Robert Browning, a Portrait

Robert Browning, a Portrait

Robert Browning, a Portrait

Robert Browning, a Portrait

Excerpt

Like the water-diviner, the biographer anticipates a moment when the forked twig will leap suddenly between his hands. The best dowsers, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "have generally been more or less illiterate men, engaged in some humble vocation"; but the biographer, however humble his vocation, is justly required to support the claims of intuition with such material evidence as he has been able to collect. I am happy to acknowledge the kindness of those who have given me access to ground protected by the laws of copyright or of possession. My greatest debt in this respect is to Sir John Murray; other material is reproduced by kind permission of Wellesley College Library; the University of Illinois Library; the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library; the British Library of Political and Economic Science; the British Museum; and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

I am indebted to Lieut.-Colonel Fordham Flower for his kindness in placing a large collection of family papers at my disposal; to Sir Vincent Baddeley for information about his kinsman and for the loan of a caricature by Pellegrini; to Mrs. Phyllis de Kay Wheelock for information, and for the photograph of her aunt, Mrs. Arthur Bronson; to the Conte Rucellai for permission to reproduce a portrait of his mother; and to Balliol College for the use of photographs in the Browning col-

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