[Venice—Wednesday, 20 November 1889]

Cannon & flags for Queen’s Birthday– At 10.30 with Mr & Miss Browning to Lido. Again asked me to call him Browning ‘tout court’–[1] Said as before ‘I should not mind doing so, as he bid, but should not like other people, hear it, to suppose it to be want of respect on my part–

Today he fully discussed the Fitzgerald reference to Mrs. Browning, and his own rejoinder in Athenæum. Had recd letters from Lady Tennyson, and Miss Thackeray endeavg to excuse Fitzgd, & to mollify R.B. But he felt now, as he felt at first, when he instantly wrote & sent off the rejoinder. And he would do it again. For himself & his own works, he never noticed anything adverse—except when Austin printed garbled extracts to prove B’s obscurity: lines in which words were inserted, and words omitted– Austin since wished to be well with him, but he wd not.– Mrs Story told us herself that when A. Austin was introduced she asked are you the son of Miss Jane Austen, the novelist? He ansd gravely he was not her son.

Mrs. Jameson said ‘My dear Browning– Why is it that Shakespeare is clear to me, and I understand him, and do not understand you?’—B. ansd—What do you understand by the passages in Othello—‘this trash that I trash-&c?’—Oh—‘this trash that I consider as trash’– B—Is it not rather this brach—that I trace (from tracisa) as one follows a dog in hunting—? (A note says ‘to trash is to put a stone on a hound’s neck that he not outstrip the rest’–[).]

1. “Just Browning.”


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