Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/45

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25
LETTER WRITING

the first fallow deer, pheasants, geese, fowls, and rabbits, while there were no limes, planes, sycamores, or sweet chestnuts before the Roman occupation.

They established extensive pottery works in various parts of the island; specially famous were those which stretched some twenty miles along the banks of the river Medway, where at least 2,000 men were employed. They must have astonished the ancient Britons by the beauty and ingenuity of their work in this as in many other branches of industry, and one can imagine their surprise at the Roman looking glass of polished metal, tooth combs, padlocks, thimbles, baby's bottles, glass jugs, &c.

These civilised peoples taught the ancient Briton to write letters on tablets covered with wax with pointed bronze pens. The letter finished, the tablet was closed, tied with thread, and sealed. It was then despatched by hand to the person to whom it was addressed. Having read the message, he rubbed it out, wrote the answer on the same tablet, and returned it.

But, with all their advanced civilisation, the amusements of the Romans were horribly cruel. One of their great delights was to set fierce