Correspondence

2541.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 259–260.

[London]

Sunday. [16 August 1846][1]

No, my own dearest, your letter does not arrive on Saturday but this morning—what then? You will not be prevented from your usual ways of entire goodness to me by that? You will continue to write thro’ the remainder of the writing-time? This one letter reaches me,—if another was sent, it stays back till to-morrow– So I do get a blessing by your endeavour, and am grateful as ever, my own Ba! After all, neither of us loses,—effectually loses—anything—for my letter always comes in its good time,—it is not cast hopelessly away—and do you suppose that you lose any of the gladness and thanks? Rather, you get them doubly—for all along, all thro’ the suspense, I have been (invariably) sure of the deed, when promised, and of the unchanging love, when only expected .. so that when the letter finds me at last, the joy being unaccountably unabated .. do you not see that there is a gain somehow? I told you on Friday that I loved you more at that instant than at any previous time– I will show you why, because I can show you, I think—tho’ it seems at first an irrational word .. for always having loved you wholly, how can I, still only loving you wholly, speak of “more” or “less”– This is why: I used to see you once a week, to sit with you for an hour and a half—to receive a letter, or two, or three, during the week—and I loved you, Ba, wholly, as I say, and reckoned time for no time in the intervals of seeing you and hearing from you. —Now I see you twice in the week, and stay with you the three hours, and have letter on dear letter,—and the distance is, at least, the same, between the days, and between the letters– I will only affirm it is the same—so I must love you more—because if you were to bring me back to the old allowance of you,—the one short visit, the two or three letters,—I should be starved with what once feasted me! (If you do not understand, Flush does!) Seriously, does not that go to prove, I love you more? Increased strength comes insensibly thus,—is only ascertained by such processes of induction .. once you crossed the room to look out Shelley’s age in a book,[2] and were not tired—now you cross London to see the trains arrive, and (I trust) are not tired .. so—you are stronger.

Dearest, I knew your very, very meaning, in what you said of religion, and responded to it with my whole soul—what you express now, is for us both .. those are my own feelings, my convictions beside—instinct confirmed by reason. Look at that injunction to “love God with all the heart, and soul, and strength”[3] and then imagine yourself bidding any faculty, that arises towards the love of him, be still! If in a meeting house, with the blank white walls, and a simple doctrinal exposition,—all the senses should turn (from where they lie neglected) to all that sunshine in the Sistine with its music and painting, which would lift them at once to Heaven,—why should you not go forth?—to return just as quickly, when they are nourished into a luxuriance that extinguishes, what is called, Reason’s pale wavering light, lamp or whatever it is .. for I have got into a confusion with thinking of our convolvuluses that climb and tangle round the rose trees—which might be lamps or tapers![4] See the levity! No—this sort of levity only exists because of the strong conviction, I do believe! There seems no longer need of earnestness in assertion, or proof .. so it runs lightly over, like foam on the top of a wave.

Chorley came and was very agreeable and communicative. You shall tell me more about Mr Mathews and his review. And with respect to his lady-friend,[5] you will see her, I think– But first tell me of Mr Kenyon, and yourself—how you are, and what I am to do,—when to see you–

Now goodbye, my own Ba—“goodbye”! Be prepared for all fantasticalness that may happen! Perhaps some day I shall shake hands with you, simply, and go .. just to remember the more exquisitely where I once was, and where you let me stay now, you dearest, dearest heart of my heart, soul of my soul! But the shaking-hands, at a very distant time! now—let me kiss you, beloved—and so I do kiss you .. 

Ever your own RB

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole Street.

Postmark: 10FN10 AU17 1846 M.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 253.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 968–969.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. See letter 2051, note 3.

3. Cf. Luke 10:27.

4. Cf. Dryden, Religio Laici (1682), lines 1–11.

5. See letter 2538, note 3.

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