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the world trifle with his fortunes, and put back the hand that was held out to assist him.”
We cannot join with Sir John in his worldly sneer at the conduct of Goldsmith on this occasion. While we admire that 5 honest independence of spirit which prevented him from asking favors for himself, we love that warmth of affection which instantly sought to advance the fortunes of a brother; but the peculiar merits of poor Goldsmith seem to have been little
understood by the Hawkinses, the Boswells, and the other biog10 raphers of the day.
After all, the introduction to Northumberland House did not prove so complete a failure as the humorous account given by Goldsmith, and the cynical account given by Sir John Hawkins,
might lead one to suppose. Dr. Percy, the heir male of the 15 ancient Percies, brought the poet into the acquaintance of his
kinswoman, the countess; who, before her marriage with the Earl, was in her own right heiress of the House of Northumberland. “ She was a lady,” says Boswell, “ not only of high
dignity of spirit, such as became her noble blood, but of excel20 lent understanding and lively talents.” Under her auspices a
poem of Goldsmith's had an aristocratical introduction to the world. This was the beautiful ballad of The Hermit,' originally published under the name of Edwin and Angelina. It
was suggested by an old English Ballad beginning “ Gentle 25 Herdsman,” shown him by Dr. Percy, who was at that time
making his famous collection, entitled Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, which he submitted to the inspection of Goldsmith prior to publication. A few copies only of The Hermit
were printed at first, with the following title-page: Edwin and 30 Angelina: a Ballad. By Mr. Goldsmith. Printed for the Amusement of the Countess of Northumberland.
All this, though it may not have been attended with any immediate pecuniary advantage, contributed to give Gold
smith's name and poetry the high stamp of fashion, so potent 35 in England: the circle at Northumberland House, however,
was of too stately and aristocratical a nature to be much to his taste, and we do not find that he became familiar in it.
He was much more at home at Gosfield, the seat of his countryman, Robert Nugent, afterwards Baron Nugent and Viscount
Clare, who appreciated his merits even more heartily than the Earl of Northumberland, and occasionally made him his guest both in town and country. Nugent is described as a jovial voluptuary, who left the Roman-Catholic for the Protestant religion, with a view to bettering his fortunes; he had an Irish-5 man's inclination for rich widows, and an Irishman's luck with the sex; having been thrice married, and gained a fortune with each wife. He was now nearly sixty, with a remarkably loud voice, broad Irish brogue, and ready, but somewhat coarse wit. With all his occasional coarseness he was capable of high 10 thought, and had produced poems which showed a truly poetic vein. He was long a member of the House of Commons, where his ready wit, his fearless decision, and good-humored audacity of expression always gained him a hearing, though his tall person and awkward manner gained him the nickname of Squire 15 Gawky among the political scribblers of the day.
With a patron of this jovial temperament, Goldsmith probably felt more at ease than with those of higher refinement.
The celebrity which Goldsmith had acquired by his poem of The Traveller occasioned a resuscitation of many of his miscel- 20 laneous and anonymous tales and essays from the various newspapers and other transient publications in which they lay dormant. These he published in 1765, in a collected form, under the title of Essays by Mr. Goldsmith. “The following Essays," observes he in his preface, “ have already appeared at 25 different times, and in different publications. The pamphlets in which they were inserted being generally unsuccessful, these shared the common fate, without assisting the booksellers’aims, or extending the author's reputation. The public were too strenuously employed with their own follies to be assiduous in esti- 30 mating mine; so that many of my best attempts in this way have fallen victims to the transient topic of the times — the Ghost in Cock Lane, or the Siege of Ticonderoga.
“But, though they have passed pretty silently into the world, I can by no means complain of their circulation. The maga- 35 zines and papers of the day have indeed been liberal enough in this respect. Most of these essays have been regularly reprinted twice or thrice a year, and conveyed to the public through the kennel of some engaging compilation. If there be a pride in
multiplied editions, I have seen some of my labors sixteen times reprinted, and claimed by different parents as their own. I have seen them flourished at the beginning with praise, and signed at the end with the names of Philautos,o Philalethes, 5 Phileleutheros, and Philanthropos. It is time, however, at last to vindicate my claims; and as these entertainers of the public, as they call themselves, have partly lived upon me for some years, let me now try if I cannot live a little upon myself.”
It was but little, in fact; for all the pecuniary emolument he 10 received from the volume was twenty guineas. It had a good
circulation, however, was translated into French, and has maintained its stand among the British classics.
Notwithstanding that the reputation of Goldsmith had greatly risen, his finances were often at a very low ebb, owing 15 to his heedlessness as to expense, his liability to be imposed upon, and a spontaneou
eous and irresistible propensity to give to every one who asked. The very rise in his reputation had increased these embarrassments. It had enlarged his circle of
needy acquaintances, authors poorer in pocket than himself, 20 who came in search of literary counsel; which generally meant
a guinea and a breakfast. And then his Irish hangers-on! “Our Doctor,” said one of these sponges, “had a constant levee of his distressed countrymen, whose wants, as far as he was
able, he always relieved; and he has often been known to leave 25 himself without a guinea, in order to supply the necessities of others.”
This constant drainage of the purse therefore obliged him to undertake all jobs proposed by the booksellers, and to keep up
a kind of running account with Mr. Newbery; who was his 30 banker on all occasions, sometimes for pounds, sometimes for
shillings; but who was a rigid accountant, and took care to be amply repaid in manuscript. Many effusions, hastily penned in these moments of exigency, were published anonymously,
and never claimed. Some of them have but recently been 35 traced to his pen; while of many the true authorship will
probably never be discovered. Among others, it is suggested, and with great probability, that he wrote for Mr. Newbery the famous nursery story of Goody Two Shoes, which appeared in 1765, at a moment when Goldsmith was scribbling for New
bery, and much pressed for funds. Several quaint little tales introduced in his Essays show that he had a turn for this species of mock history ; and the advertisement and title-page bear the stamp of his sly and playful humor.
“We are desired to give notice that there is in the press, and 5 speedily will be published, either by subscription or otherwise, as the public shall please to determine, the History of Little Goody Two Shoes, otherwise Mrs. Margery Two Shoes, with the means by which she acquired learning and wisdom, and, in consequence thereof, her estate; set forth at large for the benefit 10 of those
“Who, from a state of rags and care,
15 The world is probably not aware of the ingenuity, humor, good sense, and sly satire contained in many of the old English nursery-tales. They have evidently been the sportive productions of able writers, who would not trust their names to productions that might be considered beneath their dignity. 20 The ponderous works on which they relied for immortality have perhaps sunk into oblivion, and carried their names down with them; while their unacknowledged offspring, Jack the Giant Killer, Giles Gingerbread, and Tom Thumb, flourish in wide-spreading and never-ceasing popularity.
25 As Goldsmith had now acquired popularity and an extensive acquaintance, he attempted, with the advice of his friends, to procure a more regular and ample support by resuming the medical profession. He accordingly launched himself upon the town in style; hired a man-servant; replenished his wardrobe 30 at considerable expense, and appeared in a professional wig and cane, purple silk small-clothes, and a scarlet roquelaure buttoned to the chin : a fantastic garb, as we should think at the present day, but not unsuited to the fashion of the times.
With his sturdy little person thus arrayed in the unusual 35 magnificence of purple and fine linen, and his scarlet roquelaure flaunting from his shoulders, he used to strut into the apartments of his patients swaying his three-cornered hat in one hand and his medical sceptre, the cane, in the other, and
assuming an air of gravity and importance suited to the solemnity of his wig; at least, such is the picture given of him by the waiting gentlewoman who let him into the chamber of
one of his lady-patients. 5 He soon, however, grew tired and impatient of the duties and restraints of his profession; his practice was chiefly among his friends, and the fees were not sufficient for his maintenance; he was disgusted with attendance on sick-chambers and capricious
patients, and looked back with longing to his tavern-haunts and 10 broad convivial meetings, from which the dignity and duties of
his medical calling restrained him. At length, on prescribing to a lady of his acquaintance, who, to use a hackneyed phrase, "rejoiced” in the aristocratical name of Sidebotham, a warm
dispute arose between him and the apothecary as to the quan15 tity of medicine to be administered. The Doctor stood up for
the rights and dignities of his profession, and resented the interference of the compounder of drugs. His rights and dignities, however, were disregarded ; his wig and cane and
scarlet roquelaure were of no avail; Mrs. Sidebotham sided with 20 the hero of the pestle and mortar; and Goldsmith flung out of
the house in a passion. “I am determined henceforth,” said he to Topham Beauclerc, “ to leave off prescribing for friends." “Do so, my dear Doctor," was the reply; "whenever you undertake to kill
, let it be only your enemies." 25 This was the end of Goldsmith's medical career.
Publication of The Vicar of Wakefield ; Opinions concerning it : Of Dr. Johnson ; Of Rogers the Poet; Of Goethe ; Its Merits ; Exquisite Extract. - Attack by Kenrick.- Reply.- Book-Building. — Project of a Comedy.
The success of the poem of The Traveller, and the popularity which it had conferred on its author, now roused the attention of the bookseller in whose hands the novel of The Vicar of