An Awkward Position, from "Illustrated London News"

Engraver Harvey Orrin Smith British
After Abraham Solomon British
Subject Oliver Goldsmith Irish

Not on view

The incident shown is described by a biographer: “When [Oliver] Goldsmith resided at Islington, he sometimes extended his walks to the White Conduit House, then in the fields…While strolling one day in the gardens, he met three females of the family of a respectable tradesman, to whom he was under some obligation. He kindly 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 money 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 acquaintances, in whose eyes he wished to stand particularly well. This completed his mortification. There was no concealing the awkwardness of his position. The sneers of the waiter revealed it; his acquaintances amused themselves for some time at his expense, professing their inability to relieve him. When they had enjoyed their banter, the waiter was paid, and Goldsmith enabled to convey off the ladies."

An Awkward Position, from "Illustrated London News", Harvey Orrin Smith (British, active 1847–70), Wood engraving

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