Browning is pushing the envelope of love. She keeps saying please don't speak of this any more and he keeps saying 'one word more':
"But you, too, will surely want, if you think me a rational creature,
my explanation—without which all that I have said and done would be pure
madness, I think. It is just 'what I see' that I do see,—or rather
it has proved, since I first visited you, that the reality was infinitely worse
than I know it to be ... for at, and after the writing of that first
letter, on my first visit, I believed—through some silly or misapprehended
talk, collected at second hand too—that your complaint was of quite another
nature—a spinal injury irremediable in the nature of it. Had it been
so—now speak for me, for what you hope I am, and say how
that should affect or neutralize what you were, what I wished to
associate with myself in you? But as you now are:—then if I had married
you seven years ago, and this visitation came now first, I should be 'fulfilling
a pious duty,' I suppose, in enduring what could not be amended—a pattern to
good people in not running away ... for where were now the use and the
good and the profit and—"
He makes a very good point. If they had met and married a decade before he would be obliged to stay with her and care for her and it would be considered his duty to do so. She may come back and say that this is a moot point because in the present case she has the power to save him from this duty. But nevertheless he does win a point in the debate.
"I desire in this life (with very little fluctuation for a man and too weak a
one) to live and just write out certain things which are in me, and so save my
soul. I would endeavour to do this if I were forced to 'live among lions' as you
once said—but I should best do this if I lived quietly with myself and with you.
That you cannot dance like Cerito does not materially disarrange this plan—nor
that I might (beside the perpetual incentive and sustainment and consolation)
get, over and above the main reward, the incidental, particular and unexpected
happiness of being allowed when not working to rather occupy myself with
watching you, than with certain other pursuits I might be otherwise addicted
to—this, also, does not constitute an obstacle, as I see obstacles."
What exactly does he mean by watching her? I hope he means taking care of her. Not to say that being watched is a bit creepy, but it is, kinda. Avert your eyes at intervals Mr. Browning, don't just stare with open mouth.
"But you see them—and I see you, and know my first duty and do
it resolutely if not cheerfully.
As for referring again, till leave by word or letter—you will see— "
Mark the date my Blogoleers: September 19, 1845. Browning will not refer to this love thing again until given leave. Let's see how long he holds out. Let's see how long she holds out!
I am afraid they have love on the brain.
"And very likely, the tone of this letter even will be misunderstood—because I
studiously cut out all vain words, protesting &c.:—No—will it?
I said, unadvisedly, that Saturday was taken from me ... but it was dark and
I had not looked at the tickets: the hour of the performance is later than I
thought. If to-morrow does not suit you, as I infer, let it be Saturday—at 3—and
I will leave earlier, a little, and all will be quite right here. One hint will
apprise me. God bless you, dearest friend. R.B.
Something else just heard, makes me reluctantly strike out Saturday— Monday then?"
Miss Barrett, of course, will have her say:
"It is not 'misunderstanding' you to know you to be the most generous and
loyal of all in the world—you overwhelm me with your generosity—only while you
see from above and I from below, we cannot see the same thing in the same light.
Moreover, if we did, I should be more beneath you in one sense, than I
am. Do me the justice of remembering this whenever you recur in thought to the
subject which ends here in the words of it.
I began to write last Saturday to thank you for all the delight I had had in
Shelley, though you beguiled me about the pencil-marks, which are few. Besides
the translations, some of the original poems were not in my copy and were, so,
quite new to me. 'Marianne's Dream' I had been anxious about to no end—I only
know it now.—
On Monday at the usual hour. As to coming twice into town on Saturday, that
would have been quite foolish if it had been possible. Dearest friend, I am yours, E.B.B."
Now he is trying to beguile her with Shelley. Oh yeah, the soft underbelly of Miss Barrett is the poetry. He should work some in every chance he gets.