‘Long ringlets and no neckcloth’

  • Mary Russell Mitford


I saw Mr Browning once1 and remember thinking how exactly he resembled a girl drest in boy’s clothes — and as to his poetry I have just your opinion of it. It is one heap of obscurity confusion and weakness. Let me add to this that many of his friends and mine—William Harness, John Kenyon, Henry Chorley speak very highly of him—I suppose he is an accomplished man and if he makes his angelic wife happy I shall of course learn to like him. But he ought not to have persuaded her to take such a step. This of course is quite between ourselves. Do you know him personally? Did you ever see him? I met him once as I told you when he had long ringlets and no neckcloth — and when he seemed to me about the height and size of a boy of twelve years old—Femmelette — is a word made for him. A strange sort of person to carry such a woman as Elizabeth Barrett off her feet. He is a great musician and so forth—But I come back to the conceit of writing book upon book all bad — and being at this point engaged in preparing a new edition of his works — the first edition of each having gone off in the form of waste paper.

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

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  • Mary Russell Mitford

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