Friday, August 17, 2012

August 17

We hear from Miss Barrett first on August 17, 1846:

"For these two dear letters, I thank you, dearest! You are best, as ever! And that is all I have to tell you, almost—for I have seen nobody, heard nothing .. except that Eugene Sue can paint, .. which Miss Mitford told me this morning in a note of hers,.. in which, besides, she complains of the fatigue she suffers from the visitors who go to see her after the Reading prison, as the next “sight” of the neighbourhood. Better, to live in Cheapside, than among the oaks, on such conditions!– As to Mr Kenyon, he does not approach me. So he may come tomorrow perhaps, or even on wednesday. Would it not appear the top of wisdom if you deferred our day to thursday’s sun!—now consider! It would be a decided gain, surely, to be able to say to him on wednesday that you had not seen me since you & he saw me together– So I propose thursday, if you permit it. Next week we may take up our two days again, as one takes up so many dropt silken stitches, .. & we will be careful that the beads do not run off in the meantime– Today George came from circuit. He asked, for nearly a first question, whether I had thought of Italy—'Yes, I had thought of it—but there was time to think more'. I am uneasy a little under George’s eyes—.
You did not tell me of Mr Chorley .. whether he put questions about the continent, or observed on the mysteries in you– Does he go himself, & when? A curious 'fact' is, that Mrs Jameson was in the next house to us this morning, & also a few days ago,—yet never came here—the reason certainly being a reluctance to seem to tread in upon the recoiling confidence. I felt sorry, & obliged to her—both at once. Talking of confidences, I neglected to tell you when you were here last, that one more had escaped us– It was not by my choice, if by my fault. I wrote something in a note to Mr Boyd some weeks ago, which nobody except himself could have paused to think over,—but he, like a prisoner in a dungeon, sounds every stone of the walls round him, & discerns a hollowness, detects a wooden beam, .. & patiently pricks out the mortar with a pin—all this, in his rayless, companionless Dark,—poor Mr Boyd! The time before I last went to see him, he asked me if I were going to be a nun——there, was the first guess!– On the next visit, he put his question precisely right– I tried to evade—then, promised to be frank in a little time—but being pressed on all sides, & drawn on by a solemn vow of secrecy, I allowed him to see the truth—& he lives such an isolated life, that it is perfectly safe with him, setting the oath aside. Also, he was very good & kind, & approved highly of the whole, & exhorted me, with ever such exhortation, to keep to my purpose, & to allow no consideration in the world or out of the world, to make any difference—quoting the moral philosophers as to the rights of such questions. Is there harm in his knowing? He knows nobody, talks to nobody, & is very faithful to his word– Just as I, you will retort, was foolish in mine! Yet I do assure you, mine was a sort of word, which to nine hundred & ninety nine persons, would have suggested nothing—only he mused over it, turned it into all lights, & had nothing to do but that. Afterwards he was proud, & asked .. “Was I not acute?” It was a pleasure to him, one could not grudge."

Oh dear, she is getting careless.

"Are you well, ever dearest? I am well. And yesterday, while they were at dinner, I walked out alone, or with Flush—twice to the corner of the street, turning it, to post your letter. May God bless you– Surely we feel alike in many, many things—the convolvuluses grow together, twisted together—& you lift me up from the ground,—you! I am your very own–...."

And Browning sends a very short note today:

"I come home from Town for my letters .. the two I ventured to expect, and here they meet me– As I said, you had written, and I thanked you then, and now, too, just as if I had been despairing all along—and over and above, there are some especial thanks to pay,—for when I could not otherwise disengage myself from a dinner a little way out of town, .. having unawares confessed to the day’s being at my disposal, .. I said—“I expect letters at home which must be answered”—and here I am–
Or rather, here are you, dearest, .. in, I do think, your dearest mood– I must shift my ground already, alter my moment of time, and avow that it is now I love you the best, the completeliest. Do you want to know how much kindness I can bear? If I ever am so happy as to speak so as to please you, it may be only your own kindness overflowing and running back to you .. I feel every day, often in every day, the regret follow some thought of you,—that this thought, for instance, if I could secure and properly tell you this only, you would know my love for what it is,—and yet that this thought will pass unexpressed like the others! Well, I do not care—rightly considered, there is not so much to regret—the words should lead to acts, and be felt insufficient.
Can we collect then, from Mr Kenyon’s caution, or discretion, or pity, or ignorance, that he will not interpose, and that there will be one great effort, and acknowledgment for all? I should certainly like it so best. You seem stronger than to need the process of preparatory disclosures, now to one, now to another friend– It is clearly best as it is like to be .. for perhaps the chances are in our favour that the few weeks more will be uninterrupted.
My time is gone—and nothing said! For tomorrow, all rests with you .. if the note bids me go, I shall be in absolute readiness—otherwise on wednesday .. just as you seem to discern the times and the seasons.
Bless you my own best, dearest Ba—your own

Browning's letter today sounds a lot like his letter from yesterday and the day before that. Love has made a cuckoo of him.

No comments:

Post a Comment