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by Ambrose Bierce
LIGHTHOUSE
LINEN

LIMB

-n.

The branch of a tree or the leg of an American woman.

   'Twas a pair of boots that the lady bought>,
And the salesman laced them tight
To a very remarkable height —
Higher, indeed, than I think he ought —
Higher than can be right.
For the Bible declares — but never mind:
It is hardly fit
To censure freely and fault to find
With others for sins that I'm not inclined
Myself to commit.
Each has his weakness, and though my own
Is freedom from every sin,
It still were unfair to pitch in,
Discharging the first censorious stone.
Besides, the truth compels me to say,
The boots in question were made that way.
As he drew the lace she made a grimace,
And blushingly said to him:
"This boot, I'm sure, is too high to endure,
It hurts my — hurts my — limb."
The salesman smiled in a manner mild,
Like an artless, undesigning child;
Then, checking himself, to his face he gave
A look as sorrowful as the grave,
Though he didn't care two figs
For her paints and throes,
As he stroked her toes,
Remarking with speech and manner just
Befitting his calling: "Madam, I trust
That it doesn't hurt your twigs."

- B. Percival Dike