Correspondence

2578.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 330–331.

[London]

Thursday. [Postmark: 3 September 1846]

I am rejoiced that poor Flush is found again, dearest—altogether rejoiced—

And now that you probably have him by your side, I will tell you what I should have done in such a case, because it explains our two ways of seeing & meeting oppression lesser or greater. I would not have given five shillings on that fellow’s application. I would have said,—and in entire earnestness,—“You are responsible for the proceedings of your gang, and you I mark—don’t talk nonsense to me about cutting off heads or paws—be as sure, as that I stand here and tell you, I will spend my whole life in putting you down, the nuisance you declare yourself—and by every imaginable means I will be the death of you and as many of your accomplices as I can discover—but you I have discovered and will never lose sight of—now try my sincerity, by delaying to produce the dog tomorrow. And for the ten pounds—see!” Whereupon, I would give them to the first beggar in the street. You think I should receive Flushe’s head? perhaps .. so God allows matters to happen! on purpose, it may be, that I should vindicate him by the punishment I would exact.

Observe, Ba, this course ought not to be yours, because it could not be .. it would not suit your other qualities. But all religion, right and justice, with me, seem implied in such a resistance to wickedness, and refusal to multiply it a hundredfold, for from this prompt payment of ten pounds for a few minutes’ act of the easiest villainy, there will be encouragement to .. how many similar acts in the course of next month? And how will the poor owners fare who have not money enough for their dogs’ redemption? I suppose, the gentleman, properly disgusted with such obstinacy, will threaten roasting at a slow fire to test the sincerity of attachment! No—the world would grow too detestable a den of thieves & oppressors that way!

And this is too great a piece of indignation to be expressed when one has the sick vile headache that oppresses me this morning, dearest—I am not inclined to be even as tolerant as usual– Will you be tolerant, my Ba, and forgive me—till tomorrow at least—when, what with physic, what with impatience, I shall be better one way or another?

Ever your own

RB

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole Street.

Postmark: 8NT8 SP3 1846 A.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 1037–38.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

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