2406.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 34–36.


Tuesday. [Postmark: 9 June 1846]

Is your letter “long”, my own Ba? I seem to get to the end, each time I read it, just as sorrowfully soon as usual—so much for thankfulness! But if Ba is not to be “tall,”—depend on it, her letter shall not describe itself as “long”—tho’ in a sense nothing ever written, ever read by me, drew such a trail of light after it as her letters—your letters, my own, own love! While I write this, my lips rest on the eglantine .. well, it shall be “dog-rose” for Flushe’s sake! You say truly—about the folly—it is very foolish,—when I fancy you proposing to give me a golden Papal rose and gift for a King, instead of this! And if I feel this, why should not you, and more vividly even? A rose from Hampstead! And you bore the journey well? You should tell me, precisely, detailedly.

As for Lough’s statues .. now, I have said more than I meant if it deters you from going to see them! If he will abide strictly by his promise, there is much to reward the trouble of going–

Always remember, my Ba, that the secret is your secret and not mine .. that I keep it while you bid me, but that you may communicate it to whom you please, when you please, without waiting to apprize me: I should, I think, have preferred telling Mrs Jameson from the beginning about the mere visits .. or, I don’t know .. by one such piece of frankness you only expose yourself to fifty new .. whatever they are! For there would be so much the more talk about you,—and either the quick woman’s wit and discernment are to be eluded, or they are not,—foiled or not—and how manage without ..<without those particular evasions which seem to degrade most of all?> [1] Miss Mitford’s promises began the embarrassment: in short I think the best way in such a case is to tell all or none. I believe you might tell all to Mrs Jameson with perfect safety .. but, for her sake, I doubt the propriety .. for it would be to introduce her forthwith to exactly our own annoyances with respect to Mr Kenyon, Chorley &c. Once knowing, she cannot un-know. In any case, I promise my conscience to give her,—and anybody else that may have a right to it,—a full explanation at the earliest safe moment .. may that be at no great distance! My own feeling is for telling Mr Kenyon .. tho’ you would considerably startle me if you answered “well, do!”– But, of the whole world, I seem only to care for his not feeling aggrieved: oh, he will understand!—and can; because he knows the circumstances at your house[.] —Come what will, I am sure of you,—“if you live, and are well”—even this last clause I might exclude; it has often been in my thought to tell you .. only, dearest, there is always, when I plan never so dreamily & vaguely, always an understood submission the most absolute to your own desire .. but I fancied, that, in the case of any real obstacle arising so as to necessitate the “postponement,” &c.—I should have stipulated .. in the right yourself have given me .. I should have said—“we will postpone it, if you will marry me now .. merely as to the form .. but so as to enable me, if difficulties should thicken, to be by your bedside at least”: you see, what you want “to relieve” me of, is just what my life should be thrice paid down for and cheaply. How could you ever be so truly mine as so?– Even the poor service does not “part us” before “death”—“till sickness do us part!”– [2]

But there will be no sickness and all happiness, I trust in God! Dear, dear Ba, I love you wholly and forever—true as I kiss your rose, and will keep it forever. Bless you.


My first letter “did not reach you by the first post on Monday morning”– No! How should it .. when I carried it to town on Sunday night and went half a mile out of the way to put it in the general post office at the corner of Oxford St!

You know I am to breakfast with Mrs Jameson tomorrow—& perhaps I may make some calls after: if anything keeps me in Town so as to hinder the letter by the 8 o’clock post, you will know the reason .. and expect the letter the next morning: but I will endeavour to get back in time.

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole Street.

Postmark: 8NT8 JU9 1846 A.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 203.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 769–771.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. The bracketed passage was interpolated between the lines as an afterthought.

2. Cf. “The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony” in The Book of Common Prayer.


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