Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/19

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xv
INTRODUCTORY

to our forefathers, or entirely non-existent Thus they lived without sugar till the thirteenth century, without coal till the fourteenth, without butter on their bread till the fifteenth, without tobacco and potatoes till the sixteenth, without tea, coffee, and soap till the seventeenth, without umbrellas, lamps, and puddings till the eighteenth, without trains,telegrams, gas, matches, and chloroform till the nineteenth.

There was no turning of night into day through the long ages of the past, no artificial light other than candles and lamps till the eighteenth century. Till quite modern times our fathers rose with the sun, dined early, danced, played games, and went early to bed. Nevertheless, the "good old days" had their drawbacks. They were days of roughness and brutality, of injustice and ignorance, when passions ran riot and tempers were uncontrolled; not till the dawn of mercy, pity, and tolerance did civilisation assume any of that refinement which is ours to-day.

The gradual levelling of social distinctions has been amply described in these pages, for there is no more striking development to-day than the rise of the Democracy to power.

But when all is said and done, when carpets