2579.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 331–332.


Thursday afternoon. [3 September 1846] [1]

When I had finished that letter this morning, dearest dearest,—before I could seal it, even, (my sister did it for me, and despatched it to the post at once) [2] I became quite ill & so sick as to be forced to go upstairs and throw myself on the bed—it is now six o clock, and I feel better, and have some thoughts of breaking my fast to-day—but first of all .. did whatever it may have been I wrote, seem cross—unnecessarily angry, to you, dearest Ba? Because, I confess to having felt indignant at this sample of the evils done under the sun every day … and as if it would be to no purpose though the whole world were peopled with Ba’s, instead of just Wimpole St,—as they would be just so many more soft cushions for the villainously-disposed to run pins into at their pleasure– Donne says that “weakness invites, but silence feasts oppression”. [3] And it is horrible to fancy how all the oppressors in their several ranks, may if they choose, twitch back to them by the heartstrings after various modes the weak & silent whose secret they have found out. No one should profit by those qualities in me, at least—having formed a resolution, I would keep it, I hope, thro’ fire & water, and the threatener of any piece of rascality, who (as commonly happens) should be without the full heart to carry it into effect, should pay me exactly the same for the threat .. which had determined my conduct once & forever. But in this particular case, I ought to have told you (unless you divined it, as you might,) that I would give all I am ever to be worth in the world, to get back your Flush for you .. for your interest is not mine, any more than the lake is the river that goes to feed it,—mine is only made to feed yours– I am yours, as we say—as I feel more and more every minute.

Are you not mine, too? And do you not forgive your own RB?

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole Street.

Postmark: 10FN10 SP4 1846 M.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 1038–39.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. Parenthetical passage is interpolated above the line.

3. The Progresse of the Soule (1601), line 250.


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