1953.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 10, 278–279.


Tuesday evening. [24 June 1845][1]

What will you think when I write to ask you not to come tomorrow, wednesday,—but .. on friday perhaps .. instead? But do see how it is; & judge if it is to be helped–

I have waited hour after hour, hoping to hear from Miss Mitford that she wd agree to take thursday in change for wednesday!—& just as I begin to wonder whether she can have received my letter at all, or whether she may not have been vexed by it into taking a vengeance & adhering to her own devices; (for it appealed to her esprit de sexe on the undeniable axiom of women having their way .. & she might choose to act it out!) .. just as I wonder over all this, & consider what a confusion of the elements it wd be if you came & found her here, & Mr Chorley at the door perhaps, waiting for some of the light of her countenance;—comes a note from Mr Kenyon, to the effect that he will be here at four oclock p.m–—& comes a final note from my aunt Mrs Hedley (supposed to be at Brighton for several months) to the effect that she will be here at twelve oclock, m.!! So do observe the constellation of adverse stars .. or the covey of ‘bad birds’ as the Romans called them!,[2] & that there is no choice, but to write as I am writing. It cant be helped—can it? For take away the doubt about Miss Mitford, & Mr Kenyon remains—& take away Mr Kenyon, & there is Mrs Hedley—and thus, it must be for friday .. which will learn to be a fortunate day for the nonce—unless saturday shd suit you better. I do not speak of thursday, because of the doubt about Miss Mitford—& if any harm shd happen to friday, I will write again; but if you do not hear again, & are able to come then, you will come perhaps then.

In the meantime I thank you for the better news in your note——if it is really, really to be trusted in—but you know, you have said so often that you were better & better, without being really better, that it makes people .. “suspicious.” Yet it is full amends for the disappointment to hope .... here I must break off or be too late– May God bless you my dear friend–


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

Postmark: 10FN10 JU25 1845 D.

Docket, in RB’s hand: 25.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 104–105.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. The ancients referred to the stars collectively as a “heavenly flock.”


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