Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/31

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
11
THE SPEECHLESS PAST

with clay, or, in technical language, "wattle and daub."

Each hut had a door three feet high, which must have caused the ancient Briton to stoop badly, for he was a taller man than his predecessor, being some five feet nine in height. In the centre of each hut was a stone hearth for a fire, over which the family presumably cooked their food by day, and round which they probably slept by night in the cold weather.

Their food was compounded of corn and wild fruits, the flesh of wild and domestic animals, hazel and beech nuts. They stood in no need of sauces or relishes—their seasonings were supplied by a healthy and vigorous constitution, fresh, sweet smelling air, and exemption from the over-anxiety of to-day. For drinks they had milk, cider and mead—a mixture of wheat and honey—the ancestor of our modern beer. "This drink," remarks the sailor mathematician from Greece, "produced pain in the head and injury to the nerves," which remark needs no comment to-day.

It is sometimes easier to picture a primitive people by trying to realise what they had not got, rather than by what they had.

Let us then imagine a life with no smoking, no