Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 27

Yesterday, May 26, 1845 Browning tried to have the last word but there was no way that was going to happen. On May 27 Miss Barrett finds that she must change their play date due to visitors:

"You will think me the most changeable of all the changeable; but indeed it is not my fault that I cannot, as I wished, receive you on Wednesday. There was a letter this morning; and our friends not only come to London but come to this house on Tuesday (to-morrow) to pass two or three days, until they settle in an hotel for the rest of the season. Therefore you see, it is doubtful whether the two days may not be three, and the three days four; but if they go away in time, and if Saturday should suit you, I will let you know by a word; and you can answer by a yea or nay. While they are in the house, I must give them what time I can—and indeed, it is something to dread altogether.
I send you the note I had begun before receiving yours of last night, and also a fragment from Mrs. Hedley's herein enclosed, a full and complete certificate, ... that you may know ... quite know, ... what the real and only reason of the obstacle to Wednesday is. On Saturday perhaps, or on Monday more certainly, there is likely to be no opposition, ... at least not on the 'côté gauche[left side]' (my side!) to our meeting—but I will let you know more.
For the rest, we have both been a little unlucky, there's no denying, in overcoming the embarrassments of a first acquaintance—but suffer me to say as one other last word, (and quite, quite the last this time!) in case there should have been anything approaching, however remotely, to a distrustful or unkind tone in what I wrote on Sunday, (and I have a sort of consciousness that in the process of my self-scorning I was not in the most sabbatical of moods perhaps—) that I do recall and abjure it, and from my heart entreat your pardon for it, and profess, notwithstanding it, neither to 'choose' nor 'to be able' to think otherwise of you than I have done, ... as of one most generous and most loyal; for that if I chose, I could not; and that if I could, I should not choose...."

Of course this will not be the last word. These ongoing 'one last words' will become a charm between them. Browning's first poem publicly dedicated to his wife was published at the end of 'Men and Women' as "One Word More to E.B.B. London, September, 1855". (And a lovely poem it is too, go here and read it again if you haven't read it in awhile. If you are scared of Browning please know that this is one of his easier poems. You can do it!)

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