Shanty the Blacksmith

Mary Martha Sherwood
Shanty the Blacksmith; A Tale of
Other Times
by Mrs. Sherwood
[AKA: Mrs. Mary Martha

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Other Times
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Title: Shanty the Blacksmith; A Tale of Other Times
Author: Mrs. Sherwood [AKA: Mrs. Mary Martha Sherwood]
Release Date: May 10, 2004 [EBook #12315]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Charlie Kirschner and the Online Distributed Proofreading



* * * * *
It was during the last century, and before the spirit of revolution had
effected any change in the manners of our forefathers, that the events
took place, which are about to be recorded in this little volume.
At that period there existed in the wild border country, which lies
between England and Scotland, an ancient castle, of which only one
tower, a few chambers in the main building, certain offices enclosed in
high buttressed walls, and sundry out-houses hanging as it were on
those walls, yet remained. This castle had once been encircled by a
moat which had been suffered to dry itself up, though still the little
stream which used to fill it when the dams were in repair, murmured
and meandered at the bottom of the hollow, and fed the roots of many a
water plant and many a tree whose nature delights in dank and swampy
soils. The verdure, however, which encircled this ancient edifice, added

greatly to the beauty, when seen over the extent of waste and wild in
which it stood. There can be no doubt but that the ancient possessors of
this castle, which, from the single remaining barrier, and the name of
the family, was called Dymock's tower, had been no other than strong
and dangerous free-booters, living on the plunder of the neighbouring
kingdom of Scotland. Every one knows that a vast extent of land, waste
or at best but rudely cultivated, had once belonged to the Lords of
Dymock; but within a few years this family had fallen from affluence,
and were at length so much reduced, that the present possessor could
hardly support himself in any thing like the state in which he deemed it
necessary for his father's son to live. Mr. Dymock was nearly thirty
years of age, at the time our history commences; he had been brought
up by an indolent father, and an aunt in whom no great trusts had been
vested, until he entered his teens, at which time he was sent to
Edinburgh to attend the classes in the college; and there, being a quick
and clever young man, though without any foundation of early
discipline, or good teaching, and without much plain judgment or
common sense, he distinguished himself as a sort of genius.
One of the most common defects in the minds of those who are not
early subjected to regular discipline is, that they have no perseverance;
they begin one thing, and another thing, but never carry anything on to
any purpose, and this was exactly the case with Mr. Dymock. Whilst he
was in Edinburgh he had thought that he would become an author;
some injudicious persons told him that he might succeed in that way,
and he began several poems, and two plays, and he wrote parts of
several treatises on Mathematics, and Physics, and Natural History; the
very titles of these works sound clever, but they were never finished.
Dymock was nearly thirty when his father died; and when he came to
reside in the tower, his mind turned altogether to a new object, and that
was cultivating the ground, and the wild commons and wastes all
around him: and if he had set to work in a rational way he might have
done something, but before he began the work he must needs invent a
plough, which was to do wonderful things, and, accordingly, he set to
work, not only to invent this plough, but to make it himself, or rather to
put it together himself, with the help of a carpenter and blacksmith in
the neighbourhood. But before we introduce the old blacksmith, who is

a very principal person in our story, we must describe the way in which
Mr. Dymock lived in his tower.
His aunt, Mrs. Margaret Dymock, was his housekeeper, and so careful
had she always been, for she had kept
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