Gandhi with Romain Rolland in Switzerland on his way back to IndiaOne of the most pleasant surprises of the tour was the courtesy and even affection Gandhi received from the cotton operatives of Lancashire, which had been hit the hardest by the boycott of British goods in India. He listened with obvious attention and sympathy to the tale of woe of those who were jobless. Many of them saw the background of the boycott which he had sponsored, when he told them: "You have three million unemployed, but we have200 million unemployed for half the year. Your average unemployment dole is seventy shillings. Our average income is 7s. 6d. a month."
Gandhis homely logic and transparent sincerity left an indelible impression on some of those whom he met. They formed clearer impressions of him than the loin cloth and goats milk version with which the popular press regaled them. While his opinions might appear utopian or revolutionary, he could no longer be dismissed as "humbug", the appellation with which Truth had heralded his arrival in England.
Meanwhile, the news from India had been far from reassuring. The compromise which had been patched up between the Congress and the Government before Gandhis departure for England had virtually broken down. Gandhi was anxious to return home; he declined invitations to prolong his itinerary in Europe and to visit America, but he decided to spend a few days in Switzerland with his biographer, Romain Rolland. In Rome, where he spent a day, he walked through the Vatican galleries; in the Sistine Chapel he was spell-bound: "I saw a figure of Christ there. It was wonderful. I could not tear myself away. The tears sprang to my eyes as I gazed."