How to Friends and Influence People

books people

You people-skills are a very important contributor to living a good life. Afer all what is life without having people around you. In our remote first world this becomes vital to performing well so I decided to read up on the classics and here are my notes for the same.


person who has technical knowledge plus the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people – that person is headed for higher earning power.

Part 1: Fundamental Techniques in handling People

Ch 1: If you want to gather honey, Don’t kick over the Beehive

PRINCIPLE 1: Don’t criticise, condemn or complain.

  • ninety-nine times out of a hundred, people don’t criticise themselves for anything no matter how wrong it may be. Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.
  • As much as we thirst for approval, we dread condemnation.
  • ‘I learned thirty years ago that it is foolish to scold. I have enough trouble overcoming my own limitations without fretting over the fact that God has not seen fit to distribute evenly the gift of intelligence.’
    • Note: John Wanamaker
  • And when Mrs Lincoln and others spoke harshly of the southern people, Lincoln replied: ‘Don’t criticise them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.’
  • Lincoln, ‘with malice toward none, with charity for all,’ held his peace. One of his favourite quotations was ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’
    • Note: lincoln learnt that judging other is a bad practice long term
  • When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.
  • Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
  • ‘A great man shows his greatness,’ said Carlyle, ‘by the way he treats little men.’

Ch 2: The Big Secret of Dealing with People

PRINCIPLE 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation.

  • THERE IS ONLY one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything. Did you ever stop to think of that? Yes, just one way. And that is by making the other person want to do it.
  • What do you want? Sigmund Freud said that everything you and I do springs from two motives: the sex urge and the desire to be great.
  • the deepest urge in human nature is ‘the desire to be important.’
  • Here is a gnawing and unfaltering human hunger, and the rare individual who honestly satisfies this heart hunger will hold people in the palm of his or her hand and ‘even the undertaker will be sorry when he dies.’
  • If you tell me how you get your feeling of importance, I’ll tell you what you are. That determines your character. That is the most significant thing about you.
  • People sometimes became invalids in order to win sympathy and attention, and get a feeling of importance.
  • If some people are so hungry for a feeling of importance that they actually go insane to get it, imagine what miracle you and I can achieve by giving people honest appreciation this side of insanity.
  • Schwab says that he was paid this salary largely because of his ability to deal with people.
    • Note: Schwab the first person to be paid 1 million per year
  • ‘I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people,’ said Schwab, ‘the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. ‘There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors. I never criticise anyone. I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.’
  • When a study was made a few years ago on runaway wives, what do you think was discovered to be the main reason wives ran away? It was ‘lack of appreciation.’
  • flattery seldom works with discerning people. It is shallow, selfish and insincere. It ought to fail and it usually does. True, some people are so hungry, so thirsty, for appreciation that they will swallow anything,
  • The difference between appreciation and flattery? That is simple. One is sincere and the other insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out. One is unselfish; the other selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.
  • we usually spend about 95 percent of our time thinking about ourselves. Now, if we stop thinking about ourselves for a while and begin to think of the other person’s good points, we won’t have to resort to flattery so cheap and false that it can be spotted almost before it is out of the mouth.
  • I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

Ch 3: He who can do this has the Whole World with him. He who cannot walks a Lonely Way.

PRINCIPLE 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want.

  • his staying on top might be attributed to any one thing, it would be to his having learned that it was necessary to bait the hook to suit the fish.
  • the best piece of advice which can be given to would-be persuaders, whether in business, in the home, in the school, in politics, is: First, arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.’
  • Tomorrow you may want to persuade somebody to do something. Before you speak, pause and ask yourself: ‘How can I make this person want to do it?’
    • Note: ahh the number of times I wanted to use this
  • Mind you, I got this reduction without saying a word about what I wanted. I talked all the time about what the other person wanted and how he could get it.
  • ‘If there is any one secret of success,’ said Henry Ford, ‘it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.’

Part 2: Six Ways to make people Like You

Ch 1: Do This and You’ll Be Welcome Anywhere

PRINCIPLE 1: Become genuinely interested in other people.

  • You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
  • It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.’
  • ‘If the author doesn’t like people,’ he said, ‘people won’t like his or her stories.’
  • He declared he never stepped in front of the footlights without first saying to himself over and over: ‘I love my audience. I love my audience.
  • The same concern for the seemingly unimportant people helped sales representative Edward M. Sykes, Jr
  • I never forgot that to be genuinely interested in other people is a most important quality for a salesperson to possess – for any person, for that matter.’
  • All of us, be we workers in a factory, clerks in an office or even a king upon his throne – all of us like people who admire us.
  • If we want to make friends, let’s put ourselves out to do things for other people – things that require time, energy, unselfishness and thoughtfulness.
  • If we want to make friends, let’s greet people with animation and enthusiasm.
  • When somebody calls you on the telephone use the same psychology
  • Showing a genuine interest in others not only wins friends for you, but may develop in its customers a loyalty to your company.
  • To me that was almost a miracle. Here he was offering to buy fuel without my even suggesting it. I had made more headway in two hours by becoming genuinely interested in him and his problems than I could have made in ten years trying to get him interested in me and my product.
  • If you want others to like you, if you want to develop real friendships, if you want to help others at the same time as you help yourself, keep this principle in mind;

Ch 2: A Simple Way to Make a Good First Impression


  • She didn’t realise what everyone knows: namely, that the expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back.
  • Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, ‘I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.’
  • That is why dogs make such a hit.
  • this programme they suggest that you smile when talking on the phone. Your ‘smile’ comes through in your voice.
    • Note: thats how much your smile and you mood can impact. each work both ways and is cyclical
  • You don’t feel like smiling? Then what? Two things.
  • First, force yourself to smile. If you are alone, force yourself to whistle or hum a tune or sing.
  • Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together;
  • Everybody in the world is seeking happiness – and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions.
  • Whenever you go out-of-doors, draw the chin in, carry the crown of the head high, and fill the lungs to the utmost; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp. Do not fear being misunderstood and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your mind what you would like to do; and then, without veering off direction, you will move straight to the goal. Keep your mind on the great and splendid things you would like to do, and then, as the days go gliding away, you will find yourself unconsciously seizing upon the opportunities that are required for the fulfillment of your desire, just as the coral insect takes from the running tide the element it needs. Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual . . . Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude – the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create. All things come through desire and every sincere prayer is answered. We become like that on which our hearts are fixed. Carry your chin in and the crown of your head high. We are gods in the chrysalis.

Ch 3: If you Don’t do this, you are Headed for Trouble

PRINCIPLE 3: Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

  • he had a flair for making people like him, so he went into politics, and as the years went by, he developed an uncanny ability for remembering people’s names.
  • he built up a system for remembering names.
  • In the beginning, it was a very simple one. Whenever he met a new acquaintance, he found out his or her complete name and some facts about his or her family, business and political opinions. He fixed all these facts well in mind as part of the picture, and the next time he met that person, even if it was a year later, he was able to shake hands, inquire after the family, and ask about the hollyhocks in the backyard. No wonder he developed a following!
    • Note: this is exactly similar to memory palaces
  • Jim Farley discovered early in life that the average person is more interested in his or her own name than in all the other names on earth put together.
  • Remember that name and call it easily, and you have paid a subtle and very effective compliment.
  • This policy of remembering and honouring the names of his friends and business associates was one of the secrets of Andrew Carnegie’s leadership.
    • Note: and he too it to great lengths
  • We should be aware of the magic contained in a name and realise that this single item is wholly and completely owned by the person with whom we are dealing . . . and nobody else.
  • The name sets the individual apart; it makes him or her unique among all others. The information we are imparting or the request we are making takes on a special importance when we approach the situation with the name of the individual. From the waitress to the senior executive, the name will work magic as we deal with others.

Ch 4: An Easy way to becomea Good Conversationalist

PRINCIPLE 4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

  • I had listened intently. I had listened because I was genuinely interested. And he felt it. Naturally that pleased him.
  • That kind of listening is one of the highest compliments we can pay anyone.
  • ‘Dr. Eliot’s listening was not mere silence, but a form of activity. Sitting very erect on the end of his spine with hands joined in his lap, making no movement except that he revolved his thumbs around each other faster or slower, he faced his interlocutor and seemed to be hearing with his eyes as well as his ears. He listened with his mind and attentively considered what you had to say while you said it . . . At the end of an interview the person who had talked to him felt that he had had his say.’
  • Listening is just as important in one’s home life as in the world of business.
  • So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.
  • Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more intested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems.

Ch 5: How to interest people

PRINCIPLE 5: Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.

  • Whenever Roosevelt expected a visitor, he sat up late the night before, reading up on the subject in which he knew his guest was particularly interested.
  • the royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most.
  • and I’d still be drumming at him if I hadn’t finally taken the trouble to find out what he was interested in, and what he enjoyed talking about.

Ch 6: How to make people Like you Instantly

PRINCIPLE 6: Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

  • What was I trying to get out of him!!! What was I trying to get out of him!!! If we are so contemptibly selfish that we can’t radiate a little happiness and pass on a bit of honest appreciation without trying to get something out of the other person in return – if our souls are no bigger than sour crab apples, we shall meet with the failure we so richly deserve.
  • The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
  • Little phrases such as ‘I’m sorry to trouble you,’ ‘Would you be so kind as to – ?’ ‘Won’t you please?’ ‘Would you mind?’ ‘Thank you’ – little courtesies like these oil the cogs of the monotonous grind of everyday life – and incidentally, they are the hallmark of good breeding.

Part 3: How to win people to Your way of Thinking

Ch 1: You Can’t win an Argument

PRINCIPLE 1: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

  • A man convinced against his will, Is of the same opinion still.
  • If he says the Whose-It is best and I say sure it is, he has to stop. He can’t keep on all afternoon saying, “It’s the best” when I’m agreeing with him. We then get off the subject of Whose-It and I begin to talk about the good points of
    • Note: Nifty tip
  • This tax inspector was demonstrating one of the most common of human frailties. He wanted a feeling of importance; and as long as Mr. Parsons argued with him, he got his feeling of importance by loudly asserting his authority. But as soon as his importance was admitted and the argument stopped and he was permitted to expand his ego, he became a sympathetic and kindly human being.
  • Buddha said: ‘Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love,
  • ‘My wife and I made a pact a long time ago, and we’ve kept it no matter how angry we’ve grown with each other. When one yells, the other should listen – because when two people yell, there is no communication, just noise and bad vibrations.’

Ch 2: A Sure Way of making Enemies - and how to avoid it

PRINCIPLE 2: Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, ‘You’re wrong.’

  • ‘I made it a rule,’ said Franklin, ‘to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiment of others, and all positive assertion of my own. I even forbade myself the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fix’d opinion, such as “certainly,” “undoubtedly,” etc., and I adopted, instead of them, “I conceive,” “I apprehend,” or “I imagine” a thing to be so or so, or “it so appears to me at present.” When another asserted something that I thought an error, I deny’d myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition: and in answering I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there appear’d or seem’d to me some difference, etc.

Ch 3: If You’re Wrong, Admit it

PRINCIPLE 3: If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

  • Say about yourself all the derogatory things you know the other person is thinking or wants to say or intends to say – and say them before that person has a chance to say them.
  • The chances are a hundred to one that a generous, forgiving attitude will be taken and your mistakes will be minimised
  • Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes – and most fools do – but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes.

Ch 4: A Drop of Honey

PRINCIPLE 4: Begin in a friendly way.

  • a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall
  • So with men, if you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart; which, say what you will, is the great high road to his reason.
  • This friendliness on Mr. Black’s part did what friendliness always does: it begot friendliness. So the strikers borrowed brooms, shovels, and rubbish carts, and began picking up matches, papers, cigarette stubs, and cigar butts around the factory. Imagine it! Imagine strikers tidying up the factory grounds while battling for higher wages and recognition of the union.
  • The sun then told the wind that gentleness and friendliness were always stronger than fury and force.

Ch 5: They Secret of Socretes

PRINCIPLE 5: Get the other person saying ‘yes, yes’ immediately.

  • IN TALKING WITH people, don’t begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin by emphasising – and keep on emphasising – the things on which you agree. Keep emphasising, if possible, that you are both striving for the same end and that your only difference is one of method and not of purpose.
  • Get the other person saying ‘Yes, yes’ at the outset. Keep your opponent, if possible, from saying ‘No.’
  • The psychological patterns here are quite clear. When a person says ‘No’ and really means it, he or she is doing far more than saying a word of two letters. The entire organism – glandular, nervous, muscular – gathers itself together into a condition of rejection.
  • I finally learned that it doesn’t pay to argue, that it is much more profitable and much more interesting to look at things from the other person’s viewpoint and try to get that person saying “yes, yes.”’
  • His whole technique, now called the ‘Socratic method,’ was based upon getting a ‘yes, yes’ response.
  • ‘He who treads softly goes far.’

Ch 6: The Safety Valve in Handling Complaints

PRINCIPLE 6: Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

  • MOST PEOPLE TRYING to win others to their way of thinking do too much talking themselves. Let the other people talk themselves out. They know more about their business and problems than you do. So ask them questions. Let them tell you a few things.
  • I know I would have lost the contract if I hadn’t lost my voice, because I had the wrong idea about the whole proposition. I discovered, quite by accident, how richly it sometimes pays to let the other person do the talking.
  • Letting the other person do the talking helps in family situations as well as in business.
  • If you want enemies, excel your friends; but if you want friends, let your friends excel you.
    • Note: allow your friends to brag about themselves. Everyone likes to talk about themselves
  • Now, when we have some time to chat, I ask them to share their joys with me, and I only mention my achievements when they ask.

Ch 7: How to get Cooperation

PRINCIPLE 7: Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.

  • DON’T YOU HAVE much more faith in ideas that you discover for yourself than in ideas that are handed to you on a silver platter? If so, isn’t it bad judgement to try to ram your opinions down the throats of other people? Isn’t it wiser to make suggestions – and let the other person think out the conclusion?
  • ‘The people had made a sort of moral bargain with me,’ said Mr. Seltz, ‘and as long as I lived up to my part in it, they were determined to live up to theirs
    • Note: Mr Seltz asked what they expected from him and what he could expect from them and that was the bargain
  • No one likes to feel that he or she is being sold something or told to do a thing.
  • I urged him to give me his ideas. This made him feel that he was creating the designs. And he was. I didn’t have to sell him. He bought.
  • The others had been trying to sell me on their service, but one let me sell myself. That organisation won.
  • ‘The reason why rivers and seas receive the homage of a hundred mountain streams is that they keep below them. Thus they are able to reign over all the mountain streams. So the sage, wishing to be above men, putteth himself below them; wishing to be before them, he putteth himself behind them. Thus, though his place be above men, they do not feel his weight; though his place be before them, they do not count it an injury.’

Ch 8: A Formula That will work Wonders for you

PRINCIPLE 8: Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

  • EMEMBER THAT OTHER people may be totally wrong. But they don’t think so. Don’t condemn them. Any fool can do that. Try to understand them. Only wise, tolerant, exceptional people even try to do that.
  • success in dealing with people depends on a sympathetic grasp of the other person’s viewpoint
  • They felt better and I felt better because I had handled the situation with consideration for their point of view.

Ch 9: What Everybody Wants

PRINCIPLE 9: Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.

  • ‘I don’t blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do.’
    • Note: the magic phrase to make the people against u listen to u
  • By sympathising with the manager’s desire to keep his patrons happy, Mr. Mangum was able to win the hotel manager to his way of thinking easily and without rancour.
  • ‘Sympathy the human species universally craves. The child eagerly displays his injury; or even inflicts a cut or bruise in order to reap abundant sympathy. For the same purpose adults . . . show their bruises, relate their accidents, illness, especially details of surgical operations. “Self-pity” for misfortunes real or imaginary is, in some measure, practically a universal practice.’

Ch 10: An Appeal That Everybody Likes

PRINCIPLE 10: Appeal to the nobler motives.

  • he appealed to a nobler motive.
  • He appealed to the respect and love that all of us have for motherhood.
  • He wrote, ‘Please do not publish that picture of me any more. My mother doesn’t like it.’

Ch 11: The Movies Do it. TV Does it. Why Don’t You do it

PRINCIPLE 11: Dramatise your ideas.

  • This is the day of dramatisation.
  • Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic. You have to use showmanship. The movies do it. Television does it. And you will have to do it if you want attention.

Ch 12: When Nothing Else Works, Try This

PRINCIPLE 12: Throw down a challenge.

  • ‘The way to get things done,’ says Schwab, ‘is to stimulate competition. I do not mean in a sordid money-getting way, but in the desire to excel.’
  • All men have fears, but the brave put down their fears and go forward, sometimes to death, but always to victory

Part 4: Be a Leader: How to change people Without Giving Offence or Arousing Resentment

Ch 1: If You Must Find Fault, This is the Way to Begin

PRINCIPLE 1: Begin with praise and honest appreciation.

  • It is always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points.
  • Beginning with praise is like the dentist who begins his work with Novocain. The patient still gets a drilling, but the Novocain is pain-killing. A leader will use.

Ch 2: How to Criticise - and Not be Hated for it

PRINCIPLE 2: Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.

  • Many people begin their criticism with sincere praise followed by the word ‘but’ and ending with a critical statement.
  • In this case, Johnnie might feel encouraged until he heard the word ‘but.’ He might then question the sincerity of the original praise. To him, the praise seemed only to be a contrived lead-in to a critical inference of failure. Credibility would be strained, and we probably would not achieve our objectives of changing Johnnie’s attitude toward his studies.
  • This could be easily overcome by changing the word ‘but’ to ‘and.’

Ch 3: Talk About Your Own Mistakes First

PRINCIPLE 3: Talk about your own mistakes before criticising the other person

  • If a few sentences humbling oneself and praising the other party can turn a haughty, insulted Kaiser into a staunch friend, imagine what humility and praise can do for you and me in our daily contacts. Rightfully used, they will work veritable miracles in human relations.

Ch 4: No One Likes to Take Orders

PRINCIPLE 4: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.

  • Owen D. Young never said, for example, ‘Do this or do that,’ or ‘Don’t do this or don’t do that.’ He would say, ‘You might consider this,’ or ‘Do you think that would work?’
  • Asking questions not only makes an order more palatable; it often stimulates the creativity of the persons whom you ask. People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.

Ch 5: Let the Other Person save Face

PRINCIPLE 5: Let the other person save face.

  • Letting one save face! How important, how vitally important that is! And how few of us ever stop to think of it!
  • Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime.

Ch 6: How to Spur People On to Success

PRINCIPLE 6: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be ‘hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.’

  • Use of praise instead of criticism is the basic concept of B.F. Skinner’s teachings.
    • Note: have students optimise for praises encourages them to be more creative and try out different things
  • Abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement. To become a more effective leader of people, apply

Ch 7: Give a Dog a Good Name

PRINCIPLE 7: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.

  • The average person,’ said Samuel Vauclain, then president of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, ‘can be led readily if you have his or her respect and if you show that you respect that person for some kind of ability.’
  • In short, if you want to improve a person in a certain respect, act as though that particular trait were already one of his or her outstanding characteristics.

Ch 8: Make the Fault Seem Easy to Correct

PRINCIPLE 8: Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.

  • This new teacher did the opposite. She kept praising the things I did right and minimising my errors.

Ch 9: Making People Glad to Do What You Want

PRINCIPLE 9: Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

  • Always make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
  • after expressing his appreciation of the invitation and regretting his inability to accept it, he suggested a substitute speaker. In other words, he didn’t give the other person any time to feel unhappy about the refusal. He immediately changed the other person’s thoughts to some other speaker who could accept the invitation.
  • The effective leader should keep the following guidelines in mind when it is necessary to change attitudes or behaviour:
  • 1 Be sincere. Do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person. 2 Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do. 3. Be empathetic. Ask yourself what is it the other person really wants. 4 Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest. 5 Match those benefits to the other person’s wants. 6. When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit.


FATHER FORGETS (something about children 🙂) -W. Livingston Larned Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside. There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor. At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, ‘Goodbye, Daddy!’ and I frowned, and said in reply, ‘Hold your shoulders back!’ Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive – and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father! Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. ‘What is it you want?’ I snapped. You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs. Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding – this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years. And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed! It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: ‘He is nothing but a boy – a little boy!’ I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.