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cast of it was ironical; there was a terseness in his repartees that had a play of words as well as of thought; as when speaking of the difference between laying out money upon land, or purchasing into the funds, he said, " One was principal without interest, and the other interest without principal." Certain it is he had a brevity of expression, that never hung upon the ear, and you felt the point in the very moment that he made the push. It was rather to be lamented that his lady, Mrs. Jenyns, had so great a respect for his good sayings, and so imperfect a recollection of them; for though she always prefaced her recitals of them with as Mr. Jenyns says—it was not always what Mr. Jenyns said, and never, I am apt to think, as Mr. Jenyns said; but she was an excellent old lady, and twirled her fan with as much mechanical address as her ingenious husband twirled his snuff-box.
At this time I did not know Oliver Goldsmith even by person; I think our first meeting chanced to be at the British Coffee House; when we came together, we very speedily coalesced; and I believe he forgave me for all the little fame I had got by the success of my West Indian, which had put him to some trouble; for it was not his nature to be unkind; and I had soon an opportunity of convincing him how incapable I was of harbouring resentment, and how zealously I
took my share in what concerned his interest and reputation. That he was fantastically vain all the world knows; but there was no settled and inherent malice in his heart. He was tenacious to a ridiculous extreme of certain pretensions, that did not, and by nature could not belong to him, and at the same time inexcusably careless of the fame which he had powers to command. His table-talk was, as Garrick aptly compared it, like that of a parrot, whilst he wrote like Apollo: he had gleams of eloquence, and at times a majesty of thought; but in general his tongue and his pen had two very different styles of talking. What foibles he had he took no pains to conceal; the good qualities of his heart were too frequently obscured by the carelessness of his conduct and the frivolity of his manners. Sir Joshua Reynolds was very good to him, and would have drilled him into better trim and order for society, if he would have been amenable; for Reynolds was a perfect gentleman, had good sense, great propriety, with all the social attributes, and all the graces of hospitality, equal to any man. He well knew how to appreciate men of talents, and how near akin the Muse of poetry was to that art of which he was so eminent a master. From Goldsmith he caught the subject of his famous Ugolino; what aids he got from others, if he got any, were worthily bestowed and happily applied.
There is something in Goldsmith's prose that to my ear is uncommonly sweet and harmonious; it is clear, simple, easy to be understood; we never want to read his period twice over, except for the pleasure it bestows; obscurity never calls us back to a repetition of it. That he was a poet there is no doubt; but the paucity of his verses does not allow us to rank him in that high station where his genius might have carried him. There must be bulk, variety, and grandeur of design, to constitute a first-rate poet. The Deserted Village, Traveller, and Hermit, are all specimens beautiful as such; but they are only birds' eggs on a string, and eggs of small birds too. One great magnificent whole must be accomplished before we can pronounce upon the maker to be the J zetirrifc. Pope himself never earned this title by a work of any magnitude but his Homer; and that being a translation only constitutes him an accomplished versifier. Distress drove Goldsmith upon undertakings neither congenial with his studies, nor worthy of his talents. I remember him, when in his chamber in the Temple, he showed me the beginning of his Animated Nature; it was with a sigh, such as genius draws when hard necessity diverts it from its bent to drudge for bread, and talk of birds and beasts and creeping things, which Pidcock's showman would have done as well. Poor fellow, he hardly knew an ass from a mule, nor a turkey from a goose, but when he saw it on the table. But publishers hate poetry, and Paternoster-row is not Parnassus. Even the mighty Doctor Hill, who was not a very delicate feeder, could not make a dinner out of the press till by a happy transformation into Hannah Glass he turned himself into a cook, and sold receipts for made dishes to all the savoury readers in the kingdom. Then
indeed the press acknowledged him second in fame only to John Bunyan: his feasts kept pace in sale with Nelson's fasts; and when his own name was fairly written out of credit, he wrote himself into immortality under an alias. Now though necessity, or I should rather say the desire of finding money for a masquerade, drove Oliver Goldsmith upon abridging histories and turning Buffon into English, yet I much doubt if without that spur he would ever have put his Pegasus into action; no, if he had been rich, the world would have been poorer than it is by the loss of all the treasures of his genius and the contributions of his pen. Cumberland.
HENDERSON THE ACTOR.
He was an actor of uncommon powers, and a man of the brightest intellect, formed to be the delight of society; and few indeed are those men of distinguished talents who have been more prematurely lost to the world, or more lastingly regretted. What he was on the stage those who recollect his Falstaff, Shylock, Sir Giles Overreach, and many other parts of the strong cast, can fully testify; what he was at his own fireside and in his social hours, all, who were within the circle of his intimates, will not easily forget. He had an unceasing flow of spirits, and a boundless fund of humour irresistibly amusing: he also had wit, properly so distinguished, and from the specimens, which I have seen of his sallies in verse, leveled at a certain editor of a public print, who bad annoyed him with his paragraphs, I am satisfied he had talents at command to have established a very high reputation as a poet. I was with him one morning when he was indisposed, and his physician, Sir John Eliot, paid him a visit. The doctor, as is well known, was a merry little being, who talked pretty much at random; upon the present occasion, however, he came professionally to inquire how his medicine had succeeded, and in his northern accent demanded of his patient—" Had he taken the palls that he sent him V—" He had." "Well! and how did they agree? What had they done ?"—" Wonders," replied Henderson, " I survived them."— "To be sure you did," said the doctor, " and you must take more of them, and live for ever: I make all my patients immortal."—" That is exactly what I am afraid of, doctor," rejoined the patient: "I met a lady of my acquaintance yesterday; you know her very well: she was in bitter affliction, crying and bewailing herself in a most piteous fashion: I asked what had happened: a melancholy event; her dearest friend was at death's door."—" What is her disease?" cried the doctor.—" That is the very question I asked," replied Henderson; "but she was in no danger from her disease; it was very slight; a mere excuse for calling in a physician."—" Why, what the devil are you talking about," rejoined the doctor, " if she has called in a physician, and there was no danger in the disease, how could she be said to be at death's door 1"—" Because," said Henderson, " she had called in you: every body calls you in; you dispatch a world of busi