From the Writers Almanac 9/19/08
“It was on this day in 1846 that the poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning eloped to Italy. In January of 1845, Robert Browning sent a letter to Elizabeth Barrett. He had just read her book Poems (1844) and he said: “I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett. … I do, as I say, love these books with all my heart — and I love you too.” They started writing letters, and they met four months later. Barrett was 40 years old, an invalid; her father didn’t let her leave the house, and she only saw a few people outside her immediate family. Browning was 34, worldly, and athletic. They fell in love. Between Browning’s first letter and their elopement, they exchanged 574 letters. Barrett’s father didn’t believe that any of his children should get married, so after a secret wedding a week earlier, the couple fled to Italy and lived happily there.”
Yet another reason that writing letters is a good way to spend your time–romantic elopement with a worldly and athletic man.