Correspondence

2326.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 12, 270–271.

[London]

Wednesday evening. [22 April 1846][1]

Then seriously you are not well, since you went for the medical advice, after all! that is the thought which is uppermost as the effect of your letter, though I ought to be grateful to you (& am!) for remembering to keep your promise, made two months ago. But how can I help thinking that you are ill .. help knowing that you felt very ill before you came to consider that promise? You did feel very ill .. now did you not? And I see in this letter that you are not well––I see plainly, plainly ..! Have you been using the shower-bath?—tell me:—and tell me how you are—do not keep back anything. For the rest, you will submit to the advice, you say, & you mean to submit, I think, my own very dearest—remember that all my light comes, not only through you, but from you, let it be April light or November light. I say that for you. As for myself, when I am anxious about you, it is not, I hope, for such a reason as that my light comes from you. Before I had any light, .. before I knew you so .. do I not remember how Mr Kenyon with that suggestive shake of the head & grave dropping of the voice, when he came & told me with other news, of your being ill, .. made me wonderfully unhappy & restless till I could not help writing for a directer account? Oh, those strange days to look back upon, .. which had no miraculous light, yet were strange days, with their ‘darkness which might be felt’[2] & was felt!.

You will be careful, .. will you not? .. in these? I am not happy about you, tonight. I feel as if you are worse perhaps than you say. And it does you so much good to keep talking about this misgiving & that misgiving! .. the “trente six oies”[3] are nothing at all to me, really.

For those two letters, it was far from any intention of mine that you should have them both together,—& the first-written went to the post at two on the day before. Too bad it is! I observe that you never get a letter on the day it is posted, unless the posting is very early, .. say before eight, or, at latest, before nine. Which is abominable, when the distance is considered–

And you make a piteous case out for yourself against me, indeed, .. & it seems very hard to have to endure so much, ‘forty nine days out of fifty’ … I did not think it was so bad with you! And when you protest gently on the fiftieth day .. so gently .. so gently ..!!– Well, the fact is that you forget perhaps what sort of a gentle protestation it was, you wrote to me on sunday, you who protest so gently, & never flatter! And as for having your own ‘praises blown in your eyes’ for forty nine days together, I cannot confess to the iniquity of it, .. you mistake, you mistake, as well as forget—only that I will not vex you & convict you too much now that you are not well. So we shall have peace .. shall we not? .. on each side. I never write extravagances .... ah, but we will not write of them, even. Any more letters about Luria?

Yes– All day today in the gondola chair! There was no leaving this room for the cold wind, & it made me feel so tired without my taking a step scarcely, that after dinner .. guess what I did, & save me the shame of relating! .. after dinner, my dinner at one oclock, .. I positively fell fast asleep with this pen in my hand, .. & went to see you in a dream I dare say, though, this time, I do not remember. Then I half expected Miss Bayley, & she did not come, & instead of talking to her I wrote letters to “all the peoples”[4] .. I hate writing letters, how I hate it now, except to you only. And today I thought only of you, let me write ever so away from you. Which is why you saw me in the gondola chair.

But you are not well—the ‘refrain’ comes round constantly—call it a burden! May God bless you dearest beloved! Do you say harm of this April, when it is the best April I ever saw, let it be proved to want the vulgar sun & blue sky as much as you please! Yet you are not well! say how you are! I come clear out of the mist to call myself

Your very own Ba.

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

Postmark: 10FN10 AP23 1846.

Docket, in RB’s hand: 159.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 645–647.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. Exodus 10:21.

3. “Thirty-six geese” (see letter 2323).

4. See letter 2134, note 4.

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