Ten Minutes' Delay
All well-informed people are familiar with the sad account of the death
of the young Prince Napoleon, who fell pierced by nineteen wounds at the
hands of the Zulus, in South Africa, June 1, 1879.
Many will remember that Capt. Carey, in his published report, mentioned
that after they had selected the camping ground,—the object for which
the squad of six had been detailed,—and had had coffee and rested, he
suggested that they should remount and return to camp. But the young
prince, who commanded the squad, said,—
"No, let's wait ten minutes."
Just as they were preparing to remount, at the expiration of that ten
minutes, a body of Zulus came on them, and all fled but the prince,
whose horse broke from him. After a desperate resistance, he fell,
covered with wounds, and died "in the tall grass of the douga."
I presume all do not know that this pleading for ten minutes' delay was
a habit of the young prince from early childhood.
A correspondent of a leading Paris journal interviewed the empress as
she was about leaving for the scene of the tragedy that had wrecked all
her earthly hopes, and drew her into conversation on the subject of her
She talked freely during the interview, but with an evident anguish of
spirit, which seemed only the more sad from her effort at control.
During this interview, while speaking of the childhood of her son, the
prince, she unconsciously revealed the trait in his character that had
caused all this woe,—to her, wrecked hopes and a broken heart; to him,
the probable loss of a throne, an earthly future, and his life.
After describing her as still lovely in her lonely grief, the writer
from whom we quote said:—
"The empress had now risen and stood, slightly trembling with emotion,
when, stepping rapidly and gracefully across the room, she opened a
cabinet, from which she took a pocketbook, and read therefrom on a leaf,
'Going with Carey,'—the last words ever written by the prince; then she
added,—'Of all that Captain Carey has ever written in regard to my son,
those fatal ten minutes alone, I hold to be true. It was ever his
habit,' she continued, 'to plead for ten minutes' delay; so much so that
I used to tell him they ought to call him Monsieur Dix Minutes.'
"'He always begged for ten minutes more sleep in the morning; ten
minutes more at night to sleep in his chair; and when too much overcome
with sleep to speak, he would hold up his two little hands, the ten
fingers representing the ten minutes more for which he pleaded.'"
The habit of procrastination is a deadly foe to all prosperity in
temporal or in moral affairs. We ought to do every duty as soon as it
can be done.
I have a secret which I should like to whisper to the boys and girls if
they will put their ears down close enough. I don't want father and
mother to hear—for it is to be a surprise on them.
You have long wanted your own way. You have become tired of hearing
mother say, "Come right home after school." "Don't be late." "Be sure to
tell the teacher." It is "Do this" and "Don't do that" all the time. You
are sick of it, and would like to have your own way. Well, put your ears
down while I whisper one word, "Obey."
Oh, you think I am making fun. No, I am not. I know a boy who decided to
do just what his father said. He never offered excuses, never tried to
get out of work, until finally his father came to trust him perfectly.
His father said, "I know that Harlie will do what is right." When he
went out nights, or to school, or to play, his father never said a word,
for he had come to have perfect confidence in his boy.
Honestly, obedience is the road to freedom. If you want to have your own
way, just begin to obey.