Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/163

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45
THE READING-CLUB.

But straight through our faces down to our lies,
And oh, with such injured, reproachful surprise!
I felt my heart bleed where that glance went, as though
A sharp blade struck through it.
You, sir, know,
That you on the canvas are to repeat
Things that are fairest, things most sweet,—
Woods and cornfields and mulberry-tree,—
The mother,—the lads, with their bird, at her knee:
But oh that look of reproachful woe!
High as the heavens your name I'll shout,
If you paint me the picture, and leave that out.

Alice Cary.

FORCIBLE ENTRY.

It happened out on South Hill, nine thousand miles from Maple Street. The man's wife had taken up the carpet in the bath-room the day before, and put all the crooked tacks in a saucer, and put it on a chair. It is a marvellous thing why women will always save tacks that come out of the carpet; although it is a matter of record, that, out of the countless millions of tacks thus laid by, not one was ever used again, save in the soles of the bare masculine feet. They—the tacks, not the feet—are stowed away in saucers up on high shelves, in dark closets, and in all sorts of out-of-the-way places. And on these dusty perches they remain until the corroding hand of time, and dust, and spider-webs, and dead flies, and flakes of whitewash, and old bits of resin, and chunks of sealing-wax, and old steel pens, and similar accumulations, have filled the saucer to overflowing, when it is taken down and thrown away by the woman, who petulantly wonders who under the sun put all that trash in the saucer, and stuck it up there. And nine times out of ten she charges the crime on her husband. The tenth time she declares it was the hired girl. And always, before the saucer of crooked tacks is stowed away on the shelf, it is stuck around for three or four days on chairs and in corners of the room, spilling out occasional tacks on the carpet of every bedroom in the house, which fill the masculine soles with agony, and darken the air of the bedroom with inartistic but forcible