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4:56 p.m. - Thursday, Jan. 25, 2007

Christmas Day, 1870:
I sat down in my bath upon a sheet of thick ice which broke in the middle into large pieces whilst sharp points and jagged edges stuck all round the sides of the tub like chevaux de frise, not particularly comforting to the naked thighs and loins, for the keen ice cut like broken glass. The ice water stung and scorched like fire. I had to collect the floating pieces of ice and pile them on a chair before I could use the sponge and then I had to thaw the sponge in my hands for it was a mass of ice.
— Selections from the Diary of the Rev. Francis Kilvert

You look at a nineteenth-century photographs of an adult, and you're always surprised his or her age you thought they were older than that. I've heard other people remark on this, so I know I'm not the only one with this impression.

I think scenes like the one above had a lot to do with that rapid aging.

These days we stay young-looking because we live in a cocoon of comfort, with central heating, air conditioning, hot and cold running water, microwave ovens, automobiles and so on.

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