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The Toilers of the Field   By: (1848-1887)

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First Page:

THE TOILERS OF THE FIELD

BY

RICHARD JEFFERIES

AUTHOR OF "THE GAMEKEEPER AT HOME," ETC. ETC.

[Illustration: THE SILVER LIBRARY]

NEW IMPRESSION

LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO. 39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON NEW YORK AND BOMBAY 1898

All rights reserved

[Illustration: RICHARD JEFFERIES.

From the bust by Miss Margaret Thomas, in Salisbury Cathedral.

Photographed by Mr. Owen, Salisbury. ]

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE.

First Edition, October 1892. Reprinted, November 1892 and January 1893. Issued in Silver Library, November 1893. Reprinted, June 1898.

PREFACE.

The first and larger part of this volume, from which it takes its name, consists of papers which will be new to the large majority of readers of Richard Jefferies' works. The five entitled, "The Farmer at Home," "The Labourer's Daily Life," "Field faring Women," "An English Homestead," and "John Smith's Shanty," appeared in Fraser's Magazine in 1874, long before Jefferies had gained any portion of that fame which was so long in coming, and came in full measure too late. Of the three letters to the Times , written in 1872, one was republished, with the permission of Mrs. Jefferies, in an appendix to Mr. Walter Besant's "Eulogy of Richard Jefferies." It finds its natural place in this volume with the other papers, which give so clear a picture of the life of all classes of the cultivators of the soil in the early seventies. The "True Tale of the Wiltshire Labourer" has never previously been published, and is included in this volume by the kind permission of Mr. G. H. Harmer of the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard , for which paper it was written when Jefferies was on its staff, but for some reason was never used.

All the papers in Part II. have appeared in Longman's Magazine , since Jefferies' death, and though they are with one exception very slight, yet they are all characteristic specimens of his work. From internal evidence it appears certain that the longest of them, entitled "The Coming of Summer," was written on June 1, 1881, and the subsequent days. It contains one or two points of resemblance with the famous "Pageant of Summer," which appeared in Longman's Magazine for June 1883. It was perhaps the first study of which that paper is the finished picture.

The frontispiece is reproduced by kind permission of Mr. J. Owen of Salisbury, from a photograph taken by him of Miss Thomas' bust of Jefferies in Salisbury Cathedral.

C. J. LONGMAN.

CONTENTS.

PART I.

PAGE

THE FARMER AT HOME 3

THE LABOURER'S DAILY LIFE 60

FIELD FARING WOMEN 111

AN ENGLISH HOMESTEAD 151

JOHN SMITH'S SHANTY 175

WILTSHIRE LABOURERS (LETTERS TO THE "TIMES") 211

A TRUE TALE OF THE WILTSHIRE LABOURER 259

PART II.

THE COMING OF SUMMER 289

THE GOLDEN CRESTED WREN 313

AN EXTINCT RACE 315

ORCHIS MASCULA 319

THE LIONS IN TRAFALGAR SQUARE 321

PART I.

THE FARMER AT HOME.

The new towns, or suburbs which spring up every year in the neighbourhood of London, are all built upon much the same plan. Whole streets of houses present exact duplicates of each other, even to the number of steps up to the front door and the position of the scraper. In the country, where a new farmhouse is erected about once in twenty years, the styles of architecture are as varied and as irregular as in town they are prim and uniform. The great mass of farmhouses are old, and some are very picturesque. There was a farmhouse I knew which was almost entitled to be taken as the type of an English rural homestead. It was built at a spot where the open wild down suddenly fell away into rich meadow land... Continue reading book >>




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