Correspondence

2066.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 11, 128–129.

[London]

Wednesday– [15 October 1845][1]

Your letter which should have reached me in the morning of yesterday, I did not receive until nearly midnight—partly through the eccentricity of our new postman whose good pleasure it is to make use of the letter box without knocking,—& partly from the confusion in the house, of illness in different ways .. the very servants being ill, .. one of them breaking a bloodvessel—for there is no new case of fever, .. & for dear Occy, he grows better slowly day by day. And, just so late last night, five letters were found in the letter box, & mine .. yours .. among them—which accounts for my beginning to answer it only now–

What am I to say but this .. that I know what you are .. & that I know also what you are to me,——& that I should accept that knowledge as more than sufficient recompence for worse vexations than these late ones. Therefore let no more be said of them: & no more need be said, .. even if they were not likely to prove their own end good, as I believe with you. You may be quite sure that I shall be well this winter, if in any way it should be possible,—& that I will not be beaten down, if the will can do anything. I admire how .. if all had happened so but a year ago, .. (yet it could not have happened quite so!) I should certainly have been beaten down—& how it is different now, .. & how it is only gratitude to you, to say that it is different now– My cage is not worse but better since you brought the green groundsel to it—& to dash oneself against the wires of it will not open the door—. We shall see .. & God will oversee. And in the meantime you will not talk of extravagances,—& then nobody need hold up the hand—because, as I said & say, I am yours,—your own—only not to hurt you. So now let us talk of the first of november & of the poems which are to come out then, & of the poems which are to come after then—& of the new avatar of ‘Sordello’,[2] for instance, which you taught me to look for– And let us both be busy & cheerful—& you will come & see me throughout the winter, .. if you do not decide rather on going abroad, which may be better .. better for your health’s sake?—in which case I shall have your letters,—

And here is another .. just arrived. How I thank you. Think of the Times! Still it was very well of them to recognize your principality. Oh yes—do let me see the proof– I understand too about the ‘making & spoiling.’

Almost you forced me to smile by thinking it worth while to say that you are “not selfish.” Did Sir Percival say so to Sir Gawaine across the Round table, in those times of chivalry to which you belong by the soul? Certainly you are not selfish!—. May God bless you–

Ever your EBB

The fever may last, they say, for a week longer, or even a fortnight—but it decreases. Yet he is hot still, & very weak.

To tomorrow!–

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

Postmarks: 1845 OC16 8Mg8 A; 10FN10 OC16 1845 B.

Dockets, in RB’s hand: 68.; + Thursday, Oct 16. / 3–4¼. p.m. [24].

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 237–239.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. See letter 2025, note 8.

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