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the picture of him prefixed to his “ History of England,” and other books. A very differently attired personage, however, was the real Oliver, as commonly seen by the Londoners little over a century since. No man ever so delighted in velvet and gold lace. His “ bloom-coloured coat” figures in all his biographies, together with the story of the wag who met him marching along the Strand with bag-wig and sword, and exclaimed, “ Look at that fly with a long pin stuck through it.”
Poor Goldsmith! Vanity and good-nature lay obviously enough on the surface of his character; the latter, in spite of the former, ever saving him from contempt, but seldom from derision. He was a creature of the most generous impulses, and would give away his last shilling; but beneficence with him was the result of an unreasoning instinct, rather than of thoughtful and conscientious principle. Such generosity as Goldsmith often displayed may lie close beside a fondly cherished selfishness. It involves not the selfdenial which grows out of a calm strong will, cultured by moral convictions and religious faith. True goodness is ever associated with more or less of strength. Weakness is not the companion of virtue. Tried by Christianity—the only sound standard of judgment which in such cases we can recognise-characters like Goldsmith must bring down censure, while they awaken sorrow. The deficiency, or rather absence, of principle throughout his life, deprives it altogether of the aspect of a battle with the world and sin, as, every good man's life must be. “It has been questioned,” remarks one of his biographers, “whether he really had any religious feeling.” We should not raise the question. Religious feeling, no doubt he had; though even that does not seem to have been intense. But of religious faith, which is another thing—by which we mean the realization of Divine truths, especially those revealed in the gospel-we have, alas! no evidence in his works or memoirs. We can admire his delicate genius and appreciate his
generous acts; but we feel it our duty, and we discharge it with pain, to indicate his moral and religious deficiencies.
As Goldsmith was a poet, historian, and even philosopher, intimately connected with London in the old time, we should be chargeable with a great omission if we did not notice him among the shades of the departed ones. Indeed, we feel it nothing less than a tribute of gratitude here to inscribe his name, and portray the scenes with which he was associated ; for how much do we owe of instruction and pleasure to his lively prose and beautifully simple verse! He was one of the companions of our childhood, fondly cherished, and as an author we love him still; though matured understanding and reflection lead us to speak discriminatingly of his character as a man.
We find Goldsmith in London for the first time, wandering about the streets on a miserable February night, with only a few halfpence in his pocket. Disappointing his friends' expectations, he had been leading a very unsettled and vagrant sort of life, and had just arrived in the metropolis from his continental journeyings, in which his flute had been his chief resource and best friend. “The clock had just struck two: what a gloom hangs all around ! no sound is heard but of the chiming clock, or the distant watchdog! How few appear in those streets which but a few hours ago were crowded! But who are those who make the streets their couch, and find a short repose from wretchedness at the doors or the opulent? They are strangers, wanderers, and orphans, whose circumstances are too humble to expect redress, and whose distresses are too great even for pity. Some are without the covering even of rags, and others emaciated with disease: the world has disclaimed them, society turns its back upon their distress, and has given them up to nakedness and hunger. Those poor shivering females have seen happier days, and been flattered into beauty. They are now turned out to meet the severity of winter; perhaps now lying at the doors of their betrayers, they sue to wretches whose hearts are insensible, or debauchees who may curse but not relieve them.". So wrote Goldsmith years afterwards, and doubt
” less, in this graphic sketch, we have a picture of what he saw the night in question. Houseless wanderers there are still at such an hour-people who, to use a significant expression, have only the key of the street; but better times have come since Goldsmith's days, and the friendly lodging-house, which his kind heart for the sake of others would have well approved, and, we fancy, would have led him to advocate with a ready pen, now throws open its door to give shelter and welcome, with the hallowing influence of an evening prayer, to many a miserable stranger who, through vice, crime, or misfortune, has made shipwreck of home.
We next catch a wavering glimpse of our friend the poet in a chemist's shop near Fish-street-hill, where he assists in the laboratory; and then we find him practising medicine for himself, in a small way, somewhere in Bankside, Southwark. His strong passion for dress exhibits itself in the second-hand suit of green and gold, which makes him a rather conspicuous personage in the thoroughfares of the Borough ; while a want of neatness, or of money to pay the washerwoman, is clearly betrayed in his shirt and neckcloth, now of a fortnight's wear. But contentment or pride provided a covering for his poverty, and he told a friend that “he was practising physic and doing very well.” The green suit was afterwards changed for a black one, with a patch on the left breast, which he ingeniously concealed by holding up his cocked hat when he was conversing with his patients. A polite person once sought to relieve him from this apparent incumbrance, “which only made him press it more devoutly to his heart.”
Tired of practice, or disappointed of success, he soon exchanged the phial for the ferule, and prescriptions for spelling-books. Goldsmith came out in the character of a schoolmaster's assistant
at Peckham, a kind of employment to which he had been used before; and at the table of Dr. Milner-for so the master of the school was named-he became acquainted with Smollett, who first directed him to literature as a means of subsistence, by employing him as a contributor to the “Monthly Review.” Subsequently, physic and literature were combined to eke out a maintenance, and, in the double capacity of doctor and author, he presents himself to our notice in a wretched lodging by Salisbury-square, Fleet-street. Here we have a peep into the life of a poor literary man of the eighteenth century, to which parallels are numerous enough in the nineteenth. Leaving his lodgings, he kept his appointments at some house of call; the Temple Exchange Coffeehouse, Temple Bar, was his most favoured resort. There, indeed, was his ostensible abode ; and the people who saw him by day had little idea of the forlorn lodging where he spent his nights.
We must now visit a spot with which his name is more distinctly associated than with any of those we have thus hastily mentioned. Modern improvements have wrought marvellous changes in what used to be Fleet Market. The market is gone, or rather transferred out of sight to the neighbouring shambles, where it bears the name of Farringdon. The prison has totally vanished. The crowded scenes of trade, and vice, and infamy, which covered the broad space now known as Farringdon-street, have passed away; but there still remains a memento of Goldsmith's times—an outlet not far from the north end, on the right hand, which leads up through a miserable street of rag and bone shops, adorned with hideous black dolls in white frocks, to a steep flight of steps, conducting us to a place bearing now the very inappropriate name of Green Arbour-court. Once, perhaps, respectable, the tenements now are in miserable condition. At the upper end, in a house which was pulled down in 1834, Goldsmith was living when he wrote his “Enquiry into the State of Polite Learning in Europe.”
The spot, now covered with waggon offices and stables, is intimately connected with its once remarkable and illustrious tenant, from the anecdotes of him while residing there preserved by his biographers. Here it was that Percy, the author of the “ Reliques," called upon Goldsmith, and found him in a dirty room, with one chair, which he politely relinquished for the use of his visitor, while be sat himself down on the window seat during the interview. As the conversation proceeded, a gentle tap was heard at the door, and a ragged child came in, who dropped a courtesy, and then delivered the following message, much, no doubt, to the poet's chagrin: "Mamma sends her compliments, and begs the favour of you to lend her a potful of coals”-a favour, no doubt, which
. mamma had often conferred on her neighbour. And here, too, occurred the generous but improvident transaction so often told respecting the author and his landlady. It was Christmas day, and Goldsmith was smarting under his recent rejection at the College of Surgeons, where he had failed at his examination, when the poor woman entered his room with a heart-rending tale. Her husband had just been carried off to prison for debt. The man of literature had no money in his pocket, not enough to buy a Christmas dinner; but there hung a new suit of clothes, which in his eyes must have been precious indeed. The gratification of the instinctive emotions of pity was to be preferred to the gratification of his vanity, at least for a while, and therefore he sent off to the pawnbroker's and raised enough to pay the poor man's debt, and get him out of gaol. By the way, Griffiths, the publisher, had become surety to the tailor for these clothes, and had also lent Goldsmith books to be reviewed. The clothes gone, and no money left, he was tempted to raise money on the books too; so that, when the publisher wanted them back, they were not to be obtained. This double failure roused the ire of Griffiths, and he wrote a letter to the author which pierced his heart. Poor man, he had not