Old Hampton Tales of Sea and Shore: A Successful Man's Maxim

By Thomas Leavitt

Part 7

The Exeter News-Letter, Friday, March 17, 1899

A Successful Man's Maxim

"Hotel Métropole
Monte Carlo, December 27th, 1898
Dear Mr. Leavitt: -- I have been reading with much interest your "Reminiscences of old Hampton," published in the News-Letter." In your letter No. 3, you speak of the peculiarity of my grandfather, David Nudd, in asking the advice of all sorts of men as to his affairs, the motive of which you did not understand. You will be interested to know that at the time of his death, there was found in his desk a motto written in his own handwriting, as follows: "Take counsel of him who is greater and of him who is less than thyself; then refer to thine own judgment." I have in my possession both the motto and the desk. In the past my father has talked to me about this maxim of David Nudd, which was evidently his favorite one and by which he was guided through life, as is confirmed by your "Reminiscences."
Yours truly,
82 Champs Elysees, Paris"

The above letter explains itself. I must admit that it sheds light upon my mind as to Mr. Nudd's mental make-up, and, doubtless, it will upon the minds of many others.

In the light of it, I feel like revisting my estimate of Mr. Nudd, and instead of saying as I did in the article referred to, that Mr. Nudd "possessed energy, enterprise and business ability," I now say he possessed energy, enterprise and unusual sagacity.

In this connection, I recall an anecdote of Mr. Nudd illustrating his humorous side.

As soon as evolution had brought around the private ice-house, Mr. Nudd determined to erect one for the Boar's Head Hotel. He hired two carpenters, and three laboring men to assist them and do the excavating. One of the latter was a foolish fellow, but capable of doing such work as shovelling and lifting. He ordered them to be at Boar's Head on a certain morning, and, in a little while after they arrived there he drove up.

Mr. Nudd commenced to advise with the carpenters as to where the building should be placed. They made so many difficulties, raised so many objections to all suggestions made by him and by each other that finally Mr. Nudd became disgusted and out of patience, and turning to the foolish fellow said, "Sam, where do you say it ought to stand?" Immediately Sam walked to a spot and stood there. Mr. Nudd, turning his wagon to drive down the hill, said, "put it where Sam says," and drove off down the hill with a broad grin on his face. He did not turn to see the open mouthed surprise borne on the faces of the carpenters, nor the expression of chargrin and anger that succeeded it. The flat had gone forth, and they had to build the ice-house on the spot designated by the fool.