페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

where, after long waiting, the guests 'sat down to a table for fourteen covers ; but, instead of substantials, there was nothing but a profusion of plates striped red, green, and yellow, gilt plate, blacks, and uniforms! My Lady Finlater, who had never seen these embroidered dinners, nor dined after three, was famished.' (See Letters, vi. 212–13, ed. Mrs. Paget Toynbee.)

George Selwyn also narrates his experience at the French Ambassador's, some four years after such dinners had been ridiculed in She Stoops to Conquer : ‘[February, 1777] I dined on Sunday at the French Ambassador's; a splendid and wretched dinner, but good wine ; a quantity of dishes which differed from one another only in appearance ; they had all the same taste, or equally wanted it. The middle piece, the demeurant, as it is called, a fine Oriental arcade, which reached from one end of the table to the other, fell in like a tremblement de terre. The wax, which cemented the composing parts, melted like Icarus's wings, and down it fell. Seventy bougies occasioned this, with the numbers all adding to the heat of the room. I had a more private and much better dinner yesterday at Devonshire House.' From George Selwyn, his Letters and his Life, edited by E. S. Roscoe and Helen Clergue (London, Fisher Unwin, 1899, p. 116).

NOTE 13.-ROYAL MARRIAGE ACT (12 GEO. III), III. cap. 11.

Page 115. This Act was passed in consequence of the marriage of William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, the King's brother, to the Dowager Lady Waldegrave, and that of William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, to the widow of Colonel Horton. The latter marriage was formally announced to George III, and duly authenticated (see Walpole's Letters, i. p. li, viii. 167, 205, and passim). The Duke of Gloucester was present at the representation on the first night of She Stoops to Conquer, and the allusion in Hastings's speech to 'the laws of marriage' in France directed the applause of the audience to the Duke. See Forster's Life, Book IV, chap. xvi. Boswell, at a dinner at General Paoli's, endeavoured to obtain from Goldsmith an admission that the marriage of the Duke was in his mind, but without any decided success. After all, it may have been a random shot which happened to hit the mark. That no offence was taken at Court is shown by the fact

man.

that George III commanded a performance on the tenth night of the play, and again in the following season.

It will be remembered that Johnson strongly disapproved of the Royal Marriage Bill (see Boswell's Life, edited by Dr. Birkbeck Hill, vol. ii, p. 152): ‘Because, said he, I would not have the people think that the validity of marriage depends on the will of man, or that the right of a King depends on the will of

I should not have been against making the marriage of any one of the royal family, without the approbation of King and Parliament, highly criminal.'

A very curious complication arose through the careless drafting of the Act. This was drawn by Mansfield, Thurlow, and Wedderburne, who had unluckily made all parties present at the marriage guilty of felony ; and as nobody could prove the marriage except a person who had been present at it, there could be no prosecution, because nobody present could be compelled to be a witness. This put an end to the matter.

NOTE 14.-INNS WITH GALLERIES. Page 134. A miniature book on Old English Inns has been written by Mr. George T. Burrows and published by Mr. Werner Laurie, which will be of use to the hasty traveller ; but Mr. C. G. Harper, by his many publications on Our Old Inns and The Great Main Roads, has fairly made this branch of the subject his own. The illustrations to Mr. Harper's numerous works from his own pen add much to their value and interest.

NOTE 15.- EMBROIDERY AND NEEDLEWORK AS OCCUPATION FOR

LADIES. Pages 137, 242, 251. There are several interesting records in literature concerning household industry similar to that displayed by Miss Hardcastle and the Vicar's daughters, Olivia and Sophia. Cp. Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, II. iv. 39–40 :

Fair Philomela, she but lost her tongue,

And in a tedious sampler sew'd her mind.
Midsummer Night's Dream, III. ïi. 203-8:

We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our neelds created both one flower,

Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds,

Had been incorporate.
See also Milton, Comus, 750-3:

It is for homely features to keep home,
They had their name thence; coarse complexions,
And cheeks of sorry grain, will serve to ply

The sampler, and to tease the housewife's wool, with the Lady's lofty reply to this false reasoning.

SCENE FROM THE GRUMBLER'

Page 173 Of this piece little need be said. It was produced for the benefit of Quick (to whom Goldsmith was deeply grateful for the successful way in which he had acted the part of Tony Lumpkin) at Covent Garden Theatre, May 8, 1773, and this seems to have been its only representation. It is merely an adaptation of Sir Charles Sedley's The Grumbler, itself a translation of Brueys's French comedy, Le Grondeur. The scene here given was first printed by Prior in his edition of 1837, and has appeared in several editions of the plays since that time, but it cannot be said to add anything to Goldsmith's reputation.

THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD

In March, 1766, the following advertisement appeared in The St. James's Chronicle: 'In a few days will be published, in two volumes, twelves, price six shillings bound, or five shillings sewed, The Vicar of Wakefield. A tale, supposed to be written by himself. Printed for F. Newbery at the Crown in Paternoster Row.' On the 27th of March the book was issued. It had been practically finished, in all probability, as early as 1762, for in the account books kept by Benjamin Collins of Salisbury, Mr. Charles Welsh discovered the following entry: Vicar of Wakefield, 2 vols. 12mo, įrd. B. Collins, Salisbury, bought of Dr. Gold

smith, the author, October 28, 1762, £21. (A Bookseller of the Last Century, 1885, pp. 58–9.) Collins, it will be observed by reference to the facsimile title, was ultimately the printer of the book. This discovery has given rise to some doubts as to the reliance to be placed on certain details in Boswell's account of Johnson's connexion with the publication. 'Johnson informed me,' says Boswell, that he had made the bargain for Goldsmith, and the price was sixty pounds. And, Sir, (said he), a sufficient price too, when it was sold; for then the fame of Goldsmith had not been elevated, as it afterwards was, by his Traveller ; and the bookseller had such faint hopes of profit by his bargain, that he kept the manuscript by him a long time, and did not publish it till after The Traveller had appeared. Then, to be sure, it was accidentally worth more money." Mrs. Piozzi and Sir John Hawkins have strangely mis-stated the history of Goldsmith's situation and Johnson's friendly interference when this novel was sold. I shall give it authentically from Johnson's own exact narration :-I received one morning a message from poor Goldsmith that he was in great distress, and as it was not in his power to come to me, begging that I would come to him as soon as possible. I sent him a guinea and promised to come to him directly. I accordingly went as soon as I was drest, and found that his landlady had arrested him for his rent, at which he was in a violent passion. I perceived that he had already changed my guinea, and had got a bottle of Madeira and a glass before him. I put the ork in the bottle, desired he would be calm, and began to talk to him of the means by which he might be extricated. He then told me that he had a novel ready for the press, which he produced to me. I looked into it, and saw its merit; told the landlady I should soon return, and having gone to a bookseller, sold it for sixty pounds. I brought Goldsmith the money, and he discharged his rent, not without rating his landlady in a high tone for having used him so ill.'? (Boswell's Life, i. 415–6, ed. Birkbeck Hill.)

1 A sentence in The Vicar of Wakefield (p. 391) furnishes an apt commentary on this story: 'The greatest object in the universe, says a certain philosopher, is a good man struggling with adversity; yet there is still a greater, which is the good man that comes to relieve it.'

To a certain extent the entry in Collins's account-book bears out Boswell's narrative: the sums of money are identical, if we allow that 'sixty pounds' was a slip for ' sixty guineas ’, or, as some say, that 'guineas' and `pounds' were convertible terms. But are we to accept the statement ‘bought of Dr. Goldsmith' with literal exactness ? May it not have happened that Johnson interviewed Francis Newbery, nephew of the philanthropic bookseller', John Newbery, and actually received the whole of the money on Goldsmith's behalf ? Newbery would then approach Collins, the Salisbury printer, to offer him a share, which seems a more likely proceeding than that Johnson or Goldsmith should do so. But if the manuscript was in the hands of the booksellers in 1762, why was publication deferred until 1766 ? At the earlier period, it must be remembered, as Boswell points out, that Goldsmith ‘had published nothing with his name': he was known in some degree as an essayist, his fame as a poet was not yet. The booksellers, in thinking the matter over, may have come to the conclusion that Goldsmith's reputation would grow, and that when he had become known to the public by the issue of some of his works under his own name the novel would stand a better chance of acceptance. Even Johnson was doubtful, as appears from a statement made after Goldsmith's death. ‘His Vicar of Wakefield,' he said, 'I myself did not think would have much success. It was written and sold to a bookseller before his Traveller, but published after, so little expectation had the bookseller from it. Had it been sold after the Traveller, he might have had twice as much money for it, though sixty guineas was no mean price. The bookseller had the advantage of Goldsmith's reputation from The Traveller in the sale, though Goldsmith had it not in selling the copy' (Life, iii. 321). It may also be urged, in substantiation of Johnson's statement, that if the author had not been already paid for his work he would have been more eager to see it published.

That the novel was written as early as 1762 may be deduced from the following facts : (1) The Auditor, which is spoken of in chapter xix as though living, was started on June 10, 1762, and ceased to exist February 8, 1763 ; (2) the musical glasses (see pages 238, 242) were all the craze in 1761-2; (3) in chapter xviii Goldsmith speaks of the philanthropic bookseller in St. Paul's

« 이전계속 »