Page:Life of Octavia Hill as told in her letters.djvu/129

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MRS. BROWNING ON ENGLAND

she is a great deal more. She shook hands very kindly and made me sit on the sofa by her. There was also Mrs. Jameson. She is quite an old lady with mild blue eyes. There was also Mr. Tennyson, Alfred Tennyson's brother. There was a good deal of small talk, and there was a discussion about places. Mrs. Jameson asked a good deal about Viareggio. At last the conversation turned towards England. It is evident neither Mrs. Browning nor her husband like England much.

She began abusing it, saying she always felt so downcast when there, that the sky felt as if it was falling down, and the rooms were so small; she finished by saying, "I do not sympathise with those who have yearnings after England." Then she turned to me and said, "Perhaps you can tell me something about yearnings after England. Do you yearn after it?" "Oh yes," I said, "very much indeed; I love England, and would not live out of it for long for anything." "Why not?" said Mrs. Jameson in her quiet yet energetic way. So I said, "Firstly Mama and all my sisters are there," and I was going to say more, when other visitors were announced and there was a general stir. Mrs. Browning said to me, with a very sweet smile, "I am sure it is a very good reason." … There was a great deal of very interesting conversation about women, with regard to their right to property when married. Mrs. Jameson was very energetic about it, though I did not think her reasoning was good; also Mrs. Browning talked very nicely about it; but I could not hear all that she said, because I had changed places, and was not near her; and she has such a small voice, that it is difficult to hear what she says. They wanted to get Mr. Browning to sign a petition to Parliament, showing the injustice done to women, according to the