[Venice—Thursday, 7 November 1889]

At 3 P.M. we called for Mr & Miss Browning and rowed to Quattro Fontane, where landed and walked amid the dogs, turkeys, geese & ducks of the farm, to the beach, sending the gondola to the Fort halfway to Malamocco. We then walked over the dunes, sea & sky most delicately beautiful and a long file of fishing boats and coloured sails close in shore. The Friuli Mountains lifted snow-peaks above the mists. The sun set in glory, and the full red moon rose between the inky cypresses of S. Lazzaro as we passed homeward. Browning talked a great deal, but chiefly of a matter which much interests him at present, but of which nothing is to be said.– He told the story of a recluse who inhabits the top of an ancient tower at Asolo. He was accused and imprisoned for a crime wh. he did not commit, and devoted his life to discovering the real criminal. Suspecting a person, he made love to his wife, solely to win her confidence and confession of her husband’s guilt—then establishing his own innocence. He has since lived in the lonely tower. Asked us to call for them next day at 5 P.M. to go to the Princess of Montenegro’s, (just returned from their family wedding to the Russian Grand Duke.)

Browning said he was once at Rogers’s table, who said, ‘this morning I told Edmund (his man) to bring me my poems.[’] I asked it deprecatingly– ‘Edmund, bring me my Immortal Works,’ with a smile. ‘Ah sir, if ye call so often for them, ye’ll be getting as bad as Mr Wordsworth.’


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