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A buon companion in all his rural amusements was his cousin and college crony, Robert Bryanton, with whom he sojourned occasionally at Ballymulvey House in the neighborhood. They used to make excursions about the country on foot, sometimes fishing, sometimes hunting otter in the Inny. They got up a country club at the little inn of Ballymahon, of which Goldsmith soon became the oracle and prime wit; astonishing his unlettered associates by his learning, and being considered capital at a song and a story. From the rustic conviviality of the inn at Ballymahon, and the company which used to assemble there, it is surmised that he took some hints in afterlife for his picturing of Tony Lumpkin and his associates : “ Dick Muggins, the exciseman; Jack Slang, the horse-doctor; little Aminidab, that grinds the music-box, and Tom Twist, that spins the pewter platter.” Nay, it is thought that Tony's drinking-song at the “ Three Jolly Pigeons" was but a revival of one of the convivial catches at Ballymahon:“ Then come put the jorum about,
And let us be merry and clever,
Here's the Three Jolly Pigeons forever.
Your bustards, your ducks, and your widgeons,
Toroddle, toroddle, toroll.” Notwithstanding all these accomplishments and this rural popularity, his friends began to shake their heads and shrug their shoulders when they
FONDNESS FOR CLUBS.
spoke of him ; and his brother Henry noted with anything but satisfaction his frequent visits to the club at Ballymahon. He emerged, however unscathed from this dangerous ordeal, more fortunate in this respect than his comrade Bryanton ; but he retained throughout life a fondness for clubs : often, too, in the course of his checkered career, he looked back to this period of rural sports and careless enjoyments as one of the few sunny spots of his cloudy life; and though he ultimately rose to associate with birds of a finer feather, his heart would still yearn in secret after the “ THREE JOLLY PIGEONS.”
Goldsmith rejected by the Bishop. — Second Sally to see the
World. — Takes Passage for America. — Ship sails without him. — Return on Fiddle-back. – A hospitable Friend. The Counsellor.
HE time had now arrived for Goldsmith
to apply for orders, and he presented
himself accordingly before the Bishop of Elphin for ordination. We have 'stated his great objection to clerical life, the obligation to wear a black coat; and, whimsical as it may appear, dress seems in fact to have formed an obstacle to his entrance into the Church. He had ever a passion for clothing his sturdy but awkward little
in gay colors; and on this solemn occasion, when it was to be supposed his garb would be of suitable gravity, he appeared luminously arrayed in scarlet breeches ! He was rejected by the bishop : some say for want of sufficient studious preparation ; his rambles and frolics with Bob Bryanton, and his revels with the club at Ballymahon, having been much in the way of his theological studies; others attribute his rejection to reports of his college irregularities, which the Bishop had received from his old tyrant Wilder ; but those who look into the matter with more knowing eyes, pronounce the scarlet breeches to have been the fundamental
SECOND SALLY TO SEE THE WORLD. 45
objection. “My friends," says Goldsmith, speak. ing through his humorous representative, the “ Man in Black,” — “my friends were now perfectly satisfied I was undone ; and yet they thought it a pity for one that had not the least harm in him, and was so very good-natured.” His uncle Contarine, however, still remained unwavering in his kindness, though much less sanguine in his expectations. He now looked round for a humbler sphere of action, and through his influence and exertions Oliver was received as tutor in the family of a Mr. Flinn, a gentleman of the neighborhood. The situation was apparently respectable; he had his seat at the table ; and joined the family in their domestic recreations and their evening game at cards.
There was a servility, however, in his position, which was not to his taste; nor did his deference for the family increase upon familiar intercourse. He charged a member of it with unfair play at cards. A violent altercation ensued, which ended in his throwing up his situation as tutor. being paid off he found himself in possession of an unheard-of amount of money. His wandering propensity and his desire to see the world were instantly in the ascendency. Without communicating his plans or intentions to his friends, he procured a good horse, and, with thirty pounds in his pocket, made his second sally forth into the world.
The worthy niece and housekeeper of the hero of La Mancha could not have been more surprised and dismayed at one of the Don's clandes
tine expeditions than were the mother and friends of Goldsmith when they heard of his mysterious departure. Weeks elapsed, and nothing was seen or heard of him. It was feared that he had left the country on one of his wandering freaks, and his poor mother was reduced almost to despair when one day he arrived at her door almost as forlorn in plight as the prodigal son. Of his thirty pounds not a shilling was left ; and, instead of the goodly steed on which he had issued forth on his errantry, he was mounted on a sorry little pony, which he had nicknamed Fiddle-back. As soon as his mother was well assured of his safety, she rated him soundly for his inconsiderate conduct. His brothers and sisters, who were tenderly attached to him, interfered, and succeeded in mollifying her ire ; and whatever lurking anger the good dame might have, was no doubt effectually vanquished by the following whimsical narrative which he drew up at his brother's house and dispatched to her :
“My dear mother, if you will sit down and calmly listen to what I say, you shall be fully resolved in every one of those many questions you have asked me. I went to Cork and converted my horse, which you prize so much higher than Fiddle-back, into cash, took my passage in a ship bound for America, and, at the same time, paid the captain for my freight and all the other expenses of my voyage. But it so happened that the wind did not answer for three weeks and you know, mother, that I could not command the elements. My misfortune was, that, when