Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 54.djvu/218

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donald, a cultivated young man, at Turin, and together they passed through Milan, Parma, and Florence to Rome. There he was well received in both English and Italian society, and met his censor Smollett, whom he depicted in his ‘Journey’ as the type of the grumbling traveller under the sobriquet of ‘Smelfungus.’ In February 1766 he arrived at Naples, still in company of Sir James Macdonald. On the return journey he turned aside while in the south of France to pay a hasty visit to his wife and daughter. They had long since left Montauban, and Sterne sought them in five or six different towns before running them to earth in ‘Franche-compté’ in May. His wife was ‘very cordial,’ but begged to stay abroad another year. Lydia was greatly improved in everything her father wished. On parting with them towards the end of May, he wrote to Hall-Stevenson from Dijon in the highest spirits. He was ‘most unaccountably well and most unaccountably nonsensical.’ He was back in Yorkshire in time to dine with Hall-Stevenson at Skelton on the king's birthday (4 June 1766). In the autumn he completed in his ‘peaceful retreat’ of Coxwold the ninth and last volume of ‘Tristram,’ and planned in four volumes his ‘Sentimental Journey’ (Letter lxxi.).

Sterne suffered much depression at the close of 1766. Money was not abundant. He had spent most of his literary profits on his foreign tours. His wife, who, it is obvious, wofully mismanaged her finances, found two hundred guineas an inadequate allowance, and, with a fuller sense of responsibility than was habitual to him, Sterne made every effort to supply her growing needs. Numberless appeals are extant from him to his agents and bankers in Paris (Mr. Foley and M. Panchaud) to forward money instantly to Mrs. Sterne in the south of France, and all give practical proof of Sterne's anxiety to study her and his daughter's material comfort. ‘Whilst I have a shilling,’ he wrote to his daughter (Letter lxxix), ‘shall not you both have ninepence of it?’ In 1764 the parsonage at Sutton had been accidentally burnt down while in charge of the curate, and Sterne became responsible for the cost of rebuilding, an obligation which he tried to evade. At Stillington the Enclosure Act required his attention, and at the end of 1766 letters from Lydia announced that his wife was seriously ill at Avignon. But the danger passed, and in January 1767 he was once more in London, hoping to retrieve his position by the issue of the ninth volume of ‘Tristram.’ Two new volumes of sermons had appeared in the preceding January. The last volume of ‘Tristram’ came out in Jan. 1767. It was dedicated to the patron of the first, the Earl of Chatham, who was reminded that ‘honours, like impressions upon coin, may give an ideal and local value to a bit of base metal, but not to gold and silver’—a sentence whence Burns, a warm admirer of ‘Tristram,’ is credited with deriving his notion of ‘the guinea-stamp;’ Sterne probably borrowed his simile from a passage in Thomas Tenison's preface to ‘Baconiana’ (1679), although it could be matched in Thomas Carew's ‘Poems’ and Wycherley's ‘Plain Dealer.’ To the ‘Sermons’ (vols. iii. and iv.) was prefixed a list of over six hundred subscribers, including, besides ‘toute la noblesse,’ Voltaire, Holbach, and other French authors. The winter's campaign proved lucrative. ‘Shandy’ sold well, and 300l. fell to Sterne from the subscriptions to the ‘Sermons’ apart from payment for the copy. The last volume of ‘Tristram’ was not more refined than its predecessors, and in March 1767 the archbishop of York (Robert Hay Drummond [q. v.]) was the recipient of an anonymous petition from London inviting his attention to the scandalous contrast between the indecent tone of Sterne's writing and his sacred vocation.

On this his penultimate visit to London (January to May 1767) Sterne occupied new lodgings at 41 Old Bond Street, above a silk-bagwig-maker's. He spent much time at the house of Sir William James [q. v.], a retired Indian commodore, who lived in fashionable style in Gerrard Street, Soho. He had met James casually in society, and James's wife and little daughter attracted him. In the repeated hospitalities they offered him he took a genuine delight. Visitors from India were often his fellow-guests at James's table, and there late in December 1766 Sterne first met Mrs. Eliza (or more properly Elizabeth) Draper, a visitor from Bombay, who was to play an important part in what remained of his life. She was a daughter of May Sclater (b. 1719), a member of a good west-country family, who had gone out to India in 1736 [see under Sclater, William, (1575–1626)]. In India her father married a lady named Whitehill, and apparently settled at Anjengo on the Malabar coast, where Eliza was born on 5 April 1744. After being educated in England, she reached Bombay on the return voyage on 27 Dec. 1757, and when little more than fourteen she married, at Bombay on 28 July 1758, Daniel Draper, at the time a writer in the East India Company's service, who next year became secretary to the government at Bombay. Draper was a dull official, fully twenty years his wife's senior. A boy was born in 1759, and a daughter