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when he had a shirt, however, he made up
for his compelled abnegation of show by the
fullest display of his linen, adorned by studs of
the purest strass. It was bad enough to have
become the property of a thief, but I must
confess that my pride was still more hurt by the
reflection that I who, when I lived with Lord
Millstone, had been decorated with real
diamonds, should now be reduced to paste. I had,
however, to reconcile myself to a great deal worse
than this, while I continued in The Mizzler's
possession. "Fronti nulla fides" is a maxim which
they would have done well to remember, who,
deceived by my respectability, imagined that
anything respectable pertained to Mr. Thomas
Rumball. Those guileless persons would not
then have allowed that gentleman to button up
their money, for safety, in their own trousers-
pockets; nor have accepted their share of
legacies which the unexpected heir was at a loss
what to do with; nor have played at cards or
skittles with one who knew nothing whatever
of the game, and only joined in it for the
sake of being good company; none of these
things would they have done, could I
disgusted at the villany I witnessedhave warned
them against my swindling master. But the
wheel came "full circle" at last, nor was I
sorry when it came; for though it introduced
me to the last vicissitudes of a shirt's career, it
released me from my degrading companionship
with The Mizzler, who, when he was sentenced to
four years' penal servitude, had to wear shirts of
a very different material from the flax of Courtrai.

After that, I passed through several hands,
but my memory is not very clear as to the order of
succession. Or one fact, however, I am certain;
that, after being tumbled out of a large and very
promiscuously-filled clothes-bag, and being
carefully inspected by a lady with strongly-marked
Caucasian features, I was pronounced unmendable,
and fit only to be cut up into pillow-slips:
which state of life I was thereupon adapted to,
considerably to the profit of Mr. Manasseh
Moses, my last purchaser. A dreamy sort of
existence was thenceforth mine, and a confused
recollection for some years of a species of
conversation which goes by the name of "curtain
lectures." But pillow-slips are not eternal,
and my constancy at length gave wayI mean,
my texture. I then degenerated into as many
dusters as my economical mistress could fashion
out of my worn and wasted frame. I was
tossed about here and there, crumpled, stained,
made to do duty for everything. At length
I degenerated to the last degree of which linen
is capable, and once more found my way into a
bagbut this time it was the rag-bag.

The era of tinder-boxes had gone by, or the
last uses to which I might have been applied
would have prevented my present revelations;
but I was destined to throw a light on other
things besides the domestic hearth. A higher
and better lot awaited me. I contributed my
weight to a heap of chiffons, and soon found
that an existence of idleness, if mine could be
called such, was my destiny no longer.

Along with my companions in misfortune, as
I then thoughthow differently I think now!—
I was consigned to the hands of women: beings
that bore little resemblance to Aglaë or Anna
Maria: who cut me up into small pieces with
their sharp knives, as if they sought to avenge
themselves for the perfidy of the Honourable
Percy Plantagenet Mowbray Fitz-Howard,
whose victims many of them might possibly
have been. WeI must needs speak plurally
nowwere then thrown into five or six
different compartments of a large chest, according
to our several qualities, my merits as a rag
being as conspicuous as when I occupied a
higher sphere. I must not conceal the truth.
My pursuits as a duster had left me very
dirty, and it was necessary that I should be
washed. I had been in hot waterliterally
and figurativelymany hundreds of times, but
my previous scaldings were nothing to the
lustration I now underwent. A Turkish bath
is a trial to the human frame, but it is a trifle
compared with the searching ordeal of steam to
which I was submitted. After the act of
purification, came a renewal of the cruel treatment
to which I had been subjected in my fibrous
condition. As I had been combed and scutched
in the earliest stage of my career, so I was
hacked and scarified in my latest. My
instrument of torture was a hollow revolving
cylinder, the surface of which was furnished
with a number of teetheach sharper than a
serpent'sso placed as to cut against other
teeth that were fixed beneath. I say nothing
of my sufferings under this process; let it
suffice that the cutters never ceased from their
workas we lay well soaked in wateruntil
they had divided every one of our filaments
and mangled us into thin pulp; and all the
while this torture was going on, we were
deluged with chloride of lime until it
became a part of our substance: the object
of this commixture being to make us perfectly
white. Our state of purgatory was at length
over, and we were ready for translation to the
paradise we now enjoy. As pulp, or, to speak
technically, "stuff," we were poured into a large
vat and kept at a moderate temperature by the
heat of a stove: our fibrous matter being held
in suspension by a continuous motion carried on
within the vat by means of an apparatus, which,
out of spite, perhaps, to Hebrew rag collectors,
is called "a hog." A shallow square vessel
covered with wire cloth, next received us, and,
the deckle, a very thin frame of wood, was fitted
close upon the mould to keep us down, and limit
the size it was meant we should attain. Then
ensued the duties of the vatman, who dipped the
mould into the vat, and having filled it with
ourselves, the stuff, shook us about to distribute
us equally, released us from the pressure of the
deckle, drained us thoroughly, and then handed
us over to another workman, called a coucher,
who removed us from the mould and deposited
us on a piece of woollen cloth or felt, there to
remain until we were joined by others of our
kindred and formed a lofty pile. But we were