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"On the great clock of time there is but one word-Now."

Note the sublime precision that leads the earth over a circuit of five hundred millions of miles back to the solstice at the appointed moment without the loss of one second,- no, not the millionth part of a second, - for ages and ages of which it traveled that imperiled road. EDWARD EVERETT.

"Who cannot but see oftentimes how strange the threads of our destiny run? Oft it is only for a moment the favorable instant is presented. We miss it, and months and years are lost."

By the street of by and by one arrives at the house of never. - CERVANTES.

Whilst we are considering when we are to begin, it is often too late to act. - QUINTILIAN.

When a fool has made up his mind the market has gone by. - SPANISH PROVERB. It is no use running; to set out betimes is the main point. - LA FONTAINE.

"Lose this day by loitering -'twill be the same story tomorrow, and the next more dilatory." Let's take the instant by the forward top. - SHAKESPEARE.

"HASTE, post, haste ! Haste for thy life! " was frequently written upon messages in the days of Henry VIII. of England, with a picture of a courier swinging from a gibbet. Post-offices were unknown, and letters were carried by government messengers subject to hanging if they delayed upon the road.

Even in the old, slow days of stage-coaches, when it took a month of dangerous traveling to accomplish the distance we can now span in a few hours, unnecessary delay was a crime. One of the greatest gains civilization has made is in measuring and utilizing time. We can do as much in an hour today as they could in twenty hours a hundred years ago; and if it was to hanging affair then to lose a few minutes, what should the penalty be now for a like offense ?

Caesar's delay to read a message cost him his life when he reached the senate house. “

Delays have dangerous ends." Colonel Rahl, the Hessian commander at Trenton, was playing cards when a messenger brought a letter stating that Washington was crossing the Delaware. He put the letter in his pocket without reading it until the game was finished, when he rallied his men only to die just before his troops were taken prisoners. Only a few minutes' delay, but he lost honor, liberty, life !

Success is the child of two very - plain parents punctuality and accuracy. There are critical moments in every successful life when if the mind hesitate or a nerve flinch all will be lost.

General Putnam was ploughing with his son Daniel in eastern Connecticut when the news of the battle of Lexington reached him. "He loitered not," said Daniel, "but left me, the driver of his team, to unyoke it in the furrow, and not many days after, to follow him to camp." Alarming the militia and ordering them to join him, he rode all night and reached Cambridge the next morning at sunrise, still wearing the checkered shirt which he had on when ploughing.

"Immediately on receiving your proclamation," wrote Governor Andrew of Massachusetts to President Lincoln on May 3, 1861, "we took up the war, and have carried on our part of it, in the spirit in which we believe the Administration and the American people intend to act, namely; as if there were not an inch of red tape in the world." He had received a telegram for troops from Washington on Monday, April 15; at nine o'clock the next Sunday he said: "All the regiments demanded from Massachusetts are already either in Washington, or in Fortress Monroe, or on their way to the defense of the Capitol."

“The only question which. I can entertain," he said, " is what to do; and when that question is answered, the other is, what next to do."

" The whole period of youth," said Ruskin, "is one essentially of formation, edification, instruction. There is not an hour of it but is trembling with destinies - not a moment of which, once passed, the appointed work can ever be done again, or the neglected blow struck on the cold iron."

Napoleon laid great stress upon that " supreme moment," that "nick of time" which occurs in every battle, to take advantage of which means victory, and to lose in hesitation means disaster. He said that he beat the Austrians because they did not know the value of five minutes ; and it has been said that among the trifles that conspired to defeat him at Waterloo, the loss of a few moments by himself and Grouchy on the fatal morning were the most significant. Blucher was on time, and Grouchy was late. It was enough to send Napoleon to St. Helena. It is a well-known truism that has almost been elevated to the dignity of a maxim, that what may be done at any time will be done at no time.

The fact is," says the Rev. Sydney Smith, "that, in order to do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand shivering on the bank, and thinking of the cold and the danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can. It will not do to be perpetually calculating risks and adjusting nice chances. It did all very well before the flood, when a man could consult his friends upon an intended publication for one hundred and fifty years, and then live to see its success for six or seven centuries afterwards ; but at present a man waits, and doubts, and hesitates, and consults his brother, and his uncle, and his cousin, and his particular friends, till, one fine day, he finds that he is sixty-five years of age, - that he has lost so much time in consulting his cousins and particular friends that he has no more time left to follow their advice."

The African Association of London wanted to send Ledyard the traveler to Africa, and asked when he would be ready to go. "Tomorrow morning," was the reply. John Jervis, afterwards Earl St. Vincent, was asked when he could join his ship, and replied, "Directly." Colin Campbell, appointed commander of the army in India, and asked when he could set out, replied without hesitation, "Tomorrow." “Every moment lost," said Napoleon, " gives an opportunity for misfortune."

The energy wasted in postponing until tomorrow a duty of today, would often do the work. How much harder and more disagreeable, too, it is to do work which has been put off. What would have been done at the time with pleasure or even enthusiasm becomes drudgery after it has been delayed for days and weeks. Letters can never be answered so easily as when first received. Many large firms make it a rule never to allow a letter to lie unanswered overnight. Promptness takes the drudgery out of an occupation.

Putting off usually means leaving off, and going to do becomes going undone. Doing a deed is like sowing a seed; if not done at just the right time it will be forever out of season. The summer of eternity will not be long enough to bring to maturity the fruit of a delayed action. If a star or planet were delayed one second, it might throw the whole universe out of harmony.

" There is no moment like the present," said Maria Edgeworth ; "not only so, there is no moment at all, no instant force and energy, but in the present. The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh upon him, can have no hopes from them after ward. They will be dissipated, lost in the hurry and scurry of the world, or sunk in the slough of indolence." Cobbett said he owed his success to “being it always ready”1 more than to all his natural abilities combined.

“ You cannot bathe twice in the same river," said Heraclitus.

“How," asked a man of Sir Walter Raleigh, “do you accomplish so much, and in so short a time ? " “When I have anything to do, I go and do it," was the reply. The man who always acts promptly, even if he makes occasional mistakes, will succeed when a procrastinator will fail - even if he have the better judgment.”

When asked how he managed to accomplish so much work, and at the same time attend to his social duties, a French statesman replied, "I do it simply by never postponing till tomorrow what should be done today." It was said of an unsuccessful public man that he used to reverse this process, his favorite maxim being "never to do today what might be postponed till tomorrow." How many men have dawdled away their success and allowed companions and relatives to steal it away five minutes at a time. Amos Lawrence's motto was, "Business before friends."

" Tomorrow, didst thou say ? " asked Cotton. " Go to - I will not hear of it. Tomorrow ! 't is a sharper who stakes his penury against thy plenty -who takes thy ready cash and pays thee naught but wishes, hopes, and promises, the currency of idiots. Tomorrow ! It is a period nowhere to be found in all the hoary registers of time, unless perchance in the fool's calendar. Wisdom disclaims the word, nor holds society with those that own it. 'T is fancy's child, and folly is its father; wrought of such stuffs as dreams are; and baseless as the fantastic visions of the evening." Oh, how many a wreck on the road to success could say: "I have spent

1 "To this quality I owed my extraordinary promotion in the army," said Cobbett. "If I had to mount guard at ten, I was ready at nine ; never did any man or anything wait one minute for me."
all my life in pursuit of tomorrow, being assured that tomorrow has some vast benefit or other in store for me."

But his resolutions remained unshaken," Charles Reade continues in his story of Noah Skinner, the defaulting clerk, who had been overcome by a sleepy languor after deciding to make restitution; "by and by, waking up from a sort of heavy doze, he took, as it were, a last look at the receipts, and murmured, ' My head, how heavy it feels !' But presently he roused himself, full of his penitent resolutions, and murmured again, brokenly, ‘ll take it to - Pembroke - Street tomorrow; tomorrow:’ The morrow found him, and so did the detectives, dead."

“Tomorrow ? " It is the devil's motto. All history is strewn with its brilliant victims, the wrecks of half finished plans and unexecuted resolutions. It is the favorite refuge of sloth and incompetency.

" Strike while the iron is hot," and " Make hay while the sun shines," are golden maxims. Most of us need a spur to make us begin and to hold us to our task.

Very few people recognize the hour when laziness begins to set in. Some people it attacks after dinner; some after lunch; and some after seven o'clock in the evening. There is in every person's life a crucial hour in the day, which must be employed instead of wasted if the day is to be saved. With most people the early morning hour becomes the test of the day's success. Daniel Webster used often to answer twenty to thirty letters before breakfast.

.A person was once extolling the skill and courage of Mayenne in Henry's presence. "You are right," said Henry, "he is a great captain, but I have always five hours' start of him."Henry rose at four in the morning, and Mayenne at about ten. This made all the difference between them. Indecision becomes a disease and procrastination is its forerunner. There is only one known remedy for the victims of indecision, and that is prompt decision. Otherwise the disease is fatal to all success or achievement. He who hesitates is lost.

A noted writer says that a bed is a bundle of paradoxes. We go to it with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret. We make up our minds every night to leave it early, but we make up our bodies every morning to keep it late. Yet most of those who have become eminent have been early risers. Peter the Great always rose before daylight. “I am," said he, "for making my life as long as possible, and therefore sleep as little as possible." Alfred the Great rose before daylight. In the hours of early morning Columbus planned his voyage to America, and Napoleon his greatest campaigns. Copernicus was an early riser, as were most of the famous astronomers of ancient and modern times. Bryant rose at five, Bancroft at dawn, and nearly all our leading authors, in the early morning. Washington, Jefferson, Webster, Clay, and Calhoun were all early risers. Henry VIII. breakfasted at seven and dined at ten.

John Jacob Astor and Cornelius Vanderbilt were accustomed to rise at set times each morning, and to retire at definite hours, even though they had company.

Walter Scott was a very punctual man. This was the secret of his enormous achievements. He made it a rule to answer all letters the day they were received. He rose at five. By breakfast-time he had broken the neck of the day's work, as he used to say. Writing to a youth who had obtained a situation and asked him for advice, he gave this counsel: "Beware of stumbling over a propensity which easily besets you from not having your time fully employed - I mean what the women call dawdling. Do instantly whatever is to be done, and take the hours of recreation after business, never before it."

Not too much can be said about the value of the habit of rising early. Late rising is one of the first signs of family degeneracy. Eight hours is enough sleep for any man. Very frequently seven hours is plenty. After the eighth hour in bed, if a man is able, it is his business to get up, dress quickly, and go to work.

"A singular mischance has happened, to some of our friends," said Hamilton. "At the instant when He ushered them into existence, God gave them a work to do, and He also gave them a competency of time; so much that if they began at the right moment, and wrought with sufficient vigor, their time and their work would end together. But a good many years ago a strange misfortune befell them. A fragment of their allotted time was lost. They cannot tell what became of it, but sure enough, it has dropped out of existence ; for just like two measuring-lines laid alongside; the one an inch shorter than the other, their work and their time run parallel, but the work is always ten minutes in advance of the time. Theyare not irregular. They are never too soon. Their letters are posted the very minute after the mail is closed. They arrive at the wharf just in time to see the steamboat off, they come in sight of the terminus precisely as the station gates are closing. They do not break any engagement nor neglect any duty; but they systematically go about it too late, and usually too late by about the same fatal interval."

Some one has said that "promptness is a contagious inspiration." Whether it be an inspiration, or an acquirement, it is one of the practical virtues of civilization.

There is one thing that is almost as sacred as the marriage relation, - that is, an appointment. A man who fails to meet his appointment, unless he has a good reason, is practically a liar, and the world treats him as such.

"I give it as my deliberate and solemn conviction," said Dr. Fitch, "that the individual who is tardy in meeting an appointment will never be respected or successful in life." "If a man has no regard for the time of other men," said Horace Greeley, "why should he have for their money ? What is the difference between taking a man's hour and taking his five dollars ? There are many men to whom each hour of the business day is worth more than five dollars."

"It is not necessary for me to live," said Pompey, but it is necessary that I be at a certain point at a certain hour."

When President Washington dined at four, new members of Congress invited to dine at the White House would sometimes arrive late, and be mortified to find the President eating. "My cook," Washington would say, "never asks if the visitors have arrived, but if the hour has arrived."

When his secretary excused the lateness of his attendance by saying that his watch was too slow, Washington replied, " Then you must get a new watch, or I another secretary."

Franklin said to a servant who was always late, but always ready with an excuse, "I have generally found that the man who is good at an excuse is good for nothing else."

On the eve of Nelson's departure on a famous cruise, his coachman said that the carriage would be at the door punctually at six o'clock. "A quarter before," said the admiral; "I have always been a quarter of an hour before my time, and it has made a man of me."

Napoleon once invited his marshals to dine with him, but, as they did not arrive at the moment appointed, he began to eat without them. They came in just as he was rising from the table. "Gentlemen," said he, "it is now past dinner, and we will immediately proceed to business."

Blucher was one of the promptest men that ever lived. He was called "Marshal Forward." John Q. Adams was never known to be behind time. The Speaker of the House of Representatives knew when to call the House to order by seeing Mr. Adams coming to his seat. Once a member said that it was time to begin. "No," said another, "Mr. Adams is not in his seat." It was found that the clock was three minutes fast, and prompt to the minute, Mr. Adams arrived.

Lord Brougham, who, in addition to other arduous duties, presided in the House of Lords, the Court of Chancery, and at the meetings of nearly a dozen literary associations, was uniformly in his chair at the appointed minute. He was as punctual as the clock.

Webster was never late at a recitation in school or college. In court, in congress, in society, he was equally punctual. Amid the cares and distractions of a singularly busy life, Horace Greeley managed to be on time for every appointment. Many a trenchant paragraph for the " Tribune," was written while the editor was waiting for men of leisure, tardy at some meeting.

The comet which visits our atmosphere but once in a thousand years is never a single second behind time. Punctuality is the soul of business, as brevity of wit.

Every business man knows that there are moments on which hang the destiny of years. If you arrive a few moments late at the bank, your paper may be protested and your credit ruined. During the first seven years of his mercantile career, Amos Lawrence did not permit a bill to remain unsettled over Sunday.

Punctuality is said to be the politeness of kings. Some men are always running to catch up with their business; they are always in a hurry, and give you the impression that they are late for a train. They lack method, and seldom accomplish much.

One of the best things about school and college life is that the bell which strikes the hour for rising, for recitations, or for lectures, teaches habits of promptness. Every young man should have a watch which is a good timekeeper; one that is, nearly right encourages bad habits, and is an expensive investment at any price. Wear threadbare clothes if you must, but never carry an inaccurate watch.

" Oh, how I do appreciate a boy who is always on time!" says H. C. Brown. "How quickly you learn to depend on him, and how soon you find yourself intrusting him with weightier matters! The boy who has acquired a reputation for punctuality has made the first contribution to the capital that in after years makes his success a certainty! "

Promptness is the mother of confidence and gives credit. It is the best possible proof that our own affairs are well ordered and well conducted, and gives others confidence in our ability. The man who keeps his time (i.e., is punctual), as a rule, will keep his word.

Keep your business as her Majesty keeps her ships, always-in trim in every detail, ready for immediate action. "Better late than never" is not half so good a maxim as "Better never late."

A conductor's watch is behind time, and a frightful railway collision occurs. A leading firm with enormous assets becomes bankrupt, because an agent is tardy in transmitting available funds, as ordered. An innocent man is hanged because the messenger bearing a reprieve should have arrived five minutes earlier. A man is stopped five minutes to hear a trivial story and misses a train or steamer by one minute.

Grant decided to enlist the moment that he learned of the fall of Sumter. When Buckner sent him a flag of truce at Fort Donelson, asking for the appointment of commissioners to consider terms of capitulation, he promptly replied: "No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works." Buckner replied that circumstances compelled him "to accept the ungenerous and unchivalrous terms which you propose."

The man who, like Napoleon, can on the instant seize the most important thing and sacrifice the others, is sure to succeed. Men often fail because they want to think the whole matter over before making any sacrifice; but the choice of the one and the sacrifice of the others come together.

“We are all so indolent by nature and by habit,” said John Todd, "that we feel it a luxury to find a man of real, undeviating punctuality. We love to lean upon such a man, and we are willing to purchase such a staff at almost any price. It shows, at least, that he has conquered himself."

Many a wasted life dates its ruin from a lost five minutes. "Too late" can be read between the lines on the tombstone of many a man who has failed. A few minutes often makes all the difference between victory and defeat, success and failure.

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES 'Blessed are the joy-makers." Mirth is Gods medicine; everybody ought to bathe in it


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