Friday, April 13, 2012

April 13

April 13, 1846 Miss Barrett has received the just published volume of Browning's latest collection of poetry:

" is the last 'Bell & Pomegranate':...Thank you for the book, thank you! I turn over the leaves ever so proudly. Tell me how I can be proud of you, when I cannot be proud of your loving me:--I am certainly proud of YOU. One of my first searches was for the note explanatory of the title--&I looked, and looked, & looked, at the end, at the beginning, at the end again. At last I made up my mind that you had persisted in not explaining, or that the printer had dropped the manuscript. Why, what could make you thrust that note on all but the title page of the 'Soul's Tragedy'? Oh--I comprehend. Having submitted to explain, quite at the point of the bayonet, you determined at least to do it where nobody could see it done. Be frank & tell me that it was just so. Also the poor 'Soul's Tragedy' you have repudiated so from Bells & Pomegranates...pushing it gently aside. Well--you must allow it to be a curious dislocation--only it is not important--and I like the note, all, except the sentence about 'Faith & Works' which does not apply I think,...that instance. 'Bells & Pomagranates' is a symbolic phrase--which the other is not at all, however much difficult & doubtful theological argument may have arisen from it as a collective phrase. So I am the first critic, you see...."

She is not shy to tell him what is wrong with his book of poetry. That is her strength and she knows it. She does enjoy the 'teaze' and the torment that it brings her later. But her critique soon ends and she heads off in another direction:

"...did you come into London on Sunday? did you walk past this house on the other side of the street about two oclock? Because just then I and Flush went down stairs. The drawing room had no one in it, & the window being wide open, I walked straight to it to shut it--And there across the street, walked someone...I am so near sighted that I could only see a shadow in a dimness..but the shadow had or seemed to have, a sign of you, a trace of you...& instead of shutting the window I looked after it till it vanished--No, it was not you. I feel now that is was not you; & indeed yesterday I felt it was not you. But, for the moment, it made my heart stop beating..that insolent shadow,..which pretended to be you & wasn't. Some one, I dare say, who 'has an occupation eight or nine hours a day' & never does anything! I may speak against him, for deceiving me--its a pure justice."

She does like to play with fire. I feel like she is beginning to trust him. She 'teazes' him almost brutally sometimes for she addresses his comment that he wanted to live with her "if but for a year, a month":

"And is it to be for a 'year' or a 'month'--or a week,--better still?--or we may end by a compromise for the two hours on Wednesday,...if it goes on so,--more sensibly."

She is cruel to her lovesick puppy.

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