The History of Henry Fielding - Vol. 1

By Wilbur L. Cross; Humphrey Milford | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
DRAMATIC CAREER

MARRIAGE AND REST

It is difficult to think of Fielding, the author of sixteen plays, the storm-centre of the English drama, as still only twenty-seven years old. His home, after the death of his mother, had been at Salisbury. As a schoolboy, when away from Eton, he had spent his vacations there with his grandmother and sisters. It is clear, too, that since his return from Leyden he had also visited Salisbury every summer or autumn between the dramatic seasons. The house which Lady Gould took there was in St. Martin's Street, which ran along the eastern rampart of the city to the ancient church from which the street--then an avenue of limes-- received its name. Beyond were the Milford hills. By the death of Lady Gould in June, 1733, the family circle was broken, though a Mrs. Fielding,* probably an aunt, dwelt in the house for some years more, doubtless along with Henry's sisters. Fielding became very familiar with the district around Salisbury, which, more or less disguised, is reflected in his novels; and it was but a short walk from Lady Gould's house into the centre of the town, where he made many acquaintances, some of whom may be yet uncovered in "Tom Jones." On his way to the Cathedral Close, he would tramp along St. Ann's Street, just off of which in Friary Lane lived Mrs. Elizabeth Cradock, with

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*
"Mrs." was then applied to unmarried as well as to married women. The Mrs. Fielding, who was assessed in 1734 for "the house late Lady Gould's," may have been Edmund Fieldings unmarried sister Dorothy.

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