“The weather is true English weather, thick, smoky, and damp. I can see nothing of the general appearance of the city. The splendid docks, which were building when I was here before, are now completed and extend along the river. They are really splendid; everything about them is solid and substantial, of stone and iron, and on so large a scale.
“I have passed my baggage through the custom-house, and on Monday I proceed on my journey to London through Birmingham and Oxford. Miss Leslie, a sister of my friend Leslie of London, is my compagnon de voyage. She is a woman of fine talents and makes my journey less tedious and irksome than it would otherwise be.... I have a long journey before me yet ere I reach Rome, where I intended to be by Christmas Day, but my long voyage will probably defeat my intention.”
DECEMBER 6, 1829—FEBRUARY 6, 1830
Journey from Liverpool to London by coach.—Neatness of the cottages.— Trentham Hall.—Stratford-on-Avon.—Oxford.—London.—Charles R. Leslie. —Samuel Rogers.—Seated with Academicians at Royal Academy lecture.— Washington Irving.—Turner.—Leaves London for Dover.—Canterbury Cathedral.—Detained at Dover by bad weather.—Incident of a former visit.—Channel steamer.—Boulogne-sur-Mer.—First impressions of France.—Paris.—The Louvre.—Lafayette.—Cold in Paris.—Continental Sunday.—Leaves Paris for Marseilles in diligence.—Intense cold.— Dijon.—French funeral.—Lyons.—The Hotel Dieu.—Avignon.—Catholic church services.—Marseilles.—Toulon.—The navy yard and the galley slaves.—Disagreeable experience at an inn.—The Riviera.—Genoa.
Morse was now thirty-eight years old, in the full vigor of manhood, of a spare but well-knit frame and of a strong constitution. While all his life, and especially in his younger years, he was a sufferer from occasional severe headaches, he never let these interfere with the work on hand, and, by leading a sane and rational life, he escaped all serious illnesses. He was not a total abstainer as regards either wine or tobacco, but was moderate in the use of both; a temperance advocate in the true sense of the word.
His character had now been moulded both by prosperity and adversity. He had known the love of wife and children, and of father and mother, and the cup of domestic happiness had been dashed from his lips. He had experienced the joy of the artist in successful creation, and the bitterness of the sensitive soul irritated by the ignorant, and all but overwhelmed by the struggle for existence. He had felt the supreme joy of swaying an audience by his eloquence, and he had endured with fortitude the carping criticism of the envious. Through it all, through prosperity and through adversity, his hopeful, buoyant nature had triumphed. Prosperity had not spoiled him, and adversity had but served to refine. He felt that he had been given talents which he must utilize to the utmost, that he must be true to himself, and that, above all, he must strive in every way to benefit his fellow men.