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visitant at Ilam, situated near the entrance of Dove Dale, where a seat in the garden was shown some years ago as his, but no positive trace of his residence there or intimacy with the proprietor has been found. Hampshire, Sussex, Suffolk, Yorkshire, Leicestershire, and Lincolnshire are remembered to have been favourite counties for similar journeys; sometimes for health or recreation, at other periods with the design of visiting friends, or in order to examine such objects of nature or art as they afforded. Often at such times he was alone; occasionally with a companion whenever an agreeable one equally unoccupied could be found willing to enter upon such an excursion.
When unable to proceed to a distance from town by the necessity of fulfilling a literary engagement, he retired a few miles into the vicinity, often on the Harrow or Edgeware roads, working diligently at his task, and not being seen for two or three months together although his place of retreat was known. At such places his chief amusement when not occupied at the desk, was, as he said, a stroll along the shady hedges in the neighbourhood, seating himself in the most agreeable spots, furnished with paper and pencil, and taking notes of occasional thoughts which were afterwards expanded and corrected at home; or sometimes when engaged upon plays and poems he wrote the lines or dialogues off at
In this way several sketches for the poem of the Deserted Village were made; and about this period indeed he first set himself seriously to work upon that production, not prosecuting it constantly, but at intervals as his genius inclined, or his mind felt at ease. Bishop Percy in conversation frequently alluded to these habits.
While resident in town, his sedentary habits were usually relieved by a walk to one of the villages in the neighbourhood, the enjoyment of a moderate though convivial dinner, the conversation of such friends as chose to be of the party, and a quiet return in the evening. Blackheath, Wandsworth, Fulham, Chelsea, Hampstead, Highgate, Highbury and others were thus frequently visited, air and exercise enjoyed, and the excursion jocularly termed by him a tradesman's holiday. A few persons survive who remember these excursions, or heard them dwelt upon by their acquaintance who had participated in their enjoyment. The party, which seldom consisted of more than four or five persons, chiefly connected with literature, the legal or medical professions, always assembled at his chambers to a remarkably plentiful and rather expensive breakfast; and when finished, he had usually some poor women in attendance to whom the fragments were consigned. On one occasion a wealthy city acquaintance not remarkable for elegance of mind or manners, who observed this liberality, said with some degree of freedom,
Why Doctor, you must be a rich man; I cannot afford to do this?” “ It is not wealth, my dear sir," was the reply of the Doctor, willing to rebuke
without offending his guest, “but inclination. I have only to suppose that a few more friends than usual have been of our party, and then it amounts to the same thing."
One of the number not unfrequently, was an amanuensis occasionally in his employment still remembered and familiarly known as “ Peter Barlow,” a person offering some peculiarities of manner, and thence an object of wit to several friends of the Poet. He always wore the same dress, never gave more than a certain sum, a trifle, for his dinner, but insisted upon paying this punctually; and as the expense of the repast always exceeded considerably the stipulated amount he chose to contribute, his employer paid the difference; the peculiarities of “ Peter” affording in return, a fund of amusement to the party. One of their frequent retreats was the well-known Chelsea Bun-house.
Another of these persons, selected chiefly for his facetious qualities, was an humble dependent on literature named Glover, who having been educated for the medical profession usually received the appellation of Doctor. He had relinquished it however for the stage, and while performing at Cork, being accidentally taken into a house where lay the body of a malefactor just executed, he was induced to attempt to restore life, and to the astonishment of perhaps himself as much as the friends of the criminal, succeeded. His fame rapidly spread, he had again recourse to his original calling, though with less success than was expected, from the success of his experiment as restorer of the apparently dead, and ultimately proceeding to London, found between physic and writing for the booksellers, a scanty subsistence. Goldsmith formed then a leading object of interest to all similar adventurers from Ireland; he was easy of access, his nature, particularly to those who sought his good offices, unsuspicious, his purse open to demands upon it, and his vanity perhaps flattered by having a levee of needy authors at his breakfast table, soliciting advice upon literary projects, and pouring out their admiration in return for his fare and his counsel. Among these he soon found a place, being taken into some degree of favour; and as the following idea of the company, and of the claims thereby engendered on the patron, is said to be written by him, though anonymously, we have no reason to doubtits accuracy: “Our Doctor, as Goldsmith was now universally called, had a constant levee of his distressed countrymen, whose wants as far as he was able, he always relieved ; and he has been often known to leave himself even without a guinea, in order to supply the necessities of others.”
Glover, who as a teller of stories amused the frequenters of the Globe and Devil Taverns, and thence, as his own finances seldom permitted such disbursements, had his reckoning commonly paid by the visitors, was not a man of sufficient talents to profit by opportunities and furnish any new or striking views of Goldsmith. It may be doubted whether he was so intimate as he said, or that he did not forfeit by misconduct further claim to consideration ; for in an early copy of Retaliation G-, which was probably meant for him, stood where Woodfall's name now stands. He wrote a short biography of his patron, published after his death, which is defective in facts, as well as in anecdote; several of the latter he recalled to memory afterward and told in conversation, but any higher effort was beyond his powers. It requires a clever man, to speak instructively of clever men; he must be qualified to analyse mind, or to estimate character; for it will be observed that of the numbers that chance to know a man of genius, how few there are, when they tell any thing, who have more than his foibles and frailties to tell.
A few of his anecdotes, as they were also known to others, were doubtless true, some certainly more questionable, and others probably the mere coinage of imagination, but his powers of mimicry, it appears added greatly to their effect. “Besides being a great humourist,” says Sir William Beechey, in a communication by which the writer is obliged, “the stories related by Glover of his acquaintance were told so well, with a humour so peculiar, and with such a knowledge of their customary phrases and manner in conversation, that none who ventured to repeat them could hope to produce equal effect. He usually selected their peculiarities for illustra