The word “hobby” is derived from “hobby horse,” which is a stick fitted with a wooden horse’s head, painted to look real. The child puts this between his legs, and prances about, pretending to be riding a horse. From this word “hobby-horse” we get the word hobby, an amusement; and we speak of a man’s “riding” his hobby. Properly, a hobby is any interesting subject or pursuit, not our main business, which we take up for our amusement in our leisure hours. What is a business to one man may be a hobby to another. For example, a professional photographer may have gardening as his hobby; and a paid gardener may make a hobby of photography.
There are very many kinds of hobbies. Many take the form of collecting in some forms. Collecting postage stamps is a common hobby in England, not only with flowers and ferns and press and mount their specimens. Others take an interest in geology, and find much amusement in collecting fossils. Such hobbies do not cost much, and are within the reach of all. But others, such as collecting pictures, old books, curiosities and antiquities are only for the rich.
Other hobbies take the form of games and sports. Many take up open-air games, like gold, tennis, cricket or football, or indoor games such as chess, draughts and cards, as their hobbies. While hunting, or fishing, or yachting are the favorite recreations of others.
Photography makes an interesting and instructive hobby; and for those who have the gift, sketching and painting and wood-carving. The latter hobbies require special artistic gifts; but almost anyone can learn carpentry and picture-framing.
Many people find great pleasure and interest in gardening: especially in cultivating some special flowers, like roses. And boys especially like keeping pets, such as rabbits and fowls.
Every one, young and old, should have a hobby of some sort for his leisure hours; for it adds greatly to the pleasure of life. It is often an education in itself, and it fills our vacant hours with interest. It gives us, also, something to fall back on when our business days are over, in the leisure times at the end of life.
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