When a young man begins to think of making his fortune, his first notion usually is to go away from home to some very distant place. At present, the favorite spot is Colorado; awhile ago it was California; and old men remember when Buffalo was about as far west as the most enterprising person thought of venturing.
It is not always a foolish thing to go out into the world far beyond the parent nest, as the young birds do in midsummer. But I can tell you, boys, from actual inquiry, that a great number of the most important and famous business men of the United States struck down roots where they were first planted, and where no one supposed there was room or chance for any large thing to grow.
I will tell you a story of one of these men, as I heard it from his own lips some time ago, in a beautiful village where I lectured. He was an old man then; and a curious thing about him was that, although he was too deaf to hear one word of a public address, even of the loudest speaker, he not only attended church every Sunday, but was rarely absent when a lecture was delivered.
While I was performing on that occasion, I saw him sitting just in front of the platform, sleeping the sleep of the just till the last word was uttered. Upon being introduced to this old gentleman in his office, and learning that his business was to make hammers, I was at a loss for a subject of conversation, as it never occurred to me that there was anything to be said about hammers.
I have generally possessed a hammer, and frequently inflicted damage on my fingers therewith, but I had supposed that a hammer was simply a hammer, and that hammers were very much alike. At last I said,—
“And here you make hammers for mankind, Mr. Maydole?”
You may have noticed the name of David Maydole upon hammers. He is the man.
“Yes,” said he, “I have made hammers here for twenty-eight years.”
“Well, then,” said I, shouting in his best ear, ” by this time you ought to be able to make a pretty good hammer.”
“No, I can’t,” was his reply. “I can’t make a pretty good hammer. I make the best hammer that’s made.” That was strong language. I thought, at first, he meant it as a joke; but I soon found it was no joke at all. (more…)