2565.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 305–307.


Thursday night [27 August 1846] [1]

Here is the bad news going to you as fast as bad news will go! for you “do really (not) see me tomorrow,” Robert,—there is no chance of it for such ‘too, two’ wise people as we are! In the first place Mr Kenyon never paid his visit today & will do it tomorrow instead:—and secondly, & while I was gloomily musing over this ‘great fact,’ arrives the tiding of my uncle & aunt Hedley’s being at Fenton’s Hotel for two days from this evening .. so that not only friday perishes, but even saturday, unless there should be a change in their plans– We shall have them here continually,—& there would neither be safety nor peace if we attempted a meeting– So let us take patience, dearest beloved, & let me feel you loving me through the distance– It is only for a short time, to bear these weeks without our days in them,—& presently you will have too much of me perhaps,——ah, the ungrateful creature, who stops in the middle of the sentence, thunderstruck in the tenderest part of her conscience! So, instead, I go on to say that certainly I shall be happy with you, as long as my “sitting in the room” does not make you less happy—certainly I shall be happy with you– I thought once that the capacity of happiness was destroyed in me, but you have made it over again,—God has permitted you! And while you love me so .. essentially, as you describe, & apart from supposed & suppositious qualities, .. I will take courage & hope, & believe that such a love may be enough for the happiness of us both—enough for your’s even–

Your father is worthy to be your father, let you call yourself his “unworthy son” ever so– The noblest inheritance of sons, is to have such thoughts of their fathers, as you have of yours– The privilege of such thoughts, the faith in such virtues & the gratitude for such affection—you have better than the silver or the gold, & you can afford to leave those to less happy sons. And your mother:— Scarcely I was a woman when I lost my mother .. dearest as she was, & very tender (as yours even could be,—) but of a nature harrowed up into some furrows by the pressure of circumstances; for we lost more in Her than She lost in life, my dear dearest mother– A sweet, gentle nature, which the thunder a little turned from its sweetness—as when it turns milk– One of those women who never can resist,—but, in submitting & bowing on themselves, make a mark, a plait, within, .. a sign of suffering. Too womanly she was—it was her only fault– Good, good, & dear—& refined too!– She would have admired & loved you,—but I can only tell you so, for she is gone past us all into the place of the purer spirits.– God had to take her, before He could bless her enough.

Now I shall not write any more tonight. You had my note today—the note written this morning? I went out in the carriage, & we drove to one or two shops & up the Uxbridge Road, [2] & I was utterly dull. Shall I not really see you before monday? It seems impossible to bear– Let us hope at any rate, for saturday.

How could such an idea enter your head, pray, as that about selling your copyrights? That would have been travelling at the price of blood,—& I never should have agreed to it. I shall be able to bring you a few pennies, I hope,—only it would not be enough for the journey, what I could bring, under these circumstances of imprisonment– When we are free, we ought to place our money somewhere on the railroads, where the percentage will be better—which will not disturb the simplicity of our way of life, you know, though it will give us more liberty in living.

Now I expect to hear your decision about Mrs Jameson—I expect to hear from you of yourself, though, most & chiefest– Tell me how you are, & how your mother is– Dearest, promise me not to say to your family any foolishness about me—remember what the recoil will be, & understand that I must suffer in proportion to all the overpraises. It quite frightens me to think of it! And then, again, I laugh to myself at your excellent logic of comparison between Miss Campbell & me, .. & how you did not care for walking the bazaars & looking at the dolls with her, .. to the discredit of the whole class of Miss Campbells .. whereas, with me!! &c. No wonder that your father should give you books of logic to study,—books on the ‘right use of reason’, if you do not understand that I am not better than she, except by your loving me better; that the cause is not in her or me, but in you only. Can it indeed be so true that people when they love other people, never see them at all? Yet it seems to me that I see you clearly, discern you entirely & thoroughly—which makes me love you profoundly. But you .. without seeing me at all, you love me .. which does as well, I think. So I am your very own–

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

Postmark: 10FN10 [AU28 1846].

Docket, in RB’s hand: 260.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 1011–13.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. EBB’s reference to RB’s calling himself an “unworthy son” indicates that this letter was written subsequent to and on the same day as letter 2564.

2. Now Bayswater Road.


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