There is, likewise, an awkwardness of expression and words, most carefully to be avoided; such as false English, bad pronunciation, old sayings, and common proverbs; which are so many proofs of having kept bad and low company. For example: if, instead of saying that tastes are different, and that every man has his peculiar one, you should let off a proverb, and say that, What is one mans meat is another mans poison; or else, Every one as they like, as the good man said when he kissed his cow; everybody would be persuaded that you had never kept company with anybody above footmen and housemaids.
Lord Chesterfield: Letters to his Son, July 25, 1741.
Undoubtedly there have been witchesfor in that category must Mother Shipton be classedwho have played the oracle as well as she; but, as generally happens, the multitude are lost sight of in the course of time, and the wisdom of the many is eventually ascribed to one. Homer, Æsop, Solomonto say nothing of that friend of the destitute, Joe Millerare amongst a thousand instances of concentrated reputation. Every hours experience, indeed, affords example of this tendency to special attribution; and there are very few of us, perhaps, who have not, at one time or other, contributed our mite to set up the popular sect of the day.