Correspondence

2497.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 177–179.

[London]

Wednesday morning [Postmark: 22 July 1846]

I did not go out yesterday, & was very glad not to have a command laid on me to go out, the wind blew so full of damp & dreariness. Then it was pleasanter to lie on the sofa & think of you, which I did, till at last I actually dreamed of you, falling asleep for that purpose. As to Flush, he came up stairs with a good deal of shame in the bearing of his ears, & straight to me——no indeed! I would not speak to him——then he went up to Arabel .. ‘naughty Flush, go away’ .. and Wilson, .. who had whipped him before, ‘because it was right’, she said .. in a fit of poetical justice, .. did not give him any consolation. So he lay down on the floor at my feet looking from under his eyebrows at me—— I did not forgive him till nearly eight oclock however. And I have not yet given him your cakes. Almost I am inclined to think now that he has not a soul. To behave so to you!—— It is nearly as bad as if I had thrown the coffee cup![1] Wicked Flush!—— Do you imagine that I scolded Wilson when she confessed to having whipped him? I did not. It was done with her hand, & not very hardly perhaps, though ‘he cried’, she averred to me—and if people, like Flush, choose to behave like dogs savagely, they must take the consequences indeed, as dogs usually do! And you, so good & gentle to him!– Anyone but you, could have said “hasty words” at least——. I think I shall have a muzzle for him, to make him harmless while he learns to know you. Would it not be a good plan?

But nobody heard yesterday of either your visit or of Flush’s misdoings .. so Wilson was discreet, I suppose, as she usually is, by the instinct of her vocation. Of all the persons who are not in our confidence, she has the most certain knowledge of the truth. Dearest, we shall be able to have saturday. There will be no danger in it.

Perhaps in the days to come we shall look back on these days as covetable things—. Will you do so, because you were loved in them as a beginning, or because you were free? (Am I not as bad as Flush, to ask such questions?) I shall look back on these days gratefully & gladly, because the good in them has overcome the evil, for the first time in days of mine. Yet my position is worse than yours on some accounts—now. Henrietta has had a letter from Capt Surtees Cook who says in it, she says, .. “I hope that poor Ba will have courage to the end”. There’s a generous sympathy! Tell me that there is none in the world!–

Will you let me know how you are? Such a letter you wrote to me on sunday!– Ah!—to be anything to you … what is the colour of ambition afterwards? When I look forwards I can see no work & no rest, but what is for you & in you—. Even Duty seems to concentrate itself into one Debt—dearest!——

Yet it will be a little otherwise perhaps!—not that ever I shall love you otherwise or less– No.

You shall see some day at Pisa what I will not show you now.[2] Does not Solomon say that ‘there is a time to read what is written’.[3] If he does’nt, he ought.

Your very own Ba–

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

Postmark: 6Ev6 JY22 1846 A.

Docket, in RB’s hand: 229.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 891–893.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. EBB is alluding to an anecdote she related at the end of letter 2372.

2. See letter 2493, note 4.

3. Cf. Ecclesiastes 3:1–8.

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