We are still dealing with the aftermath of the missing letter on May 26, 1845. Browning insists that he has to have the last word. Don't believe that he will get it, but he is going to try:
"Nay—I must have last word—as all people in the wrong desire to
have—and then, no more of the subject. You said I had given you great
pain—so long as I stop that, think anything of me you choose or can!
But before your former letter came, I saw the pre-ordained uselessness of
mine. Speaking is to some end, (apart from foolish self-relief, which,
after all, I can do without)—and where there is no end—you see! or, to
finish characteristically—since the offering to cut off one's right-hand to save
anybody a headache, is in vile taste, even for our melodramas, seeing that it
was never yet believed in on the stage or off it,—how much worse to really make
the ugly chop, and afterwards come sheepishly in, one's arm in a black sling,
and find that the delectable gift had changed aching to nausea! There! And now,
'exit, prompt-side, nearest door, Luria'—and enter R.B.—next Wednesday,—as
boldly as he suspects most people do just after they have been soundly
I shall be most happy to see you on the day and at the hour you mention."
Can Browning ever not be Browning? What is this nonsense about "offering to cut off one's right-hand to save anybody a headache, is in vile taste...." ? Notice how he prefaces it with "to finish characteristically,"--at least he is self aware! Nausea indeed. Thank goodness our dear Miss Barrett appreciates the absurd. What a silly man.