Correspondence

2416.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 51–52.

[London]

Sunday. [14 June 1846][1]

May I venture to speak to dearest Ba as if I had seen her or heard from her since I wrote yesterday,—and that seeing or that hearing had brought the usual comfort and assurance,—& forgiveness when needed, but delight at all times? Do you forgive me indeed, Ba?

I shall know to-morrow—which “to-morrow” is your to-day—I am soon to be with you to-day. I trust there is [not] an occasion to exercise fancy and say—“When we meet on your return from Tunbridge a month hence”, or two, or three .. to go on fancying! What should I do,—be able to do? and if I understood you rightly the letter-communication would be hindered, if not stopped altogether. Thus is one the sport of one’s own wishes .. fine weather is desired .. fine enough to drive people out of town into the country!

As it is, I have been sufficiently punished for that foolish letter,[2] which has lost me the last two or three days of your life and deeds, my Ba. You went to Mr Kenyon’s—may have gone elsewhere (and gathered roses I did not deserve to receive)—but I do not know, and shall not recover my loss—not ever .. because if you tell me now, you exclude something new you would say otherwise .. if you write it on Tuesday, what becomes of Tuesday’s own stock of matter for chronicling?

Well, the proper word in my mouth is—I am sorry to the heart, and will try never to offend so again: how you wrote to me, also! How you rise above yourself while I get no nearer where you were first of all,—no nearer than ever! But so it should be!—so may it ever be!

I believe the fault comes from a too-sweet sense of the freedom of being true with you, telling you all, hiding nothing: Carlyle was saying in his fine way, he understood why the Romans confined acting to their slaves .. it was no employment for a free man to amuse people .. be bound to do that, and if other faculties interposed, tending to other results on an audience than amusement, be bidden suppress them accordingly .. and so, he thought, it would be one day with our amusers, writers of fun, concocters of comic pieces: I feel it delicious to be free when most bound to you, Ba,—to be able to love on in all the liberty of the implied subjection .. so I am angry to you, desponding sometimes to you, as well as joyous and hopeful—well, well, I love, at any rate,—do love you with heart and soul, my Ba,—ever shall love you, dearest above all dearness: God bless you!

RB

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole Street.

Postmark: 10FN10 JU15 1846 M.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 206.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 783–784.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. Doubtless letter 2411, to which EBB responds in letters 2412 and 2414.

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