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Anecdotes Home




The great French Chancellor D'Aguesseau carefully employed
every moment of his time. Observing that Madame D'Aguesseau always delayed
ten or twelve minutes before she came down to dinner, he began to compose a
work to which he intended to devote these few minutes, which would
otherwise have been lost. The result was, at the end of fifteen years, a
work in three large quarto volumes, which went through several editions.


Buffon thus relates the manner in which he acquired a habit of early
rising. "In my youth," says he, "I was excessively fond of sleep, and that
indolence robbed me of much time. My poor Joseph (a domestic who served him
for sixty-five years) was of the greatest benefit to me in overcoming it. I
promised him a crown for every time he should make me get up at six
o'clock. He failed not the next day to rouse me, but I only abused and
threatened him. He tried the day following, and I did the same, which made
him desist. 'Friend Joseph,' said I to him at last, 'I have lost my time
and you have gained nothing. You do not know how to manage the matter.
Think only of my promise, and do not regard my threatenings.' The day
following he accomplished his point. At first I begged, then entreated and
abused, and would have discharged him; but he disregarded me, and raised me
up by absolute force. He had his reward every day for my ill-humour at the
moment of waking, by thanks, and a crown an hour after. I owe to poor
Joseph at least ten or twelve volumes of my works."


Cuvier, the celebrated naturalist, was singularly careful of his time, and
did not like those who entered his house to deprive him of it. "I know,"
said he, "that Monsieur l'Abbe Hauy comes to see _me_; our conversation is
an exchange; but I do not want a man to come and tell me whether it is hot
or cold, raining or sunshine. My barometer and thermometer know more than
all possible visitors; and in my studies in natural history," added he, "I
have not found in the whole animal kingdom a species, or class, or family,
who frighten me so much as the numerous family of _idlers_"





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