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feet as for the fingers, in the committing a few pages to paper; and that the claim to admiration is founded rather in knowing where to seek what we want, than in possessing it. Enviable indeed are the few who carry their libraries in their heads.
Of the two following, I had the former from Mr. Langton; and the latter my father had from Mr. Cadell.
Goldsmith happened once to stop at an inn on the road, in a parlour of which was a very good portrait, which he coveted, believing it a Vandyke: he therefore called in the mistress of the house, asked her if she set any value on that old-fashioned picture; and, finding that she was wholly a stranger to its worth, he told her it bore a very great resemblance to his aunt Salisbury, and that, if she would sell it cheap, he would buy it. A bargain was struck, a price infinitely below the value was paid. Goldsmith took the picture away with him, and had the satisfaction to find, that by this scandalous trick he had indeed procured a genuine and very saleable painting of Vandyke's.
Soon after Goldsmith had contracted with the booksellers for his History of England, for which he was to be paid five hundred guineas, he went to Cadell, and told him he was in the utmost distress for money, and in imminent danger of being arrested by his butcher or baker. Cadell immediately called a meeting the proprietors, and prevailed on them to advance him the whole, or a considerable part of the sum, which, by the original agreement, he was not entitled to till a twelvemonth after the publication of his work. On a day which Mr. Cadell had named for giving this needy author an answer,
Goldsmith came and received the money, ander pretence of instantly satisfying his creditors. Cadell, to discover the truth of his pretext, watched whitber be went, and, after following him to Hyde Park Corner, saw him get into a postchaise, in which a woman of the town was waiting for him, and with whom, it afterwards appeared, he went to Bath to dissipate what he had thus fraudulently obtained.
Have I told of my father's being invited by Goldsmith to look at a book in which was some information that might be useful to him, and, instead of lending it to him, tearing out the leaves?
COLMAN'S RANDOM RECORDS.
OLIVER GOLDSMITH, several years before my luckless presentation to Johnson, proved how • Doctors differ.' I was only five years old when Goldsmith took me on his knee, while he was drinking coffee, one evening, with my father, and began to play with me; which amiable act I returned with the ingratitude of a peevish brat, by giving him a very smart slap on the face: it must have been a tingler, for it left the marks of my little spiteful paw upon his cheek. This infantile outrage was followed by summary justice, and I was locked up by my indignant father in an adjoining room, to undergo solitary imprisonment in the dark. Here I began to howl and scream most abominably; which was no bad step towards liberation, since those who were not inclined to pity me might be likely to set me free, for the purpose of abating a nuisance.
At length a generous friend appeared to extricate me from jeopardy, and that generous friend was no other than the man I had so wantonly molested by assault and battery, the tender-hearted Doctor himself, with a lighted candle in his hand, and a smile upon his countenance, which was still partially red from the effects of my petulance. I sulked and sobbed, and he fondled and soothed, till I began to brighten. Goldsmith, who in regard to children was like the Village Preacher he has so beautifully described, — for
'Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distress’d,'
seized the propitious moment of returning good humour; so he put down the candle, and began to conjure. He placed three hats, which happened to be in the room, upon the carpet, and a shilling under each: the shillings, he told me, were England, France, and Spain. “Hey, presto, cockolorum !” cried the Doctor, and, lo! on uncovering the shillings which had been dispersed, each beneath a separate hat, they were all found congregated under one. I was no politician at five years old, and therefore might not have wondered at the sudden revolution which brought England, France, and Spain all under one crown; but, as I was also no conjurer, it amazed me beyond measure. Astonishment might have amounted to awe for one who appeared to me gifted with the power of performing miracles, if the good-nature of the man had not obviated my dread of the magician; but, from that time, whenever the Doctor came to visit my father,
'I pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's smile;'
a game at romps constantly ensued, and we were always cordial friends and merry playfellows. Our unequal companionship varied somewhat in point of sports as I grew older, but it did not last long; my senior playmate died, alas! in his forty-fifth year, some months after I had attained my eleventh. His death, it has been thought, was hastened by 'mental inquietude. If this supposition be true, never did the turmoils of life subdue a mind more warm with sympathy for the misfortunes of our fellow-crcatures. But his character is familiar to every one who reads: in all the numerous accounts of his virtues and his foibles, his genius and absurdities, his knowledge of nature and his ignorance of the world, his .compassion for another's woe was always predominant; and my trivial story of his humouring a froward child weighs but as a feather in the recorded scale of his benevolence.
At this time I did not know Oliver Goldsmith even by person. I think our first meeting chanced to be at the British Coffee. house. When we came together, we very speedily coalesced; and I believe he forgave me for all the little fame I had got by the success of my West Indian, which had put him to some trouble, for it was not in his nature to be unkind; and I had soon an opportunity of convincing him how incapable I was of harbouring resentment, and how zealously I took my share in what concerned his interest and reputation. That he was fantastically and whimsically vain, all the world knows; but there was no settled and inherent malice in his heart. IIe was tenacious, to a ridiculous extreme, of certain pretensions that did not, and by nature could not, belong to him, and, at the same time, inexcusably careless of the fame which he had powers to command. His table-talk was (Garrick aptly compared it) like a parrot, whilst he wrote like Apollo; he bad gleams of eloquence, and at times a majesty of thought; but, in general, his tongue and his pen had two very different styles of talking. What foibles he had he took no pains to conceal; the good qualities of his heart were too frequently obscured by the carelessness of his conduct and the frivolity of his manners. 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 knew well how to appreciate men 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 ; what aids he got from others, if he got any, were worthily bestowed and happily applied.
There is something in Goldsmith's prose that to my ear is uncommonly sweet and harmonious; it is clear, simple, easy to be understood; we never want to read his period twice over, except for the pleasure it bestows ; obscurity never calls us back to a repetition of it. That he was a poet there is no doubt; but the paucity of his verses does not allow us to rank him in that high station where his genius might have carried himn. There must be bulk, variety, and grandeur of design, to constitute a first-rate poet. The Deserted Village, Traveller, and Hermit, are all specimens, beautiful as such; but they are only bird's eggs on a string, and eggs of small birds too. One great magnificent whole must be accomplished before we can pronounce upon the maker to be the Ó TOLNTNS. Pope himself never earned this title by a work of any magnitude but his Homer; and that, being a translation, only constituted him an accomplished versifier. Distress drove Goldsmith upon undertakings neither congenial with his studies, nor worthy of his talents. I remember him, when in his chamber in the Temple, he showed me the beginning of his • Animated Nature; ' it was with a sigh, such as genius draws, when hard necessity diverts it from its bent to drudge for bread, and talk of birds and beasts and creeping things, which Pidcock's showmen would have done as well. Poor fellow! he hardly knew an ass from a mule, nor a turkey from a goose, but when he saw it on the table. But publishers hate poetry, and Paternoster Row is not Parnassus. Even the mighty Doctor Hill, who was not a very delicate reader, could not make a dinner out of the press, till, by a happy transformation into Hannah Glass, he turned himself into a cook, and sold receipts for made dishes to all the savoury readers in the kingdom. Then, indeed, the press acknowledged him second in fame only to John Bunyan ; his pasty kept pace in sale with Nelson's Feasts, and when his own name was fairly written out of credit, he wrote himself into immortality under an alias. Now, though necessity, I should rather say the desire of finding money for a masque. rade, drove Oliver Goldsmith upon abridging history and turning Buffon into English, yet I much doubt if, without that spur, he would ever have put his Pegasus into action; no, if he had been rich, the world would have been poorer than it is