As New Year Arrives – Advice For Boys!



This is a piece of advice written nearly 100 years ago to boys of all ages. It was written by a man called Sir Frederick Treves. He was an eminent surgeon who practiced on battle fields and in service to Queen Victoria. He was a friend of Joseph Merrick also known as ‘the elephant man’.

The advice he gives to boys doesn’t age. The language may be stiff and formal but the sentiment is as relevent now as it was then. As the mother of a young lad myself I would like to pass this on!


Sir Frederick Treves

1853 – 1923

“Don’t worry about genius and don’t worry about not being clever. Trust rather in hard work, perseverance and determination. The best motto for the long march is “Don’t grumble. Plug on”. You hold your future in your own hands. Never waver in this belief. Don’t swagger. The boy who swaggers – like the man who swaggers – has little else that he can do. He is a cheap – jack selling his paltry wares. It is the empty tin that rattles most. Be honest. Be loyal. Be kind. Remember that the hardest thing to acquire is the faculty of being unselfish. As a quality it is one of the finest attributes of manliness. Love the beach, the ringing sea and the open down. Keep clean, body and mind.”



Don’t grumble: Don’t complain or make a fuss.

Plug on: Push ahead, carry on regardless.

Never waver: Don’t change your thinking or stop believing in your task.

Swagger: A word used to describe a casual way of walking, usually men. It shows over-confidence and showing off. It’s not a positive word.

CheapJack: A person with very little inside, only concerned with getting something from you.

Paltry: poor standard, cheap, inferior.

Wares: Things or goods being sold. A Warehouse is a large building which stores goods ready to be sold.

Faculty: The ability, the skill.

Attributes: A positive trait or positive part of your personality.

The ringing sea: The sea and the sounds it makes

The open downs: ‘Downs’ are a word for an English type of landscape. High ground, usually fairly wild grassland.

Clean body, clean mind: An old expression used in English saying if you take care in your appearance and your organisation in life it will help you to keep away from more negative or lustful thoughts!

What do you think is meant by ‘It is the empty tin that rattles most’?

Answer comes with next post!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s