Correspondence

1968.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 10, 295–296.

[London]

Monday. [7 July 1845][1]

Well—I have really been out,—& am really alive after it—which is more surprising still—alive enough I mean, to write even so, tonight. But perhaps I say so with more emphasis, to console myself for failing in my great ambition of getting into the park & of reaching Mr Kenyon’s door just to leave a card there vaingloriously, .. all which I did fail in, & was forced to turn back from the gates of Devonshire Place.[2] The next time it will be better perhaps—& this time there was no fainting nor anything very wrong .. not even cowardice on the part of the victim—(be it recorded!) for one of my sisters was as usual in authority & ordered the turning back just according to her own prudence & not my selfwill. Only you will not, any of you, ask me to admit that it was all delightful .. pleasanter work than what you wanted to spare me in taking care of your roses on saturday!—dont ask that, & I will try it again presently.

I ought to be ashamed of writing this I- & me-ism—but since your kindness made it worth while asking about, I must not be over-wise & silent on my side.

Tuesday/ Was it fair to tell me to write though, & be silent of the Duchess—& when I was sure to be so delighted, & you knew it?– I think not indeed. And, to make the obedience possible, I go on fast to say that I heard from Mr Horne a few days since & that he said—“Your envelope reminds me of”––you, he said .. & so, asked if you were in England still, & meant to write to you. To which I have answered that I believed you to be in England—thinking it strange about the envelope,—which, as far as I remember, was one of those long ones,—used, the more conveniently to enclose to him back again a m∙s. of his own I had offered with another of his, by his desire, to Colburn’s Magazine, as the productions of a friend of mine, when he was in Germany & afraid of his proper fatal onymousness, yet in difficulty how to approach the magazines as a nameless writer–[3] (You will not mention this of course—). And when he was in Germany, I remember, .. writing just as your first letter came, .. that I mentioned it to him, & was a little frankly proud of it! but since, your name has not occurred once—not once, certainly!—& it is strange … Only he cant have heard of your having been here, & it must have been a chance-remark—altogether!—taking an imaginary emphasis from my evil conscience perhaps. Talking of evils, how wrong of you to make that book for me! & how ill I thanked you after all!– Also, I could’nt help feeling more grateful still for the Duchess .. who is under ban: & for how long I wonder?

My dear friend I am ever yours

EBB.

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

Postmark: 3AN3 JY8 1845 B.

Dockets, in RB’s hand: 30.; + Thursday July 10 / 3–4½. p.m. [8].

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 116–117.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. Kenyon’s principal residence was 40 York Terrace, Regent’s Park. At this period, there was a set of gates across the top end of Devonshire Place where it meets Marylebone Road.

3. See letters 1849 and 1915.

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