Oh, vanity... Gilding the lap dog made him not only golden, but ill-mannered, haughty and vain! Other colors brought out different temperaments and behaviors. – “It was a day or two after this banquet that the modern Midas caused his wife's lap-dog to be richly gilded, to the immense amazement of that personage, and, apparently, to the great satisfaction of the animal, which, naturally of a most affectionate disposition, became so haughty that it would suffer no one to touch it, and only regained its usual good temper as the gilding wore off its fur.” – Photo source, AKC.com
The fashion of dyeing lap dogs, and the other species of canine pets so beloved of Parisian dames, so as to match the toilette of their mistresses, which is decidedly gaining ground here as a novelty, appears not to be absolutely new. At all events, the chronicles of thirty years ago speak of a chemist who, by means of coloring matter which he injected into their veins, succeeded in giving to the animals submitted to his process any color desired by their owners. Sky-blue pigs, lilac calves, green dogs, yellow donkeys, and peach-colored sheep, are said to have issued living from his laboratory. But the new process is much simpler, being simply an ingenious method of painting the animal's hair, or, if preferred, of gilding it. The painting is easily done, and as it can be washed off with equal ease, the four-footed adjuncts of fashionable ladyhood, may be brought out every day in new shades of color, to correspond with the prevailing hue of their owner’s toilette.
The rich banker Milland, whose sudden acquisition of an enormons fortune, through a succession of bold and lucky speculations, created so much talk in this envious city, some fifteen years ago, and who, at the time when he made his sudden leap from poverty to wealth, seemed hardly to know what to do with his gold, is said to have been the first to strike out the idea of this style of ornamentation. Certain it is that the new millionaire, not satisfied with gilding all the inside of his hotel, at the Place St. Georges, caused all the exterior mouldings of that highly ornate dwelling to be gilded also, as all passers can assure themselves to this day, by occular examination ; and that having put his establishment into a state of gilding that provoked the Parisians into calling his hotel “The Temple of the Golden Calf,” he gave a grand dinner to the principal literary and financial notorieties of the capital, at which not only his son and himself were covered with gold chains, rings, etc, but the rough rinds of some very large melons, that figured, according to the etiquette of French dinners, immediately after the soup, were thickly gilded down each seam.
It was a day or two after this banquet that the modern Midas caused his wife's lap-dog to be richly gilded, to the immense amazement of that personage, and, apparently, to the great satisfaction of the animal, which, naturally of a most affectionate disposition, became so haughty that it would suffer no one to touch it, and only regained its usual good temper as the gilding wore off its fur. The new fashion of coloring dogs is said to have a similar power of changing their tempers; the same dog, for instance, being morose when painted chocolate-color, proud and quarrelsome when painted red, insolent when painted yellow, gay when painted pink, capricious when painted green, and sentimental when painted sky-blue! Dark-blue makes them ill and renders them excessively unhappy. The other colors do not seem to be injurious, and Paris is full of extremes whilst this folly is going on. – Letters from Paris, 1865
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