Correspondence

2507.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 194–196.

[London]

Sunday. [26 July 1846][1]

Mr Kenyon said nothing,—except a few words at dinner about the mistake of Talfourd, to Forster,[2]—nothing whatever, tho’ we sate together and talked for some time before the arrival of the company. And all that I heard about Mrs Jameson, was her return to Ealing and some wish she meant to express in a letter, of seeing me there. So you will have to tell me and tell me, dearest, when you know anything—to day perhaps.

My own Ba, do not refer to what we spoke of– The next vile thing to the vilest is, being too conscious of avoiding that,—painfully, ostentatiously, protesting and debating—only it seemed absolutely necessary to say thus much at some time, and early:—now it is done with,—you understanding what I expect at your hands.

Mr Longman was of the party yesterday—speaking of Haydon, he remarked on his omitting to mention in the list of his creditors, “the House”—to which he owed about £100, being the loss consequent on publishing his “Book”—the Lectures,[3] I suppose: then, in a break, he said, in answer to a question from Forster, that the Book in question had gone into a second edition but—“oh, no—the author had received nothing for it!”—and lost the money, poor fellow, besides! Is not that inexplicable to all save Booksellers? Also, what would be his need for another person’s intermediation with the Longmans since he knew them so well and so long!

I hope there is nothing to prevent our meeting on Tuesday– Do you think I am any longer able to appreciate properly the additional gift of the day in the week? I only know that I do not see you now, my Ba—and I feel as if I were .. the words must not be written! I need all of you,—utterly dearest dearest that you are! My next day, my “Sunday” is the forlornest imaginable. I never wasted time (in the worldly sense of not working in it) as at present,—I read books and at the turning of every page go back again for shame .. the words only before the eyes, the thoughts of you before the mind.

I found a new litter of poetry in a letter of our indefatigable Bennett,—the happy man! By the way (a very roundabout one,) someone mentioned yesterday as an agreeable, or at least characteristic trait in Sydney Smith, that after dinner, or during dinner, he would occasionally pour water down, or up, as we say, his coat sleeves, for coolness’ sake; nobody made a remark—nor spoke of such a feat’s disqualifying its performer from going into good society– Now do you remember poor Horne and the Censorship of his Manners? Were not his more rational libations found abominable? See the association– Bennett—Miss Mitford—Horne![4] But I cannot write sensibly to day, nor insensibly, which would be more amusing perhaps– I can only know I am—here, on Sunday!—and whatever the pen may force itself to put down, my one thought is, that you are not here. Tomorrow I shall hear, and get fresh strength in the anticipation of Tuesday,—if the letter tells me you are well—the “headache for two days”,—tell me, my own Ba!

Bless you, ever best and dearest–

RB

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

Postmark: 10FN10 JY27 1846 A.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 239.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 904–905.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. i.e., Talfourd’s implication that EBB and Haydon were more intimately acquainted than was actually the case; see letter 2473.

3. The first volume of Haydon’s Lectures on Painting and Design had been published by Longman’s in 1844, the second volume was issued only a few weeks before Haydon’s suicide.

4. RB’s association of Bennett with Miss Mitford is a response to EBB’s comments in letter 2503.

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