Correspondence

2498.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 179–180.

[London]

Tuesday [sic, for Wednesday]. [22 July 1846][1]

How I long, my sweetest Ba, to know whether any heavy price is to be paid for our three hours yesterday,—if your Aunt knew or has discovered since? I shall not murmur in any case, I hope .. they are too delicious, these three-hour visits—and if I could pay for them, by myself, Ba,—what would I not pay?

Will you let me write something, and forgive me? —Because it is, I know, quite unnecessary to be written, and, beside, may almost seem an interference with your own delicacy,—teaching it its duty! However, I will venture to go on, with your hand before my two eyes. Then,—you remember what we were speaking of yesterday,—house-rents and styles of living?– You will never overlook, thro’ its very obviousness, that to consult my feelings on the only point in which they are sensitive to the world, you must endeavour to live as simply and cheaply as possible, down to my own habitual simplicity and cheapness,—so that, you shall come and live with me, in a sense, rather than I with Miss Campbell! You see, Ba, if you have more money than you want, you shall save it or spend it in pictures or parrots or what you please .. you avoid all offence to me who never either saved money nor so spent it—but the large house, I should be forced to stay in,—the carriage, to enter, I suppose. And you see too, Ba, that the one point on which I desire the world to be informed concerning our future life, will be that it is ordered so. I wish they could hear we lived in one room like George Sand in “that happy year”–[2]

No,—there I have put down an absurdity—because, I shall have to confess a weakness, at some time or other, which is hardly reconcileable to that method of being happy– Why may I not tell you now, my adored Ba, to whom I tell everything as it rises in me? Now put the hand on my eyes again—now that I have kissed it: I shall begin by begging a separate room from yours– I could never brush my hair and wash my face, I do think, before my own father: I could not, I am sure, take off my coat before you now—why should I ever? “The Kitchen” is an unknown horror to me,—I come to the dining room for whatever repast there may be,—nor willingly stay too long there,—and on the day on which poor Countess Peppa[3] taught me how maccaroni is made,—then began a quiet revolution, (indeed a rapid one) against “tagliolini”, “fettucce”, “lasagne” etc, etc, etc.—typical, typical!

What foolishness .. spare me, my own Ba, and don’t answer one word,—do not even laugh,—for I know the exceeding, unnecessary foolishness of it!

Chorley has just sent me a note which I will send you because it is most graceful in its modesty—but you must not, if you please, return it to me in an envelope that ought only to hold your own writing,—and so make my heart beat at first, and my brows knit at last! (Toss it into “my room”, at Pisa!!)

Thus it is to be made happy and unwise! Never mind—make me happier still by telling me you are well and have been out, and where, and when, and how—the footsteps of you, Ba, should be kissed if I could follow them–

Bless you, ever dearest, dearest, as yesterday, and always you bless me– I love you with all my heart and soul,—yes, Ba!

Your own, very own RB

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole Street.

Postmark: 8NT8 JY22 1846 O.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 236.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 893–894.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark and RB’s reference to his three-hour visit, which occurred on Tuesday, 21 July (see docket in letter 2494).

2. RB’s allusion is to the year Sand spent with Jules Sandeau in Paris, which she recorded in Lettres d’un voyageur (1834–36).

3. Unidentified.

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