Saturday, September 8, 2012

September 8

September 8, 1846 Browning writes a short note to Miss Barrett describing his miraculous cure:

"Tuesday Mg

Do you think your wishes, much less your blessings fall to the ground, my own Ba? Here is your letter, and here am I writing to you, 'clothed and in my proper' room. My doctor bade me 'get up and do as I pleased'—and the perfect pleasure is to say, I may indeed see you tomorrow, dearest dearest! Can you look as you look in this letter?– So entirely my own, and yet,—what should never be my own, by right .. such a treasure to one so little worthy!"
Apparently Browning originally wrote "clothed and in my proper mind' but changed 'mind' to 'room'. Quite so, quite so. He was out of it and is back into it? The drink will do that to a man.

"I have only a few minutes to say this,—the dressing and talking having taken up the time– Tomorrow shall repay me! The lightness, slight uneasiness of the head, continues, tho’ the general health is much better, it seems.

Do you doubt I shall be well in Italy? But I must leave off. Bless you as you have blessed me, my best, dearest Ba, me who am your very own RB"
Miss Barrett is not so sure that he is completely healed:
"I write a word to say, .. dearest, do not run any risk about coming tomorrow– I mean, .. unless you are sure that the noise & exertion will not be too much for you, .. unless, when the moment comes for setting off, you feel equal to it .. now, I do beseech you, very dear, not to persist in coming because you have said that you will come—I beseech you. Listen– At three oclock I shall expect you doubtfully; at half past three, the doubt will be the strongest; & at a quarter to four, I shall have said to myself cheerfully, that you were wise & good & had determined to stay at home– In that case, I shall have a line from you by five & six! Understand all this, & let it have the right influence & no more. Of course if I could see you without harm to yourself, & so to me, it would be a great happiness: it even makes me happy to think of, as a bare possibility, at this distance off!– I am happy by your letter, twice over, indeed—once, for that reason, .. & again, for the thought of your being in some respects, better. At the same time I do not see why your wise man did not follow his plan to the end– It looks as if he did not think you better essentially because of it– Ah well,—I shall see with my eyes tomorrowperhaps I shall: and I shall see in a dream tonight more certainly–
This shall go at once, though, that it may reach you in time in the morning– How I thank you for the precious note!– You are so much too good to me, that your being also too dear is an excusable consequence—or would be, if it were possible. I write nonsense I believe,—but it is half for gladness,—& half .. for what makes me your own Ba–"
Whatever Browning was up to, whether sick, hungover or being manipulative seems to have come to an end. Does not Miss Barrett herself seem a bit skeptical when she questions the doctor telling him to go forth on Tuesday morning rather than Wednesday? Will there be a letter tomorrow? Or will the visit take place?

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