2528. EBB to RB
As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 233–235.
Thursday. [6 August 1846]
I told you nothing yesterday,—but the interruption left me no time, & the house was half asleep before I had done writing what I was able to write. Otherwise I wanted to tell you that Mrs Jameson had been here .. that she came yesterday, & without having received my note. So I was thrown from my resources– I was obliged to thank her with my voice .. so much weaker than my hand. If you knew how frightened I was! The thunder, the morning before, (which I did not hear, holding your hand!) shook me less, upon the whole. I thanked her at least .. I could do that. And then I said it was in vain .. impossible ..
“Mr Kenyon threw cold water on the whole scheme. But you!– Have you given up going to Italy.”?
I said “no, that I had not certainly”—! I said “I felt deeply how her great kindness demanded every sort of frankness & openness from me towards her,—and yet, that at that moment, I could not be frank—there were reasons which prevented it—. Would she promise not to renew the subject to Mr Kenyon? not to repeat to him what I said? & to wait until the whole should be explained to herself?—”
She promised. She was kind beyond imagination—at least, far beyond expectation. She looked at me a little curiously, but asked no more questions until she rose to go away—— And then——
“But you will go?” “Perhaps—if something unforseen does not happen—” “And you will let me know, when you can,—when everything is settled?” “Yes”. “And you think you shall go?” “Yes”– “And with efficient companionship?” [‘]‘Yes”– “And happily & quietly?–” “Ye .....” I could not say the full “yes” to that!– If it had been utterable, the idea of ‘quiet’ would have been something peculiar. She loosened her grasp of her catechumen, therefore—nothing was to be done with me. I forgot however to tell you that in the earlier part of the discussion she spoke of having half given up her plan of going herself– In her infinite goodness she said, “she seemed to want an object, & it was in the merest selfishness, she had proposed taking me as an object”—. “And if you go even without me, would it not be possible, to meet you on the road?– I shall go to Paris in any case. If you go, how do you go?”
“Perhaps across France—by the rivers.”
“Precisely. That is as it should be. Mr Kenyon talked of a long sea-voyage—”
Now I have recited the whole dialogue to you, I think, except where my gratitude grew rhetorical, as well it might. She is the kindest, most affectionate woman in the world!—& you shall let me love her for you & for me.
As for me, my own dearest, you are fanciful when you say that I do not go out so much, nor look so well. Now I will just tell you—— Henrietta cried out in loud astonishment at me today, desiring Trippy to look at my face, when we were all standing together in this room— “Look at Ba, Trippy!– Did you ever see anyone looking so much better! it really is wonderful, the difference within these few weeks!”—— That’s Henrietta’s opinion!– She quite startled me with crying out .. as if suddenly she had missed my head!– And you!–
Then I have been out in the carriage today, first to Charing Cross, & then to Mr Boyd’s in St John’s Wood– I am as well at this moment as any one in the world. I have not had one symptom of illness throughout the summer—perfectly well, I am. At the same time, being strong is different,—& sometimes for a day or two together, when I do not feel the strongest, it is right to be quiet & not to walk up & down stairs– So as I ‘love Ba’, (quite enough, I assure you!) I am quiet– There’s the only meaning of not going out every day! But the health is perfectly unaffected, I do assure you,—so keep yourself from every vexing thought of me, so far at least– Are you getting frightened for me, my beloved? Do not be frightened, I would not deceive you by an exaggeration, for the sake even of your temporary satisfaction—you may trust what I say.
For the thunder .. if you thought of me during it, as you say, .. why it did me just so much good. Think of me, dearest, in the thunder & out of the thunder,—the longest peal’s worth of your thought would not content me now, because you have made me too covetous.
As to Mr Horne, you write Sordelloisms of him—& you shall tell me your real meaning in a new edition on saturday—— Might your meaning be that I look worse in this room than in the drawing room? <Have you an objection to this room as a room?——> I rub my eyes & look for a little more light—(but cant be more impertinent!—can I?)
So, till Saturday!– Yes, Saturday! Tomorrow there is a clearance of aunts—one going at nine in the morning, & one at five in the afternoon: & uncles & cousins do not stay behind. You are glad, I think—& I, not sorry–
How striking your two stories are!– Wonderful it is to me, when mere worldly reverses affect men so—I cannot comprehend it—I stand musing there. But the sublime sentiment of the melon-seller applies to the griefs I can understand—& we may most of us (called Christians) go to him for his teaching.
May God bless you for me! Your Ba–
(I want to say one word more & so leave the subject– Stormie told me this morning, in answer to an enquiry of mine, that certainly I did not receive the whole interest of the fund-money, .. could not .. making ever so much allowance for the income-tax. And now, upon consideration, I seem to see that I cannot have done so– The Ship-shares are in the ‘David Lyon’, a vessel in the West Indian trade, in which Papa also has shares. Stormie said ‘There must be three hundred a year of interest from the fund-money—even at the low rate of interest paid there.’ Now it would be the easiest thing in the world (as I saw even in today’s newspaper) to have money advanced upon this——only there is a risk of its being known perhaps, which neither of us would at all like–) Burn this.
Address: Robert Browning Esqre / New Cross / Hatcham / Surrey.
Postmarks: PAID 7AU7 1846; 12NN12 AU7 1846 B; 1AN1 AU7 1846 C.
Dockets, in RB’s hand: 241.; + Saturday, Aug 8. / 3/5–6.5/m.p.m. (84) [sic, for 85].
Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 940–942.
Manuscript: Wellesley College.
1. Date provided by postmark.
2. Bracketed passage is interpolated between the lines.
3. This paragraph is on a separate sheet.