. . . the most brilliant visit ever made to England . . .
ADHERING TO THE ANNUAL ROUTINE, Prescott evacuated hot, dusty Beacon Street the fourth week in June. More than twelve months had passed since he last had written any history. Yet, however lackadaisical his recent reading, the new contract with Kirk foreshadowed renewed determination. He planned to tackle the big Spanish project—otherwise why arrange for an aide for five years? The day following his arrival at Fitful Head, he resorted to a resolution, one of his oldest challenges to a lazy nature. Taunting and mocking himself, he underscored portions of this latest admonition.
But work he did. Viewing the total reign, via Evaristo San Miguel Historia de Felipe II Rey de España, Prescott once more sought to determine whether he should encompass the complete subject or simply a part of it. At this time his eyes served him but one hour daily, in ten-minute intervals, inspiring the lament,
"So I snail it along."
Late in July Charles King of New York relayed from General Winfield Scott to the historian an invitation to write a history of the late war, for which the general would make his papers available. The offer flattered but did not tempt Prescott. With finality he declared that he
"had rather not meddle with heroes who have not been under ground—two centuries—at least."He might have added, as far as