2183.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 12, 13–14.


Thursday night. [22 January 1846] [1]

Yes, I understand your Luria—& there is to be more light, & I open the window to the east & wait for it … a little less gladly than for you on saturday,—dearest!– In the meanwhile you have “lucid moments”, & “strengthen” yourself into the wisdom of learning to lose me .. &, upon consideration, it does not seem to be so hard after all .. there is ‘less for the future to take away’ than you had supposed.—so that is the way? Ah, “these lucid moments, in which all things are thoroughly perceived”!,—what harm they do me!– And I am to ‘understand for you,’ you say!—am I?

On the other side, & to make the good omen complete, I remembered, after I had sealed my last letter, having made a confusion between the ivory, & horn gates, the gates of false & true visions, [2] as I am apt to do—& my pen-holder belongs to the ivory gate, .. as you will perceive in your lucid moments—poor holder! But, as you forget me on wednesdays, the post testifying, .. the sinecure may not be quite so certain as the thursday’s letter says– And I too, in the meanwhile, grow wiser, .. having learnt something which you cannot do, .. you of the Bells & Pomegranates—! You cannot make a pen– Yesterday I looked round the world in vain for it.

Mr Kenyon does not come .. will not perhaps until saturday!– Which reminds me … Mr Kenyon told me about a year ago that he had been painfully employed that morning in parting two—dearer than friends—& he had done it, he said, by proving to either, that he or she was likely to mar the prospects of the other. “If I had spoken to each, of himself or herself”, he said, “I never could have done it”.

Was not that an ingenious cruelty? The remembrance rose up in me like a ghost, & made me ask you once to promise what you promised .. (you recollect?) because I could not bear to be stabbed with my own dagger by the hand of a third person .. so! [3] When people have lucid moments themselves, you know, it is different.

And shall I indeed have a letter tomorrow? Or, not having the pen holder yet, will you …

Goodnight– May God bless you.

Ever & wholly your Ba–

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

Postmark: 10FN10 JA23 1846.

Dockets, in RB’s hand: 106.; × Saturday, Jany 24., 3.5m.—5¼. p.m. (42.)

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 412–413.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. See letters 2112, note 6.

3. See letters 1940, 1948, and 2150 for other expressions of EBB’s concern that RB’s visits would become known to others.


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