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THE HOLBORN SERIES.

INSTRUCTIVE READER, No. 5.

THE TRUANT.

But

DAFFYDOWNDILLY, so called because in his nature he resembled a flower, and loved to do only what was pleasant and agreeable, took no delight in labour of any kind. while Daffydowndilly was yet a little boy, his mother sent him away from his pleasant home, and put him under the care of a very strict schoolmaster, who went by the name of Mr. Toil. Those who knew him best affirmed that this Mr. Toil was a very worthy character; and that he had done more good, both to children and grown people, than anybody else in the world. Certainly he had lived long enough to do a great deal of good; for, there is reason to believe, he had dwelt upon earth ever since Adam was driven from the garden of Eden.

Nevertheless, Mr. Toil had a severe and ugly countenance, especially for such little boys or big men as were inclined to be idle; his voice, too, was harsh, and all his ways and customs seemed very disagreeable to our friend Daffy; for unless a lad chose to attend quietly and constantly to his book, he had no chance of enjoying a quiet moment in the schoolroom of Mr. Toil.

"I can't bear it any longer," said Daffy to himself, when he had been at school about a week; "I'll run away, and try to find my dear mother; and, at any rate, I shall never find anybody half so disagreeable as this old Mr. Toil."

So, the very next morning, off started poor Daffy, and began his rambles about the world, with only some bread and cheese for his breakfast, and very little pocket-money to pay his expenses. But he had gone only a short distance when he overtook a man of grave and sedate appearance, who was trudging at a moderate pace along the road.

"Good morning, my fine lad," said the stranger; and his voice seemed hard and severe, but yet had a sort of kindness in it: "whence do you come so early, and whither are you going?"

Little Daffy was a boy of very ingenuous disposition, and had never been known to tell a lie in all his life. Nor did

he tell one now. He hesitated a moment or two, but finally confessed that he had run away from school, on account of his great dislike to Mr. Toil, and that he was resolved to find some place in the world where he should never see or hear of the old schoolmaster again.

66

Oh, very well, my little friend," answered the stranger; "then we will go together, for I should be glad to find such a place."

They had not gone far when the road passed by a field where some haymakers were at work. Daffy was delighted with the sweet smell of the new-mown grass, and thought how much pleasanter it must be to make hay in the sunshine, under the blue sky, and with the birds singing sweetly in the neighbouring trees and bushes, than to be shut up in a dismal schoolroom, learning lessons all day long, and continually scolded by old Mr. Toil. But in the midst of these reflections, while he was stopping to peep over the stone wall, he started back, and caught hold of his companion's hand.

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