Correspondence

2328.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 12, 273–275.

[London]

Thursday evening. [23 April 1846][1]

Yes, you are better, I think. I thank God for that, first of all. And, do you know, your note only just comes, & it is past ten oclock, & I had rung the bell to have the letter-box investigated .. & then, came the knock & the letter! Such a sinning post, it is, more & more. But to come at last, is something .. I am contented indeed. And for being well, I am well too, if that is all– The wind is a little hard on me,—but I keep in the room & think of you & am thought of by you, & no wind, under such circumstances, can do much harm perhaps:—it does not to me, anywise. So keep well, & believe that I am so:—“well as you are well” .. which sounds very well.

What nonsense one comes to write when one is glad! I observe that in myself constantly. All my wisdom seems to depend on being pricked with pins .. or rather with something sharper. And besides your being better, I am glad through what you say here about your “peculiarity” ..! Ah—how you have words in your coffers, of all sorts, .. crowns to suit all heads .. & this, which I try on last, suits mine better than the other glittering ones. Those exaggerations, idealizations, with burning carbuncles in the front of them, which made me sigh under the weight, .. those are different—! But when you say now that you do not part with feelings, … that it is your peculiarity not to wear them out .. & that you are likely to care for the sight of my handwriting as much after years as at first .. why you make me happy when you say such things .. & (see what faith I have!) I believe them, since you say them, speaking of yourself– They are not after the fashion of men, or women either—but, true of you, they may be, .. & I take upon trust that they are: I accept such words from you as means of gladness. The worst is .. I mean, .. the worst reasonableness that goes out to oppose them, .. is, .. the fear lest, when your judgements have been corrected by experience, the feelings may correct themselves. But it is ungrateful to talk reason in the face of so much love– I take up the gladness rather, & thank you & bless you seven times over, to completion– You are the best, I know, of all in the world. Did I tell you once that my love was ‘something’? Yet it is nothing: because there is no woman, let her heart be ever so made of stone & steel, who could help loving you, .. I answer for all women!– So this is no merit of mine, though it is the best thing I ever did in my life.

Dearest beloved, when I used to tell you to give me up, & imagined to myself how I should feel if you did it, .. & thought it would not be much worse than it was before I knew you .. (a little better indeed, inasmuch as I had the memory for ever) .. the chief pang was the idea of another woman ..! From that, I have turned back again & again, recoiling like a horse set against too high a wall. Therefore if I talk of what all women would do, I do not mean that they should. “Thirty six Bas”, we shall not have,—shall we? or I shall be like Flush, who before he learnt to be a philosopher, used to shiver with rage at sight of the Flush in the looking glass, & gnash his teeth impotently, & quite howl– No,—we shall not, dearest, have the thirty six Bas .. now, shall we? Besides, one will be more than enough, she fears to herself, for your comfort & patience.

No more letters about Luria? Did you see Moxon when you were in town?

Miss Bayley has not been here yet. Tomorrow, perhaps. When she comes, I shall not dare name you, but she will, I think .. I seem sure of hearing her mind about Luria & the Tragedy. George thinks the former “very fine”–. Mr Kenyon does not come,—& tomorrow (friday) he goes .. from London.

You will care for me always the same? But that is like promising a charmed life, or an impossible immortality to somebody—and nobody has either, except Louis Phillippe—!.[2] May God bless you,—say how you are when you write tomorrow–

Your own Ba

Oh—your learned Americans! was it literal of Carlyle, do you think, or a jest?

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

Postmark: 10FN10 AP24 1846 A.

Dockets, in RB’s hand: 160.; Saturday / April 25. 3¼–5¾. p.m. (61.)

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 649–650.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. The Times for 18 April 1846 reported that “on Thursday afternoon [16 April], at the moment when the King was returning from a drive, and was passing through the park of Fontainebleau, a person mounted on a wall fired at His Majesty. Providence has once more watched over the days of the King” (p. 5). Numerous attempts to assassinate Louis Phillipe had occurred prior to this incident.

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