Correspondence

2390.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 8–10.

[London]

Saturday. [Postmark: 30 May 1846]

You shall have a visit from me on the seventh day as on the others, I think, because I remember you everyday equally, & because, without waiting for your saturday’s letter, I have always with me enough of you, to thank you. This morning, Henrietta & I went as usual to Hodgson’s & took possession of the chair in waiting, as Flush did of the whole territory, setting himself, with all the airs of a landed proprietor, to snap at the shopboy. Nota bene—Flush is likely to injure my popularity if I take him about with me much. He has been used, you see, to be ‘Cæsar in his own house’, & the transition of being Cæsar everywhere, is the easiest thing in the world. Yet as to leaving him at home, it is impossible, .. not to mention other objections!– His delight in going out in the carriage, is scarcely a natural thing—but I have told you of it. Yesterday I was in the back drawingroom waiting to go out, and just said to him, “Flush! go & see if the carriage is come”—instantly he ran to the front windows, standing on his hind legs & looking up the street & down. Now Mr Kenyon would declare that that was my invention. Yet it is the literal truth of history.

Coming back from Hodgson’s, we passed our door & walked to 57 & home—which is an improvement in the distance. Then I walked up stairs to the drawing-room, & was carried the rest of the way. May I be tired a little, after it all?– Just a little, perhaps–

Henrietta dined at Mr Lough’s yesterday, & met Miss Camilla Toulmin who was gracious .. and Professor Forbes,[1] who can do nothing without the polka, .. & sundries. There was a splendid dinner, & wine of all vintages—one is in a straight in such cases to know how to praise at once the hospitable intention & to blame the bad taste—surely it is bad taste in a man like Mr Lough who lives by his genius, to give ambitious dinners like a man who lives by his dinners. The true dignity of simplicity in these things were worth such a man’s holding, one might think. But he is kind & liberal, & a good artist, .. & sent me a very gracious invitation to go & see his works.

The Hedleys are likely to be in England this summer again——more’s the pity.[2] I am fond of them, but would rather, rather, not see them just now, & not be seen by them—for eyes have they, & can see.[3] My uncle Hedley comes next week, .. comes to London for several weeks .. that is certain—& my aunt after settling the younger part of her family at Bareges for the summer, ponders coming, .. as I behold from afar off, .. with her daughter Arabella who is to be married immediately to the younger brother of the great Brewery partner, Barclay & Bevan, a Mr Bevan–[4] But they will not be in this house, & we must manage as we can, dearest! One leap over sunday, & monday comes bringing you!– Then, I shall have you near on tuesday besides, & wednesday, afterwards! how the cup overflows!– May God bless you my beloved!– It is not exaggeration to say that I feel you in the air & the sun.

Ever & ever your own I am!–

Ba.

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

Postmark: 5EV5 MY30 1846 A.

Dockets, in RB’s hand: 186.;+ Monday, June 1. / 3–5¾.5m. p.m. (68.) [sic, for 69].

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 743–745.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Probably Edward Forbes (1815–54), Professor of Botany at King’s College, London, who was a popular conversationalist on a wide range of topics. Earlier in the spring of 1846, he had given a series of lectures at the London Institution. The sculptor James Graham Lough (1798–1876) and his wife Mary (née North, 1807–88) had previously dined at Wimpole Street (see letter 1790). Camilla Dufour Toulmin (afterwards Crosland, 1812–95) was a writer and contributed to periodicals (see letter 2159, note 1).

2. Cf. I Henry IV, II, 4, 468. In this and subsequent Shakespearean quotations, the line numbers correspond to those used in The Riverside Shakespeare (Boston, 1974).

3. Cf. Psalm 115:5.

4. EBB’s cousin Arabella Hedley (1827–70) married James Johnstone Bevan (1818–98) on 4 August 1846 at St. James’s Church, Piccadilly.

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