Correspondence

2570.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 318–319.

[London]

Monday Morning. [Postmark: 31 August 1846]

Here is dearest Ba’s dearest letter, because the latest, and it is one of her very kisses incorporated & made manifest—so perfectly kind! And should this make me ashamed of perhaps an over-earnestness in what I wrote yesterday?—or not rather justify me to myself and to her—since it was on a passing fear of losing what I hold so infinitely precious, that the earnestness happened! My own Ba, you lap me over with love upon love .. there is my first and proper love, independent of any return, and there is this return for what would reward itself. Do think how I must feel at the most transient suggestion of failure, and parting, and an end to all! You cannot expect I can lie quietly and let my life of life be touched. —And ever, dearest, thro’ the life which I trust is about to be permitted us,—ever I shall remember where my treasure is, and turn as vigilantly when it is approached. Beside, I was not very well, as I told you in excuse– I am much better now. Not that, upon reconsideration, I can alter my opinion on the proper course to take. We know all the miracles wrought in our favor hitherto .. are not the chances (speaking in that foolish way) against our expecting more? To-day is fine, sunny and warm, for instance, and looks as if cold weather were a long way off—but what are these fancies and appearances when weighed against the other possibility of a sudden fall of the year? By six months more of days like this we should gain—nothing, nothing in the world, you confess—by the other misfortune, we lose every thing perhaps.

Will you have a homely illustration? There is a tree against our wall here which produced weeks ago a gigantic apple—which my mother had set her heart on showing a cousin of mine who is learned in fruits and trees. I told her, “you had better pluck it at once—it will fall and be spoiled”– She thought the next day or two would do its cheeks good,—just the next—so there it continued to hang till this morning, when she was about to go out with my sister– I said “now is the time—you are going to my aunt’s—let me pluck you the apple” .. “Oh,” she said “I have been looking at it, trying it,—it hangs so firmly, .. not this time, thank you!” So she went without it, two hours ago—and just now, I turned to the tree with a boding presentiment—there lay our glory, bruised in the dirt, a sad wreck! “Comfort me with apples, for I am sick of love!”[1] Rather, counsel me thro’ apples! Do you see the counsel?

Come, let me not be so ungrateful to the letter, to what you have done for me, as only to speak of what you are disinclined to do. I am very glad you succeeded in going to the chapel, and that the result was so favorable—see how the dangers disappear when one faces them! And the account of Mr Stretton[2] is very interesting, too—besides characteristic—do you see how? Find as great a saint as the world holds, who shall be acknowledged to be utterly disinterested, unbiassed by anything except truth and common justice,—a man of sense as well as piety—and succeed in convincing such an one of our right to do as we purpose,—and then—let him lay the matter before your father!– To no other use than to exasperate him against Mr Stretton, deprive your sister of the privilege of seeing his family, and bring about a little more pain and trouble!

Let me think of something else .. of the happiness you profess to feel—which it makes me entirely happy to know—I will not try and put away the crown you give me. I just say the obvious truth, .. even what I can do to make you happy, according to my ability, has yet to be experienced by you .. if my thoughts and wishes reach you with any effect at present, they will operate freelier when the obstruction is removed .. that is only natural. I shall live for you, for every minute in your life. May God bless me with such a life, as that it may be of use to you .. yours it must be whether of use or not, for I am wholly your RB

Here comes my mother back .. she is a little better to-day. I am much better as I said– And you? Let me get the kiss I lost on Saturday! (I dined at Arnould’s yesterday with Chorley & his brother, & the Cushmans) Chorley goes tonight to Ostend).[3]

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole Street.

Postmark: 8NT8 AU31 1846 O.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 1025–27.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Song of Solomon 2:5.

2. See note 2 in the preceding letter.

3. Placement of parentheses is RB’s own.

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