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close taups'ls, and foretopmast-stays'l; wind blowing 'I thinks I sees that passenger-fellow's face by the strong abeam, and a blast o'rain. About three bells mizen-rigging, as he held on like death, and the barque morning watch the weather cleared a little, with a break hung over the black surge, up an' down, like looking for to starnward. All of a suddent the look out on the fore- her shadow in the troughs, and climbing the hill for fear yard hails out, “ Light, ho! two lights hard on the lee- on it, shipping the grim seas in her waist as she came bow.” And the captain goes aloft to overhaul them. up. Blessed if he didn't show the white rag that time! Down he comes—"Cape You-shan't right ahead, Mr an' I thou't myself as he'd done somethin' bad. The Fisher," says he :“we'll never weather it under this can- men said he looked like a chap would ha' been glad of vas, an' carn’t go about neither. Up there! shake out the gallows; and one swore his next trick at the helm to reefs! swig up taups'l-halyards!" says he. An’up goes luft up into a sea, an' lend a hand to sweep clear of him. the high cloth against the scud to loo'ard, till we made out Hows'ever, by the mornin' watch our wind was laid a bit, the two lights from the wheel, drawin'end on, low down an' we driving as bare as we could to sou’-west, mainbetwixt the swells as she pitched aloft. “Split them taups’l-yard still half down to the cap, with the sail set. two lights," says he to the wheel, " or we're ashore in The craft took it better nor ever I seed a craft do with an hour. Press her well up, my lads,” says hie; " loose the same sea on; but the mate said we'd run three away the mains'l there." “ She'll never bear it,” says degrees out of our course. By eight bells noon, what the mate." Don't know the Declaration yet, Mr Fisher, does the captain do but call all hands aft, to say as she'd I guess," says he. “ Board maintack there, ride him never lie her course, he was goin' to bear up and run down with a will, men. Haul aft the sheet.” Well due south, a three months' trip for Monte Video. "I how she pitched, an' drove right under, shippin' green expect,” says he, “ to make somethin' of it thereaway, sens over the weather-chains! She hove a fellow over an' a sight better market. So, my lads,” says he, “if the wheel without, “ By your leave;” an' the maintack you'll ship, an' no words, why I'll make it two dollars surged like a capstan-fall
, every strand with a pur- a head warmer by the month.” Every one looks at his chase on it. “It's blowing harder," says the mate. neighbour, and grins as he walks forrud, seein' as it was " Half an hour, and we're off,” says the skipper. But no use to growl, if we'd wanted. For one, I'd ha' been sure enough, by that time we was reeling through- ready cheer ship. “Mr Fisher," says the skipper, down head and up again, like a Dutchman's cow-first a square away the yards, and swig up that maintaups'lhowl through the rigging, and then a calm in the trough, yard. Down maintack, too; I see the wind's modethings lookin' black for the masts of her. “Ease off ratin' pretty fast. Full an' by, my man,” says he to the the maintack,” sings out the skipper; "an' stand by wheel; so away we cracked on her, with a starn sea to brail up and furl.” Ticklish work it was to do as running, for the Canaries. much as the first; but hand the sail we couldn't, with ‘Long yarn, Bob, if I told you the rig our skipper the captain and his passenger at the wheel to free all played with the blockhead* at Monte Video, an' them hands; so out in the brails we let it blow, like a fisher- lubberly Brazil cruisers. All I've got to say now is, as man's bladders, an' got up to reef taups'ls coaster- it's hard on eight bells, my chum an' I heerd, on gettin' fashion. As soon as the halyards was let go, cluelins back to Liverpool a couple o' year after, as how that an' reef-tackles chock up, the sail drove into the lee- there chase of ours from the steam-frigate warn't about rigging, jammed through the shrouds, every square a the passenger at all, but a consarn of our sharp-sailin’ bag o wind; ship careening right down to loo’ard ; the skippers, as only an Admiralty clerk could take the yard like to slide us off, if it didn't shake us; an' not a turns out on. I never knowed the rights on it; but hand on deck to touch a rope. We couldn't compass it I don't doubt he kept clear o' both the Channel and nohow; an' the mate sings out to the wheel to luff a Boston for a good spell.'. little, and shake the sail. * Furl it!” roars out the cap- • Well, mate,' said Bob, as he passed the ball for the tain, giving her a weather-spoke or two; an' sartinly last time, 'give us the other yarn in the first watch,' we did get up the head-leeches of the sail, and the gas- Whether Harry did so or not, I, belonging to the lar. kets passed round one yard-arm, when up slap comes board watch, had no opportunity of hearing it. the foot of it in the blast, with a noise like thunder, hammering our heads an' blindin' us till the whole was free again. Not having her jib neither, she was just
HISTORY OF A SOD. broaching to with that bit of a luff, when the fo'taups'l * Always examine what other men reject as worthless.' saved her: snap went the martingale-stay as it was. We may perhaps be thought jesting when we affirm that and she carried away her jib-boom in the first pitch. the history of a sod of grass is one of great interest; and The skipper filled away in a moment, grinding the
we are content to refer to what follows for our justification, helm hard up, and singin' out to us to leave the sail, an'
as we state our serious conviction, that the reflections sheet it half home again ; so off she stood, squaring to which a little clump of green turf give rise, are replete yards before the wind, easing off sheets, flying over it with instruction of no mean order. The sod before us, with a roll. We couldn't take another stitch off her; and the pen in hand, we must proceed methodically to an' if I ever seed a craft runnin' away with her masters, our investigation-investigate it historically, botanically, that was it. Hows'ever, the mornin' was broke, and and chemically. Observing this order, we may first straight down the Bay of Biscay for the two mortal inquire how the sod took origin. If we examine its Watches we goes, before the stiffest nor'-easter I remen structure, we shall find that it is a thick and consis. bers, without lying to. She made easier weather, the tent mass of roots, which, by their countless entangleskipper al'ays said, on a drive as with a helm lashed. ments, have enclosed a quantity of the soil beneath in At night I didn't like the looks of it noway; the sea such a manner that it is scarcely to be separated from was gettin' tremendous; the wind pinned ye to the them. This structure enables us to remove the sod rigging ; and as cowld as a man could stand, though wholly from the surface of the place upon which it is 'twas as dry as oakum, 'cept for the spray.
found. How, then, was the foundation, so to speak, of 1 " Them sticks wont stand it, cap'en,” says the mate, this mass of vegetable fibres and mould laid? If our sod lookin' aloft like a stargazer, an'as gloomy as the was cut from the stony bosom of a rock, the answer lies bowsprit end." You don't know them sticks, Mr far back in ages gone by. A tiny lichen began the Fisher," says the skipper. "I may say I raised 'em and work there; and after serving its purpose in coating the smoked 'em myself. They're as tough as whalebone. naked and desolate surface with a thin layer of vegetable They'll stand it, if the cloth don't."" True enough, mould, it was at length vanquished by a stronger than itsir," says the mate ; an'a little after, just as she rose self in the form of a waving, clustering moss. The winds out of a lull, away doesn't the fo'taups'l go, with such and tempests of years tried the courage of the moss, and a crack, out o' the bolt-rope, clean away to loo’ard, many times threatened its utter destruction; but it still like a puff of smoke. “Set the mainstays’i,” sings out | the skipper, " and keep her up a bit, my lad.”
held firm. The lichen which preceded it had roughened garden, where they thrived luxuriantly. On being exathe hard surface, and the clasping fibres of the moss laid mined, the following interesting discovery was made : hold of the smallest inequalities. The rain descended, One piece of sod from Selborne Common, sit inches and the winds blew; but neither conquered; for the diameter, contained fourteen different species of grass ; moss flourished, and had a thriving family, which being and, singular enough, a similar sod from Ringmer Down rapidly joined by vagrant relations and friends, the rock contained an equal number. Others bore respectively began to look green. This was the first robe. By and nine, seven, six, and five species-none contained fewer by the birds of a distant region found rest on the rock, than three. Who has not inhaled with pleasure the sweet and left behind them the undigested grains of herbs perfume of new hay? This perfume is due to the preplucked and devoured many miles away. Of these, sence of the Anthocanthum odoratum (sweet-scented ver. some lived, some remained dead. Of the living ones, nal grass). Even the green leaves of this graceful grass eventually only a few survived, for some too readily impart this perfume to the fingers by which delicately appetised to exist on the thin face of their they are bruised. Another species somewhat like it in new cradle, and became rapidly choked by those appearance is the fox-tail grass; but it is more coarse sturdy rustics who were content with a draught of rain in foliage, and is destitute of the fragrant odour of the (containing a fraction of animonia), and with such a former. Another, and a more elegant species, is the wellminute amount of alkalies as was left by the mosses and known, almost ubiquitous, Poa pratensis, which springs lichens in their decaying remains. A wiry vegetation up alike on our old walls and on the fostering bosom of was now busy in constructing the foundation of the our fertile pastures. Every one must have admired the future sod. Little rootlets, tough as cords, and pushing beautifully fine hair-like grass which clothes the surface themselves in every direction, bound together the loose of our dry heaths, downs, and sheep-walks—a grass upon and incoherent mass of decaying tissues, sand, and de- whose velvet-like surface the foot is seldom weary of graded soil, which the previous occupants had left behind resting. This grass is called the Agrostis capillaris, in them. The rock itself suffers change. Water and car- evident allusion to its character; and being admirably bonic acid attack it, and it slowly crumbles. The plants constituted so as to endure heat and drought, it furnow formed help the work; they appropriate its ingre- nishes a valuable food to the mountain-fed sheep, that dients; the depth of soil increases. It has also become would otherwise be altogether destitute at such seasons, richer; consequently a better class of plants can live or could feed only in the sheltered valleys of these thereon. Now the hardy-constitutioned wiry grass either regions. Another grass equally adapted for a peculiar dies of too much food, or is choked in retribution by the situation, and almost certain to be found in our lump of descendants of those which it formerly killed. The soft sod, if it was taken from the hard bosom of a northern green blades of fragrant grasses come up, and paint the limestone rock, is called the blue dog’s-tail grass ; and once gray and dreary landscape in the most refreshing for such situations as it is found in it is well adapted, colours. Year succeeds to year; the winter kills some; from its at all times affording sheep a tolerably fair the spring awakens others; and the summer ripens the pasture. Beside these, there are probably in our sod the seeds of a multitude of grasses which the autumn shakes curious, inconstant, yet conimon grass called rye-grass, to the earth, and by its heavy rains, causes to take root or Lolium perenne, of the most vigorous growth, and in in the soil. Layer after layer of roots overtops the last. rich meadows greedily consumed by cattle. Mr Curtis All traces of the early mosses are lost in the brown says that this grass appears to vary ad infinitum even in humus at the bottom, so that one could scarcely form its wild state: he had seen a variety of it with double even a conjecture as to how the work began.
flowers, and one with awns, both of which are very unBut possibly our sod has been taken from a rich common. In some pastures, such as are not very moist, meadow, lying along the sides of a deep inland-pene- the stalks are sometimes viviparous towards autumn; trating stream, thick, rank, and luxurious, with crowding sometimes it produces scarcely any stem, and much blades and towering stems. This green meadow was foliage; at others, little foliage, and an abundance of once a quiet lake, or perhaps a part of a more tumultuous flowering stems. It is a curious fact, that if we exa
From those heaven-kissing hills' which form the mine this same sod, having returned it again to the rough, uneven outline of the horizon, and from which the earth, in the next year, or in the year following, we stream takes origin, centuries have washed down tons shall in all probability find that an entire change of upon tons of alluvial soil. The waters of the lake grew species has taken place. Some that are now luxuriant shallow, aquatic plants fringed its edges, and assisted will then have degenerated, and some that are now weak the process. The waters sank, the land rose. No sooner will then have become entirely removed from the army did it appear above the surface, than, as if with wings, of green blades. Why is this? It is found that if the the seeds of numberless grasses and other plants flew grasses are kept close shaven to the ground, or are fed thither, and rapidly colonised the spot. But though the down, to use the agricultural phrase, this deterioration surface looked quickly green, much time must elapse is avoided ; whereas it is almost sure to follow if the before the due thickness of a sod is formed. Many a herb is allowed to run to seed. It is a sort of natural contest also will take place between sturdy docks, and rotation. Changes in the soil very probably take place noisome weeds, and the sweet-leafed grass, before the which are favourable to the other varieties, but detrilatter gains the entire supremacy; and in fact this it mental, or less favourable to these ; and the natural connever absolutely succeeds in effecting without aid from sequence is, that the healthiest wins the field.
In a few years this work, too, is completed, and Let us lay the grass stem under the knife. On rethe surface over which in bygone times the ripple rolled, moving its leaves from the glistening surface of the or the billow heaved, now rejoices in a waving garment stem, they will be found attached at their base to a of the freshest green.
joint, which they also partly embrace. What are these So far for the pure history of the sod; now for its joints? Passing the knife through the stem, it is found botany. Those who have never taken the pains to exa- that it has this striking difference from other plants: it mine the herbage of a sod, will be disposed to believe is a hollow tube, and at each joint a sort of diaphragm all grass to be pretty much the same, if indeed a difference or cross partition is stretched so as to divide the stem be admitted at all. We believe very few are really aware into a number of closed cylinders, each having no conof the number and beauty of the species which may be, nection whatever with the one above or below. This and often are, contained within an area to which a hat | is exactly the structure of a bamboo. It is on this acwould form an ample tent. Mr Curtis, well known for count that a great botanist has declared that our tiny his various works on natural history and botany, tried a inhabitants of the sod, which we have been wont to decurious experiment with the assistance of a friend. Sods spise and trample under foot, belong to a noble family, of grass six inches only in diameter were cut from nine which,
under favouring influences of sun and warmth, different places in Hampshire and Sussex, and were carry their heads near ten times higher in the heaselected indiscriminately from the spots whence they vens than we ourselves — these are the bamboos. In were removed. They were then planted in Mr Curtis's his own words - the words of Nees Von Esenbeck —
grasses are but dwarf bamboos. The microscope only fluence of our green fields! How little value the myriads can reveal the true beauty and structure of the minute of minute laboratories in the greensward, which, busy all flowers which adorn the lowly grasses. Thus examined, the day long, drink up the detrimental carbonic acid
gas they present a pleasing and interesting study. Every of our empoisoned air, and pour out in return, volume one must have seen the curious little spikelets of the for volume, invisible fountains of purest oxygen! Such, brome, or meadow grasses ; and the attentive eye will humble as they are, is their high vocation, so far as it hare marked here and there a yellow stamen peeping out directly relates to man. That fatal gas which he and of its unattractive flower. The microscope, or a good his manufactures, and his humbler relatives in the 200lens, reveals the fact, that every spikelet is made up of logical scheme-animals, birds, and the almost invisible many flowers beautifully arranged together, as if they insect-alike combine to produce, the cheerful sward feeds were the coverings of one which does not appear. Each upon, gladly appropriates, makes into wood, turns into little flower consists of a couple of tiny scales, support- leaves and stems, and, more useful still, converts into ing the hairs or bristles with which we are so familiar. health-sustaining food for man and beast. During the These little scales--technically, palece--cover two other shades of night the grass lands, in common with the rest smaller scales, which appear to be the rudimentary of vegetation, evolve carbonic acid; but it has been satiscalyx or corolla of the flower; and these, with the others, factorily demonstrated that the preponderance is incomenclose and shelter the stamens and ovary. With the parably in favour of the oxygen evolution during the day. structure of the seed we do not think it necessary to We have spoken of the tender blades which crown our deal. Suffice it to add, that in the counsels of a watch- sod as forming food. The chemical analysis effected by ful Providence, it has been so ordained that that rapi- Sir H. Davy shows that the following principles in the dity of growth which essential to the speedy covering grasses are those by the possession of which it is adapted of the earth with her green mantle, has been both fore- for this end. Their remarkable simplicity will not fail seen and beautifully provided for in its fabrication. to be observed: mucilage, sugar, bitter extractive matter,
We may consider that two chemical processes meet in a substance analogous to albumen, and various saline our sod—the one belonging to the chemistry of life, the ingredients. Let this suffice for the history of a sod. The other to that of decay and death. To take the last first. desire has been to exhibit, however imperfectly, the rich If the roots of the sod are carefully examined, it will not and varied amount of interest and instruction which may be difficult to separate the living from the dead; and the be made to flow out of the contemplation of one of the latter class includes the decaying and decayed. The commonest objects in nature. brown, friable, pulverulent matter which is called mould, and composes a cousiderable portion of the underground mass of the sod, is vegetable fibre having undergone its ADVENTURES OF AN AUTHOR OF THE complete decay. Chemists call it humus. It is insoluble,
LAST CENTURY. or nearly so, in er; it cannot, therefore, although rich in carbon, contribute any of that element directly to the AUTHORSHIP is not so ancient a profession in this thick vegetation flourishing above. Yet it was long con- country as it is usually considered. Before the beginsidered that this very humus was the real and only origin ning of the last century there were hardly any mere of the wood of plants. As, however, plants can only receive authors—that is, persons who lived by literature as a soluble particles by their roots, and those of humus are trade. Writers did something else as well as write, if insoluble, it is a very simple and just conclusion to arrive it was only to fetch and carry for their patrons; and at, that the source of carbon in vegetation lies not for the most part in the soil. The thin air and the viewless winds except in a few rare instances, books were made in the will better answer the question. Is the humus of the sod, pauses of the real business of the world, or else manuthen, altogether useless? Not so. It is the reservoir of factured to the order of those who could afford to say, all the alkaline and mineral ingredients of the last gene- with a later flatterer of the muses, “We keeps a poet.' ration of plants, and these are absolutely essential to the An author was part of the train of the aristocracy : he wellbeing, even to the existence, of vegetation. In the could do nothing wi ut patronage, for the reading undisturbed greensward, allowed to lie for years by the public' was not yet fairly born; and the consequence grazier, this stock of salts amounts to a large quantity; I was a general servility and toadyism-an acknowledgand if the plough is now sent through it, the smiling sod torn up, broken, and crushed and sown for wheat, a crop literary men long after the cause had ceased to exist.
ment of inferiority — which influenced the destinies of of vast luxuriance follows. But this only lasts for a year or two, and the land returns to its former average, or But patronage was not an evil in itself-it was an inpossibly falls under, for reasons not to be here entered dispensable step in the progress of literature. Patrons into. In the upper layers of the sod, vegetable fibre in enabled authors to write, and in some measure comthe actual process of decay is sure to be found. It may pelled the public to read; and as the taste for letters be recognised by its crumbling character and brown colour. Possibly it consists of the slain bodies of the spread more widely, they themselves, having fulfilled grasses which were felled by the last winter's frosts. their mission, retired gradually before the new power Water and air are busy here, the work of destruction they had invoked. Although patrons, however, cannot hastens on; the woody fibres undergo 'eremecausis,' to coexist with a reading public, the habit of servility use the Liebigian phrase—that is, they are slowly, or by survived their withdrawal; and even in our own day, degrees consumed." In so doing, they are continually there have been seen specimens of the dedicational evolving small portions of carbonic acid gas; the fibres fulsomeness which was fashionable at the time when become more and more broken up; until at length it is not the dedication made the fortune of the book. Such, possible to distinguish them from the pulverulent humus however, are rare exceptions ; and generally speaking, above-mentioned. In this process all the salts and mineral constituents which entered into the composition authors, placed as they are on a more equitable and of the original fibres are again surrendered to the soil in prosperous footing, exhibit in their manner the badge their turn, to enter into new relations, and to serve new of their independence. purposes in the physiological economy of another gene- And this occurred occasionally, too, in an earlier day ration. The carbonic acid gas eliminated in decay is not than ours--even in that transition period when patrons produced in vain. When the rootlets of the young grasses are feeble, while the growing stem and leaves draw much when authors hardly knew which way to look, behind
were only retiring, and the public only advan ing, and upon them, the genial rain descending dissolves this gas, and supplies it to the spongioles of the roots in a liquid
or before. • The notice,' wrote Johnson to Lord Chesform, to be then carried up into the vegetable system, terfield, ' which you have been pleased to take of my and there decomposed. So far for the chemistry of death labours, had it been early, had been kind : but it has in the sod. How little do we prize the purifying in- I been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it ;
till I am solitary, and cannot impart it; till I am known, lage clergyman in Ireland. He was an ungainly boy: and do not want it. I hope it is no very cynical aspe- short, plain, awkward, heavy, yet of an affectionate rity not to confess obligations where no benefit has been and cheerful disposition. He entered Trinity College, received; or to be unwilling that the public should con- Dublin, as a sizer-in other words, a menial; but after sider me as owing that to a patron which Providence his father's death, he was only able to maintain even has enabled me to do for myself.' Not long before this, this miserable position by writing street ballads for his the high-hearted author had been arrested for L.5, 18s.; support, at the rate of five shillings each. At night, he and not long after, he was obliged to give up, as too used to steal out of the college to hear them sung. expensive, his lodgings in Gough Square, where he had • Happy night!' says his biographer, worth all the but a single chair for the accommodation of his visitors, dreary days! Hidden by some dusky wall, or creeping balancing himself in the meanwhile on another with within darkling shadows of the ill - lighted streets
, three legs and one arm.
watched and waited this poor neglected sizer for the Among the authors of this trying period, although it only effort of his life which had not wholly failed. Few was fertile in enduring names, none is regarded with and dull, perhaps, the beggar's audience at first; more more interest at the present day than Oliver Goldsmith. thronging, eager, and delighted when he shouted the He may be said to be the very opposite of Johnson, not newly.gotten ware. Cracked enough his ballad-singing only in character, but even in style—and yet the men tones, I daresay; but harsh, discordant, loud, or low, were friends ; for the inspired idiot' and the great the sweetest music that this earth affords fell with them Cham of literature' were connected by a fine thread of on the ear of Goldsmith. Gentle faces pleased, old men humanity, over which the antagonisms of manner and stopping by the way, young lads venturing a purchase position had no power. Oliver Goldsmith,' says John with their last remaining farthing; why, here was a Forster,* • must be held to have succeeded in nothing world in little, with its fame at the sizer's feet! “The that the world would have had him succeed in. He was greater world will be listening one day,” perhaps he intended for a clergyman, and was rejected when he muttered, as he turned with a lighter heart to his dull applied for orders; he practised as a physician, and home.' never made what would have paid for a degree. The He tried for a scholarship, but only succeeded in ob. world did not ask him to write, but he wrote, and paid taining an exhibition-worth thirty shillings; and so the penalty. His existence was a continued privation. elated was this wild Irish boy at the unaccustomed The days were few in which he had resources for the success, that he invited some of his companions to a night, or dared to look forward to the morrow. There dancing party at his rooms. The festivities were conwas not any miserable want in the long and sordid cata- cluded by his tutor bursting in and knocking down the logue, which in its turn and in all its bitterness he did entertainer. Oliver, overwhelmed with the disgrace, not feel. The experience of those to whom he makes ran away from college, but was brought back by huis affecting reference in his “ Animated Nature”—“ people brother. When his college days were gone by, he bewho die really of hunger, in common language, of a came a private tutor for a time, but quarrelled with the broken heart”-was his own. And when he succeeded family, and set off for Cork with L.30 in his pocket, a at the last, success was but a feeble sunshine on a good horse, and some vague plans about going to Amerapidly-approaching decay, which was to lead him, by rica. He returned home very soon, minus the money, its flickering and uncertain light, to an early grave.' and mounted on a Rosinante, for which he had given
This is from the preface to a volume which we wish L.1, 158. Law was his next speculation. He started to recommend warmly to our readers, and but little the for London to keep his terms, with L.50 advanced by less warmly that we think Mr Forster does not dis- his uncle ; but he was intercepted by his ill-luck at criminate nicely enough between the character of the Dublin, where he lost the whole at play. Medicine was author and that of the man, and that he thus suffers then tried, and he actually spent eighteen months in himself to be led occasionally into some injustice to Edinburgh as a student; but having become security the persons with whom his hero came in contact. But for a comrade, he left the country, hunted by bailiffs
, and a generous enthusiasm of this kind is by no means proceeded to finish his studies at Leyden. Here he characteristic of the time, and we are not sure that read, taught, borrowed, and gamed for a year, and then the world does not gain more by the feeling than it determined to pursue his travels farther. A friend lent | loses in the fact. At anyrate, a biography of Goldsmith him wherewith ; but Oliver's ill-luck still pursued him. could not have been worthily written by a cold heart or Chancing to see some rare and expensive flowers which a tranquil brain ; and of all the men we know, the his worthy uncle in Ireland had a passion for, he bought best adapted for painting the lifelong struggles of this the roots without hesitation, and sent them off as a gift
, outcast child of nature and fortune is John Forster. leaving Leyden the next day with a flute, a guines, and
The life of Goldsmith has hitherto been but little his last shirt on his back. known in its details, for it required a congenial mind to A sketch of his travels is supposed to be given in the search out and recognise its materials, and fill up the history of the philosophic vagabond in the Vicar of spaces vacant of authentic record from the hinted facts Wakefield.' 'I had some knowledge of music,' says the and unconscious recollections of the subject himself. vagabond, with a tolerable voice; I now turned what The narrative, however, is well worth some trouble, was once my amusement into a present means of subsistnot only as conveying the personal history of a man of ence. I passed among the harmless peasants of Flanders, genius, but as serving to illustrate in a most interesting and among such of the French as were poor enough to manner the important literary period we have described be very merry--for I ever found them sprightly in proas that transition state between private and public portion to their wants. Whenever I approached a pea. patronage, which led to the establishment of authorship sant's house towards nightfall, I played one of my most in this country as a distinct and now crowded profession. merry tunes, and that procured me not only a lodging
, We shall take some pains, therefore, to follow Mr but subsistence for the next day. I once or twice atForster in his narration ; and we only regret that the tempted to play for people of fashion, but they always space to which we are restricted will preclude our thought my performance odious, and never rewarded doing this so often as we could wish in his own lan- me even with a trifle.' • In other words,' says Mr guage-a language always energetic, and not seldom Forster, he begged ;' but this is not the Irish interpreelegant.
tation. We once knew a professor of music in London Oliver Goldsmith, born in 1728, was the son of a vil. who made it no secret that, when times were bad, he
drew his hat over his brow, and took his flute out into * The Life and Adventures of Oliver Goldsmith. A Biography to beg, and he never even borrowed without blushing
the streets. This young Irishman would have scorned By John Forster of the Inner Temple, Bar. rister. Author of the Lives of Statesmen of the Commonwealth.'
My skill in music,' continues the vagabond, could avail London: Bradbury and Evans. 1848.
me nothing in Italy, where every peasant was a better
in Four Books.
musician than I; but by this time I had acquired an- high ; and you see I am not come to that yet, for I have other talent which answered my purpose as well, and only got to the second storey.' He made Charles sit and this was a skill in disputation. In all the foreign answer questions about his Irish friends : but at this universities and convents there are, upon certain days, point the light is again withdrawn, and for some two philosophical theses maintained against every adven- months there is greater darkness than before. titious disputant; for which, if the champion opposes He tried the ushership again ; but came back --of with any dexterity, he can claim a gratuity in money, course, poor moth!- to the candle whose devouring a dinner, and a bed for one night. In this manner, flame lie was destined to feed ; and by and by, in a then, I fought my way towards England; walked letter to a friend, he mentions that he is in a garret, along from city to city; examined mankind more writing for bread, and expecting to be dunned for a nearly; and if I may so express it, saw both sides of the milk score.' After this, thinking in desperation that picture.' In due time he reached his destination, and he might possibly obtain an appointment if he could
in the middle of February 1757, he was wandering pass the examination at Surgeons' Hall for an hospital without friend or acquaintance, without the knowledge mate, it became an important problem how to obtain or comfort of even one kind face, in the lonely, terrible a suit of decent clothes. This he solved by writing four London streets.'
articles for the Monthly Review,' on condition of This was the point to which he had been gravitating Griffiths becoming security to the tailor; and thus from infancy. London was his destiny; and what were handsomely equipped, he presented himself at the Hall, his qualifications to meet it? What armour did he and was found-not qualified. In four days after this, bring with him to the struggle? How was he to be the clothes were sent to the pawnbroker, to discharge a speak the sympathy, and enlist the good-will, of his debt due at his lodgings, his landlord having fallen into fellow-wanderers in those cold, stony, interminable distress still more dire than his own; and before a thoroughfares of mankind ? How was he to elude the week had passed, being in actual starvation, he placed crafty, to oppose the bold, to flatter wealth, to pro- the four books he had reviewed in the hands of an pitiate power ? In fine, what were his means of acquaintance as security for a trifling loan. Then indrawing subsistence from the wants, or whims, or weak- stantly followed the demand for the books, and the nesses, or wickedness of men ? Plain even to ugli. price of the suit of clothes ; and on learning the truth, ness, insignificant in his figure, vulgar in his look and Griffiths applied to the miserable author the names of manner, his speech deformed by a provincial brogue, sharper and villain.' poorly clothed, without a shilling, without a friend, For this Griffiths, notwithstanding, he wrote subsewithout a care, a fear, or a reflection, what was he to quently a life of Voltaire, intended to be prefixed to a do in London ? Steal, starve, or write. In vain he tried translation of the 'Henriade.' He received L.20 for the to live by his former employments. In vain he spread service, from which he deducted the price of the suit of plasters for the poor, and taught dunces as the despised clothes ; and on being visited soon after by Percy, the and ridiculed usher of a school. His fate found him in well-known collector of the ‘Reliques,' he was found busy spite of all; and the philosophic vagabond, pursuing a with another work, the Inquiry into the State of routine which remains the usual curriculum of literature Polite Learning in Europe.' 'He was writing the Into this day, became a drudge of the London periodi- quiry,' says the future Bishop of Dromore, in a misercals.
able dirty-looking room, in which there was but one The time was unpropitious. Burke, a few years be- chair ; and when, from civility, he resigned it to me, he fore this date, unable to comprehend the transition was himself obliged to sit on the window. While we period in which it was his fortune to live, made it a were conversing together, some one gently tapped at subject of complaint to his Irish friends that genius, the door, and being desired to come in, a poor ragged the 'rathe primrose which forsaken dies,' received no little girl, of a very becoming demeanour, entered the encouragement from the nobility, but was left to the room, and dropping a curtsey, said, “My mamma sends capricious patronage of the public. Fielding was recently her compliments, and begs the favour of you to lend dead, poor and disappointed; Collins was about to fol. her a chamberpot full of coals.". low, with the addition of madness to his lot; Smollett The book was at length published. Manifest was engaged in that struggle for bread which was to throughout,' says Mr Forster, 'is oue overruling feelterminate in a foreign grave; Johnson had just emerged ing under various forms—the conviction that, in bad from a sponging-house, to be fed by the booksellers with critics and sordid booksellers, learning has to contend a single guinea at a time, because he would not work if with her most pernicious enemies.'. The work made he had two in his pocket. Richardson alone was suc- its way; and with the ‘Bee,' and his contributions to cessful; but then he was a printer as well as an author, other periodicals, he seemed to be getting on a little and that made all the difference in the world.
better." One chair and a window seat, however, were Goldsmith was in his twenty-ninth year when he still the accommodations of his room; and on a partibecame an author by profession. He was employed cular occasion, an employer was known to call upon upon the · Monthly Review' in writing articles which him, and after a noisy altercation, sit three hours till he never acknowledged, they were all tampered his literary arrears were made up upon the spot. We with by the proprietor Griffiths or his wife. He had next find him uniting with Smollett in the British a small regular salary, with board and lodging; but in Magazine,' and afterwards contributing to the Public five months quarrelled with his employers, being accused Ledger' a series of essays, reprinted in 1760 by Mr Newby them of idleness, and retorting an accusation of inso- berry, with the well-known title of the Citizen of the lence on the part of the man, and a denial of ordinary World. He now took more respectable lodgings, made comforts on that of the woman. The accusation of idle the acquaintance—to ripen into the friendship-of ness he met by stating that he worked from nine o'clock Jolinson, and wrote various small matters with industry till two, and on special days still longer. He now took and perseverance. lodgings in a garret near Salisbury Square, and crept Goldsmith now made his appearance in society, and on for some time in obscurity, till his seclusion was was accustomed to frequent the parlour of Davies the suddenly invaded by his youngest brother Charles, who, bookseller, the resort of many literary men. • A frefancying from the long silence of Oliver that he was quent visitor was Goldsmith; his thick, short, clumsy getting on famously in the world, had made his way up figure, and his awkward, though genial manners, oddly to London to share in his good fortune. 'All in good contrasting with Dr Percy's precise, reserved, and time, my dear boy,' cried Oliver joyfully, to check the stately. The high-bred and courtly Beauclerc might bitterness of despair. 'All in good time: I shall be deign to saunter in. Often would be seen there the richer by and by. Besides, you see, I am not in positive broad fat face of Foote, with wicked humour flashing want. Addison, let me tell you, wrote his poem of the from the eye; and sometimes the mild long face of Campaign in a garret in the Haymarket, three storeys | Bennet Langton, filled with humanity and gentleness.