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help with this quote please

Posted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 9:28 am
by sardith
George Washington said this:

"Lenience will operate with greater force, in some instances than rigor. It is therefore my first wish to have all of my conduct distinguished by it."

I think I understand the first sentence, but want to make sure I get the full impact of what he is trying to say.

Can anyone help me?

Susan :?

Posted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:32 pm
by LukeJavan8
It reminds me of the phrase:
"One can attract more flies with honey, than with
vinegar". I think the same applies.

help with this quote please

Posted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:57 pm
by sardith
Thank you, Luke. That is just the direction I was going with it as well.

I am a little tentative when dealing with speakers who lived more than a hundred years ago, because they tend to put things differently, and I am a relatively new reader of old books. Believe it or not, I survived an interesting "Experimental Period" of the California education system in which I was not asked to read the classic books. For example, I am 50, am reading 'Little Women' for the first time, and have had to look up more words to follow along, than any book in my life! Why did we 'throw away' perfectly good words they were using in the Civil War era. Ok, off the soapbox.

Thanks again,
Susan :)

Posted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:01 pm
by LukeJavan8
I am 65 and a retired high school English: Grammar/literature
and ancient history and French teacher. I got out when
the getting out was good. I could not deal with today's
texting generation, and the whole cell phone in class business.
But that is another story.

The quote you had reminded me of a "western" I once saw
where the General of some Fort had before him some
lower level soldier who had committed some infraction
the likes of which I've long forgotten. He reprimanded the
soldier severely and then let him go. Some Major or
other soldier standing nearby was aghast that the
"bad" guy got off so lightly, and told the general so. The
General, in his turn, responded with something like
your quote. The reprimanded soldier will long remember
his infraction, and his reprimand, but he will also remember
the general's "letting him off" with so little, and will most
likely love the general all the more.

So if Washington was rigorous, his soldiers would have
hated him, and spread discord among the troops, and
he most certainly would never have been as beloved as
he supposedly was, according to history. And he most
certainly would never have been elected president.

Our education system certainly has gone through a
hectic history in the last 100 years. Only today on the
news, some history teacher in the East found a great
number of mistakes in her daughter's 4th grade history
text. Such a debacle.

help with this quote please

Posted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:08 pm
by sardith
I agree, and see the pendulum swinging more toward the time of the early history of America, when so many taught their own children at home, or in smaller parent assisted co-ops. It will be interesting to see some results of that arrangement.

Oh, one more question, since I have you on the line. What is the meaning of the old expression, "Taking time by the fetlock?" It is used a few times in Little Women, I looked it up but I don't quite get it. Can you help?

Have a Happy New Year!

Posted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:38 pm
by LukeJavan8
I have a couple places to check yet, but I think it
is similar to "seize the day-carpe diem" .

This site does not have it, and it is sort of funny because
it usually has most phrases. I offer it as a resource

I'll be back.

Posted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:40 pm
by LukeJavan8
Here's another:

Still checking, I have a couple other sources to check.

These are live people: be back later.

Posted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:08 pm
by LukeJavan8
I think you may like this.

I checked with a friend on another site: and, he being a
linguist, reported back:

this is pretty interesting..

according to OED, time[25] Personified as an aged man, bald, but having a forelock, and carrying a scythe and an hour-glass. Also called Father Time. to take Time by the forelock (†by the top), to seize one's opportunity, to act promptly

1595 Spenser Amoretti "The joyous time wil not be staid Unlesse she doe him by the forelock take.."

1775 J. Adair Hist. Amer. Indians I took time by the fore-lock.

a common expression of old, then, twisted by Alcott (and followed by others)

""It was hard work, but between us, we talked her over, for we had heaps of good reasons on our side. There wasn't time to write and ask leave, but you all liked it, had consented to it by-and-by, and it was only `taking time by the fetlock', as my wife says.""
- L. M. Alcott, Little Women (1868)

"'Take time by the fetlock,' as one of the girls says in 'Little Women,'" laughed Roger. "If you'll cast your orbs out of the window you'll see that it has almost stopped."
- Mabell S.C. Smith, Ethel Morton's Enterprise (2004)

help with this quote please

Posted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:13 pm
by sardith
How funny! Little Women is the book where I encountered the curious little phrase. They've used it a few times, (I haven't finished the whole book yet), and I just couldn't find any good reference material to know for sure.

Thanks, and Happy New Year!

Susan :D

p.s. What a nice book this has been for me, even so delayed.

Posted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:27 pm
by LukeJavan8
So glad you are enjoying it. I really did. I also enjoyed
and recommend "Little Men" by Alcott. It is very
memorable. Both, of course, have been movies.
Little Men was a series on TV some years back. Available
on DVD, some of the episodes, that is,not all.

When I was a lad my family played "Authors". It was a
card game (just like "spades") but the cards had pictures
of famous authors on them. I remember the pictures
and found the books later on when I was really into
reading. Alcott was a favorite.

I have a couple of folks I ask questions of on another
site like this one, but far more active. If you are ever
interested let me know, I'll give you address. Or ask
any question and I'll pose it for them, as I did this one.


Posted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:37 pm
by sardith
My husband bought me a Nook and I discovered that there are hundreds of FREE e-books available for it. Little Men is already loaded into the queue and is my next choice.


Posted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 5:26 pm
by LukeJavan8
Good for you.
When I want a good tear jerker, I watch some of the
DVD's of Little Men. But the book is terrific upon which
the TV is based. I know you'll enjoy it: report back.

help with this quote please

Posted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 8:53 pm
by sardith
Sure thing. Thanks again for your help. :)

Posted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:17 pm
by LukeJavan8
There is still discussion on the "fetlock" issue. Here is
one that is somewhat interesting:

I've spent an interesting afternoon researching the phrase about 'fetlock time'. You're right, Luke...its hard to fine a definition on the net. But, when I'm not heading off on another tangent (like time....there was so much about that subject) I did read about....shackles and clogs that were attached to a horse or camel or donkey's leg or fetlock, to slow or restict movement. And of cousre...when a horse goes lame, its usually from an injury to its fetlock, so I'm guessing that would slow down its time, going places!

help with this quote please

Posted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:00 pm
by sardith
Wow~Are you one of those people, like me, who gets a burr under their saddle and can't let go of something until...well, for the information, I thank you.

Just so you know, I have posted a request for 'fetlock' to be used as a Word-of-the-day with Dr. Goodword. I guess that's my way of taking care of my curiosity! :lol: I guess we'll both see what comes of that.

Have a nice week,
Susan :D