University of Virginia Library

Search this document 

a web of many textures

collapse section 
collapse section 


Page 102


Very much of human happiness depends upon the
dicky, — more, perhaps, than we are aware of, or are
willing to admit. Harmony is made to respond with
the vibration of its strings, and those strings draw at
times closely about the heart, as well as the neck. We
challenge philosophy to maintain itself against a refractory
dicky-string or a treacherous button. The placidity
of temper that might bear a man along above and
defiant of other accidents, shakes to its centre when
tested by accidents that pertain to the collar. He
becomes, perforce, choleric at once. It is not every
one who knows how to wear a dicky: upon some it
is never becoming, sitting as ungracefully as the sides
of a wheelbarrow. Such people adopt the demi-dicky,
that presents the suspicion of a shirt, but gives people
a strong idea that the wearer is undergoing a choking
sensation. Gracefully worn, the dicky is eminently
ornamental, — the mirror before us gives assurance of
the fact; but such as have not been provided by
Providence with necks adapted to the wearing of
dickies, should never essay it, but stick to turn-over
collars instead. Wyars was a melancholy instance of
the folly of such ambition. His head had, for some
wise purpose, been placed upon his shoulders without
the intervention of a neck, and he aspired to wear a
dicky! But it was the sort of ambition that o'erleaps
itself, and condign punishment attended such gross
infraction of the law of fitness. His dicky, as if sensible
of the folly of trying to be respectable, broke
through all restraint; and, meet Wyars when one might,
the dicky showed symptoms of eraticism: now about
two points off the wind, now at right angles with the


Page 103
body, and one day he appeared with both points of the
dicky peeping very quizzically from under the hind part
of his hat, he looking for all the world like the man
with the turned head. He gave it up shortly afterwards,
and now wears an extended binding of his shirt
for a dicky, that comes up under his jowls like a splinter
for a broken leg, keeping his head in a perpetual
perpendicularity, like a martinet on parade.