Ever your affectionate and grateful
My husband’s regards always.
[Footnote 185: Count Pellegrino Rossi, chief minister to the Pope, was assassinated in Rome, at the entrance of the Chamber of Deputies, on November 15, 1848. Ten days later the Pope fled to Gaeta, and his experiments in ‘reform’ came to a final end.]
[Footnote 186: The Pope, having declared war against Austria before his flight, had invited French support, with the concurrence of his people; being expelled from Rome, he invited (and obtained) French help to restore him, in spite of the desperate opposition of his people.]
There is here a pause of two months in the correspondence of Mrs. Browning, during which the happiness of her already happy life was crowned by the birth, on March 9, 1849, of her son, Robert Wiedeman Barrett Browning. How great a part this child henceforward played in her life will be shown abundantly by the letters that follow. Some passages referring to the child’s growth, progress, and performances have been omitted, partly in the necessary reduction of the bulk of the correspondence, and partly because too much of one subject may weary the reader. But enough has been left to show that, in the case of Mrs. Browning (and of her husband likewise), the parent was by no means lost in the poet. There is little in what she says which might not equally be said, and is in substance said, by hundreds of happy mothers in every age; but it would be a suppression of one essential part of her nature, and an injury to the pleasant picture which the whole life of this poet pair presents, if her enthusiasms over her child were omitted or seriously curtailed. Biographers are fond of elaborating the details in which the lives of poets have not conformed to the standard of the moral virtues; let us at least recognise that, in the case of Robert and Elizabeth Browning, the moral and the intellectual virtues flourished side by side, each contributing its share to the completeness of the whole character.
[Footnote 187: Wiedeman was the maiden name of Mr. Browning’s mother, her father having been a German who settled in Scotland and married a Scotch wife.]