Correspondence

2270.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 12, 174–175.

[London]

Tuesday Afternoon. [Postmark: 24 March 1846]

My own dearest, if you do—(for I confess to nothing of the kind),—but if you should detect an unwillingness to write at certain times, what would that prove,—I mean, what that one need shrink from avowing?– If I never had you before me except when writing letters to you—then! .. Why, we do not even talk much, now! Witness Mr Buckingham & his voyage that ought to have been discussed!– Oh, how coldly I should write,—how the bleak-looking paper would seem unpropitious to carry my feeling,—if all had to begin and try to find words this way!

Now, this morning I have been out—to town & back—and for all the walking my head aches—and I have the conviction that presently when I resign myself to think of you wholly, with only the pretext,—the make-believe of occupation, in the shape of some book to turn over the leaves of,—I shall see you and soon be well,—so soon! You must know, there is a chair (one of the kind called gondóla-chairs by upholsterers—with an emphasized o)—which occupies the precise place, stands just in the same relation to this chair I sit on now, that yours stands in and occupies—to the left of the fire: and, how often, how always I turn in the dusk and see the dearest real Ba with me–

How entirely kind to take that trouble, give those sittings for me! Do you think the kindness has missed its due effect? No, no—! I am glad,—(knowing what I now know,—what you meant should be, and did all in your power to procure),—that I have not received the picture, if anything short of an adequate likeness—“Nil nisi,—te!”[1] But I have set my heart on seeing it—will you remember next time, next Saturday?

I will leave off now—to-morrow, dearest—only dearest Ba, I will write a longer letter—the clock stops it this afternoon—it is later than I thought, and our poor crazy post! This morning, hoping against hope, I ran to meet our postman coming meditatively up the lane—with a letter, indeed!—but Ba’s will come to night—and I will be happy,—already am happy, expecting it. Bless you, my own love–

Ever your RB

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole St.

Postmark: 8NT8 MR24 1846 B.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 141.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 554–555.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. “Nothing if not—you!” This was the portrait of EBB that Matilda Carter painted in 1841; it is reproduced as the frontispiece to vol. 5. The portrait formed lot 1410 of Browning Collections (see Reconstruction, F11) and is now at the Robert Browning Settlement.

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