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2387.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 4–5.

[London]

Friday. [Postmark: 29 May 1846]

My own darling, your little note was a great delight to me last night, when I expected nothing; and tho’ I do not hear to-day, I will believe you are well after the walk—the walk, what a “divine fancy,”—not mentioned by Quarles! [1]

And then the words that follow the good news of the walk .. those assurances .. oh, my best, dearest Ba,—it is all right that I cannot speak here,—if I could, by some miracle, speak, it would be foolish:—but my life lies before you to take and direct, and keep or give away,—I am altogether your own–

I come in rather tired from Town—having spent the morning at the Exhibition, and made calls beside. (Etty’s picture of the sirens is abominable,—tho’ it looks admirable beside another picture of his: did I not tell you he had chosen the sirens for a subject?) [2]

Oh, dearest beyond all dearness,—now, at this moment only, your last and pro tempore best letter comes to me! One can’t scold and kiss at the same time .. so let the wretched Post arrangements be unmentioned for the moment; there is enough to get up a revolution about, I do think! But you, you spoil me and undo me almost,—ought to do so, at least,—they were too delicious to bear, the things you say to me! Why will you not say rather what I feel,—for you can, perhaps, being what you are,—and let me subscribe it! It is a real pain to me to feel as I feel, and speak no more than I speak–

And again the time urges .. just when I want most to go on writing—but to-morrow I will do nothing else. Take this now, sweet, sweet Ba, with my whole heart that loves, loves you!

your RB

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole Street.

Postmark: 8NT8 MY29 1846 B.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 194.

Publication: RB-EBB, p. 739.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. An allusion to Divine Fancies; Digested into Epigrams, Meditations, and Observations (1632) by Francis Quarles. RB owned a copy of the 1723 edition, which formed lot 1025 in Browning Collections (now at Yale; see Reconstruction, A1909).

2. William Etty (1787–1849) exhibited “Composition, from Milton’s Comus” (based upon the lines: “Circe, with the Sirens three / Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades”) at the Royal Academy in 1846. The other picture shown that year was “The Grape-Gatherer.”

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