Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What's worse? Idle or Busy Hands?

My book club has divided David Copperfield into three parts (it's about 900 pages).  So here's a thought from Charles Dickens. 

David has reunited with his aunt and been placed at a new school and lives now with Mr. Wickfield.  The headmaster of the school, Dr. Strong, has recently married and his wife's family has been taking advantage of his generous manner and has been imploring him to find a place for his wife's cousin.  He's just asked Mr. Wickfield if there was any progress in finding him a placement.

"...What does Doctor Watts say?" he added, looking at me, and moving his head to the time of his quotation:  "'Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.'"

"Egad, Doctor," returned Mr. Wickfield, "if Doctor Watts knew mankind, he might have written, with as much truth, 'Satan finds some mischief still for busy hands to do.'  The busy people achieve their full share of mischief in the world, you may rely upon it.  What have the people been about who have been the busiest in getting money, and in getting power, this century or two?  No mischief?"

Dickens wrote David Copperfield about 1850, but still has passages that resonate well today.  

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