For my general material I have been largely indebted to Miss Browning. Her memory was the only existing record of her brother's boyhood and youth. It has been to me an unfailing as well as always accessible authority for that subsequent period of his life which I could only know in disconnected facts or his own fragmentary reminiscences. It is less true, indeed, to say that she has greatly helped me in writing this short biography than that without her help it could never have been undertaken.
circumstance which may help to account for his not having seen much of his grandchildren, the poet and his sister; we are indeed told that he particularly dreaded the lively boy's vicinity to his afflicted foot. He married, in 1778, Margaret, daughter of a Mr. Tittle by his marriage with Miss Seymour; and who was born in the West Indies and had inherited property there. They had three children: Robert, the poet's father; a daughter, who lived an uneventful life and plays no part in the family history; and another son who died an infant. The Creole mother died also when her eldest boy was only seven years old, and passed out of his memory in all but an indistinct impression of having seen her lying in her coffin. Five years later the widower married a Miss Smith, who gave him a large family.
This second marriage of Mr. Browning's was a critical event in the life of his eldest son; it gave him, to all appearance, two step-parents instead of one. There could have been little sympathy between his father an