Correspondence

2535.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 247–248.

[London]

Wednesday morning. [Postmark: 12 August 1846]

Shall you pass through this street to Mr Kenyon’s, this evening? I have been sitting here these five minutes, wondering. But no answer is possible now, & if I go to the window of the other room & look up & look down about half past five or a little later, it will be in vain perhaps. Just now I have heard from Mr Kenyon who cannot come today to drive with me though he may come to talk– He does not leave London, he says, so soon as he thought!– More’s the pity. Ah!– What unkind things one learns to write & meditate in this world, even of the dear Mr Kenyons in it!—I am ashamed– Instruct your guardian angel to cover me with the shadow of his wings——dearest!——

Now I will tell you a curious thing which Trippy said to Arabel yesterday while you & I were together. Arabel was walking with her, & she was in one of her ill humours, poor Trippy, sighing & moaning over the wickedness of the people in Wimpole Street—she ‘should go & live at Ramsgate, she thought, as nobody paid her the right attention’—. That’s the intermittent groan, when she is out of humour, poor Trippy. “And besides” said she, “it is much better that I should not go to Wimpole Street at this time when there are so many secrets. Secrets indeed! You think that nobody can see & hear except yourselves, I suppose,—& there are two circumstances going on in the house, plain for any eyes to see! & those are considered secrets, I suppose”. “Oh, Trippy”—interpolated Arabel .. “you are always fancying secrets where there are none.”– “Well, I dont fancy anything now! I know—just as you do–” —Something was said too about “Ba’s going to Italy”. “And, Trippy, do you think that she will go to Italy?”. “Why there is only one way for her to go—but she may go that way. If she marries, she may go–” “And you would not be surprised?”– “I! not in the least– I am never surprised, because I always see things from the beginning– Nobody can hide anything from me”. After which fashion she smoothed the darkness till it smiled, & boasted herself back into a calmer mood– But just observe how people are talking & inferring!– It frightens me to think of it. Not that there is any danger from Trippy. She would as soon cut off her hand, as bring one of us into a difficulty, & me, the last. Only it would not do to tell her,—she must have it in her power to say “I did not know this”,—for reasons of the strongest. To occasion a schism between her & this house, would be to embitter the remainder of her days.

Here is a letter from a lady[1] in a remote district called Swineshead, who sends me lyrical specimens, & desires to know if this be Genius. She does not desire to publish,—at any rate not for an indefinite number of years,—but for her private & personal satisfaction, she would be glad to be informed whether she is a Sappho or George Sand or anything of that kind– What in the world is to be answered, now, to an application of that kind?– To meddle with a person’s opinion of himself or herself, (quite a private opinion) seems like meddling with his way of dressing, with her fashion of putting in pins—like saying you shall put your feet on a stool, or you shant eat pork—it is an interference with private rights, from which I really do shrink– Unfortunately too it is impossible to say what she wants to hear: I am in despair about it– When we are at Pisa we shall not hear these black stones crying after us any more perhaps– I shall listen, instead, to my talking bird & singing tree,[2] & repose from the rest. How did you get home? And tell me of Mr Kenyon’s dinner! So nervous I am about Mr Kenyon, when you or I happen to be en rapport with him.

Not only I loved you yesterday, but even today I love you,—which is remarkable. Tomorrow & tomorrow & tomorrow,[3] what will you do? Is that an ‘offence’? Nay, but it is rather reasonable that when the hour strikes, the fairy-gold should turn back into leaves, & poor Cinderella find herself sitting in her old place among the ashes, just as she had touched the hand of the king’s son.

Dont think I mean anything by that, ever dearest—not so much as to teaze you—Robert!

I only love you today—that is, I love you & do nothing more. And the Fairy Tales are on the whole, I feel, the most available literature for illustration, whenever I think of loving you.

Your own Ba–

Address: Robert Browning Esqre / New Cross / Hatcham / Surrey.

Postmark: 8NT8 AU12 1846 H.

Docket, in RB’s hand: 244.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 955–957.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Unidentified.

2. See letter 2421, note 4.

3. Macbeth, V, 5, 19.

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