1940.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 10, 258–259.


Tuesday morning. [Postmark: 10 June 1845]

I must thank you by one word for all your kindness & consideration—which cd not be greater,—nor more felt by me– In the first place, afterwards (if that should not be Irish dialect) do understand that my letter passed from my hands to go to yours on friday, but was thrown aside carelessly down stairs & “covered up” they say, so as not to be seen until late on saturday, .. & I can only humbly hope to have been cross enough about it (having conscientiously tried) to secure a little more accuracy another time.—— And then, .. if ever I shd want anything done or found .. (a roc’s egg or the like) you may believe me that I shall not scruple to ask you to be the finder——but at this moment I want nothing, indeed, except your poems,—& that is quite the truth. Now do consider & think what I could possibly want in your “outside London world,”—you, who are the ‘genius of the lamp’!– [1] Why if you light it & let me read your romances &c by it, is not that the best use for it,—& am I likely to look for another? Only I shall remember what you say, gratefully & seriously,—& if ever I should have a good fair opportunity of giving you trouble, (as if I had not done it already!) you may rely upon my evil intentions, .. even though dear Mr Kenyon shd not actually be at New York .. which he is not, I am glad to say, as I saw him on saturday–

Which reminds me that he knows of your having been here .. of course! & will not mention it,—as he understood from me that you would not– Thank you!– Also there was an especial reason which constrained me, on pain of appearing a great hypocrite, to tell Miss Mitford the bare fact of my having seen you—& reluctantly I did it, though placing some hope in her promise of discretion. And how necessary the discretion is, will appear in the awful statistical fact of our having at this moment .. as my sisters were calculating yesterday .. some forty relations in London—to say nothing of the right wing of the enemy. [2] For Mr Horne, I cd have told you, & really I thought I had told you of his being in England–

Last paragraph of all is, that I dont want to be amused .. or rather that I am amused by everything & anything.– Why surely, surely, you have some singular ideas about me!! So, till tomorrow,


Instead of writing this note to you yesterday as shd have been, I went down stairs .. or rather was carried—& am not the worse.

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

Postmark: 3AN3 JU10 1845 K.

Dockets, in RB’s hand: 20.; + Wednesday, June / 11., 3–5. [4].

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 92–93.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Perhaps the allusion is to the genie of Aladdin’s lamp in The Arabian Nights.

2. i.e., Samuel Goodin Barrett of Jamaica who, with his family, had taken up residence near Wimpole Street the previous month to conduct protracted business affairs in England. Some of the “forty relations” were identified by the Barretts’ cousin, Surtees Cook, in his record of a dinner party he attended in 50 Wimpole Street which “consisted of Mr. & Mrs. & Miss Hedley, Sir Thos. Butler, & his daughter Mrs. Gossett, Bell & myself. It is mortifying to meet so many relations that one knows nothing about—otherwise the party would have been pleasant enough” (Surtees, 12 June 1845).


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