2582. EBB to RB
As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 338–339.
Friday. [4 September 1846]
You best! Was ever any in the world, in any possible world, so perfectly good & dear to another as you are to me!– Ah!—if you could know how I feel to you, when you write such words as came to me this morning—Dearest! It ends in that, all I can say. And yet I must say besides that the idea of ‘crossness’, of hardness, never came to me, for one moment, from the previous letter– I just shook my head & thought how you would not act it out, if you had a Flush—. Upon which I could not follow out my argument to myself, through thinking that you were ill.
You are better now, Robert, & you promise to take care of the dinner, where you should not go if I were near you– I should be “afraid of you” far too much to let you, indeed! Such a wrong thing that dinner is .. as wrong as any dogstealer in his way .. drawing you out just when you ought to be at home & quiet, if not “abstinent”. When did I ever tell you to be abstinent, pray? You are too much so, it seems to me, in general—: and to pass the whole of that day without eating!– How unwell you must have been, dearest! How I long to see you & ascertain that you look tolerably well! How very, very happy I should be, to be able to look at you tomorrow. But no, no! Mr Kenyon does not come, & we must be wise, I suppose, & wait till the ground is clear of him, which will not be till monday. Probably he will visit me on sunday—but the chance of saturday is like the hat on a pole in gardens, set there to frighten away the birds– Still they may sing on the other side of the wall, not to be too far from the cherries & the hope of them. Monday surely will be a clear day– Unless Mr Kenyon shall put off his journey just to despite us—who shall say?
I have not Flush yet. I am to have him tomorrow morning–
And for the Flush-argument, dear dearest, I hold that your theory is entirely good & undeniable. I agree with you throughout it, praising Mahomet, praising Hampden, & classing the Taylors, Gregorys & Spanish banditti all together. Also I hope I should try, at least, to resist with you their various iniquities—&, for instance, I do not think that any Gregory in the world, would draw a shilling from me, by a threat against my character– I should dare that, oh, I am confident I should—the indignation would be far the stronger, where I myself only was involved. And even in the imaginary Chiappino-case, the selfish & dastardly threat would fall from me like a child’s arrow from steel. I believe so–
But Flush, poor Flush, Flush who has loved me so faithfully,—have I a right to sacrifice him in his innocence, for the sake of any Mr Taylor’s guilt in the world? Does not Flush’s condition assimilate to my own among the banditti?—for you agree that you would not, after all, leave me to the banditti—& I, exactly on the same ground, will not leave Flush. It seems to me that you & I are at one upon the whole question,—only that I am your Flush, & he is mine. You, if you were ‘consistent’ .. dearest! .. would not redeem me on any account– You do ever so much harm by it, observe—you produce catastrophe on catastrophe, just for the sake of my two ears without earrings!– Oh, I entirely agree with your principle– Evil should be resisted that it may fly from you–
But Flush is not to be sacrificed—nor even is Ba, it appears– So our two weaknesses may pardon one another—yours & mine!
Some dog, shut up in a mews somewhere behind this house, has been yelling & moaning today & yesterday– How he has made me think of my poor poor Flush, I cannot tell you—“Think of Flush” he seemed to say.
Yes!– A blow in the street! I wish somebody would propose such a thing to me, in exchange! I would have thanked Mr Taylor himself for striking me down in the street, if the stroke had been offered as an alternative for the loss of Flush– You may think it absurd—but when my dinner is brought to me, I feel as if I could not (scarcely) touch it—the thought of poor Flush’s golden eyes is too strong in me–
Not a word of your mother– She is better, I trust! And you .. may God keep you better, beloved!– To be parted from you so long, teaches me the necessity of your presence– I am your very, very own–
I was out today—driving along the Hampstead Road. What weather!
Address: Robert Browning Esqre / New Cross / Hatcham / Surrey.
Postmark: 10FN10 SP5 1846 B.
Docket, in RB’s hand: 267.
Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 1045–46.
Manuscript: Wellesley College.
1. Date provided by postmark.