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Steevens the composer. Nothing seems to have resulted from this project, and its success therefore remains to be tried; the MS. was returned to the custody of Mr. Reed.
Connected with its history there is a further coincidence deserving notice. On the 12th of April, 1764, about a week after the performance of Smart's piece which is supposed to have in part excited the desire of Goldsmith to pursue the same path, an Oratorio named “ Israel in Babylon,” was advertised to be performed at the Opera House for the benefit of decayed musicians and their families, the music to be selected from Handel. The same announcement mentioned the piece being then for sale by Griffin of Fetter Lane, and other booksellers. By a memorandum in the possession of the writer, it appears that early in the following month (May) Goldsmith drew a bill
upon Griffin for thirteen guineas, although no previous connexion seems to have existed between them, and no trace of literary services performed for that publisher at that time has been found which might entitle him to such an accommodation. The similarity of subject between “ Israel in Babylon” and the Oratorio of the poet; the period of their production ; the connexion with Griffin ; and the sum drawn for, circumstances which may be wholly accidental, seem nevertheless to point to some connexion between the perform
During the summer we trace him to the same house at Islington as before, in another account of his hostess still extant; to this is added the bill of his laundress, the whole being summed up by the charge for three months' board, viz. 121. 10s. ; and as Newbery had to pay the amount, the signature of the Poet at the bottom of the page on the left hand, forms a voucher for the accuracy of the items. Such things are not without interest as exhibiting the private habits of men who have delighted us by their talents. It is therefore subjoined. *
* “ 1764. Doct. Goldsmith Dr. to Eliz. Fleming. To the rent of the room from Dec. 25. to March 29. £1 17 6 April 2. A post letter
0 0 1 3. The stage coach to London
0 0 6 7. Lent to pay the laundress
0 1 0 11. A post letter
0 0 1 15. A parcel by the coach
0 0 2 18. A A post letter
0 0 1 19. Sassafras
0 0 6 25. Sassafras
0 0 6 May 2. Sassafras
0 06 3. A post letter
0 0 1 7. A post letter
0 0 1 Sassafras
0 0 6 Gave the boy for carrying the parcel to Pall Mall
0 0 8 12. Sassafras
0 0 6 16. A post letter
0 0 4 17. Pens and paper
0 I 3 21. Sassafras
0 0 6 23. A post letter
0 0 1 24. Lent in cash
0 0 10 A pint of ale
0 0 2 25. Paper
0 0 6
£2 6 5
By another memorandum in the tailor's (Mr. William Filby) account book, it appears he was still at Islington in September, where however he did not continue long. Whether the removal thence was occasioned by his arrest or threatened arrest, which took place about this time by the landlady, as told by Dr. Johnson and repeated so variously by others, or whether this event oc
£2 6 5 June 28. Sassafras
0 0 6 Opodeldock
0 0 2 8. A letter to the post
0 0 1 9. Lent in cash
0 1 2 Sassafras
0 0 6 21. Lent in cash
0 0 6 27. A post letter
0 0 1 28. A post letter
0 0 1 30. Sassafras
0 0 6 To cleaning shoes
0 2 6 Washing and Mending. April 17. 3 Shirts, 3 neckcloths, 4 pair stockings 0 1 54 May 3. 3. 2 Shirts, 2 neckcloths, 1 cap
0 12. 4 Shirts,' 4 neckcloths, 3 pair stockings 0 1 9 To mending 3 pair stockings
0 0 3 May 26. 3 Shirts, 3 neckcloths, 1 pair stockings 0 1 21 June 8. 4 Shirts, 4 neckcloths, 1 pair stockings,
0 1 Pair stockings, mending
0 0 1 22. 4 Shirts, 4 neckcloths, 4 pair stockings 0 1 10 3 Pair stockings, mending
0 0 3 For cloth and wristing a shirt
0 0 6 To 3 months' board from March 29.
12 10 0 to June 29.
£15 12 3
“ OLIVER GOLDSMITH.”
curred subsequently in London, and of course in a different lodging, is doubtful; probably the lat
for it is not likely that having been an inmate so long, and with Newbery as responsible paymaster, she had recourse to the last resort of a severe creditor even if payment had been for a time delayed.
Mrs. Piozzi, Sir John Hawkins, Cumberland, and Boswell, all tell the story, and although professing to receive it from the same source, namely from Dr. Johnson, all differently.
Goldsmith, according to Boswell, having been arrested by his landlady for arrears of rent, and being at a loss how to extricate himself, sent a message to Johnson in the morning before he was up stating his distress and begging to see him. The latter, in order to obviate immediate difficulty, sent back a guinea by the messenger, and when dressed proceeded to his friend, whom he found violently incensed at the conduct of the mistress of the house, but with a bottle of madeira before him as a means of drowning his cares. This the visitor put to one side, begged him to be calm, and inquired what means he possessed of escaping from the difficulty ; a novel was produced, stated to be ready for the press ; Johnson discovering its merits, carried the work to a bookseller (Newbery) who gave sixty pounds for the copy, and returning with the money or a portion of it, the debtor discharged the demand, not without expostulating with his hostess in a high tone for using him so ill.
Mrs. Piozzi says that Johnson was called from her house after dinner and found the Poet getting drunk upon madeira ; that on the money being received for his book, he invited the woman of the house to drink punch and pass their time in merriment; circumstances at variance with his usual habits which were temperate, and the indignation he would naturally feel on the occasion, and therefore requiring some corroborating authority to believe.
Sir John Hawkins tells us “that for the clamours of a woman to whom he was indebted for lodging and for bailiffs that waited to arrest him, he was equally unable till he had made himself drunk, to stay within doors or to go abroad to hawk among the booksellers a piece of his writing, the title whereof my author does not remember. In this distress he sent for Johnson, who immediately went to one of them and brought back money for his relief."
Cumberland taxes his invention still higher. The landlady, by his account, had made the staggering proposal to her lodger of either marrying her or paying the debt ; that Johnson found him meditating this alternative; that he carried the novel to Dodsly and received ten pounds for it; and prudently doled that sum out to him by a guinea at a time.
Nothing exhibits more the loose manner in which such anecdotes are received or told than these various versions of the same occurrence. The state