2600.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 360–362.


Sunday Afternoon. [13 September 1846] [1]

Thank you a thousand times for the note, my own Ba– I welcomed it as I never yet welcomed even your notes; entirely kind to write, and write so! Oh, I know the effort you made, the pain you bore for my sake! I tell you, once and forever, your proof of love to me is made .. I know your love, my dearest dearest: my whole life shall be spent in trying to furnish such a proof of my affection,—such a perfect proof,—and perhaps vainly spent—but I will endeavour with God’s help. Do you feel what I mean, dearest? How you have dared and done all this, under my very eyes, for my only sake? I believed you would be capable of it– What then? What is a belief? My own eyes have seen—my heart will remember!

Dearest, nothing needs much trouble you further: take your own time and opportunity. I confide in your judgment—(for I am not going to profess confidence in you!)—I am sure you will see and act for the best. My preparations are made; I have only to wait your desires. I will not ask to see you, for instance—though of course a word brings me as usual to you—your will is altogether my will.

The first obvious advantage of our present relation, I will take. You are mine—your generosity has given to me my utmost claim upon your family—so far as I am concerned, putting aside my sympathy with you, there is nothing more they can give me: so, I will say, perhaps a little less reservedly than I could have brought myself to say before, that there is no conceivable submission I will refuse, nor possible satisfaction I will hesitate to make to those feelings I have been forced to offend, if by any means I may preserve, for you, so much of their affection as you have been accustomed to receive; I do not require anything beyond toleration for myself .. I will cheerfully accept as the truest kindness to me, a continuance of kindness to you. You know what I would have done to possess you:—now that I do possess you, I renew the offer, to you .. judge with what earnest purpose of keeping my word! I do not think .. nor do you think .. that any personal application, directly or by letter, would do any good—it might rather add to the irritation we apprehend: but my consent is given beforehand to any measure you shall ever consider proper. And your father may be sure that while I adore his daughter it will be impossible for me, under any circumstances, to be wanting in the utmost respect for, and observance of, himself. Understand, with the rest, why I write this, Ba. To your brothers and sisters I am bound for ever,—by every tie of gratitude; they may acquiesce more easily .. comprehending more, perhaps, of the dear treasure you are, they will forgive my ambition of gaining it. I will write to Mr Kenyon. You will probably have time to write all the letters requisite.


Do not trouble yourself with more than is strictly necessary—you can supply all wants at Leghorn or Pisa– Let us be as unencumbered with luggage as possible.

What is your opinion about the advertisements? If our journey is delayed for a few days, we had better omit the date, I think. And the cards? I will get them engraved if you will direct me. The simplest form of course:—and the last (or among the last) happens to be also the simplest—consisting merely of the words “Mr & Mrs R.B” on one card—with the usual “at home” in a corner. How shall we manage that, by the way? Could we put “In Italy for a year”? There is precedent for it—Sir—Fellowe’s,—(what is the traveller’s name?—) [2]  his were thus subscribed– By which means we should avoid telling people absolutely, that they need never come and see us. Choose your own fashion, my Ba, and tell me how many you require–

I only saw my cousin for a few minutes afterward—he came up in a cab immediately—he understood all there was need he should. You to be “uncourteous” to anybody! No, no—sweetest! But I will thank him as you bid, knowing the value of Ba’s thanks! For the prying penny a liners .. why, trust to Providence—we must! I do not apprehend much danger .. [3]

Dearest, I woke this morning quite well—quite free from the sensation in the head– I have not woke so, for two years perhaps—what have you been doing to me?

My father & mother & sister love you thoroughly– My mother said this morning, in my room, “If I were as I have been, I would try and write to her”– I said, “I will tell her what I know you feel.” She is much better (—I hear her voice while I write .. below the open window)[.] Poor Pritchard came home from the country on Friday night—late—and posted here immediately—he was vexed to be made understand that there was some way in which he might have served me and did not. It was kind, very kind of Wilson.

I will leave off—to resume tomorrow. Bless you, my very own, only Ba—my pride, and joy, and utter comfort. I kiss you and

am ever your own RB

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole Street.

Postmark: 10FN10 SP14 1846 H.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 1066–68.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. Charles Fellows (1799–1860), archæologist and traveller, had married Eliza Hart on 25 November 1845 at Nottingham.

3. RB has crossed out three words, the last two being “for one.”


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