2174.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 11, 316–317.


Thursday– [Postmark: 15 January 1846]

Dearest, dearer to my heart minute by minute, I had no wish to give you pain, God knows. No one can more readily consent to let a few years more or less of life go out of account,—be lost—but as I sate by you, you so full of the truest life, for this world as for the next,—and was struck by that possibility, all that might happen were I away, in the case of your continuing to acquiesce .. dearest, it is horrible,—I could not but speak—if in drawing you, all of you, closer to my heart, I hurt you whom I would—outlive .. yes,—I cannot speak here—forgive me, Ba.

My Ba, you are to consider now for me: your health, your strength—it is all wonderful; that is not my dream, you know—but what all see: now, steadily care for us both—take time, take counsel if you choose; but at the end tell me what you will do for your part—thinking of me as utterly devoted, soul and body, to you, living wholly in your life, seeing good and ill, only as you see,—being yours as your hand is,—or as your Flush, rather. Then I will, on my side, prepare. When I say “take counsel”—I reserve my last right, the man’s right of first speech. I stipulate, too, <and require to say my own speech in my own words or by letter ..> [1] remember! But this living without you is too tormenting now. So begin thinking: as for Spring, as for a New Year, as for a New Life.–

I went no farther than the door with Mr Kenyon—& he must see the truth; and—you heard the playful words which had a meaning all the same.

No more of this; only, think of it for me, love!


One of these days I shall write a long letter—on the omitted matters, unanswered questions, in your past letters: the present joy still makes me ungrateful to the previous one,—but I remember—we are to live together one day, love!

Will you let Mr Poe’s book [2] lie on the table on Monday, if you please, that I may read what he does say, with my own eyes? That I meant to ask, too!

How too, too kind you are—how you care for so little that affects me! I am very much better—I went out yesterday, as you found: to-day I shall walk, beside seeing Chorley. And certainly, certainly I would go away for a week if so I might escape being ill (and away from you) a fortnight—but I am not ill—and will care, as you bid me, beloved! So, you will send, and take all trouble,—and all about that crazy Review! Now, you should not!– I will consider about your goodness. I hardly know if I care to read that kind of book just now.

Will you, and must you have “Pauline”? If I could pray you to revoke that decision! For it is altogether foolish and not boylike—and I shall, I confess, hate the notion of running over it—yet commented it must be,—more than mere correction! I was unluckily precocious—but I had rather you saw real infantine efforts .. (verses at six years old,—and drawings still earlier) [3] —than this ambiguous, feverish—. Why not wait? When you speak of the “Bookseller”—I smile, in glorious security—having a whole bale of sheets at the house-top: he never knew my name even!—and I withdrew these after a very little time.

And now—here is a vexation: may I be with you (for this once) next Monday, at two instead of three o’clock? Forster’s business with the new Paper obliges him, he says, to restrict his choice of days to Monday next [4] —and give up my part of Monday—I will never for fifty Forsters .. now, sweet, mind that! Monday is no common day, but leads to a Saturday .. and if, as I ask, I get leave to call at 2—and to stay till 3½—though I then lose nearly half an hour—yet all will be comparatively well. If there is any difficulty—one word and I re-appoint our party, his and mine,—for the day the paper breaks down—not so long to wait, it strikes me!

Now, bless you, my precious Ba– I am your own.

—your own RB

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50 Wimpole St.

Postmark: 8NT8 JA15 1846 B.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 99.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 388–390.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. The bracketed passage is interpolated above the line.

2. The Raven and Other Poems; in letter 2167, EBB had told RB she had received it.

3. A sketchbook, inscribed by RB, Sr.: “Sketches by R. Browning, author of Paracelsus, etc., when a child,” was sold as lot 173 in Browning Collections (see Reconstruction, H56).

4. The Daily News; see letter 2105, note 9.


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