Correspondence

2635.  RB to Richard Hengist Horne

An amended version of the text that appeared in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 14, 60–61.

Pisa,

Dec 4. [1846][1]

Dear Horne,

Your good, kind, loyal letter gave me all the pleasure you meant it should– I mean to “answer” it ere long, but as my wife wants to send a letter by an enclosure I am now getting ready for this evening,[2] I could not help shaking your hand, thro’ the long interval of Italian air, and saying, if only in a line, that I know your friendliness and honour your genius as much as ever– One of these days we shall meet again, never fear—and then you shall see my wife, your old friend, and hear from her what I have often heard from her, and what, perhaps, the note tells you– She has long been wanting to send it,—she is getting better every day,—stronger, better—wonderfully, and beyond all our hopes– It is pleasant living here—why do you not come and try? This street we live in terminates with the Palace in which your Cosmo killed his son.[3]

Ever yours faithfully, as of old,

R Browning.

Address, on integral page: Miss Gillies / (R.H. Horne Esqre) / Hill Side, / Fitzroy Park, / Highgate.

Publication: EBB-RHH, II, 182–183.

Manuscript: Armstrong Browning Library.

1. Year provided by postmark on EBB’s accompanying letter (2636).

2. Packets of letters for the Brownings’ English correspondents were often sent to RB’s sister Sarianna, who then mailed them on to their final destinations, thus alleviating the need for the recipient to pay postage. RB was here referring to such a packet. The address on EBB’s letter is in Sarianna’s hand.

3. RB alludes to the disputed story of the murder of Cosimo I’s two sons, Giovanni and Garcia. One account has them both die from malaria, but another has it that while hunting together, they disputed over who had killed a deer, and a struggle ensued in which the younger Garcia struck a fatal blow to Giovanni, Cosimo’s favourite, and the Duke, in a furious rage, killed his younger son with his own hands. Horne’s drama, Cosmo de’ Medici (1837), is based on the latter account, and, despite most historical sources locating these events in or near Pisa, the directions for Horne’s play clearly states that “the scene of the Tragedy is in the City of Florence, and its environs.”

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