The Complete Fairy Tales & Other Stories
By Hans Christian Andersen - online book

Oxford Complete Illustrated Edition all his stories written between 1835 and 1872.

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THE SHIRT COLLAR
403
teeth, my little lady. Have you never thought of engaging yourself ? '                                            -*
' Yes, you can easily imagine that,' replied the Hair-comb. ' I am engaged to the Bootjack.'
' Engaged ! ' cried the Shirt Collar.
Now there was no one left to whom he could offer him­self, and so he despised love-making.
A long time passed, and the Shirt Collar was put into the sack of a paper-miller. There was a terribly ragged company, and the fine ones kept to themselves, and the coarse ones to themselves, as is right. They all had much to tell, but the Shirt Collar had most of all, for he was a terrible Jack Brag.
11 have had a tremendous number of sweethearts,' said the Shirt Collar. ' They would not leave me alone ; but I was a fine gentleman, a starched one. I had a bootjack and a hair-comb that I never used : you should only have seen me then, when I was turned down. I shall never forget my first love ; it was a girdle ; and how delicate, how charming, how genteel it was ! And my first love threw herself into a washing-tub, and all for me ! There was also a widow who became quite glowing, but I let her stand alone till she turned quite black. Then there was a dancer who gave me the wound from which I still suffer —she was very hot-tempered. My own hair-comb was in love with me, and lost all her teeth from neglected love. Yes, I've had many experiences of this kind; but I am most sorry for the Garter—I mean for the girdle, that jumped into the wash-tub for love of me. I've a great deal on my conscience. It's time I was turned into white paper.'
And to that the Shirt Collar came. All the rags were turned into white paper, but the Shirt Collar became the very piece of paper we see here, and upon which this story has been printed, and that was done because he boasted so dreadfully about things that were not at all true. And this we must remember, so that we may on no account do the same, for we cannot know at all wfhether we shall not be put into the rag bag and manufactured into white paper, on which our whole history, even the most secret, shall be printed, so that we shall be obliged to run about and tell it, as the Shirt Collar did.