N.B.—There is a part of London called “Little Britain.” It lies between Christ’s Hospital (the Blue-coat School) and Aldersgate Street. It was here that Mr. Jaggers had his chambers. (See Jaggers, p. 538.)

Little Corporal (The). General Bonaparte was so called after the battle of Lodi in 1796, from his youthful age and low stature.

Little Dorrit, the heroine and title of a novel by C. Dickens (1855). Little Dorrit was born and brought up in the Marshalsea prison, Bermondsey, where her father was confined for debt; and when about 14 years of age she used to do needlework, to earn a subsistence for herself and her father. The child had a pale, transparent face; quick in expression, though not beautiful in feature. Her eyes were a soft hazel, and her figure slight. The little dove of the prison was idolized by the prisoners, and when she walked out, every man in Bermondsey who passed her touched or took off his hat out of respect to her good works and active benevolence. Her father, coming into a property, was set free at length, and Little Dorrit married Arthur Clennam, the marriage service being celebrated in the Marshalsea, by the prison chaplain.

Little-Endians and Big-Endians, two religious factions, which waged incessant war with each other on the right interpretation of the fiftyfourth chapter of the Blundecral: “All true believers break their eggs at the convenient end.” The godfather of Calin Deffar Plune, the reigning emperor of Lilliput, happened to cut his finger while breaking his egg at the big end, and therefore commanded all faithful Lilliputians to break their eggs in future at the small end. The Blefuscudians called this decree rank heresy, and determined to exterminate the believers of such an abominable practice from the face of the earth. Hundreds of treatises were published on both sides, but each empire put all those books opposed to its own views into the Index Expurgatorius, and not a few of the more zealous sort died as martyrs for daring to follow their private judgment in the matter.—Swift: Gulliver’s Travels (“Voyage to Lilliput,” 1726).

Little Fleas have Lesser Parasites. Swift, in his Rhapsody on Poetry, wrote—

So naturalists observe, a flea
Has smaller fleas that on him prey
And these have smaller still to bite ’em,
And so proceed ad infinitum.

Little French Lawyer (The), a comedy by Beaumont (?) and Fletcher (1647). The person so called is La Writ, a wrangling French advocate.

(Beaumont died 1616.)

Little Gentleman in Velvet (To the), a favourite Jacobite toast in the reign of queen Anne. The reference is to the mole that raised the hill against which the horse of Willian III. stumbled while riding in the park of Hampton Court. By this accident the king broke his collarbone, a severe illness ensued, and he died early in 1702.

Little John (whose surname was Nailor), the fidus Achatês of Robin Hood. He could shoot an arrow a measured mile and somewhat more. So could Robin Hood; but no other man ever lived who could perform the same feat. In one of the Robin Hood ballads we are told that the name of this freeshooter was John Little, and that William Stutely, in merry mood, reversed the names.

“O, here is my hand,” the stranger replyed;
“Ill serve you with all my whole heart.
My name is John Little, a man of good mettle;
Ne’er doubt me, for I’ll play my part.”
He was, I must tell you, full seven foot high,
And maybe an ell in the waste…
Brave Stutely said then…
“This infant was called John Little,” quoth he;
“Which name shall be changêd anon:
The words we’ll transpose, so wherever he goes
His name shall be called Little John.”

Ritson: Robin Hood Ballads, ii. 21 (before 1689).

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