2334.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 12, 285–286.


Tuesday. [Postmark: 28 April 1846]

Now bless you, my dearest, best Ba, for this letter that comes at the eleventh hour,—which means, at 3 o’clock: was not I frightened! I made sure you would write. Why, our Post emulates the Italian glory .. nay, that is too savage a saying—for in Venice or Rome I should have to go for this to the office—and only get it at last thro’ the forbearing honesty of every other applicant for letters during the day, or week—since to every man & woman who thrusts his or her head in at the window at Venice, the clerk hands coolly over the whole odd hundred, and turns to his rest again till as many are taken as may be thought necessary– But, Ba, dear dearest Ba, do you really mean to tell me I saidthat” .. of “transferring feelings” etc? I hope I did,—tho’ I cannot imagine how I ever could,—say so—for so the greater fault will be Ba’s—who drives me from one Scylla (see my critic’s account) [1] into a worse Charybdis thro’ pure fear and aversion,—and then cries “see where you are now!” I was retreating as far as possible from that imaginary “woman who called out those feelings”,—might have called them out,—just as this April sun of ours makes date-palms grow and bear—and because I said, of the two hypotheses, the one which taught you the palms might be transplanted and live on here,—that was the more rational .. you turn and ask “So your garden will rear palms”? —Now, I tell Ba, .. no, I will kiss Ba and so tell her.

How happy Miss Bailey’s testimony makes me! One never can be too sure of such a happiness. She has no motive for thus confirming it. You “look so well”—and she not merely sees it, but acts upon it,—is for deriving a practical benefit from it, and forthwith– Then, Miss Bailey, let me try and “transfer” .. ah, the palm is too firmly rooted in my very heart,—I can but sprinkle you over with yellow dust!

Oh, Ba,—not to tell me of the League,—the number!– [2] Will you please tell me? One letter more I get, do I not? Then comes Thursday—my Thursday.

What you style “impertinence” in your Brother, is very kind and goodnatured to my thinking. Well, now—see the way a newspaper criticism affects one, nearly the only way!– If this had been an attack—how it would affect you and me matters nothing—it might affect others disagreeably—and thro’ them, us. So I feel very much obliged to Forster in this instance.

I kiss you with perfect love, my sweetest best Ba. May God bless you


Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole St

Postmark: 8NT8 AP28 1846 B.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 170.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 661–662.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. A reference to a comment in the second paragraph of Forster’s review in The Examiner; for the complete text, see pp. 384–387.

2. RB had enquired about The League two days earlier (see letter 2331); see the following letter for EBB’s reponse.


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