Correspondence

2106.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 11, 187–189.

[London]

Friday Night. [21 November 1845][1]

How good and kind to send me these books! (The letter I say nothing of, according to convention: if I wrote down “best & kindest”—oh, what poorest words!) I shall tell you all about “Pomfret,” be sure. Chorley talked of it, as we walked homewards together last night,—modestly and well, and spoke of having given away two copies only .. to his mother one, and the other to—Miss Barrett, and “she seemed interested in the life of it, entered into his purpose in it,” and I listened to it all, loving Chorley for his loveability which is considerable at other times, and saying to myself what might run better in the child’s couplet—“Not more than others I deserve, tho’ God has given me more”!–[2] Given me the letter which expresses surprise that I should feel these blanks between the days when I see you longer and longer! So am I surprised—that I should have mentioned so obvious a matter at all,—or leave unmentioned a hundred others its correlatives which I cannot conceive you to be ignorant of, you! When I spread out my riches before me, and think what the hour and more means that you endow one with, I do .. not to say could, .. I do form resolutions, and say to myself—“If next time I am bidden stay away a fortnight I will not reply by a word beyond the grateful assent”. I do, God knows, lay up in my heart these priceless treasures,—shall I tell you? I never in my life kept a journal, a register of sights, or fancies, or feelings; in my last travel I put down on a slip of paper a few dates .. that I might remember in England, on such a day I was on Vesuvius, in Pompeii, at Shelley’s grave;[3] all that should be kept in memory is, with me, best left to the brain’s own process: but I have from the first recorded the date, and the duration of every visit to you,—the numbers of minutes you have given me .. and I put them together till they make .. nearly two days now,—four-and[-]twenty-hour-long-days, that I have been by you—and I enter the room determining to get up and go sooner .. and I go away into the light street repenting that I went so soon by I don’t know how many minutes—for, love, what is it all, this love for you, but an earnest yearning to include you in myself, if that might be,—to feel you in my very heart and hold you there for ever, thro’ all chance and earthly changes.

There, I had better leave off,—the words!

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I was very glad to find myself with your brother yesterday; I like him very much and mean to get a friend in him—(to supply the loss of my friend .. Miss Barrett—which is gone, the friendship, so gone!) But I did not ask after you because I heard Moxon do it. Now of Landor’s verses: I got a note from Forster yesterday telling me that he, too, had received a copy .. so that there is no injunction to be secret[.] So I got a copy for dear Mr Kenyon, and, lo! what comes![4] I send the note to make you smile! I shall reply that I felt in duty bound to apprize you; as I did. You will observe that I go to that too facile gate of his on Tuesday, my day .. from your house directly. The worst is that I have got entangled with invitations already, and must go out again, hating it, to more than one place.

I am very well—quite well,—yes, dearest! The pain is quite gone,—and the inconvenience, hard on its trace. You will write to me again, will you not? and be as brief as your heart lets you, to me who hoard up your words and get remote and imperfect ideas of what .. shall it be written? .. anger at you, could mean, when I see a line blotted out,—a second thoughted finger-tip rapidly put forth upon one of my gold pieces!

—I rather think if Warburton reviews me it will be in the “Quarterly” which I know he writes for–[5] Hanmer is a very sculpturesque passionless highminded and amiable man .. this coldness, as you see it, is part of him. I like his poems, I think, better than you—“the Sonnets,”[6] do you know them? Not “Frà Cipolla.” See what is here, since you will not let me have only you to look at—this is Landor’s first opinion—expressed to Forster—see the date! and last of all, see me and know me, beloved! May God bless you!

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50 Wimpole Street.

Postmark: 12NN12 NO22 1845.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 76.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 282–284.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. “Praise for Mercies Spiritual and Temporal,” lines 5–6, from Divine Songs for Children (1728) by Isaac Watts.

3. A fragment from a page in RB’s diary used in Italy formed part of lot 177 in Browning Collections (see Reconstruction, E516; now at Yale). It reads as follows:

Aug. 12. 1844. 12. Sailed from London. Bark Ariadne, R Crozier.

Aug. 17. St Helen’s Roads, Isle of Wight. 18. on shore. Sailed.

Septr. 5 Cape St Vincent. 7. Cape Spartelle. 8. Abyla. 9. Malaga. 20. S. Antioco.

Septr. 21. Cape Carbonara. 25 Capri. 26. Naples. 30. Naples, Castellamare.

Oct. 1. Vico—the ravine from <…> ones red stripe <…> perished Vene <…>

4. i.e., an offer from Kenyon to show Landor’s verses to EBB, as explained in the following letter.

5. See letter 2082, note 3. RB is responding to EBB’s query in letter 2104.

6. Hanmer’s Sonnets was published in 1840. An inscribed copy formed part of lot 739 in Browning Collections (see Reconstruction, A1132).

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