The Golden Censer - The duties of to-day, the hopes of the future
by John McGovern
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When you have conquered the natural inclination to be what is familiarly known as a "smarty," there is still a greater wisdom to acquire. Avoid hearing, where it is not absolutely necessary, anything that you will have to keep secret. The less secrets you have the less discretion will be necessary to protect them. After you have heard a thing from your employer, keep it to yourself. The youth who talks about his employer's business must have other marvelous faculties to succeed in life. He is a Blind Tom. He plays the piano, but the wonder is how he does it. It must be that it would hurt your feelings if you heard another merchant say of your employer that he keeps a pretty good boy, except that


If you can shut up your mouth now, you can keep it shut when you get to be Secretary of the Treasury and a whole syndicate of bankers are trying to pump out of you whether you mean to pay off $100,000,000 of 5 per cent bonds the next week, or merely reduce the interest 1-1/2 per cent. If they could tell, they could make a million dollars, and unless you have been all your life a discreet man, be assured they will tell. If your employer's rivals in business find out through you where your people get a certain line of goods, how much is paid for it, or


be assured you will never succeed either as a man in business for yourself, or as a worker under the direction of others. Your employer may be embarrassed and the fatal knowledge may have come into your unlucky ears. You will hear it whispered all around you. Why? Because no one knows "for sure." Everybody wants to see if you know anything about it. Can you not see how much luckier you would have been had you really known nothing of the state of things? A word, a look, from you, may turn from your employer just the helping hand that would have carried him across a tight place. How many battles have been won by the arrival, just in time, of a reinforcement! Make it a point that, if you are inclined


you were not cut out for "business." You had better become a lecturer, a farmer, or something else, and occupy a field where industry alone will save all your interests. Remember the miserable barber of King Midas in mythology. The King had been cursed by the offended god Apollo with asses' ears. To hide his deformity he had his barber dress the hair over the ears, and the barber was then sworn with an awful oath of secrecy. But the "tonsorial artist" (as they call him in the city!) was one of those people who could not stand the pressure. He went out in the field and dug a little hole, and


that His Majesty had been smitten by Apollo. What was the astonishment of the world at hearing the reeds that grew hard by whispering among themselves, whenever the wind blew them confidentially together, "King Midas hath asses' ears!"

Be in mortal fear of the first error in this regard. When a boy has made a record for bad, it seems to hang to him. The fact that he has told something which he ought to have kept to himself is quoted against him until it becomes a positive habit to speak about it every time his name is mentioned.

"Jimmie, where's your outside man? I heard he was in town. His cousin asked me to inquire."

"Oh! no! he's not in town. He went out on the road last night. He will be in Eagertown to-morrow, Brightside Wednesday, and Upearly Saturday."

That is exactly what was wanted out of you, and you must excuse your questioner if he hurries on, so as not to be seen pumping you any longer than is necessary.

Now this style of gaining information is low and contemptible, but of two boys who talked, one of whom said a good deal that did not amount to much, learning a good deal that did, and the other letting out a great deal and learning nothing, there can be little doubt of the business success of the first as compared to that of the second.

Put a copper-toe on your tongue. Remember that Gen. Grant made a great part of his fame by letting other folks do his talking.


When my friends are blind of one eye, I look at them in profile. —Joubert.

There is no outward sign of courtesy that does not rest on a deep moral foundation. If you are always courteous without difficulty, you are endowed with a nature naturally moral. You are naturally a gentleman. Anyhow, you are behind the counter, and you desire to sell goods. You wish to have customers brighten up when they see you. Very well, brighten up yourself. You ought to be glad to see them. If they are not glad, they, perhaps, have less reason for joy. They are about to part with their money in order to get something they cannot part with so easily. You went to work in the morning hoping a good many people would come in. Now here they are. You can smile on the young lady, but can you smile on the old woman? You can if you are a man. It is nothing but good-breeding to do it. What is this boasted word "good-breeding?" It is "the result of much good sense, some good nature, and a little self-denial for the sake of others, and with a view to obtain the same indulgence from them." Chesterfield, a man who was as prominent in England as Daniel Webster in America, expressed his astonishment that anybody who had good sense and good nature could essentially fail in good-breeding.


If he or she be brusque, be yourself pliable, respectful, and by all means quick. Do not stand in front of him or her with your head down ready to hook or to butt. You are glad the customer has come in. That should solve the whole problem. In the city you are required to "put up with" the bad mannered fashion that people have of treating a clerk as if he were a piece of furniture, but in the town this is all changed. A majority of the citizens know you, and all regard you with better breeding than would the city customer. You are young and positive, because you know very little about life. Curb yourself. Let the customer make all the statements he has to make. He will run out of them presently. In case he want any of yours, he will then ask for them, and literally be at your mercy. As to


have them very clean. It will be a positive advantage to you to wear no rings. In case the people like jewelry, it distracts their attention from the great idea (a sale); in case they do not like gew-gaws, it will put you in opposition. Make your great effort in the direction you think the customer's mind is taking. Sell him what he thinks he wants first. So much, sure. Then, if he changes his mind, it will be to your profit, generally. When the customer speaks to you, it gives you your programme. If he be cheery, imitate him. He is your friend and is giving you an example. If he look hard at you,


at him. Serve him with alacrity, say nothing not necessary, and the joy in your heart will thaw him out before long. Express to your customers your desire that they should come again,—never by words, because that is too difficult, except in a barber-shop, where it is a custom—but by opening the door for them at their departure, even if you have to keep another customer waiting, and by thanking them on receipt of the money, or upon delivery of the goods if it be on account. There are very few people who will remain cold toward you after they find out you are really glad to see them. The general store of the rural town makes


respectful, dignified, alert, and unruffled. I saw a clerk at the postal money-order office in St Paul. The Swedes and Poles go there often to send away money. That young man had such a charming way of showing an old Swedish woman just how to make out an order before she had learned to write, and he had such an awe-stricken way of receiving the instructions of other money-senders who knew all about it, that I felt he was a credit to America, and I mention the reminiscence only with diminished pleasure from the fact that I have forgotten the young man's name. Courteous treatment of a customer is necessary under every conceivable circumstance. It may be a busybody has come in to worry you, who never bought a cent's worth of you or anybody else whom you know; nevertheless her tongue is an advertisement. If you can gain her good will, even comparatively, as weighed by her estimate of other clerks, it is better than a column advertisement in the local papers. When Zachariah Fox, a great merchant of Liverpool, was asked by what means he contrived to amass so large a fortune as he possessed, his reply was: "Friend, by one article alone, and in which thou mayest deal too, if thou pleasest,—it is civility." "Hail! ye small sweet courtesies of life, for smooth do ye make the road of it, like grace and beauty, which beget inclinations to love at first sight; it is ye who open the door and let the stranger in."

"We must be as courteous," says


"to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light." There is more natural courtesy in the country than in the city, just as there are more privileges where three clerks are at work than where there are a hundred. And then, again, civility seems to be lacking in the city as well naturally as out of necessity. Milton has put this forcibly by saying "courtesy oft is sooner found in lowly sheds, with smoky rafters, than in tapestry halls and courts of princes, where it first was named." The small courtesies sweeten life. The great ones ennoble it. The extent to which a man can make himself agreeable, as seen in the lives of Swift, Thomas Moore, Chesterfield, Coleridge, Sydney Smith, Aaron Burr, Edgar Poe, and those odd creatures called


goes to show the immense importance of the art, and its influence in determining the success of any man in business. Good-breeding shows itself the most where to an ordinary eye it appears the least. Says Chesterfield: "How often have I seen the most solid merit and knowledge neglected, unwelcome, and even rejected; while flimsy parts, little knowledge, and less merit, introduced by the Graces, have been received, cherished, and admired." You have seen beautiful swords of auroral flame dart into the zenith; you have seen marvelous flights of meteors, which were gone ere your admiration had given rise to a cry of pleasure. So it is with manners. They irradiate our presence, giving to our associates


of those qualities which are universally loved and respected—gentleness, unselfishness, gladness and peace. Your clothes, while under twenty-five years of age, should be very neat. Your shirt should be clean. This does not imply that you are to break extra backs to keep fresh shirts ready for you, but that you are to make extra efforts to keep the one you have on unsoiled for a decent length of time. If your clothes are dark, get in the habit of wearing a black silk or satin neck-tie and wear it some one way all your life. It helps people to "place" you. Generally a sack coat makes a very tall man look shorter, and a frock-coat looks all the better for a change. The clothes should be loose, so that they will


The young man who purposely keeps his mind on his fine clothes is lost. He is a coxcomb. He has no greater influence with the young ladies for all his fine feathers. Let me leave you selling a large bill, remembering that civility costs nothing and buys everything, and feeling that the very perfection of good manners is not to think of yourself.


Behold there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. —I Kings, XVIII, 44.

Franklin says that, if you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher's stone. Cicero, many hundreds of years before Ben Franklin said: "Economy is of itself a great revenue," and another Roman writer put it still better when he said: "There is no gain so certain as that which arises from sparing what you have." "Beware of small expenses," again writes Franklin; "a small leak will sink a great ship." In our large cities there are thousands of servant girls earning from two and a half to three dollars a week. The men who employ them often get from twenty-five to one hundred dollars per week, yet it is a notorious fact that the prudent servant girl usually has more money at her command, clear of all debts, than her employer, whose expenses scrape very closely against his income. Now you are on a salary in a store. Perhaps that salary is yours, to spend as you see fit. If so, remember that, like the highest officer in the land, you have certain duties. If you were President you could not appoint your old schoolmate Secretary of State unless he had made as much progress in politics as yourself. So, too,


you cannot make yourself so valuable to your employer that he will not, before he advances you, inquire into your personal expenses, and find out what you do with your money. If you have spent it, year after year, as fast as you could get it, he will have great misgivings about letting you into a position where your desire to distribute currency can possibly lead you to practice on his funds. Among the easy ways to spend money in a small town is the habit of hiring livery-rigs. The business is just as useful as a drug-store, but no poor boy should hire equipages for mere pleasure. To attend a funeral, or to take a sick mother or sister out in the sunshine, is commendable. The youth who does that rarely needs the other suggestion, however, for those who spend the most money at a livery stable are usually seen with their mothers and sisters the least. No young man who thinks well of himself will enter a saloon at all. Often the worst classes in the whole country frequent


men who dare not walk through the streets of any of the large cities. Perhaps at the card-table in the groggery across the street is a man who has come to your town to break into your employer's store! Anyway, there is no "business" in the world which returns so little for the money accepted as the saloon. Take


for instance. It is worth a dollar to a dollar and a half. It has been taxed ninety cents by the Government, leaving it worth that much less. Well, now, a man is expected to go into a saloon, and, for about three tablespoonsful of this stuff, he pays ten cents in the town and fifteen cents in the city. Your news dealer pays eight cents for an illustrated paper, and twenty-eight cents for a popular magazine. He sells the one for ten cents and the other for thirty-five cents, taking all the risk of not getting a sale. If you could afford to travel with such people as are found in saloons, in the first place, and to put such truly abominable stuff in your mouth in the second place, you could not, even then, in the third place, afford to give fifteen cents for what is in fact worth less than a mill. You are in reality giving away your money to the Government and the saloon keeper.


and those who have made their fortunes and their bad habits the saloon-keeper. I have dwelt on this, because these are few young men who are not tempted. All the above applies to tobacco. It is an utterly obnoxious habit to use tobacco. It is the cause, together with the dough falsely called pastry, of all the dyspepsia in our climate. It ruins the eyes, it costs money in vast quantities, returning almost nothing in goods, and has but one redeeming feature that I know of—it is


and it makes a musty room smell a little better. If you can keep out of saloons and shooting galleries, you will not play billiards or cards—both very expensive—you will not use tobacco, and you will be less apt to go to dances and hire livery teams. Should you preserve yourself against these vices of our young men, you will have money without denying yourself clothes as handsome as a poor young man looks well in. Three short years' savings will put you in possession of a sum of money sufficient to set you to thinking about business for yourself, either with your employer or alone, for


A man is a failure almost before he thinks he ought to have been considered as started. If you have been receiving small remuneration, be assured that a capital all the smaller is needed in your town. The market value of labor is the largest element in the problem of business. If you worked cheap, then others will, and if they will, it is because living is cheap. The high-priced man in the city has to be paid highly because of his expenses, not because he has taken a vow to save a large amount of money. "He who is taught to live upon little owes more to his father's wisdom than he that has a great deal left to him does to his father's care," says William Penn. "He is a good wagoner who can turn in a little room," says Bishop Hall. How many a man, in getting a costly home, has found that old Franklin was right when he said it was easier to build two chimneys than to keep one in fuel. Therefore, when you get anything,


A horse will eat you poor; a gun will cost you a hundred guns. Think of it when you buy them, and you will thereafter have no regrets, besides being less apt to make such purchases. "Gain may be temporary and uncertain," says Franklin, "but expense is constant and certain." "Not to be covetous is money; not to be a purchaser is income," says Cicero. "A fool and his money are soon parted," says the adage. "Live by hope, and you will die by despair," says the Italian proverb. Save all you can honorably. Harness it up and make it pull also by bringing in to you a little interest. Here will be your first real business move—one of grave importance. The little cloud that ariseth out of the sea, like a man's hand, will soon cover your financial sky, and bring an abundant shower of the good things of this life.


I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none.—Shakspeare.

Courage is adversity's lamp. Perhaps the young man's courage is more sorely tried than that of the man of middle age, for age dreads the whip of events, while youth champs their bit. Youth cannot endure the thought of a long siege. The ladders must be put against the walls, the breach must be clambered through, and if the citadel be strong, the rash onset will be repulsed with heavy loss. But Hope dotes on youth. The young are her flock, her fold, her children. Into the hands of her children she puts the scimitar of courage, and bids them go forth again. Let us suppose you have been cast down your ladder, and have little but your courage. It may be necessary to leave your pleasant little town and seek employment where men are used as machines—in the great cities. Such a fate is, indeed, a sad reverse. The safety of home, the magazines of moral ammunition stored all about you, the bomb-proofs against the shells of soul-destruction aimed at every soldier in life, will all be torn from you, and you will be as a Knight of the Cross, alone on the desert. Perhaps


Now buckle on your armor. You do not need an intrepid courage, now; intrepid courage may have brought you here; intrepid courage is but a holiday kind of a virtue, to be seldom exercised, as experience will teach you. You need firmness to resist all kinds of attacks. You need good-nature, and yet you must repel temptation with a look as black as Erebus. You need affability, yet you must speak almost by rote, and the opportunities to keep from speaking outnumber the exigencies in which you must speak by ten to one. You must be tender, and yet you must be cruel as a surgeon. Without these opposites well balanced in your character, you will not fight the battle successfully.


won his battles by hurling ten thousand men upon two thousand. Simple, was it not? Now you are one young soldier. You will have to find a place in the enemy's lines which is even weaker than you before you can throw yourself against it with success. You, therefore, cannot be too circumspect. If the General pushes two thousand men against one thousand, on ground that is otherwise even, he is a wise leader, but if he finds four thousand enemies there, and if his principal attack is hazarded in the action, he is always accounted a daring fool. Let me recall


who broke through the enemy's lines, in the City of Chicago. He got eight dollars a week in a city on the Mississippi River, and was led to believe that, if he went to Chicago, he could get ten dollars. He was employed as a clerk in a Commercial Agency, a business which aims to ascertain the standing and degree of success or lack of fortune of the retail dealers of the region it covers. He felt that eight dollars a week were all that he could ever get where he was. Upon his arrival in the City of Chicago he was put at work for seven dollars, the representations made to him having proven unreliable. There were about fifty young men and women in the same room. Seated at his desk when eight o'clock came, he found that his chances to rise were seemingly restricted to the hours of noon and six o'clock. In this way he worked for six months. He was fortunate enough to obtain board at five dollars a week, leaving him, after his washing, perhaps a dollar and a quarter clear. To a man of twenty-five years who could see the real difficulties of his future, the need of a high quality of moral courage was urgent. And he had it. He got acquainted with a humble friend, considerably better off, who therefore, could talk to him very bravely of the dignity of labor, and the honor of paying one's way, even if it took only five dollars and seventy-five cents to do it. This young friend did thus encourage and inspire the young clerk, and he was able to set about improving his mind.


during this six months, and thus acquired a style of simple expression which would be of value to him in his reports when he should travel. He read Plutarch's Lives. He studied French, and read "The Man Who Laughs" and "Paul and Virginia," two remarkably different works. You see he was a man of persistence. But such a mind finds the humiliation of a dollar and a quarter a week all the more bitter. A man conversing with Plutarch about the relative merits of Pompey and Lucullus, or of Marius and Sylla, dislikes to be


for being ten minutes late, and dislikes to return to his landlady at the end of the week and give her five-sevenths of the whole spoil of Bythnia and the Propontis! One day the second assistant manager spoke to him, and this ray of hope lit his way to a seat on a high stool to write out "tickets" for merchants who send in to see about Blow & Co., of Bugleville. This gave him eight dollars a week, and enabled him to go to a theatre once in a while and hear


One night he approached his friend and announced that the die was cast, and that he should become an actor. Nothing could be worse than he was doing. Absolutely no business paid less than eight dollars per week, unless it were his own itself which had paid him seven dollars. It was a summer month. A theatre was empty. A dramatic agent had agreed to get up a company and run the place a week. It would require only twenty-five dollars from the young man. He would then be a sharer in the profits, would be given a minor part in the cast of characters, and would thereafter be secured


or John Raymond at about fifteen dollars a week. The dramatic agent was to have ten dollars from the first week's salary of the regular engagement. As he was working at absolutely bottom figures (board usually costing at least six dollars a week) and as he was skillful at his business, and could command work at all times if he were willing to work for his board, the young man thought he was not very rash in making an attempt, and yet it seemed to the friend of the young man like the memorable jump of the fish out of the frying-pan. The difficulty of going back to work after a failure was entirely overlooked. The young man paid his twenty-five dollars, absolutely the frugal hoard of six months of toil, got a leave of absence for three weeks, and studied all one week, meanwhile eating five dollars' worth of very poor board.


up to Thursday, when the company failed to pay in advance for the gas, and it was shut off. He spent the next two or three days preparing himself for a part in "The Gilded Age." On the second night the "heavy man," Raymond, became enraged at the manner in which this part was borne, and demanded that the character be given into the hands of another person. This was the finishing stroke. The young man stayed at "home" for three days, and on Friday night went to see his more fortunate associate. To his friend, who perhaps saw things in a prejudiced light, it seemed like a conspiracy to make good the dramatic agent's word of promise—to keep it to the ear and break it to the hope.


he was in debt for three weeks' board, and he had been ruthlessly and ignominiously branded with failure. He reverted to Brutus at Philippi, to Cato, and he was nearly on the verge of suicide. It may be that the cheering words of his friend brought out his true but latent courage. What were a troop of vulgar and ill-mannered players to him? What was a dramatic agent but a harpy? He was worth a whole theatre full of actors such as had worked almost his ruin. Go back and put his nose down to the grindstone, his desk, where, at least they paid men enough to live on, and did not make it necessary to cheat a poor landlady!


has said that "true courage is the result of reasoning. Resolution lies more in the head than in the veins, and a just sense of honor and of infamy, of duty and religion, will carry us farther than all the force of mechanism." The young man had the courage to go back. His friend was gratified. As the months passed the bitterness departed. Christmas Day the young man was sent to the Stock Yards to do a week's-reporting. That Christmas-week was one of the coldest ever seen in this climate. The young man's unweathered ears and nose were badly frost-bitten. But notwithstanding this great obstacle of a cold snap he made a success of his expedition. His reports demonstrated that the Bible and Plutarch had not been sown on stony places, and that good English could be used in reporting the standing and prospects of a retail firm as well as in a memorial to Congress. When he got back


spoke to him, and the second assistant assured him that one of the "outside men" would soon be put aside to give him a chance on the road. When a young man goes on the road his board is paid, so that it is that much of an advance of salary. Six long months, however, ran along at eight dollars a week, and the unsatisfactory man on the road proved more influential than the second assistant. When our young man saw this, he went to the manager, demanded nine dollars a week, and got it after a loud protest from that broad-hearted functionary. The next week—this was in the summer—he went on the road in place of a sick man, traveled through nearly all the towns in Illinois and Iowa, and made a fine record, both as to the character of his work, his speed, and his expenses. Upon his return a rival firm, hearing of his work, made him a proposition at a thousand dollars a year and expenses, with two months' holiday each year, and he signed a contract. His first year's tramp took him through nearly all the towns of Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado. He returned in August, with nine hundred dollars in cash credited to his account in the bank and demanded and received fifteen hundred dollars and expenses for going over the same route the next year, and to-day he stands with his head as high among his fellows as any young man in America. Now a retrospect of the young man's short career shows that


He never failed when he had any chance to succeed. He never will. For such a man the world is not a world of chance. It is almost a certainty. The opportunities are more frequent than the men with courage.


since 1842 the young man passed through experiences on the road, brought about by deep snows and blundering Postmasters that would sicken anybody's heart, experiences that without excellent brain-work would simply have stalled anybody, but his coolness, his use of the telegraph with unerring judgment in following the movements of his superior (who was traveling in like difficulties—it was like Kepler making a path for Mars while himself riding on the earth),—extricated him, and made his journeys little more costly, all told, than those of the preceding year. In the city all depends on courage. This young man espied a few weak places in the enemy's lines. He attacked with vigor. In the charge on the theatre he met the enemy in force and was thrown back with heavy loss, but in all the other onsets the enemy had no force to withstand him. One quality which the young man had in a large measure was the fear of failure. "The brave man is not he who feels no fear, for that were stupid and irrational; but he whose noble soul its fear subdues, and bravely dares the danger Nature shrinks from." There is a quality much akin to moral courage, which, however, is not present very noticeably in the strongest natures, but which is


I will present it in the following pages. But let me assure you that if you have the truest courage—the kind that this young man had—you will not need the quality which I will next take up. Hope rides in a palace-car, along the railroad, and over the tremendous bridges which Courage has constructed.


Hope, like the gleaming taper's light, Adorns and cheers the way: And still, as darker grows the night, Emits a brighter ray.—Goldsmith.

Hope is the best part of our riches. For it alone reaches further than any other—off into the world which is to come. But I am speaking to you of the practical advantages of hope. Bacon says: "Hope is leaf-joy, which may be beaten out to a great extension, like gold." It has been most beautifully said by Hillard that the shadow of human life is traced upon a golden ground of immortal hope. Shakspeare says the miserable have no other medicine. "Hope is a prodigal young heir, and Experience is his banker, but his drafts are seldom honored, since there is often a heavy balance against him." Now to make his account good in the First National Bank of Experience, what should Hope do? He plainly should begin the deposit of probabilities to draw against. Walter Scott says: "Hope is brightest when it dawns from fears," and I should think his drafts would be honored just so far as they were drawn with circumspection. "Folly ends" writes Cowper "where genuine hope begins." But where there is no hope there can be no endeavor, so whether it exist in superabundance or not let us cultivate it as one of the loveliest of the flowers of life, as absolutely the sweetest perfume that ever burns in the Golden Censer. Let me tell you how


of one of the finest young men in the land. He was the son of a wealthy wine merchant who had failed in business near Bath-Easton, England. Like many other lads, he felt the sting of circumstances which promised to alter, and without good advice got ready to come to America. He was well trained in the wine trade, and supposed that employment would at once open to him. He brought over two guns, two revolvers, a field glass, a sword, much valuable jewelry, about twelve suits of clothes and not a very large amount of money—possibly three hundred dollars. After seeing Boston and New York, he "left for the plains," and


the year before the great conflagration. Here he was met by other English friends, and the New Year's calls customary in the city were made "in fine style," for he was an engaging young man. In just a casual way he inquired for work, but found his trade did not exist in the New World. He was thus in the worst business position conceivable. He had had no drill in anything that would do him any good. Upon spending the last of his money one night—I think it was for a game of billiards—he made up his mind that he would go out after work the next day. This he did. He tramped the snowy streets early in the morning. He waded in the slush at noon. He clambered over the frozen mud at night. But everywhere it was dull. The employers were keeping their men simply to have them when the busy season began. All would say:


His campaign in Chicago was methodic. He took a certain street each day. He canvassed one side in the forenoon. He returned in the afternoon, often carrying his lunch. He never lost hope. But oh! it was discouraging to those who saw it. Another young man came from St. Louis to the boarding-house and got a situation in a great dry-goods house, as entry clerk, for he was a skilled man. This was unfortunate for our friend, for the companionship of the St. Louis accession was a positive injury. He resembled the pictures of Byron and was of a viciously despondent turn of mind. He hated life and life's duties. Our friend fell into the toils. Together they bemoaned the hardness of the world, and presently,


they overturned kingdoms and systems of society as they blew the foam from their beer. This folly led to a fight at the boarding-house which lowered our friend from an English gentleman to a fellow who was destitute and drunken, but it opened his eyes. St. Louis left for warmer climes, but our friend redoubled his energy, and finished the actual canvass of every decent-looking place of business and factory in Chicago! This is, as I believe, from actual evidences I had at the time, an actual fact.


asked every probable employer in Chicago whose attention he could secure if there were any work, and the answer was "No, sir!" This took him till about the first of May. He had no influence. He had no friend who had influence, nor any chance to get one. His watch, rings, and scarf-pin gradually went to the landlady. His shot-gun, field-glass and clothes were carried to the pawnbrokers. For his musket he got a dollar, and


half as much—upon a solemn promise to redeem it, as even the pawnbroker doubted the wisdom of such an investment at his own figures. That week the young man encountered a gentleman who, in England, had known him well. The disparity in their positions was great, as the gentleman was now able to give and recently had given his church ten thousand dollars, but that disparity had been greater in England, where it had been in favor of the young man. However, this did not prevent the gentleman offering the young man a job of gardening at a dollar a day, as that was a good bargain, and that did not prevent the young man eagerly accepting the offer. That week he earned his board. The next week he was adrift again, quite well used up from heavy work, but very active. His hope was the one striking point in his character.


could always be heard. People liked to have him around, but they never seemed to pay him anything in return. Early in June he got a job sandpapering window-frames in a city cellar. This tried his mettle for it broke his hands to pieces, but he worked through the job at eight dollars a week. It ruined about twenty-five dollars' worth of clothes unavoidably. Coming out of the cellar the last day of the job, he looked into a store which was just opening. Did they want clerks? Oh, yes. "Lots" of them. How much did they pay? Five per cent. What were they to sell? "Milton gold jewelry." All right.


was made a sensation. It was all in the name. Had they called it brass the people would have stood off. Make a chain that looks like gold, call it Milton or Shakspeare or Byron gold, and the people want it—or, at least they did, the year of the fire. The sales of our friend footed up more than those of any of thirty clerks, and netted him about a dollar and a quarter a day. But this charming industry could not last. The people had bought a chain which they supposed to be worth sixty dollars for a dollar and a half. In two weeks the chain would fade. It was a necessity of the business to keep moving. Our friend could have gone to some other city with the lover of Milton, if he had paid his own fare, but he was heartily disgusted with the business, the scheme being essentially American. He next was taken to Morris, Ill., by some kind of a gang-worker. The English system of working from farm to farm with a large force was to be tried. There he was treated a good deal worse than hogs should be used. Finding his way back to Chicago, he again began


He called on an advertiser who wanted him to travel at a figure so low that the question arose as to how he would pay his board, when the advertiser told him he supposed his applicant understood that he "would have to beat the hotels!" In September came the news of the death of his sister and mother. And still he tramped. He was now in what his casual acquaintances considered "a hard hole." His landlady was "carrying" him—that is, she was wanting his room worse than his company, but, being a kind-hearted Irish woman, she could not believe another week would pass without better success. No one with a trade—no one with the slightest influence—knows what difficulties are before a stranger in a strange land.


on Saturday the seventh of October, 1871, he started out, again full of hope. About a mile and a half to the west of the city he entered a hotel at which he had often applied before. The proprietor had broken his leg the day before. He wanted "a likely young man," Here was one. The proprietor was himself an Englishman. Here was a youth whose rosy cheeks proclaimed the shores of Albion. On Sunday he made ready. That night and the following two days there came a calamity that horrified the civilized world—perhaps the barbarians as well. The employers who had refused him shelter and food ran like droves of wolves before a prairie-fire, and filled their famished bodies off a charity that has been likened to that of the Savior of the world, so freely was it given. His hotel was not burned. In the arduous labors of housing three where one had before been quartered he showed an ability which attracted the attention of a dealer in real estate who soon took him into his office. Here he learned a trade. His employer soon found that he had a man who could make a map worth fifty dollars as well as the map-makers, and this gave the young man practice. Hope, kindled into such a flame, led the young man in a march of improvement that even continued in his dreams, for he often dreamed out some combination of colors, some freak of lettering, that elicited everybody's admiration. All this improvement


but it led to his permanent engagement in a substantial enterprise of the kind, where work, elegant and original, will always await him, and where his usefulness is ever apparent to the most unwilling investigator. From being the victim of the most cruel circumstances which a man in health ever encountered under my observation, he has become the valued companion of the leaders of thought, of art, and of music, and I feel confident that the whole of his ultimate success at one time in his career depended on the fact that he had more hope than any other man I ever saw.


which keeps the soul from sinking in despair. Hope is the sun, which as we journey towards it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us. Dr. Johnson has well and truly said that the flights of the human mind are not from enjoyment to enjoyment, but from hope to hope. It is a strange frailty of human nature that we part more willingly with what we really possess than with our expectations of what we wish for. The man who curbs this tendency is known as a man of wisdom. What a beautiful poem is


How the changes ring upon the beauties of "Hope, the charmer," until, at last, we see her smiling at the general conflagration, we see her lighting her torch at nature's funeral pile! And yet what an ingenious device was that of the ancient, who, knowing the powerful allurements of Hope, put on the front of the magic shield "Be bold! Be bold!" and on the other side "Be not too bold!" There is a development of hope known as audacity. A touch of audacity is generally considered necessary to get along in the world. Be careful that your audacity is never called "cheek." When you have rights to retrieve, you cannot be too audacious; when you expect something for nothing, and demand instead of appealing, you are "cheeky." It does not pay in the long run. It is the sign and seal of a greedy nature.


trembled in the nightmare of the Revolution, and the Kings of Europe had agreed to conquer and dismember her, there arose a dark-faced man in the tribune of the French Congress. He was a man of terrible personal power and magnetism. Hope must have cradled him in his babyhood. He hurled a defiance at Europe that fairly shook France to a delirium of patriotism, and as he was drawing to a close he thundered; "What needs France to vanquish her enemies, to terrify them? Naught but audacity!—still more audacity!—always! audacity!" Fourteen republican armies sprang forth full armed, as though Danton's words had been the fabulous dragon's teeth sown ages before in the bright fields of mythology.


therefore God inspired her. Be sure, when your flights are bold, that you have the right. "Thrice armed is he who hath his quarrel just." Hope has been defamed more than any other of the joys of life, just as the most charitable become the target of the greater portion of the malignity of fault-finding fellow-creatures. Treat Hope fairly, my young friend, and she will never desert you, neither will she poison your expectations, as did the hags who prophesied to Macbeth.


Who sees with equal eye, as God of all, A hero perish or a sparrow fall, Atoms or systems into ruin hurled, And now a bubble burst, and now a world.—Pope.

I have here quoted one of the grandest flights of the human fancy, and with a purpose. If God, who is perfection, and in whose image we are faintly formed, watches the weakliest of his lambs, supports the weariest of his poor sparrows, should not we, in trying to be true men, endeavor to pay equal care to all things intrusted to our attention, be they great or be they small! And more than that. The little errors beget myriads of their kind. "Many mickles make a muckle." The habit sooner or later, leads some of us into an awful abyss, where it had been better we had not lived. Errors creep into character just as ideas get into our brain. Says Moore:

And how like forts, to which beleaguers win Unhoped-for entrance through some friend within, One clear idea, wakened in the breast By memory's magic, lets in all the rest.

Says Franklin: "A little neglect may breed great mischief; for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; for want of a horse the driver was lost; being overtaken and slain by an enemy, all for the want of care about a horse-shoe nail." "In persons grafted with a serious trust," says Shakspeare "negligence is a serious crime." And so it is.


In September, 1873, a conductor on the Chicago and Alton Railroad started south with a freight train. He was to stop at a station a few miles from Joliet and wait for the incoming passenger train from St. Louis. He consulted his watch. That unhappy piece of mechanism told him that he had time to reach the next station. He spoke to the operator of the telegraph. That person could give him no information as to where the passenger train was, and he, determining not to wait, pulled out. As his train was still within hearing, the operator rushed to the platform with the news that the passenger train had left the nearest station! The operator knew that


a knowledge that has sometimes deprived railroad men of their minds forever. Soon the awful shock reverberated afar, and from nine to fifteen persons were killed in a horrible manner. One of the most prominent men of Chicago was scalded so that the flesh left his skeleton. An unkind fate preserved the conductor to confront his ignominy. It was found that


How could such a butchery have been brought about, save by a course of small errors which had eaten into his moral nature, leaving him a great ghoulish fiend of Carelessness, running his pitiless Juggernaut up and down the highway between two great cities! The hideous errors made by men are always indicative of those particular men. Some people never make errors at all! Why? Because they are careful. Simple, is it not—like Napoleon's tactics? Yet that constant care is so wonderful in its effects that human science cannot peer into the mystery of its action. Men laboring under total aberration of the mind have been known to carefully wind a clock at a given hour, and evince no other power to do a reasonable thing. Begin early in life to do all these little things with the greatest care.


who actually pay little attention to things gross and palpable, but follow the more closely those minute clews which, interlacing and concentering, often as a whole, lead them, with the greatest certainty, to the dark hand that did the foul deed. Here is


On Tuesday, the third of May, 1881, Scranton, Willard & Co., brokers, of New York City, sold to Decker & Co. stocks to the enormous sum of $127,000. For this property Decker & Co. wrote a check on a bank for $127,000, and a messenger was sent by the cashier of Scranton, Willard & Co., to have the check certified—that is, to have the bank officials write across the face of the check in red ink "Certified," meaning that the money was there and would thenceforth be dedicated to the redemption of that particular piece of paper. The boy returned with the check, the cashier put upon his own file a "tag" representing the amount of money, along with many other similar records, and the boy was sent with the check to the Bank of North America. The boy handed to the banker, with the check, a similar "tag" from the cashier, which was also filed. When you deposit money, at many banks, you fill out a "tag" or deposit-check, and offer it with the money, which "tag" is used by the banker as a safeguard against errors and lapses of all kinds. When Scranton, Willard & Co.'s cashier reckoned up his "tags" he found no record of a check for $127,000. He immediately accused the boy of purloining the check, and inquiry at the bank (met by the reply that no such check had been deposited, as shown by the depositor's own "tags") strengthened his suspicions.


were at once notified of the loss of the great check, and costly engagements were made to advertise the matter all over the country. The boy was not arrested, but his case was not neglected, you may be assured. Repeated cross-questioning failed to shake his simple statement, that he had done as he had been told to do.


were behind that afternoon, and the cashier stayed until late in the day to get them balanced. After he had finally secured the totals of the day's transactions, he found that he had received, according to the depositors' "tags," $114,300 less than he had paid out. In some perturbation he recalled the notice of Scranton, Willard & Co., and at once sent to them, to see if that affair had anything to do with his immense discrepancy. Following this line of inquiry, Scranton, Willard & Co.'s cashier found that, in attempting to put the figures "127,000" on the "tag" of deposit he had neglected to write the last cipher, and the "tag" for $12,700 which had been made in its place, added to $114,300 which the banker lacked in "tags," exactly made up the $127,000 which the bank had in reality credited to Scranton, Willard & Co.'s account. How could a man leave off


Simply by a course of instruction and development in error, until, probably nothing save the most colossal sums would command his unqualified attention. Let us suppose your mother or sister gives you a letter to mail. Do not put that letter in your pocket. Carry it in your hand until you reach the place to post it. Do this for years. After that drill, when you get a letter to mail, you will not need to keep it in your hand, for you will feel it in your hand just as long as it is in your pocket, as the one-armed man has sensations in both hands!


I spoke in the preceding chapter of the ancient shield with its "Be Bold! Be Bold!" Now, on our modern shield we would put "Be Correct! Be Correct!" and it would not be necessary to put on the reverse side "Be not too Correct!" You cannot afford to make errors! Last year a gentleman drew a sum of money from the First National Bank of New York City. As he was about to leave the building, he discovered an error. He returned to the paying teller. He said: "I think you have made a mistake in paying me." The cashier stood there, by chance. "No, sir," said he, "we never make mistakes!" "But," said the gentleman, "you gave me twenty dollars too much money!" "No, sir!" thundered the cashier, "we never make mistakes!" Not for twenty dollars in cash would that banker admit that the establishment with which he was connected ever made a mistake. And you can be assured that


most of the ordinary blunders of business. Now if this great rich banker could not afford to indulge in mistakes, how much less can you, who have your whole fortune to make, be anything less than strictly accurate in all your operations? Study the spirit of that banker's answer. Imitate his horror of an error. He must have had good reasons for that feeling.


A customer comes in from the country. He says: "I have brought a load of wheat to town to-day—about fifty bushel I should guess. I'll be in after noon and settle my account with you." Very good; you, the clerk, hurry to your books, to make out his account. When he comes in, he glances over it, and says: "Good gracious! you haven't given me credit for four dollars and seventy-five cents I paid you last May. I recollect it because I was in town to get a corn-planter when I paid it. And I've got your receipt, too." Sure enough, there is the receipt, which you have filled out yourself. And yet you failed to make an entry of the fact in his account. Shame covers you.


Your employer begins to talk of the fall plowing as soon as he can, but the farmer goes over to your unscrupulous competitors in business, relates to them the fact that his scrupulous attention to details has saved him four dollars and seventy-five cents, and asks their opinion as to whether or not an attempt were not made to cheat him. His listeners talk about you in a mild-mannered way—

Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer.

Off goes your customer in his lumber-wagon, carrying that gross libel upon your place of business, to fill the prairies and the openings with its brood of gossiped offspring, until, some day, it comes back that your employer is a horsethief and has served a term in the penitentiary!

The errors which are often made in handling figures are just as annoying. It is a trifling error to call eight and four thirteen, but it often may disconcert an immense calculation. Like the pebble in the shoe, small in itself, it may do great injury. Some years ago there traveled through the country a genuine "lightning calculator." You could put down any number, big or little, while his back was turned, and he would turn again and mark the total with far greater rapidity than he could speak, and he thought out the total far quicker than he could mark it. Of course, he had a magic book to sell, but when you came to read his magic book and see how he did it, you found it was the same old way, only he was more expert than you. He could add four thousand two hundred and twenty eight and three thousand six hundred and fifty four as easily as you could forty two and thirty six, or perhaps four and three, so you see that the scheme of running up a single column of figures is at best a clumsy one.


to additional errors by enlarging the possible additions in a body of numbers. We are taught the multiplication table up to twelve times twelve. We never stumble up to that point. But it ought to continue up to one hundred times one hundred. We could then always add two figures to two figures easier then to parcel the operation out into two jobs. The "lightning calculator" had probably carried it up to five thousand times five thousand. Take an interest in "sums." Learn


For instance, to multiply any set of figures by 11—say 54—add the 5 and 4 together and put the 9 between the 5 and the 4. To multiply 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 by 11, do the same way, only carry your 10's. Thus 6 and 5 are 11, put down 1 before the 6; 5 and 4 are 9 and 1 to carry is 10; put down the before the 16, etc. Again to multiply, say 18 9's by 9, bring down a 1, then make 170's and a 9 out to the left. Again to square numbers, call even 10's the body; call the rest the surplus,—104—add surplus to body making it 108; now square the surplus (4) making 16 and put it after the 108, or 10,816. This is simply taking advantage of the 10s. Take 33 and you will see. Here 3 is the surplus; add the surplus, making 36; multiply 36 by 30, making 1,080; square the surplus, 3 times 3—9; add to 1,080—making 1,089. You see you get an even thirty to multiply by and load up the sum to be multiplied sufficiently to balance. Above 5 call it a deficit and go to your next 10 for your body.


not because they are good for anything practical, but to get you to take up figures and be quick with them. Get yourself up a multiplication table running to 50 times 50—there's something practical. The man quick and accurate at figures is always esteemed.


is a vast record of the changes in pronunciation which have been brought about by affected people as well as careless and ignorant people. "'Tis true 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true." But you cannot change it by spelling "balance" with two ls, or "sure" with an h. Be accurate in your spelling. Restrict yourself to such words as you can spell, and you will soon improve if you are guilty of such errors. In conclusion, if you go fishing and catch three perch and one black bass, say that you caught those fish, and not that you caught three black bass and one perch. Right there is where you can form habits that will shine out in your face as you grow to the full dignity of manhood. You see I lay special stress on habit. The Duke of Wellington said that habit was ten times nature. Horace Mann said


We weave a thread of it every day, and at last we cannot break it." Dr. Locke said with a wonderful knowledge of life: "Habit works more constantly and with greater facility than reason; which, when we have most need of it, is seldom fairly consulted, and more rarely obeyed." Thus, you see, when a man is spoken of as a person "of good habits," it means something more than is usually conceived. It means he is under chains which he cannot break—and, in reality, that he could not be a bad man without suffering and discomfort.


Nothing succeeds so well as success.—Talleyrand.

The man Talleyrand, who made the above mocking assertion, was one of the closest observers of human nature who have ever lived. And yet what he said in a spirit of uncommon hatred of his fellow-beings is really another way of saying the exact truth—that success comes only after so many trials and disappointments that the world, considering it a safe rule, admires the result, and feels that the reflected credit for a great result belongs to him upon whom it falls. Beside you toils a young man of your own age. He does not seem to care to rise. He dislikes the few duties of the present, and would be inclined to shrink from further responsibilities. It may be that he is the happier as compared with you, but men must not consult simply their own individual happiness. Sooner or later all men take on a broader burden than merely their own support. Try early in life to get the start which the experience of others furnishes you. You are lucky that you were born in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Men before you have, by ambition and energy, made the affair of living easier for you. Right here in youth is the time to begin the battle. You are now a private.


Make up your mind to have shoulder-straps early in the campaign. You cannot afford to miss a single battle. Every opportunity which opens to you is a city to be taken, and you are to be put in command. See that it surrenders. No city ever properly besieged evaded final capitulation. The chances are all in your favor. Remember, when you contemplate your unambitious comrade, that he is likely to change his tastes as he grows older. If he cannot give a reasonable degree of encouragement to those tastes he will then become crabbed and sour. Wherever you see men crusty and difficult to please, be sure they have had cities to take and failed to capture them.


a Scotch poet who died at a very early age, said very appropriately: "To bring the best human qualities to anything like perfection, to fill them with the sweet juices of courtesy and charity, prosperity, or, at all events, a moderate amount of it, is required—just as sunshine is needed for the ripening of peaches and strawberries." Now how are you to catch this marvelous sunshine of prosperity? Simply, do not shut it out. Your comrade has had the moral ague. He fears that, if the sun shine on him, it will bring a return of his fever. When the sun shines on you, do not miss a ray. It makes you grow.


are soon learned. Why is it that the affairs of walking behind a counter and actually knowing what your employer pays for his goods so soon lose the magic there once was in them? It is because the human brain is supple, and comprehends quickly. By the time certain problems are solved others spring up. See that you solve them. The mind should be pacified in its desire for new conquests.


as to whether or not you are fitted for new endeavors is to find to your own true satisfaction that you can do your duties better than anyone not in daily practice of the same kind of work. If your employer can take hold and do a thing once a week better than you who do it a hundred times a day, then it should still have considerable charm for you, for your mind is strangely unfamiliar with the procedure. When a clerk stays in one position all his life, it is certain to be from


and he lacks a good deal of each. Every little while, through the sickness, advancement, or bad judgment of others, a place just a little more responsible than your own is left vacant. Somebody is wanted badly. You are the man, and are put there for the interval. There is the pivotal point. By unusual endeavor you can probably fill the place better than it was filled by the regular occupant. Your employer, expecting less of you, gets more, and praises you. Now, by praising you, he is, somehow or other,


If he "keeps you down," he shows his poor judgment, and he is not going to do that if he can help it. On the other hand, your comrade is put in the vacant place. The duties are hard and perplexing. He is compelled to go and ask a man for some money. The man is mean. He not only refuses the money, but addresses some personal considerations to your comrade which sicken him to the heart. He returns to your employer with a tale of failure well tinged with his own morbid feelings and wounded vanity. Your employer is irritated, and attributes the fiasco to the ambassador. To satisfy his own views of things, he prophesies that your comrade never will amount to anything, anyhow. Now, to see this prediction verified is, unfortunately for your comrade, just as necessary to your employer's self-love as to see you succeed. The point of the first opportunity, the first impression on your employer, is really central, pivotal. If you get a big iron safe on such a spot, you can turn it with extraordinary ease.

There is no road to practical business so good as practice. You read of clerks being educated by sham forms of business. You might as well read of men gambling with counterfeit money. Business men want clerks who have been private, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain. When a man starts in as captain he is likely to get discharged as private. In the great printing houses


are required, to see that the types are spelled out, one by one, into the right words, and that the right words are rightly spelled. Now let a college graduate apply for such a position. He knows Greek and Latin. He can spell—or thinks he can. He can turn you out a sentence, which, after going about so far, refers to what it is talking about, cuts a pigeon-wing like the boys on the ice, tells a little tale between two dashes, and one inside of that between two parentheses ("finger-nails," the printers call them), again refers to what it is talking about, and closes up with three unaccented syllables following a heavy sound. Sometimes folks hire this gentleman. The proof-slip is thrown in wet, greatly to his horror, and after drying it he finds they are waiting for it outside, and some other proof-reader is compelled to take it. Then he learns he must read it wet, as it is. Pretty soon the foreman of the printers brings in a proof-slip which is set in three sizes of type where the gentleman discovered but one size. Then the foreman of the proof-room has a discouraging way of taking the gentleman's proof and marking from eight to ten glaring typographical errors which the gentleman has overlooked, and eight or ten typographical absurdities, which he has approved, and, horrors upon horrors! eight or ten errors of "style." Now, for the first time, the gentleman has learned that every time the word "President" appears in the newspaper it is either capitalized or uncapitalized, while he had naturally supposed that it took its chances, the way a picnic does!


of his utter incompetency to fill the place of a trained man. And he never gets half so complete a view of his uselessness as do those around him. Such proof-readers rarely work two nights. They are corporals in captains' places. Or, perhaps, they are captains of artillery in the infantry service. What do folks do when the best proof-reader is missing? They go out into the type-setting room and take the brightest printer they can find. He cannot tell French from Latin, but he can see a fair share of the errors in a proof-slip, and will not let the telegraphic abbreviation for government go into the paper as "goat," nor that for Republican as "roofer," as I have seen collegiates do.


Give him a little practice and he is a captain. With energy and ambition failure never comes if you only know the difficulties. "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread" is as good in business as in poetry. In the great cities there are long streets lined with retail store-rooms of every quality of location. They rent at from twenty-five to a hundred dollars a month. Many a store-room has not had an occupant in it for ten years who did not grow poorer. No good business man could be induced to enter into a business at such a point. But


like the collegiate into the proof-room, convinced that they could do what good business men know to be impossible,—that is take in eight dollars a day and pay fifty dollars rent, on forty per cent profit. Here and there is a grocer who gets up at half past five in the morning, opens up, puts out his eggs, oranges, berries, lemons, potatoes, beans, and bananas, sweeps out, gets out his horse, goes to the market-street, does a day's buying there and elsewhere, and by eight o'clock is ready for business, just about as the man who expects to share in trade with him is unlocking his doors. Speak to the eight o'clock man and he will tell you that he has to stay up till ten at night, and that he cannot burn the candle of life at both ends. But, for all that, he is grievously disappointed when the final collapse comes. Nothing succeeds like success because very few things are like success. Nothing on the street succeeds like this grocery, because nowhere else on the street is so much work done by so few men. Nowhere else does the proprietor put all of his time and his money into his business, and, in strawberry time, for instance, retail thirty-five dollars' worth of strawberries in one day with only one clerk, one delivery-boy and a cashier! At the same time, this successful grocer would not invest one cent in the store-room opposite, where, with so much confidence, the eight-o'clock man has put all his money.


"Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off," says the Bible, yet that is precisely what we are doing when we smile at the sally of some envious dealer about the "luck" of our grocer—that "nothing succeeds as well as success." But the landlord goes on renting his store-room, and thanking his stars that the fools are not all dead yet. Do not desire a position two grades ahead of you. The one that is next to you is your proper goal. Over the shoulder of the companion who holds it you can get many a glance long before your chance comes to do the work, and, even then, what looked so very easy to you before it came your turn to do it, will now "shoot light horrors through you." In a large measure people are bought at their own prices. If they are worth those figures, their fortune is made. A celebrated painter was once asked how he mixed his colors. He replied that


Mix brains with your business. Like the opium or chloral slave you will be able to endure a larger quantity each day, and the effect will not be darkness and death, but light and life. Simply because you think you can do a thing is no great sign you can do it. You must have brains and probabilities in your favor. You must absolutely have done something very nearly like it. I never saw a more signal instance of the general self-conceit of the race than in the experience of a young man who once sold a little rubber reed which he laid on his tongue, and with which


After seeing him do it, the crowd would gather about in great herds, with their "quarters" high in the air, anxious to purchase, and just as sure they could do the same thing as the eight o'clock man that he can get a crowd into his store. I do not remember a solitary instance where a purchaser ever acquired the least facility in imitating the sounds of birds, and I have been tempted to believe the "machine" was a "dummy" by which the salesman conveyed to the gaping crowd the hope of acquiring his wonderful art. Do not, in the journey of life, attempt impossible stages of travel because they look easy at the start. Stop at each inn which the experience of years has shown to be necessary for your continued comfort. But never, on any account, lie down between the inns, for the outlaws called Failure and Discredit will fall upon you and work your destruction. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave." "In the morning sow thy seed." "Let us crown our selves with rosebuds before they be withered."


But to our tale.—Ae market night Tam had got planted unco right Fast by an ingle bleezing finely Wi reaming swats that drank divinely; And at his elbow Souter Johnny, His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony; Tam lo'ed him like a very brither— They had been fou for weeks thegither!—Burns.

I cannot but feel much apprehension in approaching a subject so nearly allied to the actual inner character of a man. "A man is known by the company he keeps." I cannot admonish the blind that they should see. I cannot suggest to Tam O'Shanter that he should not associate with Cobbler Johnny. Why, he loves him like a very brother! Indeed, as the last sublime token of friendship, have they not been drunk for weeks together? Besides, are they not such worthless wights that they will do less harm in associating with each other than in enlarging their power of evil by operating on new material? If you are Tam O'Shanter, I cannot very well advise you to seek out some worthy young man for an associate and attaint his character and his reputation by clinging to him. Now the only thing I can consistently do is to hope you are a young man


and selfishness. I can hope that you are a young man who, in going on a fishing excursion with some reputable person of your age, will not cast a cloud on the mind of that person's employer, and cause him to fear that his clerk is falling instead of rising in self-esteem. Let my hope be taken as an enduring fact. Now I feel I am on safe ground. You are building a structure. On your west party-wall your neighbor is also erecting one. He is building it so that it will fall down—that is plain. When it falls it will involve you in its ruins because the middle wall supports both edifices. What do you do? You go to the authorities, and they make him take down his house brick by brick. In this way the law surrounds you with its beneficent protection, and you need not suffer from the faults of others. But alas!


when you put up a party-wall you must abide by the conclusion. If your companion reflect credit on you, then you are doubly strong, but if he pull you down, then there is no relief and little sympathy. Let us suppose that, in an absolutely evil hour, you have learned to play billiards. A brother-clerk says: "Let us play a string at dinner-time!" Across your mind flits the bright green table, the beautiful ivory balls, the wonderful angle which you discovered the last time you played, and, compared with the dull routine of the store, you momentarily feel that


would be truly beneficial. So, at noon you go. There never was a game of billiards that would end precisely at the moment you should leave for duty. There never were two employes who played billiards who did not cheat their employers out of considerable time. There never was an employer who would not resent this injustice. The comrade who does not play billiards will, sooner or later, get an absolute advantage over you. You will come in, complaining of your luck only to find that your slow-going comrade has "got something" which you have missed. Employers do not want head-clerks or partners who hang around billiard saloons or livery stables. "He who comes from the kitchen smells of its smoke." What can you get at a billiard saloon? You can get the good opinion of some person who is never civil to anybody. His incivility has a charm for your young mind. You naturally imitate him.


He says: "Have you any buttons like this?" showing one about fourteen years old. You look at him insolently and say "Nah!" (meaning "No, sir"). This makes the other clerk (who plays billiards with you) laugh very heartily, but it makes your employer laugh out of the other corner of his mouth, for he has no business to keep such a clerk, and the customer knows it. The customer may avenge himself by refusing an extension on a note which he holds, and that note, possibly, may have your employer's name on it! The mistake you make in this particular case is in applying the manners of a billiard-saloon to the uses of a place of business. A very ordinary-looking old man was one day standing in a great bank in New York City. He was talking with a friend, and the friend spoke of desiring to have a draft cashed which had been drawn in his favor. Knowing that the old man banked at that place, he asked him to step up to the paying teller and identify the drawer of the money. This the old man, naturally, attempted to do. He said: "I know this gentleman to be Alvin H. Hamilton." The paying teller looked at the old man and judged him by his clothes. He said: "I don't know you at all, sir! Pass along." This did not please the old man. He expostulated. "Pass along!" yelled the teller, looking ominously toward the policeman, who edged toward the group.


said the old man, hotly. And he drew a blank check, engraved in a costly manner, from his pocket, and wrote on the "please-pay" line "Five hundred and fifty thousand dollars." Then he signed his name to it, turned it over, put his name on the back of it, and got in line again. By the time he was at the window the word had gone along the line. The receiving teller, the collecting clerk, the certifying clerk and the examiners, had passed the news to


that something unusual was about to happen, and those magnates had rushed to the paying teller's side. "Do you know that signature?" said the old man with a gleam in his eye. Now it was the teller's turn to feel wretched. "Pay five hundred and fifty thousand—Babbit, soap man! oh! what an idiot I am!" All this went through his head. The president, the cashier, abased themselves before the irate old man. It was all a mistake! They assured him! They assured him! Beg pardon! Impertinence of new teller. And a' that, and a' that. But it would not do! The money went to another bank, and a business worth thousands of dollars annually was lost, together with the natural prestige of such patronage. There was what I should call


and a costly one. Drop that style. Says Bishop Horne: "It is expedient to have an acquaintance with those who have looked into the world; who know men, understand business, and can give you good intelligence and good advice when they are wanted." "He that walketh with wise men" says the Bible, "shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." Try to frequent the company of your betters. Good books are safe companions. Good men, a little older than yourself, are still better. Perhaps good women, who take an interest in young men, are better than all others, for they are more unselfish, and often have a spare thought for the young man that makes his life happier.


The leer of the man who has sold lemonade in a circus has a strange charm for a young man. It has a strange repulsiveness for the "solid man" of business. The look of a man with a cigar put in his mouth at a sharp upward angle and with a hat lurched like the cargo of a bad sailer, has a strong fascination for a young man. It is a strong irritant to the man whose companionship is an honor. You cannot do better than to frequent some church, rent a sitting, and have a positive engagement two or three times a week. You are a great gainer by this. It may cost you a little; but you will get all that back in moral capital—just as valuable in business as money. Says George Washington: "The company in which you will improve most will be least expensive to you." In your church you will meet men who do not live all for themselves, as does the dominant mind in the bar-room. Their drill and discipline have made them more unselfish. They will help you in many ways. They will throw a rope to you and pull you aboard. Sooner or later your association with them will get you position, respect, family, happiness, success, and above all, that peace which passeth all understanding. Do not take this as preaching. It is as practical as anything in this book. Chesterfield says: "No man can possibly improve in any company for which he has not respect enough to be under some degree of restraint." What makes mankind revere Shakspeare Because he said fine things? No. But because he said true things. Listen to him: "It is certain that either wise bearing or ignorant carriage is caught, as men take diseases of one another."


Conference maketh a ready man.—Lord Bacon.

Now stirs the lated traveler apace To gain the timely inn.—Macbeth, Act III., Sc. 3.

What is there about going to a strange town on business which should make a man's heart feel like a cold biscuit inside of him? A young man may have been to a certain village on endless excursions of pleasure, when his pulse beat as gloriously as the bass drum on a grand circus-entry into town, yet when he has to go to the depot to take the cars for that same town to sell goods there for the first time in his life, it is harder to carry his heart to the train than it is to lug his grip-sacks. When you feel that way, do not feel ashamed. All the "old heads" on the road have been in that predicament. Talk to your heart the way you think about a mother when she mourns for her child. You say "Let her feel bad. It's natural. It'll do her good." Now when your home begins to drop out of sight behind, and the conductor comes along to punch your ticket rather than to comfort you, say to your heart "Go it, you you old ninnyhammer! It's natural for you to thump, but you can't interfere with business, you know!" Your mind is all right. It's your body. Now, while


you look back over the goods in the store. Of course, you are positively familiar with everything in stock. You came out on the road either because you asked to go, or because other folks had espied a faculty of persuasion in you which they thought would sell goods. Sometimes a man looks persuasively, sometimes he talks persuasively; sometimes he both looks and talks it. This is after he has had practice. "Iron sharpeneth iron. So a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." Now this town you are going to is a band of enemies. How can you make a conquest? By doing as Napoleon did. Set your own time for the fight, pitch upon one man at a time, always pick out one not used to your mode of warfare, and then clean him out before he thinks the action has begun. "Formerly," says Bovee, naively, "when great fortunes were only made in war, war was business; but now, when great fortunes are only made by business, business is war."


How dirty those houses look! O, yes, they are the habitations of the poor. You know the hotel you are going to, of course. You know where it is. Now you grab your valises, your overcoat is on, and you climb down. Want a 'bus? It's only fifty cents for a ride of a block and a half! Well, you will get along without it. The labor will get your blood going. You have thus made a sale already, equal to two dollars. Put that down to your credit. By this time, although you are among the Philistines, you are yourself again. You go into the wash-room of the hotel, enter the dining-room, eat a very poor meal, and get up to begin the fight. Now sit down a half-hour and let your food get started in your stomach.


Does not the General spread his maps before him? You probably have a certain firm in your mind, either by chance or direction from your employer. This, of course, is the weak point in the enemy's lines. Here he has trusted to the ground as it looked from his side of the field, when, in reality, it presented few difficulties from yours. Some experience in the world has led me to believe that if a salesman has come to the opinion, even in the most absurd manner, that he can sell a certain man goods, he can do it, almost beyond the chance of a doubt. I once knew a successful solicitor who seemed to do all his work at his desk. He would sit in the greatest gloom


That was a fact. He was really revolving the weak places of the enemy in his mind. Suddenly he would start up, seize his paraphernalia, make his expedition, and return rich-laden. This taught me the wonderful power of persuasion when directed in exactly the right way. One of the first things to forget is yourself. I think possibly the finding in your mind of a man to whom you can sell goods depends principally upon your belief that when you make your dash on him you forget what he will think of you. You have the willingness to sacrifice all that to the one object before you. In the possible places of attack which you reject, you are not yet willing to make that sacrifice. You know


was a great man. Why? Well, here is one reason. The little men came to him one day with horror spread upon their narrow features. Said they: "O, Mr. Lincoln, we have just discovered that Grant drinks whisky. We have come to ask you to put a Temperance General in control of the more important of his actions. He has the lives of our children and our friends in his hands. Save us from his liability to plunge us all in general blood!" Now this was after Vicksburg. Mr. Lincoln took an interest in this revelation that elated the petitioners. "You are quite sure he drinks whisky, are you?" "O, yes.


"Well, will you not try hard to find out where he gets his whisky?" said Old Abe; "I want some of it for my other generals!"

This man Abraham Lincoln wanted to put down the Rebellion for the sake of both the North and the South. Anything that would contribute to that end was what he wanted in large quantities.


as you have always dressed—with easy-fitting business garments. Absolutely nothing on your person gives offense, either in newness or oldness. You enter the store to whose proprietor you intend to sell goods. If you know him and he is busy, you nod and avoid a talk. This is both difficult and unlucky. If he is at your service, you state that you have come to show him your samples. You do not hope he needs anything at the start. Of course, he needs nothing. That does not enter into the question. He will buy at the end. You now, if your samples are with you, pick out some medium bargains. Reserve your powerful arguments. Try to make him understand the true value of these goods. Nothing under the sun is so powerful as example. Now, to furnish examples, you must state who sells this particular line of goods. Mention the names with all the precision, volubility and confidence in the world. He may evince no interest, but it has moved him greatly to hear all those names! Now he begins to talk prices to you. The chances are that he is "drawing the long bow"—that is, that he is putting the prices at which he buys full low enough! Do not dispute him. Never argue with him. Accept all he says as gospel. Very soon he will be on the other tack. You will be talking, and you can judge whether he has told the truth or not. Now you are both on excellent terms. He thinks you are a very decent young fellow.


You ought to have some little line that you are selling for less than it is worth. Give him the solemn privilege of getting some of it. He wavers, he is lost. This is the entering wedge. If he is sharp enough to buy only "leaders," he is too sharp for you, and for your house. Ten chances to one he would never pay anyway. You must have picked out a poor man to start on. But if you have an ordinary gentlemanly man of business, he will take some goods of you. Canvass him for everything. Do not neglect your work now it has come. He is wavering everywhere. He is contradicting by his acts nearly every assertion he made behind his entrenchments. Never mind that. Do not leave him until there is "no more buy in him." Now, after you have all the items—and


when he is giving them—sum them up, read them over, take his name (firm name), his post-office (not his railroad station), his railroad station, his express company, his railroad, absolutely everything. Make his name "Owens," not "Owen," "Ransom's Sons" not Ransom & Sons, "Smythe" not "Smith," if that be the way he puts it. A man is very tender about his name. Never forget that. Impress those things on your shipping-clerk at home. Tell him you have sold Edwards Pierrepont a bill of goods, and that this particular buyer has


for shipping-clerks who mark it "Edward." You have already consulted your commercial "testament" to see if the firm will pay. If the bill be too large for the credit allowed in the "testament," telegraph to your firm about it and get instructions. Of course, you cannot have mistaken prices or sold below the necessary profit. A firm in Boston started out a confident young man, and he sold tremendous bills of goods. He took no account of the value of the goods, freight, or time of payment. All those merchants who had friends on his "beat" telegraphed to them to be sure and give him an order. He was the rage. There was also some rage at Boston when the orders began coming in. They telegraphed to Madison


but he had "taken a shoot" to Rockford. They telegraphed to Dubuque, but he had doubled down toward Galesburg. They telegraphed to Galesburg but he had escaped into Iowa. Finally they sent, to every town on three parallel lines of railroad in Iowa, a postal card with "Come Home!" covering one side of it, and captured him somewhere about the middle of the State, also in the middle of the greatest of all his campaigns. The firm settled his expenses, but refused to deliver the goods, and hired an extra lawyer or two to contest


which brought up the rear of his triumph, like the tail of a gorgeous comet. This young man was peculiar. I only mention his flight through the western commercial sky to make you smile when you think of it and lighten your heart, when this remembrance comes in a lonesome hour. If you are unacquainted with the gentleman to whom you are to sell, use your habitual salutation. A majority of successful men say "How are you, sir?" You have your card right side up, close to his hand. You say: "My name is Bennington—I am from Chicago—Remington & Company—let me talk to you a little about some of our goods." You have accompanied some such speech as this by an expeditious display of your samples. If your choice of attack was sound, he is already looking at your goods.


has greatly improved this evening, so you will find. Make up your mind that when a man does not accord you a fair hearing you have erred in your approach. There are some men who have to be approached through a personal introduction. If you take advantage of the chances that come in your way, you can afford to accept the misfortunes which befall you, for it is a real misfortune to attack a cold, hard-surfaced man in his moment of strength and get a full broadside from his guns. Go in force against such men. Two men would have him at a disadvantage.


do not be in a hurry to get back home. Have books with you. Shun traveling men, as they cannot benefit you. The desire to have company often makes a man "lose a town." It often keeps him up nights. What is the reason you dread the attack? Because you have no electricity in you. You have not slept enough. Have you not often felt you could walk ten miles as easily as one? That was just the moment to "fall up against" the hard-surfaced man. Have you not often felt you would like to be in the little white cottage, reading what a wonderful place New York is? Just then you ought to be in bed,


In all your expedition, judgment has been at work. Judgment sent you out, and judgment pointed out your attack. You therefore have sold goods to responsible people, and your firm are delighted. You now have the most powerful lines of money-making in the world right in your hands. You are the man who can "place the goods." You are practically a partner. If you have perfected yourself in your art, and if you are not in business for yourself, it is because you do not want it so to be.


Lives of great men all remind us We may make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us, Footprints on the sands of time.—Longfellow.

It is hard to follow in the tracks of giants, but nevertheless the sands of our time are filled with that kind of footprints. The present century has beholden some of the most astonishing elevations of all history. Slaves have become Roman Emperors, but we hardly know what "slave" meant in those days. Within the last hundred years we see a poor old dame with three sons called Joseph, Napoleon and Jerome. We see a cooper's son called Michel Ney, an inn-keeper's son called Joaquin Murat, a lawyer's son named Jean Bernadotte, a military cadet named Louis Davout, and a lame boy called Charles Talleyrand. Behold them mounting the ladder until, at the end of thirty years, the roster stands thus. Joseph Bonaparte, King of Spain; Napoleon Bonaparte, greatest warrior of modern times and Emperor of France, which meant dictator of Europe; Jerome Bonaparte, King of Westphalia; Michel Ney, Prince of the Moskwa and Bravest of the Brave; Joaquin Murat, King of Naples; Jean Bernadotte, King of Sweden, and founder of the present dynasty; Louis Davout, Prince of Eckmuhl, and, in 1811,


Charles Talleyrand, Prince of Benevento, and perhaps the greatest diplomat in history. We have Ben Franklin learning to ink type in his youth and in his maturity teaching the world how to subdue our favorite slave, the lightning. We have Daniel Webster ploughing on a farm and afterward delighting two worlds with the magic of his voice. We see John Jacob Astor arrive in America scarcely able to speak English, and die in 1848 worth more than any other man in America at that time. We see George Peabody at work in a grocery at Danvers. Years afterward, as a London banker, we chronicle his charities, almost fabulous in their extent: To Danvers, Mass., two hundred and fifty thousand dollars; to the Baltimore Institute, one million four hundred thousand dollars; to the poor of London, two million five hundred thousand dollars; to the southern negroes, three million five hundred thousand dollars; to eight institutions, three hundred and fifty thousand dollars; to his relatives, five million dollars; We see A.T. Stewart hard pressed for a dollar, and we find him worth thirty millions when he dies. We watch


teaching him the alphabet, and we listen to his proclamations as President of the United States. We tell Abraham Lincoln where he can borrow a book that will benefit him, and we pass by his great dust in numbers almost like the stars in heaven. We see Phineas T. Barnum first humbugging the people with a lemonade-stand worth all told two dollars, and we next see him humbugging the people with the greatest show on earth, worth a million. We lend Leland Stanford a quarter and he next buys up three or four high-priced legislatures and defies the Constitution of the United States to prevent him levying a tax on "his people" of a million dollars with a stroke of his pen. We see


working by the day in a tanyard, and then receiving the sword of a warrior whose name will also echo far out into the "corridors of time," and then again accepting as the representative of America, the pent-up admiration of the Old World for the New. We see Jay Gould investing a thousand dollars in a country store and then in turn dictating to all the railroads and controlling all the telegraphs in the greatest empire that has ever existed. We watch Cornelius Vanderbilt, Sr., begin as a poor lad, save, build, command, and die, leaving to his favorite son


We see that son, beginning on that paltry patrimony, already the possessor, in a few short years, of seventy millions in addition. We help Elihu Burritt to say his letters at noon-time in a blacksmith shop, and afterward, lo! he converses in thirty languages. We see Edgar Poe, dying as poor as man ever died, yet leaving to the world a name as a writer that Europeans persist is as yet the brightest in American literature. See Horace Greeley, trudging across a State, anxious to get a job for his board and clothes; then listen to his voice in the councils of the President and in the hearts of the people. Remember Salmon P. Chase, a poor Ohio boy, Governor, Secretary of the Treasury, author of the best currency system so far conceived, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.


is now at work driving a canal-boat, now Republican leader of the House, now Senator, now President, and now the object of a weeping world's affection. See the poor boy Sherman, born in Lancaster, O. A short space flies past us, and he has cut his own communications and marched with his army into the enemy's country. The London Times says if he emerges from the unknown country with his army, he will be "the greatest captain of modern times." Soon his banners float on the coast, soon the cities are blazing behind his fearful stride, and soon the cruel war is over. We behold the third son of a very large family of


begin writing verses. He writes trash at first, but by and by he is proclaimed the greatest living poet, and his art of writing (all that part of his work which was difficult) is pronounced the greatest the world has ever seen. We see the boy Lee, studying hard to sustain the illustrious name he bore, advancing in science to the great study of astronomy, becoming the intellectual credit of his surroundings, the tutor of the scholarly. We behold him clasping the sword put in his hands by the greatest unsuccessful insurrection of all past time, and, seated on his horse, smiling at the awful repulse of


saying, simply: "We cannot always expect to have our own way in an attack," when down in his great heart he knows that the proudest people ever defeated have cast the final die, and lost. We stand over his ashes and feel that they are the ashes of a truly great man whom "unmerciful disaster followed fast and followed faster." We see James Gordon Bennett, the jibe of all the printers because of his crooked eyes. Yet he dies the owner of the greatest money-making newspaper of all newspaper history, a journal which sends expeditions to Africa and squadrons to the north pole. We see a "canny" Scotch boy at study. He "takes wonderfully to German," and soon the English world is hailing him as the "literary Columbus." He has shown them the greatness of Frederick, of Schiller, and Goethe. He writes a history of the French Revolution, and calls it the "truth clad in hell-fire." He reads a library in a few hours, or, rather, he reads what he has not read—and finally he lies down, hating the world, hating freedom, but full of genius, and men say "Carlyle is dead."

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