Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/18

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xiv
SOCIAL LIFE IN ENGLAND

carried the good knight and his courteous lady behind him to church and to visit in the neighbourhood, instead of in the hell-carts and rattling coaches then coming into fashion; when men of estate studied the public good, serving their generation in honour, and leaving their lands to a hopeful heir, who followed the example of noble and worthy ancestors. Then there came the opposition to steam, when the long ice age of handwork gave way to an age of machine production; the abuse of trains, the revolt against gas-lighting, and to-day the opposition to motors, as yet in their infancy.

But this sketch of social life deals with matters yet more mundane, and the reader can deduce such facts—not wholly uninteresting—as these: that William the Conqueror ate with his fingers and never saw a coal fire, that the two thousand cooks of Richard II. could make neither a plum-pudding nor mince-pies, that Chaucer never saw a printed book, that Queen Elizabeth never heard of tea or saw a newspaper, that George I. had no umbrella, and that Queen Victoria was the first sovereign of our island home who had not to depend on wind and weather to leave her kingdom.

Articles now considered necessities were luxuries