easy method of testing the comparative nervousness of the sexes.
Take the very sweetest and most domestic of men, the most home-loving and equable, and see if he can have patience with the children, day in and day out, as can a wife much less gifted by nature with these fine qualities.
The children may be the sweetest ever born, and yet each will be pretty sure to pass through stages in its development when its cross-questionings, its needless resistings, its chronic deafnesses, its endless “What?”
and “Whom did you say?”
will furnish grounds of practice for saintship.
Not that all mothers are equal to this task-far from it; but when it comes to nerves, the average mother takes all this trial and pressure in a way that puts the average father to shame.
I knew a shrewd woman who, whenever her husband had given her a lecture on nervousness, used to contrive to have him dress one or two of the children for school on a winter's morning, after a breakfast slightly belated.
The good man would fall meekly into the trap, not clearly remembering the vastness of the labor — the adjustings and the tyings and the buttonings; the leggings and the overdrawers and the arctic shoes; the jacket, scarf, coat, gloves, mittens, wristers; the hat, or cap, or hood to be pulled and pushed and tied in proper position; the way in which all these things, besides being put on, have to be mutually