Correspondence

2042.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 11, 95–96.

[London]

[24 September 1845][1]

I have spoken again,—& the result is that we are in precisely the same position,—only with bitterer feelings on one side. If I go or stay they must be bitter: words have been said that I cannot easily forget, nor remember without pain——& yet I really do almost smile in the midst of it all, to think how I was treated this morning as an undutiful daughter because I tried to put on my gloves .. for there was no worse provocation. At least he complained of the undutifulness & rebellion (!!!) of everyone in the house—& when I asked if he meant that reproach for me, the answer was that he meant it for all of us, one with another. And I could not get an answer. He would not even grant me the consolation of thinking that I sacrificed what I supposed to be a good, to him. I told him that my prospects of health seemed to me to depend on taking this step, but that <through my affection for him,>[2] I was ready to sacrifice those to his pleasure if he exacted it—only it was necessary to my self satisfaction in future years, to understand definitely that the sacrifice was exacted by him & was made to him, .. & not, thrown away blindly & by a misapprehension. And he would not answer that. I might do my own way, he said—he would not speak—he would not say that he was not displeased with me, nor the contrary:—I had better do what I liked:—for his part, he washed his hands of me altogether–

And so I have been very wise—witness how my eyes are swelled with annotations & reflections on all this! The best of it is that now George himself admits I can do no more in the way of speaking, .. I have no spell for charming the dragons, .. & allows me to be passive & enjoins me to be tranquil, & not “make up my mind” to any dreadful exertion for the future. Moreover he advises me to go on with the preparations for the voyage & promises to state the case himself at the last hour to the “highest authority”,—& judge finally whether it be possible for me to go with the necessary companionship. And it seems best to go to Malta on the 3d of October—if at all .. from steam-packet reasons .. without excluding Pisa .. remember .. by any means.

Well!—& what do you think? Might it be desirable for me to give up the whole? Tell me. I feel aggrieved of course & wounded—& whether I go or stay that feeling must last—I cannot help it. But my spirits sink altogether at the thought of leaving England so—& then I doubt about Arabel & Stormie .. & it seems to me that I ought not to mix them up in a business of this kind where the advantage is merely personal to myself. On the other side, George holds that if I give up & stay even, there will be displeasure just the same, .. & that, when once gone, the irritation will exhaust & smooth itself away—which however does not touch my chief objection.

Would it be better .. more right .. to give it up? Think for me. Even if I hold on to the last, at the last I shall be thrown off—that is my conviction. But .. shall I give up at once? Do think for me–

And I have thought that if you like to come on friday instead of saturday .. as there is the uncertainty about next week, .. it wd divide the time more equally: but let it be as you like & according to circumstances as you see them. Perhaps you have decided to go at once with your friends—who knows? I wish I could know that you were better today– May God bless you.

Ever yours EBB.

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

Postmarks: 1845 SP25 8Mg8A; 10FN10 SP25 1845 A.

Dockets, in RB’s hand: 58.; + Friday, Sepr 26. / 3–4½ p.m. [20].

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 210–212 (as [25 September 1845]).

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Dated by postmark and EBB’s reference to the confrontation with her father “this morning.”

2. Bracketed passage is inserted above the line.

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