Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

between thirty and forty guineas last year ; but I fear his creditors did not suffer much of that money to remain with him. Their demands being so far satisfied, further relief would probably reach himself and remain with him to his great comfort. Our new Society of Arts and Sciences * have made him mace-bearer ; but without present subsistence, I fear he will not live to derive the future emoluments. A guinea a piece from the members of the club would be a great relief to him.”

It evinces the little attention paid to claims of this kind, that no subscription even at the moderate amount of a guinea, could be procured from members of the club, most of whom it may be presumed could sufficiently afford so moderate a tax upon their generosity. Malone in a packet of MS. correspondence submitted to the writer, complains much of this difficulty; and also of the backwardness which he found to pay the amount nominally subscribed by the members on another matter, namely for the monument to Dr. Johnson. When the works of Goldsmith at length appeared, and he was written to by the bishop to dispose of a copy to each member, the same objection of the difficulty of getting the sale price occurred; on mentioning the matter at the club dinner, several talked vaguely about it, but only one actually produced his contribution, and without others had done the same on the instant, Malone who was zealous in

* Royal Irish Academy, then recently instituted.

soon.

[ocr errors]

the business adds, it would be useless to send the books, as payment would be forgotten, and it would be impossible to press gentlemen for money.

Maurice however was not wholly neglected in Ireland — "I reminded Mr. Orde,” writes the bishop, Feb. 12th, 1787, “to-day of his promise to give some little place to Goldsmith's poor brother, and he kindly engaged to do something for him

In the meantime however the poor creature is starving. Lord Charlemont made him macebearer to the Academy, but he has yet got no salary.

The object was at length accomplished. Orde,” says the prelate April 14th 1787, “has lately done a handsome thing which ought to be mentioned to his honour, and we have accordingly reported it in the Freeman's Journal. He has given a snug little place in the License Office to Maurice Goldsmith, in honour of his brother's literary merit, which with the mace-bearer's office in the Royal Academy, and the money we hope to get by subscription to his brother's works, we hope will make the poor man easy for life.” *

This situation he filled with integrity and diligence, and became the means of discovering a fraud upon the revenue, from which had he been of a different character, considerable personal advantages might have been derived. He visited London shortly after his brother's death, of which

* From MS. correspondence obligingly supplied by Dr. H. U. Thomson.

notice will be hereafter taken, and died in the latter part of 1792 without issue, his widow who survived many years having afterwards married a person named Macdonnell. His death is thus mentioned by Dr. Thos. Campbell in a letter to Bishop Percy in allusion to their joint endeavours for his benefit, dated June 12th, 1793:-“ I am glad to hear that you have brought the affair of Goldsmith to so good an issue - but, alas ! poor Maurice. He is to receive no comfort from your Lordship's labours in his behalf. He departed from a miserable life early last winter and luckily has left no children.'

CHAPTER XIX.

HIS DRESS. BARETTI. PERCIVAL STOCKDALE.- DESERTED

VILLAGE. ITS LOCALITIES TAKEN FROM HIS FATHER'S RESIDENCE.

By his

Towards the conclusion of 1769 and the commencement of the following year, his literary occupations appear to have been multifarious. engagement with Griffin, he should seem to have been employed on the Natural History; by that with Davies, upon the History of England; he was avowedly at work in finishing and polishing the Deserted Village, for two advertisements stating its speedy publication appeared in November* ; and these were followed in a few days, by similar announcements of a new edition being in preparation, of the “ Poems of Dr. Parnell, with a life of the author by Dr. Goldsmith.”+ With the respective publishers it seemed to be a struggle, who should have the credit, or advantage, of first ushering his writings into the world.

An amusing anecdote of his taste in dress at this moment is told by Boswell, who having just

* Public Advertiser, Nov. 16th--17th, 1769. + Id. Nov. 22—27th, 1769.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

returned from the Stratford Jubilee, where he had incurred no little ridicule by exhibiting himself in the character of a Corsican, by publicly reciting verses upon the occasion *, and by wearing the placard of “ Corsica Boswell” in his hat, was willing perhaps to conceal his own follies, by pointing out what he considered those of his acquaintance. He had invited Goldsmith, Johnson, Reynolds, Garrick and others to dinner, when the party were kept waiting by the non-arrival of one of the guests. “ Goldsmith” in the words of the biographer, who however seems to overcharge the description),“to divert the tedious minutes, strutted about bragging of his dress, and I believe was seriously vain of it, for his mind was wonderfully prone to such impressions. Come, come (said Garrick), talk no more of that. You are perhaps the worst - eh, eh ?' Goldsmith was eagerly attempting to interrupt him, when Garrick went on laughing ironically. "Nay, you will always look like a gentleman; but I am talking of being well or ill drest." Well, let me tell you (said Goldsmith), when my tailor brought home my bloom-coloured coat, he said, “Sir, I have a favour to beg of

any body asks you who made your clothes, be pleased to mention John Filby at the Harrow in Water-lane.' Johnson: Why, Sir, that was because he knew the strange colour

[ocr errors]

6

6

you,
when

* Public Advertiser, Sept. 11th, 1769. — Croker's Boswell's Johnson, vol. ii. p. 71.

« VorigeDoorgaan »