The Pink Fairy Book HTML version

The Shirt-collar
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 haven't given you any
'When anyone is as beautiful as you,' said the shirt-collar, 'is not that encouragement
'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-
That was not true; it was his master who owned these things; but he was a terrible
'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.