Correspondence

3294.  Robert Bulwer Lytton to RB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 20, 11–12.

[Florence]

[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[1]—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[2] 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.

2. Unidentified.

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