Correspondence

2521.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 219–221.

[London]

Monday Mg [Postmark: 3 August 1846]

Oh, the comfort you are to me, Ba—the perpetual blessing and sustainment! And what a piece of you, how instinct with you, this letter is! I will not try to thank you, but my whole life shall.

See! Now talk of “three or four months”! And is not the wonder, that this should wait for the eighty-second visit to happen?[1] Or could anything be more fortunate, more mitigating than the circumstances under which it did happen at last?– The rain & the thunder (see the accounts— nothing like it has been known, for years),—the two hours, at most, proved against us,—the ignorance of the visits last week—in spite of all which, see what comes and is likely to come!

Let me say at once that, at the worst, it may come! You have had time to know enough of me, my Ba,—and I, who from the first knew you, have taken one by one your promises from your lips,—I believe what you write here; I accept it as the foundation of all my future happiness—“you will never fail me”– I will never fail you, dearest dearest.

How you have mistaken my words, whatever they may have been, about the “change” to be expected in my life! I have, most sincerely I tell you, no one habit nor manner to change or persevere in,—if you once accept the general constitution of me as accordant to yours in a sufficient degree,—my incompleteness with your completeness, dearest, —there is no further difficulty. I want to be a Poet—to read books which make wise in their various ways, to see just so much of nature and the ways of men as seems necessary—and having done this already in some degree, I can easily and cheerfully afford to go without any or all of it for the future, if called upon,—and so live on, and “use up,” my past acquisitions such as they are. I will go to Pisa and learn,—or stay here and learn in another way—putting, as I always have down [sic, for done], my whole pride, if that is the proper name, in the being able to work with the least possible materials. There is my scheme of life without you, before you existed for me; prosecuted hitherto with every sort of weakness, but always kept in view and believed in: now then, please to introduce Ba, and say what is the habit she changes? But do not try to say what divinest confirmation she brings to “whatever is good and holy and true”[2] in this scheme, because even She cannot say that! All the liberty and forbearance .. most graceful, most characteristic of you, sweet! But why should I play with you, at taking what I mean to give again?—or rather, what it would be a horror to have to keep—why make fantastic stipulations only to have the glory of not abiding by them? If I may speak of my own desires for a moment unconnected with your happiness,—of what I want for myself, purely,—what I mean by marrying you,—it is, that I may be with you forever– I cannot have enough of you in any other relation: why then should I pretend to make reservations and say “Yes, you shall deprive me of yourself (of your sympathy, of your knowledge, and good wishes, and counsel) on such and such occasions?[”]– But I feel your entire goodness, dear angel of my life,—ever more I feel it, tho’ all seems felt and recorded.

And now of your “chronicling”—of course Mr Kenyon knows—and this is the beginning of his considerate, cautious kindness—he has determined to hurry nothing, interfere abruptly in no case, to make you infer rather than pretend to instruct you—as you must,—for “if the visits of Capt Cook have that appearance &c, must not those of RB &c &c” So, this is not from Chorley’s information, mind, but from his own spectacled acumen

After this, it seems very natural to remark that the Havre packets leave now at nine instead of eight oclock on Thursdays & Sundays—while the departures from Southampton,—are on Tuesdays & Fridays. My presentiment is that suddenly you will be removed to Devonshire or Sussex or— In which case, our difficulties will multiply considerably—be prepared for such events!

And for to-morrow—only think of yourself, lest you should forget my interests: pray write to-night, if but two or three words. If I am allowed to call, I will bring Mrs Butler’s book in a cover, and, if I find a note from you, leave that, as an excuse for the knock. Will you contrive that a note shall be ready—in case of your Aunt’s presence &c. If it saves you from a danger, let me stay away—until the letters stop, I can bear absence till the two months end—any such journey as I apprehend would be most annoying, deplorable indeed.

Would you not, if the worst came,—what would you do?

May God bless you, infinitely bless you, ever dearest dearest,

prays ever your very own RB

Mrs Procter wants me to go to her on Thursday[3]—is there anything to get out of that arrangement? .. probably not—but wish!

Do reconsider, Ba,—had I better stay away to-morrow? You cannot misunderstand me,—I only think of you—any man’s anger to me is Flush’s barking, without the respectability of motive,—but, once the door shut on me, if he took to biting you!– Think for us both! Is there any possibility of a suspicious sudden return because of the facilities of the day?– Or of the servant being desired to mention my visits—or to “deny you”, as unwell &c? All my soul revolts at the notion of a scene in your presence—my own tied tongue, and a system of patience I can well resolve upon, but not be sure of, as experience makes sure.

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole Street.

Postmark: 8NT8 AU3 1846 A.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 245.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 926–928.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Actually, the 83rd visit, which occurred Saturday, 1 August, as noted by RB on the envelope to letter 2516. Since RB misnumbered his 66th visit (see letter 2365, note 4), his numbering of subsequent meetings reflected the error.

2. Cf. Philippians 4:8.

3. As indicated in letter 2527, RB did not “get out of that arrangement.” He was obviously concerned about continued prying from close friends regarding his visits to EBB.

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