Correspondence

1929.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 10, 240–241.

[London]

Monday morning. [26 May 1845][1]

You will think me the most changeable of all the changeable,—but indeed it is not my fault that I cannot as I wished, receive you on wednesday. There was a letter this morning,—and our friends not only come to London but come to this house on tuesday (tomorrow) to pass two or three days, until they settle in an hotel for the rest of the season. Therefore, you see, it is doubtful whether the two days may not be three, & the three days four, .. but if they go away in time, & if saturday shd suit you, I will let you know by a word; & you can answer by a yea or nay. While they are in the house, I must give them what time I can——& indeed, it is something to dread altogether–

Tuesday.

I send you the note I had begun before receiving yours of last night, & also a fragment from Mrs Hedley’s herein enclosed,[2] a full & complete certificate, .. that you may know .. quite know, .. what the real & only reason of the obstacle to wednesday is. On saturday perhaps, or on monday more certainly, there is likely to be no opposition, .. at least not on the “côté gauche[3] (my side!) to our meeting—but I will let you know more.

For the rest, we have both been a little unlucky, there’s no denying, in overcoming the embarrassments of a first acquaintance——but suffer me to say as one other last word, (& quite, quite the last this time!) in case there shd have been anything approaching, however remotely, to a distrustful or unkind tone in what I wrote on sunday, (& I have a sort of consciousness that in the process of my selfscorning I was not in the most sabbatical of moods perhaps—) that I do recall & abjure it, & from my heart entreat your pardon for it, & profess, notwithstanding it, neither to ‘choose’ nor ‘to be able’ to think otherwise of you than I have done, .. as of one most[4] generous & most[4] loyal,—for that if I chose, I could not,—& that if I could, I should not choose–

Ever & gratefully your friend EBB–

___________________________________________________________

——And now we shall hear of ‘Luria’—shall we not? & much besides. And Miss Mitford has sent me the most high comical of letters to read, addressed to her by “RB[5] Haydon historical painter” which has made me quite laugh,—& wd make you,—expressing his righteous indignation at the “great fact” & gross impropriety of any man who has “thoughts too deep for tears”[6] agreeing to wear a ‘bag wig’ .. the case of poor Wordsworth’s going to court,[7] you know– Mr Haydon being infinitely serious all the time, & yet holding the doctrine of the divine right of princes in his left hand!–

How is your head? may I be hoping the best for it? May God bless you–

Address: Robert Browning Esqre / New Cross / Hatcham / Surrey.

Postmark: 8NT8 MY27 1845 H.

Docket, in RB’s hand: 17.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 81–82.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. See SD1229. It is possible that this enclosure was addressed to EBB; however, it seems more probable that it was written either to George or to Henrietta.

3. “Left side.”

4. Underscored three times.

5. Sic, for B.R.

6. Wordsworth, “Ode: Intimations of Immortality,” line 204.

7. See letter 1896, note 5.

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