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
“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
“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
“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
“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!” said she.
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 shirt collar, and
it was obliged to be thrown by as useless.
“I shall be obliged to propose to the hair-brush,” thought the
shirt collar; so he remarked one day, “It is wonderful what
beautiful hair you have, my little lady. Have you never thought of
“You might know I should think of it,” answered the hair brush;
“I am engaged to the boot-jack.”
“Engaged!” cried the shirt collar, “now there is no one left to
propose to;” and then he pretended to despise all love-making.