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of men on the hearth-rug, that the conversation turned on the untruth of Romeo's rash assertion What's in a name!' Mr. Browning maintained that there was a great deal in a name, and that a person's name influenced his whole life and character and profession. And then, in an aside, 'I never should have written a line of poetry if I had been called Stubbs!'

It was at breakfast also, probably à propos of the cleverness of Post Office officials, that he told us of a letter addressed 'Robert Browning, Poet, England,' having reached him at once, with Try 19 Warwick Crescent' on it. It did not seem strange; the strangeness lies in the poet's extraordinary modesty in thinking it strange.

How prettily, and with what an air of amused worry, he told the tale of the deep offence he had given Mrs. Carlyle! It was just after his return from a long time spent in Italy, and he had gone to pay his respects to Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle. Mrs. Carlyle was making tea. 'The kettle, Browning,' she said. “I brought her the kettle from the fire,' Mr. Browning related, and thenit was very stupid of me, but I looked round, and I did not know exactly what to do with it, and I-I-well, I put it down on the table!' And Mrs. Carlyle rose in her wrath. That he should pretend he had forgotten the habits of his native land! 'You !' she exclaimed. "You! to return with your Italian ways, and to put a kettle down on the table !'

But there were those—and it is possible that Mr. Browning, for all his human kindness, was one of them—to whom the thought occurred that, though the proper place for a kettle was not the table cloth, neither was it the hand of Robert Browning.

One morning breakfast was interrupted by a most dramatic incident which interested Browning mightily. This was the sudden advent of a Russian deputation to Mr. Browning's host. Such a disturbance of a quiet Scottish literary breakfast! Such a troop of long-haired, strange men! Such a profusion of bows (in which Mr. Browning joined)! Such Slavonic dignity! And ah! such utter and complete incomprehensibility on both sides in spite of the interpreter ! A mighty scroll was unrolled, was read with emphasis and declamation by the spokesman, and rapidly rendered by the gesticulating interpreter, and we were made aware that the recipient had become something or other very grand and learned of Moscow University. And then again a profusion of bows (in which again Mr. Browning joined), this time expressive of gratitude and wonder on the part of the greatly honoured graduate of Moscow, and in a moment Russia had swept out of our dining-room as rapidly as it had entered. But that scroll was much valued, and is religiously preserved.

One evening Edinburgh was illuminated. Now when Edinburgh, whose wonderful natural loveliness is so stern and cold, condescends to the foreign aid of joyous illuminations, the dazzling effect is as when a beautiful woman dons her diamonds.

The academic citizens, and the great strangers within their gates, had on this evening of the illuminations been hospitably bidden to the house of one of our professors and his wife, who at that time were the enviable possessors of a home in Princes Street. There everyone gathered on the roof. It was an evening never to be forgotten, poised halfway between an enchanted earth and a starry heaven. It was, indeed, Olympia, that roof, for it was inhabited by the gods. Mr. Browning came a little late, for he had been walking with his hostess, admiring the myriads of lights of the Old Town on the height, as seen from the New Town on the plains. They had talked of travel, and she had expressed her love for travel, and a little envy of his constant opportunities. But this,' he said, looking round at the supreme loveliness

this is travel !' To you,' she reminded him.

And at that he looked down at her, with his ever-ready understanding

Ah, yes! I see.' It was Home to her.

Another evening there was a ball. Mr. Browning insisted on attending it. He left the ball early with his host; but, it is reported,' he did not want to leave.' In our drawing-room, before the departure to the ball, he had asked the eldest daughter of the house to give him the first waltz. At the Assembly Rooms, when the first waltz began, Mr. Browning was one of a line of savants who were looking on at the scene, and from this line he stepped out to meet his partner, and they stood together watching the dancing.

One night a short appearance had to be made at the theatre, where the long rehearsed amateur performance of an adaptation of the ‘ Fortunes of Nigel ’ took place. But Mr. Browning was very tired that night, and his hostess guarded her precious charge from interruption during a little involuntary nap taken in the shadow of the curtain of the box.

At a semi-public conversazione held in the Museum of Science

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and Art it became apparent that Mr. Browning was drawing the crowd as a magnet draws steel shavings. When he walked the crowd surged after; when he paused the crowd waited; when he moved on again the tide was again at the full. It became a little embarrassing. This same partner of the first waltz, who was walking about with him, tells how they suddenly came, in the course of their wanderings, into a vast room, and face to face with an enormous glass case containing one magnificent stuffed lion, isolated and angry. “Mr. Browning,' she whispered, as the crowd surged behind them, “it seems as if you would be safer if you were in that case instead of that other lion.'

But later on his hostess asked him apologetically : 'Do you object to all this adulation ?' And he answered readily and heartily, and perhaps with a kindly desire to relieve her mind : Object to it! No; I have waited forty years for it, and nowI like it!'

It was at the end of this conversazione that Mr. Browning's crush hat went a-missing. He had shown much adroitness in recovering everyone else's belongings, and had carefully adjusted all the cloaks and wraps, and then it appeared that he regretfully knew his own hat to be still amid the medley in the over-crowded cloak-room. He took it extremely calmly, dived back into the vortex, and presently returned nursing the truant lovingly.

How simple and happy-almost boyish-he was, amid all the adulation! So unlike what one would have imagined a great poet and seer and teacher. Unlike in appearance, for he was such a dapper, well-groomed, sprightly figure,—nothing of the melancholy intensity of Tennyson. He might, someone said, have been taken for a sea captain. This may have been suggested by that short, nautical-looking pilot coat he wore. But then his eyes !-dark, piercing, wonderful eyes they were !

Unlike was he too in manner to the conventional idea of a poet ; is not the adjective usually ‘dreamy'? In Browning there was nothing aloof or awesome. He was a brilliant talker, quickly alive to all going on about him, humanly and genuinely interested in all the small social claims of the moment. His frank appreciation of his own genius seemed always to take the generous form of readiness to gratify others. He always gave both his hands when he read enthusiasm in the face of one brought up to be presented to him, and no doubt everyone so honoured held those hands the very little longer.'

And, again, how clear is the recollection of timidly carrying him one or two of the many albums and birthday books that had been sent to receive, if possible, his autograph, and of the readiness with which he took a pen and signed one after the other. His host came in and protested, and an anxious excuse was made—these were only a few favoured ones—there was a heap ever so high that Mr. Browning was not being troubled with.

‘Oh, the poor dears! Give me a large sheet of paper and I'll sign it all over,' he cried, and, pen in hand, looked round him for the sheet of paper. But his host intervened, would not allow even self-imposed martyrdom, and carried him off.

One afternoon Mr. Browning went alone to call on Lady Kinloch, an old friend of his own, and our near neighbour. He returned, having paid the call; and it was not till long after that we heard the characteristic story of what had happened on the way.

‘He must have been very egotistic,' somebody said of Browning, for when he was here in Edinburgh a friend of a friend of mine was standing on her doorstep, just starting out, when an elderly gentleman asked her to direct him to some house near. She could not tell him, but offered to look it up for him in the directory, and took him into the house, produced a directory, and together they found out what he wanted to know, and then came out to the doorstep again, so that she could point out to him the direction he had to take. He thanked her, went down the steps, hesitated, and then turned and came back to her, saying: "Perhaps you may like to know to whom you have been so kind ? I am a poor poet, and my name is Robert Browning."

The imputation of egoism was warmly denied, of course. It was his thoughtful kindness and generosity! It was just like him. He knew he could, in return for a gracious courtesy on the part of an unknown lady, give her, as rich reward, a memory for life. Would not the real egoism have been to withhold it—from false pride or shyness ? 'Who was your friend's friend ? ' it was asked ; but this had been forgotten, the story was hearsay. Well, probably, it was urged, the room she took him into--it being Edinburgh-was the room behind the dining-room, which is always the study' or 'the library' (if it is not a consulting room), and there would have been more and other books than the directory. There may even have been a complete and much handled edition of Browning. He would have seen that the meeting would be a moulted feather, an eagle's feather.'

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This explanation received confirmation some years later. The story was related again, this time in Mull, and this time ‘my sister' was the heroine of the incident. And the name of that sister, the name of her well-known husband, of his famous grandfather, is a name that has ever been associated in Edinburgh with books and literature; and Browning's chance encounter with Mrs. Constable seems to make a link between him and the Edinburgh of Sir Walter Scott.

But his kindness was not only to those who were his readers. One day one of his host’s family wanted to run across a piece of wet pavement to a cab, in which she was to drive home with her father and Mr. Browning.

* But what about your shoes, my dear child—are they thick shoes ?' And he knelt down and took one paw into his hand.

How splendid was the ovation our students gave to Robert Browning! It was at the students' own reception to the Tercentenary guests. Several of the great savants made speeches—each within ten minutes--each in his native language. De Lesseps spoke in French ; Virchow in German. It was all very lucid and quite easy to follow, no doubt. In the Frenchman's voluble utterances, le Canal de Suez-le Canal de Suez' was reiterated with the insistence of a dominant note; and Virchow repeatedly and impressively advised the young scholars of Scotland against placing their trust in ‘blosse logische Möglichkeiten.'

Mr. Browning had wrung a sacred promise from the son of his host, who was in especial authority on this occasion, that he would not be called on to speak. He never made speeches ; he had never made a speech in his life. But suddenly, towards the end of the occasion, the ovation began. It was the young generation calling for the poet whom they, and not those of his own generation, had discovered and loved. Had he not 'waited forty years'?

The body of students in the centre of the hall rose-rose to a man. “Browning! Browning !' they shouted. They scrambled on to the benches, waving sticks : ‘Browning! Browning !

He who had given the sacred promise whispered to someone on the platform that this must be stopped, for Mr. Browning would not speak—he never

A storm of cheering stopped him, and he turned to discover Mr. Browning had risen to his feet. There he stood, the whiteheaded, eagle-eyed, metaphysical poet, stirred and touched to make the one and only speech he ever had made, or ever would

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