And so on February 11, 1846 Browning begins by trying to sort out the 'plague' situation but finds it is easier to turn on the charm with a story:
"...yesterday morning as I turned to look for a book, an old fancy seized me to try
the 'sortes' and dip into the first page of the first I chanced upon, for my
fortune; I said 'what will be the event of my love for Her'—in so many words—and
my book turned out to be—'Cerutti's Italian Grammar!'—a propitious source of
information ... the best to be hoped, what could it prove but some assurance
that you were in the Dative Case, or I, not in the ablative absolute? I do
protest that, with the knowledge of so many horrible pitfalls, or rather spring
guns with wires on every bush ... such dreadful possibilities of stumbling on
'conditional moods,' 'imperfect tenses,' 'singular numbers,'—I should have been
too glad to put up with the safe spot for the sole of my foot though no larger
than afforded by such a word as 'Conjunction,' 'possessive pronoun—,' secure so
far from poor Tippet's catastrophe. Well, I ventured, and what did I find?
This—which I copy from the book now—'If we love in the other world as
we do in this, I shall love thee to eternity'—from 'Promiscuous Exercises,'
to be translated into Italian, at the end."
And watch as he rolls over agreeing with her on 'Luria'.
"Domizia is all wrong; I told you I knew that her special colour had faded,—it
was but a bright line, and the more distinctly deep that it was so narrow. One
of my half dozen words on my scrap of paper 'pro memoria' was, under the 'Act
V.' 'she loves'—to which I could not bring it, you see! Yet the play
requires it still,—something may yet be effected, though.... I meant that she
should propose to go to Pisa with him, and begin a new life. But there is no
hurry—I suppose it is no use publishing much before Easter—I will try and
remember what my whole character did mean—it was, in two words,
understood at the time by 'panther's-beauty'—on which hint I ought to have
spoken! But the work grew cold, and you came between, and the sun put out the
fire on the hearth nec vult panthera domari!
(Neither wants to be a tamed panther!)
For the 'Soul's Tragedy'—that will surprise you, I think. There is no
trace of you there,—you have not put out the black face of it—it is all
sneering and disillusion—and shall not be printed but burned if you say
the word—now wait and see and then say! I will bring the first of the two parts
All this agreeing with her is going to wear on her (and eventually on him.) But in February 1846 it is rather nice to be respected by a great poet.