Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26

March 26, 1846 finds Browning in a frustrated mood, perhaps having to parry one too many thrusts from Miss Barrett's pen:

"You dwell on that notion of your being peculiarly isolated,--of any kindness to you, in your present state, seeming doubled and quadrupled--what do I, what could anyone infer from that but, most obviously, that it was --a very fortunate thing for such kindness, and that the presumable bestower of it got all his distinction from the fact that no better...however, I hate this and cannot go on. Dearest believe that under ordinary circumstances, with ordinary people, all operates differently--the imaginary kindness-bestower with his ideal methods of showing and proving his love,--there would be a rival to fear!
Do not let us talk of this--you always beat me, beside, turn my own illustrations into obscurations...."

But he gets one response in about her accusations about his hating to write:

"Just a moment to say your second note has come, and that I do hate, hate having to write, not kiss my answer on your dearest mouth-kindest, dearest--tomorrow I will try--and meantime--tho' Ba by the fire will not be cold at heart, cold of heart, and I will talk to her & more than talk--My dearest, dearest one!"

And you are correct to think that she will not let him off the hook:

"Shall I let you off the rest, dearest, dearest? though you deserve ever so much more, for implying such monstrous things, & treading down all of my violets, so & so--What did I say to set you writing so? I cannot remember at all? If I 'dwell' on anything, beloved, it is that I feel it strongly, be sure...."

But Browning is not done writing today:

"Sometimes I have a disposition to dispute with dearest Ba, to wrench her simile-weapons out of the dexterous hand (that is, try and do so)--and have the truth of things my way and its own way, not hers, if she be Ba--(observe, I say nothing about ever meeting with remarkable success in such undertakings,--only that they are entered on sometimes): but at other times I seem as if I must lie down, like Flush, with all manner of coral necklaces about my neck, and two sweet mysterious hands on my head, and so be forced to hear verses on me, Ba's verses, in which I, that am but Flush of the lower nature, am called loving friend and praised for not preferring to go "coursing hares"--with "other dogs."

So a frustrated Browning lies down with Flush and ends with praise of her poetry:

"By the way, dearest, what enchanted poetry all your translations for Miss Thomson are:--As Carlyle says! "Nobody can touch them, get at them!"

He tries, poor fellow, but he cannot get her to relax in his love. But in the end, he must surrender and allow her to accept him in the only way that she can.

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