Oliver Goldsmith, towards the close of 1762, removed to 'Merry Islington,' then a country village, though now swallowed up in omnivorous London. In this neighbourhood, he used to take his solitary rambles, sometimes extending his walks to the gardens of the White Conduit House, so famous among the essayists of the last century. While strolling one day in these gardens, he met three daughters of the family of a respectable tradesman, to whom he was under some obligation. With his prompt disposition to oblige, he conducted them about the garden, treated them to tea, and ran up a bill in the most open-handed manner imaginable; it was only when he came to pay, that he found himself in one of his old dilemmas, — he had not the wherewithal in his pocket. A scene of perplexity now took place between him and the waiter, in the midst of which came up some of his old acquaintances, in whose eyes he wished to stand particularly well. When, however, they had enjoyed their banter, the waiter was paid, and poor Goldsmith enabled to convoy off the ladies with flying colours. — Washington Irving.


Graves, Algernon. The Royal Academy of Arts: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and their work from its Foundation in 1769-1904. 8 vols. London: Henry Graves and Co. and George Bell, 1906.

Created 4 March 2016