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 Thomas Carlyle, in his history of the stout and sagacious Monk of St. Edmunds, has given us a fine picture of the actual life of Englishmen in the middle centuries. The dim cell-lamp of the somewhat apocryphal Jocelin of Brakelond becomes in his hands a huge Drummond-light, shining over the Dark Ages like the naphtha-fed cressets over Pandemonium, proving, as he says in his own quaint way, that ‘England in the year 1200 was no dreamland, but a green, solid place, which grew corn and several other things; the sun shone on it; the vicissitudes of seasons and human fortunes were there; cloth was woven, ditches dug, fallow fields ploughed, and houses built.’ And if, as the writer just quoted insists, it is a matter of no small importance to make it credible to the present generation that the Past is not a confused dream of thrones and battle-fields, creeds and constitutions, but a reality, substantial as hearth and home, harvest-field and smith-shop, merry-making and death, could make it, we shall not wholly waste our time and that of our readers in inviting them to look with us at the rural life of England two centuries ago, through the eyes of John Roberts and his worthy son, Daniel, yeomen, of Siddington, near Cirencester. The Memoirs of John Roberts, alias Haywood,
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