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to be expanded and connected at home. His summer retreat for the present year, 1768, was a little cottage with a garden, pleasantly situated about eight miles from town on the Edgeware road. He took it in conjunction with a Mr. Edmund Botts, a barrister and man of letters, his neighbor in the Temple, having rooms immediately opposite him on the same floor. They had become cordial intimates, and Botts was one of those with whom Goldsmith now and then took the friendly but pernicious liberty of borrowing.
The cottage which they had hired belonged to a rich shoemaker of Piccadilly, who had embellished his little domain of half an acre with statues, and jets, and all the decorations of landscape gardening; in consequence of which Goldsmith gave it the name of The Shoemaker's Paradise. As his fellow occupant Mr. Botts drove a gig, he sometimes, in an interval of literary labor accompanied him to town, partook of a social dinner there and returned with him in the evening. On one occasion, when they had probably lingered too long at the table, they came near breaking their necks on their way homeward by driving against a post on the side-walk, while Botts was proving by the force of legal eloquence that they were in the very middle of the broad Edgeware road.
In the course of this summer, Goldsmith's career of gayety was suddenly brought to a pause by intelligence of the death of his brother Henry, then but forty-five years of age. He had led a quiet and blameless life amid the scenes of his youth, fulfilling the duties of village pastor with unaffected piety; conducting the school at Lissoy with a degree of industry and ability that gave it celebrity, and acquitting himself in all the duties of life with undeviating rectitude and the mildest benevolence.
How truly Goldsmith loved and venerated him is evident in all his letters and throughout his works; in which his brother continually forms his model for an exemplification of all the most endearing of the Christian virtues; yet his affection at his death was embittered by the fear that he died with some doubt upon his mind of the warmth of his affection. Goldsmith had been urged by his friends in Ireland, since his elevation in the world, to use his influence with the great, which they supposed to be all powerful, in favor of Henry, to obtain for him church preferment. He did exert himself as far as his diffident nature would permit, but without success; we have seen that, in the case of the Earl of Northumberland, when, as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, that nobleman proffered him his patronage, he asked nothing for himself, but only spoke on behalf of his brother. Still some of his friends, ignorant of what he had done and of how little he was able to do, accused him of negligence. It is not likely, however, that his amiable and estimable brother joined in the accusation.
To the tender and melancholy recollections of his early days awakened by the death of this loved companion of his childhood, we may attribute some of the most heartfelt passages in his Deserted Village. Much of that poem we are told was composed this summer, in the course of solitary strolls about the green lanes and beautifully rural scenes of the neighborhood; and thus much of the softness and sweetness of English landscape became blended with the ruder features of Lissoy. It was in these lonely and subdued moments, when tender regret was half mingled with self-upbraiding, that he poured forth that homage of the heart rendered as it were at the grave of his brother. The picture of the village pastor in this poem, which we have a ready hinted, was taken in part from the character of his
father, embodied likewise the recollections of his brother Henry; for the natures of the father and son seem to have been identical. In the following lines, however, Goldsmith evidently contrasted the quiet settled life of his brother, passed at home in the benevolent exercise of the Christian duties, with his own restless vagrant career:
"Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to change his place.
To us the whole character seems traced as it were in an expiatory spirit; as if, conscious of his own wandering restlessness, he sought to humble himself at the shrine of excellence which he had not been able to practise:
"At church with meek and unaffected grace,
Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway,
With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran;
Even children follow'd, with endearing wile,
And pluck'd his gown, to share the good man's smile:
Dinner at Bickerstaff's.-Hiffernan and his impecuniosity.-Kenrick's epigram.-Johnson's consolation.--Goldsmith's toilet.-The bloom-colored coat.-New acquaintances.-The Hornecks.-A touch of poetry and passion. The Jessamy Bride.
IN October, Goldsmith returned to town and resumed his usual haunts. We hear of him at a dinner given by his countryman, Isaac Bickerstaff, author of "Love in a Village," "Lionel and Clarissa," and other successful dramatic pieces. The dinner was to be followed by the reading by Bickerstaff of a new play. Among the guests was one Paul Hiffernan, likewise an Irishman; somewhat idle and intemperate; who lived nobody knew how nor where, sponging wherever he had a chance, and often of course upon Goldsmith, who was ever the vagabond's friend, or rather victim. Hiffernan was something of a physician, and elevated the emptiness of his purse into the dignity of a disease, which he termed impecuniosity, and against which he claimed a right to call for relief from the healthier purses of his friends. He was a scribbler for the newspapers, and latterly a dramatic critic, which had probably gained him an invitation to the dinner and reading. The wine and wassail, however, befogged his senses. Scarce had the author got into the second act of his play, when Hiffernan began to nod, and at length snored outright. Bickerstaff was
embarrassed, but continued to read in a more elevated tone. The louder he read, the louder Hiffernan snored; until the author came to a pause. "Never mind the brute, Bick, but go on," cried Goldsmith. "He would have served Homer just so, if he were here and reading his own works."
Kenrick, Goldsmith's old enemy, travestied this anecdote in the following lines, pretending that the poet had compared his countryman Bickerstaff to Homer.
What are your Bretons, Romans, Grecians,
Of Goldsmith, Bickerstaff, and Kelly * * *
Johnson was a rough consoler to a man when wincing under an attack of this kind. "Never mind, sir," said he to Goldsmith, when he saw that he felt the sting. "A man whose business it is to be talked of is much helped by being attacked. Fame, sir, is a shuttlecock; if it be struck only at one end of the room, it will soon fall to the ground; to keep it up, it must be struck at both ends."
Bickerstaff at the time of which we are speaking was in high vogue, the associate of the first wits of the day; a few years afterwards, he was obliged to fly the country to escape the punishment of an infamous crime. Johnson expressed great astonishment at hearing the offence for which he had fled. "Why, sir?" said Thrale; "he had long been a suspected man." Perhaps there was a knowing look on the part of the eminent brewer, which provoked a somewhat contemptuous reply. "By