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Bad Influence

Josiah Wedgwood, English maker of the famous Wedgwood pottery, was showing a nobleman through his factory one day. One of Wedgwood’s employees, a young boy, was accompanying them. The nobleman was profane and vulgar. At first, the boy was shocked by his irreverence; then he became fascinated by the man’s coarse jokes and laughed at them.

Wedgwood was deeply distressed. At the conclusion of the tour, he showed the nobleman a vase of unique design. The man was charmed by its exquisite shape and rare beauty. As he reached for it, Mr. Wedgwood purposely let it fall to the floor. The nobleman uttered an angry oath and said, “I wanted that vase for my collection, and you have ruined it by your carelessness!”

Wedgwood answered, “Sir, there are other ruined things more precious than a vase which can never be restored. You can never give back to that young man, who just left us, the reverence for sacred things which his parents have tried to teach him for years. You have undone their labor in less than half an hour!”

Morning Glory, Sept.-Oct., 1997, p. 32