Page:Johnsonian Miscellanies I.djvu/356

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338 A necdotes.

��Another lady, whose accomplishments he never denied, came to our house one day covered with diamonds, feathers, &C. 1 and he did not seem inclined to chat with her as usual. I asked him why? when the company was gone. 'Why; her head looked so like that of a woman who shews puppets (said he), and her voice so confirmed the fancy, that I could not bear her to-day ; when she wears a large cap, I can talk to her.'

When the ladies wore lace trimmings to their clothes, he expressed his contempt of the reigning fashion in these terms: ' A Brussels trimming is like bread sauce (said he), it takes away the glow of colour from the gown, and gives you nothing instead of it ; but sauce was invented to heighten the flavour of our food, and trimming is an ornament to the manteau 2 , or it is nothing. Learn (said he) that there is propriety or impropriety in every thing how slight soever, and get at the general principles of dress and of behaviour ; if you then transgress them, you will at least know that they are not observed.'

All these exactnesses in a man who was nothing less than exact himself, made him extremely impracticable as an inmate, though most instructive as a companion, and useful as a friend. Mr. Thrale too could sometimes over-rule his rigidity, by saying

1 Most likely Mrs. Montagu. ' The shewed me of hers formerly, so full

Queenofihe&asMetts, Mrs. Montagu, of affectation, refinement, attempts

crowned her toupet, and circled her to philosophize, talking metaphysics

neck with diamonds, when she re- in all which particulars she so

ceived an assembly of foreigners, bewildered and puzzled herself and

literati, and maccaronis, in her dress- her readers, and showed herself so

ing-room, the walls of which were superficial, nay, really ignorant in

newly painted with " bowers of roses the subjects she paraded on - that in

and jessamines, entirely inhabited my own private mind's pocket-book

by little cupids." ' Early Diary of I set her down for a vain, empty,

F. Burney, i. Preface, p. 85. Miss conceited pretender, and little else.'

Burney speaks of her 'parade and os- Early Diary, i. Preface, p. 34, . 2.

tentation.' Mme. D'Arblay's Diary, For her pretentious Essay on Shake-

i. 325. speare, see Life, ii. 88. See also

' Daddy' Crisp wrote of Mrs. Mon- ante, p. 287.

tagu to Miss Burney in 1780: 'I 2 Manteau is not in Johnson's

believe I have told you of several Dictionary. letters the Duchess of Portland


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