Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 18

April 18, 1846 Browning is receiving letters of congratulation from his literary friends for his latest episode of 'Bells and Pomegranates':

"Because, here is Mr. Kenyon's and Landor's (which had been sent to to Moxon's [his publisher] some days ago,--whence the delay)--and Mrs. Jameson's. All kind and indulgent and flattering in their various ways..but my Ba, me dear, dear Ba,...I like to be praised now, in a sense, much, much more than ever--but, darling,--oh how easily, if need were, I could know the world was abusing at it's loudest outside,--if you were inside..tho' but the thinnist of guaze canopies kept us from the buzzing! This is only said on this subject, struck out by it,--not of it,--for the praise is good true praise and from the worthies of out time--but--you, I love,--and there is the world-wide difference. And what ought I say to Mr. Kenyon's report of me? Stand quietly, assentingly? You will agree with this at least, that he cannot know what he says--only be disposed to hope and believe it is so: still, to speak so to you--what would I not do to repay him, if that could be!...Do I 'remember' praying God to bless me thro' the blessing on you? Shall I ever forget to pray so, rather! My dear--dearest, I pray now, with all my heart,--may He bless you--and what else can now bless your own R?--

Charming as usual but the comment about Kenyon not really knowing him is characteristic. Most men would of course demure and be humble. But Browning takes it a step further and questions it without denying it. A different kind of thinker. Unconventional.

He has begun to answer her last letter with this, but we will find tomorrow that he goes back to her most recent letter again. He again proves the point he made early in their correspondence that he doesn't know what to write to her if he doesn't have a letter of her's to respond to. Interestingly there is no letter from Miss Barrett on April 18, 19 or 20 (the date of their regular visit). She does not follow her own dictum in letter writing, but perhaps a reason for this lapse will emerge.

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