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WALES. Vol. II.] OCTOBER, 1895. [No. 18. THE SCHOOLMISTRESS OF CERDYN. i. " One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." HE schoolmistress was not Welsh her¬ self, but she had some of the quick sympathy and sensitive feeling which belong to the Welsh people. It was this ready in- which drew her to Johnnie from the first, and made her understand the manly nature concealed by boyish carelessness and love of mischief, though the rest of the world regarded him as a hopeless scape¬ grace. She had been won by the confident smile and brown eyes gleaming at her from under the thick untidy locks which overhung his forehead. For the school¬ mistress was no pedant. Although anxious to obtain the full grant at the annual examination, and carrying out every new regulation enforced by the code with ability and success, she did not regard the school¬ children as little machines calculated to yield certain mathematical results at the end of the year, but she loved them with all the warmth of a simple, affectionate nature, and knew far better than many a more highly cultivated teacher how to draw out the intelligence of the rough young creatures entrusted to her charge. The schoolmistress had the direction of what is technically known as a mixed school. There boys and girls are disciplined and taken through the standards together, and much anxiety and toil are undergone by a teacher in the process. Such schools are usually presided over by a master, but in this case, for some occult reason of the Board, a mistress had been appointed. Fortunately her happy tact and consider¬ ation for boy nature made the task less onerous than it would otherwise have proved. She had been born and bred in London, and the change from the atmosphere of the city to the fresh mountain air had braced her spirits and invigorated her frame to a degree which well fitted her to cope with the difficulties of her new position. It is true that the streets of Cerdyn yield so much noise and grime as are to be found in many a larger place. It is full of activity and bustle, invaded by numerous passenger trains in the day, and resounding with the noise of engines,—the rattle of trams, which come dashing down a steep incline, tumultuous as a mountain brook,—the periodic call of porters, bidding men to work or repose,—and the regular pulse of huge ventilating machines, which in the stillness of night sound like the breathing of some deep-mouthed monster. It is an evil day for Cerdyn when these tokens of life are hushed, and every dweller in the place listens for their revival with eager anxiety. The schoolmistress did not live in the town; the cottage which she shared with her mother was on the hillside, where the sloping line of stone houses forming one of the main streets abruptly ends, and you emerge on to a stretch of open moorland, leading in steep ascent to the mountain's brow. Here the schoolmistress loved to wander in her leisure moments,—in spring, when some hours of daylight were left after her hard day's work, and when the fragrance, rising from the young growth of moor and bog, mingles with the odour of withered grass which the farmers burn on the mountain that it may spring up fresh and sweet for the sheep ; in summer, when 28 433