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THE BOY WHO TOLD THE TRUTH.
One cold, bleak day in winter, during study hours, the pupils of Mr. Wise's school heard the sound of a carriage coming toward the school-house. A moment after, and it was before the door, and the loud voice of a man called for Mr. Wise. He went to the door, heard what the man had to tell him, came back into the room with a much sadder face than he had left it, and said —
“ Boys, I have just now been told that a very dear friend of mine is
ill and wishes to see me. Mr. Bird, the man who is at the door, has asked me to ride back with him; and as my friend lives five miles from here, and I know of no other way of going there, I would like to accept his offer. I can dismiss you all in a short time, but I do not like to oblige Mr. Bird to wait for me until I put away my books and papers, and lock up the school. Now, I wish to leave three boys here to do it in my place, and those who think they can do this in a proper manner, and would like to do a favour for me, may hold up their hands.”
Nearly every boy in the room, large and small, raised one hand. Mr. Wise smiled, and said
“I am glad to see so many of you ready to oblige me, but three will be quite enough for the work, and I shall select from among you those who I regard as the most trusty."
He then named Thomas Jones, George Evans, and James Black.
“ James Black is 'not so old as many others here,” he said, “ but I think I can
rely upon him to do what is right; and any
harm should happen, I know he will tell me the exact truth about it.” · Mr. Wise then sent all the boys home, but the three whom he had chosen to remain; and after having given these last a few orders as to where they should put the keys, &c., he left them, jumped into the carriage, and was soon riding along at a swift rate to visit his sick friend,
The boys had begun to put away the things in nice order, when they heard a loud halloo. They turned to find out from whom it came, and saw four of their school-mates at the door.
“Go away, John West, and the rest of you boys,” said Thomas Jones.
“ No, indeed!” said they; "we are not going quite yet.”
“Now, I dare say, you want to know how we came here, and what we want, said Edward West, who seemed to be the leader of the party; "and to save you
the asking, I'll just tell you. .
We hid behind the school-house until the master was out of sight, and then we came out to pay you a visit, and you ought to be very glad to see us. Our reason for doing so was to have some fun, of course; and now you have the whole story.”
Well, we'll just tell Mr. Wise, and see what he will have to say about it,” said George Evans.
“0, we don't mean to do any harm," said Edward. “ We only want to have a little play; and you would not tell unless we do wrong. Would you, George?”
" What shall we do about these boys?” asked George aside, speaking in an undertone to Thomas and James.
“I am sure I cannot tell,” said James; for I am afraid they will not go away
" That is what I think," said Thomas; “and we may only get into a quarrel with them, and do no good by it. How
would it do for us to tell them they may stay, if they will give us their word of honour not to behave badly?”
Yes, that is all we can do," said George.
"Well, boys," said Thomas aloud, “I think it would be much better for go home; but if you promise to behave, we will not object to your staying here with us, though I am not quite sure that Mr. Wise will like it.”
“Well, on the whole, I call that a polite speech," said Edward, “and I give my hand to the bargain.”
“ Yes; we all agree to behave well,” cried the others, and they began to mount the desks and perform sundry little antics. At first the three boys who had stayed in to work, went on doing their duty, as if their wild school-mates were not there at all; except now and then, when they would pause to smile at some of their odd tricks, or speak a few words to them.