This article has been transcribed from a copy of the Cardiff Times in the online collection of scanned Welsh newspapers 1804-1919 in the National Library of Wales, with grateful recognition of the free access accorded to all readers. Paragraph breaks have been introduced for easier reading.

Explanatory notes

'when the summer of England has ended its spasmodically miserable career': the summer of 1888 was one of the coldest on record, and that of 1890 was also notably cold.

The world wags: See As You Like It II.vii.22-8:

It is ten o’clock.
Thus we may see’, quoth he, ‘how the world wags.
’Tis but an hour ago since it was nine,
And after one hour more ’twill be eleven. And so from hour to hour we ripe and ripe,
And then from hour to hour we rot and rot;
And thereby hangs a tale.'

Elsewhere 'Samuel' defines a masher as 'the sort of young man who fancies that he can overcome and overawe everybody by the potency of his attractions' (12th May 1888) How to Live Within One's Means —— David Skilton

Decorated initial I

f all the time that is wasted in the course of a year were accum[m]ulated it would amount to something considerable. Everybody wastes some portion of his or her time, possibly on the Indian's principle, that they have 'all the time there is' to go at, and that they may as well fool with some of it.

Wastes time all round.

Some people waste time because they have nothing else to do. They are blessed by the possession of such means as make labour not a necessity. Their existence is a perpetual state of dolce far niente [sweet idleness] and they do not count time, but as a means of regulating their movements and showing them how the years roll by. So they waste it at their ease in a pleasantly indolent[ly] way, and if they do no good with their time they do no harm. They are the butterflies of life, who, when the summer of England has ended its spasmodically miserable career, fly to other climes to waste the remainder of the year amid the flowers. Even the school-boy habitually wastes his time and spends as much of the day as he can looking at the lagging clock, and mentally wishing old Time would hurry up and arrive at the hour when lessons and tyrannical masters shall cease from troubling and the pupil be at rest.

What is the result? Arrived at manhood he finds he is behind his fellows in the race of life and lives perpetually regretting that he wasted his time at school. Let him labour as he will he cannot recover the lost ground, and there will ever and anon crop up some unpleasant reminder of his wasted time. Terrible sinners in the matter of wasted time are the young men whose ages vary from 18 to 24. They do no more at business than bare necessity compels, and their evenings are wasted in aimless frivolity, if in nothing worse. They smoke heavily and alas! too often, they drink heavily, too. They spend their evenings in music-halls or public-houses.

Many of them indulge in that dangerous and far from remunerative amusement, small betting. They spend their meal hours in the company of betting men and loafers, and fondly imagine that they are becoming acquainted with the ways of the turf. Fatal delusion! They are only wasting their time and losing their money

Waste time inventing absurdities.

Any idea of utilising their spare time for the purposes of self-improvement never seems to strike these would-be mashers, the result being that their rise in the world of commerce is frequently a slow one, the prizes being taken by those of their fellows who have not wasted their time.

Believe me, wa[s]ting time is but a poor amusement at the best. Why, people who habitually waste their time do not even know how to enjoy legitimately earned rest. There is nothing more enjoyable in life than the brief respite of the busy man who, feeling he has not wasted his time during the remainder of the year, lays himself out to enjoy to the full a [a] well-earned holiday.

There are men whose wasted time is tinged with sadness. Men who toil and labour through long years of suffering to attain a given end, and all to no purpose. Poor inventors whose busy brains toil through the long nights when the work of the day is over, toil and invent, and scheme, only to find when labour is over and the day of life is far spent that for lack of the wherewithal to carry on the work it must be given up, and the loving care and anxious thought of years must upon the eve of completion be abandoned.

Left: Wastes time writing spring poems. Right: Wasted efforts.

Verily this is the irony of Fate; and such wasted time merits the sympathy of those who think. Another inventor who does [does] not merit sympathy, but who wastes time on his hobby, is the man who will invent things no one is ever likely to require. A peculiarity about the results of his wasted time is that his patents invariably fail to act when put into use, and he lives in a continual state of scheming improvements for inventions which are condemned as impracticable. All to no purpose: he lacks the constructive ability and the grit necessary to work out details with care and accuracy, and the result once more is wasted time.

An awful example of wasted time comes from the arena where resides the terrible bugbear of society — the amateur poet. Now he can waste time, though it would take half-a-dozen men of average talent to convince him of the fact. You cannot stem the flow of his so-called poetic eloquence. He has even survived the English springs of the past few years, and whilst his fellows have been railing at the clerk of the weather and swearing the climate was going to the dogs, he has trotted out his verse with stolid regularity, and pointed out to the grumblers that they had their eyes shut and has shown them beauties which they in their benighted state had failed to find. A wonderful man is the spring poet.

But he wastes his time; for his poems either remain at the bottom of the editorial wastepaper basket, or are returned with the editor's compliments — 'declined with thanks.' And so the world wags, and time is wasted in many ways by many people who, if they but took the trouble to utilise the time they waste, might put it to profitable use both for themselves and their fellows.

Links to Related Material

Last modified 19 April 2022