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At our first resort hither, an old woman brought her son to the club-room, desiring he might be educated in this school, because she saw here were finer boys than ordinary. However, this accident no way discouraged our designs. We began with sending invitations to those of a stature not exceeding five foot, to repair to our assembly; but the greater part returned excuses, or pretended they were not qualified. One said he was indeed but five foot at present, but represented that he should soon exceed that proportion, his periwig-maker and shoe-maker having lately promised him three inches more betwixt them. Another alleged he was so unfortunate as to have one leg shorter than the other, and whoever had determined his stature to five foot, had taken him at a disadvantage; for when he was mounted on the other leg he was at least five foot two inches and a half. There were some who questioned the exactness of our measures; and others, instead of complying, returned us informations of people yet shorter than themselves. In a word, almost everyone recommended some neighbour or acquaintance, whom he was willing we should look upon to be less than he. We were not a little ashamed that those who are past the years of growth, and whose beards pronounce them men, should be guilty of as many unfair tricks, in this point, as the most aspiring children when they are measured. We therefore proceeded to fit up the club-room, and provide conveniences for our accommodation. In the first place we caused a total removal of all the chairs, stools, and tables, which had served the gross of mankind for many years. The disadvantages we had undergone while we made use of these were unspeakable. The president's whole body was sunk in the elbow-chair, and when his arms were spread over it he appeared (to the great lessening of his dignity) like a child in a go-cart: it was also so wide in the seat, as to give a wag occasion of saying, that notwithstanding the president sat in it there was a sede vacante. The table was so high, that one who came by chance to the door, seeing our chins just above the pewter dishes, took us for a circle of men that sate ready to be shaved, and sent in half a dozen barbers. Another time one of the club spoke contumeliously of the president, imagining he had been absent, when he was only eclipsed by a flask of Florence which stood on the table in a parallel line before his face. We therefore new furnished the room in all respects proportionably to us, and had the door made lower, so as to admit no man of above five foot high, without brushing his fore-top, which whoever does is utterly unqualified to sit among us.
Some of the Statutes of the Club are as follows:
I. If it be proved upon any member, though never so duly qualified, that he strives as much as possible to get above his size, by stretching, cocking, or the like, or that he hath stood on tiptoe in a crowd, with design to be taken for as tall a man as the rest; or hath privily conveyed any large book, cricket, or other device under him, to exalt him on his seat: every such offender shall be sentenced to walk in pumps for a whole month. II. If any member shall take advantage from the fulness or length of his wig, or any part of his dress, or the immoderate extent of his hat, or otherwise, to seem larger or higher than he is ; it is ordered, he shall wear red heels to his shoes, and a red feather in his hat, which may apparently mark and set bounds to the extremities of his small dimension, that all people may readily find him out between his hat and his shoes. III. If any member shall purchase a horse for his own riding above fourteen hands and a half in height, that horse shall forthwith be sold, a Scotch galloway bought in its stead for him, and the overplus of the money shall treat the club. IV. If any member, in direct contradiction to the fundamental laws of the society, shall wear the heels of his shoes exceeding one inch and a half, it shall be interpreted as an Open renumciation of littleness, and the criminal shall instantly be expelled. Note, the form to be used in expelling a member shall be in these words; Go from among us, and be tall if you can
It is the unanimous opinion of our whole society, that since the race of mankind is granted to have decreased in stature from the beginning to this present, it is the intent of nature itself, that men should be little ; and we believe that all human kind shall at last grow down to perfection, that is to say, be reduced to our own measure. I am, very literally, Your humble servant,
POPE. BoB SHORT.
SHORT CLUB. Paper II. (No. 92). SIR, The club rising early this evening, I have time to finish my account of it. You are already acquainted with the nature and design of our institution; the characters of the members, and the topics of our conversation, are what remain for the subject of this epistle. The most eminent persons of our assembly are a little poet, a little lover, a little politician, and a little hero. The first of these, Dick Distich by name, we have elected president, not only as he is the shortest of us all, but because he has entertained so just a sense of the stature, as to go generally in black that he may appear yet less. Nay, to that perfection is he arrived that he stoops as he walks. The figure of the man is odd enough; he is a lively little creature, with long arms and legs: a spider is no ill emblem of him. He has been taken at a distance for a small windmill. But indeed, what principally moved us in his favour was his talent in poetry; for he hath promised to undertake a long work in short verse to celebrate the heroes of our size. He has entertained so great a respect for Statius, on the score of that line,
“Major in exiguo regnabat corpore virtus,”
that he once designed to translate the whole Thebaid for the sake of little Tydeus.
Tom Tiptoe, a dapper black fellow, is the most gallant lover of the age. He is particularly nice in his habiliments; and, to the end justice may be done him that way, constantly employs the same artist who makes attire for the neighbouring princes and ladies of quality at Mr. Powels. The vivacity of his temper inclines him sometimes to boast of the favours of the fair. He was, t'other night, excusing his absence from the club on account of an assignation with a lady (and, as he had the vanity to tell us, a tall one too). Our politician is a person of real gravity and professed wisdom. Gravity in a man of this size, compared with that of one of ordinary bulk, appears like the gravity of a cat compared with that of a lion. This gentleman is accustomed to talk to himself, and was once overheard to compare his own person to a little cabinet, wherein are locked up all the secrets of state, and refined schemes of princes. His face is pale and meagre, which proceeds from much watching and studying for the welfare of Europe, which is also thought to have stinted his growth; for he hath destroyed his own constitution with taking care of that of the nation. He is what Mons. Balzac calls a great distiller of the maxims of Tacitus: when he speaks, it is slowly and word by word, as one that is loth to enrich you too fast with his observations; like a limbeck, that gives you, drop by drop, an extract of the simples in it. The last I shall mention is Tim Tuck, the hero. He is particularly remarkable for the length of his sword, which intersects his person in a cross line, and makes him appear not unlike a fly, that the boys have run a pin through and set a-walking. He once challenged a tall fellow, for giving him a blow on the pate with his elbow as he passed along the street. But what he especially values himself upon is, that in all the campaigns he has made, he never once duck'd at the whiz of a cannon ball. Tim was full as large at fourteen years old as he is now. This we are tender of mentioning, your little heroes being generally choleric. These are the gentlemen that most enliven our conversation: the discourse generally turns upon such accidents, whether fortunate or unfortunate, as are daily occasioned by our size: these we faithfully communicate either as matter of mirth or of consolation to each other. The president had lately an unlucky fall, being unable to keep his legs on a stormy day; whereupon he informed us it was no new disaster, but the same a certain ancient poet had been subject to; who is recorded to have been so light, that he was obliged to poise himself against the wind with lead on one side and his own works on the other. The lover confessed the other night that he had been cured of love to a tall woman by reading over the legend of Ragotine in Scarron, with his tea, three mornings successively. Our hero rarely acquaints us with any of his unsuccessful adventures. And as for the politician, he declares himself an utter enemy to all kind of burlesque, so will never discompose the austerity of his aspect by laughing at our adventures, much less discover any of his own in this ludicrous light. Whatever he tells of any accidents that befall him is by way of complaint, nor is he ever laughed at but in his absence. We are likewise particularly careful to communicate in the club all such passages of history, or characters of illustrious personages, as any way reflect honour on little men. Tim Tuck having but just reading enough for a military man, perpetually entertains us with the same stories, of little David that conquered the mighty Goliah, and little Luxemburg that made Louis XIV. a grand monarque, never forgetting little Alexander the Great. Dick Distich celebrates the exceeding humanity of Augustus, who called Horace lepidissimum homunciolum; and is wonderfully pleased with Voiture and Scarron, for having so well described their diminutive forms to all posterity. He is peremptorily of opinion, against a great reader, and all his adherents, that AEsop was not a jot properer or handsomer than he is represented by the common pictures. But the soldier believes with the learned person above mentioned; for he thinks none but an impudent tall author could be guilty of such an unmannerly piece of satire on little warriors, as his battle of the mouse and the frog. The politician is very proud of a certain king of Ægypt, called Bocchor, who, as Diodorus