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woodcocks on the top of Mount Jura, that he had eaten a very savoury dinner on the Alps, that he had seert floating bee-houses in Piedmont, that in some provinces of France he had found the shepherd and his pipe continued with true antique simplicity, and that he had met a bright circle of female beauty at the chemical lectures of Professor Rouelle, at Paris; he finally reached Padua, where he stayed six months; and at that city it is supposed he took his medical degree. While in Italy, hearing of the death of his uncle and benefactor, he turned his steps towards home, and landed at Dover in the autumn of 1756, having been absent about twelve months.
His situation was not much mended on his arrival in London, at which period the whole of his finances were reduced to a few halfpence. What must be the gloomy apprehensions of a man in so forlorn a situation, and an utter stranger in the metropolis ! He applied to several apothecaries for employment; but his awkward appearance, and his broad Irish accent, were so much against him, that he met only with ridicule and contempt. At last, however, merely through motives of humanity, he was taken notice of by a chemist, who employed him in his laboratory.
In this situation he continued till he was informed that an old friend—Dr. Sleigh-was in London. He then quitted the chemist, and lived some time upon the liberality of the doctor: but, disliking a life of dependence on the generosity of his friend, and being unwilling to be burthensome to him, he soon accepted an offer that was made to him, of assisting the late Rev. Dr. Milner, in the education of young gentlemen, at his academy at Peckham. During the time he remained in this situation, he gave much satisfaction to his employer ; but as he had obtained some reputation from criticisms he had written in the Monthly Review, he eagerly
engaged in regular employment on that work with Mr. in Griffith, the prir.cipal proprietor.
As a translator he gave a version of the curious and affecting autobiography of Jean Marteilbe, entitled “Mémoires d'un Protestant;" for which he received twenty guineas. He returned to London, and took a lodging at No. 12, Green Arbour-court, in the Old Bailey, with the determination of making a livelihood by literature. His first piece of composition was "An Enquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe," which was published anonymously in 1759. We have a more particular account of these lodgings in Green Arbour-court from the Rev. Thomas Percy, afterwards Bishop of Dromore, and celebrated for his relics of ancient poetry, his beautiful ballads, and other works. During an occasional visit to London he was introduced to Goldsmith by Grainger, and ever after continued one of his most steadfast and valued friends. The following is his description of the poet's squalid apartment: "I called on Goldsmith at his lodgings, in March, 1759, and found him writing his ‘Inquiry,' in a miserable, dirty-looking room, in which there was but one chair; and when, from civility, he resigned it to me, he himself was obliged to sit in the window. While we were conversing together, some one tapped gently at the door, and being desired to come in, a poor, ragged little girl, of a very becoming demeanour entered the room, and dropping a courtesy, said, ‘My mamma sends her compliments, and begs the favour of you to lend her a chamber-pot full of coals.'” It appears that in 1758 he obtained a medical appointment which might have proved exceedingly lucrative, that of physician to one of the factories in India; and to meet the expenses of his outfit, he drew up and issued proposals to publish by subscription the essay above-mentioned; but not being able to pass the necessary examination before the College of Surgeons, he was of course compelled to resign the situation and fall back upon literature. He soon after produced “The Bee," an entertaining volume of prose essays. In 1760 he contributed a series of papers to The Public Ledger, then
recently established by Mr. John Newbery; in these he represented himself as a native of China--to which empire the splendid work produced by Sir William Chambers had recently drawn public attention ;-the papers were afterwards, with some additions, published in a complete form, under the title of “The Citizen of the World.”
Being now easier in circumstances, and in the receipt of frequent sums from the booksellers, Goldsmith, about the middle of 1760, emerged from his dismal abode in Green Arbour-court, and took respectable apartments in Wine Officecourt, Fleet-street.
Still be continued to look back with considerable benevolence to the poor hostess, whose necessities he had relieved by pawning his gala coat, for we are told that “he often supplied her with food from his own table, and visited her frequently with the sole purpose to be kind to her."
He now became a member of a debating club, called the “Robin Hood,” which used to meet near Temple Bar, and in which Burke, while yet a Temple student, had first tried his powers. Goldsmith spoke here occasionally, and is recorded in the Robin Hood archives as “a candid disputant, with a clear head and an honest heart, though coming but seldom to the society.” His relish was for clubs of a more social, jovial nature, and he was never fond of argument. An amusing anecdote is told of his first introduction to the club, by Samuel Derrick, an Irish acquaintance of some humour. On entering, Goldsmith was struck with the self-important appearance of the chairman, ensconced in a large gilt chair. “This,” said he, “must be the Lord Chancellor at least.”
No, no,” replied Derrick, “ he's only master of the rolls." The chairman was a baker.
The editor of this volume remembers to have heard his father mention this society; it was held at a public-house in Shire-lane, and was in existence for many years after Goldsmith’s time. The most noted speaker was one Jeacocke,
a baker, whose eloquence was of that powerful and commanding character, as to leave all others far behind; the almost perpetual chairman. Some of our more celebrated debaters, as Burke, Sheridan, Fox, and Canning, were frequent attendants of the meetings.
In his new lodgings in Wine Office-court, Goldsmith began to receive visits of ceremony, and to entertain his literary friends. Among the latter he now numbered several names of note, such as Guthrie, Murphy, Christopher Smart, and Bickerstaff. He had also a numerous class of hangers-on, the small fry of literature; who, knowing his almost utter incapacity to refuse a pecuniary request, were apt, now that he was considered flush, to levy continual taxes upon his purse.
Among others, one Pilkington, an old college acquaintance, but now a shifting adventurer, duped him in the most ludicrous manner. He called on him with a face full of perplexity. A lady of the first rank having an extraordinary fancy for curious animals, for which she was willing to give enormous sums, he had procured a couple of white mice to be forwarded to her from India. They were actually on board of a ship in the river. Her grace had been apprised of their arrival, and was all impatience to see them. Unfortunately he had no eage to put them in, nor clothes to appear in before a lady of her rank. Two guineas would be sufficient for his purpose, but where were two guineas to be procured ?
The simple heart of Goldsmith was touched; but alas ! he had but half-a-guinea in his pocket. It was unfortunate, but, after a pause, his friend suggested, with some hesitation, " that money might be raised upon his watch; it would be but the loan of a few hours.” So said, so done; the watch was delivered to the worthy Mr. Pilkington to be pledged at a neighbouring pawnbroker's, but nothing further was ever seen of him, the watch, or the white mice. The next that Goldsmith heard of the poor shifting scapegrace, he was on his death-bed, starving from want, upon which, forgetting or forgiving the trick he had played him, he sent him a guinea
On the 31st of May, 1761, Dr. Johnson made his appear ance as a guest at a literary supper given by Goldsmith at his new lodgings in Wine Office-court. It was the opening of their acquaintance. Johnson had felt and acknowledged the merit of Goldsmith as an author, and been pleased by the honourable mention made of himself in “The Bee." Dr. Percy called upon Johnson to take him to Goldsmith's lodgings; he found Johnson arrayed with unusual care in a new suit of clothes, a new hat, and a well-powdered wig; and could not but notice his uncommon spruceness. “Why, sir,” replied Johnson, “I hear that Goldsmith is a very great sloven, justifies his disregard of cleanliness and decency by quoting my practice, and I am desirous this night to show him a better example.”
Among the things thrown off by Goldsmith for the book. sellers were jobs of a most heterogeneous character, such as an “ Account of the Cock-lane Ghost,”-a “Life of Beau Nash," the famous master of the ceremonies at Bath,—,
History of England in a Series of Letters from a Nobleman to his Son," which being published anonymously, was attributed to various noble lords, and among others, Lord Lyttleton, who was well pleased to be the putative father, and never disowned it.
Johnson had now become one of Goldsmith's best friends and advisers. He knew all the weak points of his character, but he knew also his merits; and while he would rebuke him like a child, and rail at his errors and follies, he would suffer no one else to undervalue him. Goldsmith knew the soundness of his judgment and his practical benevolence, and often sought his connsel and aid amid the difficulties into which his heedlessness was continually plunging him.
“I received one morning," says Johnson, “ a message from