Thoroughness





Doing well depends upon doing completely.

--PERSIAN PROVERB.



He who does well will always have patrons enough.

--PLAUTUS.



If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or

make a better mouse-trap than his neighbor, though he build his

house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his

door.

--EMERSON.



I hate a thing done by halves. If it be right, do it boldly; if

it be wrong, leave it undone.

--GILPIN.



No two things differ more than Hurry and Dispatch. Hurry is the

mark of a weak mind, Dispatch of a strong one. * * * Like a

turnstile, he (the weak man) is in everybody's way, but stops

nobody; he talks a great deal, but says very little; looks into

everything, but sees nothing; and has a hundred irons in the

fire, but very few of them are hot, and with those few that are

he only burns his fingers.

--COLTON.





"Make me as good a hammer as you know how," said a carpenter to the

blacksmith in a New York village before the first railroad was built;

"six of us have come to work on the new church, and I've left mine at

home." "As good a one as I know how?" asked David Maydole, doubtfully,

"but perhaps you don't want to pay for as good a one as I know how to

make." "Yes, I do," said the carpenter, "I want a good hammer."



It was indeed a good hammer that he received, the best, probably, that

had ever been made. By means of a longer hole than usual, David had

wedged the handle in its place so that the head could not fly off, a

wonderful improvement in the eyes of the carpenter, who boasted of his

prize to his companions. They all came to the shop next day, and each

ordered just such a hammer. When the contractor saw the tools, he

ordered two for himself, asking that they be made a little better than

those for his men. "I can't make any better ones," said Maydole; "when I

make a thing, I make it as well as I can, no matter whom it is for."



The storekeeper soon ordered two dozen, a supply unheard of in his

previous business career. A New York dealer in tools came to the village

to sell his wares, and bought all the storekeeper had, and left a

standing order for all the blacksmith could make. David might have grown

very wealthy by making goods of the standard already attained; but

throughout his long and successful life he never ceased to study still

further to perfect his hammers in the minutest detail. They were usually

sold without any warrant of excellence, the word "Maydole" stamped on

the head being universally considered a guaranty of the best article the

world could produce. Character is power, and is the best advertisement

in the world.



"Yes," said he one day to the late James Parton, who told this story, "I

have made hammers in this little village for twenty-eight years."

"Well," replied the great historian, "by this time you ought to make a

pretty good hammer."



"No, I can't," was the reply, "I can't make a pretty good hammer. I make

the best hammer that's made. My only care is to make a perfect hammer.

If folks don't want to pay me what they're worth, they're welcome to buy

cheaper ones somewhere else. My wants are few, and I'm ready any time to

go back to my blacksmith's shop, where I worked forty years ago, before

I thought of making hammers. Then I had a boy to blow by bellows, now I

have one hundred and fifteen men. Do you see them over there watching

the heads cook over the charcoal furnace, as your cook, if she knows

what she is about, watches the chops broiling? Each of them is hammered

out of a piece of iron, and is tempered under the inspection of an

experienced man. Every handle is seasoned three years, or until there is

no shrink left in it. Once I thought I could use machinery in

manufacturing them; now I know that a perfect tool can't be made by

machinery, and every bit of the work is done by hand."



"In telling this little story," said Parton, "I have told thousands of

stories. Take the word 'hammer' out of it, and put 'glue' in its place,

and you have the history of Peter Cooper. By putting in other words, you

can make the true history of every great business in the world which has

lasted thirty years."



"We have no secret," said Manager Daniel J. Morrill, of the Cambria Iron

Works, employing seven thousand men, at Johnstown, Pa. "We always try to

beat our last batch of rails. That is all the secret we've got, and we

don't care who knows it."



"I don't try to see how cheap a machine I can produce, but how good a

machine," said the late John C. Whitin, of Northbridge, Mass., to a

customer who complained of the high price of some cotton machinery.

Business men soon learned what this meant; and when there was occasion

to advertise any machinery for sale, New England cotton manufacturers

were accustomed to state the number of years it had been in use and add,

as an all-sufficient guaranty of Northbridge products, "Whitin make."

Put thoroughness into your work: it pays.



"The accurate boy is always the favored one," said President Tuttle. If

a carpenter must stand at his journeyman's elbow to be sure his work is

right, or if a cashier must run over his bookkeeper's columns, he might

as well do the work himself as employ another to do it in that way.



"Mr. Girard, can you not assist me by giving me a little work?" asked

one John Smith, who had formerly worked for the great banker and

attracted attention by his activity.



"Assistance--work--ah? You want work?" "Yes sir; it's a long time since

I've had anything to do."



"Very well, I shall give you some. You see dem stone yondare?" "Yes,

sir." "Very well; you shall fetch and put them in this place; you see?"

"Yes sir." "And when you done, come to me at my bank."



Smith finished his task, reported to Mr. Girard, and asked for more

work. "Ah, ha, oui. You want more work? Very well; you shall go place

dem stone where you got him. Understandez? You take him back." "Yes,

sir."



Again Smith performed the work and waited on Mr. Girard for payment.

"Ah, ha, you all finish?" "Yes, sir." "Very well; how much money shall I

give you?" "One dollar, sir." "Dat is honest. You take no advantage.

Dare is your dollar." "Can I do anything else for you?" "Oui, come here

when you get up to-morrow. You shall have more work."



Smith was punctual, but for the third time, and yet again for the

fourth, he was ordered to "take dem stone back again." When he called

for his pay in the evening Stephen Girard spoke very cordially. "Ah,

Monsieur Smit, you shall be my man; you mind your own business and do

it, ask no questions, you do not interfere. You got one vife?" "Yes,

sir." "Ah, dat is bad. Von vife is bad. Any little chicks?" "Yes, sir,

five living."



"Five? Dat is good; I like five. I like you, Monsieur Smit; you like to

work; you mind your business. Now I do something for your five little

chicks. There: take these five pieces of paper for your five little

chicks; you shall work for them; you shall mind your own business, and

your little chicks shall never want five more." In a few years Mr. Smith

became one of the wealthiest and most respected merchants of

Philadelphia.



It is difficult to estimate the great influence upon a life of the early

formed habit of doing everything to a finish, not leaving it half done,

or pretty nearly done, but completely done. Nature finishes every little

leaf, even to every little rib, its edges and stem, as exactly and

perfectly as though it were the only leaf to be made that year. Even the

flower that blooms in the mountain dell, where no human eye will ever

behold it, is finished with the same perfection and exactness of form

and outline, with the same delicate shade of color, with the same

completeness of beauty, as though it was made for royalty in the queen's

garden. "Perfection to the finish" is a motto which every youth should

adopt.



"How did you attain such excellence in your profession?" was asked of

Sir Joshua Reynolds. "By observing one simple rule, namely, to make each

picture the best," he replied.



The discipline of being exact is uplifting. Progress is never more rapid

than it is when we are studying to be accurate. The effort educates all

the powers. Arthur Helps says: "I do not know that there is anything

except it be humility, which is so valuable, as an incident of

education, as accuracy: and accuracy can be taught. Direct lies told to

the world are as dust in the balance when weighed against the falsehoods

of inaccuracy."



Too many youths enter upon their business in a languid, half-hearted

way, and do their work in a slipshod manner. The consequence is that

they inspire neither admiration nor confidence on the part of their

superiors, and cut off almost every chance of success. There is a loose,

perfunctory method of doing one's work that never merits advance, and

very rarely wins it. Instead of buckling to their task with all the

force they possess, they merely touch it with the tips of their fingers,

their rule apparently being, the maximum of ease with the minimum of

work. The principle of Strafford, the great minister of Charles I., is

indicated by his motto, the one word "Thorough." It was said of King

Hezekiah, "In every work that he began, he did it with all his heart and

prospered."



The stone-cutter goes to work on a stone and most patiently shapes it.

He carves that bit of fern, putting all his skill and taste into it. And

by-and-by the master says, "Well done," and takes it away and gives him

another block and tells him to work on that. And so he works on that

from the rising of the sun till the going down of the same, and he only

knows that he is earning his bread. And he continues to put all his

skill and taste into his work. He has no idea what use will be made of

these few stones which he has been carving, until afterward, when, one

day, walking along the street, and looking up at the front of the Art

Gallery, he sees the stones upon which he has worked. He did not know

what they were for, but the architect did. And as he stands looking at

his work on that structure which is the beauty of the whole street, he

says: "I am glad I did it well." And every day as he passes that way, he

says to himself exultingly, "I did it well." He did not draw the design,

nor plan the building, and he knew nothing of what use was to be made of

his work: but he took pains in cutting those stems; and when he saw

they were a part of that magnificent structure, his soul rejoiced.



Work that is not finished, is not work at all; it is merely a botch. We

often see this defect of incompleteness in a child, which increases in

youth. All about the house, everywhere, there are half-finished things.

It is true that children often become tired of things which they begin

with enthusiasm; but there is a great difference in children about

finishing what they undertake. A boy, for instance, will start out in

the morning with great enthusiasm to dig his garden over; but, after a

few minutes, his enthusiasm has evaporated, and he wants to go fishing.

He soon becomes tired of this, and thinks he will make a boat. No sooner

does he get a saw and knife and a few pieces of board about him than he

makes up his mind that really what he wanted to do, after all, was to

play ball, and this, in turn, must give way to something else.



One watch, set right, will do to set many by; but, on the other hand,

one that goes wrong may be the means of misleading a whole neighborhood.

The same may be said of the example we individually set to those around

us.



"Whatever I have tried to do in life," said Dickens, "I have tried with

all my heart to do well. What I have devoted myself to, I have devoted

myself to completely."



It is no disgrace to be a shoemaker, but it is a disgrace for a

shoemaker to make bad shoes.



A traveler, recently returned from Jerusalem, found, in conversation

with Humboldt, that the latter was as conversant with the streets and

houses of Jerusalem as he was himself. On being asked how long it was

since he had visited it, the aged philosopher replied: "I have never

been there; but I expected to go sixty years since, and I prepared

myself."



So noted for excellency was everything bearing the brand of George

Washington, that a barrel of flour marked "George Washington, Mount

Vernon," was exempted from the customary inspection in the West India

ports.



Pascal, the most wonderful mathematical genius of his time, whose work

on conic sections, at sixteen, Descartes refused to believe could be

produced at that age, is considered to have fixed the French language,

as Luther did the German, by his writings. None of his provincial

letters, with the exception of the last three, was more than eight

quarto pages in length, yet he devoted twenty days to the writing of a

single letter, and one of them was written no less than thirteen times.



The night the Tasmania was wrecked, the captain had given the course

north by west, sixty-seven degrees. He had taken account of eddies and

currents. The second officer, overlooking these, ordered the helmsman

to make it north by west, fifty-seven degrees, but to bring the ship

around so gently that the captain wouldn't know it. Hence her

destruction.



Rev. Mr. Maley, of the Ohio Conference of the Methodist Church, had the

habit of greatly exaggerating anything he talked about. His brethren at

conference told him that this habit was growing on him, and rendering

him unpopular in the ministry. Mr. Maley heard them patiently, and then

said: "Brethren, I am aware of the truth of all you have said, and have

shed barrels of tears over it."



There is a great difference between going just right and a little

wrong.





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