THE SHIRT-COLLAR 55
That was not true; it was his master who owned these things ; but he was a terrible boaster.
'Don't come so close,' said the garter. 'I'm not accustomed to such treatment! '
' What affectation! ' said the shirt-collar. And then they were taken out of the wash-tub, starched, and hung on a chair in the sun to dry, and then laid on the ironing-board. Then came the glowing iron.
' Mistress widow ! ' said the shirt-collar, ' dear mistress widow! I am becoming another man, all my creases are coming out; you are burning a hole in me! Ugh ! Stop, I implore you ! '
' You rag! ' said the iron, travelling proudly over the shirt-collar, for it thought it was a steam-engine and ought to be at the station drawing trucks.
' Rag ! ' it said.
The shirt-collar was rather frayed out at the edge, so the scissors came to cut off the threads.
' Oh !' said the shirt-collar, ' you must be a dancer! How high you can kick! That is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen ! No man can imitate you ! '
' I know that! ' said the scissors.
' You ought to be a duchess!' said the shirt-collar. ' My worldly possessions consist of a fine gentleman, a boot-jack, and a hair-brush. If only I had a duchy! '
'What! He wants to marry me?' said the scissors, and she was so angry that she gave the collar a sharp snip, so that it had to be cast aside as good for nothing.
' Well, I shall have to propose to the hair-brush! ' thought the shirt-collar. ' It is really wonderful what fine hair you have, madam! Have you never thought of marrying ? '
' Y^es, that I have!' answered the hair-brush; ' I 'm engaged to the boot-jack! '
'Engaged!' exclaimed the shirt-collar. And now there was no one he could marry, so he took to despising matrimony.