Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20

May 20, 1846 marks the first anniversary of the momentous meeting between our two poets but they have done with speech making for the most part and are back to business as usual. Browning begins by making just a short, humble speech:

"My Ba, I can just kneel down to you and be kissed,--I cannot do more, nor speak, nor thank you--and I seem to have no more chance of getting new love to give you--, all is given,--so I have said before, and must keep saying now--all of me is your very own."

Next he explains that he and his sister ended up not going to the flower show due to the weather and that he is going to see Mr. Kenyon, who was then going to go see Miss Barrett, and he had to explain why he decided not to accompany Mr. Kenyon to see Miss Barrett after their meeting:

"...that, on second thought, I determined to forego..because it jeopardizes my Saturday, which will be worth so many, many such visits,--does it not? There is no precedent in our golden year for three visits taking place in a single week--not even in that end of October when all the doubt was about the I remember!
I shall be more with you than if in the presence of people before whom I may not say 'Miss Barrett' with impunity while professing to talk of Miss..I forgot who! But 'more with you' I who am always with you! Always with you in spirit, always yearning to be with you in the body,--always, when with you, praying as for the happiest of fortunes, that I may remain with you forever. So may it be, prays you own, own R."

Here he is remembering the time he was at a dinner party telling a story to a group and accidental said "Miss mean...." Oh dear. She talks in her sleep and he dreams when he is awake. How are these guys going to keep this secret? She responds:

"Was it wrong of me that never did I once think of the possibility of your coming here with Mr. Kenyon? Never once had I the thought of it. If I had, I should have put it away by saying aloud 'Don't come;' because as you say, it would have prevented saturday's coming, the coming today would,..& also, as you do not say, it would have been infinitely hard for me to meet you & Mr. Kenyon in one battalion. Oh no, no! The gods forefend that you should come in that way! It was bad enough as it was, to day, when, while he sate here his ten minutes (first showing me a sonnet from America, which began 'Daughters of Grecian Genius!') he turned those horrible spectacles full on me & asked, 'Does Mrs. Jameson know that Mr. Browning come here?' 'No,' said I,--suddenly abashed, though I had borne the sonnet like a hero. 'Well, then ! I advise you to give directions to he servants that when she or anyone asks for you, they should not say Mr. Browning is with you,--as they said the other day to Miss Bayley who told me of it.' Now wasn't that pleasant to hear? I thanked him for his advice, & felt as uncomfortable as was well possible--& am, at this moment, a little in doubt how he was thinking while he spoke. Perhaps after the fashion of my sisters, when they cry out 'Such a state of things never was heard of before!'....
Such a day, today!--it was finer last year I remember ! & tuesday, instead of wednesday !...Dearest, how are you? Never now will you condescend to say how you are. Which is not to be allowed in this second year of our reign. I am very well. Yesterday I heard some delightful matrimonial details of an 'establishment' in Regent's Park, quite like an old pastoral in the quickness of the repartee. 'I hate you'--'I abhor you'--'I never liked you'--'I always detested you.' A cup & saucer thrown bodily, here, by the lady!--On which the gentleman upsets her, chair & all, flat on the floor. The witness, who is a friend of mine, gets frightened & begins to cry. She was invited to the house to be god mother the their child, & now she is pressed to stay longer to witness the articles of separation.
Oh, I suppose such things are common enough!--But what is remarkable here, is the fact that neither party is a poet, by the remotest courtesy."

What an absolute hoot. First the servants are telling random callers who is in the house and then a tragic tale of love gone wrong. Definitely a red letter day for Miss Barrett. Just imagine if Browning had come with Mr. Kenyon, that truly would have been a comedy of errors. The cat, most surely, would have been out of the bag.

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