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deprived him of the enjoyment and freedom of society, and which he then made it his endeavour to dispel by playing wanton and childish pranks in order to bring himself to the wished-for level.
It was very soon after my srst arrival in London, where every thing appeared new and wonderful to me, that I expressed to Sir Joshua my impatient curiosity to see Dr. Goldsmith, and he promised I should do so on the first opportunity. Soon afterwards Goldsmith came to dine with him, and immediately on iny entering the room, Sir Joshua, with a designed abruptness, said to me, · This is Dr. Goldsmith: pray, why did you wish to see him?' I was much confused by the suddenness of the question, and answered, in my hurry, 'Because he is a notable man.' This, in one sense of the word, was so very contrary to the character and conduct of Goldsmith, that Sir Joshua burst into a hearty laugh, and said that Goldsmith should in future always be called the notable man.
What I meant, however, to say was, that he was a man of note or eminence.
He appeared to me to be very unaffected and good-natured; but he was totally ignorant of the art of painting, and this he often confessed with much gaiety.
It has been often said of Goldsmith, that he was ever desirous of being the object of attention in all companies where he was present, which the following anecdote may serve to prove:
On a summer's excursion to the continent, he accompanied a lady and her two beautiful daughters into France and Flanders, and often expressed a little displeasure at perceiving that more attention was paid to them than to himself. On their entering a town, I think Antwerp, the populace surrounded the door of the hotel at which they alighted, and testified a desire to see those beautiful young women; and the ladies, willing to gratify them, came into a balcony at the front of the house, and Goldsmith with them; but perceiving that it was not himself who was the object of admiration, he presently withdrew, with evident signs of mortification, saying, as he went out, • There are places where I am the object of admiration also.'
One day when Drs. Goldsmith and Johnson were at dinner with Sir Joshua, a poem, by a poet already alluded to, was presented to Sir Joshua, by his servant, from the author. Goldsmith immediately laid holdof it and began to read it, and at every line cut almost through the paper with his finger-nail, crying out, “What d-d nonsense is this!' when Sir Joshua caught it out of his hands, saying, 'No, no, don't do so; you shall not spoil my book, neither; ' for the Doctor could not bear to hear of another's fame.
Sir Joshua was always cautious to preserve an unblemished character, and careful not to make any man his enemy. member, when he was told of some very indiscreet speech or action of Goldsmith, he quickly said, “What a fool he is thus to commit himself, when he has so much more cause to be careful of his reputation than I have of mine!' well recollecting that even the most trivial circumstance which tells against an eminent person will be remembered as well as those in his favour, and that the world watches those who are distinguished for their abilities with a jealous eye.
To Goldsmith, in particular, he was always attentive ; a man of whom it has been not unaptly said, that his carelessness of conduct and frivolity of manners obscured the goodness of his heart. Mr. Cumberland, in his own Memoirs, has a passage peculiarly illustrative of this, where he says that “Sir Joshua Reynolds was very good to him, and would have drilled him into better trim and order for society, if he would have been amenable; for Reynolds was a perfect gentleman, had good sense, great propriety, with all the social attributes, and all the graces of hospitality, equal to any man. He well knew how to appreciate meu of talents, and how near akin the Muse of Poetry was to that art of which he was so eminent a master. From Goldsmith he caught the subject of his famous Ugolino: wbat aids he got from others, if he got any, were worthily bestowed and happily applied.'
Mr. Cumberland, however, is perhaps rather inaccurate in his assertion respecting the painting of Ugolino,' which was finished in this year (1773), and begun, not long before, as an historical subject.
The fact is, that this painting may be said to have been produced as an historical picture by an accident; for the head of the Count had been painted previous to the year 1771, and fin. ished on what we painters call a half-length canvas,' and was, in point of expression, exactly as it now stands, but without any intention, on the part of Sir Joshua, of making it the subject of an historical composition, or having the story of Count Ugolino in his thoughts. Being exposed in the picture-gallery, along with his other works, it was seen either by Mr. Edmund Burke or Dr. Goldsmith, I am not certain which, who immediately exclaimed, that it struck him as being the precise per. son, countenance, and expression of the Count Ugolino, as described by Dante in his · Inferno.'
When Goldsmith's comedy of «She Stoops to Conquer' was to be brought out on the stage, on the 15th of March, in this year, he was at a loss what name to give it, till the very last moment, and then, in great haste, called it, She Stoops to Conquer, or the Mistakes of a Night.' Sir Joshua, who disliked this name for a play, offered a much better to him, saying, • You ought to call it the Belle's Stratagem; and if you do not, I will damn it.' However, Goldsmith chose to name it himself, as above; and Mrs. Cowley has since given that name to one of her comedies.
Goldsmith was in great anxiety about its success; he was much distressed in his finances at the time, and all his hopes hung on the event; and at the dinner preceding the representation of his play, his mouth became so parched and dry, from the agitation of his mind, that he was unable to swallow a single mouthful. The actors themselves had great doubts of its success; but, contrary to their expectations, the play was received with great applause; Sir Joshua and a large party of friends going for the purpose of supporting it if necessary. The dinner-party, which took place at the Shakespeare, is humorously described by Cumberland. Dr. Johnson took the head of the table, and there were present the Burkes, Caleb Whitefoord, Major Mills, &c. &c.
I remember Dr. Goldsmith gave me an order soon after this, with which I went to see this comedy; and the next time I saw him, he inquired of me what my opinion was of it. I told him that I would not presume to be a judge of its merits; he then said, “Did it make you laugh?' I answered, • Exceedingly.' Then,' said the Doctor, ‘that is all I require.'
One day Dr. Johnson and Dr. Goldsmith meeting at Sir Joshua Reynolds’s table, the conversation turned on the merits of that well-known tragedy, Otway's Venice Preserved, which Goldsmith highly extolled, asserting that of all tragedies it was the one nearest in excellence to Shakespeare; when John. son, in his peremptory manner, contradicted him, and pronounced that there were not forty good lines to be found in the whole play; adding, Pooh! what stuff are these lines:
• What feminine tales hast thou been listening to, of unaired shirts, catarrhs, and toothache, got by thin-soled shoes ?'
• True,' replied Goldsmith, “to be sure that is very like Shakespeare.'
Of this subject, however, I presume my readers will think I have given thein enough: I shall, therefore, revert to another friend of Sir Joshua's, poor Goldsmith, who left this world on the 4th of April, 1774; the first, too, of those on whom the epitaphs had been so playfully written, as I have before alluded to in another place.
Just before his death, he had nearly completed a design for the execution of a Universal Dictionary of the Arts and Sciences.' Of this he had published the Prospectus, or, at least, had distributed copies of it amongst his friends and acquaintances. It did not meet with any warm encouragement, however, from the booksellers, although Sir Joshua Reynolds, Johnson, Garrick, and several others of his literary connexions, had promised him their assistance on various subjects; and the design was, I believe, entirely given up even previous to his demise.
In the Dedication of his · Deserted Village' to Sir Joshua Reynolds, already noticed, Goldsmith alludes to the death of his eldest brother, Ilenry, the clergyman; and his various biographers record another, Maurice, who was a younger brother, and of whom it is stated by Bishop Percy, that, having been bred to no business, he, upon some occasion, complained to Oliver that he found it difficult to live like a gentleman. To this Oliver wrote him an answer, begging that he would, without delay, quit so unprofitable a trade, and betake himself to some handicraft employment. Maurice wisely, as the Bishop adds, took the hint, and bound himself apprentice to a cabinetmaker, and when out of his indentures set up in business for himself, in which he was engaged during the viceroyalty of the late Duke of Rutland; and his shop being in Dublin, he was noticed by Mr. Orde, since Lord Bolton, the Lord Lieutenant's Secretary, who recommended him to the patronage of the duke, out of regard to the memory of his brother.
In consequence of this, he received the appointment of inspector of licences in that metropolis, and was also employed as macebearer by the Royal Irish Academy, then just established. Both of these places were compatible with his business; and in the former he gave proof of great integrity by detecting a fraud committed on the revenue in his department, and one by which he himself might have profited, if he had not been a man of principle. He has now been dead not more than fifteen years. I enter more particularly into his history, from having seen the following passage in one of Oliver's letters to him: “You talked of being my only brother, — I don't understand you. Where is Charles?'
This, indeed, was a question which Maurice could not answer then, nor for many years afterwards; but as the anecdote is curious, and I have it from a friend on whose authority I can rely, I shall give it a place here nearly in his own words.
My friend informed me, that whilst travelling in the stagecoach towards Ireland, in the autumn of 1791, he was joined at Oswestry by a venerable-looking gentleman, who, in the course of the morning, mentioned that his name was Goldsmith, when one of the party observed, that if he was going to Ireland, that name would be a passport for him. The stranger smiled, and asked the reason why; to which the other replied, that the memory of Oliver was embalmed amongst his country. men. A tear glistened in the stranger's eye, who immediately