Correspondence

2529.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 235–237.

[London]

Friday Mg [Postmark: 7 August 1846]

(First of all, let me tell you that the whole story about that death thro’ grief, madness &c turns out to be a vile fabrication,—false from beginning to end. My mother’s informant, I now find, had derived the knowledge from newspapers also. I hope the other tale, of the Turk, is true at least–)

And now, love, I can go on to say that no letter comes—is it the post’s fault? Yes—I think,—so does your goodness spoil me—you have to tell me about to-morrow, beside—I shall wait hopefully till 2 or 3 o’clock.

Mr Kenyon was there last evening, for all my prognostications—he had already twice passed this place in the course of the day on his way to Lewisham. He soon asked me what I expected—or something that sounded like it—for, in the half whisper of his tone, I can only hope he did not put the question thus “Have you seen Miss Barrett since Saturday,—or have you called today?”– My mind misgives a little—at all events I only answered the last part of the sentence—and now, mark you!– After dinner he proposed that I should go to him on Wednesday, and make one of a party he is organizing. I tried some faint excuse or other– “You know,” interposed he, “you can pay a visit to Wimpole St,—and I shall know and keep away from troubling you”—or words to that effect– I thought it really better to simply (in every sense of the word) smile, and attempt to say nothing. Now I feel sure that if I were to remark “I will call on Mrs Jameson”—for instance—he would say, “So will I, then, if I can”—on that day, rather than any other—unless some special business had been mentioned as the object of my visit. And here is another inconvenience—he will perhaps consider “As he means to call on Wednesday,—there is no reason I should keep away tomorrow—Saturday”– <…>[1]

It will be, however, a justification in his eyes at the end—“he knew her so well, saw so much of her,—who could wonder?”

I sate by a pleasant chatting Jewess Goldsmid,[2] or whatever the name is,—also by Thackeray—and Milnes came in the evening,—yet the dulness was mortal, and I am far from my ordinary self today. I am convinced that general society depresses my spirits more than any other cause. I could keep by myself for a month till I recovered my mind’s health– But you are part or all of that self now,—and would be, were you only present in memory, in fancy. As it is, oh, to be with you, Ba?

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Three oclock—no letter! I will put my own philosophy in practice and be consoled that you are not in any circumstances to justify & require anxiety—not unwell—nor have any fresh obstacles arisen necessarily .. Any alleviations, so long as I am allowed to keep a good substantial misfortune at the end!

Once you said in your very own way .. when I sent you some roses in a box, and no letter with them, “Now I shall write no more to-day, not having been written to!–”[3] I cannot write more—I wi[4] / Ah, Ba, here the letter comes.! and I will wait from reading it to kiss my gratitude to you, you utterly best and dearest![5]—And I repeat my kisses while I write the few words there is time for—what a giver you are of all good things all together. Let me take the best first, not minding ingratitude to the rest, and say yes, tomorrow I will see you—even if Mr Kenyon comes, it will be easy saying—“I cannot go on Wednesday”. Did you manage so well with Mrs Jameson? As for Horne,—why, there may have been Sordelloisms, I dare say– I only meant, “if you look an invalid to him,—he will say so, just when your improved health is my one excuse for the journey and its fatigues—and if you look plainly no longer an invalid” .. oh, I don’t know .. I thought he might talk of that too, and bring in a host! There is the secret, rendered more obscurely perhaps! As for the room, the dearest four walls that I ever have been enclosed by—I only thought of the possible phrase—“Still confined to her room”—or the like—and as,—that is the fact,—I rather understood the whole tone in which you spoke of the circumstance, as of slight dissatisfaction at the notion of the intended visit .. in tuam sententiam discendens,[6] I Sordello-ized!

The words about your health reassure me, beloved! I had no positive fears quite as you suppose .. but I coupled one circumstance with another, do you see, and did get to apprehend what you now show me to be groundless—thank God!

Oh, my time! Bless you ever, ever, beloved!–

your own RB

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole Street.

Postmark: 8NT8 AU7 1846 B.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 248.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 943–945.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. RB wrote and crossed out “for the.”

2. Probably the same Miss Goldsmid mentioned in letter 2402 (see note 5). See also letter 1970, note 4.

3. See letter 1992.

4. RB stopped in the middle of the word, drew the slash, and resumed with a new thought.

5. Here RB drew a curved line, presumably to indicate a lapse of time.

6. “Differing from your opinion.”

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