There was once a fine gentleman whose entire worldly possessions consisted of a boot-jack and a hair-brush; but he had the most beautiful shirt-collar in the world, and it is about this that we are going to hear a story.
The shirt-collar was so old that he began to think about marrying; and it happened one day that he and a garter came into the wash-tub together.
' Hulloa !' said the shirt-collar, ' never before have I seen anything so slim and delicate, so elegant and pretty! May I be permitted to ask your name ? '
' I shan't tell you,' said the garter.
' Where is the place of your abode?' asked the shirt-collar.
But the garter was of a bashful disposition, and did not think it proper to answer.
'Perhaps you are a girdle?' said the shirt-collar— ' an under girdle ? for I see that you are for use as well as for ornament, my pretty miss!'
' You ought not to speak to me! ' said the garter; ' I 'm sure I have n't given you any encouragement! '
1 When anyone is as beautiful as you,' said the shirt-collar, ' is not that encouragement enough? '
' Go away, don't come so close!' said the garter. ' You seem to be a gentleman ! '
' So I am, and a very fine one too! ' said the shirt-collar ; ' I possess a boot-jack and a hair-brush !'
1 Translated from the German of Hans Christian Andersen.