Sunday, September 9, 2012

September 9, 1846

Although Browning went to Wimpole Street to visit Miss Barrett September 9, 1846 Miss Barrett sent a letter to Browning late in the evening:

"Wednesday night

Dearest, you are a prophet, I suppose—there can be no denying it. This night, an edict has gone out, and George is tomorrow to be on his way to take a house for a month either at Dover, Reigate, Tunbridge, .. Papa did 'not mind which,' he said, & 'you may settle it among you' .. but he 'must have this house empty for a month in order to its cleaning'—we are to go therefore & not delay–

Now!—what can be done? It is possible that the absence may be longer than for a month, indeed it is probable—for there is much to do in painting & repairing, here in Wimpole Street, more than a month’s work they say. Decide, after thinking– I am embarrassed to the utmost degree, as to the best path to take. If we are taken away on monday .. what then?

Of course I decline to give any opinion & express any preference,—as to places, I mean. It is not for my sake, that we go:—if I had been considered at all, indeed, we should have been taken away earlier, .. & not certainly now, when the cold season is at hand– And so much the better it is for me, that I have not, obviously, been thought of.

Therefore decide! It seems quite too soon & too sudden for us to set out on our Italian adventure now—& perhaps even we could not compass

Well—but you must think for both of us– It is past twelve & I have just a moment to seal this & entrust it to Henrietta for the morning’s post.
More than ever beloved, I am your own Ba

I will do as you wish—understand."
And so comes the moment. She leaves the decision to Browning, as well she should. Has she not at all times stated that he is free to back out at any time. This is the test. Will he back out?

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