[Venice—Wednesday, 13 November 1889]

Lovely weather. Called at ¼ 3 for Mr Browning, who said he wished to search at S. Niccolo del Lido, for the tomb of Salinguerra de Ferrara, which he has sought to find since more than fifty years, when he began to write Sordello. But, in the Austrian time he was not allowed to visit the Church within precincts of a Fort and barracks. In a book, ‘Fiori de Venezia,’ he yesterday met allusion to ‘the inscription over the door’ of S. Niccolo. We landed and passing to the side-entrance found it open, or guarded only by a little girl carrying a baby. We made the tour of the interior, but saw nothing of tomb or inscription. Browning’s emphatic tones echoed down the aisles and vaults “The brutes have cleared it all away!” Meantime I explored down side passages and rooms, & where the bell rope hangs on the wall were two Mediæval inscriptions hard to decipher, and further, in a sort of magazine for decrepit wooden saints and rusty candle sticks, over a door I saw a bit of stone with letters—beginning ‘Sepulchrous’—which proved to be the long sought Memorial of Salinguerra of Ferrara died July 1244, complete and intact. R.B. was extremely interested and pleased. ‘I have been looking 50 years for this.’ <Our friend, Mrs Bronson tells us that some years ago, she & Mr Browning went in search of Salinguerra’s epitaph. An old deaf woman showed them something in the church and too high to be made out. This, of course, was not Salinguerra’s—wh. is not in the church, but in a side room, and unknown to Mr B prior to Nov. 13. ’89, when he copied it—(and later gave a copy to Mrs Curtis which we now have.>[1]

We then walked by the pretty lane past the old and the new Jewish cemeteries, by Favorita and by the shore to the Baths and down to S. Elisabetta where the gondola waited. Sea & sunset most beautiful. R.B. again inveighed against Carlo Gozzi’s hypocrisy and his [illegible word] Autobiographies. Never read Cumberland’s. Of murders, of which he knows all the famous ones, in detail. Said murderers might escape hanging, with more courage and simplicity than they usually show after the deed. Wainwright, who asked a stranger to hold a bag, while he called a Cab, in which the man looked & saw scull &c. Had Laurie at once reported Rose fallen down a precipice, who could gainsay it? But he robbed & hid the body and ran away.

A great lawyer told Mrs Jameson that many wives of drunken husbands, who beat & starved their families, stifle them with wet towels when insensible, as police & doctors know, and let it pass.– Then he took a nap, wh. getting up at sunrise, working, and walking two hours, make necessary.

In evening illumination of the Riva, Bacino and ‘Hohenzollern’ by electric & Bengal lights, and at 11 P.M. the Empress Augusta passed down Grand Canal to the railway to meet the Emperor at Verona.

1. Passage in angle brackets added later.


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