Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September 5

We begin with Miss Barrett on September 5, 1846:

"Saturday morning

Dearest, I write just a few lines that you may know me for thinking of you tomorrow– Flush has not come & I am going on a voyage of discovery myself,—Henry being far too lukewarm. He says I may be robbed & murdered before the time for coming back, in which case remember that it is not my fault that I do not go with you to Pisa.

Just now came a kind little note from dear Mr Kenyon, who will not come, he says, Flush being away, & has set out on his travels, meaning not to come back for a week– So I might have seen you after all, today!– My comfort is, that it is good for you, beloved, to be quiet, & that coming through the sun might have made your head suffer– How my thoughts are with you—how all day they never fall off from you! I shall have my letter tonight through your dear goodness, which is a lamp hung up for me to look towards. Aladdin’s, did you say? Yes, Aladdin’s.

As to being afraid of you ever——once, do you know, I was quite afraid .. in a peculiar sense—as when it thunders, I am afraid .. or a little different from that even, or, oh yes, very different from that. Now it is changed .. the feeling is—and I am not afraid even so—except sometimes of losing your affection by some fault of my own– I am not afraid that it should be a fault of yours, remember. I trust you for goodness to the uttermost—& I know perfectly that if you did not love me (supposing it) you are one who would be ashamed for a woman to fear you, as some women fear some men– For me, I could not, you know—I know you too well & love you too perfectly, & everybody can tell what perfect love casts out.

So you need not have done with me for that reason! Understand it."
If, after they are married, he becomes disillusioned with his wife he can never say that she did not warn him. He has had ongoing and endless warnings from Miss Barrett that she will disappoint him, in some unnamed way.

"And if I shall not be slain by the “society”, you shall be written to again tonight– Ah—say in the letter I am to have, that you are better!—— And you are to come on monday—dear, dearest! Mind that!
Your Ba–

Come back safe, but without Flush——I am to have him tonight though".
Our timid Miss Barrett went into the lions den of Whitechapel to regain Flush. This should be a good story. And now we hear from Browning:
"Dearest Ba, I feel your perfect goodness at my heart– I can say nothing–
—Nor write very much more: my head still teazes, rather than pains me. Don’t lay more of it to the dinner than necessary: I got my sister to write a letter deprecatory of all pressing to eat and drink and such mistaken hospitality—to the end that I might sit unpitied, uncondoled with, and be an eyesore to nobody—which succeeded so well that I eat some mutton and drank wine & water without let or molestation: our party was reduced to three, by a couple of defections—but there was an immense talking and I dare say this continuance of my ailment is partly attributable to it– —I shall be quiet now—I tell you the simple truth, that you may believe—and this also believe, that it would have done me great good to go to you this morning: if I could lean my head on your neck, what could pain it, dear—dear Ba?
I am sorry poor Flush is not back again—very sorry. But no one would hurt him, be quite sure .. his mere value prevents that–
Shall I see you on Monday then? This is the first time since we met at the beginning, that a whole week, from a Sunday to a Saturday, has gone by without a day for us. Well—I trust you are constant .. nay, you are constant to your purpose of leaving at the end of this month– When we meet next, let us talk of our business, like the grave man and woman we are going to become. Mr K. will be away—how fortunate that is! We need implicate nobody. And in the end the reasonableness of what we do will be apparent to everybody—if I can show you, well, and happy,—which God send!
Kiss me as I kiss you, my own Ba—I am all one wide wonder at your loving nature: I can only give it the like love in return, and as much limited as I am limited. But I seem really to grow under you,—my faculties extend toward yours.
May God bless you, and enable me to make you as happy as your dear, generous heart will be contented to be made. I am your own RB"
I don't think it will take much to make Miss Barrett happy. She will be contented if she feels that she gives no pain to Browning. And I pity the person who hurts Browning; as she went directly to the banditti to bargain for the return of Flush, she would go into the depths of hell to redeem Browning. You don't think so? There is more to the battle than physical strength (which many a fool has), there is moral power that few possess or even are aware exists. I would bet on Miss Barrett.

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