Imágenes de página

smith, unwilling to be a burden to his friend, a short time after eagerly embraced an offer which was made him to assist the late Rev. Dr. Milner, in instructing the young gentlemen at the academy at Peckham; and acquitted himself greatly to the Doctor's satisfaction for a short time; but, having obtained fome reputation by the criticisms he had written in the Monthly Review, Mr. Griffith, the principal proprietor, engaged him in the compilation of it ; and, resolving to pursue the profession of writing, he returned to London, as the mart where abilities of every kind were sure of meeting distinction and reward. Here he determined to adopt a plan of the stricteft economy, and, at the close of the year 1759, took lodgings in Green-Arbour-court in the Old Bailey, where he wrote several ingenious pieces. The late Mr. Newbery,

who, who, at that time gave great encouragement to men of literary abilities, became a kind of patron to our young author, and introduced him as one of the writers in the Public Ledger, * in which his Citizen of the World originally appeared, under the the title of “ Chinese Letters.”

Fortune now seemed to take some notice of a man she had long neglected.

* During this time, (according to another account) he wrote for the British Magazine, of which Dr. Smollet was then editor, most of those Esays and Tales, which he afterwards collected and published in a separate volume. He also wrote occasionally, for the Critical Review; and it was the merit which he discovered in criticising a despicable translation of Ovid's Fasti by a pedantic schoolmaster, and his Enquiry into the Present State of Learning in Europe, which first introduced him to the acquaintance of Dr. Smollet, who recommended him to several literati, and to most of the booksellers by whom he was afterwards patronized.

. The

The simplicity of his character, the integrity of his heart, and the merit of his productions, made his company very acceptable to a number of respectable persons; and, about the middle of the year 1762, he emerged from his mean apartments near the Old Bailey to the politer air of the Temple, where he took handsome chambers, and lived in a genteel style. Among many other persons of distinction who were desirous to know him, was the Duke of Northumberland, and the circumstance that attended his introduction to that nobleman, is worthy of being related, in order to fhew a striking trait of his character. “ I was invited,” said che Doctor, “ by my friend Percy, to wait “ upon the Duke, in consequence of the « satisfaction he had received from the “ perusal of one of my productions. I “ dressed myself in the best manner I

“ could,

“ could, and after studying some compli~ ments I thought necessary on such an « occasion, proceeded on to Northum* berland-house, and acquainted the ser* vants that I had particular business with « his grace. They shewed me into an « antichamber, where, after waiting fome “ time, a gentleman very elegantly dressed * made his appearance: taking him « for the Duke, I delivered all the fine " things I had composed, in order to comspliment him on the honour he had done "me; when, to my great astonishment, * he told me I had mistaken him for his w master, who would see me immediately. " At that instant the Duke came into the * apartment, and I was so confounded on " the occasion, that I wanted words barely “ sufficient to express the sense I entertain“ed of the Duke's politeness, and went

« away

“ away exceedingly chagrined at the blun“ der I had committed.”

The Doctor at the time of this visit was much embarrassed in his circumstances, but vain of the honour done him, was continually mentioning it. One of those ingenious executors of the law, a bailiff, who had a writ against him, determined to turn this circumstance to his own advantage; he wrote him a letter, that he was steward to a nobleman who was charmed with reading his last production, and had ordered him to desire the Doctor to appoint a place where he might have the honour of meeting him, to conduct him to his Lordfhip. The vanity of poor Goldsmith immediately swallowed the bait; he appointed the British Coffee-house, to which he was accompanied by his friend Mr. Hamilton, the printer of the Critical Re


« AnteriorContinuar »