THERE was once a fine gentleman who possessed among other
things a boot-jack and a hair-brush; but he had also the
finest shirt-collar in the world, and of this collar we are
about to hear a story. The collar had become so old that he
began to think about getting married; and one day he happened
to find himself in the same washing-tub as a garter. 'Upon my
word,' said the shirt-collar, 'I have never seen anything so
slim and delicate, so neat and soft before. May I venture to
ask your name?'
'I shall not tell you,' replied the garter.
'Where do you reside when you are at home?' asked the
shirt-collar. But the garter was naturally shy, and did not
know how to answer such a question.
'I presume you are a girdle,' said the shirt-collar, 'a
sort of under girdle. I see that you are useful, as well as
ornamental, my little lady.'
'You must not speak to me,' said the garter; 'I do not
think I have given you any encouragement to do so.'
'Oh, when any one is as beautiful as you are,' said the
shirt-collar, 'is not that encouragement enough?'
'Get away; don't come so near me,' said the garter, 'you
appear to me quite like a man.'
'I am a fine gentleman certainly,' said the shirt-collar,
'I possess a boot-jack and a hair-brush.' This was not true,
for these things belonged to his master; but he was a boaster.
'Don't come so near me,' said the garter; 'I am not
accustomed to it.'
'Affectation!' said the shirt-collar.
Then they were taken out of the wash-tub, starched, and
hung over a chair in the sunshine, and then laid on the
ironing-board. And now came the glowing iron. 'Mistress
widow,' said the shirt-collar, 'little mistress widow, I feel
quite warm. I am changing, I am losing all my creases. You are
burning a hole in me. Ugh! I propose to you.'
'You old rag,' said the flat-iron, driving proudly over
the collar, for she fancied herself a steam-engine, which
rolls over the railway and draws carriages. 'You old rag!'
The edges of the shirt-collar were a little frayed, so the
scissors were brought to cut them smooth. 'Oh!' exclaimed the
shirt-collar, 'what a first-rate dancer you would make; you
can stretch out your leg so well. I never saw anything so
charming; I am sure no human being could do the same.'
'I should think not,' replied the scissors.
'You ought to be a countess,' said the shirt collar; 'but
all I possess consists of a fine gentleman, a boot-jack, and a
comb. I wish I had an estate for your sake.'
'What! is he going to propose to me?' said the scissors,
and she became so angry that she cut too sharply into the