Amongst the variety of "professors" that practise on the Irish peasantry in the shape of horse and cow doctors, bone-setters, and fairy men, perhaps there is not a more distinguished individual than the Hedge Schoolmaster.

Educated in a seminary similar to that in which he presides, having there acquired all his former preceptor's knowledge, he has either stepped into his shoes on his demise, or set up an establishment on his own account, trusting his success to the favourable opinion the neighbours had formed of his abilities during his years of probation. The Hedge Schoolmaster is, therefore, greatly respected by the peasantry whose children he has undertaken to educate; he is ever a welcome guest at their homes, gets the best "bit and sup" and the warmest corner at their firesides. Here he seems as much at home and more at his ease than the hospitable owner of the domicile he has condescended to visit, and whom he repays by astonishing with his intimate knowledge of past events, gleaned generally from antiquated newspapers: he can even tell of things to come, in a style equal, if not superior, to the prophetic pages of Moore's Almanack, which popular annual he is seldom or ever known to agree with. He is generally, too, a proficient in music, and on Sunday evenings, in the summer time, gives the boys and girls an opportunity of enjoying themselves on "the green" in a jig or country dance to the sounds of his violin. But as human nature is never perfect, even in the wisest of mankind, there is one failing inseparably allied with the hedge Schoolmaster-- he is a little too fond of "the drop;" his indulgence in which, though it occasionally mars his dignity in some respects, is amply atoned for in others; for, as the spirit of the glass ascends to his head, the pent-up larning as quickly escapes from that abode in "words of learned length and thundering sound."

Now there may be, as is often the case, a rival schoolmaster in the adjacent village, and he too, either by accident or design, might be present on one of those festive occasions. The meeting of those worthies is as "Greek to Greek." No two gamecocks could regard each other more fiercely, and the encounter of wits is often as decisive and deadly. Here lies the Hedge Schoolmaster's real danger. If in the opinion of the excited company he is put down in the discussion, even on such a point as the "Irish tutor" puzzled the great Dr. O'Toole, when he asked him the exact position Ballyragget occupied on the globe, his fame is gone. The cry is up through the country, "The master was beat in the 'larnin';'" and in a day or two the schoolmaster is literally "abroad," his grove deserted, and his pupils fled to his more witty or accomplished rival.