1938.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 10, 256–258.


[Postmark: 9 June 1845]

Just after my note left, yours came: I will try so to answer it as to please you: and I begin by promising cheerfully to do all you bid me about naming days &c. I do believe we are friends now & for ever—there can be no reason, therefore, that I should cling tenaciously to any one or other time of meeting, as if, losing that, I lost everything—and, for the future, I will provide against sudden engagements, outrageous weather &c. to your heart’s content. Nor am I going to except against here & there a little wrong I could get up .. as when you imply from my “quick impulses” & the like .. no, my dear friend—for I seem sure I shall have quite, quite time enough to do myself justice in your eyes—let time show!

Perhaps I feel none the less sorely, when you “thank” me for such company as mine, that I cannot avoid confessing to myself, that it would not be so absolutely out of my power, perhaps, to contrive really & deserve thanks in a certain acceptation: I might really try, at all events, and amuse you a little better, when I do have the opportunity,—and I do not—but there is the thing! It is all of a piece– I do not seek your friendship in order to do you good—any good—only to do myself good. Tho’ I would, God knows, do that too–

Enough of this–

I am much better, indeed,—but will certainly follow your advice should the pain return: and you—you have tried a new journey from your room, have you not?

Do recollect,—at any turn, any chance so far in my favour,—that I am here & yours—should you want any fetching & carrying in this outside London world—your brothers may have their own business to mind, Mr Kenyon is at New York we will suppose,—here am I—what else, what else makes me vaunt my cleverness to you, as I know I have done more than once, by word & letter, but the real wish to be set at work? I should have, I hope, better taste than to tell any everyday acquaintance, who could not go out, one single morning even, on account of a headache, that the weather was delightful, much less that I had been walking five miles and meant to run ten: yet to you I boasted once of polking & waltzing and more—but then would it not be a very superfluous piece of respect in the four-footed bird to keep his wings to himself because his Master Oceanos could not fly forsooth?[1] Whereas he begins to wave & flap and show how ready they are to be off—for what else were the good of him? Think of this—and

Know me for yours


For good you are, to those notes—you shall have more,—that is, the rest. On Wednesday then, at 3, except as you except. God bless you.

Oh, let me tell you: I suppose Mr Horne must be in town[2]—as I recd a letter two days ago, from the contriver of some literary society or other who had before written to get me to belong to it, protesting against my reasons for refusing, and begging that, “at all events I would suspend my determination till I had been visited by Mr H. on the subject”—and, as they can hardly mean to bring him express from the Drachenfels for just that, he is returned no doubt: & as he is your friend, I take the opportunity of mentioning the course I shall pursue with him or any other friend of yours I may meet,—(and everybody else, I may add—) the course I understand you to desire, with respect to our own intimacy: while I may acknowledge, I believe, that I correspond with you, I shall not, in any case, suffer it to be known that I see, or have seen you. This I just remind you of, lest any occasion of embarrassment should arise, for a moment, from your not quite being sure how I had acted in any case.—con che, le bacio le mani—a rivederla![3]

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50 Wimpole St

Postmark: PD 12NN JU9 1845.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 21.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 90–91.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Cf. EBB’s revised translation of Prometheus Bound in Poems (1850), line 459.

2. Horne had returned to England in late April or early May; EBB had known of his return since at least 12 May (see letter 1910).

3. “With which, I kiss your hand—until we meet.”


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