[Venice—Thursday, 29 November 1888]
To Lido. A Dutch lookg day & sea, wh. recalled to Mr Browning a picture by Van de Velde—very long, in Holford House, wh. had been cut in halves as the sky effects were different. Mr H. bought them separately and reunited them. Spoke of Landor & his pleasure when R.B. remembered his writings. One was Horace’s ‘duplici fica’—wh. puzzled Dr Parr. But Landor sd it alluded to splitting figs to dry them in Italy, with a drop of annise-seed.– Another of the phrase “not worth an old song.” Landor sd few things are worth an old song—with its memories & associations &c. Speaking of the ravages of the coast by the Danes, he said the English when they caught Danes wd skin them & nail the skins to church doors & that there are yet to be seen remnants of these skins on the doors.
George, Socialist, lectured at Oxford. A don alluded to his Nostrum—to wh. word G. objected as injurious. Another sd ‘As G’s notions of Means & Times were so vague, he won’t understand Nostrum’– We stopped to watch a turkey-cock in his pride, struttg & swillg & gobbling to his hen and a drake– Browning quoted the verse with which in Scotland the children provoke a turkey. ‘Bubbly Jock! Your wife is a witch! And she shall be brennt the morn![’]– I mentioned havg made the acquainte of Enrico Castelnuovo, the Novelist. R.B. sd he & his sister have all his works & read one to Mrs Orr (sister of Sir F. Leighton) who wrote a review of it to bring him into notice in Engd, & they wd much like to know him. We sd we wd ask him to lunch on Sunday to meet them. Wh. we did & he accepts.–
1. See Elwood P. Lawrence. “Henry George’s Oxford Speech” [of 7 March 1884], California Historical Society Quarterly, 30 (June 1951), pp. 117–123.