May 13, 1845 is leading into our poets' first meeting on May 20. They have been corresponding since January 10, 1845 when Browning sent the first letter. He has been fishing about for his invitation to visit her and she has been putting it off due to the weather and her health. Today, it looks like he has hit upon a strategy that will bear fruit:
" 'If you ask me, I must ask myself'—that is, when I am to see you—I will
never ask you! You do not know what I shall estimate that
permission at,—nor do I, quite—but you do—do not you? know so much of me as to
make my 'asking' worse than a form—I do not 'ask' you to write to me—not
directly ask, at least.
I will tell you—I ask you not to see me so long as you are unwell, or
No, no, that is being too grand! Do see me when you can, and let me not be
only writing myself yours, R.B."
'Mistrustful' is the key to opening the door at 50 Wimpole Street. He immediately withdraws the word, but it is in the ether between them. He has tried all manner of words and flattery to push the door open but accusing Miss Barrett of unkindness via being mistrustful will bring the effect he has been searching for. What will be her response to this thrust? Will she attempt to parry or will she meet the challenge head on?