Turn not your back to others, especially in speaking; jog not the table or desk on which another reads or writes; lean not on any one.
Be no flatterer; neither play with any one that delights not to be played with.
Read no letters, books, or papers, in company; but when there is a necessity for doing it, you must ask leave. Come not near the books or writings of any one so as to read them, unless desired.
When another speaks, be attentive yourself, and disturb not the audience. If any one hesitates in his words, help him not, nor prompt him, without being desired; interrupt him not, nor answer him till his speech is ended.
Be not curious to know the affairs of others, neither approach to those that speak in private.
Make no show of taking great delight in your victuals; feed not with greediness; lean not on the table; neither find fault with what you eat.
Let your discourses with men of business be short.
Be not immoderate in urging your friend to discover a secret.
Speak not in an unknown tongue in company, but in your own language, and as those of quality do, and not as the vulgar.
USING THE EYES
The difference between men consists, in great measure, in the intelligence of their observation. The Russian proverb says of the non-observant man, “He goes through the forest and sees no firewood.”
“Sir,” said Johnson, on one occasion, to a fine gentleman, just returned from Italy, “some men will learn more in the Hampstead stage than others in the tour of Europe.” It is the mind that sees as well as the eye.
Many, before Galileo, had seen a suspended weight swing before their eyes with a measured beat; but he was the first to detect the value of the fact. One of the vergers in the cathedral at Pisa, after filling with oil a lamp which swung from the roof, left it swinging to and fro. Galileo, then a youth of only eighteen, noting it attentively, conceived the idea of applying it to the measurement of time.
Fifty years of study and labor, however, elapsed before he completed the invention of his pendulum,—an invention the importance of which, in the measurement of time and in astronomical calculations, can scarcely be overvalued.
While Captain Brown was occupied in studying the construction of bridges, he was walking in his garden one dewy morning, when he saw a tiny spider’s-net suspended across his path. The idea occurred to him, that a bridge of iron ropes might be constructed in like manner, and the result was the invention of his Suspension Bridge.
So trifling a matter as a straw may indicate which way the wind blows. It is the close observation of little things which is the secret of success in business, in art, in science and in every other pursuit in life.