1793 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Lloyd

William Cook, in "Characters, Anecdotes, &c." European Magazine 24 (August 1793) 93-94.



His [Goldsmith's] acquaintance with Lloyd the author, and colleague of Churchill, commenced just about this time, and the particulars of the introduction are too curious to omit in this biographical sketch.

Goldsmith sitting one morning at the Chapter Coffee house, Lloyd came up to him with great frankness, and asked him how he did? The Doctor, who certainly was a very modest man, seeing a stranger accost him so intimately, shrunk back a little, and returned his enquiries with an air of distant civility. "Pho! pho!" says Lloyd, "my name is Lloyd, and you are Dr. Goldsmith, who, though not formally introduced to one another, should be acquainted as brother poets and literary men; therefore, without any ceremony, will you sup with me this evening at this house, where you will meet with half-a-dozen honest fellows, who, I think, will please you." The Doctor, who admired the frankness of the introduction, immediately accepted the invitation, and met him at the appointed hour.

The party, which principally consisted of Authors and Booksellers, was, as Lloyd predicted, quite agreeable to the Doctor, and the glass circulated to a late hour in the morning. A little before the company broke up, Lloyd went out of the room, and, in a few minutes afterwards, his voice was heard rather loud in the adjoining passage in conversation with the master of the house. Goldsmith immediately flew to his new friend, to enquire what was the matter, when Lloyd, with great sang froid, replied, "Oh! nothing at all, but that this very cautious gentleman here has refused my note on demand for the contents of the reckoning." — "You forget at the same time," says the other, "to tell Dr. Goldsmith that you owe me between fourteen and fifteen pounds already, which I can't get a farthing of; and since you have thought proper to explain matters so publicly, I now tell you, I will neither take your word nor your note for the reckoning." "Pho! pho!" says Goldsmith, "my dear boy, let's have no more words about the matter, 'tis not the first time a gentleman wanted cash: will you accept my word for the reckoning?" — "Most certainly, Doctor, and for as much more as you like." "Why then," says Lloyd, whispering to the master, and forgetting all animosities, "send in another cast of wine, and add it to the bill."

The wine was accordingly sent in — the Doctor pledged his word for the reckoning, and in a few weeks afterwards paid it, without ever hearing any thing more about it from Lloyd, who, upon this and similar occasions, had a very short memory.