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of a visit to Wakefield. How irreconcilable this is with the other accounts is self-evident. But it is not impossible that an actual tour in Yorkshire may have suggested some of the names and incidents. This idea has been worked out with great ingenuity by Mr. Edward Ford, of Enfield, in an article contributed by him in May, 1883, to The National Review. Starting from Wakefield, he identifies the “small cure” seventy miles off, to which Dr. Primrose moves in chap. iii., vol. i., with Kirkby Moorside in the North Riding. This point established, Welbridge Fair, where Moses sells the colt (chap. xii. and chap. vi., vol. ii.), easily becomes Welburn ; Thornhill Castle, a few miles further, stands for Helmsley; "the wells” (chap. xviii.) for Harrogate, and “the races” (ibid) for Doncaster. The “rapid stream" in chap. iii., where Sophia was nearly drowned, he conjectures to have been near the confluence of the Swale and Ouse at Boroughbridge, "within thirty miles” (p. 21) of Kirkby Moorside; and the county gaol in chap. v., vol. ii., he places "eleven miles off” (p. 86) at Pickering. But for the further details of this attractive if inconclusive inquiry, as well as the conjectural identification of Sir William Thornhill, with the equally eccentric Sir George Savile, and of the travelling limner of chap. xvi., vol. i., with Romney the artist, the reader is referred to the article itself.
The first edition of the “Vicar," it will be remembered, was published on March 12, 1766. A second edition, containing some minor modifications, one of the most important of which was the reiteration, with great effect, of Mr. Burchell's famous comment, followed in
V May, and a third in August. In the same year there were also two unauthorized reprints of the first edition, one of which was published at Dublin, the other in London. After this there seems to have been a lull in the demand, for the fourth edition is dated 1770; and, according to Collins's books, started with a loss. The profits of this seem to have been so doubtful that, before the fifth edition appeared, Collins sold his third share to one of his colleagues for five guineas. The fifth edition, which did not actually appear until April, 1774, is dated 1773. This would indicate that the previous issue was not exhausted until early in the following year. The sixth edition is dated 1779. Thus, assuming the fifth to have been, like the fourth edition, limited to one thousand copies, it took nearly nine years to sell two thousand copies. No rival of any importance was in the field, until, in 1778, Miss Burney published her “Evelina ;” and the languor of the sale must be attributed to some temporary suspension of public interest in the “Vicar." Meanwhile, translations into French and German, to be followed in due time by translations into almost every European language, were laying the foundation of its cosmopolitan reputation, and its modern admirers still take pleasure in recollecting that among the most famous of their predecessors was Goethe. “It is not to be described,” he wrote to Zelter in 1830, “the effect which Goldsmith's Vicar' had upon me just at the critical moment of mental development. That lofty and benevolent irony, that fair and indulgent view of all infirmities and faults, that meekness under all calamities, that equanimity under all changes and chances, and the whole train of kindred
virtues, whatever names they bear, proved my best education ; and in the end, these are the thoughts and feelings which have reclaimed us from all the errors of life.”
OLDSMITH'S biographers have laid stress upon
the fact that there is no record of any payment to him for the “Vicar of Wakefield,” subsequent to that original sixty pounds, or guineas, whereof mention was made in the foregoing chapter; and they have not failed to remark, with a certain air of righteous indignation, that, on May 24, 1766, close upon the publication of the second edition, a bill drawn by him upon John Newbery for fifteen guineas was returned dishonoured. Some indignation would be intelligible, and perhaps justifiable, had the book been a pecuniary success, which, of course, was their assumption, an assumption based upon the rapid appearance of three editions. But, if Collins's accounts are to be relied upon, and the chief objection to them is their contradiction of accepted traditions, the “Vicar," in spite of those three editions (of how many copies we are ignorant), was not paying its proprietors—in other words, they had not yet recovered the £60 they had laid out upon the manuscript. No other interpretation can be placed upon the statement of Mr. Welsh, who says, “The fourth edition [of 1770) started with a loss.” If so, no ground existed for any
was a success.
generosity from the proprietors to the author. On the other hand, “The Traveller”
It had reached a fourth edition in August, 1765, and in a memorandum by Goldsmith printed by Prior, and dated June 7, 1766, there is an item of £21 for “The Traveller.” It is scarcely possible that this can refer to the first payment made as far back as 1764, and it may therefore be assumed, not unreasonably, that it was an additional payment arising out of the success of the poem. If this be the case, the circumstances as regards the two books become perfectly logical, and neither surprise nor indignation is called for. The fourth edition of “The Vicar” started with a loss, and there were no profits for anybody; the fourth edition of “ The Traveller " had paid its expenses with a fair surplus, and there was a bonus of twenty guineas for the author.
But a dubious twenty-guinea bonus upon the sale of a popular poem is scarcely opulence, and Goldsmith was still obliged to depend upon the old "book-building." Between the appearance of the second and third editions of the “Vicar," there was issued by the "Vicar's" publisher, Francis Newbery, a translation of a “History of Philosophy and Philosophers,” by M. Formey of Berlin, whose “Philosophical Miscellanies” Goldsmith had reviewed for Smollett in The Critical Review. For this, in pursuance of some occult arrangement between the Newberys, John Newbery paid—the sum being £ 20. Later in the year Goldsmith prepared for Payne of Paternoster Row, but without his name as editor, a selection of “Poems for Young Ladies,” the “Moral” department of which led off with his own “Edwin