Joseph Boruwlaski

This  little personage was one of the most famous and agreeable of the pigmy race to which he belonged. He was a native of Poland, and, on account of his diminutive size, was early taken under the care of a lady of rank. She soon married, however, and he was transferred to the Countess Humieska, and accompanied her to her residence in Podolia. Here he remained for six months, and then attended the countess on a tour of pleasure through Germany and France. At Vienna, he was presented to the empress queen, Maria Theresa, being then fifteen years old. Her majesty was pleased to say that he was the most astonishing being she ever saw.

She took him into her lap, and asked him what he thought most curious and interesting at Vienna. "I have observed nothing," said the little count, smartly, "so wonderful as to see such a little man on the lap of so great a woman." This delighted the queen, and, taking a fine diamond from the finger of a child five or six years old, who was present, placed it on his finger. This child was Marie Antoinette, afterwards queen of France; and it may be easily imagined that Boruwlaski preserved the jewel, which was a very splendid one, with religious care.

From Vienna, they proceeded to Munich and other German cities, the little companion of the countess everywhere exciting the greatest interest and curiosity. At Luneville, they met with Bébé, a famous French dwarf. A friendship immediately commenced between the two little men, but Bébé was four inches the tallest, and Boruwlaski, being therefore the smaller of the two, was the greatest wonder. He was also remarkable for his amiable and cheerful manners. These things excited the jealousy of Bébé, and he determined to take revenge. One day, when they were alone, slily approaching his rival, he caught him by the waist, and endeavored to push him into the fire. Boruwlaski sustained himself against his adversary, till the servants, alarmed by the noise of the scuffle, came in and rescued him. Bébé was now chastised and disgraced with the king, his master, and soon after died of mortification and spleen.

The travellers now proceeded to Paris, where they passed more than a year, indulging in all the gaieties of that gay city. They were entertained by the royal family and the principal nobility. M. Bouret, renowned for his ambition and extravagance, gave a sumptuous entertainment in honor of Boruwlaski, at which all the table service, plates, knives and forks, were of a size suited to the guest. The chief dishes consisted of ortolans and other small game.

The countess and her charge returned to Warsaw, where they resided for many years. At twenty-five the count fell in love with a French actress, but she made sport of his passion, and his little heart was nearly broken. When he was forty years old, the black eyes of Isalina Barboutan, a domestic companion of the countess, again disturbed his peace; he declared his affection, but was again rejected. He, however, persevered, even against the injunctions of his patroness. She was so much offended with his obstinacy, that she ordered him to leave her house forever, and sent Isalina home to her parents.

He now applied to prince Casimir, and, through his recommendation, was taken under the patronage of the king. Continuing his addresses to Isalina Barboutan, he was accepted, and they were soon after married. By the recommendation of his friends, he set out in 1780 to exhibit himself in the principal cities in Europe. His wife accompanied him, and, about a year after their marriage, presented her husband with a daughter.

Passing through the great cities of Germany and France, the count arrived in London, where he was liberally patronized. He not only had exhibitions of his person, but he gave concerts which were well attended. In 1788, he wrote his life, which was published in an octavo volume, and was patronized by a long list of nobility. He at last acquired a competence, and retired to Durham with his family, where he spent the remainder of his days, and died at the age of nearly 100 years. He had several children, and lived happily with his wife, though it is said, that, in an interview with Daniel Lambert, he remarked that she used to set him on the mantel-piece, whenever he displeased her.