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ABOUT midway of the left-hand side of the
High Street of Broughton, there is a
picturesque and ancient gateway, which for
generations back, has afforded a subject to
the way-side sketcher, both professional and
amateur. It is a spacious gateway, rich in
carvings that have not lost their identity; for
you can still distinguish which boss was
originally a rose, and which a cherub's face,
though they have been blown upon by the
storms of four centuries, at least, and have
never known the profane touch of modern
restoration. Over this gateway projects a
lofty window, glazed in small octagonal panes,
which have coats of arms, crosses, and other
devices emblazoned on them in vivid colours;
when the side sashes are open, this window
commands the busiest prospect in all Broughton,
for it looks up the High Street to the
parish church of Saint Paulwhose graveyard
elms close out the prospect of the
suburb beyondand down to the Market
Place, the evening resort of all the idle
population of the town.

The gateway is the entrance to old Saint
Ann's, and the Oriel window above it is the
window of the master's room. Old Peter
Garnet, the master, is as well known,
and as highly respected in Broughton, as
the gateway itself.  He was, originally, a
Saint Ann's boy, and he has been master
there for five and forty years. The way he
came to be master, was as follows:—While in
the school, he attracted the attention of one
of the guardians by his peculiar aptitude for
figures, and this gentleman instantly jumped
to the conclusion that he had discovered a
genius, whom it was his duty to patronise, and
draw forth from obscurity. To that end, he
removed Peter from Saint Ann's, and placed
him at the public grammar school, where
he had many opportunities of testing his
courage and physical strength in pitched
battles, arising out of the opprobrious epithets
flung at him as mementos of his previous
condition as a charity-boy. It is not on
record that Peter distinguished himself here,
either classically or mathematically; but, in
due time, his patron sent him to the university,
and great hopes were entertained that
he would astonish the school-men. But they
astonished him instead. In fact, they plucked
him. Peter's genius was a mistake, it seemed.
His benefactor sent for him home to Broughton,
and the master of Saint Ann's, being desirous
of retiring from his office, Peter was
unanimously elected to fill it. The governors
of the charity talked of his being a college-
man, and ignored the circumstances of his
rejection by Alma Mater as completely as if
they had never occurred; but it was a long
time before anybody dared to be sagacious
enough to discover genius in a Saint Ann's
school-boy again.

Peter was conscientious, and he did his duty
in the old school well: he had the talent for
government; and if, at first, he found the
mastership of six and twenty illiterate
lads a degree more irksome than his
previous life had been, he soon learnt to be
proud of it.

There must have been some reason for his
failure at college; for, though no genius, Peter
had really more than the average amount of
talent: it may probably be explained that he
neglected the routine studies, to potter
amongst old chronicles and histories of his
native town; for, when he had been about
three years master at Saint Ann's, Jacob Rivis,
bookseller in the High Street, published a
compact little volume entitled, Antiquities
and Curiosities of Broughton, which bore
the name of Peter Garnet as author. It is
the standard guide-book to Broughton at this

Peter was a simple-minded man, and won
many friends. With his salary of fifty pounds
a-year, the gateway fees, and his anciently-
furnished rooms, he contrived to live, as folks
said, like a gentleman; but there was a good
deal of pinching behind the scenes. Peter
had an old father and mother living, and two
or three brothers and sisters, who had not got
on in the world so well as himself; and they
all expected, apparently, to be kept in idleness
on his splendid means. He did not treat
them hardly, at all; but, on some pretence or
another, they were generally found ready to
abuse him behind his back; and what with
one tax, and what with another, he was
several years past middle age before he could
afford to marry. Even then, his dear Alice
only lived with him a very few years, and died;
leaving a six-months'-old baby on his hands.

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