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No. 108. WEDNESDAY, JULY 15.
Abietibus juvenes patriis et montibus æqui.
Do not care for burning my fingers in a quarrel, but since I have communicated to the world a plan, which has given offence to some gentlemen whom it would not be very safe to disoblige, I must insert the following remonstrance; and at the same time promise those of my correspondents who have drawn this upon themselves, to exhibit to the public any such answer as they shall think proper to make to it.
MR. GUARDIAN, “I was very much troubled to see the two letters which
you lately published concerning the Short Club. You cannot imagine what airs all the little pragmatical fellows about us have given themselves since the reading of those papers. Every one cocks and struts upon it, and pretends to overlook us who are two foot higher than themselves. I met with one the other day who was at least three inches above five foot, which you know is the statutable measure of that club. This overgrown runt has struck off his heels, lowered his foretop, and contracted his figure, that he might be looked upon as a member of this new-erected society; nay, so far did his vanity carry him, that he talked famil of Tom Tiptoe, and pretends to be an intimate acquaintance of Tim Tuck. For my part, I scorn to speak any thing to the diminution of these little creatures, and should not have minded them had they been still .shuffled among the crowd. Shrubs and underwoods look well enough while they grow within the shade of oaks and cedars, but when these pigmies pretend to draw themselves out from the rest of the world, and form themselves into a body, it is time for us, who are men of figure, to look about us, If the
ladies should once take a liking to such a diminutive race of lovers, we should, in a little time, see mankind epitomised, and the whole species in miniature; daisy roots would grow a fashionable diet. In order therefore to keep our posterity from dwindling, and fetch down the pride of this aspiring race of upstarts; we have here instituted a Tall Club.
“ As the short club consists of those who are under five foot, ours is to be composed of such as are above six. These we look upon as the two extremes and antagonists of the species; considering all those as neuters who fill up the middle space. When a man rises above six foot he is a hypermeter, and may be admitted into the tall club.
“We have already chosen thirty members, the most sightly of all her majesty's subjects. We elected a president, as many of the ancients did their kings, by reason of his height, having only confirmed him in that station above us which nature had given him. He is a Scotch Highlander, and within an inch of a show. As for my own part I am but a sesquipedal, having only six foot and a half of stature. Being the shortest member of the club, I am appointed secretary. If you saw us all together you would take us for the sons of Anak. Our meetings are held like the old Gothic parliaments, sub dio, in open air;. but we shall make an interest, if we can, that we may hold our assemblies in Westminster-hall when it is not term-time. I must add, to the honour of our club, that it is one of our society who is now finding out the longitude. The device of our public seal is a crane grasping a pigmy in his right foot.
“I know the short club value themselves very much upon Mr. Distich, who may possibly play some of his Pantameters upon us, but, if he does, he shall certainly be answered in Alexandrines. For we have a poet among us of a genius as exalted as his stature, and who is very well read in Longinus's treatise concerning the sublime. Besides, I would have Mr. Distich consider, that if Horace was a short man, Musæus, who makes such a noble figure in Virgil's sixth Æneid, was taller by the head and shoulders than all the people of Elysium. I shall therefore confront his lepidissimum homuncionem (a short quotation and fit for a member of their club) with one that is much longer, and there fore more suitable to a member of ours.
Quos circumfusos sic est affuta Sibylla,
Hunc habet, atque humeris extantem suspicit altis.
, this society of little men proceed as (they have begun, to magnify themselves and lessen men of higher stature, we have resolved to make a detachment, some evening or other, that shall bring away their whole club in a pair of panniers, and imprison them in a cupboard which we have set apart for that use, till they have made a public recantation. As for the little bully, Tim Tuck, if he pretends to be choJeric, we shall treat him like his friend little Dicky, and hang him upon a peg till he comes to himself. I have told
you our design, and let their little Machiavel prevent it if he can.
“This is, Sir, the long and the short of the matter. I am sensible I shall stir up a nest of wasps by it, but let them do their worst. I think that we serve our country by discouraging this little breed, and hindering it from coming into fashion. If the fair sex look upon us with an eye of favour, we shall make some attempts to lengthen out the human figure, and restore it to its ancient procerity. In the mean time we hope old age has not inclined you in favour of our antagonists, for I do assure you, Sir, we are all your high admirers, though none more than,
“SIR, yours, &c.”
I have received many letters from persons of all conditions in reference to my late discourse concerning the Tucker. Some of them are filled with reproaches and invectives. A lady who subscribes herself Teraminta, bids me, in a very pert manner, mind my own affairs, and not pretend to meddle with their linen; for that they do not dress for an old fellow, who cannot see them without a pair of spectacles. Another, who calls herself Bubnelia, vents her passion in scurrilous terms; an old ninny-hammer, a dotard, a nincompoop, is the best language she can afford me. Florella indeed expostulates with me upon the subject, and only complains that she is forced to return a pair of stays, which were made in the extremity of the fashion, that she might not be thought to encourage peeping.
But, if on the one side, I have been used ill, (the common fate of all reformers,) I have on the other side received great applauses and acknowledgments for what I have done, in having put a seasonable stop to this unaccountable humour of stripping, that was got among our British ladies. As I would much rather the world should know what is said to my praise, than to my disadvantage, I shall suppress what has been written to me by those who have reviled me on this occasion, and only publish those letters which approve my proceedings.
SIR, “I am to give you thanks in the name of half a dozen superannuated beauties, for your paper of the 6th instant. We all of us pass for women of fifty, and a man of your sense knows how many additional years
are always to be thrown into female computations of this nature. We are very sensible that several young flirts about town had a design to cast us out of the fashionable world, and to leave us in the lurch by some of their late refinements. Two or three of them have been heard to say, that they would kill every old weman about town, In order to it, they began to throw off their clothes as fast as they could, and
have played all those pranks which you have so seasonably taken notice of. We were forced to uncover after them, being unwilling to give out so soon, and be regarded as veterans in the beau monde. Some of us have already caught our deaths by it. For my own part, I have not been without a cold ever since this foolish fashion came up. I have followed it thus far with the hazard of my life, and how much further I must go nobody knows, if your paper does not bring us relief. You
may assure yourself that all the antiquated necks about town are very much obliged to you. Whatever fires and flames are concealed in our bosoms, (in which perhaps we vie with the youngest of the sex,) they are not sufficient to preserve us against the wind and weather. In taking so many old women under your care, you have been a real Guardian to us, and saved the life of many of your contemporaries. In short, we all of us beg leave to subscribe ourselves,
“ Most venerable NESTOR,
"Your most humble servants and sisters."
I am very well pleased with this approbation of my good sisters. I must confess I have always looked on the tucker to be the decus et tutamen, the ornament and defence of the female neck. My good old lady, the Lady Lizard, condemned this fashion from the beginning, and has observed to me, with some concern, that her sex at the same time they are letting down their stays, are tucking up their petticoats, which grow shorter and shorter every day. The leg discovers its