This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
YOUR life has been a success," said an individual to an old and prosperous business man.
"To what dc you attribute your success?" "To an admonition given me by my father, when a boy, which was this:
"First, to attend strictly to my own business. Second, to let other people's business alone. Observing this, I incurred no ill will by intermeddling with others, and I saved my time for the development and improvement of my own business."
Be very sparing of letters of advice. As a rule, you will have enough to do to attend to your own affairs; and, as a general'thing, advice even when solicited is liable to give offence.
If, however, you are asked to give an opinion, you may plainly state it. Do not give it, however, as a law, nor feel offended if your advice is disregarded.
Beware of giving advice from selfishness. Sooner or later your motive will be discovered. Let your admonition be alone for the interest and welfare of your friend. If you expect, however, to be benefited by the course
which you advise the person to pursue, you may frankly state the fact.
Letter Advising a Young Man to Beware of Bad Company.
Washington, D. C, Jan. 1,18 - . My Dear Young Friend:
I observe, by the tone of your last letter, that yon are becoming very intimate with Henry Hubbard and Barney Mcintosh. I need not tell you that your letter has given me much uneasiness. These young men are bad characters, and you cannot continue your association with them, without contaminating your morals.
I am an old man, and I write this, my boy, with a most earnest desire for your happiness. You have acquired a fine education, and have entered upon your profession with every prospect of success. You have a widowed mother to support, and an orphaned sister looking to you for guidance. It becomes you, therefore, to maintain a reputation unsullied, and obtain a good credit, which, to a young man in the commencement of a business career, is equal to a large capital of itself.
Association with these young men will certainly carry you downward. They are both without employment, they drive fast horses, they wear flash jewelry, they frequent gambling-houses, they both use intoxicating drink, chew tobacco, and talk profane language. What would you think of another that might be seen in their company? People will judge you as you would judge any one else. There is much truth in the old proverb, " A man is known by the company he keeps," and I would have your company such as will reflect the highest honor upon yourself.
I have written this letter earnestly and strongly, for I believe your good judgment will take it kindly; and I trust, when you sincerely reflect upon the matter, you will at once dismiss that class of associates from your company.
Your Earnest Well-Wlsher and Sincere Friend,
Rutland, Vt., April 5, 18 - .
You ask me if yon will not act the wiser part by marrying Miss Manchester at once, and settling yourself permanently; and yet you inform me that it has been but three weeks since you first made her acquaintance. You may possibly be in jest, and perhaps in earnest; in either case, as you ask my advice, I can but give it.
The choosing of a life-companion, dear Charles, is a too serious matter to be so hastily decided. The selection of a partner for a dance or a ride may be of little moment; the choice of an associate for business may be determined in a short time; but the acceptance of a partner for life requires the most serious deliberation. You should take ample time for the study of the character, temperament, disposition and accomplishments of the lady whom you choose to be the sharer of your labors, joys, sorrows, reverses and prosperity.
Upon this step hangs a large share of your happiness in life. Do not act too hastily. Trusting, however, that I will some day see you happily married and settled, I am, as ever,
Your Most Sincere Friend,
Boston, Mass., May 6,18 - .
My Dear Friend:
Yours of the 2d inst. is before me. I am pleased with the prospect that you report in your business, but regret that you should be discouraged about your health. You ask me what you had better do; I will answer.
1. - Sleep. Give yourself the necessary amount of sleep. Some men require five hours of the twenty-four; others need eight. Avoid feather beds. Sleep in a garment not worn during the day. To maintain robust health, sleep with a person as healthy as yourself, or no one.
2. - Dress. In cold weather, dress warmly with underclothing. Remove muffler, overcoat, overshoes, etc., when remaining any considerable length of time in a warm room. Keep your feet warm and dry. Wash them, in warm water, two or three times a week. Wear warm stockings, large boots, and overshoes when in the snow or wet. Wear a light covering on the head, always keeping it cool.
3. - Cleanliness. Have always a pint or quart of water in the sleeping room. In the morning, after washing and wiping hands and face, then wet, with the hands, every part of the body. Cold water will not be disagreeable when applying it with the bare hands. Wipe immediately; follow by brisk rubbing over the body. The whole operation need not take over five minutes. The result of this wash is, the blood is brought to the surface of the skin, and made to circulate evenly throughout the body. You have opened the pores of the skin, allowing impurities in the body to pass off, and have given yourself in the operation a good, vigorous morning exercise. Pursue this habit regularly, and you will seldom take cold.
4. - Inflation of the Lungs. Five minutes spent in the open air, after dressing, inflating the lungs by inhaling as full a breath as possible, and pounding the breast during the inflation, will greatly enlarge the chest, strengthen the lung power, and very effectually ward off consumption.
5. - Diet. If inclined to be dyspeptic, avoid mince pie, sausage and other highly seasoned food. Beware of eating too freely of soups; better to eat food dry enough to employ the natural saliva of the mouth in moistening it. If inclined to over-eat, partake freely of rice, cracked wheat, and other articles that are easily digested.
Eat freely of ripe fruit, and avoid excessive use of meats. Eat at regular hours, and lightly near the hour of going to bed. Eat slowly. Thoroughly masticate the food. Do not wash it down with continual drink while eating. Tell your funniest stories while at the table and for an hour afterwards. Do not engage in severe mental labor directly after hearty eating.
6. - Exercise. Exercise, not too violent, but sufficient to produce a gentle perspiration, should be had each day in the open air.
7. - Condition of Mind. The condition of the mind has much to do with health. Be hopeful and joyous. To be so, avoid business entanglements that may cause perplexity and anxiety. Keep out of debt. Live within your income. Attend church. Walk, ride, mix in jovial company. Do as nearly right as you know how. Thus, conscience will always be at ease. If occasionally disappointed, remember that there is no rose without a thorn, and that the darkest clouds have a silver lining; that sunshine follows storm, and beautiful spring follows the dreary winter. Do your duty, and leave the rest to God, who doeth all things well.
Hoping to hear of your continued prosperity and recovery of health, I am,
Your Very Sincere Friend,
Allen Matlock. SIBLEY JOHNSON, M. D.
Advice to an Orphan Boy.
Arlington, N. C, June 7,18 - .
My Dear Charlie:
I received your letter last evening. I was greatly pleased to hear that you have secured a position with Colby, Henderson & Co., and that your sisters are comfortably situated in their new homes. You ask me for advice as to what you shall do to maintain the good opinion of your employers, and thus ultimately prosperously establish yourself.
This desire that you evince to please is one of the very best evidences that you will please. Your question is very commendable. How can you succeed? That should be the great question with all young men. It is best answered, perhaps, by the reply of the wealthy and honored old man, who gave this advice to his grandson:
" My boy, take the admonition of an old man who has seen every phase of human life.
" If I could give you but one precept to follow, it would be, Keep good company. But, adding more, I will say:
"Be truthful; you thus always have the confidence of others.
" Be temperate; thus doing, you preserve health and money.
" Be industrious; you will then be constantly adding to your acquisitions.
" Be economical; thus, you will be saving for the rainy day.
" Be cautious; you are not then so liable to lose the work of years.
"Be polite and kind; scattering words of kindness, they are reflected back upon yourself, continually adding to your happiness."
Observe these directions, and you will prosper. With many wishes for your success, remember I am always,