Going into Society by Charles Dickens


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Page 1

The neighbours cut up rough, and made complaints; but Mr. Magsman don't
know what they _would_ have had. It was a lovely thing. First of all,
there was the canvass, representin the picter of the Giant, in Spanish
trunks and a ruff, who was himself half the heighth of the house, and was
run up with a line and pulley to a pole on the roof, so that his Ed was
coeval with the parapet. Then, there was the canvass, representin the
picter of the Albina lady, showing her white air to the Army and Navy in
correct uniform. Then, there was the canvass, representin the picter of
the Wild Indian a scalpin a member of some foreign nation. Then, there
was the canvass, representin the picter of a child of a British Planter,
seized by two Boa Constrictors--not that _we_ never had no child, nor no
Constrictors neither. Similarly, there was the canvass, representin the
picter of the Wild Ass of the Prairies--not that _we_ never had no wild
asses, nor wouldn't have had 'em at a gift. Last, there was the canvass,
representin the picter of the Dwarf, and like him too (considerin), with
George the Fourth in such a state of astonishment at him as His Majesty
couldn't with his utmost politeness and stoutness express. The front of
the House was so covered with canvasses, that there wasn't a spark of
daylight ever visible on that side. "MAGSMAN'S AMUSEMENTS," fifteen foot
long by two foot high, ran over the front door and parlour winders. The
passage was a Arbour of green baize and gardenstuff. A barrel-organ
performed there unceasing. And as to respectability,--if threepence
ain't respectable, what is?

But, the Dwarf is the principal article at present, and he was worth the
money. He was wrote up as MAJOR TPSCHOFFKI, OF THE IMPERIAL BULGRADERIAN
BRIGADE. Nobody couldn't pronounce the name, and it never was intended
anybody should. The public always turned it, as a regular rule, into
Chopski. In the line he was called Chops; partly on that account, and
partly because his real name, if he ever had any real name (which was
very dubious), was Stakes.

He was a uncommon small man, he really was. Certainly not so small as he
was made out to be, but where _is_ your Dwarf as is? He was a most
uncommon small man, with a most uncommon large Ed; and what he had inside
that Ed, nobody ever knowed but himself: even supposin himself to have
ever took stock of it, which it would have been a stiff job for even him
to do.

The kindest little man as never growed! Spirited, but not proud. When
he travelled with the Spotted Baby--though he knowed himself to be a
nat'ral Dwarf, and knowed the Baby's spots to be put upon him artificial,
he nursed that Baby like a mother. You never heerd him give a ill-name
to a Giant. He _did_ allow himself to break out into strong language
respectin the Fat Lady from Norfolk; but that was an affair of the 'art;
and when a man's 'art has been trifled with by a lady, and the preference
giv to a Indian, he ain't master of his actions.

He was always in love, of course; every human nat'ral phenomenon is. And
he was always in love with a large woman; I never knowed the Dwarf as
could be got to love a small one. Which helps to keep 'em the
Curiosities they are.

One sing'ler idea he had in that Ed of his, which must have meant
something, or it wouldn't have been there. It was always his opinion
that he was entitled to property. He never would put his name to
anything. He had been taught to write, by the young man without arms,
who got his living with his toes (quite a writing master _he_ was, and
taught scores in the line), but Chops would have starved to death, afore
he'd have gained a bit of bread by putting his hand to a paper. This is
the more curious to bear in mind, because HE had no property, nor hope of
property, except his house and a sarser. When I say his house, I mean
the box, painted and got up outside like a reg'lar six-roomer, that he
used to creep into, with a diamond ring (or quite as good to look at) on
his forefinger, and ring a little bell out of what the Public believed to
be the Drawing-room winder. And when I say a sarser, I mean a Chaney
sarser in which he made a collection for himself at the end of every
Entertainment. His cue for that, he took from me: "Ladies and gentlemen,
the little man will now walk three times round the Cairawan, and retire
behind the curtain." When he said anything important, in private life,
he mostly wound it up with this form of words, and they was generally the
last thing he said to me at night afore he went to bed.

He had what I consider a fine mind--a poetic mind. His ideas respectin
his property never come upon him so strong as when he sat upon a barrel-
organ and had the handle turned. Arter the wibration had run through him
a little time, he would screech out, "Toby, I feel my property
coming--grind away! I'm counting my guineas by thousands, Toby--grind
away! Toby, I shall be a man of fortun! I feel the Mint a jingling in
me, Toby, and I'm swelling out into the Bank of England!" Such is the
influence of music on a poetic mind. Not that he was partial to any
other music but a barrel-organ; on the contrary, hated it.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Tue 23rd Jul 2024, 1:55