“Yes,” said Jonas, “boys sometimes do get very badly hurt in mills,—careless and disobedient boys especially.”
“I think that he is a careless and disobedient boy,” said Oliver.
[Illustration: “He said it made a very soft seat.”]
“Yes, but it is his misfortune, rather than his fault,” replied Jonas.
“His misfortune?” repeated Oliver.
“Yes,” said Jonas; “his father’s situation is such, that it is very unfortunate for him. I expect he is very unhappily situated at home, in many respects.”
“How?” said Oliver.
“Why, in the first place,” said Jonas, “he lives, I’m told, in a large and handsome house.”
“Yes,” said Oliver.
“And then,” continued Jonas, “your aunt, I have heard, is a very fine woman, and has a great deal of company.”
“Well,” said Oliver.
“And then,” continued Jonas, “they can buy Josey any thing he wants, for playthings.”
“Yes,” said Oliver; “he told me he had got a rocking-horse. But I don’t call that being unfortunate.”
“It is very fortunate for the father and mother, but such a kind of life is generally unfortunate for the child. You see, if a man has been industrious himself, when he was a boy, and has grown up to be a good business man, and to acquire a great deal of property, and builds a good house, and has plenty of books, and journeys, it is all very well for him. He can bear it, but it very often spoils his children.”
“Why does it spoil his children?” asked Oliver.
“In the first place, it makes them conceited and vain,—not always, but often. The children of wealthy men are very often conceited. They wear better clothes than some other boys, and have more books and prettier playthings; and so they become vain, and think that they are very important, when, in fact, they owe every thing to their fathers.
“Then, besides,” continued Jonas, “they don’t form good habits of industry. Their fathers don’t make them work, and so they don’t acquire any habits of industry, and patience, and perseverance.”
“If I was a man, and had ever so much money,” said Oliver, “I would make my boys work.”
“That is very doubtful,” said Jonas.
“Why is it doubtful?” asked Oliver.
“Because,” said Jonas, “you would be very busy, and couldn’t attend to it. It would be a great deal more trouble to make your boys do any thing, than it would be to hire another man to do it; and so you would hire a man, to save your trouble.”
“Yes; but then, Jonas, farmers are very busy, and yet they make their boys work.”
“True,” replied Jonas; “but farmers are busy about such kind of work as that their boys can help them do it,—so they can keep them at work without any special trouble. But men of property are employed in such kind of business as boys cannot do; and so they must work, if they work at all, at something else; and that makes a good deal of trouble.”