Shortly after this discourse we reached a milestone, and a few yards from the milestone, on the left hand, was a crossroad. Thereupon Mr. Petulengro said, ’Brother, my path lies to the left if you choose to go with me to my camp, good; if not, Chal Devlehi.’ But I again refused Mr. Petulengro’s invitation, and, shaking him by the hand, proceeded forward alone; and about ten miles farther on I reached the town of which he had spoken, and, following certain directions which he had given, discovered, though not without some difficulty, the dingle which he had mentioned. It was a deep hollow in the midst of a wide field; the shelving sides were overgrown with trees and bushes, a belt of sallows surrounded it on the top, a steep winding path led down into the depths, practicable, however, for a light cart, like mine; at the bottom was an open space, and there I pitched my tent, and there I contrived to put up my forge. ’I will here ply the trade of kaulomescro,’ said I.
Highly poetical—Volundr—Grecian mythology—Making a petul—Tongues of flame—Hammering—Spite of dukkerin—Heaviness.
It has always struck me that there is something highly poetical about a forge. I am not singular in this opinion: various individuals have assured me that they can never pass by one, even in the midst of a crowded town, without experiencing sensations which they can scarcely define, but which are highly pleasurable. I have a decided penchant for forges, especially rural ones, placed in some quaint quiet spot—a dingle, for example, which is a poetical place, or at a meeting of four roads, which is still more so; for how many a superstition—and superstition is the soul of poetry—is connected with these cross roads! I love to light upon such a one, especially after nightfall, as everything about a forge tells to most advantage at night; the hammer sounds more solemnly in the stillness; the glowing particles scattered by the strokes sparkle with more effect in the darkness, whilst the sooty visage of the sastramescro, half in shadow and half illumed by the red and partial blaze of the forge, looks more mysterious and strange. On such occasions I draw in my horse’s rein, and, seated in the saddle, endeavour to associate with the picture before me—in itself a picture of romance—whatever of the wild and wonderful I have read of in books, or have seen with my own eyes in connection with forges.
I believe the life of any blacksmith, especially a rural one, would afford materials for a highly poetical history. I do not speak unadvisedly, having the honour to be free of the forge, and therefore fully competent to give an opinion as to what might be made out of the forge by some dexterous hand. Certainly, the strangest and most entertaining life ever written is that of a blacksmith of the olden north, a certain Volundr, or Velint, who lived in woods