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by Abigail Van Buren

Rules for Living Keep You on the Straight and Narrow

DEAR READERS: Recently I was asked about President James A. Garfield's "Rules for Living." When I confessed I had not seen them, many of you were kind enough to send them to me.

They were evidently given to a young James A. Garfield by an elderly friend, and Garfield cherished them to the end of his life. So for "A Moment in History," who asked for them, and for all of my readers who will surely enjoy them, here are President James A. Garfield's cherished personal principles:

-- Never be idle.

-- Make few promises.

-- Always speak the truth.

-- Live within your income.

-- Never speak evil of anyone.

-- Keep good company or none.

-- Live up to your engagements.

-- Never play games of chance.

-- Drink no intoxicating drinks.

-- Good character is above everything else.

-- Keep your own secrets if you have any.

-- Never borrow if you can possibly help it.

-- Do not marry until you are able to support a wife.

-- When you speak to a person, look into his eyes.

-- Save when you are young to spend when you are old.

-- Never run into debt unless you see a way out again.

-- Good company and good conversation are the sinews of virtue.

-- Your character cannot be essentially injured except by your own acts.

-- If anybody speaks evil of you, let your life be so that no one believes him.

-- When you retire at night, think over what you have done during the day.

-- If your hands cannot be employed usefully, attend to the culture of your mind.

-- Read the above carefully and thoughtfully at least once a week.