2574.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 324–326.


Tuesday– [1 September 1846] [1]

Here is a distress for me, dearest! I have lost my poor Flush—lost him! [2] You were a prophet when you said ‘Take care’.

This morning Arabel & I, & he with us, went in a cab to Vere Street where we had a little business, & he followed us as usual into a shop & out of it again, & was at my heels when I stepped up into the carriage– Having turned, I said ‘Flush’, & Arabel looked round for Flush—there was no Flush! He had been caught up in that moment, from under the wheels, do you understand? & the thief must have run with him & thrown him into a bag perhaps– It was such a shock to me—think of it! losing him in a moment, so! No wonder if I looked white, as Arabel said! So she began to comfort me by showing how certain it was that I should recover him for ten pounds at most, & we came home ever so drearily—. Because Flush does’nt know that we can recover him, & he is in the extremest despair all this while, poor darling Flush, with his fretful fears, & pretty whims, & his fancy of being near me– All this night he will howl & lament, I know perfectly,—for I fear we shall not ransom him tonight. Henry went down for me directly to the Captain of the banditti, who evidently knew all about it, said Henry,—& after a little form of consideration & enquiry, promised to let us hear something this evening, but has not come yet. In the morning perhaps he will come– Henry told him that I was resolved not to give much—but of course they will make me give what they choose– I am not going to leave Flush at their mercy, & they know that as well as I do– My poor Flush!–

When we shall be at Pisa, dearest, we shall be away from the London dog-stealers—it will be one of the advantages– Another may be that I may have an opportunity of “forgiving” you, which I have not had yet. I might reproach you a little in my letter, & I did, I believe; but the offending was not enough for any forgiving to follow—it is too grand a word– Also your worst is better than my best, taking it on the whole– How then should I be able to forgive you, my beloved, even at Pisa?

If we go to Southampton, we go straight from the railroad to the packet, without entering any hotel—and if we do so, no greater expense is incurred than by the long water-passage from London. Also, we reach Havre alike in the morning, & have the day before us for Rouen, Paris, & Orleans. Therefore nothing is lost by losing the early hour for the departure—— Then, if I accede to your ‘idée fixe’ about the marriage!– Only do not let us put a long time between that & the setting out, & do not you come here afterwards—let us go away as soon as possible afterwards, at least– You are afraid for me of my suffering from the autumnal cold when it is yet far off—while I (observe this!) while I am afraid for myself, of breaking down under quite a different set of causes, in nervous excitement & exhaustion. I belong to that pitiful order of weak women who cannot command their bodies with their souls at every moment, & who sink down in hysterical disorder when they ought to act & resist– Now I think & believe that I shall take strength from my attachment to you, & so go through to the end what is before us,—but at the same time, knowing myself & fearing myself, I do desire to provoke the ‘demon’ as little as possible, & to be as quiet as the situation will permit– Still, where things ought to be done, they of course must be done– Only we should consider whether they really ought to be done– Not for the sake of the inconvenience to me, but of the consequence to both of us–

Do I frighten you, ever dearest? Oh no– I shall go through it, if I keep a breath of soul in me to live with– I shall go through it, as certainly as that I love you. I speak only of the accessory circumstances, that they may be kept as smooth as is practicable–

You are not well, my beloved—& I cannot even dream of making you better this time,—because you will think it wise for us not to meet for the next few days perhaps– Mr Kenyon will come to see me, he said, before he leaves town, & he leaves it on the fourth, fifth or sixth of September. This is the first– So I will not let you come to be vexed as last time—no, indeed– But write to me instead——& pity me for Flush. Oh, I trust to have him back tomorrow– I had no headache, & was quite, perfectly well this morning .. before I lost him–

Is your mother able to walk? is she worse on the whole than last week for instance? We may talk of September, but you cannot leave her, you know, dearest, if she should be so ill!—it would be unkind & wrong.

More, tomorrow!– But I cannot be more tomorrow, your very own–

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

Postmark: WQ 2SP2 1846.

Docket, in RB’s hand: 264.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 1031–33.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. This was the third time Flush had been stolen, the two previous occasions being September 1843 and October 1844.


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