Imágenes de página

subject to these unhappy failings are very cogent; and they are of such a nature, that it is peculiarly painful for me to state them. In a word, then, I have seen those hateful propensities govern you with such irresistible power, that they have overcome the strongest and most natural principle that can be supposed to reign in the heart of a young person; I mean the duty and affection you owe your parents. Surely it could be no common failing, no light or trivial fault of temper that could be sufficient to counteract the warmest feelings and strongest duties of a young mind! Duties and feelings so natural and so indispensable, that we justly conclude a young person who appears to be devoid of them can scarcely possess any other valuable quality. From such grounds, then, can you think me harsh or uncharitable, if I have formed such conclusions?

I have been urged to what I have said by an earnest wish for the improvement of your character, and particularly for the amelioration of your heart. In a future letter I shall pursue the subject, by endeavouring to give you some rules respecting the government and improvement of the understanding. I hope and believe that your conduct will be such as to render any future admonitions on the subjects of this letter entirely unnecessary.

I am, my dear pupil,

Yours affectionately, &c.




ii. Cradock's Memoirs.


IV. BOSWELL's LIFE OF JOHNSON. v. Miss Hawkins's Anecdotes.

Vi. Colman's Random Records, Vii. Cumberland's Memoirs.

Viii. Northcote's Conversations, Ix. Hawkins's Life Of Johnson.



In the course of this year, Sir Joshua took another trip to Paris, from which he had scarcely returned when Mr. Bennet Langton renewed, in a very pressing manner, an invitation which he had given to him and Goldsmith to spend some part of the autumn with hiin and his lady, the Countess of Rothes, at their seat in Lincolnshire. With this obliging request, however, he was unable to comply, and Goldsmith, in a letter to Mr. Langton, declining the invitation on the part of both, says, ' Reynolds is just returned from Paris, and finds himself now in the case of a truant, that must make up for his idle time by diligence, we have therefore agreed to postpone our journey till next summer.'

In fact, at this period Sir Joshua may be said to have been at the zenith of his eminence, as we see him now employed in portraying the most illustrious personages in every different department, whilst his intimacy was sedulously sought after by all degrees of persons.

Much of the attention which even Goldsmith personally met with was undoubtedly owing to the patronage of his admired friend; yet Sir Joshua used to say, that Goldsmith looked at, or considered, public notoriety, or fame, as one great parcel, to the whole of which he laid claim, and whoever partook of any part of it, whether dancer, singer, slight of hand man, or tumbler, deprived him of his right, and drew off the attention of the world from himself, and which he was striving to gain.

Notwithstanding this, he lamented that whenever he entered into a mixed company, he struck a kind of awe on

them, which deprived him of the enjoyment and freedom of society, and which he then made it his endeavour to dispel by playing wanton and childish pranks in order to bring himself to the wished for level.

It was very soon after my first arrival in London, where every thing appeared new and wonderful to me, that I expressed to Sir Joshua my impatient curiosity to see Dr. Goldsmith, and he promised I should do so on the first opportunity. Soon afterwards Goldsmith came to dine with him, and immediately on my entering the room, Sir Joshua, with a designed abruptness, said to me, 'This is Dr. Goldsmith; pray why did you wish to see him V I was much confused by the suddenness of the question, and answered, in my hurry, 'Because he is a notable man.' This, in one sense of the word, was so very contrary to the character and conduct of Goldsmith, that Sir Joshua burst into a hearty laugh, and said, that Goldsmith should, in future, always be called the notable man.

What I meant, however, to say was, that he was a man of note or eminence.

He appeared to me to be very unaffected and good-natured; but he was totally ignorant of the art of painting, and this he often confessed with much gaiety.

It has been often said of Goldsmith, that he was ever desirous of being the object of attention in all companies where he was present; which the following anecdote may serve to prove:

On a summer's excursion to the continent he accompanied a lady and her two beautiful daughters into France and Flanders, and often expressed a little displeasure at perceiving that more attention was paid to them than to himself. On their entering a town, I think Antwerp, the populace surrounded the door of the hotel at which they alighted, and testified a desire to see those beautiful young women, and the ladies, willing to gratify them, came into a balcony at the front of the house, and Goldsmith with them; but perceiving that it was not himself who was the object of admiration, he presently withdrew, with evident signs of mortification, say

« AnteriorContinuar »