[Venice—Friday, 23 November 1888]
Again to Lido with Mr Browning. Walked from S. Elisabetta beyond 4 Fontane—10.30 to 1.30. Today he told no anecdotes, but spoke much of the philosophy of life & death & the future; of the art of happiness—of taking the ‘short river of life’ advised by Sydney Smith. If he were sure of seeing his wife, would die readily. Would rather die when happy, than live to lose happiness. Said to Mrs Curtis ‘You don’t know my best pieces, my latest, ‘The Inn Album’ &c. She sd ‘Yes. You gave them to me.’ Asked for an Article by A. Lang who prefers his earlier. Said a man would do more or better than humour or sentiment. He will not be pleased with Lang’s comments. He values his experience, reflection, learning, philosophy, universality, wh. illustrate his later & longer poems, to wh. Lang objects.
Sd his father had good pictures of a man called Wallin who, during French Revolution came to England with them direct from Gallery of Pr. of Orange. A portrait of Teniers Jr by Van Dyk, a Rembrandt, a Brouwer. Never cleaned, but Mr Burton will have them cleaned by the Natl Gallery men– Wallin very skilful in copying & simulating effects of time. Would copy pictures & keep the originals—given him to clean. Copied a pig eatg a potato by Morland—so it was impossible to tell wh. was wh. RB has the copy.
Bright asked if he knew Donelly—the Bacon Man– RB sd no, and had not desired to. Bright angrily sd “Well, he’ll come again & won’t want to know you!” Praised Bright for leavg Gladstone & Home Rule. Read in gondola Symonds preface to Marlowe. No reference to Ballad on M’s Death found by Payne Collier the Shaks. forger. Asked C. for it, who sd wd read it to him. Went & heard & can now repeat much of it—& did so. Thinks it genuine. Meant to write tragedy of Marlowe but another (Venables?) already on it.