Spare Moments

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_"

Sir William Jones and Thomas Day Sporting facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail