Correspondence

2576.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 327–330.

[London]

Wednesday evening– [2 September 1846][1]

“Our friend & follower, that was to be”——is that, then, your opinion of my poor darling Flush’s destiny—? Ah—I should not have been so quiet if I had not known differently & better—. I “shall not recover him directly”, you think!– But, dearest, I am sure that I shall. I am learned in the ways of the Philistines. I knew from the beginning where to apply & how to persuade– The worst is poor Flush’s fright & suffering– And then, it is inconvenient just now to pay the ransom for him– But we shall have him tomorrow if not tonight. Two hours ago the chief of the Confederacy came to call on Henry & to tell him that the “society had the dog”, having done us the honour of tracking us into Bond Street & out of Bond Street into Vere Street where he was kidnapped– Now he is in White Chapel—(poor Flush)– And the great man was going down there at half past seven to meet other great men in council & hear the decision as to the ransom exacted, & would return with their ultimatum. Oh, the villainy of it, is excellent, & then the humiliation of having to pay for your own vexations & anxieties!– Will they have the insolence, now, to make me pay ten pounds, as they said they would? But I must have Flush, you know– I cant run any risk, & bargain & haggle– There is a dreadful tradition in this neighbourhood, of a lady, who did so, having her dog’s head sent to her in a parcel– So I say to Henry,—“Get Flush back, whatever you do”—for Henry is angry as he may well be, & as I should be if I were not too afraid, .. & talks police-officers against the thieves, & finds it very hard to attend to my instructions & be civil & respectful to their Captain. There, he found him, smoking a cigar in a room with pictures! They make some three or four thousand a year by their honorable employment– As to Flush’s following anyone “blandly,” never think it! He was caught up & gagged .. depend upon that. If he could have bitten, he would have bitten—if he could have yelled, he would have yelled. Indeed on a former occasion the ingenuous thief observed, that he “was a difficult dog to get, he was so distrustful”. They had to drag him with a string, & put him into a cab, they said, before. Poor Flush!–

Dearest, I am glad that your mother is a little better—but why should the ‘turn of the year’ make you suffer, ever dearest? I am not easy about you indeed– Remember not to use the showerbath injudiciously—& remember to walk—do you walk enough? it being as necessary for you as for your mother.

And as for me, you will not say a word more to me, you will leave me to my own devices, now—

—Which is just exactly what you must not do– Ah, why do you say so, even, when you must not do it? Have I refused one proposition of yours where there were not strong obstacles, that you should have finished with me so, my beloved? For instance, I agreed to your plan about the marrying—and I agreed to go with you to Italy in the latter part of September—did I not? And what am I disagreeing in now? Dont let me pass for disagreeable! And dont, above all, refuse to think for me & decide for me, or what will become of me, I cannot guess:—I shall be worse off than Flush is now .. in his despair, at Whitechapel– Think of my being let loose upon a common, just when the thunderclouds are gathering! You would not be so cruel, you. All I meant to say was that it would be wise to make the occasions of excitement as few as possible, for the reasons I gave you– But I shall not fail, I believe– I should despise myself too much for failing– I should lose too much by the failure– Then there is an amulet which strengthens the heart of one,—let it incline to fail ever so. Believe of me that I shall not fail, dearest beloved– I shall not, if your love for me is enough to stand by—believe that always–

The heart will sink indeed sometimes .. as mine does tonight I scarcely know why .. but even while it sinks, I do not feel that I shall fail so– I do not–

Dearest, I do not, either, “misconceive”, as you desire me not: I only infer that you will think it best to avoid the chance of meeting Mr Kenyon, who speaks to me, in a note received this morning, of intending to leave town next monday. Of coming here he does not speak,—& he may come & he may not come, on any intermediate day. He wrote for a book he lent me—. If I do not see you until monday, it will be hard—but judge!—there was more of bitterness than of sweetness in the last visit–

Mr Kenyon said in his note that he had seen Moxon, & that Tennyson was ‘disappointed’ with the mountains–[2] Is not that strange? Is it a good or a bad sign when people are disappointed with the miracles of nature? I am accustomed to fancy it a bad sign. Because a man’s imagination ought to aggrandize, glorify, consecrate– A man sees with his mind, & the mind is at fault when he does not see greatly, I think–

Moxon sent a civil message to me about my books ‘going off regularly’—

And now I must go off .. it is my turn. Do you love me tonight, dearest? I ask you, .. through the air– I am your very own Ba–

Say how you are, I beseech you—and tell me always & particularly of your mother.

They are all, here, gone to a picnic at Richmond—.

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

Postmark: 10FN10 SP3 1846 A.

Docket, in RB’s hand: 265.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 1034–37.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. As previously noted in letter 2486 (note 4), Tennyson and Moxon had departed for the Continent on 2 August. In a letter to Edward Fitzgerald on 12 November [1846], Tennyson wrote of Mont Blanc that “The glance I gave did not by any means repay me for the toil of travelling to see him. … I was satisfied with the size of crags: but mountains, great mountains, disappointed me. I couldn’t take them in, I suppose, crags I could” (Tennyson, 1, 264).

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