Correspondence

3233.  Robert Bulwer Lytton to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 19, 187–188.

Address to the British Legation

July 24 1853.

My dear Mrs Browning,

I have just recvd a letter from my father which has very greatly affected me. After some debate with myself as to whether I should send it to you, or not, I have decided to do so… This is either a great liberty, on my part, or a great proof of friendship. I trust that you will take it for the latter; it is meant as such.

I send it to you because to me it is more convincing and startling than any thing I have as yet heard with regard to the Spiritual Manifestations. Of course, to you, it will be less so, for these things cannot but stagger us when they hit us so close at the heart. Still I am sure you will think it startling. There is no one else by whom I could bear the letter to be seen … and I am sure that you wont show it to any friends. The person whose name is mentioned therein,[1] died in my arms seven years ago. The name, given by the spirit, can only be known to three human beings in this world,—myself; my father;—and the sister of the person mentioned, who is now married and living at Vienna, & whom I have lost sight of for years.

I know not what to think—or what to say– This has deeply affected me—and seems too solemn a subject for criticism.

The first part of the letter refers to “Clytemnestra”. You have been so kind to me about that poem, that I send it with the rest.

I am going to write to Browning a long letter: but I have been so affected by this news that I can not write or think of any thing else as yet.

I trust fervently that you are both already feeling the good effects of change of air, & scenery. I was so sorry to have missed seeing you off. I came down to town—but too late. I have been but poorly since you went away– Sometimes my heart fails me when I think how long life may be—how much there is to be done—how much strength needed to do it—and how little life I feel in me, to meet it all. I hope I shall live to see the end of these things—for surely a great day is coming upon the world. I shall write again shortly. And I hope that you will never forget the sincere and affectionate admiration of your faithful & grateful friend

R∙B∙L.

Pray send me back the letter.

Address, on integral page: Mrs Browning / Casa Tolommeo / Bagni alla Villa / Bagni di Lucca.

Publication: BBIS-10, pp. 28–29.

Manuscript: Armstrong Browning Library.

1. Unidentified, as is the sister referred to below.

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