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Women in English Life - Volume 1

Georgiana Hill

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Book Excerpt: 
. . ./a> sought their recreation in a gossip with their neighbours. Few of them ever wrote a letter or found any use for a pen. Even to this day there are good housewives in country districts who would be puzzled to make out a receipt or cast up a column of figures.

In the fourteenth century there were few persons outside the ranks of the clergy who could write. There was a considerable improvement in the following century, which affords a convenient starting-point from which to commence the study of town life.5 Letter-writing was becoming usual among the well-to-do of the middle classes, those who would now be called the gentry. Education was spreading. The gulf between the aristocracy and the democracy was being bridged over by a thriving, intelligent middle class. As we approach the sixteenth century, the old manner of life is fast seen to be disappearing. The castle is no longer the power that it was once. The sovereignty of the nobles is weakened, in ma. . . Read More