I can’t tell you of our plans; although the Glasgow students come to us in a week and this house will be too small to receive them. We may leave Sidmouth immediately, or not at all. I shall soon be quite qualified to write a poem on the ’Pleasures of Doubt’—and a very good subject it will be. The pleasures of certainty are generally far less enjoyable—I mean as pleasures go in this unpleasing world. Papa is in London, and much better when we heard from him last—and we are awaiting his decree....
And now what remains for me to tell you? I believe I have read more Hebrew than Greek lately; yet the dear Greek is not less dear than ever. Who reads Greek to you? Who holds my office? Some one, I hope, with an articulation of more congenial slowness.
Give Annie my kind love. May God preserve both of you!
Believe me, your affectionate friend,
The residence of the Barretts at Sidmouth had never been a very settled one—never intended to be permanent, and yet never having a fixed term nor any reason for a fixed term. Hence it spread itself gradually over a space of nearly three years, before the long contemplated move to London actually took place. During the latter part of that period, however, extant letters of Miss Barrett are almost wholly wanting, and there is little information from any other source as to the course of her life. It was apparently in the summer of 1835 that Sidmouth was finally left behind, Mr. Barrett having then taken a house at 74 Gloucester Place (near Baker Street), which, though never regarded as more than a temporary residence, continued to be the home of his family for the next three years.
The move to London was followed by two results of great importance for Elizabeth Barrett. In the first place, her health, which had never been strong, broke down altogether in the London atmosphere, and it is from some time shortly after the arrival in Gloucester Place that the beginning of her invalid life must be dated. On the other hand, residence in London brought her into the neighbourhood of new friends; and although the number of those admitted to see her in her sick-room was always small, we yet owe to this fact the commencement of some of her closest friendships, notably those with her distant cousin, John Kenyon, and with Miss Mitford, the authoress of ‘Our Village,’ and of a correspondence on a much fuller and more elaborate scale than any of the earlier period. To this, no doubt, the fact of her confinement to her room contributed not a little; for being unable to go out and see her friends, much of her communication with them was necessarily by letter. At the same time her literary activity was increasing. She began to contribute poems to various magazines, and to be brought thereby into connection with literary men; and she was also employed on the longer compositions which went to make up her next volume of published verse.