Correspondence

2139.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 11, 241–243.

[London]

Monday. [15 December 1845][1]

Mr Kenyon has not come—he does not come so often I think. Did he know from you that you were to see me last thursday? if he did it might be as well .. do you not think? .. to go to him next week—. Will it not seem frequent, otherwise? But if you did not tell him of thursday distinctly, (I did not––remember!) he might take the wednesday’s visit to be the substitute for rather than the successor of thursday’s:—and in that case, why not write a word to him yourself to propose dining with him as he suggested? He really wishes to see you—of that, I am sure. But you will know what is best to do—& he may come here tomorrow perhaps, & ask a whole set of questions about you, .. so my right hand may forget its cunning[2] for any good it does. Only dont send messages by me .. please!.

How happy I am with your letter tonight.

When I had sent away my last letter I began to remember .. & could not help smiling to do so, .. that I had totally forgotten the great subject of my “fame,” & the oath you administered about it … totally!!– Now how do you read that omen? If I forget myself, who is to remember me, do you think? .. except you.? which brings me where I would stay. Yes!—“yours” it must be—but you, it had better be!– But, to leave the vain superstitions, let me go on to assure you that I did mean to answer that part of your former letter, & do mean to behave well & be obedient. Your wish would be enough, even if there could be likelihood without it of my doing nothing ever again. Oh, certainly I have been idle—it comes of lotos-eating .. &, besides, of sitting too long in the sun.[3] Yet ‘idle’ may not be the word—: silent I have been, through too many thoughts to speak .. just that! As to writing letters & reading manuscripts’ filling all my time, why I must lack ‘vital energy’ indeed .. you do not mean seriously to fancy such a thing of me!– For the rest …

Tell me—— Is it your opinion that when the apostle Paul saw the unspeakable things,—being snatched up into the third Heavens “whether in the body or out of the body he could not tell,”[4] … is it your opinion that, all the week after, he worked particularly hard at the tent-making? For my part, I doubt it.

I would not speak profanely or extravagantly—it is not the best way to thank God. But to say only that I was in the desert & that I am among the palm-trees, is to say nothing … because it is easy to understand how, after walking straight on .. on .. furlong after furlong .. dreary day after dreary day, .. one may come to the end of the sand & within sight of the fountain:—there is nothing miraculous in that, you know!–

Yet even in that case, .. to doubt whether it may not all be mirage, would be the natural first thought .. the recurring dream-fear!. now would it not? And you can reproach me for my thoughts, .. as if they were unnatural!—!!

Never mind about the third act––the advantage is that you will not ‘tire’ yourself perhaps the next week. What gladness it is that you should really seem better—& how much better that is than even ‘Luria’!–

Mrs Jameson came today—but I will tell you.

May God bless you now & always–

Your EBB–

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

Postmark: 12NN12 DE16 1845 A.

Docket, in RB’s hand: 90.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 322–323.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. Cf. Psalm 137:5.

3. Cf. Hamlet, I, 2, 67.

4. Cf. II Corinthians 12:2.

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