Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Miss Monckton Entertains (Part 2)

Part of the reason for Miss Monckton's success as a hostess was her ability for conversation.  She had an immaculate memory which no doubt contributed to her conversing abilities.  She also was a bibliophile which drew some big names to her drawing room like flies to honey.  Some of those big names were not always the most pleasant to converse with as James Boswell recounts:
Johnson was prevailed with to come sometimes into these circles and did not think himself too grave even for the lively Miss Monckton (now Countess of Corke), who used to have the finest bit of blue at the house of her mother Lady Galway Her vivacity enchanted the Sage, and they used to talk together with all imaginable ease A singular instance happened one evening when she insisted that some of Sterne's writings were very pathetick Johnson bluntly denied it. "I am sure (said she,) they have affected me."
"Why, (said Johnson) smiling and rolling himself about,) that is, because dearest you're a dunce." When she some time afterwards mentioned this to him he said with equal truth and politeness; "Madam, if I had thought so, I certainly should not have said it."


  1. LOL--okay, this Johnson guy cracks me up. And can we all just be in mutual agreement that we wish we could've at least been a fly on the wall at one of Miss Monckton's parties? I still want her wardrobe, though.

    Great post! :)

  2. You can have Johnson, my dear, I prefer his friend Mrs Thrale from the last post. She was a charming woman who had the last laugh, so to speak, when she married a younger Italian, caused a scandal at home, and was very happy. I agree though, I would love to have been an eavesdropper at one of the parties. But why does Miss Monckton have her finger in her cheek, as if emphasizing a dimple? It looks like she is making a silly face at the painter.

  3. Um, does not Johnson and Monckton rather slyly resemble one another? Which one is mini-me?