Correspondence

2505.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 190–191.

[London]

Friday. [Postmark: 24 July 1846]

Sweet, sweet, sweet Ba, look to be kissed to-morrow till it hurts you,—punished you ought to be for such a letter! When the ancients were in doubt about a man’s identity (the ancient fathers) they called him “aut Erasmus (or whoever it might be) aut—diabolus!”[1]—no gradation, no mean between best and worst! Or do you think Flush bit me and inoculated me with super-cynical snappishness?– Well, I do think I should not have conducted myself as you consider highly possible,—even if you had made,—let me say at once, the most preposterous of proposals, even that of going without Wilson, or her substitute,—I think and am sure I should, like a rational being, write all the faster to try and get you to reconsider the matter—convinced as I should be that your perfect good sense would, after a few minutes examination, see that I could no more take you away without such assistance than desire you to perform the passage of the Montcénis[2] on foot. Do I not remember that you intended to be thus accompanied even when your sister was to be of the party? But the absolute necessity of what you fancy I may object to .. it is not that, I complain about—but of the strange notion, that whenever Fate shall decree that you say, or do, or think anything, from which I shall be forced to differ,—my proceedings will needs take this fashion and colour—I shall “sulk” and say nothing,—or perhaps turn aside grandly offended and meditative of noble vengeance! Oh, Ba, dearest, dearest beyond all words, come for once and always into the heart which is your own, and see how full it is of you—and, if you say, that does not prevent the head being weak and acting accordingly, I will begin exemplifying the very point I want to convince you of, by at once writing and speaking and by every imaginable means making you know, that the heart does teach the head better than such foolishness—ought to do it, and does do it!

Do you believe me, Ba, my own? Or, what nonsense!– Did you wonder at my letter when it did come? Or did it come? It was duly posted at Deptford– Moreover the “Thursday” at the top was written “Wednesday”—because all day long I was in that error—having been used to see you on Mondays, and to calculate my time by the number of days since I saw you—whence, knowing to my cost that two days had gone by since such an event, I thought what I wrote–

Now kiss me, my very own, for an end to every thing,—your doubt and my impudent making the most of it,—for I do not doubt you, sweetest, truest, best love!

To-morrow brings me to you, Ba, I trust– I will be careful to-day, never fear your

own devoted RB

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole Street, / Cavendish Square.

Postmark: 8NT8 JY24 1846 O.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 238.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 899–900.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. “Either Erasmus or the devil.”

2. An Alpine pass between France and Italy (6,893 ft.). Napoleon ordered the construction of a road over the pass, which was built between 1803 and 1810.

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