & I see that, for all his effort towards a bright view of the matter, he is disappointed,—very! Shd you suppose that four hundred pounds in Vienna, go as far as a thousand in England? I shd never have fancied it.

You shall hear from me my dearest Mrs Martin, in another few days,—& I send this as it is, just because I am benighted by the post hour, & do not like to pass your kindness with even one day’s apparent neglect.

May God bless you & dear Mr Martin! The kindest wishes,—for the long slope of coming year & for the many, I trust, beyond it,—belong to you from the deepest of our hearts.

But shall you not be coming—setting out—very soon? before I can write again?–

Your affectionate Ba.

Address: Mrs Martin / Colwall / near Ledbury.

Publication: LEBB, I, 165–167 (in part).

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. See the last line of letter 1492.

2. See letter 1234.


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