Story’s first impressions of the Brownings

  • William Wetmore Story


The Brownings and we became great friends in Florence, and of course we could not become friends without liking each other. He, Emelyn says, is like you — judge from this portrait? He is of my size, but slighter, with straight black hair, small eyes, wide apart, which he twitches constantly together, a smooth face, a slightly aquiline nose, and manners nervous1 and rapid. He has a great vivacity, but not the least humour, some sarcasm, considerable critical faculty, and very great frankness and friendliness of manner and mind. … Mrs Browning … used to sit buried up in a large easy chair, listening and talking very quietly and pleasantly, with nothing of that peculiarity which one would expect from reading her poems. Her eyes are small, her mouth large, she wears a cap and long curls. Very unaffected and pleasant and simple-hearted is she, and Browning says ‘her poems are the least good part of her.’

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

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  • William Wetmore Story

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