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[240] their nerves, if more sensitive than those of men, are more elastic, and offer a better resistance to the wear and tear of events. We must remember too that it is not the great things of life which prove exhausting, but the small ones, because these call out less in the way of resources to meet them; just as people take cold more readily after a warm bath than after a cold one, for want of reaction. “You cannot seriously maintain,” said a clever woman once to me, “that any cares of political or business life can be so wearing, on the whole, as the task of cooking a dinner.” Then she proceeded to explain how the cook, before every dinner, had to deal with a dozen different articles of food, no two of which were to be prepared in the same manner, or manipulated with the same touch, or exposed to the same degree and kind of heat, or cooked for the same length of time; that the cook had constantly to be going from one to the other, and keeping all in mind ; and that, to bring them all out in readiness at the appointed time, neither underdone nor overdone, neither slack baked nor burnt, neither too cold nor too hot — that this was an achievement worthy of demi-gods and heroes. And I was quite inclined, at length, to be convinced: certainly it was much easier for me to own myself convinced than it would have been to prepare the meal.

But there exists in every household a short and

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