3294. Robert Bulwer Lytton to RB
As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 20, 11–12.
[Postmark: 30 November 1853]
My dearest Friend.
Your letter full of sweet & bitter touches me to the heart’s core. It confirms sad news which came to me yesterday, so sad & so sudden that I could not believe it then.
A person whom I know but very slightly mentioned to me in a casual way the terrible calamities of our dear friends which your letter details, and I cannot say how it shocked me.
I was this morning on the point of writing to you about it, when your letter was put into my hands. For, I shrank from writing at once to the Storys—fearing that whatever I could say, however heartfelt the sympathy, might shock & jar. I shall now write to them at once, however,—tho’ I really myself feel so acutely what they must feel that I fear my own words … She loved the little boy so! I remember how often we used to talk of his future and every little bit of Baby-wisdom, how we interpreted it into promise of future fruit. And now that I recall so vividly the little pale face, and the gentle innocent grace of it, it seems as tho’ one might have perceived the shadow of Death there.
What a consolation it must have been to them—your presence—the noble atmosphere of kindness that is always yours.
Thank you, thank you very much for writing to me. I have felt your loss more strongly even than I feared to do.
This thought however cuts off all others– I can not say one of the hundred things which I was looking forward to saying to you. How do they bear up? It must be hard to see the meaning when the Hand is heavy. I am rejoiced for many causes that you should be with them.
I will not fail to give the Letter to the Porter.
A night of sorrow indeed this seems—poor dear little Joe! Does Edie suffer much? poor child, I hope she is too young to feel the blow acutely.
Give my warmest love to your own little Robt. Good bye my dear dear friend. I can only say I love you from my heart, & shall ever do so. God bless & strengthen you all.
Your devoted friend
R B Lytton.
No—the man is alive & well[.] There must be a mistake.
Address: Franco distino / Robert Browning Esqr / via Bocca di Leone / 43. 3o piano / Roma.
Publication: BBIS-10, pp. 53–55.
Manuscript: Armstrong Browning Library.
1. Concerning the death of Joe Story.