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a web of many textures

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Page 170


There is a large class of people who, like electrical
eels, are always on the jump; who seem so charged
with electricity that it appears but necessary to apply
the knuckle to one of their elbows to elicit a shock.
Indeed, it has been proved, in the experience of many,
especially where the battery was a female, that the
shock has instantly followed the touch, either in the
form of a concussion on the ribs, or a sensation upon
the cheek, attended with sparks from the eyes. As a
class, fidgety people, enjoying no peace themselves, are
unwilling others should experience any, and, through
teasing and fretfulness, see their most fidgety disposition
gratified. A noisy foot upon a stair, a voice not
tuned to the fidgety pitch, a dress a thousandth part of
an inch awry, a stray hair escaped from its fastening,
and ten thousand other things equally trivial, will excite
the battery, and fidgets will ensue, revealing themselves
in many unhappy explosions of temper. The fidgety
are not confined to the female part of humanity; — the
masculine has its share. This need not be told, as so
many instances are to be seen. We knew a man change
his place of worship from an Orthodox to a Unitarian
church, because there was an angle in the wall that was
not true, — the fidgets coming upon him every time he
looked at it, and he could not enjoy the sermons; and
another, too conscientious to change, who kept at home
altogether, because the minister tied his neckerchief in
a granny-knot. Some cannot remain still a moment,
but spend their lives in very busily doing nothing, or
undoing what they have done, like poor little Luke
West, in his transposition of chairs upon the stage.
They are always changing pictures, or clearing up or


Page 171
moving round; coming out, in the end, just about where
they started from. This class are unhappy to see a hat
hung on a wrong peg, a scrap of paper as big as a pea
on the floor, or a door ajar; and fret in most miserable
discontent, exciting the same feelings in others, because
they are not understood. It takes everybody
to make a world; and this doctrine we are growing
more and more to believe, every day. Fidgety people
are, doubtless, designed, if regarded rightly, to quicken
the torpidity of negative people, who otherwise might
simply vegetate. They are vitalizers, and should not
only be tolerated, but welcomed; and, instead of being
unhappy in contact with them, we should note the effect
of their fidgeting as we would the effect of a galvanic
battery, and cry, admiringly, “What a nice shock that
was!” and feel, in our quickened blood, instead of
anger, that it had done us good.