1636. Thomas Westwood to EBB
As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 9, 28–29.
June 21st 1844.
Dear Miss Barrett,
As day after day passes, I cannot help fearing more & more that you must be unwell. Allowing Mr. Moxon’s figure of speech, its full latitude of meaning, I cannot imagine its extending itself over so long a period—& the question “what can be the matter?” has hovered so often about my lips that you must not wonder if it fly off to you at last. I cannot tell you how many speculations,—by virtue of that imaginative faculty, whereof you accused me,—I have indulged in, to account for the delay.
Sometimes I fancy that Mr. Moxon must have absconded with the m∙s– Sometimes, that that suicidal drama of yours, which was so near its end in times past, has done the evil deed at last—& sometimes, (& this is my gravest fear,) that you have overexerted yourself, & worked yourself into a weakness which prevents your taking any fresh steps in advance. Do I seem over-rude in thus wishing to fathom this mystery– Nay now, consider how interested I am, & how truly grieved I should be if anything untoward had occurred, & because of this, forgive, & answer me–
One word respecting your last letter– When I said, that Mr Horne [‘]‘knew you, & that therefore it was no wonder his mention of you should be a kind one”– I did not mean to imply that he knew you personally, for I had inferred the contrary from his own expressions, & should have inferred it from what you yourself told me respecting your seclusion– I meant simply that he knew you as I knew you, & no more.
As to the “literary alliance”—I did not think it impossible that such might exist without any near intimacy—& that he might have requested you to note down a few of your thoughts & opinions respecting the authors to be discussed. If the truth be told, as regards the rest, I was so entrapped by the resemblance or seeming resemblance of style, that I forgot all about ‘principles, utilitarianisms[’]—& so forth, & there were some things in that Carlyle paper, which it pleased me to think yours—though I am now glad that you had nothing to do with the work, seeing that there appears to be but one opinion of it, & that an opinion which I should not like associated with anything from your pen–
Let me have a word from you dear Miss Barrett, if it be possible, for I am really anxious to know that you are well, & that nothing evil has befallen this second self of yours. A friend of ours, called in Dover St the other day, & they “could give him no idea, as to when it would be published”. Only fancy the “no idea” in juxtaposition with the “few days”—however we will forgive the book if you can tell us that you are safe & well yourself. I remain
Dear Miss Barrett
Very faithfully yours
Address: Miss E. B. Barrett. / 50 Wimpole St / Cavendish Square / London.
Publication: None traced.
Manuscript: Armstrong Browning Library.
1. i.e., his announcing in April that EBB’s Poems (1844) would be published “in a few days” (see letter 1593).
2. In letter 1598, EBB told Westwood that her acquaintance with Horne was solely through correspondence, and denied any collaboration with him on A New Spirit.
3. Moxon’s premises were at 44 Dover Street.