Correspondence

2014.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 11, 51–52.

[London]

[Postmark: 30 August 1845]

Can you understand me so, dearest friend, after all? Do you see me,—when I am away, or with you,—“taking offence” at words, “being vexed” at words, or deeds of yours,—even if I could not immediately trace them to their source of entire, pure kindness,—as I have hitherto done in every smallest instance?

I believe in you absolutely, utterly– I believe that when you bade me, that time, be silent,[1]—that such was your bidding, and I was silent– Dare I say I think you did not know at that time the power I have over myself,—that I could sit & speak & listen as I have done since. Let me say now—this only once—that I loved you from my soul, and gave you my life, so much of it is as you would take,—and all that is done, not to be altered now: it was, in the nature of the proceeding, wholly independent of any return on your part: I will not think on extremes you might have resorted to:—as it is, the assurances of your friendship, the intimacy to which you admit me, now,—make the truest, deepest joy of my life—a joy I can never think fugitive while we are in life, because I know, as to me, I could not willingly displease you,—while, as to you, your goodness and understanding will always see to the bottom of involuntary or ignorant faults—always help me to correct them. I have done now: if I thought you were like other women I have known, I should say so much!—but—(my first & last word—I believe in you!)—what you could and would give me, of your affection, you would give nobly and simply and, as a giver—you would not need that I tell you—(tell you!)—what would be supreme happiness to me in the event—however distant–

I repeat .. I call on your justice to remember, on your intelligence to believe .. that this is merely a more precise stating the first subject,—to put an end to any possible misunderstanding—to prevent your henceforth believing that because I do not write, from thinking too deeply of you, I am “offended, vexed” &c– I will never recur to this—nor shall you see the least difference in my manner next Monday: it is indeed, always before me .. how I know nothing of you and yours: but I think I ought to have spoken when I did—and to speak clearly—or more clearly what I do—as it is my pride and duty to fall back, now, on the feeling with which I have been in the meantime—yours–

God bless you– RB

Let me write a few words to lead into Monday—and say, you have probably received my note. I am much better—with a little headache, which is all, and fast going this morning: of yours you say nothing. I trust you see your .. dare I say .. your duty in the Pisa affair,[2] as all else must see it—shall I hear on Monday? And my Saul that you are so lenient to! Bless you, ever–

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50 Wimpole St

Postmark: 3AN3 AU30 1845 D.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 47.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 175–177.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. In letter 1925.

2. RB refers to EBB’s change of winter destination from Malta to Pisa and her discussions with her father regarding this change (see letter 2019 and its note 2).

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