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310

The Editor's Desk.

NOTICES OF BOOKS. Walter the Schoolmaster, a new book by the author of “Harry and Archie” and other charming works, is sure to be an announcement gratifying to hundreds of readers. We ourselves have long been looking forward to the day of its publication; and now that it has reached us, just as we are making up our last sheet, we cannot resist recommending it in the strongest possible manner, and presenting some few extracts in confirmation of our opinion. The object of the work is, to cheer schoolmasters, anxious to do their duty, in the discharge of the heavy task that devolves upon them, and to make them look forward to reap in joy, though they sow in tears. Such a work was much needed : for they only who have the care of pupils,-in whatever walk of life-can appreciate fully the difficulties that are ever springing up, the fears that are constantly arising, and the joy with which any hopeful sign is welcomed. Few besides Mr. Monro, could have written the present work. He has had practical experience of the subject on which he writes : and in giving the world the benefit of that experience, he uses those wonderful powers of description which he possesses in such a remarkable degree. In the early chapters, in which we are introduced to Walter's predecessor, and the examination of a village school, there is some pardonable sarcasm : for our own experience enables us to acknowledge the truth of what may seem severe, and what is so admirably hit off. The volume contains twenty-six chapters, in which incident upon incident is recorded with a remarkable variety, that prevents the interest of the tale lagging for a single moment. We cannot enter into the details of the tale,--which we hope our readers will all have the opportunity of perusing for themselves, -but may just state, that the grand principle by which the teacher, Walter, is influenced, is that of love ; and that in the reformations which he works out, he rules by that, and not by the rod. One instance must suffice;

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Walter determined to try his hand upon a rough Irish boy, who was always in rags. He is introduced to us at W...er's Sunday tea

“I'll tell your master !' uttered a shrill, clear voice ; "I'll tell your master-see if I won't!' said the same little voice, breaking out nto a sort of wet thaw, just before a burst of tears, like a hard frost break. ing up into wet rills underfoot.

"Tell him, if you like, old cock ; tell him at the feast. I don't care, he didn't ax me; so there's another for you.' This speech was followed by a heavy dab and splash, and that, after a shower of mud, by a loud howl, so sudden and determined, as if proceeding from a very vigorous will. Poor little Jonah, by a successful shot, had just received a handful of mud exactly on the point of the nose ; which, acting with a power of lever, had scattered the mud like a discharge of grape or canister at a siege. Walter opened the door suddenly, and admitted the poor little fellow, whose appearance was all the more forlorn from the fact of his evident neatness of dress got up for the occasion ; but before Walter could interfere, a loud shout rung along the road, and the Irish boy, coat and all, had darted forward to avenge the cause of his fellow guest.

" Och ! and ye'll do it, will ye? Sure enough, ye're a raal man. ger dog ; ye car’nt get the feast yersel, and ye stops them as can !'

And the next moment blows thick as hail were descending on the head of the unfortunate assailant from the infuriated Irishman. Screams, howls, and indignation broke from the unfortunate Englishman, when more help arrived on both sides, and the pelting of mud and jargon of abuse became loud on the ears of the guests already assembled. Walter's heart failed him : his ideal tea was melting into air ; he felt half ashamed and awkward as he came out to separate the combatants. He caught hold first of the Irishman by the coattail, which unfortunately was rotten, and gave way with a loud rent; and Walter stood still with the coat-tail in his hand, and by the rent exposed the porous condition of the under garments. This failing, Walter had in the dark caught hold of the wild Irishman's long flowing hair.

" • And he's been a buttering pink-eyed Jonah, the shindy, he has; and all bekase of his filthy jealousy. I'll see if I won't,' continued the infuriated and gasping Irishman, struggling in vain to be rid of Walter's hand. • Bad luck to you, thin, new masther, for lugging me off the Saxon; bad luck to ye ! bekase I'd have shillaleed him like my fayther did the French at Ciudad Rodrigo. Hurra, hurra! young 'un, I say.'

All this time Walter was in vain trying to choke the life or the voice out of his obstreperous pupil, pulling at his shirt and hair, while he was dancing and leaping like a rampant lion in a round stainedglass shield.

Hurra! none of your blarney. Who was your fayther ? A m’litiaman, and mine was a rigler sodger, born wi' a red coat on his back, and Salamanca printed on his skin, like a sailor wi' an anchor blown into his hand. Hurra, I say!'

“ But by this time, what with being half throttled and dragged down,

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Patrick was precipitated into the tea room, blustering in a towering passion. Poor little Jonah was still sobbing his last tears over the fire, and ever and anon looking down on his dirty pincloth, and dropping fresh tears at the thought of what mother would say. The sudden and desperate entrance of Patrick scared the unfortunate little Englishman nearly into the fire.

“Poor Walter i Life is indeed full of difficulties, and our best in. tentions are strangely shadowed by disappointments. By this time all had arrived ; indeed, most had been aiding at the fight on one side or the other. Robert, odd boy, who had seen the whole, heard the whole, knew all about it, helped Walter in the last fell struggle, had not got one spot of dirt or turned a hair of his head : he was just ready to sit down to tea, as if nothing had happened. Patrick, all dishevelled, but no way disconcerted, plunged into the plate of bread and butter vigorously.

"Och, and didn't, thin, I say, misther, did ye ever hear of my fayther ? he was a wild Irishman; and my mither says, “You know, Patrick, your fayther was a good one, my boy.' • Jist so, mither,'

* Patrick,' says she, “your fayther says as he was a-going, Bring up Patrick for a sodger.' Yes, my jewel, says she.

"And will ye, my own heart?' says he. And I will,' says she. And sure enough she bought me this very coat on my back, becase it is lined inside the sleeve wi' red. *That's right, my darling,' says he. And so I'm to be a sodger, my boys, and fight in the next Peninsular. * And I hope,' says my fayther, that Patrick will be fortunate, and fight like I have at Badajos, Salamanki, and all that I have been through, and my boy must do the same. • Och, and shan't he!' says she: and so I'm off to Salamanki to fight the French. I say, fancy, my boys—what's the matter, thin?'

“ Patrick's flow of eloquence had completely dumbfounded poor Walter. There seemed no chance of lack of conversation, and still less of forming character; for Patrick promised to absorb the former, and to remain in the latter respect very much what he was to his dying day. But, meantime, while he was laughing with clear, dark, intelligent eyes all round the room, eating prodigiously, and was completely scaring Walter on the idea of an insufficiency of provisions, he summed up the whole by catching a piece of bread and butter out of Jonah's mouth, and poked it into his pocket. • And isn't it for my mither, Jony, my boy ?'

“Walter found it was now high time to interfere. Poor little Jo. nah was really terrified, and Robert's sense of propriety evidently very much affected. Quiet was at last restored.

"Sir,' said Robert, “the battle of Salamanca was fought between the English and French in Spain,-wasn't it?'

“ This looked calm and educational, and Walter breathed again.
66. Yes, it was.'
" • And the English won it, didn't they, sir ?'

Yes.'
66 • Under Lord Wellington ?'

" • And wasn't he jist an Irishman, and no Englishman at all ? and wasn't my fayther cousin by the mither's side to the Lord Wellington ?

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and wasn't it the Irish beat the battle o' Salamanki ? and wasn't it the Lord Wellington who rid by my fayther in the last charge, and said, 'Go it, my boy; give 'em a taste of shillaly ! Go it; you're the fayther of Patrick !' though I wasn't born, but Lord Wellington knew I should be.'

“This subject was sure to get up a talk, for the volume of Patrick's wit was endless. “ Tea was over.

James had not spoken; he had eaten plentifully, and was rather tired ; nothing had disturbed him. He had looked up from time to time at the Irishman, and wondered at him, but only his eyes were disturbed—no other part of him; and now all was over, he folded his hands in front of him, and, looking quietly up at Walter, said, “ Please, șir, are we to come again next Sunday ?' " . No, my little man,' said Walter ; ‘not so soon.'

Henry had been silently at work, helping the others and watching Walter, fetching the kettle and taking it back, fully pleased, as if the room and entertainment were his own. He had not eaten much, but he laughed in his quiet way at Patrick, and sometimes looked a little frightened.

“ . Please sir, may we go?' said Jonah, who had hardly yet recovered from that kind of hiccoughing sob which had followed his outburst of grief, and continued like rain which will not stop, long after the sun has come out.

"« « Yes.'

“ Please, sir, will you write a note, and tell mother about the pincloth ?'

Och, did ye hear him now? tell his mother about his pincloth ! as if she wouldn't see it, neither, when it's all slommocked wi' mud. Och, now, if I raaly wont

“ But Walter stopped him, and tried to comfort Jonah by writing the note The little boy took it gratefully.

“ • Thank’ee, sir, for my tea,' said he, matting down his glossy hair, and bowing ; and so saying, sedately went out.

" . The booby,' said Patrick, laughing : 'if I won't meet him in the lane and upset him, like my fayther upset Boneyparti in the ditch at Rodrigo, when Boney walked up and said, 'Hollo, my hearty! what are you?' • Patrick's fayther that is to be,' said my fayther; then up wi' his bagonet, and stuck him to the wall. Won't I jist?' And be. fore Walter could stop him, the young soldier had dashed out, shouting with laughter, and full of murderous intentions to turn Jonah into a Frenchman.”—pp. 39—43.

And now let us pass on to the end of the narrative, and contrast with this Patrick's death on the battle-field.

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" • Hollo, Patrick, my boy, and it's we who are to be in the attack on the enemy at the dawn of the morning. Sure enough, they are gathered like poppies in the corn, thick as mustard, with the river behind them, and no escape ; and their cannons frowning at us in a row, with their mouths wide open, as if they said come and be killed.'

" • Faith, and is it so ? and shall I be my fayther's son, thin?'.

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said Patrick, starting up, and rubbing his eyes prepared to get ready. * And sure enough, my fayther ever said I should follow in the steps of glory; and won't my mother rejoice in her pavilion ; and won't their leddyships Blarnie and Killarnie have a feast that day of oats beyond common, when the news of my being in the fight is read in large letters in the news !' How long Patrick would have gone on, it is hard to say ; but there was no time to lose, for the stir along the whole line, the silent movement on every side, announced that in a few minutes the regiment must be in action.

“ The dawn of morning was fast breaking.
" " What are ye at, Patrick ?' cried his comrade.
“ But no answer came for two or three minutes.

" • Sure! and I'm praying to the King of kings to guard me in the day of battle, and pardon me if I'm killed.'

* • You fool,' said his comrade; 'what a Methodist you are.'

“ • Methodist or not, I'm treading his footsteps who showed me the way to heaven, and I'll tread them to the end. 'Didn't I tell him as he was dying, 'Maisther, God bless you! I'll by God's help fol. low your voice till I die?' and didn't he say—God bless him— Patrick, meet me in glory?' and wasn't he a frind to me and all of us ? He was no man of words without acts.'

“But the signal was given, and all were afoot. The dawn was ad. vancing to morning, and the long red lines of the enemy appeared with their white turbans, three times the number of the English ; the artillery were drawn up in long and terrible array. A single shot from the enemy's cannon issued from the ominous line; the ball struck on the ground before the British, and driving up a cloud of dust, it bounded far over the heads of the line and buried itself in the sand beyond.

“ The signal was given ; the herald had gone forth, and the blast of his breath bore death.

“ Five minutes, and smoke and flame, groans and crying, the crash of arms, and the thunder of artillery, eclipsed every other sight, and drowned every other sound. Twice in that awful hour Patrick's name was heard mentioned approvingly by the commanding officer, and twice Patrick gallantly and bravely did honour to his own and bis father's name; but far more than either, to Walter's. Amid the vol. leys of oaths, the curse, and the blasphemy, which hung on other lips, not one escaped his. He had promised Walter once, by God's grace, to break through the habit of swearing, and he did.

" Once more. The infantry had borne it well; in line and square they had sustained the terrible charge, and sustained it nobly. Once more the enemy's cavalry charged. Five furious horsemen dashed desperately on, with their sabres uplifted, and their pistols ready to discharge; Patrick was in the kneeling line, his eye was steady, and his hand firm. They fired : the foremost horseman reeled in the sad. dle and fell with violence over the horse's neck to the ground; his foot slipped from the stirrup, and the horse, with distended nostril and eye bloodshot galloped riderless away. The second received a wound in his chest ; his pistol fell, his figure bent over the horse's neck, and the animal bore his master from the field. The third dashed madly

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