[Venice—Saturday, 14 December 1889]

To Lido—same walk so lately taken with Mr Browning—his very footsteps not yet effaced on the sands– Telegram & letter from Villari at Florence that it wd be ‘impossible’ to have Browning buried beside his wife. The Dean of Westminster telegraphed to RBB to know hour of funeral, that a service might be had at the Abbey, at same hour. And later telegram from Mr. G. Smith (the publisher) that the Dean offers interment in the Abbey. We found RBB in much doubt—between Florence, Venice & London as the place to lay his father. As he asked our advice we said we thought the offer of the Abbey was one which could not be refused. Also, that the uncertainty and insecurity of sepulture in Italy—as shown by the late changes made in the English Cemetery at Rome—makes it possible that the authorities of Florence may, at any time, abolish the now disused Cemetery in which Mrs. Browning is buried. I went over to Giudecca, to get from our garden some branches of bay-leaves, wh. RBB wished made into wreaths to be laid on the coffin. And in the eveg my wife and Miss Bronson made the wreaths, of leaves, berries & ribbons, for the funeral to take place tomorrow (15th) at 2.30 in the great Hall of Palo Rezzonico–


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