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you, by the way, to carry to that angelical lady the expression of the cordial respect and admiration of this court.” Amelia pleads for her husband, Will Booth: Amelia pleads for her reckless kindly old father, Harry Fielding. To have invented that character, is not only a triumph of art, but it is a good action. They say it was in his own home that Fielding knew her and loved her : and from his own wife that he drew the most charming character in English fiction. Fiction ! why fiction? why not history? I know Amelia just as well as Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. I believe in Colonel Bath almost as much as in Colonel Gardiner or the Duke of Cumberland. admire the author of “ Amelia,” and thank the kind master who introduced me to that sweet and delightful companion and friend. “Amelia" perhaps is not a better story than “Tom Jones,” but it has the better ethics; the prodigal repents at least, before forgiveness,whereas that odious broad-backed Mr. Jones carries off his beauty with scarce an interval of remorse for his manifold errors and shortcomings; and is not half punished enough before the great prize of fortune and love falls to his share. I am angry with Jones. Too much of the plum-cake and rewards of life fall to that boisterous, swaggering young scapegrace. Sophia actually surrenders without a proper sense of decorum ; the fond, foolish, palpitating little creature ! _“Indeed, Mr. Jones," she says, "it rests with you to appoint the day.” I suppose Sophia is drawn from life as well as Amelia ; and many a young fellow, no better than Mr. Thomas Jones, has carried by a coup de main the heart of many a kind girl who was a great deal too good for him.
What a wonderful art! What an admirable gift of nature was it by which the author of these tales was endowed, and which enabled him to fix our interest, to waken our sympathy, to seize upon our credulity, so that we believe in his people-speculate gravely upon their faults or their excellences, prefer this one or that, deplore Jones's fondness for drink and play, Booth's fondness for play and drink, and the unfortunate position of the wives of both gentlemenlove and admire those ladies with all our hearts, and talk about them
as faithfully as if we had breakfasted with them this morning in their actual drawing-rooms, or should meet them this afternoon in the Park! What a genius ! what a vigour ! what a bright-eyed intelligence and observation ! what a wholesome hatred for meanness and knavery! what a vast sympathy! what a cheerfulness ! what a manly relish of life! what a love of human kind! what a poet is here !-watching, meditating, brooding, creating! What multitudes of truths has that man left behind him! What generations he has taught to laugh wisely and fairly! What scholars he has formed and accustomed to the exercise of thoughtful humour and the manly play of wit ! What a courage he had ! What a dauntless and constant cheerfulness of intellect, that burned bright and steady through all the storms of his life, and never deserted its last wreck ! It is wonderful to think of the pains and misery which the man suffered; the pressure of want, illness, remorse which he endured; and that the writer was neither malignant nor melancholy, his view of truth never warped, and his generous human kindness never surrendered. *
* In the Gentleman's Magazine for 1786, an anecdote is related of Harry Fielding, “in whom,” says the correspondent, “good-nature and philanthropy in their extreme degree were known to be the prominent features.” It seems that “some parochial taxes” for his house in Beaufort Buildings had long been demanded by the collector. “At last, Harry went off to Johnson, and obtained by a process of literary mortgage the needful sum. He was returning with it, when he met an old college chum whom he had not seen for many years. He asked the chum to dinner with him at a neighbouring tavern; and learning that he was in difficulties, emptied the contents of his pocket into his. On returning home he was informed that the collector had been twice for the money. 'Friendship has called for the money and had it,' said Fielding; let the collector call
'" It is elsewhere told of him, that being in company with the Earl of Denbigh, his kinsman, and the conversation turning upon their relationship, the Earl asked him how it was that he spelled his name “ Fielding,” and not “Feilding,” like the head of the house? “I cannot tell, my lord,” said he, “except it be that my branch of the family were the first that knew how to spell.”
In 1749, he was made Justice of the Peace for Westminster and Middlesex, an office then paid by fees, and very laborious, without being particularly reputable. It may be seen from his own words, in the Introduction to the “Voyage,” what
In the quarrel mentioned before, which happened on Fielding's last voyage to Lisbon, and when the stout captain of the ship fell kind of work devolved upon him, and in what a state he was, during these last years ; and still more clearly, how he comported himself through all.
“Whilst I was preparing for my journey, and when I was almost fatigued to death with several long examinations, relating to five different murders, all committed within the space of a week, by different gangs of street-robbers, I received a message from his Grace the Duke of Newcastle, by Mr. Carrington, the King's messenger, to attend his Grace the next morning in Lincoln's Inn Fields, upon some business of importance : but I excused myself from complying with the message, as, besides being lame, I was very ill with the great fatigues I had lately undergone, added to my distemper.
“ His Grace, however, sent Mr. Carrington the very next morning, with another summons; with which, though in the utmost distress, I immediately complied; but the Duke happening, unfortunately for me, to be then particularly engaged, after I had waited some time, sent a gentleman to discourse with me on the best plan which could be invented for these murders and robberies, which were every day committed in the streets; upon which I promised to transmit my opinion in writing to his Grace, who, as the gentleman informed me, intended to lay it before the Privy Council.
“Though this visit cost me a severe cold, I, notwithstanding, set myself down to work, and in about four days sent the Duke as regular a plan as I could form, with all the reasons and arguments I could bring to support it, drawn out on several sheets of paper; and soon received a message from the Duke, by Mr. Carrington, acquainting me that my plan was highly approved of, and that all the terms of it would be complied with.
“The principal and most material of these terms was the immediately depositing 600l. in my hands; at which small charge I undertook to demolish the then reigning gangs, and to put the civil policy into such order, that no such gangs should ever be able for the future to form themselves into bodies, or at least to remain any time formidable to the public.
“I had delayed my Bath journey for some time, contrary to the repeated advice of my physical acquaintances and the ardent desire of my warmest friends, though my distemper was now turned to a deep jaundice; in which case the Bath waters are generally reputed to be almost infallible. But I had the most eager desire to demolish this gang of villains and cut-throats.
“After some weeks the money was paid at the Treasury, and within a few days after 2001. of it had come into my hands, the whole gang of cut-throats was entirely dispersed..
Further on, he says
“ I will confess that my private affairs at the beginning of the winter had but a gloomy aspect; for I had not plundered the public or the poor of those sums which men, who are always ready to plunder both as much as they can, have been
down on his knees and asked the sick man's pardon—“I did not suffer,” Fielding says, in his hearty, manly way, his eyes lighting up as it were with their old fire_“I did not suffer a brave man and an old man to remain a moment in that posture, but immediately forgave him." Indeed, I think, with his noble spirit and unconquerable generosity, Fielding reminds one of those brave men of whom one reads in stories of English shipwrecks and disasters of the officer on the African shore, when disease has destroyed the crew, and he himself is seized by fever, who throws the lead with a death-stricken hand, takes the soundings, carries the ship out of the river or off the dangerous coast, and dies in the manly endeavour—of the wounded captain, when the vessel founders, who never loses his heart, who eyes the danger steadily, and has a cheery word for all, until the inevitable fate overwhelms him, and the gallant ship goes down. Such a brave and gentle heart, such an intrepid and courageous spirit, I love to recognize in the manly, the English Harry Fielding.
pleased to suspect me of taking; on the contrary, by composing, instead of inflaming, the quarrels of porters and beggars (which I blush when I say hath not been universally practised), and by refusing to take a shilling from a man who most undoubtedly would not have had another left, I had reduced an income of about 500l. a year of the dirtiest money upon earth, to little more than 3001., a considerable portion of which remained with my clerk.”
STERNE AND GOLDSMITH.
OGER STERNE, Sterne's father, was the second son of a
numerous race, descendants of Richard Sterne, Archbishop of York, in the reign of James II. ; and children of Simon Sterne and Mary Jaques, his wife, heiress of Elvington, near York.* Roger was a lieutenant in Handyside's regiment, and engaged in Flanders in Queen Anne's wars. He married the daughter of a noted sutler"N.B., he was in debt to him," his son writes, pursuing the paternal biography—and marched through the world with this companion; she following the regiment and bringing many children to poor Roger Sterne. The captain was an irascible but kind and simple little man, Sterne says, and informs us that his sire was run through the body at Gibraltar, by a brother officer, in a duel which arose out of a dispute about a goose. Roger never entirely recovered from the effects of this rencontre, but died presently at Jamaica, whither he had followed the drum.
Laurence, his second child, was born at Clonmel, in Ireland, in 1713, and travelled, for the first ten years of his life, on his father's march, from barrack to transport, from Ireland to England.
One relative of his mother's took her and her family under shelter for ten months at Mullingar : another collateral descendant of the Archbishop's housed them for a year at his castle near Carrickfergus.
He came of a Suffolk family-one of whom settled in Nottinghamshire. The famous “starling” was actually the family crest.
+ “It was in this parish (of Animo, in Wicklow), during our stay, that I had that wonderful escape in falling through a mill-race, whilst the mill was going, and of being taken up unhurt; the story is incredible, but known for truth in all that part of Ireland, where hundreds of the common people flocked to see me.”STERNE.