2311.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 12, 245–247.


Tuesday Mg [Postmark: 14 April 1846]

I waited till this second letter should arrive—feeling that it would be easier to address the answer to this.

About the other,—that part which you bid me not refer to—you are obeyed now. My time will come in its turn, and I will try and speak. With respect to the immediate leaving England, you will let me say, I think, that all my own projects depend on that,—there will not be one least objection made to it by my father or mother, I know beforehand. You perhaps misconceived something I said last Saturday—I meant the obvious fact, however—that while there would be a best way of finding myself with you, still, from the worst way (probably, of taking a house opposite Mrs Procter’s)—from that even, to the best way of any other life I can imagine,—what a descent! From the worst of roses to the most flourishing of—dandelions. But we breathe together, understand together, know, feel, live together .. I feel every day less and less need of trying to assure you I feel thus & thus. I seem to know that you must know!

Mrs Procter is very exactly the Mrs Procter I knew long ago. What she says is of course purely foolish. [1] The world does seem incurably stupid on this, as other points. I understand Mr Kenyon’s implied kindness. That is,—understand he may think he sees my true good in this life with older & better instructed eyes than my own—so benevolent people beg me “not to go out in the open air—without something about my neck,” and would gird on a triple worsted “comforter” there, entirely for my good, if I would let them. “Why, Mr Procter wears one”! Ah, but without it, what a cold he would catch!

The explanatory note fills up an unseemly blank page—and does not come at the end of the “Soul’s Tragedy”—prose after prose—still it does look awkwardly—but then I don’t consider that it excludes this last from the “Bells”—rather it says this is the last, (no, nine if you like,—as the title says “eight and last”—from whence will be this advantage—that, in the case of another edition, all the lyrics &c may go together under one common head of Lyrics & Romances—and the “Soul’s Tragedy”,—profiting by the general move-up of the rest of the numbers, after the fashion of hackney coaches on a stand when one is called off,—step into the place and take the style of No 8—and the public not find themselves defrauded of the proper quantity!)

And shall I indeed see you to-morrow, Ba? I will tell you many things,—it seems to me now: but when I am with you they always float out of mind. <…> [2] The feelings must remain unwritten—unsung, too, I fear. I very often fancy that if I had never before resorted to that mode of expression, to singing, .. poetry—now I should resort to it, discover it! Whereas now—my very use & experience of it deters me—if one phrase of mine should seem “poetical” in Mrs Procter’s sense—a conscious exaggeration,—put in for effect! only seem, I say! So I dare not try yet—but one day!–

Ba, I kept your letter yesterday, about me—it lay by my head at night—that its good might not go from me,—such perfect good! How strange to hear what you say of my letters,—of such and such a letter—some seem kind, and kinder & kindest—and how should I guess why? My life & love flow steadily under all those bubbles, or many or less—it is thro’ the undercurrent that, whatever you see, does appear, no doubt—but also where nothing appears,—all in one depth!

Bless you, all dearest beloved.

To-morrow, wednesday!

Ever your very own


Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole St.

Postmark: 8NT8 AP14 1846 A.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 158.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 622–623.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. She said that “it was a pity he [RB] had not seven or eight hours a day of occupation.” See letters 2305 and 2310.

2. RB has obliterated about half a line.


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