[Venice—Saturday, 15 October 1881]

Took Mr Browning over to walk on Giudecca again. Said he had a letter from America this morning; which consisted only of

 

“Robert B.

Don’t you die

Your poetry

Is too mixed for me.”

Drop it, if I make so free.[1]

 

He was amused by it, & not at all annoyed. He often refers to the difficulty people complain of in understanding his verse. In speech, he is invariably clear & plain & simple—with excellent use of language, & especially dramatic & vivid of description, or in telling a story.

He told how he went with a party to see Foster the Medium in London. Charles Greville was there, who looked 70 when only 50. Foster fixed on his venerable looks, and told the Company he saw Greville’s mother hovering over her son. Greville was much affected & Foster went on with messages from her & asked (while G. wiped his eyes) if he had nothing to say to her? G. looked at his watch & sd. ‘[‘]As I am going presently to take a cup of tea with her, I won’t trouble you.” The Dowager Lady Greville was then alive, & about 90.

Recited Keats’ ‘[‘]Stout Cortez[”] &c—said “You can see it all.” Praised Bryant’s Wild Foul, & cited “as darkly painted on the crimson sky[”] &c & again said—“You can see it.”

1. “Said to be from Miss Maria Potter” appears in the margin, later amended with “it was.”


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