(Masterpieces of British Fiction)

Miss M., a perfectly formed midget, was born to normal parents and in pleasant surroundings. Until her eighteenth year, she was brought up in seclusion. Then her mother died, followed shortly thereafter by her father, and tiny Miss M. was left alone in the world. Her godmother offered to take her in, but the girl, having inherited a modest fortune, decided to take lodgings instead. She made her first humiliating excursion in public when she moved to her new home.

Her lodgings were in the home of Mrs. Bowater, a stern woman, who nevertheless had a great affection for her small roomer. At Mrs. Bowater’s, Miss M. met Fanny, the daughter of her landlady. A teacher in a girls’ school, Fanny was both charming and clever. Because of the friendship between the two, the midget became involved in the love affair of Fanny Bowater and the curate, an affair which ended with the curate’s suicide when Fanny rejected his suit.

After a time, Miss M. began to go out in society. She became the friend of Lady Pollacke, whose friendship she was never to lose. At their home, she met the wealthy Mrs. Monnerie, the youngest daughter of Lord B. Mrs. Monnerie took such a fancy to the tiny girl that she invited her for a vacation at Lyme Regis, a fashionable watering place in Dorsetshire.

Before she left on her vacation, Miss M. accidentally met a new friend, Mr. Anon, a deformed and hunchbacked creature only a few inches taller than she. Unaware of the ways of the world, Miss M. introduced Mr. Anon to Mrs. Bowater, who approved of him in a grudging way. They saw each other frequently, and Miss M. once solicited his aid when she wanted to secure money for Fanny while she was away at Lyme Regis. Soon after they returned from their holiday, Mrs. Monnerie invited Midgetina, as she called Miss M., to visit at her elaborate townhouse in London.

Miss M. accepted the invitation and became another prized possession that Mrs. Monnerie could exhibit to her guests. In London, she met the niece and nephew of her patroness. Percy Maudlen was an ill-mannered, languid youth whom the small girl disliked. Susan Monnerie was a pleasant person of whom Miss M. became very fond. After a visit of six weeks, Miss M. returned briefly to Mrs. Bowater’s townhouse. There she received a letter from Fanny, begging her to try to use her influence with Mrs. Monnerie to secure a position for Fanny as a governess. During Miss M.’s stay with Mrs. Bowater, she again met Mr. Anon, who declared his love for her. The midget told him that she was not able to return his love.


(The entire section is 1051 words.)