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Annie Payson Call (author)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 164 pages of information about Nerves and Common Sense.

I know there are women who read this article who will say; “Oh, yes, that is all very well for some women, but it does not apply in the least to a woman who has my responsibilities, or to a woman who has to work as I have to work.”

My answer to that is:  “Dear lady, you are the very one to whom it does apply!”

The more work we have to do, the harder our lives are, the more we need the best possible principles to lighten our work and to enlighten our lives.  We are here in the world at school and we do not want to stay in the primary classes.

The harder our lives are and the more we are handicapped the more truly we can learn to make every limitation an opportunity—­and if we persistently do that through circumstances, no matter how severe, the nearer we are to getting our diploma.  To gain our freedom from the rushed feeling, to find a quiet mind in place of an unquiet one, is worth working hard for through any number of difficulties.  And think of the benefit such a quiet mind could be to other people!  Especially if the quiet mind were the mind of a woman, for, at the present day, think what a contrast she would be to other women!

When a woman’s mind is turbulent it is the worst kind of turbulence.  When it is quiet we can almost say it is the best kind of quiet, humanly speaking.

CHAPTER IV

Why does Mrs. Smith get on My Nerves?

IF you want to know the true answer to this question it is “because you are unwilling that Mrs. Smith should be herself.”  You want her to be just like you, or, if not just like you, you want her to be just as you would best like her.

I have seen a woman so annoyed that she could not eat her supper because another woman ate sugar on baked beans.  When this woman told me later what it was that had taken away her appetite she added:  “And isn’t it absurd?  Why shouldn’t Mrs. Smith eat sugar on baked beans?  It does not hurt me.  I do not have to taste the sugar on the beans; but is it such an odd thing to do.  It seems to me such bad manners that I just get so mad I can’t eat!”

Now, could there be anything more absurd than that?  To see a woman annoyed; to see her recognize that she was uselessly and foolishly annoyed, and yet to see that she makes not the slightest effort to get over her annoyance.

It is like the woman who discovered that she spoke aloud in church, and was so surprised that she exclaimed:  “Why, I spoke out loud in church!” and then, again surprised, she cried:  “Why, I keep speaking aloud in church!”—­and it did not occur to her to stop.

My friend would have refused an invitation to supper, I truly believe, if she had known that Mrs. Smith would be there and her hostess would have baked beans.  She was really a slave to Mrs. Smith’s way of eating baked beans.

“Well, I do not blame her,” I hear some reader say; “it is entirely out of place to eat sugar on baked beans.  Why shouldn’t she be annoyed?”

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