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OUR SCHOOL.

WE went to look at it, only this last
Midsummer, and found that the Railway had cut
it up root and branch. A great trunk-line
had swallowed the play-ground, sliced away
the schoolroom, and pared off the corner of
the house: which, thus curtailed of its
proportions, presented itself, in a green stage of
stucco, profilewise towards the road, like a
forlorn flat-iron without a handle, standing
on end.

It seems as if our schools were doomed to
be the sport of change. We have faint
recollections of a Preparatory Day-School,
which we have sought in vain, and which
must have been pulled down to make a new
street, ages ago. We have dim impressions,
scarcely amounting to a belief, that it was
over a dyer's shop. We know that you went
up steps to it; that you frequently grazed
your knees in doing so; that you generally
got your leg over the scraper, in trying to
scrape the mud off a very unsteady little shoe.
The mistress of the Establishment holds no
place in our memory; but, rampant on one
eternal door-mat, in an eternal entry long and
narrow, is a puffy pug-dog, with a personal
animosity towards us, who triumphs over
Time. The bark of that baleful Pug, a certain
radiating way he had of snapping at our
undefended legs, the ghastly grinning of his
moist black muzzle and white teeth, and the
insolence of his crisp tail curled like a pastoral
crook, all live and flourish. From an otherwise
unaccountable association of him with a
fiddle, we conclude that he was of French
extraction, and his name Fidèle. He belonged
to some female, chiefly inhabiting a back-parlor,
whose life appears to us to have been
consumed in sniffing, and in wearing a brown
beaver bonnet. For her, he would sit up and
balance cake upon his nose, and not eat it
until twenty had been counted. To the best
of our belief, we were once called in to witness
this performance; when, unable, even in his
milder moments, to endure our presence, he
instantly made at us, cake and all.

Why a something in mourning, called "Miss
Frost," should still connect itself with our
preparatory school, we are unable to say. We
retain no impression of the beauty of Miss
Frostif she were beautiful; or of the mental
fascinations of Miss Frostif she were accomplished;
yet her name and her black dress
hold an enduring place in our remembrance.
An equally impersonal boy, whose name has
long since shaped itself unalterably into
"Master Mawls," is not to be dislodged from
our brain. Retaining no vindictive feeling
towards Mawlsno feeling whatever, indeed
we infer that neither he nor we can have
loved Miss Frost. Our first impression of
Death and Burial is associated with this formless
pair. We all three nestled awfully in a
corner one wintry day, when the wind was
blowing shrill, with Miss Frost's pinafore over
our heads; and Miss Frost told us in a
whisper about somebody being "screwed
down." It is the only distinct recollection we
preserve of these impalpable creatures, except
a suspicion that the manners of Master Mawls
were susceptible of much improvement. Generally
speaking, we may observe that whenever
we see a child intently occupied with its
nose, to the exclusion of all other subjects of
interest, our mind reverts in a flash to Master
Mawls.

But, the School that was our School before
the Railroad came and overthrew it, was quite
another sort of place. We were old enough to
be put into Virgil when we went there, and to
get Prizes for a variety of polishing on which
the rust has long accumulated. It was a School
of some celebrity in its neighbourhood
nobody could have said whyand we had
the honour to attain and hold the eminent
position of first boy. The master was
supposed among us to know nothing, and one of
the ushers was supposed to know everything.
We are still inclined to think the first-named
supposition perfectly correct.

We have a general idea that its subject had
been in the leather trade, and had bought us
meaning our Schoolof another proprietor,
who was immensely learned. Whether this
belief had any real foundation, we are not
likely ever to know now. The only branches
of education with which he showed the least
acquaintance, were, ruling, and corporally
punishing. He was always ruling ciphering-books
with a bloated mahogany ruler, or
smiting the palms of offenders with the same
diabolical instrument, or viciously drawing a
pair of pantaloons tight with one of his large
hands, and caning the wearer with the other.

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