previous
next

Chapter 1note

IAM deformed. A hideous dwarf, you may call me, if you like. The name would n't cut into my heart now. I have heard it too often—seen it too often,—in glances of half-loathing compassion and contemptuous disgust. Even wired cats, they say, don't hurt much after the first dozen lashes. It takes a longer time to get used to wired words, lacerating looks; but, thank Heaven! one does get accustomed—callous—even to these, at last.

Yes, I am a hideous dwarf.

I mention the fact thus early, because I learnt it early. My proud mother's mortification cropping out ever and anon through her sorrowful tenderness, like a dry, jagged rock through dewy greensward; my beautiful sisters' careful fondness; my bonny brother's condescending kindness —condescending, though the imp was two years younger than myself; the way in which my father, usually so taciturn and stiff, unbent and talked to me—all taught me my lesson at home, as faithfully as the pointed fingers and protruded tongues and whispers and shudderings of the people out-of-doors—and even more painfully, because I could not resent the teaching.

Remembering what I am, bear with me whilst I chronicle my life. Mind, I don't ask you for your pity—I've had enough of that. The word sickens me.

previous
next