2333. EBB to RB
As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 12, 283–284.
Monday evening [27 April 1846]
Very good Examiner!– I am pleased with it & with Mr Forster for the nonce, though he talks a little nonsense here & there, in order to be a true critic, & though he does’nt talk at all, scarcely, of the Soul’s Tragedy … how is one to bear it? That Tragedy has wonderful things in it—thoughts, suggestions, .. and more & more I feel, that you never did better dialogue than in the first part– Every pulse of it, is alive & individual—dramatic dialogue of the best. Nobody in the world could write such dialogue——now, you know, you must be patient & “meke as maid”,—being in the course of the fortynine days of enduring praises. Praises, instead of “bangs”!!—consider that it might be worse!—dicit ipsissima Ba.
Think of my not hearing a word about the article in the Examiner, until I had your note this morning! And the Examiner was in the house since saturday night, & nobody to tell me!—— I was in high vexation, reproaching them all, today—till Stormie had the impertinence to turn round & tell me that only Papa had read the paper, & that “he had of course put it away to keep me from the impropriety of thinking too much about .. about” .. yes, really Stormie was so impertinent. For the rest, when Papa came up stairs at one oclock, he had it in his hand.
At two, Miss Bayley came, & sate here two hours, & thought me looking so well, with such improved looks from last autumn, that I dont mean to groan at all to you today about the wind—it is a savage wind, as you say, & I wish it were gone, & I am afraid of stirring from the room while it lasts, but there’s an end––& not of me, says Miss Bayley. She doffed her bonnet & talked & talked, & was agreeable & affectionate, & means to come constantly to see me ..: (“only not on thursday”, I desired.—) And do you know, you need not think any more of my going with you to Italy, for she has made up her mind to take me herself .. there is no escape for me that I can see .. it’s fixed .. certain! with a thousand generous benignities she stifled my ‘no’s’ .. & all I had breath to say at last, was, that “there was time enough for plans of that kind”. Seriously, I was quite embarrassed to know how to adjourn the debate. And she is capable of “arranging everything”––of persisting, .. of insisting .. who knows what? And so, .. when I am “withdrawn” .. carried away .. then, shall all my “feelings”, which are in you, be given to somebody else? is that the way ....
Now I shall not make jests upon that .. I shall not: first, I shall not, because it is ungrateful—& next & principally, because my heart stands still only to think of it ..! Why did you say that to me? I could be as jealous (did I not tell you once?) as any one of your melodramatic gitana heroines, who carries a poignard between the white-satin sash & the spangles? I perfectly understand, at this distance, what jealousy is, would be, ought to be, must be—though I never guessed at all what love was, at that distance ..: & startled I am often & confounded, to see the impotency of my imagination.
Forgive the blottings out—I have not blotted out lately .. have I now? & it is pardonable once in a hundred years or days.
The rest for tomorrow. Your correspondent of the first letter you sent me, really does write like a Bennet, though he praises you. I could not help laughing very gently, though he praises you. Good night my only beloved .. dearest!—. As my Bennet says (Georgiana) when she catches vehemently at the laurel .. “I will not be forgot” …
“I must die .. but I will not be forgot” (in large capitals.!) But what she applies to the Delphic groves, turns for me to something more ambitious. “I will not be forgot’[’] .. will I? shall I? not till thursday at least .. being ever & ever your own Ba.
Address: Robert Browning Esqre / New Cross / Hatcham / Surrey.
Postmark: 1AN1 AP28 1846.
Docket, in RB’s hand: 162.
Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 659–661.
Manuscript: Wellesley College.
1. Date provided by postmark.
2. Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, Prologue, line 69.
3. “Says Ba herself.”
4. EBB has obliterated a little over a line.
5. “The Resolve,” line 40, from A Lay and Songs of Home (1843).
6. Underscored three times.