of ‘Excelsior,’ before which the poet promptly retreated.
Passing to the continent, the party visited Switzerland
, crossed by the St. Gothard Pass to Italy
, and reached Cadenabbia, on the Lake of Como
They returned to Paris
in the autumn; then went to Italy
again, staying at Florence
, where they saw the Abbe Liszt
and obtained that charming sketch of him by Healy
, in which the great musician is seen opening the inner door and bearing a candle in his hand.
In the spring they visited Naples
, and Innsbruck
, returning then to England
, where Longfellow
received the degree of D. C. L. at Oxford
; and they then visited Devonshire, Edinburgh, and the Scottish lakes
He again received numberless invitations in London
, and wrote to Lowell
, ‘It is only by dint of great resolution that I escaped a dozen public and semi-public dinners.’
At the very last moment before sailing, he received a note from Mr. E. J. Reed
, the chief constructor
to the British Navy
, who pronounced his poem ‘The Building of the Ship
’ to be the finest poem on shipbuilding that ever was or ever would be written.
He reached home September 1, 1869.
In his letters during this period, one sees the serene head of a family, the absolutely unspoiled recipient of praise, but not now the eager and enthusiastic young pilgrim of romance.