Saturday, September 29, 2012

September 29, 1845

Miss Barrett wants to make it clear to Mr. Browning that she is not rolling over on the subject of what is best for him. No, indeed:

"Then first, ... first, I ask you not to misunderstand. Because we do not ... no, we do not ... agree (but disagree) as to 'what is your true good' ... but disagree, and as widely as ever indeed."

Is that clear? If she is supposed to think for him, she has to make it clear that his thinking is wrong.

"The other asking shall come in its season ... some day before I go, if I go. It only relates to a restitution—and you cannot guess it if you try ... so don't try!—and perhaps you can't grant it if you try—and I cannot guess."

Was her asking him for his letter back a test? To see if he was to be trusted to keep his word as a gentleman?

"Cabins and berths all taken in the Malta steamer for both third and twentieth of October! see what dark lanterns the stars hold out, and how I shall stay in England after all as I think! And thus we are thrown back on the old Gibraltar scheme with its shifting of steamers ... unless we take the dreary alternative of Madeira!—or Cadiz! Even suppose Madeira, ... why it were for a few months alone—and there would be no temptation to loiter as in Italy."

She is still dreaming of going to Italy under the auspices of her father. She makes only one comment regarding her father in response to Browning's well reasoned argument that she had a greater duty to herself to go to Italy for her health than she did in obeying her father when he could give no reason for his objection:

"Don't think too hardly of poor Papa. You have his wrong side ... his side of peculiar wrongness ... to you just now. When you have walked round him you will have other thoughts of him."

At this point she still has hope that her father will agree to the trip after her brother George has used his lawyerly skills to persuade him that she should go.

"Are you better, I wonder? and taking exercise and trying to be better? May God bless you! Tuesday need not be the last day if you like to take one more besides—for there is no going until the fourth or seventh, ... and the seventh is the more probable of those two. But now you have done with me until Tuesday. Ever yours, E.B.B."

She is optimistically believing that she will be going to Italy. How this proposed trip to Italy plays out in Wimpole Street will tell.

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