Saturday, March 17, 2012

March 17

March 17, 1846 finds Miss Barrett being fatalistic again. She does not guarantee a happy ending:

"But where, pray, did I say, and when, that 'everything would end well?' Was that in the dream, when we two met on the stairs? I did not really say so I think. And 'well' is how you understand it. If you jump out of the window you succeed in getting to the ground, somehow, dead or alive ... but whether that means 'ending well,' depends on your way of considering matters. I am seriously of opinion nevertheless, that if 'the arm,' you talk of, drops, it will not be for weariness nor even for weakness, but because it is cut off at the shoulder. I will not fail to you,—may God so deal with me, so bless me, so leave me, as I live only for you and shall. Do you doubt that, my only beloved! Ah, you know well—too well, people would say ... but I do not think it 'too well' myself, ... knowing you."

Plus a bit of gossip after the signature:

"Here is a gossip which Mr. Kenyon brought me on Sunday—disbelieving it himself, he asseverated, though Lady Chantrey said it 'with authority,'—that Mr. Harness had offered his hand heart and ecclesiastical dignities to Miss Burdett Coutts."

But Browning is having none of any of that; to him there is no risk, it is written in the stars:

'Out of window' would be well, as I see the leap, if it ended (so far as I am concerned) in the worst way imaginable—I would I 'run the risk' (Ba's other word) rationally, deliberately,—knowing what the ordinary law of chances in this world justifies in such a case; and if the result after all was unfortunate, it would be far easier to undergo the extremest penalty with so little to reproach myself for,—than to put aside the adventure,—waive the wondrous probability of such best fortune, in a fear of the barest possibility of an adverse event, and so go to my grave, Walter the Penniless, with an eternal recollection that Miss Burdett Coutts once offered to wager sundry millions with me that she could throw double-sixes a dozen times running—which wager I wisely refused to accept because it was not written in the stars that such a sequence might never be. I had rather, rather a thousand-fold lose my paltry stake, and be the one recorded victim to such an unexampled unluckiness that half a dozen mad comets, suns gone wrong, and lunatic moons must have come laboriously into conjunction for my special sake to bring it to pass, which were no slight honour, properly considered!—And this is my way of laughing, dearest Ba, when the excess of belief in you, and happiness with you, runs over and froths if it don't sparkle—underneath is a deep, a sea not to be moved. But chance, chance! there is no chance here! I have gained enough for my life, I can only put in peril the gaining more than enough. You shall change altogether my dear, dearest love, and I will be happy to the last minute on what I can remember of this past year—I could do that. Now, jump with me out, Ba! If you feared for yourself—all would be different, sadly different—But saying what you do say, promising 'the strength of arm'—do not wonder that I call it an assurance of all being 'well'! All is best, as you promise—dear, darling Ba!—and I say, in my degree, with all the energy of my nature, as you say, promise as you promise—only meaning a worship of you that is solely fit for me, fit by position—are not you my 'mistress?' Come, some good out of those old conventions, in which you lost faith after the Bower's disappearance, (it was carried by the singing angels, like the house at Loretto, to the Siren's isle where we shall find it preserved in a beauty 'very rare and absolute')—is it not right you should be my Lady, my Queen? and you are, and ever must be, dear Ba. Because I am suffered to kiss the lips, shall I ever refuse to embrace the feet? and kiss lips, and embrace feet, love you wholly, my Ba! May God bless you—

Yes, he was a charming, quick thinking rascal.

1 comment:

  1. Being sick her entire life and having such a father, I bet it was difficult for her not to get fatalistic. RB must realize it, thus taking the time to reassure her every time.