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HIS WORDS AND HIS WAYS.
APPEARANCE, MANNERS, AND PECULIARITIES. In Youth.-Miss Porter told me that when he was first introduced to her mother his appearance was very forbidding; he was then lean and lank, so that his immense structure of bones was hideously striking to the eye, and the scars of the scrofula were deeply visible. He also wore his hair, which was straight and stiff, and separated behind; and he often had, seemingly, convulsive starts and odd gesticulations, which tended to excite at once surprise and ridicule. - Boswell.
RATHER HANDSOME.—Johnson's conntenance, when in a good-humor, was not disagreeable :-his face clear, his complexion good, and his features not ill formed, many ladies have thought they might not be unattractive when he was young. Much misrepresentation has prevailed on this subject.— Thomas Percy.
ODD AND PECULIAR.— I spent yesterday with Johnson, the celebrated author of the "Rambler," who is of all others the oddest and most peculiar fellow I ever saw. He is six feet high, has a violent convulsion in his head, and his eyes are distorted.—Dr. Dodd.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION.—His figure was large and well formed, and his countenance of the cast of an ancient statue; yet his appearance was rendered strange and somewhat uncouth by convulsive cramps, by the scars of that distemper which it was once imagined the royal touch could cure, and by a slovenly mode of dress. He had the use only of one eye; yet so much does mind govern and even supply the deficiency of organs, that his visual perceptions, as far as they extended, were uncommonly quick and accurate. So morbid was his temperament that he never knew the natural joy of a free and vigorous use of his limbs; when he walked, it was like the struggling gait of one in fetters: when he rode, he had no command or direction of his horse, but was carried as if in a balloon. That with his constitution and habits of life he should have lived seventy-five years, is a proof that an inherent vivida vis is a powerful preservative of the human frame.—Boswell.
COMPLEXION AND EYES. - His features were strongly marked, and his countenance particularly rugged, though the original complexion had certainly been fair : his sight was near, and otherwise imperfect; yet his eyes, though of a light gray color, were so wild, so piercing, and at times so fierce, that fear was, I believe, the first emotion in the hearts of all his beholders.—Mrs. Piozzi.
WALK AND BEARING.–When first I remember Johnson, I used to see him sometimes at a little distance from the house, coming to call on my father; his look directed downward, or rather in such abstraction as to have no direction. His walk was heavy, but he got on at a great rate, his left arm always placed across his breast, so as to bring the hand under his chin; and he walked wide, as if to support his weight. Getting out of a hackney-coach, which had set him down in Fleet Street, my brother Henry says, he made his way up Bolt Court in the zig-zag direction of a flash of lightning; submitting his course only to the deflections imposed by the impossibility of going farther to right or left. His clothes hung loose, and the pocket on the right hand swung violently, the lining of his coat being always visible. I can now call to mind his brown hand, his metal sleeve-buttons, and my surprise at seeing him with plain wristbands, when all gentlemen wore ruffles; his coat-sleeve, being very wide, showed his linen almost to his elbow. His wig in common was cut and bushy; if by chance he had one that had been dressed in separate curls, it gave him a disagreeable look, not suited to his years or character.-Miss L. M, Hawkins.
DRESS AND APPEARANCE.—He is, indeed, very ill-favored. Yet he has naturally a noble figure; tall, stout, grand, and authoritative : but he stoops horribly; his back is quite round: his mouth is continually opening and shutting, as if he were chewing something; he has a singular method of twirling his fingers, and twisting his hands: his vast body is in constant agitation, see-sawing backward and forward : his feet are never a moment quiet; and his whole great person looked often as if it were going to roll itself, quite voluntarily, from his chair to the floor. His dress, considering the times, and that he had meant to put on all his best becomes, for he was engaged to dine with a very fine party at Mrs. Montagu's, was as much out of the common road as his figure. He had a large, full, bushy wig, a snuff-color coat, with gold buttons (or, peradventure, brass), but no ruffles to his doughty fists; and not, I suppose, to be taken for a Blue, though going to the Blue Queen, he had on very coarse black worsted stockings.Madame D’Arblay.
JOHNSON AT HOME.— The day after I wrote my last letter to you I was introduced to Mr. Johnson by a friend : we passed through three very dirty rooms to a little one that