2279.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 12, 190–191.


Monday. [Postmark: 30 March 1846]

“The System,” Ba?– Were you to stop writing, as if for my reasons? Could I do without your letters, on any pretence?– You say well—it was a foolish fancy, and now—have done with it!

And do you think you could have refused to see me after that visit? I mean, do you think I did not resolve so to conduct myself,—so to “humble myself and go still and softly all my days”, [1] —that your suspicion should needs insensibly clear up .. (if it had been so pre-ordained, and that no more was in my destiny) .. and at last I should have been written down your friend for ever, and let come and stay, on that footing. —But you really think the confirmation of that sentence must have been attended with such an effect—that I should have forgotten you or so remembered you? You think that on the strength of such a love as that, I would have ventured a month of my future life .. much less, the whole of it? Not you, Ba,—my dearest, dearest!

How you surprize me, (what ever you may think,) by liking that Tragedy! It seems as if, having got out of the present trouble, [2] I shall never fall into its fellow– I will strike, for the future, on the glowing, malleable metal; afterward, filing is quite another process from hammering, and a more difficult one: note, that “filing” is the wrong word,—and the rest of it, the wrong simile,—and all of it, in its stupid wrongness very characteristic of what I try to illustrate—oh, the better, better days are before me there as in all else! But, do you notice how stupid I am to-day? My head begins again—that is the fact; it is better a good deal than in the morning—its œconomy passes my comprehension altogether, that is the other fact—with the deep joy in my heart below—this morning’s letter here—what does the head mean by its perversity? I will go out presently and walk it back to its senses.

Dearest, did you receive my “proof” this morning? Do not correct nor look at it, nor otherwise trouble yourself—there is plenty of time. [3] But what day is ours to be? Of that you say nothing, and of my poems a great deal, “O you inverter!”– But I am, rather, a reverter—and you shall revert, and mind the natural order of things, and tell me first of all—(in to-night’s letter, dearest?—) that it is to be on—?

Now let me kiss you here—my own Ba! Being stupid makes some difference in me. I am no poet, nor prose-writer, nor rational “Christian, pagan nor man” [4] this afternoon—but I am now—as yesterday—as the long “year ago”—your own, utterly your own! May God bless you! (I wondered yesterday if you had gone down stairs—“no”—I infer!)

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole St

Postmark: 8NT8 MR30 1846 B.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 145.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 571–572.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Cf. Isaiah 38:15 (see also letter 1837, note 11).

2. RB alludes to the completion of A Soul’s Tragedy, which he said had been “written two or three years ago” (see letter 2209).

3. See the following letter. EBB had already written her notes on the printer’s proof of Luria.

4. Hamlet, III, 2, 32.


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