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He had had a nice, good, idle time all the while-plenty of company-and the
fence had three coats of whitewash on it! If he hadnít run out of whitewash, he
would have bankrupted every boy in the village.

Tom said to himself that it was not such a hollow world, after all. He had
discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it-namely, that in
order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing
difficult to attain. If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of
this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a
body is obliged to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to
do. And this would help him to understand why constructing artificial flowers
or performing on a treadmill is work, while rolling ten-pins or climbing Mont
Blanc is only amusement. There are wealthy gentlemen in England who drive
four-horse passenger-coaches twenty or thirty miles on a daily line, in the
summer, because the privilege costs them considerable money; but if they were
offered wages for the service, that would turn it into work and then they would

The boy mused a while over the substantial change which had taken place in his
worldly circumstances, and then wended toward headquarters to report.

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