The Etude magazine - September 1912, p. 620



    ONE afternoon I was seated in an express train just pulling out of Jersey City terminal. My partner next to the window seemed much interested in the sights outside. He Finally turned to me, after we got out beyond the miles of empty and loaded freighters crowding the yards, and said: "Do you do much riding through here?" I was quite guilty, and confessed so. "So do I," he replied, "and when I have nothing else to do I get the numbers of the cars along the road. It's fine practice for a quick eye." I did not think much of that. He claimed to be able to get more than half the numbers when the cars were not too near his train, and that was something. I tried it one day soon afterwards, and got left. Could not get one in half a dozen when the train was well under way. But it was interesting, almost fascinating, and I soon found myself watching freight cars like a cat after a dozen mice all at once. Now a glance, an instant, and I have in my memory the number up to five and six figures.
    I called at a hotel one day to meet a friend registered there, and asked for his room. The clerk opened his registry book, and followed down the columns with his pencil so fast that I was about to stop him and ask if that particular name were written in red that he expected to locate it so readily, when he said "Room 784, elevator to the left." I said nothing and went on. My friend was not impressed. "Those fellow's have eyes to see with, and they see."
    These things made no impression on me then. I soon forgot, so far as my own work was concerned, that they had happened.
    One day I was practicing, with the thermometer soaring up around the 90 mark, and everything going down around the 30-cent level, when I struck one chord that stopped me; and then and there I learned my lesson. I had looked at that chord once, but had to look again. I had been doing that very same thing with nearly every chord on the whole page that was in the least complicated. Why did I have to look again every time? Why did I not "get" the chord at first glance? I started to do some thinking for the first time that day. Why did I not train my eye to see notes, phrases and chords, like I did box-car numbers, and like the clerk did names? It was just as easy. Why was I wasting my time, my energy and my patience looking and not seeing? That was enough. I set to work. Now, when I look at a chord I have it; and I don't look the second time. What is the result? Well, I can read once again as readily; I am never "all in a stew," as the small boys say—and I have eyes that see.
    You need no more help on this subject. When you look once let that suffice. "Get" what you look for. It takes no more time, only concentration; that's all. You can do it. It is worth doing. WILL you?