2531. RB to EBB
As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 240–242.
Sunday. [9 August 1846]
Just now I tore the few words I had begun of the letter to you, Ba—they all went away, strangely afar from the meaning begun in them, thro’ my mind taking up the thought that you were “waiting” for what I should write—“waiting all day”—and ready to call the poor joyful service of love, “goodness” in me! When such thoughts arise, I am not fit to pay even that imperfect service. I have only arms to receive you, kisses to give you—the words seem too cold, indeed! I sincerely believe this, I am to write now, will be the shorter because of the intervention of you,—and that, like Flush, I shall behave best when not looked at too much!
Then, in our life,—what I do earnestly in intention and from love of you, that you will always accept and make the best of! How happy you make me, now and ever—in the present happiness is the assurance of the future’s even greater happiness, I am obliged to believe! It seemed like a dream as I walked home last night and thought of all over again, after a few hours’ talk with my old friends on subjects from which you were excluded, and of a kind that brought my former feelings back again,—so as to be understood, at least, and recognized as mine—“all which is changed now,” I thought going home in the moonlight. Chorley was apprized of my being there and came good-naturedly—and we discussed delinquencies political and literary: he says, times were never so bad as now—people come without a notion of offending a critic, and offer him money—“will you do this for so much”—praise this or blame this! He was in a bad humour, he said,—at least teazed and tired—and really looked both, so that I asked “had you not better throw away a day on our green dulness at Hatcham, strolling thro’ it with me?”– “Yes—this day next week, if you like”—he answered at once .. so that our Saturday will be gone .. so that our Tuesday must be secured, my own Ba, and after it the Friday, at an equal interval of time—do you let it be so? Saturday would seem to be his only available day, poor Chorley—he walked thro’ the park with me and over the Bridge, at one in the morning—in return for my proving, (I don’t quite think that, however!)—proving, to Arnould’s great satisfaction at least, that Mr Horne was a poet, and moreover a dramatic one,—Chorley sees no good in him beyond talent with an abundance of “crochets,” and “could not read Orion for his life”– I proved another thing too—that Forster was not a whit behind his brethren of the faculty, in literary morals—that the Examiner, named, was quite as just and good as another paper, unnamed. Whereat Chorley grew warm and lost his guard, and at last,—declaring I forced him into corners and that speak he must,—instanced the Examiner’s treatment of myself as not generous .. Luria having been noticed as you remember a week after the publication, and yet, or never, to be reviewed in the Unnamed!—Ces Misères!
A fortnight ago when Rachel played in Andromaque “for the last time”—Sarianna & I agreed that if she did ever play again in it, we would go and see .. and lo, contrary to all expectation she does repeat Hermione to morrow night, and we are to go– And you, Ba, you cannot go—ought I to go? One day, one not distant day, and “cannot” will apply to us both—now, it seems to do me good, with the crowd of its suggestions, this seeing Rachel,—beside, Sarianna has just this only opportunity of going–
I am anxious to let the folly of that person spend itself unaggravated by any notice of mine. I mean to you,—any notice which should make you think it—(the folly)—affected me as well as you—but I do trust you will not carry toleration too far in this case, nor furnish an ungenerous, selfish man with weapons for your own annoyance—“insolent letters” you ought to put up with from no one—and as there is no need of concealment of my position now, I think you will see a point when I may interfere: always rely on my being quietly firm, and never violent nor exasperating: you alluded to some things which I cannot let my fancy stop upon. Remember you are mine, now,—my own, my very own. I know very well what a wretched drunkenness there is in that sort of self-indulgence—what it permits itself to do, all on the strength of its “strong feeling[”] “earnestness”—stupid execrable sophistry as it is! I have too a strong belief that the man who would bully you, would drop into a fit at the sight of a man’s uplifted little finger. Can this person be the “old friend in an ill humour” who followed me up stairs one day? I trust to you—that is the end of all–
Now I will kiss you, my own Ba, and wait for my letter and then, Tuesday. Dearest, I am your own, your very own
Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole Street.
Postmark: 10FN10 AU10 1846 M.
Docket, in EBB’s hand: 249.
Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 945–947.
Manuscript: Wellesley College.
1. Date provided by postmark.
2. i.e., The Athenæum, for which Chorley was a contributor, principally as a music and literary critic.
3. “Such wretchedness.” Forster’s review of Luria appeared in The Examiner of 25 April; for the complete text, see vol. 12, pp. 384–387. The Athenæum never reviewed Luria.
4. The Athenæum of 25 July (no. 978, p. 769) called her performance in Andromaque, the part “in which she has won her finest laurels.” The Times for 10 August 1846 noted that “this evening (Monday) the eminent tragedienne, will perform (by desire, and for the last time) in Racine’s celebrated Tragedie of Andromaque.”
5. RB’s remarks in this paragraph refer to George Barrett Hunter. For the reference to “insolent letters,” see the opening of letter 2293. In that same letter EBB calls Hunter “a Chiappino,” and says that she won’t tell him “the other name.”
6. See the penultimate paragraph in letter 2007.