HORATIO BROWN OF VENICE
rTo the Editor of the SPECTATOR.]
Sur,—May I as one of Horatio Brown's oldest friends put on record in the Spectator—a paper to which he often con- tributed both in prose and verse—my devotion to him as a man and a scholar ? He and I had a dozen things in common. We both loved Italy, her people and her monuments, and in the age of Ruskin were not afraid to admire the great examples of eighteenth-century architecture which Venice has to show. He sent me to Stra, a building which though seen by comparatively few people, is one of the glories of North Italy. We both loved literature. We both as young men loved walking, especially in the mountains. I saw my first glacier, my first field of perpetual snow, and my
first herd of Chamois in his company. It was indeed on this memorable walk, made from Davos, that I gave him the
epithet which I see was quoted in the Times obituary. He was lean and twenty-eight, and I was fat, and two-and-twenty, and when I saw him springing from crag to crag, while " sweated " up an apparently endless snow-slope, I hurled at him Pistol's immortal phrase : thou damned and luxurious mountain goat—though " luxurious " was in fact as inappro- priate an adjective as one could select. He had a good Italian cook, liked good Italian wine, and was hospitable to his friends, but he was always ready and willing for moun- tain fare.
His sense of humour was well rooted and maintained. I remember about twenty-five years ago his telling me how he had lunched in Edinburgh in company with a great Scottish contractor and millionaire. The man of wealth hearing that Brown lived in Venice thus addressed him. " So you live in Vennus do you ? A damp, dark, dirty disgusting hole !" We often discussed what was the proper retort courteous and conclusive to this remarkable generalization, and never without delight.—I am, Sir, &c., J. ST. LOE STRACIIEY.