Local

2520.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 218–219.

[London]

Sunday. [2 August 1846] [1]

What can I tell you, ever dearest, while I am expecting all you are to tell me? I will not conjecture, nor be afraid (for you) before the time– I felt your dear hand press mine closer while the thunder sounded—so it will always be, I know, in life, in death—and when a thunder shall break, of a kind that I can fear, I will hold your hand, my Ba– Perhaps there is nothing formidable here .. indeed there can hardly be. Tell me all– I got to your Hodgson’s, [2] waited a few minutes till a cab passed, and then was properly deposited at the Haymarket– The streets, at least the roads out of Town, were flooded,—very canals. Here, at home, our skylight was broken,—and our chimneys behaved just as yours–

And now—shall I see you really on Tuesday after this Saturday of perils? And how will your head be,—your health in general be, you sweetest Ba? Is it the worse for the storm and the apprehension,—to say nothing of what may have followed? Oh, if but a “sign” might be vouchsafed me—if I might go to Wimpole street presently, and merely know,—by the disposition of a blind or of a shutter, that you were better, or no worse! I ought to have contrived something of the kind yesterday—but “presence of mind”!

Ba, I have been reading those poems [3] —now to speak soberly,—I had no conception, Mrs Butler could have written anything so mournfully mediocre .. to go as near flattery as I can– With the exception of three or four pieces respectable from their apparent earnestness, all that album-writing about “sprites,” and the lily-bell, and “wishes”,—now to be dead and now alive,—descriptions without colour, songs without tune,—why, Bennet towers above it! Either Bennet—for the one touch you recorded, [4] “I will not be forgot”!—seems grandly succinct contrasted with

 

Yet not in tears remembered be my name—

Weep over those ye loved: for me, for me,

Give me the wreath of glory and let fame

Over my tomb spread immortality! [5]

 

How many of these unfortunate Sundays are in store for me, I wonder—eight or nine, then the two months .. “when constant faith and holy hope shall die,[”] [6] one lost in certainty and one in the deep, deep joy of the ever present ever dearest Ba! Oh, Ba, how I love you!

Your own RB

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole Street.

Postmark: 10FN10 AU3 1846 A.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 244.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 925–926.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. The bookseller in Great Marylebone Street (see letter 2384, note 1).

3. Poems (1844) by Frances Anne Butler.

4. See letter 2333, note 5.

5. Butler, “A Wish,” lines 9–12.

6. We have been unable to trace the source of this quotation.

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