Correspondence

2492.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 170–171.

[London]

Friday. [17 July 1846][1]

It is out of time tonight to write to you, since tomorrow we are to meet—but the letter which did not reach you, has been recoiling on me all day– Perhaps you have it by this time .. an uncomfortable letter, better away from you, notwithstanding all the kindness you speak, about my silence & the effect of that. So I write just a few words– The postoffice was in fault as usual. May it do perfecter duty tomorrow.

Saturday!—our day!– At least if anything should be against it, you shall hear at the door by a note, when you come at three oclock. I have put away my thursday night’s melancholy .. except the repentance of troubling you with it——understand that I have!

Mrs Jameson was here today, & her niece, .. & you, never named; but she is coming another day, she says, to pay me a longer visit. I like her .. I like her. Then, there came another visitor, .. my uncle Hedley, who began, as usual, to talk of Italy—he advises me to go this year—“If you dont go this year, you never will go .. & you ought at once to make an effort, & go”. We talked of places & of ways, & after he had said many words in favour of Pisa, desired, if I went through Paris, that I would pay him a visit—— “Ah,” said I, “uncle Hedley, you are very good to me always, but when that day arrives, you may be inclined perhaps to cast me off.” “Cast you off, Ba,” he cried in the most puzzled astonishment—“why what can you mean? what words to use! Cast you off! now do explain what you mean”. “Ah, no one can tell,” said I musingly. —“Do you mean,” he insisted, “because you will be a rebel & a runaway?” … (laughing!) “no, no—I wont cast you off, I promise you! Only I hope that you may be able to manage it quietly—” &c &c

He is a most amiable man, so gentle & tender:—& fond of me, .. exclusively of the poetry .. I am certain that he never can make out how any one in the world can consent to read my verses. But Ba, as Ba, is a decided favorite of his, beyond all in the house—not that he is a real uncle .. only the husband of my aunt, & caring more for me than both my real uncles,[2] who, each of them, much prefers a glass of claret, .. thank you! The very comparison does me too much honour for either of them– Claret is a holy thing. If I had said half a glass, & mixed it with water, I should have been more accurate by so much.

Now, dearest, dearest, I say goodnight & have done.

I am wholly yours & always–

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

Postmark: 10FN10 JY18 1846 E.

Dockets, in RB’s hand: 227.; + Saturday, July 18 / 3–6. p.m. (78.) [sic, for 79].

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 884–886.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. John Altham Graham-Clarke (1782–1862) and James Graham-Clarke (1791–1859). For biographical sketches see vol. 1, pp. 297 and 299, respectively.

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