Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27

Miss Barrett's enjoyment of Browning sitting before the fire in June and fearing that September would be cold as well is not lost on Browning who responds in his daily letter on June 27, 1846:

"Your dear gentle laugh, as I seem to hear it, makes all well again for the moment undoubtedly:—I cannot help trusting you implicitly .. so whenever I seem able to reason a little, and set you reasoning for me, ought I not to try,—and then give up, and sink my head over you .. dearest!....But you have been perfect to me hitherto—perfect! And of course only to you is the praise .. for I have to be entirely confided in by you, seeing that you cannot keep an eye on me after I leave your room .. whereas, .. not I, but a gross, stupid fool who conceived of no liberty but that of the body, nor that the soul may be far more unfaithful, .. such an one might exult in the notion of the closed door and the excluded world of rivals."

Browning is such a goofball. I suspect he realized the it was pretty idiotic to be grateful that she didn't go out and thus couldn't be unfaithful so he made it even more idiotic with the notion that Miss Barrett's "soul may be far more unfaithful." Well, he was obliged to write a letter everyday and he had to find something to say! Meanwhile Miss Barrett seriously answers his query regarding their date of leave taking:

"I said I would answer your letter today, my beloved, but how shall I say more than I have said & you know? Do you not know, you who will not will ‘over’ me, that I cannot will against you, & that if you set yourself seriously to take september for october, & august for september, it is all at an end with me & the calendar? Still, seriously .. there is time for deciding, is there not? .. even if I grant to you which I do at once, that the road does not grow smoother for us by prolonged delays....I agree, November & perhaps October might be late—might be running a risk through lingering .. in our case; & you will believe me when I say I should be loth to run the risk of being forced to the further delay of a year—the position being scarcely tenable– Now, for September, it generally passes for a hot month—it ripens the peaches—it is the figtime in Italy. Well—nobody decides for September nevertheless. The end of August is nearer—& at any rate we can consider, & observe the signs of the heavens & earth in the meanwhile—there is so much to think of first; & the end, remember, is only too frightfully easy. Also you shall not have it on your conscience to have killed me, let ever so much snow fall in september. If the sea should be frozen over, almost we might go by the land—might we not?....I wanted to write so much more, so much—& I went out to walk first, &, on returning, met Mr Kenyon, who came up stairs with me.
Now it is too late to add a word."

She teazes him still regarding the September chill after seriously assuring him that she is for the road. She goes out for walk about and sends a short note to Mr. Boyd to cancel their scheduled meeting:

"Dearest Mr. Boyd,—Let me be clear of your reproaches for not going to you this week. The truth is that I have been so much shocked and shaken by the dreadful suicide of poor Mr. Haydon, the artist, I had not spirits for it. He was not personally my friend. I never saw him face to face. But we had corresponded, and one of his last acts was an act of trust towards me. Also I admired his genius. And all to end so! It has naturally affected me much."

It is one thing to interact with Browning and Kenyon who she loves, it is another to hold on that social mask with Boyd, who she feels merely an obligation to. Mr. Boyd will have to wait for a better day......

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