2503. EBB to RB
As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 188–189.
Thursday evening. [23 July 1846]
No letter for me tonight! not a word!– Perhaps the post is sinning again– If so, I shall hear tomorrow morning, if not .. may it be anything rather than that you are more unwell than usual! anything!
There is not much to say on my part– I had a letter from Miss Mitford this morning, & she encloses to me .... you will not guess what!—a lyric of the ubiquitous Bennett—the ‘mignionette’. Are you not amused? That’s the way to “agitate” for readers & praisers. She sees something in Bennett– He is to be “heard of in our literature”. She shed tears over the mignionette, herself!——
Your portrait of Victor Hugo, I like less & less——there is something ignoble in the face—& even the forehead is rather big than large. He does not ‘look like a poet’ in any case—now does he?
Dearest, did I annoy you .. frighten you, .. about Wilson yesterday? Did that prevent you from writing to me today——if really you did not write to me today? It yet was the merest question, .. I wished you to understand——the merest question for a yes or a no—and I shall not mind, however you may answer, be certain. I have been thinking today that it would be possible enough to leave a direction which might supply everything, & so escape inflicting the injury apprehended—yes, and as for myself, I shall manage perfectly– Observe how I pinned your coat, miraculously pricking you at the same moment. I shall do for myself & by myself, as well as possible. And therefore, judge, speak your thoughts out to the purpose & without drawback. I shall always feel to thank you for speaking the truth, even where it goes against me– But this will not go against me, however you speak it, .. understand.
And as for what my sisters think, it is nothing to the purpose. Say your ‘no’, & they never shall hear it .. I will avoid the subject from henceforth, with them .. that is all.
And take care of Mr Kenyon tomorrow. I feel afraid of Mr Kenyon. But take care of yourself most—look well that you never let me do, in the least or greatest matter, what would seem better undone hereafter– Not in the least, not in the greatest. For me if I am to be thought of, remember that you kill me, if you suffer me to injure you. That is for me.
See how I exhort people who do not write to me!. Ah no! It must be the post’s fault. You could not be very much vexed with me, I think, for a mere proposal about Wilson. And the rest of my letter was all made up of assent & agreement– You could not be vexed about Wilson—— And you shall not be ill, because I cannot bear to think of it– Which, dearest, is a good reason & irrefragable.
The Hedleys dine here, & others– I hear the voices & the laughing. I wish I could, your voice, as near. May God bless you .. bless you!–
Your own Ba–
Address: Robert Browning Esqre / New Cross / Hatcham / Surrey.
Postmark: 10FN10 JY24 1846 B.
Dockets, in RB’s hand: 231.; + Saturday, July 25. / 3–6 p.m. (80.) [sic, for 81].
Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 898–899.
Manuscript: Wellesley College.
1. Date provided by postmark.