« AnteriorContinuar »
an excursion to Paris; a letter to his friend Sir Joshua describes his landing in a humorous manner.
TO SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS. MY DEAR FRIEND,
We had a very quick passage from Dover to Calais, which was performed in three hours and twenty minutes; all of us extremely seasick, which must necessarily have happened, as my machine to preventsea sickness was not completed. We were glad to leave Dover, because we hated to be imposed upon; so were in high spirits at coming to Calais, where we were told but a little money would go a great way. Upon landing two little trunks, which was all we carried with us, we were surprised to see fourteen or fifteen fellows all running down to the ship to lay their hands upon them. Four got under each trunk, the rest surrounded and held the harps, and in this manner our little baggage was conducted with a kind of funeral solemnity, till it was safely lodged at the custom house. We were all well
or images in the same paragraph. Mr. Todd thinks that Goldsmith had Chaucer's Description of the Parish Priest in his eye, and that he transferred a tract or two of it to his Ecclesiastic in the Deserted Village, v. Must. oj'Gower, p. 257. Mr. T. Campbell's observations on the political opinions, and philosophical reflections in this poem are sensible and just; and his criticisms on the poetical merits do honor to his taste, v. Specimens, vol. vi. p. 251.
enough pleased with the people's civility till they came to be paid. Every creature that had the happiness of but touching our trunks with their fingers expected sixpence, and they had so pretty a civil manner of demanding it, that there was no refusing them. When we had done with the porters, we had next to speak with the custom house officers, who had their pretty civil way too. We were directed to the Hotel d'Angleterre, where a valet de place came to offer his services, and spoke to me ten minutes before I once found out that he was speaking English. We had no occasion for his services, so we gave him a little money, because he spoke English, and because he wanted it. I cannot help mentioning another circumstance; I bought a new ribbon for my wig at Canterbury, and the barber at Calais broke it, in order to gain sixpence by buying me a new one.
• * • »
I am, dear Sir,
When the Royal Academy of Painting was established, he was elected Professor of Ancient History.45 His new office is mentioned in a letter to his brother Maurice. 'This letter,' says Dr.
45 Goldsmith was succeeded in the professorship by Gibbon; at whose death it was given to Wm. Mitford, the historian of Greece.
Percy, 'exhibits the most unsophisticated simplicity of mind, and breathes the same ardent attachment to his country, with the same unalterable affection for ' his poor shattered family' as he was wont to do when more dependent on them, and when his present eminence could hardly have been anticipated.'
TO MR. MAURICE GOLDSMITH,46 AT JAMES SAUNDERS', ESQ. AT KILMORE, NEAR CARRICK ON SHANNON.
January, 1770. DEAR BROTHER,
I Should have answered your letter sooner, but in truth I am not fond of thinking of the necessity of those I love, when it is so very little in my power to help them. I am sorry to find you are still every way unprovided for; and what adds to my uneasiness is, that I have received a letter from my sister Johnson, by which I learn that she is pretty much in the same circumstances. As to myself, I believe I could get both you and my poor brother-in-law something like that which you desire, but I am determined never to ask for little things, nor exhaust any little interest I may
48 Our Poet's youngest brother, a cabinet-maker at Dublin. The Duke of Rutland made him an Inspector of the Licenses of the city. He was appointed Macebearer on the erection of the Irish Royal Academy. He died without
have, until I can serve you, him, and myself more effectually. As yet no opportunity has offered, but I believe you are pretty well convinced that I will not be remiss when it arrives. The king has lately been pleased to make me Professor of Ancient History in a Royal Academy of Painting, which he has just established, but there is no salary annexed; and I took it rather as a compliment to the institution, than any benefit to myself. Honours to one in my situation are something like ruffles to a man that wants a shirt. You tell me that there are fourteen or fifteen pounds left me in the hands of my cousin Lauder, and you ask me what I would have done with them. My dear brother, I would by no means give any directions to my dear worthy relations at Kilmore how to dispose of money, which is, properly speaking, more theirs than mine. All that I can say is, that I entirely, and this letter will serve to witness, give up any right and title to it; and I am sure they will dispose of it to the best advantage. To them I entirely leave it, whether they or you may think the whole necessary to fit you out, or whether our poor sister Johnson may not want the half, I leave entirely to their and your discretion. The kindness of that good couple to our poor shattered family demands our sincerest gratitude; and though they have almost forgot me, yet, if good things at last arrive, I hope one day to return, and increase their good humour by adding to my own. I have sent my cousin Jenny a miniature picture of myself, as I believe it is the most acceptable present I can offer. I have ordered it to be left for her at George Falkener's, folded in a letter. The face you well know is ugly enough, but it is finely painted. I will shortly also send my friends over the Shannon some mezzotinto prints of myself, and some more of my friends here, such as Burke, Johnson, Reynolds, and Colman. I believe I have written a hundred letters to different friends in your country, and never received an answer from any of them. I do not know how to account for this, or why they are unwilling to keep up for me those regards which I must ever retain for them. If then you have a mind to oblige me, you will write often, whether I answer you or not. Let me particularly have the news of our family and old acquaintances. For instance, you may begin by telling me about the family where you reside, how they spend their time, and whether they ever make mention of me. Tell me about my mother, my brother Hodson and his son, my brother Harry's son and daughter, my sister Johnson, the family of Ballyoughton; what is become of them, where they live, and how they do. You talked of being my only brother; I don't understand you: where is Charles? A sheet of paper occasionally filled with news of this kind would