In Chapter XVI ("I Am a New Boy in More Senses than One") of David Copperfield, Charles Dickens comments on the relative dangers of idle hands and busy hands:

'I could wish it done as soon as it can be done, Wickfield,' said Doctor Strong, 'for Jack Maldon is needy, and idle; and of those two bad things, worse things sometimes come. 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?'

(cf. My Business (30 May 1999), FourTypes (2 May 2000), LifeTimeManagement1 (13 Jun 2001), ...)

TopicLiterature - TopicHumor - TopicLife - 2006-06-23

(correlates: FecklessPerson, OldAge, DavidCopperfieldOnIndifference, ...)