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and the prejudices thus imbibed continued through life. Mathematics he always pronounced a science to which the meanest intellects were competent.
A truer cause of this distaste for the severer studies may probably be found in his natural indolence and his love of convi vial pleasures. "I was a lover of mirth, good-humor, and even sometimes of fun," said he, "from my childhood." He sang a good song, was a boon companion, and could not resist any temptation to social enjoyment. He endeavored to persuade himself that learning and dulness went hand in hand, and that genius was not to be put in harness. Even in riper years, when the consciousness of his own deficiencies ought to have convinced him of the importance of early study, he speaks slightingly of college honors.
"A lad," says he, "whose passions are not strong enough in youth to mislead him from that path of science which his tutors, and not his inclination, have chalked out, by four or five years' perseverance will probably obtain every advantage and honor his college can bestow. I would compare the man whose youth has been thus passed in the tranquillity of dispassionate prudence, to liquors that never ferment, and, consequently, continue always muddy."
The death of his worthy father, which took place early in 1747, rendered Goldsmith's situation at college extremely irksome. His mother was left with little more than the means of providing for the wants of her household, and was unable to furnish him any remittances. He would have been compelled, therefore, to leave college, had it not been for the occasional contributions of friends, the foremost among whom was his generous and warm-hearted uncle Contarine. Still these supplies
were so scanty and precarious, that in the intervals between them he was put to great straits. He had two college associates from whom he would occasionally borrow small sums; one was an early schoolmate, by the name of Beatty; the other a cousin, and the chosen companion of his frolicks, Robert (or rather Bob) Bryanton, of Ballymulvey House, near Ballymahon. When these casual supplies failed him he was more than once obliged to raise funds for his immediate wants by pawning his books. At times he sank into despondency, but he had what he termed "a knack at hoping," which soon buoyed him up again. He began now to resort to his poetical vein as a source of profit, scribbling street-ballads, which he privately sold for five shillings each at a shop which dealt in such small wares of literature. He felt an author's affection for these unowned bantlings, and we are told would stroll privately through the streets at night to hear them sung, listening to the comments and criticisms of bystanders, and observing the degree of applause which each received.
Edmund Burke was a fellow-student with Goldsmith at the college. Neither the statesman nor the poet gave promise of their future celebrity, though Burke certainly surpassed his contemporary in industry and application, and evinced more disposition for self-improvement, associating himself with a number of his fellow-students in a debating club, in which they discussed literary topics, and exercised themselves in composition.
Goldsmith may likewise have belonged to this association, but his propensity was rather to mingle with the gay and thoughtless. On one occasion we find him implicated in an affair that came nigh producing his expulsion. A report was brought to college that a scholar was in the hands of the bailiffs. This
was an insult in which every gownsman felt himself involved. A number of the scholars flew to arms, and sallied forth to battle, headed by a hair-brained fellow nicknamed Gallows Walsh, noted for his aptness at mischief and fondness for riot. The stronghold of the bailiff was carried by storm, the scholar set at liberty, and the delinquent catchpole borne off captive to the college, where, having no pump to put him under, they satisfied the demands of collegiate law by ducking him in an old cistern.
Flushed with this signal victory, Gallows Walsh now harangued his followers, and proposed to break open Newgate, or the Black Dog, as the prison was called, and effect a general jail delivery. He was answered by shouts of concurrence, and away went the throng of madcap youngsters, fully bent upon putting an end to the tyranny of law. They were joined by the mob of the city, and made an attack upon the prison with true Irish precipitation and thoughtlessness, never having provided themselves with cannon to batter its stone walls. A few shots from the prison brought them to their senses, and they beat a hasty retreat, two of the townsmen being killed, and several wounded.
A severe scrutiny of this affair took place at the University. Four students, who had been ringleaders, were expelled; four others, who had been prominent in the affray, were publicly admonished; among the latter was the unlucky Goldsmith.
To make up for this disgrace, he gained, within a month afterward, one of the minor prizes of the college. It is true it was one of the very smallest, amounting in pecuniary value to but thirty shillings, but it was the first distinction he had gained in his whole collegiate career. This turn of success and sudden influx of wealth proved too much for the head of our poor student. He forthwith gave a supper and dance at his chamber
TYRANNY OF WILDER, THE TUTOR.
to a number of young persons of both sexes from the city, in direct violation of college rules. The unwonted sound of the fiddle reached the ears of the implacable Wilder. He rushed to the scene of unhallowed festivity, inflicted corporal punishment on the "father of the feast," and turned his astonished guests neck and heels out of doors.
This filled the measure of poor Goldsmith's humiliations; he felt degraded both within college and without. He dreaded the ridicule of his fellow-students for the ludicrous termination of his orgie, and he was ashamed to meet his city acquaintances after the degrading chastisement received in their presence, and after their own ignominious expulsion. Above all, he felt it impossible to submit any longer to the insulting tyranny of Wilder: he determined, therefore, to leave, not merely the college, but also his native land, and to bury what he conceived to be his irretrievable disgrace in some distant country. He accordingly sold his books and clothes, and sallied forth from the college walls the very next day, intending to embark at Cork for —he scarce knew where—America, or any other part beyond sea. With his usual heedless imprudence, however, he loitered about Dublin until his finances were reduced to a shilling; with this amount of specie he set out on his journey.
For three whole days he subsisted on his shilling; when that was spent, he parted with some of the clothes from his back, until, reduced almost to nakedness, he was four-and-twenty hours without food, insomuch that he declared a handful of gray pease, given to him by a girl at a wake, was one of the most delicious repasts he had ever tasted. Hunger, fatigue, and destitution brought down his spirit and calmed his anger. Fain would he have retraced his steps, could he have done so with any salvo for
the lingerings of his pride. In his extremity he conveyed to his brother Henry information of his distress, and of the rash project on which he had set out. His affectionate brother hastened to his relief; furnished him with money and clothes; soothed his feelings with gentle counsel; prevailed upon him to return to college, and effected an indifferent reconciliation between him and Wilder.
After this irregular sally upon life he remained nearly two years longer at the University, giving proofs of talent in occasional translations from the classics, for one of which he received a premium, awarded only to those who are the first in literary merit. Still he never made much figure at college, his natural disinclination to study being increased by the harsh treatment he continued to experience from his tutor.
Among the anecdotes told of him while at college is one indicative of that prompt, but thoughtless and often whimsical benevolence which throughout life formed one of the most eccentric, yet endearing points of his character. He was engaged to breakfast one day with a college intimate, but failed to make his appearHis friend repaired to his room, knocked at the door, and was bidden to enter. To his surprise, he found Goldsmith in his bed, immersed to his chin in feathers. A serio-comic story explained the circumstance. In the course of the preceding evening's stroll he had met with a woman with five children, who implored his charity. Her husband was in the hospital; she was just from the country, a stranger, and destitute, without food or shelter for her helpless offspring. This was too much for the kind heart of Goldsmith. He was almost as poor as herself, it is true, and had no money in his pocket; but he brought her to the college gate, gave her the blankets from his bed to cover her lit