There was some commotion in the Tool Chest. “Well,” the Hand Saw was heard to remark, “I know I am superior to you all. As Julius Caesar once said, ‘I came, I saw;’ and when I settle down to work you can hear something drop.”
“But,” said the Hammer, “there is no steadiness in your character. You shift forward and backward, while I am distinguished for always hitting the nail on the head. (Here the Nail was seen to furtively rub his cranium.)
“Mr. Hand Saw,” remarked the File, in a rasping voice, “have you lost any front teeth lately?” “Silence!” cried the Hand Saw. “It’s a shame that gentlemen must associate with such an ugly, cross-grained character as you. You try to scrape every one’s acquaintance.”
The Plane tried to smooth things over, and stated that he would have something to offer before the meeting adjourned.
“Oh, Shavings!” growled the File. Whereat the Paper of Tacks laughed till it burst its sides.
“Gentlemen,” said the Glue Pot, “while you can all saw, chop, hammer and destroy, remember! that I am the only one who can mend and restore. In me are the elements of true greatness.”
“I say,” said the File, “ain’t you somewhat stuck on yourself?” At which the Glue Pot fairly boiled with indignation.
“Permit me,” said the Spirit Level, “to direct your attention to the even disposition which I ever display. I make all things straight.”
“When you have a drop of alcohol in,” suggested the File.
“Your work, gentlemen,” continued the Spirit Level, with an emphasis on the “gentlemen” which was intended to crush the File; “your work is never accepted until I have examined it, and this I say on the—”
“On the dead level,” sneered the File.
The Sand Paper essayed to speak, but was promptly laid out flat, and advised that no unnecessary friction was desired. He had plenty of sand, however, and was only silenced by the Mallet, who rapped loudly for order.
“Where do I come in?” asked the Ten-Penny Nail.
“You don’t,” said the Claw Hammer, reaching for him. “You come out.”
The Jack Knife, who was something of a blade, opened up, and declared that he had a point which he would like to present, but was greeted with loud cries of “Shut up!” which he did, with a click, after threatening to cut the acquaintance of every one present.
At this moment the Auger commenced to stagger ’round, and vow that he would “let daylight” through every one, when the Lid-of-the-Chest, a slam-bang sort of fellow, came down with a whack, and said:
“Boys, I’m onto the whole crowd.”
And the hush thickened.
— James F. Doyle, from the March 26, 1890, issue of Puck – America’s first successful humor magazine and dug up by the official Lost Art Press burrow owl, Jeff Burks.