[Venice—Monday, 4 November 1889]

To Lido at 3 with Mr Browning. Landed S. Eliz. along beach to Favorita & by lane to S. Niccolo. He said in the Austrians’ time they did not let one walk here. I wished to find the tomb of Salinguerra in the Church S. Niccolo—and standing between the church and the great plane tree he told us the whole story of Alberico Ezzelini and his family and their tower at Asolo, which when he was first there was the Campanile to a church now gone. He bought six arrowheads found there.

He said Gladstone is possessed of a senile ambition to die in office– Lady Aberdeen asked Browning to write an inscription for a portrait by Millais to be given on his 80th birthday. RB declined to do anything of the kind, on account of his entire disapproval of G’s anti-English policy. ‘Oh but you could leave out that!’ [‘]No—how could I say that a man like Gladstone was a good husband and father &c.’ He added that he always declined invitations to meet Gladstone but sometimes found him at dinners– Once Gladstone was coming to take a chair next Browning, who seeing it, asked Ld Cork to exchange places—so when Gladstone got round the table he said ‘What changes have occurred here!’ Said G. certainly wrote the Article vs. Italy signed ‘Outidanos.’ Of mad Mrs Moore’s libel suit—offd a man £2000 a year as Secy. Wanted RB to put him down at Athenæum Club! Quarrelled, and wrote letters—whence libel-suit, and Sir C. Russell to pay. Of Mrs___ living with Mr S—“Might be all right—but he notably licentious. If a man goes to Vienna with an opera-dancer, &c. they may be angels of purity, but it is offensive and presumably wrong.

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