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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.

The very interest of using less pressure adds zest to our work, however it may have seemed like drudging before, and the possibility of resting while we work opens to us much that is new and refreshing, and gives us clearer understanding of how to rest more completely while we rest.

All kinds of resting, and all kinds of working, can bring more vitality than most of us know, until we have learned to rest and to work without strain.

CHAPTER XIII

The Woman at the Next Desk

IT may be the woman sewing in the next chair; it may be the woman standing next at the same counter; it may be the woman next at a working table, or it may be the woman at the next desk.

Whichever one it is, many a working woman has her life made wretched by her, and it would be a strange thing for this miserable woman to hear and a stranger thing—­at first—­for her to believe that the woman at the next desk need not trouble her at all.

That, if she only could realize it, the cause of the irritation which annoyed her every day and dragged her down so that many and many a night she had been home with a sick headache was entirely and solely in herself and not at all in the woman who worked next to her, however disagreeable that woman may have been.

Every morning when she wakes the woman at the next desk rises before her like a black specter.  “Oh, I would not mind the work; I could work all day happily and quietly and go home at night and rest; the work would be a joy to me compared to this torture of having to live all day next to that woman.”

It is odd, too, and true, that if the woman at the next desk finds that she is annoying our friend, unconsciously she seems to ferret out her most sensitive places and rub them raw with her sharp, discourteous words.

She seems to shirk her own work purposely and to arrange it so that the woman next her must do the work in her place.  Then, having done all in her power to give the woman next her harder labor, she snaps out a little scornful remark about the mistakes that have been made.

If she—­the woman at the next desk—­comes in in the morning feeling tired and irritable herself, she vents her irritability on her companion until she has worked it off and goes home at night feeling much better herself, while her poor neighbor goes home tired out and weak.

The woman at the next desk takes pains to let little disagreeable hints drop about others—­if not directly in their hearing at least in ways which she knows may reach them.

She drops hint to others of what those in higher office have said or appeared to think, which might frighten “others” quite out of their wits for fear of their being discharged, and then, where should they get their bread and butter?

All this and more that is frightful and disagreeable and mean may the woman at the next desk do; or she may be just plain, every-day ugly.

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