Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/16

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SOCIAL LIFE IN ENGLAND

This is no attempt to record the glorious achievements of past ages; there is little concerning governments and kings, religion or literature, science or art. It is merely a sketch of the material conditions in which our ancestors lived and died. It is pre-eminently a book of detail. It presents a brief glimpse of their houses, their food, clothes, manners, punishments, of their wives and children, of their gardens, their education, with some account of the social changes that have taken place throughout the ages. At the end of the book will be found an Appendix of some of the most useful articles introduced into England during each period. Some knowledge of the outlines of English history is presupposed, so that we may transport ourselves in imagination into that vanished past, which no historian can adequately bridge over. We can realise those silent figures, whose names are so familiar, in the outward guise that conveys so much to our material natures, calling up, perhaps, some faint conception of the appearance of our ancestors in the days that are gone.

Thus, from the speechless past to the present day, we have traced evolution from the old stone tool to the modern intricate machinery, from the