« הקודםהמשך »
His resentment of this treatment, which, in his own opinion at least, he had not deserved, was such, that he broke off all correspondence with most of his contributors, and appeared to consider them as persecutors and oppreffors; and in the latter part of his life declared, that their conduct toward him, since his departure from London, “had “ been perfidiousness improving on perfidi« ousness, and įnhumanity on inhumanity."
It is not to be supposed, that the necessities of Mr. Savage did not sometimes incite him to satirical exaggerations of the behaviour of those by whom he thought himself reduced to them. But it must be granted, that the diminution of his allowance was a great hardship, and that those who withdrew their subscription from a man, who, upon the faith of their promise, had gone into a kind of banishment, and abandoned all those by whom he had been before relieved in his distresses, will find it no easy task to vindicate their conduct.
be alledged, and perhaps justly, that he was petulant and contemptuous, that
he more frequently reproached his subscribers for not giving him more, than thanked them for what he received; but it is to be remembered, that this conduct, and this is the worst charge that can be drawn up against him, did them no real injury; and that it therefore ought rather to have been pitied than refented; at least, the resentment it might provoke ought to have been generous and manly; epithets which his conduct will hardly deserve that starves the man whom he has persuaded
himself into his power.
It might have been reasonably demanded by Savage, that they should, before they had taken away what they promised, have replaced him in his former state, that they should have taken no advantages from the situation to which the appearance of their kindness had reduced him, and that he should have been recalled to London before he was abandoned. He might justly represent, that he ought to have been considered as a lion in the toils, and demand to be released before the dogs should be loosed upon
He endeavoured, indeed, to release himself, and, with an intent to return to Lon
don, went to Bristol, where a repetition of the kindness which he had formerly found invited him to stay. He was not only carefled and treated, but had a collection made for him of about thirty pounds, with which it had been happy if he had immediately departed for London; but his negligence did not suffer him to consider, that such proofs of kindness were not often to be expected, and that this ardour of benevolence was in a great degree the effect of novelty, and might, probably, be every day less; and therefore he took no care to improve the happy time, but was encouraged by one favour to hope. for another, till at length generosity was exhausted, and officiousness wearied.
Another part of his misconduct was the practice of prolonging his visits to unseafonable hours, and disconcerting all the families into which he was admitted. This was an error in a place of commerce which all the charms of his conversation could not compensate; for what trader would purchase such airy satisfaction by the loss of folid gain, which must be the consequence of midnight merriment, as those hours which were
gained at night were generally lost in the morning?
Thus Mr. Savage, after the curiosity of the inhabitants was gratified, found the number of his friends daily decreasing, perhaps without suspecting for what reason their conduct was altered; for he still continued to harass, with his nocturnal intrusions, those that yet countenanced him, and admitted him to their houses.
But he did not spend all the time of his residence at Bristol in visits or at taverns, for he sometimes returned to his fludies, and began several considerable designs. When he felt an inclination to write, he always retired from the knowledge of his friends, and lay hid in an obscure part of the suburbs, till he found himself again desirous of company, to which it is likely that intervals of absence made him more welcome.
He was always full of his design of returning to London, to bring his tragedy upon the ftage; but, having neglected to depart with the money that was raised for him, he could
not afterwards procure a sum sufficient to defray the expences of his journey; nor perhaps would a fresh supply have had any
other effect, than, by putting immediate pleasures in his power, to have driven the thoughts of his journey out of his mind.
While he was thus spending the day in contriving a scheme for the morrow, distress
him by imperceptible degrees. His conduct had already wearied some of those who were at first enamoured of his conversation ; but he might, perhaps, still have devolved to others, whom he might have entertained with equal success, had not the decay of his clothes made it no longer consistent with their vanity to admit him to their tables, or to associate with him in public places. He now began to find every man from home at whose house he called ; and was therefore no longer able to procure the necessaries of life, but wandered about the town, slighted and neglected, in quest of a dinner, which he did not always obtain.
To complete his misery, he was pursued by the officers for small debts which he had con5