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334
FIRESIDE EDUCATION.
common mortals. This idea was justified by the air of superiority assumed by the wearer of the mysterious watch-key. Surely, a man who has such a title to our reverence, must not be censured if he looks with sovereign contempt upon common men. So thought master W. Accordingly, when adjusted upon his seat at school, he sat with the comers of his mouth drawn down, and the outer sweep of his eye­brows drawn up, with an awful, ghastly and imperious aspect. But of all the places I have ever seen, the school-house under his dynasty was the most dismal and gloomy. The greater part of the scholars, overawed and trampled down, sat in their seats mouthing and mimick-ing the master, not by design, but from an un­conscious sympathy with the presiding deity of the place. There were a few enterprising spirits, however, upon whom severity exerted no terror, and these were a dreadful annoyance to dominie W. They mimicked his awkward gait and his air of solemn conceit. They drew portraits of him on the sides of the school-house in charcoal. One of them ventured upon a translation of the mystic watch-key, as follows:—"which is, being interpreted,
Fie Betty Karter." This was written on a piece of paper and laid upon W.'s desk. There was
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