Correspondence

2361.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 12, 328–329.

[London]

Friday. [Postmark: 15 May 1846]

The treader on your footsteps was Miss Bayley, who left a card & “would come another day”. She must have seen you … One of these days, ‘scirocco’ will be ‘loose’[1]—we may as well be prepared for it. To keep it off as long as possible is all that can be. But when it comes it will not uproot my palmtrees, I think, though it should throw flat the olives.

Papa brought me some flowers yesterday when he came home .. & they went a little to my heart as I took them. I put them into glasses near yours, & they look faded this morning nevertheless, while your roses, for all your cruelty to them, are luxuriant in beauty as if they had just finished steeping themselves in garden-dew. I look gravely from one set of flowers to the other– I cannot draw a glad omen– I wish he had not given me these. Dearest, there seems little kindness in teazing you with such thoughts .. but they come & I write them: and let them come ever so sadly, I do not for a moment doubt .. hesitate. One may falter, where one does not fail. And for the rest, .. is it my fault, & not my sorrow rather, that we act so? Is it by choice that we act so? If he had let me I should have loved him out of a heart altogether open to him—. It is not my fault that he would not let me. Now it is too late– I am not his nor my own, any more–

This morning I have had American letters of the kindest .. from Massachusetts—and a review on my poems, quite extravagant indeed, in the Methodist Quarterly.[2] One of these letters see is so like another, that I need only tell you of them .. written too by people .. Lydias & Richards .. never heard of before by either of us. The review repeats the fabulous story in the Spirit of the Age, about unknown tongues & a seven years eclipse in total darkness[3]——but I say to myself … After all, the real myth is scarcely less wonderful. If I have not all this knowledge … I have you … which is greater, better! ‘Not less wonderful’ did I say? when it is the miracle.....

Oh, these people!– I am seized & bound!—— More tonight! from

Your own Ba–

Say how you are[.]

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

Postmark: 8NT8 MY15 1846 O.

Docket, in RB’s hand: 173.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 702–703.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Cf. “The Englishman in Italy,” line 116.

2. For the text of this review of EBB’s A Drama of Exile (1844), which appeared in the January 1846 issue of The Methodist Quarterly Review, see vol. 11, pp. 355–360.

3. See letter 2196, note 4, as well as letters 1829, note 1 and 1927, note 6.

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