THE VAIN MIRROR

    A mirror and a chair being left vis-a-vis in a room began
talking together.  The chair had recently been brought into
the room with other new furnishings, but the mirror had been
a fixture for many years.
    "I pity you chairs;" said the mirror, patronizingly.  "It
must be very humiliating to have people forever sitting upon
you.  I could not stand that sort of thing."
    "Each has its sphere in life," replied the chair, quietly.  "I
do not envy my neighbor his place, or look down on anyone
because his work is different from mine."
    "You could not very well look down on anyone, unless it
were a carpet tack," sneered the mirror, "but you cannot deny
that your position is a mortifying one.  People never notice
you except to cover you up.  Now, they stand before me for
hours just gazing at me, and ladies never pass me without an
admiring glance at me."
    "An admiring glance at themselves, not at you," replied
the chair.  "And since you are determined to speak plainly
allow me to say that I do not think your mission in life a
noble one.  You merely flatter people and promote vanity."
    "So do you promote laziness," retorted the mirror an-
grily, "in spite of your pretended goodness.  I, at least, com-
pel people to stand up.  You have no dignity.  You permit
yourself to be moved here and there by anyone who ap-
proaches you.  Now, I have occupied this same position for
over twenty years.  No one would dare to move me from it.
But, then, you are not of such an old family as I am--you be-
long to the vulgar newcomers who are trying to invade the
aristocratic old circles."
    "I am sure I am willing to be placed wherever I am of
most use," replied the chair, with gentle dignity.  "I have
no false pride in the matter, do do I wish to seem better than
any of my companions.  I did not seek to invade this house
--your mistress brought me here of her own accord."
     At this moment the lady of the house entered the room in
company with a man servant.
    "John," she said, "I wish you to take that old mirror to
the garret.  Mirrors are not used in parlors as they used to
be; besides this one is quite dilapidated and does not harmon-
ize with my new furniture.  You see how much out of place it
looks, contrasted with that beautiful new chair."
    So the vain mirror was tucked away in a dark attic to
pass the remainder of its days.

The Beautiful Land of Nod by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: Morrill, Higgins & Co., [1892]


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