[Venice—Saturday, 16 November 1889]

Today we changed from PM to AM & at 10.30 to Lido. Exquisite day of warm sun—the sea beautiful—walked far on sands, got home at 1.15. Browning very interesting. Talked of Russell’s Life of Moore—attacked furiously by Croker—‘Lockhart told me if they thought because Croker was old he had lost his reason, it was an error’– Of condoning the faults of men of genius—he would not give in to that– He wd never be President of the Shelley Society—tho’ the place was kept open for him. Shelley was always a liar—never earned a shilling for himself, but always had money, got on Post-Obits tho’ he inveighed agst Primogeniture to give to Godwin & other rascals. Once I would have kissed the hem of his garment– When I knew him only from Leigh Hunt’s account of him, & would have done anyg to serve him. Later I knew him better, false & profligate. Of Byron—and a book of Letters of Lady Byron & Mrs Leigh, of wh. Lord Wentworth printed 150 copies—all destroyd but six. He lent it & I & my sister read it & Ld W came & took it away. Infamous conduct of Byron & Mrs Leigh & her daughters. Byron told his wife—who had Utopian fancies of reclaiming & forgiving. This Lushington knew & understood. And this was by no means the worst Byron did. Medora Leigh was Byron’s daughter & proud of it. Lady Lovelace equally bad.

Göthe regarded women as subjects for experiment. He liked to see how a loving girl behaved under neglect.– Of the Shah—at Ld Rosebery’s—wore my doctor’s robe and cap. Malcom Khan introduced me. ‘Vous êtes poète? Vous avez imprimé un livre? Trop. Combien? Donnez moi un comme souvenir.’[1] Sent 2 vols. Selections next day thro’ M. Khan.

My new volume has many light pieces– As a man grows older he wishes to be wiser and deeper in thought—he has no longer the Champaigne of Youth—but at Asolo I felt particy well,—and I have memories enough! ‘Some natures are incapable of sensibility you rain kindness on thin and stony soil—while in others the deed of kindness is enough to awaken gratitude and affection. I have seen a great deal of the gushing sort of professions– And on the whole, I prefer the other sort, who say less and do more.

Master [illegible name] was a story he heard or read 40 years ago.

Read in note from Conte Loredan—at Asolo—‘You have more right to be proud of your self-made reputation than I of my ancestors.’ Said he had now received the corrected proof copy of his new Poems and would come to us and read them any day, and Tuesday next, at 4 P.M. was appointed.

Mr Browning told a story which wd delight the Psychical seekers. His son stayg with his uncle Octavius Barrett, dreamed that he was shot, so vividly that he sprang out of bed. At breakfast he told of his dream. He & his uncle were to meet a neighbour that morning, to shoot over the estates– Both uncle & aunt tried to dissuade him from going out, which he insisted on doing. As they arrived at the spot appointed, the neighbour came to meet them, dragging his gun, which went off between uncle & nephew. Luckily there was no shot in it—as he had been firing at bottles & gave his keeper 5d when he missed. So the keeper owned he had left out the shot–

Mr Browning told two amusing instances of his going to the wrong house where parties were going on and finding himself among people he did not know– The other day, here, an expert examd his hands & sd they did not belong together and had opposite indications of character.

1. “Are you a poet? Have you published a book? Too many. How many? Give me one as a keepsake.”


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