Saturday, April 14, 2012

April 14

Strangely enough, after all the argumentation of the last few days, Browning seems pretty content, despite Mrs. Proctor's opinion that he needed something to occupy him for eight hours a day. He is discussing her request that they leave England immediately after their marriage in his letter of April 14, 1846:

"With respect to the immediate leaving England, you will let me say, I think, that all my own projects depend on that,--there will not be one least objection made to it by my father or mother, I know beforehand. You perhaps misconceived something I said last Saturday. I meant the obvious fact however--that while there would be a best way of finding myself with you, still, from the WORST way (probably of taking a house opposite Mrs. Proctor's)--from that even, to the best way of any other life I can imagine,--what a descent!--From the worst of roses to the most flourishing of----dandelions. But we breathe together, understand together, know, feel, live together...I feel every day less and less need of trying to assure you I feel thus & thus--I seem to know that you must know!"

Really? After all that fuss and argumentation and vexation he thinks she 'must know!'? Maybe he is getting to a point where he can read her better and sees all her argumentation as her way of 'teazing' and testing him. But does he? Or is he just being optimistic for her sake? It's hard to tell, but he certainly seems determined to win her.

"Mrs. Proctor is exactly the Mrs. Proctor I knew long ago. What she says is of course purely foolish. The world does seem incurably stupid on this, as other points. I understand Mr. Kenyon's implied kindness...he may think he sees my true good in this life with older & better instructed eyes than my own--so benevolent people beg me 'not to go out in the open air--without something about my neck,' and would gird on a triple worsted 'comforter' there, entirely for my good, if I would let them. 'Why Mr. Proctor wears one'! Ah, but without it, what a cold he would catch!"

So his reaction to Mrs. Proctor's criticism is fairly muted. He simply dismisses her as stupid. That is one of his more succinct arguments. So, tomorrow there will be no letters because he is going to Wimpole Street for his visit. What new drama will darken their letters on April 16?

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