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ODD CONFESSIONS.

229

the scenes, Goldsmith greeted him with an overflowing heart; declaring that he exceeded his own idea of the character, and made it almost as new to him as to any of the audience.

On the whole, however, both the author and his friends were disappointed at the reception of the piece, and considered it a failure. Poor Goldsmith left the theatre with his towering hopes completely cut down. He endeavored to hide his mortification, and even to assume an air of unconcern while among his associates ; but the moment he was alone with Dr. Johnson, in whose rough but magnanimous nature he reposed unlimited confidence, he threw off all restraint and gave way to an almost childlike burst of grief. Johnson, who had shown no want of sympathy at the proper time, saw nothing in the partial disappointment of overrated expectations to warrant such ungoverned emotions, and rebuked him sternly for what he termed a silly affectation, saying that “ No man should be expected to sympathize with the sorrows of vanity.”

When Goldsmith had recovered from the blow, he, with his usual unreserve, made his past distress a subject of amusement to his friends. Dining one day, in company with Dr. Johnson, at the chaplain's table at St. James's Palace, he entertained the company with a particular and comic account of all his feelings on the night of representation, and his despair when the piece was hissed. How be went, he said, to the Literary Club; chatted gayly, as if nothing had gone amiss; and, to give a greater idea of his unconcern, sang his favorite

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and interest. I assure you, sir, I have no disposition to differ with you on this or any other account, but am, with an high opinion of your abilities, and a very real esteem, sir, your most obedient humble servant. OLIVER GOLDSMITH.”

In his reply, Garrick observed, " I was, indeed, much hurt that your warmth at our last meeting mistook

my

sincere and friendly attention to your play for the remains of a former misunderstanding, which I had as much forgot as if it had never existed. What I said to you at my own house I now repeat, that I felt more pain in giving my sentiments than you possibly would in receiving them. It has been the business, and ever will be, of my life to live on the be terms with men of genius ; and I know that - Dr. Goldsmith will have no reason to change his previous friendly disposition towards me, as I shall be glad of every future opportunity to convince him how much I am his obedient servant and well-wisher. D. GARRICK.

CHAPTER XXI.

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More Hack-Authorship. — Tom Davies and the Roman Hig.

tory. — Canonbury Castle. — Political Authorship. — Pecuniary Temptation. — Death of Newbery the Elder.

HOUGH Goldsmith's comedy was now

in train to be performed, it could not be

brought out before Christmas; in the mean time he must live. Again, therefore, he had to resort to literary jobs for his daily support. These obtained for him petty occasional sums, the largest of which was ten pounds, from the elder Newbery, for an historical compilation ; but this scanty rill of quasi patronage, so sterile in its products, was likely soon to cease ; Newbery being too ill to attend to business, and having to transfer the whole management of it to his nephew.

At this time Tom Davies, the sometime Roscius, sometime bibliopole, stepped forward to Goldsmith’s relief, and proposed that he should undertake an easy popular history of Rome in two volumes. An arrangement was soon made. Goldsmith undertook to complete it in two years, if possible, for two hundred and fifty guineas, and forthwith set about his task with cheerful alacrity. As usual, he sought a rural retreat during the summer months, where he might alternate his

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literary labors with strolls about the green fields. "Merry Islington" was again his resort, but he now aspired to better quarters than formerly, and engaged the chambers occupied occasionally by Mr. Newbery, in Canonbury. House, or Castle, as it is popularly called. This had been a huntinglodge of Queen Elizabeth, in whose time it was surrounded by parks and forests. In Goldsmith's day, nothing remained of it but an old brick tower; it was still in the country amid rural scenery, and was a favorite nestling-place of authors, publishers, and others of the literary

A number of these he had for fellowoccupants of the castle ; and they formed a temporary club, which held its meetings at the Crown Tavern, on the Islington lower road; and here he presided in his own genial style, and was the life and delight of the company.

The writer of these pages visited old Canonbury Castle some years since, out of regard to the memory of Goldsmith. The apartment was still shown which the poet had inhabited, consist- . ing of a sitting-room and small bedroom, with panelled wainscots and Gothic windows. The

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* See on the distant slope, majestic shows

Old Canonbury's tower, an ancient pile
To various fates assigned; and where by turns
Meanness and grandeur have alternate reign'd;
Thither, in latter days, hath genius fled
From yonder city, to respire and die.
There the sweet bard of Auburn sat, and tuned
The plaintive moanings of his village dirge.
There learned Chambers treasured lore for men,
And Newbery there his A-B-C's for babes.

PECUNIARY TEMPTATION.

223

quaintness and quietude of the place were still attractive. It was one of the resorts of citizens on their Sunday walks, who would ascend to the top of the tower and amuse themselves with reconnoitring the city through a telescope. Not far from this tower were the gardens of the White Conduit House, a Cockney Elysium, where Goldsmith used to figure in the humbler days of his fortune. In the first edition of his Essays he speaks of a stroll in these gardens, where he at that time, no doubt, thought himself in perfectly genteel society. After his rise in the world, however, he became too knowing to speak of such plebeian haunts. In a new edition of his Essays,' therefore, the White Conduit House and its garden disappears, and he speaks of "a stroll in the Park.”

While Goldsmith was literally living from hand to mouth by the forced drudgery of the pen,

his independence of spirit was subjected to a sore pecuniary trial. It was the opening of Lord North's administration, a time of great political excitement. The public mind was agitated by the question of American taxation, and other questions of like irritating tendency. Junius and Wilkes and other powerful writers were attacking the administration with all their force ; Grub Street was stirred up to its lowest depths ; inflammatory talent of all kinds was in full activity, and the kingdom was deluged with pamphlets, lampoons, and libels of the grossest kinds. The ministry were looking anxiously round for literary support. It was thought that the pen of

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