Correspondence

2606.  EBB to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 13, 370–372.

[London]

Tuesday. [15 September 1846][1]

Dearest, you were in the right as usual, & I in a fright as sometimes. I took a mere fancy into my head about your writing to Mr. Kenyon. Today he came, & I did not see him—on the ground of a headache, which though real, was not really sufficient of itself to keep me from seeing him, if I had not distrusted my self-controul—so I did not see him. Tomorrow he goes away. His letters will of course be made to follow him, & we may easily precede the newspapers by a day or two.

As for the advertisements, you quite amuse me by telling me to compose an advertisement. How should I know better than you, dearest, or as well even? All I intermeddle with willingly is the matter of the date—although there is something in what you say about the mystery, & the idea of our being six months married——still it is our disquieted conscience that gives us such thoughts—& when the advertisement appears & the cards come out so very properly, people will not have enough imagination to apprehend a single mystery in the case,—& the omission of the date will not be so singular .. will it? On the other hand I apprehend evil from the date of the marriage being known. One of my brothers may be sent to examine the register, but would not betray the fact in question, I think, to my father: would not, I am certain, willingly give cause for additional irritation against me. But if the date be publicly announced, Papa must know it, & most of my personal friends will be sure to know it. I have written letters & seen people since the twelfth .. Mr Kenyon on sunday, Miss Bordman, on monday. Moreover Papa would be exposed to unpleasant observations—he going everyday among his city friends, & on saturday among the rest– What quantities of good reasons, .. till you are tired of them & me!

Would you put it this way .. At such a church, by such a minister, Robert Browning Esqre of New Cross, author of Paracelsus, to Elizabeth Barrett eldest daughter of Edward Moulton Barrett Esqre of Wimpole Street–[2] Would you put it so? I do not understand really, .. & whether you should be specified as the author of Paracelsus .. but, for me, it ought to be, I think, simply as I have written it. Oh, and I forgot to tell you that what we did on saturday is quite invalid, so that you may give me up now if you like—it is’nt too late. You gave me a wrong name—Moulton is no Christian name of mine. Moulton Barrett is our family name; Elizabeth Barrett, my Christian name– Behold & see!

I will send the list if I can have time tonight, to write it—but the haste, the hurry—do you think, when in your right mind, of getting away this week? Think of the work before us! Next monday is the day fixed for the general departure to a house taken at Little Bookham or Hookham[3] .. what is it? Well—we must think. Tell me when you want me to go. I might go from the new house, perhaps– But you will think, dearest, & tell me. Tell me first, though, how your head continues or begins again .. for I fear that the good news is too sudden to last long—I fear.

Thankful, thankful I shall be when we are gone out of reach of evil, when I shall have heard that my poor dearest Papa, is only angry with me, & not sorry because of me, & that Henrietta & Arabel are not too miserable. They come between me & the thought of you often .. but I do not, for that, love you less—oh no. You are best & dearest in saying what you say—only, observe, there is not any practicable “concession” now for you. All you can do now, is what you will do .. in being tolerant, & gentle, for my sake– My own dearest, I am your Ba.

The list tomorrow–[4]

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

Postmark: 10FN10 SP16 1846 E.

Docket, in RB’s hand: <2>79.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 1077–78.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Date provided by postmark.

2. EBB originally wrote “50 Wimpole Street & Jamaica,” then changed her text to the present reading. A notice of the Brownings’ marriage appeared in several newspapers on Monday, 21 September 1846. The notice in The Times was worded as follows: “[Married:] On Saturday, at St. Marylebone Church by the Rev. Thomas Woods Goldhawk, M.A., Robert Browning, jun., Esq., of New-cross, Hatcham, to Elizabeth Barrett, eldest daughter of Edward Moulton Barrett, Esq., of Wimpole-street.” The announcement in The Morning Chronicle was identical, but The Daily News and The Sun recorded the date of the marriage as 19 September.

3. The household of 50 Wimpole Street was relocated to the Rectory in Little Bookham in Surrey for two months while the house was being redecorated.

4. i.e., of names and addresses for the announcement cards referred to in the preceding letter. The list was sent with letter 2613.

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