A selected survey.
“He (Tom, i.e.) put the base of the instrument on the stone and watched how the leather thong fell. If it hung to one side or the other of the center line, he would tap the stone with his hammer until it was exactly level. Then he would move the instrument until it straddled the join between the two adjacent stones, to check that the tops of the stones were exactly in line. Finally, he turned the instrument sideways on the stone to make sure it was not leaning one way or the other. Before picking up a new stone he would snap the taut string to satisfy himself that the faces of the stones were in a straight line.”
(‘The pillars of the earth’, Ken Follett 1989 – ‘Dutton Signet - Penguin Books USA Inc.’ 1990, p.433)
"Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief."
('Hamlet', W. Shakespeare Act II, Scene 2 as cited by S. Freud (1905) in 'The wit and its link with unconscious' )