[Venice—Wednesday, 4 November 1885]

Mr Browning & Miss B. dined with us. After dinner, he read a number of poems—“The Italian in England”—“Home Thoughts”—“The Glove”—“Master Hugues of Saxe Gotha”—“Up in the Villa & Down in the City,”—“The Patriot”—[“]The Twins Date & Dabitur”– The Fugue he said he wrote in the Organ-loft <of the Duomo>[1] at Florence. The Italian in Engd Mazzini read to his friends to show how an Englishman could sympathise with Italy.

Received the card of Graf Rudolf Montecuculi, Corvetten Cap—Austrian Navy—at Albergo Europa—and by appointt called on him with Mr Browning to discuss the affair of the purchase of his family palace. Next day the Palace was visited by Mr B. for 1st time—except 2d Piano—wh. cd. not be seen.

Mr Browning, looking at a fine sketch, but unfinished, said—The finest line I ever wrote is yet unpublished—never has been printed—“The Artist’s greatest curse—the incomplete”! (or nearly this).

Mr Browning said that they had arranged to take the apartment on the upper piano of the Palazzo Barberini on the right, opposite to that of the Storys. And had got leave to put in a lift. Mrs. Browning died four days later. She used to sit with the plan before her, arrangg the future home. It was occupied instead by Tilton the Amer. painter, who was taken up by Lady Ashburton, who paid him some large prices for landscapes. We applied for it, but as Cardinal Pecci now lives on 1o Piano, the whole Palace will probably be devoted to priests.

A Proud Duke of Somerset. The Duchess of Parma was confined a month before Mrs R. Browning, who engaged the same nurse who had attended the Duchess a month. She said that when she informed the Duke that he had a son & heir, he immediately went head over heels three times, turned three somersaults. When he was murdered, his wife put his heart in a new silver sandwich box just arrived from Paris. RB. Nov. ’88.

1. Passage in angle brackets appears in Curtis’s edited transcript (ms at ABL).


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