Polio left Scott permanently lame in the right leg at the age of eighteen months. His parents sent him to recover at his grandfather's farm near Kelso in the Borders. Here he came to know and love the ballads which later inspired his literary career . Scott's novels were read and admired throughout Europe. Those which have Scottish themes, like Old Mortality and Heart of Midlothian, have had a major impact on how Scots view their own past. After retiring in 1830, his health ruined through overwork, Scott travelled to Italy. Here he met the Danish neo-classical sculptor, Thorvaldsen. The bust which resulted from their meeting presents the writer as a noble genius rather than as an exhausted old man..