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Yet still I sit snug, and continue to sigh on,
Pray, ma'am, be so good as to give your advice;
Ah! the Doctor is loo'd! Come, Doctor, put down.'
found.' * But, pray, who have they pilfer'd?'.. 'A doctor, I hear.'
What, yon solemn-faced, odd-looking man that stands near?' The same.' . . • What a pity! how does it surprise one, Two handsomer culprits I never set eyes on !' Then their friends all come round me with cringing and leer
Consider, dear Doctor, the girls are but young.'
THE FAIR CULPRITS.
'But then they 're so handsome, one's bosom it grieves.'
“There's the parish of Edmonton offers forty pounds; there's the parish of St. Leonard Shoreditch offers forty pounds; there's the parish of Tyburn, from the Hog-in-the-pound to St. Giles's watch-house, offers forty pounds, - I shall have all that if I convict them !!. 166 But consider their case, it may yet be your own!
And see how they kneel! Is your heart made of stone?'
“I challenge you all to answer this: I tell you, you cannot.
It cuts deep. But now for .the rest of the letter: and next - but I want
so I believe I shall battle the rest out at Barton some day next week. I don't value
We regret that we have no record of this Christmas visit to Barton ; that the poet had no Boswell to follow at his heels, and take note of all his sayings and doings. We can only picture him in our minds, casting off all care ; enacting the lord of misrule ; presiding at the Christmas revels; providing all kinds of merriment; keeping the card-table in an uproar, and finally opening the ball on the first day of the year in his spring-velvet suit, with the Jessamy Bride for a partner.
Theatrical Delays. — Negotiations with Colman. — Letter to
Garrick. — Croaking of the Manager. — Naming of the Play. — “She Stoops to Conquer.” — Foote's Primitive Puppet-Show,“ Piety on Pattens.” — First Performance of the Comedy. — Agitation of the Author. — Success. — Colman Squibbed out of Town.
HE gay life depicted in the two last
chapters, while it kept Goldsmith in a
state of continual excitement, aggravated the malady which was impairing his constitution ; yet his increasing perplexities in money-matters drove him to the dissipation of society as a relief from solitary care. The delays of the theatre added to those perplexities. He had long since finished his new comedy, yet the year 1772 passed away without his being able to get it on the stage. No one, uninitiated in the interior of a theatre, that little world of traps and trickery, can have any idea of the obstacles and perplexities multiplied in the way of the most eminent and successful author by the mismanagement of managers, the jealousies and intrigues of rival authors, and the fantastic and impertinent caprices of actors. A long and baffling negotiation was carried on between Goldsmith and Colman, the manager of Covent Garden ; who retained the play in his hands until the middle of January, (1773)
NEGOTIATIONS WITH COLMAN.
without coming to a decision. The theatrical season was rapidly passing away, and Goldsmith's pecuniary difficulties were augmenting and pressing on him. We may judge of his anxiety by the following letter:
“ To George Colman, Esq. 6 DEAR SIR,
“I entreat you ’ll relieve me from that state of suspense in which I have been kept for a long time. Whatever objections you have made or shall make to my play, I will endeavor to remove and not argue about them. To bring in any new judges either of its merits or faults I can never submit to. Upon a former occasion, when my other play was before Mr. Garrick, he offered to bring me before Mr. Whitehead's tribunal, but I refused the proposal with indignation : I hope I shall not experience as harsh treatment from you as from him. I have, as you know, a large sum of money to make up shortly; by accepting my play, I can readily satisfy my creditor that way; at any rate, I must look about to some certainty to be prepared. For God's sake take the play, and let us make the est of it, and let me have the same measure, at least, which you have given as bad plays as mine. “ I am your friend and servant,
6 OLIVER GOLDSMITH.”
Colman returned the manuscript with the blank sides of the leaves scored with disparaging comments, and suggested alterations, but with the
intimation that the faith of the theatre should be kept, and the play acted notwithstanding. Goldsmith submitted the criticisms to some of his friends, who pronounced them trivial, unfair, and contemptible, and intimated that Colman, being a dramatic writer himself, might be actuated by jealousy. The play was then sent, with Colman's comments written on it, to Garrick ; but he had scarce sent it when Johnson interfered, represented the evil that might result from an apparent rejection of it by Covent Garden, and undertook to go forthwith to Colman, and have a talk with him on the subject. Goldsmith, therefore, penned the following note to Garrick: “ DEAR SIR, –
“ I ask many pardons for the trouble I gave you yesterday. Upon more mature deliberation, and the advice of a sensible friend, I began to think it indelicate in me to throw upon you
the odium of confirming Mr. Colman's sentence. I therefore request you will send my play back by my servant; for having been assured of having it acted at the other house, though I confess yours in every respect more to my wish, yet it would be folly in me to forego an advantage which lies in my power of appealing from Mr. Colman's opinion to the judgment of the town. I entreat, if not too late, you will keep this affair a secret for some time. “I ani, dear Sir, your very humble servant,
“ OLIVER GOLDSMITH.” The negotiation of Johnson with the manager