Correspondence

2186.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 12, 19–21.

[London]

Sunday Eg. [25 January 1846][1]

I will not try and write much tonight—dearest, for my head gives a little warning—and I have so much to think of!—(spite of my pen-holder being kept back from me after all![)] Now, ought I to have asked for it? Or did I not seem grateful enough at the promise? This last would be a characteristic reason, seeing that I reproached myself with feeling too grateful for the “special symbol”—the “essential meaning” of which was already in my soul: well then, I will– I do pray for it—next time;—and I will keep it for that one yesterday and all its memories—and it shall bear witness against me, if, on the Siren’s isle, I grow forgetful of Wimpole Street. And when is “next time” to be—Wednesday or Thursday? When I look back on the strangely steady widening of my horizon—how no least interruption has occurred to visits or letters—oh, care you, sweet—care for us both!

That remark of your sister’s delights me—you remember?—that the anger would not be so formidable– I have exactly the fear of encountering that, which the sense of having to deal with a ghost would induce: there’s no striking at it with one’s partizan–[2] Well, God is above all! It is not my fault if it so happens that by returning my love you make me exquisitely blessed; I believe—more than hope, I am sure I should do all I ever now can do, if you were never to know it—that is, my love for you was in the first instance its own reward—if one must use such phrases—and if it were possible for that .. not anger, which is of no good, but that opposition—that adverse will—to show that your good would be attained by the——

But it would need to be shown to me. You have said thus to me—in the very last letter, indeed. But with me, or any man, the instincts of happiness develop themselves too unmistakeably where there is anything like a freedom of will: the man whose head is set on being rich or influential after the worldly fashion, may be found far enough from the attainment of either riches or influence—but he will be in the presumed way to them .. pumping at the pump, if he is really anxious for water, even tho’ the pump be dry .. but not sitting still by the dusty roadside–

I believe—first of all, you—but when that is done, and I am allowed to call your heart mine,—I cannot think you would be happy if parted from me—and that belief, coming to add to my own feeling in that case– —So, this will be—I trust in God.

In life, in death, I am your own, my own! My head has got well already! It is so slight a thing, that I make such an ado about! Do not reply to these bodings—they are gone—they seem absurd! All steps secured but the last, and that last the easiest! Yes—far easiest! For first you had to be created, only that,—and then, in my time,—and then, not in Timbuctoo but Wimpole St, and then .. the strange hedge round the Sleeping Palace keeping the world off—and then .. all was to begin, all the difficulty, .. only begin!– And now .. see where is reached! And I kiss you, and bless you, my dearest, in earnest of the end!

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50 Wimpole St

Postmark: 10FN10 JA26 1846.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 105.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 419–420.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. Cf. Hamlet, I, 1, 140.

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