Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Value of Time Well Spent

With perseverance, the very odds and ends of time may be worked up into results of the greatest value. An hour in every day withdrawn from frivolous pursuits would, if profitably employed, enable a person of ordinary capacity to go far towards mastering a science. It would make an ignorant man a well-informed one in only a few years. Time should not be allowed to pass without yielding fruits,in the form of something learned worthy of being known, some good priciple cultivated, or some good habit strengthened.

Daguesseau, one of the great chancellors of France, by carefully working up his odd bits of time, wrote a bulky and able volume in the successive intervals of waiting for dinner, and Madame de Genlis composed several of her charming volumes while waiting for the pricess to whom she gave her daily lessons. Eluhu Burritt attributed his first success in self-imporovement, not to genius, which he disclaimed, but simply to the careful employment of those invaluable fragments of time called "odd moments." While working and earning his living as a blacksmith, he mastered some eighteen ancient and modern languages, and twenty two European dialects.

The practice of writing down thoughts and facts for the prupose of holding them fast and preventing their escape into the dim region of forgetfulness, has been much resorted to by thoughtful and studious men. Lord Bacon left behind him many manuscripts entitled "Sudden thoughts set down for use." Erskine made great extracts from Burke; and Eldon copied Cok upon Littleton twice over with his own hand, so that the book became,s as it were, part of his own mind. The late Dr. Pye Smith, when apprenticed to make copious memoranda of all the books he read, with extracts and criticicms. This indomitable industry is collecting materials disinguished him as "always at work, always in advance, always accumulating." These note-books afterwards proved like Richter's "quarries" the great storehouse from which he drew his illustrations.

--Passage from Happy Homes and The Hearts That Make Them

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