Monday, July 22, 2013

Letters of RB and EBB, Part III


The Letters of RB and EBB

This time I read letters from November 1845--March 1846.  When last we checked in, Robert and Elizabeth had just begun their romantic relationship; Elizabeth had finally admitted her feelings to Robert and they were on the same page, though Robert had to keep assuring her that she was perfectly fine the way she was and that he hadn't planned to marry anyway (which, maybe he hadn't, but he sure wanted to marry Elizabeth--he was just too smart to tell her that just yet).

From November through March, they really solidify their relationship.  Elizabeth becomes more demonstrative and manages to say more of how she feels about Robert, until she is quite eloquent on the matter.  She tells him her family nickname -- Ba -- and allows him to use it, which he does quite a lot.  Her given name of Elizabeth has disappeared by now.

The sheer volume of letters has increased enormously.  They are now writing long letters to each other almost daily--often twice a day.  Robert may only visit once a week (if that) and they have far too much to say to each other to only write a couple of times a week.  It is still absolutely necessary to preserve an appearance of a "literary friendship" that goes no further.  Elizabeth's sisters are in on it (and supportive, as she supports another sister's clandestine relationship), but she doesn't want her brothers to know too much.

Even Elizabeth is now wishing that she could escape her home and actually marry Robert.  They sort of hint around about their dream of going to Italy and living happily, but I'm thinking that the M-word is confined to personal conversations, at least for now.   Elizabeth keeps assuring Robert that she doesn't need or want wealth; if they combine their incomes they'll have enough to scrape by and she'll be fine.  (She may have had something of an aversion to money; her family's fortune came from plantations in the West Indies and she was opposed to slavery.  By the time of the letters, her father had lost much of his wealth and they were not rich.)


This section from November through March takes up over half of the first volume of letters.  Jenny scheduled the next five months of April through September for the next two weeks, but that is the entire second volume--mine is a scanned copy (from 1898) and it's nearly 600 pages of letters!  

Letters of RB and EBB, Part I
Letters of RB and EBB, Part II

2 comments:

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

Oh God I am the worst I totally forgot to post today I am the entire worst I am the worst readalong hostess there has ever been I'm embarrassed ack

Jean said...

Jenny, this is my favorite comment in the history of ever. I about died laughing. I *had* been wondering what the deal was...