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XXXV. the secret of the birthday.

In a late treatise on American literature, while the year of birth is carefully given for each male author, the same fact is systematically omitted in the case of women. If any class of women might be supposed free from the affectation of more youth than belongs to them, it is the sisterhood of the pen, inasmuch as to them the increase of years usually implies a more assured position and a better income. Yet on inquiring of a friend who makes books of reference professionally, I am assured that literary women do occasionally show this sensitiveness as to their ages; and it is also sometimes the case, he adds, with literary men. In fact, he tells me very frankly that he does not quite enjoy giving the exact figures as to his own age, or seeing them in print.

Reticence as to years is not, then, a monopoly of either sex; but it belongs, no doubt, more especially to women, among whom the graces, and especially the earlier graces, of life are not only more lavishly distributed, but bring a more delicious adulation.

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